Aussie travel: 13 ultimate spots for surreal photos
THEY look like they belong in a fairytale, but these places actually exist in real life.
And incredibly, they're all in our own backyard.
Given it's their job to know Australia, the staff at Tourism Australia are a pretty well-travelled bunch - but every so often a picture of an "undiscovered" spot submitted by fans of the @Australia Instagram page even manages to stun the experts.
But don't expect these spectacular sights to stay unknown for long. Each of these locations has already clocked up tens of thousands of "likes" on Instagram, with many fans immediately making plans to visit.
And much as Aussies would like to keep these hideaways our own little secret, showcasing the country's diverse attractions to the world is central to Tourism Australia's strategy, according to managing director John O'Sullivan.
"There are just so many incredible places waiting to be discovering across the length and breadth of the country and it's always great to read the many positive comments as we share some of these hidden gems with our followers," he says.
Here are 13 of the most amazing snaps from around Australia that wowed the folk at Tourism Australia - and us!
1. Crystal Shower Falls, Dorrigo National Park, NSW
Does anyone else feel the overwhelming urge to stick their head under this waterfall? You'll find this lovely cascade in the #DorrigoNationalPark, which is part of @coffscoastnsw - around halfway between @sydney and @visitbrisbane on Australia's east coast. The enchanting place names in this lush national park are enough to make you want to visit - we're talking Crystal Shower Falls (pictured), Red Cedar Falls and... wait for it... the 'Never Never picnic area' ✨ Photo: @damonwilderphotography
2. Umpherston Sinkhole, SA
If this is what heaven looks like, take us there please! Believe it or not, this otherworldly place is on earth - it's in the #MountGambier region of @southaustralia, to be precise. It's called the Umpherston Sinkhole - basically a limestone cave with a collapsed roof which has formed a spectacular sinkhole. It's since been turned into a flourishing heritage-listed sunken garden which is open to the public and is the perfect place to escape the heat on a warm day. Photo: @dubstamatic #garden #sinkhole #nature #southaustralia #seesouthaustralia
3. Bitter Springs, Elsey National Park, NT
Fancy submerging yourself in the crystal clear waters of the Bitter Springs? 💦 You'll find this otherworldly spot in the Elsey National Park in the @ausoutbacknt, and yep, it really does look like this! In fact, @_markfitz visited this stunning tropical oasis recently and apparently, he "couldn't get over how clear the water is". These spring-fed thermal pools are the perfect place to unwind and cool off after a long drive, plus there are cabins and camping nearby in case one day's not enough. #NTaustralia #tourismtopend #travelphotos #travelgram #wanderlust
4. Lake Bumbunga, SA
Wouldn't you be tickled pink if you stumbled across this extraordinary pink lake?! This vivid display is an aerial view of Lake Bumbunga in @southaustralia; a naturally occurring pink saline lake which you can get to by driving roughly two hours from Adelaide. If admiring this rather salty lake makes you feel a tad parched, head to the nearby @clare_valley_sa wine region afterwards to quench your thirst - it's only 40 minutes up the road. Photo: @alifebeneathstars
5. Tarkine Wilderness, Tasmania
Did you know that @tasmania is home to Australia's largest tract of temperate rainforest? It's hidden deep in @tasmaniasnorthwest, and it's called the Tarkine Wilderness - a myriad of wild river and cave systems, mountain ranges, ancient trees and rugged coastline. This place is seriously off the beaten track, so it's best if you book a guided walk or four wheel drive tour here so you can soak up the scenery and not worry about the logistics. Photo: @ray.chau
6. The Big Drift, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria
Even the resident animals of #WilsonsProm find themselves awestruck by The Big Drift! These gigantic sand dunes are one of the highlights of Wilsons Promontory National Park, so if you're heading to this part of Victoria be sure to check them out. It's important to mark your path from the Stockyard campsite so you can find your way out again or take a guided tour with an expert local company like @goodtimestours. Photo: @bryce.sandilands #wildlife #wildlifephotography #wilsonsprom #visitvictoria #dunes
7. Lake Pedder, Tasmania
Welcome to the wild wild west - of @tasmania, that is! This is the view over #LakePedder, which you'll find deep in the wilderness of Tassie's Southwest National Park. Fringed by rugged mountain ranges, this lake and its nearby companion Lake Gordon together comprise the largest inland freshwater storage in Australia. Both lakes also offer some of the best trout fishing in #Tasmania; you'll need a temporary freshwater fishing license if you're keen to try your luck. Photo: @heathwhiley #mountain #lake #landscape #nature #discovertasmania
8. Melaleuca Falls, Kimberley, WA
Chasing waterfalls in @thekimberleyaustralia 💦 This secluded oasis is Melaleuca Falls in the southern Kimberley region of @westernaustralia, and it's only accessible by helicopter. There are a couple of local tour companies that can take you here, including @great_escape_cruises and @truenorthadventurecruises which both have onboard helicopters, so you can visit all the secret spots (and feel like a total rockstar). Photo: @jaxonark #thekimberley #westernaustralia #thisisWA #australia #waterfall
9. East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
Spotting secret beaches in #EastArnhemLand 💚 This breathtaking part of the @ausoutbacknt is rugged and remote, but don't let this stop you from visiting because there are plenty of guided tours and experiences available here. You can fly here from #Cairns or #Darwin, or if you're an experienced four wheel driver you can get a permit and drive across the epic landscapes of Central Arnhem Land. Photo: @iamsavi
10. Lord Howe Island, NSW
Shhh, please don't wake us - we're daydreaming of floating around in the sparkling waters of @lordhoweislandtourism. Isn't this place just ridiculously beautiful?! It's part of @visitnsw, and you can fly here from @sydney or @visitbrisbane. Only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at one time, so there's plenty of ocean, fresh air, mountains and sandy beaches to go around. Photo: @kelseybanister #lordhoweisland #visitnsw #islandlife #travelphotos #wanderlust
11. Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
Let's escape to the tropics 🌴The beautiful @portdouglasdaintree region in @tropicalnorthqueensland is waiting! @travelsofsophie visited the #Daintree Heritage Lodge and Spa in the heart of the #DaintreeRainforest this week and said, "it's currently winter in #Cairns but it feels like summer". With temperatures in this region averaging 26°C from May to September, a dip in the crystal waters of Cooper Creek (located on site) is a MUST. #exploreTNQ #destinationdaintree #SeeAustralia #explore #travel #wanderlust
12. Lancelin Sand Dunes, WA
Just watching the sunset from the gigantic sand dunes at #Lancelin, @westernaustralia - no biggie! These colossal formations are only a 90-minute drive from the city of @experienceperth, and they're perfect for sandboarding, four-wheel driving and exploring. Lancelin is also a short drive from the weathered limestone spires of the famous Pinnacles Desert, which is a must-visit if you're in the area. Photo: @inflight.imagery #thisiswa #justanotherdayinwa #travelphotos #wanderlust #travelgram
13. Orpheus Island, Queensland
If you're looking for us this weekend, we'll be paddling the turquoise waters surrounding @orpheusisland... don't wait up 😎 This secluded island on the #GreatBarrierReef accommodates just 28 guests at a time, so you won't need to fight for a spot on the island's 11 kilometres of beach. You can get to Orpheus Island via a 30-minute flight from @townsvillenorthqueensland or a 90-minute flight from #Cairns. Btw, there are only 27 spots left now - see you there! Photo: @jamesvodicka #thisisqueensland #travelphotos #wanderlust #kayaking #travelgram