Photo credit: mahdis mousavi
Need a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life? Book a trip to the land down under this winter to get away from it all. Turn off your smartphone, leave the crowded resorts behind, and head to some of Australia’s most remote places for a rejuvenating experience that is truly off the beaten path. Best of all, our top spots are almost all accessible by boat only.
If you’ve been looking for an experience that takes you away from your creature comforts and prompts you to spend time in nature, check out our recommendations.
Photo credit: IG inK
Located on the southeastern Whitsunday Islands, Whitehaven Beach lives up to its name with soft white sand and beautiful turquoise waters. This eco-friendly pristine beach provides direct access to the Great Barrier Reef, and it makes the perfect spot for divers and snorkelers. The water and sand at Whitehaven Beach swirl together to create a unique look and feel unlike any other beach. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a turtle or two.
Keep in mind before planning your trip – no dogs, littering, or cigarettes are allowed. Plan to relax in the cool silica sand all day, but don’t forget to pack sunscreen!
How to get to Whitehaven Beach:
In about 30 minutes, you can travel from Hamilton Island to Whitehaven Beach by catamaran, but the journey is beautiful enough to take your time. Consider taking a sailing yacht from Shute Harbour to enjoy the views. Check out our charter options.
Want to enjoy island serenity at its finest? Plan an overnight camping stay in the Whitsunday Islands for under $7 AUD per person per night. (Thanks for the tip, Steph!)
Photo credit: John Benwell
The sea can be unpredictable, and for that reason, Refuge Cove has often served as a safe harbor for sailors and other boaters traveling around Victoria’s coast. As you approach the cove, soak in the striking landscape of giant granite slopes, lush forests, and clear waters. The deep waters in this area make it easy for boats to dock and unload, which is great if you’re planning to camp overnight. When you’re not sunbathing or swimming, check out the walking path that connects Refuge Cove to Sealers Cove and Waterloo Bay.
How to get to Refuge Cove:
Although technically you could trek 15 kilometers to Refuge Cove, the easiest way to get here is by boat and then make the hike. If you’re staying in Melbourne or closer to San Remo, find a nearby boat hire. Our experienced captains can navigate the waters to ensure a safe, fun excursion to one of Australia’s most remote places.
Plan a bushwalk to the Wilsons Promontory National Park and back, which will take you further inland from Refuge Cove. You’ll have the opportunity to camp and enjoy an authentic Australian pastime.
Photo credit: Ian Cochrane
Like Whitehaven Beach, Silica Beach features gorgeous, pristine white silica sand that doesn’t retain heat, making it cool and comfortable for hours out on the water. The deep saltwater of the Indian Ocean makes for convenient boating as well as a pleasant swimming experience. The best way to visit Silica Beach is on a larger trip of the Buccaneer Archipelago; the beach itself is fairly short, so continue on to explore the area’s waterfalls, whirlpools, cliffs, and swimming holes. This area is virtually untouched, lending itself to excellent snorkeling and fishing opportunities.
How to get to Silica Beach:
You can fly into this region, but your best bet for getting to Silica Beach specifically is to take a boat. Nearby Derby and Broome have many boat rental options, and many will even take you close to the shipwrecks. Take a look and book yours.
If you’re planning a trip to the Buccaneer Archipelago with a stopover in Silica Beach, you might also want to consider visiting Dampier Peninsula. Connect with the Broome Visitor Centre before you go, as there are several Indigenous communities that reside on the Peninsula.
Photo credit: Graeme Churchard
New South Wales
Though Montague Island is a fairly popular tourist destination, it is one of the best places to observe wildlife in Australia. The island is home to New South Wales’ largest population of fur seals, as well as little penguins, peregrine falcons, shearwaters, and other animal and bird species. You can also spot dolphins and whales here, depending on the time of year. As a visitor, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving with the seals – a truly unique experience. If you’re looking to spot whales, June to November tend to be the best months for whale watching.
How to get to Montague Island:
Plan to take a charter from Narooma on the Sapphire Coast. Many of the charter services also incorporate a fishing trip, where you can try your hand at catching tuna, kingfish, marlin, and cod.
Book a stay at the Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages for cozy accommodations, island history, and specialized tours of the flora and fauna.
Barranyi (North Island) National Park
When you’re not taking in the sights and sounds of the Northern Territory by river cruise or observing clear views of the Milky Way from Katherine Gorge, plan a trip to one of the Territory’s most remote spots for bird watching. Its sandy beaches and sandstone cliffs give the island a dramatic, serene landscape – a soothing backdrop as you fish for mackerel, tuna, and more. Be careful and do not swim in this area, as there are crocodiles and jellyfish.
How to get to Barranyi (North Island) National Park:
Given the severe winds and potentially dangerous conditions, it’s recommended that you have an experienced boater captaining your journey to this beautiful, remote location. Contact one of our captains today.
Pack your binoculars and brush up on rare bird species before you embark on this trip – there’s wonderful bushwalking and beachcombing on the beaches, and you may spot some nesting turtles as well.
Photo credit: Eduardo M.C.
Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island
Though rare, Australia has within its borders a couple of “perched lakes,” or lakes that exist above the water table, with just pure, fresh rainwater. Lake McKenzie is one of these perched lakes, and its purity makes it too difficult to sustain plants and animals that would normally live in freshwater lakes due to the water’s high acidity. What results? A very pure, crystal clear swimming experience. However, sunscreen and lotions have contributed to some pollution over the years. For those who dislike swimming with creatures, Lake McKenzie will be a pleasant change of pace!
How to get to Lake McKenzie:
A catamaran or sailing charter is one of the easiest ways to get to Fraser Island, but for those who are feeling more adventurous, rent a sea kayak in Hervey Bay for a full day excursion.
Pack a picnic and plan to go early, especially since summer months can be quite busy.
Photo credit: andrea castelli
Hop on a boat charter or plan a houseboat stay when you’re visiting Adelaide, and be sure to make a stop over on Kangaroo Island. While this island is bustling with beaches, penguins, caves, and much more there are some hidden secrets that can give you the serenity you seek. Check out Little Sahara for dunes and a desert-like feel – right in the middle of Kangaroo Island. If you want to stay closer to the water, the Western River Cove has excellent diving and snorkeling that is easily accessible.
How to get to Kangaroo Island:
Given its close proximity to Adelaide, you can find numerous charter and rental options nearby. Consider tacking on a kayak or jet ski rental to make the most of your time on Kangaroo Island.
Never tried sandboarding before? A trip to Little Sahara is a great opportunity to try this sandy version of snowboarding, according to Vanessa.
Photo credit: Discover Tasmania
Since Tasmania itself is one of the larger of Australia’s 8,222 islands, we’ll count the entire island as “accessible by boat only.” Vastly underrated but with some of Australia’s best beaches, Tasmania is worth exploring for a trip to get away from it all. Fortescue Bay is a perfect spot for experiencing a little bit of Australia’s wilderness, as it’s surrounded by the Tasman National Park. With high cliffs, lush foliage, and a boat launching ramp, plan to spend a few days camping and hiking here.
How to get to Fortescue Bay:
If you happen to already be on Tasmania, you could take a rental car through the forests to Fortescue Bay – but as boaters, we’d of course recommend the more scenic route. Rent a sea kayak from nearby Hobart, or plan a longer adventure by charter.
Hike through the forests to get to the magnificent cliffs and rock formations at Cape Hauy.