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10 northwest Australia attractions you might not know about

There’s something truly spectacular about Australia’s northwestern reaches.

Here, you’ll stumble upon vivid landscapes, mind-blowing attractions, and incredible experiences; some you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.

Often these experiences don’t get the eyeballs they deserve, either.

With a particular focus on the northwest pocket of the country, we present you with 10 awesome attractions that might have escaped your attention.

The Pinnacles are a sight to behold. More below.

1. Defence of Darwin Experience, Darwin Military Museum, NT

It could be argued that Darwin’s involvement in World War II – and that of the wider Territory – remains somewhat underrated in Australian pop culture. The Defence of Darwin Experience has the capacity to change that.

Part of the wider military museum precinct, the attraction features interactive displays that detail the Japanese bombing of Darwin, and they are incredibly powerful, moving, and compelling. When combined with the many interesting exhibits at the museum, this is one of the best visitor attractions in Darwin.

Nearby park: BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park or BIG4 Hidden Valley Holiday Park.

The Darwin Military Museum precinct is brimming with absorbing exhibitions. Credit: Shaana McNaught/Tourism NT.

2. The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park, WA

This experience is not exactly a radar-dodger, but it still deserves more attention. A visit to The Pinnacles is unforgettable, showcasing vivid landscapes that are like nothing else.

Here, thousands of imposing limestone pillars rise from the desert sands and provide a feeling that you’ve landed on another planet. It’s surreal, it’s quirky, and it all makes for some seriously epic photos. Visit 80km north of Ledge Point.

Nearby park: Tasman Holiday Parks - Ledge Point.

Out of this world: Welcome to The Pinnacles. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

3. Hutt Lagoon (Pink Lake), Port Gregory, WA

Keep those cameras and phones handy for another unusual natural attraction. Hutt Lagoon is also known as Pink Lake, and its bright and bold hues make it a star in front of the lens.

Aerial flyovers from Geraldton and on-site buggy tours are exhilarating ways to witness the breathtaking beauty, or take it all in from a lookout vantage point. Note: Hutt Lagoon is best viewed at mid-morning or sunset and is 100km north of Geraldton.

Nearby park: BIG4 Geraldton Sunset Beach.

Pretty in pink: Hutt Lagoon. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

4. Illegal Tender Rum Co, Dongara, WA

This distillery has racked up more than a dozen international awards since opening in 2015. The emphasis on small-batch spirits made entirely from quality Australian ingredients certainly has something to do with it.

Visit the cellar door for top-shelf tastings or join a distillery tour for a rich insight into the makings of its tasty products.

Nearby park: BIG4 Dongara Denison Beach Holiday Park.

Award winner: Illegal Tender Rum Co makes for an excellent outing. Credit: Michelle McKoy.

5. Rocky Pool, near Carnarvon, WA

Whether visiting for a refreshing dip, wildlife spotting, or just to add material to your bourgeoning Insta account, Rocky Pool is a winner. This secluded freshwater pool is surrounded by stark, reddish rocks that contrast with ghost gums, and it all makes for the perfect place for a peaceful paddle. Or a picnic. Rocky Pool is found 40km east of Carnarvon.

Nearby park: BIG4 Plantation Caravan Park in Carnarvon.

Tranquil Rocky Pool is loaded with appeal. Credit: Carnarvon Visitor Centre.

6. Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park, near Alice Springs, NT

It’s more Central Australia than northern, but either way this area demands serious attention for any NT adventures. Tjoritja is dotted with breathtaking scenery, from funky formations to secluded waterholes, that make for an essential Alice Springs daytrip.

Among the many eye-popping highlights are Ormiston Gorge, towering Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Big Hole, and the colourful Ochre Pits.

Want more Alice inspo? Click here.

Highlights abound in Tjoritja, including Ormiston Gorge. Credit: Tourism NT/Jesse Lindemann.

7. HMAS Sydney II Memorial, Geraldton, WA

Honouring the loss of HMAS Sydney II, Australia's greatest naval tragedy, the memorial is a must-see when in Geraldton. The ship’s story is fascinating, and heart-breaking, and the memorial thoroughly and thoughtfully retraces this past. This is one of those experiences that won’t put a smile on your face when you leave, but you’ll likely be glad you took the time to visit. Highly rated.

Nearby park: BIG4 Geraldton Sunset Beach.

The HMAS Sydney II Memorial is an essential attraction.

8. Carnarvon Blowholes, near Carnarvon, WA

The Carnarvon Blowholes is another natural phenomenon with the power to dazzle. Mother Nature puts on a spectacular show, endlessly tossing water high into the sky with great fury. Nearby, a tranquil, coral-filled lagoon and white-sand beach provide a contrasting experience as well as create an inviting picnic spot. Better yet, from June-November this area becomes a prominent whale-watching vantage point. The blowholes are roughly 75km north of Carnarvon.

Nearby park: BIG4 Plantation Caravan Park in Carnarvon.

Ocean's fury: Be dazzled by the Carnarvon Blowholes. Credit: Greg Snell.

9. George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Darwin, NT

Looking for a free attraction in Darwin? Only 2km from the city’s heart, the sprawling botanic gardens are a delight. This historical area is home to a raft of interesting plant life with a strong emphasis on north Australian and tropical plant species, including towering palms. It’s the ideal spot to while away an afternoon, to picnic, or enjoy a leisurely stroll.

Nearby park: BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park or BIG4 Hidden Valley Holiday Park.

Explore more of exciting Darwin here.

George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens are an oasis. Credit: Tourism NT/Ashley Dobson.

10. Sandboarding, various locations, WA

The WA coastline is dotted with dunes that make for thrilling sandboarding adventures. Lancelin, just 15km north of Ledge Point, bills itself as the state’s premier sandboarding destination. There are plenty of white dunes to tackle, and boards are available to hire. Dongara and surrounds as well as Kalbarri, 170km north of Geraldton, are other areas well-suited to downhill adventures. So much fun!

Nearby parks: Tasman Holiday Parks - Ledge Point, BIG4 Dongara Denison Beach Holiday Park or BIG4 Geraldton Sunset Beach.

The sand dunes are popular for leisure fun in these parts. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

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