FAMILY HOLIDAYS

Memorable, moving, magical! 10 North West Australia attractions you might not know about

Hutt Lagoon is among the area's many stunning natural wonders. Credit: Tourism Western Australia

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. Credit: Tourism Western Australia

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.

Book now: BIG4 Howard Springs 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.

Book now: BIG4 Ledge Point Holiday Park.

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 it’s 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.

Book now: BIG4 Geraldton Sunset Beach.

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

4. Illegal Tender Rum Co, Dongara, WA

Despite only opening its doors in 2015, this distillery has already racked up more than a dozen international awards. 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.

Book now: 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 Instagram 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.

Book now: BIG4 Plantation Caravan Park in Carnarvon.

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

6. 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. The West Macs are 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.

Book now: BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park in Alice Springs.

Highlights abound in the West Macs, including Ormiston Gorge. Credit: Paddy Palin/Tourism NT

Looking for great accommodation deals in the region? More here.


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 the 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.

Book now: BIG4 Geraldton Sunset Beach.

Moving: The HMAS Sydney II Memorial. Credit: Tourism Western Australia

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 an inviting picnic spot. Better yet, from June to November this area becomes a prominent whale-watching vantage point. The blowholes are roughly 75km north of Carnarvon.

Book now: BIG4 Plantation Caravan Park.

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.

Book now: BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park.

George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens are an oasis. Credit: Shaana McNaught/Tourism NT

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!

Book now: BIG4 Ledge Point Holiday Park, BIG4 Dongara Denison Beach Holiday Park or BIG4 Geraldton Sunset Beach.

The sand dunes are popular for leisure fun in these parts. Credit: Australia's Coral Coast

Have you visited any of these attractions and have a yarn to share? Or perhaps something else in the area has caught your attention and is worth shouting about? Let us know about it in the comments section below.

Isn’t it time you enjoyed a northern Australia escape? Book your next BIG4 break now.

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