For this article, we interviewed Will Hatton, AKA popular blogger, The Broke Backpacker. We told him: “ We want to give our readers something to look forward to. Tell us where to go in Australia.”
Will Hatton is known for his budget travel blog, detailing his lifetime of colourful journeys through more than 70 nations, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Iran, where he met his wife Esme. His blog is filled with hard-earned guidance and advice, not only about the cultures and experiences to be found in these countries, but how to navigate them smoothly, and at an exceptionally low cost. Since 2017 he has been leading adventure tours through Pakistan, Australasia and SouthEast Asia, helping to reveal its hidden natural beauty to many, many more.
Here’s what he said…
From the Australian Outback to the dusty paths of Queensland, fulfil your taste for adventure once quarantine is over.
The 2020 pandemic is currently having a huge effect on everyone, forcing us to stay inside and away from adventure. With social distancing as a huge priority, most people are spending most of their time at home, indoors. Whilst these are extremely difficult and anxious times for everyone, it is important to remember that it won’t last forever. When the lockdown ends, our taste for adventure and the outdoors will be stronger than ever.
With this in mind, use this time to daydream about the amazing adventures ahead and get an idea of where you want to go first. Discover Australia’s best kept secrets: hike the undiscovered coves of Queensland and backpack in remote locations whilst connecting with nature in its most sincere form.
Keep River National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Deep in the burnt heat of the Outback, located on the Western Australia and Northern Territory border, you’ll find Keep River National Park. One of Australia’s best kept secrets, it’s home to geological wonders that reveal ancient Aboriginal rock art, made by indigenous Australian people.
Keep River National Park is consumed with many mysteries, including its ridiculously out-of-place 100ft-high palm trees (with the coast hundreds of miles away) and its extraordinary towers of dome-shaped cliffs emerging from an otherwise flat landscape. Most extraordinary of all however, is the fact that the site remains so quiet as to allow an almost exclusively isolated and natural viewing.
Remoteness is of course a factor; with its nearest town, Kununurra approximately 90 miles away and found off the Great Northern Highway, a four day road trip in itself is common. However, if lucky enough to make that road trip, I would highly recommend taking a day or two to appreciate this site and relax- there is a campsite with very basic facilities.
While visiting the park, there are a variety of trails and hikes available depending on what you’re after. The two-kilometre Gurrandalong walk weaves through sandstone and presents one magnificent view after the next. Jarnem offers a long loop walk that can be split into two shorter return walks, including the Jarnem Lookout Walk that is particularly stunning in the soft light of early morning and late afternoon.
Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
As the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, its triumph of natural wonder and awe-inspiring beauty reveals hidden gems and inspirational insights. Named as a World Heritage-listed site, it amazingly remains unspoiled by artificial structures and other impediments that are typical of mainstream visitor-management.
On visiting, the rainforest has many activities and guided tours to offer, which showcase its unique biological diversity. Here, you can trek through the jungle and find plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. On a family trip, kids (and adults!) mat love to fly through the trees on a zip-line for a bird’s eye view. Cruise along the waterways of the Daintree River, searching for saltwater crocodiles, and head to Cape Tribulation to see where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef.
Not only did this exceptional rainforest provide inspiration for the movie Avatar but David Attenborough himself named the site “the most extraordinary place on Earth”. Definitely one to visit, to say the least.
Melbourne graffiti alleys, Victoria, Australia
Many locals will agree that Melbourne is not just a city of attractions, but it’s a city of atmosphere. In my opinion, the most rewarding way to experience Melbourne is to wander aimlessly and disappear into its web of alleyways. Only this way, will you stumble across the most impressive street art in the world.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, much of the city’s disaffected youth were influenced by the graffiti of New York, which subsequently grew popular in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, surrounding the suburban railway and tram lines. Melbourne was a major city in which stencil art was embraced at an early stage, leading to the naming of Melbourne as “stencil capital of the world”.
The graffiti itself expresses an explosion of colour and rebellious talent, something definitely worth seeing. While the talent is not exactly condoned by the city’s authorities, it is at the same time rewarded some degree of respect as it is not cleaned up quite as quickly as you would see in other cities.
In other parts of the world graffiti-covered side streets are often places to avoid, but in Melbourne it feels as though you are walking through an open air gallery. Don’t miss it.
Undara Lava Tubes, Queensland
If you want to spend a day exploring one of the rare volcanic marvels of Australia, then a visit to the Undara Lava Tubes should be high on your list of “must do” experiences. They are one of the true wonders of Australia and reputedly the longest lava tubes in the world.
When Undara Volcano disgorged itself 190,000 years ago, it produced 23 cubic kilometres of lava into a river bed, approximately enough to fill three Sydney Harbours. As the lava flowed across the land, it followed natural crevasses, creating lava rivers. Over time, huge caves have formed in places along the tubes, and now for a modest fee, you can explore.
At first look, the lava tubes of Undara appear as extremely impressive caves. But with a closer eye and conducted tours, the caves become hypnotic with its charred walls and ceilings of jagged orange rock, and you’ll begin to consider the almost imponderable forces which led to its creation. The experience is genuinely unforgettable.
Devil’s Marbles, Northern Territory
The Devil’s Marbles is a boulder field in the Northern Territory which forms one of the most remote and remarkable sights in Australia. The enormous granite stones are dispersed across the ruddy landscape and balanced upon one another in the most puzzling manner, ignoring all laws of gravity. The rocks, which appear to be additions to the landscape, are in fact just remnants of an older one.
Located deep in the outback, to reach them you often have to drive for approximately three days on the Stuart Highway, the 1750 mile road which links the top and bottom of Australia, from either Darwin in the north, or Alice Springs, in the centre.
There is a campsite next to the Marbles with very basic facilities, where you can stay overnight for the memorable scene of the marbles glowing red colour in the early morning light and setting sun. Definitely worth the trip.