Tuesday, September 26, 2017 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

12 Fun and Unusual Things to See and Do in Australia

Australia is a special place, with animals and customs you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Still, most people to travel to Australia stick with typical stuff: boating in the harbor, surfing on the waves, hiking, dining, concert-going, and the like. But what if you left all that regular tourist stuff behind and took advantage of the really weird things you can do in Australia? You can create a one-of-a-kind Australian adventure with bizarre excursions and unusual experiences! Curious what could be on your itinerary? Here’s a list of 12 unusual things to do in Australia!
 
1    Build a boat out of beer cans

Regattas aren’t particularly uncommon for coastal areas. Travel anywhere in the world with an ocean, and you’re likely to find a big boat race sometimes during the year. However, there is something special about the one in Darwin! Head to Mindal Beach for the 30-some-year-running Beer Can Regatta, which features boats made out of beer cans!
 
Build A Boat Out Of Beer Cans
2    Go to a “secret” bar

Prohibition-style bars are the new hot date night activity in Australia. Secret bars and hidden clubs used to be a necessary part of the drinking scene because it was the only way you could drink socially. Today, they are necessary once again—but just for the fun factor.
 
Go To A “secret” Bar
3    Appreciate termites

Who appreciates termites? Nobody, usually. We kill them, block them from our houses, and fill up their dreaded drill holes. However, Australia has a place where termites are awe-inspiring masters of art. A trip to the magnetic termite mounds may feel like you’ve walked into the territory of an alien invasion. The mounds, are tall, flat, and up to three meters tall! Snap some photos, and stand next to them, if you dare.
 
Appreciate Termites
4    See a pink lake

There aren’t many pink lakes in the world! However, Australia’s Lake Hillier is a lovely shade of Pepto-Bismol pink that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Dr. Seuss book! Sadly, you can’t actually go into the lake or even walk around it. The lake is protected for research purposes, so you’ll have to take a helicopter ride over the lake if you want to see it.
See A Pink Lake
5    Walk through a glow worm tunnel

Remember those nineties dolls with faces that lit up? Glow Worms were all the rage for babies back then. Glow worms are still in style in Australia, though! The eerie, abandoned Newnes Railroad Tunnel has become a haven for these brilliant little creatures. Walk through the tunnel until daylight disappears and then turn off your flashlight—one by one, the glow worms will blink on until the room is filled with a magical glow.
 
Glow Worm Tunnel
6    See a floating forest

Looks like the steampunk fad left behind a strange relic in Australia’s Homebush Bay. The infamous floating forest is actually an abandoned cargo freighter that has become home to many trees! This ship has been floating in the bay for about 100 years, and it has become one of the area’s strangest and loveliest sights.
 
Homebush Bay
7    Check yourself into a mental asylum

The Larundel Mental Asylum is a memory of the past that is now rotting away, abandoned by all but the troubled ghosts of its victims (insert scary music here). Decades ago, this mental hospital was filled to the brim with 750 patients, including serial killers. Ghost hunting tours creep through the property now, but, be warned: they are actually trespassing. Which, due to human nature, makes a visit even more enticing.
 
Check Yourself Into A Mental Asylum
8    Track down a cannibalistic slug

Slugs may seem kind of gross but very benign. However, these slugs are anything but docile! Climb up the slopes of Mount Kaputar to see many species endemic to the region, including giant pink slugs. These little guys can get longer than seven and a half inches! They are also bright pink and easy to spot. If you see one, you can bet it’s on the hunt — for another slug to devour.
 
Cannibalistic Slug
9    Dream in a jungle castle

In 1925, a romantic by the name of Jose Peronella traveled to Australia to create his dream home. He and his wife bought 12 acres of North Queensland land and planted thousands of trees on his property. Then, he began to construct his magical castle right in the middle of the jungle. Today, this century-old castle is a still a beautiful and mysterious destination, although the jungle has claimed it as its own.
 
Dream In A Jungle Castle
10    Touch a wave of stone

Australia is famous for both its waves and monoliths. But you can’t surf this wave, and this stone isn’t Uluru. Wave Rock is part of Hyden Rock, a lesser known but still incredible example of Australia’s incredible geology. It looks exactly like a wave of water, except that it is red and made of stone! This place has long been a significant location to native people, but everyone will be stuck with awe at the sight of Wave Rock.
 
Touch A Wave Of Stone
11    Get an astronomy lesson from the ancients

The ancient Aborigines definitely left their mark all over Australia. You can visit many of these sites, and they are all incredible! However, the astronomical carvings at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park near Sydney are some of the coolest. Check out the knowledge that these people had in an age long before NASA and digital technology. You’ll be amazed and impressed!
 
Get An Astronomy Lesson From The Ancients
12    Meet some gnomes

We all know that one person who is obsessed with lawn ornaments, but this place takes it to a whole new level. Or maybe five new levels. Gnomesville is not someone’s front lawn, though — it’s a roundabout that has been taken over by gnomes left by random people. Although the gnomes started as a protest against round-a-bouts, they’ve just become another part of the local community.
 
Meet Some Gnomes
As you can see, Australia is not your typical destination! Whether you love to experience nature’s bizarre sense of humor, laugh at manmade creativity, or get the creeps in a chilling place, you won’t be disappointed. All you have to do is look around a little, and you’ll be sure to find unusual adventures to fill your Australia trip.
 

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