Adventure

7 Truly Weird Things You’ll Only See In Australia

We all know about the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Melbourne’s laneways, Uluru, and South Australia’s wine regions. But sometimes we just want to see something truly…out there.

The weird and wonderful things we stumble across on our travels are often the most interesting and memorable things we discover. And there’s no end to the weird things you can find in Australia.

Whether it’s a giant fibreglass dinosaur by the side of a highway (large fibreglass versions of anything, in fact) or natural phenomena that just make you scratch your head – we are here for the weird!

So here are seven of the best, weirdest things you can see while exploring Australia.

Big Things, Everywhere

It’d be wrong to start anywhere else. Australia loves a Big Thing. Often they’re highway attractions, sometimes they commemorate an event or industry. We have more than 200 of the things. The list of Big Things in Australia is truly impressive.

There’s a big prawn in Ballina, NSW; a Big Ned Kelly in Glenrowan, Victoria; a Big Merino sheep in Goulburn, NSW; Coff’s Harbour’s Big Banana and Big Bunch of Bananas, NSW; the Big Pineapple in Woombye, Queensland; two Big Apples just in NSW – one in Tallong and one in Yerrinbool; the Big Chook in Moonbi, NSW; the Big Kookaburra in Kurri Kurri, NSW; Big Books in Alice Springs, NT; the Big Captain Cook in Cairns, Queensland (who looks like he’s doing a Nazi salute).

The list, exhaustively, goes on.

Why do Australians love a Big Thing? Maybe it’s novelty, maybe it’s to make up for long stretches of flat, dull highway. But we’ve really taken to creating and celebrating these monstrosities.

 

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Horizontal Falls, The Kimberley, WA

“But physics wouldn’t allow it!” you may think. And you would be wrong. Western Australia‘s Horizontal Falls are a popular attraction you can even ride a boat through.

The falls are really a narrow opening between two large bodies of water. When the tide changes, the narrow gap forces the water through at an incredible rate, creating a phenomenon that resembles a run-of-the-mill vertical waterfall.

What’s more – there are two horizontal falls. And what do we love more than weird things? Twofer deals, that’s what.

Elvis Festival, Parkes, NSW

This will be something you’ve never seen before – hundreds of Elvis Presleys invading a small town for a festival celebrating the crooner. The Parkes Elvis Festival is held every January in the town of Parkes, NSW, and there are somehow more than 200 events held across five days.

Hundreds of fans dress up as Elvis, with varying degrees of success (and apparently at all life stages of the singer – including his latter ‘Fat Elvis’ days). Oh regional Australia – you crazy cats.

 

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Underground Town of Coober Pedy, SA

There is a town in South Australia which is – no joke – almost entirely underground. Coober Pedy is nearly nine hours’ drive north of Adelaide (yes, you can fly there instead) in the very centre of South Australia. Some would say in the arse end of nowhere.

It’s known as ‘The Opal Capital of the World’ – and that’s partly why the town is so subterranean. Prospectors still search the earth here for shiny rocks, and their mines sometimes become dwellings and other spaces. Living underground here is also the ideal way to escape the desert sun and heat.

It’s possible to stay here underground in the Desert Cave Hotel or Radeka’s Downunder, and there are also underground cafes. You can pick up an opal of your own either by shopping or noodling for one.

 

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Lake Hillier, WA

Another natural phenomenon that just looks like it doesn’t exist is Lake Hillier, on Middle Island off the south coast of Western Australia. The lake is bright pink, inspiring thoughts such as, “That’s Photoshopped!” No, it’s not. The pink hue is due to the lake’s salty water and an algae that inhabits the lake.

While it’s not possible to visit Middle Island in person (it’s for research only and off-limits to the public), you can take a scenic helicopter flight over the lake to see its bubblegum colour.

 

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Visit Australia’s UFO Capital

If there’s one place on earth aliens absolutely must visit, it’s the Northern Territory outback, just about four hours north of Alice Springs. According to past local Lew Farkas, the area attracted extraterrestrials because of certain energy lines running around the earth, making Wycliffe Well a sort of crossroads for UFOs. All this makes it one of the hottest spots for Australian UFO sightings.

There’s a theme park of sorts – though reportedly slightly faded from its former glory these days – dedicated to the sightings, with green aliens and spaceships dotted around the area. Noted UFO sightings go back as far as World War II soldiers stationed nearby, so maybe you’ll be able to have your own experience of the extraterrestrial in the region.

 

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Watch The Red Crab Migration

One of Australia’s underdog native animals is the Christmas Island red crab. It’s most famous for its annual breeding migration, during which millions of the crabs take a long walk across their island home to lay their eggs in the ocean.

It’s the biggest tourism draw on Christmas Island (yes, that Christmas Island – you can visit) which mostly consists of national park and its capital, called The Settlement.

The crab migration makes for a fascinating/terrifying spectacle (depending on how you feel about millions of eight-legged crustacea moving as one). Park rangers have even created crab bridges and crab underpasses to prevent them crossing major roads – their tough carapaces can pierce car tyres. At least David Attenborough loves it.

(Lead image: Aliens –AwOiSoAk KaOsIoWa / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) & crabs – Parks Australia / Facebook)