Seen all the cities? Do you want to get back to nature? Or are you looking for a more relaxed destination that is not teeming with tourists? 

With domestic travel restrictions set to ease over the coming months, you might be looking for some inspiration on where to set your sights for your next holiday and discover the wonderful beauty that Australia has to offer.   

So consider these six unexpected destinations for your next trip – and earn some airline points along the way using our handy tips.

Please note that tips on how to get to these destinations are based on normal flying schedules prior to the grounding of most flights due to the coronavirus outbreak.  Until schedules return back to normal, we encourage you to look for available flights at qantas.com or virginaustralia.com.  

Broome, WA

There is more to the northern Western Australia beachside town of Broome than just camel rides at sunset on Cable Beach. 

Broome is becoming an increasingly popular Australian destination – and it’s easy to see why. 

From the Horizontal Waterfalls to the Bungle Bungles, whale watching to the Dampier Peninsula and the Kimberley Coast, there is plenty to see and do in and around Broome. 

Nature-lovers will be right in their element, as well as anyone looking for a relaxed getaway in a very laid-back town. 

The dry season of May to October is generally considered the best time to visit, with temperatures ranging from 17 to 31 and humidity levels low. 

Broome Cable Beach
There is more to Broome than just camel rides on Cable Beach. Picture: Tourism Australia

Getting to Broome

Qantas operates return daily flights from Perth to Broome, as well as return services from Darwin multiple times a week. 

During the peak dry season of May to October, Qantas also operates direct flights to Broome from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all paid Qantas flights, starting at a minimum of 800 points for the shortest routes.  

Virgin Australia also operates return daily services to Broome from Perth, with connections from other Australian cities available. 

Members of the Velocity program can earn points on all paid Virgin Australia flights

Kimberly Region
The amazing Kimberley region is accessible from Broome. Picture: Tourism Australia  

Maximising points earn in Broome

Hiring a car is a great way to explore the wider Broome region. 

Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty all operate from Broome International Airport and give you the ability to earn airline miles or points

Accor is the primary major hotel chain operating in Broome, which allows you to convert your loyalty points to a range of large airline partners

Primary American Express Platinum card members receive AccorPlus membership, providing Silver status at Accor properties as well as half-price dining benefits

Alternatively, booking your accommodation through Qantas Hotels, the Velocity Frequent Flyer Expedia Portal or a site like Agoda PointsMAX can earn you miles or points on your stay at a large range of accommodation options. 

Be sure to put all your food and drinks, tours and other spend while in Broome on a high points-earning credit card to maximise your return from the trip. 

For more on this, see our guides to the Highest Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards and the Highest Velocity Points Earning Credit Cards.

Lord Howe Island, NSW

Technically part of New South Wales, the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island is actually about a two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane. 

But don’t let the idea of two hours in a smaller plane put you off. 

Lord Howe Island is a destination like few others. 

There are no high-rise buildings and no big resorts. 

The Island has only 300 permanent residents and only 400 tourists are allowed on it at a time. 

Amazing beaches and snorkelling awaits visitors, who can also do hikes up the high mountains and see some unique wildlife on a laid-back island where push bikes are the primary mode of transport. 

Lord Howe Island has a mild temperature year-round, making it a destination that can be visited virtually any time. 

Lord Howe Island
The World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island is stunning from every angle. Picture: Capella Lodge

Getting to Lord Howe Island

Qantas operates regular flights from Sydney to Lord Howe Island, as well as weekend services from Brisbane.

From February to June, and September to December, Qantas also operates direct flights to Lord Howe Island from Port Macquarie.

You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all paid Qantas flights, starting at a minimum of 800 points for the shortest routes.  

Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island offers not only great water activities but also great hiking. Picture: Capella Lodge

Maximising points earn on Lord Howe Island

You won’t find any major hotel chains operating on Lord Howe Island given the low, restricted visitor numbers. 

However, you can book accommodation through Qantas Hotels, the Velocity Frequent Flyer Expedia Portal or a site like Agoda PointsMAX to earn miles or points on your stay.

Be sure to put all your food and drinks, tours and other spend while on Lord Howe Island on a high points-earning credit card to maximise your return from the trip. 

For more on this, see our guides to the Highest Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards and the Highest Velocity Points Earning Credit Cards.

Kangaroo Island, SA

Just a 30-minute flight from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is a unique destination brimming with amazing scenery and native wildlife. 

The laid-back island will get you away from the crowds and some nice sea-breeze, while it is increasingly becoming a destination loved by foodies. 

Top attractions include taking a walk on the beach at the Seal Bay Conservation Park, where you can come across scores of endangered Australian sea lions. 

Pristine beaches on the north coast are the safest for swimming, while there are all sorts of other land-based native wildlife to see from koalas to kangaroos and echidnas to goannas. 

The warmer months are generally the most popular time to visit, but the cooler months can still be great and a lot cheaper. 

Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is surrounded by amazing coastline. Picture: Tourism Australia 

Getting to Kangaroo Island

Qantas operates flights from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island multiple times a week, with connections available from other Australian cities.  

Regional airline Rex Australia also operates flights to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide. 

You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all paid Qantas flights, starting at a minimum of 800 points for the shortest routes.  

Kangaroo Island Sea Lions
Get up close to some endangered Australian sea lions on Kangaroo Island. Picture: Tourism Australia

Maximising points earn on Kangaroo Island

Hiring a car is a good way to explore Kangaroo Island. 

Hertz and Budget both operate from the Kangaroos Island Airport and give you the ability to earn airline miles or points

Accor is the primary major hotel chain operating on Kangaroo Island, which allows you to convert your loyalty points to a range of large airline partners

Primary American Express Platinum card members receive AccorPlus membership, providing Silver status at Accor properties as well as half-price dining benefits

Alternatively, booking your accommodation through Qantas Hotels, the Velocity Frequent Flyer Expedia Portal or a site like Agoda PointsMAX can earn you miles or points on your stay at a large range of accommodation options. 

Be sure to put all your food and drinks, tours and other spend while on Kangaroo Island on a high points-earning credit card to maximise your return from the trip. 

For more on this, see our guides to the Highest Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards and the Highest Velocity Points Earning Credit Cards.

Mount Isa, QLD

Home to a little over 18,000 people, the Queensland outback town of Mount Isa is affectionately known as the ‘oasis of the outback’.

Nestled among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, it is home not only to one of the most productive mines in world history but also holds the title of being the ‘Rodeo Capital of Australia’.

The largest rodeo in the southern hemisphere is held in Mount Isa over four days each August. 

There are also plenty of places to go fishing, camping or relax and enjoy an outback sunset. 

The Riversleigh Fossil Fields within the southern section of Boodjamulla National Park are World Heritage-listed, while Lawn Hill Gorge is also a key attraction. 

Mount Isa enjoys warm weather year-round and few days of rain. 

World Sign at Mount Isa
Mount Isa in the Queensland outback is a long way from everywhere, but worth a visit. Picture: Tourism Australia

Getting to Mount Isa

Qantas operates flights from Brisbane and Townsville to Mount Isa most days, with connections available from other Australian cities. 

You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all paid Qantas flights, starting at a minimum of 800 points for the shortest routes.  

Virgin Australia also operates flights from Brisbane to Mount Isa, with connections from other Australian cities available. 

Members of the Velocity program can earn points on all paid Virgin Australia flights

Regional airline Rex Australia also operates flights to Mount Isa from Cairns. 

Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo
Mount Isa hosts the biggest rodeo in the southern hemisphere each August. Picture: Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo

Maximising points earn in Mount Isa

If you want to hire a car to explore around Mount Isa there are a range of options.  

Avis, Budget and Hertz all operate from Mount Isa Airport and give you the ability to earn airline miles or points

Accor is the primary major hotel chain operating in Mount Isa, which allows you to convert your loyalty points to a range of large airline partners

Primary American Express Platinum card members receive AccorPlus membership, providing Silver status at Accor properties as well as half-price dining benefits

Alternatively, booking your accommodation through Qantas Hotels, the Velocity Frequent Flyer Expedia Portal or a site like Agoda PointsMAX can earn you miles or points on your stay at a large range of accommodation options. 

Be sure to put all your food and drinks, tours and other spend while in Mount Isa on a high points-earning credit card to maximise your return from the trip. 

For more on this, see our guides to the Highest Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards and the Highest Velocity Points Earning Credit Cards.

Orange, NSW

The country town of Orange is famed for its food and wine, but there is more to the beautiful region than just that. 

The Colourful foliage and snowy winters make it a lovely getaway location, along with its gardens and walks. 

The ancient volcano of Mount Canobolas provides a striking backdrop to the town and the Spring Glade walking track to its summit is considered a must-do. 

The nearby Nangar National Park also offers plenty of bushwalking, birdwatching and picnicking opportunities. 

And once you’ve done some exploring, be sure to enjoy local wines at cellar doors or some of the many stylish and highly-rated restaurants in and around Orange. 

Orange NSW
Orange in country NSW is a renowned food and wine region. Picture: Taste Orange

Getting to Orange

Qantas operates flights from Sydney to Orange, which take under an hour, and connections are available from other Australian cities. 

You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all paid Qantas flights, starting at a minimum of 800 points for the shortest routes.  

Regional airline Rex Australia also operates flights to Orange from Sydney. 

Taste of Orange
Wine lovers will particularly love Orange. Picture: Tourism Australia

Maximising points earn in Orange

If you want to hire a car to explore around Orange there are a range of options.  

Avis and Hertz both operate in Orange and give you the ability to earn airline miles or points

Accor is the primary major hotel chain operating in Orange, which allows you to convert your loyalty points to a range of large airline partners

Primary American Express Platinum card members receive AccorPlus membership, providing Silver status at Accor properties as well as half-price dining benefits

Alternatively, booking your accommodation through Qantas Hotels, the Velocity Frequent Flyer Expedia Portal or a site like Agoda PointsMAX can earn you miles or points on your stay at a large range of accommodation options. 

Be sure to put all your food and drinks, tours and other spend while in Orange on a high points-earning credit card to maximise your return from the trip. 

For more on this, see our guides to the Highest Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards and the Highest Velocity Points Earning Credit Cards.

Ningaloo Reef, WA

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s best-known scuba diving and snorkelling destination to discover the underwater world. 

However, on the other side of the country Ningaloo Reef is rated by some as equally spectacular. 

It is considered the best place in the world to experience the thrill of swimming with whale sharks, while humpback whales, manta rays, turtles and more than 500 species of fish also grace the waters of Ningaloo Reef. 

Out of the water, there are plenty of stunning beaches and sand dunes to explore, some of which you can take quad biking tours along. 

Or, just sit on the beach and enjoy an amazing sunset. 

The Cape Range National Park is also a highlight of the region and contains the dramatic Yardie Creek Gorge. 

Ningaloo Reef
Great Fishing Adventures Australia

The Ningaloo Reef is stunning both under the water and from above. Picture: Tourism Australia

Getting to Ningaloo Reef

The nearest airport to Ningaloo is Learmonth Airport, which is 36km from Exmouth – your launching pad to Ningaloo Reef.  

Qantas operates flights from Perth to Learmonth, with connections available from other Australian cities. 

You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all paid Qantas flights, starting at a minimum of 800 points for the shortest routes.  

Ningaloo Reef snorkeling
Ningaloo Reef offers unique snorkelling opportunities. Picture: Exmouth Dive and Whalesharks Ningaloo

Maximising points earn at Ningaloo Reef

If you want to hire a car to explore around Exmouth there are a range of options.  

Avis, Budget and Europcar operate in Exmouth and give you the ability to earn airline miles or points

No major hotel chains operate in Exmouth. 

However, you can book your accommodation through Qantas Hotels, the Velocity Frequent Flyer Expedia Portal or a site like Agoda PointsMAX to earn miles or points on your stay at a large range of accommodation options. 

Be sure to put all your food and drinks, tours and other spend while in Exmouth on a high points-earning credit card to maximise your return from the trip. 

For more on this, see our guides to the Highest Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards and the Highest Velocity Points Earning Credit Cards.

Summary

There are plenty of stunning off-the-beat Australian destinations to explore if you want to stay at home and not venture overseas. Many are easily accessible and serviced by Qantas or Virgin Australia. Be sure to make the most of your getaway by earning frequent flyer points on flights, hotels, car hire and credit card spend where possible. Australia is an amazing country.. Get out and see some more of it. 

Six unexpected destinations to visit in Australia was last modified: May 26th, 2020 by Chris Cavanagh