The Commonwealth Games unites the nations, as fans eagerly watch and support their athletes, but the biggest excitement and the most memorable moments are often caused by the outsiders. Australians love to celebrate the unexpected champion or underdog, also sometimes called a “battler” in local slang.
Just like the lesser-known athletes heading to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, there are also many underdog locations across Australia waiting to be discovered. While many people may have heard of the iconic Bondi Beach, Surfers Paradise and Great Ocean Road, these are the top 10 Aussie underdog locations you need to see!
1. Burleigh Heads, Queensland
Most people have heard of sunny Surfers Paradise, known for its glistening beaches and exciting promenade. Equally as idyllic however, and just a 20-minute drive south, is the Gold Coast suburb of Burleigh Heads. Blessed with beautiful beaches that are perfect for swimming and surfing, it has a unique bohemian undercurrent with trendy health food eateries, boutique shopping, and plenty of seafront restaurants and bars to watch the world go by.
2. Bronte Baths at Bronte, New South Wales
You’ve probably seen the breathtaking photos of the iconic ocean pool at Bondi’s Icebergs, but have you seen the stunning Bronte Baths? Just over a kilometre’s walk south of Bondi and only a short walk from Bronte Beach, Bronte Baths is the perfect undiscovered location for a morning coffee and dip. The surrounding rocks are perfect for lazing around and the 180-degree ocean views provide an epic Instagram backdrop. The pool caters for all levels of swimmers, from beginners to the more advanced – and swimming is free of charge.
3. Wilsons Promontory walking trails, Victoria
Finished your adventure driving down the Great Ocean Road? Enjoy another stunning coastal wilderness area at Wilsons Promontory National Park. The southernmost point of mainland Australia, Wilsons Prom, as it is known to Victorians, is a natural wonderland of pristine landscapes and abundant native wildlife. Camp in tents or contemporary cabins, discover secluded beaches and hike through lush valleys and spot kangaroos, emus, wombats, echidnas and myriad native birds.
4. Rainbow Beach, Queensland
You may have heard of the iconic Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island stretching over 120km, but have you heard of sub-tropical Rainbow Beach? This hidden adventure playground is nestled between Fraser Island and the Great Sandy National Park. Perfect for beach-lovers and nature enthusiasts, visit the iconic sand cliffs that will dazzle you with changing colours during low tide and watch the sun set on the unique “moonscape” sand mass, the Carlo Sand Blow.
5. Adelaide Hills, South Australia
World renowned for its food and wine, it is hard to beat the Barossa Valley, but just a 20-minute drive from the city, the Adelaide Hills is a treasure trove harbouring some of Australia’s best cool-climate wines, food and produce. The Basket Ranges in the Adelaide Hills is the heart of Australia’s booming natural wine trend, supplying some of the best restaurants in the world and around Australia.
6. NewActon Precinct, Canberra
Manuka and Kingston Precincts in Canberra are well known for their amazing shops, restaurants and bars, but NewActon’s cultural hub of design and creativity gives it a run for its money. With its award-winning pineapple-shaped building, Nishi; the spectacular Hotel Hotel; The Cupping Room, home of Australian Barista Champion Hugh Kelly; and Močan & Green Grout; NewActon is the epitome of Canberra cool.
7. Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Already visited Tasmania’s spectacular Cradle Mountain National Park? The Bay Of Fires should be next on your list of wilderness destinations. The crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and orange lichen-covered boulders make it one of the state’s best-kept secrets. This area extends along the coast from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point and can be enjoyed on your own or via a four-day guided Bay Of Fires Lodge Walk.
8. Swan Valley, Western Australia
Having recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2017, the Margaret River wine region has achieved a lot in a short time, but Western Australia’s oldest wine region, the Swan Valley, is also worth a visit. What’s more, the region is just a 25-minute drive from Perth’s city centre. On arrival, you’ll have an ever-growing list of delicious restaurants, cafes, breweries, artisan producers and more than 40 wineries to explore.
9. Kings Canyon, Northern Territory
Most people have heard of the iconic Uluru, the massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory, but Australia’s Red Centre has many more treasures on offer, such as Kings Canyon at Watarrka National Park. Forged through layers of sandstone and hard shale, you’ll explore natural rock pools and native flora and fauna with all your senses.
10. The Village Market at Burleigh Heads, Queensland
Already visited the famous Eumundi markets and sampled their locally made artisan treasures? Head to the Village Market in Burleigh Heads to discover some of Queensland’s best boutique markets stalls. Featuring the local communities’ most talented artists, producers and creative entrepreneurs, the market is held on the first and third Sundays of each month. Wander through stalls full of boutique clothing, unique homewares and jewellery, or pull up a rug in front of the stage to hear some of the best local musicians play balmy tunes.