You knooooooooow by now that at RatPack we like to do things a little bit different and that includes our RatPackers too! RatPacker Holly hit up the east coast and got well off the beaten track and saw all the sweet spots including some that you might not have heard of before….. check out her blog below!
Who have thought hey!? Penguins in Oz…Well, if you look carefully enough and tread lightly, you may be lucky enough to spot St Kilda’s colony of little penguins. You’ll find them at the end of St Kilda breakwater every night, at the end of St Kilda Pier, just past the kiosk. Make sure you get there about 30 minutes after sunset to be sure to get a spot.
TOP TIP: Look below you, under the wooden slats of the pier; they’re real shy, so a load of them hide under here.
If you board the ferry from Sydney to Taronga Zoo, but head left at the wharf instead of going towards the zoo, you’ll come across the beginning of a headland walk. Walk for about 10 minutes along the path and you’ll discover Whiting Beach; a secluded spot with immense views of the Sydney skyline.
TOP TIP: Bring a camera, the views are not to be missed!
Ok, so not so ‘secret’, just more so that it’s not bothered with as it is quite a distance away from Sydney. But, it is worth the journey…believe me! The lighthouse walk is epic and when you [finally] reach the top, the 360 views are insane! The suburb is essentially a double beach; what more could you want! One side is pretty choppy whereas, the other is completely still and perfect for a little swim around. Also, if you are lucky enough to be there at any point between May and August, make sure to look out to sea for a spot of whale watching.
TOP TIP: Reward yourself after the lighthouse walk with a bite to eat at The Boathouse.
Arguably one of the coolest spots along the East Coast (my absolute fave to say the least). Situated about three quarters of the way along Marine Parade (to the right of Manly Beach), it is a glistening, inviting, picturesque pool of dreams. Its warm too, which beats the freezing cold water at Shelly Beach! Opt for this little sliver of paradise if you want to get away from Manly’s crashing waves on Main Beach. You can swim between the two though, if you fancy a change in scenery!
TOP TIP: Try and get here morning or dusk, it gets really busy at around mid-day!
A local gem! I discovered this secluded beach from staying with a resident of Manly via AirBnb, so there you have it – advice from a local! About a 10 minute walk from Manly Wharf, it is a top spot for paddle boarding, if you’re in to that. The sea here is super calm and the ideal conditions to do a spot of snorkelling. When I was here I spotted a huge turtle and stingray both swimming around at the same time, just metres apart! So, keep your eyes peeled.
TOP TIP: Hire a paddleboard and weave between the moored boats.
Take a pit stop from the sweaty Cape Byron Lighthouse walk and cool off in the sheltered, sandy beach. It’s peaceful, not too crowded and sheltered, so the water is lukewarm and the perfect spot for paddle boarding, wave diving, swimming or simply taking a moment to float and soak up the sun. Now get back up, dry off and keep on going strong towards the lighthouse, you can do it!
TOP TIP: Look out for Byron’s pod of dolphins that like to frequent this area. AND make sure you cruise in and see the RatPack crew >>> Byron Bay is their home!
First things first, weave yourself along the Burleigh Heads headland walk, it’s great and extremely picturesque. By the way, Burleigh Heads is about a half hour drive away from Surfers Paradise. Anyway, on to the good bit…Tallebudgera Creek; the glistening, light blue lagoon positioned at the end of the headland walk. Take a whole day here to wind down, relax and take in the incredible scenery; you’ve got the National Park on one side and the creek to the other…perfection.
TOP TIP: Bring a snorkel – there are schools teeny, shiny fish everywhere.
Social media is to blame for the revealing of this now not so secret secret spot. But, no surprise really as it is such a cool concept and very ‘instagrammable’. They are essentially two giant rock pools, naturally carved out of the cliff face and controlled by the tide. You’ll find them about half way (ish) along the National Park walk. Try to avoid going here on a weekend, as they can get very busy!
TOP TIP: The entry to the pools is marked with a bench (you’ll know what I mean when you reach it).
Here’s another one to add to your Maggie Island itinerary. At dusk, when the weather begins to cool down a little, head on down to Geoffrey Bay (it is just to the right of where the ferry drops you off, so a perfect activity to end the day with). Here, you’ll come across the island’s huge population of rock wallabies…it’s amazing! They’re super cute, extremely friendly and will keep you entertained for hours. Be sure to keep very quiet and make minimal movement, then they should come right up to you.
TOP TIP: Pack a banana, they love them!
Second to the Great Barrier Reef, this was one of the highlights of my time spend in Cairns. It is simply just a huge lake, but it’s so much fun! It was formed by a volcanic crater, so the water is naturally really warm and super clear. There are numerous pontoons around to jump in from and swim between. It is a pretty cool, unique location surrounded by the Atherton Table rainforest.
TOP TIP: Look out for tree kangaroos.
MASSIVE shout out to Holly for this epic blog! We love hearing from our RatPackers all about their adventures, got a story for us or an epic travel recommendation in aussie or NZ? Shoot us a message, we’d love to feature ya…. firstname.lastname@example.org.
All text and photo credit to Holly Harris AKA off the beaten path east coast legend