It has featured in dozens of tourism marketing campaigns, but you can’t go there: Heart Reef in the Whitsundays.
There’s off the beaten track, and there’s so far off the beaten track that you can’t even get there.
While Australia is a wonderful country for finding your own piece of heaven, there are some places that even the hardiest adventurer just isn’t going to be able to get to. Whether off limits for wildlife protection, military manoeuvres or sheer inaccessibility, we’ve picked out 10 parts of Oz you’re just not going to get to – as well as 10 much more agreeable alternatives.
Pine Gap. While it’s hardly a top secret base, there’s a remarkable reticence to state exactly what goes on at the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility.
South Coast, Point Nepean National Park. Point Nepean ? the tip of the Mornington Peninsula that hugs the eastern side of Port Philip Bay ? hasn’t always been a national park. Visitors are still restricted from entering large swathes of the area, and those parts tend to coincide with the parts that were used as a military firing range for many years.CREDIT:KEN IRWIN
Accessible alternative: The communication with satellites is considerably less cloak and dagger at the NASA-funded Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. The visitor centre goes into Australia’s role in space exploration, and the field of giant radio telescopes outside make for impressive eye candy.
Effectively a big volcano in the middle of nowhere – it’s about 1000km north of Antarctica, and more than 4000km from both South Africa and the Australian mainland – Heard Island is an Australian external territory.
At 2750m, Mawson Peak is the highest Australian mountain – and it’s highly active. The most recent eruption was in April 2013.
If you really, really want to go there to see the penguins, glaciers, seabirds and lava flows, it’s a complex process. First, you need permission from the Australian Antarctic Division (www.antarctica.gov.au). Then you need to persuade the crew of a properly kitted-out expedition boat to sail for up to two weeks across some of the roughest seas on earth. Let’s just say it’s unlikely.