When it’s time for a holiday, where should you go – especially if you’re looking to be active in the great outdoors? These days, there are plenty of places online that’ll give you heaps of ideas for spectacular destinations and inspiring activities. One of the best is a handy little site called The Adventure Finder. It has a ton of great ideas for ‘holidays with a difference’. It’s perfect for planning overseas trips to exotic places like Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the Serengeti in Africa or the Inca Trail in Peru – but it also covers some of the most journey-worthy spots right here in Oz. Here are five of the best:

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Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory

Katherine George, NT

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Katherine Gorge is one of those special places that every Aussie should visit at least once in their lifetime. Located on the lands of the Jawoyn people, it’s called Nitmiluk Gorge these days. You can explore it on a boat cruise, on foot or from a kayak. You can even jump in a helicopter and get dropped off at one of the harder-to-reach gorges for a refreshing swim.

This gorge is actually a collection of 13 separate gorges and rapids winding for 12 kilometres through sheer sandstone cliffs more than 70 metres high. [i] The sheer scale of the place will blow you away and the wildlife is everywhere. Birdlife includes brolgas, red-tailed black cockatoos, red-winged parrots, ospreys, great bowerbirds and more. During the dry season, you’ll see plenty of harmless freshwater crocs sunning themselves on the banks, but during the wet when the water level is high, their bigger saltwater cousins can enter this part of the Katherine River. Any that make it up this far are relocated to lower parts of the river at the start of the dry season.

The visitor centre is 30 kilometres east of the town of Katherine. They’ll help you organise tours and bushwalks. The Jatbula Trail is one of the best hikes on the planet and the trip of a lifetime. It takes you from Nitmiluk Gorge to Edith Falls (Leliyn) and typically takes 5 days to complete, passing through spectacular escarpment country, shady monsoon forests and stunning river scenery and waterfalls. There are lots of places to see ancient Aboriginal rock art and stop for a cooling swim along the way.

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Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Bay of Fires, Tasmania

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Bright blue water, dazzling white sands and orange-coloured granite all combine to make the Bay of Fires one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the country. A four-day hike will take you from Binalong Bay in the south up to Eddystone Point in the north – without a manmade landmark in sight.

If a leisurely paddle in a kayak is more your speed, head up to Ansons Bay, where time seems to stand still. You can access the Bay of Fires via Binalong or St. Helens. If you’ve never visited this part of east Tassie, you’re in for a treat.

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Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

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Of all the different ways to experience this iconic natural wonder, spending a week or more on one of the coral islands (Green, Heron, Lady Elliot, etc.) is one of the most relaxing. It’ll give you plenty of opportunity to experience everything the reef has to offer: snorkelling, low-tide reef walks, SCUBA diving, glass-bottom boat tours, fishing trips and all the rest.

At low-key Lady Elliot Island, you stand a good chance of seeing manta rays – sometimes even from the window of the plane as you’re flying into the airstrip! Add dolphins, colourful reef fish, turtles and bright starfish into the mix and you’ll never be bored with the scenery.

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Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

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This is a must-do Aussie road trip stretching for 243 kilometres between Geelong and Warrnambool, taking in some of most attractive coastal scenery in the nation. You’ll find lots of pleasant places to stop along the way and take a break from the driving, including the Twelve Apostles, the amazing views from Cape Patton Lookout and the Grotto – a unique coastal rock formation that’s accessed by a walkway and features some gorgeous limestone rock pools.

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Gold Coast, Queensland

Gold Coast, Queensland

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The Gold Coast is the sort of place where you can fit several different kinds of holiday into the one trip. There are some brilliant beaches, great theme parks in the area, lots of rainforest activities to choose from in the hinterland and all kinds of outdoor fun to get up to, from parasailing and surfing lessons to zip-lining, mountain biking and sea kayaking.

Check out some 100% Aussie critters at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, stroll through the Gold Coast Botanical Gardens or pack a picnic lunch and head to Point Lookout for a day in the sun. Nobody has ever run out of things to do on the Gold Coast!

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