Five Travel Sights That Ignited Curiosity and Wonder
As we prepare to set off (again) for 2020, we started reflecting on the most fascinating, funny, fiendish and slightly curious sights we saw in each of the five states through which we journeyed last year.
Here's our fave five man-made sights.
Hilton Hotel Middleton – Don’t expect to find five-star service, king-size beds or spa treatments at this “establishment”, but the outlook is breath-taking for its vastness and sparseness. The Hilton Hotel is a free-camp with “no aircon, no TV, no pool, no charge”. In fact, it has absolutely no facilities or amenities, but is directly opposite the pub in Middleton, a slightly ramshackle place built in the days when the Cobb and Co coach rumbled through here. Today Middleton has a population of two – a wonderfully welcoming couple in their seventies who have lived a life worthy of a folktale. This Hilton Hotel is on the road less travelled between Winton and Boulia, in far outback Queensland.
Utes in a Park – These 20 utes have been transformed into unique masterpieces, many resting at ridiculous angles and adorned in whimsical themes, thanks to world-class Australian artists. Collectively they form one the most unusual art parks in the nation, so it’s no surprise that it is the major attraction in Condoblin, on the Lachlan River in western NSW. The collection used to be called “Utes in the Paddock” and was viewed roadside at a farmer’s field until valiant visitors with vans became vexatious. (That’s all the Vs for now.) Safety first, so now the utes have been moved to a more tourism-friendly setting.
The Wombat Hole – This pitted, parched and poo-ridden golf hole frequented by southern hairy-nose wombats is located at Nundroo. In fact, apart from a roadhouse, it’s pretty much the only thing located at Nundroo, a mere 1,014 kilometres west of Adelaide on the eastern end of the Nullarbor. The Wombat Hole is part of the Nullarbor Links, an 18-hole, 16-town, par-72 course that boasts it is the world’s longest golf course. While the notion of taking on an epic 1,365-kilometre-long challenge will no doubt make you feel like a sports champion, be aware that the reality is a little less glamorous – you may need to dodge shrubs, trees, inquisitive marsupials and snakes to reach each green.
Lake Tyrrell – What was once a dying, ghost-like town in Victoria’s vast unpopulated Mallee has become the poster child for Australian tourism thanks to a quirk of nature. Each winter water bubbles to the surface of a salt-lake near the town of Sea Lake, forming a glassy surface and creating amazing reflections. Such natural symmetry has drawn tourists from far and wide. The best times to photo the lake are dawn and dusk. Brrrr…. The lake is not what makes this place curious, but the flocks of Chinese tourists were certainly not what we had expected.
Tin Horse Highway – Stop galloping along and pull back on the reigns to explore this wondrous community-created collection of 70+ metal horses spread along a rural backroad. While it's often hilarious, what these tin equines have achieved for the WA southern wheatbelt town of Kulin is no laughing matter. Kick-started 25 years ago to promote the Kulin Bush Races, it showcases the iconic humour that typifies Australia's Golden Outback.