Last updated: December 20, 2013

Weather: Sydney 20°C - 35°C . Partly cloudy.


Did your family build this road?

Great North Road

HAVE you ever driven down an old country road only to wonder how it was built back in the day? Well on the Convict Trail north of Sydney, you can spend a whole day finding out, and the results are a little bit naughty.   

Clive's 'Palmersaurus' adventure land

Clive's 'Palmersauru...

SOME labelled his ambitious plan bizarre and tacky ... and they were right. Clive Palmer's very own Jurassic Park has opened... and it's as bad as we thought.

Australia's best places to get high

Australia's best places to ...

ALL across Australia people are getting up in the sky - in balloons, skydiving, jet planes and helicopters. Check out these awesome ways to get your head in the clouds.

How to survive a holiday with the in-laws

How to survive a holiday with the in-laws

CHRISTMAS is a time of goodwill towards all men. That includes your in-laws. Here is how to make sure you have a great time at the beach this summer regardless of the company.


Australia's biggest holes revealed ... just don't fall in

Are the Mystery Craters Australia's biggest mystery? Picture: Flickr Tru...

Are the Mystery Craters Australia's biggest mystery? Picture: Flickr Trucker Dan Source: NewsComAu

AUSTRALIANS have a strange obsession with big holes. Maybe it's just a male thing, but it seems to start with digging holes in the sandpit or at the beach, poking sticks down spiders' holes and then progressing to playing with giant dump trucks in big open cut mines as an adult. I decided to investigate this Australian obsession further, and present you with "Australia's Biggest Holes" (and we're not talking about Adelaide or Mackay).


Mystery Craters

If you happen to find yourself somewhere between Bundaberg and Gin Gin (itself a bit of a hole) in Queensland, you may be intrigued by the brown tourist road sign that says Mystery Craters 500m on Left. You may even be enticed by claims it's "Australia's most baffling phenomenon", and reports of "strange markings" on the inside of some of the craters.

The owners of this long-forgotten (or perhaps still waiting to be discovered) tourist attraction suggest that there are many theories for how the 35 giant holes came into being. Were they created by a meteorite impact? Giant dinosaur footprints? Aliens?

Apparently the boffins are baffled. Well, that's not entirely true. In 1979, a few years after the discovery of the craters, a geologist came to investigate the mystery. As it turns out, there is no mystery; the craters are really just sinkholes cause from tunnels eroding underneath (if you want to see real craters, Australia has plenty - try Shoemaker crater or Wolfe Creek crater for starters). Still, there's no point letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

Plus, if mystery craters aren't your thing you can always peruse their "collection of antique machinery" otherwise known as old lawnmowers. My theory is the place is owned by a failed advertising exec or copywriter. The real mystery to "Mystery Craters" is why people would pay $7.50 to see them.

Kalgoorlie Super Pit

At 3.8 kilometres long and 550 metres deep, it's no wonder that this man-made earth scar in Western Australia can be seen from space. The open-pit gold mine has become so big that it appears as though it's about to swallow the town. I'm sure people are probably wondering why their children and pets keep disappearing. The giant mine has 44 enormous trucks operating 24/7, so you'd imagine that they're pulling out quite a substantial amount of gold.

You may be surprised to learn that the entire mine only produces around four bars of gold per day. Still, it seems that's enough to keep the operation going until around 2021. Hopefully that's before it swallows the town. If you turn up on the third Sunday of the month, free tours are available from the Boulder Historical Society. On every other day of the month, tours are run through Kalgoorlie Tours & Charters from $45. Make sure you also check at the visitor centre to see when the daily blast is happening (quite a spectacle).

The massive Kalgoorie Super Pit. Picture: Flickr Eulinky

The massive Kalgoorie Super Pit. Picture: Flickr Eulinky Source: NewsComAu

Kiama Blowhole

On the New South Wales coast, just south of Wollongong lies the town of Kiama. The only thing that really puts Kiama on the map is the Kiama Blowhole. There are actually two blowholes in Kiama (creatively named the "big blowhole" and the "small blowhole") each within a few minutes drive of the other. Under the right conditions the big blowhole can reach heights of 25 metres, accompanied by a deafening roar and clothes-drenching spray. It's quite a spectacle, and doesn't smell as bad as Rotorua.

Prepared to get wet at the Kiama's

Prepared to get wet at the Kiama’s “big blowhole”. Picture: Flickr Kiamalibrary Source: NewsComAu

Coober Pedy

Not willing to settle for just digging a hole, the residents of Coober Pedy in South Australia have taken to living in them! Coober Pedy (an Aboriginal phrase meaning "white man's hole") started off, as many holes do, as a mining town. It lies smack-bang in the middle of opal country, and has been exporting them to the world since 1915. The real quirk to Coober Pedy is the living arrangements. Around half of its residents live underground in "dugouts", built to escape the scorching heat. Surface temperatures in the 40s are commonplace, but the temperature in the underground rooms remains much lower and more stable. Visitors to Coober Pedy can choose from a number of accommodation options, both above and below ground. There are also a number of mine tours, underground churches and opal shops to keep you occupied.

A quirky underground room in Coober Pedy. Picture: Flickr wbayercom

A quirky underground room in Coober Pedy. Picture: Flickr wbayercom Source: NewsComAu

Dismal Swamp

When a place has a name like "Dismal Swamp" it's just begging to be included on a list like this (though I'll leave out "Iron Knob" and "Bogey Hole" this time). You'll find Dismal Swamp in Tasmania's northwest. It's a giant 600-hectare sinkhole, and is the only one in the world where you'll find blackwood trees flourishing. But this is no ordinary forest ... it's an Adventure Forest! "What's an adventure forest?" I hear you ask. Well, there's a 110-metre slide that you can ride from the viewing platform at the top, all the way down to a maze of boardwalks through the forest at the bottom. It's one of four Adventure Forests in Tasmania, which include activities like high ropes, segway tours and ziplines. Entry to Tarkine Forest Adventures at Dismal Swamp is $20 and includes two rides on the slide.

A hole that double as an adventure forest? Picture: Flickr eliduke

A hole that double as an adventure forest? Picture: Flickr eliduke Source: NewsComAu

Luke Chapman is a travel writer and photographer, sharing his love of Australian travel at Top 100 Experiences.