Visit the quirky gems of the Land Down Under
A motorhome road trip offers you the freedom to travel and explore in the way that tickles your fancy. If you’re the type of person who has tastes outside the norm, that means you can eschew the typical tourist attractions and go where your heart leads you - even if your heart leads you straight to a giant statue of a crocodile with boxing gloves on, in a town called Humpty Doo.
Here we have listed the most oddball destinations you can get to in your Australia campervan rental, so you know your options. These are, of course, just a few of the extraordinary places you could go and things you could see, which range from spooky to outright silly.
Wycliffe Well, NT
Image: Frans-Banja Mulder, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
If you like a bit of intrigue of the otherworldly variety, plan a trip to Wycliffe Well in the remote desert reaches of the Northern Territory. There’s not a lot of civilisation there, but there are apparently a lot of UFO sightings. In fact, it’s the UFO capital of Australia, and locals say that if you stay a night and keep a close eye out, you might just spot something. You can also read all about the UFO heritage via clippings which decorate the town’s local eatery and be entertained or alarmed by the supernatural happenings in this tiny desert outpost.
Wycliffe Well is located along the iconic Stuart Highway and would fit well into our Red Centre Adventure itinerary. The Outback can be a weird place, and this town proves it.
Any journey that begins with a campervan rental from Brisbane is made better when you stop in at Nimbin, New South Wales’ ultimate hippie town. Some cheekily refer to it as “Naughty Nimbin.” Now, marijuana is illegal in Australia, including in Nimbin - but somehow the laws bend themselves here, and law enforcement largely turns a blind eye. We don’t recommend partaking, as it is against the law, but you can certainly enjoy the counter cultural vibe of Nimbin in other ways: with a stroll around to see the colourfully painted buildings, murals (often hemp-related), interesting stores and even more interesting locals.
Free spirits should certainly include Nimbin as part of their motorhome camping trip in Australia!
Humpty Doo, NT
Here’s the one I mentioned above - the oddly-named community called Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory, with an even odder giant mascot: a sizeable statue of a boxing crocodile. Apparently it was inspired by the “Boxing Kangaroo” logo used in the 1983 bid for the America’s Cup, a tidbit of information which definitely raises more questions than it answers.
Humpty Doo is now a commuter town for the city of Darwin. It is located on the road towards Kakadu, which is consistently rated as one of Australia’s top national parks.
If you like weird and wonderful housing, you should pick up a motorhome hire from Adelaide and head out to Coober Pedy. This outback outpost is known for its opal mining and also for the unique way in which people survive the harsh summer heat: living in caves or old mine shafts, underground.
You can visit and even stay in some of these underground homes, and gain an appreciation for the variation in ways people live - in this case, subterranean living is more practical than dungeon-like, and the cave homes are well-equipped for modern living. Just look out for abandoned mineshafts while you wander in Coober Pedy!
Gnomesville (Wellington Mill), WA
This community of gnomes is a fascinating place. A single gnome originally inhabited the roundabout that joins Wellington Mill Road and Ferguson Road, probably placed as a protest against the building of the roundabout, which was a contentious issue with some locals. That lonely gnome soon had friends come to keep him company, and now veritable gnome neighbourhoods are spreading out from the roundabout and into nearby parkland, each with its own characters and its own tableaus.
Gnomesville is undoubtedly quirky, but it’s also memorable - and interactive too, as you can bring a new resident with you when you visit. Pick up a motorhome rental from Perth, and you could be in Gnomesville in less than three hours. It would also make a great stop on our Adelaide to Perth itinerary.
Whether it’s one of the weird and wonderful destinations we’ve listed here or something else - like any of the country’s impressive collection of “Big Things” - adding in some whimsy to a road trip turns it from average into outstanding - and it also makes for some great photo ops! We highly recommend visiting some oddball destinations in your Australia campervan hire - just follow your nose and your interests.