From gnome colonies to underground curiosities, many places of the weird and wonderful variety can be found in our very own backyard. Here are some of Caravanning Australia’s top Australian locations that break the mould.
William Ricketts Sanctuary
Mount Dandenong, Victoria
In the idyll of the Dandenong Ranges among its towering pines and lush ferns lies the William Ricketts Sanctuary.
Born in 1898, William Ricketts loved clay sculpting from a young age. In 1934, he started working on his clay figures that would soon span all of his property, a four-acre plot of land that he named ‘Potter’s Sanctuary’. In the 1960s, the Victorian Government bought the sanctuary, as well as some surrounding land, and turned it into a public park. He worked and lived there until his death in 1993.
The sanctuary houses more than 90 sculptures depicting a connection to the earth. Ricketts wanted to make the sanctuary a place for quiet reflection and rejuvenation. Wander through the sanctuary and admire its serene beauty at your leisure!
Wellington Mill, Western Australia
In mythology, gnomes are known as small bearded creatures that guard underground treasures. Nestled deep in the Ferguson Valley, curious visitors can find an army of them in Gnomesville.
This motley collection of gnomes initially began when the local government wanted to build a roundabout in Ferguson Valley. Despite resistance from the nearby residents, the roundabout was installed. Shortly after a gnome popped up, more and more were added – after a month, there ended up being around 20. Visitors and locals made their own pilgrimage to Gnomesville to drop off their own little figures.
Gnomesville is now a thriving town of gnomes – there are so many that they have begun to be grouped into neighbourhoods by colour or attitude. If you visit, make sure to BYOG (bring your own gnome!)
Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest & Dugout
Coober Pedy, South Australia
Located in completely subterranean town of opal mining fame Cooper Pedy, Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest & Dugout is a truly strange gem. This dugout is the former home of Captain Harry, a notorious crocodile hunter and rascal. Apart from his home, Captain Harry was also known for his womanising ways and wild claims that he was secretly a Latvian baron (a claim he fiercely championed until his death in 2006).
Luckily for us, his underground home is available to the public to see – a testament to his adventurous life. The walls of his home are covered with a sea of knick-knacks, graffiti and messages from visitors – including a bizarre bra shrine. It’s also been featured in movies such as Pitch Black and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. If you’re headed to Coober Pedy, make sure you check out this cavern of eccentricities!
Image courtesy of iStock: 820885786