Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Hot Air Ballooning at Nerang

Nerang

Queensland

Many travellers use the entry to Nerang as the benchmark that they have arrived at the Gold Coast. Indeed, it's like a golden gateway with the beaches to the east and the hinterland to the west. Punctuated by the beautiful Nerang River, this suburb has come a long way since its waterway was named "little" by its original Indigenous inhabitants. The river itself is a popular place for picnics, boating and fishing with a platform at Arthur Earle Park allowing easy access to catch the bream, flathead, whiting and trevally which inhabit these waters. Despite being inland, water seems to be the theme of Nerang, which is also home to Hinze Dam and its recreational facilities with state-of-the-art interpretative centre; lakeside parks; walking, bike and horse trails; and barbecue areas. A historic river mill built in 1910, with a café along the banks of the river, is also a highlight of a visit here. The river may be little, but Nerang's heart is big.

Darwin Area - Northern Territory

Darwin Area

Northern Territory

Darwin, the Northern Territory’s vibrant capital, is a city with influences that are as much Asian as they are western. A city with dozens of nationalities sharing an easy-going lifestyle, Darwin is located on a peninsular with the sea on three sides. It is a place unvisited by winter where the weather can usually be described as either balmy or sultry. Darwin is well appointed, possessing most of the amenities expected of a much larger city. Watching sunsets and storms are something of a local pastime, and after a cleansing rain shower you can almost hear things growing. An hour south of Darwin is Berry Springs Nature Park, a swimming and recreational area and the popular Territory Wildlife Park is just next door. Operating on the nearby Adelaide River, regular jumping crocodile cruises provide the chance to see saltwater crocodiles propel themselves from the water. Further south along the Stuart Highway is Litchfield National Park, a great place to cool off beneath cascading waterfalls and view attractions such as unique magnetic termite mounds, monsoonal rainforests and tumbling rocky waterholes. To the north of Darwin are the Tiwi Islands where visitors can share in the culture of the Tiwi people. Take an organised tour and purchase some local art and crafts, chat with some of the local Tiwi ladies over a pot of billy tea, or fish the clear waters surrounding the islands.

Perseverence

Perseverence

Queensland

Perseverence is an area east of Crows Nest and Pechey, where you can enjoy a barbecue picnic by Perseverence Dam and groups find excellent camp and conference facilities at Perseverence Lodge. Opposite Perseverence Lodge is a public park with barbecue facilities and playground equipment. At the Dam itself the picnic grounds is a lovely spot to stop to admire the tranquil waters and the dramatic drop from the roadway across the dam wall. Guests of Perseverence Lodge can also enjoy a huge range of activities, including canoeing, kayaking, orienteering and tennis.

Tarraleah, Highland Cattle

Tarraleah

Tasmania

Tarraleah was once home to hundreds of hydro electric workers building one of Australia’s first hydro-electric schemes in Tasmania’s central highlands. Today, the whole town of 1920s and 1930s wooden homes has been restored as an elegant wilderness resort. Tarraleah means Forrester kangaroo in the language of the local Aboriginal people, and the site is host to an enormous range of Tasmanian flora and fauna. It is quite possible to see platypus and quolls, wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devils and echidnas wandering around the town all on the same evening, and some say the Tasmanian tiger is also about. The town’s central Lodge, built in the 1930s for the Hydro engineers and company directors, has been restored to the elegance of its early days when money and craftsmanship were no object. The Art Deco building now houses a contemporary and luxuriously comfortable nine bedroom small luxury hotel – a showcase of Tasmanian art and craft. The town’s cottage, hand built by Tasmanian craftsmen in the 1930s, have also been restored as self-contained one to three bedroom holiday cottages. Tarraleah is 114 kilometres (70 miles), or two hours’ drive, northwest of Hobart on the A10 Highway between Hamilton and Lake St Clair. Geographically it is 20 kilometres from the physical centre of Tasmania, right on the edge of the World Heritage Area – Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Look out for the huge water pipes which “tumble” down the side of a valley near the chalet. The weather in the central highlands is often wild and woolly, and because of the slightly higher elevation it is cooler in the summer and winter. So remember to bring a warm jacket and wet weather gear.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach

New South Wales

Palm Beach, Sydney's northern-most stretch of sand, is a 50 minute drive from the centre of Sydney. Dramatic Barrenjoey Head is at the northern end of the beach. An easy 2.3 kilometre walk takes you to historic Barrenjoey Lighthouse and keepers' cottages at the top of Barrenjoey. You'll enjoy spectacular views over Broken Bay, Pittwater and Pacific Ocean. The southern end of the beach is more protected and good for swimming; a 35 metre ocean pool is an idyllic spot for lap swimming and for kids to paddle in. Other activities include fishing, golf, sailing or diving. Take the ferry from Palm Beach to pretty Ettalong or The Basin in Ku-ring- ai National Park.

Noonamah Northern Territory

Noonamah

Northern Territory

Noonamah is a small town just 46 kilometres from Darwin. Noonamah was first settled during World War II when the army set up a series of airstrips and depots in the area. Despite being bombed by the Japanese, the airstrips still remain to this day. Travellers can read about the significance of the airstrips at a memorial site located near Noonamah. The Noonamah Tourist Park and Tavern offers motel rooms, powered caravan sites and camping sites.

Spring Bluff

Spring Bluff

Queensland

Spring Bluff is a beautiful valley tucked in the ranges north of Toowoomba and best known for its picturesque Railway Station. Spring Bluff Railway Station is a favourite day trip for visitors and locals alike. Its gardens are magnificent during Spring and Summer and steam train rides are a feature of September during Toowoomba's Carnival of Flowers. The Railway Station features a coffee shop in the station master's cottage. It's worth visiting Spring Bluff just for the interesting drive down the range off the New England Highway through to Murphy's Creek. The road meanders through lush bushland, following the path of the creek.

Yuleba

Yuleba

Queensland

To look at it on a map, Yuleba looks like a little town on the Warrego Highway about mid-way between Roma and Miles. Sure, it is a well-equipped little town offering many services for travellers, but it's also a place with a rich and important history and more than a thing or two to entice you to stay awhile. Yuleba features in the story of the Cobb & Co era, as it was between Surat and Yuleba that Cobb & Co scheduled its very last horse-drawn coach mail run on 16 August 1924. You can retrace that last run and visit sites of local significance such as the Cobb & Co Mural, Aboriginal native wells (also a pleasant picnic spot) and Cobb & Co Corduroys - where cypress pines were laid to make roads passable in the horse-drawn era. Keen fossickers can hunt for opalised and petrified wood and agates at The Maryanne, and there's plenty of room for bush camping beside the dam. Yuleba's scenic Judd's Lagoon and Wetlands is abundant in flora and fauna, providing a tranquil natural backdrop for bush camping and the perfect spot to relax and connect with nature.

Seelands

Seelands

New South Wales

Seelands is a picturesque rural town popular with water-skiers and visitors looking for unspoilt river destinations. Visit the studio art gallery of the local artisan or take a local four-wheel drive safari tour of the unique countryside. Hire boats and canoes or enjoy fishing by the riverside. Stay at one of its holiday parks, riverside campgrounds or Bed and Breakfasts.

Dubbo Western Plains Zoo

Dubbo

Newell Highway , Dubbo, New South Wales, 2830

Dubbo is a natural tourist destination for all ages and is home to one of the world’s finest open range zoos. Long summers, fine food and wine, pristine parklands and a non-stop calendar of events and festivals make it a favourite place to visit. Set on the Macquarie River, in the heart of New South Wales, Dubbo has many reminders of our pioneering past and setting off on a heritage trail is the perfect way to reconnect with a bygone era. A tour of the fully restored Old Dubbo Gaol, with its murderous tales and hangman’s gallows, is a vivid glimpse into our colonial roots.

Information provided by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse