Learn more about Australia's regional cities, which are rich in natural beauty and gateways to many of Australia's can't-miss experiences.
Visit Cairns, at the gateway to two World Heritage sites: the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. Further south is the grand sugar city of Bundaberg, where you can snorkel the southern end of the Great Barrier reef and watch turtles nest and hatch on Mon Repos beach. Discover the exuberant Gold Coast, which has white beaches and World Heritage rainforests, as well as restaurants, theme parks and shopping strips.
In Alice Springs immerse yourself in Aboriginal art. Take a trek through the West MacDonnell Ranges and day trip to Uluru in Australia's Red Centre. Ride a camel along beautiful Cable Beach in Broome, the remote pearling port in the north-west corner of the Kimberley. On the southern coast of Western Australia is Albany, you can fish and dive, hike through national parks and spot whales off this majestically rugged coastline.
Slow down and savour the good life in Orange, which sits at the foot of an extinct volcano, four hour's drive west of Sydney. Visit the cool-climate wineries and acclaimed restaurants. Sample the region's delectable food and wine at the Orange F.O.O.D Week in April or later in the year at the Orange Winefest in October. Wander through the Orange Botanical Gardens, walk the City Heritage Trail or enjoy the view over the city from Mt Canobolas, an ancient volcanic peak. Just beyond Orange lies one of Australia's first gold-mines, the limestone caves of Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve and charming historic villages.
Discover the Red Centre from Alice Springs, a hub for Aboriginal art, pioneer history and quirky outback events like the Henley-on-Todd Regatta. See Uluru-Kata Tjuta on a camel or Harley Davidson or with a gourmet dune top dinner. Explore Kings Canyon, West MacDonnell Ranges, Simpson Desert and Devils Marbles on journeys like the Red Centre Way, Larapinta Trail and Explorers Highway.
Bundaberg's Natural Attractions
A rare colony of nesting turtles is just one of the captivating natural attractions near Bundaberg, a four hour drive north of Brisbane. This historic sugar cane city is also the southernmost gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, fringed by coral cays as well as 140km of pristine white beaches. Go diving and snorkelling on Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliot Islands and swim and fish from coastal national parks. Bundaberg also offers lots more traditional city drawcards, including museums, heritage buildings and lush botanic gardens.
Leap from Cairns into the World Heritage wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Relax in the resorts of Port Douglas and Mission Beach or on Lizard Island. Take the old railway to Kuranda, or follow the Great Tropical Drive to white water rivers and the Atherton Tablelands. Head north to Cape Tribulation or take the Savannah Way for an outback journey.
Fast-track fun on the Gold Coast, where the high-rises are built around superb surf beaches like Surfers Paradise. Dive into lively nightlife, international theme parks and designer boutiques, see the coast from a Spitfire plane and cheer on competitors in the Coollangatta Ocean Swim. Experience the opulent Palazzo Versace or head to the hinterland for rainforest walks and spa retreats.
Launceston, Devonport and Burnie
The compact, picturesque Tasmanian cities of Launceston, Devonport and Burnie have lots to delight travellers. Discover restaurants, galleries, parklands and historic streetscapes, meet the friendly locals and explore the surrounding attractions. In Tasmania's north lies Launceston, home to a thriving cultural scene and the wilderness of Cataract Gorge. Along the island's rugged north-west coast you can explore the pretty port of Devonport and the lively seaside city of Burnie.
Explore goldrush history, culture and colonial architecture in Victoria's former boom town. The gold might have gone but the good times are still rolling in the elegant, historic regional centre of Bendigo. Its grand, opulent buildings, Chinese heritage and living museums are a visible legacy of the 1850s and 60s gold rush that transformed the region.
Ride a camel along Cable Beach, shop for pearls in Chinatown, see dinosaur footprints and birdwatch in Roebuck Bay, and catch the ‘moon staircase' illusion. Drive the Gibb River Road to Kununurra, stay at El Questro and visit the Bungle Bungle Range in Pernululu National Park.
Townsville is the largest city in North Queensland and is yet another gateway to the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. With more than 320 days of sunshine each year; World Heritage listed national parks; and historic gold rush towns, the Townsville region is home to some spectacular natural landscapes and attractions.
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