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.
Start your outback adventure in Alice Springs, in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre. Sail over the spinifex plains in a hot air balloon or bike ride to Simpsons Gap. Join a safari of quad bikes across the desert or fly over the MacDonnell Ranges. Peer into the traditions of the Aboriginal Arrernte people who have lived here for 20,000 years and browse contemporary Aboriginal art along Todd Mall. Connect to stories of Afghan cameleers, flying doctors and plucky pioneers in the many heritage sites around the town. This rollicking, modern town is also a day trip from the iconic attractions of Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.
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.
From this stylish international city, the islands, rainforest and reef of tropical North Queensland are on your doorstep. Snorkel, dive or do a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef – a World Heritage-listed spectacular of coral islands and marine life. Enjoy the oceanfront energy of the Cairns Esplanade and trawl the restaurants, shops and bars. Go white water rafting in the nearby rivers and take the scenic railway to the tranquil, butterfly-fringed village of Kuranda. Don’t miss a day trip to the magical Daintree Rainforest, thought to be the planet’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest.
Tackle the huge waves off Broadbeach, snorkel through a shipwreck off Main Beach or walk golden sand fringed by high rises in Surfers Paradise. Get your thrills on virtual reality rides at Dreamworld, swim with dolphins at Sea World and watch movies being made at Warner Bros Movie World. Explore the waterfalls, rainforest, lookouts and scenic bushwalks of the lush Gold Coast hinterland. Shop til you drop in art and craft markets, huge airy malls and high-end boutiques. Then get into the Gold Cost’s glitz, glamour and fun at its bars, nightclubs and events.
Enjoy the big charm of Tasmania’s smaller cities – 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. In the 1880s Bendigo sat on the world’s richest goldfields, a wealth which funded many fine buildings, including Bendigo Town Hall, the newly restored Alexandra Fountain, the magnificent former post office, the art gallery and law courts.
Sitting on the rugged southern coast of Western Australia, four-and-a-half hour’s drive from Perth, Albany is a city where you can actually escape the rat race. It’s fringed by green seas, tall forests and national parks, and offers lots of natural adventures, from fishing and diving to walking and whale-watching. It’s also steeped in the fascinating stories of its Aboriginal owners and later convicts, sailors and whalers. Discover Albany at the southern end of the wildflower-carpeted Bibbulmun Track or get here on the South-West, Beaches and Goldfields Drive.
Meet camels and characters in Broome, an exotic pearling town that sits at the gateway to the Kimberley. Buy pearls and soak up the melting pot of nationalities in Chinatown, once the bustling hub of billiard saloons and opium dens. Ride a camel along the white sand of Cable Beach, the place to watch a blazing sun sink into the Indian Ocean. Check out dinosaur footprints preserved in rock and birdwatch from Roebuck Bay. Between March and October, you can catch the romantic magic of ‘Staircase to the Moon’, a silvery illusion created by the reflection of a rising moon.
Discover gold fields and ghost towns, history and high adventure in the heart of Western Australia's wild west. If you love old westerns, you’ll feel right in your element in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia's largest goldfields city. Its historic buildings and colourful pubs are the legacy of more than a hundred years of gold rush history.
Embrace adventure in a world of vast lakes, ancient ridges and ranges, rare pink diamonds and huge stations. There’s something about wild, remote Kununurra that fires the spirit of adventure in even the most timid of travelers. It could be the blue skies, scorching red soil and rugged bush scenery, or the fact it is the gateway to the East Kimberley and some of Western Australia’s remarkable natural attractions.