Australia’s pristine beaches, rugged wilderness, and historic convict settlements are all worth exploring in these small cities. You can also find great restaurants and markets for shopping in these cities.
Bright, in Victoria’s High Country, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Visit in fall to witness the town’s mesmerizing autumn colors, or come during summer for skiing and hiking.
The historic town of Melrose is home to the ruins of an abbey from the 14th-16th centuries. Visitors can also visit Harmony Garden, a walled garden with colorful flower beds and wide lawns that surround a Georgian mansion. Traquair House, a 12th century stately home, is another popular attraction in the region.
Those interested in sports can visit the famous Melrose Rugby Sevens held in spring. The town is also home to a number of annual events, such as the Borders Book Festival and the Eildon Two Hills Race.
The gateway to Australia’s outback, Tennant Creek is a great place to fossick for gold or take an adventure drive on the fully sealed Explorer’s Way (previously Barkly Highway). Explore the ruins of the Overland Telegraph Station and take the self-guided tour. Or get outdoors in Iytwelepenty / Davenport Ranges National Park, which you can easily access by four-wheel drive vehicle.
In the surrounding ‘Barkly Region’, discover sprawling cattle stations and old stock routes, and stay at attractive wayside inns. Hear the Warumungu legend of the spiky-tailed goanna at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre, considered one of the best of its kind in the NT.
The popular beaches and cities of Australia are great, but the country is also home to some small towns that deserve a closer look. Bright, for example, is a small city in Australia that has some unique things to see and do.
Visit in Autumn to see the town ablaze with fiery hues, or come in summer for hiking and mountain biking. Alternatively, you can stay in winter to enjoy skiing at Mount Hotham Alpine Resort.
Then there are the markets, which attract locals and visitors alike thanks to their internationally-popular festivals and thriving modern art scene. Plus, the Ovens River is a great spot for littlies to swim and play.
A magnet for barefoot backpackers and off-the-grid hippies, Byron Bay has shifted with the times, but it still attracts a cult following thanks to its incredible surf breaks and tranquil yoga retreats. The town, or “Murbah” as locals call it, is also a hub of post-colonial gentility with an increasingly impressive arts scene.
Follow the music, with buskers holding impromptu concerts on Jonson Street corners and a rotation of top local and international bands at The Northern Hotel. The town is also a prime whale-watching spot between May and November.
Known for being the town of Banjo Patterson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Winton is home to the Waltzing Matilda Centre, which is the first museum in the world dedicated to a song. It’s also where you can discover the Australian Dinosaur Trail (at Hughenden, Richmond and Lark Quarry).
In addition to exploring the vast mitchell grass plains of the Matilda Country region, you can take a day trip to visit Boulder opal fields in Opalton and explore 93 million year old dinosaur fossils at Lark Quarry. Or, you can immerse yourself in local heritage at the Qantilda Museum and the historic Royal Theatre.
Other highlights include the Combo Waterhole, which inspired ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s famous song and the North Gregory Hotel where it was first performed on April 6th, 1895.
The port-side town of Strahan sits on Macquarie Harbour and the edge of a UNESCO World Heritage Wilderness. Its rich history includes years of huon pine harvesting and convict labor on Sarah Island, but it’s the West Coast spirit that really stands out here.
Strahan is a gateway to the Franklin-Gordon Wild River National Park and attracts visitors interested in nature. Most people book a Gordon River cruise or the West Coast Wilderness train but there are plenty of other natural attractions to experience as well.
Walk around the sand dunes to Ocean Beach or head out on Hogarth Hills for platypus spotting.