10 must-visit regional Australia museums

Museum sign in frame on wall next to wooden chair sitting on floorboards.

All signs point to an enthralling experience when visiting these museums. 

When on holidays in winter, you may find yourself hurrying indoors to escape the cold. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

Avoiding a showdown with Mother Nature can mean entering a realm you never knew existed; one that will have you completely captivated. It’s the world of museums.

Regional Australia has roughly 2000 museums, which are filled with inspiring, fascinating, and even quirky stories. We could make a case for all of them, but our compilation concentrates on those that capture our attention for their unique themes.

Whether dedicated to poetry, photography, brollies, or batsmen, prepare to unearth 10 must-visit regional Australia museums.

 

1.     The Big Camera, Meckering, WA

You can’t deny the developers of this photographic museum showed intense enthusiasm for their craft – the facade of this building is in the shape of a 35mm camera. Inside, discover an attraction that’s completely dedicated to the story of photography. Your kids might be left wide-eyed as they discover there was a world that existed before smartphones and Instagram.

2.     National Motor Museum, Birdwood, SA

A visit to the National Motor Museum extends beyond the opportunity to marvel at classic cars; it’s a snapshot of society through a rear-view mirror. Sure, there are loads of impressive vehicles to admire – and a wealth of motor-related objects to go with it. Yet only by delving into the stories behind the displays do you gain a true understanding of what the museum is all about. Birdwood is near Hahndorf Resort Tourist Park in the tranquil Adelaide Hills.

Museum display of old car and scooter on checked linoleum behind safety railing.

The National Motor Museum at Birdwood is full of suprises. 

Credit: National Motor Museum.

3.     Waltzing Matilda Museum, Winton, QLD

How much can be said about one song? Quite a lot, apparently. Paying tribute to the ‘Banjo’ Paterson classic, the museum thoroughly dissects Australia’s unofficial anthem. Those who can’t get enough of Waltzing Matilda can listen to a whopping 18 versions of the song! Also part of this complex is a local history museum and regional gallery. Take a look when touring the Outback QLD region.

4.     Old Umbrella Shop, Launceston, TAS

An apt choice for winter, the Old Umbrella Shop appears to be one of the quirkier additions to this list. However, the National Trust views this attraction with great significance, labelling it ‘one of the last surviving, largely intact early twentieth century shops in Tasmania’. Check out a marvellous assortment of umbrellas as well as other intriguing displays. This attraction makes a great stop when enjoying BIG4 accommodation in Launceston.

5.     Eden Killer Whale Museum, Eden, NSW

It’s alone worth a visit here for the fascinating yarn about ‘Tom the Killer Whale’. That aside, the Eden Killer Whale Museum is an eye opener with its comprehensive detail of historic whaling operations in the area. The perfect attraction for a rainy day, it’s easily explored when staying at Discovery Parks - Eden in Eden.

Whale skeleton on display with information signs around it.

Eden Killer Whale Museum is full of gripping yarns. 

Credit: Nick Rains/Destination NSW.

6.     Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka, Ballarat, VIC

Positioned on the site of the Eureka Stockade, the museum uses this dramatic and emotive event as the inspiration to detail its core theme: democracy. That topic can be explored extensively through displays that highlight the wonders of modern technology as well as those that are historical. Immerse yourself in stories from a wide scope of subjects and enjoy a thought-provoking experience. Take a look when staying at BIG4 accommodation in Ballarat.

7.     The International Cricket Hall of Fame, Bowral, NSW

Incorporating the Bradman Museum, this attraction is a must for cricket lovers and sports fans in general. While there’s a strong focus on the world’s greatest cricketer – Sir Donald Bradman – its comprehensive coverage of all things bat and ball is most impressive. Be enthralled by clever interactive displays, abundant memorabilia, and much more. Check it out along the Sydney Melbourne Heritage Drive.

Cricket bat in glass case in cricket museum next to painting of Donald Bradman in whites.

Be engrossed at Bowral's International Cricket Hall of Fame. 

Credit: Destination NSW.

8.     Pioneer Women's Hut, Tumbarumba, NSW

Small and unusual, yet significant – this museum is a true hidden gem. Found in the Snowy Mountains region, it concentrates on detailing the lives of everyday rural women. The theme may seem modest, but that’s much the point. Here is a museum with a human voice: relatable yet full of interest, especially with a whopping collection of items to trawl through.

9.     Surf World Museum, Torquay, VIC

As the home of world-famous Bells Beach, Torquay is a deserved host of the largest surfing museum on the planet. Explore all aspects of surfing: displays range from detailing the changing face of board design to the impact of the sport on popular culture. This attraction is also home to the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame. Have a peek when travelling along the Great Ocean Road.

Family leans over walkway barrier to look at surfboards stuck to wall at museum

Visiting Torquay's Surf World Museum is the ideal rainy day activity. 

Credit: Tourism Victoria.

10.  Federation Museum, Corowa, NSW

Enjoy a fascinating insight into Corowa’s link to the Federation movement at this underrated cultural attraction. The museum outlines the build up to this important Australian event through superb displays and fascinating memorabilia. Visit Corowa when staying in the nearby city of Wodonga.

And don't forget to check out...

The National Anzac Centre, Albany, WA

Opened in late 2014, this Albany attraction is fast becoming a must visit. The centre is dedicated entirely to honouring the Anzacs of World War I and retraces their heroic, gripping, and emotional stories through a series of interactive displays, artifacts, images, and more. As part of this, it cleverly reconstructs many Anzacs’ journeys in a way that allows visitors to experience a greater personal attachment to the events of World War I.  

 

With so many regional museums scattered throughout Australia, we couldn’t fit them all on the list. Let us know your favourite regional museum and why in the comments section below.

Isn’t it time you uncovered a whole new world? Cultural adventures begin with BIG4.

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