For whatever reason, some Australian towns duck, dive, and avoid attention as if they were dodgeball champions.
We’ve decided to throw the limelight on half-a-dozen destinations that are thoroughly deserving of more footprints. From scenic seaside spots to charming regional centres, our super six are about to emerge from the shadows.
Where: 135km southwest of Townsville.
Nutshell: An inland town bursting with evidence of gold, grandness, and ghosts.
Why it warrants attention: Charters Towers was once QLD’s second-largest town following a gold-rush boom in the 1870s. And evidence of this exciting period is tangible in the form of opulent buildings that dominate the streetscape. Don’t miss the Stock Exchange Arcade and the World Theatre, among others.
There is plenty more opportunity to continue the trip down the golden-brick road. The Miner’s Cottage is lined with relics and allows visitors to pan for the shiny stuff, or visit the Venus Gold Battery for a history lesson with a difference. Then up the thrill factor by joining a spine-tingling evening ghost tour.
For something different…Pack the camera and venture to Towers Hill Lookout. Sure, there’s even more gold history to soak up here via informative storyboards, but it plays second fiddle to panoramic views, wildlife-spotting ops (early morning is peak time), and the various World War II bunkers you can uncover.
Book now: BIG4 Aussie Outback Oasis Holiday Park.
Where: 140km northeast of Adelaide.
Nutshell: A once-bustling Murray River township with a peaceful ambience.
Why it warrants attention: It’s no secret that holidaying along the Murray River is rewarding but Blanchetown somehow misses much of the conversation. That only serves to increase the appeal of this delightful township.
When relaxing breaks are on the cards, Blanchetown delivers an unbeatable hand. It’s quiet and idyllic yet enjoys a slice of riverside turf that’s inviting as any. And ample opportunity still exists for those who wish to indulge in water leisure, minus heaving crowds.
Away from water, historical buildings are dotted around town with heritage maps available. You can even soak up the past and quench your thirst in unison with a visit to the Blanchetown Hotel, the oldest pub in the Riverland region.
For something different…Follow a walking trail in nearby Brookfield Conservation Park for the chance to spot southern hairy-nosed wombats and other wildlife.
Book now: BIG4 Blanchetown Riverside Holiday Park.
Where: 115km northeast of Melbourne.
Nutshell: A quiet township surrounded by incredibly gorgeous natural scenery.
Why it warrants attention: Think Taggerty, think the ideal setting for a classic country Australia break. This spot is situated in the idyllic Cathedral Valley and within easy reach of the trout-filled Acheron River.
However, it’s the view of the nearby Cathedral Range that’s the biggest head-turner. The extensive range is the highlight within the state park of the same name and consists of imposing peaks that offer breathtaking vistas from summit vantage points. The park affords walking tracks for most levels, as well as rock climbing for the more adventurous.
Better yet, Taggerty is a superb base for wider nature experiences. From here, explore Lake Eildon with ease, or stop by Steavenson Falls just out of Marysville.
Where: 420km north of Melbourne.
Nutshell: Oft-regarded as a stopover town yet in reality it’s a historical treasure chest.
Why it warrants attention: Striking old buildings provide immediate appeal – take a self-guided heritage walk – but the interest extends far beyond the façades.
Punching above its weight, Hay hoards a whopping five museums covering varying and enthralling subjects. Shear Outback: the Australian Shearers Hall of Fame is arguably top pick. Allow plenty of time to retrace the nation’s shearing and pastoral industries in fascinating detail, including witnessing live shearing demonstrations.
Focusing on local history, Hay Gaol Museum reveals more enchanting stories than your average library, and Dunera Museum at Hay Railway Station retraces the area’s provocative past when POW camps featured during World War II.
And if you’re looking to burn energy, take advantage of the free bike hire from the Hay Outback Info Centre to tackle the Bidgee Riverside and Cultural Trail.
For something different…Witness spectacular sunsets and sunrises, with ample opportunity for photographers to frame stunning silhouettes. There’s even a dedicated sunset viewing area 15km north of Hay. Or head to Sandy Point recreation area for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Book now: BIG4 Hay Plains Holiday Park.
Where: 20km west of Devonport or 300km northwest of Hobart.
Nutshell: Vibrant seaside town with an enviable location.
Why it warrants attention: Ulverstone is within easy reach of myriad stunning natural attractions that ensures it demands an extended stay.
Positioned where the Leven River meets Bass Strait, Ulverstone has a cluster of brilliant beaches partnered with coastal paths that reveal a succession of sparkling views. It’s all backed by relaxing river cruises and ample fishing ops.
Then within easy driving distance are several intricate attractions. Heading the list are captivating Gunns Plains Cave, breathtaking Leven Canyon, and flowing Preston Falls.
Back in town, Ulverstone History Museum and various galleries suit a rainy or cold day, and a rich restaurant and café culture sprinkles more appeal over this charming location. Really, what’s not to love about Ulverstone?
Where: 890km north of Perth or 360km south of Exmouth.
Nutshell: A coastal town regarded as the fruit bowl of WA.
Why it warrants attention: Carnarvon enjoys pleasant year-round weather that makes it an alluring place for exploring, backed by a feast of tasty and fresh local produce.
Start at the Fascine, a pretty bay lined with coconut and cotton palms and with a boardwalk that suits scenic strolls. It’s ideal for a picnic and is a prime location to admire a famous WA sunset.
Carnarvon Heritage Precinct includes the chance to wander through the Lighthouse Keepers Cottage, which holds plenty of interest.
About 50km north of town is Carnarvon Blowholes, a popular phenomenon that will delight nature lovers and photographers alike. Or head a similar distance east to Rocky Pool for a refreshing dip among a magnificent setting.