You’ve finally booked your dream vacation to Australia. Now it’s time to plan your itinerary, which is jam-packed with activities, day trips, and adventure. Between the surfing and bbq, you won’t want to miss exploring the small towns in Australia!
If rich history and unique experiences are your things, then keep reading for information on our top 10 choices of scenic small towns in Australia.
10 Small Towns in Australia to Add to Your Itinerary
It is safe to assume that Australia is not short of gorgeous cities to visit, from Perth with its white sand beaches to Sydney and its famous harbor. But for every big city on the map, a handful of charming small towns in Australia await exploring.
While Australia is famous for its vibrant cities and iconic landmarks, it is also home to numerous charming small towns offering a unique and authentic Australian experience. Suppose you’re seeking a change of pace and a chance to immerse yourself in the laid-back Aussie lifestyle.
In that case, these small towns in Australia offer a wonderful mix of natural sites, rich history, unique experiences, and just enough civilization to ensure you have a warm and comfortable bed to climb into each night. Ensure you acquire your nicotine prescriptions upon arrival if you bring your vape.
Exmouth, Western Australia
Take a two-hour flight north of Perth and visit Exmouth, where emus crossing the street is a common sight, and the desert meets the sea. It is the entry point to the Ningaloo Reef, a World Heritage Site, considered one of the best places in the world to swim alongside whale sharks from March to July.
Hike the glorious red gorges of the nearby Cape Range National Park, where you can book yourself into Sal Salis, a tented eco-camp with comfortable and inviting accommodation. Exmouth is a local and a visitor favorite among small coastal towns in Australia.
Port Douglas, Queensland
Port Douglas is another favorite among small coastal towns in Australia. If you are a fan of tropical weather, escape to this slice of paradise.
Home to many luxury holiday resorts, you can settle in to enjoy day trips to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. When you prefer to stay local, enjoy strolling between artisan and fresh produce stalls at the welcoming Sunday Market and indulge in the many delicious restaurants on offer.
Wurrumiyanga, Northern Territory
Wurrumiyanga is the largest community of the Tiwi Islands, 50 miles North of Darwin. Here you will find two of the most important art centers in the region – both showcasing the exciting and unique artistic traditions of the remote indigenous community that calls this area home.
The island can be reached via a day trip from Darwin with SeaLink NT. For lovers of Aussie Rules football, plan ahead to attend the Grand Final and Art Sale, where Tiwi Islanders come together to celebrate two of their biggest passions.
Situated in Victoria’s high country, a 3.5-hour drive northeast of Melbourne, you will come across the picturesque alpine town of Bright. It is the perfect destination for travelers who are after outdoor fun with a scenic backdrop and an absolute favorite among scenic small towns in Australia.
Between April and May, you can witness the Autumn Festival, where the trees lining the streets of Bright are transformed with fiery hues. In summer, you can take advantage of the excellent weather for hiking and biking, while winter boasts plenty of skiing opportunities at nearby resorts.
Additionally, you can explore the many cellar doors and farm fresh produce this region has on offer year-round.
History lovers will not be disappointed after visiting Stanley, the remote northwest region of Tasmania. This fishing village is one of the island’s earliest settlements, with a 19th-century streetscape, heritage cottages transformed into guesthouses, and a gourmet deli.
The town itself is nestled at the base of an impressive volcanic plug called The Nut. Hike this mountain, or take a cable car to the top to enjoy a panoramic view of the sprawling coastline. Stanley’s history and natural landscapes make this destination among the favorite small towns in Australia.
Margaret, Western Australia
Considered one of Australia’s most famous small towns for its wine regions, Margaret River produces over 25% of the country’s premium vinos. At the center of this region lies its quaint town, with a main shopping road lined with artisan boutiques, galleries, street art, and cafes.
The backstreets are lined with charming guesthouses, making it the perfect location to set up base while you explore the surrounding vineyards and nearby beaches.
Narooma, New South Wales
From breathtaking turquoise inlets and fresh local oysters to abundant wildlife and the Montague Island Nature Reserve, Narooma has plenty to offer those lucky enough to visit this famous coastal town.
While this small seaside town is laidback by nature, it is set to become one of the hottest vacation spots in NSW thanks to the leading Sydney hospitality group, Merivale, revamping two local institutions. As a result, Narooma is a bucket-list must-have.
Daylesford, located north of Melbourne, is an indulgent escape thanks to a soul-rejuvenating combination of gourmet eateries, day spas, and boutique guesthouses. Make the most of the healing properties found in the natural mineral springs by visiting Lake House, a spectacular hotel on the shores of Lake Daylesford which boasts a luxury spa and a two-hatted restaurant.
For wine lovers, there are several wineries to enjoy in the area. No matter what activity you choose in Daylesford, you quickly understand why it’s one of the top small towns in Australia.
Katherine, Northern Territory
The remote town of Katherine is where traditional lands belonging to the Jawoyn, Dagoman, and Wardaman Aboriginal people come together, providing a vital meeting place for millennia.
Although it is a three-hour drive south of Darwin, visitors can experience the wonders of the Nitmiluk National Park, filled with gorges carved from the dramatic red sandstone, featuring Aboriginal rock and art and enticing freshwater swimming holes.
As a favorite among small towns in Australia, Winton boasts a vibrant history. It is the birthplace of Australia’s national airline, Qantas.
It is the home of ‘ Waltzing Matilda,’ a folksong that has become an unofficial national anthem for sporting events nationwide.
This unique town has recently made a name for itself thanks to dinosaurs. It contains the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils, with the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum at the heart of its attractions.
Furthermore, travel just one hour away to visit the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument, which inspired the stampede scene in Jurassic Park.
In closing, exploring the small towns in Australia offers a delightful addition to your itinerary, allowing you to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history, unique experiences, and laid-back lifestyle. From the stunning coastal beauty of Exmouth and Port Douglas to the artistic traditions of Wurrumiyanga and the charming alpine town of Bright, each small town offers its own distinct allure.
In Western Australia, don’t miss the chance to swim alongside whale sharks in Exmouth or indulge in Margaret River’s renowned wine regions. Venture to Tasmania’s Stanley for a taste of history and panoramic views, and discover the rejuvenating retreat of Daylesford in Victoria.
The Northern Territory beckons with the meeting place of Aboriginal cultures in Katherine and the wonders of Nitmiluk National Park. Meanwhile, Queensland’s Narooma offers breathtaking natural beauty and the cultural significance of Winton, the birthplace of Qantas and a haven for dinosaur enthusiasts.
These small towns provide a refreshing escape from the bustling cities and showcase the diverse landscapes, local flavors, and warm hospitality that Australia is known for. So, as you plan your dream vacation, include these charming small towns in your itinerary and embrace the authentic essence of Australia’s hidden gems.