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19 gorgeous small towns in Australia you need to visit

best small towns australia

When it comes to Australia, there are many famous places that spring to mind. We’ve all heard of the big ones: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and so on. But what about the places that aren’t on your radar – the charming villages, seaside ports and ‘hidden gems’ dotted all across the country? In such a diverse and broad landscape, it can be hard to narrow down a point on the map for a weekend getaway or short trip. That’s why we’ve rounded up 19 of the most gorgeous small towns in Australia, so you know where to check out on your great Aussie adventure this year.

1. Berry, New South Wales

This stylish village is a short drive from Sydney and offers country charm with a lavish food and wine scene. There are top restaurants like South on Albany and Silos, cosy local pubs like the Berry Hotel and artisanal stores where you can sample local produce. And who could forget the iconic Berry Donut Van, serving up warm cinnamon donuts for 55 years?

If you grow tired of indulging yourself on food and shopping at the local stores, you can take a stroll through the trails at the nearby Seven Mile Beach National Park or take a quick detour to the close town of Kiama, where the 20km coastal walk will keep you entertained.


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2. Leura, New South Wales

Sitting pretty in the Blue Mountains National Park, Leura is another town acclaimed for its tasty treats. Restaurants like Silk’s Brasserie and The Red Door Café are local favourites. But it’s not just the food drawing travellers to Leura.

The town is one of the most popular gateways into the many trails, lookouts and natural attractions of the Blue Mountains. The Leura Cascades Track and Prince Henry Cliff Walk are two lighter trails you can take from town, while keen hikers can find countless longer routes  to suit their style on the NSW National Parks site.

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3. Yamba, New South Wales

A coastal haven up north at the mouth of Clarence River, Yamba is a tranquil seaside town perfect for fishing, surfing and relaxing along the bay. Often compared to Byron Bay – before the crowds – Yamba combines chill ocean vibes with a vibrant village lifestyle, complete with cute brunch spots like Drift and Irons & Craig, an iconic local spot called the Pacific Hotel and weekly farmers and produce markets.


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4. Mudgee, New South Wales

Beautiful heritage buildings, fine dining and world-famous wineries are just some of the enticing elements that make up this must-see town. Some of the best wineries to check out in Mudgee include Lowe, First Ridge and Burnbrae.

Not to mention, Mudgee backs on to stunning scenery of the Avisford Nature Reserve, and sits a couple of hours drive from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park.

5. Coober Pedy, South Australia

Simultaneously labelled the world’s ‘coolest’ and ‘strangest’ town by global travel publications, Coober Pedy is an outback mining town set partially underground, due to the warm weather. Check out the sun-baked landscape of Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, visit the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum and step back in time at the Old Timers Mine in this unique place.


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6. Hahndorf, South Australia

Feel like setting foot in a fairytale? Take a short drive outside of Adelaide to Hahndorf, the charming village with German heritage. It’s got the South Australian foodie culture we know and love, along with cool, local retail stores to scope out. Artisanal cheese, honey and chocolate shops adorn the tree-lined main street of the town. Plus, there’s a gin distillery, several cellar doors and a craft brewery. It’s a foodie’s paradise!


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7. Robe, South Australia

Robe is a beach town along the Limestone Coast in South Australia. With spectacular ocean views and seaside walks, it’s a sweet escape from city life in Adelaide or Melbourne. When in Robe, a visit to the local Robe Ice Cream Shop is a must, along with a stop in the Robe Town Brewery.

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8. Margaret River, Western Australia

Known for stellar wine trails, beautiful beaches and walking tracks through peaceful nature, Margaret River is the perfect town for a relaxing weekend getaway. For a decadent long lunch, check out wineries and restaurants including Vasse Felix, Cullen Wines and Arimia.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more adventurous, take a walk along the Cape to Cape Track – a lengthy 123 kilometre track with coastal views.

9. Yallingup, Western Australia

Not far from the town of Margaret River, Yallingup is a smaller oasis flanked by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and world-famous beaches including Yallingup, Smiths and Injidup. Once you’ve taken on the waves, you can tour the magical Ngilgi Cave or hike up to the Naturaliste Lighthouse.

10. Coles Bay, Tasmania

The gateway to the Freycinet National Park, the beach town of Coles Bay is famed for natural beauty and adventurous offerings. The most popular sight to see is, of course, Wineglass Bay. But don’t sleep on the other hot spots around this vibrant town! Walk the Freycinet Peninsula, visit the otherworldly Honeymoon Bay and take a sunset stroll up to the Cape Tourville Lighthouse.

11. Strahan, Tasmania

Another seaside town – hey, we’re in Australia? What else would you expect? – Strahan is known for its charming local village and rugged wilderness. You can take a cruise down the spectacular Gordon River or hike the Donaghys Hill or Nelson Falls trails in the nearby Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Or, closer to town, you can check out the People’s Park, rainforest trail to Hogarth Falls and the historic convict settlement on Sarah Island.


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12. Bright, Victoria

Near the Mount Buffalo National Park, Bright is the perfect spot for nature lovers seeking out a weekend getaway. Set off for early morning adventures like cycling in Mystic Mountain Bike Park, swimming in the Lady Bath Falls and Eurobin Falls, strolling along the Canyon Walk or hiking up the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. In the evenings, get your fix of local charm at the Bright Food Market, Bright Brewery or Alpine Cellars.


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13. Marysville, Victoria

Having once been at the heart of Victoria’s devastating bushfires in 2009, Marysville has since rebuilt the town and seen success with forest regeneration programs. Less than two hours from Melbourne, it’s the perfect retreat from the city for those looking to get back into the wilderness. Set against the backdrop of the Yarra Ranges, Marysville offers an escape to nature for visitors, with Steavenson Falls, Cathedral Ranges and Marysville Forest Trails among the top attractions.


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14. Lorne, Victoria

With golden beaches, lush greenery, crisp waterfalls and fine dining, it’s no wonder Lorne is one of the most popular towns along the Great Ocean Road. Hit up the waves at Bells Beach, walk through the ancient forests of Great Otway National Park, watch the sunset along Lorne Pier or check out exhibitions at QDOS Arts. For delicious food, you can’t go wrong with HAH Lornebeach, MoVida Lorne or the Great Ocean Road Bakery.

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15. Alice Springs, Northern Territory

One of the largest towns on this list, Alice Springs is a popular stop for travellers heading out to the Red Centre. Immerse yourself in culture and history at the Araluen Arts Centre, Albert Manatjira Gallery, Museum of Central Australia, Megafauna Central and the Women’s Museum of Australia. Take in the unique landscapes of the NT on the Larapinta Trail, Ormiston Pound Walk or take a dip in the Ormiston Gorge.

Alice Springs Northern Territory

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16. Katherine, Northern Territory

Katherine is another inviting town with BIG natural sights to see. Here, the outback meets the tropics with a diverse landscape including thermal pools, monsoon rainforest, waterfalls, rocky trails, caves and one seriously jaw-dropping gorge to cruise down.

best things to do in australia

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17. Jabiru, Northern Territory

The central township of the Kakadu National Park, Jabiru is a small base for thrill-seekers exploring the surrounding natural sights. The Bowali Track and Yilikadjarr Walk take you around the town, while day trips out of town will take you to the world-famous Kakadu sites including the Ubirr Lookout, Nourlangie Rock, Twin Falls, Yellow Water (Ngurrungurrudjba) and Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre.


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18. Magnetic Island, Queensland

One of the most popular northern towns, Magnetic Island has secluded beaches and tranquil nature trails – and not just the walking kind. You can follow the underwater Magnetic Island Snorkel Trail or dive to the shipwreck of SS Yongala for an ocean adventure. Or, take on one of the many island tracks like the Forts Walk, Hawkings Point Walk or West Point Walk.


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19. Port Douglas, Queensland

Keen to check out the rainforests of the Daintree National Park? To swim with colourful wildlife and see the coral of the Great Barrier Reef? To dive into the crystal clear waters of the Mossman Gorge? Base yourself in Port Douglas, the beautiful seaside town where the rainforest meets the reef. The local village itself is a must-see when you’re done exploring the great outdoors, with dining spots like Flames of the Forest, Nautilus, Hemingway’s Brewery and Court House Hotel among the best.

Keen to explore more of Australia this year? Check out all of our exciting new Aussie trips for locals, by locals on the Contiki website. If you’re based outside of Australia, these trips won’t show up for you just yet – but keep your eyes peeled for more domestic announcements in your region!

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