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10 Most Beautiful Cities in Australia

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Sylvia Paige

Australia has a lot of wonders to discover for any willing traveler. It’s a giant island in the Pacific with unique wildlife and unbelievable coastal views. It’ll take months for you to tour the entire country so you may have to pick and choose. Best to make an itinerary and plan thoroughly because it’ll be worth it. Here are the 10 most beautiful cities you may want to squeeze into your itinerary. 

1. Bicheno, Tasmania

Bicheno, a beach town located on Tasmania’s East Coast, is one of Australia’s most serene and peaceful beachside destinations. Only around two and a half hours from Hobart, Bicheno’s location makes it ideal for visiting popular attractions like The Wine Route and Wineglass Bay. For those seeking a coastal vacation location with pristine waters and white sandy beaches, Bicheno offers everything you could hope to experience. Spend your day strolling along the miles of soft sand beaches admiring the crystal clear teal waters and swimming among the tropical fish. For the adventure seeker, join a penguin tour where you can get up close and personal with the tuxedo-wearing natives (the tour is ethically run, so no penguins are harmed.) Outdoor lovers will enjoy visiting the Freycinet National Park, which is home to incredible craggy peaks jutting out of the turquoise waters. Visitors to the park enjoy hiking, snorkeling, and watching for wildlife such as the elusive Tasmanian Devil!

2. Darwin, Northern Territory

Darwin, a stopover city for many travelers, may seem like an unusual addition to the list, but it belongs for many reasons. There is something for everyone in Darwin, making it an excellent destination for any trip. This stunning seaside city is perfect for foodies who love to experience unique local fares. The Mindil Beach Sunset Market, which is open Sundays from 4 pm to 9 pm, is a must-see destination. Scattered along the sandy shore are dozens of market stalls and food trucks, preparing delicious casual food made even better by the beautiful surroundings. In fact, Darwin is famous for its international cuisine that encompasses everything from vegan delicacies to fish pulled out of the ocean only feet away. While you’re eating, you can enjoy street performers and hunt for locally made crafts. Darwin’s Waterfront Precinct is perfect for water sport enthusiasts who can enjoy swimming without worrying about crocodiles. So, instead of driving straight through, take a few days to experience everything Darwin has to offer. 

3. Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Kangaroo Island is the third-largest in Australia and a bucket-list destination for many. Only accessible by ferry or plane, Kangaroo Island isn’t your typical tropical paradise. At 4416 square kilometers, the island has the distinction of experiencing all four seasons, making it an excellent destination year-round. It is home to abundant wildlife, which visitors can view on their own or through a guided tour. Kangaroo Island received its name from the unique kangaroo species that call it home; however, they aren’t the only animals residing there. Sea lions, koalas, dolphins, and many bird species live on the island in abundance. Kangaroo Island also offers incredible hiking with breathtaking views of its lush landscape and serene beaches and gives you the opportunity to meet and talk with locals who are incredibly passionate about their beautiful island.

4. Gippsland, Victoria

Gippsland is a large area that has many of the most unique and exciting attractions that many think of when they picture Australia. There are mountains, rivers, beaches, and expansive wildlife to discover, making it one of the most diverse ecological destinations to visit. You can explore Phillip Island, where Fairy Penguins roam free, travel to 90 Mile Beach in Lakes Entrance, or observe Koalas in their natural habitat on Raymond Island. There are also restaurants with delicious local delicacies, fresh produce, wine, and craft beer, so you never have to worry about eating well while in Gippsland. Here is our Victoria itinerary if you’d like to start planning your journey. 

5. Broome, Western Australia

Broome is one of the best-hidden gem cities in Western Australia, offering colorful sunsets and beautiful beaches. Starting as a pearl farming hub, it has become a multicultural town, with residents worldwide calling the area home. Visitors can hop on the back of a camel for an unforgettable beach ride or view the dinosaur tracks at Gantheaume Point, visible at low tide. WWII flying shipwrecks are observable during low tide, making Broome an excellent destination for history buffs. Visiting between March and October allows you to see the “Staircase to the Moon,” a natural phenomenon where the moonlight hits Roebuck Bay’s exposed mudflats and creates an illusion of a staircase rising to meet the moon.

6. North Stradbroke Island, Queensland

North Stradbroke Island, located off the coast of Brisbane, is the world’s second-largest sand island and home to truly spectacular scenery. The golden sand beaches make their way into the blue-turquoise waters, creating the ideal place to relax and soak up the sun. While sunbathing, it’s not uncommon to witness Humpback whales breaching the water, making their way along the coastline. The wildlife doesn’t end there; dolphins and tropical fish adorn the shallow waters, while kangaroos and seven species of turtles call the lush island landscape home.

7. Shark Bay, Western Australia

Shark Bay is the adventurer’s dream, with miles of beaches and Parkland to explore. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991, Shark Bay is known for its nature-focused recreational activities. Visitors can kayak with dolphins along the coast or swim in crystal clear waters. Shell beach offers some of the best shell collecting opportunities, and the wide varieties of wildlife in Little Lagoon are just waiting to be discovered. While at Shark Bay, make sure to visit Francois Peron National Park, where the unique red sand beaches stretch for miles. You’ll also want to plan a visit to Hamelin Bay, one of only two places in the world where you can see Stromatolites or living fossils.

8. Yamba, New South Wales

Yamba is a seaside town that offers the same incredible beach views as popular destinations like Bondi beach, without the large crowds. Surfing enthusiasts know the area for the unmatched waves in the Angourie National Surfing Reserve, which is known for some of the right-hand point breaks in the entire country. Yamba doesn’t have substantial luxury resorts; instead, it provides visitors with a small-town feel, thanks to its inns and B&Bs. While visiting the city, activities like boating, hiking, and fishing are popular. Watching the spectacular sunsets along the sandy beach is another favorite evening activity. 

9. Cairns, Queensland

Cairns is an exciting city to visit thanks to its wide range of activities and beautiful sights. You can take a short train ride to Kuranda, known locally as the “Village in the Rainforest,” where you can learn about the Aboriginal culture, interact with kangaroos and pandas, and take a cruise along the Barron River. Green Island offers access to the Great Barrier Reef, inhabited by thousands of species of marine animals, and the Green Island National Park, where indigenous fauna and flora bloom. For more rainforest adventures, Daintree National Park features expansive lush canopies and endangered wildlife like saltwater crocodiles and cassowaries. It was also the site where they filmed the movie “Avatar,” giving the area an extra level of excitement. Palm Cove is great for families since there are beaches that are perfect for fishing, sunbathing, swimming, and exploring. Use our Cairns itinerary to make sure you explore all the hidden gems.

10. Toowoomba, Queensland

Thanks to the many parks and gardens scattered throughout the area, Toowoomba is locally known as the “Garden City.” Since Toowoomba is one of Queensland’s largest cities, there are many activities to do and sights to see. Mountain biking and hiking are popular activities thanks to the sloping terrain and the vast amount of surrounding mountains and hills to explore. Head up to TableTop Mountain for stunning views, whose unique flat top is perfect for taking in the sights and capturing the colorful sunsets. Toowoomba has many historical buildings with fascinating architectural details for those who enjoy more city-centered sightseeing. The city is full of locally owned cafes and restaurants offering an authentic taste of the outback.

Be sure to do your homework as some of the more secluded (and thus more alluring) places may have outdated websites. It might be worth calling/emailing them if you are unsure or finding a local Facebook group to check things like ferry times. Or you can plan your trip with Passero and we will find tips from other travelers to make your planning that much easier.

Sylvia Paige

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