Australia’s favourite towns, as voted by The New Daily readers

Australians are very fond of a historic Victorian town.

Australians are very fond of a historic Victorian town. Photo: Instagram/@visitballarat/@meyoutravels

The New Daily readers have had their say on Australia’s top travel towns.

When Wotif crowned Victoria’s Bendigo as Australia’s 2024 Town of the Year, we asked our readers to vote for their favourite town.

Without further ado, here are Australia’s favourite towns – as voted by The New Daily’s readers.

Ballarat, Vic

Many readers agreed with Wotif that Bendigo stands out.

But an equal number showed love for its Victorian rival, Ballarat.

Ballarat was one of the central areas of Australia’s gold rush in the 1850s, and that history is a key part of its appeal.

Though steeped in history, Ballarat embraces modern artistic influences. Photo: Instagram/@visitballarat/@medadesignau

Visitors can step back in time at the town’s open-air museum, Sovereign Hill, by panning for gold or taking tours that provide a glimpse into life in the original settlement.

Modern-day Ballarat has plenty of attractions, thanks to celebrations of flowers, music, books and art held throughout the year – all complementing a vibrant local winery and food scene.

Orange, NSW

Hundreds of kilometres from Sydney, Orange is a gem of the Central Tablelands that occasionally gets a dusting of winter snow – a relative rarity in Australia.

The birthplace of Australian poets Banjo Paterson and Kenneth Slessor, the town was also the site of the first Australian Touring Car Championship in 1960, known today as the Repco Supercars Championship.

Orange is lucky enough to sometimes get snow in winter. Photo: Instagram/@visit_orange/@kurtdphoto

Surrounded by wineries, the town is popular with wine lovers (particularly shiraz and chardonnay).

Despite its name, Orange is not known for its oranges. Instead, the area is known for apples, pears and stone fruits like cherries, peaches and plums, and visitors can pick their own.

The Orange Farmers Market is held on the second Saturday of each month with fresh produce, baked goods, preserves, wines and smallgoods for sale.

Mount Gambier, SA

At the heart of South Australia’s Limestone Coast lies the state’s second-biggest town.

Mount Gambier is home to several geological wonders, including the famous Blue Lake. This large body of water, which occupies the crater of a dormant volcano, is a stunning blue that turns darker in the warmer weather between November and late February.

Unfortunately, swimming is banned in the Blue Lake, but you can enjoy a scenic 3.6km walk around it.

The Umpherston Sinkhole provides a different perspective. Photo: Instagram/@visitmountgambier/@michaelwaterhousephotography

The Umpherston Sinkhole is another attraction, where a fairytale-like sunken garden flourishes over the remains of a cave.

Caves are found in the area, and visitors can take tours to ogle stalactites and underground waterways.

Broome, WA

The region has a long history of pearling which likely began years before colonisation, with riji (carved pearl shell) exchanged extensively between Aboriginal communities across northwest and central Australia since the mid-1800s.

The discovery of large pearl oysters had prospective pearlers flocking to Western Australia in the 1860s, which tragically led to many Aboriginal men and women being forced or tricked into working as pearl divers for years, far from their traditional lands.

By 1910, Broome was the largest pearling centre in the world. Today, visitors can tour the town’s remaining pearl farms.

Broome’s beaches can be used for more than just sunbathing. Photo: Instagram/@visitbroome/@redsuncamels

September traditionally marks the end of the pearl harvest season, a highlight being Shinju Matsuri (Festival of the Pearl), an annual celebration which typically begins in August and encompasses events around food, music and art.

Broome’s surrounds are home to dinosaur footprints, as well as mangroves and beaches with camel rides or for catching glimpses of snubfin dolphins.

Townsville, Qld

This coastal town is one of the major access points to the Great Barrier Reef, and nearby tropical islands and wetlands.

Once you’ve snorkelled in the world’s largest coral reef system, head back to land and explore the region’s surrounding World Heritage-listed national parks and lush rainforests – many featuring awe-inspiring waterfalls.

Many people visit Townsville to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Instagram.@townsvillenorthqueensland

Water lovers can swim in the pool at the base of nearby Wallaman Falls – the highest permanent single-drop waterfall in the country – or explore the Coral Greenhouse, an underwater museum that holds the Guinness World Record for the largest underwater art structure.

The town hosts the annual Australian Festival of Chamber Music, which has put on performances by the finest musicians from around the world for more than 30 years.

Swansea, Tas

The drive from Hobart to the small seaside town of Swansea is a drawcard in itself.

About 7.5km south is the Spiky Bridge; a structure built by convicts in 1843 using field stones laid without mortar or cement. If arriving via the Great Eastern Drive, enjoy the view of long beaches and the pink granite peaks of the Hazards mountain range.

Spiky Bridge lives up to its name. Photo: Discover Tasmania

Once in Swansea, local eateries offer fresh seafood and wine from surrounding vineyards.

The town’s history is on display at the Bark Mill Museum, which was originally built in 1885 to process Black Wattle bark, and now features a tavern and bakery.

The East Coast Heritage Museum, easily located on the town’s main street, showcases Aboriginal and European history through a collection of more than 4000 books, documents, photographs, and other objects.

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