Surprising Aussie town of the year revealed

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If you were asked to name Australia’s best town, what would you say?

If your mind wandered to the sweeping shores of Esperance, to the calming cove of Byron Bay or the old fishing town of Port Fairy, you’d be wrong. has revealed 2021’s top 10 Aussie towns. After a rocky year for the tourism industry and many Aussies intrigued by domestic travel, the Aussie Town of the Year Award has never been more important. During the height of the pandemic, some tourist hotspots suffered up to 90 per cent profit losses and are more eager than ever to welcome local travellers.

These top towns have been chosen based on a range of factors including affordability, accommodation quality and traveller satisfaction. If you’re planning to hit the road this year, make sure you’ve got them pinned on your map.

Small regional town at the entrance of Tuggerah lake to Pacific ocean on Australian Central coast. Aerial view of town waterfront along canal and distant bridge.

10. The Entrance, NSW
With local beaches waiting to be explored, boats for hire and fishing galore, this getaway on the Central Coast is perfect for a trip with the family.

Sunset at the Tacking Point Lighthouse at Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

9. Port Macquarie, NSW
This lively city centre is hugged by some of the best coastline NSW has to offer. There’s lots to do here, including stopping by the well-loved Koala Hospital and enjoying the many local eateries.

Read more: Five road trips that could make a difference to bushfire affected towns

Aerial view from the drone. Fishermen feed gigantic whale sharks ( Rhincodon typus) from boats in the sea in the Philippines, Oslob. These sharks have no teeth and are filter feeders.

8. Exmouth, WA
Gateway to the exceptional Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth is the perfect base from which to explore both the ocean and the Cape Range National Park.

Magenta coloured clouds drifting over a beautiful Sandy beach just after Sunset at Hervey bay, Queensland, Australia

7. Hervey Bay, QLD
Known for diving, whale watching and year-round sunshine, Hervey Bay is described by locals as “the best address on earth”.

Sunset Light over Vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia

6. McLaren Vale, SA
Just 40 minutes out of Adelaide, McLaren Vale boasts more than 70 cellar doors and 31km of coastline. If you’re a lover of cheese and good wine, exploring this town is a must on your next road trip.  

The popular coastal town of Lakes Entrance on a clear autumn morning in Victoria, Australia

5. Lakes Entrance, VIC
Kayak, fish, swim and explore this scenic town and its surrounds. Lakes Entrance is ideally situated where the Gippsland Lakes open up to the sea.

Read more: Mornington Peninsula the top spot for COVID-safe day trips or short stays 

Mudgee Country Sunset

4. Mudgee, NSW
This humble regional town is the epitome of country hospitality. It is also home to some world-class wineries, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Aerial/elevated view of residential houses and suburban street in a typical Australian coastal town. Apollo Bay, VIC Australia.

3. Apollo Bay, VIC
Fronted by sweeping beaches and flanked by the Great Otway National Park, Apollo Bay is the ultimate base from which to explore the Great Ocean Road, or simply sit back and enjoy the best that coastal life has to offer.

Pokolbin, Australia – June 24 2010: A blast of gas ignites, filling a hot air balloon with warm air on a cold winter’s morning in Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

2. Pokolbin, NSW
Nestled in the beautiful Hunter Valley region, Pokolbin is just a short drive from Sydney and is the perfect place for some well-deserved rest and recuperation.

Cairns, Australia. November 2017 – People swimming at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon at sunrise in Far North Queensland, Australia.

1. Cairns, QLD
Cairns is the gateway to not one, but two World Heritage sites. The stunning Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the world, and the Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction. Explore Cairns city centre or venture out to the nearby wilderness, both on and offshore.

Read more: Visit captivating Cairns

How many of these towns have you been to? Do you agree with’s top 10 towns?

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Written by Liv Gardiner


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