The majority of Australia’s population resides in a capital city, but it could be argued that the real charm of the country resides in its small towns.
Not only are these small towns full of interesting characters and unique experiences, they also provide some of the most stunning backdrops you could ever experience on a holiday anywhere in the world.
Popular global travel website Touropia has compiled a list of the top 15 most scenic small towns in Australia and we have added our own thoughts on their top five.
Top 15 most scenic small towns in Australia (according to Touropia)
15. Yamba, NSW
14. Esperance, WA
13. Port Fairy, VIC
12. Byron Bay, NSW
11. Apollo Bay, VIC
10. Margaret River, WA
9. Augusta, WA
8. Airlie Beach, QLD
7. Broome, WA
6. Birdsville, QLD
5. Port Douglas, QLD
Hard to argue with this selection, especially if I want to stay married (This is where my wife and I went on our honeymoon). Port Douglas is definitely one of the most stunning locations in Australia and with a population just over 3500 it definitely qualifies as a small town.
The township was established in 1877 after the discovery of gold in the area and at its peak it had a population of 12,000 people.
If is a great spot to visit the Great Barrier Reef and is also home to the Daintree National Park, the world’s oldest living rainforest.
Four Mile Beach is also one of the main attractions, although if you want to get out in the water, be sure to time your visit appropriately. While Four Mile Beach is enclosed with protective stinger nets, if you visit during summer this is the only place you will be allowed to swim as the rest of the beaches are populated with dangerous box and Irukandji jellyfish.
4. Cygnet, TAS
The only Tasmanian destination to make the Touropia list, but they have certainly nailed the small-town vibe perfectly.
Located in the south-east corner of the Apple Isle, Cygnet has a population of just over 1500 people and contains just two pubs and an RSL.
Despite its rating as a tiny town, it packs a big punch and is regarded as something of a local mecca for artists, musicians, craftspeople, hippies and the home of the widely popular annual Cygnet Folk Festival.
The Cygnet Folk Festival takes place in January and attracts musicians and music lovers from mainland Australia and the world.
Cygnet’s popular attractions include Randalls Bay, the Verona Sands, the Cygnet Art Trail, and the many wineries.
3. Beechworth, VIC
What would a list about small Australian towns be without discussion about a bakery? And when it comes to bakeries, they don’t get much more popular or well-known than the Beechworth bakery.
Right in the heart of Kelly country, the town of just under 4000 people features an historic courthouse with Ned Kelly displays and historical tours.
If you are brave enough, one of the highlights of a visit to Beechworth is a ghost tour of the lunatic asylum.
As well as the town’s many museums, wineries and historic walks, it is home to many annual festivals including the Golden Horseshoes Festival Easter Parade through the centre of the town.
2. Kalgoorlie, WA
The Touropia list shows a heavybias towards towns that prospered during the Australian gold rush and it is no different with No. 2 on its list.
With a population of nearly 30,000 people, I am not quite sure that I would have listed it as a small town, especially seeing as it is listed just inside Australia’s top 50 towns (48th) by population size, just ahead of Lismore and Nelson Bay.
Forgetting the flawed methodology, Kalgoorlie offers many historical buildings and the chance to participate in a number of gold mining experiences, including a visit to the Superpit, which is unlike any other experience in Australia.
1. Alice Springs, NT
Again, with a population over 25,000 (and ranked 55th most populous overall) I would question the methodology used to denote a small town by the people at Touropia.
Obviously being close to sites such as Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon swayed the reviewers when they were compiling their list, and who could blame them.
The Alice has many breathtaking gorges and well-established historic Indigenous communities, offering local tours and experiences and should definitely be on your Australian to-do list.
What is the most scenic small town you have visited in Australia? What are some of your favourite small towns? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?
If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.