In the lead up to Australia Day, where we come together to celebrate all things Aussie, leading online travel site Wotif.com have searched far and wide and put the vote to the people of this great nation to name the top towns to try some unique experiences you can only find in Australia.
Whether you’re a foodie who enjoys a humble meat pie or cheeky glass of award winning Shiraz, or a nature lover looking to experience everything our great southern land has to show, Australia offers travellers an abundance of experiences. This Australia Day, Wotif.com wanted to look beyond the well-known hotspots, to call out the towns that make Australia great.
1. Top Wine Region: Margaret River, WA
2. Top Adventure Town: Cairns, QLD
3. Top Pub Town: Ballarat, VIC
4. Top Fruit-Picking Town: Mildura, VIC
5. Top Town To See a Kangaroo: Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, SA
6. Top Lamington Town: Beechworth, VIC
Wotif.com Travel Specialist Kirsty La Bruniy says: “We know that two thirds (67%)* of Aussies view a local holiday as an opportunity to reinvest in the local economy and support regional communities, so this Australia Day, we wanted to provide some AUS-spiration to would-be travellers and encourage us all to get out there and see this great nation.
Australia is not only the home of the weird and the wonderful, but as Aussies, we are proud of our achievements, no matter how great or small, so we wanted to celebrate the towns who are the very best in what they offer.”
Wotif’s Top Six Uniquely Aussie Town:
Coming in front of the usual suspects including the Hunter Valley (NSW) and Barossa (SA), is Margaret River in Western Australia. Accounting for 20% of Australia’s premium wines**, Margaret River is bustling with top wineries including Evans & Tate, Cape Mantelle and Vasse Felix. Travellers should walk beyond the cellar door and explore the vineyards with many wineries offering meet and greets with winemakers, lunches in barrel rooms and even the opportunity to blend your own. When you’ve had enough wine, watch the whales (July-November as they migrate along the Western Australian coast.
The Aussie town to base yourself in to get your adrenaline pumping is Cairns. With 76% of us admitting we like to try things we move never do at home while on holiday, Cairns not only offers access to incredible tropical rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef, it’s also home to an array of thrill seeking delights. From zip-lining over a four-meter live croc (fittingly named ‘Goliath’) to bungee jumping with the daring Aussie, AJ Hackett, who once jumped 110 meters off The Eiffel Tower, there are endless adventures to be had in the tropical north.
An Australia pub is the epicenter of any local town, where important conversations are had, where anything (and everything) is celebrated and the spirit of mate ship is cemented over a few ‘cold ones’. The self-proclaimed ‘Original Beer Capital’ of Australia, Ballarat (or #Beerllarat) is only an hour from Melbourne and is ideal for a quick weekend getaway. Home to several pubs that first opened their doors over 150 years ago during the Gold Rush, Ballarat pubs have mastered the art of classic hearty meals and craft beer. Ensuring their top title isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, Ballarat also hosts the annual Ballarat Beer Festival, showcasing over 150 craft beers, live music and local food trucks.
Australia is a fruit bowl of fresh produce and Aussie farmers harvest some of the tastiest fruit in the world. No longer just a job for travelling backpackers, fruit-picking has become a national pastime, because nothing is more fair dinkum than taste-testing fruit fresh right from an orchard.
Mildura is a major horticultural centre, with an oasis of orchards and market gardens supplying 75% of Australia’s table grapes***. The town is also famous for other foodie delights including Murray cod, Mallee lamb and the chef’s favourite Murray River Salt. If you are looking for a delicious getaway, grab yourself a fruit bucket and head to Mildura.
Hopping into first place as the best town to come face to fur with a kangaroo is Kingscote, Kangaroo Island. As the name suggests, if you plan a trip here, you’re bound to see one, bouncing in the lush wilderness or sunbaking on a secluded beach and Kingscote is the largest town on Kangaroo Island, home to many of the island’s cafés, restaurants and hotels. More than a third of Kangaroo Island's landmass is reserved for wildlife conservation areas and national parks, meaning it’s home to over 1,500 different animals including kangaroos (of course), wombats and koalas – if you’re lucky you might even spot a penguin.
Is there a more iconic Australian dessert than the humble lamington? Next to Vegemite and the Pavlova, it is a true Aussie culinary icon.
It’s hard to believe this genius invention was an accident, created by a maid of Lord Lamington, the British Governor of Queensland (1896 to 1901).
While many towns claim to have invented this spongy delight, Beechworth, Victoria has been voted as the best in the nation. But where to find to find the best lammo in town? Beechworth Bakery serves up a classic version (with or without cream) as well as the grand ‘Dame Edna’ – a pale pink raspberry-coated version. The perfect place for a foodie get-away, Beechworth is also home to fabulous food, wine and beer, while it is also one of Australia's finest historic gold-mining towns.
To plan your uniquely Aussie Town getaway, check out Wotif.com.