Yamba ... Australia's best town
The small town of Yamba (population: 5,600) on the coast in New South Wales topped this year's list. The quiet fishing town boasts awesome surf, beautiful weather and a laid-back pace that sparks comparison to Byron 20 years ago.
Touted as the most beautiful rural coastline in all of Australia, Esperance has a lot to live up to. Just a short distance from Perth (by WA standards, that is ... 740 kilometres) the white sandy beaches and idyllic waters have been attracting European visitors since 1628.
This perennial favourite comes as no surprise. Rainforest? Check. Reef? Got it. Resorts? If you can afford 'em. Shops and restarants a plenty? Indeed. The 70 kilometres that separate Port Douglas from Cairns might as well be five hundred clicks ... the pace and lifestyle are both worlds away.
Multicultural Broome is a small city with a big personality. With Cable Beach and the Kimberley in Broome's backyard there are endless sun/sand/sea and adventure activities to keep you occupied and coming back for more.
Victoria's oldest port offers a taste of the Irish in a traditional fishing town. It was a favourite hunting ground for whalers and sealers in the early days, and then a destination for Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine back home. Spend a weekend exploring the cafes, lighthouses and pubs that make this town so charming.
For some of the best old school architecture in all of Australia, look no further than beautiful Beechworth. The town centre offers a big slice of the 19th century ... you get the feeling you could bump in to Ned Kelly himself when you walk by the courthouse. Be sure not to miss the microbreweries to boot.
Oh, Byron. I can't quite understand the appeal of this coastal oasis myself (apart from the taqueria that serves up some of the best Mexican food in Oz), but it remains a favourite of the filthy backpackers AND the filthy rich.
Outdoorsy-types are catered for brilliantly at Apollo Bay. It marks the start of the Great Ocean Walk, and with a beautiful beach on one side and the Otway Ranges on the other, the scenery is second to ... well, about seven places on this list, but you get the idea. There are plenty of trails to explore, and the town itself has many of the creature comforts of the big smoke, without the sass.
According to AT, "it's a crime not to visit Strahan if you head to Tasmania. It really is an amplification of everything that Tasmanian tourism stands for". And I guess they are entitled to their opinion. But MY take on Strahan is very different ... here you'll find a fabricated Disney-esque 'Main Street, USA' of shops and businesses, but beautiful waterways to explore not far from the farce of 'town'.
Margaret River is a jack of all trades. Wine aficionados have some of the country's best drops at dozens of cellar doors, surf buffs have big waves and quiet beaches all to themselves, and golf fans have courses that warrant the journey in and of themselves.
Check out the full listing of Oz's top 100 towns
, in order, on the Australian Traveller
What do you think of this top ten? Any truth in these picks? Which Australian town do you think should be number one?