Top 20 Travel Destinations in Australia

Discover Downunder presenters Tim Smith and Brooke Hanson take us on a tour of their favourite spots in Australia, from outback getaways to the best beach destinations.

Places to visit in Australia

Tim Smith And Brooke Hanson Discover Downunder

Tim's 10 favourite places are spread from corner to corner, coast to country, across Australia...

1. Port Fairy, Victoria

Port Fairy Lighthouse

This little town on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast has terrific old pubs to kick-back and watch the world meander past. Or, if you like to get a little groovy, drop by in early March during the Folk Festival and dance in the streets. But, whenever you go, make sure you do the Seals by Sea Tour – it has my seal of approval (sorry…).

Getting there: Port Fairy is on Victoria’s south coast, about 280km west of Melbourne.

More information:

Accommodation: Book Port Fairy accommodation now.

2. Walpole, WA

Walpole is tucked away on the south coast of Western Australia. I really have a lot of time for this part of Australia. The south-western tip has amazing natural features – forests, caves, waterways, beaches and the best national treasure of all, Gary Muir. Take the WOW Eco Cruise run by Gary – it is awesome.

Getting there: Walpole is located on Western Australia’s Great Southern Coast, about 410km south of Perth.

More information:

Accommodation: Book Walpole accommodation now.

3. Port Lincoln, SA

Port Lincoln Seal

When you hit Port Augusta, turn south-west and keep going till you hit the water. You know the story – Port Lincoln is best known for diving with great whites and swimming with tuna. But drop in to Tumby Bay on the way past. It’s a great spot to wet the whistle and you’re very close to Coffin Bay, so you’d better try a Bloody Mary oyster shot while you’re there.

Getting there: Port Lincoln is at the southern end of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, about 340km south-west of Port Augusta.

More information: Port Lincoln guide

Accommodation: Book Port Lincoln accommodation now.

4. Fraser Island, Queensland

This is a lovely sandy spot off the Queensland coast – I was barefoot for the whole time I spent on the island, and I loved it, Drive along a beach, float down a creek, throw yourself in a lake, camp next to a sand dune, take a tour with a ranger or go exploring yourself. It’s all good.

Getting there: Fraser Island is off the coast of Queensland’s Hervey Bay and is accessible by car and passenger ferry.

More information: Fraser Island guide

Accommodation: Book Fraser Island accommodation now.

5. Longreach, Queensland


This is a flat, hot part of inland Queensland, home to the amazing QANTAS museum, the Stockman's Hall of Fame and some real characters at the local pub. Quite frankly, it’s un-Australian not to go here.

Getting there: Longreach is in central Queensland, about 690km west of Rockhampton.

More information:

Accommodation: Book Longreach accommodation now.

6. Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, SA

This is one of Sir David Attenborough's favourite spots on the planet, and who are we to call Dave a goose? This is a very old and rugged part of the world that turns on some breathtaking sunsets. I must admit, I spent some time with some incredible old fossils at happy hour.

Getting there: Rawnsley Park Station is in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges and is about 35km north of Hawker.

More information:

Accommodation: Book Rawnsley Park Station accommodation now.

7. Margaret River, WA 

Margaret River Prevelly Beach Coastline

Beaches, rolling green fields and forests dotted with farms, little towns, and arguably the best wineries in the world – what’s not to love? Prevelly, the beach where Margret River flows into the ocean, is truly special.

Getting there: Margaret River is on Western Australia’s south-west coast, about 265km south of Perth.

More information: Margaret River guide

Accommodation: Book Margaret River accommodation now.

8. Albany, WA

Stand on Frenchman's Beach. looking back past the scattered islands in the bay, past the twinkling lights of Albany, as the last rays of the setting sun turn the Stirling Ranges vivid red. Now look to your right, that could be me. While you’re in the area, pop into the Old Marron Farm, and eat a few of those local bad boys.

Getting there: Albany is in Western Australia’s Great Southern region, on the south coast, and is about 415km south-east of Perth.

More information: Albany guide

Accommodation: Book Albany accommodation now.

9. Kalbarri, WA

Kalbarri Coastline

Roughly halfway up the west coast of Western Australia is Kalbarri, where you can play with the parrots at the rainbow jungle bird park, taste the best seafood you’ve ever eaten under an overturned boat at the seafood barbecue, look through Nature’s Window in the national park, and take a dip in the river, or frolic in the surf. When you leave, remember to turn your mobile phone back on.

Getting there: Kalbarri is on Western Australia’s mid-west coast, about 1590km north of Perth.

More information:

Accommodation: Book Kalbarri accommodation now.

10. One Mile Beach, NSW

South of Port Stephens and near Anna Bay is my favourite caravan park ON THE BEACH. Not near, or across the road from, but right on the beach,. And not just any beach. The best beach. I almost didn’t want to push this spot because I love it so much. The park is fantastic – walk across the dunes to the water or pop next door and take surfing lessons at the Surf Life Saving Club, then join the family at the beach café or wander into town. I want to be there right now!

Getting there: One Mile Beach is on New South Wales’ central coast, about 55km north-east of Newcastle.

More information: 

It’s no surprise beach breaks top the list for former Olympic swimmer Brooke.

Accommodation: Book One Mile Beach accommodation now.

11. Darwin, NT

Darwin Mindil Night Market

There is something really special about the Northern Territory and I can never put my finger on why. For me, it’s so different to anywhere else in Australia and its natural beauty gives you a real spiritual connection to our land and makes you appreciate our country’s history. Darwin is fantastic, the locals are so friendly, the weather perfect and we were spoilt for choice with activities. I truly believe the experience felt like I was on an overseas holiday; starting the day late and finishing it late, the climate, wearing light clothing, eating at restaurants at 9pm, outdoor dining, night markets and plenty of seafood – it’s no wonder it’s a popular destination.

Getting there: The Territory’s capital is located in the north of the NT.

More information: Darwin guide

Accommodation: Book Darwin accommodation now.

12. Margaret River, WA

The beautiful wine region of the west offers so much more than vineyards and wine tasting. Surrounded by forests and close to the spectacular coastline, the Margaret River region is a must-visit. I really enjoyed touring the caves, the forest trail walks, shopping at the boutique stores and, of course, trying a glass or two of wine. The township has a real country feel. Make sure you have a beer at the Margaret River Hotel (c. 1936) and grab your favourite childhood lollies from Ye Olde Lolly Shoppe. There are so many wineries with cellar door tastings and sales to stock your caravan for happy hour. My favourites are Woody Nook and Vasse Felix, and a long lunch at one of the wineries a must do.

Getting there: Margaret River is on Western Australia’s south-west coast, about 265km south of Perth.

More information: Margaret River guide

Accommodation: Book Margaret River accommodation now.

13. Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Great Ocean Road 12-Apostles

A world famous drive and a must-do for all caravanners, the Great Ocean Road has some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country. The choice of caravan parks is huge and I really like that you have so many different options for stop-overs.

Getting out of the car for one of the scenic walks is the best way to get some terrific photographs. With water activities, national parks, wild life, aboriginal culture, food and wineries the options are endless. I enjoyed surfing at Anglesea, Torquay, Apollo Bay and Lorne; the tour of Split Point lighthouse at Aireys Inlet; and canoe paddling. Other highlights were Apostle Whey cheese in the hinterland of the historic shipwreck trail and Gorge chocolates were delicious.

Getting there: The Great Ocean Road starts near Torquay on Victoria’s southern surf coast, about 95km south-west of Melbourne.

More information: Great Ocean Road guide

Accommodation: Book Great Ocean Road accommodation now.

14. Charleville, Queensland

For a girl that loves the coast, I really didn’t think I would enjoy the outback but I absolutely loved it. Our stay at the Bailey Bar Caravan Park at Charleville was fantastic. We got the true-blue outback experience with camp oven dinners, lamb and pork spit roasts and, of course, the yabby races. The night sky was incredible and a visit to the Cosmos Centre and Observatory was intriguing. I also enjoyed fishing, seeing the weather balloon release, and visiting the Royal Flying Doctor base, as well as the Charleville airport driving tour where I learnt about the secrets of WWII.

Getting there: Charleville is in central Queensland, about 745km west of Brisbane.

More information: Charleville guide

Accommodation: Book Charleville accommodation now.

15. Albany, WA

Cheynes Beach Frenchmans Bay Albany

We have been fortunate on Discover Downunder to visit Albany twice over the last few years and it’s made my top 10 for so many reasons. The history of the place is amazing and the picturesque coastline is absolutely breathtaking. Drive around and stop at the lookout points, which give you a greater appreciation of it all. There is so much to do you need to give yourself a good week to fit it all in. A must do is a drink at Liberte at the London Hotel, a French wine bar with a relaxed atmosphere. This great little find had Tim and myself entertained for hours, trying some amazing cocktails and making a few up as we went along.

Getting there: Albany is in Western Australia’s Great Southern region, on the south coast, and is about 415km south-east of Perth.

More information: Albany guide

Accommodation: Book Albany accommodation now.

16. Clare, SA

The picturesque drive through Clare Valley over rolling hills and vineyards that have been producing grapes for over 150 years is just beautiful.

The historic buildings, galleries, antique stores, museums, old book shops (where I lose Tim for hours), boutique stores as well as great coffee shops were all a pleasant find.

The wineries are so proud of their wine and the entire regions love and commitment of delivering the finest local produce was a winner for me. I thought my bike ride along the Clare Valley Riesling trail was truly unique.

Getting there: Clare, in the Clare Valley wine region, is in South Australia’s mid-north, about 140km north of Adelaide.

More information:

Accommodation: Book Clare Valley accommodation now.

17. Coffs Harbour, NSW

Boats In Coffs Harbour

I call Coffs my second home, as it’s where my family is from and where I’ve been holidaying my entire life. It offers so much, from the beautiful beaches many with some of the best surf breaks to the lush hinterland. Its climate is a big seller and makes it a spot that you can park your caravan all year round. With Park Beach, the jetty foreshores and marina all within walking distance of each other, getting around is easy.

Floating down Coffs creek at high tide is a blast and you’re guaranteed bait, pumping yabbies and plenty of fish when fishing at the mouth of the creek.

Getting there: Coffs Harbour is on New South Wales’ mid-north coast, midway between Brisbane and Newcastle (about 390km from each).

More information: Coffs Harbour guide

Accommodation: Book Coffs Harbour accommodation now.

18. Ballina, NSW

I believe Ballina is still an untouched gem; this north coast country town is part of the northern rivers and is situated on the Richmond River. It offers so much and what I really like about it is that it still has that sleepy town feel without being overly modernised. The Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park is a place you could set up and not leave, but a bike ride to town or to check out the surf beach will keep you fit.

Being a water baby, I loved being surrounded by water, the surf was close, camping on Shaws Bay Lake and having access to the river to swim, fish, stand up paddle board or kayak down to the pub for dinner was awesome.

I love Ballina for it’s simplicity it’s gives you everything you need for a holiday on the water without all the touristy hype of many other destinations.

Getting there: Ballina is on New South Wales’ far-north coast, about 190km south of Brisbane.

More information: Ballina guide

Accommodation: Book Ballina accommodation now.

19. Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Sunshine Coast  Mooloolaba

What I love about the Sunshine Coast is the sun, surf and the sand. There are so many activities to experience; learn to surf, go fishing, play golf, pick an outdoor adventure, whale watching, Botanic Gardens, Australia Zoo, museums to name just a few. My must dos include having a pot and a parma at one of the surf clubs, visiting the local markets, the Ginger Factory, Underwater World, Aussie World and the Ettamogah Pub.

The sunny coast has some amazing places to stay either on the coast or in the hinterland. My favourite spots on the 100km of coastline are Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headlands, Coolum and Caloundra.

Getting there: The Sunshine Coast area of Queensland is about 130km directly north of Brisbane.

More information: Sunshine Coast guide

Accommodation: Book Sunshine Coast accommodation now.

20. Esperance, WA

Everyone that I speak to while caravanning and camping has either been to Esperance and absolutely raves about how much they loved it, or it’s on top of their bucket list. Here’s the answers to the questions I get asked: yes, it has the most stunning brightest white sandy beaches I have ever seen. Yes, it has some of the most amazing surf breaks in Australia. Yes, the coastline is phenomenal and worth the scenic drive to take it all in. But wait there’s more: the salt lakes, the famous Pink Lake, great fishing spots, five national parks, wildlife, 4WDing and some great camping grounds. And finally, yes, it is truly beautiful and a destination where you pinch yourself and appreciate how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful country.

Getting there: Esperance is on Western Australia’s south-eastern coast, about 715km south-east of Perth.

More information: Esperance guide

Accommodation: Book Esperance accommodation now.

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