Holiday In Australia – The Best Regional Destinations

Holiday in Australia – Monzi investigates the best regional holiday destinations in the country. The outback is calling. Start exploring today!

man with suitcase  on holiday in Australia

Holiday in Australia: the best regional destinations Australia has to offer

Tourists from all over the world holiday in Australia, in particular, it’s interior. If you’ve done your research then it’s not hard to see why. After all, outback Australia boasts some of the most breathtaking, beautiful, quirky and outright weird people, places and sights in the world.

What is difficult to understand, however, is why don’t more Aussies check out what the outback has to offer? Not only are they cheap holiday destinations in Australia, but your tourism dollars will go a long way to boosting some of these outback towns’ struggling economies.

To give you some inspiration, we’ll go through a few of the best holiday destinations in regional Australia.

Coober Pedy

Where: Northern South Australia

Population: Approx. 1,762

Nearest city: Alice Springs (688 km to the north); Adelaide (846 km to the south)

How to get there: Fly, drive, train or bus.

The red-dust drive into Coober Pedy conjures up many things in one’s mind; from a post-apocalyptic wasteland to a martian landscape. Whatever this town makes you feel, you can be sure Coober Pedy rips you straight from your suburban comfort zone and smacks you straight into one of the strangest towns in Australia.

Widely regarded as the opal capital of the world, Coober Pedy is essentially one big mine. In fact, many of the town’s buildings and residences are burrowed beneath the ground. Colloquially known as ‘dugouts’, these dwellings offer the perfect, if not unique, way to escape the oppressive desert heat.

So, what is there to do in the town? Obviously, the many opal mine shafts that are dotted in and around the town are a curiosity worth seeing. Be aware, however, that Coober Pedy is still a working mining town. Therefore, it may be best to get some advice from the locals as to which shafts are currently disused and worth visiting.

After you see where opals begin, why not purchase an end-product? One of the town’s many jewellers are sure to look after you with the quintessential outback hospitality.

If you’re a movie buff then check out the Mad Max Museum. If the thought of dusty cars and memorabilia from the movie excites you, you should head to the museum as soon as you drop your bags off at your underground hotel.

In short, if you’re looking for something a little different, Coober Pedy has to be one of the weirdest and most wonderful holiday destinations in Australia.

Longreach

Where: Central western Queensland

Population: Approx. 2,970

Nearest city: Brisbane (1,181 km to the south-east); Rockhampton (687 km to the east).

How to get there: Fly, drive, train or bus.

Longreach is affectionately known as the heart of outback Queensland. This is both cultural and geographical, with the town being almost smack-bang in the middle of the state. The town’s name comes not from its relative isolation from other major settlements, but it’s placement on the “long reach” of the Thomson River.

A visit to Longreach is like having the most quintessential outback tropes condensed into one town; stockmen, shearers, blood-red sunsets and never-ending skies. In short, there’s no shortage of things to see and do within the town.

The Stockman’s Hall of Fame is perhaps the town’s most famous attraction. Indeed, the Hall of Fame is potentially the premier institution celebrating outback heritage. Visitors can meander through the different displays and get a sense of the outback’s rich history – a history often forgotten by the city.

Did you know that Qantas is the third oldest airline in the world? Moreover, did you know that Longreach was the headquarters of the historic airline from 1921 to 1930? If not, the Qantas Founders Outback Museum is the place for you. Not only can you marvel at a full-scale replica of the airline’s first aircraft, but visitors are also given the opportunity to walk the wingspan of a Boeing 747.

Finally, for a hands-on experience of the old outback life, jump on board a Cobb and Co stagecoach ride through the town’s scrubland. While it is by no means the most comfortable ride of all time, the ride allows you to enjoy the sensation (bumps and all) of the bush’s original 4×4.

Flinders Ranges

Where: South Australia

Population: N/A

Nearest city: Adelaide (approx. 200 km to the south)

How to get there: Drive from Adelaide

In many ways, a holiday in the Flinders Ranges provides the best of what Australia has to offer; natural beauty tempered by state-of-the-art comforts.

Visitors can spend their days exploring the rugged and almost alien landscape and then return to the unparalleled luxury of an eco-resort. Or, you can keep your feet firmly grounded and sleep underneath the stars – it’s all up to you.

Driving through the ranges quickly instils a sense of scale. This is not just physical, as the rocky cliffs tower above you, but a sense of time; estimates of the formation of the ranges date back to 800 million years ago.

The age, history and deep significance of the ranges are best appreciated with an Aboriginal guide. Not only will you have the chance to study ancient Indigenous rock art, but also learn about the area’s bush tucker.

For something less traditional, jump on board the Pichi Richi Railway line. The Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society runs restored steam and diesel trains from deep in the region’s past. In fact, the strip of track between Quorn and Port Augusta is the last remaining portion of the Old Ghan line still in use.

Finally, for the adventurous types among you, why not consider a tour with the most experienced camel trekking company in Australia? In fact, you can choose anything from a day trip to a 3 to 15 day extended trek.

Kakadu

Where: The Top End

Population: N/A

Nearest city: Darwin (171 km to the northwest)

How to get there: 3 hr drive from Darwin.

Kakadu National Park is massive not only in its scale (nearly half the size of Switzerland) but its significance too – both culturally and environmentally.

Being a strict national park, the camping and accommodation options are centred around four main hubs. Here you can choose to stay in a hotel or cabin or hitch up your tent or caravan for the night. The perfect mix of untamed wilderness and modern amenities make Kakadu one of the best holiday destinations in Australia for families.

Once you’ve set yourself up, you’re free to explore the park. Give yourself plenty of time because there is a lot to see and do.

If you’re a bushwalker then Kakadu’s 20,000 square kilometres of parkland provides plenty of opportunities to get out and about. There are a number of established trails for you to take, ranging from medium through to moderate and difficult.

Waterfalls are another big drawcard for Kakadu, with the park boasting some of the most famous falls in the country. The best part? Visitors are free to swim in many of the pools, weather permitting. Although, just keep an eye out for any crocodiles.

Speaking of crocodiles, it is estimated that over 10,000 crocs call Kakadu home – and that doesn’t include hatchlings. Understandably, this may not be a huge plus for many visitors, but hey – it’s unique, right?

Kunanurra

Where: Northern Western Australia

Population: Approx. 5,000

Nearest city: Darwin (884 km to the north-east)

How to get there: Fly or drive

Kununurra is one of those towns that most Aussies have heard of, but probably couldn’t point out on a map. Well, to answer your question, Kununurra lies in the eastern extremity of the Kimberly, just under 40 km from the Northern Territory border.

The town itself may not be one of the major holiday destinations in Australia, as many of the main attractions lie just outside.

Lake Argyle is a man-made freshwater reservoir roughly 19 times the size of Sydney Harbour. Luckily, there are many well-equipped resorts on the lake’s shore. In addition, the Lake Argyle infinity pool lets you spend your sunsets overlooking the water. Speaking of sunsets, we can’t recommend enough taking a sunset cruise over the lake. The tranquility of the lake makes it one of the best holiday destinations in Australia for couples.

Roughly 100 km outside of Kununurra lies El Questro Wilderness Park. Originally an immeasurably large cattle station, the owners decided to diversify into tourism – and we are very glad they did. It is reported the park stretches over an area of around 1 million acres, and apparently, parts of the park remain unexplored.

Here are our top destinations and things to do in El Questro Wilderness Park:

  • Waterfalls
  • Hikes and treks
  • Swimming holes and hot springs
  • Towering and ancient gorges
  • Fishing – some locations only accessible via helicopter
  • Jawdropping vistas
  • Enormous rivers
  • Over 100 species of birds and other unique animals and plants

When people ask what our best holiday destinations in Australia are, we often suggest Kununurra and it’s not hard to see why.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park

Where: Tasmania’s central Highlands

Population: N/A

Nearest city: Hobart (165 km to the south-east)

How to get there: Drive

Tasmania is, unfortunately, all too often forgotten on maps of Australia. Moreover, many mainland Aussies don’t consider Tassie when thinking of the best holiday destinations in Australia.

This is a real shame, as Tasmania offers so many experiences and sights not found on the mainland. Today, we’re going to share one of our favourite destinations on the island: Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Claire National Park.

The park is, obviously, home to Cradle Mountain, one of the most famous destinations in Tasmania. Moreover, the Overland Track is one of the premier bushwalking tracks in Australia, if not the world.

While the park is relatively isolated and away from major population hubs, there are many accommodation options available to visitors.

The lake is abundant with native wildlife including echidnas, wallabies, quolls, wombats, possums, birdlife and of course, the Tasmanian devil. If you’re thinking of wetting a line, trout fishing is permitted in certain months.

Planning your regional holiday

While a regional holiday is never a bad idea, it’s important to know to your budget. That way, you’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend on flights, accommodation, experiences and all the other costs associated with taking a holiday.

To get you started, the ASIC’s free MoneySmart Budget Planner is the place to go. It’s simple, easy-to-use and will categorise your expenses so you can calculate your holiday budget in no time.

Holiday in Australia: FAQs

Is Good Friday a public holiday in Australia?Yes
Is New Year’s Day a public holiday in Australia?Yes
Do I need a passport to fly domestically?You may need to show some photo ID, but you generally do not need your passport.
Is it dangerous to drive in the outback?Australia is generally a very safe place to drive. Being self-sufficient on the road is the main thing you need to concern yourself with. For example, the gap between fuel stations in certain parts of the country may be over 300 km. Finally, be cautious of the wet and dry seasons, especially up north.
Can I call 000 in the outback?Yes; you can call 000 from anywhere in Australia. However, keep in mind, the sheer size of regional Australia may result in delays.

Holiday in Australia: it’s up to you

While we’ve given you a small taste of what regional Australia has to offer, there’s so much more to discover. It doesn’t where you are because there’s sure to be a cracking regional holiday destination just down the road. So, do your research and find the best destination for you.

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