What makes a perfect vacation? You can boil it down to 2 essential elements: relaxation and indulgence. Some vacation destinations offer more of one than the other, but a few get the mix just right. In some cases, the mix is perfect, but the price tag is just too high for more than a few glorious days away from the rat race. That leaves a handful of towns that will tempt you to linger as long as possible and may even tempt you to stay forever. These are 5 such Australian towns.
Yamba, New South Wales
Yamba? Where’s Yamba? That’s one of Yamba’s biggest attractions. If you’ve ever been to Yamba’s famous neighbor, Byron Bay, you know that it is a picture perfect beach suburb, with beautiful beaches, plenty of great amenities, entertainment when you want it and wide open spaces. Now imagine Byron Bay twenty years ago, before it attracted millions of visitors. Back then, there was little traffic, you didn’t have to leave town to find a quiet beach, the superb surfing spots were uncrowded and the locals were laid back and friendly, whether you decided to buy or just came in “for a yarn.” That’s Yamba today. Visit now, before Yamba’s secret is out.
Noosa has to be seen to be appreciated. Take a stroll down Hastings Street and take your pick of wonderful cafes and restaurants. Browse and shop in upmarket or more modestly appointed boutiques and gift shops. Once you’ve satisfied your eating and shopping instincts, take a long walk through Noosa Heads National Park and be amazed by the abundance of nature right there at the edge of town. If you want to explore the area even further, you can choose between the nearby hinterland, long, empty beaches just north of Noosa or the many more populated beaches on the rest of the Sunshine Coast just south of Noosa. Whether you’re a backpacking surfer or a 5 Star resort lover, once you’ve discovered Noosa, you won’t want to leave.
Esperance, West Australia
The only ones who dispute Esperance’s inclusion as a town that you’ll never want to leave are those that have never been there. About 460 miles southeast of Perth, Esperance is located a long way from anywhere, but leaves nothing to be desired. The beach sand has a diamond-like brilliance and soft texture that just about defines the perfect beach. The water is crystal clear, ranging in color from a shimmering turquoise to deep blue as it gradually deepens. Then there’s the achingly beautiful Cape le Grande National Park right in your back yard. Although “far from the madding crowd,” Esperance also has all the niceties you need, so you’ll want for nothing except to be able to stay forever.
Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales
Kangaroo Valley is proof that you don’t need to live at the beach to have as perfect a life as is humanly possible. Tucked away on the South Coast roughly between the beach and Canberra, Kangaroo Valley is lushly green and surrounded by magnificently wooded hills. For decades, it has attracted artists, artisans and writers looking for inspiration. Their presence gives this beautiful country town a contemporary edge that is sometimes missing in rural communities. Two things not to be missed in Kangaroo Valley are the Hampden Bridge and the homemade pies and other delights at the Old Barrengarry Store.
Nguiu Settlement, Tiwi Islands
Bathurst and Melville Islands comprise what is commonly called the Tiwi Islands, home of the indigenous Tiwi islanders. These two islands, divided by a thin strip of water, are magic, pure and simple. When you visit the Nguiu settlement on Bathurst Island, you’ll be blown away by their creativity. Music, art, crafts, you name it, they are masters. There is perhaps no place else on earth where you can feel so much at home amongst members of such a radically different culture. Entry to the islands is by permit only, but permits are easily available in Darwin. While you’re there, explore the lushly tropical islands and try your hand at sportfishing. Even if you’ve never been able to catch a fish in your life, you will in the waters around the Tiwi Islands.
Australia offers some great accommodation options from Sunshine Coast Holiday apartments to cozy Bed and Breakfasts in the Kangaroo Valley. No matter what you choose you will have a great vacation when visiting Australia.