Ever wondered what’s out beyond the urban areas where nearly 90% of the Australian population live? There’s a LOT of wide open spaces, a LOT of natural attractions – and a LOT of TOP Aussie Tiny Towns with TERIFFIC Tourist Attractions!
The Australian Country Towns in the ABC-within-my-bigger-ABC might be small, but there’s all got something to see that you possibly won’t see anywhere else!
If you haven’t seen them, check out what you’re missing in the first instalment of A-M below – click on the town name for more information – N-Z is right HERE!
If not for the distinctive White Bull, stolen with 600 cattle from Bowen Downs station near Aramac – still a grazing town – by bushranger and bovine burglar Harry Readford, he might not have been tried after his otherwise historic cattle drive 800 miles south.
Even so, Harry was acquitted! Aramac was named in typical Aussie fashion for Robert Ramsay MacKenzie who carved his initials ‘R R Mac’ into a tree. Geddit?
It’s not just the awesome natural hot springs bathing pool right next to the campground or the bi-annual camel races. Bedourie – between Boulia with its pieces of Skylab and Birdsville with its iconic race meet – has its own unique piece of Australiana to boast about!
The Bedourie Oven – a clever contraption for cooking over campfire coals started here and took Australia by storm!
Australia’s coldest temperature ever – minus 23 C – was recorded at Charlotte Pass, at 1765 m Australia’s highest permanent settlement, in the shadow of Mt Kosciuszko, which at 2228m is Australia’s highest mountain!
Just off the old road to the summit, Charlotte Pass is within walking distance of the top peak in OZ – how many other towns in the world can boast THAT?
The tiny Victorian settlement of Dadswells Bridge, at the tip of the Southern Grampians, celebrates Australia’s favourite icon with a vengeance. Sam the BIG Koala had a facelift and make-up job since this dour photo was taken – now there’s a gift shop, tavern, ice-creamery, caravan park and a REAL Koala Zoo!
BUT … Big Sam’s concrete embrace gives ‘cuddle a koala’ a whole new meaning!
It’s not Australia’s geographic centre, but via a complicated (and arguable!) calculation, Eromanga is furthest from the ocean – and ergo, so are the service station, pub, caravan park and so on!
The excellent museum (furthest from the sea) is just up the road from the opal-studded miners monument (furthest from the water) in the travellers rest stop (furthest from the coast).
It’s not Australia’s highest town (see Charlotte Pass above) nor does it have Australia’s highest body of water (that’s Lake Cootapatamba near Mt Kosciuszko), but alpine ski resort Falls Creek is the next best thing.
Near Mt Bogong, highest mountain in Victoria, it’s also got Rocky Valley Lake, at 1600m Australia’s highest significant body of water – and one of its few lakes to be used for both winter and summer sports!
A funny thing happened on the Road to Gundagai, although details vary by account – but a statue of a dog who, some say, did something nasty in his master’s Tuckerbox could surely only happen in OZ!
Often referenced in Aussie folklore, Gundagai claims Australia’s oldest bakery (still operating – YESSSSS!) and a miniature Baroque Italian palace carved, ironically, by Frank Rusconi who also did the honours for the Dog-on-the-Tuckerbox statue’s base!
Only 40 km from Darwin, this small town is home to the Adelaide River Floodplain and nearby Fogg Dam, both parts of a world renowned wetland system.
There’s also the BIG Boxing Crocodile, the well known Humpty Doo Hotel and a Reptile World with 300 kinds of snake! But wouldn’t you want to visit Humpty Doo just for its name?
It’s no secret how Isisfordians feel about certain state government decisions – their sentiments are displayed on the town entrance sign.
But Isisford is better known for the the Mother of all Crocodiles – a fossil found on a nearby property that is ancestor to all modern crocs. You can decide which attraction is the most scary over a drink at the Clancy of the Overflow Pub!
One of the more bizarre tributes to Aussie legend and outlaw Ned Kelly is a statue made of bread tins at (of course!) the Jerilderie Bakery.
Ned held up the Post Office and wrote his manifesto (known as the Jerilderie letter) here, but if you like your attractions a little less controversial, cross the road for Steel Wings – the only two windmills of their kind in the world!
Raised on a Koolywurtie farm, Captain Harry Butler, a decorated World War 1 Ace pilot and aviator, made the first Southern Hemisphere over-water flight in 1919 across St Vincent’s gulf from Adelaide in his Bristol monoplane, the Red Devil.
Believed to be the only original plane of this type left in the world, the Red Devil is on permanent display in nearby Minlaton, where there’s also a mural, memorabilia and museum with information about his life.
Two Australian Convict World Heritage listed sites jostling for position, and a town awash with fine examples of Georgian architecture puts Longford firmly on the heritage trail.
Built by free convict labour, Woolmers and Brickendon Estates offer a fascinating glimpse of Australia’s colonial history. But if all that history’s a bit much, chill out in the Woolmers Rose Garden, with 460 varieties!
Crossing Australia from West to East (or vice versa) via the Nullarbor takes WAY more than a day. Luckily, the small community of Madura, 1253 km (779 miles) east of Perth has everything travellers need.
As well as a range of accomodation, fuel, food and a swimming pool, Madura is home of the Walers – cavalry horses used by the British Army. And it’s also home of Brumby’s Run – Hole 9 of the Nullarbor Links Golf Course which, at 1365 km is longest in the WORLD!
And on that happy note, that’s the end of Part 1 of my Aussie ABC: T is for Tiny Aussie Towns with Terrific Tourist Attractions!
Have YOU got a favourite Australian country town? Tell all below!!
And if you want to start visiting Australia’s AWESOME country towns here’s the lowdown on cheap flights to get you started!
- Australian Country Towns Part 2 N-Z
- List of Australian Country Towns (Wikipedia)
- MORE Photos of Australian Towns on Flickr