July 12th, 2022
4 minute read
While the East Coast is undeniably loved and renowned for dazzling coastlines, superb surf and sun-soaked islands, there is an abundance of charming regional and country towns at your fingertips too! Whether you’re after a good old cuppa, a dose of local history or simply a drive through rolling hills, venture out to these authentic, low-key hidden gems on your next East Coast adventure.
Surrounded by rich, tropical rainforest, Kuranda is a lovely little town found on the Atherton Tableland. With a rich Indigenous history, the area has been home to the Djabugay people for over 10 thousand years. A great place to visit during your up-north adventures, don’t forget to grab a ticket to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway that will take you over Barron Gorge National Park and provide scenery that will indeed sweep you off your feet! While you're out in the Tablelands, check out the free self-drive waterfall circuit day trip bound to immerse you in nature's finest.
Just a short 40-minute drive out of Airlie Beach, this gorgeous town in the Whitsunday region is full of awesome things to do, without the crowds! Chuck on your hiking boots for a coastal day walk, snorkel the reefs at Horseshoe Bay, eat local fish and chips by the beach and check out the uber charming Summergarden Cinemas for a day of local fun in Bowen.
Nestled in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands, Maleny is a delightful town with colourful, friendly, mountain-side vibes! Meander through the sweet country stores, warming bakeries and breaky spots serving up fresh, local produce. Head down to Kondalilla Falls for a glorious waterfall swim, discover Montville’s history and simply enjoy the fresh hinterland air on your charming day in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands!
Photo: Aussie Tourist
The Glass House Mountains are made up of eleven mountains, neighbouring Beerwah, the home of Australia Zoo. With a varying range of difficulties, the Glass House Mountains are perfect for every kind of traveller. For avid day walkers and geology enthusiasts, lace-up and hit the Mount Ngungun Summit Track or the Mount Beerburrum Walking Track. For keen rock climbers, check out the mad faces on Mount Ngungun. With vivid Indigenous significance for the Gubbi Gubbi and Jinibara people, histories and present connections, there really is magic in these mountains.
Please note that whilst Mount Tibrogargan and Beerwah are open for climbing, the traditional owners request visitors not to climb them.
Nestled amongst the Granite Belt Region in Darling Downs, Stanthorpe is definitely worth the drive inland! With endless stretches of farmland, rolling hills and a quaint town centre, this certainly is a charming regional stop. Book in for a local wine tasting and vineyard tour at one of the region’s many wineries, and don’t miss out on a slice of apple pies. With abundant farm-to-plate culinary delights, this destination is a foodie's total dream!
Smack bang in the middle of Brisbane and Sydney, Dorrigo is a classic Aussie regional town along Waterfall Way. With an authentic small town, everybody-knows-everybody atmosphere, grab a beer at the pub to soak in an afternoon of quintessential banter with friends! Wander amongst interesting architecture and stretch your legs on this charming stop during your journey between major cities.
While not quite rural or regional, Bangalow is an awesome town to explore with its quirky, gypsy vibes and colourful township. Known as a sort of mini Byron, Bangalow lies amongst beautiful rainforest hinterland making for an exceptional drive. Mosey through the lovely Bangalow Markets, check out the Indigenous art at Nindella and savour breakfast, lunch or dinner amongst the eclectic strip of boutiques and cafes!
While you might not have come to Australia for the snow, the Snowy Mountain’s Jindabyne is a pretty lovely little town… rain, hail, shine or frost! Lying at the centre of this ski-town is Lake Jindabyne, known for its dazzling, vibrant and still waters. Head up to Mount Kosciuszko to reach the highest point in Australia, check out Perisher during the ski season for some fun on the slopes or embark on a summer hike around this pristine area!
Photo: Snow Connect
Just two hours out of bustling Melbourne, take a step back in time and revel in this country town’s rich history and scenery. Blending its gold rush history with contemporary arts, Victorian architecture and great facilities Bendigo is a great stop for a day or even a couple of nights. Visit the renowned Bendigo Art Gallery, hit a local bar or check out the town’s eateries and simply enjoy the quiet country-town atmosphere while not being too far from Melbourne city!
Another excellently charming little Victorian town, Beechworth is a simply lovely town just three hours out of Melbourne. Grab a cuppa at the Beechworth Provender, and check out the famous Beechworth Honey store for both a fun experience and a tasty pot of honey before wandering around this quaint, historical town. Unwind, explore and take it slow amongst Beechworth’s charm!
Photo: Culture Trip