Australia’s best hidden holiday locations you need to visit

It’s rare to be able to call your holiday an act of patriotism but with Tourism and Transport Forum Australia figures revealing the current crisis is costing our tourism industry around $9 billion a month, domestic travel has basically become your civic duty.

July is looking to be the starting point for domestic travel to really get back on track. With South Australia looking to open borders from July 20, NSW and Victoria are already open for intrastate travel and Queensland not too far behind – now is the time to start really planning.

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With Airbnb seeing a surge in new searches, it’s clear we’re all keen to get back out and explore our big, beautiful backyard. Here are the tiny towns set to become our new destination holiday hot spots. Do it for your country, book today.


Moina, Tasmania

An hour’s drive from Davenport, Monia is a hidden-gem town that turns fairytale in winter. Stay in a chalet at the Cradle Forest Inn and you’ll be 20 minutes from Cradle Mountain’s Enchanted Walk.

A beautiful waterfall in Moina, Tasmania that allows viewers a view beside and slightly behind the falls.Source:istock

The bedazzled frost-covered rainforest and snow-clotted trees make it kind of hard to believe you’re still in Australia. There’s also the glittery Dove Lake beneath the black spires of Cradle Mountain, and on the southern side of the park you can walk the 18-km circuit around Lake St Clair.

Bilpin, NSW

One of the top domestic searches at the moment, the Blue Mountains is heating up even as it cools way down. Cameoed in Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby, Bilpin sits between Wollemi National Park and Blue Mountains National Park, and is perfect for a cozy long weekend. Stay at the chic ‘n cheerful Sean’s Panorama.

Go hunting for apples on the orchards that surround Bilpin. Picture: Choo Beng Chew.Source:Supplied

Owned by Sean Moran and Michael Robertson, the same culinary power-couple behind hatted Bondi institution Seans, and set on 50 acres overlooking apple trees, free-range chooks and spring-fed dams.

Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory

Or just skip winter altogether and head to the Tiwi Islands. With an average winter temperature of around 26 degrees and the ferries up and running, Tiwi’s Bathurst and Melville are probably two of our country’s best kept secrets.

Tiwi Island showcases some of the very best the Top End of Australia has to offer.Source:Supplied

The stunning coastline at Tiwi Islands.Source:istock

Reefs full of fish, lush tropical rainforests and a thriving indigenous art scene. While the beaches visually put Tahiti to shame, saltwater crocs mean your swimming is best done in the freshwater swimming holes and beautiful waterfalls.


Winton, Queensland

Known as Hollywood in the Outback thanks to the yearly Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, and having several major film productions including Nick Cave’s Proposition and Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road and Goldstone filmed there. Winton, which has serious small town cred with an average population of around 900, is also known as Australia’s Dinosaur Capital and was the birthplace of Qantas.

Winton in Queensland is known as the Hollywood in the Outback. Picture: Tourism & Events QueenslandSource:Supplied

While the film festival had to be pushed to September, festival passes are on sale now.

Bangalow, NSW

Despite being located just outside Byron Bay, Bangalow somehow manages to keep its country-town feel. There are plenty of farm stay options if you’re holidaying with kids, including the brilliant working farm Murojum.

Macadamia orchards surround Bangalow in NSW, which is just a 20 minute drive from the popular seaside town of Byron Bay.Source:istock

Byron Street, the main street in Bangalow, is full of boutiques and cafes.Source:istock

A prolific foodie area, the annual Sample Food Festival will also go ahead in September, and usually attracts almost 20,000 hungry revellers so book early.

Manjimup, Western Australia

Very important climatic research conducted in the ’80s discovered that Manjimup is the most suitable region for wine growing in all of Western Australia. The perfect food-lovers retreat is a dreamy two and a half-hour drive from Perth, passing through other hidden gems like Mandurah and Bunbury.

If you’re at all interested in the idea of black perigord truffles served with a glass of some of the best wine in the country, the Truffle & Wine Co can help you out, and they even run truffle hunts through winter, with visitors combing the forest with trained dogs.


Hyams Beach, NSW

A teeny village in Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach has pristine, powdery white sand which is so fine it squeaks and crystal clear waters fringed by dramatic National Park bushland.

Sunrise on Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay. Picture: Destination NSWSource:Supplied

Couple enjoying a picnic by Hyams Beach Hampers at Blenheim Beach, Jervis Bay. Picture: Destination NSW/Tim Clark.Source:Supplied

Safe and quiet accommodation ranges from simple cottages to architect designed luxury beachfront houses.

There’s plenty to do no matter the season, from scenic bush and coastal walks with breathtaking views of the bay to the clear waters ideal for fishing, swimming, snorkelling and diving.

Rainbow Beach, Queensland

Named for the natural, multi-coloured sand on its main beach and known for being the gateway to Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach is a fabulous destination no matter your holiday speed.

Rainbow Beach is perfect for a 4WD escape. Picture: Craig Warhurst/The Gympie TimesSource:News Regional Media

The calm beach is perfect for kayaking with dolphins and other marine life, but those who want a little more rev can head off on a 4WD beach drive to nearby Noosa.

Yallingup, Western Australia

A family-friendly small town known for breeding some of the world’s greatest surfers from their surf beaches Yallingup Beach, Smiths Beach and Injidup.

Smiths Beach Resort at Yallingup in Western Australia is the perfect escape. Picture: SLHSource:Supplied

You’ll want to loosen your belt at Yallingup in Western Australia. Picture: SLHSource:Supplied

Perfect for getting kids of all ages out into nature, with dramatic coastline walks and the fascinating Ngilgi Cave, which has deep roots in Aboriginal culture. Sidenote for mum and dad, because it’s in the Margaret River region, Yallingup is also home to many vineyards and wineries.

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