Australia’s 10 coolest outback towns you must visit

Almost all of Australia’s most attractive towns are on the coast, sandwiched between rough surf and the forested hinterland. But every once in a while, you can go further inland and find a delightfully odd, frankly memorable place. Not all of Australia’s outback towns are characterful, but those that are are often full of character. Here are ten of the most delightful…

Alice Springs, Northern Territory

View from Anzac Hill along Hartley St on a clear winter evening in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia Photo credit: istock Used to be used by Traveler only whitley - outback towns

Photo: iStock

Perhaps the most internationally known outback town, Alice has a lot going for it. Try outback wildlife at Alice Springs Desert Park, art in the Alaren Cultural District and quirky camel rides and hot air balloon rides.

It’s also a great place to learn how life in the Outback works – there are visitor centers for the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.Look Northern Territory website

Broken Hill, New South Wales

People watching the sunset at the Broken Hill Desert Reserve.Image credit: Destination NSW One Time Traveler David Whitley Traveler 10 Outback Towns

Photo: Daniel Tran/Destination NSW

Mining giant BHP was founded in Broken Hill, but the town has since developed a strong arts scene. Pro Hart Gallery may be celebrating this quintessential Outback artist, while Living Desert State Park combines wildlife with striking sculpture.

Meanwhile, the Palace Hotel is one of the stars of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Now covered in murals, it hosts regular drag bingo and is the centerpiece of the annual Broken Heel Drag Festival held every September.Look website

Coober Pedy, South Australia

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Photo: Elliot Grafton/SATC

Deep in the South Australian outback, Coober Pedy happens to be the opal mining capital of the world. If you want to try your luck, you can rummage through a huge pile of rubble in the center of town – a few opals have been found here. But Coober Pedy is best known for being so hot that most people live in cave houses underground. Some are open to tourists, but none more spectacular than the underground Serbian Orthodox church.Look

Exmouth, Western Australia

Western Australia oct2cover Traveller's Best Coastline Cover; Text on Local Groundwater; Handout Images courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Photo: Tourism Western Australia

The gateway to Ningaloo Reef sits all alone at the end of a parched red earth peninsula. In recent years, Exmouth has started to become more of a proper town than a functioning service center, as swimming with whales and manta rays has joined the aquatic animal snorkeling opportunities once limited to whale sharks. Resorts upped their game and Whalebone Brewing Company introduced craft beer. Still, the focus is on getting in the water with the big boys.Look Australian Coral Coast website

Longridge, Queensland

Luxury Boutique Outback Lodging Credit: TEQ Single use, Traveler David Whitley Traveler 10 only

Photo: Jack Harlem/TEQ

Of all Queensland’s outback towns, Longreach packs all of its resources together in the most tourist-friendly way. Two of the top attractions are the Qantas Founders Museum and the Australian Stockman’s Fame. There are also really fun lodging options, such as glamping at Mitchell Grass Retreat. Best of all, Outback Pioneers offers a range of fun trips, whether it’s a Thomson River cruise or a stagecoach ride along dirt roads to recharge your batteries.Look

Winton, Queensland

Taken as part of the 2019 Outback Queensland Masters, photo credit: TEQ One Time Traveler Only David Whitley Traveler 10

]Photo: Sean Gilligan/TEQ

If you like your outback towns a little quirky, Winton does a great job. The Theater Royal is one of only two open-air theaters in the country, the musical fence is a barbed wire fence that emits melodies as it is tapped and tapped, and Dinosaur Age Australia showcases hundreds of dinosaur fossils found nearby. The highlight, however, is the Waltzing Matilda Centre. Possibly the only poetry-dedicated museum in the world, it tells the story of how Banjo Paterson’s poem became the unofficial national anthem after it was set to music at nearby Dagworth Station s story.Look

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Hannah Street, Kalgoorlie Credit: Tourism WA Single use only Travelers David Whitley Travelers 10 Outback Towns

Photo: Jarrad Seng/Tourism Western Australia

Kalgoorlie may be a little rough around the edges, but this isn’t a fly-in-fly-out mining town. The town center is lined with heritage buildings funded by the gold rush, while the Goldfield Museum and Hannam North Tourist Mine offer insight into gold rushes past and present. It’s also the only place you can legally play Two-Up outside of Anzac Day.

One of the highlights of Kalgoorlie, though, is the Super Pit, one of the largest open pit mines on Earth. Kalgoorlie Tours will take you on a bus into the pit, where the giant yellow excavator spirals down into a startlingly large pothole in the ground that dwarfs the pit.Look

Katherine, Northern Territory

2GN6DD0 Katherine River and the town of Katherine, Northern Territory, Australia. Photo Credit: Alamy Single Use, Travelers Only FEE APPLIES whitley - outback towns

Photo: Alami

Primarily seen as the starting point for Nitmiluk National Park canyon cruises, Katherine has a lot to offer if you’re here for a few nights. Try a thermal bath at Katherine Hot Springs, bush life at Katherine Outback Experience, and Aboriginal art and insight at Top Didj Cultural Experience. Oh yes, Katherine Canyon is also very impressive.Look Visit

Charlieville, Queensland

Charleville Credit: TEQ single use, traveler only David Whitley Traveler 10

Photo: TEQ

Charleville in South West Queensland offers a variety of interesting experiences. The historic Corones Hotel meets heritage requirements, the Cosmos Center offers space research and stargazing, and the WWII Secret Base tells war stories.

There’s also a flying doctor base with a visitor center, while Southwest Airlines conducts scenic flights over the outback landscape.Look

Broome, Western Australia

Camel ride at Cable Beach, Broome at sunset<br /> Image credit: Tourism Western Australia” src=”×349.png /1623204377941.png” title=”” width=”100%”/> </p>
<p><cite><i>Photo: Summer/Destination Western Australia</i></cite></p>
<p>Broome is so established as a resort town that we don’t instinctively think of it as the outback. A look at the red pindan dirt on the cliffs should provide ample reminders, as does a day trip to the Dampier Peninsula. But what makes Bloom so great is that it’s so unusual. You can ride a camel down Cable Beach, see dinosaur tracks at Gantheaume Point, drink a fruity tropical beer at Matsos Brewery and learn about the town’s pearling industry at historic Pearl Luggers.</p>
<p><em>Disclosure: David Whitley has been a guest of Tourism Australia and the state tourism boards.</em></p>
<p><strong>See also: <a href=Australia’s Weird, Little-Known Third Continental Territory

See also: Ten things I learned on my Melbourne to Sydney road trip

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