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  • Central Tilba (NSW): Just inland from Narooma on the south coast, this historic hamlet is one of the cutest you'll see, complete with blacksmiths and leatherwork outlets. The ABC Cheese Factory offers free tastings, and you can spend hours browsing antiques stalls or admiring the period buildings.
  • Broken Hill (NSW): Known for its silver mines, the quirky town of Broken Hill has more pubs per capita than just about anywhere else. It's the home of the School of the Air -- a "classroom" that transmits lessons by radio to communities spread over thousands of miles of Outback. Here you'll also find the Palace Hotel, made famous in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, as well as plenty of colonial mansions and heritage homes.
  • Port Douglas (QLD): What happens when Sydneysiders and Melbournians discover a one-street fishing village in tropical north Queensland? Come to Port Douglas and find out. A strip of groovy restaurants and a championship golf course have not diminished "Port's" old-fashioned air. Four Mile Beach is at the end of the street, and boats depart daily for the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Mission Beach (QLD): You'd never know this tidy village existed (it's hidden in lush rainforest off the highway) if you weren't well-informed. Aussies know it's here, but few bother to patronize its dazzling beach, offshore islands, and rainforest trails, so you'll have the place to yourself. There's great white-water rafting on the nearby Tully River, too.
  • Broome (WA): This romantic pearling port on the remote Kimberley coast on the Indian Ocean blends Aussie corrugated-iron architecture with the red pagoda roofs of Chinatown. The town fuses a sophisticated international ambience with Outback attitude. Play on Cable Beach and stay at glamorous Cable Beach Club Resort. This is the place to add to your South Sea pearl collection.
  • Kalgoorlie (WA): This is it, the iconic Australian country town. Vibrant Kalgoorlie sits on what used to be the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth ever. It still pumps around 2,000 ounces a day out of the ground. Have a beer in one of the gracious 19th-century pubs, peer into an enormous open-cut gold mine, and check out the operations of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
  • Goolwa (SA): At the mouth of the Murray, Australia's longest river, this historic port is full of beautiful sandstone buildings, many of them now art galleries and restaurants. Take a walk along the river's edge, past historic boatsheds and slipways, where paddle steamers once docked, or head out to the sand dune boardwalk for great coastal views. The wineries of McLaren Vale are a short drive away.
  • Coober Pedy (SA): Because of the intense summer heat, and because the inhabitants who've spent their lives excavating opal mines are pretty handy when it comes to digging out underground passages, the townsfolk here have created a subterranean town -- the biggest in Australia. Even the churches are underground.
  • Launceston (TAS): Tasmania's second city is not much larger than your average European or American small town, but it's packed with Victorian and Georgian architecture and remnants of Australia's convict past. Spend a few days and discover the scenery; splurge a little on a stay in a historic hotel.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.