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.

We’re all keen to get back out and explore our big, beautiful backyard. Here are the tiny towns set to become our new holiday hotspots. Do it for your country, book today.

Winter wonders:

Moina, Tasmania

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

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An hour’s drive from Devenport, Moina 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.

The bedazzled frost-covered rainforest and snow-laden trees make it 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 18km circuit around Lake St Clair.

Bilpin, NSW

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

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 The Great 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.

Owned by Sean Moran and Michael Robertson, the same culinary power-couple behind hatted Bondi institution Seans, it is set on 20 hectares overlooking apple trees, free-range chooks and spring-fed dams.

Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory

The stunning coastline at Tiwi Islands.Source:Supplied

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

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

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

Culture hits:

Winton, Queensland

Australia’s best hidden holiday spots.Source:Supplied

Winton in central Queensland has serious small town cred with an average population of around 900. Known as Hollywood in the Outback thanks to the yearly Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, it has had several major movies filmed there, including Nick Cave’s Proposition and Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road and Goldstone.

It is also known as Australia’s Dinosaur Capital and was the birthplace of Qantas.

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

Bangalow, NSW

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

Macadamia orchards surround the town, just a 20-minute drive from Byron Bay.Source:Supplied

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.

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

Hunting for truffles with The Truffle & Wine Co.Source:Supplied

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.

Beautiful beaches:

Hyams Beach, NSW

The little-known Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay. Picture: Destination NSW/Tim ClarkSource:Supplied

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

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.

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

Rainbow Beach is perfect for a 4WD escape. Picture: Craig WarhurstSource:Supplied

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

This article originally appeared on Escape and was reproduced with permission

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