The latest issue of Australian Traveller magazine, featuring the now infamous 100 Best Towns In Australia, hit newsstands on Wednesday March 25. And, aside from doing almost 90 radio, print and TV interviews in less than four days, we here at the AT headquarters were inundated with Reader Feedback.
We’re always open to comments and suggestions to broaden our understanding of travel around Australia, and a generous portion of the good, the bad and the ugly were all thrown our way in response to our publishing the 100 Best Towns In Australia.
Comments ranged from high praise for the outcome to disappointment in towns that we may have missed and even some debates about where exactly the best pie shop is.
We’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The reactions have been overwhelming and we’d love to hear from you wether it be tips, praise or even slurs. So if there’s anything you think we’ve left out, feel free to drop us a line on our shiny new website.
Oh, and just in case you need a few ideas to get you started, here are just a few of the observations that have landed in our inbox over the past few days, with the names removed to protect the innocent, of course. For all the other comments that have been made in response to the 100 Best Towns, see the Comments Tab on the homepage of australiantraveller.com . . .
As much as I am disappointed that Deniliquin did not make the list, I have to say that the towns in the list are a pretty good guide to what is representative and interesting in Oz! Well done! And let the debate begin!
Three cents’ worth from Urunga
I would question the validity of 12 peoples opinions, that is hardly quantified and qualified research and yet this sort publicity would have such a huge negative and positive tourism affect on towns around Australia (i.e.: those that did get a gong and those that didn’t). I do hope you are aware of the repercussions of your actions.
Hopefully however, the comments you will now receive will start to build a more convincing research project, therefore, I will add my bit. Obviously, ‘the 12 chosen ones’ have never visited the picturesque seaside town of Urunga on the Mid North Coast of NSW, with its river, ocean and the mountain views, where one can walk to every club, restaurant and service in the town, leaving the car parked only to be utilised for the 15-30 minute day trip to Bellingen, Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour. That is paradise.
Alice Springs A-okay
Greetings from Central Australia. I live in Alice Springs and for years I have been nagged by family and friends to move – to the Central Coast NSW, to Melbourne, to Sydney to Hervey Bay QLD.
After 30 years of living here I recently retired in February 2009, and now own my own house, have future job security if I want it, beautiful scenery and beautiful people.
Australia, the bush is 5 mins from my door step, yet I have a CBD and industrial area that offers me everything I could want, bar some specialty shops.
The town is a leader in Solar Energy technology (see Alice Solar City website) and I hope this year to have some PV panels installed on my house this year.
The people are friendly and laid back, the hospital and health system as good as any in Australia. Alice Springs Hospital is a teaching hospital for Flinders University.
Alice Springs has always punched above its weight for a small town, servicing as far west as the WA border, south to the SA border and as north as Tennant Creek (570 km).
Every few years we are host to the Masters Games – the first such Masters Games to be held in Australia. We manage to provide facilities for a huge variety of sports, and thousands arrive for this event.
I can’t imagine living anywhere else, and in times of economic decline, since I retired 4 weeks ago I have been offered 5 different jobs! People who can’t find work here aren’t really trying. It’s a top place – in fact the whole of the Territory is.
Pleased to see I’ve been to over 40 of your listings, and heartily agree. Looking fwd to seeing more, as they are not the clone-ish experience many of the popular tourist attractions have become. p.s. I’m buying this month’s copy for overseas friends
Justin, I just saw your quote on Australian Traveller site: “With great little antiques and arguably the best pie shop in NSW, Bowral is more than just another pretty town in the Southern Highlands.” – Justin Wastnage
I have to disagree with you, the Best pie Shop in NSW is the Robertson Pie Shop in Roberston, NOT Bowral. And Robertson should be ahead of the mess called Bowral on the list, too. Hope you visit Robertson one day and see what a great little town we have. Bowral? Bah-humbug.
Brunswick Heads, Bangalow, Mullumbimby.
All great towns, all should be in your top-ten, and apparently not considered. That’s what makes Byron Shire unbeatable. Not one great town, but four … not to mention the best beaches and countryside in the land.
Community matters most
The best towns or the best LOCATED towns? As a fifth generation Tamworthian, who has lived on the central coast and in Sydney but keeps coming back to Tamworth, I would charge that your panel misses the point about what makes a country town the best.
It is not where it is located…it is the PEOPLE in the community and the extent of their INVOLVEMENT in the community…a nice location is a little bonus but what YOUR community makes of where they live, regardless of whether it has lush pastures, waterfalls, beautiful beaches, majestic mountains etc, or not is inconsequential.
You have to LIVE in a country town, not just visit occasionally, before you can judge its value. Your panel members have obviously not done that. Great exercise…shame about the basis.
Incidentally…I was in Dorrigo and Bellingen just today, stopped off to have a wander around (in transit from Coffs…), both very picturesque locations but as TOWNS…75 AND 27 RESPECTIVELY…you are kidding?
I don’t understand how some places got missed. There’s not a town between Byron Bay and Hervey Bay, so Kingscliff, Noosa, Coolum, Rainbow Beach, Mooloolaba, 1770, Bargara, Main Beach have all been missed. It’s as if the judges aren’t real keen on beach towns much. Just ask yourself where you’d like to retire and I bet the answer ISN’T some of the towns listed.
Eden has to be in there somewhere, between Mallacoota and Merimbula it is the best part of the country. How could Eden have been missed???
Esperance not high enough
I think you got it spot on – but Esperance should be up one spot – Beautiful untouched coastline, have to see to believe.
Euroa the boat I catcha the fish. No car trip to Euroa as a child seemed complete without this epithet. And at that age the place had plenty of charm – dams, yabbies, and a surly Shetland pony owned by my Uncle and Aunt. As a grownup it lacks the usual drawcards. There are no restaurants with hats, no day spas, no luxury boutique hotel accommodation. What is does have is good old-fashioned country charm, and friendly, down-to-earth locals. The welcome’s genuine and the smile’s real. They also have same diorama in the library window that was there when I was a kid. Love it.
Yamba, yes – but Iluka better
We agree with your choice of Yamba, but in our view, it is the little hamlet on the opposite side of the inlet, namely Iluka, that is idyllic. It is even smaller than Yamba, but the views on the river are outstanding, especially the sunset. We take an occasional photo here and there, but this one is the result of a rushed click on flattening batteries. How good is this???
Love for Longreach
Longreach is great, because I came here for a look 23 years ago and haven’t left!
Mystified in Montville
Hi, I have been to a lot of the places on your 100 list and they are all beautiful. But I cannot understand why Montville was not on the list. I said to my husband I could live there any day, it is so lovely and the surrounding National Parks, and only 30 minutes to the Sunshine Coast beaches. We have been there twice recently and as I said I could live there easily.
To the point
What happened to Laurieton, North Haven and Narooma if Yamba was No.1?
Nelson Bay better than Yamba
Just read your article and having stayed in Yamba last week travelling down the Pacific from Bundaberg and I agree that Yamba should be high on the list. Having dinner in the pub overlooking the local beach is worth the trip alone.
However, in all honesty, how can Nelson Bay not be number one?
Whales, dolphins, bay / beach/ ocean fishing, snorkelling, sand dunes, ship wrecks, dinner cruises on the bay; for the golf enthusiast Nelson Bay 27 hole golf course and Horizons Golf Course are minutes away, while Newcastle and Pacific Dunes are only half an hour away. Great restaurants (The Point, Zest etc), great informal eating (fish & chips at the Marina, pizza at Chinos etc); easy access with Newcastle airport 30 minutes away, Sydney less than 3 hours away on the F3; the Hunter wine region an hour’s drive away; Karuah’s Oyster Festival forty minutes drive away. I could go on – ooops I have.
How do I know so much about The Bay, I hear you ask. Well I discovered all this around eight years ago and decided to retire here.
If Nelson Bay didn’t finish top of the pops, all I can say is our local tourist organisation can’t be much chop! Anyway, enjoyed your article.
100 Best Towns a waste of time
I guess as you speak of towns and those with a small population your selections maybe fine but many of us like places with reasonable facilities, tourist activities and an exciting nightlife so in such cases your efforts are totally wasted.
I am also concerned that if overseas travellers wish to visit the places outlined that they will have difficulty getting to them and when they get there they will be disappointed with the lack of facilities.
I honestly believe that as a travel magazine you have overlooked the needs of your clients in your selection criteria and the accessibility to them.
Having been to better than 50% of listed towns, I offer the following comments. Some of the positions in my view need revamping, but more to the point, why is Huskisson in, when Sussex Inlet is out? Why is Yamba number one, when Narooma fails to get a mention? How can you possibly have a dust bowl like Kalgoorlie in when Bargara, QLD, fails to get on your list?
We’ve got the best bloody public toilets in SA!
You got it wrong
Port Macquarie – ‘nuff said. I lived there for ten years so am a bit biased, have a bit of local knowledge, so here goes: great climate, seven perfect beaches, surf, clear water (river and sea), fishing, power boating, sailing, water skiing, fresh oysters, cosmopolitan if you want with a small town feel, pubs, clubs, restaurants, boating, whale watching, sports, all major retailers in a small area, go to the north shore by car ferry and 4WD on the beach, national parks and reserves close by, airport now has Qantas and Virgin, wineries, historic towns, B & B’s only minutes away and still reasonably crime free…
Robe not high enough
Robe, SA, should be in top 50 at least. Sure got Broome right, it’s a great place
I read with interest the top towns named this month. I am intrigued! Have you ever visited Sawtell? Sadly too many people miss us and only see Coffs Harbour. Our Moreton Bay figs lining the heritage First Ave and unspoiled beaches, estuaries and headlands bound by National Parks will never be spoiled by development. Our quaint but sophisticated village boasts great shops and spas, as well as the cafes, restaurants and clubs. We have 3 great golf courses within 10 minutes – Sawtell’s course is right in town.
I have only been here myself for 18 months – but after growing up on the coast just south of here – I have to agree with the German and Dutch tourists who apparently have websites recommending the places to stay between Sydney and Brisbane are Sawtell & Byron Bay – for their natural beauty and the offer of great food. We live in the best climate – any where north of Grafton is too humid and the Coffs Coast is great to explore, as Bellingen and Dorrigo are a part of this. If you have not checked us out – I invite you to spend some time here!
Praise for belt tightening
Very pleasing to see South West Rocks up around the top ten. However, if Yamba is No 1 why is there no mention at all of Laurieton, North Haven and Narooma? These three together with Yamba and South West Rocks (a very special place relatively unspoilt) are excellent reasons why it is completely unnecessary for Aussies to travel overseas for their holidays. Well done in promoting this very thought. I suspect there is much more scope to further advance this “home grown” holiday promotion especially during this time of belt tightening.
South West Rocks rocks
Hi, I would just like to tell you that I’m very lucky and live at “The Rocks”. I think it is number one but also think it is great we made number 11. I just hope it manages to retain all of its natural beauty. It doesn’t need any manmade attractions as it is full of it’s own natural beauty. When I travel I always compare it to home but not many places can match up to “The Rocks”.
Victor Harbor overlooked?
Though I live in Canberra now I am wondering how my hometown of Victor Harbor SA did not top the list of South Australian towns. Perhaps it was overlooked?
Silverton good – White Cliffs better
Hi there, love your list, and we were pleased to see Silverton made it in at No. 47. Having just returned for a great trip touring western NSW country towns we would like to suggest that White Cliffs would be a contender for future lists. It is 95kms north of Wilcannia and has the best highway we travelled on during our 5000km journey.
It is opal mining territory and an amazing place to visit. We stayed in an underground B&B – “PJ’s” there is also an underground motel. They have a caravan park and plenty of opal mines and caves to visit, all underground of course. The people there were friendly, if a little quirky, but honestly we would recommend it to anyone heading out Broken Hill way, just to experience a different lifestyle. It was recommended to us by fellow travellers we met in Broken Hill, and they had stayed at the motel even though they were pulling a caravan, just for the experience they said. If you need any more information I would suggest you contact Joanne at PJ’s – firstname.lastname@example.org – great people who would love to see more visitors heading to their small town.