Australian Traveller’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards for 2011; results for Best Town in Australia. WINNER

MARGARET RIVER
Western Australia’s wine and waves capital came up trumps as our readers’ all-time favourite Australian town – “We loved its coastal location and country feel so close to wineries,” said one reader. The combination of untamed wilderness, manicured vineyards, excellent surfing and hiking, and even more excellent drinking and eating makes this a failsafe tourism destination. If Margaret River was located in one of the eastern states, it would be so crowded it would become commercialised in a flash and lose some of its rural charm. But because it takes a bit of an effort for most travellers to get here (the drive down from Perth is part of the fun) you are rewarded with beautiful boutique accommodation and passionate producers in a setting that is simply magic.
THE DETAILS For information on what to do and where to stay, go to margaretriver.com

RUNNERS-UP

2 BALLARAT
For an inland Victorian town to almost take the top spot against Margaret River, it has to be good. About an hour-and-a-quarter’s drive west of Melbourne, you love Ballarat for its history, sophisticated accommodation offerings and proud food-and-wine culture. visitballarat.com.au
3 DAYLESFORD
Set in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria’s Spa Country, this quaint town is rated for its great restaurants and healing natural mineral spas. visitvictoria.com/daylesford
4 BROOME
An outback town where the Western Australian desert meets the sea, Broome is remote and beautiful. broomevisitorcentre.com.au
5 ORANGE
Another inland town gets a place! This western NSW town is getting great word-of-mouth thanks to hip B&Bs, pretty parklands and phenomenal regional food and wine. orange.nsw.gov.au

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