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Nothing amuses more in Australia than when I’ve been told by the locals not to go somewhere, only to end up there and discover it’s near enough paradise. Believe it or not, this has happened on so many occasions, with some Australians telling me not to bother with the most incredible spots. One example was Fraser Island in Queensland – I was told it just a big lump of sand, but it actually turned out to be one of the most stunning places in the world – however I thought I too far-fetched to put in this list!

Anyway, to make sure you don’t miss out on some of the most amazing places to visit in Australia by listening to too many of the locals, here are 5 top spots you definitely should go to no matter what they say!

1. Adelaide, South Australia

The capital of South Australia seems to have a really bad rep for some reason, so I only planned to spend a day there as I was passing through. Big mistake. This city is great and certainly one of the top places to visit in Australia! Smaller and more friendly than Sydney or Melbourne, it’s still got a buzzing arts scene, with tons of great cafes and oodles of fun pop-up bars that dot hidden laneways and sell some amazing craft beer. On top of all this, the beach is only 20 minutes away and so are the vineyards  – cue: wine-tasting tours a go go! I loved Adelaide, so don’t listen to any Australians who tell you it has nothing going on and is just a boring country town … lies lies lies!

2. Bowen, Queensland

Hidden surprise 101! Let me tell you now folks, Bowen is gorgeous. Ok, so maybe the town itself is a little deadbeat like its reputation, but the beaches here are stunning! It is in the Whitsundays area after all. So, if you want to save yourself a fortune, but still enjoy the crystal waters, great snorkeling and sandy beaches of the Whitsundays, put Bowen on your list of the places to visit in Australia. There’s ton of great caravan parks with cheap camping and a multitude of secluded beaches to walk or drive to so you can enjoy paradise away from the crowds and the big dollar signs!

3. Yeppoon, Queensland

Another quiet coastal town in Queensland, Yeppoon, like Bowen, often suffers from bad-mouthing at the hands of its countrymen! Don’t listen to them, this town, and the surrounding areas, have some beautiful sandy beaches that are patrolled and provide some great swimming. There are also great fishing and water sport opportunities and some wonderful cafes to lunch in. Numerous nearby national parks, including Mount Archer and Byfield State Forest, make great day trips and the city of Rockhampton with all its amenities is only a short drive away.

4. Port Macquarie, New South Wales

I lived near Port Macquarie for a few months when I was doing my farm work and totally got to love this friendly town on the beach. There are some lovely boutique local shops here and the best op shops I’ve found throughout Australia! The beach is also great and the surf often up. Somewhere between a town and city, this place is super chilled and boasts a lovely promenade and marina area where you can stroll in the sunshine. Perfectly situated if you are road tripping between Sydney and Brisbane, definitely put Port Macquarie down as one of the places to visit in Australia and allow yourselves a few days stop over here to unwind.

5. Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Slap bang in the middle of nowhere, Alice Springs cops a lot of slack from Australians, but is definitely one of best places to visit in Australia, not least because of what surrounds it. Yes, you can just fly straight to Yulara to visit Uluru, but then you’ll be missing the desert drive, the real outback experience and the different cultural milieu that permeates this part of the country. Basing yourself in Alice Springs will also give you the chance to see a lot more of Central Australia away from the crowds including the West McDonnell Range, Palm Valley and the Henbury Meteorite Conservation Reserve. I know right!!

So there’s 5 amazing places to visit in Australia that you should definitely head to no matter what the locals say! Get them on your list!

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Stephanie Parker / Big World Small Pockets

Stephanie Parker is a travel addict and creator of Big World Small Pockets. Originally from Jersey, Channel Islands, but currently based in Australia, she backpacks the world on a shoestring collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile.

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