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The 35 best regional destinations in Australia

The 35 best regional destinations in Australia

Australia has some amazing capital cities – stunning Sydney, vibrant Melbourne, charming Hobart, tropical Darwin. But its superb regional destinations often fly under the radar.

If you need inspiration for your next trip, look no further than our list of five must-see regional destinations in each state.

Highlights include the wildlife paradise of Kangaroo Island (South Australia), the convict history of Port Arthur (Tasmania), the gold rush town of Kalgoorlie (Western Australia) and the natural marvels of Uluru and Kata Tjuta (Northern Territory).

New South Wales

Blue Mountains: This World Heritage-listed area is awash with natural treasures, including Jenolan Caves, the Three Sisters mountains and Kanangra Falls.

Broken Hill: Revel in the mining history (this is where BHP, or Broken Hill Proprietary Company, was formed), outback landscapes and surprisingly rich art scene.  

Byron Bay: Beaches, bushwalking, diving, ballooning, whale watching, day spas, arts and crafts.

Kiama: One of Australia’s most beautiful small towns boasts a famous blowhole, gorgeous beaches and a wonderful coastal walk.

Lord Howe Island: This World Heritage site is renowned for its natural beauty. You could spend an idyllic week here walking, diving, fishing and bird watching.

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Blue Mountains

Northern Territory

Adelaide River: An Adelaide River ‘jumping crocodile’ cruise is a rare opportunity to see lots of vicious crocs up close in their natural habitat.

Alice Springs: This desert town is rich in Aboriginal and European history, with several stunning outback landmarks located nearby.

Kakadu National Park: Ancient Aboriginal rock art, gorgeous waterfalls, amazing landscapes – there’s a reason Kakadu is on the World Heritage list.

Litchfield National Park: One of Australia’s most extraordinary national parks.

Uluru & Kata Tjuta: Two of the world’s most remarkable natural creations – located just 50 kilometres from each other.

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Adelaide River

Queensland

Cairns: Dive or snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, visit the nearby rainforest village of Kuranda and discover Aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

Cooktown: Look down on this beautiful small town from the top of Grassy Hill – which Captain Cook climbed in 1770 after stopping to repair the Endeavour.

Fraser Island: The world’s largest sand island is famous for its beaches, lakes, rainforests, shipwrecks and dingoes.

Hamilton Island: This tropical paradise is the perfect place to swim, sail, dive and relax.

Noosa: Beaches, swimming, bushwalking, whales, dolphins, koalas.

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Hamilton Island

South Australia

Barossa Valley: Australia’s most famous wine-growing region is known for its food, wine, walking trails and charming villages.

Coober Pedy: This bizarre, otherworldly opal-mining town is so hot that many of its residents live underground.

Flinders Ranges National Park: The large network of walking trails will lead you to amazing landscapes and Aboriginal rock art.

Kangaroo Island: If you like penguins, seals, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and dramatic natural scenery, this is the place for you.

Victor Harbor: This lovely little holiday town is known for its wildlife, coastal scenery and water sports.

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Coober Pedy

Tasmania

Cradle Mountain: Cradle Mountain, and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in which it is located, is home to some of Australia’s most breathtaking alpine scenery.

Maria Island: Convict ruins, plentiful wildlife, stunning scenery – there are few better places in Australia to go bushwalking.

Port Arthur: Australia’s most amazing convict site, and also the site of the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in which 35 people died.

Strahan: This charming seaside village is known for its natural beauty and convict history.

Wineglass Bay: Climb to the top of the mountain and you’ll be rewarded with one of Australia’s most iconic – and Instagramable – views.

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Wineglass Bay

Victoria

Ballarat: Immerse yourself in the history of the Eureka Stockade, where the Southern Cross flag flew and a bloody battle was fought in 1854.

Bendigo: This charming small city has fascinating history and architecture from its days as a 19th century gold rush town.

Great Ocean Road: Australia’s most famous drive is best done over several days. Highlights include the Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach, Loch Ard Gorge and Teddy’s Lookout.

Phillip Island: Penguins, seals, whales, koalas and stunning coastline, not to mention fascinating motorsport history.

The Grampians: The Grampians National Park is heaven for bushwalkers.

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Great Ocean Road

Western Australia

Broome: This tropical town is a fascinating blend of natural beauty, pearling history and multicultural flavour.

Esperance: Experience some of Australia’s most remarkable beaches and coastal scenery.

Exmouth: The town itself is nothing special, but the nearby Ningaloo Marine Park and Cape Range National Park are extraordinary.

Kalgoorlie: This outback city is all about the gold – the world’s largest open-cut gold mine, historic gold rush architecture and nearby gold rush ghost towns.

New Norcia: Founded in 1847 by Benedictine monks, this is Australia’s only monastic town.

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Broome

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about bank accounts

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.

How do you open a bank account in Australia?

Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.

Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.

All banks require you to pass an identity check to open a bank account. Australia uses the 100-point identification system, which means you’ll need to show a number of forms of ID that, together, add up to 100 points.

Common ID types include a driver’s licence, passport, Australian visa in a foreign passport, and Australian Medicare card. You’ll find out what types of ID are accepted when you go through the sign-up process online or at a branch.

Once your account is open, you’ll be given or sent a debit card that you can use to make purchases and withdraw money from your account.

How can I deposit cash into my bank account?

The traditional way to deposit cash into your bank account is to go to a branch and give it to a teller. These days, many banks will allow you to make deposits through an ATM as well.

What do you need to open bank accounts?

Opening a bank account is one of the simplest online tasks you could perform. The hard part is deciding which type of bank account you want to open.

All banking institutions have a website where you hit ‘apply’ on the account of your choice and step through an application in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a list of information that is generally required for applications.

  • Identification (driver’s licence, passport, proof of age card, proof of citizenship and/or birth certificate)
  • Tax file number (so you don’t get charged the highest tax rate)
  • Address, contact email and phone number

If you decide to open a new account at the branch, make sure you ask beforehand what information you need to take with you, or take all of the above to be safe.

Can debt collectors take money out of your bank account?

Many people find themselves struggling to cope with debt at one time or another. In these cases, a debt collector could contact you to demand payment for a debt, to explain the consequences of you failing to pay a debt, or to organise alternative payment arrangements.

If you’re contacted by a debt collector, you may be wondering what their rights are and whether they can take money out of your bank account.

Creditors cannot access money in your bank account unless a court order (also known as a ‘garnishee order’) is made to allow creditors to recover debt by taking money from your bank account or salary.

If this happens, the creditor can take money out of your bank account unless you pay the debt in full or make an alternative payment arrangement such as paying in instalments through the court.

Do you need a bank account to get a credit card?

To get a credit card, you need to show proof of income, which will almost certainly require you to have a bank account.

Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?

You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

How can I close a Commonwealth Bank account?

You can close your Commonwealth Bank account at any branch, provided you have appropriate identification. You can also close your account over the phone, by calling 132 221, 24 hours a day.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

What do I need to open bank accounts online?

Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

  • Identification (such as driver’s licence, birth certificate, passport, proof-of-age card)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, email and a contact number

In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

There are some types of bank account that you can apply for only in a branch. However, most bank accounts can be applied for conveniently online.

How do I overdraw my Commonwealth Bank account?

Overdrawing a bank account can happen by accident. It’s often hard to know what your balance is, particularly with direct debits, scheduled repayments and pending transactions competing for cash.

To avoid being stuck with a bank fee every time your account is overdrawn, you can apply for a personal overdraft. This will enable you to overdraw your account up to an approved amount.

A personal overdraft is connected to your CommBank Everyday Account, so you can enjoy easy access to extra funds once approved – anywhere from $100 up to $20,000.

Your overdraft funds can be accessed via your CommBank keycard or Debit MasterCard, or online through NetBank and the CommBank app.

To apply you can either call the Commonwealth Bank directly or visit your local branch.

How do you deposit change into your bank account?

One way to deposit change into your bank account is to visit a branch. Many lenders will also allow you to deposit your change through one of their ATMs.