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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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.

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account?

A debt collector can garnish your bank account, but only with a court order. This drastic action is usually taken only if you’ve ignored several notices asking you to pay the debt.

If this happens, there is nothing you can do to stop it other than immediately pay back your what you owe in full or make arrangements to pay it off in installments.

Once a garnishee order is issued, your bank will put a freeze on your account as it processes the order. This usually takes two to three days and you won’t be able to access any of your money during this time.

If you have Centrelink payments, they may be protected, depending on what the court order says.

Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?

Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.

If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.

Can I start a bank account online?

Yes, most lenders that operate in Australia will let you set up a bank account online. The process is usually simple and takes five to 10 minutes. You will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary identification. Requirements differ from lender to lender, so some institutions might ask for more or different forms of ID.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How can I find bank accounts in my name?

To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.

How do I open a bank account for a child?

There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.

A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.

If the child is too young to open the account, you can do it for them as their legal parent or guardian. 

To do this, you would need to be over 18, have an Australian residential address and currently reside in Australia (or have proof of residency).

You would also need to provide:

  • Identification for yourself and the child
  • Your tax file number (TFN) or TFN exemption

Depending on the bank account, you might be able to choose what level of access the child has to their bank account (online and via the phone).

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

Can I open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.