Darwin, city (1991 pop. 67,946), capital of the Northern Territory, N Australia, on Port Darwin, an inlet of the Timor Sea. Remotely situated on the sparsely settled north coast, Darwin has no rail connection with any of the major Australian cities. Australian military personnel and their dependents make up a large part of the population. Darwin is multicultural, with large Chinese and aboriginal populations. In World War II the city was heavily bombed by the Japanese; later a military airdrome, fuel-oil installations, and a wharf were built, and Darwin became a key Allied base. Originally called Palmerston, the town was renamed (1911) for Charles Darwin because its site had been a stop (1839) during a voyage of Darwin's ship, the Beagle. The city was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane in Dec., 1974. It was rebuilt and now attracts large numbers of tourists who visit nearby Kakadu National Park.
An oasis in the desert is a spirited celebration of life - and that's a perfect description of Alice Springs, oasis extraordinaire.
Here, in the middle of Australia's Red Centre, the doctors make housecalls by plane, the townspeople race bottomless boats down dry riverbeds, whilst visitors take camels to dinner.
"The Alice" (as the town of 20,000 is affectionately known), is also the gateway to Australia's heart and soul. You can hear the "heartbeats" as you visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), take an Aboriginal culture tour, or glide over the spectacular red plains in a hot air balloon. Just take a moment and you'll feel the ancient beat.
Mackay POPULATION: 70,000 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Mackay is set on the Queensland Coast halfway between Brisbane and Cairns. With a high amount of natural beauty, Mackay has plenty to offer locals and visitors alike. From the Great Barrier Reef in the east to Eungella National Park - an Aboriginal word for land of the fallen clouds - in the west, there is plenty to do and see in this wonderful region. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 992 kilometres
POPULATION: 8,654 approximately
Situated on the northern approach to the Burdekin Bridge, 85 kilometres south of Townsville, with more than 300 glorious sunny days each year, the district truly is the winterless north. The natural beauty of the rivers, creeks, estuaries lined with unspoiled mangrove and miles of sandy beaches make the area a mecca for fishing, crabbing, windsurfing and water skiing. Said to be "built on liquid gold" because it is situated on a vast natural underground aquifer which is artificially replenished with water from the Burdekin Falls Dam the district is Australia's richest sugar producing area and also the mango and melon capital. It is a bird watcher's paradise with 280 species of birds recorded.
Emerald POPULATION: 13,500 for the whole shire AREA: 10,230 square kilometres for the whole shire
Emerald is a busy and progressive town with diverse industries such as cattle, agriculture and tourism. The town also services local coal mines. Visitors can tour a coalmine or try their hand at fossicking. Originally created by Queensland Rail, this town is home to the beautiful colonial Emerald Railway Station. INDUSTRIES PRIMARY: Coal,Sapphire and Gem mining, Cotton, Wheat Maize, Sorghum, Oats, Barley, Sunflower, Soybean, Beef, Aquaculture, Citrus, Grapes, Avocados, Mangos, Native Flowers, Peanuts and many small crops. SECONDARY INDUSTRIES: Meat processing, Concrete block making, Sawmilling, Engineering, Furniture and Cabinet making, Jewellery manufacturing, Gemcutting. CLIMATE: Winter Dry Season, Av Temp 23-8 Centigrade and Summer Wet Season 34-22 Centigrade. Rainfall 640ml per annum CLOSEST TOWNS: Comet, Anakie, Saphire, Rubyvale, The Willows Ginde, Gemfields and Bogantungan. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 918kms
Hamilton Island is located in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands, about 900 kilometres north of Brisbane. Hamilton Island is a haven for Australians and a host of overseas visitors. Hamilton is the only Queensland Island with a modern jet airport. The whole Island is a world-class resort and includes a village of boutique shops, eight swimming pools and nine restaurants. At any one time the Island hosts two thousand people and approximately two hundred boats in its world-class marina. The Island includes a fifty acre fauna park featuring kangaroos and koalas. There are at least 150 species of birds, and eucalypt bush walks to mountain peaks with 360 degree Island views.
Hamilton Island has fringing coral reef with the best snorkelling and diving at Catseye Beach. You can also visit the Outer Reef by high-speed catamaran or helicopter. Hardy Reef is a particular spot for diving or reef viewing. Hamilton is a boating paradise. Make sure you visit Whitehaven Beach or enjoy a fantastic variety of sporting and leisure activities on the Island.
The first sight of Heron Island (only 72 km from Gladstone and described as "the ultimate reef experience") sends the spirits soaring, with a coral drop perched in an infinity of blue. Heron Island is a coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef and lies in the Tropic of Capricorn 70 kilometres north of Gladstone. Rated as one of the best diving locations on earth, the reef is practically at your doorstep. The island is also a sanctuary for thirty species of birds including 100,000 Black Noddy Terns and Reef Herons. Among the music of seabirds, tracks of turtles and multi-coloured clouds of fish, the feeling that you're a guest of nature itself is inescapable. Reef walking, snorkelling, diving, viewing underwater life from the coral submarine, watching the sun set over the ocean - you become part of a community caught up in the timeless evolution of the world's largest living thing - the Great Barrier Reef. The resort offers several standards of accommodation designed to suit all tastes and budgets.
Great Keppel Island
Great Keppel Island is just north of the Tropic of Capricorn and is the biggest member of the Keppel Island Family. Most of the island is natural bushland with 28 kilometres of beaches, wide stretches of sand and small secluded bays. For snorkelling or diving, apart from Clam Bay Shelving Beach and Monkey Point, there's nine great diving sites in Keppel Bay. Topside you can cruise from Great Keppel Island by yacht or launch to nearby deserted islands or enjoy catamarans, diving, sailboards, aqua bikes or surfing. You'll love the horse riding, netball, tennis and bushwalking. Great Keppel Island boasts one of the most comprehensive array of sports of any island. The Great Keppel Island Resort is one of Australia's best known and offers a choice of first class resort accommodation. There are four budget accommodation options on the island - Keppel Haven and Keppel Kampout, Keppel Lodge and the Great Keppel Island YHA.
Hayman Island is the most northerly of the Whitsunday Group and is situated about 28 kilometres north-east of Shute Harbour and about 900 kilometres north of Brisbane. A quiet mountainous continental island mainly covered with eucalypt and hoop pine, Hayman offers you a feast for your eyes on any one of many bushwalks. Hayman Island is one of the world's finest resorts. It is also the closest resort to the Great Barrier Reef with helicopter or cruiser transport giving guests the opportunity for coral viewing or diving. Big game fishermen come to Hayman in the months of September, October and November in search of Black Marlin. On a sparkling sunny day the colour of the water of Hayman's lagoon and Whitsunday Passage is simply stunning - the hues range from gold to turquoise to emerald to sapphire.
Cooktown POPULATION: 1 500 approx. GENERAL INFORMATION: Cooktown - the gateway to the wilderness - was founded in 1873 as the port for the Palmer River Goldfields. This was more than a century after Captain James Cook spent 48 days in 1770 on the banks of the Endeavour River repairing his ship. Every June the town celebrates Cooktown's status as Australia's first, if brief, European settlement at a Discovery Festival which includes a colourful re-enactment of Cook's landing. A highlight of a visit to Cooktown is an extended tour of the James Cook Museum - built in 1888 as a convent school run by Irish nuns. The Museum documents Cook's voyages, Aboriginal and natural history, the gold rush days and their Chinese legacy. Walking tracks in the area allow for visitors to explore areas of beach, bush and mountains. Closer to town is Grassy Hill where one can share the same view as Captain Cook. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 2,047km on North Coastal Road/2,137km via Peninsula Road
In 1836 the Surveyor General, J. S. Roe, led an expedition to the east of the Avon Valley in search of pastoral land. One of his camps was located a few kilometres north of the present town of Koorda.
Cairns (Local Government Area): 100,000 approximately
Cairns city is in the heart of the Tropical North and is the primary gateway to Northern Australia. A modern, sophisticated city, it is an ideal base to explore the wider region with front door access to the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest and outback. An amazing 600 tour options are available each and every day from Cairns city. The Cairns International Airport is located only several minutes drive north of the city centre. The city itself is where much of the accommodation is situated with international standard restaurants, boutique shopping, modern art galleries and classy nightclubs to keep visitors entertained. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1,807kms
Proserpine POPULATION: - Town of Proserpine and surrounding areas 10,000 approximately/Shire of Whitsunday 17,000 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Proserpine is the administrative and service centre for the Shire. The Town has all the usual facilities, including a hospital, primary and secondary schools, library, and sporting facilities for swimming, tennis, bowls, squash, netball, football, golf, and indoor cricket. It is a peaceful country town with friendly people and fascinating North Queensland architecture. Proserpine has a booming sugar industry and the local sugar mill has guided tours during the crushing season. The tours include free samples plus morning or afternoon tea. Lake Proserpine, just west of the Town, is popular for water skiing and other water sports. There is a pretty picnic area beside the lake. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1,120 kilometres
Bathurst Island, c.1,000 sq mi (2,590 sq km), Northern Territory, N Australia, near Melville Island, between the Timor and Arafura seas. The island is a reservation owned by the Tiwi people
GOVE PENINSULA, NORTH EAST ARNHEM LAND
The Gove Peninsula, situated at the far north east end of Amhem Land, is one of the last true wildernesses with sandy beaches, great fishing and diving and an abundance of flora and fauna. The Gove Peninsula is an excellent bluewater sports and reef fishing location with over 30 different species of fish in the pristine water of the Arafura Sea.
Snorkelling and Scuba Diving are two very usual activities during the months of September to March in the many beautiful coral reefs which hosts an abundance of marine life.
Albany , town (1996 pop. 14,590), Western Australia, SW Australia. It is a port on Princess Royal Harbour of King George Sound. The town has woolen mills and fish canneries. Founded in 1826 as a penal colony, Albany is the oldest settlement in the state of Western Australia
POPULATION: 2,500 approximately
Magnetic Island is the Island playground of Townsville featuring prominently in the profile of the city. The Island is only 20 minutes from the city centre by regular fast cat ferries. Two thirds of Magnetic Island is National Park with secluded but easily accessible bays and golden beaches. The Island has nearly 25 kilometres of walking tracks meandering through the protected national parks that are home to stands of eucalypts and wildlife including koalas.
It comprises self-contained accommodation as well as cheaper backpacker hostels. Boat trips around the Island, parasailing, Harley tours, watersports, golf, diving expeditions, great fishing, horse riding, and moke hire are all available, as well as, 166 different species of wildlife to observe.
DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1,438 km
Charters Towers POPULATION: 12,000 approximately
GENERAL INFORMATION: Charters Towers is 135 kilometres south-west of Townsville and has an altitude of 336 metres which ensures an excellent climate with comfortably cool nights. Known mostly for its heritage and goldmining history, this city once had a population of 27 000 and had the only Stock Exchange in the world to take 3 calls a day. Today the main industries are mining (mine tours are available) beef (homestay accommodation is available), education (five excellent, world recognised boarding schools) and tourism (a visit will explain why). Charters Towers is a perfect example of the real Australia, with brilliantly coloured sunsets, and cattle stations. The friendly atmosphere and heritage streetscape only add to its unique appeal. Numerous tranquil water spots and secluded lava caves ensures fascinating walks and great camping. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1200 kilometres
Thursday Island POPULATION: 3,500 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Thursday Island, now identified as one of the last great frontiers in Australia, holds some great Australian history. In 1880 Thursday Island acted as the defence centre for Australia and evidence of this still exists in that the cannons still remain in place. It is located 35 kilometres north-west on the tip of Cape York. A majority of the residents are involved in some way with the Island's new three major industries of pearling, crayfishing and trochus. Thursday Island also has facilities such as a sporting complex for basketball and volleyball, an Olympic size swimming pool, a football oval, a primary and secondary school, a general hospital (outpatient), the Torres Strait Campus (Tafe) - part of James Cook University, ambulance and police services. ISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 3 040kms
Labrador POPULATION: 14,425 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Labrador is a fast growing area at the northern end of the coast and overlooks the Broadwater, a haven for sailors with its still, shallow waters. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 73kms
Rockhampton is the capital of the Capricorn region and provides a gateway to the Capricorn Coast, central highlands, gemfields and the rural hinterland. Founded in 1853, Rockhampton boasts fine examples of colonial architecture dating back to the early pioneering days. Rockhampton is home to a wide range of tourist attractions which are guaranteed to entertain all the family. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 638kms
Whitsunday Coast Towns
The delightful coastal village of Airlie Beach is the mainland centre for the Whitsunday Islands.
Surrounded by the Conway Range National park to the west and the Whitsundays at its front door Airlie beach is holiday destination in its own right.
Dunk Island is probably the best known of Australia's tropic isles. Dunk is part of the Family Group of Islands and is one of the most tropical on the Great Barrier Reef in terms of its vegetation. Dunk Island is about 160 kilometres north of Townsville and 120 kilometres south of Cairns. A birdwatcher's paradise, Dunk is also the home of the stunning Ulysses Butterfly which is the island's symbol. The Dunk Island Resort is one of the largest developments on any of the island and it is heavily promoted and very popular with southern visitors and overseas tourists. Most of the island however is national park. At Beaver Cay you can snorkel or view coral gardens and marine life from a glass-bottomed boat or semi-submersible craft. The scuba diving is fantastic. The fishing around the island is great, charter a boat to catch the big ones. Spanish Mackerel and Barracuda are plentiful as are Coral Trout, Sweet Lip and Trevally.
Lindeman Island is the most southerly island of the Whitsunday Group situated 32 kilometres from the coast. Lindeman Island is a national park and a spectacular setting for the new Club Med Resort. The Resort takes up only a tiny parts of the Island's 20 square kilometres, the rest is covered by nearly 20 kilometres of bushwalking tracks. These tracks are beautifully maintained and take you to the most scenic parts of the island. Stroll through Butterfly Valley or climb Mt Oldfield which is 212 metres above sea level and offers 360 degree views of Pentecost, Hamilton and Whitsunday Islands. The Island has seven glorious beaches with Gap Beach a fantastic location for snorkelling and oystering. The Resort caters for all activities including golf and has a very active nightlife with two restaurants and a nightclub. Humpback whales can often be seen from the shore, a sight not to be forgotten. Dolphins are also frequent visitors. On Lindeman, golden orchids grow on the mangroves at the end of the beach and over 90 species of birds dart through the trees. There are a number of tiny islands dotted around Lindeman all a short dinghy ride away and perfect for a day of personal paradise. Lindeman also has its own airstrip.
Montville GENERAL INFORMATION:
Montville is a noted hinterland arts and crafts centre. There are many gift shops, galleries, potteries and eateries from traditional bush tucker to continental delicacies.
DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 121 kilometres
Over 120 kilometres long and an average of 15 kilometres wide, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It is remarkable for its 90 kilometres long surf beach, its chain of unique perched lakes, its vast sandblows and vegetation. There is prolific wildlife, mostly nocturnal, with possums, gliders, wallabies and dingoes considered to be the most pure strain in Australia. There are also wild horses, descendants of horses used last century to haul logs out of the forest. The variety of birdlife is immense and includes Australia's stork, the Jabiru. A unique species of tortoise can be found in many of the freshwater lakes. Access to Fraser Island is via vehicular barges, aircraft, cruise vessels, private boats or on commercial tours. Roads on Fraser Island are mainly sandy tracks which may only be negotiated by 4WD vehicles. Fraser Island is a constantly changing mosaic of rainforest, sand dunes, wildflower heaths, crystal lakes and streams, towering trees and cliffs of coloured sands. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 306kms (via Hervey Bay)
Hook is rugged and a true wilderness island. Hook Peak, at 459 metres, is the highest mountain on the Island. One of the few walking tracks leads to Butterfly Bay - named so because of its unique shape and the butterflies which swarm around its shores. Two magnificent five kilometre fjord-like inlets, Nara and Macona cut into the southern end of Hook Island to provide a spectacular anchorage for yachts. People refill their water tanks from the cascading waterfalls. The diversity of coral of the fringing reefs on the northern shores provide some of the best diving and snorkelling in the area. There is a low-key resort on the island, and camping is permitted at several sites around the Island. The observatory on Hook Island allows visitors to descend nine metres below the ocean to view coral, reef animals and plants in their own habitat. There are marine biologists on hand to explain the wonders of the reef.
Hervey Bay POPULATION: 45,000 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Hervey Bay is one of Queensland's best natural holiday destinations offering convenient access to World Heritage listed Fraser Island - the largest sand island in the world, and Lady Elliot Island - the first coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef. Long sandy beaches and colourful communities such as Burrum Heads, Howard, Toogoom and Torbanlea fringe its safe sheltered waters. From August to October the region has become famous as the playground of the majestic humpback whales on their return to the Antartic. Hervey Bay is preferred for its calm and safe whale watching conditions, where the whales put on a spectacular display for their admirers. Celebrating the return of the humpback whales each year, Hervey Bay stages a Whale festival for two weeks in August. An aquatic carnival, including an illuminated procession of floats, and the Blessing of the Fleet are highlights of this fun filled week. Hervey Bay boasts an aquatic environment which features coral and artificial reefs all teeming with abundant marine life. Boating and fishing enthusiasts will find the estuary, beach, jetty or reef and game fishing, and a variety of water sports including diving, water and jet skiing, wind surfing and snorkelling. Alternatively, simply enjoy a bicycle ride along the picturesque foreshore, visiting places such as the Botanical Gardens or the Urangan Boat harbour, or one of the many restaurants and cafes situated along the Esplanade. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 295 kilometres Approximately 4 hours by road or 40 minutes by air.
Innisfail POPULATION: 8,100 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Innisfail is a prosperous, colourful town, situated on the North and South Johnstone Rivers, and is surrounded by rich green landscape. Lush sugar plantations flow from the dense rainforest coastline to the thick jungles of the Palmerston National Park to the west. Sugar has been grown here since the early 1880's. Tea, bananas, pawpaws and other exotic tropical fruits are also grown within the area. Aquaculture also plays an important part in the area's economy ranging from prawn, barramundi and fresh crayfish to crocodile farming. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1,719 kilometres
Noosa Heads POPULATION: 9,779 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Noosa Heads, set on the edge of Noosa National Park and Laguna Bay, is alive with international standard shops, restaurants and accommodation. This accommodation ranges from budget backpacker establishments, units and apartments to the Sheraton Noosa Resort. From Hastings Street, the centre of activity, visitors are only a short distance from the Noosa National Park, the Noosa River Everglades, Cooloola National Park and 4 Wheel Driving to Fraser Island can be organised. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 178 km
Nambour POPULATION: 24,110 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Nambour is Maroochy Shire's administrative centre and principal hinterland town of the Sunshine Coast. The sugar mill is based in the middle of Nambour and the sugar cane trains can still be seen chugging across the main street to the mill.
DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 100kms
Situated on the banks of the Denmark River, the town offers a variety of water related activities and attractions. Nearby, the William Bay National Park features superb coastal scenery.
See the complete 'Australian Towns List' in the Articles section on this site
Or Go To: