Our Top-10 List: Favourite Historic Towns of Australia

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Australia does not have a long history of developed cities like many other countries, but there are still many interesting historic towns dating back to the early settlers and the gold mining period.

Here is a list is our own personal Top-Ten Historic Towns we have visited in our travels around Australia, mostly from our 2008 around Australia trip.

1. New Norcia, WA

view from the hotel in new norcia

New Norcia is Australia’s only monastic town, meaning it is mostly composed of a monastery and related buildings. It is just over an hour’s drive north of Perth, but when you visit here, you will feel like you are in another century. We liked this place so much we got married here in 2004! You can just drop in a quick stroll around the town (it is very walkable), visit the art gallery (a large collection of religious art including some by Spanish and Italian Masters), have a guided tour of the town, or stay overnight at one of the several accommodation options and take the time to explore the town for a bit longer.

2. Yungaburra, QLD

yungaburra pub

Yungaburra is located on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia, not far from Cairns. The European settlement of Yungaburra goes back to the early 1880s.

3. Beechworth, VIC

Beechworth historic town

Beechworth is a well-preserved historical town located in the northeast of Victoria, Australia, famous for its rapid growth during the gold rush days of the mid-1850s.

4. Silverton, NSW

Silverton Hotel NSW

Silverton is an old mining town just 26 kilometres northwest of Broken Hill in the middle of nowhere, probably as closest to a typical ghost town you will find in Australia. There are a few old buildings, some with galleries and shops, but the main attraction is the laid back Silverton Hotel.

5. Berrima, NSW

berrimah nsw

Berrima is a charming small village in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

6. Daylesford, VIC

Daylesford Vic

Daylesford is located in the spa country of Victoria, popular for weekend escapes from Melbourne.  You can still find a few public taps providing fresh mineral water that the town is famous for.

7. Charters Towers, QLD


Located inland from Townsville on the Flinders Highway, Charters Towers was once a booming town during the gold rush of the 1880s.

8. Cooktown, QLD


Cooktown is the gateway to the Cape York Peninsula. It was Australia’s first non-Indigenous settlement when Captain James Cook crew spent 48 days here repairing damage to the Endeavour.

9. Bellingen, NSW


Bellingen is a laid-back, tree-lined small town on Waterfall Way on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

10. York, WA

york wa

York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia and maintains many Victorian and Federation buildings.


How about these ones too: Hahndorf, Mintaro (SA), Cue, Coolgardie (WA), Richmond, Ross (TAS), Bendigo, Ballarat (VIC), Maryborough (QLD). Any suggestions for other Australian historic towns that should be here?

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  1. Consider including Hahndorf, Goolwa, Robe and Angaston in South Australia. All very pretty villages with an historic centre and original architecture.

    1. Yes, South Australia has some very pretty old towns. We have been to Hahndorf a few times and love the area and German influence.

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