Australia; the country that’s also (sort of) a continent. It’s inspired great works of art and songs (I’m thinking “Australia” by the Manic Street Preachers) and continues to draw legions of awe struck tourists from all over the world owing to its enormous diversity of plant and wildlife, staggering natural beauty, cheerful and friendly locals and bustling cosmopolitan cities that are just brimming with charm. Yet, within the realms of international tourism, so few of Australia’s amazing cities get the recognition that they deserve. Sure, many people will make a beeline for Sydney to check out the iconic opera house and harbour bridge. They may even feel the need to visit the capital city of Canberra or the sometimes painfully hip Melbourne; but there’s so much more to the exciting conurbations of this sprawling country than the big guns which seem to draw most international tourists. (Pic credit: Image by Flickr)

Consider this my ode to those underrated Australian cities…

Brisbane

Brisbane occupies space on saddeningly few bucket lists but it offers some of the most quintessentially Australian experiences anywhere in the country. Where else can you pet baby koalas while enjoying a bridge climb to rival that of Sydney Harbour? Where else can you hire a boat right here https://www.sailfree.com.au/ and party along the river and on to a wide range of island destinations? Brisbane offers all that and much more. There’s one of the best odes to modern art in the country courtesy of the GOMA as well as underground opera (literally) courtesy of the Underground Opera Society who stage lavish musical productions in a former 19th century reservoir.

Adelaide

Adelaide is the jewel in South Australia’s crown whose proliferate beaches have earned it a reputation as a surfer’s paradise. It has bars, cafes and restaurants to rival those of any Australian city as well as some wonderfully memorable outdoor experiences. If a calming stroll amidst Australia’s diverse arboreal life is your jam then check out the Botanic garden while the Adelaide Zoo is one of the few places in the country where you can see giant pandas.

Perth

Few people outside of Australia know much about Perth, which is a shame as it’s easily one of the country’s coolest cities. Since this year the first ever London – Perth direct flights will begin operating, hopefully we’ll see legions of Brits coming to sample the beauties of this fair city. Whether you’re looking for culture, couture or cuisine, Perth has something special to offer you. Check out the Ku De Ta; a huge bar and restaurant inspired by the much beloved Balinese beach, have a drink with a view to remember at Hillarys Boat Harbour or just relax in the picturesque parks by Elizabeth Quay.  

Darwin

If you like the facilities and amenities of a major conurbation but with a markedly different change of pace from most bustling cities, Darwin offers that perfect middle ground. It’s in the sparsely populated Northern Territories and offers a unique palette of experiences for tourists. Check out the open air markets at Mindil beach or take a short cruise to Crocosaurus cove to see the magnificent crocodiles.