10 Aussie summer destinations you may not have considered

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Want to know the underrated tourism hotspots for summer 2021? Photos: Wotif

Despite the miserable weather some of us may be experiencing at the moment, Summer 2021 is fast approaching. 

Yes, international travel has resumed for some, but many Aussie’s are not so keen to venture overseas due to Covid-19 risks.

Luckily for us, we live in a country that is pretty much looks like a postcard. Lush, white-sand beaches and a crystal-blue ocean surround all of Australia, making every coastal town a dream holiday destination. Inland, more treasure awaits.

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While tourism hotspots, like the Gold Coast and North Coast, remain the go-to summer destinations, nearly half of all Aussies actually want to explore somewhere new in Summer 2021.

The Wotif 2021 Summer Sun Index

Wotif, one of Australia’s top travel and accommodation websites, has compiled a master list of underrated tourism gems for those putting together last-minute holiday plans, after surveying a bunch of Aussie travellers recently.

“This year’s summer holiday period is set to be a bumper season, particularly for travellers who are excited to be out seeing more of Australia, reuniting with loved ones, and for tourism and hospitality operators, after another challenging year," Wotif managing director Daniel Finch explains.

Someone leaning on a rail, overlooking a sunset at Tamworth.
Tamworth takes the number one spot for Wotif's Summer Sun Index. Photo: Wotif

1. Tamworth, NSW

Taking out the top spot is Tamworth, NSW. In addition to its balmy average daily temperate of 30 degrees, Tamworth is home to many exciting events, eateries and accommodation. 

It’s the home to the Big Golden Guitar (what is it about us Aussie’s and our love for big statues of things?) and plays host to the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival. 

It’s Australia’s largest music festival that runs from late January to February, so grab a cowboy hat and have fun!

2. Barossa Valley, SA

South Australia’s wine region continues to be one of Australia's top holiday destinations.

Barossa Valley is home to the beautiful Barossa Ranges, as well as a menagerie of heavenly wineries.

A winery in Barossa Valley.
Less than an hour from 'Radelaide', the idyllic wine region of the Barossa Valley is a perfect summer spot. Photo: Wotif

3. Albury, NSW

Beaches are a big thing over summer, but there’s something that has to be brought to light: we’re not all beach people.

Some of us prefer to keep our cars and knee creases sand-free.

If that sounds like a bit of you, why not visit Albury over the summer break?

It’s home to the Murray River and Lake Hume, so you can still have a dip in the water after a long day of vacationing.

A bird-eye picture of the Murray River and surrounding trees in Albury.
If beaches aren't quite your thing, try a great lake instead, in Albury. Photo: Wotif

4. Bargara, QLD

Then again, if you are a beachy person, you couldn’t choose better than Bargara this summer holidays.

Situated on the Southern Great Barrier Reef coast, it offers a tropical island type climate - only experiencing an average of two days of rain across the entire season.

The coastline and nearby houses in Bargara, QLD.
If you choose Bargara as your holiday hotspot, you'll be joining the likes of sea turtles, whales and dolphins who also visit this town annually. Photo: Wotif

5. Tweed Heads, NSW

After the Queensland-NSW border reopens in late December, Tweed Heads will once again be a flurry of activity.

The "new" Byron Bay - the influencer free version - offers beautiful weather and stunning beaches, such as Kingscliff, Cabarita and Casaurina.

A bird's eye shot of rock meeting the ocean in Tweed Heads.
This border town is known for its beaches, national parks, and wetlands. Photo: Wotif

6. Geelong, VIC

Geelong is the worst-kept secret of Victoria.

It’s a cultural hotspot in its own right, with a huge collection of Australian artists, musicians and writers calling the coastal city home.

Also, it has a beer festival in January. Uh, yes, please.

Palm trees, buoys and sails along the beaches of Geelong.
Known primarily for its beautiful beaches, Geelong also has a flourishing foodie scene and arts culture. Photo: Wotif

7. Townsville, QLD

You do not need to pack a jacket for this spot.

Townsville is a perfect holiday destination for someone who loves adventuring and the outdoors.

Apart from the insane beaches it’s known for, Townsville also boasts a range of rain forest walks, islands to explore, the Great Barrier Reef, and more.

The beach with cascading rocks in Townsville.
With an average daily temperature of 30 degrees, visiting Townsville can feel like you're holidaying in Hawaii! Photo: Wotif

8. Newcastle, NSW

As the second biggest city in NSW, Newcastle plays home to an array of sophisticated, cosmopolitan restaurants and bars, as well as having the wonders of the natural world at your front door.

Bonus, it’s less than an hour from the major wine region, the Hunter Valley.

A sunset over the beach in Newcastle.
This harbour city is home to a stunning coastline, heritage buildings and a bustling city hub. Photo: Wotif

9. Wollongong, NSW

Ah, the "Gong".

As well as its incredible surf beach and host of rock pools, Wollongong is also ideal for the keen adventurer, with rainforest hikes available up Mt Keira and Mt Kembla.

For Sydneysiders, this beaut of a town is a mere 90-minute train trip away.

Waves crashing against a rock face with a lighthouse in Wollongong.
Where the sea meets the mountains: get the best of both worlds. Photo: Wotif

10. Apollo Bay, VIC

Last on the list, but certainly not least, is Apollo Bay.

Situated off the side of the iconic road trip, the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay is home to the Twelve (uh, eight) Apostles.

It’s also a bit of a foodie town that takes pride in its delicious local seafood.

An aerial shot of the water meeting the coastline in Apollo Bay.
Apollo Bay is one of the top spots on the idyllic Great Ocean Road trip. Photo: Wotif

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