Australia's best resort towns, from Broome to Byron Bay

When it comes to resort towns, Australia offers some of the world’s best. Noosa, Broome, Byron Bay and Port Douglas are on the world stage.

Very 'Now' - Port Douglas

X-FACTOR: Old-fashioned tropical charm on the edge of Eden.STAY: Villa San Michele (tel: 1800 994 088; www.villasanmichele.com.au). Mediterranean-style hotel apartments built around lush gardens and pools.EAT: Zinc (tel: 07 4099 6260 www.zincportdouglas.com) is the new hip restaurant in town. Nautilus (tel: 07 4099 5330; www.nautilusrestaurant.com.au), an old favourite that serves fine food under the stars in a palm grove.DON’T MISS: (see Palm Cove below).VISIT: www.pddt.com.au

New Kid - Palm Cove, Queensland

X-FACTOR: Exclusive club for pleasure seekers.STAY: Angsana Resort and Spa (tel: 07 4055 3000; www.angsana.com). Novotel (tel: 07 4059 1234; www.novotel-pcr.com.au)EAT: Nu Nu (tel: 07 4059 1880; www.nunu. com.au), cutting-edge modern Australian cuisine; Spice Market (tel: 07 4059 1234).DON’T MISS: Skyrail (www.palmcove.net) cable car ride over the rainforest canopy to Kuranda in the Atherton Tablelands.VISIT: www.palmcove.net

Broome, Western Australia

X-FACTOR: Life’s little luxuries on the edge of the desert.STAY: McAlpine House (tel: 08 9192 3886; www.mcalpinehouse.com). An 1890s old pearling master’s house converted into a stylish B&B.EAT: The Old Zoo Café (tel: 08 9193 6200) – some of the best food in town.DON’T MISS: Scenic flights into the West Kimberley (tel: 08 9193 7155; www.kingleopoldair.com.au). A cruise around the Kimberley coast (tel: 08 9193 6131; www.kimberleyquest.com).

New kid - Esperance, Western Australia

X-FACTOR: Startling natural beauty at the “end of the earth”.
STAY: Esperance Seaside Apartments (tel: 08 9072 0044). Designer apartments with balconies overlooking the bay.EAT: Bonapartes (tel: 08 9071 7727). Best seafood in town, plus sea views.DON’T MISS: Day boat trips to Woody Island with Mackenzies Island Cruises (www.woodyisland.com.au). Eco-tour to Cape Le Grand (www.kepakurl.com.au).

Byron Bay, New South Wales

X-FACTOR: Everyone knows that anything goes.STAY: Victoria’s at Wategos (tel: 02 6685 5388; www.victorias.net.au), Tuscan-style beachside villa with fabulous breakfasts. The Byron at Byron (tel: 1300 554 362; www.byronatbyron.com.au), is a stylish resort in a magnificent rainforest.EAT: Rae’s at Wategos (tel: 02 6685 5366; www.raes.com.au), a beachfront terrace serving fine Australian food with Asian twists. Dish (tel: 02 6685 7320) – don’t miss the superb, innovative cuisine in Spanish villa-style surrounds.DON’T MISS: The heritage town of Bangalow in the hills behind Byron; whale-watching on Cape Byron.VISIT: www.byron-bay.com

New kid - Angourie

X-FACTOR: Blissful solitude at the end of the road.STAY: Angourie Rainforest Resort (tel: 02 6646 8600; www.angourieresort.com.au)EAT: Frangipan restaurant (tel: 02 6646 2553), offers modern Australian fine dining.DON’T MISS: A walk on Back Beach, a swim in the Blue Pool and meal at Frangipan.VISIT: www.tropicalnsw.com.au

Noosa, Queensland

X-FACTOR: Chic cosmopolitan village on Laguna Bay.STAY: Netanya (tel: 1800 072 072; www.netanyanoosa.com.au). Stylish serviced beachside apartments on Hastings Street.EAT: Sails (tel: 07 5447 4235). Watch the waves break and tuck into an award-winning modern Australian menu. Berardo’s on the Beach (tel: 07 5448 0868). Great for breakfast after an early morning swim. Gusto (tel: 07 5449 7144). Popular riverside venue at Noosaville.DON’T MISS: Boat and 4WD tour of the Everglades and Great Sandy National Park (tel: 1800 657 666; www.beyondnoosa.com.au).VISIT:www.tourismnoosa.com.au

New kid - the town of 1770, Queensland

X-FACTOR: A faraway bay for Robinson Crusoes in search of the good life.STAY: The Beachshacks (tel: 07 4974 9463; www.1770beachshacks.com). Elegant, spacious Balinese-style apartments overlooking Bustard Bay.EAT: The Deck restaurant and bar (tel: 07 4974 9157; www.1770holidayvillage.com). Fresh seafood and delicious desserts from a talented Belgian chef. Saltwater Café has the best seafood salads and irresistible thin-crust seafood pizzas on the 1770 beach.DON’T MISS: Snorkelling and diving on Fitzroy Reef with Fitzroy Reef Jet (tel: 1800 177 011; www.1770holidays.com). Fishing, forest and creek tours with Hooked on 1770 (tel: 07 4974 9794; www.1770tours.com).VISIT: www.1770getaway.com.au

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