Sometimes the best travel memories arise in the smaller discoveries, when the main attractions are left behind. Australia’s cities hold many adventures for travelers, however we think that it’s the small beach towns that really make a roadtrip along the East Coast so worthwhile.

Here are six of our favourites for you to fall in love with.

1. Byron Bay, New South Wales 

No list is complete without Byron Bay. This beach town is Australia’s worst kept secret, and here you’ll find stunning beaches, incredible sunrises and beautiful coastal walks to enjoy. There’s a long list of water activities available including sea kayaking, snorkelling, reef diving, and of course, surfing.

Part of what makes the ocean such a draw is the range of marine life you’re likely to see around here. This town isn’t just popular with people. It’s also a common haunt for dolphins, turtles, and whales.

2. Aireys Inlet, Victoria Get the best of both worlds, in Aireys Inlet. The hamlet sits tucked along the beautiful and rugged coastline with both bush and beach a part of the scenery. Think rocky cliffs that break through the stretches of golden sand to tumble into the sea and thick greenery that softens these edges. If you’re one of those people who loves diverse landscapes and the opportunity to explore national parks, you can’t miss this gorgeous beach town.

3. Avalon, New South Wales Just an hour out of Sydney you’ll find the laid-back beach community of Avalon. So close to the big city, many people choose to commute from the town for work while enjoying the different pace of life offered there in their down time. At one end of the beach a rock swimming pool merged with its surroundings awaits your enjoyment, while out on the water the waves are popular with surfers and longboarders alike. Grab your hire car from Sydney airport and check it out for yourself!

4. Broome, Western Australia Don’t miss out on Broome, if you’re wishing for a beach town that offers something a bit different. One of the quieter towns, Broome has a rich back story and amazing experiences for you to discover. Aboriginal history is thick here with monuments, places of interest and legends all waiting for you. With the red dirt, 22km of uninterrupted beach, and smooth aquamarine waters you’ll wonder why this stunning town isn’t more popular. It’s also the pearling capital of Australia, something you’ll realise as soon as you walk down Broome’s main street. If you fall in love with these beautiful spheres, take a cruise out to a local pearl farm and see first hand where they’ve come from. To finish the day, don’t miss taking a camel ride along the beach at sunset. Could any beach town offer more?

5. Beachport, South Australia National parks surround Beachport on all sides but the sea’s. Through these reserves and parks you’ll find a myriad of walking tracks to explore, with many following the cliff tops and providing stunning views of the region. Once you’ve stretched your legs, head down and enjoy the almost empty beaches. Stretching into the water you’ll find one of the longest jetties in the state, allowing you to look back over the town and its environment. Sand dunes and beaches decorate the coastal roads in the area, and you can follow them to go soak in the Pool of Siloam, a lake saltier than the sea that’s sure to leave your skin feeling amazing.

6. Hyams Beach, New South Wales Pushing further into the alphabet, we have Hyams Beach. White sands and crystal clear waters make this spot into something else. And when we say the sand is white, we mean it. Jervis Bay, which Hyams Beach is a part of, offers some of the palest beaches in the world for visitors to admire. Maybe that’s why octopuses decided to build a city here!

Don’t just take our word for how good these beach towns are. Pick up your hire car and get on the road to check them out for yourself!