1. BYRON BAY, NSW
Photo: Andrew Quilty
As you sit at a pavement cafe on Jonson Street on a humid, sweltering evening, listening to the foreign accents, checking out the artsy hippie shops next door, watching barefooted tourists wandering past, there's a distinct feeling that you've suddenly been transported to Thailand. Byron Bay could easily be Koh Pha-Ngan, or Koh Phi-Phi. The people are the same. The fashion is the same. And that laidback holiday atmosphere can't be mistaken.
2. PARONELLA PARK, QLD
Deep in the northern Queensland rainforest lies a very surprising slice of Spanish culture: Paronella Park, an Iberian-style castle built by Jose Paronella in the 1930s. Though it's little more than a ruin these days, tourists can still visit the estate at Mena Creek Falls and experience the unmistakable feeling that you're now in Spain as you wander the grand home and its gardens.
3. SPRINGVALE, VIC
Photo: Joe Armao
Those wanting to get a hit of Vietnamese or Chinese culture without leaving their own shores should head directly to Springvale, in Melbourne's south-east. About 69 per cent of Springvale's residents were born overseas, including 21 per cent from Vietnam, and that ethnicity is reflected in everything from the street signage to the smells of exotic, delicious food that waft through the air.
4. THREDBO, NSW
As soon as snow starts falling anywhere in Australia, it's not difficult to imagine you must be somewhere else. This country doesn't really do snow, and it definitely doesn't do quaint little alpine villages. Except, of course, for Thredbo. Despite the telltale eucalypts that surround it, this Snowy Mountains ski town retains the feel of a European resort – a legacy that owes much to the Austrian ski bums who created it.
5. QUEEN VICTORIA MARKETS, VIC
Photo: Justin McManus
Stand in the middle of Melbourne's Queen Victoria Markets on a weekday morning and close your eyes – bang, you're in Europe. The shouts of vendors, the bustle of shoppers, the distant moving of machinery; all are reminiscent of a market in France, or Italy, or Germany. Stroll the seven hectares that this market takes up and you're sure to meet plenty of people who hail from those very places.
6. NORFOLK ISLAND
Photo: NORFOLK ISLAND TOURISM
When even the locals are quick to label themselves Norfolk Islanders before admitting any connection to Australia, it's easy to believe you've departed the country we call home. Norfolk is a world apart, not only in a geographic sense, but in the island's unique history, which runs all the way from the first Polynesian settlers to the European colonists and the Pitcairn Islanders.
7. NEW NORCIA, WA
Save for the mangled pronunciation – in Italy it's "Nor-chee-a"; in WA it's "nor-see-a" – this could easily be a chunk of Europe that's been dumped about an hour north of Perth. New Norcia is the only monastic town in Australia, a hub that began life as a Benedictine mission back in 1846. These days it's still notable for the Spanish-style architecture reflected in its numerous churches and colleges.
8. DARRA, QLD
Driving through the countryside around Darra, in south Brisbane, you do a double-take the first time you see all of the conical hats bobbing up and down in the fields. Is this Vietnam? It's not, but with 16 per cent of the population hailing from that south-east Asian country, bringing with them great restaurants, good coffee, and those conical straw hats, you could very easily believe that it is.
9. HAHNDORF, SA
Photo: David Mariuz
Australia's oldest surviving German settlement still retains plenty of its Teutonic charm, particularly in the architecture of some of its oldest buildings, like the Hahndorf Inn. There are also plenty of restaurants serving pork knuckles and schnitzels, and of course where there's German heritage, there's great beer – here courtesy of local microbreweries Gulf and Grumpy's.
10. BONDI BEACH, NSW
Photo: Ben Rushton
It's amazing that somewhere so iconically Australian can sometimes feel like it doesn't belong here at all. It's not just the foreign languages or the accents you hear floating across the sea breeze in Bondi. The popularity of the beach makes it seem more European than Australian, crowded as it is with sun-worshippers as far as the eye can see. Most Australians are used to a little more space.
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