Foreign cities with the same names as Australia's major cities and regions

As much as we'd like to think Australia is unique, most of our cities share their names with somewhere else in the world. They don't, however, tend to share too much else …

Melbourne, Florida

In the middle of Florida's east coast, a short distance south of Cape Canaveral, Melbourne is classic golf courses and retirees territory. But visitors also have beaches, boat and kayak trips along the Indian River, the odd manatee sighting and the galleries of the Eau Gallie arts district to savour. Miami or Disney, it is not. But it's not a terrible spot to hang out either.

Perth, Scotland

Of all the capital city namesakes, Perth is probably the one worth visiting. Full of handsome buildings, it greedily plays host to both a castle and a palace. The former, the Black Watch Castle, hosts a fairly mundane regimental museum, but the red sandstone Scone Palace is heaving with heritage. It's where Scottish kings were traditionally crowned, and the rather lavish state rooms are open to visitors.

Newcastle, England

The other namesake genuinely worth going out of the way for is probably better known than its Australian equivalent. The Tyne Bridge will look very familiar to anyone who has seen the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art has fought its way to international recognition and the city is a notoriously good night out. With a couple of solid museums, the Angel of the North and Hadrian's Wall nearby and Emirates flights, it's an underrated British entry point.

Adelaide, South Africa

If anyone thinks the South Australian capital is slow-going, they should check out the South African equivalent. A rural town in the sleepy Eastern Cape, it was founded in 1835 – a year before the Aussie counterpart – and named in honour of the same person, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. Don't rush to book a holiday though, apart from a pretty Dutch-style church and some quality beef in the local cafés, it's very much an agricultural hub town.

Sydney, Canada

On Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, the Canuck Sydney is also a harbour city, although the waterways aren't quite as spectacular. It also shares the Australian penchant for Big Things – the world's largest ceilidh fiddle can be found here. Once a steel town, it is now venturing into tourism with a cruise port, and a cultural scene that mixes Scottish and African influences.

Darwin, the Falkland Islands

Unlike the Northern Territory capital, this tiny settlement on East Falkland was actually visited by Charles Darwin. Military history enthusiasts can visit the Argentine Military Cemetery, but the rest of the appeal is all natural. This is sheep-farming country, popular with horse riders, and there's some excellent bird-watching to be done from the cliffs.

Brisbane, California

Just south of San Francisco, the Californian Brisbane is a mundane but green place. Expect plenty of parks, and the San Bruno mountain to clamber up. There a marina for anyone who fancies a sail on San Francisco Bay, but realistically, this is a humdrum commuter town sandwiched between the big city and Silicon Valley.

The Gold Coast, Mexico

One version of the Gold Coast was the former British colony that's now Ghana, but the most prominent alternative now is in Baja California, Mexico. This includes the border city of Tijuana, notorious for its nightlife, red light district and gambling, but also the beach resort of Rosarito, where amusement parks and golf courses compete for attention with the Pacific Ocean beach.

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The Blue Mountains, Jamaica

Dominating eastern Jamaica, the Blue Mountains are where Jamaica's reputation for being solely beaches, reggae and rum gets overturned. Lush, butterfly-inhabited vegetation, hiking trails and waterfalls make it a nature-lover's dream, although the area is best known for its premium-grade coffee. Some of the coffee plantations are open to visitors, once they've got sick of the hiking.

Hobart, Oklahoma

Most of the time, the overseas namesakes of Aussie cities are named in honour of the same person. Not Hobart. The Tassie capital comes courtesy of Lord Hobart, British Secretary of State for War, while the Oklahoman competitor pays homage to Garret Hobart, 24th vice-president of the US. It's an underwhelming farm town with a declining population, with the General Tommy Franks Museum full of military gear being the dubious highlight.

See also: The world's 10 weirdest accidental territories

See also: The 10 buildings around the world that are in the wrong place

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