This charismatic former gold-rush town will fulfil your wildest, most romantic outback dreams. With a raw, unhurried quality, it's at the centre of an area that has impressive limestone caves, indigenous rock-art sites and the creepy-cool ruins of an early-20th-century smelting plant.
In 1910, Chillagoe's population peaked at 10,000; today, it's home to about 190 people. This tiny town exports marble to Italy (its marble was also used in the construction of Parliament House in Canberra).
As in most outback towns, you needn't worry about remembering the names of any characters you encounter: everyone you meet – and you – will go by 'mate'.