Exmouth, Australia

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With the closest large city, Perth, lying a distant 1,250 kilometers (777 miles) to the south on the coast of Western Australia, it's easy to feel like you are in the middle of nowhere when you are in Exmouth, population 2,207. The town didn’t even exist until 1967, when the U.S. Navy arrived and its operations brought a slice of American life to this corner of the continent. Anyone in search of a perfect harbor, as the U.S. Navy was, couldn’t do better than the Exmouth Gulf, protected by the North West Cape with the town of Exmouth at its tip. And while the Great Barrier Reef gets all the glory, the cape’s Ningaloo Coast also stuns with its 260 kilometers (160 miles) of superb fringing reefs, shipwrecks right offshore, and vital bird habitats such as those found on nearby Sunday Island. In Exmouth itself, the Ningaloo Centre is scheduled to open in late 2017, devoted to showcasing the cape’s treasures. The wonders aren't all maritime, however. The 477-square-kilometer (175-square-mile) Cape Range National Park, along the western coast of the cape, draws visitors with its spectacular Charles Knife Canyon and Yardie Creek Gorge, carved over millennia by rivers that run through the park.

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