In addition to the seacoast town of Noosa, here are some other popular hideaways favored by the locals in Australia:

- The Great Ocean Road winding along the southern coast of Victoria, which rivals California's Highway One for rugged coastal scenery, including the "Twelve Apostles" rock formation jutting out of the surf. There are motels and bed-and-breakfasts the whole way.- The New England Highway through New South Wales to the rural center of Armidale, a route that brings urban dwellers back to the land to enjoy farms and rolling sheep pastures.

- Byron Bay, a New South Wales answer to Noosa, another low-rise coastal community featuring restaurants, cafes, surf shops and art galleries, up the coast almost to the Queensland border.

- The fishing village of Batemans Bay, 155 miles south of Sydney on the New South Wales coast, which attracts weekenders and vacationers with an appetite for fish, oysters and crayfish.

- Fremantle on the fringe of Western Australia's capital of Perth, site of the Royal Perth Yacht Club's unsuccessful defense of the America's Cup in 1987. It has largely escaped Perth's rampant development, with the marina area featuring old pubs and shops.

- Western Australia's inland deserts and Hamersley Mountain range, which erupt into blooms of wildflowers each spring. Many Aboriginal sites are scattered through the region.

- A weekly TV show called "Getaway" highlights at least one off-the-beaten-track vacation site in Australia each week. You can find its Web site at (www.-getaway.com.au).