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10 top travel destinations for Australians

Discover the hottest spots to find Aussie holidaymakers – and where to go to buck the trend.

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Two long tailed boats parking on the beautiful beach at Koh Hai, Trang province, Thailand.

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Australians love to travel. That's indisputable. But there are some places we like to visit more than others.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from 2018-2019, 11.2 million Australian residents returned to Australia from short-term breaks of one year or less.

Of those trips, over 10% of them (1.44 million) were to New Zealand. This was closely followed by Indonesia which welcomed 1.31 million Australians. This was up 8.3% on visitors compared to the previous year.

Whether you want to join the pack or try somewhere new, here are the top 10 destinations Australians can't get enough of and some nice alternatives if you're seeking a change of pace.

Alone person was looking at Mount Taranaki NZ

1. New Zealand

The Land of the Long White Cloud is one of our closest international neighbours. From the east coast of Australia, you can get there in under four hours making it ideal for short trips. Once there, you can tap into untouched landscapes, award-winning wineries and some of the best ski resorts in the world.

Australian citizens also have an agreement with New Zealand that allows us to easily visit, live and work, which doesn't hurt either.

Alternative destination: For a landscape similar to New Zealand, you can't go past Iceland. There are rolling plains, waterfalls, glaciers and adventurous activities aplenty.

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Indonesia

2. Indonesia

This one should come as no surprise. In fact, according to the Australian Embassy in Indonesia, Aussies account for a quarter of all visitors to Bali. And why not? The short flight coupled with budget flights, blissful beaches and affordable resort accommodation makes this destination a winner.

Alternative destination: Why not branch out and discover another part of Indonesia? Yogyakarta is quieter and filled with history, and Batam is a hotbed of luxury resorts and nightlife.

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Santa Monica beach, Los Angeles, California, USA

3. USA

Visit Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and more. There are so many unique squares to bite off and savour in the US that it claims more than one trip. Perhaps that's why Australians visit it so much?

Head to California for that beachy-keen lifestyle coloured with Hollywood glamour, make your way to the Deep South for its culture and flavoursome foods or visit the north for the high rise concrete jungles of New York and Chicago.

Alternative destination: We've listed some of the most popular and well-known cities in the USA, but we think it's safe to say that each state has its own unique characteristics. Add Portland to your itinerary for its arts and food culture, Columbus for its architecture and San Antonio for a touch of Mexicana.

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Busy street in City of London with heavy traffic, crowds of people and dome St. Paul's Cathedral

4. UK

Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Big Ben – the UK has more icons than you can poke a stick at, making it the place of bucket lists.

Australia's relationship with the nation doesn't hurt either, with Australian citizens allowed to visit for up to six months at a time, making it an ideal base for a larger trip through Europe.

Alternative destination: Make sure you see more than London on your trip. Head north into Scotland to pay a visit to Edinburgh, Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands or hop across to Ireland for its rolling green hills.

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Great Wall of China, China

5. China

In 2017, China was the sixth most-visited destination by Australians, but over the past few years, it has crept its way an inch up the list. Could it potentially overtake the United Kingdom in future years?

With its cosmopolitan cities blended with mesmerising landscapes that range from peaked mountains to sandy beaches, it's very much a possibility.

Australians seeking a taste of this diverse country can enter visa-free, for up to 72 hours via certain airports.

Alternative destination: Cross the border and head north for Mongolia to experience its beautiful rugged landscape and rich history that features the nomadic Hun people.

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Tourist admiring a scenic sunset at Maya Bay, Phi Phi island

6. Thailand

Swoon-worthy islands lined in powder-soft sands speckle the Thailand coast. The price tag is just right and whether you're here to dive, relax or party, you can do it all.

According to the ABS, Australians generally spend an average of 12 days in the country, which is a comfortable amount of time to island hop and even to get to some of the bigger cities such as Thailand and Chiang Mai.

Alternative destination: They say Myanmar is what Thailand was decades ago, so if you're seeking a less touristy Thailand with a similar exotic feel, this is where it's at.

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Japanese woman walking in the alleys of Gion district, Kyoto, Japan

7. Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun has been rising (literally) up the popularity ranks year on year. In 2017, it was the tenth most visited destination by Australians, meaning it has gained three positions in two years. According to the ABS, over the past decade, it has seen a 226.8% increase in Australian visitors.

With the nation hosting the Olympics in 2020, this is only bound to skyrocket in the year to come.

Alternative destination: If you're keen to avoid the masses, then jump across to the mainland and pay Seoul a visit. It has a similar buzzing nightlife of neon signs and drinking dens and history in spaces with palaces and temples you can explore on foot.

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People Enjoying Holi Outdoors

8. India

India came out of nowhere with a 206.3% trend spike over the past decade. This was the second-most rapid growth on the list, falling just behind Japan. The diversity of this vast nation holds a lot of promise for the Australian adventurer, with food, colour and culture all bound to turn you saucer-eyed.

Also, its low currency and relatively affordable fares on airlines such as AirAsia and Scoot make it a shoo-in for travellers searching for something a little more unique.

Alternative destination: Those who have ticked India off their bucket list can do no wrong by turning to Morocco for another burst of food, colour and culture.

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Gardens by Bay Singapore

9. Singapore

Both city and country, the constantly changing destination of Singapore is one you can return to time and time again. From technological and architectural changes to that delectable burst of food that draws from a variety of nations, there's something for everyone.

It's often hailed as one of the cleanest and safest countries in the world, meaning it's a shoo-in for anyone looking to dip their toes into travel.

Alternative destination: Located just north of Singapore, Malaysia shares a very similar culture and similar food to Singapore, though it has been slipping off the lists for Australians. (It made the top 10 in 2005). Could it be time to bring this beauty back?

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Fiji, Namenalala Island, young woman lying in hammock on beach

10. Fiji

Comprised of flecks of sun-kissed beaches, crystal clear waters and hammocked palm trees, the island nation of Fiji is a paradise on Earth.

It doesn't discriminate either with water activities for the adventure seekers, honeymoon suites and adult pools for the romantics and kid-friendly accommodation for families.

What's likely pulled this one further down the list is the price. Being an island nation, you'll be paying island prices. On the plus side, budget airline Jetstar does fly to Nadi from Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Darwin and Cairns.

Alternative destination: Pass on the crowds and take your island adventure to another South Pacific beauty. Vanuatu, Samoa and the Cook Islands are all blissful alternatives with similar flight options to Fiji.

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Top 10 destinations visited by Australians

CountryShort-term resident returns 2018-2019% increase between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019
New Zealand1,444,0001.9%
Indonesia1,311,0008.3%
USA1,079,000-0.4%
UK668,0003.7%
China611,0006.8%
Thailand565,000-2.7%
Japan484,00010.4%
India416,0008.6%
Singapore405,000-0.6%
Fiji345,0001.5%

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