I am desperately in need of a relaxing holiday. I must admit the concept of a restful holiday is new to me, usually I want to cram as much adventure, culture, history, shopping and food into one trip. But I’m tired and getting old and just want to chill. And since the purpose of this holiday is R&R, I don’t want a long haul flight involved.
Unfortunately, a lot of tropical destinations close to Australia have a terrible reputation. Drunk bogan Aussies, full moon parties, screaming children, and the list goes on.
So I have been doing quite a bit of research and have rounded up my favourite 7 tropical holiday destinations that are under a 7 hour flight away from Sydney!
1. Ubud, Indonesia – 6h 35m from Sydney
I’ve heard the best way to avoid the “Bali Bogans” is to skip Kuta and head straight to Ubud. I’m eyeing off a few yoga retreats in that area and it truly looks like heaven on earth. A spot of yoga, a massage and a cocktail by the pool. Yes please.
2. Solomon Islands – 5h 55m from Sydney
The fact that the Solomon Islands is less developed than its South Pacific cousins such as Vanautu and Fiji is a blessing. There are less crowds which means the stunning collection of islands remains currently unspoiled.
3. Fiji – 4h from Sydney
Fiji is a popular destination for a reason – it’s an easy and safe bet. The short flying time means it’s awash with children during school holidays, but plan your trip time and select your hotel carefully and you’ll be enjoying a week of uninterrupted bliss.
4. Vanuatu – 3h 25m from Sydney
While in Fiji the tendency is to spend the majority of your time at the resort, in Vanuatu it is easier to navigate the island and discover the numerous restaurants, bars and shops dotted around the place.
5. Nouméa, New Caledonia – 2h 50m from Sydney
Who knew there was a little bit of France so close to Australia! New Caledonia is under 3 hours away from Sydney and filled with pristine beaches, luxurious resorts and French-inspired cuisine.
6. Samoa – 5h 30m from Sydney
Samoa hadn’t even been on my radar until recently when my best friend went there. It’s got to be one of the South Pacific’s best hidden secrets, filled with lagoons, waterfalls and unspoiled beaches in a peaceful setting.
7. Cairns – 3h 5m from Sydney
Despite the temptation to flee overseas, tropical north Queensland has a huge array of divine beach destinations easily accessed via Cairns. There’s the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island, Port Douglas and many more.
And next time I want to go a little further a field… I’d love to explore Koh Samui in Thailand, Lombok in Indonesia and Cebu in the Philippines… One day!
What’s your favourite destination to relax?
We went to Vanuatu about 18 months ago and I would highly recommend it. If you don’t go in peak season it’s not overly busy and the people are SO friendly. Plus it’s easy to find locally run day-trips/accommodation etc so you really know the tourism dollar is going back to the community (which isn’t always the case in Fiji from what I understand). We spent half our time in Port Vila and the rest on the island of Santo which was super quiet (there were 2 other couples where we stayed!) and full of gorgeous blue holes to swim in!
The Cook Islands are fast becoming popular too!
Vanuatu is high up on my list! It sounds divine. And a friend was recently suggesting we go to the Cook Islands, alas you can’t get there under 7 hours so it didn’t make the list!
Well I’m just back from a mini-break to Asia (I know!). It was my first visit to the Thai island of Ko Lipe – and it’s a stunner! And unlike Koh Samui, hasn’t been ruined with over-touristy development (I couldn’t believe the neon when I was last in Chaweng). As it’s an hour boat ride from Langkawi, the development is low-key: motorbikes instead of cars, loads of little restaurants, bars, cafes, shops but no malls (unlike Langkawi now!), there are still huts on the beach, and friendly dogs running around everywhere! The sunsets were spectacular too. I’ll be back for sure.
Ko Lipe sounds incredible!! I am yet to go to Thailand as I have been turned off my the over-development and stereotypical types that holiday there. Ko Lipe sounds more my style :)
Vanuatu should be number 1 on anyone list
There is plenty to do and the local people are always friendly. Swimming with tropical fish, Zipline through the forest, swim in the waterfall or simply relax at a day spa.
Where else can you go to the other side of an island and be greeted as though you are family.
Everyone smiles and everyone bids you good morning, these are total stangers.
I have been 9 times in a little over 12months and will eventually live there.
Such a great blog, this is exactly what I wanted to find when looking to see what tropical islands were close to Australia!
Wow!thank you for this list! I’ve been wanting to travel more but at the same time experience something that is more natural and less urban. This list will help me decide more on where I can go that isn’t too far from home. And did I mention these places look stunning? Wow again!
These are really so nice places. Those who want to take a pause from their busy working life, these places could be the best for them to re-energize and start afresh. From Sydney, there are plethora of off-beat destinations that have the capability to bring pure bliss in your life. Choosing the right holiday destinations according to your desire and likes is important for a perfect vacation. Apart from that, you should book a comfortable hotel room that will double your enjoyment level.
I am on the hunt for our next destination and like many others commenting here want to find a beautiful, un-touristy and nature based holiday for our family. Thanks for the article and other suggestions from the comments.
You’re welcome Karen! Glad to hear this article was useful and I hope you have an amazing trip :)
[…] 7 Tropical holiday destinations under 7 hours – from Australia. […]
I am wanting to go away for my 60th bday next November/ December, due to my husband having a back problem long haul flights are out of the question, was thinking Vanuatu but not sure the weather will be ok when I want to go, is there much to do there, what resort would you recommend.