Tropical Destination - Maldives - Pier For Paradise Island

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Ready to escape to paradise? We’ve gathered a list of the best tropical destinations – from the rice fields of Bali to the palm trees of Queensland.

Beaches, sunset views,  island adventure and palm trees – do these call your name? We love jetting off to destinations where the waters are clear blue, the sun is golden, and our worries can take a rest – even for a few days. 

For those itching to visit white sand beaches, explore vibrant coral reefs and immerse themselves in new cultural experiences, we have put together a list of 20 of our favourite tropical holiday destinations at home and abroad so that you can start dreaming about and booking your next sunny getaway. Go on, you deserve it!

 

1. Bali, Indonesia

Resort pool in the rainforests of Bali

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Bali is one of Indonesia’s most popular island getaways and for good reason. Besides the fact that the flight to Bali is only a few hours from Australia, it offers an enchanting blend of stunning beaches,  lush jungles and rice fields, and a colourful and unique cuisine and culture. Bali also offers an abundance of things to do for any traveller – whether that’s hiking, shopping, snorkelling or enjoying one of the many Balinese spas. Bali is one of the best tropical vacations on a budget and is the perfect place for those who enjoy combining cultural exploration, adventure and poolside relaxation, with the buzz of a vibrant nightlife.  

Average flight time from Sydney: 6h 30m. 

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders  receive a free 30-day visa upon arrival for tourism purposes. Passports need 6 months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go:  May to October is the dry season. However, peak season is July and August so expect crowds during this time.  

Highlights: Exploring ancient temples and Bali's rich culture, wandering through lush rice fields, enjoying swimming, snorkelling, and a variety of water sports at one of the many pristine beaches.  

2. Fiji

Overwater bungalows, clear water and palm trees in Fiji

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For the ultimate tropical island getaway for Australians that's right next door in the Pacific Islands, book a flight to Fiji. Fiji, a nation of 333 scattered islands, allures travellers with its array of palm-lined and white-sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs , hearty culinary delights, and warm, welcoming people. Often called the Coral Coast, it is easy to see why it’s so popular for snorkelling and overwater bungalows, but visitors will be just as enamoured with its slow pace and tasty local delicacies, such as the Cawaki (sea urchin). Whether you’re looking for a relaxing tropical family vacation, a romantic honeymoon escape or seeking an off-the-beaten track adventure, Fiji has something for everyone

Average flight time from Sydney: 4h 20m.

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders can enter Fiji visa free for up to four months. Passports need 6 months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go: Visit Fiji during its dry season from May to June or August to September for hot, sunny weather, less chance of rain, and fewer crowds.  

Highlights: Snorkelling and diving in clear water, witnessing traditional Fijian ceremonies, relaxing at luxury resorts, hiking through rainforests to waterfalls, trying Kava. 

3. Port Douglas, Australia

Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

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Port Douglas is a picturesque coastal town outside of Cairns known for its tropical weather, luxury resorts and lively town centre bustling with restaurants, boutiques, and local crafts. While Port Douglas is a convenient gateway to exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree, it has its own unique charms and an array of activities for families, couples, and backpackers alike. Expect palm tree lined beaches, a lively atmosphere and sprawling resorts for ultimate relaxation. It is the perfect place to swim, read beneath the shade of palms, and explore the vibrant local town.  

Average flight time from Sydney: 3h to Cairns, followed by an hour drive to Port Douglas. 

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: Visit between April to June, when the temperature ranges between 26°C and 29°C, there’s an abundance of sunshine, and it’s before the school holiday peak period.

Highlights: Day tripping to Great Barrier Reef, exploring Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, discovering the shops, restaurants and bars on Macrossan Street, walking  on Four Mile Beach,  relaxing at a resort, finding souvenirs at the Sunday markets.  

 

4. The Whitsunday Islands, Australia 

Scenic aerial view over Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, QLD

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The Whitsunday Islands, a collection of 74 islands located in Far North Queensland, are perfect for those seeking secluded beaches, turquoise waters, and spending days snorkelling above colourful reefs. The Whitsundays most popular islands include Hayman Island and Hamilton Island, which can be reached by flights directly to Hamilton Island . With easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays offers explorers plenty of diving, sailing, and snorkelling opportunities. Famous for its luxury accommodation options, this is an idyllic location for couples and family looking for a special tropical getaway that offers a true blend of ultimate relaxation with the thrill of outdoor adventure.  

Average flight time from Sydney: 2h 30m to Hamilton Island.

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: September to November , when the weather is  sunny with low humidity and perfect conditions for swimming, snorkelling, and diving.  

Highlights: Snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, wandering on the white sands of Whitehaven Beach, taking a helicopter ride over Heart Reef. 

 

5. Vanuatu 

Bungalow on the beach in Vanuatu.

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Vanuatu in the Pacific Islands is a country made up of 83 islands in which rainforests meet golden-white beaches, with some of the best snorkelling and diving spots in the world. Vanuatu is fast-becoming one of the most popular holiday destinations for families and it is no wonder – with its array of picturesque beaches, ancient heritage and culture, a spattering of remote islands, and incredible marine lifebegging to be visited via snorkel. From Port Vila to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu offers incredible choice of activities and attractions - and don’t forget to indulge in the delicious fish and seafood cuisine and get to know the incomparable hospitality of the locals.  

Average flight time from Sydney: 3h 30m.

Passport and visa requirements: Australians travelling to Vanuatu require a passport with six months validity from arrival and can enjoy visa-free entry for 30 days.  

Best time to go:  Visit during the dry season between April and September for weather that's warm, sunny, and less humid. Book your flight to Vanuatu for May, early June, or September for great weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds. 

Highlights: Hiking Mount Yusar, an active volcano, visiting the Ekasup Village in Port Vila,  swimming, snorkelling and diving on Mystery Island, floating in secluded watering holes. 

6. Gili Islands, Indonesia 

Fine sand beach in Gili Islands, near Bali, Indonesia

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The Gili Islands are a group of three small tropical islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air), located near the northwest coast of Lombok Island and 35 km east of Bali. Each island has its unique charms, but all are  true magical paradise destinations. The largest of the three islands, Gili Trawangan, allures travellers for its sandy white beaches and vivid nightlife - perfect for partygoers!  Gili Meno known for its quiet, relaxing atmosphere, swimming, and snorkelling spots, is a great option for families. Gili Air is smallest of the islands and isknown for its tranquil vibe and remote essence. Its slow lifestyle is perfect for those seeking a true break from crowds , and is  a wonderful romantic destination for couples!  

Regardless of if you go to one of the islands or all three, the Gili Islands are popular choice amongst travellers to Indonesia looking for a quieter and slower pace than Bali, and are interested in relaxing on stunning beaches and exploring a string of incredible diving locations.

Average flight time from Sydney: 6h 25m to Bali, followed by a 1.5-2h fast boat to Gili Trawangan. 

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders can receive a free 30-day visa upon arrival for tourism purposes. Passports need six months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go: May to October is the dry season. However, peak season is July and August so expect crowds during this time.  

Highlights: Scuba diving in the coral reefs, swimming with sea turtles, biking around the islands, relaxing at the beaches, taking in the beautiful sunsets. 

 

7. Cairns, Australia 

Scuba diver exploring coral at the Great Barrier Reef

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Cairns is one of Far North Queensland’s best tropical holiday destinations. While many use Cairns as a gateway to tropical Port Douglas or majestic Great Barrier Reef, Cairns offers visitors a unique tropical escape that fuses beautiful reef adventures, luscious rainforest treks and resort relaxation. From Cairns, discover the special wildlife and coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, and the vibrant greens of the rejuvenating Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This is the place to be lulled to blissful sleep by gentle rainfall and melodic birdsong. If yuo're looking for a tropical holiday that offers both quiet and adventure, it's time to book a flight to Cairns!

Average flight time from Sydney: 3h.

Passport and visa requirements: No visa or passport is required for Australians.  

Best time to go: April to May, and September to October are ideal for beating the crowds while still enjoying the tropical climate! 

Highlights: Diving at the Great Barrier Reef, swimming under waterfalls at the Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest, exploring markets, wandering the Cairns Botanic Gardens, walking along the beach front, tasting the delicious local cuisine. 

 

8. Samoa 

To Sua ocean trench, Upolu, Samoa, South Pacific

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Samoa, located in the Pacific Islands, is a land of warm spirit, iridescent blue waters, and white sand. Despite its reputation as a slow-paced destination, Samoa's rugged volcanic landscapes, lush jungles and glacial blue waterfalls make it a nature lover's dream. Add in the genuine, humble hospitality of locals and you've got the true essence of Samoa - the connection of land and sea with a rich culture. For those looking for simplicity in their tropical holiday, Samoa is an island basked in sunshine that avoids mega resorts and fancy attractions. It isn’t a trip to Samoa without visiting the enchanting To Sua Ocean Trench. Located on the coast of Upolu, in the Lotofaga village, To Sua Ocean Trench is more akin to an enormous sinkhole, with cascading greenery down the sheer rock walls and the plunging turquoise pool. Clamber down the durable wooden ladder for a dip in this magical natural pool. When planning your trip to Samoa, don’t forget to read our guide on the must-do activities and can’t miss attractions

Average flight time from Sydney: 5h 15min.

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders can enter Samoa visa free for up to 90 days. Passports need six months validity from date of arrival.  

Best time to go: Visit Samoa during June, August or October for the perfect blend of sunshine, warmth, best value and fewer crowds. 

Highlights: Swimming in the To Sua Ocean Trench, experiencing the local Samoan culture and food, exploring local markets like Maketi Fou and Fugalei Markets, unwinding at unspoilt beaches, catching the ferry to Savai’I. 

 

9. Lombok, Indonesia 

View of Crater lake and volcano summit of Gunung Rinjani in Lombok

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Lombok is Bali’s neighbouring tropical island, and is a land swept in white sand beaches, dramatic volcanic scenery, plunging waterfalls, and epic surf spots. This volcanic island is engulfed in coral reefs perfect for snorkelling and diving. Don’t forget to explore the vibrant jungles, too. Often referred to as Bali’s sister island, Lombok, is steeped in outdoor adventure and untouched beauty. If you dare, hike to the summit of Mount Rinjani, and reward yourself with another day of basking in the sunshine and salt air of Pink Beach with sand boasting a delicate rosy hue. From thrilling adventures, to relaxation, to lively nightlife, Lombok is tropical island destination to add to your travels this year, perfect for those who seek a quieter, less crowded version of Bali!  

Average flight time from Sydney: 6h 30m to Bali with a 45m flight to Lombok International Airport.  

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders can receive a free 30-day visa upon arrival for tourism purposes. Passports need six months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go: The dry season between April and October is a wonderful time to go for lots of sunshine.  July to August is the peak season, so it tends to be more crowded in these two months.  

Highlights: Hiking to the summit of Mount Rinjani, experiencing the wonder of Pink Beach, surfing the world’s best waves, snorkelling and diving, hiking jungles to impressive waterfalls.  

 

10. Maldives 

Aerial landscape, of Maldives, with a luxury tropical resort of water villas and beautiful beach scenery

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The Maldives, an archipelagic state in South Asia, is located in the Indian Ocean. Most famous as an oasis riddled with overwater villas, crystal clear water and seclusion, it offers unrivalled sophistication and luxury in a tropical island destination – perfect for honeymooning couples or trips with friends. It’s even a wonderful and safe place for children to enjoy! The Maldives fosters an unparalleled experience of endless opportunnities for swimming, snorkelling with rainbow-coloured fish, exploring tranquil lagoons, and walking onstretches of pure white sand. 

Average flight time from Sydney: 15h 45m+ with a connecting flight in Singapore on Singapore Airlines.  

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders can receive a free 30-day visa upon arrival for tourism purposes. Passports need six months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go: Between November and April, outside of the monsoon season. Book your trip in March or April to avoid the crowds of the peak season between July to August.  

Highlights: Staying in a luxury overwater bungalow, snorkelling and diving with marine life, taking a jet ski safari, enjoying slow island life, encountering hammerhead sharks. 

 

11. Darwin, Australia 

Aerial view of a port in Darwin, Australia

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Darwin, the Northern Territory’s capital, offers the perfect mix of a tropical paradise and adventure destination. Boasting an abundance of sunshine and incredible activities such as swimming under waterfalls and soaking up the atmosphere of the city’s vibrant harbour, there’s something to do for every kind of traveller. Culture seekers will enjoy exploring Darwin’s hidden galleries, which feature Aboriginal artwork, and foodies won’t want to miss the city’s diverse cuisine, which is influenced by its proximity to Asia -  especially while watching the sunset at the The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. 

Average flight time from Melbourne: 4h 30m.

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: Book your flight to Darwin between May and October for the dry season and plenty of sunshine. The summer months are typically too hot.   

Highlights: Exploring hidden galleries with Aboriginal artwork, taking a crocodile jumping cruise, swimming under waterfalls at Litchfield National Park, enjoying a scenic harbour cruise, wandering the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. 

12. Palm Cove, Australia 

Sand, sea and coconut palms create a paradise setting at the popular tourist destination of Palm Cove, Queensland, Australia.

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Palm Cove, a quiet area outside of Cairns, offers a unique and relaxing village atmosphere by the Coral Sea, where you will be shaded by the Melaleuca trees dotting the beachside. Palm Cove oozes a sophisticated and chic essence, spoiled for top-notch resorts, restaurants and spas scattered along the gorgeous beachfront. Palm Cove is a luxurious tropical destination and works wonderfully as a base for day trips to the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy shopping the boutiques, wandering the galleries, reading beachside, and truly disconnect from the demands of life. Go on, you deserve a Palm Cove holiday!  

Average flight time from Sydney: 3h to Cairns Airport and catch the 25-minute shuttle bus to Palm Cove. 

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: April to November for the dry season, plenty of sunshine and a lively atmosphere. 

Highlights: Relaxing on Palm Cove Beach, day tripping to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, going on a rainforest excursion to the Daintree, relaxing at a spa, wandering through galleries. 

 

13. Nusa Islands, Indonesia 

Aerial view of the small island of Nusa Batumategan and  Nusa Batupadasan Island from the Atuh Rija Lima shrine on Nusa Penida Island near Bali, Indonesia.

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The Nusa Islands are a group of three islands - Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan – located southeast of Bali and are a great choice for couples, groups of friends and any adventurer. The Nusa Islands are a wonderful place to visit for a day trip or spend a longer period as part of your Indonesia tropical holiday. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by stunning beaches, roaring clifftops, views of the bluest sea, and fiery sunsets.  All of the Nusa Islanda are beautiful, but each offers something a bit different. Nusa Penida, the most popular of the islands, offers beauty, thrills and adventures, such as the challenging hike to the viewpoint Kelingking. Nusa Lembongan is a great place for some challenging surfing, and theecoasts are teeming with lush coral reefs for snorkelling and diving. Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of the three islands, and is home of the Blue Lagoon, a cove of vibrant blue water, perfect for thrill seekers with its cliff-diving spots. With sunshine, sea, adventure, and nature,  the Nusa Islands are a great tropical destination.  

Average flight time from Sydney: 6h 25m flight to Bali, and transfer via ferry or fast boat departing from Sanur harbour.  

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders can receive a free 30-day visa upon arrival for tourism purposes.  Passports need six months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go: May to October is the dry season. However, peak season is July and August so expect crowds during this time. 

Highlights: Hiking to the top of Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida, walking across the Yellow Bridge from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Ceningan, diving and snorkelling around the coral reefs, swimming at pristine beaches.   

 

14. Airlie Beach, Australia 

Airlie beach palm trees and coconut trees in Australia

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Airlie Beach is a resort town in the Whitsunday Region of Queensland, and is yet another incredible base for the Great Barrier Reef and the wider Whitsundays area. Airlie is also a wonderful place to take your time in, with its year-round tropical weather, palm-flanked beaches, parks along the waterfront, vibrant market and restaurant culture, and a relaxed energy. Airlie Beach is close to Conway National Park, perfect for hiking, exploring and even riding a Segway. Take up sailing and snorkelling and even try out sleeping beneath the stars.

Average flight time from Brisbane: 1h 50m flight to Proserpine, followed by a 30m drive.

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: June to August to escape the winter chill, and September to November for pleasant temperatures an sunshine.

Highlights: Cooling off in the man-made lagoon, exploring the Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef, touring through the rainforest on a Segway, hiring jet skis, watching the sunset on a catamaran.

 

15. Gladstone, Australia

Spinnaker Park with islands in background, Gladstone, Queensland

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Gladstone is a coastal tropical city in the Gladstone Region of Queensland and  is often referred to as the jewel of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. This is an idyllic destination for those who want to catch a break with a surf, snorkel the clear waters, and explore a vibrant and unique coastal town. Gladstone also works as a great base for adventures to Heron Island and Wilson Island, where you can snorkel with turtles and explore the colourful marine life. For foodies who need a break from swimming, Gladstone is known for its delicious cuisine and craft beer. 

Average flight time from Brisbane: 1h 10m.

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go:  Book a flight to Gladstone between August to October, which is ideal for the most pleasant temperatures and plenty of sun.  

Highlights: Swimming with turtles, snorkelling with tropical fish, hopping the islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, daytripping to Heron Island, exploring the gorges, creeks and waterfalls of Kroombit Tops National Park. 

 

16. Thailand 

Scenic landscape of James bond island with boat for traveler Phang-Nga bay, Thailand

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Thailand is the ultimate hub of Southeast Asia. A popular tropical holiday destination for families looking for a blend of relaxation and cultural exploring, lovers of adventure and nature, couples seeking a romantic getaway and even backpackers searching for beach, parties, and activities, it ticks so many boxes! Thailand is a diverse land that delivers the high-energy of Bangkok, the tranquil essence of laid-back tropical islands, and an authentic experience of a deeply rooted ancient history, culture, and way of life. Enjoy vivid and lush jungles, Instagrammable beaches, and flavour-packed cuisine. Thailand has a vast array of options for location and accommodation for Australian travellers, from lively budget-friendly backpacker hostels to unique luxury resorts amongst the rainforest, ideal for anyone seeking a tranquil escape into nature.   

Average flight time from Sydney: 9h 25+ to Bangkok with Singapore Airlines.

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders will be exempt from a visa requirement for 30 days upon arrival in an international airport.  Passports need six months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go: November to April is the best for the dry season where temperatures average 30°C.

Highlights: Experiencing the nightlife of Bangkok, exploring the culture and temples of Chiang Mai, island hopping, jungle trekking, eating Pad Thai and street food, unwinding with traditional Thai massages, dancing at a Full Moon party.  

17. Shark Bay, Australia 

Aerial view of colorful Cape Peron at Shark Bay, Western Australia

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Shark Bay is a World Heritage Site located in the Gascoyne Region of Western Australia and promises holiday seekers an off-the-beaten track and unexpected tropical destination. Shark Bay is a place where rusty-red desert meets the blue sea, with rare flora and fauna, and an incredible ecosystem. This is a destination crafted by nature for adventure lovers. Shark Bay teems with marine wildlife, from seagrass to dolphins, turtles, and crustaceans. From the blue-green waters of Monkey Mia, where you can encounter friendly dolphins to the ancient stromatolites of Hamelin Pool, adventure is at every corner. For those looking to get a taste of the outback, head to Francois Peron National Park and take a four-wheel drive to awe at the sight of the red earth meeting the white sand and blue waters. 

Average flight time from Sydney: 5h flight to Perth, followed by a two-hour flight to Monkey Mia.

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: April to May for warm days suited to swimming, rusing on the water and camping. 

Highlights: Meeting dolphins at Monkey Mia, witnessing red meeting twhite sand beaches at Francois Peron National Park, overlooking turquoise water at Eage Bluff, marvelling at the stromalites at Shell Beach. 

 

18. Seychelles 

Deserted beach in the Seychelles

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Seychelles is an archipelago nation and the smallest country in Africa by population. This country of 115 islands is home to an abundance of beaches, coral reefs, and reserves. It’s even home to rare species such as giant Aldabra tortoises! Seychelles is the perfect choice for beach lovers, who upon arrival will be rewarded with strips of sand grazed by blue-green waters, with hills and palm trees in the background. Seychelles is great for snorkelling and diving with its incredible sea life, but it's just as popular for relaxing and enjoying the slow pace. Add this to the honeymoon destination shortlist!

Average flight time from Sydney: 24h+ with connecting flight in Abu Dhabi on Etihad. 

Passport and visa requirements: Australian passport holders do not a visa but will receive a visitor’s permit upon arrival of up to 90 days. Passports need six months validity from date of arrival. 

Best time to go: Between April and May or October and November for calm wind and lots of sunshine. 

Highlights: Relaxing at poscard-perfect Anse Lazio, swimming in clear waters,  snorkelling secret beaches, enjoying sunset dinner on the beach.  

 

19. Mission Beach, Australia 

Visiting Mission Beach in Australia

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Mission Beach is a tropical destination located in the Cassowary Coast Region of Queensland. It is the closest access point to the Great Barrer Reef, which is less than 40km offshore. Besides the reef, this dreamy beachy enclave is a quieter, uncommercialised getaway destination, enveloped by lush rainforests with humble locals who will tell you about the best secret swimming hole locations. For the lover of thrills, Mission Beach is a launching point for mountain biking and hiking through the Wet Tropics rainforest. Mission Beach is an underrated tropical destination for lovers of adventure and nature.  

Average flight time from Sydney: 3h flight to Cairns, and a 1h 55m bus or car ride to Mission Beach. 

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: September to November for the best weather, and fewer crowds.  

Highlights: Snorkelling and diving in the Great Barrier Reef, exploring the Wet Tropics Rainforest, hiking through the rainforest of Dunk Island, spotting rare flightless birds, mountain biking.  

 

20. Broome, Australia 

Camels at sunset on Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

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Broome, a beach town in the Kimberly Region of Western Australia, is a cultural melting pot famous for its red sunsets and camel rides along the beaches. The town of Broome flourished to life through pearl farming in the 1880s, attracting workers from all over the world, and together with the First Nations peoples, have influenced a culture that is vibrant and diverse. Broome offers a blend of rustic desert and vibrant beach resorts, alongside blue waters, and the gentle bustle of boutiques. Take a slow camel ride with a sunset backdrop, marvel at the red, rocky landscape against the ocean, and join a pearl farm tour. You can even sample unique beers at Australia’s most remote brewery.  

Average flight time from Perth: 2h 35m.

Passport and visa requirements: None required for Australians.  

Best time to go: Plan to fly to Broome between May and October for dry season, warmth, and sun. Mid-June to mid-August is the most popular time to visit for the most open attractions. 

Highlights: Camel riding at sunset, joining a pearl farm guided tour,  meeting the snubfin dolphin, discovering dinosaur footprints, encountering turtles, manta rays and even humpback whales, snorkelling and diving in the clear blue waters of Rowley Shoals Marine Park.