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Best Countries Near Australia to Visit!

Are you an Aussie looking to tick off another country without spending hours and dollars flying across the world? Or perhaps you are visiting Australia and looking to expand your travels by visiting neighboring countries? These are the best countries near Australia to visit!

Spend less time flying and more time experiencing tropical beaches, new cultures, traditional dishes or skiing in the mountains with the following best countries near Australia to visit.

No matter your budget or the number of annual leave days available, there is a country nearby for you to explore. From tropical paradise to winter wonderlands, there is more to explore around Australia than you might have thought!

Best Countries Near Australia to Visit!

Let’s jet straight into the 8 best countries near Australia to visit!


best countries near australia to visit
best countries near Australia to visit

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu is an affordable experience not to be missed. From beautiful untouched waters to unique cultural experiences, Vanuatu is one of the best countries near Australia to visit.

Vanuatu is largely unexplored, unheard of, and doesn’t experience loads of tourists. Enjoy the unique culture, the friendly locals are eager to take you into the world and explore the untouched tropical beauty. Visit a range of villages and tribes across the islands to immerse yourself in life in Vanuatu.

Swim in world-class pristine waters or go the extra mile diving, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, surfing, you name it! You can even scuba dive shipwrecks and World War 2 spots including Million Dollar Point. 

If you’re game, get up close to an active volcano, and by close I mean the closest you are gonna get to any active volcano! Although not for the faint-hearted, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to feel the heat, smell the sulfur, and see volcanic eruptions.

On the topic of volcanos, one drawback of travelling to Vanuatu is the risk of volcanic eruptions and subsequent tsunamis.

If you plan to head to Vanuatu ensure you have travel insurance (which you should for any international travel) and just before you leave, check the Vanuatu Meterology alerts. If in doubt, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! 

What to do in Vanuatu

Continuing on, I think a major drawcard for visiting Vanuatu is the blue caves. Located on Tanna Island, take a short dive underwater through the cave’s passageway and surface to a magical blue cave. You will be in awe as the sunlight floods through the top of the cave revealing the glowing blue water. 

Speaking of blue water, the next attraction to see is the blue lagoon. Swing on the rope into the water and spend the day soaking in the pristine blue water. 

Lastly, for all you beach lovers, a visit to Champagne Beach is a must to dip your toes in the powder white sand.

What you need to know

Flight time from Sydney 3 hours & 30 minutes non-stop.Price for a solo traveller To enjoy a mid-range trip to Vanuatu, expect to pay around $170 AUD per day. A return trip from Sydney costs approximately $500-650 AUD.Travel AdviceExercise normal safety precautions. Crime is low however risks of cyclones, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions should be researched prior to departure. Medical facilities are limited therefore medical evacuation may be required if illness or injury occurs. Visit your Travel Doctor to receive appropriate vaccinations. Malaria, Ziki virus, rubella, and mumps are present in Vanuatu. Check Smarttraveller for the most up-to-date information.Where to stayHoliday Inn Resort Vanuatu, an IHG Hotel (range of Melanesian rooms including an overwater bungalow)The Melanesian Port Vila (mid-range option on the waterfront with poolside bar and grill featuring cultural entertainment)Tropicana Motel & Backpackers (budget option) Best time to VisitBetween May and October for sunny days and to avoid the wet season and cyclones. 

New Caledonia

best places to visit near australia
best places to visit near Australia

Next on the list of best countries to visit near Australia is New Caledonia! New Caledonia is a short trip away to experience the breathtaking beauty of the South Pacific combined with the elegance of Europe. Get a taste of France just 3 hours away!

New Caledonia is a captivating, unique, and diverse French overseas territory offering an exceptional variety of landscapes, cultures and activities. 

This corner of the globe should not be missed and is often not even considered when planning a holiday! Experience magnificent beaches, waterways and a range of breathtaking vantage points. 

Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia will give you a taste of life on the island. The multicultural city consists of mainly Melanesians and Europeans. The remainder is mainly Polynesian and Asian. On your trip to New Caledonia, venture to museums, bush festivals, art galleries or theatres.

A must-experience is the renowned gem of Southern New Caledonia, Isle of Pines. It is thought of as the closest island to paradise due to its crystalline waters, pure white sand and captivating views. Other islands to hop between are Ouvéa, Lifou, Tiga and Maré.

You can’t visit a French territory without tasting some French cuisine! Dine at Le Méridien Nouméa Resort & Spa’s resident restaurants for some serious French dining. Treat yourself to some delicious Crepes at Creperie Le Rocher for something sweet or savory enjoyed with a view. 

What you need to know

Flight time from Sydney is approximately 3 hours.

Price for a solo traveller: To enjoy a mid-range trip to New Caledonia, expect to pay around $200- 250 AUD per day. Direct return flights cost approximately $640-800 AUD.  

Travel Advice 

Exercise a high degree of caution due to civil unrest outside of major town centers. Strikes and protests can disrupt roads and essential services. Cyclones and severe weather can occur at any time, although more likely from November to May.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, and bushfires are also a risk. Check Smarttraveller for the most up-to-date information.

Where to stay

Auberge Jeunesse Nouméa (budget hostel with a gorgeous terrace overlooking Noumea)

Hotel Beaurivage (mid-range hotel on the edge of the beach)

Oure Tera Beach Resort (mid-range resort in the Isle of Pines)

Best time to Visit

During the months of May, June, September and October.


Places like Bora Bora but cheaper!

New Zealand

which country visits australia the most

Next, we have New Zealand a country full of beautiful landscapes, mountains, and Indigenous Maori culture to explore! The South Island in New Zealand, is known as the adventure capital with loads of ski fields on offer during the wintertime and adventure activities during the summertime.

From glaciers, mountains, and picturesque lakes to pubs, bars, and clubs, the South Island will take your breath away. I would suggest renting a car or live-in caravan to travel to the beautiful South Island. Whether you are travelling from slope to slope or sightseeing during the summertime, the best way to get around is via self-driving.

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A visit to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound is a must on every New Zealand trip to witness some of the most spectacular waterfalls on Earth. Next, take a cruise through Lake Wakatipu on a vintage steamship or a catamaran.

Continue your exploration of New Zealand by visiting the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook. It is seriously impressive! A range of hikes and more leisurely walks that will lead you to beautiful lookouts to take photos and soak in the scenery.

I could go on about New Zealand, but let’s leave it here… at the range of wineries on offer to taste world-class Sauvignon Blancs.

If you are a wine lover like me, the Marlborough region is a fantastic destination to stop off in. Enjoy crisp and fruity Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the vineyards, my kind of afternoon treat!

What you need to know

Flight time from Sydney direct to Queenstown is 3 hours. Price for a solo traveller on a mid-range trip is approximately $125AUD to $250AUD per day. Flights direct return from Sydney to Queenstown are approximately $600-800 AUD. Travel AdviceExercise normal safety precautions in New Zealand. New Zealand is very similar to Australia in terms of culture, crime rates and legislation. Weather conditions can change quickly so check the radar before venturing out on a long hike or to a remote area. Best time to visitThe best time to visit New Zealand and experience the slopes is July to October. August is notably the best month due to the regular snowfall, deep snow base, and its outside-of-school holiday peak times. December to March brings beautiful sunny weather, perfect for hiking, swimming and mountain biking.


Ultimate guide to skiing in New Zealand

7 Best All Inclusive Trips to New Zealand


best countires near australia to visit
Seminyak Bali

Looking for an affordable short-haul trip from Australia? How about Bali, Indonesia?

Travel luxuriously for an affordable price through a beautiful setting! The value in Bali is truly insane! A blend of beautiful luxurious villas, nature, and night lifeline, it’s one of the most perfect places to visit before 30.

When I travelled to Bali I stayed in Seminyak which is home to lavish accommodations, high-end restaurants, and beach clubs. Be warned though, Bali is incredibly hot & humid in the summertime so be prepared to sweat or… spend the day sipping cocktails by the pool!

Make sure to watch the sunset on the beach or book a dinner reservation on the beach to see the sky turn to candy, shades of pink, orange, and purple!

Before you go make sure to visit your Travel Dr to ensure you have received the appropriate vaccinations and are prepared with some Bali belly medications should it strike.

Also, ensure you read up on how you can best protect yourself whilst eating and drinking on the Island. Tip: Ask for drinks without ice and stick to bottled water or bottled beers, which are dirt cheap by the way!


Is there Uber in Bali? Guide to getting around!

What you need to know

Flight time direct from Sydney to Bali is 6 hours and 20mins.

Price for two travellers in Bali enjoying a mid-range trip is approximately $60-100 AUD per person/per day. Direct return flights from Sydney to Bali cost approximately $700-$800AUD per person.

Travel Advice 

Exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Bali. Terrorist attacks, petty crimes and corrupt police systems. Natural disasters including floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions are also a risk. There is no tolerance for drugs in Bale. Some prescription medications such as ADHD medication, codeine, sleeping pills, medicinal cannabis and more are illegal so be sure to do your research. Check Smarttraveller for the most up-to-date information.

Where to stay

Tab Hotel Legian Bali (budget hostel with a bar and breakfast)

CR Tris Rooms Seminyak (great budget option for two travellers)

Tonys Villas & Resort Seminyak – Bali (great mid-range option with a pool and in-house spa)

Serene Villas (luxury private villas perfect for couples or groups, includes spa treatment, breakfast and a BBQ dinner, my personal favourite!)

Best time to Visit is between April and October during the dry season when the weather is the most ideal.


countries near australia to visit

Moving onto Fiji, a popular tropical getaway for Aussies due to the short-haul flight and abundance of activities. A mere 4-hour flight from Australia’s east coast, Fiji is one of the best countries near Australia to visit.

With over 300 islands, beautiful resorts and overwater bungalows, and Fijian culture and traditions to be immersed in, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Fiji!

Starting with Nadi, considered the launchpad to all things fun in Fiji. Located on the western side, Nadi is close to the Coral Coast and Denarau Island.

Spend some time island hopping the dreamy Mamanucas islands, the gem of Fiji. Mamanuca Islands are home to world-class surf, hidden caves, and stunning reefs. A short trip via air or water and you’ve landed in an unspoiled, inhibited tropical paradise. If you are game, take the plunge and dive with sharks in Beqa Lagoon

Venture further out to experience even more alluring natural attractions. I would recommend you explore Kadavu Island and the smaller surrounding islands.

Nadi to Kadavu is a short 50-minute flight so be sure to factor that into your itinerary and budget. Kadavu is home to the fourth largest reef in the world, the Great Astrolabe Reef.  But wait there’s more, immerse yourself in vine-tangled jungles, rocky headlands and isolated beaches.

If you prefer to stay closer to Nadi to save some money, take a trip to Port Denarau Island. Go shopping, play a round of golf, indulge in spa treatments, lounge by the beach and more! Port Denarau has something for everyone.

Lastly, North of Fiji is the Yasawa Islands, home to the magical Sawa-i-Lau Caves, which you may have seen in the Hollywood movie, Blue Lagoon. Best visited from a nearby island resort or take a seaplane excursion from the mainland. 

What you need to know

Flight time from Sydney is approximately 4 hours.

Price for 2 travellers: To enjoy a mid-range trip to Fiji, expect to pay around $120-150 AUD per day/per person. Direct return flights per person cost approximately $650-$750 AUD

Travel Advice 

Exercise normal safety precautions. Be careful in urban areas and downtown Suva at night. Credit card fraud and ATM card skimming can occur. November to April is cyclone season although can occur at any time, same with flooding. Check Smarttraveller for the most up-to-date information.

Where to stay

Likuliku Lagoon Resort – Adults Only (stunning overwater or beachfront bungalows available)

Oarsman’s Bay Lodge (Budget mixed dormitory or studio apartment) 

Castaway Island, Fiji (luxury Fijian-style bungalows at an award-winning private island retreat on Mamanuca Islands) 

Radisson Blu Resort Fiji (mid-range stay on Denarau Island) 

Best time to Visit

Mid-October to mid-November is generally the best time to visit Fiji as prices are reasonable, there are fewer crowds and the weather is dry and warm.


best places to visit in australia

Thailand is next on the list of best countries to visit near Australia! Although it is slightly further away, Thailand is a great escape for anyone looking for a world-class tropical island holiday combined with cultural immersion.

I recommend, travelling to Phuket if you want to island hop. Loads of wonderful beaches to relax on and a range of adventurous water activities. If you’re on a tight budget, Thailand is very affordable compared to other tropical escapes such as French Polynesia or Hawaii.

Stunning Islands to add to your itinerary are Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao. 

Kho Pha Ngan is well known for the Full Moon Party, a monthly world-famous dance party that draws 20,000 visitors from all over the world. A great way for twenty-something solo travellers to meet others and let loose.

Now let’s talk about food for a minute. Yes, Thailand has captivating beaches and friendly locals, but Thailand’s glorious food is just as noteworthy. Take a stroll through the streets of Old Phuket Town to not only take in the mix of modern art and traditional architecture but to taste the mouth-watering street food. Phuket is especially known for its seafood which you can enjoy without draining your bank account.

What you need to know

Flight time direct from Sydney to Phuket is approximately 9hrs.

Price for a solo traveller on a mid-range trip is around $75AUD to $150AUD.

Direct return flights from Sydney to Phuket will cost approximately $1500AUD.

Travel Advice

Exercise a high degree of caution overall due to the possibility of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attacks, including in Bangkok and Phuket. Be alert to possible threats and take official warnings seriously. Drink spiking can happen to tourists, never leave your drink unattended. Check Smarttraveller for the most up-to-date information.

Best time to Visit Thailand is between November and February when the weather is cooler. 


25+ Dream Destination Holidays to Visit in a Lifetime


countries near australia
countries near australia

Next, we have the Philippines!

Palawan in particular, a spectacular island located west of the Philippines, should be on your bucket list.

The capital of the Palawan Province is Puerto Princesa, one of the cleanest cities in the Philippines. Major tourist destinations within Palawan include Coron, famous for its diving and El Nido, famous for its towering cliffs.

When in Palawan expect bright blue waters surrounded by karst stone island cliffs with plenty of adventures to keep you busy. From beaches, caves, jungles, rustic Filipino food and bottomless beer, Palawan is one of the best countries near Australia to visit!

Your itinerary should include island-hopping, caving, ziplining, snorkelling and scuba diving. For a day filled with underwater activities, spend the day far north of Palawan on Coron Island.

What you need to know

Flight time from Sydney non-stop is 8hrs 30mins. 

Price for 2 travellers To enjoy a mid-range trip to Palawan, expect to pay around $90-120 AUD per day/per person. Direct return flights from Sydney to Manilla cost approximately $700-$1200AUD per person. To fly from return direct from Manila to El Nido (1hr 30min flight time) expect to pay an additional $180-$250 per person

Travel Advice

Exercise a high degree of caution when traveling to the Philippines due to crime and terrorism. Avoid all protests, it’s illegal to take part in political rallies if you’re not Filipino. Many crimes involve guns, gangs often drug tourists before robbing or assaulting them so stay alert at all times. Typhoons, flooding, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis are common so know your accommodations evacuation plan. Check Smarttraveller for the most up-to-date information.

Where to stay

In El Nido

Mad Monkey Hostel Nacpan Beach (budget option right on the beach with fun activities to get involved in)

Last Frontier Beach Resort-Adults Only (great mid-range option on the beach)

In Purteo Princesa 

Hostel Privado (very affordable hostel in a great location)

Panja Resort Palawan (outdoor pool overlooking lush greenery, great for couples and good value for the price) 

In Coron

Hop Hostel (fantastic hostel with a range of room options including private and shared)

Zuri Resort (affordable overwater bungalows!) 

Best time to Visit is during the dry season between November and April. The shoulder months of May and November are less crowded and the weather is still beautiful. 


best overseas holiday destinations
best overseas holiday destinations

Moving onto the winter wonderland destination near Australia, Japan, Hokkaido. Japan is a short-haul trip from Australia that unlocks new culture, beautiful scenery and world-class skiing. Tokyo is still on my bucket list, however, I have been skiing in Hokkaido three times so am going to focus my recommendations on skiing Niseko, Hokkaido.

If you are an Aussie, Japan is a fantastic choice for a ski adventure. Around a 10-hour trip, with no jet lag due to the similar time zones! Beats a 24+ hour journey to Canada or Switzerland. 

Niseko is renowned for its consistent supply of powder snow, backcountry access and beautiful scenery. It’s no surprise it’s one of the best ski destinations in the world! The abundance of soft powdery snow makes Niseko a great place for beginners to learn.

Although Niseko has unreal snow, don’t expect it to be the cultural explosion you would see in Tokyo. If you are wanting to visit Japan to immerse yourself in the eclectic, innovative, colourful culture, I would hold out until Spring or Autumn to visit Tokyo.

Back to skiing in Japan. I have only ever stayed in Hirafu, due to the close proximity to a range of ski resorts and the abundance of cafes and restaurants within walking distance. Hirafu is home to the popular Niseko Hirafu Ski resort that offers soft powder snow skiing day and night!

But there’s more, I recommend renting a car to travel to several ski resorts that offer different views and a range of runs for every skill level. Annupuri, Rusutus and Kiroro are my all-time favourite ski resorts offering fantastic runs for beginners and intermediates as well as off-piste or backcountry skiing for thrill seekers.

For a detailed guide on skiing in Japan check out my ultimate guide to skiing in Niseko!

What you need to know

Flight time varies from 12 hours to 18 hours each way including layovers. 

Price for 2 travellers for a mid-range ski trip $320-$380 AUD (Includes ski hire, car rental, ski pass, accommodation, food) For the full breakdown see my detailed guide!

Cost for return flights from Sydney $1500 AUD – $3000 AUD per person. 

Travel Advice 

Exercise normal safety precautions. Japan has a low crime rate, however as always when travelling remain vigilant. If you are skiing in Japan, risk of avalanches are present if you are backcountry skiing, so ensure you are prepared and check the weather conditions. Earthquakes and tsunamis are a risk in Japan at any time. Check Smarttraveller for the most up-to-date information.

Where to stay

The Maples Niseko (ski-to-door access, a minute’s walk from Niseko, Grand Hirafu luxury)

Australia House (budget accommodation offering a ski school and storage, a 10-minute walk to Grand Hirafu)

Chatrium Niseko (located in Hirafu, 5-minute shuttle bus to Niseko United Ski resort, great for families or groups) 

Lodge 401 (mid-range lodge, ski-to-door access in Annupuri, close to hot springs)

Best time to Visit: During the summer and wintertime depending on whether you prefer a snowy or sunny holiday. I personally prefer visiting Hokkaido, Niseko in the wintertime for some of the world’s best skiing. 


Skiing in Niseko Guide – Japan Travel

And there you have it! The best countries to visit near Australia! Leave a comment letting me know which of the 8 destinations you are most excited to visit!

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