What are the best places to visit in Australia and the Pacific for 2018 and beyond? Read on to find out!
Australia and the Pacific islands are known for some of the whitest sand beaches, wildest backcountries, and best weather on the planet. But they can also be known for suffocating crowds of tourists. Fortunately, there is a lot more to Oceania than just the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House.
I’ve asked some of the world’s best travel bloggers to help identify the best places to visit in Australia and the Pacific for 2018 and beyond — and, let’s just say, there are a lot of awesome off-the-beaten-path places to explore in Oceania next year!
From skiing and surfing (in the same day!), to lounging on a pristine beach deep in the Pacific, to swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia, there is a lot to do at these six awesome destinations in Oceania. Oh — and if an overwater bungalow at Bora Bora is on your bucket list, but you don’t have the cash to spare, read on to find out where you can get that same experience for half the price.
So book those flights now, because below are the best places to visit in Australia and the Pacific for the year 2018! Get there now before everyone else figures out how incredible these destinations are!
This is the third in a series on the Best Places to Travel in 2018 for each continent around the globe. So be sure to check out the full list!
Moorea is a tropical island located in popular French Polynesia, but it is much lesser known than its sister island, Bora Bora. Though Bora Bora tends to be at the top of everyone’s bucket lists these days, Moorea is arguably the better island of the two, and here’s why: The island of Moorea is very easily accessible from Tahiti. The short 40-minute ferry ride only costs about $15 each way and there are many boats scheduled daily. To get to Bora Bora you’ll spend around $400 for a round-trip flight since there is no ferry service available. Moorea, which is preferred by the locals as well, is much larger than Bora Bora and has many more activities at a fraction of the price. If an overwater bungalow is on your bucket list you can get one here for about half the price and stay twice as long.
-Kamelia from Hackerette
You probably know Sydney, Australia, but have you heard of Exmouth in Western Australia? This town of 2,500, set on one of the world’s largest fringing reef systems and visited yearly by migrating humpbacks, whale sharks and manta rays is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Ningaloo Reef is home to one of the top 10 dive sites in the world and the untouched beauty of Cape Range National Park makes being outside the water just as exciting as being in it. Go for a 4WD tour or take a spin in a microlight for a unique perspective of some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. For the best weather and the greatest chance to see the big three underwater, visit between March and September.
-Brittany from The Sweet Wanderlust
The Cook Islands is a hidden gem emerging as a hot destination in Oceania for adventure and solitude lovers seeking a tropical backdrop. Due to its textbook paradise characteristics, visitors are lured to the islands for the opportunity to forget their worries and relax beachside, island hop, and enjoy the amazing adventure activities. The 15 atoll islands pepper the South Pacific like green jewels in turquoise and azure water protected by coral reefs. It’s not hard to find a place on the beach to relax for a few hours or find something more adventurous to spend time. The Cook Islands offer many activities that will allow you to live adventurously; from hiking to kayaking to driving your scooter around the island in one day.
-Daina from Headed Anywhere
Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania, used to have the reputation of being a sleepy old town. At least, that’s until the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opened in 2011. MONA brought Hobart back to life, and since then the number of annual visitors to the city has increased dramatically. Visitors now come to enjoy not only MONA but Hobart’s waterfront and harbor-side bars, bustling restaurants, and quirky cafes. On Saturday mornings, Salamanca Place comes alive with the famous Salamanca market. This market, the largest in Tasmania, has three hundred stalls selling handmade Tasmanian crafts, local delicacies and everything else in between. Plus, from Hobart, you are never too far away from plenty of other popular Tasmanian attractions. Mt Wellington, Bruny Island, the Huon Valley and the Tasman Peninsula are all just a short drive away. With so much to see and do, Tasmania is quickly becoming one of the best places to visit in Australia.
-Cindy from Free Two Roam
Tasmania is so cool it deserves at least two slots on any list of the best places to visit in Australia. Venture to the far western edge of the Tasmania to Strahan, and you’ll find yourself in a postcard-perfect Australian fishing village that feels like it’s been trapped in time.
Strahan’s been renowned for some time for its excellent boat cruises through the surrounding wilderness. But Strahan’s isolated location on the far west of Tasmania thankfully acts as a natural limit on visitors (it makes a great stop on a road trip of Tasmania though!). The journey is well worth it, though, and we predict more will make the journey in the coming years. If you aren’t tired from a day out exploring, be sure to stop by one of the few pubs in the town center and grab a pint with the loquacious fishermen.
Drop me in a note in the comments – I’d love to hear your take on where you think will be the best travel destinations in Australia in 2018.
And be sure to read the full series: Best Places to Travel in 2018
And, if you’re headed to Australia, be sure to check out our detailed list of the 19 Best Things to do in Newcastle, Australia – as picked by a local!
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Nate Hake has traveled to 65+ countries across six continents around the world and blogs about his travels at TravelLemming.com. He is from Denver, Colorado, and recently concluded a six month stint living in Mexico.