Top ten Aussie destinations for 2016
AUSTRALIANS love to travel and with a backyard as big as ours, the options for domestic trips are endless.
This Australia Day, Flight Centre has crunched the number of bookings in 2015 to see what places around the country make Aussies pack away the passport for a holiday on home soil.
These are the top ten Aussie destinations Australian travellers are loving at the moment.
Topping the list of trending destinations in Australia, Fremantle's popularity has risen an impressive 126% in 2015. With dinning, markets and beaches, the port city's natural charms are evident, but Flight Centre insiders point to the rise of the cruise industry as the major driver behind the jump, with Fremantle the West's premier cruise hub. Locals can jump aboard a great value cruise to Bali, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong, while Aussies around the country can still come out ahead with a cheap Asia cruise holiday from Fremantle even with the added cost of a flight to Perth.
2. HAYMAN ISLAND
We love a good beach break and they don't come much better than Hayman Island. The isle has enjoyed a bumper 18 months with an increase in Flight Centre bookings of 46% in 2015. Helping to lure lovers of luxury is the deluxe One and Only Hayman Island, re-opened in mid-2014 after a multi-million dollar transformation to the five-star resort brand. This of-the-moment destination has attracted big names in the past 12 months, helping solidify its cool factor as the place to be seen if going to the beach.
Ballina is just down the road from perennial favourite Byron, and this under-the-radar hot spot made big gains in 2015 with Flight Centre recording an 18.7% booking increase in 2015 compared to the year prior. Ballina offers a relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of the quintessential Aussie beach breaks of years past which may explain its resurgence as travellers crave a taste of the simple life and the chance to recapture memories from their youth. Plus, the town is a gateway to the Northern NSW coast that encompasses Byron, Bangalow, Newrybar and Lennox Head.
Tassie has been the Australian state to watch in the last few years with much of the spotlight on the culinary and cultural offerings in Hobart. As the port city on the Apple Isle, Devonport has enjoyed a bumper 2015 with Flight Centre bookings increasing by 18.2% and a record number of passengers on the Spirit of Tasmania (up 15%). There is plenty to explore in town, plus easy access to Tassie's best sights including Cradle Mountain, and Flight Centre points to the town's Maritime history and cycling opportunities along the Tasmanian Trail that starts in town as reasons behind the rise in popularity.
Flight Centre has seen a 12% year-on-year increase in bookings to Uluru. The red centre is set to be even more popular with tourists this year as the area welcomes unique touring options including scenic flights over Uluru and Mt Conner and a bush tucker trail with an overnight option in neighbouring Kings Canyon. As the spiritual centre of the country and a bucket-list destination the world over, it appears more Australian's are opening up to the prospect of exploring the best the outback has to offer.
Rising in popularity by 9% in 2015, more Aussies are taking advantage of Bundaberg's laid back appeal and easy access to the country's largest concentration of nesting marine turtles. From November to March, visitors can witness tiny turtle hatchlings making their way towards the sea from their sandy nests. This spectacular sight has gained momentum in recent years and the experience is luring wildlife lovers in increasing volume.
7. WAGGA WAGGA
The Australian city that's so great, they named it twice is full of secrets that 7% more Aussie travellers are looking to discover. The booking increased witnessed in 2015 indicates the iconic country town is on the agenda for Australians this year. Wagga is great for families with an abundance of nature activities including beautiful trails, gardens and parks, plus some nice day trip options and cultural events that add to the appeal.
8. PORT MACQUARIE
The coastal community of Port Macquarie is a winner with Aussie travellers and Flight Centre recorded a 4.5% booking boost in 2015. Alongside stunning beaches, a laid back feel, beautiful marina, fishing opportunities and coastal walks, Port Macquarie is an animal lover's paradise. The town is home to the world's first koala hospital that cares for stranded koalas, plus a host of cute critters including quolls and wombats, and travellers can stop by for a visit.
The culture capital of the country that's recently upped its irreverent ante with the opening of a George Costanza themed bar is a hit with Australian travellers. Already one of the top destinations in Australia, Flight Centre booking stats rose by 2% in 2015 and the growth looks set to continue. It appears our love of a quality latte, hipster culture and great shopping keeps us coming back to Melbourne for more.
A surprise entry on the list of places popular with Australians is the border town of Albury. The town offers a back-to-basics holiday for families and couples that sparked a booking increase in 2015 of 2%. Much of the increase is down to the trend of city slickers seeking authentic Australian experiences by turning their tourism attention to coastal and regional areas like Albury for short getaways. Families love Albury for the classic outdoor holiday is promotes with kids able to get a taste of regional life and pursue water activities like boating and fishing on Lake Hume.