Revealed: The top domestic and international travel destinations this Easter

travel

As the Easter Bunny prepares for his international expedition, many Australians are also using the long weekend at the end of the month for travel; from quick sun-soaked getaways to returns to hometowns.

Data released by online travel agency Booking.com has revealed which destinations look hotter than ever this Easter, as Australians look to make the most of the long weekend by soaking up the last of that summer sun.

Todd Lacey, Booking.com’s regional manager for Oceania explained that “The December/January period is always the highest volume of travel within our region. Over that period you tend to see a lot more international trips going on… Easter tends to be a lot shorter.”

So where are Aussies going this Easter? Domestic travellers are sticking to coastal destinations, and exploring all the beautiful beaches the country has to offer.

And the few who are using the long weekend to travel internationally are going to Asia – with Bali remaining a tried and true favourite.

But some surprise contenders are appearing in the rankings this year; Japan has seen a dramatic rise in popularity, with Osaka up a whopping 51 places from this time last year.

“Japan, in general, is driving so much tourist demand locally. It’s such a hot destination for a whole bunch of reasons,” Lacey said. “This time last year, Japan was one of the regions that only just opened for travel, so there’s a little bit of a rebound effect happening within that region.”

Australia’s top 20 domestic destinations this Easter
No. 1: Gold Coast

The Gold Coast has taken the top spot among domestic destinations this Easter, surpassing tourist hotspots Melbourne and Sydney to claim victory.

This could be indicative of the wider trend towards coastal or more tropical destinations this Easter.


No. 2: Sydney
People crowd crossing street in central Sydney

Bustling, beachy Sydney has nabbed the number two spot. Although there’s plenty to do for tourists over a long weekend, it couldn’t beat the warmer location of the Gold Coast.


No. 3: Melbourne
Image: Getty

While Melbourne took first place for domestic tourism over last year’s Easter holidays according to Booking.com, it’ll have to settle for bronze in 2024.


No. 4: Adelaide
Torrens river at sunset, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. GETTY

Adelaide is up an impressive four places from last year, which Booking.com’s Lacey attributes to the efforts of Tourism SA to elevate the often overlooked city.

The food and wine scene in South Australia, as well as cultural events like the Adelaide Fringe Festival, work as huge tourism draws for the city.


No. 5: Perth
The waterfront of the city of Perth. Western Australia. (Photo by: Paolo Picciotto/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

With its beautiful sandy beaches and stunning sunsets over the ocean, Perth has also been popular this time of year according to Booking.com’s data.


No. 6: Brisbane
Marriott International Hotel

The largest of Australia’s capital cities by geographical area, Brisbane has plenty to offer holidaymakers over the Easter long weekend.


No. 7: Cairns
AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 24: Young woman sunbathes in the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, a waterpark in Queensland. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Known as the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is it any surprise that tropical Cairns is popular among tourists looking for a warm escape?


No. 8: Canberra
Hot air balloon outside Old Parliament House, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, ACT, Australia. (Photo by: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

It’s possible Canberra doesn’t get the attention it deserves as a tourist destination, but Booking.com has proven that it remains popular for a long weekend getaway.

“Over Easter, corporates aren’t there and parliament isn’t sitting,” says Lacey. “So there’s a lot of hotels and a lot of different luxury accommodations available that normally would be booked up… and Canberra’s a great destination for domestic food travel as well.”


No. 9: Byron Bay
BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA

It wouldn’t be a list of Aussie holiday destinations without Byron Bay making an appearance. Stunning beaches, funky cafes, and a chance you’ll run into a Hemsworth. What’s not to love?


No. 10: Hobart
Salamanca markets with row of colonial era warehouses. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. (Photo by: Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Up one place from last year according to Booking.com, it seems more Aussies are looking to venture off the mainland to enjoy all that Hobart has to offer.


No. 11: Coffs Harbour
Couple look out to Little Mutton bird Island from Park beach, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

For a long weekend family getaway Coffs Harbour makes perfect sense. Enjoy the beaches on NSW’s North Coast while keeping the kids occupied at the Big Banana Fun Park.


No. 12: Newcastle
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA (Photo by Roni Bintang/Getty Images)

Two hours outside of Sydney, Newcastle’s natural beauty is a huge draw for Sydney-siders looking for a fun and easy long weekend destination.


No. 13: Port Macquarie
Image: Getty

Known for its penal colony past, Port Macquarie is up three places from last year according to Booking.com. Tourists to the area can enjoy its beaches, wildlife, and the Billabong Zoo.


No. 14: Airlie Beach
AIRLIE BEACH, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 27: Sunrise over the Port of Airlie as seen on April 27, 2019 in Airlie Beach, Australia. The coastal town of Airlie Beach has a population of just over 1,200 and is located in Northern Queensland and is a main departure point for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

This tiny resort town is a favourite for holidaymakers who want to travel around the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef.


No. 15: Noosa Heads
NOOSA, AUSTRALIA (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Up one place from last year, Noosa Heads is a popular destination for families and groups who want to experience the best the Sunshine Coast has to offer.


No. 16: Nelson Bay
PORT STEPHENS, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 25: Boats sit in the water at Nelson Bay on a winters afternoon on June 25, 2020 in Port Stephens, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Another stunning coastal destination to make the list, Nelson Bay is particularly popular for its whale and dolphin tours.


No. 17: Forster Bay
Tourists walking along One Mile Beach at Forster, New South Wales, Australia. (Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

This location, known for its beaches, national parks and great lakes is up one place from last year – a quieter coastal option that’s all about the beautiful natural surroundings.


No. 18: Lakes Entrance
The Dark Emu of aboriginal sky lore rising in a moonlit sky over the Tasman Sea from a beach near Lakes Entrance. Image: Getty

A slightly colder coastal option, but this town in Eastern Victoria is known for its wildlife and vast inland waterways system.


No. 19: Mooloolaba
Image: Getty

This destination has made an impressive leap – up ten places from last year.

Booking.com’s Lacey tells Forbes Australia that Mooloolaba is a great alternative to more popular locations like Noosa Heads, due to the number of apartments and hotels based in that region, and the impressive flight capacity of the regional airport.


No. 20: Port Douglas
Image: Getty

Another great destination for tourists looking to access the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas is also conveniently located near the Daintree National Park, and is known for its gorgeous beaches.


The top 10 international destinations for Australians this Easter
No. 1: Tokyo
People are walking through the intersection at Shibuya in heavy snow in Tokyo, Japan, on February 5. (Photo by Yusuke Harada/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tokyo is up five places from last year to take the top international destination according to Booking.com’s data – further proof of Japan’s surge in popularity.

“The weak Japanese yen means that it’s comparatively affordable to travel within Japan,” says Lacey. “Traditionally it’s not always been super affordable, especially in places like Tokyo.”


No. 2: Singapore

Up 3 places from last year, Singapore appeals to travellers for a number of reasons. The luxury traveller will find plenty they enjoy their, while the foodie traveller might just ascend to heaven when presented with all of the street food options to choose from.


No. 3: Seminyak
BALI, INDONESIA (Photo by Johannes P. Christo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Seminyak is renowned for its gorgeous beaches, and is highly popular among Australian tourists in Bali.


No. 4: Ubud
Image: Getty

To get in touch with the spiritual and cultural essence of Bali, Ubud is the place to be. Tourists can explore the local rice paddies, temples, and rainforests.


No. 5: Canggu
CANGGU, BALI, INDONESIA (Photo by Agunng Parameswara/Getty Images)

Up 3 places from last year, Canggu has definitely seen increasing popularity as a tourist destination. For the beaches, or yoga retreats, or the local shopping and restaurant scene, there are so many things to love and do in Canggu.


No. 6: Bangkok
Buddhist monks wait to cross a road outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok on March 14, 2024. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP) (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Thailand’s capital city is a vibrant place, rich with history and culture. With so much to do and eat there it’s no wonder Aussie tourists are flocking there.


No. 7: Ho Chi Minh City
Women wearing the traditional ao dai dress stand outside the late 19th century Saigon Central Post office in Ho Chi Minh City on June 29, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP) (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Up a whopping 22 places from last year, Ho Chi Minh city is a fabulous destination for the foodie traveller, with the best of Vietnames cuisine on offer there.


No. 8: Hong Kong

Another big rise – Hong Kong is up 14 places from this time last year. Booking.com’s Lacey suggested that the rise in popularity among destinations like Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City is due to an increasing willingness amongst tourists to push outside of their travel comfort zones.

It might have taken some holidaymakers a few years of recovery post-pandemic to return to their previous confidence levels, at least around travel.


No. 9: Osaka
This photo taken on March 15, 2024 shows banners and signs advertising bars and restaurants in a popular entertainment area in Osaka. (Photo by Richard A. Brooks / AFP) (Photo by RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Osaka has raced up Booking.com’s travel data – up 51 places from last year.

While there are numerous tourism draws for the area, one reason for this dramatic rise could be that Easter coincides with cherry blossom season in Japan, and Osaka is a perfect place to be to make the most of that time.


No. 10: Legian
Balinese women perform the Rejang traditional dance during a cultural ceremony in Legian, near Kuta on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on December 1, 2018. (Photo by SONNY TUMBELAKA / AFP) (Photo by SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP via Getty Images)

Another gorgeous location in Bali, Legian has stunning beaches and wildlife, as well as a surfing and party scene for tourists to enjoy if they choose.

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