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6 destinations less than eight hours from Australia

Love the idea of a destination wedding but don’t love the thought of trekking across the globe?
Or perhaps you’re keen on a honeymoon destination you can reach without crossing multiple time zones? Either way you’re in luck, because although sometimes it seems like Australia is far away from places like London or New York, good old Oz is also temptingly close to other destinations, like New Zealand, South East Asia and the Pacific islands. Heck, some countries are so close you could even excuse them as a long weekend getaway (yes, really). Get ready to leave your sleeping mask at home…

New Caledonia

How long it takes to get there
It’s only a three-hour flight from Sydney to Noumea, the New Caledonian capital. 

Why you should go:
Pristine beaches, a World Heritage-listed lagoon, colonial architecture and natural wonders: New Caledonia embodies island life with a French spin. The waters are so clear you can see your pedicure, so it's little wonder New Caledonia is considered one of the best dive sites in the South Pacific. Explore the reefs and marine reserves, or keep your head above water by paddle boarding, kayaking or sailing. Back on dry land, make sure to visit the morning markets, people watch at Place des Cocotiers and explore New Caledonia’s oldest neighbourhood, Faubourg Blanchot.

Remember to pack:
Your swimmers and a good book.

New Zealand

How long it takes to get there:
Board a plane in Sydney and you’ll touch down in Wellington just over three hours later. 

Why you should go:
Whoever said a honeymoon or destination wedding had to happen in the tropics? New Zealand swaps rainforest-covered mountains for snow-capped peaks, coral reefs for slow-moving glaciers, and speedboats replace snorkels. Both the North and South Islands give travellers thrills, indulgences and snap-worthy sights. It would be hard to squeeze in everything New Zealand has to offer in one trip, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a red-hot go. Jump into a hire car and hit the road for a truly scenic drive.

Remember to pack:
A sense of adventure.

Bali

How long it takes to get there:
A flight from Sydney to Denpasar is slightly over six hours. 

Why you should go:
Bali has long lured holidaymakers thanks to its promise of gorgeous sunsets, jaw-dropping resorts, buzzing nightlife and steamy climates. Throw in the fact that it’s only two in-flight movies away and it’s a hard destination to go past. There is more to Bali than scooters and singlets though, and if you skip the tourist hubs and hotspots you’ll be rewarded with deserted beaches, peaceful pockets of rainforest and the perfect place to unwind and relax. 

Remember to pack:
Sturdy sandals.

Fiji

How long it takes to get there:
A four-hour flight will take you from Sydney’s skyscrapers to Fiji’s palm-fringed shores.

Why you should go:
Look up the definition of ‘tropical island paradise’ and Fiji would definitely appear in the search results. This cluster of islands is the quintessential island destination. The Mamanucas, a chain of 20 islands known for its five-star digs and dreamy settings, are Fiji’s scene-stealers. There are plenty of other islands to explore too – 333 of them, to be exact. One of the best parts about Fiji is the fact that it’s suited to all styles of getaway, be it a wedding, family trip with children, budget escape or uber-luxe break. 

Remember to pack:
An underwater camera.

Vanuatu

How long it takes to get there:
It only takes a three-and-a-half-hour flight to reach Vanuatu from Sydney.

Why you should go:
With more than 80 islands – some remote and rugged, some popular with cruise ships – Vanuatu is the kind of place where you can trek up a crater to peer into an active volcano or kick back on a deserted beach sipping kava. Mt Yasur is the magma-filled volcano and it’s ridiculously accessible: 4WDs can drive straight up to the rim, plus there are guided and non-guided tours available. Port Vila is home to markets, shops, restaurants and cafes. Be sure to get out to other islands to support local villages, too. 

Remember to pack:
SPF 30+.

Philippines

How long it takes to get there:
Manila is more than an eight-hour flight away from Sydney – but only by 16 minutes (that’s less time than it would take for your Uber Eats delivery to arrive).

Why you should go:
One word: Boracay. This tiny island and its blonde-white strip of sand has skyrocketed in popularity despite only being seven kilometres long. All up, the Philippines has 7000 islands for you to choose from so if the thought of fighting for a patch of sand doesn’t take your fancy, chances are that visiting another island will. Making time to explore Manila is a must. The frenetic capital is a maze of traffic-clogged roads, skyscrapers and buzzing markets. Get a bout of fresh air by heading out to Bacuit Archipelago or the tiered rice terraces. Tip: transport can be unreliable so being patient will go a long way.

Remember to pack:
Go-with-the-flow attitude.

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