It’s supposed to be about the journey rather than the destination – however, sometimes you really just want to get where you’re going.
Check out our favourite six travel spots you can reach in less than six hours.
1. Lord Howe Island
What could be described as Australia’s version of the Galapagos, Lord Howe Island is a haven for plants and seabirds. Sir David Attenborough once said the island is “so extraordinary it is almost unbelievable – few islands, surely, can be so accessible, so remarkable, yet so unspoilt.”
And he’s not wrong — you won’t see any powerlines or high-rise buildings on this island and only 400 guests are allowed to visit at any time. With just 300 permanent residents, a holiday to Lord Howe Island is all about taking things slow and enjoying the beauty of untouched nature.
Bikes are the only way to get around the island, or you can take a glass-bottomed boat to explore the reefs. Either way, expect to return home with a ‘shoes optional’ approach to life and a head full of beautiful memories.
Flight time: Less than two hours from Sydney
Best time to visit: Year round
Like its more famous neighbour, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga is a Pacific Island paradise. It’s surrounded by lagoons and limestone cliffs with some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world. But one thing this archipelago has that Fiji doesn’t? A royal family.
Tongan waters are also the birthing and mating grounds for humpback whales, meaning they hang around the islands from July to October every year. And guess what? You can actually swim with them. There are a wide range of tour companies who offer daily trips to swim alongside the ocean’s most gentle giants, giving you an experience you’ll never forget.
For those who prefer to remain on dry land, Tonga has some truly fascinating historical sites including:
- The Royal Residencies
- Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon – the South Pacific’s equivalent of Stonehenge.
- The 22 acre botanical gardens
Flight time: Less than three hours from Auckland
Best time to visit: May to October
A holiday to Queenstown is all about action. Whether it be skiing the world-renowned slopes of Coronet Peak, plummeting headfirst off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge or jet boating on the Shotover or Dart rivers, you’ll definitely get that old heart racing.
But it could be for a different reason as well. The beauty of nearby Lake Wakatipu and the plethora of vineyards and cosy homestays makes Queenstown one of the most romantic places to getaway for the weekend.
Flight time: Two hours from Auckland
Best time to visit: The heart of summer (December to February) or during Winter Festival in June
There are incredible adventures in Australia’s outback, including the largest monolith in the world. Uluru holds a special significance for local Aboriginal people and many visitors say they can feel the powerful spirit of its 550 million year history.
There are plenty of ways to experience Uluru whether it be:
- Walking with a traditional owner
- Driving around
- Enjoying a camel tour
- Kicking back with a glass of wine nearby
- Taking in the view under a canopy of stars.
The most breathtaking moments of Uluru come at sunset, when the terracotta hue of the rock changes to almost purple – or sunrise when it radiates a flaming red.
Flight time: Less than four hours from Sydney
Best time to visit: September to November
5. Coromandel Peninsula
While most people rave about the South Island of New Zealand, the Coromandel Peninsula which is just an hour and a half from Auckland, is truly spectacular and ticks all the boxes of a relaxing mini break.
Beautiful beaches? I mean yeah, if you count New Chum Beach, which is consistently voted as one of the world's top beaches. Excellent walks and hikes? Sure are – from the scenic and easy-grade Coromandel Coastal Walkway through to the eight hour slog up to the staggering Pinnacles.
Fun activities for the kids? I don’t know about you but the idea of digging my own natural spa bath at Hot Water Beach would have made all my Christmases come at once when I was a kid. There’s also kayaking, snorkelling, diving and skydiving.
Flight time: Less than two hours from Auckland
Best time to visit: Summer
If art, food and breathtaking scenery is your thing, you can’t go past the capital of Australia’s most southern state. Located at the base of Mount Wellington, Hobart is one of the most picturesque cities in Australia with its incredible heritage sandstone buildings juxtaposed against modern architecture and a growing art scene.
Of course, the pinnacle of this scene is the Museum of New and Old Art (MONA), a world-renowned museum full of quirky, interesting and outright insane artworks that you can never get out of your head.
If you love shopping, Saturdays in Hobart are all about the Salamanca Market on the waterfront where the food and entertainment is second to none.
Flight time: Less than six hours from Auckland
Best time to visit: December to January