Melbourne crowned Australia’s top domestic holiday destination

Melbourne has recently been enjoying accolade after accolade.

Melbourne has recently been enjoying accolade after accolade. Photo: Getty

Melbourne has shrugged off the pandemic blues to be the No.1 dream destination for Australians’ domestic holidays.

Victoria’s capital has recovered from the hit to its popularity that saw it fall to second place among the preferred holiday destination rankings from 2020 to 2022.

Roy Morgan research shows 68 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over would like to spend at least one night in the next two years at a domestic holiday destination.

This year, Melbourne reclaimed the top spot, as more than 2.79 million Australians said they would like to stay at least one night in the city on a trip in the next two years – an increase of 690,000 people compared to December 2021.

Almost 2.3 million of those mentioning a trip to Melbourne are coming from interstate, while 500,000 Victorians said they’d like to spend at least one night in Melbourne in the next two years.

The top spot among domestic travellers comes after Melbourne was named the friendliest city out of 23 of the most-visited cities in the world last year; it was also named the third most liveable city in the world in June, ahead of Sydney in fourth place.

David Beirman, adjunct fellow in tourism at the University of Technology Sydney, said the latest news makes sense given the range of cultural and sporting attractions in Melbourne.

‘Fantastic food’

“For Melbourne, the main attraction is the strength of the ethnic diversity in the city, which is reflected in the fantastic food that you can get in [the city],” he said.

“If you’re a foodie tourist, it’s probably the best place in Australia.”

He said the city’s laneways, particularly those that are home to cafes, also give Melbourne an “exotic” tinge.

The public transport system is good enough that the city is easy to get around, and if you do end up hiring a car, there are plenty of scenic day trips out of the city, such as the Great Ocean Road or Wilsons Promontory.

There’s also a “strong” variety of short-term accommodation options at different price levels – something Dr Beirman said Melbourne does better than Sydney.

“If you’re staying in the CBD of Sydney, and most other capital cities in Australia, you can expect to pay an absolute arm and a leg to stay in a half-decent hotel,” he said.

“That’s not necessarily so in Melbourne. Sure, there are the top five hotels which will cost plenty, but there’s also a lot more budget accommodation [than some other cities].”

Hobart may have just scraped into the top five in Roy Morgan’s rankings, but Tasmanians can take comfort in the city having been voted the Best City in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific in the 2023 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards in July.

And while it didn’t make the top five, Perth enjoyed a rapid increase of Australians mentioning travelling to the city in the next two years, up 150,000 from mid-2021 to 1.35 million.

Local tourism booming

Dr Beirman said domestic tourism is doing very well even since Australia’s international borders opened up.

In fact, with many international airfares still more expensive than pre-pandemic fares and inflation hitting Australians hard, many locals are finding better bang for their buck by holidaying on home soil.

Some may also have been discouraged from international trips thanks to the travel industry’s recent struggle with issues such as flight delays and baggage losses.

But that doesn’t mean Australians have given up on exploring the world; many now view travel as a necessity rather than a luxury.

Dr Beirman said Australia also has countries nearby that offer relatively affordable airfares and spending options, such as Indonesia, New Zealand, Fiji, Malaysia and Thailand.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.