If there’s one thing we can all agree on after the year we’ve had, it’s that we all could use a holiday. While we won’t know exactly what the world of travel will be like next year, we hope that 2021 holidays are on the horizon. With that in mind, we have ways to get your creative travel ideas flowing. Discover our list of worthwhile destinations for 2021 cheap holidays, mid-range holidays and luxury holidays, so when you’re ready to book, you’ll be armed with all sorts of options.
Travel restrictions can change at any time. Before you plan your 2021 holiday, be sure to check local government advice and consult Smartraveller.gov.au in advance.
Budget holidays in 2021
Is there a better feeling than scoring a travel deal? Cheap holidays 2021 is going to be a mantra for many a backpacker. These destinations are easy on the wallet while still being prime places to have key experiences. We’ve chosen a couple of places that blend affordability with truly spectacular travel credentials.
Fitzroy Island, QLD
People fly from all over the world to see the Great Barrier Reef, but with so much international focus, prices can get a little out of hand. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to see this UNESCO-listed natural wonder on a shoe-string budget.
The first thing you need to do is head to Fitzroy Island. Now, it’s not typical that a secluded, pristine island is cheaper than the mainland, but Fitzroy is the exception to the rule.
Only 45 minutes via ferry from Cairns, the island is part of a national marine park. This means your access to affordable outdoor attractions is high. Visitors can pop a mask and snorkel on and explore the reef and marine life of Nudley Beach and Bird Rock. There are also some fantastic hiking trails in the open woodland of the island. If your budget can stretch a little, there are glass bottom boat tours and scuba expeditions from the island you can take advantage of.
As for accommodation, you can find reasonably priced hotels and budget studios, but of course, real shoe-stringers should opt for a spot on the island’s beautiful camping grounds.
At first sight, we have to admit that Hobart may not seem like the best place for a budget holiday as you’ve probably heard of the fine dining and wineries strewn about the city. However, Hobart has much to recommend for those who are tiny of purse.
First, flights to and from Hobart tend to be cheap, and under two hours from either Melbourne or Sydney. Second, most of the big attractions are actually outdoors. This unspoilt isle has a staggering 19 national parks, with about six of them being within a two-hour drive of Tassie’s capital.
Your outdoor options are practically endless: lounge on the gorgeous beaches of Freycinet National Park, hike the coastal trails of South Bruny National Park, admire the rugged cliffs of Tasman National Park, and visit the historic site of Port Arthur. Best of all, you don’t have to pay for boat trips to see whales and dolphins. From many of the coastal national parks, you’ll get front row seats to these gentle giants’ migration.
Accommodation options for budget travellers are great in the city as there are plenty of budget hotels offering stays for around $50-60 AUD a night. However, with so many national parks, the camping here is really something special. If you’re keen to tuck in under the stars and save money while you’re doing it, Tasmania is the place to be.
Jervis Bay, NSW
You don’t have to travel far from Sydney to enjoy a big adventure. Jervis Bay is one of the best places to grab the kids, escape the city, and enjoy days spent snorkelling, swimming, hiking, and discovering hidden beaches. There are plenty of campsites, glampsites, and caravan parks to choose from that won’t put a major dent in your wallet. An esky full of BBQ-friendly fare will also keep costs low on your trip here.
Expect to wake up to the sound of laughing kookaburras, and try not to mind the kangaroos who trespass onto your grounds. From May to November, you have a high chance of spotting migrating humpback whales who make their way along the coastline.
Reasonably priced holidays in 2021
Okay, so we know what cheap holidays 2021 means, but what does ‘reasonably priced holidays’ mean exactly? Does it mean cutting corners? No, actually. In our mind, a reasonably-priced holiday destination means that you can find comfortable hotels, plenty of unique travel experiences, and great dining—all for prices that don’t make you sweat.
A lot of this tends to come down to how well known a place is, because as soon as it hits the holiday map it blows up in terms of tourists and prices. We’ve chosen a couple of destinations that have been flying very close to the radar, but still offer proper affordable holidays.
Port Lincoln, SA
If you’ve never heard of Port Lincoln, then you’re starting to slip into the minority. This seaside town has started to turn the heads of holidaymakers, not least because it’s one of the main towns in South Australia’s drop-dead gorgeous Eyre Peninsula.
We’re obsessed with this place thanks to it’s natural features. It has rugged hills, unspoiled forests, and miles and miles of pristine coastline. Beyond that, it’s known for two main things: it’s incredible seafood and its wildlife. You can literally spend one day following the famous Seafood Trail, sampling fresh oysters, lobster, tuna and prawn, and then the next go swimming with wild dolphins and sea lions.
Normally, this kind of gastro/wildlife holiday comes at a premium, because places like this tend to be on far flung islands with three hotels. However, Port Lincoln is great for finding all sorts of accommodation options, whether you’re after a hotel with a sea view, a self-catering apartment, or a motel. The dining here is also reasonably priced, and you can scale up or scale down depending on your mood (or bank balance).
We love Broome, and not only because it’s reported to have the best beach in the world (hello Cable Beach!), but also because it’s where the Outback meets the ocean. Consider Broome the best of both worlds.
In and around Broome, you’ll find attractions like the Broome Bird Observatory, the Willie Creek Pearl Farm, Matso’s Brewery and the beloved outdoor cinema, Sun Picture Gardens (especially great if you’re travelling with kids). Meanwhile, just outside Broome is a cavalcade of incredible natural attractions. Make time for the unique Horizontal Falls, the dinosaur prints left on Gantheaume Point, and the beautiful Cape Leveque, famed for its red cliffs and Aboriginal heritage.
Divers should head to Rowley Shoals Marine Park which offers superb diving across its three reefs. You’ll find this spot is popular with larger animals too, such as humpback whales, hammerhead sharks, and rays.
We don’t know how Broome offers this much adventure and keeps its prices affordable, but boy are we glad it does. There are many great accommodation options for couples, families and backpackers, so it’s really up to you how cheap or expensive you go. You may find some of the odd groceries you buy are more expensive than in the cities, but dining tends to be much cheaper. Hey, who wants to cook if you don’t have to?
Obviously Melbourne scores high on the list for any holiday consideration, but it’s an underrated destination when you consider the bang for your buck. If Goldilocks were to look at making an international move, she might consider Melbourne. With so many choices when it comes to accommodation choices, restaurants, activities, and transportation, there’s sure to be an option that’s ‘just right’ no matter what a visitor is after.
During a trip to Melbourne, you can prioritise where you want to spend your money. Check into a budget hostel and splurge on a 5-star feast. Or, bring takeaway dumplings back to your luxury suite and enjoy them from the comfort of your private spa. From free walking tours to Ferrari drives, Melbourne ensures that you’ll be spending your money on what you want, saving on the things you couldn’t care less about.
Luxury holidays 2021
For these picks, we decided to forgo big cities and luxury chain hotels that might jump to mind when you think of five-star service. Don’t get us wrong, we wouldn’t turn down a private room window view of Darling Harbour, but as so many of us have been stuck in the city for the past year, we wanted to show you a luxury holiday away from the hustle of a metropolis. Check our luxury picks for 2021, where we go a little wild…
When you think of Australia’s Outback, you probably aren’t picturing luxury hotels. Perhaps billy cans and Paul Hogan come to mind? However, in the Northern Territory, in the glorious landscape of Kakadu National Park, is Bamurru Plains Lodge.
Set on the Mary River floodplains, the Bamurru Plains Lodge one of the best places in the country to be immersed in its harsh landscape, see the incredible wildlife, and still be able to have a hot shower. The best way to describe coming here, is that it’s like a bush safari experience. Australia’s wildlife is literally on your doorstop, and you’ll be able to see wild dingoes, buffalo, crocs, and wallabies.
The lodge itself is compromised of suites designed to make the most of the landscape whilst offering access to big comfy beds, an infinity pool, and high-powered showers (so good they’re worth mentioning twice). Plus, you get fed by a private chef that will have you reframing your views on bush tucker.
Lord Howe Island, NSW
Lord Howe Island off the coast of South Australia may not be as famous as Queensland’s Whitsundays, but that is part of its charm. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this island is one of the most immaculate parts of Australia and has remained a haven for some of our extraordinary wildlife. It also happens to be home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the country.
The main attractions of Lord Howe are natural ones, and there are way too many to name. There is the marine park, where glorious technicolour fish and corals live in absurdly clear waters. It’s no surprise then that the diving and snorkelling here is marvellous. You can also head out on a boat trip to Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea stack, for a chance at seeing the local birdlife, and other marine life like dolphins, marlin and sea turtles.
Back on the island there are a plethora of things to do, from hiking up Mount Gower, feeding the fish off Ned’s Beach, sunbathing on North Bay, surfing on Blinky Beach, and admiring the unusual formations of the sandstone rocks at Old Settlement.
Perhaps the most luxurious hotel on the island is Capella Lodge, which nestles between the mountains overlooking Lovers Bay. The views here are unparalleled, whether you’re looking at them from the suites or the infinity pool. It also has a luxury spa attached and a celebrated fine dining restaurant to boot.
Margaret River, WA
Where bush meets sea, Margaret River is a region where indulgence is recommended. The wine capital of Western Australia, venture from your seaside stay and visit iconic wineries like Voyager Estate, Cape Mentelle, and Vasse Felix. You can hire a private designated driver or hop onboard a dedicated wine tour. No trip around the area is complete without a stop at the Margaret River Chocolate Company, where you can witness cocoa creations being made firsthand.
Injidup Spa Retreat in Yallingup is a top pick when it comes to luxury stays. Here, enjoy seaside views, spa treatments, and access to Injidup Beach, a calm bay with soft sand and the Cape to Cape hiking trail cruising along its shore.
Aside from wining and dining, Margaret River is a premier surf destination with one of the main waves holding a spot on the World Championship Tour. You can also split your chill time with biking and hiking through karri forests, swimming in front of White Elephant Cafe, kayaking down Margaret River itself, and whale watching from the comforts of a sunset cruise.
There are so many amazing places to see, and whether you’re looking for cheap holidays in 2021 or luxury ones. Let us help you plan your next exciting getaway with our flight, car hire, and hotel search tools.
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Common questions travellers have about planning holidays in 2021
The cheapest month to fly changes depending on which destination you are flying to, and whether it is peak season there. We suggest when you search for flights that you set your date filters to ‘cheapest month’, and we’ll show you which month has the lowest flight prices. We show you how to do this in our guide on how to use Skyscanner.
It depends what you’re looking for but some top destinations for family holidays are the Gold Coast, Cairns, Perth, and Coffs Harbour. This is because there are a good range of accommodation options, regular flights, and a host of family friendly activities.
The most popular destinations in Australia are Cairns (more specifically, the Great Barrier Reef), Sydney, Uluru, the Great Ocean Road near Melbourne, Kakadu near Darwin, and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus Travel Advice: Stay informed with the latest travel restrictions and government advice.
- Tips for Family Holidays: Travelling with the family soon? We give tips on how to navigate travel right now.
- The best staycation spots in Australia: Curious about other fabulous domestic destinations? We share some great staycation spots.