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Long-term sustainable travel: Where Australians can go on a super long holiday

Go on an immersive adventure where you're bound to live like a local. These five exciting destinations allow Australians to stay at least six months.

With the Australian border being closed to most countries around the world since March 2020, many travellers are craving more than a short term staycation. A long holiday means more cultural immersion, more memories to be made, and a smaller environmental footprint.

While there’s no firm date on when international borders will open, we know that it will happen at some point. In this guide, we’ll reveal five countries that allow Australians to visit for at least six months. When planes bound for international airports are ready to take their tyres off the tarmac, you’ll be ready.

Please note: The Australian border is currently closed for international travel. The following recommendations are for future travel once restrictions are lifted. Before your journey, be sure to consult official government advice issued by the destination as well as Smartraveller.gov.au.

The benefits of a long holiday

A long holiday prioritises spending more time in fewer destinations, like settling down for three months in Spain rather than going on a whirlwind week-long Euro tour. Long holidays are inherently more sustainable than quick getaways. By flying less and staying in a destination for a longer period of time, you’ll be consuming fewer resources and contributing to the community you’re staying in economically.

A long holiday also fosters a cultural experience you might not get with a quick trip. With more time spent in a destination, you’re more likely to pick up customs, nuances, languages, and build friendships. Short holidays often offer a preview of a destination, while longer trips reveal a much larger picture.

With fewer flights and hotels to deal with, you’ll bypass frustrations that come with flight delays and cancellations. Excess hours you would’ve spent checking in, checking out, packing, unpacking, and in transit will be added to the activities you actually want to do. Take your time to find your new favourite restaurant, enrol in a language course, and relax.

1. Panama

This narrow Central American nation is where you’ll find two coastlines of incredible beaches bookending dense rainforests. In the heart of it all is Panama City, a modern capital with thriving food and entertainment scenes. You could easily spend six months island hopping at Bocas del Toro, hiking to coffee plantations in the highlands, enjoying turquoise waters of the Caribbean, surfing waves of the Pacific Ocean, and fine-tuning your Spanish skills in the cities.

Bocas del Toro, Panama: An ideal long holiday destination
Take it slow by lounging on the beaches of Bocas del Toro, Panama

Travel conditions for Panama

Australians are allowed to visit Panama for up to six months without a visa. International arrivals must present a health declaration as well as a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.

2. Peru

Step back into time as you explore Peru, a country where ancient relics are embedded into its landscape. Climb the stairs of Machu Picchu, a citadel built by the Incas in the 15th century, and wander through Cusco’s historic city centre. Elsewhere in Peru, you can surf at world class waves, take cooking lessons in Lima, and be awed by Ica, an oasis city in the desert.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Explore the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru

Travel conditions for Peru

Australian travellers do not need a visa to stay in Peru for up to six months. All travellers must present a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight. Mask requirements are present throughout the country.

3. Canada

A long holiday spanning multiple seasons will give you your best shot at making the most out of a trip to the second largest country in the world. Canada has grand plans in store for those who visit. Come wintertime to witness Aurora Borealis in Canada’s northern territories and ski the slopes of Whistler. When the weather warms up, hiking the trails surrounding Banff’s turquoise lakes will offer views you’ll never forget.

Man hiking in Canada on a long holiday
Break in your hiking boots at Canada’s endless trails

Travel conditions for Canada

Canada is planning to open their border to travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on 7 September 2021. Exact conditions of entry have yet to be determined. Australians can stay for up to six months at a time as long as they have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) issued by Canada.

4. New Zealand

It takes about four months for most hikers to complete the Te Araroa, a 3,000 km hiking trail that spans the length of New Zealand. But if seeing the country on foot isn’t quite what you had in mind for a long holiday, the destination is just as beautiful from the comforts of a loaded out campervan.

Adventure junkies will love bungy jumping over Lake Taupo, skiing near Queenstown, and surfing off Raglan. If relaxation is more what you had in mind, soak in the the geothermal pools of Rotorua or sample fine wines in Hawke’s Bay.

Lupines in New Zealand
Stay for springtime to see New Zealand’s iconic lupines

Travel conditions for New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have formed a travel bubble called the Safe Travel Zone, which is closed until further notice. Once the borders reopen, Australian travellers will not be allowed to visit New Zealand if they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot within the past 14 days. Australian citizens and residents will be allowed to live in New Zealand without a visa.

5. Mexico

Enchiladas, mole, fresh salsa, piping hot tortillas… the cuisine is reason enough to stay as long as possible in Mexico. White sand beaches, desert landscapes, jungles, music-filled cities, archeological sites rife with folklore—you could easily spend a year or more in Mexico and barely get a sampling of all there is to explore.

Swim in the cenotes of Mexico

Travel conditions for Mexico

Australians can visit Mexico for up to 180 days without a visa. International visitors do not need to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Some states within Mexico may have local restrictions and requirements in place.

No matter where you go on a long holiday, you’re bound to return home feeling a connection to the destination. You’ll leave with insight, experiences, and friendships you might’ve not picked up had your trip been little more than a quick jaunt.

Where can I go?

Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

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