The results are in! Wotif’s top 10 Aussie towns for 2018

With Australia Day just around the corner, we decided to answer a very important question: which are the must-see Australian towns for 2018?

With 49% of Aussies looking to make their next trip a local one**, and two thirds of Australians seeing domestic travel as a way to reinvest in the local economy**, it was a question that definitely needed answering. So, we crunched the numbers in terms of demand, affordability, and availability to find the top 10 Australian destinations for your 2018 holiday bucket list*. The results might surprise you.

Let’s count them down, starting with…

10. Batemans Bay, NSW

Home to some of NSW’s best snorkelling trails, this South Coast gem is perfect for families and weekend getaways.

9. Byron Bay, NSW

Always has been, and always will be, the trendiest surf town in Australia. Come for the music and cultural festivals, stay with the laidback vibe and beautiful beaches.

8. Port Macquarie, NSW

A classic Aussie holiday spot, fondly known to many of us as ‘Port Mac’. Be sure to visit the Koala Hospital.

7. Townsville, QLD

Easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, without the Cairns hustle and bustle. Need I say more?

6. Lakes Entrance, VIC

We love the sense of value we get from Ninety Mile Beach, which is actually 140 miles long. Make sure you check out Griffiths’ Sea Shell Museum & Marine Display. It’s a real local gem.

5. Bundaberg, QLD

While it might be most famous for the rum, there’s a lot more going on in Bundy. The gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Bundaberg is also home to the Mon Repos turtle colony – the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific.

4. Bunbury, WA

Just a 2hr drive from Perth, Bunbury is a great weekender for Perth locals (or an easy side trip for a WA visit). It’s also of the best places in Australia to swim with a wild bottlenose dolphin.

3. Mildura, VIC

Despite the juice of the same name, Mildura actually produces more grapes than oranges. With an exciting calendar of food, wine, and cultural festivals, it’s a must-visit for foodies and culture vultures.

2. Shepparton, VIC

Two hours north of Melbourne, Shepparton is an exciting gourmet destination that’s also home to a funky and ever-changing art landscape. Check out the Moooving Art Cows!

Now, a drumroll, please. According to Wotif data, the No.1 Australian town for 2018 is…

1. Mackay, QLD

Hailed as Australia’s sugar capital, this northern gem really delivers on a true-blue Aussie holiday. With the Great Barrier Reef at its door, wallabies and kangaroos at Cape Hillsborough National Park, and platypuses in the Eungella National Park, there’s no beauty more rich or rare than in Queensland’s Mackay. And with year-on-year interest up almost 80%***, you all seem to agree 😉


*Wotif Australian Town of the Year:
The 2018 Wotif Australian Town of the Year and runners-up were determined by an index which examined the affordability, demand, increased interest, and the number of properties in each town or city available on For each category, the destination was given a rating between 1-5 and the total scoreswere used to identify in the Australian Town of the Year and runners-up. Where destinations received the same score, the destinations were sorted by an increase in year-on-year interest over the Australia Day weekend.

  • ****Affordability: The value of each destination is based on the average daily rate for 3- to 5-star-rated and self-rated accommodation demand on from January 2016 to September 2017. Prices were in Australian dollars and are not necessarily the rates currently displayed on the site. Rates are subject to accommodation selections made.
  • Demand: Demand is based on domestic accommodation demand on between 1 January 2017 to 15 December 2017 for travel between 25-28 January 2018.
  • ***Interest: Year-on-year interest is based on domestic accommodation searches on from 1 January 2017 to 15 December 2017 for travel between 25-28 January 2018, compared to 26-29 January 2017.
  • Properties: The number of properties is based on total listed accommodation on in the specific town or city as of 5:30pm on 4 January 2017.

**Wotif’s Australian Travel Research

The Leading Edge were engaged by Wotif to conduct research into understanding Australian travellers. The study was conducted August – September 2017 and consisted of two components:

1. Online Community of n=40 Australian travellers
2. Online Survey completed by a nationally representative sample of n=1,036 Australian travellers (who had all travelled and stayed in paid accommodation in the last two years as part of leisure holidays).

The survey was conducted online among members of a permission- based panel, between 23-29 August 2017. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Data was weighted to National Representative proportions to reflect the age, gender, and residential location of Australian travellers.

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