Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

Although costly flights and long travel times can deter some from visiting Australia and its neighbors, should you decide to travel to Australia and the South Pacific, it's useful to know the best locales to explore – that's where we come in. U.S. News ranked the top vacation spots in the region based on user votes and factors such as tourist-friendly accommodations and variety of attractions. Help us determine next year's ranking by voting for your favorite destinations below.

  • Tahiti
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    #1 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    Visitors travel from around the world to catch a glimpse of Tahiti's beautiful natural landscape, including tumbling waterfalls and soaring mountains. This island in the South Pacific is also home to unique sandy beaches, such as La Plage de Maui and Papenoo Beach.

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  • South Island, New Zealand
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    South Island, New Zealand

    #2 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    New Zealand's largest island is a haven for outdoorsy types keen on soaking up the country's scenery. Whether you're hiking around Lake Tekapo, diving in Milford Sound or kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, you'll enjoy breathtaking panoramas. When you need a break from nature, check out Christchurch's street art or Dunedin's Larnach Castle.

  • Sydney
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    #3 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    Part fast-paced metropolis, part laid-back beach town, Sydney welcomes travelers who want to spend their days sunbathing at Bondi Beach, visiting the museums of Darling Harbour or climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What's more, Sydney features iconic sights like the Opera House and fun events, such as Vivid Sydney.

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  • Great Barrier Reef
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    Great Barrier Reef

    #4 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    The Great Barrier Reef is easily one of the world's top natural wonders. Its sheer size and diversity of life continuously impress visitors. Even though you won't be able to see the entire reef, an air or boat tour or snorkeling or diving excursion of this underwater marvel makes for an unforgettable vacation.

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  • Bora Bora
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    Bora Bora

    #5 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    Travelers searching for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation head to this doubly named island for its luxury hotels and romantic overwater bungalows. Here, you can spend the day exploring aquamarine waves, lush jungles and towering volcanoes. To save money, book a vacation package that combines your flight and hotel room.

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  • Fiji
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    #6 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    Made up of a collection of South Pacific islands, Fiji is known for being an exotic beach destination. Adventurous travelers can spend the day hiking mountains, snorkeling around reefs and learning about firewalking and other native customs. Plus, Fijians are notoriously welcoming to foreigners and will help you relax like a local.

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  • Melbourne
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    #7 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    Melbourne is Australia's events capital, hosting annual activities like the Australian Open and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Even if you can't visit for a major event, the city offers a variety of tours and attractions. For a more leisurely vacation, sip a flat white at one of Melbourne's many street cafes.

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  • Tasmania
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    #8 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    This island south of mainland Australia draws adventurous travelers in droves. Hikers can trek challenging paths at Wellington Park and Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park while water lovers snorkel, kayak and more at Freycinet National Park. After an active day, unwind with a locally made cider, wine or whiskey in Hobart or Launceston.

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  • Gold Coast
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    Gold Coast

    #9 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    A Gold Coast vacation offers travelers the perfect blend of a laid-back beach community and a thriving city. Visitors can tour everything from glowworm caves to wildlife sanctuaries to theme parks – all are located within the city's limits. However, surfers travel from around the world to hang 10 at beaches like Surfers Paradise and Nobby.

  • Auckland
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    #10 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    The cosmopolitan city of Auckland boasts a diverse population that brings unique flavors and traditions to the local culture. Add Auckland's love for sports (think: rugby and bungee jumping) and natural allure – black sand beaches, clear blue waters and volcanic peaks – and you've got a great destination.

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  • Whitsunday Islands
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    Whitsunday Islands

    #11 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    Within view of Australia's northeastern coast, Hamilton Island is a prime vacation spot for water sports enthusiasts. The largest inhabited island of the 74 that comprise Queensland's Whitsundays, Hamilton Island features superb conditions for sailing and diving. If you'd rather stay on land, hike up Passage Peak or dine at one of several waterfront restaurants.

  • Adelaide
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    #12 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    Adelaide beckons to nature lovers and foodies. Considered the wine capital of the country, this South Australia city boasts more than 200 wineries, including world-famous vineyards like Penfolds and Jacob's Creek. Plus, vacationers can admire gushing waterfalls at Waterfall Gully or look for wildlife on nearby Kangaroo Island.

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  • Queenstown
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    #13 in Best Places to Visit in Australia and The Pacific

    A trip to New Zealand's adventure capital offers plenty of opportunities to unleash your inner daredevil. Spend your days bungee jumping, skiing and skydiving, among other activities. To see a calmer side of Queenstown, take a dip in the Onsen Hot Pools or tour Kiwi Birdlife Park.

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