Overseas destination dupes that are just a short trip from your capital city.

It's no secret I love an overseas holiday. There’s nothing like turning on that out-of-office, grabbing a coffee after battling through customs, and settling into your seat knowing that, in just a few (or... a lot of) hours in the sky, you’ll be in full holiday mode somewhere totally exotic.


Except sometimes, I just want to... skip the whole hustle-through-the-airport-then-sit-for-many-hours-on-a-plane part. Which is why I've been on the hunt for some A+++ destination dupes here at home.

A destination dupe, in case you haven't clocked, is a holiday spot that gives the feel of a far-off destination but happens to be a whole lot closer, easier to get to and – often – more affordable.

And our little ol’ part of the world has plenty to offer that’s – dare I say it – just as good as an overseas adventure.

So here, friends, are nine lush holidays you can take without needing to pack your passport.

1. Duped: The Grand Canyon.

She's wide, she's deep, she's impressive. Image: Getty.

Yes, there really is a geological marvel barely a stone’s throw from one of Australia’s major cities: NSW’s Capertee Valley in Lithgow, just 2.5 hours' drive out of Sydney.

It’s actually 1km wider than the US’s infamous Grand Canyon and okay, it’s not as deep or as long, but still pretty darn impressive, n’est pas?

In fact, Capertee is the world's second largest canyon, and surrounded by World Heritage listed wilderness, it can definitely give the US’s prized ravine a run for its money.

 2. Duped: Sailing in Croatia.

So you missed out on your Euro summer and can't wait until June/July 2024... I get it. But have you met Australia? We've got beaches for days, and you can get your yachting action in Queensland’s Whitsundays, with smaller crowds and easily as epic content potential.

The 74 incredible islands that make up the Whitsundays are home to some of the most pristine coral reefs and white-sand beaches in the country, and you can swim, snorkel and just plain old chill out to your heart’s content.

WATCH: Study shows that holidays help you live longer. Post continues after the video.


3. Duped: Ancient landmarks and US mid-west desert vibes.

That's a big rock. Image: Alix Nicholson/Supplied. 

Thought England’s Stonehenge and Egypt’s pyramids were old? Well, yeah, they are. But at around 4,000 years old, they’re the babies of the world of historic sites compared to Australia’s cave paintings – some of which are some thought date back more than 40,000 years.

Now that is old.

Uluṟu in the Northern Territory is an incredible place to visit to get a glimpse of not only Indigenous rock art dating back several millennia but also some unbelievable scenery (those rock formations? Wow). 

And a midwest-US desert atmosphere floats your boat, all that vibrant ochre sand set against a stunning vivid blue sky will definitely match your holiday expectations.

(Just remember to pack a hat and a coat. The days are scorching, but when you get up for sunrise over Uluṟu – which you must – the chill factor is real, especially in winter.)

4. Duped: Provence, France.

If you can't get enough of the rolling lavender fields of Provence, put Tasmania on your must-visit Aussie holiday hit list. You’ll find delicious wine, delectable cheeses, and rolling hills of France’s favourite flower – along with a certain je ne sais quoi (yeah, I did that) – all in our southernmost state.

The Bridestowe Lavender Fields outside of Launceston, up in Tassie’s north, are worth travelling for, with row upon row of the delicate purple blooms making for a très chic photo opp. (And Bridestowe’s famous lavender ice-cream will take your trip to the next level.)

5. Duped: Georgian England.


Further south in the country’s island state is Richmond, about half-an-hour's drive from Tassie’s capital Hobart, where you can live out all your Bridgerton fantasies with a distinctly ye olde Britain vibe. 

The Richmond Bridge is a convict-era landmark, and Australia's oldest stone bridge, dating back to 1825. It was around this time that the aristocracy in Britain were 'taking the waters' back home in Bath, while the convicts were being shipped Down Under to… build bridges.

6. Duped: The Hawaiian Islands.

Why would you not? Image: Getty. Lush green mountain-scapes framing white sandy beaches might have you thinking you’ve landed on Oahu, but friends, this tropical paradise is quick a two-hour plane ride from both Brisbane and Sydney, and not much longer from other capital cities.

With thriving, lush rainforest to explore, mountaintops to climb (seriously, the views), porcelain-white sand to recline on, and unimaginably sparkly, crystal-clear waters absolutely overflowing with colourful tropical creatures to swim with (or even hand-feed!), Lord Howe Island is the stuff dreams are made of.

7. Duped: European wine country.

NSW's Hunter Valley is giving French countryside. Image: Getty.If you love your vino, you'll probably argue that Australia's famous wine hotspots are no replacement for the vineyards of Tuscany and Sicily in Italy, or France's Bordeaux or Beaujolais regions. And you're not wrong, but if you like a tipple with a gorgeous view of a grapevine and perhaps some friendly kangaroos, well, here it is.


From NSW's Hunter Valley, not far from Newcastle (Australia’s seventh-biggest city), to Margaret River in WA and the Yarra Valley in Victoria, wine drinkers can get their fix in several Aussie states. But with some of the oldest vineyards not just in Australia but the entire world, South Australia's Barossa Valley is a do-not-miss.

 8. Duped: Storybook-style German villages.

Anyone feel like a pretzel? Image: Alix Nicholson/Supplied.

If Oktoberfest is your Mecca and you can't think of a better final meal than currywurst, you needn't go all the way to Germany. Hahndorf, in the foothills of Adelaide, is Australia's oldest surviving German settlement and it offers up plenty of Bavarian charm without the round-the-world price tag.

Come to check out the original German-style architecture; stay for the incredible food, from Australia's largest German hotdog at the Hahndorf Inn to the artisan cheese stores, old-school sweets shops and expert coffee brewers dotted around town.

Tip: The small town holds its very own Oktoberfest, coming alive in (surprise, surprise) October. Think: all the pretzels, steins and lederhosen you can poke a stick at...

 9. Duped: Miami Beach, Florida.

Relax all day, party all night. Image: Getty.

If you're all about a luxury penthouse apartment overlooking sunshine-soaked beaches during the day, and a wild club scene when the sun goes down, you could head to Miami... or you could pop over to the east coast of Australia to Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast.

The party playground is probably best known for being schoolies central, but if you avoid peak season (roughly three weeks from mid-November), you should be able to avoid the brunt of the Spring Break vibes and enjoy the glitz of the beachside city.

It's the perfect place for anyone who loves some nightlife with their sun and sand, with clean, patrolled beaches, shopping to satisfy all tastes from savey to spendy, and tranquil rainforests to explore (if you can peel yourself off the beach).

Where do you love to travel in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

Alix Nicholson is Mamamia's Weekend Editor. Want to catch more of her thoughts on travel, beauty and lifestyle? Head on over to her Instagram.

Feature image: Getty.

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