Short overseas holidays from Australia: 25 hassle free quick getaway ideas

So it's halfway through January and you haven't been on holiday. Or maybe you're just back from a break and already feeling the withdrawal. Or you're still on holiday, but have that sinking feeling of dread about its inevitable end. Don't despair: there's never been an easier time to head off again. And you can do it at a moment's notice.

While online booking has revolutionised the way we arrange holidays, an array of smart operators, who package up great hotels, flights and bonus extras into "holiday in a box" options have taken that further, offering a smorgasbord of ready-to-go vacations.

"Packages save money as the travel brand can secure better rates for the customers in a package, says Randall Deer, founder and managing director of Ignite Travel, the company behind MyHolidayCentre.com.au. "Customers are also preferring to cut the time spent on 'starting from scratch' and rely on recommendations rather than spending hours researching themselves. Our customers just want to be shown the best experiences for their given budgets and the best package to get them on holiday."

To help inspire your spur-of-the-moment getaway, Traveller has compiled a list of 25 great, hassle-free holidays for 2018, all within 12-13 hours' flight from Sydney and Melbourne. They include tried and true destinations such as Bali and Fiji, but also some you may not have thought of for a quick break: South Australia's Kangaroo Island, or Japan.

So what are you waiting for? Happy spontaneous travels.

THE DESTINATION

Hong Kong

*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** SunNov19covernew ;?Stopover Cities ; copy by Brian Johnston credit: Shutterstock HONG KONG - JUN 19: Neon lights on Tsim Sha Tsui street on June, 19, 2015.?

Photo: Shutterstock

FLYING TIME

From Melbourne, nine hours, 20 minutes; from Sydney, nine hours, 15 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Wendy Wu's Four-day Flavours of Hong Kong Tour Itinerary

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A quick break private itinerary designed around iconic sites and regional cuisine, it includes a full-day coach tour around Hong Kong Island with dim sum lunch. There's also a walking tour around Central and Sheung Wan. You get plenty of free time too.

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EXPERT TIP

Hong Kong is a sensory overload with world-class dining, pampering and shopping, all wrapped up with Asian culture.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

From $845 a person twin share. That does not include flights but Wendy Wu can organise. It includes HK airport transfers, three nights' accommodation and some meals. This is a private itinerary, so Wendy Wu can organise it for you for any time. Phone 1800 009 063. See wendywutours.com.au

See also: The seven best places to shop in Hong Kong

THE DESTINATION

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, elephants

Photo: Shutterstock

FLYING TIME

From Melbourne, 10 hours 50 minutes; from Sydney, 12 hours 50 minutes

THE PACKAGE

G Adventures' Sailing Sri Lanka

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This small group (maximum eight) catamaran itinerary along the southern coast of Sri Lanka features stops at Galle, remote beach towns, and the fishing village of Kudawella​, with lots of time for snorkelling, surfing, and spotting whales. It includes most meals with an emphasis on local cuisine and a transfer back to Colombo Airport (with optional extra transfer) at the start.

EXPERT TIP

Small-group tours are a great last-minute option for solo travellers.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

From $1647 a person. Lots of departures throughout 2018. See gadventures.com.au

See also: Sri Lanka - the world's newest five-star destination

THE DESTINATION

Denarau Island, Fiji

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Photo: fiji-bounty.com

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, four hours; from Melbourne, four hours, 55 minutes

THE PACKAGE

MyFiji.com, various offers

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MyFij.com is a package-holiday company that always offers amazing value. One package that's on sale until the end of January for travel starting February 1 gives seven nights at the Fiji Sheraton Resort, return airfares with Virgin Australia and bonuses worth $3000. These include kids staying and eating for free.

EXPERT TIP

Fiji is an easy flight away and is great for families.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

This holiday, valued at $3390 a person twin share, costs from $1890 a person. Transfers are usually included as is daily breakfast. See Myfiji.com

See also: 20 things that will shock first-time visitors to Fiji

THE DESTINATION

Northern Territory

<i>Kakadu National Park</i>

Kakadu National Park Photo: Glenn Campbell

FLYING TIME

From Melbourne, four hours, 20 minutes; from Sydney, four hours, 30 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Intrepid Travel's Total Territory Top End and Outback

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This one has "get away from it all" seriously covered. Flights are included in this comprehensive 11-day Top End adventure that has plenty of departure dates. You camp and sleep in hostels, do plenty of walking and 4WD touring and see Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park, among many highlights.

EXPERT TIP

Bring appropriate clothing, use sun protection and drink plenty of water. In the evenings temperatures drop so have base layers and warm clothing.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

From $3145 a person and includes most meals, many featuring native ingredients. This small group tour requires moderate fitness. See intrepidtravel.com

See also: Why the outback needs to be on every Australian's bucket list

THE DESTINATION

New Caledonia

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Photo: New Caledonia Tourism

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, three hours, 20 minutes; from Melbourne, three hours, 45 minutes.

THE PACKAGE

My New Caledonia Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort

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From package deal specialist Ignite Holidays group, My New Caledonia is burgeoning with ideas for getaways to one of our closest Pacific neighbours, where you'll find French culture and cuisine alongside beautiful beaches and great golf courses. This package is for a seven-day golf getaway. It includes $2000 of bonus value, including unlimited green fees for two and a $250 Dine and Spa Credit.

EXPERT TIP

Known as the France of the South Pacific, New Caledonia also reflects a strong native Melanesian influence, and is home to Asian and South Pacific Island communities.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

From $1640 a person, this package is on sale till January 31. Travel dates until March 31. See mynewcaledonia.com.au

THE DESTINATION

Cook Islands

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Photo: D.KIRKLAND

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, six hours, 10 minutes; from Melbourne, eight hours, 30 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Spacifica's Six-Night Sea Change Villas Package

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There's wine, beers and things to make breakfast with when you get there, with this "they thought of everything" package for a holiday in the paradisiacal Cook Islands. Return economy airfares to Rarotonga, transfers, accommodation at Sea Change Villas in a lagoon view villa with private plunge pool and two days' car hire taken care of, plus significant savings. It's almost rude to not go.

EXPERT TIP

The Cook Islands are a diverse and spiritual group of communities spread over 2 million square kilometres of the South Pacific.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

This package costs from $1899 a person for set travel periods. However, for travel outside those times, Spacifica advises you to call an agent for a personalised quote. See spacificatravel.com

THE DESTINATION

New Zealand

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FLYING TIME

From Melbourne, three hours, 35 minutes; from Sydney, three hours, five minutes

THE PACKAGE

APT, various

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APT knows New Zealand and offers an amazing variety of itineraries to help you get to know it too. While most run during the warmer months – September to April – it's worth scrolling through the offers on the website to see what departures might suit your plans (or lack thereof). Rail journeys, cruises and land tours, as well as combinations of these are paired with standout accommodation and exemplary experiences.

EXPERT TIP

APT offers a host of dining experiences that celebrate the finest fresh produce of New Zealand.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

APT has some special offers on the go, including free companion airfares. Phone 1300 336 932. See aptouring.com.au

See also: 20 things that will shock first-time visitors to New Zealand

THE DESTINATION

Tasmania

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FLYING TIME

From Sydney, one hour, 55 minutes; from Melbourne, one hour, 15 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Self-drive

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The compact nature of Tasmania and the huge amount of interest it packs into its borders make it a no-brainer for a self-drive holiday. From Devonport, where the Spirit of Tasmania docks, the great North East Trail is easily accessible, revealing stunning coastal vistas and a concentration of enticing wine and produce stops and experiences.

EXPERT TIP

The Spirit of Tasmania offers the convenience of taking your own vehicle.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Tasmania is great at any time of year. See discovertasmania.com.au; spiritoftasmania.com.au

See also: The 10 greatest natural wonders of Tasmania

THE DESTINATION

Margaret River, Western Australia

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Photo: Frances Andrijich

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, five hours; from Melbourne, four hours, 10 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Escape Travel's Pullman Resort Bunker Bay package

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Incredible surf, beautiful beaches, picturesque countryside, world-famous wineries and gourmet food, plus dazzling accommodation, all come together in this Western Australian jewel. Escape Travel offers some excellent packages, such as one for three nights at the Margaret River's Bunker Bay Pullman Resort in a villa with beach access, plus flights with Virgin Australia.

EXPERT TIP

Save on your airfare when you book one of Escape Travel's exclusive Escape Fares with either four nights' accommodation, a seven-day tour or cruise.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

The package includes flights from Sydney and costs from $1079 a person for specific dates. Contact Escape Travel for a quote on your dates and city of departure, or check the website for alternative Margaret River packages. Phone 1300 507 445. See escapetravel.com.au

See also: 20 reasons to love Margaret River

THE DESTINATION

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

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Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

FLYING TIME

From Melbourne, one hour, 20 minutes; from Sydney (to Adelaide), two hours, five minutes

THE PACKAGE

Sealink's Three-Day Kangaroo Island Family Escape Package

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A place of wild coastline, undulating countryside and rugged bush, amazing wildlife and extraordinary local produce, Kangaroo Island is best explored by car. Sealink, which runs the ferry between the South Australian mainland and the island, offers packages including the ferry crossing for a family of four with car, accommodation and breakfast for your first morning.

EXPERT TIP

KI is one of the best regions in South Australia for a self-drive holiday.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

From $438.50 a person twin share or $1032 a family (two adults and two children). You can also hire a car on the island (additional cost). See sealink.com.au

See also: Australia's most astonishing island

THE DESTINATION

Kuantan, Malaysia

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Photo: Alamy

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, 12 hours; from Melbourne, 10 hours, 40 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Club Med, Cherating Beach

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Club Med is a great option for spur-of-the-moment getaways, with its all-inclusive offering. At this one in Malaysia, Club Med Cherating Beach on the east coast of the mainland; fly with the monkeys on the trapeze, release turtle hatchlings into the ocean at the nearby turtle sanctuary, and while the children have fun at Mini Club Med, enjoy the Adult Zen Pool.

EXPERT TIP

Fly with the monkeys on the trapeze, release turtle hatchlings into the ocean at the nearby turtle sanctuary, and while the children have fun at Mini Club Med, enjoy the adult Zen pool.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

From $1189 a person. See clubmed.com.au

THE DESTINATION

Nha Trang, Vietnam

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Photo: Alamy

FLYING TIME

From Melbourne, 11 hours, 35 minutes; from Sydney, 11 hours, 10 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Bony Voyage's Vin Pearl Luxury in Nha Trang

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Fly-and-flop doesn't come more relaxing than the southern beaches of Vietnam. This package from luxury holiday purveyor, Bon Voyage, gives five nights in a beachfront villa at the Vin Pearl with loads of extras, including airport transfers, for a price that represents savings of 55 per cent.

EXPERT TIP

Every Bon Voyage holiday is designed by a team of experts. This means more inclusions, such as fine dining, spa pampering, cocktails, and more.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

To access Bon Voyage offers, you must subscribe on the website. This offer is from $1998 a person twin share with two children covered as well. See bonvoyage.com.au

THE DESTINATION

Phuket, Thailand

Phi Phi Island, Phuket.

Photo: Alamy

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, nine hours; from Melbourne, eight hours, 50 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Luxury Escapes, various

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One of the original luxury holiday packaging companies in Australia, Luxury Escapes' sale periods are short-lived, but look out for such crackers as seven nights at the five-star the Slate Phuket, with daily breakfast and lunches, a special themed dinner, a 45-minute Thai massage each, private return airport transfers and much more for two adults. All with savings of 40 per cent.

EXPERT TIP

If you want to secure this offer and don't know when you want to travel select "Buy Now & Book Later". This will secure your package and give you the flexibility to choose your travel dates within the book by and validity period. Subject to availability.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Subscribe to Luxury Escapes on the website and you'll be amazed at the holiday offers that pop into your inbox. See luxuryescapes.com

See also: 20 things that will shock first-time visitors to Thailand

THE DESTINATION

Seminyak, Bali

E2FFEA Indonesia, Bali, Seminyak Beach Images for 25 easy holidays for 2018 Traveller on Sunday cover story.

Photo: Alamy 

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, six hours, 25 minutes; from Melbourne, six hours

THE PACKAGE

Hoot Holidays the Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa

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Sure, everyone knows Bali is an easy getaway. But having airfares, transfers, accommodation and daily breakfast all taken care of with the one booking makes it a breeze. This package gives seven nights at the chic beachfront Seminyak Resort & Spa with all of the above included.

EXPERT TIP

Everyone wants a happy holiday, so even with a familiar location such as Bali it pays to book with an operator like Hoot Holidays.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Hoot's current deal on this property costs from $1960 a person twin share and is valid for travel till March 25. But Hoot deals keep coming year round. See hootholidays.com.au

THE DESTINATION

Cambodia and Laos

<i>Angkor Wat, Cambodia.</i>

Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

FLYING TIME

From Melbourne, 11 hours, 20 minutes; from Sydney, 11 hours, 55 minutes

THE PACKAGE

Bunnik Tours' Cambodia and Laos In Depth

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With loads of departures of this new tour and Bunnik's expertise in taking care of everything, you can be exploring Angkor Wat and learning to cook Khmer-style in no time. There are  a dizzying array of cultural activities on this tour to refresh body and soul as well as taking in the poignant remnants of violence past. You need a visa for Cambodia, but it can be obtained on arrival.

EXPERT TIP

To get the most from this tour you will need a good level of fitness and mobility and an open mind.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

This small-group tour costs from $4195 a person. See bunniktours.com.au

THE DESTINATION

PENANG, MALAYSIA

<i>George Town, Penang</i>

George Town, Penang Photo: Shutterstock

FLYING TIME

From Sydney, 10 hours, 50 minutes; from Melbourne, 11 hours

THE PACKAGE

Travelonline's Discover Penang

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Exotic and funky Penang is a heady mix of Asian culture and spice. Some of the best food on the planet is in the capital, George Town. An easy Asian break, this package gives flights, seven nights' accommodation for the price of five at the Holiday Inn Resort Penang, breakfast daily and kids can stay and eat for free. You're all set.

EXPERT TIP

This package is flexible. You can stay five nights and only pay for four, or stay 10 and only pay for seven, plus room upgrades are available.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

The seven-night option costs from $978 a person twin share – that price is for Perth flights. East coast prices would be higher.  You need to book by January 31 for travel availability until the end of March with blackout dates applying. See travelonline.com

TEN MORE EASY TO BOOK HASSLE- FREE HOLIDAYS

FLINDERS RANGES, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

KBBAK3 4WD's in the Flinders Ranges Images for 25 easy holidays for 2018 Traveller on Sunday cover story.

Photo: Alamy

 Fancy a safari? You don't need to go to Africa. Arkaba, Wild Bush Luxury's 24,280-hectare former sheep station turned private wildlife conservancy in South Australia's Flinders Ranges is the go. Luxury accommodation, gourmet meals, beverages and a fully guided experience program seeing wildlife and wilderness are all taken care of. Stay for four nights and pay for just three when travelling before February 28 (though Arkaba is open year-round. Phone 1300 790 561. See arkabaconservancy.com)

FIJI

With many sailings throughout the year and a convenient departure point, Captain Cook Cruises' seven and 11-night cruises are aboard the 130-passenger, MV Reef Endeavour, that gets into places larger vessels can't. So you can experience remote villages, as well as unpopulated beaches. Loads of water sports including diving and a glass bottom boat await. A "Three Nights Free Sail" promotion offers savings of up to $2395 a person across a wide range of cruise itineraries and departure dates. Offer on sale until February 28 for travel until March 31 2019. See captaincookcruisesfiji.com

VANUATU

With 36 sailings throughout the year, you're never far away from the beginning of a P&O Vanuatu cruise. The nation of 80 islands, countless white sand beaches and tropical fish-filled aqua waters is ideal for a relaxing cruise. A 10-nighter on Pacific Explorer features five ports and some adrenalin-raising shore activities – if you can get off your sun lounger for them. The weather is invariably great. This round-trip Sydney cruise is from $1162.18 quad share. P&O's "Oh Ship!" promotion is on until mid-February, offering free upgrades and onboard credit. See pocruises.com.au

SINGAPORE

Singapore is safe, family-friendly easy to get around in and with a huge array of attractions in a small package: in short, an awesome choice for a no-fuss holiday. Wendy Wu Tours offers a package an independent tour that gives you the peace of mind. Enjoy a visit to Singapore Zoo and meet a family of orang-utans during your "Jungle Breakfast" along with Merlion Park and the National Orchid Garden.From $670 a person twin share. Flights are extra but Wendy Wu can arrange them. See wendywutours.com.au

GOLD COAST

Get Luxe offers luxury stays with amazing extras – and prices. One, for instance, on sale until January 31, represents savings of 55 per cent on a five-night stay at the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort with loads of extras. It includes flights, too. Get Luxe works on the premise of you purchasing a voucher now and booking later when you know your exact travel dates. So you can either keep it ready for when you want to up and go or just go – most offers go on sale near to the beginning of travel dates. See getluxe.com

MYANMAR

With a river cruise, such as Scenic's Mystical Irrawaddy, all you need to do is pack, get to your ship and unpack. You do need a visa for Burma, but even that's easy and immediate now. Save for the period May to August, Scenic has regular departures of this comprehensive all-balcony stateroom cruise and land tour. It includes all meals and some great experiences. And if not this itinerary, there are myriad others. This package costs from $9490 a person twin share. Phone 138 128. See scenic.com.au

HOKKAIDO, JAPAN

Missing the snow? The good news is, when it's summer here, you don't need to travel to Europe to get your fix. Hokkaido's dry thick snow falls from November. Ski Japan is a one-stop-shop for flights, accommodation and deals, which currently include late-season savings on bookings till February 14. Stay at the the Kamui Niseko and save 40 per cent, for instance, in a deal that includes a complimentary grocery pack. Minimum night stays are required. Find terms and conditions on the website. See SkiJapan.com

SAMOA

Aga Reef Resort is located in Lalomanu on the stunning south-east coast of Upolu. As a a South Pacific specialist, Spacifica always has fantastic deals on Samoa, such as this one for seven nights' accommodation in an island villa and return airport transfers to Aga Reef Resort & Spa, breakfast daily, a fiafia night with cultural show with barbecue feast, tours and more. This package starts at $1149 a person twin share, saving you up to $875 a person. Valid for sale until January 31 and for travel till March 31. Phone 1800 800 722 and quote deal code 177984. See spacificatravel.com

QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND

If you're itching for some adenalin-pumping activity, there's no place on earth as geared up as New Zealand and it's oh so close. Adventure South has a range of exciting cycling departures that include cycling Milford Sound, getting up close with the Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers on the West Coast and Glaciers Cycle, seeing a variety of landscapes on the Alps to Ocean Cycle, or exploring lakes Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau on the Southern Lakes Cycle. See adventuresouth.co.nz

JUST GO: MY BEST SPONTANEOUS HOLIDAY DECISION

LAYNE BEACHLEY, WORLD CHAMPION SURFER

A trip to Las Vegas to watch my kickboxing coach in a professional fight in Vegas. Sometimes in life opportunities come along that need to be seized. This was an chance to support my kickboxing coach, whose many training sessions had helped me dig down and find that extra 10 per cent in my winning moments. What was so great about it? Don't they say "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?''. See humacharitychallenge.com

DAVID TSIREKAS, HEAD CHEF, 1821 RESTAURANT, SYDNEY

It was a road trip to rural Australia including Hay, Mungo National Park , Booligal, Menindee, Wilcannia, White Cliffs and then home. We decided to do it an hour before a lunch service. The beauty of the endless nothingness and the clear skies at day and night and chasing the western sunsets off the rural backdrops are some of the most incredible and beautiful sights I've experienced. And it's all in our backyard. A land mass the size of Europe with even greater ancient natural wonders ... we are blessed. See universalhotels.com.au

GEOFF LAW, CONSERVATIONIST AND AUTHOR

In 1987 some visiting Americans I bumped into at a Christmas party asked if I would come with them down the Franklin River in Tasmania. It was the first time we had met but they needed someone with local knowledge, and they offered to "do all the cooking". It was a great opportunity to revisit the exhilaration of travelling a grand and rugged landscape as well as experiencing wonder at the tiniest intricacies of nature. See tasmanianexpeditions.com.au

REYNOLD POERNOMO, OWNER AND CHEF OF KOI DESSERT BAR, SYDNEY

To Singapore, to experience the food scene, from hawker food to fine dining and the casual buzzy eat outs. Not to mention some of the world's best bars. Singapore just has the best food scene. It's buzzing with new trendy places. Lots of Aussie chefs have even moved there. See koidessertbar.com.au

SALLY BURLEIGH, MEDIA IDENTITY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SBPR

Taking my two tweens – 13 and 11 at the time – to the Gold Coast between Christmas and New Year in 2016. We stayed at the new Peppers at Broadbeach. Having an apartment-style room and a location on such a funky food avenue, close to the beach and all the new venues nearby in Burleigh and of course Pacific Fair a 10-minute walk away, was completely what made it. See sbpr.com.au

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