The Back Alley Gallery in Lismore
The Back Alley Gallery in Lismore

Move over Byron, Ballina: There’s a new tourism hotspot

Move over Byron Bay and Ballina, one tourism booking company has claimed tourists are flocking to Lismore this Christmas.


Perhaps it's because during the pandemic regional Australia is looking rather good right now.

According to tourism booking company Agoda, Australians are seeking out smaller regional destinations in NSW normally off the mainstream tourist trail.

With international travel also off the cards, data from Agoda reveals a shift in the travel behaviours of Australians this Christmas as they increasingly discover 'unsung' destinations in regional NSW.

Budgewoi, Hay, Lismore, Moama, Mulwala and Orange have all made Agoda's unsung NSW destinations trending this Christmas.

Indeed, Lismore is in the Australian top 100 searches for 2020.

Agoda's search data showed NSW holiday destinations have increased in popularity including Port Stephens and Hunter Valley, while other states have seen dips in popularity for their main tourist destinations, including Margaret River (WA), Great Ocean Road (VIC) and the Whitsundays (QLD).

Agoda's VP Corporate Development, Tim Hughes said: "An Aussie Christmas holiday often means beaches in Bali, snowfields in Japan or playtime in Phuket. This year, rural and regional destinations like Orange in the Central Tablelands and Moama and Mulwala in the Riverina district to quiet coastal towns like Budgewoi are on the agenda."

This holiday season Aussies are searching for authentic and unique experiences with time to reconnect to the simple pleasures regional NSW offers. Nature walks, beautiful landscape, regional cuisine, laid back towns, deserted beaches and swimming spots, are all on the travel agenda with these alternative destinations offering a relaxing and rejuvenating stay.

"Of course many Aussies still love a Christmas city-break with the Gold Coast, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast taking the top spots in's top 100 searched destinations," said Tim Hughes. "But these world-class destinations are now competing for the first time with smaller regional towns that do offer unique and personal experiences. Australia is a huge and diverse country and it's great to see more Australians discover it."

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