Ten countries close to Australia that don't have a direct flight

Ten countries close to Australia that don't have a direct flight


In this direct flights to Britain Australia is increasingly linked to everywhere. But there are a few missing links in our own backyard and these are the closest countries we have not yet got direct flights to.

Palau


2150km from Darwin

The closest country to Australia without a direct flight is also one of the most appealing and for snorkelers and divers it should be pretty much top of the bucket list. Palau is surrounded by a marine sanctuary with astonishingly you can swim along with harmless sharks. There is also a lake full of non stinging jellyfish to swim in and a series of highly photogenic green topped limestone Rock Islands to putter around in a boat. 

Micronesia


2800km from Cairns

Another potential Pacific paradise that hasn't been tapped Micronesia is split over several islands most of which work fairly independently of each other. Capital Palikir and we are measuring the distances between national capital and nearest major Australian gateway here is on the reef surrounded island of Pohnpei. There is also a lush, green interior so mountain and waterfall hikes can be fitted in while taking a break from snorkeling.

Tuvalu


3472km from Brisbane

A population of just under 12,000 people across nine islands Tuvalu is about as forgotten as Pacific nations get. Fewer than 2000 people visit each year and most of them are on business. There's one airport on main island Funafuti with connections to the other islands undertaken by cargo ship. You can swim and snorkel from the atolls but don't expect much in the way of tourism infrastructure.

The Marshall Islands


3789km from Cairns

Spread over 29 coral atolls the Marshall Islands is home to the world's largest shark sanctuary and an awful lot of flag of convenience ships. Pollution on main island Majuro means heading to the outer islands for wreck diving and coral viewing is advised. But on Majuro Waan Aelon in Majel gives a fascinating insight into traditional canoe building and ancient ocean navigation techniques.

Cambodia


3838km from Darwin

Tourism has boomed in Cambodia over the last decade but evidently not enough for an airline to take a punt on a direct Aussie connection. Gritty capital Phnom Penh offers sobering Khmer Rouge history and beach resorts can be found in the south. But Siem Reap and the nearby temples of Angkor are the world class attractions. 

Laos


4473 from Darwin

Perhaps the most underrated country in south east Asia Laos offers the graceful colonial throwback buildings and monk processions of Luang Prabang and the ancient Plain of Jars near Phonsavan. The south offers a lot of hiking to waterfalls laid-back 4000 Islands that have become a backpacker must do. 

Myanmar


5138km from Darwin


The hipster destination years ago Myanmar's stock has fallen as evidence of its grotesque human rights abuses stack up. So it's buyer beware if you decide to take an indirect flight to see the Bagan temples the gold leaf-covered Shwedagon Paya stupa in Yangon or check out the stilt house villages on Inle Lake

North Korea


5695km from Darwin


Speaking of grotesque human rights abuses North Korea's tourism infrastructure is highly regimented and not at all open to independent travelers. The way to explore is on an organised tour under the strict watch of government guides. The weirdness of being inside a shut off country is the main appeal but don't expect Jetstar routes to Pyongyang any time soon. 

The Maldives


5939km from Perth

Given the eye watering amounts of money people going to the Maldives are prepared to spend on luxury accommodation spas and over water bungalows it's perhaps surprising that there is not yet a direct link to Oz. But the Maldives is changing with a guesthouse scene aimed at snaffling up those who just want to dive without the trimmings.

Bhutan


6211km from Darwin

Not quite as closed off but still highly restricted Bhutan deliberately targets high end ecotourism. You need to be on an organised tour or on a custom designed program through an approved operator. The Himalayan kingdom's chief attractions are the mountains cliff side Buddhist monasteries like Taktshang Goemba and plenty of trekking.



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