A new report, based on interviews with 1500 Australians, found Melbourne was the No. 1 city to visit, well ahead of Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.
However when regional destinations were included, the Gold Coast just nudged Melbourne out of top spot — 22 per cent to 20 per cent.
Tasmania came in third place, followed by Sydney and the Sunshine Coast, according to the GoStay Holiday Report.
Report author Christena Singh said Melbourne’s popularity was partly the result of changes in holiday trends.
“We are seeing a trend towards shorter holidays,” Ms Singh said.
“People are pretty time-poor these days so instead of taking a week or two weeks, they will just take a couple of days.”
She said Melbourne had much to offer.
“People are looking for event-based holidays and Melbourne has the most of any cities to offer in terms of things like the Grand Prix, the Spring Racing Carnival, gallery exhibitions.”
Ms Singh said it helped that Melbourne’s attractions were generally close to the city centre.
People nominated relaxing as their favourite thing to do on their holidays, followed by sight-seeing and going to the beach.
“Beach holidays are very popular with Australians and that’s why the Gold Coast is right up there,” Ms Singh said.
On Wednesday, the Herald Sun reported international tourists would bypass Australia because of the soaring Australian dollar.
Domestic tourists were seeing Melbourne as the top city destination, Ms Singh said.