These are the places Australians are being urged to avoid

During the Australian summer, some prefer to escape to cooler climates in the northern hemisphere, or utilise school and work holiday time to fly to other exotic locations.

But according to the government, there are dozens of places you shouldn’t travel to and even more that you should ‘reconsider your need’ to visit.

The Australian government’s Smartraveller portal has ‘do not travel’ advice for 22 countries – meaning you are strongly advised not to fly and people should leave the country if there.

Despite the risks associated with travelling to certain countries and regions or participating in dangerous events, there has been a rise of so-called “extreme tourism” over the past 15 years, according to associate professor of tourism and society at the University of Tasmania Anne Hardy.

“People have always been attracted to dangerous, remote and risky areas since the dawn of time,” Hardy told SBS News.

“One of the reasons we are seeing an increase (in extreme tourism) is ego.”

Hardy said the rise of social media has fuelled extreme tourism.

“People are boasting about the remote places that they’ve been to, and it fuels others to go there, normalises it for other people,” she said.

Images of large queues of climbers waiting to ascend Mount Everest’s summit have become commonplace as wealthy travellers push boundaries and seek thrills.

A recent example of extreme tourism that ended in tragedy was the OceanGate Titan submersible implosion in June of 2023, which killed all five on board.

Middle East

Israel’s Middle Eastern neighbours Syria and Yemen have been devastated by bloody civil wars since the early 2010s and remain unsafe for Australians to travel, according to the government.

According to Smartraveller, Syria hosts an “extremely dangerous security situation and the threat of armed conflict, air strikes, terrorism and kidnapping”.

Similarly, visitors to Yemen face a very high threat of armed kidnapping and terrorism “due to an ongoing international and civil conflict”.


As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues into 2024, Australians shouldn’t travel to either country.

Heavy fighting continues in southern and eastern Ukraine, as the army attempts to win back land seized by Russia.

People have been killed in airstrikes in many cities including the capital Kyiv and other major population centres.

Hardy says those who participate in extreme tourism can potentially make it riskier for those who try to follow suit.

“Going to a location and not reporting on the risk, overlooking the difficulties involved – it can make it more dangerous for others,” she said.

There is also a risk to the local communities.

“Not portraying countries in a way that is authentic – if people aren’t going somewhere to understand the culture, food, dance or music and are travelling to just tick a box, there is a risk that the money they spend is less likely to stay in the community,” she said.

Extreme tourists often don’t think of the consequences should something go wrong either, Hardy said.

“Who would rescue me, what would the cost be to the local community who might have to go out and help with the rescue,” she said. “We increase the risk of the impact on communities if things go wrong – it’s not just about us.”

On the Smartraveller site, the Australian government makes that clear with their warning; “when travelling overseas, it’s your responsibility to take care of your safety and wellbeing … don’t expect the Australian Government to be able to get you out of trouble during your travels.”

Israel and the Palestinian territories

Much of Israel and the Palestinian territories come under Smartraveller’s second-highest danger ranking of ‘reconsider your need to travel’, while the Gaza Strip, parts of the West Bank and border areas of Israel and Lebanon come under ‘do not travel’.

Some areas within countries not listed here are also considered extremely unsafe and listed as ‘do not travel.’


The government changed its travel advice for Lebanon to ‘do not travel’ in late October, amid fears the Hamas-Israel war could spread to another front.

Two Australian men and one of their wives were killed in Lebanon in late December, and clashes at Israel’s northern border with Lebanon are the deadliest they have been in 17 years.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus reiterated calls for people to leave if commercial options are available. The country has experienced major economic collapse in recent years and assistance options for Australians are very limited.

The Israel Defence Forces said it has been striking Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, in response to attacks by the Lebanese militant group on Israeli targets.


Neighbouring countries Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Libya are all experiencing similar security breakdowns due to conflict, militia activity and extremist violence in the Sahel region.


Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in 2021, following the withdrawal of the US and its allies’ troops, the Australian government has advised people do not travel there.

Several other armed Islamist groups are active in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorist attacks including bombings in major cities is very active.


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