Our top 5 travel picks for 2018!

Wondering which destinations are shaping up to be the best for 2018? Or are you simply after something a little different, perhaps off the beaten track? Read about what some of our experienced travel consultants think!


where to travel 2018

Japan

by Courtney Bell

Japan is the hot destination of late, encompassing everything we enjoy about travel.  If you’re looking for somewhere closer to home that is different and exciting – look no further.

Having very distinct seasons makes Japan a destination for travel all year round.  Take pleasure in the cherry blossoms in spring, relish the Koyo (autumn-coloured foliage), play in the snow in winter, or simply relax in summer, appreciating the heat.

Witness the evolving culture of Japan from traditions dating back thousands of years, to the trends and technology leading the world today.  It is fascinating and unlike any other country in the world, and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Unique experiences you can only have in Japan include architecture unlike any other, sumo, some of the fastest trains in the world, exclusive festivals, and onsens.

If you are a foodie, Japan is a must! You might think you know sushi, but differing from city to city, and region to region, the flavours and diverse dishes are unlike anything you will have ever had before.  Pair this with their renowned sake and you will never want to leave.

From Tokyo’s neon lights to Kyoto’s incredible temples; marvel at the culture, people, trains, temples, gardens, architecture, and food of Japan, which is sure to delight every traveller.

Read more: Walking the Back Roads of Japan

Watch: Koyo Colours and Cultural Treasures of Japan tour 2015


Cara_Africa

South Africa

by Brooke Allison

No words can describe the sheer beauty, joy and experience that Africa offers. From the mountainous coast line in South Africa, to the rugged reserve in Thornybush National Park, to the vast open plains in Chobe National Park, it’s an experience like no other.

There is no one single highlight when visiting Africa; every town you visit, every animal you see, every person you meet, you will feel the need to pinch yourself, realising this is a trip you will truly never forget.

The people are the friendliest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met in all my travels. Their gorgeous, big smiles are infectious and warm your heart. They are genuinely interested in you, and truly care and appreciate your presence in their country. They are so grateful and thankful for tourism.

Levels of safety, cleanliness and service are very high; I have never seen so many well organised and clean airports and public spaces. Travelling on an escorted tour provides benefits such as group check ins, group passport control, visa processing and boarding crossings, making the process so easy and not overwhelming or alarming at all. Travelling in this way will also make you feel at ease for your first few days!

Read more: Southern Africa: Deserts & the Delta

Read more: Zimbabwe


Chile

by Alan Riedel

With airfares at their lowest levels in many years, and the new addition of direct flights from Melbourne to Santiago, Chile is a destination to add to your bucket list. For some it has just been a stopover location on the way to Peru, Brazil or other South American hot spots. But based on the country’s beauty and undeniable uniqueness it makes it the perfect country to visit.

The Atacama Desert features breathtaking scenery, interesting culture, some of the world’s most incredible natural wonders – not to forget some spectacular eco resorts and spas. You could easily spend a week here exploring all the region offers.

Patagonia has something for everyone. National parks where you can spend the days hiking, horse riding or just relaxing and taking in the spectacular scenery. Unique cruise itineraries take you through remote waterways filled with wildlife and glaciers. It is a region overlooked by most who visit South America.

The Andes make Chile a year-round destination. Great skiing in the winter and small lakeside towns to explore during the summer months. Pucon, with its thermal springs, lakeside activities and volcanoes, has been compared to smaller Queenstown in New Zealand (just without the Bungy jumping).

No wonder Chile has been listed as the number 1 country to visit in Lonely Planet’s 2018 travel guide!

Read more: Atacama Desert, Chile

Read more: South America – small group touring in Peru

 


SCANDINAVIA

Scandinavia

by Cathi Burnett-Cosgrove

Just the thought of Scandinavia conjures up images of snow-capped mountains, forests proffering every hue of green and the awe inspiring majestic fjords. It is one of those destinations where what you see in the photos is exactly what you can expect. Sheer beauty.

It’s the Land of the Midnight Sun. You can anticipate almost twenty-four hours of daylight; where the dark nights simply don’t exist.  It is where “night is day”.

Festivals and celebration abound with many still following the pagan rituals of yesteryear.

It’s the Northern Lights. You can anticipate twenty-four hours of darkness; where day light simply doesn’t exist. It is where “day is night”. But don’t be misled, it is never completely dark. The snow quite literally sparkles under the light of the moon. The ‘lights’ of the Aurora Borealis not only provide colour but enchants with its constant movement. Upward spirals and sometimes accompanied by the rhythm of the Saami’s drum.

Experience cosmopolitan and vibrant cities; incredible cuisine and local customs.

No visit to Scandinavia is complete without a visit to a local sauna in Finland; try the Norwegian brunost cheese with apple; take dip with the Danes in the freezing ocean – (it’s meant to be good for you); in Iceland test your stamina by taking part in the annual sheep round up and don’t forget to attend a ‘fiddlers meet’ and listen to the folk music whilst in Sweden.

So why is Scandinavia currently on the top of most people’s must visit list? It’s a destination in its own right. It’s unique and so different to its European neighbours.

Do yourself a favour and discover the delights of SCANDINAVIA!

Read more: Northern Lights of Norway

Read more: Iceland: 6 reasons to love the Land of Fire & Ice

Read more: Copenhagen and Norway

 


Cruising-close-to-home

Cruising close to home

by Di Blackwood

Luxury cruising out of Australia has become a very popular way of experiencing boutique all-inclusive luxury cruising, without the long flights to Europe!

With a stellar cast of 5-star luxury vessels visiting our waters between November and March, there are now opportunities for cruises out of Sydney to destinations that once were only catered for by the bigger ships. Now boutique luxury is available to many destinations over the summer – cruises to New Zealand and the Pacific are very popular, as well as some unusual itineraries such as Sydney to Manila on Crystal, visiting quite a few ports in New Guinea on the way. Other itineraries are Sydney to Hong Kong, Sydney to Cape Town or Sydney to Singapore – just to name a few.

Cruise lines such as Silversea, Seabourn, Crystal and Regent are all in our waters this summer.  They will be returning to Europe at various times up to April, so this is the time to take advantage of great opportunities, and to experience this type of cruising at good prices.

Read more: Thinking of a cruise? Here are 5 things you should know!

Read more: South Pacific Cruising