The new year is just around the corner so it’s time to start planning your next getaway. Whether you’re after exciting events, intriguing tours or a bucket-list adventure, we’ve rounded up the best places to visit in 2024.
New York, United States1/25
The Fifth Avenue Hotel, the most eagerly anticipated luxury property to open in New York this year, mirrors the dualities of the city that never sleeps. The first five storeys are housed in a 1907 build known as The Mansion; rising from this historic façade, a contemporary 24-storey tower joins the city’s skyline. The décor of the 153-key stay is not so much a juxtaposition of old and new as it is a wrestling match between various cultural references and daring hues – it’s part Lewis Carroll, part Iris Apfel and part Louis XVI. Pagoda lamps and Rococo screens, Murano glass chandeliers and velvet chaise couches, buttercup yellows, avocado greens and tiger-stripe rugs in amber and pink. This fantastical bohemian style (by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio) reaches its peak in the penthouse suites that have wraparound terraces (a rarity among Manhattan hotels) with views of the Empire State Building and Madison Square Park.
Image credit: Tobias Ltorjusen
Anchored amid the midnight-blue waters of Norway’s Hardangerfjord, the Salmon Eye is a 14.5-metre, four-level silvery orb that bobs like a fallen zeppelin. Here, guests revel in the artistry of Danish chef Anika Madsen at Restaurant Iris, where a mysterious menu of hyper-local and sustainable produce aims to both delight and deliver a poignant message about the fragility of our global food system. The 24-seat restaurant will take you on a six-hour culinary adventure across an ever-changing, 18-course set menu.
Adelaide Hills, South Australia3/25
Yes, there’s the Barossa and McLaren Vale but the Adelaide Hills, which continues to go from strength to strength, is fast becoming one of South Australia’s most exciting wine regions for visitors. Start at Nepenthe, where light and bright is the modus operandi for winemaker James Evers. His best seller may be the 2016 Apex Chardonnay but there are bold and juicy pinot noirs and shirazes to sample, too, as you explore the grounds. Down the road, Shaw + Smith offers just five varietals and you’ll be able to sip them all as you take in the nearby lake and nibble on Wagyu bresaola in the Mid-Century-style cellar door. Once you’ve had your fill, retire to one of Sequoia’s 14 luxurious suites – just 15 minutes from either winery – and relax your mind and body in the lodge’s hot spring pools, which look out over the valley below.
Southern Alps, New Zealand4/25
Getting to The Bad Decision – what might be the world’s highest whisky bar, at more than two kilometres of elevation – is half the fun. Mackenzie Helicopters takes punters up year-round, setting off near the sapphire waters of Lake Tekapo, almost three hours south-west of Christchurch. The flight soars above windswept tussock grass, past Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) and deep into the glacier-covered Southern Alps. When you get there, you can sip drams that range from classic single malt Scotch, such as a 25-year-old Glenfarclas, to Japanese whiskies, including The Matsui and Yamazaki. Snacks are sourced closer to home and include Mount Cook salmon, local cheeses, Merino lamb and venison. If drinking in all that rarefied air gives you itchy feet, you can practise your swing hitting eco-friendly golf balls out into the white.
Image credit: Aman Resorts
One of the most impressive stays to open in recent years, Amanyangyun began as a philanthropic intervention to salvage historic villages earmarked for demolition. Relocating a clutch of architecturally significant Ming and Qing dynasty villas from rural Fuzhou to the Minhang district of greater Shanghai (700 kilometres away) took 16 years, however the result certainly justifies the extraordinary effort. The hotel is rich with traditional details yet modernist in its new-build elements; serious pains have been taken to honour the cultural legacy enshrined here – it’s a unique melding of heritage, preservation and storytelling. At the heart of the resort is Nan Shufang, named after the royal reading pavilion in the Forbidden City. A grand recreation of 17th-century scholars’ studios, Nan Shufang is a cultural centre where guests learn calligraphy from skilled artisans, enjoy traditional music performances and experience a tea ceremony.
Image credit: Jack Malipan/iStockphoto
An authentic connection to Indigenous culture underscores Intrepid Travel’s expedition into South-East Asia’s newest country, Timor-Leste, which became independent in 2002. The nine-day trip starts in the capital, Dili (about 80 minutes’ flight from Darwin), where a 27-metre-tall statue of Cristo Rei towers over sandy beaches and monuments to freedom fighters abound. Construction sites, coconut carts, stately government buildings, new boutiques and tarp-roofed stalls converge here. The tour was created in partnership with the Market Development Facility, a multi-country initiative that supports communities growing their economies. There are plenty of opportunities to give back to the locals, such as buying handicrafts from Projeto Montanha, where young people are taught arts, crafts and cookery. After two days in Dili, you’ll head south to hike Mount Ramelau – the country’s highest mountain – before sweeping north, up to Ataúro Island. As you snorkel off the beach at Beloi, you’ll glide over rainbow-hued shoals, giant clams and ornate coral gardens. With nothing but blue sky above and marine wilderness below, you may well feel like you have South-East Asia’s newest, friendliest playground all to yourself.
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London, United Kingdom7/25
In 2024, the National Gallery will mark 200 years since its opening with NG200, a 12-month celebration that heralds one of the most dynamic moments in the institution’s history – and makes for an ideal excuse to visit the British capital. There’s a major Van Gogh exhibition (the first in the United Kingdom since 2010), which will begin a century after the gallery acquired Sunflowers and promises works from private collections never before seen in public. Summer on the Square brings an art festival for children and their families to Trafalgar Square, while a full-scale exhibition of 14th-century Sienese art, shown outside of Italy for the first time, will showcase some of Europe’s earliest and most exquisite paintings.
Prancing Horse has been offering a taste of the motoring high life to car enthusiasts for more than 15 years via a range of driving getaways in scenic Australian locales. The latest destination to be added to its list of convoy drive tours is Tasmania, where a 260-kilometre loop takes in the foothills of the Great Western Tiers, a dramatic range of dolerite mountains at the northern boundary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The main draw of this two-night trip is the chance to get behind the wheel of various supercars, including a Ferrari F8 Tributo, McLaren 570S, Aston Martin’s DB11 V12 and a Lamborghini Huracán EVO. A guide uses a two-way radio to provide regular updates on the route and warn of any upcoming hazards. The drivers’ only job is to give each other plenty of space and enjoy the ride.
Image credit: Philip Plisson
Ponant’s new eight-day Kyushu’s Secret Islands and Ancestral Heritage expedition takes in the best of southern Japan and its surrounds, sailing from Kashogima to the south-western islands then stopping in South Korea’s Jeju and finishing in Fukuoka. The 184-berth Le Jacques-Cartier weaves an elegant path through this unfamiliar territory, serving French cuisine across two restaurants, pampering travellers at the spa and ferrying them about in Zodiac boats. The vessel’s rooms and suites feature a balcony or terrace but most enchanting of all is the lounge, where submerged windows offer a glimpse into the offshore underworld.
Image credit: Letizia Cigliutti
The chef’s table at the bar of the Michelin-starred Ristorante Venissa – on the island of Mazzorbo, about an hour’s boat ride from Venice – is the best seat in the house. From here, diners get an unparalleled view of the kitchen, where cooks in slate-hued linen prepare the 10-course dègustation using produce from invasive species, such as a dish of flash-fried rapana, a Japanese sea snail that hitched a ride to Venice in the 1980s. Venissa received a Michelin Green Star in 2022 in recognition of its sustainable dishes, which rarely feature meat and only include seafood that threatens the local ecosystem. The discovery of native dorona vines on a nearby island set off the entire Venissa venture, which in addition to the restaurant now spans a hotel, Casa Burano; the five-room Wine Resort; and Osteria Contemporanea, a wine bar and five vineyards that are planted across three islands.
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Lismore, New South Wales11/25
While the area is still recovering from the floods of 2022, Lismore has been brought back to life with the reopening of several beloved venues. There’s the Hotel Metropole that dishes up elevated pub fare and The Sherwood Hotel, with its huge outdoor dining area, has been reborn. Henry’s Bakery Cafe remains a must-visit for the fresh-baked goods it has been crafting for 40 years. This charming northern NSW town is also a creative hotspot – there are buskers everywhere and The Back Alley Gallery, which runs behind the CBD, is filled with street art by local and internationally known talents. Outside of Lismore, there’s incredible scenery to discover. Whian Whian Falls, a 25-minute drive north, has crystal-clear swimming holes amid old-growth rainforest. Head 30 minutes east of town and you’re in Ballina, watching the whales from the breakwater.
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Los Angeles, United States12/25
To commemorate 100 years of Disney, celebrated in October 2023, the house of mouse has revealed a bunch of new attractions to usher in another century of The Happiest Place on Earth. After a year-long renovation, Disneyland Resort’s Paradise Pier Hotel has been transformed into the Pixar Place Hotel. A new Finding Nemo-inspired splash park features a 56-metre water slide and character-themed fire pits grace the pool deck, which offers spectacular views of the park’s nightly fireworks. Inside the gates, Mickey’s beloved Toontown has been reimagined with interactive play spaces and rides for younger kids, including Chip ’n’ Dale’s Gadget Coaster and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
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Turkish Islands, Turkey13/25
Love the Greek Islands? It’s time to turn your attention to the just-as-idyllic isles of Türkiye. Start with Bozcaada, a 35-minute ferry ride from the town of Geyikli (itself about a five-hour drive from Istanbul), where verdant vineyards, historic ruins and empty beaches compete for your attention. The pristine waters of Kekova on Türkiye’s southern coast hide parts of an ancient Lycian settlement, which can be mooned over while kayaking. Reward yourself for your exertions with an ultra-fresh seafood lunch (think succulent fried calamari) at the waterfront Simena restaurant. Make time for a journey to Heybeliada, the second largest of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands, which can be reached via a 50-minute ferry trip from Bostancı. Here, you’ll find Ottoman-era mansions, old-school beach clubs and clear waters to dip into.
You’ll find Cork, the country’s second-largest city, in the south-western corner of Ireland. Its waterfront location, beside Lough Mahon, makes it a seafood lover’s heaven and the best way to experience the thriving gourmand scene is by embarking on a Cork Culinary Tour. Over three hours, you’ll wind down alleys and through the historic English Market, sampling everything from seeded soda bread to thick pork sausages from local providores. Pop into The Butter Museum and the lush garden at Nano Nagle Place for a quick respite from all the eating, then head to Good Day Deli for whipped ricotta with broccoli and fresh fish tacos to continue the feast.
Image credit: Reuben Nutt/Tourism & Events Queensland
Scenic Rim, Queensland15/25
Backdropped by some of Queensland’s highest peaks, in the granophyre-columned cathedral of the Scenic Rim region, a Yarriba Dreaming tour is an opportunity to soak up the knowledge of Kruze Summers’ Aboriginal ancestors (Yarriba means “walking together”). Summers, a Ugarapul and Bidjara man, reveals the history of his Country throughout the 10-person experience, which is hosted at Mt Barney Lodge, less than two hours’ drive south-west of Brisbane. The retreat includes a visit to an ancient birthing waterhole and foraging for bush tucker along the banks of sparkling Mount Barney Creek. There’s a range of accommodation options at the century-old lodge and relaxed meals are served either in the dining room or around a fire, where you might try beef stew simmered in a camp oven while damper still warm from the coals is passed around.
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Like the French capital, Lyon has its rivers (the Rhône and the Saône), its art museums (Musée des Beaux-Arts), its farmers’ markets and golden afternoon light. But with more than 1600 restaurants, this slower, smaller city is often referred to as France’s gastronomic capital. The spoils range from casual falafel spots (Green Lab) to Michelin-starred fine-diners (Restaurant Paul Bocuse) and bouchons – rustic Lyonnais eateries that serve the plats typiques. Aux Trois Cochons, in the Croix-Rousse neighbourhood, is the platonic ideal of a French bistro, where older gents sit at the bar with beers and regulars remain long after their plates are cleared.
Bang Krachao, Thailand17/25
Wellness reaches a whole new level on the island of Bang Krachao, where frangipani trees, mangroves and palms form a lush oasis just 60 minutes’ drive south-east of central Bangkok. Opened in December 2020, the island’s 32-hectare RAKxa is Thailand’s first fully integrated medical health retreat. Each day is filled with consultations and treatments, which could include probiotic IV infusions, hyperbaric chamber sessions, acupuncture and traditional Thai massages. The kitchen is presided over by chef-nutritionist Ban-Bansani Nawisamphan, who works with the lodge’s doctors to devise a detoxifying menu that, naturally, is alcohol free. In between crystal massages and sipping special brews at the teahouse, you can further unwind in the beautiful garden-fringed pool.
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The town of Churchill is often referred to as the Polar Bear Capital of the World and Lazy Bear Lodge on the main street is an ideal spot for daily excursions, providing both rustic charm and hearty meals. On a four-day tour of the region’s diverse wildlife and landscapes, operated by Lazy Bear Expeditions, you’re likely to encounter everything from polar bears to beluga whales and, if luck is on your side, you’ll also catch nature’s greatest show – the northern lights.
Durban, South Africa19/25
With family-friendly holiday apartments on the water’s edge and the balmy Indian Ocean welcoming year-round dips, Durban is the perfect spot to recharge. Our advice? Check in to the luxurious shoreline retreat The Oyster Box hotel. When you’re not lapping up the five-star comforts, you can cycle, stroll or Segway between swims and surfs along the Golden Mile promenade. Head to The Oyster Box’s Ocean Terrace to indulge in the city’s most popular meal, bunny chow – a hollowed-out quarter loaf of bread filled with curry.
Image credit: Patrick Latham
Located in the Indian Ocean, just off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka lays claim to a slew of new hotel openings: there’s Trebartha East The Round House near the beach town of Ahangama; the highly anticipated Cinnamon Life Integrated Resort in the capital, Colombo; and Hilton Yala Resort in Palatupana. Make a mountain getaway to a Nuwara Eliya tea plantation hotel one day and a pilgrimage to Kandy, home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the next. Book a table at Colombo’s celebrated Ministry of Crab to feast on lagoon crab curry then shop for rubies and sapphires in the historic city of Galle. It might sound busy but there’s no resisting relaxation here – just ask the locals.
A 90-minute drive from Melbourne lands you in Ballarat, a regional city that’s big on country charm, culture and hospitality. A stay at Hotel Vera is a must; the suites draw inspiration from Victoria’s goldfield towns. Once you’re checked in, you’ll be booked and busy with a visit to Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery, the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Aunty Jacks is the perfect pit stop for a brewhouse experience and Black Cat Truffles offers truffle hunts if you’re up for an adventure. Ending the day with vodka-spiked scallops and G&T oysters at Ballarat’s newest bar, Grainery Lane, is a sure win.
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Utah, United States22/25
Fortitude is celebrated on the crests of White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. Escape Adventures will get you there on a four-day, moderate-intensity biking expedition that starts in Moab, a four-hour drive from Salt Lake City, and traverses 160 kilometres of wilderness. Adrenaline lovers can bring along idler family members as e-bikes are available for hire and support vehicles are on hand for those who need a boost. While you ride, gaze up at striated rock faces, down into yawning gorges traced silver with water and hear about the First Nations people whose stories animate the landscape. Tents come with camping beds and snug sleeping bags while guides double as gourmet cooks.
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Situated on Colombia’s north coast, Cartagena has a wonderfully Caribbean atmosphere. The World Heritage-listed Old Town is separated into three districts, each worth visiting. Explore the picture-perfect streets of Getsemani and buzzy hangouts, such as Alquímico and the Movich’s rooftop bar, in El Centro. Be sure to come to Cartagena hungry – there are about 400 eateries here and you don’t want to miss the rainbow of fresh tropical produce and seafood at the Bazurto Market.
Horizontal Falls, Australia24/25
Admire the Kimberley’s rugged beauty on a 65-minute scenic flight from Broome, an experience that kicks off the 24-Hour Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventure. Your home for the night will be the 26-metre luxury houseboat, Jetwave Pearl, and your stay includes gourmet meals onboard and access to the pontoon’s private marine life viewing enclosure. The highlight? A ride in an open helicopter over Garaangaddim/Horizontal Falls, where you’ll enjoy uninterrupted views of what Sir David Attenborough has called “Australia’s most unusual natural wonder”.