Places to be seen, 2019

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Are you travel tired? Been to Bali too, too many times? Familiarity’s for the home front; travel’s supposed to be about new horizons, fresh experiences, the excitement of discovery – not a repetitious rut. Sure, a favourite camping or fishing spot, a long-loved beach shack, are the stuff of building happy family holiday memories. But when it comes to big-ticket travel and tourism, variety is the spice of life. 

With this fact in mind the world’s biggest guidebook brand and pre-eminent travel authority, Australia’s Lonely Planet guidebooks group, has released its annual Best in Travel 2019 in print and electronically. In the tourism industry today lists are a plague, lazily summing up a destination in arbitrary dot-points, with minimum detail. By contrast, LP’s 2019 guide doesn’t merely stick a pin in a map or swirl a globe of the world and isn’t influenced by commercial interests. Its catalogue of the Top 10 Countries; the Top 10 Cities; the Top 10 Regions and the Top 10 emerging “best value” destinations comes with the trustworthy authority, knowledge and insight of its international spread of editors and on-the-ground researchers. Other categories it features include the Top 10 best new openings, best new places to stay, best new food experiences, best new attractions for kids and top trends. The top country nominated is Sri Lanka; number 10 is a nation I’ll be visiting in 2019: Belize, in the Caribbean. Of the cities, Copenhagen tops the list and some of the more surprising are Dakar, in Senegal, Zaar (Croatia) and Meknes (Morocco.) The recommended best-value destination is the Southern Nile Valley in Egypt. See videos at www.lonelyplanet.com for compelling reasons supporting LP’s choices. Albania, Ecuador and Slovenia also make the top 10 suggestions for optimum tourist-dollar value. The latest edition forms an inspirational travelogue, its annual best-seller status earned over 14 years. Not mere lists but with full backgrounding. In print and online versions, it’s an ideal Christmas gift, to others or yourself. Hard cover version $27.99.   

SEEKING SOMETHING CLOSER to home? New Zealand Tourism offers superb travel information at www.newzealand.com  Discoveries include the south island township of Kaikoura, 180km north of Christchurch. Where mountains meet sea, it’s renowned for whales, dolphins, fur seals and rare southern ocean birdlife. Visitors can feast on the fresh crayfish cooked simply with garlic and butter at many “seafood caravans” around Kaikoura while sitting on the beach looking out to the Pacific Ocean. The most famous is Nin’s Bin (pictured.) A Kiwi specialty.

THE YEAR OPENS with a free event in Sydney that attracts one of Australia’s biggest audiences, as many as 100,000, to Opera in the Domain, under the stars on Saturday January 19 at 8pm. The picnic-style concert will feature best-loved opera highlights, arias and overtures performed by our finest opera singers and Opera Australia Orchestra’s musicians. Settle in early and enjoy a selection of food and beverages from pop-up stalls and a garden bar, and pre-entertainment activities in the lead-up to the show.

TRAVELLERS IN 2019 are booking for Japan where 20 nations will compete for the Rugby World Cup from September 20 to November 2, the first time the tournament’s staged outside the traditional heartlands of the sport. To rev up for the occasion, some ideal new holiday reading: Eddie Jones, Rugby Maverick is the biography of the enigmatic super coach, one of the biggest names in international rugby. From his Sydney playing days to his years as Wallabies coach, masterminding Japan’s amazing victory over South Africa in 2015 and revitalising the game in its English birthplace. Brisbane sports writer Mike Coleman draws on hundreds of interviews, exploring the career of a world coaching great.
Allen & Unwin. RRP $32.99.

Happy new year travels!

Travel Editor Susie Boswell

Hero Photo: Graeme Murray.

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