Forget choosing a word to inspire your 2024. This year, try adopting a mantra.
May we suggest - “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”
If you’re looking for a dose of inspiration for your 2024 annual leave, save these top 24 destinations to explore in 2024.
1. California, USA
This sprawling city located in Southern California is most famously known for its Hollywood stars, TV productions, beautiful beaches and in 2024, a new accolade … Grand Theft Auto (GTA). If you were among the 93 million GTA fans who viewed the Grand Theft Auto VI trailer within its first 24 hours of release, you’ll recognise a lot of the scenes when you put Los Angeles on your travel list. With a rich history in film and TV, it goes without saying the Warner Bros. Studio, Hollywood Sign and Celebrity Homes Tours are a must see while in the Golden State. If it’s your first time, we’ve got you covered with this first-timer’s guide and these things to do at night.
San Francisco is famously known for being one of the hilliest cities in the world, but we trust you didn’t fly 13 hours just to boost your step count? Being a Bay city, ‘Frisco’ is also well explored from the water - be sure to check out a Golden Gate Bridge Cruise, tour of Alcatraz Island, and a San Fran Bay sunset catamaran cruise. Looking for a bite to eat? San Francisco is one of the USA’s most food-forward cities with globally recognised culinary innovations, world-renowned wine regions within swilling distance (think: Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Russian River Valley, Livermore Valley), and the spiritual home and birthplace of clam chowder. No matter your cuisine craving – packing your appetite is a must for San Fran.
2. Melbourne, Victoria
The AFL season might run for 25 weeks of the year, but its spiritual home, Melbourne, beckons year-round with a sporting calendar as big as the first week of September. Mark your diary and time your visit for these key dates of the year, when Melbourne trades its usual cultural status for sporting capital:
3. Kangaroo Island, South Australia
If you want to experience Australia’s flora and fauna in its purest form, look no further than Kangaroo Island. Located 13km off the coast of South Australia, this island is Australia’s answer to the Galapagos, with koalas, kangaroos, sea lions and seals calling the island home. Whether you want to walk among an Australian sea lion colony in Seal Bay, swim with wild bottlenose dolphins or explore the island’s landscapes such as Admiral’s Arch – there’s a nature experience with your hiking boots name on it. With such an untouched natural landscape, it comes as no surprise that Kangaroo Island is a smorgasbord of gourmet delights. What’s more, you can savour these tasty treats through a range of experiences from local farmers markets and farm gates to cellar doors and restaurants when you dine under the boughs of a majestic old fig tree. Be sure to save room in your suitcase for a few of their top-distillery drops to take home as souvenirs!
4. Seoul, South Korea
Bustling streets, colourful neighbourhoods, eclectic markets and vibrant nightlife – Seoul is the kind of city that speaks to … well … your soul. As the capital of South Korea, Seoul is a captivating mix of old and new. When it comes to experiencing the city, especially if it’s your first time, one of the first things to know is that each neighbourhood has its own personality. If you’re looking to experience the bright nightlife, Itaewon is where you need to head. If noreabangs (karaoke rooms) are more your thing, Hongdae has your evening’s entertainment sorted. For those wanting to learn more about the history of Korea and experience a traditional teahouse, head to Insadong and have a warming cup of sweet tea and a Yakgwa (Korean honey cookie). Love to shop till you drop and consider yourself a bit of a foodie? Myeong-dong (Seoul’s answer to London’s Oxford St or New York’s Fifth Avenue) or Dongdaemun are your go-tos. If you’ve said yes to all of the above, Seoul’s subway system is both clean and efficient and the best way to get yourself around the city.
5. Hobart, Tasmania
Foodies, art enthusiasts, adventurers – come one, come all, and experience a small city that will leave a large impact … especially on your taste buds. With Tasmania enjoying the world’s cleanest water and air, it’s no wonder Hobart is rife with world-class cuisine, particularly seafood, and award-winning beverages, such as whisky, cider, craft beer, wine, gin, and vodka. When it comes to the produce, everything is fresh, fresh, FRESH with their oysters plucked straight from the ocean that morning. Located close to iconic natural surroundings and kunanyi / Mount Wellington, you’ll definitely be able to get your nature fix via this city – at least, enough to work up an appetite for round two at your next meal.
6. Budapest, Hungary
Looking for a European city with an edge? With a rare blend of architecture, quirky ruin bars and mineral-rich bathhouses, make Budapest your next travel destination. Lining the Danube River, the central area is actually a classified UNESCO World Heritage Site, with several monuments of classical architecture including the Hungarian Parliament and Buda Castle. The city also plays home to 80 geothermal springs, so if you’re keen to soak your muscles after a long day of exploring, be sure to check out Széchenyi Medicinal Bath (the largest medicinal bath in Europe). While the city is bustling during the day, the same can be said for their nightlife with their ruin bars brimming with people and live theatre during the week and weekends. Our top pick – the king of ruin bars, Szimpla Kert, with huge outdoor area and nine separate bars serving over 400 drinks!
7. Port Douglas, Queensland
Australia’s favourite resort playground, Port Douglas needs very little introduction. Found an hour north of Cairns via the Great Barrier Reef Drive, it’s the posterchild for relaxation with a veritable degustation of resorts to choose from fronting the Coral Sea. With the Great Barrier Reef as your front garden and Wet Tropics Rainforest out the back, you can fill your days with as much action (or as little) as you’d like. When you’re not out exploring, our guess is you’ll be enjoying one of the many eateries on Macrossan Street or picking up a special souvenir to take home.
8. New York City, USA
It’s never been a bad time to take a bite out of the Big Apple, but 2024 sounds just about right to us! Not sure where to start? Bookmark our first timers guide to Manhattan as a guide. If travelling with kids, pro tip, allow a whole day for the iconic Natural History Museum – the muse for the movie, Night at the Museum. With everything from giant dinosaur replicas to taxidermy woolly mammoths, this is the kind of museum where the displays are far from static. For a different way of exploring, join Museum Hack. Their compelling tours will turn how you view museums on your head – turning a regular tour into a treasure hunt of interesting fun facts that will definitely stand out.
9. Uluru, Northern Territory
Australia’s Red Centre is calling in 2024, with direct flights between the Sunshine State and The Territory making short work of the outback in between. A window seat is an advantage for this short haul flight – enjoy the sprawling, sparse, red expanses below. On arrival at Ayres Rock Airport, it’s a short commute to your accommodation – whether you choose Voyages Ayres Rock Resort or somewhere more luxe like Longitude 131. If you’ve been there, done that and seen these 10 things at Uluru, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a new experience at Voyages which brings to life the cultural connection with the land. Wintjiri Wiru, meaning 'beautiful view out to the horizon' is a dancing of the drones night show.
10. Hamilton Island, Queensland
The largest island in the Whitsundays archipelago, Hamilton Island, or Hamo, as it’s known to locals needs very little introduction. The island is one-part national park, all parts ocean-fronting and home to resorts and private bungalows that range from budget friendly to uber luxe (hello qualia!). What makes Hamo such a holiday hotspot is the fact it has its very own commercial airport on the island, which cuts the commute down between home and your first poolside cocktail. Whether you’ve chosen a resort or a whole holiday house, the landscape will see your days filled with water sports or relaxation - it really is a 'choose your own adventure' island. Getting around the island is as iconic as the location itself – rent your private golf buggy to putter around. Don’t leave without enjoying a sundowner from the bar atop One Tree Hill Lookout. Cheers to that!
11. Roma, Queensland
Located in central Queensland and only a short flight from Brisbane, Roma is where the country meets the outback. There’s never been a better time to visit the region than this year, as 2024 will host the Cobb & Co Festival from 16-25 August. The event celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the last coach event in Australia and is your opportunity to travel in a horse drawn carriage, see a bullock wagon in action and immerse yourself in traditions of yesteryear. Back in town, Roma serves up quintessential country hospitality at its iconic pubs, bakeries and accommodation providers. Beyond the CBD, Roma is also the gateway to the incredible inland oasis Carnarvon Gorge, along with these iconic day trips. Step inside the national park and you’ll feel as though you’ve travelled back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth as you traverse fern-lined gorges, visit preserved Aboriginal rock art sites and see diverse flora and fauna in its natural habitat. Hot tip: If you’re travelling between June and September, make sure you stop at Sculptures Out Back, an al fresco art exhibition with larger-than-life sculptures.
12. Queenstown, New Zealand
Famed as New Zealand’s adventure capital, everything they say about Queenstown being a guaranteed good time is true. In the spring and summer seasons, the extra-long daylight hours allow for plenty of hiking, mountain biking, golfing and water sports. In the winter, head to the nearby snow fields for some epic skiing, snowboarding and après ski sessions. For foodies, Queenstown serves up memorable bites from its famous burger joints to high end restaurants and postcard-worthy wineries. Natural beauty, plenty to do and only a short three-hour flight across the ditch – sign us up! While you’re there, you might like to recharge your batteries with these 10 things to do in Queenstown.
13. Shanghai, China
From temples steeped in tradition to modern day architectural delights, the only constant in Shanghai is change; and this makes this city such a joy to discover. Spend your days exploring historic sites such as the Jing’an Temple full of Buddhist relics and priceless artifacts, and the Yu Garden that’s believed to have been built in the Ming Dynasty, or visit more modern attractions such as the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower or Shanghai Disneyland for non-stop wonder. If you enjoy architecture or modern-day city scenes, take a leisurely stroll along The Bund, making your way down the long banks of the Huangpu River. This popular promenade provides views of historic architecture on one side, and modern skyscrapers on the other. As the sun sets, the place transforms into a thriving night-time destination, where you can watch the lights reflect off the water while sipping cocktails and listening to live music. For more tips on what to do and see in Shanghai, check out our local’s guide.
Looking for adventure in the tropics? Vanuatu delivers on all fronts. You can hike through untouched rainforests to meet ancient tribes, climb an active volcano to stand on the rim watching lava bubble and splutter or park yourself on a recliner under the shade of a cocktail umbrella and call it a busy day. If you’re looking for a cooler, calmer adventure, pop on your swimming gear and head to Guau’s famous crater lake to plunge into the 120m deep pools or go snorkelling in the Tanna’s Blue Cave – a secret grotto carved into the cliffs, accessible by diving down, swimming a short way and bopping up into the natural cavern. After all your activity, there’s always a hammock nearby for a nap or a cocktail ready to be sipped from a hollowed-out coconut. This is a destination built on balance.
15. Santorini, Greece
Sparkling azure water, whitewashed buildings, European sunshine, and villages full of friendly locals – Santorini is calling! Part of the Cyclades island group, Santorini is a destination on many bucket lists. While its peak season is summer where you can sit in the sunshine and enjoy the volcanic sand beaches the island is fast becoming a year-round destination where you can relax and take in the panoramic views while sipping an iced coffee and eating authentic Greek cuisine served from a café carved into the cliffside. If you’re chasing adventure, choose to hire a quad bike to explore the island and its many little villages or cruise around the volcanic islands and swim in the hot springs.
16. Paris, France
It might be known as the city of love, but for 2024 Paris is set to become the city of sport! Host to the 2024 Olympics, Paris is ready to welcome the world – and you’re invited. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets to some of the sporting events, spend your days watching Olympians battling it out to become the world’s best, and your evenings exploring the iconic Parsian nightlife. Watch the sunset from Montmartre, before heading into town for a night of music, cancan dancing, dinner and drinks at a Parisian cabaret show. Of course, any trip to Paris needs to include the iconic tourist destinations such as the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and a boat cruise along the Seine River.
Fallen in love with the rich Asian cultures and histories of Japan, China, and Southeast Asia, but not in love with the endless lines of tourists? Avoid the hustle and bustle with the reasonably undiscovered Taiwan. A land of fused Asian cultures with an American influence, this relatively small island is packed with things to do. We recommend heading off the beaten track and taking to the rolling hills of Taiwan. Pack your hiking boots and go from pristine white beaches at Longpan Park to the dense Kenting National Rainforest to summiting the Sixiu Mountains. Stumble across beautiful ancient sites and be prepared with our beginners guide to trekking Taiwan. After a day full of adventure, head to the many night markets throughout Taiwan for an authentic Taiwanese feast.
18. Manila, Philippines
A hop and a skip away, many Aussies are swapping Indonesia for an immersive experience in the Philippines capital, Manila. Having been occupied by three vastly different countries (Spain, United States of America and Japan), as you walk down the streets of Manila, you’ll pass through Spanish cobblestone districts next to towering skyscrapers. Considered one of the most densely populated cities in the world (with 42,857 people per square kilometre – for context Australia has 3.3), revel in the ambience that is Asia’s mega city. Explore Manila’s oldest district, Intramuros, and be amazed by the historic Spaniard architecture. Next, get your shopping and food fixes at markets such as Binondo and Divisoria.
19. Dubai, UAE
Built upon sand and mesmerising blue waters, Dubai’s futuristic city will have you occupied for days and is worthy of so much more than a mere airport transit on your way to Europe. With majority of the city built within the last 50 years, the sheer scale of Dubai is something to behold. Host to the world’s biggest shopping mall, tallest skyscraper, and many ultra-luxury hotels, live like royalty in Dubai’s carefully crafted city. Yet, between its technological advances, you’ll find pre-developed Dubai with vibrant souks and the vast desert that stretches to the horizon. Whether you relax by the pool of your seven-star resort or head to an indoor ski slope, Dubai has everything to keep you and your family entertained and comfortable.
20. Doha, Qatar
Rising in popularity after the FIFA World Cup, Doha is fast becoming an arts and entertainment hotspot. Funding billions into cultural infrastructure, not only is its skyline impressive but its museums and galleries are phenomenal. A must visit is the Museum of Islamic Art, featuring paintings, ceramics, carpets, and much more. Or you could opt for something less formal with a tour through Doha’s colourful souks. The perfect reason to add this growing city to your 2024 itinerary is to attend the World Aquatics Championships in February. From delicious street food to five-star dining, experience Qatar’s capital this year.
21. Berlin, Germany
As you stroll through the streets of Berlin, you’ll discover a stark contrast of new-age modern culture and remnants of the past. The Berlin Wall and Holocaust Memorial serve as a sobering reminder of the country’s past whilst the trendy clubs, foodie scene and abundant galleries and museums make it one of the most progressive European cities. Berlin is welcoming and friendly to tourists making it a breeze to navigate for solo, couple, family and LGBTQIA travellers. Whether you visit in summer to enjoy the green spaces and picnics in the park or in winter to embrace a white Christmas with twinkly night markets, Berlin promises to be an experience worthy of a photo book.
22. Cancun, Mexico
Australia is spoilt with some of the best beaches in the world and one might wonder if there are better beaches out there? Enter Cancun, one of Mexico’s most popular resort areas and absolute beach babe. The glistening white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise ocean set the scene for the ultimate relaxing holiday. Visit the archaeological sites dotted around the region to gain insight into the ancient Maya civilisation or don your snorkel and dive into the Caribbean Sea to explore the submerged statues of the Underwater Museum of Art, sunken ships, colourful reefs and marine life.
23. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
If south-east Asia is on your itinerary for 2024 mark Ho Chi Minh City as your anchor point with direct flights from VietJet. Vietnam has been growing in popularity for Brisbane travellers and it’s not hard to see why with its pristine beaches and eight UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites. Spend your days shopping up a storm at the Vincom Center, Ho Chi Minh City’s biggest shopping mall or take a day trip to the Mekong Delta to witness the abundant rice paddy fields. Travellers on any budget can feast on pho, banh mi and fresh spring rolls for around 30,000 VND ($1.50) to fuel their daily adventures.
Situated on the glamourous French Riveria, Monaco is the place to be for luxury shopping, opulent spas and Michelin-star restaurants. While it may be small in geography, Monaco has no shortage of attractions. Visit one of the many museums and galleries or sit back and sip a martini like James Bond at the Monte Carlo Casino, the film location for Never Say Never Again and Golden Eye. Sporting fanatics will want to book in May for the Grand Prix or in July 2024 for the start of the final time trial to close out the Tour de France.