Travel

Travel author's top 10 destinations

Bora Bora's breathtaking lagoon has been dazzling travellers for decades.
Bora Bora's breathtaking lagoon has been dazzling travellers for decades. Thinkstock

SO many places, so little time ... and nowhere near enough money. But that's never stopped me working on my bucket list, which is probably longer now than it was when I started this job.

I suspect a lot of people have the same attitude and that's why the first edition of Patricia Schultz's 1,000 Places To See Before You Die - a sort of giant bucket list of amazing places around the world - was an unexpected best-seller back in 2003.

Copies flew off the shelves so quickly the New Zealand release had to be postponed. And - the ultimate compliment - it spawned a host of imitations.

The newly-published second edition (Workman Publishing, $49.99) has even more places to see. Schultz says that in the intervening eight years she found 200 more treasures that had to be added. She squeezed them in by merging several of her original 1000.

Of course that doesn't make it any easier to decide where to go first. So, to give readers a starting point for their own bucket lists, Schultz has kindly come up with her 10 favourite places:

Italy

Just about anywhere in Italy does it for me, says Schultz. I even like it in the off-season. Venice is magical and immersed in mist in January, and the time-locked hilltowns of Tuscany are the locals' once more, after the crowds leave in autumn.

Florence and Rome brim with world-class art museums, and grand piazzas rimmed with medieval and Renaissance palazzos will make your head swim.

But sometimes just an idyllic hour spent in an outdoor cafe (Rome's Piazza Navona is a favourite choice) promises an unforgettable parade of Fellini-esque characters to accompany your cappuccino.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Unassuming Laos is one of Southeast Asia's less-visited corners, but those who do come make a beeline for Luang Prabang (City of the Buddha of Peace) at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers in the mountainous north.

The sleepy former capital is home to hundreds of saffron-clad monks who inhabit its more than 30 pagoda-like temples, and throughout town a languid air of serenity mingles with a new-found sense of stylishness.

Of the growing number of chic hotels, many are housed in refurbished French-colonial buildings, and outdoor restaurants offer mouth-watering fusion dishes.

Sing Sing Festival, Papua New Guinea

The Stone Age collides with the 21st century when hundreds of tribes come from all over the Highlands - some of them travelling for days by flat-bed truck, bus and on foot - to this August festival in Mt Hagen to compete in song, dance and costume contests.

Noses are pierced with wild boar tusks and faces are painted in primary colours, while feathers from the island's rich bird life decorate elaborate head-dresses or wigs made from human hair.

Bhutan

Slightly larger than Switzerland and 70 per cent covered by forest, this little-visited Himalayan Buddhist kingdom has a young, very cool (and much-loved) king, a people who do not know what the words greed or discontent mean, not a single stop light and a pristine countryside dissected by a single serpentine road that runs from west to east. Attending any of the sacred festivals is a wonderful way to glimpse the rich heritage of the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

The African safari can be special anywhere. But Botswana's inland Okavango Delta, where the Okavango River meets the Kalahari Desert, has been called "the world's largest oasis". It boasts a unique ecosystem that is a magnet for wildlife.

As a local brochure puts it: "If you see 10 per cent of what sees you, it's an exceptional day." Glide through a labyrinth of papyrus-fringed waterways in the traditional mokoro dugout canoe or explore the islands and islets by Jeep, on foot ... or by elephant.

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Milford Sound is the attention-getter of the 15 fjords that make up this massive park of incredible beauty, but my Kiwi friends said not to miss Doubtful Sound ... and now I know why.

Doubtful is less-known outside of the country, much larger and, with less buzz and tourism, seems even more remote and magical. When our boat turned off the engines, we were enveloped in a primeval silence and a palpable sense of mystery. The experience took my breath away.

Bora Bora, Tahiti

James Michener called it "the South Pacific at its unforgettable best", and I concur. For Americans, it feels like the other side of the world and remains a dream for most, who settle for more convenient Caribbean island substitutes. Little in the world can match the lagoon's palette of blues and greens, the underwater traffic of fish, and blackfin lagoon sharks hand-fed for curious divers.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The 360-degree view from atop Corcovado where you stand beneath the outstretched hands of the 40m Christ statue may well be the most inspiring urban view I have ever seen. With 70km of gorgeous beach fringing Guanabara Bay, cariocas - the residents of Rio - call it "the Marvellous City", and it is just that.

It's no surprise that Rio also hosts some of the world's wildest parties, including Carnival and the annual New Year's Eve bash on Copacabana Beach that attracts close to a million revellers.

New York City, USA

Skyscrapers loom above canyon-like streets where more than eight million residents, drawn from every corner of the globe, go about their daily business. The profusion of museums, restaurants and cultural life is second-to-none.

New Yorkers take advantage of a plethora of free events (opera in Central Park, big band dance-offs at Lincoln Center, films under the stars in Bryant Park) that make this otherwise pricey metropolis manageable and a joy 24/7. New York is my hometown, so you'll have to excuse me if I sound biased.

Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah, USA

The Four Corners region of America's southwest is the very embodiment of the Old West. Much of it is protected as national or state parks, and entire swathes are still owned and lived on by native American tribes.

A single 30km dirt road runs through the national park - a barren plain punctuated by towering red-rock formations with names such as Totem Pole and The Mittens, which stood in as backdrops for countless John Wayne western classics.

>> Read more travel stories.

Topics:  destinations top 10 travel travelling



Date nights under $50

ACCORDING to The Bachelor falling in love involves helicopter rides, private jets, shopping trips, and we mustn’t forget the hot tubs.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Grab a friend, pour a cuppa for a cause

CHEERS TO THAT: Warwick Cancer Council branch will host its Biggest Morning Tea event this week.

There is no better day of the year than tomorrow for a cuppa

McCulkin murder trial: Theory labelled 'unlikely' by judge

Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki and Leanne. The family disappeared in 1974.

Mrs McCulkin’s purse and engagement ring were left behind

Doctor's pregnancy comments cause outrage

FREE HEALTH: South-west health directer doctor Chris Buck.

A DARLING Downs doctor has come under fire for a Facebook post

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: King Arthur - Legend of the Sword

Why the critics have got Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur all wrong.

Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

There have been multiple confirmed deaths after 'explosions' heard at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

"We saw blood on people when we got outside."

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bay to star in Hollywood shark thriller ‘Cage Dive’

Cage Dive, written and directed by Gerald Rascionato, is now screening in the United States of America. It had scenes filmed in Hervey Bay.

And our visiting humpback whales also make appearance.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!