Expedia unveils the ultimate travel bucket list

On March 04, 2014 at 05:57 AM

Australia’s 2014 hot spots Listopedia

According to Expedia’s 2014 hot spots Listopedia, Aussies are set to explore hidden treasures right on their doorstep in their travels next year, as destinations like Lombok, Indonesia, and Palawan in the Philippines, with their secluded, pristine beaches, vie for attention over traditional favourites like Bali and Phuket.

The Whitsundays, renowned for its 74 tropical islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, is perfect for travellers of all ages and will be popular, spurred by a 95% increase in travel demand in 2013.

By looking at Expedia.com.au’sfastest growing markets in 2013, Expedia also predicts more Aussie travellers will explore regional cities within popular destinations further afield in 2014. Stand-out destinations include Kamloops, British Columbia, Nashville, Tennessee and Bath in the UK.

Australians seeking an alternative to traditional land-based holidays will continue to turn to the high seas, with Japan set to be a popular cruising destination in 2014 after interest in the region grew during the past year.

Kelly Cull, Expedia travel expert, said: “While new destinations in the US and Europe continue to entice Aussies, we are seeing demand growing faster for new destinations in Asia and at home, as Aussie travellers explore the hidden gems that are right on their doorstep.

“No matter where Aussies want to travel in 2014, there’s great deals to be found by being flexible with dates, keeping an eye out for hot deals, and bundling flights and hotels together.”

To give Aussies inspiration for their travel plans, Expedia has developed the ultimate bucket list of must-see destinations in 2014. 

Expedia.com.au’s 2014 hot spots Listopedia

1. Lombok, Indonesia 

Yes, there really are island destinations other than Bali in Indonesia. Just to the east of Bali, Lombok is rapidly growing in popularity thanks to direct flights from Perth, its pristine beaches, the big surf breaks on the south coast and its proximity to the famed Gili Islands off Lombok’s northwest coast. With luxury villas and hotels, travellers can replace the hustle and bustle of Bali for seclusion and pure relaxation.  

Three hotels to try: The Oberoi, Jeeva Klui Resort, The Chandi Boutique Resort

2. Palawan, Philippines 

Unspoiled and sparsely populated, local interest in Palawan – which plays host to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites along its narrow coastline – grew in 2013 and is set to continue well into 2014, even as the island continues to rebuild following Typhoon Haiyan. Accessed via Manila, its white sandy beaches, lush jungles and some of the world’s best diving make it the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure.

Three hotels to try: Apulit Island Resort(Apulit Island Tatay), Miniloc Island Resort(El Nido), Club Paradise(Coron)

3.Cruising in Japan

As cruising continues to rise in popularity with Australian travellers, so does Japan as a cruising destination. Combining culture, history and natural wonders, Princess Cruisesis sending two ships to tour around Japan between March and October, 2014. Round trips aboard the Diamond and Sun Princess vessels depart from Tokyo and stop in Aomori, Maizuru, Nagasaki before heading over to neighbouring countries including South Korea and Okinawa. 

4. Whitsundays, Queensland 

The Great Barrier Reef should be on everybody’s bucket list, but to really experience the reef it’s worth doing more than just a day trip from Cairns. The Whitsundays consists of 74 tropical islands (only eight are occupied) situated in the Coral Sea and is home to the world-famous Whitehaven Beach on Hamilton Island, snorkelling and – as the name suggests – plenty of stunning coral. With a range of accommodation options, from the super-luxe One&Only resort on Hayman Island to family-friendly resorts like the Palm Bungalows on Hamilton Island, there’s something for everyone.

Three hotels to try: Reef View Hotel(Hamilton Island), BreakFree Long Island Resort, Daydream Island Resort & Spa

5.Yarra Valley, VIC

A wine region often overshadowed by the likes of the Barossa Valley and Margaret River, the Yarra Valley follows the Yarra River through patches of rainforest and rolling farmlands. Wine lovers will enjoy immersing themselves in local vineyards and sampling the latest cellar door offerings and local products, before retreating for a cozy night in by the fireside.

Three hotels to try: Yarra Valley Lodge, Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, Yering Gorge Cottages

6.Christchurch, New Zealand 

Christchurch has emerged from a turbulent few years buzzing with energy, creativity and a strong sense of community. While the city is still rebuilding, pop-up bars and new dining and shopping options are positioning the city as a must-visit on the way to exploring New Zealand’s stunning South Island. Travellers can experience not only Christchurch’s history by punting down the Avon River or exploring the Botanic Gardens, but also its sustainable future, with Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral and shops made from shipping containers.

Three hotels to try: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square, Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch, Chateau on The Park

7. Bath, UK  

One of England’s most well-preserved historic cities, nourished by natural hot springs, Bath offers stunning Georgian architecture and quintessential English beauty. Taking to the natural thermal waters in Bath, discovered by the Celts and Romans more than 2,000 years ago, is a unique experience and will be easier than ever for guests of the Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel. The hotel isset to open early in the new year and rumoured to be the first hotel spa in the country to use natural thermal water in its treatments.

Three hotels to try: Oldfields House, Hilton Bath City, Royal Crescent Hotel

8.  Kamloops, BC, Canada

Whistler and Banff are well-known to Aussie travellers, but Kamloops, to the north east of Vancouver, has put itself firmly on the radar. With skiing, mountain biking, golfing, horseback riding, cowboy festivals, kayaking, hang gliding, scuba diving, roller derbies, snowshoeing and even dogsledding, there’s plenty to keep anyone busy during the day. There are also endless shopping, dining and spa options for downtime.

Three hotels to try: The Plaza Hotel, South Thomspon Inn & Conference Centre, Delta Sun Peaks

9.  Nashville, Tennessee 

America’s country music capital could give New York a run for its money, with music played 24/7 in bars, restaurants and even on the streets. Famous for its fried chicken, sampling the local produce is a must. Beyond the city, visiting the plantations for a history lesson is recommended. 

Three hotels to try: Union Station Hotel, Autograph Collection,  Marriott Vanderbilt, Omni Nashville Hotel

10.Santorini, Greece 

The Greek Islands have always been an iconic holiday destination and the sight of Santorini’s signature white buildings against the backdrop of the Aegean Sea will never get old. Pick a new way to explore this year – island-hopping on local ferries, cruising on mega ships or settling in for a week of luxury on this piece of paradise. 

Three hotels to try: The Majestic Hotel, La Maltese Estate, Rocabella Santorini Resort & Spa

For more great tips, travel advice and inspiration visit Expedia’s blog, Out There Starts Here: http://blog.expedia.com.au/

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