52 Dream Destinations 2019: the international travel issue

Glass igloos at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Lapland, Finland. Credit:Valtteri Hirvonen/Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Editor's letter

Call yourself well travelled? A friend of mine aims to have been to 40 countries by the time she turns 40. With that birthday looming, she's planning two rather wonderful holidays, the itineraries decided upon largely so they catapult her from her current 37-country status up to the magical 4-0 just as her birthday rolls around.

Word of her quest sent me straight to the atlas to clock up how many countries I've been to. Sadly, it's not quite 30, and there are whole swathes of the world still on my bucket list. South America. Central America. Africa. Russia. Antarctica. The Arctic. I've clearly got some catching up to do. If, like me, you've been a bit lax in your country-hopping, our second annual issue devoted to the joys of international travel is for you. As its name suggests, 52 Dream Destinations is purposely aspirational, featuring some places most of us could only dream of visiting, but might like to drool over nonetheless, as well as other, more achievable options.

We have compiled this list in close collaboration with our stablemates at Traveller, and thank them for their invaluable contributions. Thank you also to Michael Harry, who essentially edited the issue, and Julietta Jameson, who wrangled all the words, pictures and dreams. Enjoy.

– Katrina Strickland, Good Weekend editor


Damn the expense – it's time for the trip of a lifetime. Jaw-dropping resorts sitting amid stunning scenery offering amazing service are just the beginning. And the more budget-minded among us can just sit back, relax, and dream big.

The impressively restored Adare Manor, Limerick, Ireland.

Polar Opposites: Turn around, look how the sunset is reflected on the ice sheet behind you … In the Arctic and Antarctica, “seeing the light” is a core part of the experience. By Luke Slattery


Feeling wild at heart? Take a trip to the icy regions of Canada where polar bears roam, trek the forests of Southern Rwanda looking for chimpanzees or sail the waters of the Malaysian islands, admiring orange sunsets and jungle-draped vistas, cocktail in hand.

The One&Only Nyungwe House near Lake Kivu, Rwanda.

Animal attraction: If Africa’s “big five” – lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, rhino and elephant – are to survive and thrive, eco-tourism could be a key ingredient. By Greg Callaghan

Into the wild: Spirits are high on a wilderness cruise along the fjords of Canada’s British Columbia in search of a rare bear. By Konrad Marshall 


Art. Architecture. Food. Tradition. Culture buffs are spoilt for choice with destinations offering cocktails and concerts in glorious Vienna, culinary adventures in Hong Kong, gallery-hopping in San Fran and opportunities to meet the locals in Myanmar.

Escape the rat race on Macedonia’s serene Lake Ohrid.Credit:Alamy

The upside of downtown: Post-September 11, New York below 14th Street has gone from dull business district to vibrant food and cultural hub. By Amelia Lester


Whether it's skiing in Japan, beach-clubbing in Bali, riding the world's fastest roller coaster in Abu Dhabi, or simply relaxing on a beach in Sri Lanka, spending time with the family has never been so much fun.

The ski fields at Hakuba, Japan have become the place for a family skiing pilgrimage. Credit:Alamy

Food & Wine

Hungry for more than just premium local produce, fine wine and beautiful surroundings? Gourmands with get up and go can walk the pilgrim's way on the Camino Trail, Spain, take a hunter-gather tour in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand or relax in a hot spring in historic Bath, England.

Heckfield Place’s Sun House sits within the Hampshire estate’s walled gardens. Credit:Courtesy of Heckfield Place 

Small-town sensation: Set among redwood forests, stunning rivers and renowned vineyards, Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, has become a foodie hot spot. By Myffy Rigby


Wellness destinations are popping up everywhere – in the mountains of Albania, down dusty laneways in Old Delhi, in the lush rainforests of Mauritius and even on the high seas. But whether you're dreaming of an eco-resort complete with personal trainer and spa treatments or a rustic farmhouse in the great outdoors, the focus is one and the same: you.

The Westin Maldives Spa Suite.

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

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