Top 20 places for 2020

Twenty top places for 2020 travel

International travel
New Guinea's Mount Hagen Show is a brilliant display of colour, beauty and culture.

New Guinea's Mount Hagen Show is a brilliant display of colour, beauty and culture.

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Wondering where to head to this year? Here's 20 suggestions from The Senior to get you started.

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WONDERING where to travel to next year? We get the ball rolling with 20 Places for 2020, offering suggestions for destinations and new attractions.

Game of Thrones Studio Tour, Northern Ireland

Showcasing authentic sets, costumes and props from all seasons of the hit series, this tour opening in the European spring will allow fans to step inside the world of Westeros and beyond.

The Game of Thrones Studio Tour, comprising the breathtaking imagery, captivating sets, original props and costumes, and other behind-the-scenes items from the series, will drop fans in the very heart of the Seven Kingdoms.

It will be located within Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge in Northern Ireland - the original filming location used for many of the series' iconic scenes.

  • www.linenmillstudios.com
An artist's impression of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour.

An artist's impression of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour.

Cooktown, Far North Queensland

The program has been finalised for Cooktown Expo 2020 with a regional showcase from July 17-August 4 in the very town where British explorer James Cook beached the Endeavour 250 years ago.

Three key events showcase the region's history: Reconciliation Rock Music Festival, Cooktown Discovery Festival and the Endeavour Festival. You can visit the HM Bark Endeavour replica, taste bush tucker, take a local language workshop and learn to weave in between enjoying the entertainment.

Egypt

People stayed away from Egypt because of safety and security concerns but now they are flocking back in droves to a country that's a veritable treasure trove of monuments and antiquities.

Go now while it's possible to see Giza's pyramids and the Great Sphinx, Luxor's Karnak Temple and the fertile Nile Valley without too many other people.

A tour, like the ones operated by Australian family-owned company Project Travel, specialists in travel to Egypt, is the best way to explore the country over 12-21 days. The company offers age-specific travel so you can tour with like-minded people of your own age.

The Netherlands

All eyes will be on Holland in the European spring as the country hosts the Eurovision Song Contest, the Invictus Games and the return of the Dutch GP to the F1 schedule.

Getting to and from Holland will be a lot easier next year when Eurostar begins its non-stop service from London. Lelystad Airport, east of the Dutch capital, will also begin hosting commercial flights.

Why not do as the Dutch do and explore the country by bike? UTracks has eight-day Best of Holland by Bike and Barge tours from May-September..

Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory

A short ferry ride from Darwin, the Tiwi Islands, known as the Island of Smiles, are a must-visit for art, fishing and sport lovers. Now you can stay overnight with the opening of the Tiwi Island Retreat, a private resort on the water's edge at Munanampi Point on the south-western coast of Bathurst Island.

Owned by Matt Wright of National Geographic's hit show Outback Wrangler, it's a place to switch off, relax by the pool, fish, or explore the wildlife and Aboriginal arts and culture.

More on the Northern Territory HERE

Keep your head dry on a new underwater adventure in Dubai.

Keep your head dry on a new underwater adventure in Dubai.

The United States

This would have to be a basketball fan's dream holiday. In March, a tour from Australia will visit the biggest basketball cities in the States, taking in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and San Francisco along with Madison Square Garden, Rucker Park and The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Fans will be treated to seven NBA games and partake in money-can't-buy NBA experiences. More details from Travelrite HERE

Bonn, Germany; Vienna, Austria

In 2020, the world will celebrate Beethoven's 250th birthday.

Bonn, a city that stands for Beethoven like no other in the world, will play a major role in the festivities.

Vienna is also gearing up for a feast of events. Although Beethoven was born and raised in Germany, he spent most of his life in Vienna, arriving in his early 20s in 1792 and remaining until his death in 1827.

In Beethoven Year 2020, his revolutionary music will be heard even more often than usual in concerts in Vienna and the Vienna State Opera, and the Theater an der Wien will present Beethoven's only opera Fidelio.

Patagonia

Patagonia is regarded as the place where natural wonders are set to a Latin beat.

Tour company Collette's Patagonia: Edge of the World 12-night tour from Ushuaia to Terra del Fuego takes in pristine fjords, glaciers, snow-frosted forests, waterfalls as well as visits to national parks, a four-day cruise and hiking adventure, and a meeting with local gauchos (cowboys) over an Argentine lamb roast.

Sri Lanka

The Beyond Travel Group urges Australians to resume holidaying in Sri Lanka to help a country devastated by a drastic drop in visitors.

Support Sri Lanka has been developed to provide short- and long-term assistance since the tragic events of Easter Sunday caused tourist numbers to nosedive.

Many locals directly associated with the tourism industry - such as drivers and guides - are suffering, as are those down the supply chain such as farmers who sell produce to hotels. The goal is to stimulate tourism by encouraging us to look to this captivating country for their next holiday.

Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea

Perhaps the most famous cultural show in Papua New Guinea, the Mount Hagen Show brings together sing-sing groups from all over the country in an amazing display of colour, beauty and culture.

It was first staged in 1964 by tribes from the Western Highlands province to share cultural experiences and calm tribal animosities. The tribes dance, sing and perform while wearing some of the world's most fascinating tribal ware.

Japan

One of the most popular destinations in the world right now, but try winter when the tourist crowds are gone. Drop into a backstreet izakaya and nestle beneath a heated kotatsu table - a table with a heated element underneath and a "skirt" to trap the warm air.

Add in a nabe (toss in meat and vegetable) hot pot and warm sake, for an ideal winter vignette. Watch the graceful red-crowned Japanese crane dance as the sun sets over the snowfields of Tsurui and see majestic stellar sea eagles stationed on drifting ice off the remote Shiretoko Peninsula.

In the Japanese alps, spot the snow fox, the Japanese serow (goat-antelope) and, in the forests of Yudanaka, watch snow monkeys splash about in hot spring water and enjoy snowball fights. Then relax in onsen hot springs as snowflakes dust your shoulders.

More at Inside Japan Tours.

Yorkshire Dales, England

Inspired by the recent hit film Downton Abbey? Traverse the countryside of the Yorkshire Dales - where the film is set and partially filmed - on a self-guided, inn-to-inn walking tour. The seven-day walk takes in pretty villages, market towns, country meadows with drystone walls, babbling brooks and moorlands. The route starts in Yorkshire's eastern lowlands in the little cathedral city of Ripon - a place frequently mentioned and sometimes appearing in the Downton Abbey television show.

More from On Foot Holidays.

Norfolk Island

The island is now a Gold Level Dark Sky Town recognised for its "excellent dark sky - suitable for deep sky observing and astrophotography". The popular destination joins a select group of locations that provide great views of the night sky which are accessible to everyone. Norfolk Island proudly has little or no light pollution and boasts one of the darkest skies on Earth. In March this year it commemorates the 230th anniversary of the wrecking of HMS Sirius.

Colorado, USA

This year-round destination offers something for everyone - four national parks, 28 ski resorts (which in the summer become a haven for hikers and bikers), 26 scenic byways, 30 hot springs, 360 craft breweries, nine historic and scenic railroads, 6000 miles of river and 58 fourteeners (mountains over 14,000 ft). Colorado's gateway city, Denver, was named one of Lonely Planet's World's Top Cities for Travellers in 2020, one of only two US cities that made this travel list.

More on Colorado HERE

Darwin

Eight large-scale illuminated sculptures are the centrepiece of international artist Bruce Munro's third Australian exhibition Bruce Munro: Tropical Light in Darwin. Munro's world first city-wide exhibition is expected to bring thousands of tourists to the Northern Territory's Top End during the tropical summer season.

The free exhibition, which takes the form of a self-guided outdoor exhibition trail through Darwin's CBD and Waterfront precincts, will open until April 30. Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront and Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront are the only two hotel properties on the trail.

Through the TFE Hotels' Darwin Deal, you can experience Tropical Lights with a 20 per cent discount off the hotels' fully flexible rates. Some conditions apply and you must book and stay by the end of March.

Count fish, rather than sheep, when you're tucked up in bed aboard Reefsuites.

Count fish, rather than sheep, when you're tucked up in bed aboard Reefsuites.

Dubai

Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai lends itself to real life Bond adventures with the launch of the Aquatrek Xtreme experience. You don an Aquatrek helmet and descend a ladder 10 metres to the bottom of the lagoon. The helmet receives a continuous supply of air so your face and hair remain dry. There's no need to remove glasses or prescription contacts.

At the bottom, take a guided underwater walking tour of one of the biggest open-air aquariums in the world, coming face-to-face with more than 65,000 marine animals including sharks, stingrays and schools of multi-coloured fish.

Auckland, NZ

This year, Auckland will be New Zealand's home of motorsport, hosting three international events. A league of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series in February will see competitors race for the New Zealand Motor Cup. The ITM Auckland SuperSprint, the country's only Supercars event, will be held in April, while the World Rally Championship takes place in September. The compact region is perfect for exploring on the days you're not at the track. You can be hiking native bush one moment and standing at the top of the southern hemisphere's tallest building the next. Then finish your day enjoying seafood caught fresh from one of Auckland's three harbours, beer from local breweries, or a traditional Maori hangi.

East Arnhem Land Yolngu Homelands

There's a swag of options to experience the Yolngu way of life in one of Australia's most remote and undiscovered destinations. Multi-day adventure itineraries include a Crossing Country Tour and a Women's Tour, called the Gay'Wu or Dilly Bag Tour.

This recognises the dilly bag's importance as a cultural symbol, both for its practicality in carrying bush foods and medicines, and for its spiritual significance for carrying knowledge. Guided single-day tours are a great option as a taster or as part of a larger Top End itinerary with day tours departing from Yirrkala (via Gove) between July and October.

Information from Lirrwi Tourism.

Washington DC

Let your wallet breathe by exploring these free museums during your next trip to the US capital. The best way to do Washington DC for free is to take advantage of the free-admission museums on the National Mall. Together with its monuments and memorials, the National Mall boasts an impressive line-up of free museums showcasing experiences from classic art to the wonders of aviation and the natural world.

And for fresh air few cities can match DC's verdant offerings when it comes to parks and lush gardens. You'll find scenic landscaping around the National Mall and natural beauty in Rock Creek Park, along with dozens of gardens and parks.

The Whitsundays

Stay overnight in one of two underwater Reefsuites with panoramic views of Great Barrier Reef marine life including tropical fish, turtles and manta rays on a floating pontoon at Hardy Reef (39 nautical miles from Airlie Beach). Choose between premium king or twin single accommodation below sea level, complete with private glass ensuite. Another option is the Reefsleep experience which allows up to 28 people to sleep under the stars on the pontoon's top deck.

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