Back Track’s Travel Inspiration List

It’s about this time of year, that you’ll see a lot of articles and clickbait on the internet about hot destinations for the coming year. If you Google top travel destinations, you’ll get millions of results returned to you in seconds.

I’ve investigated quite a few lists and have found some of the destinations to be unusual, as is not what I was expecting. From those lists as well as feedback from the other Back Track staff, I’ve compiled some interesting destinations with some suggestions to whet your appetite if you are looking for travel inspiration for the coming year.

 

THE POLAR REGIONS,
ANTARCTICA and the ARCTIC

DID YOU KNOW?
The ancient Greeks knew about the Arctic landmass to the North. They named it Arktos – after the ‘Great Bear’ star constellation (not the polar bear). They believed it must be balanced by an equally large Southern landmass – opposite the ‘Bear’ – the Ant Arktos. The newly identified continent was first described as Antarctica in 1890.

Projection source: Wikipedia

We are doing two separate trips to the Antarctic polar region in 2024!
Spectacular Antarctica, A photographic journey

And

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean, Australia and New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Both trips are going to be life-enhancing! Both trips are expedition cruises aboard small, ships are very comfortable and warm, specifically designed for expedition cruising and the polar regions!

 

ALBANIA

Travellers on the hunt for something a little different from their next European adventure are increasingly looking towards Albania. This piece of the Balkan jigsaw is drawing a rising number of visitors thanks to its Adriatic and Ionian coasts, intriguing Ottoman and Communist past, and relatively nascent tourism scene.

Highlights of Albania 8 days
Where is Albania?

BHUTAN

Bhutan is definitely worth visiting. Known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and commitment to preserving its environment and traditions, Bhutan offers a unique and rewarding travel experience.

Join us on an exclusively designed itinerary to discover the land of pure happiness and explore its history, culture, people, and landscapes, culminating with a climb to the incredible Tiger’s Nest.

Where is Bhutan?

 

IRELAND

Ireland is a superb self-drive destination, except if you are Matteo. Embracing his Irish heritage, he requires a designated driver as he samples the many local brews.

Wild Atlantic Way

For the keen driver, the Wild Atlantic Way at 2,600km, is one of the longest defined coastal routes in the world. It winds its way all along the Irish west coast taking in some iconic sights along the way.

 

ITALY

There is more to Italy than just Rome, Venice, and Florence.

Emilia Romagne, Italy

The Tour de France kicks off in Italy next summer, with the Grand Départ happening in Florence on 29 June. But most of the action on this first stage will take place not in Tuscany, but in the villages and vineyard-draped landscapes of neighbouring Emilia-Romagna. The finishing line will be in the beach resort of Rimini, while Bologna and its famous cuisine await at the end of the second stage. Riders will then push off from historic Piacenza on their final leg to Turin.

Puglia, Italy

Savour the rich tapestry of flavours on our specially designed food and culture exploration!

Embark on a captivating journey through three exquisite regions in South Eastern Italy. Explore Puglia’s stunning Adriatic coastline, iconic dry-stone huts, and delectable cuisine. Discover Basilicata’s towns carved into sandstone cliffs, ancient Greek ruins, and divine local produce. Experience the hidden gem of Molise, with its diverse cuisine and breathtaking scenery. This tour follows the spirit of the Sicilian Food Odyssey, offering a kaleidoscope of history spanning over 2000 years, where cultures have left their mark on the region’s cuisine, architecture, and language. Immerse yourself in this captivating blend of traditions and savour the rich tapestry of flavours that tell the story of this remarkable corner of Italy.

Malta (not part of Italy, but close by!)

Malta offers many diverse types of activities to suit the entire family. From walking around Valletta, the walled capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the famous beaches, boating, and historic sites, there’s a great deal to see and do on the islands.

Did you know? Most Maltese speak three languages fluently – Maltese, English & Italian. Malta is not one island – it is an archipelago. It is among the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries – it is the smallest country in the EU. The Maltese island of Comino is virtually uninhabited.

Why not combine a visit to Malta with our Sicilian Food Odyssey! You may need to purchase a business class seat home after that combination!

Where are Italy, Sicily and Malta?
Malta & Gozo Discovery
Sicilian Food Odyssey

 

SCOTLAND

Scotland is a perfect road trip destination. You don’t have to drive on the other side of the road, they speak English (sort of), and absorbing history.  Be warned!  Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart”, while wildly entertaining and beautifully shot, has a LOT of historical inaccuracies. ☹

Scottish Whisky Trail

Maybe appoint a designated driver for this one! Allow a minimum of 7 days.

 

EUROPE BY TRAIN

It’s not just for backpackers and teenagers on a Gap Year. Europe’s train network and infrastructure is extensive – that’s what happens when you have 741 million people, and by extension considerably more taxpayers than here in Australia.

Iconic European trains highlighted for you.

For example, you can go from Paris to Istanbul in 15 days! It’s a lot of ground and a lot of countries in quick succession! If you have more time, take your time because there is some cool stuff to see and experience on the way!

While we’re talking about trains, they are world-wide!

 

CHILE – ATACAMA DESERT

Chile’s Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth, and home to a staggering diversity of landscapes from salt mountains and green oases to cactus-studded canyons and epic high-altitude plains.
This is a place for adventure lovers and those who want to experience unparalleled natural beauty.

 

CHILE, EASTER ISLAND

Easter Island is famous for its stone statues of human figures, known as moai (meaning “statue”). The island is known to its inhabitants as Rapa Nui. The moai were probably carved to commemorate important ancestors and were made from around 1000 C.E. until the second half of the seventeenth century.

 

Where is Easter Island?

In the middle of nowehere! You’ll usually fly to Santiago, Chile overnight and fly to Easter Island the following day.

 

PATAGONIA – CHILE, ARGENTINA

Torres del Paine Full O circuit hike
Chile – Torres del Paine – W trek

 

PERU

Peru’s enticing array of attractions, landmarks and natural wonders are infinite. Celebrated for its textured landscapes, ancient cultural heritage, and delicious globally-recognised cuisine, this must-visit destination has something for every avid traveller.

Peru’s main attractions for tourists are the stunningly beautiful mountain trails through the Peruvian Andes, the colourful indigenous culture, and the ruins of the once-powerful Inca empire, which extended its influence up and down the Pacific coast of South America in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Travel back to the time of the ancient Inca Empire as you explore the temples and terraces of Machu Picchu, as well as the former capital city of Cusco in Peru. You’ll also visit Bolivia’s historic cities Sucre and La Paz, where you’ll discover the fascinating heritage of the region’s indigenous population. Throughout your trip, experience the wonder and the beauty of lush mountain landscapes, and natural geographic features such as the Uyuni Salt Flats. Plus, you’ll also explore the shores of Lake Titicaca, where you’ll marvel at the sweeping vistas of its lakes and islands.

For those looking to experience the history, culture, and wilderness of South America, this three-week adventure through Peru, Bolivia, and Chile is packed full of some of the continent’s most iconic and popular highlights. Explore the Sacred Valley and uncover Incan history high in the Andes at legendary Machu Picchu. Explore incredible landscapes at Salar de Uyuni and the Atacama Desert, and encounter vibrant culture at Lake Titicaca.

 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, the Galápagos Islands are one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, with 97% of its islands forming a protected national park. Half of its land species and one-fifth of its marine species are endemic to the Galápagos! Situated 965km off the coast of Ecuador, this isolated haven of biodiversity remains nature’s greatest science laboratory, it’s no wonder Cherles Darwin formulated his theory of natural selection after spending time there.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this list (January 2024), Ecuador is a little unsettled.

Where are the Galapagos Islands?

 

NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA

If you’re looking for coastal vibes, history, seafood galore, and wild scenery, Nova Scotia is the destination for you, and Contiki’s North American tours bring you right into the action. Nova Scotia may be one of the smallest provinces in Canada, but you’ll be amazed at how much there is to do.
Surrounded by water, the maritime province of Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations. Its diverse landscape includes dramatic cliffs, coastal rock formations, sandy beaches, and rolling fields. There are islands, hiking trails and sun-drenched vineyards to explore.

Where is Nova Scotia?

 

MEXICO

Mexico has breathtaking beaches, Amazing weather, marine life (grey whales, ancient ruins, fabulous food, tequila, art, fascinating culture, cenotes, archaeological history, the day of the dead (Dia de Muertos) and it’s affordable.

Where is Mexico?

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Archaeological sites—including Chichén Itzá and Uxmal (designated UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1988 and 1996, respectively), as well as Tulum in Mexico—and the development of a transportation network have made tourism one of the major economic activities of the peninsula.

 

 

ARGENTINA

With its vibrant cities, glorious national parks (like Iguazu Falls NP bordering Brazil, Los glaciares NP in Patagonia to name a few), and world-class food and wine, Argentina has it all. With its vast open spaces, dramatic scenery and endless highways, Argentina is an ideal place to hit the road.

Iguazu Falls
Perito Moreno glacier
Where is Argentina?
Classic Hikes of Patagonia (Chile & Argentina)

 

AKAGERA, RWANDA

Akagera has an inspiring conservation story as it is now home to lions and rhinos, and is the only Big Five park in the country. Just two hours’ drive from Kigali, it is a beautiful and convenient savannah landscape to visit, and an easy site to add on to before or after visiting the gorillas.

Embark on an unforgettable expedition to track mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, in the rainforest of Rwanda. Visit a research centre set up by Dr. Dian Fossey, who spent 18 years studying gorillas in the Virunga Mountains with support from National Geographic, and get up close to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Set out in search of the “big five”—lions, leopards, elephants, and Cape buffalo—while on safari in Akagera National Park, while learning about the incredible conservation efforts that brought this onetime battleground back from disaster.

 

MADAGASCAR

Madagascar’s landscapes are a sight to behold, offering a stunning tapestry of diversity. From the otherworldly Avenue of the Baobabs, where majestic ancient trees line the dirt road, to the pristine white sand beaches that stretch along its coastline, there is no shortage of natural wonders to explore.

Lemurs, wild landscapes, village culture, beaches — Madagascar might be an island but there’s nothing small about it. For those who like to get remote, this isolated island is packed with wildlife, landscapes, and people you’ll find nowhere else. And everybody loves lemurs!

Where is Madacasgar?

 

Avenue of the Baobabs

 

MONGOLIA

Mongolia’s sublime beauty reveals itself in endless expanses of steppe and sky and an age-old nomadic culture that joins the people with the land. Journey through this remote, seldom-travelled region of Asia, from sprawling Ulaanbaatar to green, grassy plains where wild horses roam. Discover the country’s surviving Buddhist heritage on visits to historic temples and monasteries; walk across the rocks and sands of the sweeping Gobi, which conceal troves of dinosaur fossils; and get a taste of traditional Mongolian life.

Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex

 

ETHIOPIA

Travel to Ethiopia and discover a beautiful country, barely touched by modern society. It’s an incredible combination of history, tradition, culture and nature. From 3-million-year-old fossilised hominid remains in Addis Ababa to the amazing rock-hewn churches, hidden crypts and grottoes in Lalibela, you’ll go deep into human history.

Incredible Ethiopia
The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

 

SIKKIM, INDIA

Sikkim is rich in history, culture, and natural resources. It is often considered the gateway to the Northeastern region of the India. Its lakes, waterfalls and lush green forests are certain to make any nature lover fall in love with the state. The mouth-watering indigenous cuisine further adds to its charm. Our Indian Himalaya trek affords you breathtaking alpine scenery and a close view of Mt. Deo Tibba (6001m) and Mt. Indrasan (6221m).

 

TAIWAN

Taiwan is a charming island in East Asia, best known for its vibrant culture, delicious fusion cuisine and tranquil lakes and mountain ranges. Though Taiwan is small in size, it is large in life and is one of the most densely populated places in the world, the majority of its 24 million inhabitants living in cities along the west coast.

 

CHINA

China brings together a world of experiences like no other destination. A place where incredibly old and state-of-the-art rub shoulders, China is home to magnificent sights like the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors to roly-poly pandas, vibrant mega-metropolises and serene landscapes.

 

AUSTRALIA

Don’t just take our word for it – researchers regularly rank Australia as one of the world’s best places to live and visit (read: laid-back, relaxed, fun). The 2,800 annual hours of sunshine, magnificent native scenery and delicious local gastronomy all contribute to making Australia a land like no other. No exchange rates, no passports required, no power adapters required – holidaying here at home is pretty good, and we don’t have to fly for 24hours to get here!

Experience life in the Top End on a trip designed exclusively for us, by Rob Woods at Ethical Adventures.

Tasmania

Tasmania’s natural beauty is captivating, its cultural experiences are diverse, and its food and drink offering is enviable. Get a true taste of Tasmania in its fresh apple cider, cheeses, wine and oysters, and experience a dose of its serenity with its powder-white beaches and laid-back luxury.

The Red Centre

Experience Aboriginal culture, desert adventures and the changing colours of Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre. The Red Centre is an extraordinary landscape of desert plains, weathered mountain ranges, rocky gorges and some of Aboriginal Australia’s most sacred sites, including Uluru and Kata Tjuṯa.

The Kimberley

Here you’ll find prolific wildlife, majestic canyons, freshwater swimming holes and several outback stations, as well as one of Australia’s greatest 4WD road trips. Despite the area’s remoteness, it’s also a place of great food, luxury accommodation, friendly locals and one of the most romantic beach towns on Earth.

Overland
By boat

South Australia

Internationally renowned for its production of fine wines, a trip to South Australia’s undulating wine country is a must. But the state is also blessed with azure waters, arid outback and unique natural attractions that will impress and confound. South Australia is another road trip destination.

Latest Posts

Matteo Carri

A taste of Puglia

You’ll discover the heart and soul of Puglia through its rich culinary heritage, where centuries-old traditions blend with the bounty of the Mediterranean. Helping you

Read More »
Leanne Flanagan-Smith

National Parks of Zimbabwe

Nestled in southern Africa, Zimbabwe, a land of diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity, proudly hosts several remarkable national parks that showcase the country’s natural wonders.

Read More »