Destination NEXT

Where to travel in 2019 – Part One

With global tourism reaching saturation point, new and largely undiscovered destinations are becoming harder to find. Here, we present Part One of our three-part Destination NEXT Series showcasing our top 30 exciting, surprising and rapidly trending places. Far from the madding tourist crowds, these hot spots offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences to thrill even the most well-travelled globe trotters.

By Andrew Conway and Madelin Tomelty



Widely regarded as the new Croatia, Montenegro is trending as the must-see destination of 2019. With its historic cities, towns and monuments, sublime beaches, soaring mountain peaks, and Mediterranean climate, this beautiful country is a jewel of the Adriatic Sea. Less than 300 kilometres from top to toe, Montenegro proves that big things come in small packages. Abundant cultural history can be found in the mosaic floors of Roman villas, colourful Orthodox monasteries, ornate Catholic churches, the slender minarets of mosques and resilient fortresses built by the numerous powers that have fought over these lands. UNESCO-listed Kotor and the splendid Medieval city of Budva are must-sees, but upwardly mobile hotspots such as Porto Montenegro and Lustica Bay are turning up the contemporary style and glamour volume with spectacular new marinas and luxury resorts, hotels and residential developments. See it before the tourist hordes arrive.   Stay at: Aman Sveti Stefan,



Nearly 25 years on from the genocide that shocked the world, Rwanda is the new ‘It’ destination of sub-Saharan Africa. While its mountain gorillas have long been its biggest tourism drawcard, this unassuming, land-locked country has a new network of luxury eco-lodges luring adventure-seeking and wildlife-loving travellers to its verdant rolling hills. Wildly beautiful with lush, mountainous terrain, cloud-shrouded forests and incredible biodiversity, the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ offers nature trails to make avid hikers go weak at the knees. The Congo-Nile trail is perhaps its most famous, while Nyungwe Forest – one of the oldest and last-remaining high-altitude tropical rainforests in Africa – is home to a 200-metre-long canopy walk. Lake Kivu is one of the world’s 20 largest lakes, a spectacular mountain-flanked spot to kayak, boat, swim and fish. Widely recognised as a safe haven, Rwanda has mandatory education, universal health care, boasts the highest percentage of women in parliament in the world, has been plastic bag-free since 2008 and is considered Africa’s cleanest country. Who says it’s all about the gorillas? Stay at: One&Only Nyungwe House



A new dawn is rising over Australia’s west coast. With Qantas launching non-stop flights to London earlier this year, Perth is now ideally positioned as a fresh and dynamic stopover or destination in its own right. “Perth has come of age,” says Tracey Cinavas-Prosser, executive director of the Perth Convention Bureau, referencing the city’s vibrant culture, idyllic beaches, world-class food and wine, natural history and marine adventures. “Perth is safe, welcoming and visually stunning,” she adds. “It has an excellent infrastructure, more average hours of sunshine, and more restaurants per capita than any other city in Australia.” A dozen major luxury hotels have recently opened or are soon to launch, complementing the burgeoning Elizabeth Quay waterfront complex, offering five-star accommodations, gourmet dining, entertainment and exclusive experiences across the city., Stay at: Crown Towers Perth,

The Azores


The concept of pristine wilderness is rapidly disappearing due to mass tourism, global warming, pollution and over-population, but thankfully there is a handful of natural wonders still in existence. One such Garden of Eden is the Azores, an archipelago of nine remote and volcanic islands perched in the mid-Atlantic, an autonomous region of Portugal located about 1,650 kilometres west of Lisbon. An international beacon of sustainability – built environments cover only five per cent of the land – these beautiful islands comprise vast underwater mountains, calderas, hot springs, caverns and grottoes, lakes ringed by laurel and cedar forests, and seemingly endless carpets of green pastures. A haven for nature lovers and adventure sports enthusiasts – think whale watching, watersports, geotourism, hiking and birding – the Azores is nature at its best with a touch of luxury. New air services from the US and Europe mean easier access but also more tourists; the time to go is now.   Stay at: Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, São Miguel Island,


Middle East

A safe haven in a region of turmoil and conflict, Jordan offers one of the world’s greatest travel experiences. With its warm, welcoming, my-house-is-your-house approach to hospitality and an array of breathtaking natural and man-made attractions, this underappreciated destination should be on every traveller’s hit list. After exploring the fascinating capital Amman, head out to the Roman ruins of Jerash, float in the hyper-saline and mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, view the ancient rose-red city of Petra, and experience the nomadic Bedouin way of life in rugged Wadi Rum. End your holiday with a few days relaxing in Aqaba, Jordan’s pretty port city on the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba. We can’t speak highly enough of this wonderful country.   Stay at: Full of Stars, Wadi Rum,



Bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Angola, Namibia is a spectacular and game-rich safari destination distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast and Etosha National Park’s vast salt pan. The country is home to diverse, rare and endangered wildlife – including elephant, black rhino, cheetah and wild dog, among others – many of which have naturally adapted to the harsh and inhospitable desert environment. Leading safari specialist Natural Selection operates four luxury camps in Hoanib River, Etosha Heights Private Reserve and Skeleton Coast National Park, with a fifth camp soon to open in Nkasa Rupara National Park – all delivering extraordinary Out of Africa experiences in unique and untouched settings.   Where to stay: Natural Selection,

Santa Fe

United States

America has more iconic destinations than you could poke a hotdog at, but there are still off-the-beaten-track sanctuaries that surprise and delight. New Mexico’s capital Sante Fe is steeped in Spanish colonial and American west history, renowned for its Pueblo-style architecture, and widely regarded as a hotbed of the creative arts. Set in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, the city’s downtown is a designated historic district with charming Spanish churches, twisting streets, and chic boutiques and galleries. Surrounded by more than 600,000 hectares of national forest, Santa Fe prides itself on its approach to healthy living and organic food, but with an urban sensibility. It's the third-largest art market in the United States, after Los Angeles and New York, and the annual Sante Fe Opera season between June and August is considered one of the finest in the country.  Stay at The Inn of the Five Graces,



Rising from the Mediterranean Sea like an indomitable fortress, the spectacular island of Corsica is like no other part of France. Located north of Sardinia, off the western coast of Italy, this glorious French island territory is only 215 kilometres long and 81 kilometres wide, but offers a breathtaking array of natural and cultural attractions from rugged mountainous terrain to sun-drenched bays, beaches and seaside villages, bucolic valleys, forests and dramatic hilltop hideaways. Calvi, on the island’s northwest coast, is a charming city of cobblestone streets, restaurants, shops and art galleries, and take your pick of almost 200 white-sand beaches and secluded coves dotted around the island. A world away from the glittering French Riviera, Corsica has its own unique customs, language and character – along with excellent food and wine – delivering an intimate holiday experience in a monumental setting. and Stay at: Villas by The Thinking Traveller,


Sicily, Italy

This year is set to be an "annus mirabilis" for Sicily’s capital Palermo. Fresh from its star role as 2018 Italian Capital of Culture and hosting Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, this intriguing city is emerging as a major tourist and cultural attraction in its own right, not just as a gateway to the island’s renowned coastal and inland villas. Once the stronghold of Italy’s Mafia, this still gritty and multi-ethnic city is quickly morphing into a romantic destination thanks to its beautiful Mediterranean setting, historic and luxury hotels, and quaint restaurants, cafés and bars. The impressive Teatro Massimo is one of the biggest and most important theatres in Europe, and Via Chiavettieri comes to life each evening when bar owners put out their tables and chairs on the pavement and serve wine and olives, and by 11pm the street is packed. Where to stay: Grand Hotel Villa Igiea,



Taipei might not be as well-known to Australian travellers as its Asian counterparts Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong, but the commercial, economic and political capital of Taiwan is no less vibrant and alluring. Home to 12 districts and seven million people, Taipei is a thriving and cosmopolitan city that has, despite its contemporary high-rise facade, managed to preserve much of its natural, cultural and historic heritage. Must-see attractions include 228 Peace Park, Longshan Temple, Shilin Night Market, Maokong Gondola, and the National Palace Museum, a showcase of 600,000-plus artifacts transported for safekeeping from mainland China during the Chinese Civil War. Explore the head-turning nightlife of Ximending, a historic district that’s now the hip epicentre of Taipei’s youth subcultures, where wacky anime- and manga-obsessed locals, commonly referred to as otaku, strut their stuff.   Stay at: Mandarin Oriental Taipei,

Destination NEXT– Part Two

Online Friday, 18th January