Australians have had our feet firmly on the ground this year, but the possibility of an overseas trip could be closer than we all think. As discussions of ‘travel bubbles’ reach fever pitch, with everyone from airline bosses to politicians weighing in, it’s time to start dreaming.
Though everything we’ve heard is purely speculation right now, our minds are running wild with all the places we might be able to visit soon. Japan? Singapore? New Zealand? Yes please!
Here are all the destinations we’re hoping to see in our near future.
Ahh, Aotearoa. How we love you! This is the most obvious destination for a travel bubble. In fact, it’s already happening (in a very limited way to start with). Though a full-blown bubble is still up in the air, there are so many incredible destinations just waiting to be discovered across the ditch. The beaches of Coromandel, the wineries of Marlborough, the mighty fjordland in the south, the vibrant harbour city of Auckland… it’s all our ‘precious’ dreams come to life.
There’s nowhere quite like Japan. From the sprawling city of Tokyo, a neon wonderland home to over 37 million, to the serene mountain village of Totsukawa with fewer than 5000 residents, it’s a land of dizzying contrasts. The seasons are distinct, the landscape incredibly diverse. Essential destinations include Okinawa, Kyoto, Sapporo, Hiroshima, Osaka and Gifu. Whether you want to shop up a storm, learn to prepare authentic cuisine from a family who’s perfected that dish over centuries, or just soak your troubles away in a hot spring, it’s all here and much more.
As the Samoa tourism slogan says, ‘Samoa is where beautiful just happens’. It doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to make it alluring, it just is. The people are too. An easy flight away in the sunny South Pacific, our island neighbour is a perfect place to indulge in some island time. The main island of Upolo, where you’ll first arrive into the capital of Apia, is home to the Insta-famous To-Sua Ocean Trench (with its vine-clad cliffs and ladder leading into the pool).
It may be just a hop across the East Sea from Japan, but the experience in South Korea is very different – and just as good. Where Japanese tend to be more respectful and reserved, the South Koreans are often more inviting and social. The capital of Seoul offers great nightlife, amazing shopping and dazzling skyscrapers, yet little in the way of traditional architecture. Further afield, the city of Gyeongju is brimming with temples and cultural festivals; Jeju Island has lush scenery and amusement parks; and Busan offers beautiful beaches and hot springs.
Arguably the most misunderstood destination in South East Asia, Singapore is so amazing in so many ways. It’s not all high rise office buildings and shopping malls. It’s also lush and tropical, with vast expanses of forest and nearby islands to explore. Culture-wise it’s like visiting all of Asia in one place, with multicultural communities and hawker centre food halls dishing up all manner of delectable eats. China Town, Kampong Glam, Little India and Dempsey Hill should all be on your radar. Oh, and be sure to check out Gardens by the Bay while you’re there!
Wherever you go, whatever bubbles come to pass, one thing for certain is travel is just like riding a bike. It may have been a while since you’ve done it, but it’ll all come back to you.