It’s the moments that we remember most when we travel... the anticipation, the awe and the wonder. While the world is full of mesmerising moments just waiting to wash over you and intoxicate every sense, there are some special experiences the entire world stands unified in absolute awe of. This is the stuff dreams – and bucket lists – are made of. Once-in-a-lifetime memories that you’ll be left reminiscing until the day you kick that proverbial ‘bucket’. So we’ve pulled together a list of the best of the best, the most magnificent of the lot, and no doubt the repeat offenders on so many bucket lists!
Stepping foot in Antarctica
It may be the coldest, windiest and driest continent on the planet, but it’s worth battling the elements to step foot onto this white wonderland where Mother Nature takes reign. A vast stretch of pristine wilderness, there’s nowhere better on earth to spot penguins waddling across slippery icebergs, seals diving into untouched waters and albatrosses flying high above undeniably spectacular formations of pure blue and white ice. Free from any crowds, Antarctica is a special destination that bestows unforgettable memories upon all those who venture here. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Cruising the Greek Islands
Feel the warm sunny rays on your cheeks and the wind rustle your hair as you cruise past the many gems of the Greek Islands. There’s no shortage of stops to choose from. Wander the cobblestone streets of white-washed Mykonos, glimpse stunning sunsets from atop volcanic cliffs in Santorini, or marvel the medieval grandeur of Rhodes. Wherever you go, the rocky beaches, white sand coves and deep cobalt waters make every minute of the journey worthwhile.
Witnessing the Northern Lights
It’s a true spectacle to watch the Northern Lights come to life before your eyes in a twirl of fluorescent colours against a dark and moody sky. The aurora borealis phenomenon is nothing short of jaw-dropping. What makes it so incredibly spectacular is the chance that you may miss it – there is no guarantee. But you can choose your timing and your vantage points well. One of the best spots to glimpse this astronomical wonder is Norway, where dog sledding expeditions make the days just as magical.
Riding the Trans Siberian railway
Whether you’re fascinated by Russia or the idea of travelling by rail – or both – the Trans Siberian is one unique route into the heart of the nation. While there are many trains making the journey, the only way to do this bucket list item is in absolute luxury. Sip on Russian vodka to the sound of Tchaikovsky classics as you admire the rural landscapes on show outside your window. Stops along the way bring the chance to jump off and stretch your legs, and most importantly, soak up the rich local culture.
Driving Route 66 in the USA
Hire a car, pick up a map and hit Route 66 the next time you head to the USA. An epic road trip spanning over 5000km, this legendary route trails through the very heart of the nation, from beachside, chic Santa Monica to soaring, sports-mad Chicago. Get a taste of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, zoom over a bridge spanning the Mississippi River, and stop off at iconic highlights like the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Oklahoma City. A route made famous in song, story and film, Route 66 will go down in your own history books too.
Exploring Australia’s Outback & Ayers Rock
While it’s easy to flee for foreign exotic shores, there’s nothing quite like home. Take a journey to the centre of Australia, our red and dusty Outback, to finally see for yourself Australia’s most iconic sight: Ayers Rock. Trail around this sacred landmark shrouded in Aboriginal legend, and when the sky turns dark, look up. This is one of the best places in Australia to admire the starry night sky of the southern hemisphere in all its glory.
Making it to the top of Machu Picchu
The sacred land of the Incas, Machu Picchu is a sight to behold. These stunning 15th-century Incan ruins claim one of the best views in the world, from its luscious green perch nestled high up in the Peruvian Andres, encapsulated in a mystical foggy mist. One of the most important archaeological sites in the world, you can still wander the remains of this ancient and once powerful city. Trek the famous Inca Trail to the site or relax and catch the train. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera – it’s a long way back to the top.
Are you ready to tick these travel moments off your bucket list in 2015? We've pulled together these fabulous escapes - and more - right here.