If you’re ready to plan your next out-of-the-ordinary adventure, we’ve found five destinations to visit once it’s safe to do so. And while they’ll need some preparation and organising before you land, the experiences that await will more than makeup for the effort.
Taktsang Monastery sits 900 metres above the ground
The Kingdom of Bhutan rests in the Himalayas and boasts a culture that prioritises the citizens' happiness over wealth. For this reason, Bhutan has capped the number of travellers allowed into the country each year. If you’re able to secure your spot, head deep into the valley of Paro to see the Taktsang Monastery – also known as the Tiger's Nest. This shrine is one of the many important sites for Buddhists and also one of the most ventured to places in the Himalayan. Constructed in 1962, it’s an engineering feat that seemingly hangs off the side of a cliff face, 900 metres above the ground. You can take the pilgrimage to the monastery, which is roughly a five-hour round trip and stop at the tea houses to eat, drink and rest along the way.
Swim with breathtakingly large whale sharks in Exmouth
Exmouth is a small coastal town in Western Australia. Travellers are lured here to marvel at its sunburnt earth and pristine turquoise ocean, which is full of sea life such as dolphins, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales. You can spend the day snorkelling along the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef or get up-close with the breathtakingly large whale sharks if you’re here between March and August. If you’d prefer to stay on dry land, Cape Range National Park is only a 30-minute drive away. Here you can spot iconic Australian wildlife such as emus, wallaroos, red kangaroos, dingoes and echidnas.
Svalbard Islands, Norway
Get your chance to spot wild polar bears, walruses and narwhals
Svalbard is an archipelago consisting of nine main islands located midway between Norway and the North Pole. The landscape dominated by tundra, bare mountains and glaciers offers an eerie yet magical atmosphere, with the resident wildlife – mostly polar bears, walruses and narwhals – completing your Arctic experience. Come winter, you may even get to see the stunning Northern Lights shimmer overhead. Be sure you do your research before you book, as the midnight sun is out 24/7 for half the year, and the other half is complete darkness.
Mount Fitz Roy, Patagonia
Take the Fitz Roy day hike for amazing views of Mount Fitz Roy
Mount Fitz Roy is located in Patagonia on the border between Argentina and Chile. Although beautiful, it’s one of the most technically difficult climbs in Patagonia, which will challenge even the most avid mountaineers. However, if you’re looking for amazing views of the mountain, the Fitz Roy day hike is a happy compromise and it’s accessible for hikers with a medium level of fitness. The start of the hike will be the most testing, as it’s a steep uphill climb that lasts for a few kilometres until it levels out again. The hike will weave you through forest shrubs, around calm lakes and rocky boulders, and over crystal-clear rapids – leading to breathtaking views of the jagged, granite-walled Mount Fitz Roy at the end of the trail.
Phantom Lake, Canada
Phantom Lake is an off-grid adventure you won't forget
Phantom Lake is a glacial and snow-fed lake deep in the heart of the Sunshine Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Due to its hard-to-reach location, it’s a destination not many travellers venture to so it’s ideal for those who thrive on off-grid holidays. There are no walking trails in or out of the lake so the only way to arrive is via seaplane. The adventure continues when you set up your tent by the lake – which happens to be an ideal way to take in the views of mountains and stars reflecting on the tranquil water. The absence of light pollution also means you can stargaze until the sun rises, from an unspoilt setting right in the lap of nature.