5 experiences to spark your wanderlust in 2023

lavender in drome provence france

Blanche Clark

Posted December 29, 2022

From the lavender fields of Drôme to the pretty port of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, here are five lavish experiences that could inspire your next adventure overseas.

We’re ready to travel and do it in style, with long-haul trips to Europe and North America front of mind for many Australians in 2023.

More than 1000 people attended the RACV Travel & Experiences Expo last October and travel bookings indicate that New Zealand, UK, USA, France and Singapore are the top five destinations.

But where to start when there’s so much to see? Here’s a sample of five tailor-made trips with our hand-selected travel partners to spark your wanderlust.


Port of Tobermory in Scotland. Image: Getty.


New Zealand Highlighter 

From Cape Reinga's giant sand dunes in the North Island to Mount Cook National Park's highest peak in the South Island, New Zealand offers exciting adventures for every taste and every age.

There's a wealth of ways to deepen your connection to the land, with the the hots springs of Rotorua being among the best wellness hotspots in the North Island. Rotorua is also one of six must-see destinations on an Auckland to Wellington road trip that takes in spectacular harbour views in the Bay of Plenty and top wineries in Hawke's Bay. 

There's fun for the family with popular attractions like Hobbiton and Hot Water Beach on the North Island, while Tahuna, Wanaka and Tekapo are three family-friendly destinations you won't want to miss on the South Island. 

You can also discover the very best of this picturesque country over 14 days with the New Zealand Highlighter group tour, which takes you from Auckland to Te Anau and Dunedin. Combining luxury coach travel and hand-picked accommodation, you’ll also ride the TranzAlpine Train from coast to coast through the Great Divide and cruise the Milford Sound. New Zealand might be over the ditch, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

See: 14-day Auckland to Christchurch tour, operated by APT

Edinburgh, The Highlands and Islands

The UK has become a top travel destination, and you can have the perfect London holiday experience by exploring the city's art and cultural gems and delving into its history.

The UK's other cultural hotspots include Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow, but it's Edinburgh with its castle and cobbled alleys that continues to enchant visitors from afar. Like Melbourne, Edinburgh is a UNESCO City of Literature, and it's home to 11 major international festivals.

Scotland's capital is also the launching pad for a picturesque nine-day tour of the Highlands, lochs, ancient forests and islands with expert local guides. The Edinburgh, Highlands and Islands group tour combines rail, coach and cruise boat for unforgettable experiences and spectacular views.

Climb aboard the West Highland Line and Jacobite Steam Train, and watch the mountains and moorlands glide by. Discover the mist-shrouded beauty of Loch Linnhe and Loch Ness and cruise to the Isle of Mull, renowned for its wildlife, historic ruins and stunning beaches. 

See: 9-day Edinburgh Return tour, operated by Travelmarvel

Tennessee Music Trail to New Orleans

You can plan the perfect LA holiday, one that includes soaking up the carefree vibes in Santa Monica, finding your favourite celeb's star on the Walk of Fame and taking a whirl in a giant teacup at Disneyland Park. Or you can take the family to Hawaii and discover six of the best activities to do, including whale watching and viewing the active volcanoes from a safe distance.

The US is so vast it can sometimes be hard to know where to go, but there's a strong chance that New York is on your bucket list. The must-see attractions for every New York City traveller include the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. You can also just enjoy wandering around the streets, sampling a soft pretzel from a street vendor and watching the hustle and bustle in Times Square.

But perhaps you're after something unique? Imagine a six-day tour that takes you into the heart and home of musical legends like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley. You get to hang out at Graceland, boot scoot in Nashville, sing the blues in Memphis and jazz it up in New Orleans. If fantastic food, art, culture and history are music to your ears, then this is the trip for you.

See: 6-day tour, operated by Intrepid Travel


street in tennessee

Nashville in Tennesse is the capital of country music, with a legendary stretch of honky-tonks and dance halls. Image: Getty.

Paris, Rhone Valley & Provence

Known as the City of Love, Paris is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Simple pleasures, like walking hand-in-hand through Montmartre, eating a beautiful buttery croissant in a cafe in Saint-Germain des Pres or enjoying a cruise on the Seine, are enhanced by the historic buildings, narrow winding streets and the sound of the lyrical French language being spoken around you on the streets.

The Eiffel Tower never fails to impress, while the cafes along the Champs-Elysees offer a quintessentailly Parisian experience. It's easy to be mesmerised by the French capital, but there's so much more to discover in France: Alpes-Mont Blanc, Normandy, Provence and Loire Valley to name a few popular tourist destinations. Or perhaps a European river cruise would suit, giving you the chance to relax, recharge and visit some of the top attractions in France, Vienna and Germany?

With so much on offer, it makes sense to tap into local knowledge and see the best while you are there. Designer Journeys has numerous tailor-made tours, including a fun trip from Paris to Marseille. It includes a local guide in Paris, a gastronomical tour of Lyon and an e-bike adventure through olive orchards, lavender fields and vineyards in Drôme.

With a mixture of train travel and self-driving, you have the flexibility to see the best of France while travelling at your own pace over 11 days.

See: 11-Day Tour, operated by Designer Journeys

Luxury Singapore Food & Cultural Experience

With so much to see and do across Singapore, the prime place to get your bearings is the Marina Bay Sands Skypark observation deck, where you'll have a panoramic view of the city state. It is one of six ways to experience the best of Singapore.

A popular way to get around Singapore is on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, but if you want to truly immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes of this dynamic city, then consider Designer Journeys' Luxury Singapore Food & Cultural Experience tour. It's a stress-free way to uncover the cultural splendor of this cosmopolitan city.

A private driver will pick you up from the airport, give you an afternoon to settle in and then take you on a grand tour of Singapore’s iconic sights the next day. For foodies the highlight will be the Michelin Star Street Food Dining Tour on day three. Designer Journeys don’t leave anything to chance, with local travel experts ensuring you have the best food and cultural experiences Singapore has to offer. 

See: 5-Day Discover the Cultures of Singapore, operated by Designer Journeys


Eiffel tower in paris

Visit the iconic Eiffel Tower whilst travelling in Paris. Image: Getty.

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