Five amazing three-week trips


By Ross Clarke

Photography by Getty

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January 2017

Looking for an adventure of epic proportions? From Australia to South Africa, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite exploration itineraries that deserve three weeks of your holiday time.

South Africa road trip

Best for… a bit of everything

Explore South Africa with a road trip along its southern coast. Start in the classy melting pot of Cape Town before heading east on the glorious Garden Route to Port Elizabeth, taking in the winelands, nature reserves and national parks. Once you’ve discovered Port Elizabeth, jump in your hire car again and head towards East London through more rural Africa, to your final stop, Durban.

Durban is the place for sea lovers, be it relaxing on the beautiful beaches, strolling along the waterfront promenade or investigating marine life

Cape Town

No trip to Cape Town would be complete without venturing to the iconic Table Mountain. Stay at The Twelve Apostles for easy access to the mountain and The Waterfront.

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Port Elizabeth

Often overlooked, Port Elizabeth is somewhat of a hidden gem that’s been redeveloping itself as a cultural hub for the past few years. Head to Central to take in the alternative art, or to nearby Richmond Hill for the city’s best restaurants and eateries.

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  • Feel on top of the world in Australia’s mystical Blue Mountains © Getty Images

    True blue

    The blue hue of the mountains comes from a mix of oil released from eucalyptus trees, light, dust and water vapour, but it can only be seen from a distance.

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  • Enjoy the great surf at Durban’s beautiful beaches © Getty

    Chow down

    Don’t leave the city without trying the famous bunny chow, a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, and a Durban staple.

    Durban weekend guide
  • Enjoy the great surf at Durban’s beautiful beaches © Getty Images

    Did you know...?

    On average, two couple get married every year on the top of the world-famous Table Mountain, over 1,000m above sea level.

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Durban

Durban is the place for sea lovers, be it relaxing on the beautiful beaches, strolling along the waterfront promenade or investigating marine life at uShaka Marine World. Book into the aptly named Oyster Box to complete your journey.

Top tip

Don’t drive at night – it’s when animals are more likely to be on the road. And remember to pack some padkos (or ‘road food’) for the journey.

Canada’s Great Trail

Best for… outdoor explorers

There can’t be much more epic than a trail that stretches across an entire continent taking in more than 13,000 miles of roads, footpaths and waterways, to connect two of the world’s oceans. And that’s exactly what The Great Trail does while providing the opportunity to see the best of what the Canada has to offer, from major metropolises to rural tundra, ski slopes to awe-inspiring views. Fly into Vancouver and make your way east to Montreal.

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Vancouver

Try the easy City Trail to get up close to all the top sights, like Stanley Park and the waterfront. Bed down at the stylish Hyatt Regency in downtown to be in the centre of the action.

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Banff

Get on your bike and cycle the 20km Legacy Trail, taking you from Banff to Canmore and providing breathtaking mountain views the whole time. Stay at The Fairmont Banff Springs, for views of the majestic Rocky Mountains.

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  • The towering Rockies lend an imposing backdrop to beautiful Banff © Getty Images

    Walk the line

    To walk the entire length of Canada’s Great Trail would take a staggering two years if you were trekking 30km per day.

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Quetico

This trail is part of the Path of the Paddle and is ideal for kayaks and canoes. It leads you through the beautiful Quetico Provincial Park, along the US border to the enormous Lake Superior.

Top tip

Download the free app to make planning your trip super simple. Don’t forget to celebrate the Canada’s 150th anniversary – you can gain free entry to all national parks in 2017.

Brazil by beach

Best for… chilling out

While Rio de Janeiro might be known for its beautiful beaches, São Paulo state shouldn’t be overlooked with swathes of beautiful sand and quaint pleasure boat harbours. Discover the best of both with a laid-back trip between the two. Or book a stay in the beautiful beachside towns of San Salvador and Fortaleza.

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Rio de Janeiro

With the city still reeling from the excitement of the Olympics, Rio is awash with new restaurants, shops and bars. Visit the iconic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to top up your tan and sip on a classic caipirinha. Venture up the coast for a stay at the relaxing Porto Bay Buzios.

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São Paulo

Explore São Paulo’s coastal towns, from the port of Santos, and picture-postcard Guarujá, to Ubatuba surrounded by rainforest. If you need some culture, the city beats to a samba rhythm, with hipster espresso bars and underground music scene, paired with world-class theatre and high-end restaurants. Book a stay at the Grand Hyatt São Paulo.

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Top tip

Get to grips with both cities by joining a tour. Try a beach tour of Rio or a street art tour of São Paulo.

A taste of Japan

Best for… food fiends

If temples and tasting menus are your thing, then Japan is has them in abundance. From the bright lights of the capital to the narrow alleyways of Kyoto, to the buzzing nightlife of Osaka, Japan is easy and efficient to get around by train or plane.

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Tokyo

Tokyo is always on the go, from the sushi conveyers to the Shibuya Crossing (rumoured to be the busiest in the world). Take time out and gather some perspective at the top of the SkyTree before heading to Shimbashi for top-quality Japanese cuisine and the unavoidable karaoke.

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Kyoto

Steeped in history, Kyoto is said to produce the best rice and sake in Japan due to the high quality water the area enjoys. Take a guided tour with Arigato Japan of Nishiki Market for a taste of Japanese street food or head to Gion, the home of the true geisha and the foodie heart of Kyoto.

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  • Experience the electric buzz of exciting Tokyo © Getty

    Crossing lines

    It’s estimated that on average, 2,500 people cross the Shibuya crossing every time the green man appears.

    Explore Japan

Osaka

Head to Dotonbori in the evening to witness the surreal spectacle of giant plastic animals, thronging crowds and stalls selling fresh gyoza, takoyaki (octopus croquettes) and udon noodles. Escape the frenetic buzz and get a good night’s sleep at The Ritz-Carlton Osaka.

Top tip

Japanese culture is extremely polite, so if you’re using the metro, make sure to line up to the side and wait your turn. Also, never stand your chopsticks in your food; it’s considered bad taste.

South Australia city hop

Best for… culture cravers

Discover Australia’s southeastern tip with an urban adventure around three very different cities. Start in spectacular Sydney before heading across the water to understated Hobart before rounding off your trip in stylish Melbourne.

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Sydney

Head north to the mystical Blue Mountains, just two hours from the city by train or chill out on the shores of Manly. Looking for the lowdown on the weird and wonderful history of Sydney? Try a walking tour, great for first timers and seasoned Sydneysiders.

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Tasmania

Explore the peaceful and picturesque Tasmania coastline. Venture onto the water with a cruise around the coast or discover the alternative art at the infamous Mona. Treat yourself to a little luxury at The Islington, perfect for trying out the foodie delights of the city.

Melborne

Melbourne’s art scene is second to none, with established galleries like the NGV to the burgeoning alternative art in the ever-so-cool Fitzroy district. Make your base central for easy access to all areas of the city, such as the riverside Langham.

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Top tip

Be prepared for the weather – take sun cream and a scarf, as the climates will vary from city to city, especially in Tasmania.

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