Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

10 places to visit in 2012:

Everyone else does a list of the hottest places to travel each year, so why not motherpedia?
By Bonita Mersiades
Date: January 14 2012
Editor Rating:
Image Source:

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

The difference is, our list is one where you could travel - either alone, with a friend or partner or with your children – that is not so off-the-beaten-path that it would take you more time to travel there than you have time available for the holiday. They are real, live, accessible places which the motherpedia team has experienced and loved.

1.       Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Uh-oh, you’re thinking. What was that she wrote about not including places “off-the-beaten-path”?  But trust me on this one.  Montenegro is a tiny country that was once part of Yugoslavia with a population of around 675,000 people. With a country name that means ‘black mountain’, it’s no surprise that large parts of its small land mass is very mountainous with some good and developing ski resorts and spas, but also with some spectacular coastline on the Adriatic Sea. The Bay of Kotor is a large, winding bay off the Adriatic which looks like a fjord but is actually a submerged river canyon. In a word, it is beautiful. Tiny medieval villages dot the shore line which you can drive all the way around to Kotor with its well preserved and genuine Old Town. Walk the ramparts of the Old Town; walk up to the top of the tower from where you can see in all directions for miles and miles; visit the Saturday morning markets; visit the beautiful little island churches built on the Bay itself – one Catholic, one Orthodox; if you’re a confident driver, take the absolutely spectacular drive from the ancient capital, Cetinje in the mountains, back to Kotor; drive south around the Adriatic coastline to Sveti Stefan, a former island monastery which is now a luxury hotel; and – if you do nothing else - go out on the Monty B for a half-day or full-day of sailing. 

How to get there?  You can do a day trip from Dubrovnik in Croatia (although you wouldn’t get to do much), or just drive from Venice down the gorgeous Croatian coast and into Montenegro.

When to go?  Any time from April to October.

2.       Jordan

Is it safe, you ask?  Always check travel advisories, but don’t let troubles in one country put you off another, currently more secure nation such as Jordan. The Middle East is a wonderful kaleidoscope of smell, taste, sights and sound.  Jordan is no different.  For those interested in their Bible history, there are plenty of day trips not far from the capital, Amman. Venture further north from Amman to Gerasa (or Jerash), a stunningly well-preserved Roman settlement and see the gladiator show. Then there’s Umm Qais from where you can stand on Jordan soil and see the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and the mountains of Lebanon on a clear day, as well as visit the home of a former Ottoman governor of the area which includes Byzantine mosaics and a gorgeous hilltop restaurant. The south is Lawrence of Arabia country including Jordan’s pride and joy, Petra, a World Heritage site of the ancient Nabateans. The walk through the Siq as it opens to the Treasury and the sights further beyond is worth an entire day. Continue on to Wadi Rum and camp under the stars, and then to Aqaba on the Red Sea for diving, windsurfing and other beach activities. If you’re really adventurous, check out the 1-4 day side trips to Israel from Jordan. While border crossing is a rigmarole, it is relatively simple and a few local travel companies have small group or individual guided tours.

How to get there?  Any of the Middle Eastern airlines in Australia have regular connections to Amman, eg. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

When to go?  Any time from October to April.

3.       Doha, Qatar

Another Middle Eastern destination – and not one where you’d stay for more than a couple of days for a stopover.  Doha, the major – and just about only – city of the tiny oil and gas rich Qatar is like the mouse that roared.  Qatar is a country on the move, with grand ambition and willing and able to punch above its weight on the world stage. We know of it in Australia because it won the rights to host the 2022 football World Cup which we were hoping to do – to the surprise of many, but not all, – but that is only one part of their strategy to become a leading nation in the Middle East. It’s the home of Al Jazeera, which beams into almost every continent on earth in all the major languages; there’s a Doha arm of the prestigious Washington think-tank, the Brookings Institute; and several Ivy League US, UK and other countries have universities there. While nearby Dubai has developed into a giant city fun park, Doha is building museums, Islamic and Arab art galleries and its own philharmonic orchestra. 

How to get there? Qatar Airways flies direct to Doha from Melbourne, or there are regular connections with Emirates and Etihad Airways.

When to go? Any time from October to March.

4.       London

“No-o-o, not London.”  Oh yes, London – this year’s Olympic city.  Remember that wonderful feeling that gripped Sydney in 2000?  Public transport worked.  People were friendly.  The city and the suburbs buzzed.  All the indicators suggest London will be the same and even if you’ve missed out on securing tickets to Olympic events, there will be hundreds of free cultural events to enjoy throughout the summer. The London 2012 Festival runs from 21 June to 9 September and will feature multilingual Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon, a football inspired art installation in a Scottish forest, a Doctor Who interactive performance and so much more. Outside of specific Olympics-related fun, it’s also Charles Dickens 200th birthday so make sure you go to the Charles Dickens Museum and Warner Bros are opening a Harry Potter studio exhibition – a must do!

How to get there?  Qantas or British Airways, or almost any other airline serving Australia.

When to go?  Olympic Games: 27 July – 12 August; Paralympics: 29 August – 9 September

5.       Santorini

Like other well-known physical landscape around the world, such as the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu, Victoria Falls, you’ve seen the pictures and you know what Santorini will look like – but it still takes your breath away when you see it in person. Santorini (officially known in Greece as ‘Thira’), in the Aegean Sea, was formed after an enormous volcanic explosion thousands of years ago which created a caldera – what is essentially a giant lagoon surrounded by high, steep cliffs on three sides.  The main towns of Santorini, Fira and Oia, cling to the top of the cliffs with white, pink and ochre washed buildings dug into the sides of the cliffs, dotted with gleaming azure blue domes of Greek Orthodox churches, giving Santorini its picture postcard uniqueness.  Named the World’s Best Island in 2011 by Travel + Leisure magazine, Santorini has something for everyone: sailing, fishing, kayaking, swimming, bars, galleries, cafes, sunset-watching, donkey rides, wineries - and just relaxing.  If you can’t have a good holiday in Santorini, you’re just not cut out for a holiday.

How to get there?  Emirates has a non-stop onward connection from Dubai to Athens (which is also magnificent). Take a Blue Star ferry to Santorini from Athens’ port, Piraeus.

When to go?  Avoid the peak of European summer, so suggest March to June or September to October.

6.       West Coast highlights, Tasmania

How long do you have for your holiday? In three weeks, you could get a taste of the whole of Tasmania fairly comfortably but if you have to pick just one itinerary, motherpedia suggests you fly to Launceston, pick up a car and travel to the birthplace of former Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, and visit the famous Nut at Stanley. But on the way, stop off at Ashgrove Cheese Farm, Anvers Chocolates and the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm near Latrobe.  After you’ve climbed the Nut (easy) and dined on the fresh seafood, drive through the Tarkine Wilderness to World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain National Park.  Depending on the ages of your children, you may not want to climb the summit of Cradle Mountain (6-8 hours return), but there are other shorter and beautiful wilderness walks such as the 2 hour Dove Lake Circuit where you are likely to sight platypus and wombat in the wild. From Cradle Mountain, travel via Zeehan to Strahan on Lake Macquarie; take a cruise on Macquarie Harbour to the World Heritage listed Gordon River; and then spend a delightful half-day on the steam train ride from Strahan to Queenstown on the West Coast Wilderness railway.  Return to Launceston via the Great Lake Conservation area or, if you want to keep exploring, head south to Hobart. You could do the Launceston round trip easily in one week – and make a note to return another time to do the east coast which is equally as spectacular.  One thing about Tasmania: the food and wine – wherever you go – is just wonderful. You really will want to go back for more.

How to get there?  Virgin and Jetstar fly to Launceston

When to go?  For walking, the warmer months are better such as September to April but winter also has its attractions.

7.       South Island highlights, New Zealand

A bit like Tasmania, you could take a map of New Zealand, put on a blindfold, have a pin in your hand and just put in on the map – and wherever it lands, you could have a great holiday break.  But where our own country, with its beautiful wide red-brown landscapes, is an ancient geographic formation New Zealand is a relatively young country geographically and its mountainscape is very different from what we’re used to in Australia.  As a starter, go to Queenstown.  It is spectacularly pretty and is a good base to do a range of activities such as walking the beautiful Milford Sound (Kiwis call it ‘tramping’), taking a combined cruise/bus tour to the even more stunning Doubtful Sound, water or snow skiing depending on the season, white water rafting, bungy jumping if you’re game, jet boating, wineries and so much more. Get yourself oriented by taking the skyline gondola to Bob’s Peak at Queenstown  - the steepest climb in the southern hemisphere but even this height-phobic person managed it – and, if it’s apricot season, do yourself a favour and go to the town of Cromwell for the best apricots in the world. Not kidding!

How to get there?  It’s our most popular international destination, so you can get there via Qantas, Air New Zealand, Emirates, LAN, Virgin, Jetstar either direct to Queenstown or into Christchurch.

When to go?  Any time of year depending on your interests.

8.       Chile

Want a taste of South America? Try Chile.  Welcoming people, majestic mountains, pristine rainforest, national parks and a charming capital city in Santiago.  Chile has something for the adventure seeker and the more casual holiday maker where you can enjoy the seaside resorts of Vina del Mar; dramatic scenery in the Atacama Desert – said to be the driest place on earth – where you can enjoy thermal springs, hiking, horse riding or mountain biking; Chile’s food bowl in the Maipa Valley; and the stunning and World Heritage listed Patagonia or Tierra del Fuego where you can indulge in creature comforts after a day of boating, riding or trekking or just taking in the scenery of the glaciers and unique landscape.

How to get there?  LAN Chile has regular flights to Santiago via Auckland, code shared with Qantas.

When to go?  Chile is a long country with wide weather variations, but generally September to March.

9.       West Coast, USA

Yes, you’ve probably been there but, unless it was last week, it’s worth going again.  If you can’t find plenty to do in Los Angeles for a week, you’re just not trying. Disneyland alone is worth at least three days – and if you think you’re too old for Disneyland, please think again! Then there’s Universal Studios, the wondrous Getty Center, the relatively recent Grammy Museum where you can cut your own record, Walt Disney Concert Hall where you can take in a concert of the LA Philharmonic, LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Venice and Santa Monica beaches, Hollywood and, of course, Rodeo Drive where you can find a spot to have coffee and just people watch.  And if that’s not enough, get in a car and head east to Phoenix, Arizona, stopping off at Palm Springs; visit the desert city of Sedona; drive through Flagstaff and head to the Grand Canyon – another World Heritage listed site – that is truly the most spectacular gorge in the world. On the way back to LA, drop in at Las Vegas for some fun with the kids as well as a night out for you, and a 10 day west coast holiday is one your children will remember for a lifetime.

How to get there?  Qantas has several flights a day to Los Angeles.

When to go?  Anytime.

10.   Jerusalem

Israel has claimed it as its capital but Jerusalem is a city that belongs to the world. The Old City, with its Jewish, Arabic and Christian quarters, is World Heritage listed.  Throughout its history, it has ‘belonged’ alternatively to different faiths, different peoples, different nations.  It is complex and contradictory. But it is also very beautiful and exciting – and because it is so seminal to three of the world’s great faiths in Judaism, Islam and Christianity, it should belong to no one and everyone.  Do not be scared to visit here. Walk, touch, feel the Old City. Take a tour of the ramparts. Drop in at the shops; eat in the restaurants; follow the Stations of the Cross; visit the Western (Wailing) Wall and the Temple Rock, the Al-Asqa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They’re all there right next to each other. Cheek by jowl.  Jerusalem may not be the easiest place in the world to visit, especially in the Old City which has a number of security check points and other requirements, but it is amongst the most rewarding. Jerusalem is an education. A fascination. The world’s city.

How to get there?  Take a side trip from Jordan or Egypt. Or fly via Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Turkish Airlines, British Airways or Lufthansa (sometimes connecting via Qantas) to Tel Aviv and join a tour or drive to Jerusalem.

When to go?  Anytime, but best times are September to June to avoid the crowds.

Further information

  • Don’t forget to always check for the latest Australian Government travel advice in a rapidly changing world.
Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
13 Total Comments
ES says: 2012 01 16

DOHA? Your just trying to upset your friends in SOKKAH aren’t you? Very funny. Nice list though, but you should have included Italy and New York.

Ros says: 2012 01 18

I am glad you included Tasmania! I think you could do another list just on Australian places as we need people to visit in our own country and people don’t know enough of what we have to offer. The problem with the dollar being so high is everyone is going overseas all the time.

ET says: 2012 01 19

Good list, but been to all those. Another place to add is Bagan in Burma. Words are not enough to describe the XI century temples (over 2000 remain) in the middle of literally nowhere. It is also closer to home as well.

Liz says: 2012 01 21

Just returned from 10 days in Shanghai. Realy good city also. But reading this makes me want to go to Jerusalem, Jordan and Montengro, tho’ I admit I know nothing of the latter. Keep working, keep saving.

Ankur says: 2018 06 09

Thanks for sharing this all amazing destination information with us. These all Places All time visitable every time and every year. After reading your post I am also thinking to visit the place one by one. But first, I will go Agra City. i have already booked cab for agra

Same day Agra tour says: 2018 06 11

Thanks for sharing these all places information. Jordan is my dream place where I want to go once in my life.  Jordan is home to many biblical sites including, among others, the Jordan River where Jesus was babtised by John the Baptis. but first i will go Agra Taj mahal Because I have already booked SAME DAY AGRA TOUR BY CAR tour package.

Ankur says: 2018 06 14

The Hotel Bhawna offers two unique meeting spaces. Whether you’re planning a meeting, conference, reception or wedding, Hotel Bhawna Palace is one of the most comfortable and budget hotels in Agra

Golden Triangle Tour says: 2018 06 28

Thanks for sharing these all amazing place information to visit in 2012. I Gald to read your post. if you like to visit historical monuments than Golden Triangle Tour is best option for you.

ankur jha says: 2018 08 02

Thanks for sharing these all interesting place information with us. that we can visit in 2012, but now 2018 so i am thinking to visit Agra Taj Mahal, And I have already Booked same day Agra tour by car tour package.

ankur jha says: 2018 10 08

Thanks for sharing this information about these all beautiful places,  South Island highlights, New Zealand It is also home to stunning beaches, rainforests, glaciers, and New Zealand’s largest national park. you can also visit Agra city historical monuments then Taj Mahal Tour Guide tour.

View All Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.