First published on 8 Jun 2012. Updated on 12 Jun 2012.
New Zealand’s cool capital sizzles in winter. Hit Duke Carvells for a gin fizz and a sandwich, Logan Brown for a rack of local lamb, Martinborough’s wineries for exceptional pinot noir and gawk at the colossal squid at the Te Papa Museum. Stay at Novotel Wellington and hop across the ditch on Air New Zealand.
While Brissie and the Sunshine Coast aren’t so toasty at this time of year, Cairns still is. Stay up at Palm Cove, where you’ll find top-shelf hotels, including the Peppers Beach Club. Do a tour into the rainforest with Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, or grab a great lunch at Nu Nu Restaurant and soak up the rays by the pool. Get there on Virgin Australia.
Radelaide rocks. It really does, especially for its food scene, which continues to get better by the year. Drive out to McLaren Vale, where you’ll find great wine, superb cheeses, olives and cured meats. Back in town, you’ll find the state’s ‘best of the best’ produce at the Adelaide Central Market, and at eatery Mesa Lunga a few doors down. Bed down at Medina Grand Adelaide Treasury and fly there on Qantas.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur sneaks into the top five thanks to the continuously low prices from Air Asia X, which start from $179 each way. When you get to KL, book into the Traders Hotel, which features the Sky Bar on the roof that overlooks the Petronas Twin Towers and serves a very decent Martini. For great shopping, hit KLCC at the base of the twin towers.
Sydney’s bar scene continues to evolve and two of the hot spots are Baxter Inn and Tio’s. You’ll need to book a month in advance for Matt Moran’s Chiswick, but this garden eatery in leafy Woollahra is worth the wait. Stay at the Diamant Hotel in Kings Cross or the stunningly refurbished Park Hyatt Sydney. Get there with Virgin.