get lost: 2014 The Bucket List (for adventure travel)

8 January 2014

Our friends at get lost magazine have spoken to some of the most high-profile industry insiders, professional travellers and jet-setting gurus (including our General Manager - Cam Elliott), and compiled a list of the top 'must-see' Bucket List destinations for 2014. Here's an excerpt of our favourites, courtesy of the gang at get lost....

Madagascar - Sir Richard Branson: founder of Virgin Group

“Next year I hope to revisit Madagascar. I went there last year with my son and it truly captured my heart. It was so sad to see 95 per cent of the beautiful rainforests are being destroyed, but at least the remaining five per cent is absolutely magnificent, with more diversity of species than almost anywhere else in the world. We’re campaigning hard to help protect what is left of Madagascar and its unique wildlife, so I’d love to make it back out there in 2014.”

Top-End Road Trip - Layne Beachley: AUS surfing Legend

“Having travelled around the world on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour for 20 years, I can confidently say there is no place like home. My husband Kirk [Pengilly from INXS] and I recently drove a 4WD camper across the top end of Australia, along the Gibb River Road from Broome to Darwin and it was one of the most remarkable adventures of our lives. A highlight was a sidetrip to Maguk Gorge, also known as Barramundi Gorge, in the southern end of Kakadu National Park. Hike to the main swimming hole then take a diversion up a long, dusty goat trail to the top of a waterfall, where you will be greeted by deep-blue freshwater swimming pools. They are simply stunning and a refreshing way to cool off.”

Siem Reap (Cambodia)- Dr Damian Evans: Archaeologist,

“In recent years, the explosion of tourism at Angkor has transformed Siem Reap from a quiet backwater into a bustling cosmopolitan city, with a vibrant arts scene, superb dining and great value accommodation. Current levels of tourism growth out at the temples are unsustainable though and authorities are considering a series of restrictions on access, so go soon while you can still have free run of the place. With careful research and planning, it’s still possible to avoid the crowds. Go between September and November, the height of the wet season. There’s not much in the way of crowds and it usually only rains a couple of hours a day.”

Kaiping (China) - Cam Elliott: GM My Adventure Travel

“Big-city exploration doesn't get much better than Hong Kong with its east-meets-west vibe, metropolitan sophistication and decidedly Asian flavour, but outside the city limits lies a curiously underexplored oasis that has yet to appear on travellers’ radars. The Kaiping region in Guangdong Province is a UNESCO World Heritage site littered with unique castle-like fortified dwellings known as diaolous that date back to the 1920s and early 30s. Take a cycling jaunt along the province’s country roads, village paths and forested tracks for a revealing insight into this slice of rural China.”

Salar De Uyuni (Bolivia) - Janice Polley: Hollywood film location scout

“My top travel spot would have to be the Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flat – in south-west Boliva, staying at the salt hotel, where everything is (you guessed it) made from salt. A highlight is dinner, when the chef prepares chicken by throwing it onto the floor (in a non-walking area) and rolling it in salt. Fabulous. There is an exquisite cactus island in the middle of the salt flats, which stretch for miles and miles, and every November pink flamingos come here to breed. It’s about eight hours’ drive from any major town and absolutely stunning.”

Sailing Around Kho Phi Phi - Darrell Wade: CEO of PEAK Adventure Travel Group

“As a kid growing up I used to spend most weekends sailing in a dinghy on the frigid waters of Corio Bay in Geelong. It scarred me for life, so now I only ever sail in tropical waters! This year it was Thailand. Intrepid started sailing trips last year and I was keen to test the product. The location, around Phang Nga Bay and Kho Phi Phi, was outstanding. We sailed around hundreds of islands with sheer cliff walls, explored hidden bays on sea kayaks and snorkelled pristine waters. Then, of course, there was the ever-wonderful Thai food. Our catamaran came complete with a skipper and cook and I have to say it made for an incredibly memorable trip.”

The Kimberley - George Negus: Journalist, TV Presenter

“After decades of globetrotting, it comes as a marvellous – in this case, near breathless – surprise to discover one of the planet’s most spectacular travel destinations lies on my own island continent. For all but the most intrepid of travellers, the Kimberley in Australia’s far, far north-west remains out of sight. But once you’ve seen and felt its powerful, remote beauty it will never again be out of mind. Why? Quite simply,the Kimberley is one of a handful of areas left in the world with rugged, almost uninhabited – indeed almost uninhabitable – pindan-red endless coastline, massive tides, hundreds of unnamed islands, spawning whales and playful dolphins, croc-infested rivers and lagoons, vast savannah hinterland, ancient Aboriginal rock art and crashing waterfalls. Drive its dusty, corrugated roads. Take an adventure cruise along and through its rocky shores and reefs, and up its huge, tropical fjord-like river estuaries. Chopper over its tall swollen falls and deep ravines in the wet season. And explore caves hiding centuries-old rock art. ... See ya there?”

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This article published with permission from get lost magazine.