Forget sun lounging! Australians’ ultimate bucket list for those years after work include high adventure, outback treks, Antarctic expeditions and a whole load of ‘off the beaten track’ destinations.
In fact, a new survey reveals that a whopping 63% of Australians plan to set off on ‘outside the norm’ holidays when they retire. The research, conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of ING DIRECT, polled more than 1,000 people, and shows some of the top picks include Antarctica, with 1.1 million Australians planning to visit the glacier capital, and a massive 1.5 million baby boomers preparing for an African safari. Of course these once in a lifetime experiences don’t come cheap – so start planning now! Perhaps it’s time to start making your super work harder for you? Consolidating your accounts and not paying fees could be the difference between seeing the iguanas on the Galápagos Islands, or not. Here, intrepid travellers, are some of the adventures high on the bucket list…
You’ll be packing away those swimmers and putting on your polar fleece, if, like more than one million Aussies, you plan to visit Antarctica. Thanks to the rising popularity in this unique adventure, you can do it any way you choose – fly in to South America and then explore the region via a small-ship, cruise on a larger luxury ship, or join an expedition. The Antarctic Peninsula, famous for its astonishing landscapes, stunning glaciers and icebergs, and abundant wildlife including penguins, whales, seals, sea lions and albatrosses, has to be seen to be believed. One highlight is Deception Island, a flooded caldera of an active volcano with a narrow gap known as Neptune’s Bellows that gives access into a natural harbour. On a clear day, adventurers can enjoy great hikes with stunning views of the surrounds, as well as the volcano, abandoned whaling station and old airstrip. Invest in a great camera before you go!
Cost: 11 night cruises cost approximately $13,500-$23,000, plus flights to South America.
Hitting the dusty roads, sleeping amongst wild animals and adventure-seeking under a blazing sun may sound a bit rough and rugged, but a whopping 44% of Aussies are planning on taking an African safari. The hot pick? The Maasai Mara, where Out of Africa was famously filmed. With endless open savannahs, temperate days year-round and not a bug to be seen, the picturesque reserve and game viewing is hard to beat. The real highlights are of course spotting ‘the big five’ – lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinoceros.
Cost: Return flights from Sydney to Kenya cost approximately $1,700. Inclusive accommodation at Angama Mara costs approximately between $1100-$1,800 per night per guest.
Northern Territory’s Outback & National Parks
Crocodiles, deadly snakes, mozzies, scorching heat… it’s the ultimate Aussie outback adventure! And it’s on the northern tip of many a folk’s bucket list. Sydneysider Rosemary, 73, had dreamt of visiting Northern Territory’s outback since she was a child, and she has just ticked it off her list.
“I’m not a cruising person who likes sitting around the pool reading a book and sipping wine!” laughs Rosemary. “My husband and I love the outdoors – doing challenging walks, fishing and exploring destinations until we’re completely worn out! We flew from Sydney to Darwin, hired a 4WD and spent the following fortnight scrambling up rocks and sliding back down on our backside at Kakadu, exploring rock art and caves in Arnhem Land, hiking through Litchfield National Park and swimming beneath the stunning waterfalls. We based ourselves at a hotel near the entrance to Litchfield, then did day trips from there… It was incredible!”
Cost: Return flights from Sydney to Darwin cost approximately $600. 12 Day tours including accommodation cost approximately $9,995 per person twin share.
Fiji’s Private 5 Star Vomo Island
OK Fiji is not exactly off the beaten track, but the small, private five star island and retreat of Vomo Island, which you need to helicopter in to, is a unique once in a lifetime dream for many planning to retire in style. It is the perfect mix of luxury and nature’s best – and Aussies are saving their pretty pennies for this experience.
Sydneysider Mary Ellen says she whisked her family away to Vomo Island to celebrate her milestone birthday in style. “We took the family to celebrate my 60th birthday,” she explains. “It was just exquisite. Spending family time together in an amazing four bedroom private residence there was perfect. All the meals were included, we enjoyed long lunches with the family, snorkelling safaris and just lovely family time together making memories. I will treasure that week forever. It was pure tropical bliss.”
Cost: Return flights from Sydney to Fiji from approximately $520. Helicopter transfers (guests over 13), approximately $648. Accommodation, from approximately $1480 per night twin share, or from $6468 per night for The Residence, which sleeps eight people.
From Nepal’s cosmopolitan capital city, Kathmandu, which is rich in history and culture, to trekking the Himalayas and visiting Mt Everest Base Camp, it doesn’t get more adventurous than Nepal. The Annapurna Circuit is known as the most charming trek in Nepal, taking you around the giant Annapurna massif with magnificent panoramic views of the Himalayas, home to nine of the world’s ten largest mountain peaks. Shelley, 46, from Sydney said she was drawn to Nepal for the trekking, to learn about the region’s rich culture, and to explore the picturesque villages.
“I flew in to Kathmandu with a friend, which is steeped in history with amazing temples, before doing a seven day trek through The Annapurna Circuit,” explains Shelley. “We trekked 16,000 feet above sea level, up mountains and through woods and villages – it was like looking out amongst clouds across snow-capped mountains. It was really icy and you can easily get lost, so we hired local Sherpas to guide us. The flora and fauna is stunning, with beautiful mustard fields filled with yellow flowers, opium poppy fields near the border of Bhutan, unique hill cultures to explore and hot springs to soak in. The Nepalese people were so warm and welcoming. It was an incredible experience.”
Cost: Flights from Sydney to Kathmandu from approximately $1,400 return. 14 Day Annapurna Circuit treks, approximately $1,200.
For those with a taste for exotic nature and adventure, the Galápagos Islands is high on the travel hit list, with more than 600,000 Australians planning to visit. Considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing, the volcanic archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species endemic to the Galápagos, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, Darwin’s finches and Galápagos penguins – the only place on earth you can see these animals in their natural habitat. Expedition ships take adventurers on a voyage around the islands with guided tours where you can cruise by night and explore, learn and get active by day.
Cost: Flights from Sydney to Ecuador from approximately $3,800 return. Flights from Quito, Ecuador, to Galápagos Islands, approximately $620. 10 Day expedition cruises from approximately $8,240- $16,340.
ING DIRECT has a range of simple superannuation solutions for every lifestyle. For more information and to learn how you could make the most of your super in the lead up to retirement, visit ING DIRECT.
ING DIRECT, a division of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292 AFSL 229823, Australian Credit Licence 229823.