22 life-changing experiences to have in 2022

Previously we provided travel ideas for exploring Australia in 2022. Now we bring you our global bucket list.

2022 is the year of grand plans. Grand celebrations, grand openings, big birthdays, and acclaimed accolades. From cruising down the Nile on a luxurious 9-day tour, celebrating the Queen’s jubilee with a stroll through the incredible Superbloom, to riding on the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. We’ve compiled a hitlist of 22 life-changing experiences to do in 2022. This wild ride will take you from Egypt to the UK.

Cruise down the Nile in luxury

Abercrombie & Kent’s unforgettable ‘Nile in Style’ itinerary provides the perfect taste of the world’s oldest travel destination. On this nine-day tour, you’ll wander through dizzying temples and ancient tombs along the legendary River Nile.

Accommodation is split between the Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza and Sanctuary Sun Boat IV. The intimate vessel is the perfect base for your cruise between Luxor and the southern city of Aswan. The perfect way to soak in the stories and secrets of this ancient land.

Nile in Style by Abercrombie & Kent
Nile in Style by Abercrombie & Kent

You’ll take to the streets of Cairo. Explore ancient monuments, mosques and a maze of bazaars, guided by a private Egyptologist. Then visit the Pyramids of Giza, with exclusive access to the tomb inside the Pyramid of Cheops. It is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence. Sail on a typical Egyptian felucca around Elephantine Island, Lord Kitchener’s Botanical Gardens and the Aga Khan Mausoleum.

This history-packed route visits the necropolis of Saqqara, the impressive Imhotep Museum, the Temple of Karnak, the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and more.

Soccer with a side of a desert reset

Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup (21 November to 18 December 2022) brought in a wealth of new stadiums and hotels, including the Middle East’s first Banyan Tree. The I. M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art also reopens later this year, after 12 months of enhancements. Those in need of a reset are heading to the north coast to Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som. While just outside Doha, the unexpectedly verdant Heenat Salma Farm reconnects people with nature through field-to-table dining, craft workshops, and cosy tents for overnight stays. It’s desert life, but not as you know it.

Banyan Tree - the first in the Middle East
Banyan Tree – Middle East

Celebrate the oldest national park in the world

Celebrating its 150th birthday this year, Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the world. Perched on a dormant volcano spanning three states (Wyoming, Idaho and Montana), it’s home to more geysers than anywhere on the planet. And then there are the lakes, canyons, rivers and gorges. Needless to say, it’s home to an astonishing menagerie of flora and fauna – much of it endangered or threatened. Look out for grizzlies, wolves, bison and elk.

Yellowstone National Park geyser. Credit: Wyoming Tourism
Yellowstone National Park. © Wyoming Tourism

Time travel with the Grand Egyptian Museum

It’s been a long time coming, but the Grand Egyptian Museum opens its doors in November 2022. The US$1 billion marble temple will display artefacts from all across the country. For the first time, you can see King Tutankhamun’s entire burial collection.

An exact replica of the tomb will contain over 5,000 pieces and artefacts. Containing everything from bejewelled sandals, embroidered tunics and the boy king’s death mask. Conservators have even restored a 3,300-years-old chariot and funeral bed that have gone untouched for a century. It’s sure to delight your inner Indiana Jones.

Tour through NZ’s Fiordland

Ask Kiwis about Fiordland and the response will always be dreamy eyes and a collective sigh. The South Island, home to New Zealand’s most dramatic scenery – think The Lord of the Rings beautiful. If any locals haven’t been, it’s high on the list. Lakes as clear as glass, fiords carved by glaciers and rainforests reign supreme. Teeming with native wildlife including the takahe, kakapo, mohua, and kea. Its far-flung setting and lack of light pollution make for immense stargazing. In fact, its application to become a Dark Sky Park is in the works.

Milford Sound, Southland New Zealand
Milford Sound, Southland New Zealand. © Fin Matson

It’s a scenic two-hour drive south from Queenstown to Te Anau. This is the perfect base for adventures around Fiordland, including Milford Sound. Te Anau is home to the largest lake in the South Island and features a seemingly endless mountainous backdrop. For wilderness seekers, try hiking to Lake Marian, jet-boating – or a heli-hike to Mt Luxmore while in Te Anau. Then, refuel at any number of excellent restaurants (wild venison is a speciality). Before you dive deeper into the Fiords, don’t miss the Te Anau Glowworm Caves – shaped by rivers for over 12,000 years.

Carved by glaciers in the Ice Ages, Milford Sound is as wide as it is wonderful. Mountain peaks scrape the sky. Fiordland waterfalls plunge from heights of 580 metres – dolphins and sea lions play in their mist. Further south, Doubtful Sound is the deepest and second longest fiord. It might not have the same easy accessibility as Milford, but its secret weapon is in the silence.

Cruises and scenic flights are the most popular way to experience either Milford or Doubtful. Opt for a glacier landing or a picnic by an alpine lake atop a ravishing mountain peak. For a slower pace, try a half-day kayaking tour where you can get into areas otherwise inaccessible.

Fiordland Lodge is part of Luxury Lodges of New Zealand. It sits on the edge of 1.2-million hectares of wilderness in Te Anau. Reserved for just 27 guests, the property unites high ceilings with a massive river stone fireplace. All rooms have views over Lake Te Anau and across to Fiordland National Park. Further south is Cabot Lodge, where guests converge at dusk for cocktails and canapés. For dinner, savour a meal showcasing the property’s fresh farm-to-plate produce. Here, you’ll find walking trails, a private jetty, an extensive library and a spa pool.

Read: What to see in stunning Southland

Visit Dubai’s Museum of the Future

There are times when Dubai’s skyline appears to have slipped from the scene of a sci-fi movie. Indeed, the Emirate city celebrates its forward-thinking forecast at the freshly-minted Museum of the Future. Staggering circular building design aside, the gallery is a high-tech extravaganza showing how society could evolve using science and technology.

Museum of the Future, Dubai
Museum of the Future, Dubai

Ride the world’s tallest Ferris wheel

Bigger is always better in Dubai. The world’s tallest building, largest indoor ski slope, highest fountain show, the biggest frame and most enormous shopping centre. And now – the world’s tallest Ferris wheel – the Ain Dubai. It’s 250 metres high and takes 45 minutes to do one loop. With 48 capsules that can carry 40 people each – get set for horizon-bending views.

The World's Tallest Ferris Wheel - Ain Dubai
The Ain Dubai

Experience a cultural tour through Japan

For culture, few places beat Japan, and now you can return – on a tour. Choose Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s big four islands. Visit the historical Risturin Garden to see golden Ginko trees and fiery red Japanese maples fit for a postcard. Don’t miss the pretty Iya Valley where we dare you to walk on one of three ancient vine bridges. Stay at Hotel Iyaonsen – home to the world’s only hot springs accessed by cable car.

Iya Valley vine bridge
Iya Valley vine bridge

Take your taste buds on tour in Norway

Here’s a travel recipe for foodies. Trondheim, and the surrounding region of Trøndelag in Norway, have been named the 2022 European Region of Gastronomy. There’s a lot on to tickle tastebuds. Try the Trondheim Brewery Festival or the Trøndelag Food Festival in July. There’s the Trondheim Gin Festival in August and dine at the Michelin-starred Speilsalen.

© R.R. Frontal Marius

Celebrate the Queen’s Jubliee at Superbloom

This year, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations are consuming the United Kingdom. HRH is the first British monarch to reign for 70 years. There are plenty of highlights, including Superbloom, a vibrant field of flowers filling the Tower of London’s moat until September. Sports fanatics can also catch the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, running from 28 July to 8 August.

Dive into the culture on Easter Island

Locals on Rapa Nui/Easter Island trace their lineage to a thriving Polynesian civilisation dating back to the 4th century and take great pride in their native Rapa Nui language and culture. It’s recently reopened to fully vaccinated tourists, who can check in to the newly branded Nayara Hangaroa, where self-drive ATV tours allow guests to take in iconic attractions like the Rano Kau crater, moai sites at Rano Raraku quarry and Ahu Tongariki, the Orongo ceremonial village.

Catch some world-class waves in the Maldives

Keen to catch a wave in the Maldives? Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi has a ripping left breaking down one side of the island. Plus six other world-class waves just a short boat ride away. The 197-villa resort is easily accessible via a 30-minute speedboat ride from Velena International Airport Malé.

Surfing at Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi © Richard Kotch

The ‘Surf Island’, as surf fanatics call it, offers a range of accommodation options. From beach and overwater villas to garden and Lohis villas especially catering to surfers, there’s something for everyone. When you’re not on the waves, there are other adrenaline-pumping activities to try out. Over and underwater excursions, football and a host of other sporting activities. Worked up an appetite? The resort also features five restaurants and two bars, among other facilities.

Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi Ocean Villas
Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi Ocean Villas

Experience one of ‘the world’s greatest scenic train journeys’

If the pandemic taught us anything, it was to take pause, and the winner is slow travel. Nothing encapsulates this better than a train journey. Sit back, relax and literally watch the world go by. Our pick? New Zealand’s TranzAlpine ‘Coast to Coast’ – named by National Geographic as one of the world’s greatest scenic train journeys.

Start in Christchurch on the east coast, and travel past a patchwork of verdant countryside in the Canterbury Plains. Make your way over the deep gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. It’s one of the largest rivers in the region. Then, the train climbs into the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass National Park. Before descending through the lush beech rainforest to the west coast town of Greymouth.

For 35 years, the TranzApline has been making the 223-kilometre one-way journey. And its appeal isn’t lost on anyone. Just ask the likes of John Travolta and Kate Winslet.

TranzAlpine Crossing, Waimakariri-Bridge
TranzAlpine Crossing, Waimakariri-Bridge

Get your art fix at the largest art museum in Nordic countries

The National Museum of Norway is the largest art museum in Nordic countries. It’s thrown open its doors in Oslo, merging five of the country’s major art and design institutions. It’s situated on the picturesque edge of a fiord. Home to a staggering collection of paintings and sculptures, including Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

The National Museum of Norway
The National Museum of Norway

Witness a historic plague-saving oath performance

Oberammergau is a postcard-worthy town in Germany’s Bavarian Alps. Known in history books for an oath that villagers took 389 years ago. They promised God they would regularly perform the Passion of Christ if he saved them from the Black Plague. The town was spared and the oath was performed every year from 1634 to 1680. Then, every 10 years, until the pandemic in 2020. But it’s back on this year until October and is performed with just as much gusto as ever.

Oberammergau, Germany
Oberammergau, Germany

Check out the inclusive tourism directory chasing the thrills

New Zealanders are known as pioneers in adventure travel – and now accessible travel, thanks to Kiwi adventure fanatic Jezza Williams. The founder of Making Trax, Williams is an adrenaline junkie. He doesn’t let the fact he is disabled stop him from chasing that next high. Or making sure such thrills are available to all. Making Trax is an inspirational and inclusive tourism directory for people with disabilities. With everything from kayaking and paddleboarding to rafting, paragliding and skydiving.

Credit: Making Trax
© Making Trax

Sip whiskey and celebrate the Titanic Belfast turning 10

A special photographic exhibition has been launched to mark the 10th birthday of Titanic Belfast. A dramatic gallery located beside the Titanic Slipways, the very place the ship was designed, built and launched. ‘The People Who Built Titanic Belfast’ includes 123 photographs and illustrations telling the story of the iconic building. From its inception and design to the structure being fitted and built. It’s part of a series of broader events to celebrate the milestone birthday. As well as the six million visitors who have flocked to Northern Island to see it. Whiskey lovers can also look forward to the impending opening of new Titanic Distillers later this year. It will be housed in the historic Titanic Pump-House, a listed building in the heart of Titanic Quarter.

Titanic Belfast Exhibit
Titanic Belfast Exhibit

Taste your way through one of Europe’s Capitals of Culture

Belgrade has earned a reputation as a culinary destination, and the Michelin Guide will soon bestow stars on the city, celebrating its East-meets-West cuisine. Meanwhile, Serbia’s second city, Novi Sad, has been named one of three European Capitals of Culture for 2022, marking one of the first non-E.U cities to receive the honour. Look forward to exhibitions and events throughout the year.

Revel in the power of flowers at Floriade

Flower power is nothing to be sneezed at – especially in Amsterdam. Floriade in the Netherlands comes to life every 10 years, and 2022 is its birthday. It’s a celebration of green and sustainable technology, a living laboratory set over 60 hectares. There’s even a cable car for a bird’s-eye view, or a train to get you around.

Stay at Kā’anapali Beach Hotel

You don’t need another reason to visit Hawai’i, but if you’re looking for one, make it Kā’anapali Beach Hotel’s impressive upgrade. With summertime drifting in on the Maui breeze, there is no better time to visit this award-winning hotel for freshly-minted accommodation and authentic cultural experiences.

Kā’anapali Beach was named America’s best stretch of sand in 2003 and is a veritable hotspot for snorkelling and other watersports. The renovation of premium rooms puts Kā’anapali Beach Hotel’s enviable wave side location under the spotlight. The fresh rooms are decked out with custom furniture and handmade artwork, boasting flawless views across the glittering Pacific Ocean.

Kaanapali Beach Hotel
Kaanapali Beach Hotel

A stay at ‘Hawai’i’s most Hawaiian hotel’ is a cultural experience in and of itself. Here, you can truly immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, experiencing everything from hula to traditional storytelling and language lessons. Classes are complimentary for hotel guests. So you can spend your days soaking up the sun while making leis, learning traditional navigation techniques, and strumming ukuleles. Kā’anapali Beach Hotel’s dedicated team of cultural practitioners ensures you get the most authentic Hawaiian experience. Thalassophiles will adore Kā’anapali’s range of ocean adventures. Glide through the gin-clear waters in a six-person wa’a (canoe), guided along the coastline by experienced watermen.

There are also stand-up paddleboards, snorkel gear, and bodyboards to hire should you wish to splash about. The island of Maui is nature writ large. Just a quick phone call to guest services and you can book a range of experiences. Such as guided hiking, sunrise expeditions to dormant volcano Haleakalā, helicopter tours, and sunset sailing. Or venture out on your own. Explore Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm, Surfing Goat Dairy, and Lāhainā Town with its boutique surf shops and art galleries.

By dusk, witness breathtaking sunsets from Huihui the beachfront restaurant. The menu is a thrilling fusion of traditional Hawaiian cuisine, modern flavours, and fresh local produce. Savour the daily breakfast buffet at Keao, and be sure to grab your cup of sanity at Hele On. The coffee will get your heart started. Or visit the poolside grill, Welowelo, for casual daytime dining and tropical cocktails.

Live out your Jurassic Park or Jumanji dreams on this Hawaiian ranch

Kualoa Ranch is a place of soaring, craggy, forest-clad mountains, deep valleys, and secret beaches. Its verdant countryside is so vast it’s as if you can imagine dinosaurs roaming here – and they did, but only in the movies.

This 1,618-hectare site, which has been owned and managed by the same family since 1850, was the film set for three of the Jurassic films and Hollywood blockbuster Jumanji – among others. Tucked away on the eastern corner of the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, it has two listings on the National Register of Historic Places, and the family’s commitment to green tourism has seen it certified as a sustainable operator. Today, you can venture into the jungle-clad landscape on any number of adventures. Here are a few.

While there’s no chance an actual bird of prey is going to fly out and attack your ATV on this tour, you’d be forgiven for thinking it possible. Open-air vehicles lead you deep into valleys and remote landscapes, over rambling dirt roads, and across seasonal streams where more than 200 Hollywood movies and TV shows have been filmed over the past 75 years. Sorry kids, you have to be 21 years old to drive, but you can still sit passenger side and imagine you’re part of a Jurassic movie.

If you prefer not to take the wheel, buckle up in a jeep for an open-air expedition in the Hakipu’u rainforest seen in Jurassic World, Kong Skull Island, and Jumanji. For two hours you’ll rumble along trails and see exactly why this place is such a popular film location.

Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch

For something more active, jump on an e-mountain bike (where you do the Being amid nature makes you feel good. And after two years of being stuck at home, we’re all ready to get a little wild.

Cover between 9.5 and 15 kilometres of terrain, taking in the ridges and valleys of Kualoa and Ka’a’awa. Or, saddle up and head out on a two-hour horse tour through forest and dirt trails into the epic Ka’a’awa ‘Jurassic’ valley, where there’s plenty of time to stop and get to know the main character in the many films shot here: Kualoa.

While the jungle takes centre stage on the film sets, the area also has some of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches. Bring your reef-safe sunscreen, swimsuit, towel, and shades for a Secret Island Beach Adventure. Head out in the emerald green waters to do a bit of kayaking, challenge your family or friends to beach volleyball, or simply relax and read a book in a hammock under a swaying palm tree. This is what Hawaii is all about.

Fill your memory bank with magical moments at Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Nestled in a breathtaking location of the Fijian archipelago, the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is the only mainland resort with overwater bungalows, pearl white sands, and tranquil waters.

Enjoy the resort’s kava ceremonies and fire dancing on Lagoon Beach every Tuesday and Thursday. For families, enjoy some quality time in the Lagoon View or Lagoon Front Bure, away from the adults-only area. Parents, let the little ones run wild at the kids-only pool, packed with water toys or keep them occupied with all-day Turtles Kids’ Club activities.

Experience true serenity in an adults-only Overwater Bure, surrounded by a gleaming man-made lagoon or the adults-only Sunset Infinity pool, for relaxing swims and kid-free moments.

For the active and energised, there are dual-purpose basketball and tennis courts, world-class surfing just a 20-minute boat ride away, or try Fiji’s largest zipline. Join the Tau Village Tour to visit nearby communities and chat with locals or embark on a day trip to Momi Sand Bar and enjoy picnic and jet-ski thrills, before parasailing back to the resort.

If you’re chasing a slower pace, have a spa day. Indulge at Quan Spa, with six treatment rooms, two plunge pools and a range of lavish treatments to choose from.

Then, once you’re blissfully rejuvenated, head down to the Voi Voi Bar to enjoy a laidback evening of authentic Fijian food and well-mixed drinks. Or dine at the iconic Fish bar, where you can savour freshly caught seafood and succulent grilled meats all while gazing at the panoramic views across Momi Bay.

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