On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…certainly not a partridge in a pear tree! We’re travelers over here!
This year, like every year, we’re asking Santa for air miles, passport stamps and endless travel memories.
We’ve scoured the Earth for a bunch of suitable alternatives for the explorer in your life. No lords a leaping here in our 12 Days of Travel Christmas.
12 Apostles in Victoria, Australia
No great Aussie road trip is complete without catching a glimpse of the majestic 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road.
Part of Port Campbell National Park, Victoria, Australia, these limestone giants might beg you to take a headcount. Thanks to Mother Nature and erosion only eight are left standing today, but they are no less an impressive sight.
Number 11 Bus in London, England
The route has been in operation since 1906, running between Fulham Broadway and Liverpool Street bus station and passing many of London’s most famous landmarks including Westminster Cathedral and Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, the Cenotaph, Downing Street, Banqueting House, Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
10 Provinces of Canada
The world’s second largest country, Canada is made up of 10 provinces each with its own unique charm and identity.
Home to Banff, Jasper and the Rocky Mountains, Alberta draws tourists thanks to its incredible natural beauty. Ecotourism is popular in British Columbia, and Manitoba is real wild frontier where you can catch a glimpse of polar bears in their natural environment.
The famed Niagara Falls are found in Ontario along with the world-class city of Toronto, French-speaking Quebec has a bunch of old-world charm, and Prince Edward Island is the home of Anne of Green Gables and a range of outdoor activities.
Canada’s sunniest province, Saskatchewan has a proud indigenous and cultural legacy and the most easterly province of Newfoundland and Labrador has a wealth of natural beauty including 7,000 tiny islands waiting to be explored.
Nine Provinces of South Africa
Since 1994, the vast nation of South Africa has been divided into nine provinces.
Eastern Cape’s diverse landscape and unspoiled coastline offers many opportunities to spot the “Big Five.” Free State hosts the country’s judicial capital Bloemfontein and Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest province but it packs a punch with vibrant Johannesburg and Pretoria, and KwaZulu-Natal is the “Garden Province” with its beautiful Indian Ocean coastline, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and capital city Durban.
Limpopo is a growing ecotourism destination, Mpumalanga is home to the wildly popular Kruger National Park, while North West is all about the outdoors and South Africa’s answer to Vegas – Sun City.
Western Cape has Cape Town and the Garden Route and the Northern Cape’s natural beauty and history of diamond mining are draws.
Eight Hawaiian Islands
Also known as the Hawaiian Windward Islands, the eight main islands that make up the state of Hawaii are the perfect addition to your travel wish-list.
Each island has its own descriptive nickname: Hawaii – The Big Island, Maui – The Valley Isle (thanks to its volcanoes and valleys), Oahu – The Gathering Place (the most populous island), Kauai – The Garden Isle (home to the Grand Canyon of the Pacific), Molokai – The Friendly Isle (possible birthplace of the hula), Lanai – The Pineapple Isle (after the former plantation), Niihau – The Forbidden Isle (it’s largely off-limits to all but the owner’s extended family) and Kahoolawe – The Target Isle (the only uninhabited island of the eight).
How many of these great bodies of water have you dipped your toes in or sailed over?
The North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic make up the seven expansive oceans that cover the Earth’s surface.
Six Disney Resorts
When it opens its doors in December 2015, Shanghai Disneyland Park will become the sixth jewel in the Disney theme park crown and at its heart will be the tallest, and largest, Disney castle ever built.
Shanghai Disneyland will join the ranks of Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Walt Disney World Florida and the original Disneyland California helping bring the happiest place on earth to even more people.
Five Villages of Cinque Terre, Italy
Its name literally means “The Five Lands” and the “lands” that make up Cinque Terre — Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore — are five of the most photogenic villages you’ll ever find.
This rugged piece of Italian coastline is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park, and the various trails that link each of the villages are a hiker’s dream!
Make sure your camera is fully charged – you won’t want to put it down!
Four Heads at Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota has to be one of the world’s most iconic sites.
Featuring the 60-foot-tall carved granite heads of four U.S. presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln – it really is an impressive site.
Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum between 1927 and 1939, the project cost a whopping $989,992.32.
Three Pyramids of Giza
The three great pyramids of the Giza Necropolis loom large on the Cairo skyline, and the world’s imagination, and are a must-visit on many a traveler’s bucket list.
The oldest, and only intact, of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed around 2560 B.C. as the final resting place for the Pharaoh Khufu. Standing at 480 feet tall, it is the largest of the three pyramids and was the tallest man-made structure on Earth for more than 3,800 years.
The second largest is the Pyramid of Khafre and the smallest is the Pyramid of Menkaure.
Two Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers are an instantly recognizable landmark on the Kuala Lumpur skyline.
Malaysia’s twin skyscrapers stand at an impressive 1,482 feet tall with 88 floors and 72 elevators.
Designed by architect César Pelli, the Towers were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004 and are current the world’s tallest twin buildings.
One world ready to explore
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience it!
Featured image by Christian Ferrari