Madelin Tomelty

The days of box-ticking, surface-skimming, highlight-chasing holidays are over. From making handicrafts with locals in Morocco to off-the-beaten-path pilgrimages in Chile and decadent around-the-world journeys, here are 20 immersive travel experiences that will take you deeper in 2020.


Take Flight

Let’s start this list with a bang, shall we? Few things could be more exclusive – and luxurious – than travelling by private jet, and this South American journey from tour operator Captain’s Choice will take you from the earth, up to the heavens and back down to sea on trains, planes, automobiles, ships and even a helicopter.

The ultra-luxurious 23-day adventure, departing Sydney in May, kicks off in Argentina, where a secret, closed-door dining experience, private polo match and Rojo Tango show await.

Back up in the air, take a side trip to Iguassu Falls for lunch with a once- in-a-lifetime vista of the Devil’s Throat, and then head to Brazil’s festive and deeply religious Rio de Janeiro, where jet-setters have the opportunity to visit Christ the Redeemer unencumbered by crowds. Take in a bird’s-eye view of the city from a helicopter – as you do – before landing at Sugarloaf Mountain and then witnessing a private, Carnival-style samba show.

In Panama, cruise through the Panama Canal and take a leaf out of Charles Darwin’s book, albeit in more luxurious lodgings, sailing the rugged Galapagos Islands on a privately chartered, four-night cruise. But the immersive extravagance doesn’t end there. Meet renowned archaeologist Jean Jacques Decoste and board the luxurious Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu before arriving in your final stop before returning home – Easter Island, where time appears to have stood still. This journey is the true definition of a trip of a lifetime, and worth every moment of the post- holiday blues you’re bound to experience on your return.


Holi Moly!

Sure, you could visit India’s Pink City of Jaipur on any old day and be charmed by the blush-coloured buildings lining the streets, or you could visit during the holy festival of Holi and encounter an event so kaleidoscopic it makes Mardi Gras look like a scene out of an old black-and-white film.

This is India’s famed Holi Festival, a technicolour celebration marking the arrival of spring, and the joyous new beginnings the season represents after the gloom of winter. This colourful nation doesn’t do rituals by halves, and with the vibrant powder dyes – gulal and abeer – exploding in the streets and covering everyone and everything, it’s hard to imagine another time when India is so abuzz with festive cheer. Think this is something you can get behind? Only in utmost style, of course. Being a personal guest of the Maharaja and the SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace should do the job.

On this ultra-exclusive experience, do as the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Princess Diana have done before you, and experience Holi like the VIP that you are. Activities throughout the four-night soirée include attending a party with India’s Royal Family; an exclusive dinner within the iconic City Palace; watching a polo match from the Royal Family’s private box; private appointments with Jaipur’s most skilled fabric makers and craftspeople; and dinners with some of the city’s most elite residents. This rainbow-coloured event is one for the ages.

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