Where you need to be in 2023
At get lost we reckon 2023 is shaping up to be the most exciting year of travel in a very long time, especially now that we can plan trips with the freedom of old travel times.
What will you do with that freedom? Will you use it to conquer Earth’s final frontier? Lose yourself in an Eastern European labyrinth that’s flown under the radar for 700 years? Or embark on an epic journey through the desert in Australia’s true outback?
If it's all a bit overwhelming, fear not: we’ve checked Earth’s calendar and found 11 incredible destinations, experiences and events to experience next year.
THE ECHO BASE, ANTARCTICA
Arguably the only place on Earth we haven’t conquered, Antarctica is shrouded in mystery, impossible for even the most indifferent of humans to not feel at least a little curious about.
The Echo Base is an experience-based set of pods situated in the white wilderness, inspired by space exploration. In fact, a former NASA astronaut Terry Virts called it “the most beautiful (he has) seen across Earth, Mars and Venus”.
From the base, there’s fat biking, abseiling and ice climbing, 20,000 Emperor penguins, and the opportunity to travel to the South Pole.
Opening in December 2022, this place is out of this world. Almost.
Over the last two years, COVID and an economic crisis have made life exceptionally difficult for the 25 million lovely locals that call Sri Lanka home.
But now there is a new president, and renewed optimism, and 2023 presents the rare chance to see the teardrop island without competing with hordes of travellers.
Landscapes are aplenty with its beautiful, wave-laden coastline, mountains in the north and jungles in the centre, while the chaos of Colombo is an urban jungle all of its own. There is something for every kind of traveller here, but especially the get lost traveller.
EUROPE: JAMES BOND TURNS 60
Ever wanted to be the world’s greatest spy?
From March 2023 you too can drive an Aston Martin at breakneck speed with a beautiful model under your arm, before suiting up for dinner and delivering witty one-liners over a martini (shaken, not stirred).*
In 2023 travel company Black Tomato are offering the ultimate Bond, James Bond, experience for all discerning fans.
They haven’t released the full itinerary yet but it will take you to all the glamorous locations in the ilk of Venice, Monaco, Paris and of course, London.
*Cannot recommend breakneck speed or guarantee models...
GEMINIDS METEOR SHOWER, DECEMBER 13-14
Attention stargazers, astronomers and general aficionados of astral activity, the king of the meteor showers — the Geminids — is due to bless our earthly night sky in December with not one, but 120 colourful meteors, per hour. Per hour!
Sure, the Geminids is an annual sparkly show, but 2023 is set to be extra sparkly thanks to an exceptionally well-timed new moon (which means the sky will be dark as…well, night). The shower will be visible from anywhere in the world but for maximum meteor enjoyment, head to the northern hemisphere where there are a tonne of world-class (but lesser-known) stargazing spots.
USA’s Bryce Canyon National Park is a desert dream; Kiruna, Sweden is just north of the Arctic Circle and perfect for a night time picnic; and Westhavelland, Germany is known for its dark sky reserve.
SKELETON BAY, NAMIBIA
The perfect wave does exist…but now is the time to surf it.
The ominously named Skeleton Bay, on the edge of the arid expanse of the unforgiving Namib desert is a world class, barrelling left but it might not be around for much longer.
“The shoreline is advancing the wave northwards making it change in shape and quality,” says Swellnet meteorologist and barrel chaser Craig Brokensha.
“It seems 2012 was when it was at its most perfect. Erosion is occurring north of the wave, on the west facing coast. Due to the lengthening of the spit off the northern end and not enough sand being supplied to keep up with this.”
What does this mean? The wave is still super special, but there’s a possibility this won’t be the case in the coming years. Get there in 2023.
MOUNTAIN BONGO AND RHINO SANCTUARY, KENYA
In good news for wildlife and wildlife enthusiasts everywhere, 2023 will see the construction of a brand new animal sanctuary purpose-built to home the critically endangered mountain bongo (a fancy, very rare species of antelope) and black rhino. Their new address? A 250-acre parcel of primo forest in the Mount Kenya Reserve. And you’re welcome for a visit. BYO binoculars.
The bongo population will actually be repatriated back to their native home from Florida, where they’ve been raised by the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation. And the rhinos are going to be ushered into the sanctuary via a series of wildlife corridors (think a school hallway but for African animals) from the greater Mount Kenya ecosystem.
The mountain bongo hasn’t been seen in the wild for many, many years and the black rhino population shrank from 65,000 in 1970 to just 2,300 by 1993. Talk about special times, someone call Attenborough.
ASTUNGKARA WAY TRAIL, BALI
Reckon you’ve ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to Bali? Think again. There’s a brand new hiking trail in town and it’s 120 kilometers, coast to coast, of lush rice paddies, thick bamboo forest and traditional Balinese culture (not a Bintang in sight).
What can you expect? Firstly, you’ll be kicking off at the Pura Gede Luhur Batu Ngaus Temple – an auspicious starting location if we ever heard of one. From there you’ll spend your days learning about regenerative farming, eating your bodyweight in organic nasi lemak, stopping by villages and making mates with the locals. Oh, and hugging a 700-year-old tree. If that’s what you’re into. This is less of a hike and more of a pilgrimage for the travellers who like their travel slow and super duper sustainable.
MUNGA-THIRRI SIMPSON DESERT CAMEL TREK, AUSTRALIA
Imagine this: it’s just you, your cameleers and 18 humpies on a traditional Afghani camel train in the middle of the Australian outback.
Andrew Harper’s unique camel trips take ‘off the beaten track’ to a whole new level. Mainly because there are no tracks (or routes, for that matter), unless you count the dingo prints in the sand dunes.
This is an immersive desert experience, and an entirely different way to see the Simpson. Accommodation? A swag under a vast night sky. Transport? On foot across red plains. Leisure activity? Feeding camels unlimited oranges and/or snoozing under a coolabah tree. For the extra adventurous, join the team on one of their surveys and head out with scientists (palaeontologists, environmentalists, the lot) to research the land and its history. Mega (fauna) points for finding dinosaur bones.
The celebration is already well under way (in fact, they started a whole year early) to celebrate Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius, turning a whopping 700. We feel bad for the person buying candles for that cake.
Quirky and off-beat, Lithuania is often overlooked as a European travel destination. But the discerning traveller will be adding this beauty to their 2023 bucket list asap.
Besides stretches of sand dunes, castles on lakes and some very, very interesting local delicacies, Lithuania is going to be putting on a hell of a birthday show in January. Expect performance festivals, epic events at the city’s Modern Art Museum and an AI-driven reconstruction of the first ever opera performed in Lithuania. Be there or be…not there and disappointed.
LOS ANGELES, USA
Run for the hills, the Hollywood Hills. Because those big white letters are turning 100.
Come for the anniversary of an iconic Instagram selfie site and stay for the following La La Land activities that you’ve probably never heard of.
Start your day with a picnic breakfast at the Old Los Angeles Zoo. Just to be clear, it’s abandoned and kinda creepy but maybe you want to eat croissants in the cage of a former tiger, who knows. Next up, catch a puppet show at the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre. Again, kind of creepy but it’ll make you feel like a kid again.
Then hop over and explore Bronson Caves out in the southwest section of Griffith Park. These caves were part of an old quarry and have been featured in a bunch of movies, like the exterior of the Batcave in the original Batman TV show. Cap it off by spending the night at a legit Hollywood Hills castle built back in 1931 — drink a martini, swim in the pool and pretend you’re Elizabeth Taylor, Carey Grant or [insert-favourite-actor-here].
YOKOTE KAMAKURA FESTIVAL, JAPAN
Japan REALLY gets into winter.
While the rest of us are complaining about cold mornings and clothes not drying, the Japanese are busy eating delicious food inside the unbelievably cute igloos they’ve just built.
Kamakura Festival is a celebration of the beauty of winter, and takes place in February at various cities around the country. Igloos (kamakura) are built and at night, locals and travellers alike are invited in for a hearty meal by candlelight. Plus a little amazake — a kind of rice wine said to warm the body and heart.
Yokote and Rukugo, in the country’s Akita prefecture, are the largest celebrations of Kamakura, and the oldest too at over 450 years old.
Words get lost Editorial Team