Exotic Destinations That Can Be Reached in Under 27 Hours
Watching a herd of elephants playing in a watering hole, camping under a boundless starry night sky in the Sahara, standing next to archaeological masterpieces dating back to 300BC, visiting Santa’s home and walking the cobblestone pathways of medieval cities - all sound like adventures requiring months of travel.
But, with multi-award winning, five-star airline Qatar Airways’ extensive global network of over 160 destinations, five-star airport, and short layovers, far-flung dream destinations are achievable in under 27 hours’ flight from Australia – and you'll arrive feeling refreshed.
Here are our favourite exotic, far-flung destinations you can reach much sooner than you think.
Turkey: Be there in under 23 hours
The exotically-gorgeous vistas of Turkey have graced the covers of travel magazines for decades, notably, Cappadocia's fairy-tale chimneys, the crumbling Roman ruins of Ephesus and the notorious Gallipoli Cove. However, there is much more to explore in this fascinating country.
Start your holiday in Istanbul - home to restaurants, entertainment venues and authentic souks with multi-coloured ceramic plates, Turkish rugs, and aromatic spices - before heading deep into the country.
Discover Turkey's history of multi-culturalism, which have left their mark across the landscape; Roman amphitheatres and mosques sit beside Orthodox churches and ghost-white marble ruins dating back to when the ancient Greeks were in Ephesus. This fusion of cultures extends from sights to tastes. Turkish food is often served meze style, a selection of small dishes ranging from calamari, borek, stuffed vine leaves, and aubergine dips. Chargrilled Turkish kebabs are also popular, served with sweet baklava and salty white cheeses that are a feast for the senses.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Istanbul, Ankara, Bodrum, Antalya, and Hatay. Antalya and Bordum are seasonal destinations and Qatar Airways fly there between late May and late September.
Tanzania: Be there in under 26 hours
Snow-draped Mount Kilimanjaro stands tall at a massive 5,895 metres above sea level and is viewed as a protector overlooking the surrounds. Whether you take the challenge to climb to it's peak or view the peak through the lens of your camera, the share grandeur of the 'Roof of Africa' is a true natural beauty.
Plan your trip to Tanzania between April and May and you'll see savannah plains painted pink with thousands of flamingos flocking to the alkaline lakes on the northern circuit. The lakes food-rich shallows and woodlands in Arusha National Park and Ngorongoro Crater welcome hundreds of thousands of flamingos as well as migratory colonies of storks, pelicans, spoonbills, and cormorants.
The wildlife doesn't stop there. The Savannah plains of the world-renowned Serengeti are dotted with acacia trees and filled with lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. Your lodging can be as exciting as a safari itself with accommodation options such as safari lodges, resorts with pools, luxury glamping, and traditional tents all on offer. Dusk and dawn are the best time for viewing so be ready to wake up with the golden sunrise, or book a night drive and head out into the inky darkness with a floodlight to see what happens in the animal kingdom after dark.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro.
Sweden: Be there in under 27 hours
Located on Sweden's west coast, Gothenburg is the largest non-capital city in the Nordics where leafy boulevards and Dutch-style canals line the path for exciting museums, trendy food trucks, theatres, mouth-watering restaurants, bars and cafes where you can 'fika' in style. (The tradition Swedish concept to fika is to take a break and head for a cup of coffee with a friend.)
The laid-back lifestyle of the Swedes is infectious and it extends into the landscape. Nature is only a short train or bus ride away from the city so you can be dining at a high-end restaurant, watching a concert or roaming a museum before heading to cliffs, lakes, the ocean or green forests in no time. Popular trips from the city include a visit to the car-less, reddish-grey islets of the Southern Archipelago, canoeing on Delsjön's crystal clear lake waters and indulging on fresh seafood while sailing near pastel-coloured homes on the water's edge in Marstrand.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Gothenburg and Stockholm.
Seychelles: Be there in under 24 hours
With their pristine, sugar-white sands, gin-clear waters and abundance of marine life, the palm tree fringed 115 islands that makeup Seychelles are postcard-perfect. Located off the coast of East Africa, this honeymoon-favourite offers 65 beaches on the main island of Mahé alone, all of which promise “the land of perpetual summer”.
Wildlife lovers might be surprised at the abundance of natural fauna. Dive or snorkel Seychelle’s waters – home to whale sharks, sea turtles, angelfish, flying fish and whitetip sharks. Or hike the island’s verdant where natural beauty reveals curious fruit bats, everchanging chameleons, and living-fossil-like giant tortoises.
Nightfall brings the rhythmic beat of African drums and string instruments as local people begin their evening festivities. The diverse styles of music, that echo the islands’ multi-ethnic history, bring good vibes to its cerulean shores.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to the Seychelles International Airport, located on the island of Mahé.
Kenya: Be there in under 24 hours
Encompassing lakelands, savannah plains, mountain highlands, bath-like shores, and the extraordinary Great Rift Valley, Kenya offers a safari dream.
Maasai Mara National Park is an iconic destination to view Africa's Big Five, which are in abundance in this magical part of Africa. But, it also provides a glimpse into the local culture of Kenya’s regal Maasai people.
It is said to be born a Maasai is to be born a great warrior who protects land, tribe, and animals. Drenched in colourful, red-tinged shukas and beaded jewellery, this friendly nation welcome visitors in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Nairobi and Mombasa.
Oman: Be there in under 18 hours
Oman is an Arabian experience not to be missed. With a history that dates back to antiquity, natural landscapes that span from the Arabian Sea to the Hajar Mountains, an abundance of marine sanctuaries and the promise of fresh seafood and incredible cuisine, Oman is a feast for the senses.
Thousands of forts, mosques, palaces, and castles are scattered across Oman and the capital Muscat is home to many of them: explore Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Al Alam Palace and Bait Al Zubair. Traditional souks have a labyrinth of camel-themed trinkets, ceramic goods, and jewellery to explore and bargain.
Not usually associated with marine life and idyllic beaches, Oman has an abundance of diving experiences along its 1700 kilometres of coastline. The Musandam peninsula hosts turtles, rays, sharks, and dolphins while Ras Al Kinz is home to four types of turtles who lay their eggs on the shores. Catch a glimpse of the thousands of hatchlings that do the awkward yet cute waddle to the Arabian Sea each year between May and September.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Muscat and Sohar.
United Kingdom: Be there in under 25 hours
The home of Shakespeare may not sound like a far-flung destination, however, beyond the glamour of London there’s a world to explore in England, Ireland and Scotland.
Discover Cardiff's craft beer pubs, lively art scene and Victorian shopping arcades, Dublin's historic cobble-lined streets and classic Irish pubs, up-and-coming Birmingham with its cultural exhibits such as the Icon Gallery, museums, Soho houses, theatre shows, and Hypnodrome and Edinburgh's picturesque medieval city.
Friendly people and warm hospitality are common to the UK where a unique sense of wit extends from the cities into the lush country-side where meadows and waterways are littered with medieval castles, towering mountains, and expansive lakes and lochs.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff, and Birmingham.
Morocco: Be there in under 25 hours
Morocco's dramatic golden landscapes and ancient crumbling ruins have been the backdrop to films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator and an unforgettable way to experience the landscape is to book a Berber camping trip.
Indulge in tagine, and trinket shopping in Casablanca or Marrakesh before you venture from the bustling medinas and beautiful mosques to Ouarzazate, a town on the edge of the Sahara and known in the local tongue as "without noise". From here, experience the quietude and indescribable colours of the sand while camping underneath a boundless night sky.
If you are seeking the extravagant palaces, exotic kasbahs, and artisanal souks that Morocco is known for then make a stop in Rabat to see the Royal Palace and the ancient ruins of Chellah, the Oudaya Kasbah and the Hassan Tower. Fez is also a must-see with its preserved mosaics and blue-walled buildings.
Greece: Be there in under 23 hours
Imagine white-washed buildings draped in blooming bright red bougainvillea’s as gentle waves lap on the shoreline; this is the dreamy Greek Isle Mykonos, the most cosmopolitan in the Cyclades and known for its unique combination of glamour and simplicity.
Meander the sandstone streets to seaside blue-framed restaurants where soutzoukakia and octopus or the unbeatable Myconian honey pie can be found.
On the mainland, the ancient powerhouse empire of Athens is a hot spot for travellers from around the world seeking out iconic sites such as Acropolis of Athens, Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus – home to modern civilisation. Thessaloniki on the Aegean Coast is a charming, modern metropolis with Byzantine monuments and archaeological sites.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Mykonos and Athens. Mykonos is a seasonal destination and Qatar Airways fly there between 22 May and 29 September.
Finland: Be there in under 24 hours
Mountains cloaked in bleach-white snow, the chance to meet Santa, reindeer, a deep Viking history and mystical legends of forest lords, Finland sounds like a fairytale. Winter is a magical time to visit as the country boasts over 75 ski resorts and the young (and young at heart) will fall in love with the Christmas delight of meeting Santa in Lapland. Not usually associated as a ski destination, Finnish ski resorts are a relaxed alternative to Europe's main ski holiday resorts. The seaside capital of Helskini is best explored by foot as it is littered in green parks, forests, lakes and trendy cafes with islands sprinkled off the coast which makes for a great day trip.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Helsinki.
Jordan: Be there in under 20 hours
Travel bible Lonely Planet listed Jordan one of the top destinations to travel to in its Best in Travel 2019 gold list, citing the "mind-blowing Rift Valley landscape crumpled with canyons" and "wildflowers strewn over crusader castles" as reasons for its supremacy. Throw in Aladdin-like temples, ancient tombs and 2nd century stone amphitheatres- all nestled between the shores of the Dead Sea and archaeological masterpieces inland - it is hard to find reasons not to venture to the exotically-beautiful country.
Venture to Wadi Rum, a moonscape of sandstone mountains. Safari jeeps will take you through the lunar-like landscape where traces of ancient civilizations can be found. In the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom is Petra, a lost abandoned city carved into vibrant white, pink, red and sandstone cliff faces - it remained undiscovered by the western world until 1812. Walk around the now UNESCO World Heritage Site and through mile-long narrow pathways which were trade route in ancient times.
Qatar Airways fly from Australia to Amman.
In partnership with Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways is one of the youngest global airlines to serve all six continents who have just added Valletta, Malta to their network with flights commencing in June 2019.