10 Off-The-Beaten-Track Secret Travel Adventures

The world has hundreds of hidden treasures waiting for you. There’s glorious isolated beaches, history-making architecture, rare wildlife and ancient cultures to explore.

The world is an incredible place with thousands of hidden gems that only the locals know about. It might be the hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot or the isolated swimming hole that the local kids flock to in summer. Those places aren’t listed in most travel guides but they may be the best experience of your life. So venture off the beaten track and explore these ten amazing places that you won’t find in the typical guidebooks.

Escape to Con Dao Island, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City from Bitexco Financial Tower, Vietnam.  By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0 

Fly into Ho Chi Minh City and then head to Con Dao Islands, south- east of the mainland. The islands are isolated, beautiful and full of intrigue. Coral reefs and beautiful beaches are complemented by the diverse wildlife inland. Immerse yourself in chilling history at Hang Duong Cemetery and Phu Hai Prison.

Lodi Gardens, Delhi, India

The tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid, in the Lodi Gardens. Credit: Arian Zwegers

Filled with locals on their daily constitutional, the Lodi Gardens are surprisingly beautiful. Find the Bara-Gumbad tombs built in 1490 and admire the crumbling edifice while children play cricket in the ruins. Wander along the lake edge under the green canopy of trees, taking a break from the hustle and noise of Delhi.

Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona

The beautiful interior of Hospital de Sant Pau. Credit: Susi4

In a city dominated by the outlandish surreal architecture of Gaudi, the Hospital de Sant Pau offers a startling Edwardian change. Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, this hospital has only been opened to tourists recently and the sprawling complex is amazing in its history, beauty, and forward-thinking medical views.

 

Travel Tip: As you plan your next travel adventure make sure you add travel insurance when booking your flights. Whether you’re walking the Salt Lake flats of Utah, relaxing beach in Bali or eating till you drop in Beijing, take off on your next Air New Zealand flight knowing you’ve got cover with travel insurance. Expect the unexpected, and protect your trip.

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

The beautiful salt lakes flat of Utah. Credit: Bonneville Salt Flats

Fly into Salt Lake City and head to the nearby 75 square km of glistening white Insta-perfect salt flats. While this is a stunning destination in its own right, this is also the site of a piece of Kiwi history, where Burt Munro set the land speed record in 1967 on his 1920 Indian Scout Motorcycle.

Walk from Oia to Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece

Main shopping street at the crater rim in Oia, Santorini, Greece. By Norbert Nagel – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Depending on your enthusiasm, this walk can take between two and five hours. It winds along the coastline, with its sapphire coloured water and cloudless cerulean sky. Then, when you walk into Oia and are greeted by the bright white town perched on the sun-bleached hillsides, you’ll know every step was worth it.

Get Castaway on Gili Meno, Bali

Gili Meno Beach. Credit: Davenbelle

If you crave escaping from life on a deserted beach, then maroon yourself on Gili Meno. It’s tiny- you can walk around the Island in less than two hours- or watch the turtles come and go at Gili Meno wall. Or, simply lie in a hammock and read your book, the perfect agenda for a vacant beach.

Go on a Koala Quest at Kennett River, Victoria

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), Australia. Credit: Diego Delso – Own work

The Kennett River Koala Walk along the Great Ocean Road is a must for any wildlife lover. With 1800 koalas in the area, you’re guaranteed to find a fluffy lazy marsupial. A scenic two hour drive from Melbourne, you’ll also find King Parrots, who will sit on your head if enticed with an offer of bird food.

Lions and Leopards in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

A Cheetah lying in the grass of KwaZulu-Natal. Credit: Sharp Photography

KwaZulu-Natal is a 3 hour drive from Durban airport, but a world away from the bustling city with mountains, beaches, and untamed savannahs filled with wildlife. You’ll find rhinos, lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants and an array of other animals. This is also the home of the indigenous Zulus, with their proud tribal traditions and rich vibrant culture.

KwaZulu-Natal is home to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve and St Lucia, a 3 hour drive from Durban airport, but a world away from the bustling city with mountains, beaches, and untamed savannahs filled with wildlife. You’ll find rhinos, lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants and an array of other animals. St Lucia is your base for exploring South Africa’s first UNSECO World Heritage Site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park. KwaZulu-Natal is also the home of the indigenous Zulus, with their proud tribal traditions and rich vibrant culture.

Untouched Jaffna, North Sri Lanka

An Asian Elephant within Wilpattu National Park. Credit: Mahoora Tented Safari Camps

Only recently opened up to visitors since the end of the Tamil Tigers conflict, North Sri Lanka offers abundant culture, history, and wildlife. There are intricate Hindu temples and complex history influenced by the Indian, Portuguese, British and Dutch. Watch out for elephants, peacocks, leopards, sloth bears and crocodiles in the nearby Wilpattu area.

Eat ‘Til You Burst in Beijing, China

The Wángfǔjǐng Night Market located in Dongcheng District, Beijing, has a selection of exotic Street food ; Deep fried insects, scorpions, and sea creatures can be found, along with other animals and animal parts not ordinarily consumed as food in the west. By Harvey Barrison – Flickr: Beijing_2011 05 20_064, CC BY-SA 2.0,

With over 3000 years of human history, Beijing is known for the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and The Forbidden City. However, indulge in the amazing food. You can eat Peking Duck in luxury surroundings, or eat dumplings street-side. Have the crispy pancake ‘jianbing’ for breakfast, hand-made noodles for lunch, and a traditional spicy hot pot for dinner.