We’ve waited oh so patiently, and finally our wanderlust prayers have been answered—international travel is back on the cards, baby! Put this on your radar because the countown is on to dust off the passport and dig out your suitcases, because Euro summers and snow seasons in Asia holidays are back on the menu.
With borders beginning to re-open, you can fly from the Gold Coast Airport to a plethora of incredible overseas destinations you’ve been dreaming about for the last two years. We’re talking direct flights from the GC to Singapore, from which you can hop over to explore Euope and Asia. Better yet, a short layover via Auckland, New Zealand is open for explorng the US too.
Even better? Gold Coast Airport is currently undergoing a truly epic expansion that will see you travelling in pure style. Think: new retailers, elevated dining experiences, a stunning new bar with sweeping views of the hinterland, six additional gates with glass aerobridges and exciting new routes. While we can’t reveal too much more at this stage, expect these awesome upgrades to roll out throughout 2022.
But, back to your next adventure. Not sure where to start vacay planning? We’ve done the hard work for you with these six incredible destinations worthy of your international getaways. Get your itineraries out - here are some amazing cities to get excited about visiting this year from the Gold Coast.
A sprawling metropolis boasting a unique mix of tradition and cutting-edge technology, you need to send Seoul straight to the top of your travel hit list this year. First things first, Seoul loves a late night bar scene. Head to the electric hood of Hongdae, filled with karaoke and K-pop bars that will keep your holiday party vibe high. Check out our fave, veteran rock bar Gopchang Jeongol—it’s 70s-inspired decor and hit-packed playlist will see you heading back multiple times. Another must-do is the luxury karaoke bar, Su Noraebang, where you can unleash your inner Doja Cat in a marble drenched studio.
History buffs will want to scope out the North Korean border with a trip to the Demilitarized Zone. Head to the Dora Observatory where you can see across the border to North Korea’s fake town, Kijong-dong, built in the 1950s to lure South Koreans to defect. Post-visit raise your spirits again with a shopping trip to Gangnam. So much more than just a song, the area sits on the banks of the Han and is packed with department stores and luxury boutiques. Lastly, check out Insadong with an empty stomach. This quirky neighbourhood is filled with tea houses, Korean BBQ joints and some of Seoul’s best street food. Pro tip: make sure you try ‘Dragon’s Beard Candy’—a Korean version of fairy floss. You're welcome!
How to get there: while not avalible just yet, start planning for when Jetstar will fly direct from Gold Coast Airport to Incheon International Airport in South Korea at the end of the year.
Nothing says summer vacay in Europe quite like a trip to Greece. Filled with neoclassical buildings, ancient ruins, incredible galleries and rooftop bars, a trip to Athens is an absolute must. Of course you simply must tick off the Acropolis, Temple of Poseidon and The National Museum of Contemporary Art, but make sure you carve out some time to visit Varvakios Agora, a drool-worthy indoor and outdoor food market that is packed with delicious fresh produce including seafood, fruits, spices and Greek pastries.
Explore neighbourhoods like Kypseli, a multicultural spot full of young creatives and home to Mum Social Club, a pottery, food and book club run by influential curator Stamatia Dimitrakopoulou. And for the ultimate pinch me moment, get lost wandering the winding streets of Anafiotika, a village hugging the northern slopes of the Acropolis. White and blue-hued dwellings covered in vines line the alleys, with centuries old churches and quaint cafes hidden in between. After all that exploring, you’re just a short boat ride away from a weekender in Santorini… we mean, it would be rude not to.
How to get there: Scoot is flying from Gold Coast Airport straight to Singapore and onwards to Athens, so you could be downing ouzo in no time. Opa!
A glorious mix of grit and glamour, when it comes to planning your 2022 international vacay—Berlin is simply a must-do. Home to culture, clubbing and of course (our favourite) currywurst, there is a lot to see and do in this dazzling city. Base yourself in the achingly cool neighbourhood of Kreuzberg. Packed with bohemian vibes, this hood is the epicentre of alternative art and culture in Berlin. Here you’ll find vibrant street art, boutique shops and vintage stores, nestled amongst independent bookshops and historic live music venues like SO36 club.
As well as checking out iconic spots like the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and Berlin’s Versailles—Charlottenburg Palace, head to Hackesche Höfe, a cluster of café and boutique-filled public courtyards dating from 1907 in the heart of the Mitte neighbourhood. And if you happen to visit in summer, a day spent at Müggelsee is a must do. The popular inland lake, fringed by golden sand, is THE place to be on a warm day. And of course, no matter the weather, a trip to Berlin is not complete without checking out their epic clubbing scene. Tresor or Watergate are without a doubt the most popular amoungst tourists.
How to get there: get your travel agent's ready Scoot is now flying straight to Singapore from Gold Coast Airport. From there you can get direct flights to Germany to tick off your bucket list.
The phrase ‘bright lights, big city’ was basically made for Tokyo. If you haven’t yet paid a visit to this incredible spot, then consider this your sign. One of the best things about Tokyo is its ability to be fast-paced and hectic one moment, then calming and zen depending which street you walk down. Kicking off with the latter, you’ll want to head to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden where you can stroll 144 acres of stunning floral gardens and view the gorgeous Taiwan Pavilion. And if you plan your visit between March and May, you’ll be dazzled by the colourful clusters of cherry blossoms. Keep that zen vibe going with a trip to Senso-ji, the city’s most popular temple complete with a five-story pagoda to explore.
A trip to Tokyo isn’t complete without a visit to Shibuya Crossing—the world’s busiest intersection. Pro tip: head there at dusk, a peak time with the biggest vibe and best lighting because we know you want to get that pic for the 'gram. The Shibuya Sky rooftop, perched 230 metres above street level offers some of the best views. Soak up the city’s cool vibes at Omoide Yokocho, a narrow lane in Shinjuku filled with around 60 bustling, hole-in-the-wall eateries slinging drool-worthy yakitori. Post meal, check out Golden Gai, a collection of Shinjuku streets lined with tiny dive bars serving ice cold tipples.
How to get there: Jetstar is soon to open flights direct from Gold Coast Airport to Narita International Airport. Be sure to get on their mailing list to be first in, best dressed!
There is a lot of love about San Francisco. Think: a melting pot of cultures, dynamic hoods, excellent eats and stunning architecture. Yep, a visit here is a no-brainer. Kick your visit off with the bay’s biggest landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. She’s big, she’s beautiful and she's well worth a cycle or stroll across. Post bridge, head to the famous Alcatraz Island, the former lighthouse station converted to a military prison in the 1800s and the backdrop for many a popular movie and TV show. Other important tourist spots that really are worth ticking off include Golden Gate Park, Lombard Street and Pier 39.
Something you might not know about SF? The Mexican food game here is strong! Head to the Mission District—an uber cool neighbourhood with deep Lantino roots. Here you’ll be hard pressed to find a joint that doesn’t nail the burrito but if you’re looking for the best of the best, you can’t go past Taqueria La Cumbre, El Faro and La Taqueria. While you’re in the Mission be sure to check out the 200 murals covering the alleys and buildings reflecting the neighbourhood’s heritage and themes of social justice. Finally, quench your post-burrito thirst by visiting one of the Bay Area’s epic craft breweries. The Almanac Beer Co and Fort Point Beer are our faves.
How to get there: whilst only open for the Kiwi's at the moment, a hop skip and a jump away is Air New Zealand flying from Gold Coast Airport to San Francisco via Auckland.
Now you’ve got your holiday list sorted, it’s time to start booking in that annual leave and making those OS travel plans a reality. Stay up to date with Gold Coast Airport’s multi-million dollar expansion right here. Trust us, it’s going to be a game-changer.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Queensland Airports and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.