Top 5 Highlights for 2012

I’m guessing I’m not the only one asking where did 2012 go?

And the older you get the faster the years seem to pass. Just reinforces the point that there is no better time than now to go travel and create lifelong memories.

The world won’t explore itself as they say.

Taking a look back over the past twelve months, the year has been filled with new adventures and fun-filled activities for our family. The kids are a year older and soon we’ll be sitting around a tree ripping open presents. And summer time in Oz means beach days, BBQ’s, beers, and playgrounds.

But looking back over the past year there’s been road trips, flights, cruises, short breaks, wildlife experiences, UNESCO World heritage sites, hanging with natives, and a whole lot of eating and drinking!

Putting together our top 5 moments is always tough, and below we have broken them up into six categories.

As always, we hope our stories through 2012 have helped to inspire and inform you to go travel, and travel more often.

Top 5 Destinations

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Kakadu National Park has long been on my Australian travel bucket list, and this year I was fortunate to visit during my 6 day photo safari of the Northern Territory. kakadu

Ayutthaya, Thailand

Having lived in Bangkok in 2002, we understand the need to getaway from the craziness. Caz discovered one of the best side-trips merely an hour away, a bike and boat tour of Auyutthaya, the former capital and now World Heritage site.

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Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River, you had me at food, wine, and beer. Possibly my favourite food and wine destination in Australia. Plus add on the great beer, coffee and stunning beaches. travel

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

I grew up holidaying as a kid in Port Macquarie, and going back this year with my own kids brought back fond memories. It’s an excellent family destination and if you are making the trip form Sydney to Brisbane you should visit Port Macquarie too.

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Bright, Victoria, Australia

A new discovery for us this year was the hidden gem of Bright in Victoria. If you enjoy small town charm, alpine mountain scenery, cosy cafes, good coffee/food, and nature then go visit! travel

Top 5 Cities

Sydney

You could call me biased, but I never get tired of exploring this city and we haven’t spent this much time in Sydney in YEARS. Check out our list of 33 things to do in Sydney. 

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Hong Kong

My visit to Hong Kong was only short, two days, but I was back in Asia (joy). It was SO great to have no plans and just feel the beat with my feat and just wonder and take in the sights and smells of this vibrant city.

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Bangkok

We lived in Bangkok in 2002, and it remains one of our favourite cities period. Caz was lucky enough to return this year and experienced the city in a different way via long tail boat and a dragon walking tour of Chinatown.

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Kuala Lumpur

Neither of us had been to KL before, and one of Caz’s highlights from her visit was the incredible SkyBar complete with cocktails and views. She also had her first and LAST fish foot spa.

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Perth

If you have the time (and money) do yourself a favour and get off the east coast and visit Perth. It’s a young, modern city and the location on the river and near the beach make it a great Aussie experience. Check out my list of 12 things to do.

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Top 5 Beaches

Secret Beach, Vanuatu

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Yallingup Beach, Western Australia

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Seal Rocks, NSW

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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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Palm Beach, Sydney

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Top 5 Accommodation

Shangri-La Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Best resort stay of the year: visit website

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Yamba YHA

Best hostel stay of the year: read story

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River Red Gum National Park, NSW

Best camping experience: read story

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The Upper House, Hong Kong

Best hotel stay: visit website

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Mantra on Salt Beach, Kingscliff, NSW

Another top resort stay: read story

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Top 5 Experiences

Carnival Cruise

It took me 38 years to go on my first cruise, now I am hooked.

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Savannah meets Alida in a Vanuatu Village

Savannah meeting Alida was one of the most touching moments we have ever experienced travelling and affirmed for us why travel with our children is the right choice for us. travel

Lighthouse Cottage Seal Rocks

Staying in a lighthouse keepers cottage has been on my bucket list FOREVER. So when the opportunity came up this year to spend three days at Sugar Loaf Point Lighthouse at Seal Rocks we jumped at it. travel

 Orangutans

Caz was very fortunate to visit the Orangutan Sanctuary in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. There are only 20,000 left alive in Borneo and 5,000 in Sumatra, and spending time with them re-inforced how they desperately need to be protected. travel

Billabong Retreat

A weekend getaway to a Billabong retreat in western Sydney filled with yoga, relaxation and healthy eating was the perfect end to a busy year. Caz learnt to let go and reconnect with her mind and body and learned the power of honouring herself.  travel

Top 5 Food / Drink

The Greenhouse Restaurant, Perth

visit website

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Sky Bar Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

read story

travelCelebrity Chef Luke Managn’s Salt Grill Restaurant, P&O Pacific Dawn

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Samudra Cafe , Dunsborough, Western Australia

visit website

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Rail Trail Cafe, Bright, Victoria

visit website

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We hope you had a sensational 2012 filled with travel and the creation of lifelong memories.

Thank you for following our journey!

Happy Christmas and may 2013 be even bigger and better.

Craig, Caz, Kalyra and Savannah

 

Craig
Craig Makepeace is the founder of yTravel Blog and has been traveling the world since 2002, first with his wife Caz, and now with his two daughters. Get his free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow him on Google+

16 Comments on “Top 5 Highlights for 2012”

  1. Great post.

    I live in Byron Bay and my family live in Fremantle, WA, so a lot of this really hits home for me. I’ve also done articles on The Greenhouse Restaurant and Billabong Retreat. Great places!

    I’m heading to Peats Ridge for New Year’s, so will be sure to pop in to Port Macquarie and Seal Rocks on my way down. Also, good tips on Yamba and Kingscliff, I’ll definitely check those out.

    You’ve had a great year. Thanks for sharing your adventures :)
    Andy Tope recently posted..The Silent Stories of Travellers
    Andy Tope recently posted..The Silent Stories of Travellers

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    • Hey Andy,

      Glad we could offer some tips for your upcoming road trip. And you live in a great part of the world. Cheers!

      Reply
  2. What a great year you’ve had, and sometimes it’s not until we take stock that we realise how much HAS happened during a year. Great round-up of all your adventures, and love the pics. Here’s raising a glass of the good stuff to next year’s travels – may they be everything you wish for :)
    Johanna recently posted..19 Ideas on Where to Stay in Esperance in Australia’s Golden Outback.
    Johanna recently posted..19 Ideas on Where to Stay in Esperance in Australia’s Golden Outback.

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  3. what great pics you took!
    Hogga recently posted..You Don’t Know Shit
    Hogga recently posted..You Don’t Know Shit

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  4. Fantastic recap of your travels! Savannah meeting Alida is the most precious thing. Your photos are amazing as well!
    Christian recently posted..Christmastime in Philadelphia
    Christian recently posted..Christmastime in Philadelphia

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  5. How do you top a year like that? I am impressed at how you much you travel with young kids. We did a bit but nothing like the two of you – and you’re always smiling too.
    Leigh recently posted..Travel Adventures: A Bus Ride Like No Other, Lions Included
    Leigh recently posted..Travel Adventures: A Bus Ride Like No Other, Lions Included

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  6. 2012 was quite the year indeed. I saw a lot of neat places, but my favorite had to be my vacation to South Africa. Truly incredible place.

    Reply
  7. You brought back some nice memories for me. When I was at Yallingup, the swells were about 30 foot. It’s crazy to see that ocean semi-placid. I was also shocked by how great Hong Kong was. I had no plans and everyone told me that I wouldn’t need more than 3 days there. I wished I would have stayed for more than a week. There are so many great day trips on the island.
    Noah recently posted..Tsunami in Thailand: Remembering the Devastation of 2004
    Noah recently posted..Tsunami in Thailand: Remembering the Devastation of 2004

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  8. [...] Top 5 Highlights of 2012 – Caz and Craig of yTravelBlog share their best travel moments from 2012 which include Kakadu National Park in Australia, more of Australia, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Secret Beach in Vanuatu, and more top 4 beaches, cities, countries, experiences, accommodations, food/drink, and more! [...]

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  9. I love that so many of these were in your home country. I’m hoping to explore Canada more in 2013 as well.
    Ayngelina recently posted..How I will remember 2012
    Ayngelina recently posted..How I will remember 2012

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  10. Wow, what a year! You guys really had a great one. Best wishes for 2013 too!

    Reply
    • We really loved this year. All the best for 2013 for you Michael. Where are you headed?

      Reply
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