10 Iconic Experiences Around the World That Are Worth Every Cent

From camping under the stars in the middle of the desert to a 14-course degustation at one of the world's most exclusive restaurants, these once-in-a-lifetime activities are truly priceless.

Marina Bay Sands

Bask by the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Float 57-storeys up among the penthouses of Singapore. Water seems to disappear right over the edge of the world’s largest pool as it curves around the soaring Marina Bay Sands hotel. By day, catch rays on a luxurious daybed; at sunset, add a cocktail and revel in the incredible view. You’ve got to be a guest with a plush room at the hotel (from S$399/night) to make it to the exclusive deck but it’s so very worth it.

Go on a dining odyssey at The Fat Duck, England

You don’t get a menu; you’re issued an itinerary. You don’t book a table; you buy a ticket (for a reservation, up to four months in advance). The Fat Duck, which has three Michelin stars and is consistently named as one of the best restaurants in the world, is a tour de force through chef Heston Blumenthal’s wildest imagination. From crab ice-cream to dry ice cocktails, the 14-plus courses (£325) are unforgettable.

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Visit Santa in Snowy Finnish Lapland

Meet the actual Mr Claus in Rovaniemi, stay in an idyllic log cabin in a snow-covered town like Saariselka and unwind in the sauna after a day of husky-sledding, snowmobiling and generally living the white Christmas dream. No matter how old you are, you’ll leave a believer (or if not, a festive season diehard).

Bliss out at Kamalaya Koh Samui, Thailand

Say spaahhh… There’s no earthly delight quite like this ultra-luxe wellness retreat on a tropical isle. Programs here introduce you to your better self through detox and yoga, stress recovery and emotional balance – heal yourself on every level and sleep in a villa that will blow your mind (from TBH $56542/night).

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Get a new perspective on the Grand Canyon

The only way to truly understand the magnitude of the Grand Canyon – which stretches almost 5000 square kilometres across Arizona – is to see it from the sky. Scores of operators will take you up into the clouds via helicopter (from around US$344) at sunset so you can watch the sky slowly colour match the rocks below.

Soak in an outdoor tub in Atami, Japan

How many baths in the world have a view like this? The outdoor tub in the Seiha room at the exclusive, four-room Atami Kaihourou ryokan, on Japan’s southeastern coast, comes with an uninterrupted outlook of the ocean – and the fireworks that light up the night sky on weekends (from JPY 638706). But if you want to stay, you’ll need to get in fast, as this room books out up to six months in advance.

Otago, Queenstown

Take in the vines from the sky in Otago, Queenstown

If bungee jumping isn’t your thing, soar through the air in a slightly less daunting way in Queenstown. Appellation Wine Tours runs five- or seven-hour excursions (from NZD$850) that start with a helicopter ride over The Remarkables and the Cromwell and Gibbston wine regions before dropping you at a vineyard for an exclusive taste of Central Otago pinot noir.

Camp amongst the sand dunes, Dubai

Imagine this: after a day of cruising through the endless dessert and spotting Arabian gazelles prancing among the dunes in a private Land Rover, you’ll come to rest at a Bedouin-inspired camp seemingly on another planet (from AED 2090). Then, at sunrise, you’ll board a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the undulating sand below, followed by a breakfast of caviar, eggs Benedict and spicy shakshuka. Lush.

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Get in touch with nature in British Columbia, Canada

The only way to get to Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort on the edge of a lake in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is via helicopter or boat. Once there, you’ll have the chance to stand-up paddleboard your way to a seal colony, observe black and brown bears in their natural habitat and even spot whales (from CAD$1995).

Experience high tea at The Peninsula, Hong Kong

Yes, it’s a cliché but enjoying a proper high tea at the famed Peninsula hotel is a must for any first-time visitors to Hong Kong. The Classic Afternoon Tea (HKD $388 per person) is served daily in The Lobby, accompanied by live music. Sample delicacies such as dainty finger sandwiches, scones spotted with raisins and covered in clotted cream and strawberry jam and, of course, a glass of bubbles.

Want to explore even more incredible
experiences around the world?

The Qantas Travel Money card makes it easy to do more
(and earn Qantas Points while you’re at it)1.

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