2018 has been the year of the Commonwealth, with the games taking place on Australia’s Gold Coast in April, and while the countries involved have produced some of the world’s best athletes, they are also home to a collection of the world’s finest destinations.
With member nations spanning the globe, stretching all the way from the Caribbean to Australia, there’s plenty of places in the Commonwealth perfect for your next holiday. Here are five of the best.
Gold Coast, Australia
Australia’s Gold Coast was the host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but it is also a tourist hotspot thanks to its beautiful beaches including the world-renowned stretch of golden sand at Surfers Paradise.
With warm water perfect for swimming and a coastline set to the back drop of high-rise buildings, this metropolis has something for everyone. Check out the boutique shops and chic cafés along Cahill Avenue, head to the Infinity Attraction where the whole family can enjoy an unforgettable experience inside an interactive funhouse, or head to a theme park such as Warner Bros Movie World or Dreamworld for an adrenaline-induced adventure.
With its amazing slopes, first-class shopping, lively après-ski scene and laidback Canadian attitude, Whistler is undoubtedly one of the greatest ski destinations in the world. Chosen as the host mountain resort for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler is a fantastic all-round destination both on and off the slopes.
With two glorious mountains linked by the famous Peak2Peak Gondola, a fabulously long season and over 200 trails, there is something for all skiers and boarders here whatever your ability.
Off the slopes, Whistler’s pedestrian-friendly village is a truly enchanted place and the après-ski is second to none. Whether you want to kick back in a mountain bar, sample one of the numerous high-quality restaurants or party into the night in one of the clubs, it’s hard to beat Whistler.
Cape Town, South Africa
Resting between the iconic Table Mountain and the Rainbow Nation’s most visited attraction, the V&A Waterfront, this cosmopolitan city is bursting with natural beauty and fascinating culture. Enjoy awe-inspiring mountaintop views, tour world famous wineries and unwind on sun-drenched sandy beaches.
The incredible Table Mountain rises high above the city and offers superb, sweeping views over False Bay and the surrounding region. Get to the summit by cable car, which builds suspense and adds to the excitement the higher it gets.
If it’s both fun and education you are after, you’re in luck as Cape Town is home to the Iziko Planetarium, World of Birds and Imhoff Farm, where there’s so much to enjoy; from great food and fun activities to animal encounters and shopping.
The Bahamas is home to endless white sands, exotic turquoise waters, fluorescent colonial buildings and an array of islands which combine to form a subtropical beach paradise. Head to the Exuma Cays for pristine waters with floating pigs, or sample city life on the islands with a trip to the capital Nassau, awash with culture, beautiful architecture and street vendors.
Kids will love Aquaventure, the water park at Atlantis Paradise Island which is the Caribbean’s largest water attraction. It features 20 swimming areas, a mile-long river ride, and the Power Tower, a 120-foot tower with four slides and a 50-foot near-vertical drop!
Known as the Garden City due its extraordinary amount of parks and urban greenery, Singapore is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, welcoming over 10 million tourists each year.
For the culturally-minded, Singapore is home to an impressive range of museums, while the areas of Chinatown, Little India, and the Arab Quarter pay homage to the city's roots and play host to some of the city's best cultural sights, events and cuisine.
There’s also the Singapore Flyer, a giant observation wheel which serves up breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and beyond.