The joyful frenzy of Christmas shopping is just one reason why this time of year is known as silly season. If there was no budget holding you back, what gifts would you choose to regale your loved ones with this Christmas? What life-changing experiences would you add to your personal wishlist? Let these over-the-top gift ideas inspire your world of travel this holiday season.
Day trip to Antarctica
Antarctica’s otherworldly landscapes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences are on most travellers’ bucket lists, and it turns out you don’t need to suit up for an expedition to discover the South Pole.
From $1,199 per person, you can treat your loved one to a fly-over day trip from Melbourne this New Year’s Eve. Celebrate to the tunes of a live jazz band and sip on champagne as you coast over the rugged polar landscape in a privately chartered Qantas 747. The plane doesn’t land, but onboard experts and live crosses to research centres fill in the captions for the incredible scenes you’ll goggle at from above.
A personal semi-submarine
You’ll never have to snorkel again if someone manages to stuff one of these into your Christmas stocking. The Ego Compact Semi Sub is comprised of a submerged pod topped off with a petite sundeck - it’s perfect for avoiding jellyfish, or for those who aren’t strong swimmers. Price by enquiry only.
Dinner at SUBLIMOTION
What better gift for the devoted foodie than the world’s most avant-garde dining experience? Based in Ibiza, SUBLIMOTION appeals to all five senses to create the dining experience of a lifetime, priced at around $3,000 per head.
It’s hard to get a handle on the concept, but reports have included edible tickets, 360 degree projected scenes of the North Pole, and a dessert that you paint on to the table yourself. The food is the detailed creation of twice-Michelin-starred Paco Roncero, and by all accounts it is divine, if slightly disguised.
After-hours tour of The Vatican
Discovering the wonders of The Vatican without the crowds and queues could well be the ultimate Christmas gift for history and art buffs. For around $500 you can take a small group tour guided by an expert whose stories and knowledge bring the sublime details of the Vatican to life.
Spend at least 30 leisurely minutes in the Sistine Chapel, soaking up the beauty of the world's most famous fresco while completely free of distraction. If you really want to push the boat out, you can book out the entire Vatican City for a private tour from about $4800 per person.
More life-changing moments: 15 Travel Experiences You'll Never Forget
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Private opera in a volcano
Once-in-a-lifetime junkies will adore the chance to wine and dine in the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano in Iceland. A helicopter ride will carry you from your luxury lodge into the heart of the crater, where you’ll soon be nibbling on canapés and enjoying a private operatic performance enhanced by the natural acoustics of the airy magma chamber.
Igloo views of The Northern Lights
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland offers accommodation in luxurious glass igloos; the ultimate way to enjoy the Aurora Borealis in comfort. These exquisite little gems go for about $700 per night, but anyone who has a lifelong dream of seeing the Northern Lights will think it's a small price to pay to gaze up at the heavenly show from the warmth of a sumptuous bed. The resort offers plenty of other opportunities to chase the Aurora, and during the day you can visit Santa's Home, enjoy a reindeer safari, or go snowboarding at a nearby resort.
141-day round-the-world cruise
The brand new Viking Sun will set sail on its first round-the-world voyage next December, a 141-day trip from Miami to London. As well as the usual day spas and theatres, the Sun also offers an infinity-edged, glass backed pool and a ‘snow grotto’, designed as a delicious contrast to the sauna. The rooms remaining on this epic cruise start from $77,899 per person, which includes Business Class flights from select cities and overnight stays at 12 different ports.
The Pets Hotel
Do you have a special someone in your life that is of the canine persuasion? The Pets Hotel in Melbourne offers more than just doggy day-care; there’s an indoor park known as Central Bark, and live webcams for owners’ peace of mind. The Presidential Suites go for $88 dollars per dog per day, which includes twin designer beds, a flat screen TV and views over Central Bark. Extras such as massage and spa baths can be booked for an additional fee.
Owning an island isn’t reserved for celebrities; anyone with the funding can purchase a little parcel of ocean-locked land quite easily. It just comes down to a question of where, and what. Do you take a private island resort in Belize for just over $8,000,000, or opt for a fixer-uppers dream in Egypt for half the price? Temple Island in Queensland has recently been reduced for quick sale - it now goes for just $850,000, a private slice of heaven that you might not be able to fit under the Christmas tree.kslauttanen Arctic Resort