The end of December is fast approaching and the year 2018 will be with us before we know it. If you’re the type to party the night away, there is an abundance of celebrations waiting for you all over the globe over the48-hour period that makes New Year’s Eve. However, you don’t have to be a billionaire to enjoy a New Year break in the place of your dreams. With the clocks already started ticking, and you want to visit as many countries as you can before the New Year hits.
By setting off on an imaginary private jet, Distant Journeys explores how many places around the world one person can visit over the course of New Year’s Eve in 48 hours. The first festivities kick-off on Christmas Island (Kiritimati) in the Pacific Ocean.
To New Zealand and beyond
At UTC+13:00 you just about have time to kiss the ground in Tonga before you land at the Chatham Islands (New Zealand). You can hear the fireworks exploding over Auckland’s flotilla of sails, and you imagine the crowds gathering in the beautiful surrounds of Mount Maunganui, in the Bay of Plenty. As the first rays of sun rise above Gisborne the parties on the South Island’s beaches are also heating up. But you’ve got places to be.
You hit gorgeous Suva (Fiji) at UTC+12:00 and then wish everyone a bonne année in the French territory of New Caledonia.
From Australia to Asia
Next, it’s a 1,350km flight from New Caledonia to Lord Howe Island (Australia), and the lights of Sydney sparkle enticingly in the far distance. You check your Rolex: it’s UTC+10:30. The free fireworks at Darling Harbour in Sydney get better every year, but Brisbane just up the coast also knows how to celebrate with a bang or two. Romantics like to watch the sun rising over Uluru in the red heart of the country as thoughts are already turning along the coast to a day of fun on the beach and barbecues.
But not for you.
At UTC+10:00 you visit Papua New Guinea’s traditional Melanesian festivals and then have just enough time to grab a Bintang beer in Manokwari (Indonesia) at UTC+09:00.
An hour later, the area of Makati in Manila (Philippines) is heaving with clubs pumping out music that makes you want to dance. But you have to fly.
You grab a bun cha to eat from the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) at UTC+07:00, and then visit Yangon (Myanmar), Shigatse (Tibet) and the heights of Kathmandu (Nepal) before it’s UTC+05:45. Sadly, there won’t be time for a Himalayan trek today!
From India to the Americas
Touching down in Lucknow (India) just 15 minutes later, your pilot regales you with tales of the best New Year parties in India.
He recommends the beaches of Goa for the young at heart, houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala for the romantics and Manali in the Himalayas for those who want to spend their time on beautiful white beaches. Before you know it, you’re off again, popping into Lahore (Pakistan), Kabul (Afghanistan), Dubai (U.A.E.), Basra (Iraq) and the holy city of Jerusalem (Israel). At UTC+01:00 you grab a Prosecco in Naples (Italy), before the spices of Casablanca (Morocco) waft under your nose. By UTC–01:00 Mindelo (Cape Verde) provides the springboard for the Americas. The carnival spirit is alive in Fortaleza (Brazil) and Paramaribo (Suriname) provides a welcome drop of rainforest drizzle at UTC-03:00, after being cooped up so long in that jet.
The home leg to Hawaii
Suitably refreshed for the lengthy flight to Newfoundland (Canada), you journey on to the Atlantic beauty spots of Bermuda (an overseas territory of the UK), Maracaibo (Venezuela) and Nassau (Bahamas). At UTC–06:00 the ancient ruins that surround the countryside around Guatemala City (Guatemala) make their presence felt, and an hour later you grab an enchilada and a cerveza in Cabo San Lucas (Mexico).
Time is running out.
You stop at Clipperton Island, an uninhabited 6 km2 coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Unsurprisingly, there’s no party here. But it is an overseas territory of France, so it ticks your box.
It’s now UTC–09:00 and you’ve just touched down in Honolulu (USA). Those grass skirts will just have to wait.
By now, you have visited a total of 32 countries in the space of 48 hours, just in time to enter a brand-new Year.