Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a copy of Nordic Light - offer ends 23 April 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Best affordable travel 2009

New York, London and Paris might be off the itinerary this year, thanks to a world recession and the dire Aussie dollar, but don’t despair. There are still places where our currency can buy lasting memories on a budget.

2010 will be a big year for Turkey as Istanbul assumes the mantle of European Capital of Culture and the country edges closer to EU membership, so go now to avoid the rush and the rising prices. Istanbul, one of the world's most fascinating cities, is the entry point to a kaleidoscopic country blessed with Roman ruins, a captivating Aegean coastline, the underground cities of Cappadocia, the rugged landscapes of Anatolia, and the tragic beauty of Gallipoli. So hot right now: Istanbul, with its unique mix of the ancient and the modern, the secular and the religious, Europe and Asia.

The enduring romance of Egypt's spectacular architecture, art and antiquities places it firmly on most travellers' wish-lists, so go now while prices remain reasonable. Immerse yourself in chaotic, culture-rich Cairo, then follow the pharaohs to the Giza pyramids and the famed temples of Luxor. Take a leisurely felucca ride down the Nile, chill out at a desert oasis, and soak up this enigmatic society that dates to the dawn of civilisation.
So hot right now: The Mediterranean city of Alexandria, Egypt's ancient capital, with its modern library, national museum, Roman amphitheatre and catacombs.

Flights to North America should become more affordable with the debut of V Australia and Delta Air Lines on the Qantas-dominated trans-Pacific route, but our dollar's still a dud against the greenback and the Canadian dollar. Head to Mexico instead, where you'll get good value against the peso - especially outside the capital and the resort-heavy coasts. You'll find bargain beach holidays, rustic villages, colonial grandeur, Aztec and Mayan ruins and friendly locals. So hot right now: Costa Chica on the Pacific coast, especially the surfer enclave of Puerto Escondido where the living is easy and rooms start at about $60 a night.

Indochina is a shoestring traveller's saviour and Cambodia is one of its more fascinating destinations. The former seat of the Khmer Empire was once home to the largest civilisation in South East Asia; the elaborate temple complex at Angkor Wat recalls these former glory days. Avoid the daytime tourist hordes by visiting Angkor at night, when the stone structures are aglow with lights. So hot right now: Cambodia's 61 islands. Fortunately, only a handful have been developed. Koh Rusay, Koh S'dach and Koh Tonsay offer simple lodgings on virgin beaches.

Beyond its packed metropolises, India offers astonishing culture, people and food at every turn, from the desert villages of Rajasthan to the holy towns of Tamil Nadu. Even with the dollar ailing against the rupee, Australian visitors can still live like maharajas. Avoid the gilt-edged palaces and luxe desert camps and opt for the country's wealth of sometimes faded but always character-filled hotels, and feast on superb cuisine for next to nothing. So hot right now: The sprawling central province of Madhya Pradesh, noted for its wildlife, tribal peoples, historic forts and erotic sculpture in Khajuraho.

Rock-bottom fares across the Tasman make this an ideal time to discover our often-forgotten neighbour. New Zealand is much more than bungee jumps and après-ski action; it has a surprisingly sophisticated restaurant scene, more opportunities for daredevil adventure than you can poke a crampon at and truly dazzling natural scenery. Of course, there's the language barrier to overcome, but you'll find it easier after a few glasses of Marlborough's finest. So hot right now: Hawke's Bay, on the east coast of the North Island, brims with wineries, fresh produce and the charming Art Deco streetscapes of Napier.

As international arrivals recede, expect some tempting deals from local operators designed to lure us into our own backyard. Few countries can lay claim to the diversity of experiences available within our own borders, from rainforests and reefs to deserts and a coastline sparkling with beautiful beaches. Not to mention our country's unique Aboriginal heritage, which traces the continent's history back tens of thousands of years. So hot right now: Tasmania's pristine environment, boutique hotels and fine diners continue to capture the world's imagination. Lonely Planet recently nominated the Bay of Fires as 2009's hottest destination.

Bali is booming again. The island resort has rebounded big time after the crippling bomb attacks of 2002 and 2005, restyling itself as a niche- rather than mass-tourism haven but one that is still economical for Australians. A raft of new resorts and villas place equal emphasis on pleasure and security, while thriving restaurants, bars and clubs are adding to Bali's reputation as one of the world's favourite party islands. Behind the fevered spurt in development, Bali remains a tranquil, spiritual sanctuary of great beauty and - importantly - great bargains. So hot right now: Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula, where the stunning cliff tops, reefs and surf beaches are being colonised by first-class resorts such as Bvlgari and Raffles.

Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Best of Italy

Rome, Florence, Naples, the Amalfi... the list of our favour...

Best New Hotels 2009 slideshow

We’ve got the keys to the most fabulous new hotels in the wo...

Burgundy, France: Top soil

“Water can rust iron. Imagine what it does to your insides. ...

Bali's new high

It’s no secret that recent times have been tough for Austral...

New South Wales South Coast

Unsung hero Flashier holiday spots may steal the limelight, ...

Gourmet Barcelona

From the city's best sandwich bar to its favourite charcuter...

Greece's Mani peninsula

Greece’s rugged and bloody Mani peninsula was once a no-go z...

Venice in pictures

Read our story on what to do if you only have 24 hours in Ve...

Great Brittany gallery

Take a walk on the wild side. Follow Brittany’s windswept co...

South African safari lodges gallery

Travelling from the Great Karoo to the Kruger, Emma Ventura ...

Iceland photo gallery

Erase the images of that volcano with the unpronounceable na...

Happy holidays

They’re following the sun and chasing the snow, staying clos...

Kyneton and Castlemaine

Kyneton and Castlemaine were born out of the gold-rush era, ...

Insider's guide to Manly

Breath of fresh air The classic Sydney beachside neighbourho...

The best of New Zealand

Choosing from the bounty of New Zealand's holiday destinati...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.