These travel destinations are HOT in both senses – there’s plenty going on in September and the weather is fine – it’s time to sneak in some late summer travel action!
The biggest beer festival in the world kicks off once again in Munich and this year promises to be bigger than last year! The Bavarian city of Munich is preparing to host the 180th Munich Oktoberfest from Saturday 21 September to 6 October. Curious travellers can expect sixteen days of unadulterated eating and drinking and over six million people are expected to attend. Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses are a must!
Don’t skip the cultural sights of Munich either; gaze in awe at the handsome Frauenkirche Church which was built in 1240, admire the Gothic revival New Town Hall which was started in 1867 and chill out in Munich’s prettiest park; the peaceful English Garden, which actually contains a Chinese pagoda and Greek temple!
Australia’s third city Brisbane is buzzing this month thanks to the biennial Brisbane Festival, which takes place from 7 to 28 September this year. The capital of Queensland State first held the festival in 1996 and it’s grown to incorporate Riverfestival and the historic Warana Festival. Visitors can expect music, theatre, dance, circus, comedy and cabaret. There’s the world premiere of Freeze Frame, a brand new theatre production of The Wizard of Oz and comedy courtesy of Northern Soul.
If you find yourself with some down time, check out the city beach, gardens and lagoons of South Bank Parklands. Browse the exhibits at the Gallery of Modern Art and get active on the Brisbane River where you can try stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and abseiling.
If you watched Tom Hardy’s Poaching Wars on TV recently you’ll appreciate just how much trouble these creatures are in ecologically. Hunted almost to the brink of extinction, the majority of the remaining rhinos can be spotted in South Africa. Use a local reputable tour operator for your safari and game drives and time your visit to coincide with World Rhino Day on 22 September. In particular the Kruger National Park is one of the few locations in South Africa to sport the ‘Big 5’ "Big Five" of lion, leopard, rhinoceros, African elephant and Cape buffalo.
During September the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam celebrates both its Independence Day and also the Mid-Autumn Festival. Each year on 2 September, the entire country marks its independence from France in 1945. It’s a national holiday and the local Vietnamese take to the streets to watch the vibrant fireworks displays, take part in gatherings and meet up with family. The two most poignant locations to observe Independence Day within Hanoi are at Ba Dinh Square where former president Ho Chi Minh read the declaration of independence in 1945. The other is within the sombre Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, in the heart of the city, where Uncle Ho lays embalmed whilst devotees (and curious tourists) shuffle past his body and pay respects.
Then on 19 September Vietnam celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival which is known locally as Tết Trung Thu. This is the second most important holiday to the Vietnamese (after New Year) where he country comes together to pay thanks for the harvest and look forward to the coming season.
Labor Day in the US signals the unofficial start of the fall (autumn) season when the wines are at their best, the state fairs are in full swing and the trees start their colourful descent towards winter. September is the perfect time to explore the US; the students have gone back to school and college, the weather is generally pleasant without being scorching hot or freezing cold and there’s plenty to see and do. And back to that stunning fall foliage – top spots to witness the vivid reds, opulent oranges and vibrant yellows is within the White Mountains of New Hampshire, perennial favourite Vermont and New England of course!
The small village of Fressingfield in Suffolk packs an impressive musical-punch each September with its acclaimed Fressingfield Music Festival. Running from 24 to 28 September, it’s now in its ninth year. This is considered one of the best music events in the world and hosts world class musicians, covering classical and jazz genres. This year has an equally impressive line-up of performers, including the superb flautist Stephen Preston who opens the festival. Popular concert pianist Meng Yang Pan returns to perform, as does the lively Jazz Dynamos. The Commonwealth Orchestra closes proceedings with pieces from Vivaldi and Elgar.
Papua New Guinea
The culturally diverse country of Papua New Guinea really comes alive each September with the colourful and traditional Goroka Show. Held annually since 1957, the festival celebrates the various different communities across the country. Today the event is largely aimed at tourists, with over 100 different tribes from the highlands putting on displays of dancing, music and ancient tribal rituals. The Goroka Show runs from 13 to 15 September, with the festivities then focussed on Papua New Guinea’s National Independence day on 16 September. Expect more partying and traditional fun.