TAHITI, MARKING 250 YEARS
WHAT: Tahiti celebrates 250 years on the tourist circuit.
WHY: On June 3, Tahiti is marking 250 years since Captain Cook put it on the map. Literally. The islands of French Polynesia are marking the milestone with a series of events. A flotilla from Tahiti Tourisme celebrates Bougainville's arrival in 1768 in Hitia'a and Cook's 1769 mapping of the island at Point Venus, in Matavai Bay.
WHERE: The Pearl Beach Resort offers oceanfront views of the point, from mainland Tahiti.
HOW TO GET THERE: Air Tahiti Nui flies direct from Auckland to Pape'ete, from $990 return.
TOP TIP: French Polynesia is the birthplace of the overwater bungalow. Though these are wonderful, if you want the ultimate overwater experience but don't want to splash out, the best budget bungalow is found on nearby Bora Bora at the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort, from $960 a night.
NADI, TALL MASTS ROUND FIJI
WHAT: Tall masts and desert islands around Fiji.
WHY: Nadi is the New Zealand's favourite destination in the Pacific. If you want a little exclusivity, and to put a bit of water between you and your fellow Kiwis, a sailing trip is a way to combine island-hopping and accommodation.
Even nautical novices can enjoy Wayward Wind charters , which offers private overnight sailings on a crewed vessel between resorts in the Yasawas or Mamanucas.
TOP TIP: For a more sociable sailing, Captain Cook Cruises has a fleet of tall mast ships. The company runs a regular day cruise to the private Tivua Island aboard the Ra Marama. Shiver me timbers!
TONGA, WHALE WATCHERS ARRIVE
WHAT: Dive with gentle giants in Tonga.
WHERE: Head to Tonga for a spot of winter whale-watching. The best time of year to swim with whales is between mid-July and mid-October, which is exactly when you'll be most ready to trade New Zealand's inhospitable winter for some serious island time.
TOP TIP: Dolphin Pacific comes highly recommended. One memorable online review acknowledges that "I had two good days of whale swimming only because Dolphin Pacific found the whales and invited the competition's boat." Book for at least three days of adventure, but the five-day tours are the most popular for a reason.
NIUE, STARGAZING ON THE ROCK
WHAT: Hop the desert islands and go straight to "The Rock".
WHY: Niue has few sandy beaches, but the real delights are found offshore.
The atoll stands on a deep trench, making it a popular stop-off point for whales, dolphins and sports fish.
A partial eclipse on July 2 and the beginning of the whale season is a good omen for tourists hoping to see something spectacular off the coastline. To coincide with the astronomical event, Scenic Matavai Resort has invited Dr Stephen Chadwick of Massey University to host stargazing and a champagne viewing of the eclipse.
TOP TIP: With little sand to speak of you'll need to keep an eye on tide times. That's because there are few ways down to the pools and coral shelves, but also because when the ocean recedes, it exposes variety of snorkelling pools. The Avakii caves are a natural swimming pool in a cathedral-like chasm.
THAILAND, BANGKOK FROM ABOVE
WHAT: The Bangkok Skywalk.
WHERE: Mahankhon Tower, Bangkok.
WHY: The Thai metropolis is a favourite getaway for Kiwis but this year a new highlight opened up on the Bangkok skyline. Visitors first started summitting the newly opened Mahankhon Skywalk in January and the glass-bottomed observation deck has not lost any of its sheen. Tickets from $34.
TOP TIP: Markets are never out of fashion, and new ones are opening up at an alarming rate. Traditionalists will head to the floating market at Damnoen Saduak. However, the Chang Chui Plane Night Market is one of Bangkok's newer arrivals, with aviation-themed stalls and recovered planes. At the centre sits No-ah restaurant in a colossal converted Lockheed L-1011 TriStar jet plane. $90 for a five-course set menu and the best aeroplane food you'll ever eat, although there are plenty of cheap eats beneath the wings.
SOUTH KOREA, SEOUL MUSIC
WHAT: Ultra Korea Music Festival.
WHERE? Seoul Olympic Stadium.
WHY? 2018 was the year North Korea came to South Korea. While Kim and his entourage never quite made it to Seoul, the Korean capital has remained in the spotlight.
From June 7-9, the city hosts the Ultra Korea Music Festival , which is a cultural highlight for K-pop fans, and may go some way to explaining the phenomenon to the uninitiated.
Meat-eaters are in for a treat at the Yeontabal BBQ, south of the river in Gangnam. It's a district that is also known for its high-end shops and club music scene. Yes, the Gangnam of "Gangnam Style" fame.
TOP TIP: Escape from Korea's ultra-modern megalopolis to the timeless natural beauty of the peninsula. Jeju island is described as the Hawaii of the Korean Straits. The "sunrise peak" Seongsan Ilchulbong is an hour's flight from the capital at $60 one way.
SHIMLA, INDIAN SUMMER RETREAT
WHAT: Time travel by rail along the Kalka-Shimla railway.
WHERE: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
The commonly held belief is that from May to July, India is off-limits.
And for most of the country that's true.
A choice between soaring heat and monsoon downpours are enough to put off the hardiest traveller. However, the Northern district of Himachal Pradesh is in its prime. Shimla in particular has a history as the mountain retreat of choice for soft Westerners during the Indian summer.
WHO YOU'LL MEET: Royalty, very probably. The living museum and five-star hotel of the Chapslee Estate is an amazing timewarp back to Kipling's India. Run by the Maharaja of Kapurthala, it's a chintzy relic haunted by the ghosts of garden parties past. In the best way possible.
HOW TO GET THERE: The only way to arrive in style is along the rails of the Kalka-Shimla railway. Book through Indian RCTC for a full plan of fares and rail options.
TOP TIP: For high adventure, the town of Manali is home to India's highest altitude resort. It recently reinvented itself as the adventure capital of the subcontinent with a thriving rafting and paragliding scene.
BALI, BEACH BREEZE
WHAT: Caught on a breeze in Bali's kite season.
WHEN: June through August.
WHY? Bali's dry season is a breath of fresh air in the eternally warm tropics.
From July to August, the Indonesian party island celebrates its tourism high season, with most three million arrivals.
Also carried in on the air are the kites of the annual kite festivals - the main event is on Padanggalak beach, near Sanur.
Kites are big in Bali. Like, 10 metres-across big. The national kite festival is held in Sanur from July 3 to 5, but the season stretches out until the end of October.
TOP TIP: August 17 is Indonesian Independence day. While it's less of an event on the tourist island of Bali, don't plan on getting anywhere fast. Schoolchildren hold street parties and a lot of businesses are closed. Make sure you're well supplied and head to the beach.
ZUHAI BRIDGE, CHINA'S NEW GOLDEN TRIANGLE
WHAT: A road trip with a difference.
WHERE: Zhuhai Bridge on the Pearl River Delta.
WHY? The completion of the massive Zhuhai bridge last year opened up a new 300km loop of road connecting South China's biggest hubs. Sadly, private drivers are not yet able to drive across the bridge. The easiest way of crossing the gulf between China's Special Administrative regions is via a cross-border service such as One Bus. An adult fare is $30 one-way. Yes, it cuts only 30 minutes off the high speed ferry, but the sheer novelty of crossing the world's largest bridge puts it right up there on the to-do list.
Once in Macau, it's time to take in the sights such as the Grand Lisboa casino and the ruins of St Paul's mission. The easiest way to do this is from the top of Macau Tower, the Chinese twin to Auckland's Skytower. Admission is $30 . There's even an outpost of Kiwi bungy company AJ Hackett offering tickets to the world's highest jump at $666.
THE LAST LEG: Guangzhou is just 50 quick minutes away from Hong Kong by bullet train, with a second class seat going for just $28. The Macau-Guangzhou high-speed link is just 20 minutes slower for $16. All this rushing around is sure to build an appetite. Fortunately the city is known as the home of Cantonese food. Consider a dumpling-powered bicycle food tour , to quickly cover ground between Guangzhou's 27 food streets $117.
FUKUOKA, JAPAN'S WATERWORLD
WHAT: Japan, but at a different pace.
WHY? Japan's garden city of blossom-covered castles is worlds away from the neon glow of Tokyo. This is perhaps why the city has been growing as a destination for Kiwi tourists.
It's one of the Rugby World Cup Host cities, and now is the time to see the city at its best if you're not planning on hanging around for the footy.
The Momochi waterfront is full of artificial fluffy sandy beaches, under the Fukuoka tower, Japan's answer to the Gold Coast. A bit further round the bay along the Shima Sunset Road, you'll get a bit closer to nature. Itoshima's Torii Gate and the Wedded Rocks beach sculptures make for the perfect sunset backdrop. It's become a haven for international artists, with regular public events at Studio Kura .
TOP TIP: The Fukuoka Castle ruins are perhaps the best-known landmark of Kyushu island, but if you're looking to do more than dip your toes in historic Japan take a trip to the Yanagawa "city of water." An hour south of Fukuoka, the moated city is full of donko-bune boats punting tourists around the 7th century castle.