1. La Traviata on Sydney Harbour
March 24-April 15
First executed in Venice in 1853 to an audience who mocked at the portly “fallen woman” of the title , Verdi’s La Traviata is among today’s most popular operas. Few performances match Opera Australia’s for setting: it drifts below Sydney Harbour Bridge and the opera house
2. Spring Regatta
March 26-April 1
British Virgin Islands
For violent marine with pleasant beaches nearby, nowhere beats the Caribbean. Big spring events are the International Rolex Regatta in St Thomas (March 23-25) and Antigua marine Week (April 29-May 4), but the British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta
3. Elephants in India lecture
Royal Geographical Society, London
Under the protection of Elephant Family , the charity that raises funds for the endangered Asian elephant – messengers the first undertaking into India by cultural tours specialist Martin Randall Travel. Adventurer Mark Shand and historian Charles Allen will talk about elephants in India from the third century BC to the present day; in 2013, Allen will lead a tour there.
4. Follow the forgotten Silk Road
March 31-April 11
Turkmenistan, Central Asia
This is a unusual chance to visit remote Turkmenistan, a country of harsh beauty and bloody history, guided by an expert in Islamic art and archaeology, Emma Dick
5. World Ski & Snowboard Festival
The 10-day extravaganza has become far more than a sporting event: there are open-air concerts, the Whistler Dogfest canine beauty pageant.
6. International garden festival
April 25-October 21
Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
Visitors from all over the world scrutinise 30 gardens devised by an international cast of landscape architects, artists and designers. Interestingly, the gardens variety from the quirky to the cutting-edge – are lit at night.
7. Bicentenary of the rose-red city
Petra, discarded in 1189, was known only by locals. Then, in 1812, when visiting Jordan in mask, the Swiss adventurer and Arabic-speaker Johann Burckhardt investigated the rumours and located the gorge at the entrance to the rock-cut city and cemetery.