Chinese New Year 2019, Year of the Pig: 10 pig-themed travel experiences

SYDNEY LUNAR FESTIVAL AUSTRALIA

Chinese New Year, on February 5, ushers in the Year of the Pig. See Qian Jian Hua's show-stopping pig lantern next to the Sydney Opera House – it's one of Sydney Lunar Festival's awe-inspiring sculptural installations depicting the zodiac animals. When the now Sydney-based artist was 15, he was decentralised to a farm during the Chinese Cultural Revolution where he kept the pigs safe. The lanterns, some of which are three storeys high, light up Circular Quay until February 10. Keep an eye out, too, for 15 "roving pigs" spreading good luck throughout the precinct. See sydneylunarfestival.com

SWIMMING PIGS THE BAHAMAS

The Bahamas is home to two drifts of Insta-famous swimming pigs – one set of porky castaways is in the Exumas, not far from Nassau, and the others live on No Name Cay in the northern Abaco Islands. Intrepid offers a seven-day sailing trip that includes dropping in on the Abaco pigs, which are fed and watered by a volunteer, Craig "the Pig Whisperer" Russell, from neighbouring Green Turtle Cay. See intrepidtravel.com

BEARDED PIGS MALAYSIA

Gaya Island Resort, a 15-minute speedboat ride across the South China Sea from Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu, is home to long-tailed macaques, the elusive proboscis monkey – and families of wild bearded pigs. You might see them snuffling around the open-air restaurant at Tavajun Bay, a five-minute boat ride around a headland from the resort that clings to a jungle-clad hillside. Look out for them trotting along the sand as you sip a tropical sundowner at the resort. See gayaislandresort.com

ARTY PORK BELLY TAIWAN

Visitors to Taipei's impressive National Palace Museum flock to gawk at two tiny sculptures: Jadeite Cabbage, which incorporates a locust and katydid within its shiny leaves, and Meat-shaped Stone – a piece of banded jasper carved into the shape of a luscious chunk of dongpo pork (pork belly). The Qing dynasty craftsman who shaped the stone stained its top layer red so it resembles pig skin crowning layers of meat and fat. See npm.gov.tw

MEET WINERY PIGS AUSTRALIA

Holm Oak Vineyards in Tasmania's Tamar Valley is renowned for small-parcel wines but visitors often make a beeline to feed apples to the resident pigs. For many years, there was just one – the larger-than-life Pinot 'd' Pig – but now he has pint-sized company. "Pinot Junior and Mayonnaise are a third of his size," says winemaker Bec Duffy. "We bought Pinot Senior as a miniature pig but he grew quite large." (S)wine enthusiasts can also pose with a pig sculpture at Piggs Peake Winery in the Hunter Valley. See holmoakvineyards.com.au piggspeake.com

STAY AT THE PIG ENGLAND

Make like a slothful swine at one of England's thoroughly charming Pig hotels. The boutique chain, known for its shabby-chic style, bucolic locations, kitchen gardens and restaurants, has five properties scattered across the south coast counties of Hampshire, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. A sixth Pig, set to open in May, is being fashioned from a 17th-century red-brick manor in Kent that was a venue for bands including Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. See thepighotel.com

PEPPA PIG US AND CHINA

The world's first Peppa Pig World of Play opened within Shanghai's LC Mall in 2018. Young fans of the much-loved animated TV show can explore 10 indoor play areas, including Peppa's Family House and Treehouse, the Supermarket and Madam Gazelle's School Bus. This month, a second play centre (with 14 themed areas) will open in Grapevine, near Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas. A third is slated for Michigan. See peppapigworldofplay.com

CUDDLE A PIG AUSTRALIA

Happy Pig Farm, on the outskirts of Stanthorpe in Queensland's Granite Belt, provides farm-stay guests with opportunities to meet its "cuddle pigs" and lambs. At Blackwattle Farm at Beerwah, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, you can stay in a cabin or tiny house and meet the menagerie, which includes miniature pigs. See happypigfarm.com.au, blackwattlefarm.com.au

PIG MUSEUM GERMANY

An administrative building for Stuttgart's former slaughterhouse now houses the world's biggest pig museum. Explore the 50,000-plus permanent objects – including piggy banks, painted pigs and plush piglets – in 25 themed rooms, plus others devoted to temporary exhibitions, before hitting the beer garden for delicacies such as suckling pig or pork knuckle. See schweinemuseum.de

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ARTY PIGS AUSTRALIA

Il Porcellino is a larger-than-life bronze boar squatting outside Sydney Hospital on Macquarie Street. The replica, gifted to the city in 1968, is a copy of a 17th-century sculpture in Florence. Both pigs' snouts have been burnished golden, thanks to a legend that rubbing them will bring good luck. Four bronze pigs enliven Adelaide's Rundle Mall. Marguerite Derricourt's A Day Out includes a pig that appears to rummage in a garbage bin. See cityartsydney.com.au rundlemall.com

Katrina Lobley was a guest of Intrepid Travel and Gaya Island Resort.

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