Finding new beaches, snowfields and historic towns to visit was a huge trend in 2014. Port Macquarie and Hobart welcomed a surge of visitors, with Queenstown and Auckland among the New Zealand favourites last year.
Travel is the escape many of us crave. It gives us time to stop and reflect, to relax and catch up on quality time with family and friends. With the New Year still fresh in our minds, now’s a great time for holiday planning. But where to next?
Here’s five of our top places to travel to in 2015.
1. Tasmania for wilderness
Places people couldn’t stop raving about last year included the Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay, Tamar Valley, Sapphire Freycinet, Cradle Mountain and MONA – all conveniently located in Australia’s most southern island state.
Tasmania has rightfully earned its place on the Lonely Planet’s 2015 top destinations list. As the ‘Fourth Top Destination to Visit’, it was only edged out by the famous Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, Rocky Mountain National Park in the US and the Toledo district in Belize. Lonely Planet also named the Three Capes Track on the Tasman Peninsula as the planet’s newest 82km coastal walk to open late 2015.
See the region at its best between February to June and September to November.
2. Mudgee, New South Wales for food and wine
Food and wine tourism is set to boom in 2015. In Mudgee, it’s all about the September Food and Wine Festival. With over 35 individual cellar door outlets to relish across the region, it’s well worth your while taking a week to sit down and taste test them all. Or, for a weekend visit to Mudgee, you can sit down during the October long weekend for an unforgettable food and wine experience.
Keep an eye on the event’s Facebook page for more details and instructions on where to purchase tickets. Mudgee is a three and half hour drive north-west of Sydney.
3. Wanaka, New Zealand for skiing
Wanaka is near several excellent ski areas and these get exceptionally busy in the winter months (so book early if you’re going). When the weather warms up, Lake Wanaka is perfect for an unhurried weekend getaway, an outdoor adventure, a leisurely family holiday or a photographer’s dream trip.
In the springtime, the sunshine warms and lengthens the days, the outdoor restaurant tables fill with the sounds of holiday chatter, and the lake’s sparkles hint towards days of lazing with the family.
It’s still cold enough up on the mountains to take everyone skiing and snowboarding, but the temperatures are warm and the slopes free of winter crowds. Queenstown Airport is the international gateway into Wanaka, or go through Christchurch and Dunedin Airports which are within a five hour drive with bus services and car rentals available.
4. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia for snorkelling
Exmouth is home to what should be an eighth natural wonder of the world, the heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. Here is where you’ll see rainbow coral glittering from the ocean floor during snorkelling, scuba diving, shark diving and glass boat tours best enjoyed from April through to July.
Turtle eggs hatch between January and March along the coastline’s protected bays and lagoons, and there’s over 300 kilometres of white beaches and crystal clear turquoise lagoons to choose from. For whale watchers, the best vantage points in the Exmouth Gulf are from September to November.
Getting to Exmouth is best broken up into a two or three night drive from Perth. On day one, drive from Perth to Carnarvon (approx. 905 kilometres). Exmouth is about another 307 kilometres north from there.
5. Nadi, Fiji for swimming
Nadi is the centre of Fiji’s entertainment and tourism industry. This cultural melting pot boasts fun nightclubs and offers an insight into both the relaxed and hustle-bustle life of Fijians.
A great place for the kids, Fijian hospitality is warm and welcoming to all tourists big and small, and should be on your cheap short break radar from October to early December 2015. A complete range of local and international culinary delights is available in Nadi town. Reflecting the country’s multi-ethnicity, the Nadi market offers the chance to grab handicrafts for a bargain. Plus, it has arguably some of the world’s most beautiful stretches of coastline.
Where will you be travelling this year?