Margaret River, Western Australia
Just a 3 hour drive from Perth, Australia, Margaret River is world renowned for its sweeping vineyards, looming caves, wave-curling surf and a wildly contrasting landscape that’s polarised between lush beach and rugged countryside. It’s the ideal winter retreat for those who enjoy laid-back sophistication in a hot climate that is not unbearable.
Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
Cruising through the Whitsundays on a Tuesday afternoon in December couldn’t be further from the view of a wet pavement, a tired computer screen or Jeremy Kyle’s face clogging up your line of vision. Between the marble beaches which swirl soft brushes of turquoise along an angel white canvas of pure sand, and the Crayola set of tropical marine life which dance beneath in the Nemo-laden reef, there is little to complain about in Australia’s corner of heaven. A trip to the Whitsundays can be enjoyed at your own pulse, whether you want jaw-dropping adrenaline or toe-numbing comfort, the choice is yours. Spend a day sinking your feet into the coveted sands of one the most beautiful beaches in the world, White Haven, sail, kayak, scuba dive, and party on Airlie beach. One thing you won’t spend time doing is missing home.
The Island Garden City of Samal in the Southern Philippines is an idyllic escape that has yet to be over commercialised like some other parts of south-east Asia, though it is the fastest growing tourist destination in the country. But with that comes better amenities, and there are a range of resorts here to suit every budget, from the thrifty backpacker happy with a hammock and an afternoon read, to the pampering princesses who want to while away their days being treated to endless spa treatments at a fraction of the cost you would pay in the UK. The waters are as clear as those you associate with Bali and Fiji, and their calm temperament makes them ideal for swimming and snorkelling. The Island is renowned for its marine life, including huge crustaceans, shrimp and pearls. If you can tear yourself away from the island, the Philippines have some incredible mountainous terrain to explore.
Most tourists travel to the well-known beaches of Phi Phi and Koh Pha Ngan but if you want a more tranquil retreat, Railey beach on Krabi is where you’ll find it. It has the rock climbing, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking that you expect from most beach retreats but what separates it is its cast away like desertion. So if you’ve always wanted to escape to a beautiful desert island, Railey beach is the summer escape for you.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
What a getaway. Vietnam’s increasingly popular Phu Quoc is ideal for both the holiday lounger and the intrepid traveller. It’s transparent waters weave seamlessly into the white sands that enclose an island which is largely composed of deep forested terrain. Bike through the quiet dirt roads, dive into the crystal clear waters that respite from the blistering sun and sink deep into the coral where you might even catch sight of your evening meal.
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