5 Warm Destinations To Escape The Winter Chill
Winter has finally arrived and here is the good news – it is time for your annual family vacation to a warm climate destination. Ideally, you would already have all reservations confirmed and are in the midst of counting down the days. But if June has crept up on you without warning, then take a look at woman with drive’s short list of five destinations that are guaranteed to chase the winter blues away.
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Gili Islands, Indonesia
Three islets, each with a distinct personality, make up this Indonesian island paradise on the northwest corner of Lombok. Gili Trawang or Gili T is the largest and most cosmopolitan of the trio with six dive centres, international restaurants and five-star resorts. Gili T is also the party hub among the three islands so expect a little more buzz here.
Gili Air, meanwhile, is more languid but is gradually catching up to Gili T’s international vibe. The smallest of the three islands, Gili Meno, is a favourite for honeymooners and those wanting solitude and seclusion. Accommodation is limited on Gili Meno but it is reputed to have the best beaches.
Whichever island you choose, you will still be treated to powdery white sand, sparkling turquoise water and spectacular sunsets over Bali’s Mount Agung.
French culture and cuisine are intertwined with the laidback charm of an archipelago that is surrounded by a dazzling, heritage-listed lagoon and beautiful islands. New Caledonia’s cosmopolitan capital, Noumea, is renowned as the haute cuisine hub of the South Pacific where its chefs bring together gourmet delights of French and local Melanesian fare.
The beautiful beaches are a swimmer and diver’s paradise while those who prefer to remain dry can take a glass bottom boat excursion to view the stunning underwater world. If you are a family of naturalists or adventurers, the landscape just outside Noumea will thrill you with its rivers, waterfalls, freshwater lakes and mountains. And if you are really lucky, you may even spot New Caledonia’s rare national bird, the Cagou.
A true “all year round” destination, Marrakesh will instantly warm you up with its delicious teas, bustling souks and desert experiences. This traditionally adult destination has adapted to the influx of families with many hotels restyling themselves as family resorts. The city itself straddles first world luxury and old world charm.
Stay outside Medina if you have young children as the city gets overwhelmingly hectic during rush hour. If you are travelling with teenagers, then live like a local in the heart of the city. Explore the main square of Jemaa el-Fna between midday and sundown to watch traditional street dancers and soak up the city’s eclectic vibe. If little feet get tired, ride a horse and cart around the city instead. Pop by one of the beautiful gardens to let the kids run around and if they are up to it, book a short camping trip in the desert.
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The best place to stay in Majorca is at the Finca Sa Rota d’en Palerm, a 28-hectare farm surrounded by pine, almond, orange and fig trees. The house has three double rooms and six flats with private terraces. Breakfast is a highlight here with its elaborate spread of bread, yoghurt, homemade jams, sausages and fresh fruit from the trees.
This retreat’s location in the very centre of Majorca means that it will take you only 30 minutes to reach any point on the island including its best beaches – Es Trenc, Alcudia and Muro. A short drive down the road will take you to Majorca’s oldest market that also offers donkey rides for children. Hop on a bike for a tour around the Majorcan fields, attend the traditional village festivals or have a taste of Majorcan wine in one of the many cellars. And if you choose to spend a day in the Finca, take a dip in the pool or borrow one of the many board games from the main house.
Tropical North Queensland
Australians never have travel too far to soak up the winter sun when Tropical North Queensland promises balmy weather and warm sea from June all through to September. Set up base at Cairns, Arlie Beach or Cape Tribulation to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Go trekking the rainforest in Kuranda, past the waterfalls in Wooroonooran National Park or through the Misty Mountains Rainforest on the traditional trails of the Jirrbal and Mamu Aboriginal people.
If it is a road trip that gets your family excited, take a drive inland on the Savannah Way that stretches from Cairns to the Northern Territory border. Then either continue your vacation in yet another warm Australian state or explore the caves or Undara Volcanic National Park.
Image credits: Gili Paradise, New Caledonia Tourism, Jemaa-El-Fna, Sa Rota d’en Palerm, Destination Daintree and Visit Queensland
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