SAVE THE REEF
Visit Queensland's Great Barrier Reef
As our boat arrived at Hardy Reef, on the Great Barrier Reef off Airlie Beach in Queensland’s Whitsundays, last year, my eyes filled with tears.
Experiencing the UNESCO world heritage-listed natural wonder up close – both underwater and from the Cruise Whitsundays boat - was a powerful reminder of why we need to fight so hard to protect and preserve the largest living organism on Earth.
Whilst climate change, crown-of-thorns starfish, pollution and human interference have had an impact on the reef's ecosystem, contrary to popular opinion, visiting the reef actually helps in its conservation.
Each visitor pays an Environmental Management charge or ‘reef tax,’ which goes back into day-to-day management of the marine park.
Plus, a visit to the reef is an opportunity to learn directly from passionate locals and educated guides, and then raise public awareness about the health of the Great Barrier Reef and the small lifestyle changes we can make to protect it.
NATURE LOVER'S OASIS
Immerse yourself in nature in Costa Rica
Hailed as the world’s top eco-tourism destination, this Central American nation is a veritable paradise for nature lovers.
Known for its unspoilt beaches, verdant rainforests, misty cloud forests and biodiversity, travellers can spend days trekking through the jungle and spotting macaws, monkeys and sloths, relaxing in the mineral-laden waters of the hot springs or catching waves at hot surf spots Playas Tamarindo or Ostional.
Don’t miss a visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which allows visitors to walk around with their heads in the clouds at the top of a forest canopy surrounded by a abundance of flora and fauna species.
SCENIC SOUTH WEST
Explore Western Australia’s South West
The first time I visited Western Australia’s South West, I couldn’t believe I’d left it so long to explore this truly spectacular part of my own country.
With its world-class wineries, surf beaches and gourmet food, Margaret River has certainly put WA on the world map but, to be honest, it was the lesser-known beachside towns of Yallingup and Dunsborough that won my heart.
Surrounded by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, the laidback surf town Yallingup – three hours south of Perth – and the neighbouring Dunsborough are both home to several well-known spa retreats, hiking trails, thriving arts scenes, wineries and breweries, snorkelling and fishing.
With granite and limestone boulders jutting out into the Indian Ocean, protected opal-coloured bays, white sand beaches and lush surrounds, there is a host of natural wonders to explore.
Don’t miss a dip at the Injidup Natural Spa, a once-hidden gem, which is not so secret anymore thanks to Instagram, but still well worth a visit.
Marvel at the Northern Lights in Norway
There are many places to take in the spectacular light show that is the aurora borealis, but consider a trip to Norway’s Lofoten Archipelago when travel bans are lifted.
With its quaint, painted fisherman’s houses, deep fjords and beaches with water that could easily rival the Caribbean, this is an idyllic winter holiday destination and one of the best places to see the otherworldly northern lights from October through to March.
The postcard-perfect Lofoten Islands, north of the Arctic circle within the waters of the Norwegian Sea, are just beneath the auroral oval, a belt of light that encircles the geomagnetic poles, so they provide some of the best chances of seeing this phenomenon.