Sampling A Turkish Delight With Photographer Melissa Findley

Gold Coast-based lifestyle and travel photographer Melissa Findley recently went on her first trip to Turkey on a hop-on, hop-off Turkey Aegean Adventure tour with Busabout. The eight-day tour took in all the hotspots of Turkey and through her lens, Instagrammer Melissa (@melissafindley) captured all the colours and textures that made her fall in love with this East-meets-West destination in Europe. Here’s her take on Turkey.

 A snapshot of Istanbul.

As this was your first trip to Turkey, what were your expectations?

I have a couple of close friends who travel extensively and have visited Turkey in the past few years, all of whom absolutely loved it and individually said it was a highlight of Eastern Europe.  Through social media sharing, I have, of course, seen a lot of Cappadocia and Pamukkale (both of which are quite popular), so myexpectations to fall in love with Turkey were quite real.

 Melissa wanders the ruins of Ephesus.

What surprised you about Turkey?

How much I never wanted to leave. How diverse and overwhelming beautiful the landscape is. How well preserved some of the ancient sites were. I grew up obsessed with ancient history, so exploring and learning more about these ancient sites and cities was a major highlight for me.

 Sailing ships and the clear, blue Aegean Sea.

What were some of the places you visited in Turkey with Busabout?

Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pergamum, Pamukkale, Saklikent Gorge, Fethiye and the 12 islands while onboard the three-night Aegean Sail trip.

 A starry night at Saklikent Gorge.

What was your favourite photo of your travels in Turkey?

Oh, it’s always so hard to choose favourites! Perhaps, the night sky and shooting star at Saklikent Gorge.

 Leaping into the Aegean.

What were your highlights of the trip?

Everything - is this answer considered cheating? I think so. But, I really do mean it – everything!


A quintessential Aussie experience in Turkey. Experience Anzac Day in Gallipoli

Take a dip. A Guide To Istanbul's Turkish Baths


 Soaking up the salt and rays at Pamukkale.

Any things you wished you'd done or had more time to do?

More time in the treehouse escape at Saklikent Gorge would have been dreamy and definitely, definitely more time at Pamukkale. I also wish that I could have jumped on the next leg of the Busabout tour heading towards Capadoccia – it looks magical there!

 Turkish tea at the Istanbul markets.

Most memorable meal?

Everything on board the ‘Solada 3’ Turkish gullet cruise boat. The chef makes the most incredible traditional Turkish vegetarian cuisine. Oh and the gözleme from a small village just behind Ephesus. Spinach and cheese gözleme for lunch and then an after-lunch-lunch of banana and nutella ‘pancakes’. Yum!

 Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli.

What were some of the standout activities you did?

The Busabout tour was an amazing way to see Turkey. Some of the standout activities would be standing on the shore on ANZAC Cove, which was a very surreal feeling.  I also really enjoyed the Turkish bath (followed by tea and an oil massage), the ancient ruins of Ephesus and the Pergamum Acropolis. Sleeping overnight in a treehouse and tube-rafting down the icy river of Saklikent Gorge the next morning, basking in the sun and healing waters of the calcium pools of Pamukkale, and jumping off the boat each morning into the aqua waters of the Aegean Sea were some other standout activities for me. I had the absolute time of my life in Turkey and I am seriously planning my next trip back ASAP.

 Capturing picture-perfect images of the islands and coastlines of the Aegean.

What do you look for when capturing travel images?

I try to capture an essence of what makes the destination unique - the landscape, the people, the food, the colours, the textures, even the smells or scents. The time of day is really important: early mornings, sundown and late nights for me. As a landscape and travel photographer who primarily revolves her time around these parts of the day, sometimes watching a beautiful sunset go past through the bus window was challenging, but it was also nice to sit back and appreciate the incredible view.

 Capturing the details inside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Any photography tips?

This is my most commonly asked question. A response I find resonates with most is when I explain it’s crucial to slow down and think about what attracts you to a scene in the first place and then photograph that. If a subject appeals to you, photograph it for you. Even if you have a strong interest in landscape and/or travel photography, allow yourself to think outside the norm and let your artistic and creative instincts take over. Lastly, get the shot you are happy with, and then sit back and appreciate the present moment.

 CA treehouse escape at Saklikent Gorge.

One more thing...

Teşekkür ederim Türkiye (‘thank-you Turkey’), Flight Centre Australia and Busabout Europe for the trip of a lifetime!

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Turkey.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.