Beach Treats

4 April 2016

There's a definite chill in the air. Autumn has arrived and winter is well on its way. Here's to avoiding dragging out the winter woolies with a roundup of some of our favourite beach destinations.

Bali

With its glamorous beachside hangouts, affordable luxuries and sprawling private villas nestled in tranquil gardens; Bali proves time and time again it's a winner when it comes to beach holidays. This perennially popular destination is a mecca for Aussies seeking sun, surf and sand, and Indonesia's island jewel is a land of excitement and contrasts. Ancient temples and yoga retreats lend Bali a languid tone; party hubs such as Kuta pulse with the high spirits of sun-kissed revellers; and there's myriad water pursuits to make a splash in Bali's brilliant blue seas.

Travel Inspiration Bali is perfect for glamorous getaways or intrepid itineraries

Couples will love...

  • Snuggling up at a private candlelit beachfront dinner
  • Sailing in a luxury catamaran to Nusa Lembongan
  • Cooking up a storm at a Balinese culinary school

Families will love...

  • Slipping and sliding at Waterbom Park
  • Visiting Ubud's Sacred Monkey Forest
  • High-ropes and zip-line thrills in Bali Botanical Gardens

Friends will love...

  • Relaxing in a private villa, complete with pool and butler service
  • Spending a day at the ultra-glam Potato Head Beach Club
  • Exploring Tegallalang rice terraces by bicycle

Fiji

Images of Fiji often have a knack of stopping you in your tracks and wondering if it's all real. That sapphire water, sugar-white sand, the idyllic sway of soaring palms and infectious grins of local children frolicking in the sea... It's all authentic and more magical than you could ever have imagined. With one third of its archipelago uninhabited, it's not hard perfecting dreamy island bliss, whether it's lounging by your resort's infinity pool, coming face-to-face with luminous tropical fish beneath the surface or exploring Fiji's lush, green 'salad bowl'.

Travel Inspiration Lazy days in Fiji

Couples will love...

  • Strolling Fiji's Garden of Eden for a dip in the emerald green pools
  • A scenic helicopter flight over Fiji's diverse landscapes
  • Couples massage overlooking the ocean

Families will love...

  • White-water on the Upper Navua River (ages seven and up)
  • Kayaking through serene waters in the Yasawa Islands
  • Traversing Fiji's mountain ranges on a quad bike tour

Friends will love...

  • Tranquillity and cultural immersion on a Sigatoka River safari
  • A night on the town in Suva
  • Catching waves at Frigate Passage, an offshore reef break in Viti Levu

How to: choose your perfect holiday spot


Phuket

Where do you go if you're looking for an island paradise, relaxed retreat and party capital all rolled into one? Phuket is arguably Thailand's – if not Asia's – most beloved destination for a fun-filled break. From raucous cabaret shows to beachfront bars, Phuket may be best known for its dizzying array of nightlife, but there's so much more to write home about than lounging by your resort's pool after a night out in Patong. Architecture buffs will love exploring the Chinese-influenced facades in Phuket Town, while beach bums have their pick of quieter stretches of sand in Karon or Kata.

Travel Inspiration A picture of paradise

Couples will love...

  • A sunset dinner cruise on a Chinese junk boat
  • Canoeing through the caves of Phang Nga Ba
  • Unwinding together with a Thai massage

Families will love...

  • Visiting the Phuket Trickeye Museum
  • Zorbing at Rollerball
  • Snorkelling at Ao Sane

Friends will love...

  • Club hopping along Bangla Road
  • A sun-drenched day trip to Phi Phi Island
  • Hitting the golf green of Blue Canyon Country Club

Honolulu

For many, Honolulu is their first taste of 'aloha'. This Oahu capital is the gateway to the Hawaiian islands and serves up a veritable mixed plate of good vibes, Polynesian history and tropical kitsch. There are historical monuments to see, multi-ethnic dishes to try and shopping to be done, but its biggest drawcard is the beach. Waikiki is its most famous, holding its own with rolling waves and lively shores against the monolithic Diamond Head, but venture beyond the popular enclave for a calmer slice of serenity, where it's just you and the big blue.

Travel Inspiration Honolulu is always a winner

Couples will love...

  • Shopping up a storm at the outlet malls or Ala Moana Center
  • Hiking up to Diamond Head at sunrise
  • Swapping the bustle of Waikiki for the uncrowded shores of Lanikai Beach

Families will love...

  • Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay
  • Dining at the Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki
  • Learning how to surf or stand-up paddle board on Waikiki Beach

Friends will love...

  • Hitting forested trails in the misty Ko'olau Range
  • Nightlife around Chinatown
  • Having a few Mai Tais at The House Without a Key

Cook Islands

Dreamy Cook Islands is the very embodiment of paradise. This South Pacific archipelago will make any sun seeker swoon, with brilliant blue lagoons, sandy stretches with no footprints other than your own and a lush interior of diverse tropical wilderness. Activities abound, and you can do it all or nothing at all – a spread of resorts and bungalow settings can cater to your every whim. Not to mention, you'll arrive as a friend and leave as a family member – the Cook Islands hospitality is legendary.

Travel Inspiration Aitutaki Lagoon is picture perfect

Couples will love...

  • Progressive dining
  • Swimming at Vai Nauri
  • Cruising Aitutaki Lagoon

Families will love...

  • An evening at the Te Vara Nui cultural dinner and show
  • Snorkelling at Muri Beach
  • A Koka Lagoon cruise, complete with entertainment and lunch

Friends will love...

  • Cave swimming at Vai Tango near Ngatiarua Village
  • Shopping for traditional snacks at Punanga Nui Market
  • Nightlife tours in a converted party bus

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


Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.