lifestyle

6 surprising places you should visit in 2015.

Mazda3
Thanks to our brand partner, Mazda3

Six holiday destinations that are secretly awesome.

London, Paris and Rome are nice, obviously. But there are a whole heap of surprising, undiscovered places you’ve probably never even thought about visiting – and guess what? They’ll probably end up becoming your new favourites.

I’ve come up with a list of my top six suggestions of places you should maybe, probably, DEFINITELY visit this year – as soon as possible.

Each one of these places are special to me, and they are places I either keep coming back to, or plan on going back to as soon as annual leave/money allows.

I’m sure you’ll be just as hooked.

“I’ve come up with a list of my top six suggestions of places you should maybe, probably, DEFINITELY visit this year – as soon as possible.”

1. Griffith, NSW.

Full disclosure – Griffith is my hometown, so maybe I’m a little biased.

Growing up, I couldn’t wait to leave, but now I’ve left I see what an awesome little place it really is.

It’s 600-odd km from Sydney in the Riverina district. The population is super multicultural, so there’s the most delish Italian food you can get outside of Italy. It’s a wine region, so there are cellar doors galore. And once a year, they even have an event called The Festival of the Sausage (I’m not making that up).

Plus, you can still get a cider at the pub for like $5, so that in itself is a reason to go.

2. Canberra, ACT.

Our nation’s capital gets a bad rap – and I have to admit that I used to be one of those people who would scoff at it.

But now, I have a close friend AND my sister living there, so I’m a frequent visitor, and a big fan.

It’s like a cute country-town/city hybrid. There’s Cockington Green and Questacon. There’s wineries nearby, plus loads of cool bars and restaurants.

There’s more to ‘berra than just pollies in blue ties, people.

“It’s like a cute country-town/city hybrid. There’s Cockington Green and Questacon. There’s wineries nearby, plus loads of cool bars and restaurants.”

3. Mount Gambier, SA.

A few years ago my partner insisted on swinging into town while we were en route to Adelaide, and I was sceptical. I thought it was going to be just a little country town in the middle of nowhere.

But you guys, Gamby is awesome. They have this crazy turquoise blue lake. They have all these weird sinkholes with gardens in the middle. Plus the people are really nice. I’d love to go back next time I’m up that way and if you get the chance, definitely pay it a visit.

ADVERTISEMENT

4. Anywhere in Fiji that’s NOT a resort.

Everyone knows Fiji is basically paradise, with crazy-beautiful beaches and some of the world’s friendliest people. But it’s the parts that are off the tourist trail that are really worthwhile.

I went to Fiji on a family holiday a few years back and we lasted a few days at a resort before packing up, jumping on a dilapidated local bus and going cross country. And it was the best possible decision.

We discovered places tourists hardly ever go and saw the grittier, real side of the country. I loved it so much I’m planning to get married there next year – and I’ll be keeping the time spent in a generic tourist resort to a minimum.

“It’s the parts that are off the tourist trail that are really worthwhile.”

5. Sapa, Vietnam.

Sapa is beautiful – it is filled with green rolling hills, rice terraces and a cute town centre. But the biggest appeal is the people.

Sapa is home to the H’mong people – and they are experts at convincing you to buy their trinkets. Be prepared for them to literally follow you around town, but don’t worry – they are as good at comedy as they are at handicrafts, so it’ll be entertainment in itself. Expect chants of “no money, no honey” and hilariously awkward references to your sex life.

6. Casablanca, Morocco.

Pretty much zero tourists go to Casablanca because they all head for its flashier cousins, Fez and Marrakech. But if you miss this city, you’re going to kick yourself.

Ever seen the movie Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman? Then you NEED to head to the upmarket, Casablanca-inspired restaurant, Rick’s Café. It’s decked out just like the movie (they even have a piano player who’ll play As Time Goes By) and it’s honestly like stepping back into the ‘40s.

Plus, it’s got the seventh largest mosque in the world and the best homewares shopping outside of Marrakech, minus the crowds. Win.

What’s your best holiday experience? And do you want to go next?

For some more destination inspiration check out some of the New York Times top 2015 travel spots.

Want more? How about these:

My comfort zone was the size of my couch, until I did this.

BEAUTY: The best travel makeup bag ever. EVER.