One of the advantages of getting older is that – with any luck – the children have fled the nest and you now have more time on your hands. Add to that the fact that if you are now retired with a reasonable pension coming in you have both the time and the money to do things that you probably only ever dreamed about when the family still lived at home.
You may perhaps think that although you can now take the holiday of a lifetime there is an element of “oh, we shouldn’t really do that” which stops you from taking the plunge. But, for heaven’s sake, why not?
You’ve got the time. You’ve got the money. So why not just go for it?
Just to tempt you, here are our suggestions for places to visit that you have probably never considered in your wildest dreams. Most of them are a long flight away, but just see what awaits you!
Places To Visit This Spring
Yes, this is about as far as you can go. Tasmania is an idyllic place for nature lovers. Some 40% of the country is protected as National Parks and reserves. The air is clear, and a lot of the land is untouched. You can explore the rugged cliffs of the coastline, see incredible waterfalls, and walk – or drive – through primeval looking forests.
Cradle Mountain in is the central highlands area of Tasmania and rises to just over 5,000’. It is covered in alpine and sub-alpine vegetation including deciduous beech – unusual when you consider that most of the Australian flora is evergreen. Here you can see wombats, Tasmanian Devils, and pademelons, while eagles and peregrine falcons nest on the cliff tops.
Hobart is the capital and is also the second oldest city in Australia, but a visit to Launceston, which is the second city, lets you see Cataract Gorge where the Esk River flows into the city centre, and is the gateway to the Tamar Valley wineries.
December to February is the Tasmanian summer with temperatures typically around the 21ºC mark.
No visit to Peru is complete without a trip to Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel high in the Andes Mountains. Built in the 15th century, it is composed of huge blocks of stone using no mortar. Nobody knows its’ original purpose.
Take a luxury cruise on the Amazon or visit Lake Titicaca which has a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Explore the Sacred Valley of Urubamba where you can enjoy the Inca ruins and wander around the colourful markets displaying traditional handicrafts.
The capital city of Lima offers pre-Inca ruins and amazing colonial architecture. Here you will find great Peruvian seafood (the city is on the coast), good shopping, museums and art galleries, and a busy night life.
The rainy months are from January to March. From April to November the weather is generally bright and sunny.
Lying southwest of India and Sri Lanka, the Maldives is a chain of 26 islands and is the smallest Asian country with a total population of less than 400,000. The capital is Male in the centre and is traditionally known as the King’s Island. The largest industry here is by far and away fishing, but over the last 30 years tourism has been booming.
If you like white sandy beaches and palm trees, then the Maldives is the place to go. There is a great choice of island resorts, and you can easily visit two in a fortnight break. Many of the islands have a plethora of marine life, but if diving and snorkelling is not your “thing” a number of the hotels have a “house reef” accessible from the beach. There may be a man-made underwater restaurant, underwater spa, or underwater music club.
Temperatures average 25ºC to 30ºC and the peak season is December to April.
Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world and is a wondrous place full of gadgets and “sci-fi” type gizmos. It has great shopping, 24 hour karaoke bars, but also houses lakes, beaches, hot springs, temples, and amazing Japanese gardens around the city.
From Tokyo on a clear day can be seen Mount Fuji. It is one of the country’s three “sacred mountains” and every year is visited by thousands of pilgrims who make their way to the snow-covered top. At 12,388 feet that does take a certain amount of dedication.
If you prefer to see your traditional view of Japan, then go to Kyoto which is almost the opposite of Tokyo. In the geisha area of Gion you will find traditional tea houses and merchant houses, and the city has perfect temples, beautiful zen gardens, and stunning geishas. Kyoto is known for its’ vegetarian restaurants, for woodblock paintings, and for Zen Buddhist temple cuisine.
The best time to visit Japan is in the spring, from March to May, when you will see the cherry trees in blossom.
New Zealand North Island
The North Island of New Zealand is sub-tropical, but you need to be prepared for sudden changes in the weather since tropical cyclones, or cold fronts can develop quickly.
In the North Island you can visit the Rotorua, Taupo, and Central Region where you can enter a wonderland of erupting geysers and bubbling pools of sulphur at Wai-O-Tapu.
Hire a campervan and wander from Wellington to Auckland – or the other way around – stopping wherever you please. Go whale watching and see the dolphins on the Bay of Islands & Coromandel. Take a one-day trip to Tongariro Crossing which has a reputation as one of the world’s top ten scenic views. Just make certain that you always have your camera with you, because you will certainly need it.
Best time to visit the North Island of New Zealand is December to February when the weather is warmest.
So there you have it: our top five picks for an exotic holiday. Go on – book one. You know you deserve it.