For Active Adventurers
Just two hours from Sydney, Surf Camp Australia is designed for surfers of all levels and teaches paddling, standing up, riding the waves and surf etiquette. Later, kick back in the purpose-built Surf Camp a short walk from the beach, with a swimming pool, hammocks and Aussie barbecues in the evenings.
On Hawaii’s Big Island, active types can pedal along white sand beaches, traverse lava fields or ascend volcanoes on Ride & Seek and Big Island Bike Tours’ cycling adventure. Take the adrenaline rush up a notch with a pit stop for cliff-jumping, then soak in the naturally heated tide pools of Kapoho.
Hike the picturesque peaks of the Caucasus in Georgia, through alpine meadows, over roaring rivers and along green valleys with Walks Worldwide’s Where Europe meets Asia trip Gape at the breathtaking views atop the 3,430m Atsunta Pass before returning to the capital, Tbilisi, for a spot of sightseeing.
For Wellness Seekers
- DIGITAL DETOX
Get off the grid at The Ranch at Live Oak, Malibu (one week all-inclusive from AED 25,000; 001-310-457 8700, theranchmalibu. com) where there’s no phone signal or Wi-Fi, allowing you to live in the moment without the distractions of technology. The daily bootcamp features a routine of sustainable activity including group hiking, yoga sessions and fitness classes, after which the last thing on your mind will be sitting in front of a computer screen.
Set in the Himalayan foothills in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, Vana Malsi Estate (?ve-night retreat from AED 6,850; 0091-135-391 1111, vanaretreats.com) is a modern ashram-cum-spa retreat sitting on 21 acres of forested land. Activities include private and group yoga, hiking, om chanting and spa treatments. Vana doesn’t follow a particular school of yoga but goes back to the roots of the science and includes body postures (aasan), meditation (dhyan), breath control (pranayam) and nutrition to help guests de-stress and recharge.
Enjoy up-close encounters with mountain gorillas in the lush greenery of their natural Ugandan habitat while aiding conservation efforts with The Great Projects (13 nights from AED 14,080; 0044-208-885 4987, thegreatprojects.com/projects/the-great-gorilla-project). Volunteers work with local communities on tree-planting and reforestation efforts in and around the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a sanctuary that is home to half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas, as well as assisting in a pedal-powered film session to educate remote schools and communities about the importance of conservation.
Help replant coral reefs in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, with the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (two weeks all- inclusive from AED 6,140; 0060-198- 50 5412, tracc.org) where you’ll be taught scientific diving techniques and methods for planting corals and rebuilding a reef alongside scientists. Also on the cards: turtle and shark conservation, which includes patrolling the beaches to protect adult turtles, eggs and hatchlings – then dive with them off Pom Pom Island
For Creative Types
- MUSIC & DANCE
For those who like to make a song and dance about their travels, Cuba is the ideal spot. Get caught up in the rumba of Havana, join in salsa classes in Trinidad then learn to play traditional Cuban music and record your own track with local musicians in Santiago de Cuba with Responsible Travel’s Cuba music & dance holiday (nine days from AED 5,510; 0044-1273-82 3700, responsibletravel.com). Both adults and little ones will be wowed by the colourful architectures, vintage cars, Latin beats and friendly locals.
Get snap happy in Marrakech with Creative Escapes’ Morocco photo tour (?ve days from AED 5,195; 0044-207-111 1293, creative-escapes.co.uk/photomorocco), which takes in the bustling souks, Atlas Mountains, traditional Berber villages and gardens of Yves Saint Laurent’s
home, with a team of experts offering live photography demonstrations, creative tuition and challenging assignments for all ages and levels.
- FINE ART
Put brush to canvas on an Andalucian painting holiday with Authentic Adventures (seven nights from AED 7,830; 0044-1453- 82 3328, authenticadventures.co.uk) in the village of Alajar, with its rolling pastures, charming cobble-stone squares and stone houses with wrought-iron balconies and ancient doorways. Paint under the shade of an oak tree, with tips and guidance from professional tutors, and beam with pride, glass of bubbles in hand, at the informal exhibition of your work at the end of the trip.
For Food Enthusiasts
For those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, working on a farm and helping with the harvest is a great way to give back to the earth. World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (wwoof.org) arranges volunteer placements around the world where you can learn aboutseed sowing, composting, gardening, wood cutting, weeding, harvesting, packing, milking, feeding, fencing and grape-, cheese- and bread-making in return for food and board with the local host, all while helping to build a sustainable community – a great lesson for older kids.
If cooking is a passion, take it to the next level with an apprenticeship with a chef on your next holiday. Learn the tricks of the trade on an Italian or Mediterranean cooking course with Tuscookany (one week from AED 12,500; 0044-7039-40 0235, tuscookany.com), where you’ll prepare organic meals with local chefs, learning about the ingredients and traditions surrounding the dishes as well as food presentation and grape pairings.