Best islands for a castaway vacation
Posted on Friday 20 April 2012
in Hotels, New Zealand, Auckland, Philippines, Manila, Spain, Barcelona, Thailand
By Rory MacTavish
Kiwis looking for the ultimate escape during their next luxury holidays don't have to break their wallets for a little peace and quiet. By staying away from major resorts and tourist-centred towns, travellers can enjoy an island paradise without having to fight for towel real estate on the beach. Those venturing in groups can rent out a cottage or bungalow for relatively low prices and spoil themselves with stunning sunsets and clear turquoise waters.
One of the most popular tropical island getaways is Hawaii, where eight separate paradises boast unparalleled natural beauty, and are convenient and accessible destinations. Well-known Waikiki Beach is a hub for tourists who are content to walk 10 metres to a man-made lagoon, but Kiwis who want a more authentic taste of island living should venture to Kauai, which can easily be reached from the airport after arriving from flights to Honolulu. Featuring a truly laid-back atmosphere and unbelievable scenery untainted by throngs of sunscreen-clad tourists, Kauai is an environmentalist's dream destination. Locals have made sure to keep their island paradise unaltered by industry giants and have taken extra measures to keep the land and air clean by banning plastic bags and providing a wealth of fresh and organic produce.
Across the Pacific Ocean in Thailand, the island of Koh Chang is a sparsely populated inlet that has managed to stay out of the limelight despite the country's recent tourism boom. For a luxurious stay, Kiwis should consider Nirvana Koh Chang, which is an eco-friendly resort located directly on the Bang Bao Bay. With the combination of palm trees and dense forests, this small accommodation provides guests with a no-frills vacation during which they can relax, receive an invigorating Thai massage or simply lounge around and do nothing. Room rates start at a mere $80 a night, making this fantastic getaway attainable for any budget traveller.
Flights to Manila are an ideal jumping off point to a number of island getaways in the Philippines. Boracay is easy to reach by plane or boat and is an amazing retreat for Kiwis seeking an unforgettable escape from their busy lifestyles. Many hotels typically situate their suites on stilts that extend into the shallow water - accessible only by small pump boats and swimming. The island's blindingly white beaches and unbelievable coral reefs are second-to-none, while the warm breezes make it difficult for Kiwis to pack up and leave once their vacation is over.
During Barcelona holidays, Kiwis looking to go off the radar and enjoy a bohemian-inspired vacation should take a short ferry ride to Ibiza. Situated in the middle of the Balearic Sea, the island was once a quaint farming community and has recently become a hotspot among young travellers looking for a wild night. On the northern edge of the island, however, the growers' region is still in tact and beaches are charmingly idyllic. Ibiza begs to be explored on foot and its steadily sloping hills are an ideal way to work up an appetite for a simple seafood meal at one of the many traditional eateries situated throughout the island.
No island vacation would be complete without a chance to pitch a tent and truly live like a castaway. For Kiwis, adventure is right around the corner on Great Barrier Island, located just a few hours from Auckland. This minimally populated island is teeming with rare wildlife that is hardly ever seen on the mainland, such as the endangered pateke duck. The best beach is undisputedly Harataonga Bay, and due to its remote location, sees few campers even during the busiest holiday weekends.
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