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Where to Go Next Month: The February Edit

There’s no better way to wave a firm goodbye to the January blues than booking an escape to the sun for February. Timing wise, it’s ideal to bridge the (chilly) gap between winter weather and the welcome return of spring.

Put these destinations on your travel bucket list for February. From visiting spice markets in Zanzibar to bush walks in Byron Bay, here’s where to go next month…

Sri Lanka

A true adventurer’s paradise, this teardrop-shaped isle will give you everything from picture postcard beaches on the south coast, to the Yala National Park bordering the Indian Ocean where elephants roam. As February and March is the driest season, you’re more likely to spot Sri Lanka’s resident wild animals as they venture out to watering holes.

Colonised by the English, Dutch and Portuguese, Sri Lanka is a melting pot of different cultural influences – it’s worth noting that on February 4th, the country celebrates Independence Day marking 72 years of independence from British colonial rule.

Sri Lanka boasts eight UNESCO-inscribed sites, including sacred Buddhist sanctuaries and ancient cities, like Galle, where you’ll see the famed lighthouse on the fort’s southeast tip.

 

 

Zanzibar

A 23-mile hop from Tanzania, with its white sands and turquoise water, Zanzibar is the ideal spot to unwind post-safari. Thanks to its pristine coral reefs that are home to hawksbill turtles, rays and parrotfish, it’s a popular location for keen snorkelers and divers – not to mention the odd dolphin if you’re lucky.

To absorb the Swahili culture, get lost meandering the streets of Stone Town. The ancient historic centre was declared a UNESCO cultural heritage site in 2000 and the charming old quarter (both small and safe) is a maze of bazaars.

For a sensory overload, head to ‘The Spice Islands’ where you can wander around vanilla, nutmeg and black pepper plantations and learn all about how they’re produced.

Dominican Republic

If you’re craving beach time, head to the Dominican Republic. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, this lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles of coastline and 250 miles of white sand beaches.

The Dominican Republic ranks among the most diverse of Caribbean countries in geography and nature – its landscape ranges from the highest peak in the region, Pico Duarte, to the lowest body of water, Lago Enriquillo.

To really enter into the DR spirit, bar hop and party in Santiago’s downtown, or discover the drink lounges of Puerto Plata where merengue and bachata music and dance dominate.

Oman

A lesser-known gem of the Middle East, Oman still remains relatively untouched, even by seasoned travellers. Not as concerned with grand-scale opulence like its Arab neighbours, Oman boasts rich heritage, culture and pride in its ancient, frankincense-trading past.

Oman’s low-rise towns retain their traditional charms with ancient Portuguese forts and elaborately decorated mosques. Taking place from January 16th to February 15th, plan your visit around the month-long Muscat Festival, which is a highlight of the capital’s year. Expect carnivals, fashion shows, fireworks displays and a chance to celebrate with traditional Omani music and local cuisine.

To venture further afield, go hiking or rock-climbing in Al Hajar Mountains in northern Oman, or go dune-boarding and camping in Al Rub Al Khali desert in southern Oman.

Byron Bay

Just two hours south of city life in Brisbane, Bryon Bay is a coastal paradise that surfers have always loved. But now a new generation of artisans, chefs and entrepreneurs are reshaping the beach town so it’s more than just a surfer’s paradise, but a hub for free-spirited creatives. Think farm-to-table restaurants, community breweries and a hip bar scene which puts Byron Bay’s acclaimed local produce to creative new uses.

Surrounded by tropical farms, jungle, and the turquoise waves of the Pacific, make for Byron if you want to be at one with nature. Take advantage of the breath-taking bush walks in hinterland rainforest, coastal trails, and snorkelling in crystal-clear waters – all benefit from Byron’s temperate subtropical climate.

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