Blending colonial and island heritage in Bermuda

Boasting the highest concentration of golf courses per square mile in the world, Bermuda is paradise for the golfer. You could spend a week playing your way across some of the most picturesque golf courses in the world. St. George’s and Port Royal Golf Clubs are favourites, sure to challenge both beginners and the avid golfer.

If you’re planning to be in Bermuda around Easter, head to Southampton Parish’s Horseshoe Bay to watch locals fly the beautiful handmade Bermudian kites on Good Friday.

To tap into the island’s colonial roots be sure to visit The Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, overlooking Hamilton harbor. The tasty breads, scones, and pastries are baked onsite and provide a perfect
reprieve from the days explorations.

Adventure seekers should test out Hartley’s Helmut Diving in Sandys Parish. It’s unique in that you can breathe in a helmet hooked up to the surface while you walk along the sandy sea-bottom in search of fish and coral reefs. 

If you’re looking to escape the crowds of Hamilton, St. George Parish on the island’s east end offers a chance to mingle with the locals, sample the food, and work on your tan. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. George Parish is an ideal spot for history buffs looking to
explore the colonial remnants. 

A surprise treat for film enthusiasts is the Bermuda International Film Fesitival, which showcases independent films from all over the world. 

No trip to Bermuda is complete without visiting the ancient, stalactite-adorned Crystal Caves set against the pristine island waters. 

Reverse the seasons with Australian autumn

While North Americans prepare for the warmer weather dragged in between April and May, Australians are watching the sticky days of summer washed away by its autumn.

Although pasty, unseasoned North Americans and Europeans favour the Australian winter — autumn boasts lower airfares and is one of the best times to visit the continents rusty red centre and Uluru (or Ayer’s Rock). Daytime temperatures linger anywhere from 19°C to 31°C and it rarely rains. 

Clearer days and calmer waters make April the ample month for visiting the Great Barrier Reef — spots like Knuckle and Hardy Reefs are great for snorkeling and diving as they are crammed with fish of all kinds and vibrant corals. 

If you’re planning on staying in Cairns, Port Douglas, the Whitsundays or Airlie Beach in April, book your accommodation several months in advance, as rates tend to swell
during the school holiday periods.

Wine enthusiasts should aim for the south where the Barossa Valley — one of the finest wine-producing regions in the world — is bathed in Mediterranean-esque warmth with cool evenings. The Barossa Vintage Wine Festival, the oldest in the country, runs from the end of March to early April and is the best time to sample some of the Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling that makes this region famous. There are many vineyard tours that run from Adelaide to the region. 

Luaus, volcanoes and surf in a Hawaiian paradise

For Hawaii, mid-April is the tail end of high seasons but if you do your research you can take advantage of the deals being served up by travel agents looking to stretch the end of the tourist season.

Year-round sun often graces Waikiki Beach and the southwest coast of Oahu. The Big Island’s Kona-Kohala Coast and the south and west coasts of Maui are often sun-swept as well. 

The island of Oahu is home to four major luaus — a party filled with fire knife throwing, hula dancers and a cornucopia of Hawaiian food. No matter where you find yourself in the island paradise, seeking out a luau is a must. 

Kahaluu Beach Park — the most popular snorkeling destination on the Big Island — is one of the best spots to explore the craggy rock formations and vibrant tropical fish darting amongst the island’s
cerulean waters. 

If you’re a fan of extreme sports, surfing is vital. The tribal tradition has a lengthy history in the Polynesian islands and its swells are some of the best in the world. 

Waikiki Beach in Oahu is punctuated with surf shops for gear rentals and the best place for beginners looking to catch their first wave.

The best way to cap off your Hawaiian vacation is to hike your way up the Haleakala volcano on Maui just before dawn so you can watch the sun clamber over the horizon.

A love song for Italy in the spring

If Paris in April is Europe’s premier destination for spring travelling, Italy is its best-kept spring secret. The season emanates through the country as the wildflowers bloom and the locals begin to punctuate the cafes, shaking off the winter months. 

The temperature has a tendency to linger in light jacket weather with the odd April shower, but if you’re going in late spring, pack a pair of swimming trunks and sandals. Italy’s pristine Amalfi coastline, with its idyllic coastal cities, lemon tree gardens and jutting cliffs makes for a perfect spring drive with ample Mediterranean toe-dipping time. 

If you’re looking to soak up some of the Tuscan sun, you can spend days exploring Pisa — located along the Arno River in the Northwest of Italy — with its Leaning Tower and chalk-white architectural remnants of its glory days as a commercial hub during the Middle Ages.

Beaches and touristy spots like the Leaning Tower of Pisa are seldom packed this time of year. 

The Easter festivities — Pasqua in Italian — during Holy Week draw tens of thousands of visitors to the country, some to the Vatican and others to take in some of the slightly smaller scale festivities in Sorrento or Florence.

Airfare is most expensive during Holy Week but otherwise you can tap into many spring deals.

With so much to do in Italy, you might feel inclined to plan a whirlwind trip but any less than three days in a city soaking up the wine and delectable Italian food is sure to leave you unsatisfied.

Andrew Seale
editorial@mediaplanet.com