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Underrated travel destinations: Travel writers’ secret places revealed

Traveller’s writers – with more than a little arm-twisting from our editor – have agreed to share some of their most special, cherished places; the secret spots we don’t want the world to know about. Just this once, we are willing to share (as long as it stays strictly between us).

Lake Rhona, Tasmania. Pooled on the slopes of the Denison Range in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Lake Rhona is place where mountains and beach combine.  Photo: Andrew Bain  
The Rock Islands of Palau. An archipelago of some 500 islands bunched in the Philippine Sea, 2200 kilometres north of Darwin, Palau is a long way from anywhere. But surely if not for its isolation Palau would be swamped.
Scuba divers with a giant fan coral off the island of Palau in the Pacific Ocean.
Rock scrambling up the Wolfberg Cracks, South Africa. Ancient red sandstone walls form nature’s cathedral, carved high in the Cederberg Mountains, three hours’ drive north of Cape Town. These are the magical Wolfberg Cracks, a series of caverns, tunnels and rock steps that lead you up 633 metres to the 1462-metre peak – an adventurous four-hour round-trip hike. Photo: Alison Stewart 
A vineyard at Meursault, Burgundy. The Burgundy region of east-central France is famous for producing some of the world’s best wines, and its charming capital, Beaune,✓ draws hundreds of thousands of grape worshippers every year. But drive 10 minutes southwest of Beaune, to the foot of the Cote d’Or escarpment, and you’ll discover Burgundy’s best-kept secret: the secluded village of Meursault.  Photo: Alamy 
A mural in Meursault, Burgundy. Photo: Alamy
The pier of Sellin on the island of Rugen in Germany. Bondi it ain’t. Germans may flock to the Baltic coastline every summer, eager for their share of seaside fun, but frankly, the area’s sandy beaches don’t really compare with our island coastline. However, there is another reason to head to Germany’s deep north. The lands stretching back from the Baltic shore were for centuries divided between a patchwork of duchies and free towns, many engaged in fierce rivalries. The result: a series of towns and cities designed to demonstrate power and prestige, many of which have been beautifully-preserved. Photo: Getty Images 
Deck chairs at the beach, at Lubeck, Germany. Photo: Alamy
Fishing canoes in Manono, Samoa. Electricity only came to Manono in 2003 and you won’t find a single car on the island (or a road). And yet Manono’s just a 20- minute boat ride from Samoa’s most populated island, Upolu.  Photo: iStock 
The Belleville quarter in Paris, where Denoyez Street is dedicated to street art. Formerly a hilltop village, surrounded by farms and wineries, Belleville was swallowed by Paris’ metropolitan sprawl in 1860 and lies, under the radar of most travellers, in the 20th arrondissement, just north of Pere Lachaise Cemetery (resting place of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde). Belleville’s (relatively) cheap rents have long drawn working-class Parisians and immigrants, but in recent years, it’s emerged as one of the city’s most hip, happening and artistic areas  Photo: Getty Images 
A horse carriage taxi in Cienfuegos, Cuba. From the packed out bars where crowds gather to watch baseball on a Saturday afternoon, to the barbershops and buskers throughout the streets, there’s a real sense of community to this lesser-known coastal Cuban town that lends it a special air. ..

A classic car outside Ferrer Palace, Cienfuegos, Cuba. Photo: Julieanne Birch


Cienfuegos, Cuba.  Photo: Guy Wilkinson

Isfahan, Iran. The Persians had a definite romantic streak, as evidenced by the poetry of Omar Khayyam and the city of Isfahan. Gorgeous architecture, elegant bridges and verdant public gardens help set the mood. At day’s end, retreat to one of the tea houses by the river to watch the sun go down 
Concepcion volcano at sunset from Lake Nicaragua. Nicaragua has active volcanoes, massive lakes, cloud forests and colonial cities, all sandwiched between not one but two lovely coastlines, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Genuinely friendly locals and great value for money are an added bonus. Photo: Volanthevist
The Orthodox Church of Assumption and Bled Castle, Slovenia. Its neighbouring countries include the holiday hotspots of Italy and Croatia, so it’s a mystery why Slovenia is so underrated. The picture-perfect Lake Bled, the charming capital of Ljubljana, and rafting on crystal-clear snowfed rivers are just some of the highlights. Photo: Doug Pearson 
Boats parked on a wooden dock on Lake Bled, Slovenia. Photo: Spaces Images
 Lake Bled and the Julian Alps, Slovenia. Photo: Bruno Morandi
An eastern kangaroo on the beach at Cape Hillsborough. There’s a delicious simplicity to this lonely finger of the Queensland coast, just to the north of Mackay. The beachside cabins and caravan park are little more than basic, the walks along the cliff tops are usually a solitary pursuit, and strolling back from the island in time to beat the tide is the main thrill ride. Photo: Alamy 

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One Thought to “Underrated travel destinations: Travel writers’ secret places revealed”

  1. Callisa

    The Assumption Church of Holy Marry on the island of lake Bled is actually a Catholic church as the Slovrnian are all Chatolic anyway.

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