by Lizzie Pook, The Telegraph, November 14, 2018
From a secret Canadian island to the far south of Patagonia, we outline 10 ways to escape the daily grind.
1. Inn at the end of the earth
The secret holidaying spot of Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and Gwyneth Paltrow, Fogo Island, off Newfoundland’s iceberg alley, is a curious place, where coyotes roam the misty beaches and giant squid wash ashore in storms. The remote Fogo Island Inn is an architectural marvel, rising on stilts out of the North Atlantic, while Brimstone Head, a massive rock jutting out from the island’s north-west coast, has been designated by the eccentric Flat Earth Society as one of the four corners of the earth.
Black Tomato (0207 426 9888; blacktomato.com) offers a five-night trip to Fogo Island Inn, from £6,000 per person, including accommodation on an all-inclusive basis, tours, transfers and international flights.
2. The edges of Indonesia
With more than 17,000 islands, stretching nearly 4,000 miles, Indonesia is one of the longest archipelagos in the world. An expedition cruise is a fine way to explore its very edges, trekking little-known paths and sailing quiet, history-rich waters. SeaTrek voyage to the Maluku Islands, from Ternate and the Sula archipelago to Sulawesi.
SeaTrek (0062 361 474 3902; seatrekbali.com) offers an 11-night trip from £5,297, including meals and accommodation, but not flights.
3. Hole up in Haida Gwaii
The archipelago of Haida Gwaii – filled with First Nations history – is often described as Canada’s answer to the Galapagos Islands. Flung some 70 miles off the coast of British Columbia, across the choppy Hecate Strait, the 175-mile-long chain reaps the benefits of extreme isolation, with some of the oldest spruce trees on the planet and animal subspecies that exist nowhere else on earth.
Trailfinders (020 7084 6500; trailfinders.com) offers a 10-day Haida Gwaii package featuring a stay at Ocean House, which is 100 per cent owned by the Haida people, priced from £3,507. Including meals, accommodation and domestic flights.
4. Due South in Australia
Wilsons Promontory, or “the Prom” as it is known, is the southernmost spot of mainland Australia. Home to kangaroos, wombats and an array of native birds, the region is also filled with lush fern gullies, pristine white beaches, cool-climate rainforests and well-preserved walking tracks, perfect for exploring the landscape on foot.
Bunyip Tours (0061 3 9650 9680; bunyiptours.com) offers a three-day trip from £232 per person, including return transfers from Melbourne and accommodation.
5. Get active in Antarctica
For those who want to explore the Antarctic landscape, but baulk at the idea of a sedentary peninsula cruise, hop aboard the M/V Plancius for an icy adventure. Drift by kayak among crackling icebergs and playful fur seals, snowshoe through incredible untouched wilderness, and become one of only a few people to have slept on the seventh continent, camping under a fierce canopy of stars.
Pura Aventura (01273 676712; pura-aventura.com ) offers a 10-night cruise on board M/V Plancius from £7,555, based on two sharing, including excursions, internal flights and transfers. Departures on selected dates until March.
6. Eagles eyed in Mongolia
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Head into the wilds of Mongolia to learn how to lasso horses and round up camels on this remote adventure trip that will take you far away from the restraints of mobile-phone reception. Stay in the ger camps of local nomadic families and set off on horseback deep into the Altai Mountains to watch as the locals use their eagles to hunt; the animals soaring to monumental heights before swooping down to grasp rabbits or foxes in their talons.
Black Tomato (0207 426 9888; blacktomato.com) offers seven-night trips from £5,450 per person including meals and accommodation but excluding flights.
7. St Helena in style
Marooned in the waters of the South Atlantic, until recently St Helena could only be reached by postal ship. Now, new flights from Johannesburg have opened up the island and its pristine surrounding waters to adventurous travellers. The warm oceans around St Helena teem with more than 750 marine species. But the opportunity to snorkel with the island’s huge aggregation of fully grown whale sharks is the real draw.
Dive Worldwide (01962 302087; diveworldwide.com) offers a nine-night trip from £4,195 per person sharing, including accommodation, some meals, activities, transfers and return flights. Departs Feb 14.
8. Unexplored East Greenland
Head into the unknown on a pioneering small ship safari that takes you through the rugged fjords and towering, other-worldly landscapes of unexplored east Greenland. Cruise past palace-sized icebergs, scout for polar bears padding across the tundra, and watch the still waters for narwhals, before disembarking for blustery hikes across the land in search of muskox, arctic foxes and other wildlife. You won’t see another tourist for days.
Natural World Safaris (01273 691642; naturalworldsafaris.com) offers small ship expeditions to the high Arctic starting from £7,295 per person. Their next east Greenland expedition departs in Sept 2020.
9. The land that time forgot
Wrangel Island sits 87 miles (140km) off the coast of Siberia. The undisturbed tundra here dates back to ancient times when woolly mammoths made this land their home (their tusks can even be found littered across the island). Now a dedicated haven for wildlife, visitors are few and far between as you’ll need a special permit and ice-strengthened vessel. But what you’ll find is staggering – hundreds of polar-bear mothers raise their cubs here, and the island is home to huge populations of walruses, snow geese, arctic foxes and reindeer.
Wildlife Worldwide (01962 302086; wildlifeworldwide.com) runs 16-night trips from £13,395 per person sharing, including international and internal flights, accommodation in Moscow and full-board accommodation on the Spirit of Enderby. Departs July 22.
10. South specific in Patagonia
The Dientes Circuit, on the remote Navarino Island in the far south of Patagonia, is the southernmost hiking trail on earth. The 26-mile remote wilderness trek takes you through glassy alpine lakes, vast glaciers and dramatic rocky pinnacles. And don’t forget your camera; this is some of the most picturesque scenery on the planet, from the windswept Wollaston Islands, to Cape Horn (where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans crash together to exhilarating effect).
World Expeditions (0800 0744 135; worldexpeditions.com) offers six-day trips from £1,750 per person, including domestic flights, all meals and accommodation. Departing from Dec 18 until early March.