Adventure

15 Places Where Summer Never Ends

Because winter's not the boss of you.

Winter is coming, so it’s time to get going and head for a one of these glorious sunny spots where summer is the only season.

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Mo’orea

The 1965 cult surfing flick Endless Summer popularised the wave appeal and black ­sand beaches of South Pacific island Tahiti, and the possibility of a literal endless summer resides just 17 kilometres away on the the tiny volcanic island of Mo’orea. It has a hot tropical climate so predictable that one source says “there is honestly little point in checking the forecast in the days before your trip.” The fact that it’s such a short hop over from the busy Tahitian capital Papeete makes the relaxed and welcoming reception illustrated of Mo’orea’s green hills and turquoise lagoons even more idyllic.

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Canary Islands

Geographically closer to Morocco than its nation state of Spain, this archipelago boasts all the benefits of being part of Europe, but without the chilling cold that descends over the continent during winter. This island getaway hosts some pretty heavy tourist traffic to its most famous spots Tenerife and Lanzarote, but there is plenty of unspoilt beauty to go around: the islands of La Palma, La Graciosa, La Gomera, and El Hierro offer plenty of rugged, unspoiled natural delights.

Photo: Cortto/Flickr

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Darwin

Our great southern land features enviable temperatures year­ round, and the Top End region offers both a tropical climate and an opportunity to experience Australia at its most naturally beautiful – beaches, islands, expanses of wetlands and grasslands, and links to must ­see locations like Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park. There’s no better jump­ off to start exploring it all from the Top End’s capital city, Darwin.

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Sri Lanka

Known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka offers something for every stripe of traveller. Beaches, tropical forests, lush green mountains, ancient artefacts, and wildlife national parks are dotted across the country, and are best enjoyed all year round.

Photo: Malcolm Browne/Flickr

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Zanzibar

With year ­round heat due to its proximity to the equator, and pleasant sea breezes from the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar is a perfect candidate for sun chasers. And that’s all before the scenery. This island paradise lies just off the coast of Tanzania, and while it’s still relatively under the radar as a well-­known holiday destination – a place this stunning won’t stay a secret for long.

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Havana

Cuba’s changing relationship with the western world means that it’s opening up like never before. All the expected things are there: the majestic old cars, the distinctive colourful architecture, the cigars, the rum, and of course the music. Increasing tourism may soon start having an impact, so now is the time to check out this unique Caribbean time capsule.

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Palm Springs

Palm Springs may be best known nowadays as the location of Coachella’s epic music fest, but it has a long history as the United States’ prime destination for a spot of R&R. The therapeutic dry desert heat that once drew people with bronchial ailments, now appeals to those seeking celebrity­-style health spas, wellness retreats and the city’s famous hot spring bathhouses.

The region consists of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north, the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands or the Lucayan Archipelago, which are in fact in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba, not in the Caribbean Sea. Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba (possessing only minor volcanic features), Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, The Bahamas or Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago. The climate of the region is tropical but rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist tradewinds blow consistently from the east creating rainforest/semidesert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional northwesterlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into 'dry' and 'wet' seasons, with the last six months of the year being wetter than the first half. The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. Hurricanes, which at times batter the region, usually strike northwards of Grenada, and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean. The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the man-made Panama Canal connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.
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ABC Islands

Making up part of the Caribbean’s Dutch Antilles, the appeal of the ABC Islands is elementary. Aruba is the biggest and most visited, a favourite of the cruise ‘­n’ ­casino crowd and has some stunning soft­ sand beaches. Bonaire is the prime spot for snorkelling, diving and watersports, and Curacao will satisfy the history buffs and the adrenalin junkies, with notable sites and rugged cliffs to climb up and abseil off.

Photo: Patrick Nouhailler/Flickr

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Bali

Bali’s enduring popularity lies in offering something for absolutely everybody – party monsters, family units, wilderness retreaters, and everything in between. Part of that magic is the fact Bali is such a sure thing weather­ wise, so whether you’re escaping the northern hemisphere snow or the southern chill, a warm welcome will be found in Bali.

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Dubai

The best place to pretend that winter doesn’t exist is in the middle of the desert. Dubai lies where the Arabian Desert meets the Persian Gulf, so you get the best of both worlds – it springs up like an futuristic oasis of sharp angles and cutting edge design. One for those who like their summer getaways sleek and modern.

Photo: David Gill/Flickr

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Rio de Janeiro

Just the word Brazil conjures up famous sights and sounds that are instantly linked to Rio de Janeiro: Ipanema beach, Samba music, the world­ famous Carnival at Sambadrome and Christ the Redeemer looming over it all. The key to taking best advantage of Rio’s climate is sticking to the coastline, to escape the sometimes scorching inland heat. And what a coastline: Ipanema, Copacabana, and some of the most luxurious beaches in the world.

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Cabo

Spring breakers and holiday­makers flock to this hot spot at southern tip of Mexico for good reason. Full­throttle fun is guaranteed in Cabo San Lucas via beach parties, jet ­skiing and snorkelling and more than 350 days of sunshine every year.

Photo: Johnathan Gross/Flickr 

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Cyprus

Being in the Mediterranean Sea means that the nation of Cyprus is just a short hop over from mainland Europe. Known for its hospitality, yummy cuisine and great all­ round offerings for every type of traveller, Cyprus is steadily gathering a reputation as Med’s true MVP.

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Azores

The cluster of nine islands that make up the Azores archipelago are officially part of Portugal, but getting there will take you almost halfway to the centre of the North Atlantic Ocean. Not only does it offer a truly remote getaway, it has some seriously otherworldly scenery to boot. Take the island of Sao Miguel – the Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Lagoon of the Seven Cities) is a crowning green oasis of two connected lakes inside a dormant volcanic crater.

Photo: Robert Cutts/Flickr

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Cape Verde

Cape Verde, off the north­west coast of Senegal, has been tipped as ‘the new Caribbean’ and it’s easy to see why. Turquoise seas? Check. Fishing villages with with colourful houses? Yep. Year­ round sun and surf? Yes, yes, and yes. One thing it has over the Caribbean: a startling natural wonder called Blue Eye on the island of Sal.

(Lead image: Taryn Stenvei)

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