To mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, members of the royal family are visiting each of the Commonwealth nations this spring. In honour of the Queen’s 60 year reign, why not embark on your own tour of two of the most popular destinations and see the riches these varied nations have to offer the humble British holiday-maker?
The vastest group of islands frequented by visitors from all over the world, the Caribbean boasts some of the Earth’s most picturesque destinations and diverse cultures. A lost paradise of crescent shaped islands situated between the Gulf of Mexico and South America, holidays to this part of the world always rank favourably on the Top Travel Blogs
A melting pot of Latin, African, European and American influences, the Caribbean boasts exotic food, music and a relaxed pace of life. Most recently the Caribbean has seen exponential growth in eco-tourism.
No matter which island you visit, prepare to feast upon local delicacies such as Caribbean stew which features goat meat, breadfruit, papaya, tomato and dumplings. Other world famous dishes are the traditional chicken, rice and peas with plantain or ackee and saltfish followed by black or rum cake.
Jamaica is a must-visit for any music fan: explore the birthplace of many popular musical styles such as ska, dancehall and dubstep. For the ultimate reggae experience visit the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston. Naturists will love attractions such as the Dunn River Falls, the Blue Lagoon and the Palisadoes; a thin tombolo of sand that serves as natural protection for Kingston Harbour.
Internationally famous for its favour among pirates such as Blackbeard and the birthplace of Rihanna; there is much more to Barbados than meets the eye. Catch one of the many African street parades which take place throughout the year and invest in some of the local handcrafts; straw hats and bags. Boasting a subtropical climate with highs in excess of 30 degrees Celsius between June and August, ensure you book your trip outside hurricane season.
Whilst a tour of the Caribbean is a huge undertaking it itself, Commonwealth islands well worth a visit include The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Christopher and Nevis.
Australia and New Zealand
At the other end of the world, Australia and New Zealand offer a diverse collection of cultures, landscapes and leisure pursuits. From sandy beaches to arid desserts and coral reefs, there are a plethora of action sports such as kayaking, diving and skiing, to excite holidaymakers of all persuasions: there is truly something for everyone in Australasia.
Sports fans will love Australia: learn the rules of the Australian Football League over a barbeque, and explore the nation’s legacy in tennis, motor racing and cricket. If you’d prefer to undertake sport rather than watch from the sidelines, Perth in Western Australia cannot be beaten when it comes to water sports as varied as surfing, snorkeling and jet-skiing.
For the more traditional guidebook explorer, Australia boasts many famed attractions such as Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, the Sydney Opera House, and the Great Ocean Road; one of the most breathtaking stretches of highway in the world, 243 km of untouched road from Victoria to Queensland takes in numerous sights along the way including the 12 apostles.
In Australia animal lovers will jump at the chance to visit the world-class zoos for a rare peek into the lives of indigenous species such as the marsupials: koala bear, kangaroo and wallabies. Explore the biodiversity of New Zealand through the large number of unique birds; takahe, kakapo, mohua, kokako and the kiwi.
In Australia, history buffs can learn about the Aboriginal population in many of the museums in each major city, while in New Zealand immerse yourself in the Māori culture and if you can take in a rugby match and watch the revered All Blacks on home soil.