One of the best things about travel is how it can bring the world closer, connect cultures and highlight just how much more we have in common than we may have realised. On holiday, among time spent at attractions and by the pool side, we like to find a tour or activity that will bring us in contact with locals and introduce us to a side of the country we may not otherwise have discovered. When we return home, it's often the moments where we slowed down and shared a meal or conversation with someone new that we hold closest; these are the memories we appreciate the most.
Here you'll find a few ideas as to how you can pull back the tourism veil and discover the rich stories beneath.
Discover Australia's extraordinary backyard as you follow the path first forged 150 years ago by Afghan Camaleers. Setting off from Adelaide, travel in luxury through the heart of our great backyard on The Ghan, Australia's most iconic train. Enjoying exquisite local cuisine along the way, experience the stunning landscapes of the Outback and tropical Top End. Stop in at Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin before exploring the lush wonders of Kakadu National Park. Travelling overland by rail is one of our favourite ways to absorb new environments, striking the very essence of what it means to appreciate the journey as much as the destination itself.
Explore the narrow alleys and food-lined streets of Hanoi on a guided street eat tour that brings you the best of Vietnamese cuisine. Wander through the Old Quarter, discovering the chaotic laneways and vivid senses of unfamiliar flavours. Pull up a stool and share a meal with the locals; watch as the food is cooked in front of you, popping woks and pots wish fresh greens served straight from flame to plate. We recommend you try Hanoi's local draft beer Bia Hoi, fresh Banh Cuon rice rolls and the iconic Banh My baguette.
Under the insightful narration of the folks at Storytellers Eco Cycle Tours, discover the Cook Islands from the perspective of the locals. Winding through narrow lanes and forrest tracks, listen as your Storyteller guide shares the history and heritage of the country and impresses the significance of the natural environment to the Cook Islanders. Learn about the local language, dance, food, music and traditional medicine as you cycle the Polynesian island with those who know and love it most.
Immerse yourself in local Fijian culture with an intimate, home-influenced cooking class. Taught by experienced cooks, enjoy a guided tour through local produce markets as you learn about the origin and use of important greens, spices and legumes. From the fully equipped cooking facility, take note as the Fijian cooks share traditional techniques, recipes and stories. Those seeking a travel experience that combines their love of cooking and cultural exchange will realise first hand just how fluently food translates between languages.