BY NATALIE COMPAGNO AND GREG FREITAS
Islands are inherently sexy. Some are tanned, hot, laid-back, and obvious—think Kauai or Capri. Other islands are darker, mysterious, replete with misting ice, jagged rocks, and a tough, come-seewhat-I’ve-got attitude. When travelers outgrow their easy island relationships, they turn to something more adventurous: islands that test their endurance and leave them wanting more. Welcome to the wild side of island life.
Don’t allow the charming nickname of Tassie to mislead. This island challenges visitors with its overwhelming offerings, from fine wine and beer trails to revolutionary art, and from week-long treks to wild animals. Tasmania is also breathtakingly beautiful, and its clean surrounding waters provide the freshest fish in the world. The capital Hobart is uber-hip, don’t arrive without proper attire.
Check into the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart for a luxurious, cultivated jumping off point for all Tasmanian adventures. This hotel is Australia’s first dedicated art hotel and hosts rotating art throughout its welldesigned urban canvas. Arrive hungry, Hobart is a coveted culinary hotspot. Frank, Peacock & Jones, and Preachers are all divine, but for an insider, cozy neighborhood haunt reserve at Templo. Wine lovers can grab picnic fare at the Saturday Salamanca Market and then drive through stunning terrain to the Tamar Valley for wine tasting. Tassie is a temptress, it’s okay to indulge.
Of the many attractions that beckon, there are a few musts. MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, should be at the top of any list. Imagine a state-of-the-art museum with ancient art, juxtaposed with controversial
avant-garde works, set in a cavernous rock and metal masterpiece. The grounds host a winery, brewery, and social club along with vast views of the ocean. One day is not enough.
Wildlife and rare animals abound. Be very Aussie and try some trekking on Maria’s Island, Tasman National Park, or Lake St. Clair National Park. A Tasmania trip is not complete without a meet and greet with its most famous marsupial – the Tasmanian Devil. Head to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and meet those perky
Devils and their friends – koalas, wombats, and kangaroos. This very special place works hard to save and nurture Tasmania’s rare beasts.
The Aurora Australis, or the Southern Lights, the world’s largest lavender farm, and the award-winning Sullivan’s Cove whisky are a few more “only in” Tassie checklist items, so head Down Under and get exploring.
FOGO ISLAND, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR, CANADA
Serenity, design, and small-town charm swirl together on this remote and magical island. Fogo Island is located in far Eastern Canada and hosts a mere 2,400 residents on its
15-mile-long isle. Despite its size, Fogo Island has the kind of activities that make visitors wish they could stay forever. In early summer icebergs from Greenland float by, in the height of summer fishing, boating, and hiking entertain and in the fall blueberry picking makes desserts and dishes delicious. Anytime is a good time to walk along Sandy Cove with the locals. Never turn down an invitation to a Shed Party as that’s when Fogo Islanders gather in a backyard “shed” for music and merriment.
Fogo Island Inn is the place to stay to enjoy Fogo Island’s scenery and culture. At $1429 per person per night, double occupancy, no expense has been spared for guests’ immersion and comfort. The Inn is owned by the Shorefast Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the culture and visibility of the island. The structure itself is a modern rendition of a traditional Fogo Island stage, a stilted fishing hut over water, and its interior pays homage to the woodworking and quilting artistry on the island. A small conference center, gym, library plus rooftop sauna, and hot tubs replete with sea views are available for use. The inn also has isolated, striking studios available to host artists throughout the year, nurturing creativity on the island.
Fogo Island Inn is a luxury experience but the real value comes from the people guests meet and the nature to which they are exposed. The inn encourages people to venture out and dine elsewhere on the island. For an all-inclusive this is admirable, but even more noteworthy - the inn will pick up the tab.
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
In essence, Abu Dhabi is an island made up of more than 200 islands. Each island has its own personality, ranging from manmade
“WHEN I LANDED ON FOGO ISLAND AND ARRIVED AT THE INN I WAS IMMEDIATELY STRUCK BY THE CREATIVITY AND DETERMINATION IT MUST HAVE TAKEN TO BUILT SUCH A REMOTE, LUXURIOUS HOTEL ON ONE OF THE FAR CORNERS OF NORTH AMERICA. AFTER A TOUR OF THE ISLAND BY ONE OF THE INN’S COMMUNITY HOSTS, AND A HIKE ALONG THE ROCKY SHORES, I WAS COMPLETELY TAKEN BY THIS SMALL FISHING COMMUNITY.” JESSICA CANTLIN, PHOTOGRAPHER AND WRITER
to exclusive, and private to skyscraperstudded. The Emirates are fast-paced, gorgeous, and exotic. Visitors must arrive with plenty of energy, ready to explore its innovative designs and buzzing desert culture. Home to coconut palms, super yachts, wildlife reserves, Ferrari World, and winner of the “World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination,” Abu Dhabi is sure to amaze.
Yas Island and Sir Bani Yas Island, are two very different oases, yet both share the Abu Dhabi focus on excellence in tourism and luxury. An emerging entertainment destination, Yas Island is home to the high-octane Yas Marina Circuit--host to the annual Formula One Grand Prix. Guests can channel their inner race car driver for a day through a series of track day packages designed to raise the pulses of those who feel the need for speed. The circuit’s centerpiece is Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, built half on land and half over water--the only five-star hotel in the world to straddle an F1 race track.
For more racing adrenaline, check out Ferrari World Abu Dhabi the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park. The park tells the Ferrari story with revved up passion through more than 20 rides and attractions, plus interactive shopping and Italian dining experiences.
Calling all Super Yachts! The Yas Marina competes with the Caribbean and Europe to dazzle the world’s richest seafarers. If being in the water is better than bobbing on top of it then try Yas Waterworld, a waterpark so large it fits 43 rides, slides and attractions. For the brave there is the world’s first, and largest hydromagneticpowered, six-person tornado waterslide. Thrill seekers love the three-meter high waves on Bubble’s Barrel, which has the world’s largest surfable sheet wave for flowboards and bodyboards.
Sir Bani Yas Island brings the softer side of Abu Dhabi to tourists, without skimping on five star ratings. A nature- based destination alive with wildlife and adventure activities, a 5-star boutique hotel, luxury villas, purpose-built stables and historical sites, Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the eight Desert Islands of Al Dhafra. More than half the island is the Arabian Wildlife Park, one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves, home to 10,000 free roaming animals including Arabian oryx (brought back from the edge of extinction), gazelles, giraffes, hyenas, and cheetahs. Guests can take a 4x4 Nature & Wildlife Drive of the park accompanied by expert guides.
Discerning travelers can enjoy five-star accommodations to suit their taste with Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas retreats on the island. For a truly Arabian Nights’ gallop through time, imperial-like stables offer a variety of equestrian activities and lessons, each tailored to meet individual needs. A perfect ending to any island escape, it’s time to ride off into the sunset!