Led by the diminutive Bernadette Alibrando, Walk to Art takes tourists to the creative front line of the most artistic city in Australia, if not the southern hemisphere. Whereas the city centre's Ian Potter Centre and the National Gallery of Victoria hold a few thousand finished works between them, this tour is more about the artistic processes going on in unnamed buildings and clandestine alleys around Melbourne. Over the course of the day you’ll visit everything from airy studios to lane installations, talking to the artists as you go.
Mostly it involves keeping pace with the little Italian as she buzzes from one place of artistic interest to another, loaded with Melbourne’s best coffee. As one of the top six cities in the world for street art, there’s also plenty of high-end graffiti, which is tolerated (though not openly encouraged) by the local council. Less welcoming of the attentions of Banksy were local artists who doused one of his works with silver paint; you can see what’s left on this tour too. It’s breathless, brilliant and unlike any other art tour in the city.
Almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1960, Agadir today doesn't have much of its authentic charm left (for that, it's still best to go to Marrakesh or Fez). Instead, for something completely different, head up the coast to Taghazout, a little fishing village that has been taken over by a growing surfing scene. Drifters from all over the world gather here to take their chance in the Atlantic Ocean, with dozens of surf camps ready to host everyone from total novices to the most experienced sea-dogs.
Half an hour north of Agadir airport: www.taghazout.org/
Jordan’s big tourist attractions are no secret. As a result, whether you’re bobbing around serenely in the Dead Sea or pretending to be Indiana Jones in rose red Petra, you’ll likely be swamped by other tourists. Much more adventurous than the former and less busy than the latter, Wadi Mujib provides a great afternoon of thrill-seeking for those who don’t mind getting a bit wet. Not far from the shores of the Dead Sea, visitors pay a small fee (used to maintain the valley) before getting some much-needed warnings about their expensive cameras, a life jacket and a pat on the back. Ahead lies a walk inland, up a dramatic wadi made of ambitious layer cake rock, with a permanent steam striving to reach the super salty sea below. From the very start, your feet are wet, but before you’ve reached the waterfall at the heart of the wadi, you’ll have swam, climbed and maybe sobbed a little. It’s like Petra in a puddle, but none the worse for it.
About an hour's drive from Madaba, just off the highway that runs along the Dead Sea. www.rscn.org.jo
Though apparently it has something of a chequered past, post Cyclone Gonu, the turtle sanctuary in eastern Oman is, today, something very special indeed. It may be a bit of a trek to get there (we camped on the beach in Rass Al Hadd) but the guided tours to the protected beach around the coast are something special indeed, with a chance to watch green turtles lay and bury eggs and - if you're lucky - see hatchlings make their ridiculous, graceless march to sea.
About 10km from Ras Al Hadd, the most eastern village in Oman.
A few hours of sumptuous coastal driving south from Muscat, the sleepy town of Ras Al Hadd, once you get there, is pretty unremarkable. Twenty minutes away, however, is the Ras Al Jinz nature reserve. There for a small fee, guests can watch Green turtles arrive on the beach to give birth and hatchlings make a break for the big blue.
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