By Jael Livingston
Bored of Bali? Tired of Thailand? Fed up with the same-old beachy snaps crowding your Insta feed?
For experiences that break the mould, vacations that verge on the downright weird, check out these five unique destinations that will bring that spice back into your holiday life.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
If you’ve ever wondered what a lunar landscape might feel like but couldn’t quite afford the airfare, look no further than Tanzania’s Lake Natron.
This breathtaking region at the base of a volcano is where this salty soda lake calls home.
A word of warning: these pinky waters belie a deadly Harry Potter-style secret – few animals can survive the toxic conditions leaving careless visitors utterly calcified and forever mummified. Petrificus Totalus, indeed.
Fly Geyser, Nevada, USA
Get up close and personal with this fantastical multi-coloured geyser that spews hot water so high in the air it can be seen for miles around.
Part natural phenomenon, part human error, Fly Geyser came into existence as the result of a failed mining experiment giving us lucky travellers the brilliant green and red layers of sediment we see today.
That pesky thermophilic algae, it gets everywhere!
Coober Pedy, South Australia
The opal-mining capital of Australia – and outback location site for Mad Max and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – now earns its world-famous tourist creds for a rather more subterranean reason.
From hotels and restaurants to campsites and churches, there is nothing you cannot do here, with just one catch – it’s all below ground.
Grassless golf, anyone?
Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Stand aside Parisian Catacombs, this tiny island is not for the faint-hearted, thanks to the legend of a young girl that once perished here.
A doll was placed in a tree to appease her tortured soul – but clearly this did not do the trick.
She put the word out and now the island teems with creepy dismembered plastic torsos, which, legend has it, come alive at night…
Ice Hotel, Sweden
Lose yourself in the silence of the Arctic, with nothing to disturb you but the distant twinkle of the northern lights. And one totally fantabulous hotel carved anew every year from pure ice.
If you like a twist of the unusual in your G&T, this hotel has it on tap. From ice beds to ice restaurants and the renowned Ice Bar, the only thing to worry about is whether you packed enough thermal undies.