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Turning your hobbies into holidays

Surfing holidays are a popular type of travel.


Turning your hobbies into holidays

Catriona Rowntree shares her ideas for turning your everyday passions into extraordinary journeys.

When it comes to turning your hobby into a holiday, I’m going to put my aunt Rosslyn out there as my role model.

After a double knee reconstruction (due to too much snow skiing) she was told the best way to recover was to either swim or cycle.

She fell in love with both and promptly joined up with a local swim club who are now such close comrades they travel around the world together – from the Bosphorus to the bays of the Cinque Terre – combining their love of swimming and travelling.

This woman astounds me and is such a leading light to the joy of following your passions.

So, whether it’s a love of gardening or a penchant for pedal power, you just never know where that hobby of yours will take you.

“As an architecture and design writer, I have led several tours to Europe and to Tokyo with cultural tour company Australians Studying Abroad, based in Melbourne. This year was Design Belgium and Design Tokyo and next year showcases the finest architecture and design, including fashion from Belgium and from Germany, meeting some of the world’s most prominent creatives.” – Stephen Crafti,

 “Piper St Food Co’s Cooking School is based in Kyneton in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges. The school came out of my passion for cooking – I grew up in my parent’s restaurants, became an apprentice to my mother. Even my grandparents were caterers. I have just always been around cooks and kitchens. By giving people the skills, techniques and knowledge to cook in a genuinely old-school way, people will be able to make better choices and reconnect. My classes are fun and relaxed and also a place of sharing ideas and debating fads. I explain how recipes originated and why they’re still relevant today. We run fun classes in making pork pies and  Cornish pasties, as well as charcuterie (pates, terrines, sausages, bacon), cassoulet, bread, pastry and pasta.” – Damian Sandercock,

“Greenbike cycling tours in Bali will take you away from your busy schedule for a day. Discover the lush and green landscapes of this incredible island and escape the city for a while. You will be spoiled from the beginning to the end with breathtaking views and hidden gems along our route.” – Greenbike Cycling Tours,

“Whether you are just starting out and are looking to book a relaxing family holiday, or have plenty of angling experience and want to land that big one, we have a trip to suit. Our tours cover both fresh and saltwater fishing, and include Australian destinations such as the Top End, Exmouth (Ningaloo Reef), the Queensland coast and Dirk Hartog Island, as well as trips further afield, such as Fiji, Christmas Island, Alaska, Costa Rica, New Zealand and even the Amazon.” – Garry Barmby,

Food & Wine
“The French Table offers authentic food and wine experiences from our Chateau de Bosgouet deep in rural Normandy. Our experiences are all about being personal. We are known for delivering the best of everything, including food, wine and accommodation in the French Table style. Often this involves avoiding the well-known but complacent operators, and instead going for the smaller, unique options.” – Jane Webster,

Garden Tours
“Visiting the world’s most inspiring and exciting gardens accompanied by architects, gardeners, designers, friends and fantastic people is how I spend my life. I get entry into the most amazing private gardens, homes and properties. We visited Lord Rothschild’s private garden on the island of Corfu in May; the only garden on the Grand Canal in Venice in September. My private tours are off-the-beaten track into extraordinarily places.”– Trisha Dixon, 

“Budding musicians and music enthusiasts need look no further than Hard Rock Bali. Hard Rock Hotel Bali takes it to the next level with curated in-room sound tracks during your stay via its ‘The Sound of Your Stay’ program, live band performances seven days a week and memorabilia in every hotel room celebrating artists from the 1950s to the late ’90s. Be sure to visit the Boom Box Recording Studio for karaoke or live music recording so you can lay down your own track.” – Hard Rock Bali, 

Night Surfing
“Komune Resort & Beach Club, located on Bali’s lush, eastern side, offers a world-first permanent night surfing installation in front of the resort every day. Book a night surf for yourself and up to five other surfers, under powerful floodlights, and enjoy the powerful right-hand reef breaks. A world-class break, Karamas provides some fantastic waves with deep tube rides just 50 metres offshore.  – Wayne Moffat,

Painting & Culture
“We design tours for those captured by the breathtaking beauty of Italy. Whether you’re an artist (painter or photographer) or someone who prefers to explore the historical and cultural side of this incredible country, we help you experience Italy. – Janette Garbuio

“If you love to travel and love to swim we have the perfect small group tours, which are as much about the destination as the swimming. Swim between the towns of the Cinque Terre in Italy; from Gozo to Malta; and along the beautiful coastline of the Costa Brava in Spain. We also include some events so you can meet and swim with the locals. It is a lot of fun!” – Gina Harris, 

Textile & Design
“I am a tapestry weaver/textile artist and my passion for textiles and weaving has turned into a passion for travel. I have been teaching weaving and macramé for the last five years and I lead textile and design tours and creative retreats in Japan, India and Bali, to unite artists and crafters around the world and bring back the beauty of hand making. All tours are non-profit so prices are very reasonable. We take pride in making the experience the best one could ever imagine for the traveller. We have Vietnam, Japan and India tours planned for mid-2018. These will be advertised on the website soon.”  – Natalie Miller, 

Walking & Food
“Walkabout Gourmet Adventures has operated personalised walking holidays around the world for 31 years so our guests trust us. More than 70 per cent of our guests are repeat customers so they are confident we are going to give them a holiday which will exceed their expectations. After their holiday they are going to feel fit and rejuvenated, having experienced regions and people they will never forget. They will most likely meet other guests with whom they will form close friendships. Iceland is our most popular destination at the moment. We’re fully booked for 2018 but we’re taking bookings for 2019.” – Trish Ozard,

“I travelled to the Bahamas with my little boys earlier in the year to visit one of my besties and found myself patting a shark! It happened in a place called Compass Quays and they encouraged visitors to ‘Meet Our Pet Sharks’. Sure, they were little ones but still. In another location, we found ourselves feeding grapes on sticks (peeled or unpeeled?) to the local iguanas. The boys loved both wildlife encounters.” – Catriona Rowntree 

To read about more of Catriona’s travel adventures, and listen to her podcasts, visit For more inspiration, download Catriona’s podcasts special via Apple Podcasts.

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