Exotic cities, heaving markets, breathtaking landscapes, important archaeological sites, picturesque coastlines and mouthwatering cuisine. The list of reasons Turkey should be on your travel bucket list is as long as your arm.
The colourful capital, Istanbul, is a place of silver-tipped minarets, ancient bazaars and peerless hospitality.
Take a trip to Istanbul’s antiques district, where chic cafés and cocktail bars draw a fashionable clientele. While you’re in the Çukurcuma area, check out The Museum of Innocence, Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk’s monument to a love affair and the subject of his 2008 novel of the same name.
No trip to Istanbul would be complete without visiting the humming Grand Bazaar. One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world (construction began in 1455), the Grand Bazaar is almost a city within a city: it has 60 streets and 5000 shops selling everything from spices to carpets to jewellery to antiques, two mosques, two hammams and various cafés and restaurants dotted throughout.
Be sure to enjoy a traditional hamam (Turkish bathing experience) and if you have time, soak in the baths of Pamukkale – a white oasis of terraced pools brimming with mineral-rich warm blue waters.
Gallipoli is Australia’s most famous battlefield and scene of the original landings which are commemorated each Anzac Day.
This is one of the world’s best-preserved battlefields, and a day or two spent scaling the ridges and gullies that confronted the Anzacs in 1915 will give you an excellent idea of why the campaign was doomed to failure.
Gallipoli is very special place – no Australian or New Zealander who goes there will fail to be moved by the experience.
Anzac Day is obviously the prime time to visit, but the battlefields can be toured at any time between March and October.
Gallipoli is a four-hour drive from Istanbul – allow at least two days to see the key sites.
The region of Cappadocia, located in the heart of Anatolia, is a riot of amazing natural beauty and compelling history.
With its whimsical Fairy Chimney rock formations and iconic cave houses at Urgup, Goreme, Guzelyurt and Uchisar, the whole area looks like the set from a Hobbit movie.
And one of the most popular ways to consume the landscape is by hot air balloon.
Each morning the clear dawn skies are peppered with colourful, bulging balloons that float silently above the spectacular scenery below for about an hour, before putting down in the middle of it all for a spot of breakfast.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love Faralya; camp outside with crystal clear water just a stone’s throw away. This tiny hamlet is part of the village of Uzunyurt on Turkey’s south Tekke Peninsula.
Below the cliff-side hamlet of Faralya, via a rather treacherous steep path, is Butterfly Valley, home to around 100 species of butterfly. This heavenly canyon has a beautiful white-sand beach, turquoise water, and waterfall surrounded by mountains. Spend a night or two here at a campsite or just pitch up on the beach.