Plan your perfect holiday with Heather Flanagan

Heather Flanagan
Kuoni Metrocentre

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Where's the best place you've ever stayed?

Without doubt the most charming place I have stayed is in a little Riad in Marrakesh. Hidden away down a labyrinth of alleyways deep in the Medina, the large ornamental doors of the riad opened on to a leafy courtyard with a fountain full of rose petals. We were welcomed with traditional mint tea and local delicacies, then lead to a quaint room decorated with local fabrics and handmade furniture. After exploring the souks we sunbathed on the roof terrace and by night we ate delicious tagines under the stars

What's your oddest travel moment?

I am a diving enthusiast, and try and see as many dive sites when exploring coastal destinations. By far the most strange and exhilarating place I have dived is one of the world’s top dive sites- Sipadan in Borneo. Sipadan was formed over thousands of years as living corals grew on top of an extinct volcano, so the dive site is set against a great underwater cliff edge. I knew we were going on a ‘drift dive’ but didn’t really know what it felt like until I was in the water. It was like being on an underwater rollercoaster, with turtles, hammerhead sharks, manta rays and parrot fish sweeping by. It was the most bizarre, out of control feeling, but one that I would repeat in a heartbeat!

Have you had a perfect travel moment?

There have been so many! I lived in Melbourne for a year and it was fantastic to really get to know the city in depth. One of my favourite memories was a day trip to the Yarra Valley wine region. We spent the day exploring little wineries scattered around the rolling hills, learning about the production process, squashing grapes and the best bit- sampling different wines! We ended the day relaxing in the sunshine with a glass ice cold Chandon and delicious food surrounded by breath-taking scenery, and I thought, ‘life doesn’t get better than this’.

What are your suitcase essentials?

I always take a sarong on my travels, it’s amazing what they can be used for! Mine has acted as a make shift bag after too much souvenir shopping, a headscarf when visiting temples, a sun cover up on the beach, a scarf on chilly mountain tops and more recently- a hammock for my toddler!

Where's next on your wishlist?

Now my children are a little bit older and will manage a longhaul flight, I can’t wait to share my love of travel with them! I love nothing better than an exotic beach holiday so somewhere like Mauritius is definitely my next passport stamp.

Ever since Heather was a child, she has had a fascination with the world of travel, and where her friends had posters of boybands on their wall, Heather decorated her walls with maps! Her first adventure was travelling round New Zealand, then she spent her twenties working in the travel industry in between jetting off for adventures around the world, mainly the Far East, South America and Australia. She is thrilled to be able to share her passion and knowledge of the world with Kuoni travellers.