Sinead Corcoran's tips for getting away from LA.
So you're on a trip to Los Angeles, you've spent a couple of days in Hollywood doing all of those deliciously touristy things like the Walk of Fame, the tours of the stars' homes and Madame Tussauds – and you're all Hollywood-ed out.
Don't worry, there's plenty of fun, wholesome-but-classic California stuff to do just outside La La Land – and it's all just a drive away.
1. Mammoth Lakes
Picture the kind of beautiful nature-y place a celeb would go to dodge the paps, and you've got Mammoth Lakes.
It's a little town in California's Sierra Nevada, close to Yosemite. Postcard-worthy mountain scape, proposal-worthy romantic lakes, tortured-author-writing-his-debut-novel-of-heartbreak-worthy cabins in the woods – it's no wonder Mammoth Lakes has been a filming destination for Hollywood directors since the 1950s.
And speaking of cosy cabins, you have to stay at Tamarack Lodge and Resort. Perched on the shore of Twin Lakes, it's Mammoth's most secluded resort. Spend your evenings snuggled up by the fire with a plus one and a whiskey or three, and spend your days exploring the wilderness like the chic Bear Grylls you are. visitmammoth.com
2. Bodie Ghost Town
Fancy dressing up like an old-time cowboy and taking spooky pics for your Instagram in a real-life Western Town? Same.
Years ago Bodie State Historic Park was a gold-mining town, but it has since been abandoned in a state of "arrested decay" - real people's houses left standing with their belongings still inside. Beds, clothes, furniture – it's creepy as hell!
Don your cowboy hat, roam around the now-empty streets and peek in the windows of the church, schoolhouse, barbershop and saloon, where relics remain. Be careful of ghosts.
3. June Lake
Crisp mountain air and a Disney movie-worthy lake surrounded by mountains - if you're planning on proposing on this trip, this is the place to do it.
Or, if you're very single like me, this is still the place to go if you fancy lying melodramatically by a beautiful lake and wondering where it all went wrong.
Other activity options include fishing, hiking, and horseback riding.
You can even get out on the water. There are canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and other watercraft for rent.
4. Museum of Western Film History, Lone Pine
If you're a fan of old Western movies, you'll love this place. If you're not, definitely take your dad – he will.
The Museum of Western Film History is a jazzy little art deco building that holds a ton of real artefacts from more than 400 Western films shot in the surrounding Alabama Hills – including original movie posters, toys, costumes, a stagecoach and a few reconstructed sets. One of the coolest things on display is a 1928 Lincoln town car, mounted with lights and a real camera they used back in the day to film the cowboys and horses in action. museumofwesternfilmhistory.org
5. Alabama Hills Movie Road Tour
And just in case you're still gasping for more Western content, head west of Lone Pine on the 395 and shoot for Mt Whitney.
Here, nestled in the Alabama Hills is a whole bunch of rocks. But not just any rocks. These rocks have been stomped over by some of the most famous Western heroes, from The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy to John Wayne.
It's here you can trek the rugged landscape used as a film set for Iron Man, Django Unchained, Gladiator, Star Trek and Transformers. You're basically an A-lister now.
Still gagging for an impressive pic for your Instagram? I got you.
Just a 10-minute walk into the hills you'll find Mobius Arch, a rock formation that creates a perfect looped frame for Mt Whitney - the highest mountain in America, outside Alaska. Chuck on a "it's a hard rock life caption," and you will be racking up those Insta likes, I guarantee.
Planning a trip to Mammoth Lakes? Here's what to do, depending on what season you're going.
Explore the landscape by mountain bike, fly fish in the local streams, brave a wilderness camping trip or get your hike on.
Live out your Saddle Club dreams riding horseback through the countryside, and check out some of the local festivals on through October.
Ski, snowboard or sled down the world-famous Mammoth Mountain (California's highest chairlift-serviced peak) or challenge your mates to a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
Hit the water in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard, or hire a fishing boat for the day and check out the local wildlife. If you're lucky, you might spot an eagle or black bear.
Air New Zealand flies direct from Auckland to LA. Connect to Mammoth Yosemite Airport, just 12 minutes from town, or drive from Hollywood via the scenic highway, 395.
Once there, getting around town is easy too - the free local bus can take you around all the most popular spots - including Mammoth Mountain lodges, the Mammoth Lakes Basin, The Village at Mammoth, supermarkets and restaurants.