ZM and Celebrity Treasure Island's Bree Tomasel has tips for another tropical island, writes Tim Roxborogh
For a self-confessed "rough 'n' tumble country girl" who grew up on an apple orchard in rural Queensland, life sure has changed for ZM Drive host Bree Tomasel in the past couple of years.
For a start, Tomasel — who is a genuine social media phenomenon with more than 400,000 Facebook and 100,000 Instagram followers — left behind her radio gig on New South Wales' Central Coast to up sticks to New Zealand in 2018.
Kiwi radio listeners were soon won over by the humour that had made her an online star and before long she found herself with a TV offer too good to turn down: host of Celebrity Treasure Island.
As she explains to me and co-host Stephanie Holmes in the latest episode of Travel podcast Trip Notes, available now on iHeartRadio, getting to travel to Fiji for three weeks to film the show was a dream come true.
Proudly stating that her ultra-competitive side would mean her rivals would "need to look out" if she was ever a guest on Celebrity Treasure Island as opposed to being the host, Bree — being the true-blue Aussie she is — also has plenty to say about another tropical island, our Trip Notes' "Destination Of The Week", Bali.
Kiwis are flocking to Bali in ever-increasing numbers, catching on to what our Australian cousins have known for decades: Bali is a stunning destination and for so many reasons.
You can hear all about why on the new episode of Trip Notes, available wherever you get your podcasts.
But in the meantime, here are five of Bree's top recommendations for a brilliant Bali holiday.
1. Sample as much food as you can
From local flavours to internationally acclaimed French, Spanish, Indian, Thai, Mexican (pretty much any cuisine you can think of), Bali is a paradise for a foodie. It's also one of the best places for vegans and vegetarians to travel to, with an abundance of healthy, plant-based options at restaurants both traditional and modern.
2. Go beyond the tourist hot spots
Seminyak will always keep her coming back, but Bree says "my favourite place is Canggu. It's not as touristy. You get a sense of more the real Bali. If you really want to live the Bali vibe, that's where you're probably going to get the real kind of experience".
3. Get away from the beach
Sure, the allure of sun and sand may have been what got you on the plane to Bali in the first place, but Bree finds just as much to love about the famed rice terraces, spa retreats, cafes and galleries of Ubud. It's also home to several of the most spectacular hotel infinity pools in all of Southeast Asia.
4. Get a spa treatment
Whether it's in a famously spiritual spot like Ubud, or a more up-and-coming part like Canggu, Bali is one of the most densely spa-dominated destinations on the planet, with more than 1200 spas, offering everything from yoga to traditional massage.
5. Relax at a beach club
If cocktails and sunsets are a top priority, Bali is hard to beat for ultra-hip beach clubs. There are endless options in the Seminyak region, like Potato Head and Ku De Ta, but other top picks include Como Uma Canggu and the truly breathtaking, perched-in-the-sky, Omnia Day Club in Uluwatu.
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For more travel inspiration, go to houseoftravel.co.nz.
Bree Tomasel hosts ZM's Drive Show (Weekdays, 3pm-7pm). Follow her on Instagram and Facebook — @breetomasel