The Adventurer’s Checklist For A Visit To Australia

There are many, many reasons why tourists flock to the land down under from all over the world. They get scorching hot summers while most of us are getting ready for winter. They have the friendliest locals and the coolest cities. They have delicious food and incredible wine. They have one of the most spectacular and diverse ecosystems on the planet. They have some of the world’s most incredible creatures (I dare you to spend 5 minutes with a quokka and not fall in love). They have numerous thriving centres of art, music and culture, yet, one thing that characterises an Australian holiday perhaps more than any other is the enormous sense of adventure. Australia is a great place for relaxing by the beach with a cocktail and a good book, but it’s also quite possibly the adventure capital of the world.

The Adventurer's Checklist For a Visit to Australia

Image by Alex Healing via Flickr

If you’re the kind of person who can’t sit still for a moment while on holiday, make your way through this adventurer’s checklist of Australia…

Walk in the wilderness of Fraser Island

Before European settlers arrived in Australia, the country was an ecologically diverse (and spectacularly dangerous) wilderness that only the canny indigenous peoples could navigate safely. Perhaps that’s why so many of the country’s cities hug the coast. Yet, if you want to get off the beaten track and explore the “real” Australia, heading on over to Adventure Free tours and booking a trip to Fraser island is a good place to start. In this UNESCO World Heritage site in Queensland you’ll get to enjoy long hikes and swimming in crystal clear waters surrounded by some of Australia’s stunning native wildlife including dingos, echidnas, flying foxes and all manner of exotic birds.

Climb Uluru… while you still can

There are some who can’t pass a rocky outcrop without wanting to climb it, and if you want to visit the sandstone monolith formerly known as Ayers Rock with the intention of climbing it, you’d better get your skates on. The site’s cultural significance to the indigenous population and the inherent risk factors of the climb have led to the decision for climbing trips to be banned in October 2019. Of course, even if you should choose to visit after this date, there’s still lots to see and do around this seminal landmark.

Snorkel with white sharks

Australia has no shortage of stunning wildlife on land, but perhaps its most spectacular sights are seen beneath the sea. Australia has a plethora of opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling but for a truly memorable experience head on over to the Ningaloo Reef where you can swim side by side with 10 metre long white sharks. Of course these graceful giants aren’t the only natives to these fair waters. You’ll also encounter dugongs, manta rays, dolphins, turtles and whales.

Go kayaking in Nitmiluk National Park

Finally, those who are most at home in the water won’t want to miss the opportunity to go on a kayaking adventure down the the Katherine River in Nitmiluk National Park. You’ll be able to go off the track most beaten by tourists and dive deep into the outback, mixing it up with freshwater crocodiles and paddle your way past hoards of screeching cockatoos.

Six Ways To Spice Up Your Travel Plans

Six Ways To Spice Up Your Travel Plans

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

As much as travel should be fun and exciting and enjoying, it can get a little monotonous over time. If you tend to find yourself heading out on the same kinds of trips, to the same kinds of places, you may find that your trips and vacations all start to look the same. And this can get very boring. So instead of travel being a source of rest and enjoyment, it can become a little stale. When this is the case, you need to make sure that you spice up your travel plans. And, one of the best ways for you to do that is to shake up the way you travel. Here are six different ideas to help you do precisely that.

1. Stay Home

The very first thing that you could look to do to spice up your travel plans, is to actually stay home! Well, not stay in your house, per se – but to enjoy a staycation rather than traveling further afield. Ask yourself – have you actually explored your local area? Or enjoyed a night away in a hotel in the UK? If not, then this could be the change of pace you need.

2. Go Somewhere New

And then, you should think about going somewhere new. Always go to Greece? Try Italy instead. Tent to do beach vacation in the summer? Try a city break in the spring. Spice things up by doing things differently.

3. Try An Experience

Sometimes, it’s not so much the travel that you get excited about, as the experience that you will have. So why not focus on that? There are lots of different custom small group tours that you could go on. From wellness to sporting to foodie focused experiences, there will be something out there to suit your needs. So rather than focusing on the location, focus on what you want to do while you travel.

4. Save Up

Or maybe you know that you want to have a more luxury experience with your next source of travel? When this is the case, you are going to want to think about what that might be, and when, and then save up for it. Treating yourself to a stay in one of the most luxurious hotels in the world could be just what you need. So start planning and saving today!

5. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

And sometimes, you may find that you tend to stick to your creature comforts and just trying something new won’t do! So why not step completely out of your comfort zone and go to a location or on a kind of trip that you wouldn’t normally do, but that excites you?

6. Backpack Instead

And finally, if you’ve really got itchy feet and you’re desperate to explore the world, then why not think about backpacking for a few months? Maybe you want to explore Asia? Or you want to tour around Europe? Then do it. Work out a budget, save up, plan your route, and just head out. If you really want to spice up your travel experiences, this is certainly the way to do it.

The Best Hiking Trails in Victoria, Australia

The Best Hiking Trails in Victoria, Australia

Australia is more than Melbourne or Sydney. This distant continent offers so much more. One such place is Victoria, the second smallest state, whose wilderness and nature is mesmerizing. Thousands of people all around the world opt to visit it during the year. And if you want to experience it in the right way and you’re up for a challenge, then hiking through some of its most spectacular sights is a perfect way to do so. There are plenty of things to see and many trails that are perfect for all lovers of hiking, but we present you the three most important ones. Look at this guide as we try to convince you which hiking trails to check off your bucket list, starting from the longest to the shortest:

1. Wilsons Promontory – 54 km

The Best Hiking Trails in Victoria, Australia

Just 157 km away from Melbourne lies the Wilsons Promontory National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Australia. Also referred to as Wilson Prom or The Prom, this place is heaven to all nature lovers. Not only does this place offer rainforests and magnificent beaches, but it’s also very rich in indigenous history. There is proof that Indigenous Australians lived here more than 6500 years ago. The most important thing that you need to see is the memorial at Tidal River – a memorial to all the commandos who lost their lives during World War II. The memorial weaves its way from the slopes of Mount Oberon down to the Sealers Cove, then south above the waters of Bass Strait and finishes with a photogenic lighthouse that has been operating since 1859. Since this is quite a long hiking trail, you will need much time and plenty of battery on your smartphone as you will want to record everything or photograph every single step – yes, it’s so beautiful.

2. The Viking Circuit – 41 km

Perhaps the most challenging hiking trail of Australia, but then again one of its most beautiful ones, is the Viking Circuit, which is just one small part of the amazing Alpine National Park. What makes this trail so interesting and unusual is that it’s not suitable for inexperienced hikers. If you want to check this out, you need to be well-equipped and experienced in navigation. Take a water bottle with you as you will definitely need it to rehydrate while you try to find your way through this amazing trail. There are no signposts or walking track markers, but you will see untouched wilderness. If you opt for this trail, you will be witnessing some of Australia’s most beautiful alpine landscapes, mountain peaks and grassy plains, especially through parts of Victoria, New South Wales and ACT. The Viking Circuit is not an easy endeavor with inviting features such as Horrible gap, Mount Despair or the Crosscut Saw. So, if you’re an experienced hiker and want something new and challenging, this 41km-long trail is the perfect choice for you!

The Best Hiking Trails in Victoria, Australia

3. Werribee Gorge Scenic Rim – 14 km

Since the first two choices were longer hiking trails, here’s an option for everyone who wants to embark on a journey but cannot hike long distances. The Werribee Gorge Scenic Rim is perfect as it covers around 14 kilometers. It’s quite a short hike – just a couple of hours long. It is placed in the Werribee Gorge State Park in Victoria and is just an hour drive from Melbourne. This trail is not only popular with hikers all around the world because of the magnificent nature, but because of its diverse geological features – it’s one of the world’s oldest glacial deposits. The gorge was created about a million years ago and hiking here you experience what it’s like to walk on the former ice sheet and volcanic lava. The Werribee Gorge Scenic Rim also showcases examples of perfect nature, scenic viewpoints and even unexplored territory. This is one of Australia’s most cherished treasures

The Best Hiking Trails in Victoria, Australia

Even though there are many more hiking trails that Victoria and Australia have to offer, if you’re an experienced hiker who’s looking for new challenges, one of these should be your next destination. Australia’s perfect and almost intact nature combined with great hiking trails is certainly something that you want to experience in your lifetime.

How to Pack Like a Travel Blogger

Do you want to know how to pack like a travel blogger? Quick, easy and packing light? Less experienced travellers usually fall into the common trap of stuffing their bags with everything they think they might need, but often forget some important item. That usually leads to frustration, because the problem is most typically noticed when there’s no place where the particular item can be bought.

Those people who have this problem envy travel bloggers and wonder how they can travel so much and still carry everything they need. The secret lies in the fact that the more you travel, the better you are at packing and in following the tips of more seasoned travellers. So, what is it they recommend, based on their experience?

Daypack

One of the first things you need to put on the list is a daypack, compressed and stored in a main backpack. You need it for day trips, hikes or even weekend getaways, where you only carry things that are absolutely necessary. With so many daypacks to choose from, your only concern is likely to be the amount of money you’re happy to part with. Some more fashion-conscious ones will also try to match the style of their daypack with the clothes they usually wear on a trip.

Multi-tools

You definitely want to bring along a multi-tool, such as the famous Swiss Army knife, which you can use for opening cans, bottles, nail clipping and cutting food. However, make sure you put your multi-tool in your checked luggage otherwise security will take it away. Still, the functionality of such tools allows travellers to reduce both the size and volume of their luggage by option for these practical solutions.

Bags for wet and dry items

No matter where you go, you’ll be exposed to the risk of getting wet to a certain extent. In case that happens, you need to protect your dry clothes and electronics by using a wet/dry item. This is particularly useful for towels that can’t get dry before you your departure or swimsuits.

Record your memories

No matter how focused you may be during your trip, there’s no way you can remember every adventure you had. That’s why it’s vital you take something to help you record your memories but won’t require a lot of your attention in terms of handling. A logical choice is a gadget, such as a fantastic GoPro HERO action camera, that can provide high-quality videos and pics of your travels.

Earplugs

Though they might not be an obvious choice, earplugs are highly recommended by frequent travellers because of their ability to help deal with crying babies, snorers or simply people having loud conversations close to you. You want to be rested as much as possible once you reach your destination and there aren’t many items that can help you with that better than a pair of good earplugs.

Reusable water bottle

Since you need to keep yourself hydrated at all times, it’s very important that you have a sturdy, reusable water bottle that you can refill and reuse many times. You’ll not only avoid buying plastic water bottles, but you can also benefit from some bottles’ ability to filter water using UV light or some other method.

Dark clothes

Unless you’re travelling to some sunny and hot destination, experienced travellers recommend using darker clothes, because all the stains and spills that are bound to appear will not be as noticeable as they would be if you wore white, for example. That would also mean packing fewer items of clothing, which is another benefit of listening to seasoned travellers.

It goes without saying that there are many other tips for packing like a travel blogger, but you have to start from somewhere, right? So, consider the destination, the length of stay and other vital elements and start making a list well before you embark on your journey. It’s through the experience of travelling that you’ll find what you need to bring on your next trip.

Why should you go on a Pilgrimage

This guest post was written by Rebecca Brown, an avid traveller from Ireland.

 

Do people even go on pilgrimages today? Really? In the age of the Internet and all that?

Odds are, we are further from God (if there is a God) than we have ever been. And I’m not trying to belittle your belief system, I have one of my own too. However, I never imagined myself as the kind of person to go on an actual pilgrimage. In the sense that I will be walking the same road hundreds of thousands of people have walked since the Middle Ages, a road where people died, and which they traversed to feel closer to their deity. Turns out, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Admittedly, before we took the trip last year, I visited my mother’s homeland (she was born in Eastern Europe). Seeing where she came from felt like a spiritual homecoming, and that’s putting it mildly and overemphasizing it at the same time. When my husband suggested the Camino de Santiago, I was on the fence to say the least. However, he talked me into it, and the five weeks we spent walking across France and Spain were some of the best of our lives. That’s where the inspiration for this piece has come from, and all the people whose faces I am not likely to forget, but who will remain anonymous in the next page or two.

In a nutshell, here is why you should be going on a pilgrimage:

You are either rather young, or rather old

I know it sounds idiotic, but it’s true – we’ve met many young people out looking for adventure. They were in it for the walk, for the miles, for the nights of camping, for getting soaked in the middle of nowhere and chasing after a bus, (knowing that riding it is not the true Camino way, but nevertheless caring more about being dry than a true pilgrim). Not all were believers, and not all wanted to come, but I met one of them at Santiago de Compostela, who said it was the best vacation of her life.

On the other hand, we met an older gentleman from York. He has been walking a different Camino each year for five years. He told me he needed the time to spend in his own head, and that nothing can get your brain working like moving your legs. He’d been a top level executive for ten years, and now that he was one no longer, he wanted the time and the space to reflect on those years, the failures and the big wins. No better way to see yourself more clearly than to walk five hundred miles, he said. I’m thinking he’s probably right.

You (don’t) believe in God

Of course, there are those who take pilgrimages to feel closer to God, even today. There are also those who don’t quite believe, but would like to. The devout are some of the most interesting people to talk to on the Camino – they are calm, collected, and they can absolutely motivate you when you are about to chuck your shoes in the ditch and fly home. There are amazing heartfelt conversations to be had while you walk along. You may often find yourself questioning your own views of the world, and I don’t just mean your spiritual beliefs.

You want a challenge

This is admittedly me. I wanted to challenge myself physically and mentally – and see if I could do it. Turns out I can, even if I did want to quit three times. Let me warn you, there will be blisters. There will be rain and wind. There will be annoying people bugging you, but you can’t avoid them anyway. But you will have time to think, you will have time to breathe (I can’t stress this enough) and you will have the incentive to open your heart just a bit more. By the way, I am a terrible cynic in my everyday life, but something about the Camino has changed me. I have not only traveled from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela, I have learned more about life and people in those 800 kilometers than I thought I could.

If this short rant has sold the Camino the Santiago to you as well, here are some of my expert tips:

  • Choose a reliable tour operator. We went with Follow the Camino, based on a recommendation, and we were never once sorry.
  • Choose even more reliable shoes. I finally bought these Hanwag Trek Light ones, and they were great – after I paired them with the right socks.
  • Choose the most reliable socks. The socks are the most important part of your gear, don’t underestimate them for a second.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Upping your water intake will help you feel and walk better, no question about it.
  • Leave the prejudice behind. Simply enjoy the walk and the air and the company. That’s what you’re there for.

Have you ever walked the Camino de Santiago? Would you like to, and if yes, what are your reasons? If these eight hundred plus words have not sold you the idea of trekking eight hundred kilometers, let me know why you are still unconvinced!