Kapitelschwemme, Salzburg – Austria
Travel Photo Gallery: Salzburg Photo Gallery
Kapitelschwemme, Salzburg – Austria
Travel Photo Gallery: Salzburg Photo Gallery
With an abundance of domestic flights, Australia beckons visitors to explore from coast to coast,
and flying point-to-point makes the most of travel time and money. Here are 10 top stops for the trip of a lifetime.
Great Barrier Reef
So large it can be seen from outer space, the Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,600km (1,600 miles) along the coast of northeast Australia. It’s one of the most bio-diverse regions on earth, shared by over 400 species of coral, 1,500 species of fish, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks, stingrays and more.
Uluru, aka Ayers Rock
Measuring 1.6 by 2.4 kilometers (1 by 1.5 miles), the massive red sandstone outcropping in Australia’s interior is one of the country’s most iconic sites. Prime times to visit are sunrise and sunset, when light striking the rock causes a play of colors that’s nothing short of majestic.
Sydney’s harbour, with its landmark Opera House, is actually submerged river valley. Sweeping vistas of islands and peninsulas, coves, bays and estuaries point up its natural beauty. Visitors who don’t mind heights can take the Bridge Climb and see it all from 134 meters (440 feet) up.
Australia has a beach for every mood, from Sydney’s famous see-and-be-seen Bondi to Perth’s laid back Cottesloe on the western coast to wild, unspoiled Monkey Mia in the northwest. If those don’t appeal, there are hundreds more to choose from.
Two outstanding examples of Australia’s many rainforests are the tropical Daintree Forest near Port Douglas and the subtropical Lamington National Park near the Queensland-New South Wales border. Both are World Heritage sites, lush with ancient trees, ferns, waterfalls, gorges, and abundant wildlife.
Australia is proud of its animals and preserves can be found almost everywhere. From the Curumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast to the late Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia’s wildlife is always waiting to win hearts.
South of Brisbane lies the Gold Coast, a 70 kilometer (43 mile) stretch that embraces golden sand beaches and some of Australia’s most vibrant nightlife. This is surfing, sun and fun capital of Oz, where natural beauty is just steps away from a fast-paced urban lifestyle that includes luxury hotels, open-late pubs and clubs, restaurants and shopping malls.
Australia’s major cities are all coastal, but that’s almost all they have in common. From sophisticated Sydney to tropical Cairns, relaxed Perth to Melbourne, the country’s cultural capital, visitors quickly learn that there’s no such thing as a “typical” Australian city.
Great Ocean Road
A different kind of coast will be found along the Great Ocean Road, beginning at Torquay near Melbourne and continuing west 243 kilometers (151 miles) to Warrnambool on the southern coast. The scenery is wild and rugged, with steep cliffs and the famous 12 Apostles limestone outcroppings anchored in the sea. This was an early point of British settlement, and small Victorian towns dot the way.
Those who want the ultimate in wild, unspoiled beauty will find it in Tasmania, off the continent’s southeastern tip. Rugged hills, towering sea cliffs, waterfalls and majestic views make this a prime destination for backpackers. Not to be missed is Freycinet National Park’s beautiful, secluded Wineglass Bay, often voted one of the world’s ten best beaches.
A camping holiday can be the best experience of your life, or a damp squib from start to finish: it all depends on whether you plan it right. The more often you camp, the better drilled you become in what it takes to make the event a pleasurable and relaxing one.
For those who haven’t camped much, or are rather rusty in the outdoor arts, here’s a crash course in how best to plan for a few nights under the stars.
It seems obvious but with camping, if you fail to plan you most definitely plan to fail. Before you even think about getting the equipment together, write a list of all the things that you will need for the trip.
Practice with your tent
They can be difficult to put up at the best of times and if you take the wrong turn you may be further tested by fading light, so it’s best to have a practice putting up your tent before you go on your camping break. If you don’t have a garden in which to do a test run, at least unravel the tent at home and see how it fits together.
As daunting as this may first seem, most modern tents go up with minimal effort; that is, when you know what you are doing.
Take your own food
Don’t rely on the campsite having food when you get there. It’s also cheaper to buy before you go, so stock up on as much food as you can carry; but avoid getting anything too fiddly.
Book in advance
Unless you are a seasoned camper, you are advised to stay at a specific campsite, rather than taking your chances in the wild. Most campsites around Europe are booked solid in high season so it’s important to reserve an area beforehand. Before you do make the booking, have a look at what independent reviews say about the campsites on your shortlist.
It is always good to check the weather for your campsite at the time of the year that you are planning to go. However adventurous you are, you probably wouldn’t enjoy a really cold night with only a sleeping bag and a thin tent to protect you – it can make the next day a very grumpy affair.
Take lots of thin layers of clothing
This is the most important item on the entire list save, perhaps, for the tent itself. People often think that just because it’s summer and the weather is clement during the daytime that they won’t require lots of clothing. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Even the hottest countries in Europe get cold at night and it is therefore imperative that you take lots of thin layers to wrap up in. It’s especially important to plan your clothing needs well if you are going on activity holidays.
Nothing ruins a camping trip quite like a hard floor. In one short night it can make you feel like a walking bruise. The more stuff you can bring to put underneath you the warmer and more comfortable you will be.
Pitch in a sensible position
When you get there, make sure you aren’t next to the toilets or the bins. A perfect spot might well involve nearby trees to shelter you from any rough winds during the night.
You will want to take a first aid kit with you, even to ease the slight burns and cuts that could occur from outdoor living. Take the obvious precautions with children and remember that even the small gas stoves stay hot for a time after they are turned off, so take good care when handling them. If you are travelling to more remote sites, you should also inform loved ones as to your destination.
As great as charades can be in the short term, you will probably need a little more to entertain you in the television-free, great outdoors. Card games and other small group activities should be considered in advance.
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While the old myth that lions roam the streets of South Africa is still believed by a few would-be travelers, nothing could be further from the truth. Still, you can see lions and other wildlife in many parts of the country, including Cape Town, which is one of the most beautiful places on earth and a popular destination for international and national tourists (overseas visitors should consider travel insurance).
One of the first places that travelers often spot wildlife when they first arrive in Cape Town is on the lower slopes of the iconic landmark, Table Mountain, which is part of a unique urban national park. There are various antelope that live in the park, including klipspringers (a “klip” being the Afrikaans word for stone or rock, and “spring” meaning to leap or jump), as well as eland and bontebok. They are often seen close to the highway that leads into the city, along with distinctive striped zebra.
Many farmers and owners of larger properties on the outskirts of Cape Town have stocked their land with buck – including springbok and impala – and zebra. So if you’ve sightseeing by car or coach, always keep an eye out for these. You are also likely to see ostriches.
Apart from the many national parks and game farms where you can see lions in South Africa, there are also several lion parks. Cape Town Lion Park is in the Stellenbosch district just north of the city, and in addition to the normal lion species, you can see world-famous white lions. The focus here is on educating people about lions in general and visitors are taken on guided tours.
Drakenstein Lion Park is a lion sanctuary that houses about 15 rescued lions. Located on the fringes of the famous Cape Winelands, about half-an-hour’s drive from the Cape Town city centre, there is also a tented camp where visitors can “sleep with the lions”. You’ll get to sleep in a safari tent and eat a traditional South African braai (or barbecue).
Cheetah Outreach, based at the world famous Spier Wine Estate near Stellenbosch, has been promoting the survival of the South African cheetah for about 14 years. Cheetahs here were either rescued or bred and hand reared at the cheetah centre. Some of them have been “adopted” by people who pay for their upkeep.
There are several excellent restaurants at Spier, one of which, Moya, is named after one a cat born at Spier in 1997.
It’s unlikely that you won’t see baboons – specifically Chacma Baboons – if you visit Cape Town. While many do live in protected national parks, it is not unusual for them to migrate to populated areas in search of easy food. You will always see them at Cape Point, a popular tourist spot at the tip of the Cape Peninsula – but you should never feed them or try to touch them. They will often jump onto stationary vehicles, so always keep your windows closed if you see baboons along the road side.
If you enjoy hiking, there are guided walks organized by Baboon Matters, an organization that is striving to educate people about baboons and as they say, “bridge the gap between the wild world of the Chacma Baboons of the Cape Peninsula and the world of their human cousins”.
A visit to Cape Town is not complete without a trip to Boulder’s Beach near Simonstown, where you can see hundreds of Jackass Penguins in their own habitat. These penguins have been breeding here for nearly three decades, and now there are thousands of adult birds that live in the colony. In the 1990s you could spend time on the open beach while they wandered around you, and even swim with them in the sea. This of course made them a great tourist attraction, and so the area has been taken over by the Cape Peninsula National Park to give them some protection. There is now a fee to enter the beach area, and boardwalks and fences have been erected to stop them from wandering inland. It is, however, still possible to swim with the penguins.
You can also see penguins on Robben Island, which is where former president, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned so many years ago. There is another breeding colony at Betty’s Bay on the southern coast, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
Penguins are undeterred by humans, but don’t get too close because they have a notoriously vicious bite.
Not quite your normal South African wildlife, camels have become a feature of Kommetjie, one of Cape Town’s distinctive coastal villages.
Camel rides are offered most days by the owners of Imhoff Farm, an historical Cape farmstead dating to the mid 18th century. The camels are “tame” and promise a ride of a lifetime!
YouTube: All of Broadway
Riding the length of Broadway in Manhattan, all in one take.
Airline tickets vary wildly in price which can make finding cheap flights a time consuming process. The price of a flight is constantly fluctuating, based on a number of variables; anything from the chosen airline to the day of the flight can affect the price of an airline ticket. Looking for cheap flights in Europe can be a daunting task, but with persistence and a little shopping savvy, a buyer from the UK can find a good deal to most destinations in Europe and worldwide.
There are so many websites offering cheap flights that it can get confusing to know which one to use. One of the problems of finding flights online is that even with the flight comparison sites, not all the airlines are listed. This is especially a problem for finding tickets from the UK, where there are so many low cost airlines represented. While using a flight search engine is the most convenient method for finding flights, it is not really doing its job if it’s not including the budget airlines. Check out edreams.co.uk for example as a sight that compares all the flights, including airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair.
It doesn’t hurt to also check the official website of the airline you wish to purchase from; occassionally they can offer discounts that aren’t found elsewhere, or allow you to use a portion of your frequent flyer miles. Ticket rates tend to vary based on what airport you fly into or out of, so be sure to check surrounding airports to see what cheap flights they offer. Taking a connecting flight or a one-stop flight is usually cheaper than taking a nonstop flight. Be sure to compare the rates of various airlines; many European airlines offer various rates depending on the reputation of the airline, the destination and the date of travel.
There are a number of great ways to find cheap flights from the United Kingdom to various other European countries; utilizing these methods will go a long way in saving you money for your air costs. Although it will need a little research and effort on your part, finding cheap flights from the United kingdom to other European locales is not hard.
Location: Luebeck – Germany
Photo: House of the Seamens Guildhall
House of the Seamens Guildhall, Luebeck – Germany
Travel Photo Gallery: Luebeck Photo Gallery
Rail tours are a fantastic way of covering Japan’s city highlights and rural jewels all in the same trip, with the added bonus of having the travel and accommodation arrangements taken care of. Rail travel is befitting of a Japanese adventure, taking you through scenery and terrain you may never otherwise have managed to explore. Cherry blossom, mountains, castles and lakes are beautifully contrasted with the dynamic modern cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima.
Beginning in Tokyo, our tour included a guided walking tour. Expert insight on history, culture and politics were offered. Tokyo is a vibrant city with almost futuristic entertainment and shopping complexes and displays of quirky pop culture images. On the other hand, the Imperial Palace epitomises classic images of Japan, the tiered building with traditional sloping roofs and surrounded by Japanese flora. Residence of the Emperor and Empress, the palace is surrounded by a moat and the extensive gardens are a tranquil retreat from the city bustle. The Meiji Shrine is another Tokyo highlight, the leading road lit by cherry blossoms in spring.
Mt Fuji towers from the Five Lakes District, and is a distinctive conical volcano capped with snow. The Lake District is an area of outstanding natural beauty, the scenery reflecting perfectly off the placed lakes. Nearby Matsumoto is a town outside of time, the essence of Japan captured in its castle, bridges and traditional architecture. Japan’s national drink is sake, and the brewery here conducts insightful tours and tastings of this distinctive rice wine.
Trains wind through the passes of the snow capped Japanese Alps to the hill town of Takayama. Here there is an incredible open air museum set in ancient forest. Antique houses have been relocated to its grounds and showcase the iconic architecture of Japan through the centuries. Farmhouses with steep, thatched roofs are among the most unique examples. Production of traditional crafts and the demonstration of ancient traditions bring rural life of the 18th and 19th centuries to life. Takayama itself has wonderful flower and fruit markets.
Samurai and geisha districts still stand in Kanazawa, a short ride away. The historic streets are characterised by classic sloping roofs and earth walls evoking the Japan has captured western imagination in films and books. Castle and gardens are the main attractions, and the streets have a timeless feel which give an insight into the romance and elegance of Japanese tradition.
At the end of the tour is the city of Hiroshima, a tranquil, leafy city with a complex story to tell. Miyajima Island is a highlight, reached by ferry. At high tide, the gate to the shrine appears to be floating on the waves and provides one of Japan’s most magnificent views. The shrine itself dates back to the 12th century, and is built upon a pier like structure so that commoners could worship at the shrine from boats. The island is also adorned with temples, traditional pavilions and mountains.
Luang Prabang is a city of unrivalled beauty. From its welcoming people to fabulous architecture and delicious cuisine, the place is inviting and warming to all who visit. Our tour of Luang Prabang takes guests through this marvelous city, exposing its hidden secrets along the way, digging beneath the surface to expose its deep cultural roots.
Your Romantic Luang Prabang tour begins with a discovery of Laos culture through a visit to the Stay Another Day exhibition, then its off to Mount Phousi to climb the stairs and watch the sun set over the city and surrounding hills. We stop on our return at the hill tribe evening market to look at the local goods and do some shopping.
Tour Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights
Tour Operates: Year Round / On Demand
Tour Price: Available upon Request
Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.
Accommodation at selected hotels based on Single, Double/Twin Room with breakfast.
Meals as indicated in itinerary. B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner.
English Speaking Local Guide
All activities and boat trips indicated in the itinerary
All entrance fees as indicated in itinerary
Land transportation with driver in the itinerary
All permissions and local taxes
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