Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Intense Road Trip. Canning Stock Route #2

The Canning Stock Route is a track that runs from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia to Wiluna in the mid-west region. With a total distance of around 1,850 km (1,150 mi) it is the longest historic stock route in the world.

Crossing the historic Canning Stock Route through Australia’s rugged red sand wilderness is a modern-day explorer’s dream. One of the world’s most remote tracks, the dust-tinged, take-no-prisoners toughness of this 1820km old drover’s trail is tempered by the opportunity to meet the traditional owners of this isolated land. The Tjurabalan, Ngurrara, Martu and Birriliburu of the Western Desert still live along, and are the custodians of, the route. The chance to interact with these Western Desert communities and visit rock-art sites which date back tens of thousands of years is an enriching glimpse into the fascinating culture of this region.

You can begin at either end and the route takes at least 18 days to complete. There are five communities with fuel and supply amenities along the way but for much of the journey it really is simply just you and the sprawl of the Australian desert. Understandably then, navigating the Canning Stock Route independently requires a lot of pre-emptive planning and a permit must be obtained before travel.

You’ll need to carry all the necessary equipment, supplies, and spare parts in case of breakdowns and emergencies. The track is not maintained (although it is signed clearly) and there are hundreds of sand dunes to navigate. Prior desert driving experience and mechanical ability are mandatory for anyone contemplating a journey here. An extremely helpful booklet on preparing for and driving the route is available to download on the Four Wheel Drive Australia.

Best Honeymoon Destinations

1. Hawaii:

Often ranked as one of the best honeymoon spots in the world with volcanoes, beaches, and a remote location, you can go island hopping to Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, Molokai, and Lanai, knowing that there are a number of diverse environments to explore. There is lot that you can do in Hawaii- like hiking, water sports, spa treatment, adventure etc.

2. Tahiti:

A place that is dedicated for couples and honeymoons, Tahiti is the answer to people who are looking for something that can be remembered for a lifetime. It has over 118 islands, a volcano, and other famous destinations within such as Moorea and Bora Bora. They say that staying in paradise comes with a price and it is true with this location. Doing water sports, exploring forests, and bathing under the right amount of sun can be enjoyed here.

3. Anguilla:

Since this is another island found in the Caribbean, you can expect what can be found with the rest that have been included in this list: white sand beaches, clear blue waters, abundant plant life, and a warm embrace of sunshine with winds blowing atop the waves. If there is something different that Anguilla takes pride in more than any other destination, it would be the world-class hotels that offer affordability and class.

4. Fiji:

What will you do in a place that has over 322 islands, all seemingly blessed to no end by God’s creative hand? In visiting Fiji, you will discover a place that is known to be as Earth’s modern Eden, where every inch of the islands will fill you bliss, serenity, and romance. Aside from spending time trying the many water activities available, you can also explore and find steaming hot springs that have been prepared by volcanic craters. Life’s a beach in this destination and going from island to island will make you come back for more.

5. St. Barts:

If you want something different when visiting the Caribbean, then try out St. Barthelemy, more known as St. Bart’s which can be something to change your usual warm island mood. In fact, the moment you set foot here, you can immerse yourself in the idea of French Caribbean paradise. Even though it may be a bit intimidating, as this place is known to be visited by the rich and famous, St. Bart’s has more than enough for everyone to enjoy, including couples who are here celebrating their love on a strict budget. Conditions are perfect, the sun is right, the waters are pure, and the sand is white.

6. St. Lucia

The Caribbean is indeed a wonderful place for couples to spend some time, especially around St. Lucia. This cluster of islands has been hailed as one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world due to the many remote islets that can be visited by couples. You can even stay on an island of your own, rejuvenating yourself in therapeutic hot springs, tiring yourself with lots of water sports, or even climbing atop a volcano!

7. Italy:

You may have dreamed of eating Sicilian pizza and pasta, standing atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa, hailing at the architectural majesty of the Duomo, or exchanging sweet nothings while riding a boat on Venice’s waterways. Hotels here are well acquainted with couples that are tired of taking a day’s journey to the many tourist spots that can be visited nearby.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil #1

1. Itatiaia National Park

Coming from Rio de Janeiro, Follow the BR116 (Dutra) and take the exit for Itatiaia, right after the “Graal” restaurant. Follow the indications to the National park and you arrive at the gate.
Getting to the Itatiaia Park from Rio de Janeiro is a +/- 200 km drive via the BR116 (Rio – São Paulo). The distance from São Paulo is about 250 Km. I’m lucky to live in Volta Redonda, which is only 80km from the park. – Rio de Janeiro – Brazil.

Itatiaia National Park is the first and so also the oldest National Park of Brazil. It was inaugurated in 1937 and covers almost 30.000 hectares of the larger Environmental Protection Area of the Mantiqueira mountain range.

2. Rock Climbing to Christ the Redeemer (Corcovado), Rio de Janeiro

The climb starts at 500m above the city. You can hike the whole way to the base, but we took the car to a parking place, from where we took a minivan that goes all the way up, but we got out halfway. After a 15-20min hike through some quite dense jungle, we reached the starting point of the climb and geared up.

Rio de Janeiro is a great place for rock climbing, and one of the more difficult climbs, but also one of the most beautiful ones is Corcovado mountain (also referred to as K2), on top of which stands the most famous landmark of Rio de Janeiro: the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

3. Hang gliding or Parasailing in São Conrado

Hang gliding is just one of many offbeat things you could do in Rio de Janeiro. Driving down the coastline of Rio de Janeiro in the direction of Barra de Tijuca (Zona Oeste – west side), you will pass São Conrado, one of Rio’s “noble”, and more privileged neighborhoods, which is surrounded by coastal mountains, creating perfect circumstances for hang gliding.

The Pedra Bonita take-off ramp is located inside the famous Tijuca National Park, at an altitude of 520 m.
It should only be a 20 minute drive from Copacabana, but depending on the time of day, traffic tends to cause significant delays, so always leave half an hour (or even an hour) earlier than you planned initially.

Self-Drive Turkey

Day 01:  Cappadocia
Arrival at Kayseri airport meet and assist and transfer to the hotel in Cappadocia.
Cappadocia which is unique in the world and is a miraculous nature wonder is the common name of the field covered by the provinces of Aksaray, Nevsehir, Nigde, Kayseri and Kirsehir in the Central Anatolian region. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia

Day 02: Cappadocia
Early morning hot air balloon ride. Transfer back to the hotel for breakfast. Late morning North Cappadocia Tour. The north tour includes visit to the Goreme valley with all churches,the Uchisar castle and Valleys Pasabag,Dervent and Pigeons valleys,Cavusin.Dinner and Overnight in Cappadocia

Day 03:  Cappadocia
Today we shall be touring the South of Cappadocia. Visit Ihlara valley with all churches,Selime Cave village and Underground city Kaymakli. Dinner and Overnight in Cappadocia

Day 04: Kusdasi
Transfer to the airport to take a flight to Izmir. Arrive and transfer straight to Ehpesus for sightseeing. Ephesus, once the most important commercial center of the western Anatolia , is one of the highlights of Turkey that awaits the exploring tourists. The city was established as a port on the mouth of the river Cayster and was one of the foremost cities of the world for its being on a strategic trade route in Anatolia.The city itself and the ruins are all on the sides of a fertile valley. The extensive ruins including the theatre, library or gymnasium create the special atmosphere of Ephesus, and appeal to every visitors. Ephesus has been a "center" during the date. Once a trade center of the ancient world , a religious center of the early Christianity and today, a unique tourism center proving all its perfectas to the visitors through the world.
Transfer to Kusadasi. Kusadasi, which means "bird island", is set in a superb gulf in the Aegean region of Turkey and is known for its turquoise sparkling water of the Sea, broad sandy beaches, bright sun and large marina with a capacity for 600 boats. A glorious ancient city stands beside it, Ephesus with hundreds of thousands of visitors from tours each year. Numerous holiday villages and hotels line its shores and hundreds of restaurants serve food from all around the world.Dinner and Overnight in Kusadasi

Day 05: Pammukale - Bodrum
Today drive to Pammukale. Sightseeing of Heirapolis and Cotton Castle. Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s top attractions and a precious in the world with its cotton-look terraces. The underground water once gave life to the ancient city of Hierapolis now helps Pamukkale be one of the most important thermal centers of Turkey.Arrive and transfer to your hotel.Late afternoon visit unique Cotton Fortress, the white calcium cascades, and also pay a visit to one of the first modern spa centers of the ancient world, Hierapolis. Drive onwards to Bodrum. Overnight in Bodrum

Day 06: Bodrum
Half day tour of Bodrum including visit to the Castle and the Museum. One place of Bodrum that no visitor to this great city should miss is the famous Bodrum Castle, which overlooks the harbor and the international marina. This castle was constructed by the Knights of Rhodes in the 15th century during the crusades of the middle ages, and it was given the name The Castle of St. Petrus, or Petronium. Dinner and Overnight in Bodrum

Day 07: Bodrum
Day at leisure.  Dinner and Overnight in Bodrum

Day 08: Istanbul
Transfer to the airport to take a flight to Istanbul. Istanbul - The Former capital of three successive empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Istanbul today honors and preserves the legacy of the past while looking forward to a modern Future. Istanbul of the day conforms the definition of a great city, not only with her population and the area she covers but also with the variety of cultures and ways of living. This cultural structure which enables a good number of elements that contradict with each other and yet exist together even one in another, is the produce of an accumulation of about one thousand years. Arrive and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon visit famous spices market, Rustem Pacha mosque from the XVI century and end your day with the cruise on the Bosphorus and from the deck of our cruise boat take in the sights and sounds of this legendary waterway, that is lined with historic villages, grand wooden mansions, imposing fortresses, like Anadolu Hisarı and the Baroque palaces of the late Ottoman sultans. Overnight in Istanbul

Day 09: Istanbul
After breakfast, depart for a full-day sightseeing tour of Istanbul. Visit Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque; “Istanbul's imperial Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I (Sultan Ahmet Camii) is called the Blue Mosque because of its interior tiles, mostly on the upper level and difficult to see unless you're right up there with them. Forget the blue tiles! The mosque (built 1603-17) is the masterwork of Ottoman architect Sedefkâr Mehmet Aga. It's built on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium, on the southeastern side of the Hippodrome” and Hippodrome; “The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a horse-racing track that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire and the largest city in Europe. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving.” Finish the tour at Grand Bazaar.Overnight in Istanbul

Day 10: Istanbul
Today depart on a day picnic to Princess Islands. The Princes' Islands are composed of nine islands off the Asian coast of Istanbul, in the Sea of Marmara. There are regular passenger ferries and fast passenger ferries (sea bus) to the four of the islands from different piers of the city; from Sirkeci, from Kabatas, and from Bostanci districts. Motor vehicles are not permitted on the islands except the ones belonging to local municipality for public works, so people walk or rent a bicycle or horse-drawn carriage, even a donkey.The name of the islands come from the Byzantine period, when princes and empresses were exiled there. But during the Ottoman period, especially around 19th century with the use of steamboats, these islands became a popular resorts for Istanbul's rich people, building their wooden houses. Overnight in Istanbul

Day 11: Istanbul – Mumbai
Transfer to the airport to take flight back

Monday, 21 October 2013

Northern Splendour

This experience is all about discovering a new world with its heritage and culture. It’s about exploring and discovering of nature’s best gifts to human kind. A journey that will set your senses free and your soul enriched.


On arrival in Auckland, 'The City of Sails', seat in coach passengers you will be met by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel. Self drive passengers will collect your rental car at the airport and drive to your hotel. Today feel free to relax and energies yourself for what awaits you. There is a scenic relief for your eyes, and history and heritage to refresh your mind.


Today you will travel south to arrive at Waitomo for a guided tour of the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. It is a must see on everyone’s wish-list. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as our expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves' historical and geological significance. Enjoy the world famous boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history.
From here you continue over the Mamaku Ranges to reach the 'Thermal City' of Rotorua.


Rotorua is part of the Volcanic Zone, a geothermal field extending from White Island off the Bay of Plenty coast to Mount Ruapehu in the central North Island. You will visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve, here the environment alone is of enormous geological significance, with thermal activity ranging from boiling mud to the world famous 30-metre (100-foot) Pohutu geyser, erupting up to 20 times each day. Hot springs, boiling sulphurous pools, silica terraces and bubbling mud pools are among the natural wonders.

Following this, visit Rainbow Springs to see New Zealand's trout, birds and wildlife before continuing to the Agrodome for a New Zealand farm show featuring sheep dog demonstrations, cow milking and an introduction to the stars of our sheep industry. The afternoon is at leisure. In the evening you will go back in time at a Maori village. In the depths of the forest, you will gain a clear picture of Maori lifestyle and traditions - with singing, dancing and a traditional hangi feast to enjoy.


Travel south to reach Taupo travelling over rugged mountain ranges and well cultivated farmland to arrive in the 'Art Deco' city of Napier. This small city has its own charm and sometimes feels fictional.  Napier, was rebuilt in the early 1930s following a massive Richter 7.8 Earthquake. Subsequent fires destroyed most of its commercial heart. By the end of the decade, Napier was the newest city on the globe.
No where else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco, the style of the 20th Century making it unique, with Maori motifs.


The morning is set aside for your leisure. You can explore Napier and its uniqueness on your own and meet and greet the locals. The afternoon is booked for a wine tour in which you will not just visit but also indulge in wine tastings at 3 local wineries. Napier wine tours showcases the best in fine wines made at top wineries and vineyards in New Zealand. Some of the internationally acclaimed wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are from here.


Today is a visual delight for you in the laps of nature. You are going to travel through the Manawatu Gorge to Palmerston North, down the Kapiti Coast to finally arrive in the 'Capital City' of Wellington. This drive is going to leave you mesmerized.


On the last day you with head back home after a relaxing vacation full of memories and experiences to last a lifetime.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Spain Travel #1

Spain (officially called the Kingdom of Spain) is a fascinating mix of cultures. Due to its geographic location it has been influenced throughout history by cultures such as the Goths, Moores and Romans. All of these influences combined with its centuries of rule as a colonial power around the world has created a weave of cultures unequaled in the world. From the cultural aspects to the amazing food, visiting Spain can be one of the most unforgettable trips of your life.

Abundant year-round rainfall lends a deep-green color to northern pastures and meadowlands. Seasonal temperatures vary only slightly; winters are mild, summers, cool. The eastern coast and Balearic Islands enjoy typically Mediterranean weather: semitropical warmth, sunshine and long dry spells. Spring and autumn winds bring localized storms with brief but heavy rains.


The kitchens of Spain produce a pungent and imaginative fare. Substantial and plentifully served, the food is typically not highly seasoned. Olive oil, the idea of Spanish culinary art, imparts a refined flavor to most ingredients.

A number of dishes, each national and regional, are to be recommended. Variations on rice-based dish, flavoured with saffron and pimentos, are found everywhere the country. Valencia is known for the tastiest version made with pork, chicken or food.
The meals of the Basque nation are likely to include several hearty courses. Salt codfish cooked with fresh tomatoes (bacalao a la Vizcaína) is known in other areas of Spain, as is fish soup (sopa de pescada), a traditional favorite of fishermen.
Many cafes offer tempting snacks (tapas) for those who find it hard to hold out until scheduled meal times. Seafood is the most common, but sandwiches and several varieties of sausage can be purchased as well. With all of these, Spaniards drink wine or beer.
Squid (calamares), at their best within the Basque country and territory, are eaten up in alternative regions. cuttlefish are oft prepared in a dark sauce of their own ink or cut up and fried crisp.Gazpacho is an uncooked soup of andalusian origin. Oil and vinegar are combined with finely strained tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, green peppers and onion. garnished with croutons, the chilled mix makes a refreshing nourishment on hot days.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Amazing things to do in South Africa

Whenever we think about a destination, we think what can we do there. Same old sight seeings, visiting monuments and beaches. But this post is not about travel 101, this is about what all amazing things that you can do in your travel in South Africa along with the travel default options.

The number one wild and crazy thing that you can do in South Africa is ride an ostrich, you might have tried riding on a horse. Riding on an ostrich is way different than riding on your two wheeler bike. Well, It does have two legs. Riding an ostrich takes a lot of skills but amateurs are welcome to try their luck in Oudtshoorn, in the Karoo. Ostrich farms abound in this semi-desert area of South Africa, there are hundreds of them. Oudtshoorn is the place to master riding this ungainly but strangely attractive, non-flying bird. If you're feeling very confident, there are regular races to be enjoyed as well but you should probably leave those to the professional ostrich jockeys.

You might have seen in movies, surfers riding those big waves and experiencing that excitement thousands of kilometers away in front of your TV. You can try your hand on surfing on South African beaches, feel that rush of riding the waves inside your body. You might want to know that the quality of the surf depends on the size of the swell and the direction of the wind. Hire that waxed surf board and head towards you own maverick to come cruising towards the beach. Afraid to get up, you can just paddle on your board and enjoy your swim and watch others riding.

Hiking is another amazing option, a must try. The Wild Coast, in South Africa's Eastern Cape region, is one of the most beautiful coastlines on earth and much of it is only accessible by foot. There are fantastic natural sights including waterfalls, isolated beaches, untouched forests and rivers. The hike also offers the chance to mix with locals like the Xhosa and the amaPondo.
Strandloper - a 5 day backpacking trail along the southern section of the Wild Coast and Cape Wild Coast where you stay in huts on the beach.
Hole in the Wall Hiking trail - is also a 5 day hike, nights are spent in small hotels, days are spent walking through spectacular mangroves, beaches and over clifftops.
WildCoast Walk offers many hikes on the Wild Coast as well as horseback and canoeing trips.

Swim with animal wearing tuxedo, you can also swim with penguins. Swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town, is a real thrill. A small public beach is set apart from the main penguin colony that resides here (on Foxy Beach), but that doesn't stop the penguins from sitting on your beach towel or darting around your legs while you take a refreshing dip in the Ocean. Penguins like to walk about and generally ignore fences. A boardwalk has been built around the dunes so you can get a great close up look at the entire colony eating, breeding, preening, swimming and chatting away.

Meeting great whites without losing your arm or leg.  Cage diving with the Great White Shark is a relatively new adventure sport in South Africa. There are several operators who offer cage diving packages and most of them concentrate around an area known as "shark alley" in Gansbaai, just 2 hours drive from Cape Town. Great White Shark diving is the marine equivalent of seeing the Mountain Gorilla in its natural environment. It's an adventurous and unique opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with a magnificent animal.