8 South Island short walks with big views

South Island short walks new zealand featimg

We review eight South Island short walks showcasing New Zealand’s extraordinary scenery in just a short stroll

If you don’t have the time or legs for the Great Walks of New Zealand, then these South Island short walks are the next best thing. With grand views on par with some long-distance hiking trails, these quick walks showcase the best of New Zealand’s diverse and sometimes bizarre scenery without the aching feet, sweaty backs and muddy boots. 

Animal instinct: eco-friendly wildlife tours

Eco-friendly wildlife tours featimg

A curated selection of eco-friendly wildlife tours that place animal protection at the top of their agenda

Having just returned from an incredible diving trip in the Great Barrier Reef, we’ve seen first hand how important it is to choose eco-friendly wildlife tours to minimise the environmental impact of our travels.

We’ve always maintained that tourists should be able to visit vulnerable places as long as they do so in a sustainable way. Of course, no tourism is impact-free. Only last month, a cruise ship guard tragically shot dead a polar bear in Norway

Off the wall: scaling the Queenstown via ferrata

Queenstown via ferrata featured img

The Queenstown via ferrata allows climbers to scale and summit otherwise impassable cliffs rising high above the ‘adventure capital of the world’

It’s rare that a visitor leaves Queenstown in New Zealand without having tried something that raises their pulse. We visited the ‘adventure capital of the world’ as part of a G Adventures tour of South Island and were keen to sample the town’s encyclopaedia of adrenaline-filled activities.

Named by Lonely Planet as one of the best countries to visit in 2018, New Zealand offers almost endless options for those seeking adventure including bungy jumping, canyon swinging, skydiving and shotover jet boating (yep, we had no idea either).

8 best day hikes on North Island, New Zealand

best day hikes on North Island New Zealand featimg

We review the best day hikes on North Island. No tents, sleeping bags or bulky backpacks required

New Zealand is one of the best hiking destinations in the world and although the South Island steals the headlines for long-distance hiking, the North Island has much to offer in terms of shorter trails.

Don’t let lower distances fool you though: these trails may be short, but they are not always sweet. Some are thoroughly challenging. What they all have in common is spectacular scenery. Emerald lakes, rugged coastlines and rocky stalagmites are defining features of these day hikes on North Island.

24 interesting facts about Australia

interesting facts about Australia uluru

From a giant dingo fence to the planet’s largest living structure, we take a look at the most interesting facts about Australia

In a country the size of a continent there are innumerable fascinating facts to be unearthed. Australia’s mix of ancient cultures, wild terrain and cosmopolitan cities means the country has so much to offer the millions of visitors it receives every year. With red outback sands, tropical aquamarine reefs and the wild Southern Ocean, Australia is a land of truly diverse landscapes.

Exploring Cooktown, Captain Cook’s historic landing site

cooktown-featureimg

We visit Cooktown in the far north of Queensland where Captain James Cook beached his crippled ship and helped found a giant country

If you’ve seen a map of Australia, you’ve seen the huge, remote Cape York Peninsula, an area bigger than the UK, but with a population of just 18,000. Home to Australia’s northernmost point, Cape York Peninsula points upwards towards the Torres Strait and New Guinea in the northeastern corner of the continent-sized island of Australia.

8 of the best dive sites in the Great Barrier Reef

best dive sites in the Great Barrier Reef

We spent seven days diving in the world’s largest reef system – and loved every minute. Below we share some of the best dive sites in the Great Barrier Reef

As travel bloggers, we are at times guilty of hyperbole. When it comes to diving in the Great Barrier Reef, however, there is no overstating. The coral reef here is simply magnificent.

We spent seven days aboard the 35m catamaran Coral Expeditions II, a small ship that accommodates a maximum of 44 passengers (our trip had 22).

Whitehaven Beach: is it really the best in the world?

With swathes of white sand curving like a dervish around a vivid blue sea and a reputation for unparalleled beauty, would Whitehaven Beach beat everything we’ve seen?

It’s fair to say that Peter is not a beach baby. Give him a stretch of sand and he’ll search for a kayak to go off exploring. Give him sunny skies and he’ll plan a day of solo sailing. It’s no surprise then that he was dubious about our visit to Whitehaven Beach. On boarding the Providence V, he was clearly more excited about the journey there and back rather than the beach itself.

7 adventure sailing holidays for your bucket list

adventure sailing holidays-featimg

Adventure sailing holidays have the ability to carry passengers to the far reaches of the world, accessing some of the most remote and magnificent scenery the world has to offer.

Having recently returned from my first tall ship sailing adventure off the west coast of Scotland, and with my interest for the high seas well and truly piqued, I take a look at some adventure sailing holidays I would love to join.

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands from Airlie Beach, Australia

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands featimg

The sheltered waters of the Coral Sea off Queensland’s tropical coast are best explored by boat. Here’s our account of sailing the Whitsunday Islands

Home to 74 tropical islands, the Whitsundays are perfect for sailing. Dotted along the beautiful tropical coast of Queensland, fringed and sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, the picturesque islands are home to some of the finest beaches in the world.

What is the greenest country in the world?

greenest-country-in-the-world-feat-img-vietnam-farmer

The greenest country in the world is Switzerland according to the latest data analysis from the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

The Environmental Performance Index evaluates and ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

The aim is to gauge, at a national scale, how close countries are to meeting the environmental policy goals outlined in the United Nations 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Climbing Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak

Climbing Mount Kosciuszko Australia featimg 1

Climbing Mount Kosciuszko in Australia may not be on every visitor’s itinerary, but it’s the easiest way to bag one of the seven summits (sort of)

“So does this really count as one of your seven summits?” Kia asked as we started to break trail.

“Not really. But if I’m on my deathbed and one short, it will have to count,” I replied.

I may have mentioned climbing the seven summits (the highest mountain on each of the seven continents) once or twice or ten times before. I dream of climbing them all, no matter how improbable

Crowd control: the world’s least densely populated countries

least densely populated countries feat image

Are those living in the world’s least densely populated countries happier than those living in more crowded ones? 

Finland was recently named the happiest country in the world. As with previous years, it is clear that developed, conflict-free nations with stable governments tend to rank higher in these indexes.

What’s interesting is that many of the world’s happiest countries also have relatively low population density. Finland, Norway, Iceland, CanadaNew Zealand and Australia all have fewer than 20 people per square kilometre (followed closely by Sweden with 22.12), and all appear in the top 10 happiest countries.

Great Ocean Road attractions: the musts, shoulds and coulds

Great Ocean Road attractions featimg

We list the best Great Ocean Road attractions you must see, should see and could see along the way

The Great Ocean Road in Australia is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives and one of Lonely Planet’s Epic Drives of the World. Stretching for 243km along the southeastern coast of Australia, the road showcases some of the country’s most dramatic coastal scenery.

The Great Ocean Road runs between the Victorian towns of Torquay and Allansford and was built between 1919 and 1932 by soldiers returning from World War I. It is dedicated to soldiers killed during the war and as such is the world’s largest war memorial.

Flinders Chase National Park: what not to miss

Flinders Chase National Park featimg

Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s finest parks. We take a look at seven sights not to be missed

Sprawled across the western end of Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase National Park is home to wild coastline, diverse wildlife and some truly extraordinary landmarks. The park has steadily recovered from bushfires that destroyed over 400 sq km of land in 2007, and today offers a uniquely Australian landscape of sugar-gum canopies and mallee scrub. 

Climbing Uluru: a step too far

Climbing Uluru Australia

Climbing Uluru, Australia’s most iconic landmark, will be completely banned from 2019. Isn’t the ban long overdue?

In November 2017, the board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park voted unanimously to ban the climbing of Uluru from 26th October 2019, the 34th anniversary of Uluru’s return to the Aboriginal people.