Heron Island, Queensland, Australia
Posted by Brenda Isles
Having just returned from Heron Island, we can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy an easy few days, whilst capturing some of the most amazing natural sights. It is off the coast of Gladstone, Queensland.
Between December and March, female turtles come on the island to lay their eggs. Between January and March turtle hatchlings scramble to the sea. It is a great place to enjoy great beaches, great snorkeling and diving and nature at its most natural. Go on the free talks and walks early on and learn how to behave so that you watch but don’t interfere with the natural cycles on the island. I recommend the Beach House. It’s the most expensive accommodation, but is the most comfortable and is situated on the beach. If you get travel sick, try the helicopter, a much easier way of getting to the island, although there is a cost consideration.
Heron Island was the best part of a long trip. Highly recommended for experiences you won't forget.www.heronisland.com
________________________________________________________________Swimming in Litchfield National Park, Darwin, Australia
Posted by Dalo
Florence falls and Buley rock pool offer very different swimming experiences. Go in the wet season and you'll be hard pressed to swim under the waterfall; the force of the cascade creates a natural water treadmill, allowing one to swim on the spot. Compare this with the more sedate pleasures of Buley where a cluster of shallow pools in a fast flowing river create an antidote to the wildness ofFflorence, more like a natural jacuzzi. All in 32 degree heat and totally crocdile free!http://litchfieldnationalpark.com/
An easy two hour drive south of Darwin
________________________________________________________________Canoe safaris on the Ord river, Kununurra
Posted by lucyd
Spend three days away from it all canoeing from Lake Argyle to Kununurra – paddling through spectacular scenery surrounded by birds and wildlife and swimming in water so clear you can drink it.
The trips are self guided for groups of two or more – you’re supplied with all the equipment you need (canoes, coolbox, storage barrels, camping kit), dropped off and given a map then you paddle at your own pace. The map shows places to stop off along the way (waterfalls, gorges) as well as the bush campsites where you sleep under the stars. An amazing experience.
Run by the Kununurra Backpackers Adventure Centre.www.adventure.kimberley.net.au/entry.htm
________________________________________________________________Kings Canyon, Northern Territory, Australia
Posted by Lester
Uluru is undoubtedly a priority on every travellers list when they visit Australia. Although spectacular in its own way Uluru's beauty is eclipsed by nearby King's Canyon in the Watarrka national park. This ancient canyon created by a pre-historic inland sea allows breathtaking views over the Watarrka national park. The scenery is much more varied than at Uluru and the red domes against the azure sky are a visual treat. The walk around the rim of the canyon takes three hours - but is pleasant with lots of variation in incline and scenery. Halfway through the walk you come across the garden of eden which is a permanent waterhole. It's safe to swim here and the experience of swimming in this waterhole surrounded by sheer red cliffs with the sky above is amazing. Sunrise is the best time to visit the canyon when temperatures are bearable and the flies are few in number. Take plenty of water, sun screen and insect repellent. Nearby Kings Canyon Resort offers accomodation and there is a camp site nearby as well.
From Uluru airport Kings Canyon is a 400 km drive (takes about 3-4 hours as the roads are desserted). The drive is well signposted. Kings Canyon can also be reached from Alice Springs. For accomodation see the resort websitewww.kingscanyonresort.com.au/
________________________________________________________________Visiting Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia
Posted by planktonic
First get yourself to Hervey Bay on the Queensland coast. Just off the coast is Fraser Island, a sandy, 90-mile long island covered with rain forests and dotted with paradisal lakes.
There are a number of rental places on the main drag on the edge of town on the mainland where you can rent a four-wheel drive car complete with full camping kit. You will usually be shown a short video about off-road driving - pay attention, as the island is crossed by narrow tracks composed of very soft sand which take some getting used to.
A short ferry ride later and you are there. Cross the island to the east side, where you'll find 70-mile Beach. As the name suggests, this is a long beach; at low tide, it becomes a 100-metre wide road along which you can drive the length of the island, stopping off at various points to explore the rain forest or lakes.
In the evening, you can pull off the beach through a break in the dunes to camp under the stars, miles from anyone else and as close to nature as you can get (but still with the security blanket of a four-wheel drive, tent, cooker and whatever provisions you picked up from the supermarket in Hervey Bay).
We spent several weeks in Australia a couple of years ago and, although we are relatively seasoned travellers, Fraser Island is one of our favourite memories and places in the world.
Get to Hervey Bay, Queensland -it's three hours north of Brisbane off the Bruce highway. Head to the point to catch the ferry to the island.www.fraserisland.net
________________________________________________________________The Waitakere Ranges, New Zealand
Posted by Esollec
They are only a short drive to the west of Auckland, and are staggeringly beautiful forest-clad hills leading down to black sand beaches that stretch for miles.
There are walks from the short nature trail at the Arataki Visitor Centre, to longer tramps. If that's not enough, the market at Titirangi is recommended for arts and crafts and good coffee - as a bonus if you miss the market!www.destination-waitakere.com
________________________________________________________________Abel Tasman National Park, South Island, New Zealand
Posted by lastgeneration
This is quite possibly the most beautiful place on earth, nothing but golden sandy beaches, turquoise seas and flora and fauna to walk through. Sunsets, estuaries that will chase you across a flood plain.
You can choose to walk inland or by the beaches spending as much or as little time as you like there. Arrive by kayak or walk in, leave by water taxi admiring the splendor you have just tramped through. If you have not been there then go. Now.www.doc.govt.nz/templates/PlaceProfile.aspx?id=38455
This is the Government website which is a little light on details but has the necessary ones. It is on the South Island at the north tip near the ferry crossing.
________________________________________________________________Hiking (tramping) in sub-alpine or rainforest areas, New Zealand
Posted by nilpferd
South-west New Zealand, or Te Wahipounamu, is one of the country's three UNESCO world heritage sites and to properly experience it you need to go bush.
There's a track for every level of experience, check with the DOC (Department of Conservation) for detailed information. Whether squelching through dense beech or podocarp rainforest, scrambling across scree slopes above glacier valleys, striding over tussock-clad alpine passes, or gazing at the incredibly clear night sky from your tent, there is a memorable experience waiting for you.
Self-sufficiency is the keyword - take only what you need and bring everything back out. Leave your need for creature comforts behind and embrace nature.
Great tracks include the Rees-Dart (forest/sub alpine), the Hollyford (rainforest) and the Young valley (sub alpine).www.fourcorners.co.nz/new-zealand/world-heritage/www.doc.govt.nz/templates/ByRegionLanding.aspx?id=35796
________________________________________________________________The Whale Watch Company, Kaikoura, New Zealand
Posted by kama
The Whale Watch Company is run by a Maori sub-tribe and they have won many awards. It is not only phenomenal to see the whales in their natural envionment, but it is also hugely educational.
I saw lots of sperm whales, some killer whales and an albatross...and you are given plenty of time to observe the creatures.
Be warned though - if the weather is not right, the boats don't go out. It's safety first.
Railway Station Road, Kaikourawww.whalewatch.co.nz
________________________________________________________________Doubtful Sound, New Zealand
Posted by simonplatt
More remote, much bigger and far less crowded than the more well-known Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is one of those rare places that justifies the word ‘awesome’.
Book an overnight tour on a three-masted boat and discover a place that is equal part-myth and geology. You can launch a kayak off the boat and discover one of the Sound’s many creeks up close, as the cliffs tower above you and the water flows like molten glass beneath your oars.
Then it’s back on board for a hot shower, a glass of wine and the camaraderie of people who’ve shared something quite spellbinding.www.realjourneys.co.nz/Main/Doubtful/