A beautiful temperate rain forest. Rolling hills covered with magnificent tree ferns and mountain ash (a form of Eucalypt and also Australia's tallest). The freshest air you could imagine and wildlife (including Lyre birds) to boot!
1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne. Take the train to Fern Tree Gully, Belgrave or Lilydale.
Hidden away among the high Rocky Mountains of southern Colorado, the sand dunes are amazing. Backed into a corner of a huge valley, surrounded by 4,000m snow-capped peaks is an enormous field of dunes, some 200m high.
The scenery is stunning, wildlife (bison, elk, bears) diverse and there's plenty of opportunity for hiking etc. in the surrounding wilderness area.
Although a bit of a backwater, it can be reached quite easily from Denver or Santa Fe. There's accommodation in nearby Alamosa, and camping on site, but the last time I visited on a fall weekend it was crowded with snowboarders getting some pre-season practice.
One of the lesser-known parks in Tanzania (dwarfed in size by the Masai Mara and Ngorongoro crater parks), Tarangire is thronged with wildlife towards the end of the dry season. Elephants flock here in their hundreds, and in one day there expect to see lions, leopard, buffalo, fish eagles, dik-dik, mongoose, zebra, wildebeest. The works, in short.
About two hours west of Arusha. Book with one of Arusha's myriad operators and leave as early as you can the next morning to get the best of the morning. Take in nearby Lake Manyara if you need to see a hippo. www.tanzaniaparks.com/tarangire.htm
Brazil Expedition is a team that provides guidance and vehicles for many different sorts of tours.
They drive you to Tijuca Forest, a completely reforested area of Rio. There you will get to see all kinds of vegetation, some wildlife, and a waterfall. You can also make a light hike up to the top of Pedra Bonita, one of Rio’s nicest views. There you will enjoy a view of Rio few people have had the privilege to see, and watch the hanggliders and paragliders jumping off the ramp. And last but not least, the Brazil Expedition staff take you to great soccer games in Maracana, the bigger soccer stadium in the world.
They are very professional and language skilled.
The Sierra de Montánchez is a protected area of granite sierra, holm and cork oak forest, with well preserved villages situated right in the middle of Extremadura so ideal for visiting the world heritage towns of Caceres, Trujillo and Merida.
The main town of the Sierra de Montánchez is Montánchez, a place famous for air dried jamon and the romantic Moorish castle. The hiking in the area is fabulous, a gorge with ruined water mills, ancient Moorish paths through the terraced olive groves, endless paths through the cork oak forest. Bird watching is a delight, nothing to disturb the natural habitat of hundreds of species. Microclimate in Montánchez so very equable weather conditions especially in spring when the mountain explodes with millions of wild flowers.
Could try 0034 678447876 Information about the area (English speaking)
Mjlet is an island 1 1/2 hours from Dubrovnik by ferry. The majority of the island is uninhabited, and it hosts a large national park.
I recommend it for 1) Its walking trails. You could walk for days and never take the same trail twice, and 2) Its beauty. The blues and greens of the trees, sky, and water are more vibrant than you'll find elsewhere.
Trip report and photos: shallowmusings.typepad.com/travel_musings/
Here's the national park website:
Arrive at Graz Harbor around 7:15 am to catch a ferry. The ferry is less than $20, entrance into the park is $20. Debark at the second port. Buy a map or you'll get lost. There's a hotel on the island (accessible from the port by bus) but I didn't stay there (and I regret it). The Mali Raj food was overpriced and underquality: hold out for the restaurant at the monastary.
A lovely B&B in peaceful surroundings - it has beautiful rooms and welcoming owners who will cook a nice evening meal for you if you don't want to go out to eat.
There are red kites behind the house and the famous dolphins to see in the firth at Fortrose, two miles from the B&B.
Hillhaven, Ordhill, Fortrose, The Black Isle, Scotland IV10 8SN
Stay at the Feathers Hotel. Although there are several hotels in Helmsley, Feathers appealed for friendliness, convenience, and low-key comfort.
Use this as your headquarters to visit the abbeys - they are all quite wonderful and unique. And when sick of people, drive into the moors, especially in the "off" season such as November.
Feathers, Helmsley, Yorkshire
This is a glorious mixture of woodlands, craggy cliffs and ravines that cut through the river Krka which runs from Knin, a formerly war-torn town on the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to the Adriatic coast just a few miles north of Sibenik.
The best way to explore it is by boat and there are several firms which offer such trips. Starting at an extraordinary site reminiscent of a water-crossing in a Clint Eastwood western (it is actually used for filming westerns!), I traveled through a dramatic gorge which opened out on to a sparkling blue lake in the midst of which was a solitary island containing a Fransican monastery. Apparently, all the aspiring monks have to survive here for 12 months before being accepted for further training.
After a 45 minute break and a visit to the monastery museum, our day cruise continued down to the breathtaking waterfalls of Skradinski Buk, where we spent two glorious hours wandering over specially built wooden walkways above the countless streams rushing down to merge in a lake some 40 metres below. An unforgettable day.
Climb Mt Ngauruhoe while you do the Tongariro crossing. Awesome views.
Tongariro is NZ's first national park and one of the first in the world. Ski on another active volcano - Ruapehu - also the inspiration for Mt Doom in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings.
Bryce Canyon's colorful hoodoos (especially at dawn and dusk) give it an ethereal beauty that is more mesmerizing than the much larger Grand Canyon. Geologically, it's not a canyon, but a series of amphitheaters.
The entrance fee is $25 per car and many visitor facilities are closed in winter.
Roughly 100 miles north of the Grand Canyon (north rim) and 270 miles east-northeast of Las Vegas.
Tel: 1 (435) 834-5322
Lake Louise is stunningly beautiful, if only you can ignore the enormous and ugly Fairmont Chateau hotel and its $65m refurbishment, the car lot the size of several hypermarkets and the crowds. If you walk for an hour or two up one of the well-laid trails you might get some tranquility.
But my tip, if you're still reading, is to stay on Highway 1, just a few more miles over the Great Divide, and visit Yoho Park across the provincial border. If you can get on the parks bus (book in advance) up to Lake O'Hara, or walk the car-free 11km trail in, you will have delightful lakes and mountains to share with a handful of campers and the lucky few at the lodge built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in Swiss chalet style.
There are miles of beautiful trails and more challenging alpine routes, glaciers and waterfalls, and the odd bear. Bliss! And if you've time to spare, Emerald Lake is great too.
Highway 1 from Banff heading west to Lake Louise, good tourist office for advice on everything. But right next door is Yoho and its well worth the few miles extra
It is a massive park in northern Ontario - it is absolutely beautiful. My wife and I stayed in a cabin there in 2002 and loved it. Loads of lakes, ecological reserves, birds, fantastic Parks Canada visitor centres.
You go up from Toronto, past Barrie, and just keep going.
This is a stunning national park up in the Andes in the north of Chile, next to the Bolivian and Peruvian borders. Crystal clear lakes reflecting snow capped volcanoes, wildlife such as vicunas and eagles and so peaceful! A perfect place.
Nearest town is Putre, about 3 hours from the city of Arica in northern Chile.
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.
This is the Government website which is a little light on details but has the necessary details. It is on the South Island at the north tip near the ferry crossing.
Travelling on the high plateaus of Qinghai with Tibetan and Mongolian tribes, along the source of many great rivers and cultures in the not-seen parts of West China can be a thrilling experience.
On to Xinjiang and the heavenly mountains of Tianshan and Kunlin with Central Asian peoples that have persisted here for centuries. Have a look at the photographs here:
Helicopter company Airlift offer a number of flight itineraries from their base in Kinsarvik. It’s a thrilling way to survey the fjord, swooping low through canyons, over the water and soaring above the mountains to where the Hardangervidda begins.
During the winter this sizeable mountain plateau is a cross-country skier’s heaven. In summer, when the snow melts, the land takes on a slightly barren and desolate appearance but a network of marked trails and rest huts open it up as a hiking destination. A popular jaunt is the six-hour round trip to the Trolltunga (Troll’s tongue), a dizzying outcrop of rock where those with a strong stomach can stand and enjoy an impressive panorama.
Trips n' Tramps run tours from Te Anau to Milford Sound picking up from your accommodation. They use mini-buses with no more than 12 people and stop at various places along the way for short walks, to explore the flora or for photo opportunities.
The guide is very friendly and informative and they will even make tea and coffee in a billy can using river water! Best drink ever!
Trips n' Tramps
PO Box 69
+64 3 249 7081
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