Monday, 1 November 2010

Enjoy Whale Watching in Australia

Nowadays it is a greatly overused word, but whale watching is one of the most awesome experiences that I have ever had.  To get up close and personal with these magnificent marine mammals is truly a privilege and one that will stay in your mind for years to come.  There are many great spots to go whale watching around the world, but Australia has to provide some of the best.  Humpback whales make a yearly migration from the chilly seas of Antarctica to warmer topical waters to breed, so pass up the both the East and West coasts of Australia during the autumn and winter months.
SidneyMorgan has written a great hub on whale watching in Australia, detailing the best places to watch whales on both coasts.  Generally you will find that in all of these locations, that there are specialised boat tours that go out every day specifically for whale watching.  Spotter planes are often sent up to locate the whale's position and the boats also often have a special underwater gadget that can pick up a whale song from many kilometres away and then pinpoint the position of the whale.

On the East Coast of Australia, Hervey Bay in Queensland is a great whale watching location, as are Port Stephens and Byron Bay in New South Wales.  You can also spot whales off Cairns, and humback whales breached nearly alongside the dive boat I was on going out to the reef this July.  There are also a great many whale watching spots in Western Australia, including Exmouth, Broome, Kalbarri and Albany.

So read the whole hub on whale watching in Australia to find out more information and see some great pictures.

Humpback Whales, Exmouth, Western Australia

Monday, 20 September 2010

Visiting the Top Ten Castles in Wales

While it is always exciting to jet away to exotic foreign countries for our holidays, we can sometimes be guilty of forgetting that the British Isles are incredibly beautiful and full of history.  Wales has a history that stretches back to prehistoric times, and is also home to some of the most magnificent and interesting castles in Europe.

In the early Middle Ages, the Welsh fiercely fought to keep their independence from the English, so when the English conquerors arrived they built a series of castles and fortifications around Wales. There are also more recent castles that have been built in Wales, those follies that were constructed in Victorian times by rich men who wanted to reach back into the past.

Bard of Ely has written a fascinating Hub on his Top Ten Castles in Wales.  They include Castle Coch, Cardiff Castle, Caerphilly Castle, Pembroke Castle, Powis Castle and Penrhyn Castle.  So travel through Welsh history from medieval times to the Victorian era, by visiting ten of the best castles in Wales.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Australia's Whales, Dolphins and Crocodiles

When you think of animals in Australia, you tend to think of the iconic Australian marsupials like the koala and the kangaroo.  But Australia is also home to some large and interesting animals that live in the water - whales, dolphins and crocodiles.

Australia is one of the best places to go whale watching, as during the season, the humpback whales migrate up both the coasts of Australia from the frigid waters of the Antarctic to give birth in the warmer waters of the tropics.  Hervey Bay in Queensland and Port Stephens in New South Wales are famous for their whales watching tours, as is Exmouth on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

There are many locations in Australia where you are privileged to be able to swim with dolphins, but if you are not keen on getting wet, probably the best place to see dolphins is Monkey Mia in Western Australia.  In Monkey Mia, selected dolphins are fed on the beach every day by the research team and you can generally be guaranteed to see the dolphins and maybe even chosen to give one a fish!

One of the most feared denizens of Australia is the mighty saltwater crocodile.  Saltwater crocodiles are very efficient apex predators, so to view them it is best to go on an organised river tour or visit a crocodile farm. You can even see the crocs jumping on the cruise on the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory.

So read on for more information on Australia's whales, dolphins and crocodiles

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Winter in New Zealand's South Island

 New Zealand is a beautiful country, and one that we usually associate with glorious sunshine and summer weather.  But New Zealand does have a winter, and on the South Island that winter can be pretty severe with snow and frost.  So is winter a good time to visit New Zealand's South Island for a holiday?

This great article on what to do in winter in the South Island outlines a lot of the places that you can visit and activities that you can enjoy.  Visit Queenstown and the surrounding mountain ranges if you enjoy the winter sports of skiing and snowboarding.  Queenstown is also the perfect place to bungy jump, take a trip down the lake on an old steamer or see a kiwi bird in captivity.  Or how about going walking on the Franz Josef Glacier or sailing down Milford Sound?

There are so many things to do, like whale watching in Kaikoura, hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park, touring the Cadbury's chocolate factory or punting in Christchurch.

It may be winter, but there is always something exciting to see or do on New Zealand's South Island during winter!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

New Hubber Hubtrail Travel Guide Website

Writers on HubPages come from all the corners of the world and have written some really great articles on where they live and all the fascinating places that they have visited and travelled in.  In order to bring all these amazing travel articles together in one place, the Hubtrail has been developed by top Hubber Ohma.  There is also a brand new website that has been developed that brings all these Hubtrail Hubs together called Follow the Hub Trail - travel the world! created by talented Hubber, Marisa Wright.

So whatever part of the world you like reading about, you are bound to find a Hub on that country, town or tourist attraction that will entertain you, inform you and give you some beautiful images.

If you would like to join in the Hubtrail and write articles on where you live or places where you love to travel, sign up for HubPages and unleash your inner travel writer!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Why Slovenia Makes a Perfect Holiday Destination

Slovenia used to be part of the former Yugoslavia, and sits to the north of the Balkan Peninsula and has a border with Italy.  Hello,hello has written a fascinating and informative Hub about Slovenia and why Slovenia makes the perfect holiday destination.  Slovenia has a beautiful, rocky coastline that enjoys a Mediterranean climate - so long hot summer days to laze away on the beach or by the pool.

Moving further inland, Slovenia has a mountainous interior where you can ski during the winter months.  Lake Bled and the city of Ljubljana are also great places to visit while on holiday.  Other holiday attractions that Slovenia has to offer are the famous Lippizaner Horses Stud and some of the magnificent limestone caves.

Find out more about what makes Slovenia a perfect holiday destination

Sunday, 25 April 2010

10 Seaside Locations in the UK to Explore Our Maritime History

Visit Britain has put together a list of the Top Ten Maritime Heritage sites in the UK.  So if you are looking for somewhere to go this summer, why not seek out some of our naval history and stories of smugglers, pirates and explorers setting sail to discover distant, unexplored lands.

The list that they have put together includes:

Whitby - a charming and historic fishing port on the coast of Yorkshire, famous for it's associations with Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'
Portsmouth - the famous naval town on the coast of Hampshire, where you can visit the Tudor warship 'Mary Rose' and Nelson's famous flagship 'HMS Victory'
Falmouth - a port on the coast of Cornwall that boasts the National Maritime Museum and has many tales of smugglers and the revenue men who tracked them down.
Greenwich - the historical maritime centre in London, where you can visit the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park, and the Cutty Sark, which is one of the world's last tea clippers.
Cardiff Bay - which used to be the centre of the coal exporting industry
Bristol - visit the SS Great Britain which was the world's first large iron passenger steam ship and learn about Bristol's wine, tobacco and slave trading past in the 17th century
Aberdeen - on the coast of Scotland, Aberdeen has a Maritime Museum and is still an important port for the oil and fishing industries
Buckler's Hard - a quaint village in the New Forest National Park, where you can learn about the British Navy's shipbuilding operations. You can visit the Maritime Musem or take a boat ride down the river
Tenby - on the Pembrokeshire coast is an unspoilt beach resort, with a magnificent sandy beach and old medieval streets
Liverpool - on the mouth of the Mersey, Liverpool was one of Great Britain's busiest ports.  Visit the Maritime Museum and the new International Slavery Museum

So enjoy yourself this summer and learn about our rich maritime heritage at the same time!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Magnetic Island - Barrier Reef Island Paradise

Magnetic Island sits just off the eastern seaboard of Australia from Townsville and is in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Marine Area.  Magnetic Island is easily accessed from Townsville by ferry, and the ferry can take your car as well! Magnetic Island covers 52 kilometres and has a very mountainous and beautiful interior.

Magnetic Island has a wide range of tourist accommodation ranging from basic backpacker facilities, through self-catering units to plush beachside resorts.  Transport around Magnetic Island is easy as there is a reliable bus service that stops at all the key places on the island.

Magnetic Island has some magnificent beaches for you to laze you days away in the tropical sun, or if you are feeling more energetic there are miles of well-marked walking tracks that cris-cross the island.

Snorkelling, diving and fishing are also big attractions on Magnetic island, as is trying to spot one of Magnetic Island's famous koalas.  For a more certain view, visit Bungalow Bay Koala Village and have a champagne bush tucker breakfast with the koalas.

Find out more on why Magnetic Island is a perfect holiday destination!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Birth of a Baby Giraffe Caught on Camera in the Masai Mara

A group of tourists in Kenya's Masai Mara have been lucky enough to witness the birth of a baby giraffe.  In a series of amazing photographs in this news article from the Daily Mail, the first few minutes of this tiny giraffe's life have been captured.  The pictures were taken by Paul Goldstein, an award-winning photographer, who was guiding a group of tourists on safari for the tour group Exodus.  Paul Goldstein has lead safaris through the Masai Mara for twelve years, but this is the first time he has been privileged to witness the birth of a baby giraffe.

Birth is a difficult time for giraffe, as it is imperative that they manage to stand and be ready to move around with the older giraffes in as short a time as possible.  While adult giraffes are capable of kicking out and defending themselves from lion and hyena, young giraffes are still vulnerable to predation.  Luckily for this little one, it managed to stagger to it's feet successfully and was spotted a few days later, looking healthy and confident, with his mother.

Read more of the news article and see the amazing pictures of the giraffe's birth

Monday, 15 March 2010

Why Visit Kalbarri in Western Australia

Many people dream of travelling to Australia and having a holiday there.  Usually the famous destinations, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru, the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef are chosen, as these are the images that people have seen all their lives and have dreamt about.  But there is more to Australia than these iconic tourist spots, and beautiful Kalbarri is one of the lesser known destinations that have just as much to offer as well as some of the better known resorts.

Kalbarri at Sunset

Western Australia has several thousand kilometres of stunning coastline along the Indian Ocean, and offers miles and miles of silver sand beaches and days of endless sunshine and blue sky.  Kalbarri is 590kms north of Perth on the Coral Coast and is about a seven hour drive away.  If you prefer to use public transport, Skywest offers flights from Perth and Carnarvon and Greyhound and TransWA offer coach services from Perth.

Kalbarri is named after the aboriginal word for ‘edible seed’.  The first Europeans in the area were two mutinous ship’s crew who were put ashore in 1629.  There were many shipwrecks in the following centuries off the cliffs and Kalbarri officially became a town in the early 1950’s and has developed from a sleepy fishing town into a thriving tourist resort.

Nature's Window, Kalbarri

There is a wide range of accommodation available in Kalbarri.  Choose from self catering units, basic backpacker accommodation or beach resorts with pools. There is also a few camping/caravan parks.  There is a range of cafes and restaurants offering Australian, Oriental and European food and a pub. For your shopping needs there are a couple of supermarkets, petrol stations, a pharmacy and a bakery.  There is also a Visitor Information Centre where you can book tours and accommodation.

The resort and town of Kalbarri hugs the shores of the Murchison River where it meets the Indian Ocean at Gantheume Bay.  A natural reef has formed at the channel entrance and on the river side there are gentle sandy beaches with safe swimming. Around the headland it gets a bit wilder with surf, rock pools and miles of sand.  Located right at the river mouth, Chinaman’s Beach is one of the most popular swimming spots in the area.  Situated around the shore in Kalbarri are BBQs, picnic areas, and public toilets.


For those who are looking for an active holiday, there is swimming, snorkelling, water skiing, crabbing, horse riding, camel rides, fishing, kayaking, hiking and cycling on offer.  The path that runs along the top of the cliffs is especially good for cycling and walking and passes the precipitous coastal cliffs, Eagle Gorge, Natural Bridge, Pot Alley, Rainbow Valley and Red Bluff.  You can also try windsurfing or hire a dinghy or paddleboat. For the very adventurous try an Extreme Jet Boat ride, sand boarding or Quad Biking.

If you are a fishing enthusiast you have the choice of river fishing, sea fishing from the beach or going on a deep sea fishing charter.  There are also several cruises that you can take, either inland up the river to spot the wildlife or around the coast watching the whales and dolphins.  Kalbarri is on the annual migration route for several species of whales and their calves from June to December. The sunsets are especially beautiful in Kalbarri, so take a sunset cruise and watch the sun set slowly over the sea.

Kalbarri is surrounded by the Kalbarri National Park, which offers a stunning landscape of red gorges cut out by the Murchison River.   There are many stunning natural rock formations such as Nature’s Window, Z Bend and The Loop.  Great lookouts over the gorges are Hawkes Head Lookout and Ross Graham Lookout.  Kalbarri National Park is rich in wildlife, though much of it is nocturnal, and kangaroos, emus and birds can be seen.  The Park is also famous for its wildflowers that form a colourful carpet of kangaroo paws, grevillias, featherflowers and banksias in the spring (July to October).

Kalbarri also has a range of tourist attractions to visit.  One of the most famous is the feeding of the pelicans on the beach every morning at 8.45am.  The pelican feeding was started in 1970 by a local called Cliff Ross, who would feed the birds on the scraps left over from cleaning the fish he had caught.  Other local people had to join in and help and so the tradition still carries on today. If you like parrots a visit to the Rainbow Jungle is a must.  It is a unique parrot habitat and features the largest free-flight parrot aviary in Australia.  There are many rare species of parrot on display and the Rainbow Jungle plays an important part in parrot conservation.  The Rainbow Jungle is also home to Kalbarri’s cinema – ‘Cinema Parrotiso’ – an open air cinema where you can combine watching a film with pizza and a beer!


If you prefer marine life take a trip to the Seahorse Sanctuary and find out all about the fascinating world of seahorses.  One of only a few seahorse breeding facilities in the world, the Seahorse Sanctuary takes you through the entire lifecycle of the seahorse and shows how they are adapting seahorses so that they can successfully be kept in home aquariums.  The tiny newborns are especially cute!  At the Kalbarri Marine Centre you can see the local denizens of the sea in the Oceanarium and interact with fish, sponges and anemones in the touch pool.

To see stunning wildflowers, go to The Kalbarri WildflowerCentre where there is a 30 minute nature trail.  Over 200 species of flowers can be seen in this beautiful botanical garden setting.  If you have children to amuse, you can take them to the Kalbarri Family Entertainment Centre which has Mini Putt Putt, trampolines, The ‘Spider’ climbing tower and a 4 in 1 Bungy Trampoline.

So unless your idea of a holiday is upmarket shopping and wild nights clubbing, Kalbarri has everything that you could wish for in a holiday destination.  What more could you want than wonderful scenery, hot sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, plenty of activities and a good choice of eateries!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Choose Broome For A Great Holiday in Western Australia

Have you ever thought of visiting Broome? If you are planning your dream trip to Australia and do not know which amazing destination to choose, this pearling town surrounded by turquoise seas and silver sand beaches is a brilliant place for a perfect, tropical vacation?  Broome sits 2200 north of Perth on Australia’s amazing western coastline. It combines blue skies and hot sun with amazing beaches.  The town also has an interesting history, is surrounded by beautiful scenery, has a wide range of accommodation to choose from and lots of activities on offer. The contrast between the colours of the pale turquoise seas, the silver sands of the beaches and the deep red of the pindan soil, create a visual feast and are a gift to the photographer looking for stunning images.

Pioneer's Cemetary, Broome, WA
Pioneer's Cemetary, Broome, WA

Broome is an isolated town with a standing population of about 15000 people which swells to around 45,000 people during the tourist season, and is a gateway to the vast Kimberley region.   It has been home to the indigenous Yawuru aboriginal people for many thousands of years and the first Europeans to sail down the coast were Dutch traders in the seventeenth century who called the west coast ‘New Holland’.  The first documented land fall was by William Dampier in 1688 and 1699, and the Dampier Peninsula and Dampier Terrace in the town were named after him.

The area was visited by various ships and pearling boats in the following years and Roebuck Bay was put forward as a suitable port for the pearl luggers in 1879 by Charles Harper.  Broome officially became a town in 1883 and was named by John Forrest after the then Governor of Western Australia, Sir Frederick Broome.  The new town took some to grow and develop, but the arrival of the undersea telegraph cable in 1889 from Singapore and the burgeoning mother of pearl fishing industry soon saw the town expand and grow.

The pearl shell was initially fished for the mother of pearl it contained, which was used to make buttons, jewellery and decorative articles.  Initially the divers were Aboriginals who had been tricked or kidnapped and forced to dive without diving suits or equipment, in a practice known as ‘blackbirding’.  With the development and introduction of diving suits and heavy helmets and boots, the Japanese, Malaysians, Koepangers, and Chinese came to dive in Broome, with the Japanese being regarded as the most highly skilled. The onset of the First World War and the development of the plastics industry were major hammer blows to the industry, and it was at that time that the market in cultured pearls began to be developed and is still going strong today.

The region has two seasons, the dry season and the wet season.  The dry season from April to November is the best time to visit as the days are clear, sunny and warm.  The temperature rises in the wet season and the weather is very humid with heavy rainfall.  Many of the tour companies stop taking tours out in the wet season as the roads become impassable due to flooding and it can take several weeks for the waters to subside.

Pearl Luggers, Broome, WA
Pearl Luggers, Broome, WA

The easiest way to get to Broome is by air and Broome International Airport has services from most of the major Australian cities and a good local schedule operated by Qantas, SkyWest, Virgin Blue, Airnorth and Golden Eagle Airlines.  If you want to drive you can take the Great Northern Highway or the North West Coastal Highway from Perth or come from Darwin, via Kununurra and the Great Northern Highway.  If you have a sturdy 4WD and are experienced at driving on unsealed roads, you can travel the famous Gibb River Road.  The main thing to be aware of is that the distances you will have to cover are vast and it is likely to take you several days to reach your destination.  Greyhound Australia also runs regular daily services to Broome from both Perth and Darwin.

The town is also included in the itineraries of many tour operators and you will be able to find a tour to suit any budget.  The tours range from basic backpacker camping trips to luxury tailored trips in top accommodations and transport.  Many of the tours going out into the Kimberley also originate in Broome and again are designed to suit all tastes and budgets.  There are also various cruise lines that specialise in sailing through the gorges of the Kimberley coastline, which operate out of the town.

Camels on Cable Beach at Sunset, WA
Camels on Cable Beach at Sunset, WA

Getting around the resort itself is easy, as there is an excellent and frequent local bus service that operates around town and out to Cable Beach.  For any information you need about the town and the surrounding Kimberley region and about all of the tours and activities that are available, you can go to the Visitors Centre.  There are many day tours that you can choose from, ranging from town tours, to tours going out to Cape Leveque, Tunnel Creek, Windjana Gorge, Geikie Gorge and the Horizontal Falls.

There are many types of accommodation that you can choose from, ranging from basic backpacker hostels, through caravan and camping sites, self-catering units to hotel rooms and five star resorts. The main tourist accommodation areas are out at Cable Beach and in the town itself around Roebuck Bay.  The first resort to start up in the Cable Beach area was the Cable Beach Resort and Spa which was opened in 1988 and is the only resort hotel that fronts directly onto the beach.

Town Beach, Broome, WA
Town Beach, Broome, WA

There are many shopping opportunities in Broome.  As would be expected from a pearling town, there are many fine pearl showrooms, showcasing their luxurious pearl jewellery.  Look out for Paspaley Pearls and Willie Creek Pearl Farms, who also run tours to their pearl farm along the coast where you can learn about how cultured pearls are produced and the history of the pearling industry.  You can wander the historic lanes, such as Johnny Chi Lane, and shop for souvenirs or visit the modern Paspaley Plaza Shopping Centre or the new Boulevard Shopping Centre on Frederick Street.

If you enjoy eating out there are many cafes and restaurants to choose from.  They range from convenience food outlets like McDonalds through to fine dining.  One of the most unique restaurants in the resort is Matso’s Broome Brewery, which is an award winning microbrewery and restaurant.  You can enjoy great food while sampling the ‘Hit the Toad’ premium lager or their famous alcoholic Ginger Beer.  Most of the big hotels and resorts also have their own restaurants, and if you are out at Cable Beach you should give the Old Zoo Cafe a try.

Cable Beach is situated 6km outside of the town centre and offers around 22 km of soft, silver sand and warm turquoise waters.  It got its name from the fact that it was point where the undersea telegraph cable from Singapore reached the Australian shore and it is rated as one of the world’s top five beaches.  Apart from swimming, surfing, fishing and other usual beach activities, Cable Beach also offers the famous camel rides, watching and learning all about crocodiles at the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park and you can also search for the famous dinosaur footprints discovered in 1935 at Gantheaume Point.

Johnny Chi Lane, Broome, WA
Johnny Chi Lane, Broome, WA

There is also a smaller beach, called Town Beach, situated in Broome itself on Roebuck Bay.  The Pioneer’s Cemetery sits on a little promontory overlooking the ocean, and there is a cafe, toilets, showers and a camping/caravan park.  On a few days of the year the tide goes far enough out that the remains of the Flying Boats that were bombed in Broome in 1942 during World War II, with a great loss of life, are exposed.  If you want to know more about the town’s history then The Broome Museum is just around the corner from Town Beach in the little Seaview Shopping Mall.  It is situated in the building that used to be a general store called Newman Goldstein & Co and contains exhibits from the region’s colourful history, including local aboriginal history and culture, the history of the pearling industry and the role of Broome in World War II.
What is now The Courthouse started life as the telegraph cable station, which enabled this remote town to communicate directly with other major Australian cities as well as the rest of the world. The cable station was converted to a Courthouse in 1921 and is still used to this day.  On Saturdays and Sundays there is a popular market in the Courthouse Gardens, selling jewelry, souvenirs, local art and handicrafts.

Willie Creek Pearl Farm, Broome, WA
Willie Creek Pearl Farm, Broome, WA

One of the things that Broome is most famous for is the natural phenomena known as the ‘Staircase to the Moon’.  The ‘Staircase to the Moon’ is an optical illusion that looks like a golden staircase of light is reaching up to the moon through the night sky and is caused by the full moon rising and reflecting off the mudflats in Roebuck Bay at low tide.  It occurs between March and October on different dates every year.  Good viewing spots are Town Beach and the garden of the Mangrove Grove Resort Hotel.

So if glorious sunny weather, stunning beaches, turquoise ocean, loads of activities to try, great tours, and a good selection of accommodation, eating places and shopping mixed with a big dollop of history is your thing, look no further than Broome.  It could be your vacation of a lifetime!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Why Holiday in Thailand?

Are you busy thinking about where to go on your next holiday?  Have you ever considered Thailand as a holiday destination?

In his fascinating Hub, Peter Dickinson, takes us through ten good reasons why we should think about travelling to Thailand.  Thailand is a large and diverse country and offers tourists a wide range of tourist accommodation and activities.  Thailand offers glorious beaches and islands, and mountains and jungles. All budgets are catered for and Thailand offers both luxury and budget options.

Thailand has many different cultures and languages, and the Thai people are renowned for their friendliness. Thai food is delicious and very reasonably priced and the shopping is sensational. Thailand has a hot, tropical climate which is ideal for lying on the beach, although it does rain heavily at times.

So read on if you want to find out more reasons for choosing a holiday in Thailand


Friday, 19 February 2010

Ryanair Abandons Passengers on Wrong Canary Island

Budget airline Ryanair has been accused of abandoning passengers on the wrong Canary Island.  Flight FR 4755 flying from Bournemouth to Lanzarote was diverted to the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura due to a thunderstorm.

Allegedly after the passengers left the plane they were abandoned by Ryanair and had to make their own arrangements to travel on to Lanzarote and pay for overnight accommodation; arrangements that apparently cost one family an extra £400. Apparently there were no Ryanair staff available in the airport on Fuerteventura to help or advise their customers on how to proceed.

Read on for the whole news article on Ryanair abandoning passengers on the wrong Canary Island!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Raunchy Advertising for North Queensland Beach Resort!

A new advertising campaign aimed at backpackers in Australia's Tropical Far North is causing quite a stir.  Billboards placed along the main highway between Townsville and Cairns are touting glorious Mission Beach as a place where you can 'Get High, Get Wet and Get Laid'!

The advertising is sponsored by Skydive Mission Beach (Get High), RnR White Water Rafting (Get Wet) and Scotty's Beach House Backpackers Resort (Get Laid), and is designed to push backpackers into staying at Mission Beach in a fun way rather than viewing it as a day-trip destination in.

Apparently passing backpackers have enjoyed the billboards, but tourism chief John Hill is not so amused as he does not want the area to get an 'Airlie Beach party town reputation'.

Having been to Mission Beach several times, I would recommend taking the time to stay a few nights.  Mission Beach has the dinstinction of being one of the few places in Australia where the tropical rain forest meets the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef, and apart from the miles of golden sand, there is snorkelling, scuba diving, hiking in the rainforest, and a few bars and restaurants.

Mission Beach

Read the whole news article about the raunchy advertising billboards for Queensland's beautiful Mission Beach

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Travelling in Australia - The Animals That You Could Meet in Australia

Australia is a very large country and has a varying range of climates and habitats, ranging from burning hot deserts to snowy mountain peaks.  This diversity means that Australia has some fascinating and unusual animals that you can encounter while you are travelling.  Australia is home to the majority of the world's marsupial species, which are mammals that give birth to their young at a very early stage and then nurture them in a special pouch.

Species such as koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and wombats have become iconic Aussie animals.  Many of us from other parts of the world have seen pictures of them in TV programmes and books all of our lives and so it is a special thrill to see these animals 'up close and personal' in the wild for the first time.  This fascinating article on the special animals that you can meet when travelling in Australia has great information and pictures of some of your favourite Australian animals - kangaroos, wallabies, quokkas, koalas, wombats, echidna and platypuses!

Read the whole article to discover more about Australian animals

Thursday, 28 January 2010

New Website That Helps You Find The Right Seat on the Plane!

A new website has been launched called that helps you to choose which airline you fly with and which is the best seat to choose.  Run by Business Traveller magazine, the site allows you to choose the class of cabin you will be flying in on your chosen route, and compares seat pitch and seat width, how much the airline seats recline, and what type of entertainment system is available on all the planes of the airlines that fly that route.

However, the website does tend to focus more on premium cabins than economy and sometimes the best and worst seats aren't given.

To read the whole news article, click here

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Things to Do When You Visit Luxor in Egypt

Many of us have dreamed of visiting the magical land of the pharaohs and visiting the monuments of the ancient Egyptians.  If you are lucky enough to go on holiday to Egypt, why not consider going to Luxor on the banks of the river Nile?

The modern city of Luxor is built on the remains of ancient Thebes, and this interesting article takes you on a trip around what you can see and do in Luxor.  On the east bank there ar mighty temples, the Luxor Museum, the Mummification Museum and plenty of shops, bazaars and restaurants.

Crossing to the west bank of the Nile takes you to the land of the dead and you can visit the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the Tombs of the Nobles, the ancient workman's village at Deir-el Medina and the mortuary temples of the pharoahs.

Click here to read the whole Hub

Evora City in Portugal

In this interesting Hub, Dale Mazurek take us on a trip around Evora City in Portugal.  Evora is situated in the far south of Portugal near the Tagus River and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Evora has a well-preserved historical centre and the central part of the old town is surrounded by fortified walls.  The city was founded around 2000 years ago by the Romans, and there are many ancient monuments and old buildings to be seen in Evora.  Evora was also occupied by the Visigoths and the Moors before it came under Portuguese rule.

To read the whole of this fascinating Hub on the city of Evora, please click here

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Luxury Eco-Resort to be Built on Marlon Brando's Private Island

Once Marlon Brando's private piece of heaven, the French Polynesian atoll of Tetiaroa is set to become a luxury eco-resort in 2011.Construction of the new resort, which will be the only holiday accommodation on Tetiaroa and is to be called 'The Brando',  has already commenced after several years of studying the impact that the building work will have on the environment.

The ultra-luxurious 'Brando' resort will consist of 47 villas with private plunge pools, a spa and fitness centre and a large resort pool. Activities available will include snorkelling, scuba diving and trips to royal Tahitian archaeological sites.

To read the full article, click here

Friday, 15 January 2010

Western Australia - Why Choose Exmouth as a Holiday Destination?

Australia is a huge country, and the coastline of Western Australia is often overshadowed by the more glamorous and famous East Coast, that boasts the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands, the tropical rainforest and the cosmopolitan cities of Sydney and Melbourne.  However, for the more adventurous and intrepid traveller, Western Australia has a lot to offer.

Western Australia is the largest state in Australia.  Most of the state is still sparsely populated, with around 75% of the population living in its capital city Perth.  The coastline of Western Australia is very long and if you travel around 2200 kilometres north from Perth, you will arrive in Exmouth, at the northernmost tip of Australia’s Coral Coast.

Cape Range National Park


Exmouth is a small town with a population of around 2500, and it could also be said that it is not the prettiest or most interesting of towns.  One of the things that make Exmouth unique is its emus.  There are emus everywhere!  They wander freely down the streets and even wander into the hotel and camping complexes as they are extremely inquisitive birds. However, remember that they are still wild birds.  Do not feed them and be careful around them, especially if they are accompanied by chicks, as they can be very protective.
 The first Europeans to set foot in the Exmouth area were the Dutch, and Captain Jacobz of the Mauritius came ashore in 1618. Exmouth was named after Viscount Exmouth by a naval captain, Phillip Parker King, in 1818 and he also named North West Cape.  The area was then visited by pearl luggers occasionally until the Second World War, when Exmouth became the centre of a military operation called ‘Operation Potshot’.  Many of the streets in Exmouth are named after early residents or military and naval craft or operations. In the 1950’s the area was being used for oil exploration, fishing and grazing, and in 1967 Australia and the US combined to build an important communications base.

Humpback Whales, Exmouth WA

So why does it attract such a large amount of tourist and travellers each year? The answer is that Exmouth is the gateway to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes to be found in Australia.  Off its coast and beaches of fine silvery, sand can be found the pristine, beautiful underwater world of the Ningaloo Reef and if you prefer to keep your feet dry you can enjoy exploring the beauties of the Cape Range National Park.
High season in Exmouth is April through until the end of October, and you can expect the weather to be hot and sunny.  July is probably the busiest month of all, so it is highly advisable to pre-book your accommodation and travel well in advance.

To get to Exmouth you can either take a 2 ½ hour flight from Perth, or drive up which generally takes two days.  If you want to go by road, you can catch the Greyhound coach, which runs a frequent service to all the major destinations between Perth and Darwin. When you arrive there is a wide range of accommodation to choose from, varying from basic backpacker type to plush hotels, and also many self-catering apartments and chalets.   Camping is also available, and there are plenty of spaces for camper vans!  There are also eco-retreats and wilderness safari tents to stay in.

Exmouth Sunset

Exmouth has a range of shops, including a couple of supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and bars.  There is a large Visitor Information Centre, where you can get advice on what to do in Exmouth and book accommodation or one of the many tours available.  There is also a new marina that has been built in the last few years, where a lot of the diving and whale watching tours start from.   If you like being active on dry land, there is a golf course and a gym.

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef and is around 260kms long.  It was designated the Ningaloo Marine Park in 1987.  It is teeming with different coral, fish and marine life.  More than 500 species of fish and 220 species of coral make Ningaloo their home. During the winter month’s it is regularly visited by migrating humpback whales, dugongs, dolphins and manta rays. And of course Ningaloo Reef is most famous for being one of the best places in the world to swim and snorkel with Whale Sharks, which arrive at the reef to feed on the rich plankton between March and June.  The beaches are also important breeding grounds for turtles, and hawksbill, green and loggerheads all nest here.  The reef is especially good for snorkelling as it lies very close to the shore, and you can snorkel straight off the beach.  There are coral bolas in the shallow waters that enable you to snorkel and encounter many of the denizens of the reef in waist-deep water.  However, beware of the strong currents.

Osprey Bay, Ningaloo Reef

So with this wealth of marine life, clear turquoise seas and powder sand beaches on its doorstep, it is not surprising that diving, snorkelling, kayaking, whale watching, and glass bottom boat cruises are big business in Exmouth.  The diving trips that track the Whale Sharks are especially popular and can be booked months in advance, so if you have set your heart on snorkelling with these gentle giants make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to make arrangements.  Other trips combine snorkelling with manta rays and whale watching, or scuba diving, or snorkelling the reef.  There are also PADI courses available, so you can learn to scuba dive at Ningaloo Reef!

There are also many fishing tours that can be booked; you can do a boat or fishing charter or combine a fishing trip with snorkelling.  There are around thirty species of game fish that can be caught in the seas around Exmouth, and they host the Gamex Fishing Tournament every year in March.

The Cape Range National Park

The Cape Range National Park encompasses a wide area of rocky plateaus, spectacular gorges and around 50kms of beautiful beaches.  There are over 700 caves in the Park, and the rocky slopes and cliffs help to make this a stunningly beautiful landscape.  The Cape Range National Park contains abundant wildlife, ranging from emus to euros, red kangaroos and birds.  There are even rare black-footed rock wallabies to be glimpsed if you take a cruise down Yardie Creek.  During the season the Park is also carpeted by a colourful array of wildflowers including some species only found in this region like a variety of the Sturt Desert Pea that has a red centre.

Yardie Creek

You can take a 4WD tour around the Park which will include some of the gorges, visiting the Milyering Visitor Centre, going on the Yardie Creek Cruise, snorkelling off one of the beaches and probably finishing off at sunset at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse to take photographs.

If you wanted to spend more time in the Cape Range National Park, there are camping bays available which make it easy for you to make the most of the snorkelling, hiking, fishing and swimming.  They do, however, have very few facilities and you have to bring everything with you, including your own water.  Don’t be surprised if you find a euro making the most of the shade under your car!

So Exmouth truly has a lot to offer as a holiday destination, especially for the tourist that likes being outdoors and active.  Although popular, it is nowhere near as crowded as the popular holiday destinations on the East Coast, and you can just relax and enjoy the spectacular wilderness that is still Western Australia.

All images my own

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Visit Britain's Top Ten Ways to Start the New Year

Visit Britain have published their 'Top Ten Ways to Start the New Year', which outlines some ideas for New Year travel in Great Britain.

They give ideas for saving money by staying at youth hostels, going green, getting back to nature in the UK, spending time in our historic churches and cathedrals, activities to get the kids some exercise, trying something new, ways to de-stress in the UK, where you can get away from it all, spending more time in the garden and travelling by train rather than car.

To read the full article click here and get some new ideas for travel and activities in Britain!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

How To Survive A Long Train Journey

There are many great train journeys in the world and many iconic trains, such as the famous Ghan, The Blue Train, The Orient Express and the Indian Pacific.  But while train journeys are great for putting up your feet, relaxing and watching the scenery go past, they do have their challenges.

Read this informative article on 'How To Survive A Long Train Journey', which outlines what you can do to enjoy your long rail journey, including researching the train's facilities before you travel, whether or not to take blankets and pillows, what money you need to take, and what reading material and music you need to bring!

So if you want to learn 'How To Survive A Long Train Journey' read on here

Indian Pacific Railway

Friday, 8 January 2010

Teeth Chattering Visit to the Royal Gorge in Colorado

In this charming Hub Peggy W tells us about a day out that she had in the Royal Gorge in Colorado.  The Royal Gorge is formed by the Arkansas River and is a dramatic landscape of towering cliffs leading down to the river.  The Royal Gorge boasts a suspension bridge hovering 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, abundant wildlife such as deer, an awe-inspiring Incline Railway up the side of the Royal Gorge, an Aerial Tram and for the truly adventurous the Skycoaster where you can swing over the river!

Follow Peggy W's great day out here

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Things to Do In New Zealand in Winter - North Island

New Zealand is a very beautiful and interesting country, famed for its glorious scenery and outdoor activities.  With its long stretches of sandy beach and myriad of sports, camping and adventure opportunities, it is a perfect summer destination.  But what about in the winter?  What does New Zealand have to offer the tourist who visits in the wintertime?

In this informative article, you can discover what the North Island of New Zealand has to offer in the winter.  From the 'winterless north' down to Wellington on the North Island's southern tip, there are many activities you can enjoy throughout the winter including dolphin watching, visiting geothermal parks, hiking, sailing through the glow worm caves, relaxing in natural hot spring or body boarding down a sand dune!

Click here to read more about what to do on NewZealand's North Island in winter!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Cuba - its People and History

Cuba is a beautiful island in the Caribbean that has a long and interesting history.  Discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, Cuba was ruled by Spain for several centuries.  The Americans forced out Spain and then Cuba was ruled by dictators until the revolution that swept Fidel Castro into power.

This interesting hub by Hello, hello outlines the history of Cuba, looks at its famous tobacco and cigar making industry and looks at Cuba's climate and weather patterns.  Cuba is now mainly famous for its iconic capital city Havana and its tourism industry, so click here to read the whole Hub.

My Top Ten Beaches in Australia

There are many great beaches in the world, but Australia has been exceptionally blessed with hundreds of great beaches.  Stretching from tropical beaches in the north with miles of golden sand and backed by lush rainforest to silver sands and dramatic cliffs in the West.

In this Hub - My Top Ten Beaches in Australia - take a trip around my favourite ten beaches in Australia so far.  I say so far as I have still only visited a tiny percentage of all the Australian beaches and if you have any favourites that I have not mentioned, please leave a comment noting your top choice of beach in Australia.