Adventure-travel-2

Travel Experiences Mum Will Love

Chances are that if you ask mum what she wants for Mother’s Day her reply will be along the lines of, “having all the family together under one roof”. She loves those special moments that create long-lasting memories and experiences that will leave her reminiscing over the dinner table. With travel one of the best stories to tell, Trafalgar has listed their top travel experiences Mum will love.

Food – Italy

A haven for some of the world’s best food and wines, mum will be in her element as she indulges her way through Italy’s Piedmont region on a Secrets of Italy Hidden Journey. Sharing stories with local families in their homes, your mum will feel spoiled as she stays in authentic accommodation at the Albergo Dell’Agenzia in Pollenzo. Aside from exploring Europe’s largest open air food market in Turin and the food markets of Astola, she’ll uncover a town synonymous with sparkling wine in Asti where she’ll meet a local family on their wine estate for a beautiful Be My Guest lunch. The Nicola family will invite her to explore their estate and cellars where she’ll sample the region’s famous Spumante and Barbera d’Asti wines before sitting down with the family for a homemade meal.

Luxury – Ireland

Gracing her beauty on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib, a luxurious stay at Red Carnation Hotel’s newly-refurbished Ashford Castle in Ireland will leave Mum feeling like the Queen. Dating back to 1228, the magnificent five-star property is one of Ireland’s most prestigious properties. Mum will dine like royalty in the George V Dining Room named after the Prince of Wales. The graceful setting is rich with twinkling Waterford Crystal chandeliers bestowing a grand sense of occasion. Relax and unwind to the soothing sounds of Ashford Castle’s resident pianist while indulging in exceptional dishes of acclaimed Chef Stefan Matz. This castle stay is available on the Iconic Ireland & Ashford Castle guided holiday.

Culture – Japan

Eclectic cities, traditional villages, snow-capped mountains and coastal beauty are combined on this culturally-infused holiday. Mum will explore Japan like a local with an array of insider experiences including a sushi making demonstration and cooking class in the famous Ginza district. On the Splendours of Japan guided holiday, she’ll learn washi paper making in Gokayama, sample Japanese sake in Takayama and practice gold leaf painting with a local artisan in Kanazawa. In a special Be My Guest dining experience, she’ll be welcomed inside a traditional ryokan nestled in the peace and quiet of Mt. Yoshida. Built in 1932, it is here she’ll taste kaiseki cuisine and learn local Japanese customs with her hosts inside their home.

Adventure – Hawaiitravel, holidays, mothers day, adventure travel, Hawaii

Hawaii is the perfect destination to leave your mum feeling refreshed, re-energised and re-invigorated with the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, each island brings to life a new experience. Go beyond the surf and sand at Honolulu and discover the lush tropical paradise of Fern Grotto in Kauai on the Hawaii Four Island Adventure. Trek through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and see the sunrise from the summit of Mount Haleakala in Maui. Visit a local family on their working farm before being welcomed inside for a special Be My Guest experience using the farm’s fresh ingredients.

Music – America

Immerse mum into America’s Deep South to experience one of the biggest winter events at the annual Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday parade in New Orleans. On the 10-dayTastes and Sounds of the South guided holiday, she’ll gain a Cultural Insight into the life and music of Johnny Cash during a private performance and discussion with Johnny and June’s son, John Carter Cash. Indulge in southern hospitality at the period homes of Joe Stone who will play the piano for you as you sip cocktails, before Esther Carpenter, once listed as America’s top 20 female chefs, invites you inside for a special Be My Guest dining experience. She’ll also learn about the home of Rock ’n’ Roll with a passionate Local Specialist in the heart of Tennessee and join in on the festivities with New Orleans’s locals on Bourbon Street.

May 8, 2015

Why You Should Consider Solo Travel In 2015

Eager to travel more in 2015 but don’t want to do it alone? Well your not. According to lastminute.com.au almost a third (32 per cent) of women are planning to travel solo this year. And lastminute.com.au spokesperson, Louise Ryan, said women travel solo for many reasons, and not just because they are single or lacking travel companions.

“From wanting to celebrate ‘me time’, to the desire to unapologetically pursue a personal interest such as yoga, surfing, shopping or cooking classes; the research revealed both sexes are equally likely to enjoy a solo holiday adventure,” she says.

“Our research shows that the number one thing people love about travelling solo is the freedom; being able to do what you want, when you want. Other benefits noted include being spontaneous, meeting new people and getting to know yourself better”.

RELATED: Experience Glamping In The Top End

Keen to give solo travel a go in 2015? Check out lastminute.com.au’s fave solo travel destinations:

Melbourne

Spend days getting lost in the laneways, sipping coffee, browsing galleries and shopping without any disruptions or places to be. Retreat in the evening to any of Melbourne’s cute CBD boutique hotels.

Melbourne, Victoria

Bali, Indonesia

Regardless of whether you are after a yoga style retreat, surfing escapade, or a flop ’n’ drop style resort holiday, Bali is an accessible, affordable and relaxing escape for solo travellers.

Bali, Indonesia

New York, USA

Do what you want when you want in the city that doesn’t sleep! Spend a day in an art gallery, wander Central Park, grab last minute tickets to the theatre, pull up a chair and get to know the locals at a neighbourhood bar, cross the Brooklyn Bridge, you will never get bored in New York on your own.

New York City

Byron Bay, NSW

This chilled out northern NSW town is the perfect place to start if you haven’t travelled solo before. The local mantra is all about relaxation and rejuvenation, so spend your days enjoying long coastal walks, sipping fresh juices at beachside cafes and refreshing dips in the ocean.

Byron Bay, NSW

Ireland

Visit the national home to some of the friendliest people on earth and you are bound to be taken in by the locals just by sitting at a pub and striking up a conversation. Keep costs down by staying in cozy countryside hotels.

Ireland

Visit lastminute.com.au to start planning your 2015 solo adventure.

*According to lastminute.com.au’s 2014 Travel + Lifestyle Report which surveyed 5,700+ Australians

January 28, 2015

Bucket List Destination: Norway

Whether you’re visiting during the summer or winter months, there’s always something to do in Norway.

This northern European country boasts idyllic fjords, delicious national food, and hiking trips which will make your stay feel like a once in a lifetime destination free from hoards of tourists.

RELATED: 5 Of The Best Beach Getaways

Gudvangen Fjordtell

N-5747 Gudvangen

People come from all over the world to fish, hike, and sightsee through the stunning Norwegian countryside. Rest in the nearby hotels which have been designed and decorated by local artists, and offer a true insight into the classic Norwegian lifestyle.

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The Seven Sisters

Geiranger, 6216

A remarkable waterfall which features one of the tallest free-falls measuring approximately 250m until it hits the ocean floor. Take a guided tour along the nearby canals on a high-speed rib boat, especially during the winter months!

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Hanseatic Wharf

Bryggen, 5003

Rest and relax at the Hanseatic Wharf in Bryggen which is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions, and has been functioning since 1070. Dine at one of the best restaurants in town (Enhjorningen) which offers authentic Norwegian foods and local hospitality.

Bryggen-the-Hanseatic-wharf-in-Bergen

Kjeragbolten

Kjerag Mountain, Forsand 4127

You may have seen this iconic picture floating on the internet before; a single boulder which has wedged itself between 2 mountains in the Kjerag region of Rogaland. Thrill-seekers can take a tour of the entire area, and have their photograph taken near the original site.

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Lofoten Island

Haakon Kyllingmarks gate 6, 8300 Svolvaer

A rural archipelago which is renowned for its fishing villages located in Northern Norway. With crystal-clear skies and fresh sea-air, it will leave you refreshed and renewed – just like a real vacation should! Whale watching, mountain climbing, and swimming in the blue sea are all different ways to relax and make the most of your time in Lofoten Island. It’s also the best place to view the Northern Lights in Norway.

06f7385b191638cb3df0036bfbac00a3Images via Brunnik Tours, Pinterest, Gudvangen

January 4, 2015

11 Of The World’s Weirdest Foods This Christmas

Fed up with festive fare already? Responsibletravel.com rounds up some of the world’s most far-out traditional food to send taste buds off on their own holiday adventure. Managing director Justin Francis says: “With food such an important part of Christmas, it’s a shame if we let our perspectives be narrowed to just turkey and Brussels sprouts.

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“When I look at the wide range of cultures and cuisines we have across the 400 specialist tour operators listed on responsibletravel.com, it always reminds me that part of experiencing a new place is discovering local delicacies and tasting new things.

“It’s been fun discovering some of the world’s most weird and wonderful fare at this time of year”.

Pass the salt…

1. Casu Marzu, Sardinia. A cheese the EU has been trying to ban for years. Due to the live maggots which partly digest the pecorino into soft, crumbling goo. Afficianados eat it with live maggots, as dead ones suggest the cheese is unsafe. The aftertaste is said to linger for hours. And the nightmares for years.

2. Tarantulas, Cambodia. A particular delicacy for Cambodians, stir-fried in chilli, garlic and salt and said to taste a bit like soft-shell crab. The white meat found in the head and body is the tastiest while the brown, pasty gunk in the abdomen in spider marmite. You either love it or hate it.

3. Dancing Shrimps, Thailand. Known as ‘Goong Ten’, this northern Thai salad features tiny live shrimp tossed in fish sauce, ground roasted chilli, coriander and onion, with lime juice squeezed over to set them jigging.

4. Fried frogs, Thailand. The Thais share a French love of frogs, but the whole beast – deep-fried, curried, stewed. Or try Mok Huak, deep-fried, partially developed tadpoles reputed to taste like chicken nuggets.

5. Pajata, Italy. A Roman speciality, unweaned calves intestine cooked cooked with the chyme (partly digested mother’s milk) left inside. Heat turns it into a unique cheesy sauce for a dish served grilled (pajata arrosto) or with rigatoni.

6. Huhu grubs, New Zealand. The Michelin Man’s bug alter-ego, the larvae of New Zealand’slargest endemic beatle are said to taste like peanut butter.

7. Blood, Kenya. Used in sausages around the world, but the Masaai in Kenya prefer it straight up, direct from the cow. Nicking the jugular, the Maasai then mix the fresh, warm blood with milk before knocking it back. And on sealing the cow’s wound it appears to suffer no ill effects.   Dracula move over.

8. Balut, Indochina. It seems Indochina has a taste for duck foetus (about 8-9 days old) boiled in the shell. Prepared a variety of ways, the Vietnamese  go with salt ‘n’ pepper, lemon juice and Vietnamese mint, while in the Philippines the broth surrounding the embryo is sipped from the egg before the shell is peeled and the embryo scoffed.

9. Cuy, Peru. Low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein, cuy, or guinea pig is South America’s answer to rabbit. Try deep-fried or roasted, and the younger the cuy, the crispier the skin.

10. Rocky Mountain Oysters, USA. Not a seafood sensation, but bull’s testicles deep fried for comfort food for cowyboys out on the prairie.

11. Hrútspungar, Iceland. Passing the balls to Iceland, Hrútspungar are instead pickled lambs testicles. For a soft, tangy treat, peel off the membrane and saute with lemon and sumac.

Tasting other cultures’ food and drink is a highlight of many holidays, responsibletravel.com has a range of cooking and food holidays with much more palatable options.

December 22, 2014

Bucket List Destination: Germany

It is surreal to think that just over 60 years ago Germany was split into two countries, but there is no denying that this has dramatically changed over the years.

Not only is the city-life bustling, but dwelling in the countryside is equally as exciting when you think about all the fresh, clean air and quaint homes reminiscent of the pre WWI era. But for the meantime, don’t forget to visit just some of the following attractions while you’re in Germany.

RELATED: 5 Reasons You Must Visit Poland

Dresden Royal Palace

Once home to Saxon royalty in the 14th century, Dresden is now a major tourist destination which has been completely preserved after a fired destroyed most of the castle. Visit some of the original rooms which were home to royals, but don’t forget to take a tour of The Hausmann Tower which majestically overlooks the entire castle.

Bucket List Destination: Germany

St Thomas Lutheran Church

One of the last burial places of Johann Sebastian Bach, this is the very church where he directed the Boys’ Choir throughout the 16th century. Thomaskirchen as it is known by the locals features gothic architecture of the time, and is definitely one to visit while you’re in Leipzig.

Bucket List Destination: Germany

Black Forest (Schwarzwald)

Home of the largest and original cuckoo clock in the world, Black Forest and nearby Triberg have to be seen to be believed. The glorious green woodland is the perfect backdrop for outdoor activity such as bushwalking, bike-riding, paragliding, and even a relaxing picnic.

Bucket List Destination: Germany

Weihnachtszauber (Christmas Magic)

Germany knows how to pull off a winter-white Christimas, especially if you’re heading to the markets at Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin. More than 600,000 people visit during the Christmas season, and enjoy German delicacies, homemade trinkets, and even art by the locals.

Bucket List Destination: Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle

As one of the most photographed landmarks in all of Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is a top tourist destination located in the Bavarian Alps. It’s beautiful architecture served as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, and features wonderful paintings under the order of Ludwig II of Bavaria who resided there until his death.

Bucket List Destination: Germany

Images via Submarines, Flickr, Panoramio, Success Abroad, Rob Faulkner (Flickr)

December 1, 2014

5 Things To See and Do in Morocco 

Have you ever wanted to the road less travelled when it comes to exploring Morocco? Rather than jumping at the chance to visit the same-old tourist destinations, follow our exclusive guide including some must-see sights once you’ve finally landed in North Africa’s most popular destination.

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Try: Tagine

If you haven’t heard about tagine, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. Often dubbed the un-official dish of Morocco, tagine is a slow-cooked stew which is named after the dish which it’s cooked in. You can find good tagine anywhere from the local restaurant, street-food stall, and even the occasional cafe in the city centre.

Between chicken, lamb, beef, and even egg tagine, there are a variety of different dishes which are seasoned with local herbs and spices for that authentic taste.

5 Things To See and Do in Morocco 

Stay: La Maison Arabe

Just one of Marrakech’s luxury hotels (at an affordable price) you can easily receive the best of both world’s in this traditional place of rest. Enjoy a hot stone massage, sign-up to their world-renowned cooking school, or just relax by the heated pool. Or just down to the local town square which is just a short 10 minute walk away.

You will love the traditional Moroccan craftsmanship featuring cedar wood ceilings, and big open spaces which are truly out of a picture book.

5 Things To See and Do in Morocco 

Experience: Fantasia Borj Bladi

Just one night at Fantasia Borj Bladi will completely change your outlook on a traditional restaurant. The food is good, but the main feature is the horse riders who put on a magnificent show with music and dancers for the entire Moroccan experience.

5 Things To See and Do in Morocco 

Visit: Medina

One of the main attractions in central Marrakech is definitely the Medina – old city filled with hundreds of little stalls and shops surrounded by traditional neighbourhoods.

Here you will find little trinkets, homemade treats and spices, clothing, and even score a bargain or two with the local vendor.

5 Things To See and Do in Morocco 

Architecture: Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is one of the most picturesque towns in Morocco, and is known worldwide for it’s buildings in different shades of blue. Enjoy a relaxed stay in one of the towns many hotels or hostels, and make sure to visit the Rif Mountains which stretch from Cape Spartel to Ras Kebdana.

Trekking, biking, and mountain climbing all are very popular ways to enjoy your time in the North-Moroccan countryside.

5 Things To See and Do in Morocco 

Images via Laurence of Morocco, Legal Nomads, Fashion Toast, My Cars, Morocco Why Not

November 14, 2014

Top 5 Fitness Holidays

Fitness, as the experts like to remind us, is not a one-off effort but should be a part of everyday life. While we all deserve a break now and then, there is no reason why your holiday should be an excuse to slack off.

Fiona Hunt, managing director of soft adventure specialists, Adventure World says, “Whether you are a fitness fanatic or prefer incidental exercise, there are plenty of options for healthy, active and memorable holidays in some of the world’s most extraordinary destinations.”

Here are Fiona Hunt’s top 5 fitness experiences from around the world:  

1. Trek to Machu Picchu

Potentially one of the world’s biggest bucket list items, Machu Picchu, provides an incredible once in a lifetime experience with plenty of fitness kudos. Travellers can choose to catch the train all or part of the way, otherwise undertake a four to five day trek over 46 kms. While the trail is not technically difficult, the challenges lie in the number of ancient Inca staircases along the way plus the high altitude which can cause shortness of breath. Regular stops and plenty of water will remedy this and when you reach Machu Picchu at the end, it is more than worth the walk. 

2. Cycling in Indochina 

Travelling by bike is one of the best ways to get around and really see South East Asia. You’ll get a great work out along the way and will be so distracted the diversity of sights and experiences, you’ll hardly notice! When travelling a reputable soft adventure company, you’ll find it easy to traverse Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam by bike, capturing must see sights of the big cities and local rural life along the way.

3. Mountain climbing

These holidays are certainly not for the fitness faint-hearted. You’ll train for months but reap the rewards for years to come. Many who get into mountain climbing find it addictive and are always look for the next peak to conquer. Lucky for them, there are plenty of incredible summits situated around the world. The most popular with Australian adventurists are Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and the Himalayas in Nepal; the biggest of which is Mount Everest. Most mountains offer a range of routes to suit a variety of experience levels so you don’t need to be a triathlete to achieve this.

4. Yoga in India

Fitness isn’t all about cardio. Yoga has long been proven to provide an all-encompassing workout for the body, mind and spirit. What better way to connect to the ancient practice than in its birthplace of India. For a holistically healthy holiday, choose a trip that includes daily yoga, meditation and spirituality classes with local scholars.

5. Skiing in Canada

Dedicated snow bunnies know that the best slopes in the world are located in Canada. The hardest part is choosing where to go! For those that don’t mind swapping the Australian summer for a snow-topped break the Canadian Ski Season kicks off in November and last until early April.

For more information about these and other holidays incorporating fitness and adventure visit www.adventureworld.com.au.

August 30, 2014

Savvy Travel Tips With Adventure Expert Bec Brown

Bec Brown is no stranger to an epic adventure. Her typical week could be discussing whether to enter Tibet from Nepal or China, oohing and ahhing as a client shows her pictures of the surreal beauty of Halong Bay in Vietnam she’s just returned from, or tailoring  a round-the-world journey spanning Peru, Iceland and Kenya. As team leader at My Adventure Store in Paddington NSW for five years, Bec has seen and heard it all and has sent more than 2000 clients on adventures of a lifetime. So who better to answer our travel questions?! 

Women are notorious for overpacking. What are your clever packing tips?

You need to keep in mind that overpacking is the enemy of purchasing new things! I actually try to pack as little as possible because if I need something I didn’t bring it’s a great excuse to buy it locally.

How can women stay safe while on the road?

Common sense is your friend. Keep your wits about you – make sure you know how to read the map of the city you are travelling in so if you are lost you can get yourself home. Dress like a local – if they don’t show you their shoulders, knees, cleavage, etc, chances are they don’t want to see yours! And always take two forms of currency (eg. card and cash).

Hot tip: Learn a few handy phrases in the local language such as ‘help!’

Say we want to organise a short break with our girlfriends, where would you recommend?

For a short break close to home it is hard to go past Tassie! The fresh produce makes for amazing food and wine, you can get your culture fix at the mind-expanding MONA and take time to talk to the locals. Simply put, they are lovely.

Feel like visiting a whole other world? How about Tokyo? A city full of the unexpected and it’s easy to get around. It really has it all. Want to visit ancient shrines? You can. Want to shop up a storm? You can. And people-watching at Shibuya Station has never been so fulfilling.

Hot tip: Stay in a local Ryokan as opposed to a hotel for the experience and great value for money.

We’re seeing a rise in destination weddings. What are your tips for planning an overseas wedding?

Arrive early so that all the paperwork can be done locally. Visit the venue before the big day to meet your wedding planner. Get your travel agent to scout out your accommodation as well as alternatives options to cater for everyone’s budget.

How about honeymoons? What are the big trends for Aussie newlyweds this year? 

Stunning lodge safaris in Africa are all the rage. Everyone wants to get WILD!

What are some of your personal favourite destinations? And where are you travelling this year?

This year, I have had the pleasure to get to the Red Centre. If you haven’t been there, go now! Uluru is such a special place to visit. I now have an overwhelming sense of pride for what is in my own backyard.

Turkey is the melting pot of Asia, Europe and the Middle East and by far one of my favourite destinations. From cosmopolitan Istanbul, to the ruins at Ephesus, down to the stunning coastline and the caved city of Cappadocia, you will be enchanted and awe-struck.

For your ultimate adventure, My Adventure Store are offering you a head start with a $10k travel voucher! Enter now

To book your next adventure with Bec, call 1300 308 946.

May 7, 2014