Category Adventures

Photo Friday: Packing Prosecco Picnic in Victoria’s King Valley

Forges Farm offers a Packing Prosecco picnic in the King Valley

I took this Photo Friday image in the bucolic King Valley in Victoria’s High Country.

The afternoon sun glints on the Prosecco glasses set beside platters of local Milawa cheeses and crusty bread. Ancient river red gums shade our picnic area, set with hessian-covered hay bales, blankets and bright pillows as Hereford cows feast on clover in a nearby paddock. Our horses also enjoyed chomping on those sweet green grasses on the 20-minute pack horse ride…more of a lazy amble really…to the picnic spot along the King River on Forges Farm.

How do you pack a horse

Fifth generation cattle farmers Anne Marie and Graham Forge are the last original settler family on the King River. Before we had set out, they’d demonstrated the fine art of packing horses, once used to take supplies into the high country.

“I am so proud to be living and working on the same piece of property as my forefathers,” says Anne Marie. “And it’s great to be able to show visitors our packhorse skills.”


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Saffire Freycinet: Tasmanian Luxury Lodge by a Secluded Beach

Saffire Freycinet on Great Oyster Bay in Tasmania

I have always thought that Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet is one of Australia’s finest luxury lodges, not only because it is in a stellar location by a secluded beach but also because it offers exceptional intuitive service and a wide range of luxury experiences.

Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet was named 2014 Grand Award Winner in Andrew Harper’s world renowned luxury Hideaway Report. Harper describes Saffire Freycinet as a “superb contemporary 20-room resort nestled in a eucalyptus forest beside Great Oyster Bay. Floor-to-ceiling windows in three-story main lodge grant magnificent views of the pink-hued Hazards Mountains across the bay.”

This is another huge stamp of international approval for Luxury Lodges of Australia, which is a collection of independent luxury lodges and camps offering unforgettable experiences in Australia’s most inspiring and extraordinary wilderness locations.

The award is richly deserved.

Saffire Freycinet offers a design-rich but low-key and sophisticated retreat in exquisite natural surroundings on the edge of Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula. The name itself conjures up its setting with the merging of the sapphire blue waters of Coles Bay with the fiery hues of the pink granite Hazard Mountain Range at sunset…ergo the jewel of Tasmania.

With its swooping stingray-shaped roof, its dramatic ceiling made of ribbed golden celery-top pine and its wall of windows overlooking the water and mountains, the main lodge makes a grand statement but is also warm and welcoming. The lounge area offers comfortable couches and chairs, with Tasmanian Huon pine stumps for tables, lots of games and a long gas fireplace providing warmth in wild and wintry weather.

While the design is stunning, it is...

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Kusatsu: a classic Japanese hot springs town

Kusatsu is Japan's number one hot springs town

With more than 100 hot springs producing 36,000 liters of hot water per minute, Kusatsu has the highest volume of naturally discharged hot water in Japan. Its Hot Water Field is almost a national onsen shrine.  In fact, Kusatsu onsen has been chosen by the Japan’s top travel agents as the country’s number one hot spring for 10 consecutive years in the 100 Best Hot Springs in Japan. Here is my guide on how to enjoy both the indoor and outdoor onsen is this classic hot springs town.

Bathing evokes an almost religious fervor in Japan. Since it is very active geothermally, more than 28,000 onsen hot springs dot the length of the country, the styles varying from a water hole on the side of a river to complete onsen theme parks. While many hotel and ryokan hot springs deliver a five-star experience, municipal bath houses and foot baths offer everyone the opportunity to take the waters...

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Photo Friday: The Spectacular Great Ocean Walk


I took this picture at the Twelve Apostle’s end of The Great Ocean Walk. I think this image demonstrates just how wonderful it is to be away from the bus loads of tourists while appreciating the spectacular views of the limestone stacks.

It is an almost mythic land and seascape of sweeping beaches, serrated cliffs and misty rainforests that begs to be appreciated at a walker’s pace. Yet this virulent stretch of Victorian coastline has always been known as one of the world’s great DRIVES along The Great Ocean ROAD.

In 1994 a group of locals had a vision to offer something more and the passion to make it a reality. Today the 100-kilometer Great Ocean Walk between Apollo Bay and the 12 Apostles offers one of the finest coastal walks in the world. It traverses a secret landscape left behind as the Great Ocean Road weaves away from the coast through forest and farmland in its rush to reach the 12 Apostles...

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Eyre Peninsula Seafood Trail: tuna, oysters, lobster and more

Port Lincoln is the tuna capital of Australia

Slurping down a sweet Coffin Bay Pacific oyster at Port Lincoln Fresh Fish Place as workers shuck them at lightning speed, I ask owner Craig McCathie what it is about the Eyre Peninsula that makes the seafood here so special.

“On one side you have the warm saline waters of Spencer Gulf, which are ideal for prawns, calamari, and blue crabs, and on the other side are the cold, high-nutrient waters of the Great Australian Bight where southern bluefin tuna, snapper, and squid hang out,” he explains. “There are also the shallow estuaries, which are perfect for oysters, garfish and whiting. And let’s not forget the abalone, which live on the rugged limestone rocks. There is such an incredible diversity of environments for sea life and the waters are pristine along this isolated coastline.”


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Photo Friday: Captain Awesome of Cook Islands’ Koko Lagoon Cruises

Captain Awesome from Koko Lagoon Cruises in the Cook IslandsI took this photo of Captain Awesome, the charismatic leader of a four-man band of guides on Koko Lagoon Cruises in the Cook Islands. He blows on this beautiful conch shell to welcome us aboard the boat. The merry band of funsters are the sole reason why the Koko Lagoon Cruises on Muri Lagoon on the Cook Island’s main island of Rarotonga is such a fun trip. They don’t look that bad either!

Koko Lagoon Cruises

Out come the ukuleles the moment the Koko Lagoon Cruises glass bottom boat pushes off from the creamy sands of Muri Lagoon and Captain Awesome and his mates Captain Amazing, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Cook (the chef who creates our lunch) serenade us with toe tapping tunes as we cruise around the aquamarine lagoon. Jack Sparrow even manages to steer the boat with one hand and beat a drum with the other.

We head to the edge of a marine reserve and Captain Amazing jumps overboard to feed the fishes right underneath the glass bottom so that we see a kaleidoscope of color...

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Paris Beach: Sand by the Seine in Summer

Every summer for four weeks Paris is turned into a beach

It’s the middle of summer in Paris and all you see are other tourists flocking to the usual sites…the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Les Parisiens have escaped to their summer houses.  But wait, what’s that down by the Seine? A guinguette, or outdoor café, locals sunning themselves on deck chairs, a few petanque pitches, kids playing in the sand, and people singing French tunes around an outdoor piano.  And there’s not a map-toting, camera-wielding, white-sneaker-wearing person in sight.

For four weeks each summer, starting around July 20, a couple of the busiest quarters of Paris are transformed into beaches! Yes, you heard me, beaches! In French it is called Paris Plage.

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Cruising the Peruvian Amazon in Luxury

The Delphin cruisers on the Peruvian Amazon

Delphin Cruises has two luxury river boats that cruise the Peruvian Amazon as well as Yacayali and Maranon tributaries, which embrace the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. This waterscape is a magical Garden of Eden where you’ll discover Amazonian exotica like pink dolphin, diminutive freshwater turtles, and the massive arapaima, which is a living fossil and one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world. And throughout the voyage through the jungle you enjoy gourmet meals and luxurious accommodations aboard these beautiful river boats.

How to get...

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How to Shop Brimfield Antiques Market

Brimfield market is one of the biggest antique fairs and flea markets in North America

One of America’s largest outdoor antiques markets takes place three times a year at Brimfield in the heart of New England. This post will give you the lowdown on how to shop Brimfield like a pro.

There is something delightfully unpredictable and charming about tracking down second-hand treasures. You never know what you might find: an ancient map, a hand-embroidered pillow slip, a whale weather vane or a steamer trunk.  Three times a year, in May, July and September, the bucolic Massachusetts town of Brimfield is transformed into a sprawling circus of dealers and buyers who trade in the artifacts of times past.

The greatest antiques fair and flea market on earth

It ha...

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Summer in the Stockholm Archipeligo


In Sweden summer is prized like the love of a life, a season that is longed for through the dark of winter and transforms everything, under the blaze of 16 hours of glorious sun a day. And there is no better place to see this passion unfold than the Stockholm Archipelago, a necklace of 24,000 islands that is strung some 130 kilometers along the Baltic Sea on either side of Sweden’s largest city.

Stockholm itself sprawls across 14 islands and while some, like leafy Djurgarten, offer bucolic delights, most Stockholmers escape to their own special island for the month of July, when the lovely sun shines so long that it never really gets dark.

Tove Janssen, the renowned children’s book author of the Moomen tales, gives a clue to how deep the love runs when she described her family summer home on Blido, nicknamed The Island in the Sun.

“My grandfather came to a long green field bordered with forest and hills so it looked like a valley of paradise.  One end was open to the bay for the grandchildren to swim.  He built a big house with lots of rooms and stairs and terraces and verandas and started to plant flowers and trees and the field became a Garden of Eden.”

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