Category Australasia & Oceania

Photo Friday: outrigger canoe in Papua New Guinea

PHoto Friday outrigger

I took this photo while on a multi-day, 80-kilometer kayaking trip in Papua New Guinea with Australian-owned No Roads Expeditions.

My husband and I and our three teenage daughters paddled alongside the Tigak and Tsoi islands – coral atolls with swaying coconut palms that meander from the main island of New Ireland to the brooding jungle-covered hulk of Lavongai.

One day, I paddled with local guide, Lapin who couldn’t wait to show us his home on Nusakelo. “I love my island – the wide sandy beach, the orchard and vegetable garden, the coral reef,” he says quietly. “Can you believe an American found Nusakelo on Google Maps and tried to buy it for $70,000? We said ‘No.’ because we want to keep it just the way it is.”

Lapin’s relatives arrive in outriggers, painted the same delicate turquoise as the surrounding sea. They brought the day’s catch for our lunch. This photo is of one of their outriggers left on the side of the lagoon.

New Guinea is a surprising place...

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Sunshine Coast Hinterland Gourmet Hike

There's a jungle out there in the Sunshine Coast hinterland

Most people think the Sunny Coast is all about beaches and alfresco dining in Noosa, Mooloolaba and Caloundra but an entire alternative ecosystem is tucked into the folds of its ancient mountain ranges. In fact, there’s a whole jungle to explore in the Sunshine Coast hinterland…and some mighty fine raw materials for a gourmet getaway.

Black and white dairy cows graze on lime-green pastures. Avocado and macadamia trees burst out of the red earth. Ridge-top gardens peer over the Glasshouse Mountains to the blue Pacific and a family of distinctive villages beckons, each as idiosyncratic as other people’s children.

Two of the Great Walks of Queensland are here too. The 58-kilometer Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk and the 56-kilometer Conondale Range Great Walk rumble through the jungle to the evocative soundtrack of tropical birds and cicadas.

Narrows Escape Rainforest Lodge

Narrow Escape Rainforest Retreat partners with Off Beat Eco Tours to offer a gourmet hiking adventure

Hardy hikers bunk down in campsites along the way but for those of us who prefer our walking in the wild wi...

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Jean Michel Cousteau is Fiji’s best eco, family and diving resort

Jean Michel Cousteau Resort  is renowned for  its eco credentials and wonderful kids program

Fiji’s award-winning environmentally responsible Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji is built on 17 acres of a former coconut plantation overlooking the peaceful waters of Savusavu Bay on Vanua Levu Island. With one of the most impressive and engaging kids clubs in the world as well as an extensive array of adventure and pampering offerings, it is an exclusive escape for couples, families, and discerning travellers looking for an authentic Fijian experience.

Arrival and Location

It is a one-hour flight from Nadi or Suva. Guests are met at the tiny airport on Vanua Levu and given cool towels and cold water before being whisked away to the resort in a comfortable four wheel drive.

A group of...

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Tasmania’s radical contemporary Museum of Old and New Art

Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art.

Tasmania’s MONA on the banks of the Derwent River.
Photo credit: Leigh Carmichael

Tasmania’s $75 million Museum of Old and New Art is the must-see destination in the island state once more famous for its dramatic landscapes and outdoor adventures. It seems like everybody, from European art buffs to everyday mums and dads, is abuzz about MONA, located in a subterranean sandstone structure on the banks of the Derwent River in Hobart. The largest private museum in Australia, MONA offers indoor adventures that rival New York’s edgiest galleries.

It is also no one trick pony since it is wedged into cliffs on the vine-dotted grounds of the Moorilla Estate winery which has a wine bar, cellar door for wine tastings and Moo Brew beer tastings, a fancy French-inspired restaurant and eight contemporary accommodation pavilions.

MONA has also spawned a slew of fabulous festivals and markets that bring a kaleidoscope of locals, interstate and international visitors to this creative mecca that just so happens to be located in an industrial suburb on the outskirts of a small city on the tip of the Southern Hemisphere.

 

David...

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Photo Friday: Wharekauhau New Zealand luxury lodge

Wharekauhau Luxury Lodge is on the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand

I took this Photo Friday image on the way to one of New Zealand’s spectacular luxury lodges: Wharekauhau Country Estate.

Wharekauhau Country Estate

Driving 90 minutes from the nation’s capital of Wellington to Wharekauhau Country Estate, I zigzagged through the brooding Rimutaka Ranges and then followed country roads over rolling green hills. Everywhere I looked were gamboling long-tailed suckling lambs with their mothers. The whole landscape was Pure New Zealand, where sheep outnumber people twenty to one.

In the distance, nestled amongst hedgerows in a fold of emerald green pasture is Wharekauhau’s cream stucco Edwardian manor house with a steeply pitched roof dotted with large chimneys, its expansive bay windows overlooking a shimmering celadon sea...

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Sydney’s Guest Houses offer Great Locations at Affordable Prices

Cremorne Manor is located in one of Sydney's prime harborfront suburbs

Cremorne Manor has a terrific location just near a Sydney Harbourside park

Have you ever considered how nice it would be to live like a local by staying in one of Sydney’s harborside or beachfront suburbs? Believe it or not there are a number of affordable guest houses offering accommodation overlooking Sydney Harbour or down the road from the beach? These ere are four delightful guesthouses that make Sydney’s flash (and expensive) CBD hotels look rather sterile.

Bondi Beach House

Just a short stroll down a quiet residential street from all the action on Bondi Beach, the classy peach stucco Bondi Beach House, tucked behind frangipani and bougainvillea trees, offers three suites, four double rooms (two with shared bath) and two single rooms all decorated in beachy chic style. There’s an airy kitchen and breakfast room and spacious front and back decks where you can relax all day long...

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Wine and long-held traditions in Victoria’s King Valley

Victoria's King Valley wine region has a strong Italian flavour

Victoria’s King Valley is a laid back wine region where you’ll not only meet the makers but you might also sit down with them over a few bottles of wine and a hearty family-style meal, much of which comes from their own veggie patches and orchards groaning with oranges, figs and apples.

Family is king in the King Valley whether it is Aussie settlers like fifth generation cattle farmers Anna Marie and Graham Forge or the Italian families, like the Pizzinis, Dal Zottos, and Politinis, who settled here after World War II. The Italians first grew tobacco but, at the encouragement of one of Australia’s oldest wine-growing families, the Brown Brothers in nearby Milawa, they became contract grape growers. In the last couple of decades, the grape growers became winemakers and today they are passionate about Italian varietals… Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Arneis, Barbera and, of course, Prosecco.

Packing Prosecco

The Forge family is the last remaining settler family on the King River

Anne Marie and Graham Forge are the last original settler family on the King ...

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Best Luxury Resort in New South Wales: Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa

Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa: luxury and conservation

The Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa offers a beguiling mix of unbridled luxury and environmental sustainability.  If you are looking for the best luxury resort in New South Wales, this is it. Even better, it is immersed in a dramatic outback landscape which the resort has gone to great pains to preserve, restore and protect.

It feels like you have entered a lost world when you arrive. The 4,000-acre conservancy reserve is located at the base of its own hidden canyon surrounded by ancient sun-drenched escarpments in a tucked-away part of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains several hours’ drive out of Sydney.

It is the first carbon neutral resort in the world to be certified through an internationally accredited greenhouse gas program and one of its key initiatives has been to restore the indigenous habitat of the former cattle property, including planting of more than 175,000 indigenous plants and restoring of the original 1832 homestead.

Occupying just two per cent of the reserve, the $125-million resort features a two-story barn-like main homestead building, constructed of wood, sandstone and glass, plus on-site recycled building materials, and an entire flotilla of 40 free-standing luxury Federation-style bungalows.

The r...

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Photo Friday: Pelicans in South Australia’s Coorong Wetlands

Pelicans in South Australia's Coorong wetlands

I took the picture of these three beautiful pelicans in South Australia’s Coorong National Park,  which is a complex web of long shallow saline lagoons, wetlands and sand dunes that start at the mouth of the mighty Murray River and stretch for 135 kilometers alongside the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean.

Declared a wetland of international importance in 1975, the three kilometer-wide Coorong is home to the largest permanent breeding colony of Australian pelicans and is a temporary sanctuary for thousands of migratory birds from all over the world. It is reminiscent of the Camargue wetland in southern France but here the pelican rather than the flamingo is king.

This sprawling horizontal landscape was formed over 800,000 years as a consequence of sea-level changes. The Southern Ocean deposited debris along a series of 13 barrier dunes that eventually became stranded from the ocean...

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Adrenalin adventures in Rotorua: raft waterfalls, ride the Schweeb, bungy jump, then soak in natural hot pools

The thermal area of Rotorua in New Zealand has plenty of adventures on offer

Rotorua is New Zealand’s coolest hot spot and it is easy to see why. The region is renowned for its geothermal activity with geysers, mud pools and hot springs not to mention 18 lakes, rushing rivers and majestic native and exotic forests. It offers a veritable feast of adrenalin and nature-based adventures.

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