#adventure tagged posts

Kasbah de Toubkal is an Authentic Berber Lodge in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains

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The Kasbah de Toubkal is a beautifully restored stone and thatched-roof village compound that offers guests an insider’s experience of Berber life in the heart of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

I love hotels that help you engage with the locals while still enjoying a touch of luxe. National Geographic Traveler writer Daisann McLane captured the sentiment perfectly when she wrote a piece about her favorite South American hotels. “A hotel is a threshold to an unfamiliar culture…Good hotels have a strong sense of place.” The Kasbah de Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco is a perfect example. And to emphasize this fact, it isn’t even called a hotel but rather ‘a Berber hospitality center.”

Re-imagined by British adventure guide Mike McHugo and his friend and fellow guide from Morocco, Hajj Maurice, who grew up in these mountains, the Kasbah de Toubkal was a crumbling fortified village at the top of the Imlil Valley, which at the time had no electricity...

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The Rowley Shoals: Australia’s Secret Underwater Paradise

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In the middle of the open ocean I’m flying along a coral channel whose water is so clear I could be a large black bird finning through the sky. Below me giant clams flash by with their gaudy dance hall smiles, aquamarine parrot fish nibble on coral bommies, white-tipped reef sharks lurk in shadows and schools of tiny neon-bright yellow fish dart amongst intricate coralline structures.

Just ahead, I try to catch up with the “Hey Dude” turtle in Little Nemo. Only we are nowhere near the Eastern Australian Current on the Great Barrier Reef.

What and where are the Rowley Shoals?

Fourteen of us are drift snorkeling on the other side of the continent at the Rowley Shoals, 250 kilometers northwest of Broome. They are three tear-drop-shaped reefs which thrust up a dizzying 400 meters from the ocean floor on the edge of the world’s widest continental shelf. This reef ride is one of the few in the world that is courtesy of a five-meter tide, which rises and falls in six hours...

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Barging on France’s Canal du Midi

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I confess I’ve always had a fantasy about canal barging in France…gliding slowly alongside sunflowers and vines, biking to local bakeries, lunching at canal-side cafés, and snoozing away balmy afternoons. No more rushing about not appreciating France’s bucolic riches: our family of five travel a mere 157 kilometres in seven days along the Canal du Midi.

The boat

We start our journey at the Le Boat Company’s port in Castelnaudary, near Toulouse, where a staffer gives us a 15-minute boat handling class. “Yep, we understand how to go forward, reverse and sideways; sure, we’ll remember how to swivel and jiggle the toilet pump for the requisite flushing into the canal…nope we won’t be swimming there;  yes, we see how to fill the water tank and hook up for power. Mais, bien sur, we’ll stick to the speed limit. What is it again…eight kilometers an hour?”

After a full inspection of the 11.5-meter Tango barge boat, we are mightily impressed with its design...

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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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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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What to Do Along the Great Ocean Road: beaches, forests, coastal towns

Victoria's Great Ocean Road is one of the world's great drives

Photo by Robert Blackburn

Not the ok ocean road or the good ocean road, Victoria is home to the GREAT Ocean Road, one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives that spans 243 km of Victoria’s stunning coastline southwest of Melbourne.

All too often visitors zip past The Great Ocean Road’s spectacular beaches, zigzag around its jagged cliffs, plough through its soaring rainforests, and scarcely make a pit-stop in its pretty beach towns in their rush to get to the 12 Apostles.

If the truth...

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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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Kangaroo Island Luxury Retreat: Southern Ocean Lodge

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The multi-award-winning Southern Ocean Lodge is the master of the wow factor and sets the Australian benchmark for luxury…and environmental sustainability. It is well worth the splurge and makes a perfect base to explore Kangaroo Island, which is often nicknamed Australia’s Galapagos for its remarkable collection of Australian animals and birds.

Designed by Kangaroo Island local and Adelaide-based architect, Max Pritchard, Southern Ocean Lodge, a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia, is an organic set of buildings with a bold, wave-shaped Grand Room as its epicentre, a spa facility perched in isolation and 21 spacious split-level suites cantilevered along the cliffs overlooking its namesake ocean that stretches all the way to Antarctica. The views of the ocean…whether it is calm and aquamarine or wild and choppy…dictate your experience at all times.

The Grand Room features a semi-circle of floor-to-ceiling windows that encourage guests to look outward and embrace the natural wor...

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