Posted in Nature activities, Northern Territory

Cruising the Mary River

Rather than giving any material gifts to the kids for their birthdays, my father decided he would give them experiences instead – specifically tours he had done on previous visits to Australia and which he found exceptional. One of these was a boat cruise on the Mary River.

The Mary River is famous for the large amount of crocs – both “sweeties” and “salties” – lining its banks and inhabiting its waters. However, the floodplains are impossible to navigate by land, which leaves the water the only way to get close to these primal beasts. Continue reading “Cruising the Mary River”

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Posted in Queensland, Travel

Walking on the Great Barrier Reef

One of the unique activities you can do on Heron Island is a reef walk. During low tide a large part of the reef gets exposed and you can walk around the little streams looking at the coral from close up. You can join one of the guided reef walk tours, which are included in a stay here. A definite must as well, as it gives you a lot of insight into the reef life and the guides can pick up things and you can touch it. Continue reading “Walking on the Great Barrier Reef”

Posted in Nature activities, Queensland

Diving the Great Barrier Reef

As we wrote in one of our earlier posts, diving the Great Barrier Reef was one of the items that were on my Things-To-Do-In-Australia list. And, over the past three days, I have been able to do just that.

The one luxury accommodation we had booked on our Good-Bye-Australia trip was a 5-night stay on Heron Island. Sitting towards the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, it houses a luxury resort and a research station, as well as being home to a lot of coral, mantas, rays, sharks, turtles and a huge variety of other marine and avian life.

It was here that I was able to enjoy five dives – the first dives I have done in almost 10 years. Continue reading “Diving the Great Barrier Reef”

Posted in Northern Territory, Travel

Swimming in the Best Natural Pool – EVER

Never thought I would use this phrase, as Gorden Ramsey used it in almost all of his Hell’s Kitchen episodes and that got annoying pretty quickly. But now we have been to the best natural pool I have ever been to. The one in Iceland was pretty impressive, swimming in hot water in the snow, but I have to admit this Australian place truly is a little piece of paradise.

Imagine a slow streaming flow of 30 degrees Celsius,  with bright and crystal clear water in a natural surrounding. Yes, that is what we came across in Bitter Springs up in the top end of Australia, as the Northern Territory is called here. Continue reading “Swimming in the Best Natural Pool – EVER”

Posted in New Zealand, Travel

Itinerary South Island – New Zealand

New Zealand is an amazing country and has been on my ‘wanna go to list’ for a very long time. We finally went and got a taste of this country and it tastes like more!

If you are still planing to go or are still dreaming of going one day, this post might be a good start. Or for good memories if you have been already. Anyway, here is what we did. Continue reading “Itinerary South Island – New Zealand”

Posted in New Zealand, Travel

Welcome to Hobbiton

If you didn’t live under a rock in the early 2000s, you will have seen and experienced the big hype around the Lord of the Rings movies made by Peter Jackson. The are, of course, the adaptation of the even more famous books by JRR Tolkien of the same name. And if you haven’t read them yet, I strongly recommend that you do.

Most movie buffs will know that the films were shot in New Zealand. And since I am here on business for a couple of weeks, I thought I’d take the weekend and go and visit the most famous site of film’s shooting: the town of Hobbiton. Continue reading “Welcome to Hobbiton”

Posted in Pacific Ocean, Travel

Solving mysteries on Mystery Island, Vanuatu

During our Carnival Christmas Cruise on the Pacific,  after visiting New Caledonia, the second country we visited was Vanuatu. We anchored near Mystery Island, a small tropical Island that does not have any residents. What sounded very idyllic in the description, I was a bit skeptic to visit this island while on a cruise. Why?

Can you imagine a small tropical paradise that gets invaded by 2.000 people at once?  No wonder the comedian on the ship left out the ‘t’  and called it Mysery Island.

Continue reading “Solving mysteries on Mystery Island, Vanuatu”

Posted in Daily life, Pacific Ocean

Noumea – first Landfall

After two days at sea with lots of food, a bit of rest and pretty good weather, we made our first landfall in Noumea, the main city of biggest island of New Caledonia. This was the first landfall of the cruise and also the only one without tendering (i.e. anchoring the ship out at sea and shuttling the guests in on some of the lifeboats).

But if we expected a big cruise terminal, we were mistaken. Instead, we got a piece of the quay wall in the container terminal. Continue reading “Noumea – first Landfall”