Having lived in London for many years, it’s the best hearing Big Ben strike midnight on New Year’s Eve. Although the days of lining the River Thames with 250,000 others are long gone, the atmosphere must be incredible. There are plenty of other things to do in the capital however if you missed nabbing a ticket. You could take a boat trip along the Thames, enjoy dinner at the Ritz or attend a Vegas-style evening of glamour at The Roof Gardens. Alternatively, there are cocktails and jazz at Oriole, Hogmanay Hootenanny at Balham’s Ceilidh Night Events and the Searcys human snow globe at the gherkin. You could also take in the Sky Bar at Millbank Tower, the View from the Shard or SushiSamba at the peak of the Heron Tower – all offer 360 degree views of London.
In November we featured some absolute gems including the likes of Bali, Hawaii and New Zealand where it’s now spring. We loved our time in the Southern Hemisphere and hope to return again one day, there’s much more exploring to be done.
For October, our top ten picks featured the likes of Mauritius, Sharm el-Sheikh and Marrakech with the Canary Islands a good option if you’re looking for sun in the winter months. This month features some absolute gems and kicks off with a personal favourite too. As always make sure you plan before you travel to make the most out of your trip.
It’s many years since we crammed our belongings into backpacks and took our first long-haul flights from Heathrow. As part of our ‘gap year’ our itineraries included stays in Australia and New Zealand. We were actually in Australia at the same time but didn’t meet for another 3 years back in the UK.
Mission Beach is located midway between Townsville and Cairns. For many it’s the gateway to visiting Dunk island which lies 4 km off the Australian east coast opposite the town of Mission Beach itself. Continue Reading…
Ankles lashed together I shuffle to the edge. The sun shines bright and warm, a soft breeze caresses my cheek. Below me 340ft and 102m are the blue-grey waters of the Shotover river.
Having arrived in North Island later than anticipated, our stay in the Raglan overlander train was cut short but we made it to Hamilton as scheduled. We had the most amazing day at the cricket, spent with good friends we’d not seen for some three years. The following day we were on the move again, the destination of choice thermal city Rotorua located 100 kilometres away. The heartland of New Zealand’s indigenous Maoris, due to the marae (meeting grounds), Rotorua is renowned for its hot springs, mud pools and geysers.
Raglan is located on State Highway 23, two hours south of Auckland, on the west coast of the Waikato region. Watched over by Mount Karioi, this surfing mecca offers breathtaking views, black sandy beaches and a superb choice of cafés. It’s said Manu Bay (The Point) has the longest, most accessible and consistent left-hand break in the world. If you have the skills, it’s possible to catch a wave and cruise for up to two kilometres! Alternatively, you can head over to Ngarunui Beach (Ocean Beach) for a swim where body boarding and surf lessons are also on offer. We were only in Raglan a couple of days so we opted to stay on foot but there was much to explore.
We had a busy start to our stay in New Zealand having landed two days late following an un-scheduled stop in LA. Our friends had texted to welcome us to the North Island only to discover we were enjoying wine and cheese with locals at Santa Monica beach! We made it to Hamilton in time for an important cricket match before dragging ourselves to Rotorua to see geysers and thermal mud pools. Next on the list as we made our way southward was Waitomo.
One of the most exciting experiences I had whilst travelling around New Zealand was exploring the majestic Franz Josef glacier. Named by the eminent German Geologist Julius von Haast in honour of the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I of Austria.
The Franz Josef glacier (Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere) is on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand. The glacier descends deep into the lush rainforest of Westland’s National Park, from a height of 2,700m above sea level to only 240m in less than 7 miles, making it the worlds steepest and fastest flowing commercially guided glacier.