My 10 top travel destinations that we have been lucky enough to explore and enjoy.
In no particular order.
Jordan – Petra
Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed.
Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colours and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury).
This is an awe-inspiring experience. With the sun hitting the face of the wall highlighting the stunning spectacle.
A massive facade, 30m wide and 43m high, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink rock-face and dwarfing everything around it. It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important king and show the amazing work of these ancient people.
The Treasury Petra Jordan
Greece Athens Agean Sea Greek Islands – You would all know about how stunning and amazing these places are, they are featured on every second travel show series. You simply have to go there.
Santorini Greek Islands
USA Bryce Canyon
Not far from the Grand Canyon and Zion Nat’l Park Utah’s Bryce Canyon is worth a stop. You do not hear much if anything about it but it is as fascinating in its own right as the Grand Canyon. Famous for its worldly unique geology, consists of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes, including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called “hoodoos”.
Like Uluru the time of day can transform these valleys and peaks into a stunning visual display. If you are in the area it’s a must stop destination.
Bryce Canyon USA
Alaska Inside Passage Cruise
What can I say – it’s something you have to do.
This is a classic route, which sails from Seattle or Vancouver up through the Inside Passage. Most trips will stop in Ketchikan, which has just about as many bars as people and some very fine totem poles. They then continue to the state capital in Juneau, home to a lovely glacier and some nice heli-seeing tours; Skagway, a gold-rush port with some nice hiking not far out of town; and the granddaddy attraction of Alaska cruises, Glacier Bay, where you’ll see 11 tidewater glaciers spilling their icy wears into the sea.
One thing the travel agent and cruise lines don’t tell you is that it rains more than 50% of the time and obviously this limits photo opportunities, so do not expect the awesome scenery you see on the brochures. If it turns out well and you get fine weather, great, but don’t go expecting that. With that said it is still a magnificent trip and who doesn’t enjoy a cruise.
Canada – Banff / Jasper Nat’l parks, Athabasca Glacier, Vancouver / Victoria
Banff & Jasper Nat’l parks would have to be the best Nat’l parks on the American continent for beauty and animal interaction.
Most people find it hard to tear away from Lake Louise, but a great swath of sensational country awaits north along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). Named for the Columbia Icefield and the squadron of glaciers visible along the route, the parkway bowls along for 227 kms, passing through long, forested river valleys cradled by walls of dazzling peaks. Drivers frequently spot elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black and grizzly bears, wolf, or caribou. After about 34 kms of forest and crag, pull over beside Bow Lake for a good look at Crowfoot Glacier clinging to the scabrous cliffs of Crowfoot Mountain. From the lake’s north end, you can make out Bow Glacier Falls, a ferocious cascade plummeting nearly 120 mtrs. A 4.7-km trail leads to its base.
One of the world’s great drives.
Italian / Austrian Alps
Italian / Switz Lakes district – European beauty at its finest
We are lucky enough to have cousins in Italy on the doorstep of both of these visually stunningly scenic areas.
The Italian Lakes District:
The name evokes romantic images of twisty roads and James Bond car chases, palatial lakeside villas owned by movie stars, a daring rowboat escape in A Farewell to Arms, and young Darth Vader in love. Luckily, you don’t have to be a Jedi or George Clooney to enjoy what the region has to offer. The Lakes are best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, but if you only have two days to explore the area you can still cover a lot of ground and get a good taste of both the Swiss and Italian sides of the border.
Locarno, Lago Maggiore sitting on the northern tip of the lake just over the border into Switzerland, Locarno has a pleasant mix of the rustic and the luxurious, the pace is slow and comfortable, and the natural beauty of the setting is tough to beat. With the mild weather, the palm trees, the pizzerias, the sunbathers tanning themselves by the lake, it can be hard to convince yourself that you’re in Switzerland.
Lago di Como – If you only have a few days in the area, one of them should be spent exploring Lago di Como. The roads around the lake are twisty and narrow – the drive from Como to Bellagio is more scary and exhausting than it is fun, so ferries are highly recommended for touring the lake. The drive from Locarno through Lugano and along the shore of Lago di Lugano, while beautiful, will more than satisfy most drivers’ tastes for winding lakeside roads.
Lago Maggiore Lago di Como
The Italian Alps – The Dolimites
Just an hours drive from Venice you start to climb up the foothills of the Italian Alps the Doimiti World Natural Heritige.
Take a drive or hike or bike your way through the unspoilt landscapes of this world heritage listed area.
Cortina Italian Alps the Dolomites
Taiwan – Taipei Night Markets Snake Ally – home of the exotic, weird and wonderful
The infamous (creepy ) Snake Alley is now a well-publicized tourist venue, home to much more than vendors serving exotic reptiles. There you can find stinky tofu, durian, and turtles (the variety served on a plate). The ‘alley’ is littered with vendors and, among them, cages containing the snakes. They pick up a python and cobra and tease them into a fight until the strike and bite each other – they then slit down the underbelly of the snake. The vendor then pulls out the main artery and the blood then pours out into whatever receptacle is available. This blood is what is offered for sale to anyone in the shop, or anyone inspired by the gruesome spectacle. The blood is served in shot-glasses alongside several other concoctions, the contents of which vary, and may or may not include anti-venom. If you are lucky, the vendor will also serve a portion of snake soup – a light broth including what is unmistakably a segment of a snake’s body. If you think you can stomach the sight of this and other weird and amazing things take a walk down snake alley.
UAE Dubai Desert Safari – the city and the desert are both brilliant in so many ways.
A must for everyone who is visiting UAE. This is one safari you can’t do back home.
This tour departs in the afternoon across the desert of Dubai with several photo-stops during an exciting dune drive to the first destination a camel farm. The drive continues across the desert. Watch the beautiful sunset before reaching the campsite where you have the opportunity to do a camel ride and get a henna design on hand or feet. After working up an appetite enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner and shisha (the famous Arabic water pipe) and watch our belly dancers performing a show around the campfire by starlight.
DUBAI Desert Safari
Australia WA Esperance, Broome, Darwin – We have some amazing places here in Oz.
Esperance: For squeaky-white beaches, getting off the beaten track and bunking down under the stars, head south to Esperance.
This place is so relaxed even the kangaroos sun bake on the beach.
Broome: Where the sky meets the land, the desert meets the sea, where white sands, red rocks and cobalt blue waters come together; on a peninsula not more than 15km long, here rests the town of Broome. Often referred to as the southern gateway to the Kimberley, this tropical seaside town simply oozes charm and character. Yet it’s not just the spectacular setting, warm winter days and balmy summer nights that make Broome a ‘one of a kind’ holiday destination.
Dawin: It’s a rockin’ city
We know Darwin is a must-visit holiday destination for travellers around the globe and now we have proof. Darwin offers a “pumping nocturnal scene, magical markets and restaurants, and world-class wilderness areas just down the road, today Darwin is the triumph of Australia’s Top End”. Just love the Mindil Sunset Markets.
Papua New Guinea – Jungle Trekking / Scuba Diving
PNG is recognised internationally as one of the best dive locations in the world with twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to ten times as many as the Caribbean. The country is surrounded by the Bismarck, Coral and Solomon seas whose constant movements feed and enrich the marine environment. With 17,000 km of coastline and 45,000 sq kms of reef systems, divers can enjoy minimal contact with other dive groups. The immense diversity of sites include barrier reefs, coral walls, coral gardens, patch reefs, fringing reefs, sea grass beds, coral atolls and wrecks. Being known as a potentially dangerous place to visit the reefs are in excellent condition due to lack of human interaction.
Kimbe Bay: Walindi Diving. Very sheltered and the diving is usually very calm and relaxing. There a lot of outstanding dive sites (more than 190 reefs). The reefs are rising from approx. 600 metres (1800 feet). All dives in this part of the world are exceptional. This is true not only for divers, but also for snorkelers.
Of course its always great to come home to the Sunshine Coast