Where2travel staff pride ourselves on updating our destination knowledge on a regular basis. Apart from our own holidays we frequently get out and about seeing as much of the world as possible for us and of course our valued clients.
With over 150 years combined experience the where2travel staff have been to every continent on the globe.
Below are our most recent travel destinations:
Sweden’s Lapland is a winter wonderland of majestic beauty and tranquility.
We took an overnight train up from Stockholm to Kiruna in northern Sweden which is home to the world famous ICEHOTEL. What an amazing experience to sleep in a -5 degrees hotel made of ice and snow. There is so much to experience in the winter months. You can enjoy a wide variety of winter themed activities including snowmobile excursions, dog sled tours, reindeer farm visits, elk safaris, skiing, snow-shoeing, ice fishing, winter survival skills training excursions and ice sculpturing to name a few!
From Kiruna we traveled up to Abisko which is only 1 & ½ hours by train (or 2 hours by road transfer). Abisko is famous for the Aurora Sky Station which they say is the best place on earth to experience the Northern Lights. The night visit starts with a beautiful chair lift ride up to the Aurora Sky Station in the dark. We spent several hours both inside and outside of the station waiting for the sky to light up, but it was too cloudy to see them. We could see them through the camera lens, so the night was not wasted.
The last train trip we traveled on was on the world famous Flam Railway. The Flam Railway has been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Norway.
If you are traveling to Europe through the winter months, I would highly recommend adding on a side trip up to the Arctic Circle to experience this amazing part of the world.
The luxury begins when you get your transfer from Nadi either by seaplane or helicopter (both owned and operated by Kokomo Private Island) to this gorgeous island.
Kokomo Private Island offer 2 types of accommodation being Beachfront Villas and Luxury Residences. The 1 to 3 bedroom villas offer kitchenettes, living rooms, patios and infinity pools, as well as gardens and outdoor showers. The Luxury Residences range from 3 to 6 bedrooms, all with private infinity pool and gardens and all boasting wonderful views of the island. All of the accommodation are designed for privacy, comfort and relaxation.
There were so many highlights on Kokomo Private Island. The staff were amazing and nothing was too much trouble. The food was fantastic and for a small island, there are multiple high quality dining locations. The Beach where you can go swimming or snorkeling is right outside your beachfront villa!
Kokomo caters for everyone; couples, families and you can even book the entire island for a large group! I had an amazing time on Kokomo and can’t wait to go back.
Visiting Patagonia and Chiloe in Chile blew me away in so many ways. The scenery, the weather, the people and the food was a great cultural experience. We stayed at the beautiful Tierra Patagonia which is located in Torres del Paine National Park and also Tierra Chiloe on the island of Chiloe.
My highlights were in Torres del Paine National Park, where I went horse riding, discovered glaciers by boat and trekked up into the mountains that offered breathtaking views from the top. At the end of our trip, we had a couple of nights in Santiago exploring the city. In Santiago, everything is within walking distance. I enjoyed drinking the local red wine and of course the famous Pisco Sour.
With so much diversity and natural beauty, Chile has to be on everyone’s bucket list!
I sailed right out of the heart of Ho Chi Minh City on my Mekong River cruise heading upstream bound for Siem Reap. As Avalon’s ship “Siem Reap” is a smaller vessel with only 18 Panorama Suites on 2 decks, she can sail on the Saigon River. While the number of guests on the ship may be small, the ship isn’t. Built as long and wide as other ships that carry twice as many guests, the public spaces never feel congested. From the air-conditioned Panorama Lounge to the open-air observation lounge, there is plenty of seating and spots to relax.
I really enjoyed this itinerary and the excursions along the Mekong were fantastic visiting villages along the way. This ship can go down portions of the River that the larger ships can’t access. Therefore, there weren’t other ships visiting most of the villages we visited. Avalon generally had two shore excursions per day; one early in the morning and one in the afternoon, giving you a break for lunch and time to relax.
I would highly recommend cruising the Mekong with Avalon Waterways. I think that seeing the two countries, Vietnam and Cambodia, from the vantage of the Mekong River was a great way to tie the trip together. Cabins are spacious and wonderful to have the floor to ceiling window which you can open up to a French balcony. The crew onboard were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble.
The animal migration was the attraction for travelling to Tanzania and the Maasai Mara in Kenya in August. We had just come from raw, deserts of Namibia and were treated to National Parks full of wildlife with plenty of food for the animals and birds. Tarangire, The Ngorongoro, and the Serengetti in Tanzania plus the Maasai Mara in Kenya were on order for our tailor made itinerary. We chose to tented accommodation which was very luxurious with all the whistles and bells included, not to mention all meals, game drives, drinks and magnificent scenery and wildlife.
The Migration of Wildebeest (as well as Zebra) is a constant circle around the Serengeti and Maasai and to see the animals with their river crossings, risking life and limb, was a sight to behold. Some people wait hours on end for the so called “Crossings” but we were lucky to have a morning event, allowing us to pursue the other amazing wildlife in their homegrown environment.
Hot Air Ballooning over the Maasai Mara was an early morning start and well worth the extra dollars for a spectacular sighting of the sun rising, the animals waking and on the prowl amongst the heard of Zebra and Wildebeest.
And yes we saw the Big 5! Not once or twice but indulged with many sightings.
“Diverse Namibia” was the theme of our trip and diverse it was! With magnificent raw scenery, Dunes, Skeleton Coast, Desert Wildlife, Lunascape Canyons; desert and more desert. Namibia is a scenic destination that is full of history and culture and of course the outdoors. Desert species of animals are shy and well adapted to the lack of water, such as the Desert Elephant, Desert Giraffe AND Zebra. These animals learn to go without water up to 5 days yet are healthy and well fed considering the scenery and surroundings.
It was a must on my “To do list” and I was never disappointed.
We travelled by road and elected to do the Tented option which ranged from serviced, ensuite tents on solid timber platforms, to luxury Glamping with all the trimmings.
Our guide was magnificent and a definite necessity to travel with.
Namibia can easily be coupled with South Africa, Botswana or any other African destination.
Go, You’ll love the raw wilderness.
Mauritius is a place where there are many things to see and do. From the beautiful waters that surround the island, to the bustling capital of Port Louis, rum tasting at the Rhumerie de Chamarel, Seven Coloured Earths also at Chamarel, and the history and importance of tea in Mauritius at Bois Cheri.
I was lucky enough to stay at three of the LUX* properties, LUX Le Morne, LUX Belle Mare, and LUX Grand Gaube, located in different areas of Mauritius. The rooms at all resorts were fantastic and spacious, with great views of the water. In addition, all the hotels have a common theme linking them such as:
*A Wishing tree – you can place any wish there, and once a year, a ribbon is picked winning its owner a free holiday. *Message in a bottle – at every resort they have hidden in the grounds 3 bottles with messages in them. If you find one, you win whatever it says in the message, whether it is a special dinner for two, a spa treatment or sightseeing option, for example.
*Old style phone booth – you can call anywhere in the world, for free.
*Junk Art Studio & Gallery – art classes where you can learn new hobbies with recycled material.
*Photo Fanatics – photography studio. They will teach you how to take great photos on any kind of phone or camera.
The best thing to do in Mauritius? Order a cocktail and relax by the pool!
There really is no better place to relax and unwind. No matter which way you look, you are surrounded by the remarkable beauty of the atolls. I have never seen such white sand and turquoise water and I have visited so many beach destinations in the world.
I was lucky to experience both the Anantara Dhigu and Taj Exotica properties and were amazed by the array of accommodation options available to couples, families and individuals.
If you are beach bum or someone who likes water sports, I would recommend adding this country to your bucket list.
A once in a lifetime experience!
I visited The Philippines with little knowledge of this country and was excited to learn a little more.
We spent time in Manila learning about the history of the Philippines when under Spanish rule, and then under American rule.
Then it was time to enjoy a few days of island life on Coron, which was the highlight of our trip!
We flew into Busuanga, and stayed at a lovely Resort set on the hillside of a quiet bay, called Busuanga Bay Lodge. The next 2 days were filled with adventure – we set out on a traditional boat called a “banka”, and from there we sea kayaked through majestic lagoons with water of all different shades of blue and limestone cliffs looming above. The water was so clear; you could see the bright coral from your kayak. We also snorkelled straight off the boat, the coral was so bright and bold it was spectacular. We were lucky to see some shipwrecks and plenty of colourful fish.
I would definitely recommend the Philippines for those who have travelled parts of South East Asia already and are looking for somewhere different. The Philippines would also be fantastic if you love diving, snorkelling or any active adventure.
For a country smaller than Tasmania, Sri Lanka has so much to offer and an abundance of culture to experience.
From beautiful beach breaks to safari style game drives through National Parks, it really does have something for everyone.
Even though the distances are short, travelling through Sri Lanka takes time, and to make sure you get a great insight to what the country has to offer you really need at least two weeks up your sleeve to experience everything on offer.
I travelled through the centre of Sri Lanka which is very picturesque. Spiraling through hillside villages, tea plantations and the historical golden triangle. We then ended up at Yala National Park and the coastal towns located on the South Coast.
I stayed in some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka and can highly suggest some wonderful experiences you will not find anywhere else in the world. I do believe this is a country that has lain dormant for years and will quickly change in the coming years, so I highly recommend to experience it now!
India, there is so much to experience! I travelled to Northern India visiting Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Jaipur, Varanasi and Mumbai with Taj Hotels. It was an incredible trip where I got to see the Taj Mahal in Agra, observe the daily rituals in the wonderful city of Varanasi and stay in some magnificent Taj Hotels.
The Taj group of hotels epitomise royalty luxury and elegance. Voted as one of the best luxury Hotels in India, these dreamy heritage palaces are worth splurging on. With a history that dates back to 1903, the Taj Hotels, Palaces and Resorts hotels since then have become the pride of Indian hospitality in the industry.
India can be challenging at times with the crowds, the constant sounds of horns and the traffic, but you just have to take it all in and enjoy what is on offer. You soon realize what a magical place India is.
Fabulous snow conditions and skiing are available in the North Island of Japan and Club Med Tomamu is the place to stay. With all-inclusive skiing, meals, entertainment, beverages and located directly on the slopes and opposite Japan’s largest indoor wave pool, there is nowhere else to be. Magnificent scenery with no crowds either in the lift lines or on the slopes.
Enjoy a stopover in Tokyo if you haven’t been before and if time allows, OR with several international flights directly into Saporo you can avoid any fussy transits and get on the slopes as soon as possible. Everyone is catered for and all dietary needs covered so this magnificent and new (opened December 2017) resort is the perfect ski resort for families, couples, friends of all ages and skiers of all standards.
The perfect ski holiday without having to travel the huge distances to Europe or the USA.
I embarked on an adventure across the Mid Atlantic Sea with Viking Cruises, beginning in Lisbon on a re-positioning cruise that was traveling for 12 days and ending in Miami. The ship we sailed on was the brand new Viking Sun, very stylish and modern with a fresh Scandinavian feel. Every area of the ship was stunning, the attention to detail was second to none. Viking is best described as understated elegance.
This particular cruise was not your typical Viking Cruise, in which Viking Cruises are very destination orientated. We had some sea days, with just two port stops. The first stop was the Azores Islands, docking in Ponta Delgada. The Azores are very green and lush, with scenic mountains, lakes and coastline, a growing haven for adventure travellers who are interested in hiking and diving. The second stop was Bermuda, a British island territory. With a mix of island colour and neat colonial architecture, Bermuda has such a great vibe. There are stunning beaches and quaint towns, which would make for a great escape for a few days if visiting USA or UK.
Overall, I really enjoyed cruising with Viking on the Viking Sun. With just a maximum of 930 guests onboard, the ship was very spacious yet intimate. All Viking Ocean Ships are the same, and are small enough to get in and out of areas the bigger ships just aren’t able to get to.
I have recently returned from Sri Lanka with the desire to return to. This wonderful destination offers so much: culture, adventure, culinary delights, beaches, jungles and an amazing view on life as part of the Buddhist faith.
Our journey saw us experience the wonders of the Golden Temple of Dambulla one of Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, the local train to Hatton which is the heart of the famous tea plantations, followed by a short flight in an 8 seater seaplane to Weerawila to join a safari drive to the Yala National Park in search of leopard and elephants!
Accommodation options are plentiful, from restored colonial tea bunglows to beachside retreats, heritage hotels to boutique villas – there is something for everyone.
Loved the food, accommodation, sights and history but most of all the people of Sri Lanka.
Egypt was a real eye opener for me, it was one of the best experiences.
The country is rich in really interesting ancient history. A destination not to be missed being a once in a life time holiday!
I found Egypt to be extremely safe, the locals are very friendly and very proud of their fascinating country.
There is a lot to learn and the experts in Egyptology will help you understand the history timeline and amazing artefacts that have been discovered over the years. I highly recommend traveling to Egypt now, before the country is re-discovered again by other tourists.
I recently just cruised along the Danube River with Evergreen. I really enjoyed the cruise with the visits to all of the small villages along the way.
It was an area of Europe I had not been to before, so it was great to see a different side to Europe. It was also fantastic to be able to unpack once for seven days. The friendly crew, including the captain, would help on embarkation/disembarkation days. The cruise director was amazing, very knowledgeable and helpful.
The sightseeing tours were very well run, with a bottle of water handed out before every tour. There were plenty of options with walking tours of each town we visited. In Budapest, there was a city tour, a visit to Durnstein Castle, and bike ride from Durnstein to Melk (29km – no I did not do it), a tour of Melk Abbey, a visit to Schonbrunn Palace, a Viennese Concert, and another day to Cesky Krumlov.
My favourite day with Evergreen was “coffee and cake with the locals”. We were a small group of around 15 and we visited a older couple in their village about 45 minutes out of Bratislava. They welcomed us into their home, showed us their house and garden filled vegetables, fruit and flowers, told us about their life, and offered us homemade coffee, tea and cake. They also had a very small vineyard in their garden, in which they shared some of their wine with us.
Seeing Europe in Autumn was also fantastic as it was a multitude of different colours with the trees all beginning to shed leaves.
I’ve just returned from Russia, spending 10 days between the two major cities, Moscow and St Petersburg.
It was such a great experience. What I enjoyed most about my experience in Russia, was learning about all of the history over the last few hundred years – all of the changes the country has been through, with so many highs and so many lows.
My highlight in Moscow was the famous St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, and the Underground Stations. The Underground Stations in the city centre are so grand – with artwork, paintings and statues. We did a tour with Urban Adventures to visit the most beautiful ones. Each Station had it’s own story to tell. My highlight in beautiful St Petersburg was visiting the Hermitage and Catherine’s Palace, as they are just so beautiful and filled with some amazing artwork. Apparently the hermitage has 1,100 rooms of artwork, we spent 4 hours there and I think we only went through 50 or so rooms!
Travelling to Russia in October, meant we experienced the most beautiful Autumn colours and it was so nice to wander through the many parks with the falling leaves.
I have just come back from the beautiful Club Med Bintan Island. Just a 45 minute ferry ride from Singapore, Club Med Bintan Island is a fantastic resort to visit for an extended stay or a stopover from Europe on the way home. The all inclusive concept is terrific, I put my wallet in the room safe at the start of my stay and that’s where it stayed for the 5 nights (all inclusive including beer, wine and spirits all day). Very nice rooms, fantastic food, amazing beach, Club Med Bintan is an oasis on the edge of the Bintan Island forest and well worth the visit.
In September I was lucky enough to go to Vietnam.
Hanoi in the North is a fabulous city with the history of the French rule still evident in its buildings and local cuisine. We did a food walking tour of the old quarter, and experienced all different kinds of tastes and flavours, ending with a drink at a rooftop bar overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake.
We welcomed a cool change of temperature in Sapa. Although the town itself is quite busy, there are lots of nearby rural areas where traditional way of life hasn’t changed all that much. From here you can visit Mt Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina.
Hoi An was our next stop, in Central Vietnam. Hoi An has a popular beach area, but I prefer the Old Town area, which comes alive at night along the river, with lots of restaurants, shops and street market stalls. We did a fantastic Vespa tour of the countryside around Hoi An.
Nha Trang is a very vibrant town, with a long boulevard running parallel to the beach and lots of restaurants and nightlife. Out of town, closer to the airport, is another stretch of road with new hotels being built and a stunning long beach.
I left Vietnam wanting to go back again, and experience the fabulous food which is always a definite highlight.
The Kimberley should be a must on everyone’s bucket list and how better to explore this magnificent coast than with the French Cruise Line Ponant on her Expedition Ship L’Austral.
She has all the comforts of home with excellent facilities, delicious food and wines served by experienced, friendly waiters and staff. The expedition team are second to none with endless passion and knowledge to share, making your journey enriched and fulfilling. Their experience made our daily expeditions something to cherish and look forward to.
Kimberley waters are fraught with crocodiles so the Salt Water pool was welcomed by all as a dip in the ocean is out of the question.
A major requirement for the Kimberley Coast.
The scenery completes the picture, visiting The Horizontal Waterfalls, Montgomery Reef, The Langgi Warriors, King George falls and some cheeky whales to name a few. This trip was exhilarating. I encourage you to go there and to sail with Ponant…. Soon.
You will be enthralled by this land right here on our doorstep.
Tokyo! What a great destination for both leisure and incentive travel. Caitlin & James managed and escorted “Melbourne Forum’s” annual conference held this year in this great city. It was a huge success and enjoyed by all.
110 delegates attended this years conference held at the Conrad Tokyo.
Some of the highlights organised by where2travel included a traditional Geisha song and dance performance and a sumo lunch followed by a sumo demonstration. Both performances were fantastic to watch and more importantly exclusive to the group. This allowed great photo opportunities with the Geisha’s and sumo wrestlers as well as asking questions about their chosen careers. Sightseeing also included the beautiful Kiyosumi Gardens & the famous Shinto shrine in Asakusa.
With a free morning, we booked in for the Maricar drive! Dress up in a costume and drive in a go-kart through the streets of Tokyo. This was an amazing experience driving through the local traffic and up to speeds of 70 miles per hour. The convoy consists of up to 8 cars being lead by a main driver and the drive lasts for about 3 hours. You need an international drivers licence and you should check that you have the appropriate cover with travel insurance.
Tokyo is an amazing city and we highly recommend a visit or think about it for your next incentive group or conference.
Hawaii is one of my favourite destinations as there is so much diversity depending on which island you visit.
We visited three islands, all with their own very special characteristics.
Kauai, The “Garden Isle” known for its lush scenery, and Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the South Pacific” I discovered a new favourite beach there, Ke’e Beach, at the end of the road on the northern coast of Kauai. The last 10 miles of the road is picturesque, with a succession of one lane bridges over small rivers. Another beautiful beach is Poipu Beach, at the southern end of Kauai, a great place to watch the sunset.
The island of Hawaii, also known as the “Big Island” is my favourite of the islands, it’s spectacular.
A visit to the top of Mauna Kea, at almost 4,200 metres in height is an unforgettable experience, watching the sun set above the clouds. There is a stunning diversity of landscape on the Big Island, with 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones on the one island. Volcanoes National Park is well worth a visit to see the history of all the volcanic activity on the island. Kilauea, an active volcano on the island has been flowing daily since 1983, and has changed much of the landscape on the island. Kealakekua State Historical Park , is where Captain Cook first landed in the Hawaiian Islands, and subsequently died. There are many other places to experience on the Big Island, and I would recommend at least one week there to just touch the surface.
Oahu, the most populated island has much to offer, from the history of Pearl Harbor, to the North Shore surfing beaches and the bustling areas of Waikiki. Hanauma Bay Marine Preserve is a favourite destination for many. There are many sightseeing tours on offer – Kualoa Ranch offers movie tours, the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center offers a glimpse into the Polynesian Islands cultures, as well as a fantastic Luau at the end of the night. There is plenty of shopping, from Waikele Premium Shopping Outlet, the Ala Moana Center, T Galleria and a multitude of shops along Kalakaua Avenue. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from on Lewers St, Beach Walk, Kalakaua Avenue and in many of the resorts on the beachfront of Waikiki Beach.
I can highly recommend a visit to any of the Hawaiian Islands, for many different experiences.
The Dominican Republic caters for everyone and is a fantastic destination to visit. It is known for its beaches, resorts and golfing. Its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah and highlands. I visited 3 areas being Santo Domingo the capital, Punta Cana (on the east coast right at the junction between the Caribbean Sea & the Atlantic Ocean) and Puerto Plata in the north (Atlantic Ocean).
Santo Domingo is the capital city, a UNESCO world heritage site and is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas. It is a mix of old world charm and modern flair. There are plenty of sights and activities to keep you busy for a couple of days.
Punta Cana is the land of rest and relaxation. Where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, large resorts offer all the comforts of modern living right on the beach. Punta Cana is a golfer’s destination, with 11 courses located all along the strip. The area offers water attractions, such as racing speedboats, zip-lining, four-wheeling, catamaran sailing, party boats, deep sea sport fishing, discovery cruises, floating spas, private yachts, swimming with dolphins, snorkelling cruises, swimming with sharks and stingrays, whale watching, reef exploring and visiting small islands like Catalina and Saona.
Puerto Plata is famous for resorts such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada. The only aerial tramway in the Caribbean is located in Puerto Plata, in which visitors can ride up to the Pico Isabel de Torres, a 793 meter high mountain within the city.
A great add on trip from the east coast of the USA or visiting Caribbean Islands.
I spent a relaxing few nights recently on Norfolk Island.
Accommodation is very homely with a choice of hotel style or self contained units, most of which come with a rental car for your stay. Everything is a 10 minute drive away. The use of seasonal fresh produce makes for great dining experiences. A Very popular place to spend a week for a step back in time and to learn the history of the island.
More and more small intimate weddings are being held on Norfolk Island now and the stunning views make for fantastic photos – very picturesque.
The use of Aussie dollars and being covered by Medicare makes Norfolk Island very appealing to a wide range of visitors.
Visiting Broome was an unforgettable experience, in our own backyard of Australia.
There is much to explore and so many activities to enjoy.
The history behind Broome itself makes you appreciate the town and the stunning surrounding Kimberley Region.
It’s a holiday for all ages and I recommend you visit this amazing destination now!
I was recently fortunate to travel with the upmarket tour company Abercrombie & Kent to China.
The trip included a luxury four night river cruise on the recently refurbished Yangzi Explorer, the only 5 star river ship to sail the Yangtze river. The total length of the cruise is 660 kms and is considered by the Chinese to be the single most scenic area in all of China. I can certainly understand why they believe this to be true! The highlight of the river is undoubtedly the spectacular Three Gorges. The ship holds only 124 passengers with 39 Cabins and 24 larger Suites. The shore excursions, dining and on-board entertainment are all of the highest standard.
We finished the tour with four nights in Beijing where I ticked off another of my travel bucket list items, climbing the Great Wall of China.
Culture, history, colour, music, street art, scenery, fabulous food, wine and people… all this and more is what I encountered on my recent holiday to Chile, Argentina & Brazil.
From the quirkiness of the street art in Valparaiso Chile, historical grave of Eva Peron in Buenos Aires to the iconic Christ the Redeemer in Rio. This trip had it all!
My recent stay at Club Med Bali in Nusa Dua was fantastic.
Club Med Bali is an all-inclusive resort, perfect for young families, multi generational families, couples and friends.
The property is stunning with it’s beautiful gardens and beachfront location.
The adults only Zen Pool is a special place to unwind and relax.
I found that the great thing about staying at Club Med is that it’s is a completely stress free holiday, as everything is available to you right there. There are also so many activities at the resort that you can do. Trying the trapeze, playing tennis, practicing your putting on the green or some fun water aerobics for exercise.
During our time in Bali, we also went out on a great day trip up to Ubud and then across to Seminyak for sunset cocktails.
Blessed with beautiful sunshine, my Singapore Day started with a gorgeous stroll along the waterfront, enjoying views of the spectacular Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer, the mythical Merlion and by pure chance experienced the UK Red Arrows flypast.
The afternoon was full of adventure, exploring all the features of Gardens by the Bay, the inspiring 101 hectares garden in central Singapore.
A stroll along the Skyway, the 128 metre aerial walkway connecting two of the iconic Supertrees, a wonder through the misty Cloud Forest, the 25 metre mountain show casing the world’s largest indoor waterfall and admiring African Balboa trees and the amazing collection of plants at Flower Dome.
This evening I could not miss the chance to try the most famous cocktail in town at the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel, the home of the “Singapore Sling”. A perfect end to my Singapore Day!
I’ve just returned from visiting Shanghai & Hong Kong, flying Cathay Pacific and staying at New World Hotels.
Shanghai is a big city with a lot of little surprises. It’s a modern city, with the most amazing riverside boulevards in the world, The Bund. With an incredible view of tall and modern buildings as the backdrop, and the Huangpu River in the foreground. You must visit The Bund by day and by night. I highly recommend enjoying the view at night at a rooftop bar, this was a highlight of mine.
Other must do’s when in Shanghai are visitng the Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Gardens, the French Concession by day and Xin Tiandi by night.
Hong Kong is my favourite city in the world. It is such a vibrant city with so much to offer, no matter how long you stay for.
A highlight was visiting the highest bar in the world at the Ritz Carlton, called Ozone. This is located on the 118th floor. The whole experience of being so high up was just incredible.
I spent a perfect week with family and friends skippering our own barge along the Canal du Midi exploring the local villages and mastering the canal lock system.
It’s the perfect way to enjoy the Canals and regional wine areas in France, stopping and shopping for your meals and wares along the way, eating locally and enjoying the local produce.
Gather some friends and enjoy the ambiance.
If you prefer NOT to do it yourself, there are skippered and crewed barges with all the trimmings. There are numerous options, barges and canals all throughout France. The only skills required are a sense of fun and enthusiasm.
My trip to Northern Thailand and Laos was such a wonderful experience, with so much to do and also so much natural beauty.
Some of my highlights in Northern Thailand were:
– Visiting the temples in Thailand, where I learnt about the Monks way of life and their long standing traditions.
– Taking part in a Thai Cooking Class. We learnt how Thai flavours mix with different types of food. Truly a foodies delight.
– The shopping in Bangkok – from the the big shopping malls to the colourful markets, where you can grab a bargain.
– The Golden triangle is a must see, as it’s amazing to view three countries from your hotel balcony.
– Walking with the Giants was an experience I will never forget, Elephants are such beautiful animals.
Laos is a beautiful laid back part of Asia.
You do not get the hustle and bustle of other Asian countries which makes this place so appealing.
Luang Prabang was my favourite with all of the French Colonial buildings, also the delicious Asian food with a French twist.
I could easily go back to both of these countries again and again.
Portugal is renowned for delicious Port and Port wines along the Douro River.
Not to mention amazing and colourful tiles on all of the buildings, including the railway stations.
The countryside and scenery throughout Portugal is very beautiful.
We started our APT river cruise in Porto at the mouth of the Douro River, after first spending 3 nights in Lisbon.
The Douro is a steep and rugged river course with extremely stressed conditions perfect for vineyards.
What better way to experience this than to cruise along the Douro River on a river ship! Your home for the week.
Whilst moving through the countryside along the course of the river, your home moves with you so you only unpack once!
In August I went on a Travelmarvel River Cruise in the beautiful South of France.
My floating hotel took me upstream to visit charming French towns and experience local culture, food and wines.
Included sightseeing each day is escorted by local guides who are passionate about their region.
I highly recommend river cruising as a most relaxing way to travel!
Once again, where2travel organised the “Melbourne Forum” conference which was held at the Intercontinental in Adelaide. The conference of 80 delegates was another very successful event. Where2travel facilitated all travel arrangements & conference planning.
Melbourne Forum’s networking dinner was held at Serafino’s in McLaren Vale wine region and everybody had a lovely time – great food & excellent wines. The highlight was their last night, where the group travelled out to Chateau Tanunda in the Barossa Valley wine region. The delegates participated in an interactive cooking class with Ellie & Saskia Beer (Maggie Beer’s daughters), followed by a indulgent dinner set on a long table for 80, feasting on gourmet local produce and again, excellent wines.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay at the Intercontinental in Adelaide. The city of Adelaide is a very walkable city and you can also take advantage of the free tram. Rundle Mall was buzzing with entertainers & shoppers and a must see is the Central Market with it’s fresh local produce & trendy cafes.
Both Zimbabwe & South Africa have been one of the best experiences I have had. Seeing Victoria Falls, meeting the locals and riding on jeeps through game drives were definitely a highlight.
I found it very safe and enjoyed learning about the history of both South Africa and Zimbabwe. Cape Town is stunning with rolling mountains, Dutch inspired houses and beautiful blue oceans; one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever visited. I recommend everyone to visit Africa… at least once!
In June and July, I travelled through Vietnam, Cambodia and ended in Koh Samui for a friend’s wedding.
Vietnam is just incredible, I could return time and time again. Hoi An would have to be one of my favourite places in the world, and I know I share that passion with a lot of other people too.
This charming place really does have it all. The beaches, the river, fields of lush green rice paddies. The whole town is UNESCO world heritage listed. We had so much fun indulging in the beautiful Vietnamese cuisine, visiting the tailor, having fun with the locals. Hoi An lets you feel like a local. I would also highly recommend doing a cooking class here.
We then flew to Cambodia. As each day passed, we continued to fall in love with this fascinating and raw country. For a country who has been through so much in recent decades, Cambodia has so much offer. The people are so friendly and helpful, the Khmer food is amazing (especially the Fish Amok) and the temples around Siem Reap are mind blowing. We also ventured down South to an island off Sihanoukville, called Koh Rong Sanloem. It was so quiet, peaceful, laid back and picturesque. Perhaps what Koh Samui was 30 years ago.
Back from Iceland, it is so incredible! Every day the scenery is like a postcard photo, a spectacular natural wonderland and always changing landscape.Iceland has magnificent waterfalls, beautiful fjords, geysers and is the home to Vikings and Trolls. This island of volcanic land and lava fields offers its own uniqueness and special charm with an amazing glow of the Midnight Sun during the summer months of June to August.
We circumnavigated Iceland, explored the beautiful “golden circle” to view the liveliest exploding geysers. Visited the Westfjord and stood in awe at the foot of the thunderous Dynjandi, one of Iceland’s most extraordinary waterfalls. We experienced the best close encounter with humpbacks, minkes whales and white nosed dolphins on the sea in Húsavík, the whale capital of Iceland. Our boat tour sailed along the giant blue-tinted icebergs in the picturesque glacier lagoon and stunning scenery of Jökulsárlón. A number of us stayed up late to witness the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year at the Blue Lagoon Resort near Reykjavik, one of the 25 wonders of the world.
An unforgettable journey around the Island of Fire and Ice.
I cruised the famous Mississippi on the iconic paddlesteamer “American Queen” in May. The river cruise gave me the opportunity to experience life on the river, fringed by elegant Antebellum plantations that were lined with massive oak trees. We visited the historic Civil War battlegrounds at Vicksburg where the battles took place to control the South.
We started and ended in New Orleans, where the flavours and sounds of this vibrant city welcome visitors to the gateway of the Lower Mississippi. Whether it’s blues, jazz or rock’n’roll that you enjoy, there’s something here for everyone, while indulging on distinctive Creole and Cajun culinary delights.
Noumea is a great destination, with its proximity to Australia, a quick escape from cold winters and a chance to experience another language and practice your French.
There are plenty of restaurant choices in Noumea, as well as some great sightseeing opportunities. The people are very friendly and helpful and they have some stunning scenery.
The island of Ouvea and Lifou are also quite different with lots of beautiful beaches on Ouvea, while Lifou tends to be more volcanic.
I was very fortunate to go to Club Med Peisey-Vallandry – a beautiful Ski Village in the French Alps.
Flying with Air France to Geneva, then transferring by coach to the Village, I experienced a wonderful all inclusive stay at this picturesque location. The ski runs are endless and suit every level of skier.
Meals, drinks, ski lifts and lessons, ski hire (excluding clothing) and nightly entertainment are all included in a Club Med Ski package!
I have just returned from a fantastic trip to Peru with Chimu Adventures. Peru is such a wonderful country to travel through with so many sights to explore and experience, such as Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Lake Titicaca. I was fortunate to do the Lares Trek with Mountain Lodges of Peru who own some fantastic lodges in the more remote areas. It was a combination of cultural experiences, soft/intermediate adventure travel and offers not only a unique introduction to Inca history, but also an intimate view of current Andean life and to the natural beauty that surrounds it.
Peru is a visually stunning country with so much to offer.
Mauritius is a wonderfully exotic destination with a tropical climate. Great creole and international cuisine, white sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and adventure to satisfy many appetites.
The opportunities are endless in Mauritius. Must do’s include:
– Spa treatments are second to none
– Blue Bay boating day trip – snorkeling adventure and fun
– Shopping for all budgets and modes
– Golf to suit the best professionals
Club Med offer two fantastic Resorts in Mauritius. 4 Trident La Pointe Aux Canonniers in the North of the island rests on a long white beach and is perfect for families. The 5 Trident La Plantation D’Albion offers a more remote retreat with high end comfort and beautifully spacious rooms.
French Polynesia is a place of outstanding beauty. Boasting incredible lagoons, mountainous landscapes and colourful marine wildlife.
A few minutes from the island of Tahiti by plane, and only 30 minutes by high-speed catamaran, Moorea soars magically out of the ocean in an explosion of green velvet. Moorea offers an array of activities both on the land and water. Board a short flight from either Tahiti or Moorea and find yourself on the stunning island of Bora Bora which boasts some of the most beautiful clear waters in the world. A must is the shark and ray feeding tour. Make sure Tahiti is on your bucket list!
Though not many tourists get to Dili, this international city is one of the few capitals with fabulous beaches within its boundaries. The best is Areia Branca, a 10 minute taxi ride east down the coastal Rua Cristo Rei from the city centre. One of the must see sights is the statue of Christ, the biggest in the world outside of Rio De Janeiro. Climbing the 580 steps up the hill isn’t easy in temperatures that frequently reach over 30 degrees, but well worth the view.
I traveled to Fiji to experience the adventure that Fiji offers and had a fabulous time! I learnt that Fiji doesn’t have to be just a Resort oriented holiday, the country also offers a lot of activities and action. This way you can also see the real Fiji, by venturing out for the day. I went on a River Safari, which was the highlight of my trip. We spent the whole day with our wonderful Rafting Guide as we rafted through some amazing canyons, rainforest and waterfalls. Another fun activity was zip lining through the forest available near Pacific Habour and Nadi, and also a swim at the waterholes at Colo-I-Suva Rainforest which is located 20 minutes out of Suva.
I enjoyed an amazing winter family holiday in the USA in December. 5 weeks with so many highlights, including Christmas Day in New York and New Years Eve in New Orleans.
Disneyland and the theme parks were also Kodak moments that will never be forgotten by the whole family. A little self drive was also a lot of fun.
I had a fabulous trip recently to America, Cuba and Mexico.
Cuba was a trip back in time in some ways, with limited access to many of the things we take for granted. The classic old cars of Havana, and the beauty of the countryside were amazing. The people are incredibly friendly and we enjoyed staying with the locals in their own home in some of the towns we visited.
Mexico was amazing and I can’t wait to get back there again. The fascinating history of a number of cultures that have left an indelible imprint on the country with archeological ruins, such as Teotihuacan and Monte Alban. Mexico is the number one silver producer in the world, and the town of Taxco did not disappoint, with excellent quality silver available, and maybe a slight shortage of silver after I left. Mexico City is a vibrant city with much to offer, from going to see Lucha Libre, eating street food and drinks at one of the oldest Mariachi bars in the city.
The food was also amazing, with quite different styles and flavours available dependent on which regional part of Mexico you were in.
We ended our holiday at a fabulous beach town called Huatulco for five nights relaxation before returning home.
I’ve just spent a week at Club Med Phuket.
Club Med Phuket is a 4 Trident, all inclusive resort with G.O’s (Club Med staff) from all over the world. Every night is themed and there’s a wide range of food to cater to all tastes.
I enjoyed an afternoon trip to the Big Buddha and Patong Beach. The Big Buddha also includes the Golden Buddha. I highly recommend going to see the Big Buddha, from the top of the cliff where it’s situated, you have great views of Phuket and the surrounding Islands.
I have just returned from visiting Club Med Kani & Club Med Finolhu Villas in the Maldives.
It is a truly spectacular destination; perfect to relax, unwind and enjoy some of the best beaches in the world.
Club Med Kani is a 4 trident, all inclusive resort offering various room types with lots of activities on offer.
It is perfect location for snorkelling, diving and surfing.
The newly opened Club Med Finolhu is a 20 minute boat ride away from Club Med Kani. It is a 5 trident all inclusive resort boasting beautiful overwater sunrise and sunset villas all with private plunge pools. A perfect resort for a honeymoon or a romantic getaway.
A highlight of the trip was a day spent snorkelling in the amazing crystal clear waters to see the coral, turtles & sharks.With its stunning white sand beaches and an amazing underwater world, the Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime.
Hawaii is an exciting destination for everyone.
I was lucky enough to experience the islands of Kauai and Oahu, both offering two different sides to Hawaii. The beaches are beautiful, warm and blue. Food is wonderful having many choices of cuisines. I got to experience a scenic flight in a helicopter in Kauai, which was breathaking to see waterfalls that you can only view by air. I would consider any person wanting to shop, explore, relax, spend time on the beach or just have fun with friends and family to visit Hawaii.
I’ve just returned from the USA, on a Cosmos Tour from Chicago down to New Orleans.
This tour is called “Dixieland and Rhythms” and it’s a must for music lovers!
Our group consisted of travelers from New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Americans.
The highlights for me were the stops in Nashville and Memphis where we visited famous recording studios. In Nashville, we also visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and had premier seats for an evening show at the Grand Ole Oprey, a weekly country-music stage concert. In Memphis we visited Graceland, Elvis Presley’s beautiful estate, and listened to live Blues bands on famous Beale Street.
Our tour finished in New Orleans where we stayed in the heart of the French Quarter and went on a Jazz/Dinner cruise down the Mississippi river on the Natchez Steamboat.
You can also combine this tour with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival which has a special departure each year.
My first time in Bangkok for eight years, and the city is still just as busy. Fabulous night markets (try the grasshoppers!), the sprawling market of Chatuchak, and the magnificent temples.
Koh Samui is, as always fantastic. The beaches are great, the people friendly, and the food fantastic. There is the bustling area of Chaweng with its shopping, multitude of restaurants and places to get cheap massages. Lamai is also quite busy with plenty of restaurants and shopping also. Next up is Bophut where every Friday night they have the fabulous Fisherman’s Market…
Stay in the hustle and bustle of Koh Samui or for something quieter, try one of the many resorts tucked away on their own little beaches or coves that are relaxing and tranquil.
I’ve just returned from Patagonia, travelling to the rugged South of Chile and Argentina. It’s such a unique part of the world.
Seeing all of the beautiful and stunning scenery, it makes you appreciate nature and the way the world has evolved. I cruised for 3 nights on the Via Australis, an expedition cruise departing from Punta Arenas in Chile. Out on the zodiacs, we got so close to some amazing animals and glaciers. On board the ship, there was an unforgettable view the entire time as we cruised in and out of the fjords. We then travelled a little further North to Torres Del Paine National Park where we stayed at the beautiful The Singular Hotel Patagonia, which is a restored cold storage plant (from the 20th Century) with so much history. From here, you have access to the National Park where you can do some wonderful walks, hikes, horse riding and more. Heading North again to Puerto Natales in Argentina, I had the opportunity to trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier. It was an amazing experience up there on the ice! I’ll never forget my adventure to Patagonia, being such a unique destination with so much to do, there’s nothing else quite like it!
Morocco has always been on my bucket list and this September, the dream became a reality! What an amazing destination with its reputation of being exotic and mystical – I wasn’t disappointed.
From the bustling medinas in Fes & Marrakech with the aromatic spices, ceramics and the occasional camel head on offer to the vast expanse of the Sahara sands and lush oases, Morocco ticked the box!
This August and September I traveled to the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia.
Prague is a bustling, beautiful city full of history and ancient charm. Easy to explore, from the Castle and Mala Strana, across the historic Charles Bridge to the very busy Old Town that beckons you to return. Budapest is the city that greets you with her wonderful streets, the Danube River, the castle district of Buda and the flatter bustling city of Pest. Enjoy a day in a spa, the Szechenyi Baths. A perfect day to relax and cool off in the summer heat.
Venice was where we embarked on our Royal Clipper cruise, the highlight of our trip.
ROYAL CLIPPER CRUISE: Venice – Montenegro – Croatia – Slovenia – Venice.
7 nights in luxury, on the world’s biggest 5 masted working Square Rigger. Exquisite teak decks with amazing sails aloft as we set sail into the sunset each evening only to discover another beautiful coastal town the next morning. Virtually no motion at all thanks to the stabilising square sails. Boutique and intimate, with only around 200 passengers on board. With a marina aft to access the sea and water activities, along with 3 pools on the sun deck, there was much to do. Be crew for a day and scale the mast to the crows nest. Or relax and be pampered. Not to mention the Dalmatian coast with her perfect Mediterranean coastal towns tempting you ashore to discover their individual beauty. Sheer poetry in motion.
We recently travelled to Hong Kong to assist with the “Melbourne Forum” Conference that our colleague Caitlin had organised for 105 delegates. The Conference was very well organised and we enjoyed being there to help, ensuring everything ran smoothly and to plan. Although it mostly work and a little play, we did manage to venture over to Stanley on Hong Kong Island to wander through the markets. We enjoyed some fantastic restaurants, in particular at Hutong, a restaurant high up in the sky with beautiful views over the harbour.
Yum cha is a must! Hong Kong is definitely a wonderful city as a destination or for a stopover, a city that you can return to time and time again!
I traveled the South of Spain with Intrepid, on a small group tour, called Best of Spain.
It was a fabulous way to get a taste of what Spain has to offer. You experience the different landscape & culture between the North & South.
My Spain highlight was the Flamenco Show in Seville, the magical Alhambra in Granada and a Paella cooking course in Valencia.
I recently traveled to Phuket and stayed at the Club Med all-inclusive Resort, to experience their annual Body & Soul program. This was an amazing experience with everything at my fingertips.
The resort is all-inclusive and the food was magical every day with different cuisines on offer. The Body & Soul program offered me many activities throughout the day and night, from Tai Chi to Trapeze and also Yoga. This was exactly what I wanted to do on this holiday, and of course I also enjoyed sitting and relaxing by the pool and beach. My highlight was enjoying a delicious cocktails by night at the pool.
I traveled to Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Italy in the European Summer on an Azamara Club Cruise.
Designed to offer exotic destination-driven itineraries, Azamara Club Cruises presents a more intimate on-board experience, while allowing access to the less traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit. Sailing from Istanbul, we docked in wonderful ports including Gythion, Kotor, Havr, Korcula, Zadar & Venice.
The ship is very easy to navigate being a small size ship with only 694 guests. The staff were fantastic, friendly and hospitable.
I experienced ILTM Asia 2015, a Travel Trade Show called International Luxury Travel Market.
It was a fabulous opportunity to meet up with where2travel luxury hotels and operators and to visit the city of Shanghai. I enjoyed a lovely stay at The PuLi Hotel and Spa, Shanghai’s first luxury Urban Resort, with their unique pre-dinner cocktail at the 32-metre Long Bar. The evenings were full of hosted entertainment and included The Langham Shanghai Xintiandi “Mad Hatter Champagne Party” to celebrate the Langham Hotel in London’s 150th anniversary year. An amazing experience with all of the glitz and glamour of Shanghai.
I traveled to two exclusive island resorts just 15-20 minutes boat ride from Kota Kinabalu on Gaya Island, called Gayana Resort and Bunga Raya Resort and Spa. Why stay in the city when you can enjoy the serenity of these two resorts!
Gayana Resort boasts very spacious over water villas, many with their own private steps into the sea from where guests can swim and snorkel.
This Resort is the proud operator of the MERC (Marine Ecology Research Centre) which facilitates the rehabilitation and research for the world’s endangered Giant Clams as well as coral restoration.
Bunga Raya is the more luxurious of the two properties, with it’s own beautiful white sandy beach and crystal waters. Accommodation is again very spacious and tropically luxurious, in stilted tree and jungle villas. Sailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, scuba are some of the water activities, and the Jungle beckons with jungle tree walks and Zip-lining.
Go there, you’ll love it.
Samoa is a extremely untouched and a beautiful place to visit in the South Pacific, if you want to step off the grid and really relax.
Not only are the beaches stunning, there is so much natural beauty to explore, with lush rainforests and beautiful swimming holes such as To Sua Ocean Trench.
There is a lot of culture in Samoa, and if you have the opportunity to visit a local village, it is well worth doing.
They may not have much material items, but the Samoans are so loving and friendly.
They really do make your trip a memorable one.
Samoa is a perfect getaway to relax or have a family holiday!
I cruised the Irrawaddy River on the Cruiseco Explorer. This was an excellent and comfortable way to discover Myanmar, which has recently been re-introduced to tourism, letting the outside world back in.
Life on the Irrawaddy is abundant with fishing, peanut crops, local farming, pottery, sugar palms and plenty of river trading, yet the mood is tranquil and without chaotic hustle and bustle.
The luxury and comfort of our very spacious ship, the “Cruiseco Explorer”, meant we could travel the country without having to pack and unpack daily. The staff on board and crew (all local Burmese) make it an experience to remember and a destination to discover. Go now before it gets “traveled out”.
Fiji – Jodie Gent
Club Med Maldives (New Finolhu Resort) – Diane Rawlings
Club Med Ski Europe – Fiona Provis
Finland / Stockholm – Diane Rawlings
Africa x 3 different Travel Designers – Johanna Dash, Jennie Marsden and James Jang
Club Med Bintan – Cassie Muhlhan
Club Med Bali – Kym Lewis and James Jang
South America – Kate Iles and Jennie Marsden