Thursday, 14 August 2014

Top 10 Travel Destinations

In my slow march towards middle age, ok that is a slight exaggeration as early 30’s is hardly middle aged, anyway as I meander the roads of my life I quite often get asked about my travel experiences as people who know me know that I have been around (in a travel sense not the other kind). The question I can never answer yet is always inevitably asked the obvious “where is your favourite destination” . Sounds like a simple question but there really is no concise answer to it. I have lots of favourites for many different reasons. So I thought I would write a summary of my top 10 travel destinations and why.

Best Foodie Destination

This would have to be a close call between China and Vietnam but I think in the end the Szechuan hot pot in Chongqing wins it for China. The festivity of communal eating, the tingling szechuan peppercorns, the variety and choice of ingredients that you can tailor to your tastes, it’s the stuff of Foodie wet dreams. Although daunted by the cultural divide the food would bring me back to this great country

Most Amazing Scenery

The Canadian Rockies with their awe inspiring snow capped peaks and slow train journeys along side wandering rivers, turquoise lakes and towering mountains really takes the cake for best scenery for me.

Best driving holiday

I am a little biased on this one as half of my family are Kiwi’s but New Zealand is a great driving destination. You can go from monolithic fjords to vast plains then rolling lush farmland in quite a short distance (to Australian’s that is). Although useful signposting may not be the forte of the Kiwi’s with a good GPS you will be able to stay on track. I also love to stop by the many small town Dairy's for some signature Hokey Pokey ice cream.

Favourite spot in Europe

This would have to be Tuscany. Ancient fortified towns perched on the hill tops, Agriturismo’s dotted through the countryside, days spent walking the cobblestone streets in somewhat of a time warp. Real Italian Gelato, pasta and pizza, enough said really. If you are brave enough to visit in winter many of these towns are nearly deserted making for fantastic photography opportunities.

Top Asian Destination

Cambodia. It is like taking a trip back in time, few cars although this is quickly changing, locals living in houses built from sticks, amazing food, delightful people, extremely cheap and to top it all off some of the most memorable ancient ruins on the planet. Ta Prohm and Bayon get out, they are astounding.

Top Beach Destination

Undoubtedly the Cook Islands. So good I even went back to get married there on the beach. The jungle like mountains in the centre of Rarotonga descend to some of the most pristine beaches in the world, that turquoise blue water is warm and inviting and being sheltered by the reef makes it very accessible for snorkeling and swimming. My favourite aspect of the island is that you can grab a little car and tootle around the 30 kilometers of road the encompass the island to try out all the restaurants, beaches and backroads to see how the locals live. It is a great destination to get some local culture and not be confined to a western style resort.

Best Wildlife Viewing

My options are a little limited here as I haven’t done as yet some of the iconic wildlife trips like East Africa or the Galapagos but my luxury game lodge stay in Kruger National Park in South Africa was unbelievable. It was hard to leave the luxury confines of Tinga with your own private plunge pool overlooking the bush but once you were out in the open air game vehicle it was so thrilling I didn't then want to go back to the lodge. We saw all of the Big 5 Game in the first day even the more elusive ones like the Leopard and on the last game drive of our stay we were surprised with a campfire dinner in the bush entirely lit by candles. It was magnificent.

Top City Stay

This is an all out battle between New York and London. I don’t want to have to pick one but if forced I would probably go with London. Maybe it is being an Australian with historical family roots in England but the city is fascinating, packed full of history and royal intrigue the options for tourists are endless and the tube makes it all so easy to navigate. I must say the New York subway is not the most user friendly for tourists and probably knocks it down a peg on my rung. I am also inclined to put Hong Kong and Melbourne on this list but I can only pick one fav.

Most Awe-Inspiring Destination

With it’s millennia of history and ruins so preserved that you think you have been teleported back in time you can’t go past Egypt for pure awe. Unfortunately political tensions have had this one of the boiler for a few years now but when you have the chance it is an absolute must see. Tikal in Guatemala comes a close second to Egypt but not spanning as long a time period or geographical vastness Egypt wins out.

Best Cultural Immersion

The Vietnamese have survived countless occupations and invasions and have emerged with a strong sense of who they are as a nation. With seemingly no grudges held against their former oppressors from various nations they go about their daily lives with grace, hard work and a smile. Their local cuisine with the use of aromatic fresh herbs and delightfully fresh seafood is unique and captivating. This makes Vietnam my top cultural pick.

Favourite Australian Destination

Now this is super hard to pick. Melbourne has it's Hipster vibes, little lane ways and top restaurants, Sydney has the iconic Australian must do's, Ayres rock has it's cultural and geographical wonders but my pick is going to be Port Douglas. Around an hour north of Cairns this beach side town is not only a great little holiday hideaway to escape the backpacker hoards in Cairns but the gateway to some of Australia's best natural wonders. From Port Douglas you can head out to the Great Barrier reef to swim, dive and snorkel with the fish, turtles, sharks and other sea creatures or jump in a car and head further north into the unique Daintree Rainforest where the forest really does meet the sea. 
Originally posted on Thursday, 14 August 2014 by


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