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Lauren with a large Quokka picture, Fremantle, Western Australia

Lauren Has Recently Returned From Fremantle, Western Australia

Last year, I was lucky enough to spend six months in Fremantle. So, if you want to know more about exploring Western Australia, I guess I am the person to ask!

Fremantle is only a 20 minutes’ drive from the city of Perth, and although it is home to a modern-day port, the town also retains some Victorian architecture and remnants from Australia’s time as a British penal colony. When you visit Fremantle, you can spend some time exploring the old heritage buildings, and you might like to visit Fremantle Prison.  The prison first welcomed “guests” in 1850, and the earliest convicts were tasked with building the prison themselves. I would highly recommend joining the nighttime tour, and the tunnel tour, which are really atmospheric and allow you to immerse yourself in the 19th century.

When staying in Fremantle, you are never too far away from white sandy beaches, where you can watch out for passing dolphins and people enjoying windsurfing or paddleboarding. In the distance you can even spot Rottnest Island!

Rottnest Island is a must visit from Fremantle. Just a 30 minutes’ ferry ride takes you across to the tranquil island life. You can spend all day on one of the many beautiful beaches or rent a bike and explore the island. Make sure you are looking out for the local Quokkas! They may look cute and cuddly, but they can bite, so make sure you give them space when trying to take your photos.

I loved my time in Western Australia, and Fremantle is a great base to explore from. One of my favourite places to go during my time there was Gage Roads, a local brewery, where you can enjoy sampling a drink whilst the sun sets over Fremantle. If you do visit, let them know that Lauren sent you! 

Megan & her father climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia
Megan climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge with her father

Megan Has Recently Returned from Sydney, Australia

When my Dad came to visit me, while I was living in Australia, the first place I had to take him was, of course, Sydney

During our time in the city we were able to go on several tours and see the sights. We are both beach lovers so we decided to stay in Coogee, where we could enjoy being by the sea, but not be overwhelmed by the crowds visiting Bondi. On our first day we completed the Coogee to Bondi walk, which is six kilometres of picturesque beaches and cliff top views. After our walk we hopped on the bus and made our way to Darling Harbour where we had a phenomenal dinner at Nicks Seafood Restaurant with water side views. 

Day two was another active day with a tour of the iconic Opera House and then the amazing Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. When you arrive for your Opera House tour you are given your own headset and introduced to an experienced tour guide that leads the way. We were even lucky enough to take a peek at the rehearsal of the ballet production that was performing that week. Once the tour was finished, we had dinner at the Opera Bar where we enjoyed some refreshments.

We made our way to the Sydney Harbour Bridge for our allocated time. This has to be the most memorable experience I had in Australia, because the breathtaking view is something you cannot forget! We decided to do the evening walk because we wanted to see the sunset over Sydney, and it did not disappoint!

Our final day was the Blue Mountains tour. This is a full day with our first stop being Featherdale Wildlife Park. We fed wallabies and saw the native koalas. From here we made our way to Echo Point, Katoomba, where we saw the Three Sisters and discovered the aboriginal legend which describes the iconic rocks. 

This tour finished by cruising down the Parramatta River back towards the city and seeing the Opera House by boat- something you want to take your camera out for! 

Sam at Rainbow Falls, Hawaii, USA
Sam at Rainbow Falls, Hawaii

Sam Has Recently Returned From Hawaii, USA

Over the last 20 years, I’ve been slowly crossing off visiting all the American states, one by one. This time I finally got to cross off Hawaii, a place I’ve wanted to visit for many years. I decided to see some of the best of Hawaii by visiting Kailua-Kona & Honolulu. 

I started off visiting Kailua-Kona, which is on the island of Hawaii, also known as the ‘Big Island’. Even though it’s called the Big Island, it is easy to see a lot of the island over just a couple days. Whilst staying on Hawaii, I visited Volcanoes National Park, which is home to one of the most active volcanoes, Punalu’u Beach (which has black volcanic sand), and I was lucky to see a few green turtles resting on the beach. I also visited the impressive Rainbow Falls, which is a waterfall that cascades over a cave.

Next on my trip, I island hopped from Hawaii to Oahu, which is faster paced, but still offers relaxation on the amazing Waikiki beach. While on Oahu, I was able to visit Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout which gave breathtaking panoramic views of the Koʻolau cliffs and the Windward Coast. I briefly stopped off at the Dole Pineapple Plantation and enjoyed an afternoon visiting Waimea Valley, walking along the path through the botanical gardens and up to the waterfall.

My favourite experience was visiting Pearl Harbor. At the Visitor Centre, I was able to learn more about the events that unfolded that morning in 1941 and I also boarded a ferry to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and view the remains of the sunken vessel. I also took the transfer over to Ford Island and visited the USS Missouri Battleship Museum. I left here feeling sombre regarding the events of that fateful day, but I’m glad I visited. 

I loved every moment in Hawaii and can’t wait to go back and see what the other islands have to offer.

You can follow in Sam’s footsteps on one of our Holidays to Hawaii.

Karen with a cheetah at Endoneni Lodge in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, South Africa
Karen with a resident of Emdoneni Lodge

Karen Has Recently Returned From Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in South Africa

Did you know that Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is the oldest nature reserve in South Africa? In the northern region of
KwaZulu-Natal, about an hour’s drive from St. Lucia, Hluhluwe is not only home to the ‘Big 5’, but it has been at the forefront in the preservation if the white rhino.

My favourite place to stay in Hluhluwe is Emdoneni Lodge, and I have had the privilege of visiting this sanctuary and rehabilitation centre for Cheetahs on three separate occasions, so far. Being able to get up close and interact with these magnificent animals is nothing short of magical, and a dream come true for me.

From the time you arrive, you are embraced by the warm welcome of the friendly staff, and as you walk through the beautiful gardens to your luxury chalet, don’t be surprised to meet a few zebra or various buck on the way.  Whether you prefer lounging by the pool, pampering yourself with a luxurious spa treatment, or embarking on a thrilling game drive, Emdoneni Lodge and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park has something for everyone.

You can follow in Karen’s footsteps to visit Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in our Complete KwaZulu-Natal self drive holiday.

Richard in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
Richard in Joshua Tree National Park

Richard Has Recently Returned From California, USA

Some time ago I had the idea of visiting all of America’s National Parks. Currently there are 63 designated National Parks, so seeing them all is quite a task. I am into double figures, but I am some way off seeing them all.

On my latest visit to California, I was able to tick another National Park off my list; Joshua Tree National Park. Located in Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park is at the confluence of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, which have created some unusual landscapes and unique flora.

I was following our Southern California Sun fly-drive route and began my visit on the coast in Santa Monica. It was lovely to be able to enjoy brunch overlooking the beach and take a hop-on hop-off bus tour around Los Angeles.

I visited Joshua Tree National Park from Palm Springs, a town with fashionable boutiques and alfresco dining at its heart. It is also home to the spectacular aerial tramway that takes you up to the top of Mount San Jacinto with spectacular views from the summit.

I spent two days in Joshua Tree National Park, spending one day in the north of the park amongst the rocky trails and Joshua Trees, and one day entering through the southern entrance to visit abandoned mines and a forest of cacti.

My holiday concluded back on the beach, this time in San Diego. The sunsets over the ocean were incredible. There are nine National Parks just in California, so I know that I have to come back and see more.

Bella in her previous role with Qantas
Bella during her time with Qantas

Bella Has Recently Returned From New South Wales, Australia

As a Sydney girl, born and bred, I have explored all over New South Wales. I was fortunate to be living about 30 minutes from iconic Bondi Beach and 30 minutes from the city most of my life. This has enabled me to easily explore all around Sydney from a young age. Growing up, my family would do regular road trips to meet family that live all over New South Wales. We travelled across the Blue Mountains to visit my family who own a cattle station and went on a road trip to beautiful Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, and all the way down to Kosciuszko National Park.

As the city was so close to where I grew up in Sydney, seeing and exploring Darling Harbour, The Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House was a monthly, and sometimes weekly occurrence. I was lucky enough to Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge last year and the views are breathtaking.

Because I love travelling, while living in Sydney I became a flight attendant for Qantas. This gave me the opportunity to explore more and more of my own country. Through that job, I have now been to every state and territory in Australia and also explored New Zealand as well.

Away from work, a true highlight of mine was completing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh in Kakadu, Northern Territory. It was an experience like nothing I have done before or since. We hiked in the scorching heat, walking over the red sand with a whole week’s worth of food and water in a pack on our backs! As we walked random animals would pop their heads out of the bush to see what was making all the noise! It was a once in a lifetime experience.

Now I have a new challenge. Using my experiences to help other people enjoy Australia as much I do!

If you have any questions about travelling in Australia or New Zealand, why not give Bella a call?

Emily & Jackie cross to Gaya Island in Borneo.
Emily & Jackie returning from Gaya Island in Borneo

Emily & Jackie Have Recently Returned From Malaysia

We started off with two nights in the Malaysia capital of Kuala Lumpur.  During our time in the city we were able to visit the fascinating Batu Caves and the city’s famous landmarks on the City Tour. It was great to have a local guide show us around.

From here we joined the Borneo Highlights Tour.  We visited the world renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. We adopted our own Sun Bear called ‘Joe’ before continuing on to Sakau for a 2 night adventure exploring the Kinabatangan River.  Although we did not see the pygmy elephants, we were lucky enough to view numerous birdlife, proboscis monkeys and crocodiles.  The highlight for us was being able to walk through the jungle and take a river cruise at night. The sounds of the rainforest at night are magical.

We finished our adventure in Kota Kinabalu with one night in the city. We joined a city tour and for our final night we stayed on Gaya Island.  We were able to spend a few hours relaxing on the properties private beach and were privileged to meet Gaya Island’s two resident rescue turtles. They are being prepared for their release back to the wild, following their injuries.

On our final morning, we treated ourselves to a relaxing massage at the hotel spa, whilst listening to the sounds of the jungle. It was great preparation for the flight home. Borneo is such an amazing country and we will definitely be back soon

Frank in Northern Vietnam
Frank on the Ha Giang Loop, Vietnam

Frank Has Recently Returned From Northern Vietnam

I have recently returned from motorbiking the Ha Giang loop in Northern Vietnam. Roughly 300km north of Hanoi, this untouched gem of a route took me through steep-sided valleys and over incredible mountain passes.

This route starts and ends in the city of Ha Giang which resides on the Lô River. It is a rather unassuming city, however, it is full of historic buildings, characterful backstreets and plenty of karaoke bars!

Once beyond the city outskirts our route was quickly engulfed in deep green forest. Suddenly I was in rural Vietnam where nature takes over and the old-style culture, along with the world-renowned hospitality of the Vietnamese, is on full display. Lung Khuy Cave and Doc Bac Sum viewpoint were the highlights of the day and left me in awe of the north’s natural beauty.

On the second day it became very apparent that the spectacular views were only getting better as we progressed up into the mountains. including the beautiful Heaven’s Gate. We weren’t in the saddle too long and that evening I stayed in Yên Minh, for a meal with a local family at the end of the day.

During the third day we completed the breathtaking Tham Ma and Chin Khoanh Passes and admired the culture of Lung Cam, known for its colourful dresses and flowers. We also visited the ancient town of Pho Bang before arriving in Lung Chu, on the Vietnam-China border. Here we climbed the flagpole monument that represents the northernmost point of Vietnam.

It didn’t get any easier on day four as we continued through the Ma Pi Leng Pass, which is also known as ‘The Skywalk’. This is a thrilling stretch of road that provided plenty of good photo opportunities. Later in the day we joined a Nho Que river boat tour which was great fun. We were privileged to be allowed to join a Vietnamese families’ birthday celebration on their boat and for me it was the highlight of the trip.

If you would like to visit Vietnam on your next holiday, please speak to Frank, or one of the other members of our Asia Travel Team.

Kendal swam with Humpback Whales at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Humpback mother & calf, photographed by Kendal

Kendal Has Recently Returned From Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

In October, I was fortunate enough to make the trip down to Western Australia. I flew into Perth which felt like a clean and modern city. I joined a street art walking tour, where I heard the stories behind the artwork and the techniques used to create them, whilst exploring many of the city’s streets. A great way to discover Perth.

From Perth, I flew Northbound to Ningaloo (near Exmouth), home to Australia’s largest fringing coral reef. After kayaking and snorkelling in the shallows, we took a boat out to find the larger migrating animals.

Located by a spotter plane circling above, we were then dropped off in their path to swim with them as they take their journey south for the summer. It was a breathtaking experience to swim with humpback whales, whale sharks and manta rays, something I will not forget for the rest of my life. On the way back we were also joined by a school of 150 bottlenose dolphins which swam directly under the boat.

After three days in Northern Western Australia we then stopped in the city of Fremantle. A quaint seaside city, rich in history.  Fremantle played a key role in WW1 as it had the largest submarine base in the Southern Hemisphere as well as a prison which held British convicts during the 19th century.

As this was my first time visiting, this trip has opened my mind to more Australia holidays and it is now at the top of my list to visit again! 

Rebecca at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Rebecca celebrates her birthday at the Grand Canyon

Rebecca Has Recently Returned from Western USA

I had been saying for years that I would go to Las Vegas for my 30th Birthday trip and this year it arrived. I decided to combine Las Vegas with Los Angeles, and San Francisco as the three work great as a multi-city holiday. There is so much to do and see in each city so 4 nights in each city worked perfectly…

My favourite experience in San Francisco was the Alcatraz tour. As you get closer on the ferry you really see how big Alcatraz really is. It was interesting to learn about the legendary prisoners that had been incarcerated here and how some had escaped from the prison. They have recently reopened the prison gardens, so it was great to walk around the gardens which the prisoners use to work on and maintain and you can see great views of San Francisco from there.

In Los Angeles I would definitely suggest doing the Warner Bros Tour, seeing where some of my favourite films and programs were made was truly amazing. You can sit on the iconic Friend’s sofa, see live sets of programs that are currently being filmed and hold a real Oscar.

The absolute highlight of my trip was doing a Grand Canyon helicopter tour, as you fly into the Grand Canyon the breathtaking views are truly spectacular. We landed in the Grand Canyon and had 30 minutes to have a little exploration. Once back on the helicopter it’s 45 minutes back to Las Vegas, the amazing views haven’t ended yet as you fly over the strip as you come back in to land which gives you great views of all the hotels and the Las Vegas Strip.

Hannah, Giraffe Centre, Kenya, Africa, Giraffe, Wildlife Encounter
Hannah makes new friends at Giraffe Manor, Nairobi

Hannah Has Recently Returned From Kenya

A bucket list adventure finally ticked off my list! I will be talking about my Kenya Holiday for the rest of my life, as I had so many ‘pinch me’ moments and was left speechless on many occasions. (I am sure some would question me ever being speechless, but trust me, it happened).

My first Africa safari experience started when I flew to the Masai Mara from Nairobi. Even this was incredible, spotting elephant, giraffe and buffalo from a little plane as we flew over Nairobi National Park and then into the Mara. Upon landing, my first Masai Mara safari began. Our ‘one hour journey’ to our first camp, actually took closer to 4 hours as we stopped our guide at every corner, soaking up the stunning views and watching animals in the wild for the first time.

By the end of my first day in the Mara, I was fortunate to have seen a pride of 15 lions, a cheetah with 3 cubs and a leopard up a tree – our guide was incredible, he was knowledgeable about the national reserve and knew the animal’s behaviour to judge what they would do next, getting us to the best viewing spot. He was so patient and became our friend, not just a guide.

Upon leaving our first camp, we hit my longest speechless moment, a second pride of lions, with two young cubs. We sat in awe and watched them for almost an hour and half. Time really did stand still for all of us.

Next stop was one of Kenya highlights, Lake Nakuru. After an interesting 4-hour drive spotting more wildlife and experiencing the hustle of African villages, we arrived at our accommodation, Mbweha Camp, in the Soysambu conservancy, one of my favourite safari lodges. This was different to the National Parks, giving us an insight into off-road game drives and a more private setting, with less operators on the road. Nakuru itself was only half an hour away and it is beautiful, a completely different landscape of lakes, hills and forest, with new animals we hadn’t seen before, including flamingos, reticulated giraffe and rhino! We saw 14 rhinos in one afternoon… even our guide couldn’t believe it.

Amboseli was our final stay and, honestly, it was the cherry on the top of this amazing trip, certainly one of my Kenya favourites. 20 minutes after arriving at our lodge, queue speechless moment number 101, as the top of mountain Kilimanjaro peaked from behind the clouds. The staff had said how lucky we were, as the skies had been cloudy for weeks, but for us, she made an appearance and didn’t leave until we did. It really is mesmerising standing on a deck staring at this huge mountain, listening to the noises of the African bush. The elephants of Amboseli also need a mention, simply put, wow. There are so many here!

If the locations and wildlife aren’t enough to convince you of a Kenya safari, perhaps the informational bush walks, wilderness sunsets around a fire surrounded by giraffe, full buffet tables in the bush, incredible five-star service and the most delicious food known to man, and a stop at the giraffe centre in Nairobi, could persuade you?

This safari was simply the best experience. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of an African holiday.

Alec at Niagara Falls, Journey Beyond The Falls, Canada
Alec and his Father got wet at Niagara Falls

Alec Has Recently Returned From Niagara Falls

On my last trip I drove up through New York State to the Canadian border. Our destination was Niagara Falls, a place I just had to experience for myself.

First stop was Niagara Falls State Park on the American side of the falls. it offers great views and a different angle to see the falls that not everyone is familiar with. I though that The Crow’s Nest in particular, offered an amazing perspective.

After hopping back in the car I crossed the Rainbow Bridge, which offers stunning views of the falls, while waiting to pass through immigration into Canada.

Once across, I parked up and wandered through Queen Victoria Park, alongside the Niagara River, until I reached the falls, which you can hear before you see. The roar of the falls is like nothing I had heard before. I don’ think that you can really appreciate the magnitude of the falls until you are just feet away from them.

The most amazing part of my trip, by far, was the ‘Journey Behind The Falls’, part of my Niagara Falls Adventure Pass. Having been given a neon-yellow poncho at the Visitor Centre, I was sent down a corridor, into an elevator to descend 125ft to the very base of the falls. I then walked through a long damp hallway carved out of the rock, right behind the falls. Some small sections were cut out of the cliff revealing a breathtaking view of the falling water.

Eventually, I came to a large opening in the rock, where you walk down a flight of stairs and then step out into the light, just a few feet away from the raging torrent. I could have spent hours here just watching the water crash down to the pool below us. A word of caution though, that neon-yellow poncho doesn’t keep you dry!

Emma in The Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
“My very own beach” says Emma

Emma has Recently Returned from Queensland, Australia

I am just back from Southern Queensland. The Sunshine Coast is a destination for scenic coastline and rural hinterlands, perfect for a road trip. You can discover incredible beaches, coastal towns, waterfalls, and famously Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Road tripping all around Australia’s Nature Coast is one of the best ways to explore, and you can start on the Sunshine Coast.

The main City, situated in the centre of the Sunshine Coast, is Maroochydore. It has everything from pristine beaches, coastal walks, restaurants, and great nightlife. Further along the coast is Coolum, which is one of my personal favourite towns.  Coolum gives surfer vibes with endless cafes and surf shops. Further North is Noosa, which is one of the most popular towns along the Sunshine Coast. You are spoilt for choice with luxury resorts located along Noosa’s River. Noosa also has a famous shopping street called Hastings Street with wonderful boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and ice cream shops.

I often spent days exploring Noosa’s National Park. It is the perfect place to walk along the coast, a place to spot dolphins and whales and relax on the beaches. Little Cove is a stunning beach and protected from the wind, which makes it ideal for swimming. Noosa is also famous for surfing, especially during cyclone seasons. Boiling Pot, and Tea Tree, located in the National Park, and Sunshine Beach, are all great locations for surfing. 

I also explored the Noosa Everglades, which is one of only two Everglades in the world. The Everglades themselves are only an hour’s drive from Noosa and the drive takes you into the hinterland. The best way to see the everglades is by hiring a kayak or canoe. Not far from the Everglades is Rainbow Beach which is one of my favourite beaches in Queensland. Rainbow Beach is in a rural coastal town and has amazing, coloured sand cliffs. Above the cliffs are sand dunes and it is the perfect place to catch sunset or sunrise. I did attempt to sled down the sand dunes, which had mixed results. 

What I love about the Sunshine Coast is that there is plenty of hiking. Some of my personal favourites include Mt Coolum, which gives you a 360 view of the coastline on one side and hinterland on the other. The Glass House Mountains are also a favourite. There are 11 peaks in total and one of the most popular mountains to climb is Mt Ngungun.  I would often go for a walk with friends, and take picnics and watch the sunset from the summit. 

The Sunshine Coast has a special place in my heart and is not one to miss when visiting Queensland. With it being only an hour and a half drive from Brisbane, it is easy to access.

You can follow in Emma’s footsteps on our East Coast Islands & Sun holiday

Tessa, Travelling to Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Tessa on the boat to Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Tessa has Recently Returned from Phi Phi Island, Thailand

I recently stayed in the Krabi area of Thailand. With its stunning limestone cliffs, crystal waters and longtail boats it is an area I didn’t want to miss on my Thailand holiday. I particularly loved visiting Railey Beach on a day trip, it was totally idyllic.

However, from Krabi, I got a boat to Phi Phi Island to stay a night. This was definitely the highlight of my holiday. When I imagine Thailand, Phi Phi Island is what comes to mind. The waters were that perfect turquoise colour and the beaches were breathtaking. Staying for a night was a good option to wake up early and visit the beach whilst it was quiet and take it all in. Whilst there, I also hiked to the top of Phi Phi viewpoint, where I saw the Island from a different perspective, and made me love it even more. It was a steep hike but totally worth it in my opinion! There was a certain buzz across the island, it had a special atmosphere that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. I will make sure to visit Phi Phi Island again on my next visit to Thailand.

You can follow in Tessa’s footsteps and stay on Phi Phi Island on out Thai Island Dreams holiday.

Cumberland Falls, Kentucky
Rowan at Cumberland Falls, Kentucky, USA

Rowan has Recently Returned from Kentucky, USA

I did the things you are supposed to do in America on my week in Kentucky; drove a pick-up truck, went to the baseball, drank whiskey at the bar, way past my bedtime…

…and then so much more I hadn’t anticipated; kayaking down a mine, bourbon blending, zip-lining… I even stroked a Breeders’ Cup winning racehorse, that earns more in a morning at the stud farm than I do in a year!

There really is a wonderful diversity of experiences on offer, without having to travel too far. Mammoth Cave National Park is only around 1 hour 20 minutes south of Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city, or the same distance north from Nashville, in neighbouring Tennessee.

Despite the clue in the name, the sheer size of Mammoth Cave still took me by surprise. As did our Park Ranger’s banter, considering his very official uniform!

Cumberland Falls were spectacular; a genuine beauty spot with far fewer visitors than lesser waterfalls I’ve visited. Red River Gorge was equally gorgeous. We climbed a natural stone arch to gaze across undulating forest, threatening to burst into Autumn colour.

Downtown Lexington had good vibes, with trendy, but welcoming restaurants and bars. Meanwhile, Covington mixed ‘small town charm’ with superb views of ‘big-city America’, Cincinnati lying just the other side of the Ohio River.

I’d recommend Kentucky. Unsung, authentic America.

You can explore Kentucky on our Kentucky Bourbon & Bluegrass fly drive holiday.

Abbie in Karijini National Park, Western Australia
Abbie in Karijini, Western Australia

Abbie has Recently Returned from Broome, Western Australia

It is always hard for me to pick my favourite place that I’ve visited in Australia, but one place that stood out for me on my most recent trip is Karijini! You may not have heard of it, but it is the second largest national park in Western Australia and I discovered this place whilst on a road trip northbound up the Western Coast from Perth to Broome.

We started the day by setting up our camp with our ‘swags’, in true Aussie style! We then headed out to explore the beauty of the National Park. Everywhere we looked the views were breathtaking, with deep gorges, red layered cliffs, and emerald waterholes.

After hiking through the red sands and taking in the scenery, we had time to swim in the stunning waterfalls, secluded swimming spots and even jump into the gorges. After all the adventure of exploring Karijini, we watched the sunset at our camp and slept under the stars. A truly special experience.

You can also visit Northern Western Australia on our Untamed Kimberleys holiday.

Matt in Margaret River, Western Australia
Matt in Margaret River, Western Australia

Matt has Recently Returned from Margaret River, Western Australia

Wineries every few hundred metres, luscious greenery, open roads, the sun beating down. This isn’t California. It’s the Margaret River region in South-West Australia.

After a 3 hour journey from Perth, we stopped for a few nights in the nearby town of Yallingup. Meaning ‘Place of Caves’, it certainly lives up to the name. A tour of Ngilgi Cave was one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had in Australia. We were guided by a member of the Aboriginal community (Josh), who’s ancestors used to use the cave as a sacred place, as well as a means of cover and safety. Topped off by a Didgeridoo performance by Josh, emphasised by the incredible acoustics in the cave, is something I will never forget.

What I love about this region is the mysteriousness and wonder of the caves, which contrasts so well with the world famous wine culture. The blend between Aboriginal and modern history is appreciated, they’re as important as each other. Caves Road is the perfect stretch of road for wine lovers. Everywhere you look, there are wineries, vineyards, and shops with local produce. It really felt like we were in a movie. It’s a relaxing route, which can be done slow-paced as part of the Around Perth self-drive.

Vasse Felix is a world-renowned winery, with wines you will most likely find in the supermarkets in the UK. It’s fascinating exploring the vineyard, how the wine is made, and of course tasting it! A unique setting, the winery and cellars are covered in greenery, hiding itself amongst the background. A must-see for any wine lover in Australia.

You can visit Margaret River on our Perth & South West Australia holiday.

Freedom Destinations' Nancy in Fiji
Nancy entertaining the locals in Fiji

Nancy has Recently Returned from Fiji

It’s not just the Fijian Sunshine that warms your soul as you step off the plane. The locals ooze warmth and kindness as they greet you with their infectious, friendly smiles. You can’t help but feel welcome and relaxed from the moment you arrive at one of the top ten most scenic airports in the world, and the stunning scenery just keeps getting better as you venture out towards the pure white sands of the Coral Coast, less than an hour’s drive away.

I spent my first evening on a beautiful Coral Coast beach taking part in a traditional ‘mouth numbing’ Kava drinking ceremony, which was both fascinating and fun, as I sat back with the group watching the sun set over the South Pacific Ocean.

I didn’t think the Fiji highlights could get much better than the diverse rainforests and gorgeous reefs of the Coral Coast on the main Island of Viti Levu, until I took the short boat trip across to the Mamanuca Islands.

You truly are spoilt for choice with an array of luxury resorts amongst the 20 islands, boasting powder white beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and hidden lagoons.

As you step off the boat you are met with a sincere greeting, often accompanied by the heartwarming, Bula Maleya welcome song (which did not make me cry every single time…… honest!)

As well as being surrounded by pure paradise and attentive, abnormally happy people, you can expect to eat some of the freshest, most delicious cuisine imaginable. My favourite being a traditional dish called Kokoda. Served in a coconut shell, the Mahi Mahi fish is marinated in citrus, coconut milk and spices and is utterly delicious.

The beauty of these islands is that you can do as little or as much as you like. With a huge choice of water sport activities on offer, including scuba diving or snorkelling on the stunning reef and various cruises further a field to more ridiculously breathtaking islands, you can explore until your hearts desire or simply chill out and feel all your troubles melt away into the soft Fijian Sand whilst you bathe in the warm sun.

You can follow in Nancy’s footsteps on one of our Fiji Holidays.

Lonnie in Tasmania
Lonnie at Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Lonnie has Recently Returned from Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania has the most spectacular mountain, freshwater lake, and coastal scenery in Australia, and I got the chance to experience them all with a group of agents that travelled to Tasmania from all over the world.

We flew into Launceston and began our travels down the East Coast of Tasmania stopping in St Helens where we walked along Binnalong Bay and made our way to the Bay of Fires. The granite rocks splashed in orange lichen are amazing to see!

Another stop I can recommend is Bicheno, the home of the Blowhole – you have to be careful not to get soaked by the waves, and you can also see the beautiful penguins return from the sea around dusk.

Foodies will love the vineyards, orchards and dairy farm shops along the route, and the stunning Freycinet National Park will amaze nature lovers. If you love getting out into Tasmania’s wilderness then a hike to Wineglass Bay has to be the one for you!

We finished our Tasmanian experience in Hobart. We had a day trip to Bruny Island which was an unexpected highlight for me! I loved this island, the oysters, the history, and the white wallabies!

For a different perspective we took a scenic flight from Hobart over Freycinet National Park where we experienced Wineglass Bay from the air and were lucky enough to see whales! Tasmania has so much more to offer, I will definitely be visiting again!

You can follow in Lonnie’s footsteps on our Tasmanian Wonders Escorted Tour.

David in British Columbia, Canada
David hikes on the snow in the Rockies

David has Recently Returned from Western Canada

Colleagues scoffed when I talked about a Canada motorhome holiday through the Rockies at the beginning of May. “You will freeze” they said, “and so will your water tanks”. How wrong they were. Western Canada had its warmest spring in a decade with clear blue skies and daytime temperatures up to 20 degrees – and the scenery was simply fabulous.

My wife and I started with three days in Vancouver, not in the motorhome, but in a comfortable downtown hotel. This friendly waterside city has lost none of its charm. Most attractions were in walking distance or accessible by public transport. A day exploring Stanley Park and the Capilano Bridge were definitely our favourites.

After that it was off to Calgary and the start of our motorhome adventure. Our first 3 nights were spent in Banff and I am glad we did. This holiday town is small but there are plenty of activities and eateries for visitors. A trip on the Banff Gondola cable car is a must, providing spectacular views over the still snow covered mountains.

An hour’s scenic bus ride from Banff is the glacier fed Lake Louise, a sparkling turquoise lake praised in all the guidebooks for its outstanding beauty. However, although the sky was blue, the lake was not, being stubbornly covered in thick ice – perhaps May was a little early!

Between Banff and Jasper is the Icefield Parkway, an unforgettable, world famous drive. All around were forest clad, snow covered mountains towering over thunderous rivers, cascading waterfalls and ice-cold lakes. The chance to hike on the Athabasca glacier at the Columbia Icefield was too good to miss.

You can follow in David’s footsteps in our Best of Canada’s West Motorhome holiday.

Gemma next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia
Gemma and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia

Gemma has Recently Returned from Sydney, Australia

I was invited to join a group of UK travel agents for a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Sydney, Australia. A visit to Sydney must be on everyone’s ‘Bucket List’, so it was amazing to be guided around some of the sights.

Our first day was spent at at Taronga Zoo, including a Sanctuary Tour and the Wildlife Retreat. Did you know that you can choose to stay overnight in Taronga Zoo? We had a chance to roam around the zoo and meet the animals up close. All of the staff were very knowledgeable and incredibly passionate about the work that they were doing to protect the animals.

You can travel to and from Taronga Zoo on one of the many ferries that cruise Sydney Harbour. It is a cheap and accessible mode of transport that provides a beautiful view of both the Opera House and all those taking on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.

It was a very educational trip and I will definitely be returning to Australia in the not too distant future. I will be sure to visit Sydney again as there was so much more to see and do.

You can follow in Gemma’s footsteps on our Sydney, Rock & Reef holiday.

Rebecca & Zoe at Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Rebecca & Zoe at Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Rebecca & Zoe have Recently Returned from Kenya

The most incredible thing about arriving in Kenya is that you fly over Nairobi National Park as you approach the airport. So, even before you have reached the ground, you can spot giraffe, zebra and other wildlife from out of the window!  

Our visit started in Nairobi where we were fortunate to be able to visit the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Sanctuary. It was magical to be so close to African wildlife and it was to continue over the next few days. 

After a day in the city, we set off on a four-day safari. Our first stop was Lake Nakuru for an afternoon game drive followed by lunch, overlooking Lake Nakuru, a serene backdrop. From there we drove to Lake Naivasha for a night’s stay and early morning drive. At sunrise we were able to see thousands of flamingos that turned the shore of the lake pink.

We finished our Kenyan Adventure in the Masai Mara. It is difficult to comprehend such a vast reserve so full of wildlife. Seeing elephants and giraffes walking though the Masai Mara at sunset and a lioness with her cubs are special memories that will never be forgotten.

You can follow in the footsteps of Rebecca & Zoe on our Treasures of Kenya safari.

Ellie in Australia's Red Centre
Ellie at Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

Ellie has Recently Returned from Australia’s Red Centre

I was lucky enough to take part in an amazing trip to the Red Centre in Australia, a real bucket list destination for me.

Flying into the Red Centre was an experience like no other, seeing the vastness of the red desert and then the magnificent Uluru for the first time was just incredible. I was fortunate enough to spend three days learning more about the indigenous culture, enjoying amazing sunrises and sunsets, eating the locally sourced produce and being fully immersed in my surroundings.

The highlight for me was experiencing Wintjiri Wiru. We started by enjoying cocktails and canapes whilst watching the sun set and seeing the changing colours of Uluru was absolutely incredible. Then, when the sky became dark, the drones illuminated the night sky and I became fully immersed in the ancient Mala story which has been passed down through centuries by the Anangu people. It is an experience not to be forgotten.

You can follow in Ellie’s footsteps and experience Australia’s Red Centre on our Outback Safari tour.

Justin in Vietnam
Justin in Mai Chau, Vietnam

Justin has Recently Returned from Vietnam

I am just back in the office after an incredible 17 days touring through Vietnam.

Starting in Hanoi, we embarked on a magical tour, travelling the length of the country – from the lush green rice fields of Mai Chau and serenity of Halong Bay in the North; to the historic Imperial capital of Hue, the pristine, golden sand beaches of Da Nang and narrow, lantern-lined streets of Hoi An in the centre; before heading to the modern capital Ho Chi Minh City, the bustling floating markets of Cai Rang and the fascinating waterways of the Mekong Delta in the South.

The highlight for me was venturing to mountainous Mai Chau in the North of the country, where we explored the patchwork of paddy fields, visited the stilted homesteads of the Lac community and enjoyed a cold beer on a jetty-like structure which jutted out into the paddy fields looking out across the valley.

Follow in Justin’s footsteps on our 5 day Wonders of Northern Vietnam private tour.

Richard in Damaraland, Namibia
Richard in Damaraland, Namibia

Richard has Recently Returned from Namibia

I love travelling in Africa, so the opportunity to experience a self-drive in Namibia was too good to turn down. Although I hadn’t travelled to Namibia before, the good signposts and lack of other roads made navigating a car around the country relatively simple. Some of the driving distances can be long, but the ever-changing scenery more than makes up for it.

Watching wildlife in Africa is always memorable and I did spend a couple of hours watching a large herd of elephant drinking and splashing about in a waterhole within Etosha National Park, but it is the sunsets in Damaraland that were the most dramatic. Climbing up to a rocky viewpoint, we were able to sit each evening and view the dramatic ‘moonscape’ change from orange to red, as the sun disappeared over the horizon. Simply stunning.

The landscapes of Namibia are truly amazing. If you have ever seen the photographs in travel magazines, they don’t really do the country justice. The scale of everything is just epic. There is much more in Namibia to explore and I would return in a heartbeat.

Richard followed the route from our Namibian Highlights self-drive holiday.