Travel Crush: 10 reasons why we love the Philippines

The Philippines is the epitome of an island paradise with its turquoise water, white sandy beaches, paraw boats and coconuts on tap. Well kids, it’s even better in the flesh … Here’s 10 reasons why we’ve fallen head over heels for the Philippines.

1. The Underground River

Glide by canoe into the mesmerising caves of stalagmites and stalactites of this UNESCO World Heritage site in Puerto Princesa. Spot bats and swifts as they fly among the ancient rock formations as well as monkeys and crab-eating macaques in the surrounding forests. Be sure to book in advance, this place is popular!

underground river

2. Camping under the stars

Pull up to remote Kalipayan Island and prepare for a night under the stars with nothing but the waves and rustle of the trees to disturb the silence. Go for a late-night swim, and if you’re lucky, catch sight of the plankton glowing and lighting up the way.

camping on the beach

3. Mermaid goals

It comes as no surprise that Palawan and its islands look just as insane below the shoreline as they do above. Get ready to plunge into an underwater world of coral reefs, starfish, tropical Nemo fish and cruising turtles so awesome you’ll never want to surface.

snorkeling with turtles

4. Kayaking in Big Lagoon

Work those biceps and explore the vivid, clear waterways of El Nido’s big lagoon. Look up and catch a glimpse of eagles circling the skyline as well as monkeys playfully swinging through the trees.

big lagoon kayaking

5. El Nido paradise

There’s only one way to see El Nido’s iconic islands, and it’s reclined, drink in hand on the top deck of a boat. Carve through azure waters and take in the views of floating limestone cliffs and white sandy beaches fringed with swaying palm trees.

el nido boat tour

6. Supermanning across the ocean

Ask most people what superpower they’d have and we can guarantee a fair few would choose to fly. Well here’s the next best thing… zip line from one island to another and take El Nido’s tropical glory along the way. Go head first a la superman or sit back and enjoy the ride!

el nido zipline

7. Learning from the locals

Beaming smiles, energetic and beyond polite; the Filipino locals are a welcoming bunch who are always open to sharing their lifestyle, history and traditions with you. Join an educational tour, climb a coconut tree, learn to cook or get involved in community projects and turn your adventure into more than just holiday.

coconut tree climbing

8. A coconut a day keeps the docs away

With coconut trees a plenty, sipping on fresh coconut water every day is a reality in the Philippines (without the £££ price tag). Prefer your beverage more party than healthista? No problem, add a shot of rum and coconut milk and get loco on a ‘Coco Loco’.

fresh coconuts

9. Food glorious food!

From traditional Adobo and creamy coconut munggo bean curry to fresh grilled fish and crispy veggie spring rolls dipped in banana ketchup (warning highly addictive). Treat your taste buds to the flavours of the Philippines, all washed down with a fresh watermelon shake.

Filipino food

10. Chasing waterfalls

Embark on a short walk through the jungle of Paradise Island and finally wash off all that freaking sand with a dunk in the cool, clear pools of Bigaho Falls. Be extra cautious on the last part of the climb, those rocks get real slippery.

bigaho falls

So feel like ditching the cold and living the dream in the Philippines? We don’t blame you. Get packing those bags and whizz off to sunnier climes. Find out more about the Philippines with our handy travel guide

 

The ten best things to do in Whistler, all year round

You’ve no doubt heard or Whistler’s epic snowfall and opportunities to shred the gnarliest powder around. However, there’s so much more to Whistler that goes beyond the ski season…

Winter is for fresh powder and cosy bars…

1. Carve up the slopes

Well, we thought we’d get it over with. Yes, this place is a snow-lovers playground and it deserves the adoration. From the rookie skier to the pro, there’s a slope for you. A little more experienced? Choose one of the safe off-piste routes and explore the back country.

 

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2. Snowmobile street cred

It’s hard to feel even an inch more swag than when you’re bombing around on a snowmobile. So ditch the skis and experience the mountains in style.

 

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3. Snowshoe ready

With all that snow comes a pretty chilly climate, so do as the Whistler folk do: layer up and embrace it. Whack on your snowshoes and head out on a winter hike a la Elsa but with ten more layers over sparkling lakes and waterfalls.

 

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4. Get down with the locals

Head to local favourite, Beacon, and warm up after a ski sesh with bevvies and free pool. Or, if you’re feeling like a big night on the town try Brandy’s at the Keg sports bar. It doesn’t have a 5* TripAdvisor rating for nothing…

 

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5. Cosy up

Gone Eatery is the perfect spot to snuggle up on a comfy sofa and tuck into some well-deserved post-ski food. Located inside the local bookshop, dig into a mountain of fresh, healthy food that won’t break the bank. For something lighter check out the made-to-order sandwich selection on offer at the Portobello Deli at Fairmont Chateau.

 

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Summer is for wildflower peaks and turquoise lakes…

6. Alpine hikes

Whistler offers an array of awesome hiking opportunities. Hike to high note at the top of Whistler, Garibaldi Lakes or if you’re keen, embark on a three-day excursion to Panorama Ridge and The Black Tusk. Or if you’re lazy but still want the views, take the new chairlift up to Creekside for epic panoramic views that’ll make your jaw drop. Literally.

 

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7. Blow-ups and sunny days

Grab an inflatable (flamingo, avocado, emoji poo, whatever) and float on down the River of Golden Dreams – yep that it’s real name and it lives up to the hype, trust us – in the warm summer sun. It doesn’t get much dreamier than that!

 

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8. Let’s bungy!

Fear not adrenaline junkies, spend a summer’s day throwing yourself into the forest landscape with Whistler’s bungy jump. Man is that view beaut (if your eyes aren’t squeezed shut that is). If you want heights but your feet firmly on the ground, check out the new suspension bridge from Whistler Peak to West Ridge with 360 views over Whistler Bowl.

 

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9. Get in line

Zip lining is an all year-round activity, but unless you want to feel like you’ve had ice botox, we recommend giving this a go in the warmer months. Whistler has the longest zipline in North America, the aptly named Sasquatch, spanning from Blackcomb mountain to Whistler.

 

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10. We’re going on a bear hunt*

*Not at all advisable but Whistler is surrounded by natural landscape, so keep those eyes peeled for its inhabitants and cuddly critters. Black bears, marmots and sometimes even coyotes have all been spotted! (Make sure you’re spotting from inside or far away; those coyotes and black bears are feisty).

 

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So pack your thermals AND your sunscreen and start planning that trip to Whistler! Get inspired and find out more info on tours and accommodation over on our Whistler Travel Guide, or search and book the cheapest return flights there with Air Canada.

3 ultimate road trips in Canada

Just picture it now, cruising along with the wind in your hair, the tunes pumping, the open highway stretched out in front of you and the Canadian Rockies as your backdrop – life doesn’t get much better. Canada is one of the most spectacular countries in the world and the pinnacle road trip destination. But with so much incredible landscape to explore where do you even start? That’s where we come in my friend. We’ve hand-picked 3 of the best Canadian road trips out there, with beaches, glaciers, mountains and waterfalls for you to take your pick from!

So pack your bags and get ready to hit the road…

1. Beachin’ roadie – Vancouver to Tofino

Even the Canadians travel across the country for this roadie. If you fancy some big waves and laid-back vibes then this is the one for you.


 

Day 1: Start in Vancouver, head to Horseshoe Bay, take the ferry to Nanaimo, join onto the Pacific Rim Highway and  get ready to wind down those windows… you’ll make your way through mountains, lakes, skim along the coastline and pass through ancient rain forests. Jaw. Dropping.  Oh and keep your eyes peeled for grizzlies!

Along the way: Stops you HAVE hit include, Coombs Country Market for local souvenirs and spotting their infamous roof roaming goats and Cathedral Grove to check out 800 year old Douglas fir trees!
Tofino Surf

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Day 2: Before you reach Tofino (Canada’s surfing capital – FYI) you’ll arrive at Ucluelet which also has some seriously big waves and is a heck of a lot cheaper, it’s worth spending a couple of days here. When you finally arrive at Tofino, grab your surf board and head straight for the world-famous Chesterman Beach. But if you’re not up for surfing; go whale watching, hiking, horse-riding, even storm watching (yeah, it’s a thing.)

OR just straight up chill, this roadie is for all you beach bums out there.

2. Go Lakeside – Calgary to Lake Louise & Banff Springs

You need at least 3 days for this lovely scenic roadie. Believe us your eyes are going to hurt by the end of it, the views are just TOO beautiful. No joke.

CALGARY ROADIE

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Day 1: Kick things off in Calgary, forget Toronto, say hello to one of Canada’s more understated cities! Calgary has the youngest population in the country with the average age around 35, so that means loads of awesome bars and a great nightlife. But it’s not all partying, Calgary is about 50 miles east of the Rockies, has wide open spaces and an incredibly laid-back atmosphere (known as ‘Cow Town’. Apparently). Spend the day exploring the city!

Along the way: Head out early morning to Lake Louise one of the most stunning spots in Canada and stop at Columbia Icefield to explore the Athabasca Glacier – a Canadian adventure must do.
kayak canada
Day 2: Once you reach Lake Louise take a stroll around its crystal-clear blue waters. Renowned for its beauty, it’s definitely worth hiring a canoe for a day, gently make your way round the lake and just take it all in. If you want to pick up the pace, hike through Banff National Park surrounding the lake. After all that exertion or relaxation, take a break and have a cuppa at Fairmont Chateau, one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. The views from there are FAB.

BANFF SPRINGSinstagram.com/fairmontbanff

Day 3: Is all about pampering yourself, head up to Sulphur Mountain & Banff Springs for a day spent soaking yourself in the hot springs. Pack your swimwear, get the gondola up to the top of the mountain and enjoy all that the springs have to offer. You can even opt for a ghost tour if you fancy it! After all of that relaxation, you must be pretty tired, time to head back to Calgary.

3. The Sea to Sky Highway – British Columbia

You’re about to get sky high. You thought the other two road trips were magnificent, just wait until you hit the Sea to Sky Highway also known as Highway 99. This one could be done in a day – short but sweet!
Canada
Day 1: Hit the road from downtown Vancouver in the direction of Whistler, turn onto the open highway, take the roof down (romanticise with me here) and crank the radio up! This drive is said to be one of the most stunning in North America, you’ll be cruising through the Howe Sound, so give yourself time for essential Instagramming pit-stops.
Canada
Along the way: There are a few spots that you just CAN’T miss. Make sure you stop for a picnic at Shannon Falls or grab a bite at the Watershed grill where you can sit overlooking the Squamish River. If you fancy stretching your legs after being cooped up in the car, head to Tantalus Range Lookout and take some unbelievable panoramic shots.

There you have it 3 beautiful roadies that will take you into the heart of Canada. Feeling inspired? Check out all things Canadian here.

Sofa vs. Safari

We know where we’d rather be…

Africa is a huge, diverse continent with plenty of things to see and do, and doing a safari in one of its nations is a bucket-list item for many people for sure (I know it’s on ours!). If you’re planning your next travel adventure, why not get out there and do something a little different? This one’s wild in a totally different way – you can actually show the pics to the grandkids someday.

We promise you, it beats lying around on the sofa. Don’t believe us? Let’s see, shall we?

Safari:

Everywhere you turn, you’ll see lush landscapes with eye-widening views. From the clearest skies to vibrant orange sunsets, these mental images are some you’ll never forget – plus they look good in pics, too!

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Psst. This is in Tanzania – if you’re wondering whether or not the sun is always that big in those parts, check out our Tanzania safaris and adventures here.

Sofa:

Is it dark outside, yet? You’ve seen the same four walls for 24 hours now, and you’re about to… fall…. a..zzzzzzz.

Safari:

Wildlife is everywhere. Literally everywhere. From cute elephants to majestic cheetahs, you’re bound to catch a glimpse of unique animals. Just don’t get too close! You’re there to look (and snap), but not touch.

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Sofa:

You only get to see your dog or cat. They’re great and everything, but it’s not the same. That’s if you’re lucky enough to even have one!

Safari:

Making pals comes naturally when you’re on safari. If you go on one of our Small Group Adventures, you’ll be put in a group with other like-minded individuals who’ll share your incredible experiences with you. They’ll be friends for life, honestly!

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Sofa:

When was the last time you made a friend sitting around on your sofa? And no, before you ask… Tinder really doesn’t count.

Safari:

On safari, you’ll be well looked after by your tour guides, drivers and the staff in your lodge. Plus, you being there means you get to look after the park you’re visiting in return. The fees go towards all-important conservation work. And, on safari, you often get to muck in and cook for one another. It’s all one big happy family!

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Sofa:

Uhhh… If you still live with your mum, you might be lucky to get her to bring you a cuppa from time to time. Otherwise, good luck with that. You’re on your own!

Safari:

Endangered animals won’t be around forever. So when we say this might be a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, we actually mean it. If you come across animals such as the black rhino and the Grévy’s zebra in your trip, you know that they might be the last of their kind. As heart-breaking as that is, you’ve got the opportunity – now – to see them and support those trying to stop this happening, before they’re confined to the history books.

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Sofa:

The Lion King is better in real life. As is Planet Earth. All your other favourite shows will still be there for you when you get back, too. Yes, even if they take them off Netflix. You’ve seen the repeats a hundred times, anyway!

 

Safari:

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You’ve been trekking through wild Ugandan jungle for hours when suddenly, you see him. A huge mountain gorilla, one of only a thousand left in the world, sat chilling in the foliage and staring into your soul with a pair of brown eyes that could be human… if they weren’t so huge.

Interested? Check out our Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure...

Sofa:

You’re on your second bottle of wine, your friend has started to sing Destiny’s Child whilst using their empty beer bottle as a microphone and you’re wondering whether it’s worth getting ready and Ubering into town. Wild Saturday night in, maybe. But not really wild in the true sense, hey?


So there you have it. No more excuses. Sold? Clearly
.

Now to get off the sofa and make that dream a reality – it’s easy with all of the African safaris and experiences we have on offer at the moment!

 

Bucket list experiences in Melbourne CBD and beyond

Melbourne is one helluva vibrant city, chock-full of hidden laneways, underground bars, world-class coffee, amazing street art and some of the best dressed Aussies around. Head just a little outside the bustling centre and say hello beaches, incredible rock structures and thundering waves right on your doorstep! A destination for both city slickers and outdoor adventurers combined – here’s our bucket list of what to do in both Melbourne CBD and beyond.

Melbourne

Brunch like a boss

Melbournites not only love art on the walls they also expect to see it in their food. Yep, Melbourne is an Instagram food blogger’s dream (just check @breakfastinmelbourne) where it feels like everything has been designed to aesthetic perfection and is tasty as heck too. And for most Aussie’s, brunch is kind of a big deal … so pull up a chair in a laneway and indulge in one of the most epic brekkies of your life.

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Let’s get cultural

From colourful murals on the streets to 100 galleries big and small, Melbourne’s art scene is pumping. Take a walking tour along the laneways and byways for impressive street art, browse Australian masterpieces at the National Gallery of Victoria or if you’re lucky enough to catch White Night, watch the city transform into a lit-up wonderland.

It was definitely worth missing sleep for! #WhiteNightMelbourne @whitenightmelb #Melbourne #KeepKIISLoud

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Flat white, long mac, golden latte…

In Melbourne, they take their coffee seriously and boy does it pay off. Whether you’re a long black kind of traveller, on the search for a perfectly crafted flat white, looking for a latte with a superfood boost (oh hey matcha lattes) or ermmm avocado coffee, Melbourne’s got it and then some. The city’s favourite coffee spot changes on the reg – but we’d recommend giving Brother Baba Budan a shot.

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Get amongst it at an AFL game

Grab a tinny and prepare to heckle hard! Aussie rules is unique to Australia and is an incredibly expressive and energetic experience – where it seems the shorter the shorts the better.

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And beyond…

Hit the road traveller

Pack those backs and rev those engines as you embark on a roadie along Victoria’s rugged coastline. Play spot the koala in the treetops, stop for snaps at the impressive 12 apostles, watch thundering waves along the Great Ocean Road and camp amongst the Aussie wilderness.

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Did someone say PENGUINS?

A city surrounded by nature, Melbourne is the perfect destination to see some of Australia’s most famous critters. From Kangaroos bounding at dusk in the Grampians and Yarra Valley, koalas hanging in the trees along the Great Ocean Road, dolphins, whales and seals along the coast and unique Little Penguins waddling up the shoreline on Phillip Island (or even St Kilda).

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Reach new heights

Experience Melbourne from above in a hot air balloon. Ascend gently and float up, up and away across the Yarra Valley vineyards at sunrise. Soaring above the Yarra River, you’re guaranteed the most jaw-dropping views that will stick with you for a lifetime – this is truly a pinch-yourself experience worth adding to that bucket list.

With much needed rain overnight we’re going into the vault for one of our favourite morning images of the @visityarravalley_official beautifully captured by the very talented @mickrussell_ 🌿

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Put a spring in your step

90 minutes south of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula you’ll find the exquisite Peninsula Hot Springs. Immerse yourself in thermal pools filled with 50°C waters rich in healing minerals and take some well-deserved ‘me time’. Leave you phone behind, grab a glass of wine and experience a well-loved destination for both locals and visitors.

From sunrise to sunset on June 22, we’ll be celebrating World Bathing Day — a day for people from all cultures and generations to gather together to share storytelling and activities. Come along and enjoy experiences such as a Global Bathing Journey, Body Clay Workshop, Forest Bathing, Didgeridoo Sound Meditation and much more. The best part is that all of this is included in Bath House entry (bookings required)😊 Head to bit.ly/phsworldbathingday to view the full schedule.

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Go topsy-turvy

Okay, so wine tasting isn’t exactly a new recommendation, but what about wine tasting in an upside-down house? There are numerous vineyards and cellars dotted about Melbourne – but our pick is Oakdene Vineyard. Treat yourself to a sumptuous meal in the restaurant, enjoy the wine and garden view, and if anyone asks why you are wobbly – blame the architecture!

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Grab a little perspective

Another pick within the sleepy but vibrant Mornington Peninsula is Capel Sound Foreshores Reserve, a pocket of seaside paradise. There are many iconic beaches a quick drive from Melbourne’s CBD; Brighton Beach, St Kilda and Half Moon Bay but we’d recommend getting up early and hitting up this coastline for sunrise. Set up a campsite, breathe in fresh air and take stock of your travels.

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Become a jetsetter

This won’t be for everyone, but for a once in a lifetime experience that would unleash your inner daredevil, we’d highly recommend a joy flight over the Barwon Heads bluff, Point Lonsdale light house and shoreline. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie, thrill seeker or steady photo taker – there are planes to suit everyone.

 

Ready to try the lot? Let’s go!

Browse our Victoria Travel guide for hot travel deals and inspo.

Road trip Australia: The best stops in Victoria

As road trips go, there are few better destinations to fuel up on unforgettable experiences than one of the world’s most diverse destinations: Australia.

We’re firing up the motors in Victoria; Australia’s second-smallest state, which still manages to make up an area roughly the same size as the British Isles. It’s steeped in fun, high on adventure, and aching to be explored. What are you waiting for?

Here’s six of Victoria’s most outstanding spots to pull off the highway and whip out your camera.

A blend of urban excitement, and some of Australia’s most outstanding scenery, Victoria has emerged as one of Australia’s most energetic, and creative regions, with a stack of offerings to suit all budgets.

Start your engines, we’re kicking off the road trip in Victoria!

1. Rock up in Melbourne

First up in the six pack, is to park your fun bus in mighty Melbourne, the state’s famous capital and rightfully touted as one of the world’s best places to live. Explore the city’s secret laneways and street art, and discover covert fashion boutiques, famed restaurants, hole-in-the-wall cafes and eclectic bars. On the off chance that a tiny laneway isn’t hiding a boozy dens or caffeine lairs, you’re likely to find colourful street art (aka graffiti) as part of the annual Laneway Commissions.

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If you’re British (or up for a laugh), Melbourne hosts one of the world’s most revered pilgrimages: that’s right, we’re talking about Neighbours (everybody needs them).

Join the trivia night extravaganza at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow, one of St Kilda’s greatest pub venues, to enjoy a performance from Dr Karl Kennedy’s band, Waiting Room, and embrace your inner Harold. Cap it off with a stroll along the foreshore in St Kilda, visiting the iconic Luna Park and drifting into some of the city’s cruisiest eats.

2. Pick up the pace in Phillip Island

Just 90 minutes from the urban playgrounds of Melbourne, lies Phillip Island, domain of the Penguin Parade, a Phillip Island institution, where you’ll get the chance to shoot (photos of) little penguins emerging from the sea.

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While you’re there, jump on a wildlife cruise to see the colony of 16,000 Australian fur seals at Seal Rocks, plus the Kings of Australian Icon, the koala. What’s more, the surf’s up almost every day of the year at Phillip Island, with varied surf locations offering waves to suit all levels.

3. Get on the Great Ocean Road

Next up on the inaugural road trip, crank up the tunes and hit one of the world’s most famous stretches of tarmac: the fabulously named, Great Ocean Road. Spanning 243 kilometres along the sublime coastline of Victoria’s south-west, the road sweeps along panoramic views of cliff tops, beaches, river estuaries and lush rainforests.

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Look out for the stretch between Lorne and Apollo Bay, considered by many to be the most premium section. The highway is carved out of the cliff sides, that slump into the ocean, offering commanding views of the dramatic waves crashing onto the rocks and beaches below.

The remaining stretch visits the 12 Apostles, which have been carved out of the headland by the fierce waves of the Southern Ocean, leaving impressive 45 metre high rock formations, isolated from the shore.

4. Get over the Grampians

Knock it up a gear, and ramp up the road trip with a detour to the incredible Grampians National Park featuring sandstone mountains and awe-inspiring lookouts, spectacular wildflower and waterfalls and Aboriginal culture.

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The Grampians are a beautiful series of sandstone ridges running north to south with the contrast of craggy slopes on the eastern side, and gentler slopes to the west. There are lookouts with stunning panoramic views as well as a number of picturesque waterfalls.

5. Live it up in the Yarra Valley

The famous Yarra Valley is the perfect place to get to grips with the state’s famous vineyards. Linger for a while and sample wines, or tuck into some sensational local produce, matched to the wines in vineyard.

While you’re in the Yarra, make time to visit Healesville Sanctuary, home to native Australian birds and animals like platypus, koalas, Tasmanian devils, lyrebirds, echidnas and more.

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6. While away the days at Wilsons Promontory

Words will never do this road trip destination justice. Be awed by one of Victoria’s scenic coastal wilderness areas, Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost point of mainland Australia.

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Affectionately known as ‘The Prom’, it is one of Victoria’s best loved national parks – and with good reason. This 50,000 hectare reserve is threaded with a labyrinth of walking tracks, sheltering abundant wildlife. Rent a cabin, or pitch a tent beside meandering rivers, intimate coves, granite mountaintops and lush, forested valleys. You’re never far from secluded beaches, cool fern gullies, and spectacular rock formations.

Have you got the urge to jump in a campervan and travel around Australia? Have a scoot around our Melbourne & Victoria Travel guide for the latest deals, and ideas on the best places to visit!

Visit all the colours of Western Australia

It’s often overlooked by backpackers in favour of Queensland or New South Wales, but we reckon Western Australia is the delicious cherry on Australia’s metaphorical sundae.

Ten times the size of the UK, Western Australia is the largest state in the world whose landscapes showcase a whole lotta colour. Hue knew?

From long stretches of white sand, aquamarine oceans, bush-land covered in wildflowers to that iconic red of the outback. It seems like Australia’s wild wild west ticks even the most discerning of backpacker’s boxes and here’s why.

 

Feeling Blue…

Monkey Mia, Coral Coast

Go for a dip in the dreamy blue waters of Monkey Mia (deceptive name) and make a splash with the locals – dolphins! The bottlenose variety visit the beach three times a day to feed, and if you’re in the water at the time, you’ll get to have a swim with them. Amazing! Even better, these are wild dolphins, so the experience is totally free.

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Turquoise Bay, Coral Coast

As the name suggests, this perfect arc of white sand in the Cape Range National Park is a turquoise dream but the colours aren’t just incredible above the water. Drift from one end of Turquoise Bay to the other on a gentle current which sweeps you over Ningaloo Reef’s vibrant tropical fish and coral. A wonderfully lazy snorkelling experience that is still action-packed.

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Rottnest Island, Perth

Who said you had to go to Fiji for an island escape in the southern hemisphere? Western Australia’s very own Rottnest Island does the job pretty nicely, thank you very much. A short ferry ride from Perth, Rottnest boasts over 80 secluded beaches and bays and is home to the cutest mini marsupials, quokkas (only found in WA)– not bad for somewhere that’s only 6.8 miles long.

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Rock it in Red

Karrijini National Park, Pilbara

Embrace the secret side of Australia with towering red rock gorges, natural showers in waterfalls, bathing in sheltered lagoons and camping under a blanket of twinkling stars.

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Kununurra, Kimberley

Take to the waters on a sunset cruise of Lake argyle, catch a glimpse of fresh water crocs, then it’s time to get high with aerial views  of Bungle Bungle’s striking sandstone domes which, amazingly, only the locals knew existed until the 1980s. If you’re looking for a real outback Australia adventure this area will deliver.

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Cable Beach, Broome

You may feel like you’re in the Middle East rather than Western Australia, but the largest population of wild camels are also found in the Aussie Outback, don’tcha know. Hitch a camel ride along the beach at sunset for a perfect, if slightly surreal, end to the day. Don’t just come for the camels, though. Any decent western Australian will tell you that the west side is where it’s at when it comes to beaches. And, looking at Cable Beach, I think they may have a point.

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Pretty in Pink

Lake Hillier, Esperance

With water so bubble-gum pink you’d think it was designed by Barbie, Lake Hillier’s vibrant colour has hooked both tourists and scientists alike. Located off the southern coast of Western Australia, take to the skies and appreciate all its striking glory contrasted with leafy surrounds and neighbouring blue ocean.

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Green goals

Valley of the Giants

Get a birds’ eye perspective of the Valley of the Giants on a treetop walk. A bridge will take you 125 metres above the ground for a stroll amongst the ancient trees that make up this forest. If you thought all trees looked the same, think again. This walk will change your perspective and provide a truly serene experience. You may want to stay amongst the trees forever, but, sadly, tree houses are not allowed.

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Kings Park, Perth

Ok, maybe not purely green, but if you’re craving you’re very own slice of botanical paradise in the city then head to Perth’s Kings Park, the largest inner city park in the world. Soak up the sunshine with a picnic on lush lawns, wander among 3,000 of WA’s unique flora, catch a movie at the open air cinema and marvel at one seriously old baob tree (750 years old in fact).

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Not so mellow yellow

Coalseam Conservation Park, Coral Coast

Get lost in flower power as you dance amongst the millions of bright yellow wildflowers in Coalseam, one of the most botanically diverse bush areas in WA.

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So there you have it – proof that you really can paint with all the colours of Western Australia! And a fine painting for the memory mantelpiece that would be.

Start planning your own adventure in WA with our Travel Guide.

8 reasons you NEED to visit Fiji

Written by Drew, @drewinsky

If anywhere deserves the title of paradise – it’s Fiji.

So pack that swimwear and prepare for sipping daily piña coladas on incredible beaches, underwater wonderlands and some of the most insta-worthy tropical scenery out there (no filter needed).

Here’s 8 reasons why you need to make Fiji your next holiday destination.

1. Beach bum heaven

Consider yourself a beach worshipper?  Then traveller, you’re in luck! I’ve been to a fair share of beaches around the world and I’ve never seen anything quite like Fiji’s world-class selection.

Take the Yasawa Flyer (a speed boat/ferry) up to the beautiful Yasawas and embrace the aquamarine waters, pristine white sand, coconut trees and swaying hammocks scattered across the beach.

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2. Laid back locals

I met dozens of Fijians during my trip (even made some good friends) who were all super friendly and welcoming. Get prepared to say “BULA” every time you encounter a Fijian — it’s their friendly greeting meaning “Hello” and also wishing you in good health!

The Fijian culture is fascinating, so if you get the chance I’d definitely recommend taking a trek into one of the villages and listen to the stories of the people that live there.

3. Make underwater pals

Fiji sets the bar pretty damn high when it comes to marine life. I was blown away by the diversity of fish I saw. swam with dozens of white-tip sharks, saw stingrays, eels, and thousands of kinds of fish. No matter where you are in Fiji, you will find plenty of dive and snorkel sites where seeing life under the sea is guaranteed!

Fiji is also known as the “soft coral capital of the world”, as most of the corals are undamaged and untouched.

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4. Oh-so-dreamy resorts

With a variety of tropical resorts, Fiji has the goods to cater to any  budget or needs. On the Yasawa Islands, I stayed at a few resorts on a couple of different islands: Octopus Resort, Blue Lagoon and Barefoot Kuata. Out of the three, Barefoot Kuata has got to be my favorite. It felt less crowded and like I owned the entire island! The diving and scuba diving there was the best I found in Fiji as well. I would go back in a heartbeat.

#fiji #fijiislands #holiday #sun #island #octopusresort #octopusresortfiji #paradise

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5. Fresh fruit for days

Given the warm climate, Fiji is home to many natural fruits including pineapples, watermelons, coconuts, cantaloupe, bananas and more.  I discovered a new found addiction to the pineapples –  they were just so sweet and delicious!

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6. You’ll never feel the chill

Fiji has balmy temperatures ranging between 26 and 31 degrees Celsius (79 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit) year round.  You can leave your jackets at home, because it’s always warm in Fiji!

The best time to visit is during peak season (July – September) as it’s mostly dry and sunny during these months.  If you choose to go from November to April, then you may experience some stormy and wet/rainy weather. But swimming in paradise the rain doesn’t seem too bad…

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7. Embrace the rhythm of Fiji

One thing I loved about Fijians is that they are always singing songs on the guitar!  Whenever I arrived at a new resort or island (even if it was raining) people were outside singing, smiling and having a great time.

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8. Live on Fiji time

Don’t have a watch?  No problem!

Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) is in a hurry in Fiji.  Everything is late, and that’s because people live on “Fiji time.”  This is actually a popular expression in Fiji, because everyone lives by it! So — don’t freak out if plans are delayed or people are late.  Most likely, someone is taking a nap or drinking a bowl of kava. It’s a much less stressful life!


And if those 8 reasons haven’t convinced you enough, maybe this will.

 



Inspired now to go on your very own adventure to Fiji? Check out our Fiji Travel Guide here

Eat, sleep, do… in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal

Ready for the next big thing?

You’ve weaved your way across Southeast Asia, South America holds a whole host of incredible memories, and Australia stole your heart but where next?

Roll in the Indian Subcontinent: India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. A region of ever-changing landscapes, unique wildlife, pulse-pounding cities, aromatic flavours and an intriguing, completely different way of life that is deeply ingrained in the culture (but a total shock to yours). It’s an area that will take you on a journey and leave you desperate to return over and over.

So, although we could write essays (well, novels) on each here’s a little snapshot of what to eat, where to sleep and what to do in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

India    |    Sri Lanka    |    Nepal

India

Eat…

A foodie haven of endless curries, spiced veggies, aromatic chai tea, naans, chapatis, tangy chutneys, fresh seafood and, well you get the picture, India’s edible creations are expansive and vary from region to region.

Embrace the flavours of the south and lap up Keralan fish curry with roti.

Snack on chaat – a delish blend of chickpeas, chopped onion, tomatoes and those all-important spices, as you wander Jodhpur’s blue streets.

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Cool down with a creamy lassi topped with Rabri and rose essence in the holy city of Varanasi.

Develop an addiction to Paneer curry – keeping it vegetarian is highly appropriate in India. Cows are holy, so beef is off the menu, and chicken could send you rushing to the nearest bathroom. For days. But paneer = cheese. Cheese. Curry – it really works. Trust us!

Dig in to Jalebis, Indian sweets which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Get sharpening your sweet tooth.

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Sleep…

For a different sleeping experience and a unique way to take in India’s landscape, stay on board an Indian Sleeper Train from Delhi to Amristar.

If yoga’s your thang or you’re in need of a little TLC, head to Rishikesh and unwind on a 4-day yoga retreat with 2 daily sessions, relaxing spa massages, meditation and yum veggie food all included.

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Do…

Take to the waters

Marvel at the Ghats from the holy River Ganges in Varanasi as you cruise by boat at sunrise or sunset. Heading South? The backwaters of Kerala are not to be missed. Drift down stream on a traditional house boat passing slow grazing cows, kingfishers darting through the forests and locals climbing coconut trees *sighs*.

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Drop and give me zen

This is land that gave birth to Yoga. Embrace India’s spiritual side with all types of yoga sessions offered nationwide. In need of a few days to work out those travel kinks? Head on a retreat in the yogi-haven Rishikesh at the foothills of the Himalayas.

Don’t know your lizard pose from your downward facing dog? No worries. There’s heaps for beginners, and meditation is something all of us can benefit from. So, it doesn’t seem intimidating to normal folks who don’t go to yoga studios all the time.


Cities of colour

Ah India… a country that conjures up visions of vibrant colours, from the food and the clothing to the nature and buildings that surround you.

Explore the maze of streets in the Golden city of Jaisalmer that stands on a ridge of yellow sandstone. Spot indigo houses from the top of the Meheragarh Fort in Jodhpur.

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Next stop Jaipur, a city clothed in pink-stucco and home to the magnificent Palace of the Winds and the Amber Fort. See it from the skies in all its warm pink glory with a sunrise balloon ride.

Travelling at the beginning of March? See the cities and its people come alive with multi-coloured powder, music and dancing for Holi festival.


The Palace Quo

From the greatest monument to love ever built, the Taj Mahal, Udaipur’s romantic lakes and Raj-era palaces to Pushkar’s Hindu temples and so much more. India is crammed full of impressive architecture to ogle at every turn.

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Sri Lanka

Eat…

Get ready to treat your taste buds to a tongue-tingling sensation. Much like Indian food Sri Lankan cuisine packs a punch.

Get your (sanitised) hands at the ready to scoop up fluffy rice, curry refills (seriously), fruity chutneys, coconut sambal and pillowy parathas to dip in fragrant dahl.

Make sure you try the lunchtime staple hoppers – a thin bowl shaped crispy pancake made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk served sweet or savoury depending on the fillings.

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Feeling a little hungover? There’s nothing a killer kottu and a cooling coconut can’t cure (often for as little as £1 too!). Listen to the rhythmic beat of the kottu vendor as they slice and dice roti and veggies with the option of egg, meat and cheese.

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Sleep…

Camp perched on stilted platforms directly over the Kelani River at Borderlands River Base Camp, Kitulgala.

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Stay in a rustic dorm lodge surrounded by Sri Lankan wildlife as part of the Elephant Conservation Project at Wasgamuwa National Park.

Sleep under the stars, right on the beach at Arugam bay’s many beachfront huts and lodges. Nothing beats falling asleep to the sound of rolling waves.

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Do…

Let’s get cultural

Set your sights on Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. Visit the unique Dambulla Caves Rock Temple and spend the day wandering Polonnaruwa with its spectacular statues. Wake up early to avoid the heat and tackle the 1,200 steps to the top of the UNESCO-listed Sigiriya Rock Fortress and take in sweeping views of Sri Lanka’s tropical landscape.

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Go wild

Witness swarms of elephants gather in Minneriya National Park , enormous blue whales break the ocean’s surface off the coast of Mirissa, monkeys leaping across rooftops, wild peacocks in the grass and even spot leopards in Yalla National park (if you’re lucky). Sri Lanka is home to an abundance of exotic wildlife to discover – just be sure to check the season with our handy when to go guide.


Get off the rails

The journey from Nuwara Eliya to Ella is more than just a means of getting from A to B. Watch the Sri Lankan hills, spiralling tea plantations and lush jungle whizz by as you swing your feet from the doorway of a train carriage. Book your tickets ahead to get the very best view (we recommend 2nd class, left hand side).

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Cruise the coastline

Not only rich in culture and wildlife, Sri Lanka is equally a beach bum’s dream with its rugged coastlines, epic surf spots and buzzing beachfront bars where you can sip a cold one at sunset. Cruise the South Coast, beach hopping from Hikkaduwa, near Galle, all the way to Mirissa beach. For a slice of boho-beach heaven head west to the less crowded Arugam Bay for rolling waves, sunset yoga and fresh coconuts whilst swinging in a hammock. Ah, bliss.

Nepal

Eat…

Due to its mountainous location and consequential trade difficulties, Nepalese cuisine focuses on locally grown produce but is nonetheless inspired by neighbouring India, Tibet and China.

Dig into juicy steamed dumplings known as momos, the lentil soup staple dal bhat, masala lentil patties Maas ko Barra and even Nepalese pizza Keema chatamar.

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Fancy something sweet? Pick up some chaku stuffed yomari’s with a smooth, caramelly dip. With all those Himalayan hikes we reckon that allows for 5 meals a day, right?

Sleep…

Experience Local Living in Nepal whilst staying with a family in a farming village, steeped in culture and tradition. Share stories, learn about Nepalese customs and enjoy cooking demonstrations from your homestay hosts, all after working up your appetite by hiking though surrounding towns.

Relax overnight in teahouses nestled in the mighty Himalayas where you’ll reconnect with ancient ways long forgotten by the modern world.

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In need of a little luxury? Check in to the beautifully decorated Shambalang boutique hotel, one of Boudha’s first guesthouses used by Tibetan pilgrims.

Do…

City in the sky

The intriguing Nepalese capital, Kathmandu is the perfect spot to kickstart your Nepal journey. Mingle with locals and animals amid Durbar Square’s monuments, head up to the aptly named Monkey Temple and soak up the views or hit up the bars of the lively Thamel District. Take a visit to the G for Good Sisterhood of Survivors project, a grassroots organisation designed to help woman rescued from the trafficking trade and watch as they demonstrate how to make those all-too addictive momo’s.


It’s tiger time

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chitwan National Park, renowned around the world for its concentration of rhinoceros and Bengal tigers (and a LOT of birds). If that isn’t epic enough watch out for elephants, leopards and bears as you set off in a 4WD and explore the lakes wetland area by canoe.

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Get your hike on

If you’re mad keen on your trekking or are simply looking for a challenge, Nepal is a hiker’s dream! Take in the Himalayan views of the Annapurna range as you pass thundering waterfalls of melted snow and treat yourself to a well earnt dip in natural hot springs. Go one step (or a fair few) further and complete a once in a life time achievement, following Sherpas through forest, towering glaciers and mountain villages to reach Everest base camp. The Himalayan peaks, Roof of the World view and clear starry skies are worth it, we promise.

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Envisioning yourself there already? We don’t blame you! Head on over to our Indian Subcontinent Travel guide for cheap flights, adventure tour deals and travel advice.

Which Interrail Pass is best for you?

Seeking a European adventure? Then why not choose to see it by train – a reliable, comfortable, and environmentally friendly way to travel.

Whizzing across borders and discovering ever changing landscapes, jumping aboard in one country and hopping off wherever you should fancy. Smells like freedom to us, and this is exactly what an Interrail Pass can offer.

But which one is right for you?

I want the lot!

Spoilt for choice or not short on time? Choose to see the lot, or at least get close to it, with the Interrail Global Pass. This allows travel into, out of and around 30 European countries (all the hotspots covered) is incredible value for money (5 travel days within 15 days Pass for £183) and has an unrivalled level of flexibility – ideal for those who like to go with the flow.

Let’s get specific

As fussy with your Europe to do list as you are with your almond milk, double shot latte with a dash of hazelnut? Then traveller, the Interrail One Country Pass is the one for you! Each country has its own price level for 3-8 days travel within a one-month period, so you can mix and match or just stick to the one country depending on budget and interests.

Head here to do the maths and start planning your route.

The cherry on top

Not only will an Interrail Pass unlock European escapades, it also gets you discount on extra journeys you may need to make (boat trips and ferries), can be used on the Eurostar AND for those plan-ahead type folks you can even book your pass up to 11 months before you travel.

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Now, need some inspo of where to go?

For the foodies…

This route is going to be jam-packed and freakin’ delicious! Get your stretchy pants at the ready and dig into indulgent pastries in Paris, Belgian truffles and craft beer in Bruges, cheese fondue in Vienna, fresh pasta in Rome and seafood paella washed down with a jug of Sangria in Barcelona.

Suggested route: Paris > Bruges > Amsterdam > Berlin > Vienna > Rome > Barcelona > Lisbon

15 continuous days of travel: Youth standard (12-28) £335 | Adult standard £402

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For the Island hoppers…

Is your idea of a holiday getting as much vitamin D and sea time as poss? We’ve got you covered. Take to the ocean and explore the islands and dreamy coastlines of the Mediterranean. Get the party started in Hvar, sip on cocktails in the white-washed vistas of cosmopolitan Mykonos and snorkel secretive coves in Turkey.

Suggested route: Croatia > Greece > Turkey

7 days travel within 1 month: Youth standard (12-28) £243 | Adult standard £306

(+boats in between islands)

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For the can’t stop won’t stop ravers…

We recommend a Global Pass. As let’s be honest, you need all the flexibility to allow for those spontaneous after-hours decisions. Get ready to stomp it out in Berlin’s warehouses, raise a glass in the cellar bars of Prague and dance til dawn to world-renowned dj’s in Reykjavik.

Suggested route: Reykjavik > Stockholm > Amsterdam > Berlin > Prague > Rome > Mykonos

22 continuous days of travel: Youth standard (12-28) £370 | Adult standard £470

(+travel to Iceland and in between Sweden)

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For the Nordic navigators…

Welcome to Scandinavia – filled with wow-factor fjords, towering forests, friendly (and seriously good-looking) locals and buzzing cities. Splash your krone in Oslo’s jazz clubs, cruise the expansive fjords from Bergen, soak up the Stockholm atmosphere in the old town and take a hike in Helsinki’s surrounding forests.

Suggested route: Oslo > Bergen > Stockholm > Helsinki

10 days travel within 1 month: Youth standard (12-28) £290 | Adult standard £364

(+overnight ferry to Finland, free or discounted with your pass)

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So go forth young traveller and see what Europe has to offer with your trusty Interrail Pass in hand.