Slipped a little more in the #travel1k rankings this week: last week we were at #70 … and for the week of April 10th we’re down to #76. Probably the highest for a while that, as we’re off tomorrow for some Pacific wandering from Chengdu all the way to New Zealand, so our updates will probably be spotty at best; but never fear Dear Readers, we’ll be back by next month, not long to wait!
This week we saw the biggest climbs from Elaine Schoch (up 1368 places to 363rd),
After the storm blew through the Great Sandy World Heritage Area and disrupted our plans there, we set off early to the wilds of the Brisbane hinterlands to stop by no less than four of the literally dozens of properties that make up today’s World Heritage Site visit, as well as its tentative extension:
This site, comprising several protected areas, is situated predominantly along the Great Escarpment on Australia’s east coast. The outstanding geological features displayed around shield volcanic craters and the high number of rare and threatened rainforest species are of international significance for science and conservation.
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia is a serial property comprising the major remaining areas of rainforest in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales. It represents outstanding examples of major stages of the Earth’s evolutionary history, ongoing geological and biological processes, and exceptional biological diversity. A wide range of plant and animal lineages and communities with ancient origins in Gondwana, many of which are restricted largely or entirely to the Gondwana Rainforests, survive in this collection of reserves. The Gondwana Rainforests also provides the principal habitat for many threatened species of plants and animals…
The exciting thing about these visits, of course, was that three days into our Australia trip we finally got to see WILD KANGAROOS!
Yep, dingos are nice and all, but now we’ve gotten up close and personal with the iconic Australian wildlife!
This was at Bunya National Park, the most northerly of the parks in the Tentative Site extension; we took a charming walk through the enchanting forest
as far as Pine Gorge Lookout — check out the video for the view from that, as well as the interesting birds we met along the way.
The next day, we headed to Main Range Park and Cunningham’s Gap, where from the overlook you can see the city of Brisbane off in the distance:
and stayed that night in a charming little cottage right by Purling Brook Falls in Springbrook National Park to the south of Brisbane:
… and finally, topped off our three days of hiking with a visit to Natural Bridge, the top tourist attraction of the lot:
So there we were, exhausted and several pounds lighter from all the hiking, with some pretty epic scenery enjoyed by all —
— and we’d hiked/driven through less than 10% of the properties inscribed with this site, which extend several hundred miles further south along the coast!
p dir=”ltr”>So this is, indeed, an epic natural World Heritage Site that you should visit while in Australia to get a taste of that Down Under wilderness beauty!
We like to keep things simple. All we care about is finding you a great deal.
1. You Join DFC
Simply enter your email address and let us know your departure airports and we’ll do the rest.
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Our superb flight finding team searches the web all day just for you. All we care about is finding you a great deal.
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When we find a great deal, we send it directly to you via email and text so you can book it while it’s cheap.
4. You Travel the World
Our flights save members $500 on average so you can spend less and vacation more.
Sounds promising, yes? Well, we’ve been a Premium Member for three weeks now, signed up to get notified of flights out of BKK or DMK — let’s see how that’s actually worked out for us, shall we?
And why yes, yes indeed those have been some spectacular deals — and even more striking, none of those except the AirAsia deal to Jakarta did we hear about through any of the other channels we monitor, and that only because we follow AirAsia very closely indeed, they being by far the best LCC in Southeast Asia.
So if Dollar Flight Club finds flights out of Bangkok that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise … well, we feel pretty darn confident declaring that it’s going to work pretty well for you too!
At least, it will if you’re a Premium Member like us — follow our affiliate signup link and you’ll have the choice to be a free member or a $40/year Premium Member. The differences are:
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Select your departure airport(s). Free members can only select wider regions.
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Going by our three-week history above, that works out at breaking even if we take a flight to Europe that they find for us … once every seven years, 14 years if we take our partner with us. Which is a pretty solid value proposition, indeed.
So we thoroughly encourage you to head over and sign up!
And we’re continuing to ride along nicely in the #travel1k rankings: last week we were at #64, a gloat-worthy achievement we’re sure you’ll agree, and for the week of April 3rd we’re down a little bit to #70. Which we’re still pretty darn happy with!
Living in Calgary, Alberta Canada, Sue and Dave have been best friends and married for over 30 years. Parents to adult children and proud grandparents they are passionate about social justice, volunteerism and not letting the phrase, “What would people think?” or fear get in the way of trying something new; the possibilities are endless.
Their adventurous spirits keep them living the theme of ‘never too old to explore’. Well into the second half of the game of life they believe there is no time like the present to get out there, live big and laugh a lot.
Travel Tales of Life has been featured in depth by More Time To Travel in speaking to cycling tourism for those over 50. Their articles have been featured in The Caribbean Daily, What’s Up Tasmania, About Basque Country and All About Mexico online magazines as well as the HIS Vancouver travel website.
Sue and Dave hold accredited media status with Travel Alberta. In 2015 they were nominated for the annual Tourism Media ALTO award. They have collaborated with tourism boards and companies around the world.
Even the most experienced food critic will have a challenging time savouring scrumptious morsels while gazing at a drab wall. Ask most people to describe their most memorable meal of their travels and restaurants with a view often come to the table. From a romantic dinner at a sunset view restaurant to cliffside restaurants with amazing views these experiences leave delicious memories.
Don’t ask me about the food with a view from these fun restaurants around the world. Apologies to all the foodies out there. I should likely start taking notes at meal time. What I can share is that these restaurants with beautiful views are ones we would return to in a heartbeat. Enjoy the global feast for the eyes.
Buza Bars – Dubrovnik Croatia…
Cliffhouse Bistro – Mount Norquay Banff, Canada…
Brewski Rooftop Bar – Bangkok Thailand…
Hotel Cenobio Dei Dogi – Camogli, Italy…
Sunset Mona Lisa – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico…
The Lookout Cafe – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe…
Well, we’ve only been to the Cliffhouse out of that selection, although we’ve been close to all the rest except Victoria Falls — Brewski in particular is just a skip away from our day job at Agoda.com in Bangkok; we’re fans of Above Eleven‘s Peruvian-Japanese fusion but we’ll give Brewski a shot next time we go out on the town!
That bit about Victoria Falls, which is definitely one of the more impressive World Heritage Sites we haven’t got to yet, let’s see if they have any more on that … ah, here we are:
Turns out the naysayers and name callers are right after all. We are mad as cut snakes. As the guide walks me through the raging waters of Victoria Falls toward Angel’s Pool the truth makes my eyes bulge just a little further out of their sockets. I cling to his muscled Zambian arm like the last preserver on a sinking ship.
I see no pool whatsoever let alone one suitable for the name Angel in the eight feet between us and the edge of the abyss. The Zambezi River awaits us some 108 metres (350 feet) below. In the heart of high water season the mist of Victoria Falls rockets skyward.
Devil’s Pool, on a nearby section of the falls, is too dangerous to access at this time of the year. Thank goodness for small mercies. As my guide, whose hand has likely gone numb some time ago from my vice grip clinging, points to another spot I should step so as to reach my perch in the Angel’s armchair.
Sitting on the rock perch I breathe deeply and believe I may not be completely mad after all. Gazing over one of the seven natural wonders of the world the beauty of Africa overrides the fear. Hubby smiles widely like a kid in the adventure candy store of life…
Heh. “Kid in the adventure candy store of life?” Why, we like that description so much we’re going to appropriate it for ourselves, wethinks. Certainly, we can’t think of anyone who would claim it doesn’t apply to us —
— and particularly when we were perched on the edge of Victoria Falls, no doubt! That’s certainly one of the more evocative pieces we’ve read recently, ok Zimbabwe just pushed itself up our Natural Wonders priority list. Right after Komodo to see the DRAGONS!
p dir=”ltr”>Technically, BuiltWith tells us it’s a standard WordPress + Jetpack setup, and as always we recommend Dreampress as your best choice for that, free Jetpack Professional and all; and a fairly typical list of plugins.
So this one rates high on the “kind of blogger we want to be when we grow up” scale, always nice to see people enjoying themselves the same way we like to enjoy ourselves — we’re following them on Twitter now, and recommend you go check them out as well!
While we’ve had the occassional post on how to hack solo travel flight plans, there is one area of flight planning which we have not addressed: All of you Dear Readers in long distance relationships, what you care about the most isn’t how cheaply you can get to some exotic destination most people have never heard of never mind find on a map, it’s how to most cheaply rendezvous for some live time with your distant paramour, amirite?
Well, as it happens, flight search aggregator extraordinaire Kayak.com has introduced a tool specifically for you! KAYAK Rendezvous
Doesn’t get much simpler than that — matter of fact, looks like any other flight search with two endpoints and dates, right? — but the trick is, instead of finding a flight from point A to point B, it’ll come up with a list of the cheapest point C to fly to from each.
As you see above, for instance, we put in our current Bangkok residence and Vancouver where our Dear Parents reside; and let’s ask Rendezvous where the cheapest place would be for family dinner this Christmas, shall we?
And it turns out that the very cheapest are the Nordic countries, followed by Central Europe capitals. Which isn’t overly surprising, but it’s certainly convenient to have them all ranked by price —
— at the very least, it gives you an excellent starting point for conducting searches with the usual box of flight hacking tools. So keep Kayak Rendezvous in mind for the next time you are, in fact, planning a rendezvous!
Been feeling left out because our last couple contests we passed along were aimed at the Fellow Travel Blogger section of our audience? Well, here’s one we were sent from Passion Passport for anybody to enter to take their bestie to Costa Rica!
Perched above Playa Langosta on the Pacific Ocean in Tamarindo, Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas is an award-winning hotel set amidst Costa Rica’s pristine nature. Enjoy private gardens and pools and a luxurious poolside restaurant featuring locally sourced, organic Costa Rican flavors.
Winning Kind Traveler Package Includes:
3-night stay at Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas in a Luxury Suite
Daily Breakfast, Yoga Lessons, Bike Rentals & Welcome Drinks for Two
Wow, we’re just on a roll this month with our #travel1k rankings: last week we were at #85, pleased as punch with that we were, and for the week of March 27th we’re up another 21 places to #64! Is that a record? Yep. pretty sure that’s a record. Woo-woo-woo-hoo!
Welcome to Travelgal Nicole I’m an American Kiwi living in Wellington, New Zealand. I’m originally from Wisconsin and have lived in London, Japan and have lived in NZ for the past ten years.
My first trip overseas was to France for my high school French class. I think any American will tell you going to Europe and seeing just how much history there is and how old everything is mind boggling the first time. I flubbed my way through the French immersion part of the trip but if there was one thing I learned it was that I wanted to travel more.
In between high school and university I wanted to take a gap year to travel. My parents were completely against it. This was not something Americans did back then. I was able to do a summer internship for Save the Rainforest in Panama before heading off to college in the fall…
… And New Zealand it was! I really thought I would have gone to Australia but the visa was only for 4 months and I had really wanted to live and work somewhere for a year. Once I arrived in NZ I found the job market to be really good and found a job quite easily. One year turned into two due to new visa scheme that opened and then I had enough points to earn residency and needless to say some 10 years later I have citizenship….
Now there’s a journey for you! We’ve worked abroad in a few countries, but none that hit the spot quite as much as here in Thailand, where we’re seriously considering relocating too … however, actual citizenship, that’s quite the trial, they only take 100 per year per country!
This is a good all-around camera for blogging . This mirrorless camera is lightweight, compact and fast. It’s the world’s fastest 0.02 sec auto focus with Real-Time auto focus and object tracking. It uses artificial intelligence to detect and process eye data in real time, resulting in improved accuracy, speed and tracking performance of Eye AF. It has 24.2 MP and can be used with interchangeable lenses.
I think this is the best all-around camera for the money. A lot of people will think this is a beginner camera and that is true but for the size and weight and price you cannot beat it. If you are looking for something more advanced I would recommend the Sony Alpha A7II.
That’s a beginner camera? OK, the most non-beginner camera we have is a Canon Powershot, oh look the latest of those is on the list too:
Now here is a fun camera that a lot of people will think does not deserve to be on the list but let me explain. Canon has one of the best point and shoot cameras on the market. Think its not powerful enough of a camera for blogging? I know some people that used a GoPro for all of their photos for the first two years. Everyone has to start somewhere…
Huh. Well, if all you bother with is your trusty iPhone, where does that put you? Well behind the start, apparently! Any-ways, if you take your pictures more seriously than we do, this looks like a pretty solid roundup yep.
Turning to an actual travel article, ah here’s one that’ll be useful whenever we make it to the UAE:
I spent a long weekend exploring Dubai and even though I was able to visit all the sites I felt like I barely scratched the surface of the city. I stayed at the Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach Residence Dubai.
I found the hotel perfectly located for exploring the city and overlooking the water and also the largest ferris wheel in the world – Ain Dubai Observation Wheel. My room was extremely spacious and comfortable but the best thing was the view of the water…
Day 1 Itinerary of Dubai – Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium, Dubai Fountains, Burj Khalifa, Souq Madinat…
Day 2 Itinerary to Dubai – Jumeirah, Kite Beach and Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai Marina…
Day 3 Itinerary for Dubai – Hop on Hop off Bus and Old Dubai…
p dir=”ltr”>Head over there and check out the photos — that is a striking place indeed!
Technically, BuiltWith tells us it’s a standard WordPress + Jetpack setup, and as always we recommend Dreampress as your best choice for that, free Jetpack Professional and all; and in direct contrast to last week, there are basically no plugins at all here, just a couple analytics plugins and, interestingly, WooCommerce, although we don’t see a store anywhere at first glance.
So yep, we’ve started following the Travelgal here, anybody who’s made it to more countries than us (“115 and counting”) is definitely a travel resource to keep up with we figure, and judging by that camera article there’s some blogging education here as well — so head on over and check it out!
We hear a lot about sustainable travel these days — that was one of the questions that came up in our last interview, in fact, how do we contribute to sustainable travel? — and our answer was why the entire concept of planning your travels around World Heritage Sites is contributing to sustainability, because to be listed as a World Heritage Site a conservation management plan must be in place, which is the only supranational oversight of conservation management of tourist management site that exists!
And as it happens, the latest issue of World Heritage is devoted to examining specific instances of how that philosophy has indeed worked out as it should:
The World Heritage Convention is a legal tool. In adhering to it, countries commit to protect heritage within their borders and to refrain from any deliberate measures that might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage of the territory of other States Parties to this Convention.
The true measure of the Convention is the effectiveness of its implementation. It is the concrete results that matter, for the sites and for the people who live in or near them. When there are positive results at one World Heritage property, all countries that are party to the Convention can benefit from this success.
In this issue, we look at specific cases of actions at World Heritage sites that have benefited and improved their state of conservation. We start with Abu Simbel (Egypt) in the 1950s, and how the safeguarding campaign to protect it led to the birth of the World Heritage Convention; and Angkor (Cambodia), which celebrates 25 years of conservation since its inscription on the World Heritage List, with more than 60 projects completed thanks to contributions from more than 20 countries.
Comoé National Park (Côte d’Ivoire), one of the largest protected areas in West Africa, was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2003, following the outbreak of civil conflict in the country. After concerted and coordinated actions of the State Party and its strategic, technical and financial partners, it was finally removed from this List at the 41st session of the Committee in Krakow, Poland in 2017.
The recent victory of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which after ten years on the List of World Heritage in Danger was finally removed from it, was much celebrated at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee in Manama, Bahrain in July 2018. This was made possible by a strong and collaborative effort involving government, civil society and the scientific community, as well as the World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies and the Committee with its decision-making power…
p dir=”ltr”>Check it all out — direct link to the English version here — always good to read some good news to start your day out with, and here’s a full helping of it for you!
As we mentioned last time in our trip report on Fraser Island, we stayed in the beach town of Rainbow Beach the jumping off point for day tours to that World Heritage Site; and the town is also right up against the Great Sandy National Park, which is part of the proposed extensions to the Fraser Island site that are contained in today’s Tentative World Heritage Site visit:
It is proposed that the extension to the Fraser Island World Heritage Area will include the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park, the Breaksea Spit to the north of Fraser Island, Platypus Bay, the Great Sandy Strait/Tin Can Bay Ramsar Area and the Wide Bay Military Reserve. The nominated area falls between latitudes 24º33’S and 26º 39’S, and longitudes 152º 48′ E and 153º 11’E. A tentative name, Great Sandy World Heritage Area, has been inserted, but this is subject to consultation.
The proposed extension shares many of the values of the existing Fraser Island World Heritage Area. Its fascinating landscape showcases superlative natural phenomena and areas of natural beauty through long beaches backed by high dunes, open heath splashed with colourful wildflowers, mangroves, woodlands of banksia and scribbly gum, shady blackbutt forests, rainforests with towering trees, and tranquil lakes and waterways.
The proposed extension presents the world’s oldest coastal dune formation story. Here, eight overlapping layers of dunes represent a history spanning more than 700,000 years. As one of the most complete coastal dune systems in the world, the proposed extension is an outstanding example representing the major stages of Earth’s history.
It is also an outstanding example of significant ongoing ecological and biological processes. Within the ecosystems that have evolved on its sandy substrate, life continues to evolve in a low nutrient, acidic environment, providing a haven for large numbers of different life forms, including many rare and endangered species…
Apparently this is a particularly popular area for horseback riding, which gave us a chuckle when we were driving in to Rainbow Beach and found this most Australian of road signs right after entering the park boundaries:
Rather to our disappointment though, we did not actually see any wild kangaroos hopping about — that had to wait for our third day in Australia —
— and even more disappointing, what we had planned for the day after Fraser Island was to go dive with sharks at Wolf Rock with Wolf Rock Dive, that being somewhat of a generally overlooked gem of the diving world so we hear; but the weather gods were not with us, and the storm that blew in overnight as we were leaving Fraser Island not only made that impossible, it also cut off power to the town! All except for a ferris wheel set up in the city park, which made for some interestingly spooky photo ops:
If you’re a hardcore hiker, or you really want to get into this site, the signature experience is the 102 km five-day Cooloola Great Walk. We did a piece of it —
We’re getting increasingly specific in our contest listings lately, it seems; from anyone with a camera to shoot video for a 5 Continent World Tour, to our Fellow Travel Bloggers to write a post for a Week In Tenerife, and today …
… well, today it’s not just our Fellow Travel Bloggers, but our Close Neighbour Fellow Travel Bloggers here in Thailand, who have a chance to win a Tourism Authourity of Thailand trip:
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is launching its second TAT Newsroom “Blogger Thailand” competition for international bloggers residing in the Kingdom, offering six successful applicants the chance to go on an exclusive three-day itinerary.
Campaign dates for submissions run from 1 April to 31 May, 2019, with trip dates proposed for July 2019. The competition is open to bloggers residing in Thailand with an established, active blog (website) plus at least one main social media account with serious engagement.
This category accepts submission of photos, videos, or blogs that highlight off-the-beaten track Thai destinations or unseen experiences around Thailand. The entry can cover any of the following subjects: local Thai culinary tours, less crowded natural attractions, local Thai festivals and folk performances, unique Thai traditions, homestays and community markets.
The competition accepts only one entry per applicant. It can be a blog, vlog or photo (all content should be submitted in English only).
Entry blogs must be from 400 to 500 words long with up to five complementary photos illustrating each story. Each photo should be submitted via a link to a media file on the entrant’s blog (website), or a link to an Instagram post.
Entry vlogs from 60 to 90 seconds in length should be submitted via a link to the video on YouTube or Facebook.
Entry photos should be submitted via a link to post on Instagram and should be titled with the text that accurately describes the image in brief, stating where the image was taken in Thailand…
OK now, we keep intending to enter these competitions ourselves but hardly ever do … but this one, we’ll enter for sure. Six winners, and it’s restricted to “international bloggers residing in the Kingdom” — well, how many can there be? Can’t imagine that there would ever be a contest with better odds than that one for us!
Off the top of our head, we’re thinking that the Lopburi Monkey Festival would probably be a good one here, for that touch of humour —
p dir=”ltr”>— but if you have any suggestions, Dear Kon Thai Readers, for anything that is is particularly off most people’s radar and happens in April or May, please let us know!