Thursday, January 1, 2015
One of the last places to see on our Aussie list were the Whitsundays. Our original plan was to take a sailing cruise but with a toddler that was out of question. Instead we spent 3 nights on each Long Island and Hamilton Island. We spent the first three days at Palm Bay resort on Long Island and we have enjoy it a lot. The resort is very small and our bungalow was practically on the beach. Although the sand was a bit scarce our son enjoyed being on the beach or at the pool all day long. The free kayaks were also quite nice since it was easier to reach the snorkeling spot about 150m out. The coral was not very large but it was very diverse with most of the coral types being present. Also there were quit a lot of fish species. The only downside was the current which made the water a bit murky. Diving couple of meters made the view much clearer though. The second part of the trip on Hamilton Island was not that nice: too many people, the only beach was usable only in the morning (with the afternoon tide the water was far away and the beach was rocky and muddy) and the pool at our accommodation was small and toddler unfriendly. From Hamilton we have taken a tour to ReefWorld and one to Whitehaven beach. Reefworld was a disappointment since I did not see anything I haven`t seen before. The reef was certainly big but that was about all. The good part of Reefworld was the heli ride which provided an overview of the area. Whitehaven beach was certainly nice and we would have spent more time there. Our bad planning meant we could not take advantage of the lowest tides of the year at Hill inlet....everything was already booked. The same happened at ReefWorld ...all fly/cruise tours were booked so we had to spend extra for the heli tour on top of being on the boat 2 hours each way.
Last August we had a short escape to the Cook Islands (Rarotonga).... We have selected the place based on recommendations from friends who visited the Islands before. With a bit of delay let`s try and remember the good and the bad. The trip was quite short from Melbourne with a stop in Auckland. We have rented a house close to Muri beach and we got a car for the first three days. Although there is a bus going around the island every 30 min or so I think it is more convenient to have your own vehicle....particularly since we often found ourselves pursuing the sunshine. Rarotonga is quite small with the main road following the coastline (32 km) and a secondary road about 200m further inside. There is nothing much to see on Rarotonga except beaches and some tracks to the mountain peaks. The nicest beaches are in the southern part, e.g. Muri Lagoon and so on. However, we often had to use the western beaches where weather was better. Provisions are available from a hand full of supermarkets with the biggest one being located in Avarua. However, the food variety is quite small and fresh produce are scarce...one of the main negative points. The beaches are nice, particularly Muri lagoon but nothing extraordinary. The climb to the peak (the Needle) is not very difficult and you are supposed to have quite a nice view from the top. Unfortunately we arrived in bad weather with very low clouds and rain so we did not see much. In Muri there are some dinners and every couple of days a night market with food stands which was enough for us. One of my main disappointments was the general dirtiness, stray dogs and rubbish all over the place, particularly on the western beaches. For such a small and touristic place this far from acceptable. Also, the inland road is littered with abandoned properties and dump sites. Overall, I would not recommend Rarotonga. For the amount of money spent to get there is not really worth. Probably staying on one of the smaller islands is a better choice. We did a one day trip to Aitutaki and I think we would probably go back there. The place is smaller, less touristic, no dogs, much cleaner and the lagoon is quite nice.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
After sub-zero temperatures for most of the week. the last days were a bit better so I have taken some time to visit the city. Since I was in 'historic' mood I have followed the so called Freedom trail around the city...at some point down the road I discovered that there was literally a trail marked on the pavement so one just needs to follow this red line/bricks. Learned some history too, about the revolutionary war mostly. Since the city is not that big I was able to walk from my place in South End (which it seems is a trendy place so I need to go around a bit more) to the Public Library then through the Public Gardens and down the trail to the Navy Yard and and Bunker Hill Monument. On the way back I took the subway though. As a city Boston is quite similar to European cities although the public transport is kind of a joke: the subway is basically a tram that goes under ...quite narrow , slow and so noisy that I rather walk than take that again. The good part, I am only half an hour walk from downtown and the city is pretty walk-enabled. Next week will do more sightseeing ...hopefully the wetter gets better.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Our first trip abroad since we moved down under. Destination: Thailand. We chartered a boat and "sailed" the Andaman sea. Apart from the first and last day we needed the engine ...this sea is calm as a lake ...in November at least. Very relaxing time with nothing to do all day around but snorkelling. We`ve seen fishes everywhere but mostly the same species....I hope the Great Barrier Reef is better. Anyway we saw a turtle, some dolphins and a WHALE ....that was kind of unbelievable, early in the morning close to Racha where sea depth reaches 50-60m. The islands were mostly nice except the most famous ones like Phi Phi, Phi Phi Lee and James Bond where the mass tourism was amazing ...in the bad way. At the end of the week we stayed for some days in Bangkok and managed to visit Ayutthaya and the Royal Palace. Ayutthaya was bit bad but the public transport was a nightmare...for 65 km we needed like 4 hour on the way back ...plus the flees and stuff. I personally did not like Bangkok much....too hot&humid, a permanent traffic jam and kind of chaotic. I guess some people could appreciate this .... Please enjoy the photos ...
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Few weeks ago we went on a two week trip to USA and Canada. Despite the main purpose of the trip was business (we attended to two conferences, one in Corvallis, Oregon, and the other in Vancouver) we took some holidays as well! The first part of our "road trip" took place between the conference in Corvallis and the one in Vancouver. For two days we drove along the north West coast of the States, through Oregon and Washington to Seattle, where we took a shuttle to Vancouver. The scenery was beautiful, we got to visit some of the locations were "The goonies" was filmed and even slept in the town where Kurt Cobain was born! My main regret is that we couldn't eat more of that delicious clam chowder... mmmmmm don't miss if if you ever go there!! After the second conference we flew back to San Francisco where the second part of our trip started. The plan was to drive through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and the Sequoias NP only that this time we rented a convertible... purely California style... and that really made our trip!!! Really, once you've done a road trip through the mountains in a convertible... you don't want to do it any other way! Despite we only had three days to enjoy the parks it has been one of the best trips I've ever done. The landscape was astonishingly beautiful. A new and more impressive scenery awarded after every turn...and the sequoias...there're no words to express how it feels to stand in front of one of those massive thousands year old trees... even less when there are dozens of them!!! Overall, an incredible experience.... an we even saw a bear!!! To finish our trip, a short drive trough Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Beach just before dropping the car at the airport. The states have never been on my "places to visit" list, but after this trip, I cannot wait to go back!!! ...... ......
Posted by Aponte at 3:54 PM