Category Archive: Australia, New Zealand, & South Pacific

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

  Tongariro National Park, the oldest national park in , is a , listed for it mix of cultural and natural importance. The park, located on the North Island, is home to three active volcanos:  Mt. Tongariro (for which the park was named, Mt. Ruapehu, and Mt. Ngauruhoe. Visiting is relatively easy, with decent roads providing access, and while some visitors are attracted by the UNESCO designation alone, there is much more to hold the attention of visitors. Here are just a few reasons to visit Tongariro National Park.   Skiing and snow sports – Mt. Ruapehu is home to two ski areas, Whakapapa on the northern side and Turoa on the southwestern side. Whakapapa has 15 ski lifts and also offers accommodations. Turoa has 9 lifts with accommodation offered in nearby Ohakune. Skiing and snowboarding are popular in winter, […]

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Forever Fiji

There is a mystique that surrounds the beautiful Fijian Islands.  In Fiji you really are blessed with some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world, so in the end, it’s all about Lomani and Demeni, Fijian words meaning pampered, cherished and cared for. Although you have to travel many miles to travel to get there, the visitor will find a culture that couldn’t be more different than in the United States.  There is something for everyone to explore with Fiji’s 333 islands dotting the Pacific Ocean like jewels.  Deciding which island is the perfect one will probably be the hardest decision you will have to make, otherwise, you can sit back and relax.  Tip:  Try to visit at least three different islands to really get the Fijian experience. Let’s start with your arrival at the airport in Nadi.  This […]

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Australia’s Ahhhhh Factor

Even well-traveled and jaded adults will succumb to what I call Australia’s “Ahhhhh” factor – the unusual, cute, and often cuddly-looking animals that you’re sure to find on the picture postcards from the smallest of our continents.  While there is much to see on holidays to Australia, seeing the animals always seem to be a part of the experience. What’s in store for animal loving travelers? Kangaroos – This hopping marsupial is the iconic animal of Australia, and will be found on the country’s coat or arms, on some currency, and in a variety of advertising.  And although you won’t find them in the major cities, once you venture out into the countryside you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled to make sure you don’t run into one.  Literally.  Those yellow Kangaroo crossing road signs are a serious warning, not […]

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New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Sites

I became fascinated with UNESCO World Heritage sites a few years ago when I realized the incredible diversity in the type of places and things on the list.  Whenever I’m researching a new location, one of the first things I look for are the sites that are on the UNESCO list.  While it’s not the be-all nor end-all of places that I’ll eventually visit, it helps me learn a lot about my eventual destination and get a feel for where I’m going. The island nation of New Zealand has three sites on the UNESCO list, just part of the reason that New Zealand is popular with visitors from the U.K., United States, and Australia. New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Island – The five southernmost island groups (the Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands and Campbell Island) are referred to as the New […]

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The States of Australia

Australia.  Land of kangaroos, sheep stations, koala, boomerang,  crocodile, wombat, dingo, shrimp on the barbie, sexy accents, and Waltzing Matilda.  Now that we have the stereotypes out of the way, what can you really expect when you decide on a vacation to the land down under. Let’s be real clear – Australia is a huge country.  Popping from Sydney to Brisbane is over 1,000, and to Perth is over 4,000 miles.  So unless you have months to spend in the country, you’ll need to pick an area of the country to visit.  One of the first things to consider if you’re thinking about tours to Australia is geography, and that starts with a good map and an understanding of the states, major territories, and what’s to see and do in each of them. New South Wales – This is Australia’s […]

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