Category

Oceania

14-18 days, Beach, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, New Zealand, Oceania, On the road, Trekking

New Zealand’s love story

When I take a taxi ride to Changi airport in Singapore, on a warm evening in late December, I’m aware I’m headed to New Zealand – a country I’ve been longing to go to. I have a brief idea of the itinerary: a few hikes to pursue, beach towns, wineries, restaurants to visit. But I’m not on full control of the program. I notice there are a bit more than the usual blanks in the plan. “We might give room for serendipity to take hold,” I’m told.

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5 days, Australia, Beach, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, On the road

Esperance’s impossible blue

Traveling 631 km south-east of Perth – one of the most out-of-the-way cities on Earth, in far-off Western Australia, is a long way from anywhere. As I traverse Western Australia, I’m hit by that uncanny fizz of sacrifice, the struggle that reminds me this is a part of the world for the patient traveler. The one willing to move slowly and endure large, empty distances to discover pure landscapes, where few others have been. It’s a place that makes you feel things and realize that travel, after all, is an act of movement. I’ve been hooked on WA for a while; perhaps it’s the challenge of getting here, the sense of conquest at the end of each journey that I find so appealing – or it’s the effort that always, always pays off.

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14-18 days, Beach, Culture, Destinations, Diving, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, Papua New Guinea

The coral reefs of Papua New Guinea

My search for the world’s most exotic tribes in one of the most undocumented landscapes left on the planet ends in dramatic encounters. In Papua New Guinea, not only do I come across extraordinary indigenous peoples who adorn themselves with wondrous ornamentation and keep alive ancient rituals, but I also discover the most pristine offshore reefs that remain.

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5 days, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, Papua New Guinea, Trekking, Wildlife

Land before time – Into the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

From a fenced-window car, I see barbed wires. Everywhere. I also watch kids on the streets carrying machetes bigger than themselves. I have just landed in the deep mountainous interior of Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands – a place that has long set in the very edge of my imagination. On Thomas’car – our local guide – we head from Tari town to Tari’s countryside, in the center of the Huli country in the Hela Province. I’m pretty aware of PNG’s reputation for being especially dangerous, overrun with gangs of hoodlums and terrorized by violence. But I’m also mindful that Papua New Guinea is without a doubt among the most culturally intriguing frontiers left on the planet. I am traveling in a place that both frightens and excites utterly –  because it feels like the real thing. 

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10 days, Australia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, On the road

The sacred sites of Australia’s Northern Territory

We rise up in a Cessna over the Wetlands of Australia’s largest National Park. My stomach lurches as I look down on an incredible variety of landscapes – coastal swamps, floodplains, lowland hills, escarpment, monsoon rain forest, and ancient plateau. Beneath me, crocodiles scuttle into the East Alligator River, and a fabulously diverse range of birds navigate over the plains. I look in every direction and see nothing on the horizon. From the sky, I have a glimpse of the immensity of Kakadu’s wilderness: it’s half the size of Switzerland – the whole Park is a protected area of nearly 20.000 Km2.

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10 days, Australia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, On the road, Trekking

Into the wild Outback

For six days and six nights, I sit on a land cruiser and watch a never-ending highway in front of me. I observe the same vast and flat horizon for hours. The road, the sunshine, the red earth.  It’s dry as hell. I feel the dust getting under my skin and the sun warming my bones. We drive across iconic highways and go deep into the prehistoric outback of Kimberley – a geological wonderland in North Western Australia.

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3 days, 4 days, Australia, Beach, Diving, Oceania, Wildlife

The Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia

It’s six o’clock in the morning, and we are sitting in a safari car in the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Another jeep parks alongside just before we spot a beautiful tiger. We start talking to two photographers in the car next to us about remote locations to travel to. They are from Australia and seem to be the type of people who know where the wild things are. We share our experiences. They mention their favourite wildlife places in Australia, and that’s how I hear about Ningaloo Coast for the first time, two years ago, while tracking tigers in India.

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