adventure

Callum’s 2017 Adventures: Phillip Island 1D Tour

‘Take a waddle on the wild side’Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Heh. Every time I see that quote it makes me chuckle. Anyway…

I won’t deny that my decision to take this tour on my 24th birthday was born out of pure nostalgia because, well, it was. And even though Phillip Island is home to more than just the Penguin Parade – it also hosts the Australian Moto GP on its Grand Prix Circuit – it is for the parade that I took this tour. After all, it is something I had seen when I was first brought out to Australia by my dad and step-mum on my 6th birthday, hence the nostalgia making me want to visit once more.

As with the Great Ocean Road and Grampians tour (pt.1 & pt.2), this Phillip Island tour was arranged through Wildlife Tours, although it didn’t require quite as early a start as the last tours! Nevertheless, I still ended up spending the majority of the drive fast asleep.

As the Penguin Parade doesn’t occur until after sunset (more…)

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#46 – Visit the Eiffel Tower, Paris

‘The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower. They’re monumental.
They’re straight out of Page 52 in your school history book’
–  Billy Crystal

The Eiffel Tower. The “Iron Lady”. A single structure that is synonymous with both Paris and France. This iron behemoth was once the worlds tallest structure, and is as beautiful as it is intimidating. Moreover no visit to Paris can be said to be complete without seeing it and, even though I have been several times now, my most recent visit was my favourite.

Previously I had only ever visited the tower during daylight hours, but Heather reminded me that at night it lights up, with a beacon at its peak, shining through the sky. So on a beautiful autumn evening we found ourselves gazing up at at the illuminated body (more…)

#44 – Visit the Louvre

‘What’s the name of that famous museum in Paris? The Louvre?
I went through that place in 20 minutes’
– Peter Falk

Growing up, the Louvre if often fantasised about as one of the “must-sees” for any trip into Paris – especially for art lovers of all backgrounds. The diversity of styles, and the eras that are represented are well documented, as is the vast underground and overground space that it consumes.

Although I had been to Paris previously, the opportunity to visit the Louvre always escaped me, which I found rather irksome. So, when I went to visit my friend Heather in October 2016, getting to the Louvre was a top priority which – thankfully – she was in agreement with me on. (more…)

Callum’s 2017 Adventures: Great Ocean Road & Grampians 2D1N Tour pt.1

If you have come looking for an article that will given you an in-depth and detailed travel guide to both the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians National Park then I apologise, because you are sorely mistaken. However, if you have come looking for a little information about possible places/landmarks to visit (and some kick-ass photos to boot) then continue reading about my recent journey, courtesy of Wildlife Tours Australia.

Although I left the UK to travel, I came to Aus on a working holiday visa, so I could to top up my bank account and earn some money to help fund future travel plans. However, working full-time can be quite a bore, so you do need to do things to stop you falling into a rut. Fortunately my job allows me every second weekend off and, since I am living in Melbourne, I decided to use those weekends to try and get myself completing some of recommended activities for the area. One of these happened to be the Great Ocean Road, something that I wasn’t quite able to do on my previous visit back in 2015. As the whole weekend was free, I thought I’d splash out and go for the tour that included a visit to the Grampians as well.

The Great Ocean Road officially starts in Torquay, but if effectively takes you from Melbourne to Adelaide (or vice versa). It is known as one of the worlds greatest scenic drives, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because, well, you spend the entire time with the ocean on one side of you. (more…)

#26 – Visit the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

‘Do we really care so little about the earth on which we live
that we don’t want to protect one of the world’s greatest wonders
from the consequences of our behaviour?’
– Sir David Attenborough

As of the end of 2016, 93% of the reef faced bleaching. I went to visit it in 2015, during my first stint in Australia. Growing up, the Reef is one of those things that you are often told stories about. You are told of its beauty. Its wonder. Almost like it’s some of fantasy wonderland.

My trip was a tour. Part of the tour included the opportunity to either snorkel or scuba dive.  Unfortunately, I was unable to do either due to mitigating circumstances. I did, however, get to see the coral reef via a glass bottomed boat.

Now that, that was cool. Glass bottomed boats are so cool. I’d happily go around in one again, and again, and again. And it makes you feel special, you know? Being able to see something like that, so up close and personal. At least, it was evocative for me anyway.

It breaks my heart to know that the Reef doesn’t have long left, considering that it had been around years before us, and should have outlived us all. It’s its own eco-system after all.

At least I will have my memories from my visit though, of one of Earth’s most beautiful creations. However, if I were you, I’d get there as soon as possible.

To see my complete bucket list, click here

#25 – Go White Water Rafting

‘Rivers know this: there is no hurry.
We shall get there some day’
– A.A. Milne

Picture this: you’re in the front left-hand seat of a yellow raft with four other people, one of whom is your “guide”. After a few paddle strokes, you get called to stop. The current takes you to the edge of the river. Below you is a 7m drop, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. You get called to assume the position, feet tucked under the front of the raft, paddle gripped tightly, head bowed down into your chest. You steal one last glance as the raft begins to tip over the edge and it’s 3… 2… 1… (more…)

#24 – Take a ride in a helicopter

‘The helicopter: the flying carpet of the Scientific Age’ – Michael Hampson

Helicopters. They really are something. If you haven’t been in one before, I implore you to do so at some point.

I was quite lucky I actually got to ride in one at all actually. It was the only way to get up to Franz Josef Glacier, and then get back down again. Considering that the FJG Ice Hike isn’t able to take place under poor weather conditions – and there had only been 8 hikes in the previous month – I was worried that it wasn’t going to happen at all. So, when it did… happy days!

They are pretty things you know. Agile. Sleek. Speedy. Smooth as hell when it comes to take off and landing.

Like I said, Helicopters. They really are something.

To see my complete bucket list, click here

#22 – Climb Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), New Zealand

‘And as the captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor,
it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud,
there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable,
lightning-crowned, filling all the sky’
– J.R.R. Tolkein

An optional ascent on the Tongariro Crossing, Mt Ngauruhoe really is the pinnacle of this little excursion. Snow at the peak all year round, an incline that leaves you scrambling on all fours, ground that breaks away at every step, an active volcano, and the chance of death – quite literally. What’s not to love?

It’s not even that big. An additional 600m climb, allegedly. But it takes between 2-3hrs and is not recommended for those who struggled with the Devil’s Staircase or are physically unfit. Several of us from the Kiwi Experience group set off up the mountain together and we all made it to the top at varying times, although we did get slightly *very* separated on the way down.

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#21 – Walk the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

‘In autumn 2000, Tongariro National Park was home to the most sinister
of the Lord of the Rings locations, Mordor,
which is the strong hold of the dark Lord Sauron’ – 
Tongariro Crossing Official Page

I’ll be perfectly honest, when I first made the decision to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I had no idea of its connection to LotR. I mean yeah, I love the series, but I don’t intentionally set out to visit each filming location (I promise!). Still, to say I have hiked through Mordor is pretty damn cool.

Anyway, the reason I actually decided to do the crossing was to challenge myself. When I was still back at school I was able to complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award from Bronze through to Gold, but had really fallen off the wagon since then. So I thought, what better than to try and complete a 19.4km hike through volcanic terrain approaching the peak of the southern hemisphere’s summer?

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#20 – Visit Hobbiton, New Zealand

‘I picked up The Hobbit. And I began to read.
I was swept off to a green, green Shire in a far, far land, and my soul has never returned.
I suppose it never will’
– Steve Bivans

Back when I was a  young boy, my Dad took it upon himself to introduce me to Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. A special limited edition release of The Hobbit was gifted to me, and very quickly became one of my most favoured possessions. Being at an age where reading such a comprehensive piece of work was a difficult task, I have memories of my Dad reading it to me, bit by bit, every night I would stay over at his. This went on for months, and was the beginning of a long-standing love-affair with the world Tolkien depicted.

Naturally, once Hobbiton was created in real-life for the filming of both LotR and The Hobbit, my desire to visit grew ever stronger.

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