Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Katoomba and the Blue Mountains

By Jenny Brewer

Famous for the Three Sisters, Katoomba Scenic Railway and breathtaking scenery, the Blue Mountains National Park needs to be visited at least once in a lifetime. It is a fantastic option for the driving holiday for so many reasons.

Accessible via Katoomba and only two hours from the harbour city of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a paradise for those yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life. With dense rainforest, waterfalls, deep gorges and world class bushwalking trails, it is a haven for the seasoned traveller, with great accessibility by road and plenty of accommodation to suit all tastes.

Springtime is one of the best times to visit Katoomba and the surrounding mountains as the dazzling colours and beauty are a photographers delight. The temperatures are on average a lot lower than Sydney, but most of the year the climate is moderate in the mid teens. Make sure you come prepared with warm clothing especially on the long walks as mountain weather can change quickly.

There are plenty of camping grounds available, one of the most popular is the Euroka campground at Glenbrook. Only 4km from the entrance gate, the sites have excellent amenities and kangaroos at your doorstep.

Located on over one million hectares of pristine wilderness, the Blue Mountains comprise of eight conservation reserves, such as the Gardens of Stone and the famous Jenolan Caves. There is something here for everyone. The massive cliffs and canyons are an adventurers paradise, with abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking some of the popular sports available.

For those who do not wish to risk life and limb on their holiday, there are plenty of alternatives. Birdwatchers will be close to heaven as the canopy is filled with the sounds of birdlife, as well as native animals. However, the extensive range of trails and walks available are what draw people year after year, and there really are walks for every type of fitness level. Young and old, fit and.not so fit.

So, where do you start? Firstly, you need to be prepared with a good map of the area, sturdy walking shoes and plenty of water. Echo Point is one of the most famous lookouts to see the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley. The Princes Rock Walk only takes half an hour to reach one of the most scenic lookouts over Kings Tableland. This is great for the whole family. Spectacular Kanangra Falls is located, not surprisingly, in the Kanangra Boyd National Park. With its reputation as being one of the best in Australia make sure you put this on your 'must see' list.

One popular attraction is Katoomba Falls. Pack a picnic lunch, and be prepared for paradise as you venture through the rainforest paths into a beautiful gully set off by the falls. With rock pools and majestic trees you might want to set some time aside here. Another famous attraction is the Katoomba Scenic Railway, which is the steepest railway in the world, so for firsts you will have to get on board and hang on tight!

Needing a challenge? There are walks for you in the Grand Canyon and Sassafras Gully, with wilderness trails that take you to incredible rainforest and breathtaking scenery. Why not try the Wollemi National Park which feature magnificent rock formations and the famous glow worm tunnels. The Grand Canyon Track is another popular walk, which stretches for 5kms deep into the Canyon.

Govetts Leap is a famous trail which takes you to the stunning views from Evans Lookout. Its great for the adventurous, but you may have to think twice if you are not too keen on heights. There are also many walks to choose from around Hazelbrook, most popular being the Valley of the Waters walk which basically follows the path of the falls down the valley.

Most visitors just want to see the raw beauty of the Blue Mountains, and that is why this magnificent wonder is internationally popular. No matter what type of traveller you are, it will take your breath away.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Travel Tips for Your Exciting Trips

By Al Falaq Arsendatama

The world is full of wonderful places and you want to visit all. Choosing a destination is a challenging job, especially if you are going with friends or kids having different interests. Here are some travel tips and destination tips to choose a destination keeping in mind about your companion/s budget and likings.

International travel tips for choosing destination

With extensive search, you can find a destination or a trip that caters to multiple interests. Take assistance of your travel agent to provide you a list of destinations that offer multiple activities. Apart from offering you a wide range of destination choices travel agents can help you with important travel tips and destination tips to enjoy your vacation.

Most destinations can be categorized into three categories: Romantic, Adventurous and Historical. A romantic destination can be described as one with a sea beach, natural beauty and or one with fun parks. These are suitable for people of all age groups. A historic destination is one that is related to history and contains historical buildings and monuments. Africa and Asia offer many historical places with great monuments.

Mountains, rivers and jungles are most preferred adventurous destinations. African safari attracts the daredevils from all over the world. Hiking, rock climbing, jungle walks; rallying in natural parks with tiger and lion safaris are popular adventure destinations. You can select the destination of your choice depending on your budget and preference of your companions.

Toddlers travel tips for choosing destinations

Historical trips are very useful for kids as they get a chance to learn and understand their heritage. A historical trip can become memorable with a good guide and one who has thorough knowledge of the monuments. Alternatively, you can take them to jungle safaris and fun resorts for some action based learning.

Travel Tips for Infants

Parents are suggested not to plan adventurous trips with their infants. These trips are not good for infants because of the risk involved. Moreover, not enough medical utilities are available at adventurous destinations. At these destinations, you may find problems in locating medicines, medical help and even small items such as nappy pads. Parents with infants are suggested to restrict themselves to romantic or historical destinations. When you are planning a trip with infants, you have to be careful regarding the weather and the possibilities of any contagious diseases.

Pet travel tips

Some times you may want to take your favorite pet with you. However, there are restrictions set by some countries against carrying pets. Moreover, pets are not adaptable to changing climates. Therefore, it is advisable to hand over your pet to some friends or to a vet nary service provider, who can look after them. If at all, you plan to take your pet with you, you have ensure that her travel is as per the laws and you carry necessary document s and permissions to avoid last minute hassles.

Cruise tips for travel

Cruise trips are becoming popular day by day. Cruise agents can give many cruise tips for honeymoon goers or other people seeking fun-filled vacations far from the maddening crowd. You can check with your travel agent for a suitable cruise package according your budget, preference and schedule.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Beach Vacation in Northern California

By Groshan Fabiola

If you are looking for a great place to enjoy the beach with your family, you should consider Northern California because it is the perfect beach vacation destination. It offers beautiful views, good fishing, and good weather. If you are looking for the perfect beach for your family there are a few things to consider. While the beach you are looking for does not have to be private, a beach that is not too crowded is certainly better as kids are not really blessed with lots of patience and a high tolerance for discomfort. Make sure also that the beach you are intending to visit is one appropriate for kids.

When you have discovered the right beach, the next thing to search for is the right accommodation. Do you wish to stay on a hotel or a resort? Perhaps you would wish to rent a cottage instead of a room. Think about how much budget you have for your accommodation as well.

After you have determined where to live, the last thing to do is scout the area and try finding out what types of activities and events can you expect to engage in and which will provide lots of fun not only for you and your partner but your kids as well.

In addition, make sure that you bring clothes that are appropriate for the weather in your destination. Pack as lightly as you can but do not skimp on necessities. Bring floating devices with you to reduce the chances of harm befalling on any of your kids. Skincare products are also important especially if you intend to hit the beach in the heat of summer. Make sure that you bring shades and lots of sun block.

Make sure you do not make any concrete plans until you have successfully obtained a vacation leave or anything similar to it from your boss. Ask favors from neighbors or friends to keep an eye on your mail and your house. This will take your mind off troubles at home and allow you to have more fun with your family.

Also, do not allow your kids to hit the road with an empty stomach as this will only make them more irritable than usual. Make pit stops frequently to allow your kids to stretch their legs and visit the rest room regularly. Entertain your kids with toys, activities, games, and stories during the ride to keep them from noticing the amount of time they’re spending cooped inside a vehicle.

When you get there, have your kids freshen up and rest a bit before hitting the beach. Make sure that your kids are all properly attired and their skins properly protected from harmful UV rays. Warn them continuously about the dangers of swimming too far and without adult supervision. Nevertheless, don’t allow your kids to leave unaccompanied and especially if the weather channel hints about an unfavorable climate.

You can also allow them to have snacks while swimming as this will make their vacations twice as better. To make things more interesting and pleasant for your kids, you can give them basic surfing and diving lessons and accompany them when trying out different water sports and activities.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Best Beach Vacations In The Bahamas

By Jolana

Planning a family vacation and falling short of ideas? Well, in today’s hectic work schedule, what’s more relaxing than spending time at the beach, and enjoying all that it has to offer. The Bahamas is an archipelago comprising 2,500 cays and 700 islands. The islands have a sub-tropical climate, extremely warm and friendly people, and the clearest waters in the entire Caribbean region – according to the astronauts. It isn’t surprising that tourism is the island’s largest industry. It will be fun for you learn about the island’s history before actually visiting it, simply to know about its diverse characters in its past. You will find tales of the notorious pirates Calico Jack and Blackbeard, and Loyalists who escaped the American Revolution to reconstruct their lives on the then known British soil, it’s very interesting.

The Bahamas offers everything that one can think of for a wonderful vacation with loved ones. Be it bathing in the sun-bathed beaches that are awash with natural splendor, or walking hand-in-hand along the colorful streets like true love birds, or getting wild over the adventures and water sports; all of it is at your service in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas has some of the most striking beaches in the world and if you are looking for the perfect beach, you might just find it here. Most beaches are pristine and extraordinarily white, with sand so fine it is soft to touch. Harbour Island, off the coast of Eleuthera has unique rose-colored sand beaches. Beaches in the Bahamas are usually either an activity beach or a deserted beach. On an activity beach, of which Cable Beach in Nassau is the prime example, you'll find tons of things to do; Water-skiing, windsurfing, diving, fishing, sailing, parasailing, seaside restaurants, beach bars, local entertainment. On the other hand, there are miles of isolated: winding stretches of untouched sand, warmed by the sun.

The Bahamas is well known for some very popular resorts. Home to The Atlantis Bahamas Resort, this is one of the largest hotel complexes in the world, with tons of shops and activities. Both children and adults will enjoy the 5.5-hectare (14-acre) sea world with water slides, a lagoon for water sports, white sandy beaches, and underground grottoes plus an underwater viewing tunnel and the cascading waterfalls.

Another top resort is the Radisson Cable Beach and Golf Resort is set on 1,000 feet of Nassau’s most beautiful beach, the resort includes 7 acres of tropical waterscapes, indoor and outdoor restaurants offering diverse dining options from the casual poolside Dolphin Beach Grill to the gourmet cuisine of Amici’s.

The Bahamas are renowned for offering a multitude of vacation experiences to its visitors, whether you wish to spend holidays in a family-friendly resort for a tropical escape, or want to go live it up at a casino vacation in Nassau, or enjoy the adventurous water sports in the clean and clear tropical Bahamas climate, all of these are available at the Bahamas. Besides its most famous sun-bathing in spectacular beachscapes, the island also offers great championship outdoor sports and golf courses, along with swimming with dolphins and diving, duty-free shopping, and great cuisine.

So are you ready to book your vacation? The Bahamas with its turquoise waters awash with powder-white beaches stretched over miles, is waiting for you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Croatia's Islands - The Ten Best Croatian Islands To Visit

By Jeanne Oliver

With 1185 islands to choose from, Croatia's Adriatic coast truly offers an embarrassment of riches. Whether your interest is lounging lizard-like in the sun, exploring ancient villages, hiking through lavender fields or partying until dawn, there's an island in Croatia for you. And you don't need your own yacht to see them! All of the following islands are easily reachable by regular ferries run by Jadrolinija, Croatia's largest ferry company. Let's start at the southern tip of Croatia and work our way northward.

Mljet Island
A good part of Mljet Island is pristine national park including two inland seawater lakes that present the very picture of tranquility. You can bike around the lakes, paddle or swim them or take a hike through the interior. Most people visit on a day trip from Dubrovnik, but there's no reason you can't stay overnight. There's only one hotel but a good amount of private accommodation.

Korcula Island
Large and forested, Korcula offers endless possibilities for exploration. Start in the Old Town, crowded onto a little peninsula and then explore some quiet islets around the main island via excursion boat. To get away from it all, stay in one of the interior villages.

Hvar Island
Unquestionably the trendiest of Croatian islands, it seems that everybody wants to head to Hvar. The old town is impossibly romantic, the harbor is the most delightful in the Adriatic and the nightlife. . .Suffice it to say that you'll find everything from chic cocktail bars to down 'n' dirty backpacker joints (although much more of the former). During the day, take a boat to the naturist islands that beckon offshore or traipse through the lavender fields that dot the interior.

Brac Island
The most accessible island from the Dalmatian coast, Brac is a favorite getaway for Croatian mainlanders. Cheaper and somewhat less crowded with foreigners, Brac Island's highlight is the unusual Zlatni Rat beach, a staple of Croatia's tourist brochures. Supetar is the main entry point and boasts an appealing "fishing port" ambiance.

Vis Island
Here is that special gem that is still relatively undiscovered, mostly because Vis Island is a long ferry ride from the coast. But it's so worth it. Neither hip nor chic (yet), Vis has the unspoiled nature, the swimming and diving possibilities plus two great villages. Vis Town has early Greek and Roman remnants and Komiza is the kind of charming fishing village that is rapidly disappearing from the Mediterranean. Think St Tropez about, oh, 100 years ago.

Dugi Otok
Also not on the tourist circuit, Dugi Otok is long and relatively flat compared to the other islands. Still, there's good swimming and a calm and peaceful atmosphere. It's main highlight is the Telascica Bay nature park with a saltwater lake and miles of rugged coastline.

Pag Island
All Croatians sigh over Pag Island as it produces the country's finest cheese, pungent and aromatic. Dry and flat, Pag Island still boasts a kind of offbeat beauty. The main town is Pag Town, with its straight, stone streets but party people will want to head to Novalja on the northern end of the island. At the first thought of summer, Novalja's main beach is transformed into a non-stop outdoor party with DJs, cocktail bars, foam nights and a regular circuit of theme events.

Cres & Losinj Islands
These two long thin islands are separated only by a narrow canal. Losinj in the south is much more developed for tourism with a range of hotels and a magnificent bay that is a center for windsurfing. Cres is much wilder and mostly devoted to fishing and sheep raising. Accommodation is somewhat limited in terms of both comforts and quantity but it's easy to stay in Losinj and visit Cres.

Rab Island
This is a pretty island near the northern coast with scenic Rab Town as its center. Tourism is very developed here largely because of the splendid sandy beaches in Lopar. Sandy beaches are a rarity in Croatia! This is the place for an easy, relaxing beach holiday.

Krk Island
With an airport receiving international flights right on the island, Krk is one of the easiest islands to reach. Desolate it isn't but you'll find a wide choice of places to stay on this large island. Visit the historic center, walled Krk Town but also Baska with its long stretch of pebbly beach and the hilltop village of Vrbnik.

Jeanne Oliver manages www.croatiatraveller.com, on online source of information for travel to Croatia.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag

By Steve Dolan

I have very fond childhood memories of adventuring out into nature with my sleeping bag. For me nature was really only a tent in the backyard, or perhaps visiting a friend for a sleepover, but there was something about using a sleeping bag that just made it seem so much more exciting. I didn't have anything fancy as a sleeping bag - just a rectangular, navy blue sack that was really only warm enough for hot summer nights or sleeping indoors. Still it made the experience so much more special.

Technology has well and truly caught up with the simple sleeping bag, delivering a variety of choice that can leave you feeling completely confused when you go to buy one. There are strange shapes designed to keep you warm in the coldest of conditions, specialized fibers that can squeeze down to almost nothing for carrying in a pack, and for kids there are a multitude of cool character designs to choose from.

How Do I Choose a Sleeping Bag?

If you plan to do some camping, then you need to buy a sleeping bag. Perhaps you don't want one with a cartoon character on it, but you do need one that will keep you warm if it's cold and put a barrier between you and the night critters when it's a bit warmer. The first thing you need to do is decide what sort of conditions you plan to be camping in. Is it likely to be very cold? Or do you mostly camp in summer?

Having a basic idea of the temperatures you expect to camp in helps make it easier to narrow down your sleeping bag choices. You don't need a sleeping bag that's appropriate for sub zero temperatures if you only camp in summer, for example. And if you do plan to camp in freezing cold conditions, you might be better off with a shaped bag that fits close to your body and traps the warmth, rather than a traditional rectangular bag.

Sleeping Bag Materials

Sleeping bags are made from a variety of materials and contain different sorts of fill, and that's what makes each one different. So check out the recommended temperatures for each bag, because that will give you a much better idea of whether or not it's right for your camping conditions. The fill also makes a difference to how heavy the bag is to carry, and how much you can compress it.

It's important to know whether you're likely to drive to most of your campsites, or whether you will be carrying your sleeping bag in your pack. This will help to narrow down your choices, as size and weight are a lot more important if you're going to be carrying the bag for long distances on your back.

Spend some time looking around before you make your final choice. Sporting goods and outdoor stores are usually the best places to see a wide variety of sleeping designs, styles and brands. Don't be afraid to ask questions, because many of the staff at these types of stores are likely to be campers themselves, and can give you recommendations based on their own experiences.

It can also be a good idea to shop online for sleeping bags. Most stores can only carry a limited range of stock, whereas online you can see every single type of sleeping bag imaginable. Go to manufacturer sites for technical information, and also check out a few customer review sites to see what other people have to say about any sleeping bags you're thinking of buying.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Javea - A Coastal Paradise

By Gabriel J. Adams

Xàbia, also known as Jávea, is a coastal town overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Marina Alta, a comarca in Alicante, Spain. The town itself is divided into three parts; the Old Quarter, the port and the village that is almost 3 km inland. Declared one of the healthiest climates in the world by the World Health Organization, Jávea is protected by the cool harsh winds of the winter from the north by the mountain of Montgó. The temperatures stay pleasant enough even during the summer, averaging 32°c in the warmest month of August which is also one of the most active months in Jávea in terms of tourist activity.

Fast becoming a popular tourist resort, the town of Jávea has developed into a hot property market for retirement villas and land in general. The population of around 28,500 swells to over 100,000 when the tourists pour in. For the most part through, the inland groves of Jávea are undisturbed by the tourist activities, they still produce tons of citrus oranges every year and the sight remains awesome when the branches are laden in season.

From a tourist point of view, the town is accessible through roads while the nearest train station at Gata de Gorgos is 10km inland. Connected to Alicante and Valencia through bus service as well, Jávea is at an hours drive from the two airports. In addition, the coach service caters daily to travelers headed to and from Madrid.

Once a town fortified to ward off pirates and marauders, the ‘old quarter’ of Jávea boasts the 14th Century Church of Sant Bartolomé that is dated a further 300 years back through some evidence. The church was declared a National Historic and Arts Monument for its historical value and is a popular tourist attraction now. While the ruins of the 15th Century Fontana Castle in the Arenal region have been replaced by apartment buildings, the cannons of the British destroyed fortification are still displayed in front of the Church of Sant Bartolomé. The Museo Historico y Etnografico Municipal J.B. Soler Blasco Javea, an etnographical museum, and the Agustinas Descalzas are also located in the old quarter, along with a modern market that, even with the span of time, retains the beauty of the olden days.

The port is an obvious tourist favorite with a gravel beach, marina and a wide variety of restaurants to keep holiday makers adequately entertained. As with most areas in Jávea, there is a historical significance to everything. The port, dating back to the 15th century, played its extraordinary role in raisins export till the trade collapsed by the end of the 19th century. An attraction in the port area is the church of Nuestra Señora del Loreto which shows off the town’s fishing culture to the hilt in its build. This area compliments the sandy beach of Arenal which is the party centre for the town. The various sand artists work away as while the tourists pour in, making it into a bustling place with bars, beach parties and long nights of fun and activity.

If all this isn’t enough to set Jávea out as a town to visit, the 2,150 hectares of Montgó National Park add another mix of history and modern lifestyle to the area. The archeological remains dating several thousand years back, and the various pagan and Christian and cultural fiestas held in June, July and September make sure the time spent in this beautiful resort town worth your while.