South America has, in my mind, always been a world separated by more than just the Atlantic Ocean. Stories from friends who have ventured to the ancient Incan ruins or the vast ecosystem that makes up the Amazon, have always seemed like tales and fantasies, Continue reading
The beauty of Rome is one that can be viewed internally, as well as externally. The more you understand about Continue reading
Rome: the capital city where its country’s history vibrates through every crack in the pavements, and every Continue reading
Turquoise waters, white sugary sands, razor-sharp volcanic peaks and velvety rainforests; the islands of the South Pacific epitomise what many would consider ‘paradise’. You may never have visited these oceanic Edens, however, you will almost definitely have found yourself longing for such surroundings whilst scrolling through your Instagram feed, or leafing through a travel magazine on the train. From the Solomon Islands, east of Papua New Guinea, all the way to French Polynesia, where 118 islands scatter an area of 2000 sq. km, each palm-pricked archipelago is home to a unique culture, history and landscape, which for centuries has made them the stuff of oceanic legend, luring explorers, dreamers and adventurers to their exotic shores.
Today they are a sought-after holiday destination for everyone from honeymooners to outdoor enthusiasts. Granted, they aren’t among the most accessible destinations on earth — and they certainly aren’t cheap so if you’re living off a student loan perhaps bump a visit to your bucket list — but for those who live on the continent, or those who are looking for the romantic getaway of a lifetime, or are perhaps even backpacking Oz, they are a little slice of tropical luxury worth not passing up.
So you’re flights are booked, and you’re mulling over your itinerary, daydreaming about basking in a hammock strung between two creaking palms with a Mai Tai in hand, or embarking on a trek into the shadowy depths of the jungle to a remote village, well, one thing that absolutely must make the list is snorkelling. The South Pacific islands are impossibly photogenic above water, but below lurks a hidden subterranean wonderland to easily rival the scenery above. Here are four of the top places to take the plunge into an underwater paradise:
Moorea, French Polynesia
Part of French Polynesia’s Society Islands, Moorea is a geographical marvel boasting eight jungle-carpeted peaks flanked by shimmering aquamarine waters. Beneath the crystal clear surface lie kaleidoscopic coral reefs weaving with everything from butterfly fish to black-tip reef sharks.
WHERE TO SNORKEL? Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort is set on the edge of a lagoon and features 112 bungalows built over the water. Okay, so it’s a bit of a budget-shatterer, but if you are looking for somewhere that bit more luxurious (honeymooners maybe?) then this is a top choice and boasts some of the best snorkelling on the island.
For smaller budgets, a snorkelling tour will take you to some of the island’s most exquisite snorkelling sites, including Moorea Lagoon, on a five-hour cruise. Continue reading
If, like me, you are from a modest-sized country where a six-hour drive to Scotland seems quite the ordeal, you will agree that the coastal town of Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia is the definition of ‘off the beaten track’. Broome is approximately a two and a half hour flight from its closest major cities, Perth and Darwin, and a staggering eight hour plane journey from Australia’s east coast. In this time, most European’s could have crossed oceans and reached whole other continents, never mind stayed within the same country. Yet, as with many secluded destinations, a visit to Broome is worth the lengthy journey.
The town’s history is a fascinating one steeped in the harvesting of oysters — a cultivation known as ‘pearling’. The industry is fruitful, however, prior to modern-day technological advancements, it was a dangerous job and one that was initially forced upon Aboriginal slaves who would dive hundreds of metres to the sea bed in search of the precious gems. When slavery was abolished, pearling in Broome was an occupation assumed by Asian workers who had arrived on Australia’s shores looking for a new and prosperous life. Nowadays, the industry has replaced these life-threatening dives with machinery, and Broome remains one of the primary centres for pearling in Australia.
This rich history, combined with breathtaking coastal scenery, makes Broome a thriving tourist destination despite its remote location. The town is hailed for being the gateway to the Kimberley wilderness, however, there is as much to see in Broome itself as there is in its surrounding area. The ambience in the town is relaxed and laid-back; the climate warm and tropical; the sights unique and varied. Its landscapes are also captivating; Broome is where the burnt orange of the outback meets the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean, and its offerings to visitors are as valuable as the pearls hauled from its coastal depths. Continue reading