Just when you thought you’d seen every last bit of Australia…

In 2013, Adelaide bested the other major cities in Australia and was hailed as one of the ten best cities to visit by Lonely Planet. Does this mean people are already tired of Sydney and Melbourne? Not really, but tourists may feel like they’ve seen it all when it comes to the aforementioned cities. “Adelaide is effortlessly chic – and like a perfectly cellared red, it’s ready to be uncorked and sampled,” the Lonely Planet adds. Nowadays, tourists are looking for more adventure, something out of the ordinary. That being said, here are some of Australia’s best kept secrets:

The Bungle Bungle Ranges

The what? You read it right, the Bungle Bungle Ranges is one of the country’s best kept secrets. These intriguing rock formations were created naturally, and were 350 million years in the making. The beehive-like domes, according to Aboriginal legends, were created by the rainbow serpent as it crawled through the mountains.

Although not as popular as the Ayers Rock, the Bungle Bungle Ranges has already earned its spot in the World Heritage list. This magnificent sight is located in Purnululu National Park in Western Australia.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is recommended for nature and wildlife lovers alike, and is one of the most popular tours for travel company, DialAFlight. Located in South Australia, this island boasts natural bush land and wildlife. Nature lovers can also find native wild animals such as the southern brown bandicoot, short-beaked echidna, tammar wallaby, and Rosenberg’s sand goanna, their native kangaroo on the island.

Because Kangaroo Island is surrounded by pristine waters, tourists can enjoy swimming and other water sports such as diving, kayaking, and boating. Visitors can also try quadbiking through the 500 acre open grasslands and trails.

Wolgan Valley

If you feel like getting away from it all, Wolgan Valley is the place to be. This heritage site is surrounded by slopes and forests, making it the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Hikers and mountain climbers are sure to take advantage of the valley’s trails and forests, while romantics can enjoy a picnic for two as if they were perched on top of the world.

A Couple Of My Favourite Sports Accessories

As well as my journeys round the world, I also take part in some amateur athletics and running and in the beginning I would just turn up to the track in my normal running shoes, until I was told about sports insoles.  There are actually many benefits of sports insoles and ergonomic socks, particularly if you are involved in running or athletics of any sort.

Although running is very popular because of the lack of skill you need to take part, the improved cardiovascular health it encourages and the high number of calories it can help you burn; people often overlook the risks involved.  Consider the fact that when your foot hits the ground during a run, the force produced is equal to 5 times your entire body’s weight and this force is then transmitted through your foot, up your legs and into your lower back.

It is not hard to see how this could be a problem, particularly as this force does not pass just once through your body, but repeatedly as you continue to run.  This force eventually puts strain on your lower back and knee joints and soon transforms into pain.

Sports insoles however help to absorb the shock of the force as your feet hit the ground, andas the impact is reduced, so too is the strain.  Sports insoles also have the added bonus of arch support, which is an orthotic design.  This means it gives the effect of extra cushioning which can reduce conditions like flat foot and give you a much better and efficient posture, which also helps reduce the pain to your lower back and knees.

Ergonomic socks by Falke are also something I have started using as they provide the best connection between your feet and shoes.  They are reportedly the first compression socks for trekking that are made with merino wool, which helps keep your feet at the perfect temperature and keeps the moisture levels low.  The socks help to promote the regeneration of tissue because they force greater amounts of oxygen into your muscles and also help delay muscle fatigue and ease reflux.

There are many different sports socks available in Falke’s ergonomic range to suit different shoe types and sports.  For instance the TK stabilising compression socks were created to stabilise the ankle and prevent sprains from occurring.  The socks produce gradual compression that begins at the metatarsal bone and moves through to just above the ankle.  This helps the sock to feel like a second skin and means that your feet don’t swell, particularlywhen walking in extremely warm conditions or on particularly long hiking routes.

The Falke RU 4 invisible running socks are a combination of style to suit a modern runner and the functionality of the ergonomic socks.  The sock stays put when you pull it on thanks to a piece of rubber on the instep, a flap on the socks heel which has a plush cap on the inside and a silicone strip round the inside edge.

These two products have helped me become a better runner and helped me to enjoy the sport much more than before I used them.

Volunteering During Your Gap Year- The Pros and Cons

After finishing school, a gap year is always a promising start for an introduction into the real working world. It is a year to really clear your head, think about what you want to do- and travel! Many people do different things during this year. Some simply travel around, seeing the world. Others work for the year, to build their pocketbook. Some of the most interesting and rewarding things done though, are done through volunteering opportunities overseas.

Pros

You get to help people! This in itself is an incredible achievement to say that you know for certain that you are actually making a difference in the world. But, on top of that, you’ll be in a country that you may not have seen and experienced before. You will be exposed to a new culture, perhaps a new language, and more than likely you will learn some new skills along the way as well. All of this can help build a resume and make you more marketable in the employment industry if you’re thinking about your experience pragmatically, but on a wider level you’ll grow as a person. Also, travelling alone can be a very daunting task. If you decide to travel alone for your Gap year, you may find yourself in a country where you don’t speak the language and get into some trouble, or may cut your journey short because you don’t feel comfortable travelling alone anymore. With any groups that volunteer abroad, you are doing just that: travelling in a group and benefiting from all that comes with that.

Typically volunteer groups visit countries like Tanzania, India, Ghana, Guatemala, Thailand, South Africa, and Costa Rica, with many others as well. Most countries will have more than one place to work, depending on what you want to work with. It’s also incredibly important to work out what cause you’re most passionate about, whether it be HIV and AIDS awareness, children’s education, women’s rights, or housing issues, just to name a few there is so much you’ll be able to do to make a difference.

If none of the above appeal to you there are plenty of other schemes like teaching English, conservation projects and archaeology. Prices will vary depending on the trip.

Cons

Cost. Cost is always a factor when travelling abroad, for volunteering or not. The organizations that run the trips are not completely philanthropic, and cannot support the cost of travelling all on their own. With thousands of people travelling, that adds up to millions of pounds of cost in flights and meals and places to stay. However, many organizations have ways for you to finance your trip such as fund raising ideas or places you can go to get bursaries. They also often suggest soliciting any groups you are a part of for funding. Groups like this could include church groups, sports teams, or and community groups. These trips are meant to be about working towards something better, and so they generally try to minimize the costs that a person would accrue working on their trip.

In conclusion, you can see how wonderful and enriching the experience of volunteering abroad. It can open your eyes to the problems of the world first hand, it can give you a sense of knowing that you have changed the world! It can add something special to your resume too. It is certainly something to serious to consider for your gap year.

References

Cross Cultural Solutions http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/
Project Abroad http://www.projects-abroad.ca/

Does Not Having Enough Money Stop You From Having Adventures Round The World?

Like many people, do you dream of quitting your job and taking yourself on adventures around the world?  It seems like more people than ever are doing just that, which begs the question – how can they afford it as a trip travelling the world isn’t cheap?

This is exactly what this post is all about and as you continue reading down the page you will discover that there are some very easy and effective things that you can do to make whatever amount of money you have go further to help you explore the world, including ways to avoid spending too much money and ways to make money while you travel.

Travel To Cheaper Regions

Most people who travel around the world visit the developing regions of South America and Asia.  This is because these places are very exciting, while being very inexpensive in terms of accommodation and food.  Places such as Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat are some of the most interesting places you could ever want to see.  By choosing to visit the cheaper regions of the world you will be able to make your travel budget go further.  If you are planning a round the world trip starting from the UK, then you should consider a route that follows through Asia to Australia to South America.

Work While You Travel

If you have a very limited budget, but want to travel, you should consider supplementing this by working while you travel.  One of the easiest ways to work while you travel is by doing work online.  While you could find work in hotels or bars in places you are visiting, you will probably find that it is more profitable to do freelance work online.  There are many different ways to do this, but by far the most popular is by researching and writing content for people who will pay money for every piece you complete according to their requirements.  If you are looking for a challenge you could consider trying your hand at some confidential dissertation writing.

This is especially a great plan if you enjoy reading about different topics, whether it is stuff you already have some knowledge of or things that are completely new to you.  So as you expand your understanding of the world by taking it in by travelling, you can also take in knowledge by writing dissertations and making some decent money out of it.

Travel On A Shoestring Budget

If none of the above helps you, you could just keep expenses and costs as low as possible.  This will mean staying in the cheapest accommodation, eating the cheapest food and maybe even spending some time couch surfing where possible.  Although this is not the most glamorous or luxurious way to experience the world, it could be the way you need to do it to make sure it actually happens.  Besides, you could always have some extra savings kept somewhere safe so that on the odd occasion you can spend a relaxing night in a nice hotel or have a good meal in a fancy restaurant.

Life in the Fast Lane – Renting an Exotic Car in Central Park

If you are travelling across the USA and spending some time in New York, you may be interested in finding different ways to experience the fascinating and exciting city.  On a recent trip there, I discovered a great little thing you can do – hire a luxury car and drive around Central Park.  If you want to feel part of the wealthy crowd that inhabit New York, this is definitely something you should look into.

I mean, the whole point of renting a fancy car like the ones available at Opulent Cars, is not so much to get from a to b, but to get from a to b in style.  The real joy of driving round Central Park is that it gives you the chance to take in the sights and atmosphere of New York, while avoiding the hideous and infamous Manhattan gridlock.

Central Park has various drives that you can take your car on.  However, if you want to drive and get the best possible view of the city you need to try one of the routes in the North end of the park.  Although these routes are much more hilly and curvy, it does mean that you will be able to see the New York that you expect to see.

Some Driving Rules You Need To Observe And Follow

Obviously, there are certain rules that go with driving round the iconic Central Park that you need to follow implicitly.  You aren’t allowed to just speed round the routes without a care in the world, regardless of how much horsepower your car has or the maximum speed it can reach.  The speed limit in Central Park is 25 mph, so you need to make sure that you never drive faster than that.  As there are a large number of bikers and pedestrians at most points during the day, going any faster than 25 mph could result in an unfortunate incident.

As well as the speed limit, you need to be aware that the Central Park drives are only open to the public at certain parts of the day.  The West Drive is open on weekdays between 8 am and 10 am and is only open to vehicles with high-occupancy.  The East Drive (which runs from 72nd Street/5th Avenue through to 110th Street) is open on weekdays from 7 am to 7 pm.  While the 72nd St Cross Drive is open on weekdays between 8 am and 10 am.  Central Park is closed to any and all traffic from 7 pm on Friday through to 7 am on Monday morning.  Therefore, if you are interested in trying one or more of Central Park’s great driving routes, you need to make sure that you plan this activity for during the week, as you will be unable to do it on the weekend.

Whether you choose to try each of the different drives a different day or only choose one in particular, you will not regret it.

Cheap and Cheerful Days out in the United Kingdom

If you are looking for a way to have a fun day out without breaking the bank, it can sometimes feel like it’s difficult to find a good destination. These days, it is probably more important than ever to try and keep the purse-strings nice and tight, but that doesn’t mean you should be denied your right to a good day out!

With that in mind, we’ve gone around the country and knocked up a list of great destinations that you can enjoy without fretting over the bank balance.

The Natural History Museum in London

All National Museums in the UK are owned and operated by the state, meaning they are completely free to enter. Occasionally, limited time exhibits may require an admission fee, but you can usually see the majority of the good stuff for free.

There are a number of different national museums in the country, but the biggest and the best would have to be the beloved Natural History Museum. There is a lot to be seen here – a ginormous diplodocus skeleton straddling the entrance hall, a giant squid named Archie, and a complete blue whale skeleton. In winter you can even take to the ice rink!

Longsands Beach in Tynemouth

Another completely free attraction, Tynemouth Longsands has been a popular destination for holidaymakers since the 1700s. It certainly lives up to its name – the golden sands stretch on for more than a kilometre, reaching the nearby village of Cullercoats.

It’s still vastly popular in the summertime, so you’ll have to get down there early if you’re hoping for a good spot. Because of the length of the beach, it’s a good place to do some training; the Newcastle United squad are often spotted running up and down at dawn.

The world championship of surfing is frequently held here, and there’s even a surf school to cater to any newbies. What a fantastic place! Make sure to treat yourself to some lovely ice cream too.

Ness Botanic Gardens in Merseyside

If you are looking for the perfect place for a picnic, then you need look no further – Ness Gardens overlooks the Dee estuary with a lovely patch of rolling grass to sit on, making it absolutely divine.

However, that is (of course) not the only reason we would recommend these botanic gardens to you – you can get a good picnic spot almost anywhere if you’re willing to look hard enough! No, instead, the reason you should visit Ness Gardens is for the plants.

A day out at Ness will be an intriguing one: there are more than 10,000 different varieties of plants on show there, from rare types of flowers to unusual breeds of tree. Arguably the most amazing part of the whole place though is the wild flower meadow, where you can stroll through a simply gorgeous area just covered in flowers.

And if you’re hoping for something to top it all off, the gardens often host music and theatre events, so make sure you check out their events calendar!

48 Hours in Stockholm

With over 100 museums and 750 years of history, the Swedish capital of Stockholm is the ideal destination for a city break and has culture in abundance for visitors of all ages. From a charming old town tohistoric relics and one of the largest palaces in the world, here’s our guide to making the most of this vibrant city in just one weekend.

Gamla Stan

Sweden’s medieval city centre is one of the oldest and best preserved in Europe, and is where the city was founded in 1252. It still retains many of the features from the Middle Ages, including cellar vaults, frescoes and winding cobbled streets that give the city a fairy-tale-like appearance. It’s also the best place to start exploring the city.

As well as plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops and bars, Gamla Stan is also home to some of the city’s most notable churches and museums including the Stockholm Cathedral, Nobel Museum and the Royal Palace – one of the largest palaces in the world with more than 600 rooms! Be sure not to miss out on the parade of soldiers and daily changing of the guards.

Skansen Open-Air Museum

Boasting a wonderful location on Royal Djurgården, Skansen is one of the oldest open air museums and is the ideal setting for a family day out. Popular with locals and visitors alike, you can enjoy a fantastic view all over Stockholm here.

You’ll learn all about the history of Sweden here, with150 farms and dwellings from across the country on show here as well as charming town districts featuring glass blowing, a bakery, a golden manor house, a tinsmith’s workshop and a beautiful wooden church from the eighteenth century. There’s also a zoo here featuring moose, bears, lynxes, wolves, seals and other animals native to Scandinavia.

The Royal Palace

We’ve mentioned it already, but no luxury weekend away would be complete without a visit to the ultimate in grandeur and splendour – The Royal Palace. The official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden boasts more than 600 rooms and five museums!

Built in the popular Italian Baroque style in the eighteenth century, the palace was built to replace the Tre Kronor Castle which burned down in the late seventeenth century. Some of the highlights of your visit will be the lavish eighteenth and nineteenth interiors of the reception rooms, the Hall of State featuring Queen Kristina’s silver throne and Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities. The Royal Palace also houses the Armoury, which is well worth checking out if you want to see royal costumes and armour as well as fantastic coaches from the Royal Stable.

Junibacken

Astrid Lindgren is Sweden’s most beloved children’s writer, but this fun attraction isn’t just for the younger visitors. You’ll enter the wonderful fairy tale world of Astrid Lindgren’s famous books, and meet a whole host of friendly faces including Mardie, Emil, Karlsson on the Roof, PippiLongstocking and more. The kids will love the playful exhibit and visiting the fantastic children’s book shop.

From Cali to the Caribbean–a Music Festival Road Trip

What would you do if you had an unlimited travel budget and a passion for going to the best music festivals and meeting people? We’ve put together a fantasy festival itinerary for the summer starting in the dewy climate of Coachella festival in California, partying through the wildness of Burning Man and the hyperactive overload of the Miami EDM scene all the way through to the world’s most important reggae festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

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Coachella Festival California

Coachella nowadays is bursting with Hollywood celebrities desperate to be photographed in their best festival going looks. However, you can still catch some extremely good music at this luxuriously grassy, glossy music festival. All of the year’s hottest artists will be booked to perform and in 2013 festival goers saw acts like hip-hop heavyweights 2 Chainz, all the way to British indie veterans like Blur. Grab a pair of designer shades and head over to this festival which is just peaking in cool.

Burning Man Festival

From the totally mainstream to an obscure festival that teeters on the edge of the mainstream, Burning Man Festival is less of a music festival than a gathering of expressive arts and music performance in the desert. Don’t turn up expecting any acts booked to play, you, the festival goer are the entertainment. What you can expect is to meet a crazy collection of people who make festival going their lifestyle. The festival began in the 1980s as a collective of 20 friends hanging out on the beach and burning effigies for fun. By last year the number of people turning up to the burning man festival had grown to nearly 70,000. It is one of the last truly noncommercial big festivals in the world and you would be a fool to miss it.

Ultra Music Festival, Miami

As soon as you arrive in Florida’s beachfront party city Miami, you know that you’re probably not going to get a decent night’s sleep for many, many nights. And why would you want to? The Ultra Music Festival will play host to practically all of contemporary EDM’s most chart bursting artists. Head on down to set by Avici, Carl Cox and Steve Angelo amongst many many, more. Hyper commercial and geared to a youth audience, the Ultra Music Festival is the perfect stop on your way to the Caribbean. Next you’ll be sailing off to clear blue waters with the Royal Holiday vacation club.

Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica

Billed as the greatest reggae show on earth, this annual festival features headliners as massive as Flo Rida and Miguel plus reggae greats such as Barrington Levy, Sofia Squire, and Nature. It’s always a great party with an electric atmosphere and a great array of supporting treats like fantastic food and entertainment. It takes place on the 3rd week of July in the area of Montego Bay. Get tickets as soon as possible as it’s sure to sell out like hot cakes every year.

If you choose budget travel and accommodation, then it’s very possible to attend all of these events within a budget of about £5,000. If you have any ideas on how to budget a summer festival road trip of fun and excess, then leave your comments below. Tell us also if you’ve been to any of the festivals we’ve mentioned and give us your tips on how to make the most of your time there.

The Top Outdoor Adventure Spots for Hunting and Fishing

Are you sick of the same old fishing hole ten miles down the road? If you’ve got the time, money, and ambition, you absolutely must consider going on one of these outdoors adventures for the avid hunters and fisherman. A vacation dedicated to sport fishing will leave you with lasting memories and stories you can tell your pals for years to come. Imagine being the one to have caught a fish “this big” at the next get together.

If the wife says let’s go to Cancun, you say how about Cape Town in South Africa to watch great whites. Do something extraordinary for your next vacation. Stop following relatives to overpopulated beaches and tourist hot spots. Maybe a hunting trip isn’t for the whole family, but the natural wonders waiting to be seen at these locations astound any person.

1. South Africa Trophy Hunting

Have you ever wanted to hunt big game? Were you thinking about bears, moose, bobcats, and elk? Well, take that vision one step further to go trophy hunting in South Africa. Book a trip to South Africa to hunt over 25 various diverse species. Sound like an adventure?

Benefit from professional guides who lead you to the various spots to hunt such animals as zebra, wildebeest, and impala. When at a ranch, don’t forget to bring more than enough ammo to take down one of these majestic beasts. For whatever ammunition you need, maybe checkout Calibersnm.com.  You surely won’t encounter any of these animals in the United States.

2. Great White Shark Cage Diving in South Africa

Do you want to hang with the world’s deadliest predator? Don’t fret, there will be no box jellyfish on this adventure. If you’ve taken the earlier advice to go big game hunting in South Africa, you’d be a fool not to see the Great White sharks off the coast.

You don’t have to go cage diving with great whites. But then again, telling your buddies about how you survived with a great white inches of your body is an unbelievable tale and once in a lifetime experience.

3. Fishing in a Malaysian Rainforest

Pack your fishing gear, prepare for hot and humid weather, and book a flight to Malaysia. Visit the Royal Belum Forest Reserves for an unusual fishing adventure. If you’re a seasoned or novice fly fisherman, this trip will challenge you physically and mentally. You’ll be surrounded by natural jungle in either Kenyir Jungle or Wild Temenggor.

You can go day fishing in Wild Temenggor in this rainforest, which boasts the 2nd largest body of fresh water. Also, the Keyir Jungle boasts the largest freshwater body reserve in South East Asia where you can fish in the flooded rainforest in various remote locations for a little peace and quiet in the jungle.

4. Unique Fishing in Australia

Australia boasts a coastline that is known for some exciting sport fishing. Professional fisherman from all over the world travel to this continent for a chance to catch giant trevally, sharks, barramundi, or any one of the 250 recorded species in these waters.

If you’re searching for a quiet and untouched waters away from most of the tourist fisherman, then maybe you should travel north of Sydney to South West Rocks in New South Wales. This undisturbed and quaint fishing village will finally provide the solitude you treasure while fishing.

5. Alligator Hunting in Louisiana

If you’ve grown tired of duck hunting or whitetail hunting, then maybe a trip south to where the Mississippi River meets Atchafalaya and Red Rivers might give you the needed thrill to spice your life. Rather than go traveling to a new city, hunt alligators, wild hogs, doves, and if you’re still in the mood, ducks.

You won’t experience anything quite as unique as hunting alligators. These fierce reptiles will have you on your toes the entire trip. They aren’t as large or scary as a saltwater crocodile, but they are deadly.

Image Source – come-fishing-australia.com

The Most Interesting Places To Visit In Amsterdam

Thanks to the global economy looking a little more inviting recently, thousands of UK residents are considering taking a holiday over the next couple of months, and because of the arctic conditions some countries are experiencing at the moment, sticking close to home and settling for a top notch European break could be the best option available. Some may decide on slightly warmer places like Italy and Spain, but the vast majority are likely to go for city destinations, and there’s none better than the Dutch city of Amsterdam.

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I’ve personally visited Amsterdam on a number of occasions, so I know first hand how amazing a trip here can be. The city is split wide open by one of the most impressive canal systems in the world, and as it’s home to many museums displaying works from great artists like Vincent Van Gogh, there really is something for everyone. Over the next couple of paragraphs, I’m going to highlight some of the most interesting tourist attractions that are certain to leave you wanting to come back here time and time again. Have a quick read through and see if they sound appealing.

The Anne Frank House

You’ll come across this place during any canal boat trip you may be inclined to take part in (something I highly recommend). As houses go, this is a pretty small building set close to the De Pijp district, one of the most beautiful areas of the entire city. You might want to do some research into this attraction if you haven’t already got a decent understanding on what went on there because – although your guides are likely to point it out – there won’t be much time for telling the whole story. Alternatively, perhaps you might like to pay for a tour of the building.

The Van Gogh Museum

As I mentioned previously, Amsterdam is home to some of the world’s most impressive art museums, and this one is certainly no exception. Inside you’ll find around 3,000 of Van Gogh’s most alluring pieces displayed in one of the largest single-artist galleries I’ve personally ever seen. We’ve all seen the sunflowers before and a few other famous paintings, but you’ll be surprised by the sheer amount of others available to view. Visiting this place definitely made me look at Van Gogh in a completely new light.

National Maritime Museum

The port of Amsterdam was once on one of Europes most essential trading routes, so it should be pretty unsurprising to learn there’s actually a rather large museum dedicated to this period in history. Don’t get me wrong, the port still appears to be very busy today, but once you’re inside the museum, and you start to learn about how it once was, you’re certain to be left in awe. Well over 2,000 ships would dock at Amsterdam each day a few hundred years ago, which is pretty extraordinary when you think about it.

So, now you know about some of the most interesting places to visit in Amsterdam, what’s stopping you from making a booking through a reputable website like Venere.com and planning your trip? I can state without concern that Dutch people are both warm and inviting to tourists, so it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll have an amazing time embedded within one of the most laid back nations of the planet. Also, you might get to try some of their speciality brownies. Just make sure you don’t eat too many, because they’re known to have quite an impact.

Have fun people!