By the time you read this, I’ll be making the long trek down to Queensland, Australia for an exciting trip around the region. For those who have been following us for a while now, you would probably know that Australia is somewhere special for me. My first real trip abroad was to Australia and that was almost 15 years ago when I was a wide-eyed teenager backpacking with a bunch of girlfriends. We had the time of our lives seeing new sights, meeting people at youth hostels, exploring national parks, and having an adventure of a lifetime. It got me hooked, seriously hooked to seeing the world. Since then, I’ve traipsed around the world and returned to Australia three times, but I’ve never forgotten that first trip when I fell in love with travel.
I’ll also be taking the opportunity to hop further south to New Zealand, a country that I’ve heard so much about but still haven’t been, and also do a short stop in Singapore for a TV interview. Here’s a look at where I’m going and what I’ll be up to. Come say hi if you’re in the area!
For the next two weeks, I’ll be traveling solo with Queensland Tourism and the main aim of my trip is to uncover some of the less visited parts of Queensland. In line with our philosophy here at WildJunket, I hope to travel beyond the beaten path and explore the unconventional sides of the region. Outback Queensland is a great place to do just that and I’m excited to be spending most of my time hiking, kayaking and bushwalking in and around Boodjamulla( Lawn Hill) Gorge National Park.
To explore the region, I’ll be flying into Mount Isa, the gateway to outback Queensland. As the administrative center of Queensland’s north-western region, Mount Isa is mining town that was first founded because of the vast mineral deposits found in the area. As you would imagine, all of its attractions lie underground which I’ll be exploring on an underground tour with Outback at Isa. I’m hoping to have time to visit the National Trust Tent House and the World War II-era Mount Isa Underground Hospital, an historical building that’s on the Queensland Heritage Registry.
From there, I’m heading out on a four-day camping trip to the spectacular Boodjamulla( Lawn Hill) Gorge National Park and Miyumba (Riversleigh) World Heritage Fossil Fields with Adels Grove Camping Park as my base. Adels Grove and the surrounding area is an oasis attracting diverse wildlife—from freshwater fish and turles to black-headed Python and crocodiles. With a naturalist/guide leading the way, I’ll be hiking within the Lawn Hill National Park, learning about fossils in the Riversleigh area and canoeing to the Indarri Falls. The excursions will hopefully give me a glimpse of the local history, geology, flora and fauna.
Photo credits: Adels Grove
Local Living on the Gold Coast
Following that, I’ll be spending a week at Peppers Broadbeach, a sophisticated hotel with panoramic views to the Pacific Ocean and Gold Coast hinterland. It’s my first time on the Gold Coast and apparently there’ll be plenty of surprises awaiting. I still don’t know what I’ll be doing there but I’m hoping to try skydiving and some other exciting activities there and at the same time, relax abit and experience how it is to live like a local on the Gold Coast.
During the trip, I’ll be sharing live updates on our social channels, internet-permitting. You can follow my journey on Twitter @WildJunket and @Queensland or on our Facebook page using the hashtag #thisisqueensland and #seeAustralia.
New Zealand:From North to South
The second half of my trip takes me to New Zealand with my main partner, Canadian small-group adventure tour operator G Adventures, in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand. I’ll be traveling on the 21-day Best of New Zealand (ONNS) trip starting on 18th May in Auckland. Sadly I will only have one evening in Auckland but definitely hope to meet up with a few friends and readers there. Let me know if you are in town and we can arrange an informal meet-up!
From Auckland, we’ll be heading straight to Raglan to visit a special conservation farm to learn about their methods before sea kayaking to a harbor for a picnic lunch. Next we’ll spend a few days in Rotorua, go caving in Waitomo, visit a Maori village and experience a traditional ‘hangi’ feast. At Lake Taupo, we’ll be conquering the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand’s top-rated one-day trek. This is definitely the activity that I’m most looking forward to and have high expectations for it, hopefully the weather will be kind to us. After that, we’ll continue on to the nation’s capital Wellington and catch a ferry over to the South Island where we’ll hike, paddle and explore the Abel Tasman National Park’s golden beaches and waterways.
Other highlights of the trip will probably be heli-hiking on Franz Josef Glacier as well as skydiving and jetboating in New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. The kayaking trip in Doubtful Sound and bike ride in Central Otago also sound perfect for me. This trip’s definitely shaping into a power-packed journey and I’m all psyched up for this adventure.
We’ll be doing a Twitter chat on New Zealand to talk about all things Kiwi and please join us if you’ve got any tips to share or are interested in visiting New Zealand - the details will be confirmed shortly.
Photo credits: Benjamin Jones
A Few Minutes of Fame in Singapore
In between flying back from New Zealand to Spain, I’ve scheduled a short stopover in my hometown Singapore for a TV appearance on Channel News Asia’s morning show. I’m thrilled to have the honor of appearing on the morning show’s travel segment but at the same time I’m nervous about the idea. Nonetheless I’ll be talking about social travel, something I’m absolutely familiar with. You’ll see me live on 6th June – time to be confirmed. Those who don’t have the channel at home can watch it live on its website.
And that concludes an entire month of travel. Can’t wait to share with you all my experiences along the way. Thanks again for supporting me and following my journeys!
Disclosure: This trip was made possible by the sponsors mentioned above but as always, all opinions expressed remain my own.