Travel to South Korea: Three Good Reasons

travel to south korea, hiking
The hiking near Busan – and the mountainous terrain – was a surprise. Great trails!

I decided to travel to South Korea not because of a travel agent’s advice or a guidebook. Nope – an enthusiastic pitch from a waiter at a local Korean restaurant sealed the deal.

My wife and I were eating our way through bi bim bap and banchan when the waiter asked if we’d ever been to South Korea. We hadn’t, so he launched into his spiel. We’d been in many times, so he knew us well enough to have a grasp (mostly!) on things we like.

Here what he said:

Hiking
You might not think of travel to South Korea if you’re a hiker. I know I didn’t. But South Koreans love hiking, and they have trails everywhere. Even in a sprawling ubercity like Busan, you’re a subway ride from more trails than you can hike in a single day. We saw ancient rock walls made to repel Chinese invaders, temples and 360-degree views of a city of staggering size.

travel to South Korea
Grill it yourself South Korean style.

The hiking in Jeju, an island off the south coast, was also a revelation. You can hike to the top of a volcano, and you’ll find many other short hikes no matter where you go. There’s even some underground hiking: The Manjanggul lava tube is also very cool, if overdeveloped. The scope of the cave – a UNESCO World Heritage site – still blew me away, so I’ll forgive the over-paving. And it makes me wonder what other lava tubes lurk out there for those with time, patience and a sense of adventure.

Food
It makes sense: If you like Korean food, travel to South Korea for the real thing. Here’s what I learned: The Korean food is tasty and varied, but the Korean spins on American foods and desserts fall flat.

travel to South Korea
Inside Spa Land, the most relaxing place on earth. (Courtesy of visitkorea.or.kr)

Even on our Asiana Airlines flight, the food was shockingly good -- by a long shot the freshest, healthiest, best-tasting airline food ever. Korean Airlines has a fare special to Seoul (and other Asian cities), and I’ve heard its in-flight meals are great, too.

Once on the ground, we tried the usual staples like bulgogi. But was also ate abalone that had been alive moments before (tastes like ear cartilage to me) and boiled silkworm larvae. Definitely get into into the street food – one of my favorites was some sort of fried dough with what appeared to be black bean paste.

As for desserts, many will look pretty. But they’ll be dry and bland. Just as a novelty, be sure to try something from a South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s sure to confuse you.

Relaxation
Our friendly waiter insists that spas (aka jim jil bang are a top reason to travel to South Korea. You know what? We agree. There’s a place in Busan called Spa Land that is now one of my favorite places on the planet. It’s a massive glass-and-steel structure packing just about every sort of sauna you’ve ever imagined into several floors.

travel to South Korea
A gratuitous photo of cute South Korean dogs. Just because.

It cost us about $15 for a four-hour stay. I could go on a lot longer about South Korean spas – but my earlier blog post will give you an idea of what to expect.

Karaoke (I didn’t consider this a good reason …)
OK, our waiter friend struck out on this one. Sure, I was in a metal band for nearly a decade. But as a guitarist, not a singer. So you won’t find me singing karaoke -- and I won’t travel to South Korea to hit the karaoke bars.

That said, if karaoke is your thing, you’ll find no shortage of places to indulge yourself. And if you’re Caucasian in appearance, you’ll probably cause a stir and gain some admirers. So go have fun!

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Electrolyte Drinks – Summer Exercise Help

electrolyte drinks
I don’t roll without electrolyte drinks.

During summer, I go through electrolyte drinks at an unbelievable rate – I once joked that nobody’s gone through white powdery substances so fast since Van Halen toured with The Scorpions. But seriously, electrolyte drinks let me exercise and not feel miserable the rest of the day. I had to put some thought into electrolyte drinks when my old standby added Stevia to it’s formula. I thought I’d share what I’ve found out lately for anyone who could use some help to stay hydrated during summer exercise.

First of all, what is an electrolyte drink? It’s a drink that replenishes what you sweat out. As far as I can tell, the most important of that "stuff" are sodium and potassium (Note: I am not a scientist or physician – just a guy who has exercised in heat for a long-ass time). Too little of either, and you’re the mayor of Dehydration City and the emperor of Cramp Town. There are many other electrolyte compounds, but salt and potassium seem most important.

Since I gave Cytomax the boot, I’ve tried a few other electrolyte drink mixes and some electrolyte tablets. Here’s what I’ve found out:

Carborocket 333 Half Evil Endurance Fuel

This is one of the hardest-hitting electrolyte drinks I’ve ever seen. Mixed at full-strength, Half Evil packs a big calorie punch along with a big dose of electrolytes. At 333 calories per serving, you might not need bars or gels on long rides. But man, this stuff tastes strong even diluting to half the recommended level. I halved the recipe for the lemonade flavor -- and it was tasty! I also felt pretty solid after my ride. Impressive considering I used it on some of the sunniest, hottest days of 2013 so far. And on some demanding trails.

CarboRocket takes pride in using natural ingredients for its electrolyte drinks. Have a look at its FAQ page for some other interesting info.

electrolyte drinks
See what happens when you don’t replace your fluids?

Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix

Skratch Labs is a new-to-many name. I tried a few single-serving containers and liked it well enough to buy a bag. Like CarboRocket, Skratch Labs favors natural ingredients. They’re loud about the fact that users can pronounce all the ingredients (an impressive feat considering tri-geeks use it!). I got a few laughs out of the Skratch Labs video about its natural ingredients.

Of all the electrolyte drinks I’ve tried, Skratch Labs is by far the lightest tasting. Even with two full scoops in a 24-ounce bike bottle, the flavor is subtle. I usually include half a Nuun tablet to boost the flavor. I’ve been very happy with the way it works. I’ve finished many of my recent night rides stronger than I started.

Nuun Active Hydration electrolyte tablets

I don’t like taking in calories for exercise less than an hour long. But in this heat, I still want to bring in some electrolytes even if I’m just doing a 60-minute run or a hot yoga class.

Nuun is my favorite way to make electrolyte drinks without many calories. I usually dissolve a tablet and a half into a 24-ounce bike bottle, and I’m ready to go. I prefer the Kona Kola flavor. It’s just plain tasty.

Coconut Water

After exercising I recommend you add coconut water to your electrolyte drinks arsenal;. Apparently, the electrolyte composition of coconut water is similar to the human body. It also has about 70 calories per serving, so it helps top off your tank after exercise. I also like the taste – for some extra fun, ask your favorite barista to make an iced americano with coconut water instead of regular water. You’ll love it, I promise (and it’s way better than the boxed kind).

One Last Tip

Mix your electrolyte drinks about 12 hours in advance, when possible. Pitch them in the freezer to keep them from turning into hot electrolyte tea.

 

 

 

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What Would You Do With $3,000?

travel to new zealand
With trails like this, why wouldn’t you want to ride in Rotorua, NZ? (Credit: www.flowmountainbike.com)

A few weeks ago, I paged through the latest Mountain Flyer magazine and saw a review of the Foundry Broadaxe mountain bike.The base-level Broadaxe will set you back $2,950. That’s a hefty chunk of change. The Mountain Flyer writer describes the Broadaxe as "more capable than I would have imagined."

Look, if I drop $3,000 on a bike, I expect its biggest limitation to be me. I’d be appalled by a $3K bike that isn’t excellent. And it made me think of how a bike can be the smallest part of the mountain bike experience.

I started to think about what I’d do if someone handed me $3,000 with the condition that I spend it on something bike-related. Here’s my answer … and I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

travel to new zealand
Check out the trails near Auckland.

The last thing I’d spend my money on is another bike. I have two great bikes. And great as they are, they’re not the endgame. They’re the means to the endgame of great experiences. So I’d seek a great experience -- I’d travel to New Zealand and ride the trails near Auckland and Rotorua, which has great scenery and riding. I’d love to include Queenstown, but that would eat away at my budget and time.

travel to New Zealand
You can now grab a flight to New Zealand on Hawaiian Airlines. (Photo by Dylan Ashe)

First step: Find a flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This overgrown regional airport has one intercontinental flight per day. But Hawaiian Airlines recently started service from Honolulu to Auckland -- and Hawaiian flies direct from Sky Harbor to Honolulu. I can skip the Los Angeles International Airport chaos and still travel to New Zealand. And I’d get to spend about a day hanging out in Honolulu before my connecting flight to Auckland on the outbound flight. Some people might like to split the trip into two flights, but I love long flights. A bonus – I’d finally get to fly Hawaiian Airlines, which has a reputation as one of the best U.S. carriers. But I’d be deprived of a flight on the Air New Zealand 777, which is one nice airplane. The Hawaiian Airlines bottom line is too attractive to pass, though: $1,212 for a round trip leaving Dec. 4 and returning Dec. 17.

travel to new zealand
You can rent a Yeti 575 in New Zealand – not a bad ride!

Next, hotels!

This is late spring/early summer in New Zealand – peak season! My standby, Anns Volcanic, was booked for weeks around my proposed date. But the YHA Rotorua website shows all sorts of options. A room with double beds and a private bathroom ("ensuite" in the local parlance) is $44 NZ. I should be able to match that rate at a similar hostel in Auckland, which also has great trails. That’s $550 NZ. And with the exchange rate? That turns into $465 US. Tack on $100 for a basic hotel in Hawaii during the layover, and that’s $565 US.

That leaves bike rental -- or bike hire, as it’s called in New Zealand. Hardtails are around $60 NZ a day, with dualies as high as $150 NZ. There’s a place that rents Yeti 575s from $75 a day. Factor in a price break for multi-day rental, the occasional day off the trails and I came up with a conservative budget of $541 US in bike rentals. That’s based on eight days of rental out of 11 full days on the ground. The days off are for other fun stuff like hiking, loafing and local flavors of adventure sports like the Zorb and Schweeb at The Agrodome, one of my favorite places ever.

Total? $2,318 US – with cash left over for meals, transportation and visits to places like the Agrodome.

To me, this beats the pants off a new bike, even something as cool as a Foundry Broadaxe (and make no mistake, it’s pretty sweet). Every bike wears out or gets less cool as new products roll out. But awesome days of adventure? They live forever.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

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Why I Won’t Commute by Bike in Phoenix

commute by bike
This is why think Helsinki is a world leader in getting people to commute by bike.

There’s no way I’ll commute by bike in present-day Arizona. A post at the Architecture Travel Writer blog made me think about why it’s not one of my transportation alternatives.

Fellow blogger Nichole talked to Phoenix city planner Joseph Perez about improving bike commuting options. His ideas (bike shares, smartphone apps, consultants and developer input, to name a few) show why Phoenix lags  in the movement to commute by bike.

commute by bike
I don’t expect credible ideas that encourage people to commute by bike to come from Phoenix City Hall.

You’ll notice my lengthier-than-typical comment about an open state of war between motorists and bike commuters. My view comes from my past attempts to commute by bike. Here’s what I faced:

  • Disappearing bike lanes – I’d be in a great lane for a mile or two. And then it would disappear. Transportation alternatives need routes users can count on.
  • Debris-strewn bike lanes – Dirtiness and grit that love puncturing tubes.
  • Openly hostile motorists – I’ve had people throw stuff at me, yell at me, cut in front of me and try to bump me with their mirror. Other cyclists will say the same.
  • Clueless motorists – Some motorists think it’s a good idea to blare their horn as they approach cyclists from behind (hint: we can hear their engines). Then there are others who get to a four-way stop first, hesitate and give the "after you" wave. Guess what? The safest place for cyclists is behind you. Obey the law and the four-way stop protocol – your misguided "politeness" doesn’t help.
  • Other bicyclists – The "don’t give a shit about rules or good sense" variety puttering against traffic, ignoring traffic flow and just general being self-centered jerks. These riders deserve a special place in hell – they make drivers paint all of us with the same brush. They make cycling lose political clout among the transportation alternatives.

Too many near misses put me back in my car. Not the heat, not the lack of bike parking, not the scarcity of showers in most commercial buildings. It was the motorists – the antagonism, or just the casual disregard for a cyclist’s safety over their convenience.

English: Picture shows a bike path or ciclorut...
Phoenix also lags behind Bogota, Columbia, in bicycle infrastructure  En detalle la cicloruta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What would get me to commute by bike as one of my  transportation alternatives again? Physically separating bike lanes from roadways as much as possible. The canal bike paths are a great start – Step One would be to widen them. Next, get some physically separated connectors to the canal.

The bike infrastructure in Helsinki, Finland, and its below-grade bike superhighways provide the perfect example. The U.S. is decades away from Finland’s harmonious relationship between motorists and cyclists -- but we can at least separate bike lanes.

Apps and consultants are half-measures to make it look like Phoenix city officials take seriously the need to commute by bike. None will make a true difference – and they’re not meant to. Phoenix revolves around car culture and sprawl – and looking like it’s trying to change while not actually doing so. City officials seem to have no clue about one fairly easy change that could make its streets more pedestrian friendly – how can we count on them to be any better with bike commuting if they can’t implement scramble crosswalks? I offer a vote of no confidence on bike commuting to current and past administrations.

I expect naysayers to sputter “but, but, we can’t.” People, this is nothing next to light rail. It would take a fraction of the time and money. It could happen … if we approach it with a “how?” attitude. There’s a way to do it if we can overcome the lack of political will.

If you want to see other interesting ideas to make it more feasible to commute by bike, check out the Copenhagenize blog.

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Mountain Bike Reviews – Why They Suck

mountain bike review, x-fusion
The often-ignored X-Fusion Slide 29 RL2 gets some love on this site.

I hate mountain bike reviews. I hate them in magazines. I hate them on websites. And I double-dog hate them in podcasts.

But, but, but -- I do love quality mountain bike gear. I’m the target audience for mountain bike gear reviews. Why do I hate them so? Let’s count the reasons:

Most mountain bike reviews are less about gear and more about the author. Gear reviewers plunge into JargonVille to convince readers that they know their stuff. They spend valuable space saying "hey, I can use all sorts of barely comprehensible language. So I’m worthy of this gig, and you should believe me!" And many vomit up a bunch of marketing language from the manufacturer. The result? I skip most of the middle.

Those who write mountain bike reviews have lost all sense of perspective. I recently saw a review of a $600+ wheelset that the reviewer considers "mid-priced." And I’ve seen too many $3,000 bikes called "reasonably priced" lately. That’s a hefty bit of bucks, bones, clams or whatever you call them. But magazines and many websites are advertiser driven, so they have to do everything to convince advertisers that they can influence YOU, the reader, to spend spend spend. Part of the strategy? An ever-rising line of what’s considered a moderate price.

mountain bike reviews, Clarks Skeletal disc brakes.
Clarks Skeletal disc brakes – they deserve a flogging that the mainstream mountain bike media never delivered.

I haven’t run into a mountain bike review that tells me the bottom line: how Product X will make my ride better or make me better. Is this a product that a racer needs that just might make her edge that other person in the pro class, that one who’s just as good as she is? Or is this something that will make you sweat less about maintenance, and remove a barrier that might prevent you from squeezing in a ride each week? Or is this something that will make you able to ride in a new way that you haven’t been able to tap into yet? That’s what I want from the bottom line of mountain bike gear reviews.

Most of the better-known publications and sites play it safe with mountain bike reviews. They stick to the big, expensive items from the well-known manufacturers. I’ll give props to Mountain Flyer magazine here. Yes, it has many of the usual suspects. But I’ve also run into below-the-radar offerings like the Foundry Broadaxe and REEB Bicycles in its pages. I like that spirit of discovery, and more magazines and sites need to find those up-and-comers. (Hint: It’s no coincidence that some of those new players also spend less on advertising and have fewer products to send for review) But I’d also like to see more gear reviews from varied price points. And here’s a great example: Dirt Rag previewed a set of Clarks Skeletal disc brakes … and never delivered the full review (If you have evidence otherwise, send it my way – I never saw it). Why? Because magazines are afraid to publish bad mountain bike reviews – unlike me!

Here I am complaining about mountain bike reviews – and now here I am pitching in with my own solution: When I write reviews here, I will keep them free of ridiculous jargon. I will tell you whether it’s a luxury product or a true must-have. I will keep a sense of perspective. And I’ll try very hard to find products that everyone overlooks … and that offer a good value.

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The Travel Tattoo – A Lasting Memento (Guest Post)

kelly lewis travel tattoo
Kelly Lewis shows her awesome pachyderm ink. (Courtesy of Kelly Lewis)

Hey, everybody! Ready for something different? Then check out this guest post from Nichole L. Reber about getting a tattoo while traveling. Seems like something to permanently keep the memories alive, eh?

The thought of getting a tattoo abroad often brings hygiene-obsessed Americans images of Brynn tossing a bag of frozen peas over her shoulder a la Bridesmaids. And whilst living abroad for the past four years I never did see tattoo artists quite so randomly placed as in a van, I did once see a tattoo party in a bar. And no, I didn’t get any of my five done there.

Tattoos are gaining in global popularity, I noticed whilst living in China, Hong Kong, India, and Peru. Though the trend hasn’t reached American heights. You’re not likely to find a Chinese guy with a sleeve or an Indian woman with a large Shiva tramp stamp.

Kelly Lewis, the globetrotting founder of the Go! Girls Guide travel series, has a bit more derring do than I, though. She’s been inked a couple of times abroad in less conventional places than the tattoo studios I visited.

travel tattoo
Nichole goes under the needle for the first time in awhile.

"I got my fingerprint tattoo in my shoulder from a guy I was friends with in New Zealand. He tattooed me in his bedroom and it was like $40," she said. "My elephant was done in Chang Mai Thailand. It was done in a shop, with (an ink) gun, and was truly done by an artist. The Thai guy I was seeing at the time helped me translate."

China
My experiences with tattoos abroad were a bit more sedate than making myself vulnerable in a strange guy’s bedroom. In fact, tattooing is one time in my life where I wait for someone else to test the waters before I dive in.

nichole travel tatto
It’s tat time again.

In Shenzhen, China, a local expat magazine hired me to review a new tattoo studio. I knew the owners, had even watched them throw a tattoo party at a pub and so I brought along a friend, an ink virgin ready for his first time. I was there for moral support.

The artist/owner discussed with him the dimensions and shading and location of the tattoo sketch he’d brought along. She then got set up with various colors of ink and individually, hygienically wrapped needles. She thoroughly cleansed his arm. Then it began— that sound we the tattooed grow to love: bizzz, zzzz, kg-kgzzzzz. With that first prick she deflowered my man.

Peru
My henna tattoo was scheduled for two weeks later but deportation killed my chance. Two years later, in the Northern Peruvian desert city of Piura, I had another chance at ink.

I’d already rung the tatuador, Jorge Arista, through the ringer of 20 questions. Arista, one of four tatuadores in Piura, had 10 years of experience and was the long-time friend of a colleague who I accompanied during her most recent tattoo. The pain was worse than I remembered it, having had my last ink a decade before. As soon as the needle touched my skin, a loud, piercing squeal escaped my mouth, even causing the security guard to come check out the scene.

Over the next few weeks, I remembered all the itching and the constant application of an ointment Jorge recommended from a nearby pharmacy, from my previous tattoos. I hadn’t planned for the new ink to preempt me from swimming in the Pacific on the next day’s planned beach weekend. Thanks to Jorge’s reminder, however, of the ruinous effects of salt water and sun on new ink, my colorful Ganesh and his rat companion turned out beautifully.

My good luck has led to this list of tips to find a good artist for your travel tattoo:

  • Take your time. No tattoo is worth rushing a lifetime of complications or regrets.
  • Seek studio recommendations from people you trust, not some random inked tourist you passed walking down the beach on your three-day visit to some third-world hamlet.
  • Hang out in the studio and watch
  • Look through the portfolio and observe the quality of art
  • Look for individually wrapped (disposable) needles and needle covers
  • Check that the inks are made specifically for tattoos
  • Get after-care instructions

Note from Wandering Justin: Nichole didn’t give me the usual “about me” sort of paragraph. So I’ll take the liberty … Nichole has lived in China, Peru and India. She now roams the streets of the truly confusing Phoenix metropolis. She has an eye for architecture, so visit her Architecture Travel Writer site to see what the world looks like to someone who knows something beyond “oooh, pretty building!” (Like me.)

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Silfra – One of the World’s Great Diving Sites

SCUBA Silfra, diving destinations
A view of Iceland’s Silfa Rift
Photos of one of the world’s coolest diving sites put SCUBA diving on my "to do" list. Yes, it even trumps my inner desert dweller’s disdain for water that’s 36 degrees F.

But it’s not the low temperatures that make Iceland’s Silfra Rift one of the world’s most unusual diving sites. It’s the scenery. This is where the American and Eurasian continents collide. Underwater cliffs mark the division. SCUBA divers can swim among cliffs that tower up to 65 feet over them on both sides.

And back to that cold water: The low temperatures give a clarity to the water that creates visibility of more than 300 feet. So why is the water so cold? It’s meltwater from a glacier -- chilly!

I’m kind of a big baby about water in general. Cold water makes things even worse for me. Plus, I wasn’t looking for diving sites during my visit to Iceland. I wanted to stay as dry as possible considering Iceland’s wild weather and often-cold (even in summer) temperatures. And now, that’s one of my regrets. Next time I go back, the Silfra Rift will be high on my list. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors dive center in Iceland is my go-to resource to find a way to check out the Silfra Rift.

I get excited about seeing the planet in action. And the collision between the plates is pretty dramatic … not as much ash and lava as other places around Iceland. Not even a monstrous pile of glacier – but still worth slipping into a dry suit to witness, if the pictures are any indication.

diving sites
A SCUBA diver at Silfra Rift. (Photo by Gunnar Powers via flickr.com)

Enjoy the photos -- you can see more from someone who chose to snorkel instead of SCUBA dive. And if you’re a SCUBA diver, I’d like to hear about other diving sites. What are some of your favorites?

Silfra is in Þingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Just before 1000 AD, it’s where Iceland’s inhabitants formed its first parliament. It’s worth a stop to see a bit of Iceland’s history after you’ve seen tectonic plates collide at one of the most famous diving sites in the world.

Silfra Crack, diving sites
An out-of-the-water look at Þingvellir National Park, home of the Silfra Rift. (Photo by Jen via flickr.com)
Silfra,  diving sites
Heading into the water. (photo by Bernard McManus via flickr.com)
Silfra,  diving sites
You can see the clarity of the water. (Photo by Bernard McManus via flickr.com)
silfra 01,  diving sites, silfra
Jagged underwater rocks at Silfra diving site. (Photo by Gunna Powers via flickr.com)
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Travel to Australia: An Adventurer’s Itinerary

Travel to Australia
Morning on Sandy Billabong – just hours from the Northern Territory city of Darwin.

I get a lot of questions about travel to Australia. So far, I’ve helped a few friends craft itineraries – from hanging out on beaches to my preferred style of adventure travel.

I thought some other adventurous people could use some tips for travel to Australia. Here’s what I have for you.

A Quick Pre-trip Briefing
Question 1: "When should I travel to Australia?" September, for a few reasons. First, if you’re headed outdoors -- you’ll want to know that salt-water crocodiles won’t be rampant. This is the dry season, so outdoor guides will know where crocs lurk. Also, the Brisbane Festival starts in September. I wouldn’t miss Riverfire, the monster pyrotechnic display that launches the weeks-long festival.

Kuranda Cairns Australia Queensland Travel to Australia
A view near Kuranda, just west of Cairns.

Arrange air travel between different phases of your trip. It’s a big country. Qantas offers great deals for inter-country travel if you book an Aussie AirPass.

Onto the main itinerary!

Phase One: 1-3 days
I recommend flying into Brisbane, the overlooked city of Australia, rather than Sydney (the departure/check-in queue in Brisbane is unwieldy). You’ll arrive early in the morning. Get some rest to banish jet lag. Then you’ll be ready for Riverfire revelry.

I enjoyed the Queensland Museum and the Queen Street Mall. Brisbane is very walkable – and great for biking and running, if that’s how you prefer to beat jet lag.

Phase Two: 3-6 days
If you travel to Australia, Queensland is a must. You’ll find the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Forest, Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation and the Atherton table lands. I recommend renting a car.

Travel to Australia
What’s cuter than a baby wallaby? Nothing, that’s what.

I spent a few days each in Cairns and Port Douglas, plus one night in the small town of Yungaburra. Suggested sites: The Venom Zoo, Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm, Mungali Creek Dairy, the town of Kuranda. Also, watch for walking tracks – Queensland is a great place to spot kangaroos. You might also catch sight of a cassowary. I also recommend a guided night hike in the Daintree Forest.

Phase Three: 4-6 days
If you’re adventurous  go to Darwin on the very northern tip of the Northern Territory. It might be the highlight of your travel to Australia. You’ll spot wildlife from salt-water crocs to wallabies. You can find guides to run you out to Kakadu National Park and other Outback destinations. My trip took me to Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls and the Corroboree, White Lilly and Sandy billabongs.

The possibilities are mind-boggling. Figure out what sites you want to see, and find a good guide company. I wouldn’t recommend renting a car and doing it yourself. It’s easy to get lost or stuck in the Outback.

When you feel like relaxing, check out the Wharf Precinct and the Parap Village Market. A quick note: Accommodations in Darwin are pretty expensive.

Sydney from Darling Harbour Travel to Australia
Evening in Sydney

Phase Four: 3-6 Days
Your travel to Australia wraps up in Sydney … the Sydney Opera House, the beaches and a lot of nightlife and shopping. I’d also recommend a trip to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. It’s a bit cooler – and extremely laid back. You’ll find plenty of hiking.

Back in Sydney, I wouldn’t leave without a visit to the Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe. You’ll find plenty to do near Circular Quay and Cockle Bay, too.

Otherwise, I don’t need to tell you much. This is Sydney, probably the biggest reason you wanted to travel to Australia. Pick a direction and walk. Grab a water taxi. You will, if you have any innate curiosity, find something to do. Sydney is cosmopolitan and hip, yet also friendly. It’s as lively a city as you’ll ever see.

Wrapping it Up
Well, you’re about to head back home. I hope you found some great experiences during your travel to Australia.

Have you been to any of these places, whether after taking my advice or just by coincidence? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Tell me all about it!

This post contains a sponsored link.

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