Great Ocean Walk

My Top 10 Travel in 2016 – a great year!

Every year offers new opportunities and new adventures.  It might have felt that the world went a bit mad in 2016, but that makes looking for the beauty and charm in the world even more important and that’s what I tried to do in 2016. So without further ado, here were my top 10 travel experiences in 2016:

1. Exploring Kyoto

Japan was a fascinating country to visit, and it was my first visit there.  My favourite city was easily Kyoto.  I loved exploring the temples, the Gion district and the Bamboo forest in Arashiyama.  The image of the stunning Golden Temple reflected in the water was very special and I lingered there for a while, just admiring.  And then when temple fatigue set in (woefully early!), the food tour and the sake tour were fantastic.  I never knew how much there was to know about sake!

Japan

The beautiful Golden Temple, Kyoto

2. Miyajima Island

A little island about an hour away from Hiroshima, it was a wonderful day trip I would recommend to anyone.  The beautiful Torii gate is an iconic image of Japan and extremely beautiful.  I walked all over the island, admiring the views from the pagoda, sitting in the Buddhist temple sipping green tea, and tried to stay well away from the tame deer wandering the streets looking for tourist food!

Miyajima Island

The famous Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine

3. Hiking in NSW

I discovered more walks in and around Sydney.  From the Kuring-gai Chase National Park, to the North Shore, and closer to home in the Eastern Suburbs, I explored and hiked.  A little side project was getting my scooter licence, so armed with a license and my new scooter, I took myself on numerous adventures and added in some hiking at the same time. I loved exploring, and I can’t really think of a better way to clear your head from the noise of the working week than a walk in the bush, with birds chattering in the background.

Sydney Hiking Kuring-gai Chase

 

4. Exploring Hong Kong

It seemed an oversight that I had never been to Hong Kong, so this year it was high time that this was rectified.  It was only a long weekend, but what a lot of fun I had!  From eating out, exploring the markets on Hong Kong Island, taking the Star Ferry to Kowloon, to getting away from the city on a hiking adventure, Hong Kong has it all and I loved every minute of it!

Hong Kong

Star Ferry

5. Cocktails on Waikiki Beach

I had to sacrifice a limb to stay in a hotel room on the beach with a view of the ocean, but really, it was my first visit to Hawaii and being by the beach was the whole point.  I wanted to see the views of the brilliant blue water and be lulled to sleep with the sound of the waves lapping the shore.  I don’t regret a cent of it, it was a wonderful break.

Oahu, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach

6. Exploring Hawaii

It wasn’t all about the cocktails, there was so much else to do in Hawaii, beyond the beach.  I walked up to the top of Diamond Head along with about a hundred others, to admire the views over Honolulu as the sun came up.  However it was the snorkelling in Hanauma Bay which completely blew me away.  Despite the crowds of people that visit there every year the marine park was really stunningly beautiful.  Not a natural water baby, I surprised myself with how much I loved it.

Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay – simply gorgeous

7. The Great Ocean Road

I booked a trip with Mum and a friend for Easter to walk part of the Great Ocean Walk and it was magical!  Walking by day and staying in a gorgeous lodge with delicious food at the end of the evening it couldn’t have been more perfect.  We saw lots of kangaroos, not to mention the most beautiful views.  And to top it all off, we finished off with a helicopter flight over the 12 Apostles.

Great Ocean Walk

8. Kauai

All of it!  A short flight from Honolulu is Kauai, known as the “Garden Isle” for its beautiful lush green landscape.  It’s packed with lots of walks and activities to fully explore and appreciate the beauty on offer.  I was absolutely gutted not to be able to hike, with a torn ligament and a stress fracture, but I still managed to see plenty of scenery and fall in love with the island.  I went driving all over the island exploring, on a catamaran tour, a helicopter ride, found beautiful beaches (including the nudey beach) but who can top the tour of the chocolate farm and all you can eat chocolate?

Kauai, Hawaii

The beautiful Na Pali Coast

9. King Island

Okay, I admit it, King Island was lovely but it was the platypus that won me over.  And maybe the cheese!

King Island

A platypus!

10. The Blue Mountains

Some of my favourite weekends away were up in the Blue Mountains, enjoying the gorgeous views of the national park with an endless sea of gum trees, all covered in a faint blue haze, and then of course discovering new hiking trails and happily getting lost in the bush.  Well not completely lost, but completely immersed!

The Blue Mountains

The Three Sisters is an iconic image of Australia

What a year of wonderful adventures.

Happy New Year everyone…..here’s to a fabulous 2017 and many more happy adventures!

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