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all connected by Mana. Mana is a life force and spirit that surrounds us. You can see it. Touch it. Taste it. Feel it. And from the moment you arrive, you will understand why we say our Islands are

To discover Mana for yourself, visit Tahiti -Tourisme.com.au

TIME TRAVEL PERU'S INCA LEGACY CLU EX

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There are many sides to The Islands of Tahiti. Yet they are

B E S T O F T H E W O R L D | B A N F F | Y U N N A N | R WA N D A | B E S T 2 4 H O U R S | P E R U | S O N O M A

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© Grégoire Le Bacon

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2017 ISSUE 01

© Myles McGuinness

2017 ISSUE 01

THE BEST 24 HOURS ON EARTH

USA: SAVOUR SONOMA'S TASTE TRAILS

HOW TO MEET A MOUNTAIN GORILLA

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2017 ISSUE 1

CONTENTS

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FEATURES

4  EDITOR’S LETTER

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THE BIG PICTURE 6  NOTEBOOK 8  ADVENTURE WORLD 128  CONCIERGE 2 

N AT I O N A L G E O G R A PH I C T R AV E L L E R

BEST OF THE WORLD From South Korea to Switzerland, from Madrid to Marrakech, and from the Cradle of Humankind to the cloud forests of the Andes, we celebrate 15 of 2017’s must-see destinations around the world. Book your ticket now!

IMAGEBROKER/AL AMY (COVER: MACHU PICCHU); URIPIX

REGULARS


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B A N F F R E T R E AT

W E L C O M E T O R WA N D A

THE HIGH LIFE

As Canada marks a significant milestone, we track down beauty and bliss in the Rocky Mountains Photography by JENN ACKERMAN

Wildlife encounters don’t come much more special than a meeting with our critically endangered cousins, the mountain gorillas that live in the thick jungle of Rwanda

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most famously traversed track in South America. The lesser-known road to the citadel, the Lares trail, offers a crowd-free alternative

and TIM GRUBER

By ALISON O’LOUGHLIN

By NEIL RODGERS

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OVER THE HORIZON

T H E B E S T 24 H O U R S ON EARTH

By NORIE QUINTOS

MALCOLM P. CHAPMAN/GET T Y IMAGES

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Majesty and mysticism in the mountains of China’s rugged Yunnan province, as a traveller seeks the truth about his long-lost maternal grandfather By SCOTT WALLACE Photography by MICHAEL YAMASHITA

From dawn to dusk and into the night, our around-the-clock guide to global adventure will help you plan an itinerary in which every day of travel is the best day ever

S AV O U R Y S O N O M A Three taste trails to help you get the most out of a trip to the foodie-est place on Earth By ANDREW NELSON Photography by LEAH NASH and CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT

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EDITORIAL

Editor Geordie Torr Art Director Anna Hair PUBLISHING

Publishing Director Neil Rodgers Production Manager Kristy Johnston Advertising Sales Melinda Sharpe mel@sundancecompany.com.au N AT I O N A L G E O G R A P H I C T R AV E L E R ( U S )

Editor In Chief, Travel Media George W. Stone Publisher and Vice President, Global Media Kimberly Connaghan Digital Director Andrea Leitch Design Director Marianne Seregi Director of Photography Anne Farrar Editorial Projects Director Andrew Nelson Features Editor Amy Alipio Associate Editor Hannah Sheinberg Chief Researcher Marilyn Terrell Editors at Large and Travel Advisory Board Costas Christ, Annie Fitzsimmons, Don George, Andrew McCarthy, Norie Quintos, Robert Reid I N T E R N AT I O N A L P U B L I S H I N G

Senior Vice President, International Media Yulia P. Boyle Senior Manager, International Magazine Publishing Rossana Stella

EDITOR’S LETTER

ALL THINGS must CHANGE

N AT I O N A L G E O G R A P H I C PA R T N E R S , L L C

CEO Declan Moore Editorial Director Susan Goldberg Chief Financial Officer Marcela Martin Chief Communications Officer Laura Nichols Chief Marketing Officer Jill Cress Strategic Planning and Business Development Whit Higgins Consumer Products and Experiences Rosa Zeegers Digital Product Rachel Webber Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe Legal and Business Affairs Jeff Schneider Board of Directors Chairman Gary E. Knell N AT I O N A L G E O G R A P H I C S O C I E T Y

President and CEO Gary E. Knell National Geographic Traveler is published by National Geographic Partners, LLC For more information, contact natgeo.com/info Copyright © 2017 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved. National Geographic Traveler and Yellow Border: registered trademarks ® Marcas Registradas. National Geographic Traveller Australia & New Zealand edition is published by Adventure World Travel Pty Limited. A.B.N. 69 122 505 631. Level 5, 35 Grafton St, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022 Australia. © Copyright 2017 Adventure World/National Geographic Partners, Llc. All rights reserved. Printed by Webstar, 83 Derby St, Silverwater, NSW 2128. Adventure World and National Geographic Partners, LLC. accept no responsibility for damage or loss of material submitted for publication. Please keep duplicates of text and illustrative material. ISSN 2203-6172

National Geographic Traveller, published by Adventure World as part of The Travel Corporation, is proud to use 100% recycled LEIPA paper. Some positive impacts of this decision include saving more than 41,000* trees per year and reducing landfill waste that produces harmful greenhouse gases. We are proud to be using one of the most environmentally friendly recycled papers available. *Calculations based on data from the Environmental Paper Network.

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On travel and transformations AT THE END OF DECEMBER LAST YEAR, I returned to Yangon—I was last there in August 2015—and was staggered at how much the city had changed in just 16 months. The most striking change was the opening up of a large night market. The authorities, keen to reduce the congestion and chaos on the city’s streets, have set aside a lane of Strand Road, down near the river, and each night, about 1,500 of Yangon’s street hawkers can be found there. The market is a lovely addition to what was already one of my favourite cities. On the two nights that I visited, the market was heaving, a vibrant celebration of Yangon’s tasty street food. Elsewhere, the changes were rather more predictable: shiny new buildings with shiny, new shops selling Western brands. Thankfully, however, the people were as warm and welcoming as I remembered, but that, too, may well change as tourism picks up pace. There are any number of philosophical debates to be had about the merits or otherwise of “progress”, but there’s no getting away from the fact that, as time passes, places change. We, as travellers, are both agents of change and observers and chroniclers of that change. As a photographer, I’m well aware of the need to “strike while the iron’s hot”—to take the shot now, as it may well not be there later. As a traveller, I’m increasingly aware of the same imperative when it comes to certain destinations—don’t put that trip off, go now, because the tides of change, the river of progress, are going to alter those places, for better or worse.

GEORDIE TORR


the

BIG picture TREE FROG (OSTEOCEPHALUS CASTANEICOLA), MANÚ LEARNING CENTRE, PERU. The Manú Learning

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GEORDIE TORR

Centre is located within the Fundo Mascoitania Reserve, a 643-hectare private nature reserve that is itself located within the cultural zone of the World Heritagelisted Manú Biosphere Reserve, Peru’s largest protected area. Operated by the Peruvian conservation group CREES, it acts as both a base for scientific research and community development, and tourist accommodation. The surrounding biosphere reserve protects ecological zones over a large altitudinal range—from about 300 metres above sea level to as high as 4,200 metres. Consequently, it supports one of the highest levels of biodiversity of any protected area, including more than 15,000 species of plant, more than 900 species of bird and 140 species of amphibian. Tourism is Peru’s third largest industry, behind fishing and mining, and its fastest growing, with an annual growth rate of 25 percent over the past five years; tourism is growing more rapidly in Peru than in any other country in South America. Last year, the total number of international visitors passed 4.5 million for the first time.


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EMBAR K ON AN AFRICAN SO UL JOURNE Y Immerse yourself in the beauty, splendour, grandeur and adventure of the African continent’s most spectacular settings. Welcome to Sun International’s Sunlux Collection. Discover Africa’s wonders on a soul-intriguing journey that links Cape Town’s landmark The Table Bay, within the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront; The gracious Boardwalk in South Africa’s friendliest city, Port Elizabeth; Sun City’s The Palace of the Lost City, nestled in an extinct volcanic crater surrounded by the Pilanesberg big-5 nature reserve, and comes to an end in the heart of Sandton at The Maslow.


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REST STOPS

STAY & SEE Three South African hotels that offer more than just a place to lay your head

SUN CITY BORDERING THE game-rich Pilanesberg National Park, Sun City (above) offers

guests a range of unique and memorable bespoke experiences, including “rhino notching”. Working with park-management officials, and guided by a vet, guests get to place a unique notch in the ear of an anaesthetised rhino, implant an ID chip in its horn and take a DNA sample. These procedures assist park management with monitoring the rhino population. BOARDWALK HOTEL

NICHOL AS VAN RENEN

FROM THE five-star Boardwalk Hotel in Port Elizabeth, adventurers can go VISITORS TO SOUTH AFRICA are spoiled for choice when it comes to adventure and leisure activities. Mountain biking or hiking? A safari on land or sea? Beaches or bushveldt? Not to mention the wide range of peoples and cultures to experience. And then there’s the question of where to stay. Boasting ideal locations in some of South Africa’s most popular tourist hotspots, the Sun City resort in North West Province, the Boardwalk in the Eastern Cape and the Table Bay in Cape Town make the perfect launching pads for exploring their regions’ diverse attractions.

on a breathtaking marine safari into the protected waters of Algoa Bay to see dolphins, seals, sharks and, at the right time of year, humpback and southern right whales, as well as the world’s largest breeding colony of African penguins on St Croix Island. A short drive from Port Elizabeth is the Addo Elephant National Park, the third largest of South Africa’s 19 national parks and home to endangered black rhinos, lions, spotted hyenas and, of course, elephants. THE TABLE BAY AT THE Table Bay, which offers panoramic views of Table Mountain, visitors

have a host of amazing experiences at their fingertips, including an introduction to the local flora and fauna on a tour of the Cape Peninsula and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and foraging expeditions around Cape Town’s “natural market” under the guidance of executive chef, Jocelyn Myers-Adams, to discover wild plants with which to experiment in the kitchen. 2 01 7 I SSUE 0 1  

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PRIME PICNIC SPOTS ACROSS THE GLOBE ROME, ITALY VILLA BORGHESE GARDENS

Savour an English-style garden in the Eternal City PARIS, FRANCE JARDIN DES TUILERIES

People-watch on the perimeter of the Louvre PERU HUAYNA PICCHU

See a panorama of Machu Picchu

NEW ZEALAND MILFORD SOUND

Dine among the South Island’s fjords SINGAPORE SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS

Kick back in a tropical rainforest in the heart of a busy city

CALIFORNIA POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Explore a coastal nature preserve located on a 30,000-hectare peninsula HAWAII HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK

ON LOCATION

PARK it HERE Grab your lunch and go

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South Africa’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (above), a spectacle of rugged wilds turned into a refined space on the slopes of Table Mountain, provides a green escape from Cape Town for a picnic lunch. Pack a bottle of wine from Stellenbosch and some biltong (it’s like beef jerky and a lot easier to carry than crocodile meat or ostrich burgers)—and hike the trails through forests and fynbos (“fine bush” or shrubland in Afrikaans). More than 7,000 plant species, many of them indigenous, are cultivated in this expansive garden, with exhibit areas dedicated to medicinal and fragrant plants, as well as king protea, South Africa’s prickly pink, grapefruit-size national flower.

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IRELAND ARAN ISLANDS

Enjoy limestone landscapes and landmark monasteries WASHINGTON, D.C. NATIONAL SCULPTURE GARDEN

Snack among works by Calder and Oldenburg on the National Mall

BL AINE HARRINGTON/AGE FOTOSTOCK/SUPERSTOCK

Watch the sunrise on the summit of Maui’s Haleakala volcano


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Fraser Island has been named one of the world’s best beaches and an ecologist’s dream. Where else on earth can you swim in more than 100 dune lakes in the one spot; see rainforest growing completely in sand at elevations of 200m; or spot up to 354 bird species in 12 different habitats. And all with that sub-tropical Queensland climate. CHECK FOR HOT DEALS ONLINE

Eurong Beach Resort is Fraser’s Island’s best beachfront address and the perfect base for 4WD adventures and fisher folk alike. Kingfisher Bay Resort is a natural oasis offering access to the Great Sandy Strait, an array of ranger-guided activities, incredible natural therapies and unique bush tucker dining experiences.

kingfisherbayresortgroup.com.au or

1800 Fraser (372 737)


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TIME TRAVEL

NATURE’S bounty An island paradise with a fascinating history JAMES COOK CALLED IT “PARADISE”—a term he didn’t use

liberally. The convicts who resided on it when it was Australia’s harshest penal colony undoubtedly held the opposite opinion, but today, Norfolk Island is firmly back in “paradise” territory. Located in the South Pacific, a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Australia or a 90-minute flight from New Zealand, the 3,455-hectare island is home to, among others, the descendants of the Bounty mutineers, whose barefoot manners, warmth and hospitality have been woven into Norfolk Island’s unique and timeless rhythm and charm. And while visitors are encouraged to relax and take it easy, the island offers plenty to keep them busy. Almost one fifth of Norfolk Island has been set aside as national park, and the reserve is traversed by 14 walking tracks, including five that take visitors around the botanic gardens that are contained within it. The tracks wind through lush palm forests and stands of Norfolk Island pine, and along the coastal fringe; you can even walk beneath the tallest tree ferns on Earth.

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Away from the national park, there’s the 250-hectare Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area, which showcases the remnants of convict settlements that span the era of transportation to eastern Australia between 1788 and 1855. The historic area, one of 11 sites that make up the World Heritagelisted Australian Convict Sites, is also significant as the only site in Australia to display evidence of early Polynesian settlement, and the place where the Pitcairn Island descendents of the Bounty mutineers were re-settled in 1856. Visitors can also take to the surrounding waters for a spot of deep-sea fishing, kayaking or surfing, and Emily Bay lagoon is great for snorkelling and swimming. And then there are boat trips to nearby Phillip Island, a dramatic volcanic outcrop that hosts thousands of breeding and migrating sea birds. All of which is sure to generate an appetite, which visitors can sate at one of the island’s more than 25 eateries, which all offer an abundance of locally sourced produce.


The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is teeming with life - over 150 animal species and over 800 plants species, including 300 types of trees.

More things to do: • Go island hopping in Honda Bay. • Try spelunking at the Ugong Rock. • Take a mangrove paddle boat tour in Sabang. • Be enchanted by the fireflies on the Iwahig River Cruise. • Visit one of the country’s last tribes at the Batak Cultural Village

Coron and Puerto Princesa, Palawan itsmorefuninthephilippines.com facebook.com/itsmorefuninthephilippines

Getting there: Accessible bia air from Manila Cebu, Iloilo and Davao.


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DISCOVER

true THAILAND Going deeper takes you higher

These days, travellers are increasingly on the lookout for authentic, immersive experiences with local communities. If you’re after a trip to Thailand that goes beyond the classic sun-and-sand beach holiday, here are a few simple ways to discover unique local Thai experiences. TASTE LOCAL FOOD AND LEARN HOW TO COOK IT THAI CUISINE is renowned the world over, and no visit to

Thailand is complete without trying some of its flavoursome food. Sample street food in a night market, sign up for a cooking class at one of the numerous schools found all over Thailand, or go off the beaten track with a Best Eats Midnight Food Tour of Bangkok on that local transport staple, the tuk tuk. VISIT A VILLAGE THERE’S NO BETTER WAY to experience the local way of life and

learn about the local culture than visiting a village community. Take an indigo-dyeing workshop at Khram Sakon in Sakon Nakhon, catch shellfish with your toes at Ban Nam Chiao ecotourism community in Trat, paint Batik fabric at Ko Klang community in Krabi, or stay at a fishing village in Ko Yao Noi in Phang Nga. SHOP LIKE A LOCAL WHILE THERE ARE obviously enough big department stores

in Bangkok to satiate the most rabid shopaholic, for a more authentically Thai experience, explore local markets and walking streets. Try Amphawa and Tha Kha floating markets in Samut Songkhram, Tha Pae Sunday Walking Street in Chiang Mai, the Talad Rot Fai night market in Bangkok, Bo Phut Walking Street in Ko Samui or the night market in Hua Hin. TAKE PART IN A TRADITIONAL FESTIVAL ANOTHER GREAT WAY to experience “Thai-ness” is to attend

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HASACHAI BOON-NUANG

a local festival. In mid-November, Loi Krathong is celebrated throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of ornately decorated Krathong (flower-shaped floats) are set adrift in waterways to pay respect to the river goddess. The Songkran festival, the traditional Thai New Year’s celebration, takes place nationwide in mid-April. Be prepared to get wet, as the festival involves three days of fun-filled water fights. In Bangkok, the largest Songkran celebrations can be found on Silom Road, Khao San Road and Royal City Avenue. For something more traditional, join the festivities in Chiang Mai.


WORLD LEGACY AWARDS

PLACES we love: SLOVENIA Celebrating sustainable tourism – COSTAS CHRIST

ERMEDIN ISL AMCEVIC

AS THE UNITED NATIONS

marks the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, one nation rises above the rest: Slovenia. Last year, this Adriatic enclave was declared the world’s most sustainable country and its largest city, Ljubljana, was anointed Europe’s greenest capital. Nearly 60 percent of Slovenia is covered in forests and more than 40 parks and reserves are

home to some 20,000 plant and animal species. Country roads link pristine lakes to cobblestone towns, where local cafés serve up traditional fare such as štruklji (savoury veggie and meat pockets), enjoyed with some of Europe’s least known, yet tastiest, vintages. All in a nation smaller than New Jersey, with a population of just over two million. Celebrating success in

sustainability is our passion at National Geographic. We launched the World Legacy Awards to honour the travel visionaries who preserve cultural heritage, protect the environment and advocate for the well-being of locals. In this effort, we’re proud to work alongside our partners and sponsors, including ITB Berlin, the Botswana Tourism Organisation,

Adventure World and the TreadRight Foundation. Last year, more than one billion travellers set out to see the world’s wonders, up from about 25 million international tourists in 1950. The growth in tourism drives our efforts to safeguard destinations for future generations. Read about all of our World Legacy Award nominees and winners at natgeotravel.com

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ON LOCATION

green ZONE A Great Barrier Reef resort that’s righting past wrongs – GEORDIE TORR

TURNING AWAY from the other divers, I’m confronted with a

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42-hectare coral cay hosts a small, low-key eco-resort. And as I discovered during my recent visit, the resort is constantly striving to become even greener, in more ways than one. One afternoon, I’m given a tour of the resort’s facilities by the affable general manager, Daniel Lukritz. He explains that thanks to recent improvements to the hybrid power system, including the addition of a bank of new salt-water-based batteries, the resort is now generating 80 percent of its power from sunlight. “It was a significant investment—in the region of $100,000—but it’s about doing the right thing,” he tells me. “If it’s going to cost us a little bit more for an environmentally friendly alternative, then we’ll go for that. That’s the way we do business. “Our carbon footprint is important to us and we’re doing

GEORDIE TORR (2)

large, dark shape swimming straight at me. And then the manta ray banks gracefully, exposing its white belly, slashed by five pairs of parallel lines—gill slits. I’m transfixed as it glides past me; with a series of slow downward sweeps of its pointed ‘wings’ it’s gone, disappearing back into the blue. Located at the far southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is known as the “Home of the Manta Ray”— more than 700 individual mantas have been identified in the surrounding waters. They share those waters with more than 1,200 other marine species, a spectacular level of diversity that’s a reflection of the island’s position within a so-called “green zone”—the highest level of protection on the GBR. That green ethos extends above the water, where the


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what we can to reduce it,” Daniel continues. “Ten or 11 years ago, we were going through 550 litres of diesel a day; we’re now down to well under 100: 60–80 litres of diesel a day.” This is an important consideration beyond the reduction of fossil fuel use as it means that the resort is bringing less diesel onto the island, which means less risk of potentially damaging fuel spills. The resort’s reverse osmosis desalination plant was also recently upgraded, also a significant consideration as the resort uses some 20,000 litres of water a day, but the island lacks a suitable source of fresh water. “We’re now getting our water in half the time and using less energy,” Daniel tells me. “We’re at the stage where we can often make all of our water inside the solar window.” We hop into an electric buggy so Daniel can show me how the resort is literally greening the island. Lady Elliot was mined for guano during the late 19th century, losing about two to three metres in height and virtually all of its vegetation, which was mostly replaced by non-natives. In order to right this historical wrong, the resort has embarked on an ambitious revegetation programme, removing the introduced species and replacing them with natives. Daniel takes me on a tour of the resort’s nursery, nestled within the newly flourishing pisonia forest, where hundreds of seedlings sit in orderly rows. “Everything we’re planting now is native to the island or to similar coral cays,” Daniel says. “I’ve

lost count, but we’ve planted more than 1,000 trees in the past year.” Interested resort guests can help with the planting. One of the problems the revegetation team has faced is a lack of soil, a legacy of the guano mining. “We have to make our own soil,” Daniel explains above the squawks of nesting common noddy terns (one of 215 bird species recorded on the island). “We can’t bring potting mix onto the island because it could have all sorts of organisms in it that aren’t native to the cay. In the past, all of our food scraps and cuttings went into a composting pit, but because there aren’t many micro-organisms on the island, it took about two years for it to break down into soil.” That’s where OSCA comes in. Installed a few months ago, the island’s new on-site composting apparatus takes that process from two years to about two weeks. “We’re trying to speed up the process as naturally as we can,” Daniel says. “Food scraps go in, cardboard, that sort of thing, and in theory, it comes out the other end looking like potting mix. We’re still working on getting the mix right, but what it will allow us to do, once we get it right, is to quickly produce the soil for our trees.” The revegetation process is going to take some time—“In all honesty, it’s probably going to take 30 or 40 years,” Daniel says—but it’s all part of the resort’s long-term vision, an approach that will hopefully see travellers coming to the Home of the Manta Ray for decades to come.

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CO-OWNER JOSÉ MANUEL LELLO (at far left) lets us peek behind the stacks at

Livraria Lello, in Porto, Portugal, one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?

In 1906, my great-grandfather, José Lello, and his younger brother, António, created Livraria Lello as we know it today. It’s located right in the heart of the labyrinthine streets of the old town, where you’ll find some of the city’s most important historical attractions. The store was designed by Xavier Esteves; its opening was a major event not only in Portugal but throughout Europe. THAT CENTRAL RED STAIRCASE IS QUITE SPECTACULAR

LITERARY TRAVELS

BOOKED in PORTO Marvels and magic at Portugal’s top indie bookstore

The staircase is an engineering masterpiece and the most photographed element of the bookstore. All the ornaments around the staircase are made of plaster, employing the trompe l’oeil technique to imitate wood. Only the handrails are made of actual wood, brought from Brazil for its high quality. J.K. Rowling, when she lived in Porto, used to visit quite often, and it’s said the staircase was one of the sources of inspiration for the Harry Potter saga. Remember the moving stairs at Hogwarts? WHAT ENGLISH-LANGUAGE BOOKS ON PORTUGAL DO YOU RECOMMEND?

Grape Harvest, by Miguel Torga, is a novel about the hard work of grape pickers but set amid the lovely landscapes of the Douro Valley during the 1930s and ’40s. In Journey to Portugal, José Saramago offers a non-touristy depiction of Portugal. Lisbon, What the Tourist Should See was written by Fernando Pessoa, one of our greatest poets/writers.

Porto’s historic bookstore Livraria Lello; ABOVE LEFT: owners José Manuel Lello and Pedro Pinto

PEDRO GUIMARAES (BOTH PHOTOS)

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ISLANDS

PACIFIC jewels Tranquil lagoons and friendly locals in an idyllic archipelago

LYING IN THE HEART of the Pacific

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there’s even a bus on hand to do the driving for you—it’ll pick you up and drop you off wherever you desire. And then there’s Aitutaki, the jewel in the Cook Islands’ glittering crown. A 45-minute flight north from Rarotonga, this pristine coral atoll is blessed with long stretches of powdery white sand, framing warm, exquisitely clear jungle-fringed water. The island is justly famous for its vast triangular lagoon, which is regularly voted the world’s most idyllic. Sprinkled around the lagoon are 15 lushly vegetated islets, known as motus, and within its warm, glittering water, which rarely drops below 25°C, lives a dazzling array of tropical fish. As you would expect, the snorkelling and scuba

diving around the island are worldclass, but there’s also fantastic kite surfing, fly-fishing for the fighting bonefish and deep-sea fishing for tuna, marlin and swordfish. On land, the Punarei Cultural Tour offers an authentic introduction to the Cook Islands’ modern Polynesian culture and history, including a visit to an excavated marae (sacred meeting place) and helping with the preparation of a traditional umu (underground oven) meal. The island’s inhabitants are renowned for their drumming and dancing talents, which they regularly put to good use in mesmerising performances at Aitutaki’s major hotels. Which still leaves another 13 islands waiting to be discovered…

DAVID KIRKLAND

Ocean, halfway between Australia’s east coast and Hawaii, the Cook Islands is an archipelago of 15 islands, each seemingly competing to be crowned most idyllic tropical haven. Crystalline blue water, warm white sand, coconut palms, colourful tropical flowers, tranquil lagoons, friendly locals— they’ve got it all. Rarotonga, the main island (above), is like one big resort, with no traffic lights, no commercial chains and no buildings taller than the palm trees. Around the coastal fringe, white sands and gin-clear waters are never far away, while the mountainous inland is a rugged playground for hikers. Driving around the island takes just 45 minutes;


AMAZING THAILAND TOUCH OF THE ADVENTURE hugthailand


Norfolk Island Brisbane of WONDER

Sydney Auckland


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PERSPECTIVE

JOY to the WORLD A well-travelled Dalai Lama takes us on a journey to happiness

PETER HÖNNEMANN

— COSTAS CHRIST

TAKE IT FROM a traveller who knows: “Trust leads to happy days and happy lives.” That’s what the Dalai Lama told me when I asked him how seeing the world can lead to peace. Short answer: travel teaches us to trust. Strapping on a backpack as a 20-year-old, I didn’t need to search for happiness; the very act of setting out on a distant journey was bliss. As the years stacked up, the happiness of engagement with other cultures became a deeper quest. My travels led to Bhutan, drawn by that nation’s policies to encourage happiness. Visitors to the kingdom get to savour some of the results: with more than half of the country protected in national parks and reserves,

trekking through Bhutan’s meadows and majestic old-growth forests, home to rare species such as black-necked cranes and greater one-horned rhinos, will bring a lasting smile to any passionate traveller. Bhutan’s happiness checklist ranges from protecting the environment to promoting traditional heritage. Yet a national survey classified less than half of the population as happy. Even in the so-called land of happiness, being happy can prove elusive. Could it be that the clearest path to happiness is not through policy, but something more direct? “For a happy life, physical well-being is important, but true wellness must include a happy mind,” the Dalai Lama told me. He advised that

when we focus too much on problems “we can make it worse” and if we always think about what is wrong, “it appears unbearable”. By maintaining a wider perspective, “we create a lot of room to keep hope and enthusiasm”. To me, this insight means that travelling really can make the world a happier place because it forces us to trust one another. So strike out on that journey, experience cultures and stay true to compassion. “For real happiness, a warm heart is more important than a brilliant mind. Remember that your best, most reliable friend is your own intelligence and your own warmheartedness. Let this be your guide to a happy life.” 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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H E R I TAG E H I D E AWAY

to the LIGHTHOUSE Step back in time in a wildlife haven on the NSW South Coast THE SUN IS SETTING and as you sip from a glass

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GEOFF COMFORT

of wine in your comfy seat on the verandah of the 125-year-old lighthouse-keeper’s cottage, humpback whales breach in the waters below, the loud boom as they hit the water carrying all the way up to you over the haunting cries of gulls and terns. Welcome to Montague Island, a volcanic remnant poking above the water nine kilometres from the South Coast New South Wales town of Narooma. About 1.4 kilometres long and 525 metres wide, the island sits within the 81-hectare Montague Island Nature Reserve, which is managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Thanks to this protection, and the island’s prime position within the nutrient-rich East Australian current, it’s a haven for wildlife, both on land and in the sea. More than 90 bird species visit the island and 15 species breed there, including the largest population of little penguins in NSW—as many as 8,000 of the comical birds live on the island at any one time. The island also hosts NSW’s largest fur seal colony, with several hundred (and as many as 2,000) Australian and New Zealand fur seals frolicking in the surrounding waters, where they’re regularly joined by dolphins. Migrating humpback and southern right whales also pass within sight of the island, with mothers and calves often using the waters as a stopover on their way down to the Southern Ocean. The NPWS runs day and overnight eco tours of the island throughout the year, but if you’re after a more immersive experience, book a stay in the lovingly restored lighthouse keepers’ quarters, which cater to groups of eight or ten. The lighthouse and keepers’ quarters were built in 1881 from the island’s own granite, and the latter’s high ceilings and large living areas and bedrooms set apart by wide and long corridors all echo its long past. And if you really want to get involved, become a conservation volunteer, helping to monitor and protect the nesting boxes that have been provided for the little penguins.


pioneers in the kimberley DISCOVER THESE ANCIENT LANDS WITH THE EXPERTS IN EXPEDITION CRUISING

Picture Taken > Voyage 0515 - King George Falls, The Kimberley > May 2015

The first expedition cruise company to take explorers into the heart of the Kimberley, Coral Expeditions has been refining our Kimberley itinerary for over 20 years. Our small ships are purpose-built for reaching areas that most larger ships cannot, providing you with an immersive experience of this rugged and mysterious coastline. With only 72 guests on board, enjoy personalised service and the renowned expedition expertise of Australia’s pioneering Kimberley cruise line. › Experience the incredible natural phenomenon of Horizontal Falls › Watch the mighty King George Falls as they thunder over the 50 metre red rock cliffs › Witness spectacular Montgomery Reef rise out of the water with the falling tide › Enjoy expert interpretation of the world’s oldest known Aboriginal rock art

OUR HERITAGE

EXPLORING THE KIMBERLEY COAST Having launched the first expedition cruises on the Great Barrier Reef in 1984, Coral Expeditions participated in an in-depth survey of the Kimberley coastline in 1995. The first cruise departures commenced the following year, setting the foundation for what is now a growing industry within this region. After the success of the first expeditions, we have returned to the Kimberley each year since, improving the itinerary one cruise at a time.

10-NIGHT EXPEDITION VOYAGES Departs from Darwin & Broome March to September

> www.coralexpeditions.com > 1800 079 545 > reservations@coralexpeditions.com


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SOUTHERN COMFORT

splendid SOLITUDE Four seasons in a few days in a remote bush camp in southwest Tasmania – GEORDIE TORR

AS WE TURN INLAND, leaving the dramatic dolerite coastal cliffs

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along a muddy track, rain jackets held up around our faces as the rain, heavier now, hits us horizontally. It’s a relief to step inside the newly built museum cum bird hide and a welcome surprise to see a colourful parrot swoop down onto the feeding platform that has been set up in front of the viewing area. It’s as if this orange-bellied parrot—one of the world’s rarest birds—had been waiting for us. Rain beads off its brightgreen feathers as it delicately scoops seeds up in its grey beak. The walk to the jetty is, thankfully, rain free, as is the short boat ride to the camp, where it starts up again, a little halfheartedly. A narrow boardwalk takes us through the forest to our accommodation—a series of five delightful little wood, metal and canvas huts—the ablutions hut, which has a shower and a couple of composting toilets, and the dining/kitchen hut.

GEORDIE TORR (4)

behind us, the first spots of rain hit the windshield. Gusts of wind buffet the plane. Ahead, a white stripe across the grey-green velvet of a buttongrass moor, is the dirt landing strip, which, soon enough, we’re safely taxiing along. Our group of seven—five guests, two staff—has arrived at Melaleuca, the tiny ranger outpost in Southwest National Park at the bottom of Tasmania. We’ve flown down from Hobart in a little twin-engine Islander aircraft, en route to the bush camp that Par Avion Wilderness Tours runs in a patch of woodland on the shores of Bathurst Harbour, a remarkable waterway that’s three times the size of Sydney Harbour. By the time we’ve unloaded, the rain is heavier, the fickle wind whipping the small droplets this way and that. We walk


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After lunch, it’s back in the boat for some sightseeing. The rain has stopped but the westerly wind is whipping white caps on the choppy water. Our plans for the day have already changed thanks to the weather: “We could put together an itinerary, but there’s no way we could stick to it,” says our host, Greg Wells. “My itinerary is: we’ll see what happens.” Greg’s family owns Par Avion and he has been coming down here to the bush camp for almost 25 years. “Getting away from the madness,” he calls it. “You get down here and there’s no technology, no pollution, no traffic, no people usually. For me it’s almost like meditation when I’m here.” Even after all that time, Greg clearly loves it out here. “It’s just one of those places,” he says. “In the time I’ve been coming down here, it hasn’t changed; you can’t say that about many places. It’s like a place that time’s forgotten. It gets into your blood a bit; you start pining to get back.” Out on the water, the sun breaks through the clouds, flooding the frankly incredible scenery with bright light. All around us, steep-sided hills, mountains even, rise abruptly from the brown, tannin-stained water into jagged, razorback ridges. The underlying geology around us is nutrient-poor quartzite, which explains the preponderance of buttongrass, a perennial sedge that forms large, densely tufted, coarse tussocks. In the hollows and gullies, where

more nutrient-rich soils have formed, there are stands of thick forest, the ground spongy with centuries of accumulated moss. For the next few days, we make numerous forays out in the boat, exploring inlets, walking along beaches and hiking across buttongrass moors and through fern-filled rainforest in a mixture of warm sunshine and chilly mizzle. We make the leisurely climb up Mount Beattie for breathtaking views across to Mount Rugby, views entirely unsullied by any sign of human life. All the while, Greg and his offsider, ex-Tasmanian surfing champ Mick Lawrence, keep up a steady stream of anecdotes about the local history, both pre-and post-colonial. On our final morning, I awake to the radio-static crackle of rain on canvas. The weather system that has been bringing the intermittent squalls has intensified. There’s some concern about whether the plane will be able to get in to fly us back out to Hobart—concern that I’m sure for all of us guests is mixed with a secret hope that we’ll be stuck out here for another night. But then the call comes through—it looks as though a window is opening up in the weather, but we’ll have to move quickly. We pack up, wolf down a quick and tasty lunch, and then hightail it back to Melaleuca, where we have a short wait for the plane to appear out of the low cloud to take us back to Hobart and the “madness”. 2 01 7 I SSU E 0 1  

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LOCAL FL AVOUR

BATTER UP in BELGIUM Sweeten your European itinerary with a trip to waffle country — JENNIFER BILLOCK

LIÈGE 

BELGIUM-WIDE 

EAST OF BRUSSELS, in

SMALL, BUTTERY WAFFLE

which debuted at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, is the forefather of the U.S.A.’s Belgian waffle. But they aren’t the same—the Belgian capital’s is more of a snack, often covered in strawberries and whipped cream or chocolate. The yeast version (the U.S.A.’s is yeast free) is available at any waffle stand but is best fresh off the iron at 187-year-old Maison Dandoy on Rue au Beurre—Butter Street.

Belgium’s Wallonia region, waffles lose the square shape to become an amorphous pressed-dough delight called the Liège waffle. The recipe, also yeast-based, is infused with pearl sugar, which forms a crispy caramelised coating in the waffle iron. Pollux, a café off the Place de la Cathédrale, melts a chocolate bar right into the batter, but the plain sugar option is just as tasty.

COOKIES are known by a f ew names depending on the region: lukken, “good luck cookies”, or nieuwjaarswafeltjes, “New Year’s cookies”. Recipes are passed down through families and the treat is traditionally served on New Year’s. They look like their larger cousins on the surface but are thin and crunchy and, if two are put together, hold fillings such as caramel, chocolate, ice cream, or almond paste.

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Stack of waffle cookies, sometimes referred to in Belgium as lukken, meaning luck; TOP: topping overload near the Grand Place in Brussels

JESSE WARREN/GET T Y IMAGES; SHUT TERSTOCK/ANNA CHELNOKOVA

BRUSSELS THE BRUSSELS WAFFLE,


COOK ISLANDS

The Cook Islands are a paradise waiting for you to discover. Soon after landing in Rarotonga you can be snorkelling in the crystal clear lagoon, sipping on your first cocktail or taking off on a scooter, kayaking or hiking adventure. A short 45 minute flight from Rarotonga, Aitutaki, with its exquisite lagoon and pristine beaches has been described as heaven on earth. For the more adventurous there’s the remote island of Atiu and 12 other islands to explore...


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School is in session in north Raja Ampat, where West Papuan fishermen skim the surface of waters teeming with silverside fish

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PLACES WE LOVE

INDONESIA Biodiversity and bliss in Raja Ampat — COSTAS CHRIST

JÜRGEN FREUND

AS OUR FRAGILE GLOBE sprouts further cities and highways, it’s easy to forget that more than two thirds of the Earth’s surface consists of a vast underwater realm of mountains, valleys and plateaus that harbour a universe of life. If out of sight means out of mind, then Nat Geo Explorer in Residence and veteran oceanographer Sylvia Earle is here to remind us: “We need to save marine species as if our life depends on it, because it does.” Perhaps nowhere else is this call to ocean action playing out with more passion than in the aquatic galaxy of Raja Ampat, a remote Indonesian archipelago of forested islands that appear to float like green planets in a region of abundant marine biodiversity known as the Coral Triangle. There are more kinds of fish and coral found here than there are bird species in the Amazon rainforest. Misool Eco Resort, a 17-bungalow adventure outpost constructed from recycled hardwood, is working to keep it that way. Built on a site formerly used by shark fin poachers, Misool demonstrates the power of sustainable tourism to save the seas. Since 2005, the resort has protected 120,434 hectares of vital marine habitat that was once the target of illegal fishing (think dynamiting reefs and harpooning manta rays). Scientists have now recorded a 250 percent rebound in the fish population thriving amid healthy coral lagoons, creating a brighter future for villagers turned marine stewards and the travellers whose dollars help protect this spectacular water world.

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FESTIVALS

SPIRIT of CELEBRATION Tap into Tahiti’s life force at the annual Heiva

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GREGORY BOISSY

MANA. This one word evokes the people, the culture and the lifestyle of the islands of Tahiti. Described as the life force and spirit of Polynesians, Mana is a supernatural power that may be ascribed to persons, spirits or inanimate objects. According to Robert Thompson, the director of Tahiti Tourisme in Australia and New Zealand, Mana is unique to the Polynesian way of life and a big part of what makes Tahiti special. “Whether visitors want to connect or disconnect, relax or get active, hide or seek, explore underwater or on land, there are many sides to Tahiti. But at the core of it all is Mana, which encapsulates all that’s remarkable about Tahiti,” he says. “Mana is ever-present in Tahiti and whether they know it or not, everyone who visits Tahiti is touched by it. It’s the special aura, energy and power that embraces Tahiti and leaves visitors feeling richer and more connected.” A big way of keeping Mana alive is through the special annual events that highlight Polynesia’s vibrant culture, and they don’t come much bigger than the Heiva i Tahiti. In Tahitian, the word Heiva refers to a range of activities, pastimes, physical exercise and festivals (“hei” means “to assemble” and “va” means “community places”). Started in 1881, the Heiva is an iconic event for Polynesian culture, a celebration of life that features dance competitions, sporting events (which include everything from palm tree climbing, stone lifting and coconut cracking to javelin throwing and canoe racing), parades and singing. Contestants in the dance competitions, which are some of the most important events in the Heiva, prepare for months in advance, and the music, choreography and costumes, while based on historical or legendary themes, are uniquely created for each Heiva. This year, the 136th annual Heiva i Tahiti takes place between 6 and 22 July in the Tahitian capital, Papeete.


2017

TRAVELLERS’ CHOICE AWARD

NO.1 HOTEL IN AUSTRALIA

5 out of 5

Weekend Away Review – January 2015

seven peaks walk

The Seven Peaks Walk is Lord Howe Island’s premier 5 day guided adventure that takes you from pristine beaches and exposed coral reefs to the delicate mist forests on Mt Gower. After a memorable day, you’ll return to Pinetrees for a hot shower, cold beer, exceptional 4 course dinner, great wine and deluxe king bed. The walk is for experienced hikers who enjoy a challenge by day, and some luxury by night. Book our Seven Peaks Walk in 2017 and discover Australia’s best adventure experience. Please call (02) 9262 6585 and quote ‘National Geographic’.

lord howe island • another world • close to home

Contact Pinetrees Travel on (02) 9262 6585 or visit pinetrees.com.au


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BEACH CAMPING

OCEAN VIEWS for LESS How to fall asleep to the sound of waves without shelling out – ALEXANDRA E. PETRI

WHILE STUDYING fish-eating

2 TRACK THE TIDES

4 DON’T STAKE ANY RISKS

bats that are native to parts of Mexico’s coast, Edward Hurme, a Nat Geo Young Explorer, sets up camp along the sandy shores of a remote island in the Sea of Cortez, where he’s learned a thing or two about living with Mother Nature. Here he shares his top tips for camping in comfort on the beach.

WHEN CHOOSING the right spot,

Hurme suggests placing rocks on top of your tent stakes to give them extra weight. You can also tie a rock or log to the tent and bury it, which should stop your temporary home from blowing away.

1 AIR IT OUT MAKE SURE you have somewhere

CAMP HERE 3 CLEAN CAMPING

READY TO SLEEP on the beach?

YOU CAN minimise sand buildup in your beach abode by taking off your shoes before entering. But sand can have its uses when you’re cleaning up. Rather than using soap, which can pollute the water, scrub plates, pots and cups with sand—a natural abrasive.

Our favourite campsites include Assateague Island, Maryland; Big Sur, California; Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand; and Fraser Island, Australia.

CAMPPHOTO/ISTOCKPHOTO/GET T Y IMAGES

to relax during the day outside your tent. “Your tent gets warm in the sun without much ventilation,” says Hurme. He suggests setting up a tarp or any other breeze-friendly shade. And don’t forget to pack some comfortable chairs, too.

Hurme says, make sure you’re camping beyond the reach of high tide. “See where debris and seaweed have washed up so that you can get an idea of how far the tide goes.” Then set up your tent above the high-tide waterline.

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SPONSORED CONTENT

When you’re in Christchurch... OBVIOUSLY… you should go swimming with dolphins. Tours are offered yearround and you’re almost guaranteed to see these playful cetaceans, with a success rate of around 85 per cent. In Kaikoura, you’ll see pods of acrobatic dusky dolphins that range in size from 100 to 1,000, while in Akaroa you’ll be swimming with Hector’s dolphins, which are found only in the waters around New Zealand. And no trip to the land of the long white cloud would be complete without a jet-boat trip. Alpine Jet runs trips up the spectacular Waimakariri River canyon in the foothills of the Southern Alps.

gardens in Hagley Park, Christchurch’s number one visitor attraction. While you’re there, why not go for a relaxing punting tour of the Avon River aboard a handcrafted flat-bottomed boat, poled along by a skilled punter dressed in

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Worcester Blvd. There are also markets each weekend at Riccarton House— a farmers market on Saturdays and an artisan market on Sundays. And for something a bit different, try the funky Re:START container mall in the heart of the city, a colourful labyrinth of shipping containers that was the first retail area to reopen in the CBD after the earthquakes.

IF YOU WANT TO BUY… some great NZ wine, try Vino Fino on Durham Street South or Decant Vinters & Epicures on Mandville Street, which also doubles as a licensed café where you can try wine by the glass or the bottle with a cheese platter. Or, of course, you could head north to the Waipara area to tour some of the wineries themselves. If you’re after some Maori souvenirs, try the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Gift Shop on Hussey Road or the weekend markets held at the Christchurch Arts Centre on

IF YOU HAVE KIDS… you definitely have

to pay a visit to the Adrenalin Forest. Situated on the outskirts of Christchurch, it has more than 100 different challenges and 20 flying foxes. Or perhaps they would prefer to try white-water rafting. Rangitata Rafts offers day trips from Christchurch, and the scenery, both on the journey there and on the water, is amazing. Or there’s Orana Wildlife Park, an open-range zoo set within 80 hectares of grounds (for a real adrenaline rush, head into the heart of the lion’s habitat during feeding time).

CHRISTCHURCHNZ.COM (3)

BUT YOU COULD ALSO… visit the botanic

traditional Edwardian attire. Or, for a birds-eye view of the city, the Port Hills, the harbour at Lyttleton, and even the impressive Southern Alps off in the distance, climb aboard the Christchurch Gondola. Once you’ve reached the summit, take a ride on the Time Tunnel, which showcases a reconstruction of the area’s history.


SPONSORED CONTENT

WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY… but just want

something light, stop in at the iconic C1 Espresso café, located in the central city in the old High Street Post Office on the corner of Tuam and High streets. Try some of their tasty sliders, delivered to your table through a pneumatic tube. For something more sophisticated, make a booking at Roots on New Regent Street in Lyttelton. With an open kitchen, two dining rooms and an intimate courtyard nestled in a private garden, Roots uses seasonal ingredients sourced through foraging (a key value of the restaurant), small producers, local and biodynamic farms and its own ever-growing garden to create “mystery” degustation menus. Also featuring ingredients that are seasonal and, as far as possible, locally sourced, the modern and sophisticated Twenty Seven Steps is known for good, solid dishes of tasty food—big pieces of meat or fish topped with local veggies and a deliciously rich jus. If you’re after a big beef hit, try Bloody Mary’s on Latimer Square—a true carnivore’s celebration. Or you can go in the completely opposite direction at the Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant on St Asaph Street. WHEN YOU’RE SLEEPY… and looking for some

old-world opulence, check in to the awardwinning Heritage Christchurch in the Old Government Buildings on Cathedral Square. Opened in 1913, this luxurious Italian High Renaissance Palazzo-style building is listed on the Historic Places Trust Register but still boasts all the requisite mod cons, including an on-site health club, lap pool and sauna. Or perhaps you would prefer the Hotel Montreal, Christchurch’s newest luxury boutique hotel–a mix of refined elegance and modern sophistication. Overlooking Cranmer Square on the edge of Hagley Park, the hotel is an oasis of calm in the centre of the city—you can even play croquet in its peaceful gardens. Travellers on a tighter budget should check out Eco Villa on Hereford Street, “a boutique hotel with a twist” that comes with a fully equipped shared kitchen, dining area, lounge, edible garden and outdoor baths. Located in a restored 1910 property, the hotel has eight individually crafted rooms created with a mix of up-cycling, re-using and renovating that has helped to bring the villa back to its former glory. If you want more ideas… check out these helpful websites: www.christchurchnz.com; www.pocketsofawesome.co.nz 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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The award winning National Anzac Centre is one of Australia’s most important cultural pilgrimages. Located within Albany’s Princess Royal Fortress, the Centre overlooks the harbour from which over 41,000 men and women departed Australia for the Great War. For many this would be their last glimpse of Australia. Follow the personal stories of the men and women who served and immerse yourself in the Anzac Legend through state of the art technology, multimedia and historic artefacts.

Visit Albany on the South Coast of Western Australia to experience the Anzac Legend. nationalanzaccentre.com.au amazingalbany.com.au @amazingalbany


GO

wa special

WEST!

L AUREN BATH

Sun and sea, forests and farmland, wildlife and wildflowers, waterfalls and gorges, food and wine, history and culture: Australia’s largest state has it all and more. From the award-winning wineries, stunning beaches and majestic forests of the southwest to the rugged ranges, striking gorges, ancient rock art and dramatic coastline of the Kimberley in the north, WA is a diverse wonderland just calling out to be explored

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WILDERNESS

NORTHERN sights The remote Kimberley region is home to some of Australia’s most dramatic scenery

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amphitheatre of Cathedral Gorge, the peaceful Black Rock Pool in Piccaninny Gorge, the boulder-strewn Mini Palms Gorge, filled with a veritable forest of Livistona palms, and Echidna Chasm, a narrow gorge that becomes narrower and narrower until it’s just a metre-wide crevice between bright-orange cliffs that rise 100 metres on either side. In a wilderness region as vast as the Kimberley it’s no surprise that there are some awesome drives on offer. Top of the list is the 660-kilometre Gibb River Road, which cuts through the middle of the Kimberley, from Derby in the west to Kununurra in the east. Taking in Windjana Gorge, the cave systems at Tunnel Creek and the Pentecost and Ord rivers, the road also services the remote Aboriginal community of Kalumburu, where there’s a

campground and tracks out to ancient rock art sites. Having said that, what with the enormous distances involved and the fact that the roads tend to be pretty rough and ready, one of the best ways to experience the Kimberley is from above. Based in Kununurra—the gateway to the East Kimberley—helicopter-charter company HeliSpirit offers a wide range of scenic tours, from 18-minute flights over the Bungle Bungles to heli-hikes, heli-fishing and six-night luxury safaris. The company has bases all over the Kimberley, operates a fleet of 21 helicopters and is happy to put together bespoke packages, so whether you want to soar over gorges, land beside remote waterfalls or rock art galleries, or wet a line in a pristine outback billabong, HeliSpirit can help.

TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA (3)

IN A STATE full of wide-open, uninhabited spaces, the Kimberley region stands alone (not quite literally). Covering nearly 423,000 square kilometres, with a population of fewer than 40,000 people, this ancient region has fewer people per square kilometre than just about anywhere on the planet. The Kimberley is also home to some of the most dramatic scenery in a state known for its dramatic scenery. Take the Bungle Bungles, for example. Located in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park in the eastern Kimberley, the Bungle Bungle Range is made up of hundreds of 30-metretall black-and-orange-striped stone structures. But the “beehive” domes are just the start. Walking tracks radiate out from the park’s two bush-camping sites, taking visitors to the enormous natural


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SEE THE KIMBERLE Y FROM THE SE A ANOTHER GREAT WAY to experience the Kimberley is via its rugged coastline. Small-ship cruise specialists Coral Expeditions fell in love with the Kimberley more than two decades ago. Travelling between Darwin and Broome, it was the first cruise operator to forge the path for what is now one of Australia’s ultimate “bucket list” trips. The small size, shallow draught and excellent manoeuvrability of its purpose-built expedition vessels

Coral Expeditions I and Coral Discoverer enable guests to go where larger ships can’t. Its unique tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat the entire complement of cruise passengers for excursions, navigating up narrow creeks. The small group size on the expeditions ensures that they really do feel like expeditions, while also minimising the impact on the environments they visit. An interpretative expedition team accompanies the guests on all excursions, providing expert commentary throughout.

Guests on the Kimberley expedition get to experience the incredible natural phenomenon of Horizontal Falls, watch the mighty King George Falls thunder over red-rock cliffs, witness Montgomery Reef rise out of the water with the falling tide and enjoy specialist interpretation of the world’s oldest-known Aboriginal rock art. The expedition team’s wealth of knowledge of the region and connections with local indigenous communities allow Coral Expeditions to offer its guests a truly immersive Kimberley experience.

ABOVE: King George Falls; OPPOSITE, LEFT: the Bungle Bungles; OPPOSITE, RIGHT: Cathedral Gorge 2 01 7 I SSU E 0 1  

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DESTINATION GUIDE

Karijini NATIONAL PARK Creeks, chasms, gorges and an award-winning eco-retreat WHERE IS IT?

WHAT CAN YOU DO THERE?

SITUATED IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S

KARIJINI IS all about the hiking. There

Pilbara region, about 1,400 kilometres north of Perth, Karijini National Park is the second-largest national park in WA.

are numerous trails, of varying difficulty, that lead visitors to some of its more spectacular sites. Take the two-hour return hike out to the hidden gardens of Circular Pool in Dales Gorge and enjoy a swim in its refreshing permanent waters. Or perhaps the one-hour return walk to Fortescue Falls, the park’s only permanent waterfall, appeals (you can cool off in the nearby spring-fed Fern Pool). For something a bit longer, take the three-hour walk to the bottom of Joffre Gorge, where the curved wall forms a natural amphitheatre with an amazing waterfall.

WHAT’S ITS CLAIM TO FAME? RANKED IN THE state’s top five visitor

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WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT? FROM LATE AUTUMN to early spring

(May–September) is the most pleasant time to visit, with clear, warm days that

WHERE SHOULD I STAY? OPENED IN April 2007, the multi-award-

winning Karijini Eco Retreat is an environmentally friendly retreat and campground, nestled in the pristine bushland at Joffre Gorge in the heart of the national park. Wholly owned by the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the collective interests of the Niapiali, Bunjima and Innawonga people of the Pilbara region, the retreat offers a range of accommodation options, from un-powered sites up to the full glamping experience, as well as ten dorm-style eco tents and eight dormstyle cabins, each of which sleeps eight in bunks. There’s also an outback-style alfresco licensed restaurant.

PAUL PICHUGIN

experiences, Karijini is famous for its dramatic creeks, spectacular gorges and towering sheer-sided chasms, which can be up to 100 metres deep. The park’s distinctive banded rock formations date back about 2.5 billion years, when fine-grained sediment, rich in iron and silica, accumulated on an ancient sea floor. Over hundreds of millions of years, the pressure from all of the different layers of sediment turned the deposits into tough rock that was then eroded into gorges when a sharp drop in sea level caused the rivers to down-cut rapidly.

generally remain below 30°C. Bring some warm clothes, however, as the nights can get cold.


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AQUARIUM

SEE the UNDERSEA Explore WA’s marine wonders without getting wet

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EXPLORING THE MARINE ENVIRONMENTS along the entire

length of Western Australia’s coastline—all 20,781 kilometres of it—isn’t really a practical option for the vast majority of us. But thankfully there’s an easier way to experience the state’s marine bounty. Located right beside the ocean in Hillarys in northern Perth, AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia, is divided into five distinct sections devoted to different regions of the WA coast: Great Southern, the Shipwreck Coast, the Perth Coast, the Far North and Marmion Marine Park, WA’s first marine park, which is located adjacent to the aquarium. The aquarium’s centrepiece is the Shipwreck Coast exhibit (representing the area from Lancelin to Kalbarri)—the largest single aquarium in Australia and the tenth largest in the world. Visitors ride a conveyor belt through a clear glass tunnel, travelling under some three million litres of water as enormous stingrays (up to three metres in length and weighing more than 350 kilograms) sweep by overhead. The aquarium is owned by Coral World International, which also has aquariums in Hawaii, Israel and Mallorca. The company specialises in the growth and cultivation of coral, and thanks to more than 30 years of experience, is now considered the world leader in keeping living coral in exhibits. This summer, AQWA launched three new adventure programs, including Treasure Hunter, in which visitors can try diving for the first time in a specially built outdoor exhibit—and search underwater for specially marked medals that can be exchanged for prizes. Dive on in!


LUXURY KIMBERLEY HELICOPTER SAFARI

Experience the Kimberley, Australia, by private helicopter on an all-inclusive six day adventure. Stay at Berkeley River Lodge, Kimberley Coastal Camp and El Questro Homestead. Land on mountain pinnacles to watch the sunset over your favourite cold drink, fish in wild rivers, view galleries of the oldest rock art on earth, soar through gorges and touch down to swim in secret springs and waterfalls. Secure your 2017 luxury safari by contacting us now. CALL 1800 180 085 | BOOKINGS @ HELISPIRIT.COM.AU | HELISPIRIT.COM.AU


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REEF TREATS

on the FRINGE The Ningaloo Coast is about much more than whale sharks THE WORLD HERITAGE-LISTED

humpback whales migrate up and down WA’s coastline on what’s sometimes referred to as the humpback highway. From July to October, the marine park hosts the highest density of humpbacks in the Southern Hemisphere, with as many as 30,000 individuals stopping off in its sparkling waters. It’s now possible to swim with the whales, but for another way to experience these migrating mammals (or the whale sharks, or dolphins, or just for the thrill of it), why not try flying over them in a microlight— essentially a hang-gliding sail equipped with two seats and an engine (and, of course, a pilot). The whales and whale sharks may grab the headlines, but they’re only two of the marine species that can be found

on Ningaloo Reef; it’s also home to manta rays (Coral Bay has its own resident population), sea turtles (six of the world’s seven species have been recorded in the marine park), dugongs, more than 500 species of fish and more than 250 species of coral. And while most of Australia’s coral reefs are found well offshore, Ningaloo is accessible straight from the dazzling-white beaches that stretch along the coastline. Some of the best shore-based snorkelling can be found at Lakeside, Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks and Coral Bay. At Turquoise Bay there’s a great little current that gently pushes you along the surface, so all you need to do is float along admiring the coral scenery as it passes beneath you.

SEAN SCOT T

Ningaloo Marine Park is located about half way up the West Australian coast, 1,250 kilometres north of Perth. It protects one of the world’s longest fringing reefs, stretching for 260 kilometres from Bundegi Beach near Exmouth in the north to Red Bluff in the south. Ningaloo is best known, of course, for its whale sharks; nowhere else do these majestic creatures reliably congregate in such large numbers and so close to land. If you’re hoping to swim with the sharks, the season runs from April to July; make sure to pick a boat with its own spotter plane. But whale sharks aren’t the only marine behemoths to visit Ningaloo. Each year, tens of thousands of

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wa special

IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO EXPLORE Western

LIVING HISTORY

old TOWN WA’s oldest permanently settled town celebrates its past

N AT I O N A L G E O G R A PH I C T R AV E L L E R

AMA ZING ALBANY; LEE GRIFFITH

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Australia’s southern regions, you could do worse than base yourself in Albany, the cultural and administrative hub of the Great Southern region. Less than an hour by air from Perth, and a mere four-and-a-half hours by road, the city offers a wealth of natural beauty and heritage in its own right. Albany is the oldest permanently settled town in WA, its origins dating back to Boxing Day, 1826. But for at least 18,000 years, the region was the traditional home of the Minang Noongar Aboriginal people. When the settlement at King George Sound was first established, the Minang were initially suspicious, but they eventually welcomed the settlers and established a cooperative relationship with them, acting as guides and instructors on all things to do with their territory. The city went on to play a central part in the ANZAC legend. For many of the more than 40,000 servicemen and -women who left for the First World War battlefields in 1914, Albany was to be their last glimpse of Australia. That connection has been commemorated in the city since 25 April 1930, when Padre Arthur Ernest White led what’s widely considered to be the first recorded Anzac Day dawn service atop Mount Clarence, the site from which many locals had watched the convoys depart in 1914. Each year since, thousands of locals and visitors have solemnly gathered atop Mount Clarence on Anzac Day for the dawn service. And visitors to Albany can now follow the personal stories of the men and women who served through a mixture of state-of-the-art technology and historical artefacts at the award-winning National Anzac Centre. Overlooking the location from which the convoys departed, the centre resides within the 260-hectare Albany Heritage Park, a bushland reserve that incorporates the summits of Mount Clarence and Mount Adelaide, and stretches from the Port of Albany to the shores of Middleton Beach. The park boasts numerous Aboriginal and European cultural sites, including preFederation military installations at Princess Royal Fortress and is well serviced by walking and bike tracks, many of which feature interpretive markers that provide information about the park’s natural, cultural and military history.


Summer

under the sea

An awesome underwater journey awaits you at AQWA Meet WA’s rare, unique, iconic and deadly marine life as you travel from the icy-cold waters of the Southern Ocean to the colourful coral reefs of our Far North.

Mermaid Mondays!

Enjoy an enchanting underwater performance Mondays ONLY 11am & 1pm

Plus ! Join us on a NEW AQWA Adventure: Mermaid Magic

Snorkel Discovery

Treasure hunter

Dreams can come true! Snorkel with a mermaid, and learn some mermaid skills, in this magical extension of AQWA’s NEW Snorkel Discovery Adventure.

Learn how to explore WA’s stunning underwater world in a safe and spectacular setting!

Discover diving as you enjoy an underwater scavenger hunt! No dive experience needed.

/discoverAQWA

Hillarys Boat Harbour | 9447 7500 | Open Daily 10am - 5pm | www.aqwa.com.au


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BESTof the WORLD

15

MUST-SEE PLACES FOR 2017

Our editors & explorers have picked the world’s most exciting destinations for the year ahead

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1 Baja California national marine parks, Mexico WHY GO NOW?

ONE | CLOSE ENCOUNTERS of the ginormous marine kind are common in the waters off Mexico’s finger-like Baja California peninsula. Baja is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California), where behemoths of the sea—whales, great white sharks and manta rays with wingspans of up to six metres—and a variety of fishes congregate. Twenty years ago, many of these species were on the brink of extinction due to overfishing and pollution. Partnerships between local communities and the government helped to turn the tide with the creation of Cabo Pulmo, Guadalupe Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago and San Ignacio Lagoon marine reserves. Today, San Ignacio Lagoon is the primary calving ground for eastern Pacific gray whales. And Cabo Pulmo—considered one of the world’s greatest ecological comeback stories—teems with marine life, its total fish biomass rebounding more than 400 percent since fishing was banned in 2000. —Maryellen Kennedy Duckett

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CHRISTIAN VIZL/TANDEMSTOCK

Applaud a conservation success story


2 Anchorage WHY GO NOW?

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase T W O | WITH COOK INLET

as a front porch, the Chugach Mountains out back and five national parks nearby, Anchorage offers access to Alaska-size adventures. Add nearly around-the-clock daylight in summer and it’s possible to pack a week’s worth of activities into a weekend. Try angling in the world’s largest urban fishery. Then hike to a glacier, surf the bore tide along Turnagain Arm, spot grizzlies from a floatplane and land back at Bear Tooth Grill for a Polar Pale Ale. At the time of the Alaska Purchase (mocked then as Secretary of State William Seward’s “Folly”), the region was considered a frozen wasteland. “Today, Alaska is at the centre of a number of issues of global importance,” says Thomas Gokey, PR manager at the Anchorage Museum. In autumn 2017, the museum opens an expanded wing and a redesigned Alaska exhibit, with multimedia elements that give visitors a taste of life in the largest U.S. state. —MKD

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Georgia, U.S.A WHY GO NOW?

Listen up for great American music T H R E E | OLD SWEET SONGS aren’t

the only tunes keeping Georgia on music lovers’ minds. The Peach State’s current homegrown performers, including Young Jeezy and Luke Bryan, are building on the legacy of legends such as James Brown and Ray Charles. Hear live music or join a jam session in the cozy confines of the Historic Holly Theater in Dahlonega. Discover the roots of the Georgia sound in Macon, where Jessica Walden and her husband, Jamie Weatherford, operate Rock Candy Tours. “It’s no coincidence that Little Richard, Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers all tapped into the city’s soul, found their voice and created a sound from it,” says Walden. Rock on at one of Georgia’s 75 music festivals, such as June’s AthFest in Athens, home of the B-52s and R.E.M.—MKD

Cradle of Humankind, South Africa WHY GO NOW?

Pay a visit to your ancestors’ cave F O U R | IT TURNS OUT you can go home again. Rewind any family story way, way back some two to three million years and you’ll arrive at the Cradle of Humankind. Located under the rolling Highveld grassland an hour northwest of Johannesburg, the sprawling subterranean boneyard provides a window into human evolutionary history. Within the Cradle’s limestone caves and dolomite sinkholes, scientists have discovered one of the world’s greatest sources of hominin fossils. Get an overview of the discoveries at Maropeng (Setswana for “returning to the place of origin”), the Cradle of Humankind’s burial-mound-shaped visitors centre. Then dig deeper on a guided tour of Sterkfontein Caves, site of the longest-running (five days a week since 1966) archaeological excavation.—MKD

Ecuador’s cloud forests WHY GO NOW?

Spot wildlife in a hotbed of biodiversity F I V E | BIRDERS FLOCK to the primeval cloud forests of Ecuador’s Chocó region, widely considered to be some of the richest depositories of plant and animal life on the planet. Located north of Quito on the fog-shrouded Andean slopes, this biodiversity hotspot is home to hundreds of bird species, including the flashy Andean cock-of-the-rock and a dazzling array of hummingbirds. Other wonders include a profusion of epiphytes and rare orchids. The teddy-bear-faced olinguito was identified here in 2013, in the process becoming the newest mammal species in the Americas. At Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve & Lodge go on a guided night walk to spot hand-size moths and flickering fireflies. At Mashpi, a National Geographic Unique Lodge, soar through the mist on a zip-line Sky Bike or an open-air gondola for heady views of the forest canopy. —MKD

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6 Chengdu, China WHY GO NOW?

Savour a UNESCO City of Gastronomy

S I X | CHENGDU IS HARDLY a fabled destination in Asia—even though this fog-bound river town of ten million is the only city in China known by the same name for more than two millennia. But if you’ve been to a Sichuan restaurant anywhere on Earth, you can attest to the region’s legendary culinary specialties: kung pao chicken, twice-cooked pork, tea-smoked duck, ma po tofu, hot pot and more. It’s no wonder that UNESCO designated Chengdu its first Asian “City of Gastronomy”, citing it as “the cradle and centre of Sichuan cuisine”. At street stalls, markets and food courts, a panoply of dishes—from dumplings to duck tongues—is bathed in generous helpings of bright red heat, provided by the famed Sichuan peppercorns. Temper the surfeit of spice at one of Chengdu’s numerous teahouses, among China’s most authentic. As the hub of booming western China, more than three hours’ flight from coastal Shanghai, Chengdu has seen its white-painted back streets largely overtaken by glasswalled office towers. Yet there are plenty of picturesque between-meals stops and five World Heritage sites nearby. The thatched cottage of acclaimed Tang dynasty poet Du Fu exudes tranquillity, while the Wide and Narrow Alley district brims with restaurants, bars and shops selling handicrafts. Chengdu’s other leading claim to fame is as the gateway to panda country—just 160 kilometres from the Wolong Nature Reserve, a panda breeding and research centre that’s also home to the rare red panda. In Chengdu, antidote to an increasingly bland China, everything seems to be cast in a passionate crimson. —John Krich

STEVENCHOU ZHOUZHENG

Chengdu chefs keep busy preparing some of Sichuan’s famed specialties: hot-and-sour rice noodles and steamed dumplings

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Central India’s national parks

7 WHY GO NOW?

Get on board the new Tiger Express safari train S E V E N | WHY WATCH The Jungle Book when you can live it? In the heart of India, the regal Bengal tigers immortalised in Rudyard Kipling’s classic series (and subsequent Disney films) are making a roaring comeback. Seventy percent of the world’s wild tiger population (up from as few as 3,200 in 2010 to 3,890 in 2015) resides in India. For wildlife watchers eager to catch a glimpse of the world’s biggest cats, nothing—including Dolby Vision 3D on an IMAX screen—beats spotting the majestic creatures prowl their home turf. Thanks to wildlife- and habitat-preservation initiatives, national parks in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have become wild-tiger havens. Hop aboard Indian Railways’ new Tiger Express tourist train to go on safari in Bandhavgarh and Kanha, two parks where you’ll have a greater chance of seeing tigers than in any other national park. —MKD

Cartagena

8 WHY GO NOW?

E I G H T | COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT Juan Manuel Santos earned the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end 52 years of war in his country. Untouched by the conflict, Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, has long inspired visitors and writers—in particular, novelist Gabriel García Márquez, who set his luminous Love in the Time of Cholera here. See what stirred him on a stroll through the walled Old City, with its brightly painted colonial mansions, bougainvilleadraped balconies and open-air courtyard cafés filled with the infectious rhythms of cumbia. In 1981, Márquez told the Paris Review that while he garners credit for his fiction, his work is entirely drawn from real life: “The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination.” —MKD

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STEVE WINTER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Give peace a chance in Colombia


In the protection of India’s Bandhavgarh National Park, this tigress gave birth to three cubs

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SINAN ACAR

Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibits the work of contemporary artists such as Japanese art star Yayoi Kusama


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Marrakech

Madrid

WHY GO NOW?

WHY GO NOW?

A new look at Yves Saint Laurent

Get an eyeful of urban art

N I N E | FRENCH FASHION ICON Yves Saint Laurent plucked some of his most audacious colour combinations—think saffron orange with violet purple—from the gardens, skies and maze-like souks of Marrakech, Morocco. As Saint Laurent’s partner, Pierre Bergé, told the BBC last April, “He said, before Marrakech, he saw only in black and white.” The couple first bought a home here in 1966, and the city’s kaleidoscope of brilliant colours permeated Saint Laurent’s collections for much of his 40-year career. The designer’s ashes were scattered in Jardin Majorelle, the Marrakech garden cultivated by painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and given to the public by Bergé and Saint Laurent in 1980. Nearby, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech is one of two YSL museums (the other is in Paris) set to debut in 2017. —MKD

E L E V E N | SPAIN’S COSMOPOLITAN capital city— which hosts World Pride Madrid 2017 (23 June to 2 July)—lays claim to three of the world’s greatest art museums (the Prado, Reina Sofía and ThyssenBornemisza), nightlife that runs into day and numerous manicured parks and gardens. Contemporary Madrileño street artists make their mark in neighbourhoods such as bohemian Malasaña and multicultural Lavapiés. “The local urban-art scene is emerging as a new landmark where both national and international artists, many from Latin America, have seized a real opportunity to express themselves,” says Chris Cung, founder of Madrid Urban Art Tours. Hit the streets with Cung to see walls, alleys and other hardscape canvases of creativity. —MKD

Kauai

Finland

WHY GO NOW?

WHY GO NOW?

Hike authentic Hawaii

Unplug in the Finnish countryside

T E N | KAUAI NEEDED no computer-generated special effects to steal the show in the Jurassic Park movies and more than 60 other feature films. The island’s aerial tours deliver cinematic views of the towering N Pali coast sea cliffs. But plunging deep into the Garden Island’s wild side requires hitting a trail. Marked hiking paths lead into Waimea Canyon, through the shallow bogs of Alakai Swamp and across unbelievably lush landscapes. One newer route, the eight-kilometre Wai Koa Loop Trail, passes through the U.S.A.’s largest mahogany forest. For the most meaningful treks, go with a local, says Hike Kauai With Me owner Eric Rohlffs. “A guide can take you to less-travelled spots while keeping you safe and educating you on all things Hawaii.” —MKD

T W E L V E | IF SILENCE IS GOLDEN, you’ll discover the mother lode in Finland’s state-owned protected areas. From near the Arctic Circle in Lapland (where the northern lights often brighten the 200 days of winter), through the 20,000-island Finnish archipelago, and along the rocky beaches on the mainland’s southernmost tip, Finland’s 40 national parks, 12 wilderness areas and eight national hiking areas are sanctuaries for serious silence seekers. Join the unplugged party at Torassieppi, a rustic and remote reindeer farm. It offers a program where guests voluntarily turn over their electronic devices, freeing them to focus on more self-restorative pursuits, such as reindeer sledding or snowshoeing through Lapland forests. —MKD


Tribesmen in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, take part in a sing-sing, a tribal gathering full of chants and dancing

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Papua New Guinea WHY GO NOW?

Unprecedented access to remote villages

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visit P.N.G.’s untamed rainforests—home to threatened tree kangaroos and Queen Alexandra’s bird-wing, the largest butterfly in the world—volcanic fjords and vibrant coral reefs. At Tufi Resort, new sea-kayaking expeditions allow visitors to paddle between out-of-the-way villages and stay overnight in local guesthouses. And this year, Walindi Resort will offer live-aboard dive trips to the outlying Witu Islands and Father Reef, both of which are packed with whirling schools of big, colourful fish. —MKD

ANGEL A JAPHA

T H I R T E E N | TIME HAS IGNORED much of Papua New Guinea, an isolated and rugged Garden of Eden. Located in the South Pacific north of Australia, P.N.G. includes the eastern half of the world’s second biggest island, New Guinea, and about 600 small islands. For indigenous cultures in secluded villages, life goes on pretty much as it has for centuries. Recent grassroots tourism initiatives, such as accommodation-and-travel website VillageHuts.com, make it a bit easier for adventurers to


14 Seoul

WHY GO NOW?

South Korea’s capital is a red-hot centre of cool F O U R T E E N | SOMEHOW, WITHOUT

anyone noticing—and by anyone, I mean me—Seoul has become one of the great cities of the world, a giant pulsating star, radiating energy to the farthest corners, too busy with the here and now to worry about the apocalyptic shenanigans of its northern neighbour. Viewed from the observatory deck of the N Seoul Tower, the city’s immensity is staggering, tower after tower stretching off as far as the eye can see, filling every nook and valley of the rugged landscape. And for the visitor, there is everything here. Do you desire some old-school imperial Korea? Well then, head on down—via cable-car, regally—to Changdeokgung, the Palace of Illustrious Virtue, the home of Korea’s last emperor and wander the grounds, making sure to visit the secret garden. Then make your way to Hyoja-dong, long a home for craftsmen but increasingly recognised for its avant-garde art galleries. And now you’re hungry, but because you’re a first-time visitor to Seoul, you have no idea where to go. That’s okay! Because what Seoul does really well is street food. You have arrived. You are in the centre of the universe. You are in Seoul. —J. Marten Troost

Canton Uri, Switzerland WHY GO NOW?

Zoom through the world’s longest rail tunnel F I F T E E N | CANTON URI IS the Swiss army knife of Alpine travel experiences. Craving clanking cowbells and traditional cheesemaker huts? Check and check. How about snow-capped peaks and wildflower meadows? Uri’s got you covered. Dream of soaring over glacial lakes in a gondola or peering into the abyss on a gravity-defying train ride? Yep. That’s Uri too. Then there’s Gotthard Pass (elevation 2,106 metres), a magnet for James Bond wannabes itching to drive ridiculous hairpin turns. Their route of choice—an old cobbled road over the Alps—is the adrenaline-pumping way to travel from German-speaking Uri to Italian-speaking Canton Ticino. But it’s the slow lane compared with the new Gotthard Base Tunnel. The 56-kilometrelong rail tunnel (the longest of its kind in the world) took 17 years to build yet takes only 17 minutes to zip through via high-speed train. —MKD

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RIGHT: copy goes here and italics if needed; ABOVE: copy goes here and italics if needed

BANFF RETREAT AS CANADA MARKS A MILESTONE, WE TRACK DOWN BEAUTY AND BLISS IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS

BY NORIE QUINTOS PHOTOGRAPHS BY JENN ACKERMAN and TIM GRUBER

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RIGHT: copy goes here and italics if needed; ABOVE: copy goes here and italics if needed

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THE MAPLE LEAVES ARE EVERYWHERE: red ones on white T-shirts, white ones on red T-shirts. They’re screen printed on bunting, chalked onto sidewalks, painted on faces, emblazoned on dog collars. It’s 1 July in Banff, Alberta, and residents are celebrating Canada Day as the country readies for the big bash in 2017, when Canada marks its 150th anniversary as a nation. The food stalls sell bison jerky and fruit juices and vegetable samosas. Performers are attired in costumes from many lands. Singers belt out a universal message of love and harmony in various tongues. A stranger hands me a paper Canadian flag and we make our way to the parade route along Banff Avenue. Many of us are from the U.S.A. or China or India, and we know only two words in the lyrics of the national anthem. But we all gamely chime in with “O Canada” at the right spots. From the red and the white all around me I look up and see blue and green. Banff is no ordinary small town. It sits in the middle of Canada’s first and arguably best national park, 6,500 square kilometres of Rocky Mountain splendour carpeted with pine and spruce trees, and riddled with glaciers bleeding blue into clear lakes—a space big and bold enough to support huge numbers of wildlife, including wolves, elk, moose, cougars, lynxes, black bears and grizzlies. A thought strikes me: people are puny; nature is the grand marshal of this parade. A FEW MONTHS AGO, I HAD AN ANXIETY ATTACK. Racing heart, tight chest, cold hands. My doctor told me my cortisol levels were elevated. He prescribed vitamins and supplements to counteract the effects of a limbic hijacking and urged me to “meditate and eat dark chocolate”. So, besides popping chill pills, I’m biting into a Godiva daily and listening to a playlist of nouveau spiritualism by pop sages of the modern age. Had somebody close to me died? Was I experiencing some newly surfaced childhood trauma? Did my husband leave me for his secretary? No, no and, well, yes, but that was 20 years ago. So what was going on? Something embarrassingly trivial: I’m a recent empty nester trying to write her next chapter. If that diagnosis is clear, the remedy isn’t. Our bodies have minds of their own. I felt as if I’d pushed off from one shore and hadn’t quite reached the other. So I escaped to Canada, like a late-in-life runaway. I’m not unhappy. In fact,

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OPENING PAGES: Banff happiness is a sunrise, a hammock and the stilled translucence of Moraine Lake; ABOVE: Banff’s tea shops and cafés line the sunny side of the street; RIGHT: Paw patrol. Two pooches are on the job by Lake Louise, a star attraction famed for its glacier-fed turquoise water


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: fun is a toss-up for a young member of the Harper family, on a camping trip to Banff National Park’s Two Jack Lake; the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, known as “the Castle in the Rockies”, echoes its mountain setting; newlyweds Doug and Nat Macgregor take in a Banff view from the Lake Agnes Tea House, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1901; a common park sight, bighorn sheep graze the shores of Lake Minnewanka

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I had long anticipated this period after the kids went to college. But I live with a nagging question: what on Earth do I want? Right now, I want to be in Banff. To be outdoors, hike, make new friends and try to lose the thoughts that cobweb my brain in my suburban home office outside of Washington, D.C. This corner of the Rockies seems to me exactly what my meditation podcasts were telling me to visualise, but here I don’t have to close my eyes. I can open them. I join my new Banff friends Sally and Alison one morning for their daily stroll with their dogs up 1,675-metrehigh Tunnel Mountain, just east of downtown. We’re three 50-somethings in cropped yoga pants talking about nothing and everything. From an overlook, we can see the turrets and dormers of the area’s oldest and most famous lodging, the castle-on-a-hill Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Near the summit, Sally and Alison touch the trunk of a fir tree, its gnarled bark worn smooth by other hands. They touch for sick friends, for dogs long gone, for the fallen. I touch, too. “For sisterhood,” I say. I had a short, unhappy marriage and a long, unhappy divorce. It was a slog, marked by custody battles for our two sons, tears and trips to the therapist. I marvel at those who do it without family and friends—I had both. Looking back on those turbulent years, I realise that I had an enviable clarity of purpose. My goal was the wellbeing of my sons; everything else was secondary. Now I miss the focus that gave me such direction. After the hike, I meet up with Alexia McKinnon at the Banff Centre, an “arts and creativity incubator” at the base of Tunnel Mountain. McKinnon manages leadership programs for indigenous people. Hailing from the First Nations tribe of Champagne and Aishihik, up in Yukon Province, she tells me that Tunnel Mountain is also called Sleeping Buffalo Mountain. And, she adds, “according to the elders, it is a place of healing, especially for women”. Really? The mountain I just climbed with the gals and touched wood—that mountain? “No doubt you felt its energy,” she says. The town of Banff, at the convergence of three valleys and two rivers, was a place of gathering and trade for native nations, including those of the Stoney Nakoda, the Blackfoot and the Tsuut‘ina. Their influence continues to resonate. When I ask McKinnon what wisdom today’s elders offer, she smiles. “They ask us to be mindful every day, to listen to our ancestors, to the trees that give us air, to the rocks that clean the water, to the animals that give us food. They remind us that we are here as part of the continuum. We are here to honour those who came before and represent those who come after.” This mountain has a song, she tells me, “and I was called to the mountain by that song”.

Canada is calling me. Twice this summer I’ve found myself north of the 48, first in Quebec and now in Banff. This land clears my head. From the mountains here in the Rockies to the prairies of Manitoba to the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, our neighbour feels more spacious, more accepting. To this American, Canada is what we might be if we got outside more. MY IPHONE IS DEAD. My Fitbit too. The camera still works, but it’s buried in the saddlebag and out of reach. I’m not even halfway into a two-day horse-packing excursion through the dense backcountry of Lake Louise, following the trails of early pioneers and their First Nations guides, and my fingers already seek something to tap, press, or swipe. Everywhere I turn I see Instagrammable moments, as piney woods, glacier-fed lakes, snow-covered passes, and pointed peaks assemble themselves in countless permutations of perfect. The cowboy leading our group of four is Paul Peyto. Born in Banff, he and his wife, Sue, run Timberline Tours. Peyto has the bona fides. His great uncle Bill Peyto was one of the first wardens of Banff National Park, which was established during the late 1800s. For his contributions, his name was attached to a lake, a glacier, a mountain, a creek and a café. At camp the next morning, Peyto motions me over to his “weather station”, really a gap in the trees with a clear view of the creek below and Molar Mountain in the distance (which looks just like its name). If a storm develops, he can see it coming. We sip coffee, boiled with the grounds. No latte foam art here. Peyto doesn’t have children, but he knows what ails today’s youth. “We were always outside, always doing something—fishing, hiking, riding, skiing in wintertime. These kids now, they don’t want to do anything; that’s why they’re all four axe-handles wide. And all the rivets and lock washers and stuff hanging off them, all them tattoos, I just shake my head.” The guy could give his own TED Talk: head outside, do chores. It’s a simple version of the “forest bathing” and digital detox that today’s parenting experts advocate for nature deficit disorder and our culture of consumerism. After the horse-packing trip I check into the log-andstone Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, on the blue lip of Bow Lake. Built during the 1940s by another Banff pioneer and mountain man, Jimmy Simpson, the lodge is now in the hands of Tim Whyte, who, despite initial drops of rain, takes me on a hike to Bow Glacier Falls, across the lake. Raindrops soon turn into horizontal precipitation and thunderclaps follow lightning. “I love this,” Whyte says. “I just don’t do it enough.” Twenty years ago, he gave up the executive suite for an innkeeper’s life following a bout of thyroid cancer. The work was more difficult, but he relishes it.

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Verdant valleys and broadshouldered mountains make Banff’s backcountry a world-class destination for horse-packing excursions, led here by Timberline Tours owner Paul Peyto

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The high life comes naturally at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, where poolgoers are treated to their own private overlook of peak-flanked Bow Valley

“Every now and then everyone needs to do a head check. Ask ourselves: am I doing what I should be doing?” Hiking wilderness in a tempest—is this what I should be doing? In a word, yes. I’M ITCHING TO SEE A BEAR, preferably in the company of Amar Athwal, a ranger at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, which is centred around a series of hot springs on the outskirts of downtown. The popular area, bounded on one side by Sulphur Mountain, abuts a wildlife corridor, so it’s a good place to spot one of the world’s largest omnivores. Athwal, however, takes me to see snails. Barely the size of a pea, Banff Springs snails are endangered, found nowhere else in the world but in the site’s sulfurous spring waters. “See, there’s one,” he says, pointing to a dark, slimy corner of one pool. “My job is to protect both the bears and the snails. We’ve come a long way as humans that this park is here to do both.” I get it. You can’t just save the goodlooking creatures. But I must not be as highly evolved because I can’t muster much zest for the green blobs. During the construction of the transcontinental railway during the 1880s, workers found these hot springs, long

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known to First Nations people. To protect them, a reserve was established in 1885. Next came a marketer’s idea to build some fancy lodges and encourage travellers to board the train west. This marked the birth both of tourism and the national parks system in Canada. At that time, protected lands were dedicated more to the interests of tourism than to the ideals of conservation. First Nations peoples were evicted, big-game trophy hunting was promoted, lakes were stocked with non-native fish species for anglers and the hot springs were “enhanced” with swimming pools and bathhouses. Today, Banff National Park is placing a priority on environmental protection and redressing wrongs done to the original inhabitants. Wildlife overand underpasses cross both the Trans-Canada Highway and the Icefields Parkway, allowing safe passage to fauna, from gangly moose to elusive wolverines. Footage from hidden cameras on YouTube shows plenty of traffic on these animal highways. The bison, too, are returning: in February, Parks Canada reintroduced a herd of 16, with more on the way. More significantly, First Nations peoples have been active participants in the process. According to Karsten Heuer, the


To Lake Minnewanka 1 mi

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Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

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Washington D.C.-based N O R I E Q U I N T O S (   @noriecicerone) is an Editor at Large for Traveler. The wife-and-husband photography team of J E N N A C K E R M A N and T I M G R U B E R (   @ackermangruber) call Minneapolis home; this is their first feature assignment for Traveler.

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Day parade route in the town of Banff with Hernan Argana, his wife and their two daughters, some of the 2,000 immigrants from countries such as the Philippines (where the Arganas— and my parents—hail from) who make up the bedrock of this resort town’s economy. “I love Canada,” says Hernan. “The people here have been so good to us. The teacher saw my children walking to school in the cold and organised a visit to the thrift shop, where we could have anything we needed for free.” The family’s immigrant journey was difficult. He worked in Banff alone for seven long years to get his permanent residency, wiring most of his income to pay for his youngest daughter’s heart surgery in the Philippines. The Banff Western Union staff witnessed his weekly visits and took up a secret collection for his daughter’s medical costs. His family reunited with him in Canada four years ago. We watch the parade. The mayor, civic group and marching bands file past, followed by floats celebrating the ethnic groups that form the tapestry of Banff, and Canada—Filipinos, Japanese, Poles, Indians, Chinese, Scottish, Irish. About 20 percent of Canada’s population is foreign-born (compared with 13.2 percent in the U.S.A. in 2014). I think of my own family’s immigrant story. During the 1960s, my parents travelled to the U.S.A. to study and later raised their three children in Washington, D.C. My sisters and I, their husbands and our blended-race offspring represent a thoroughly American melting pot. This land around me isn’t my land, but it is a product of the same ideals. In its large tracts of wilderness and small acts of kindness, Canada turns out to be the perfect place to escape to without losing myself; to ask questions that I discover I already know the answers to; to give my better self room to grow; and to wait for the bear.

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national park’s bison-reintroduction project manager, “Bison are to the plains and foothills culture what salmon are to coastal cultures and caribou are to northern ones. Daily life revolved around the bison’s movements and rhythms, and from that, entire spiritual practices were born. Bringing bison back to Banff will help provide strength to those cultures. It’s a renewal.” Nice, but where’s my bear? “Be patient and present.” Athwal sounds just like one of my meditation podcasts. “The most difficult thing we need to give nature is time. Nature will not show you everything at once. But she will give you enough.”

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BANFF BESTS EASY RIDING BANFF LEGACY TRAIL

This 22-kilometre paved route for cyclists, walkers and in-line skaters runs from the town of Banff to the town of Canmore. Created in 2010 for the 125th anniversary of Banff National Park, it passes peaks, lakes and forests. PRIDE OF PL ACE WHYTE MUSEUM OF THE CANADIAN ROCKIES

Learn about the area’s culture and history at this museum founded by a descendant of a pioneering Banff family and his Bostonborn wife. Exhibits include snow goggles made by Bill Peyto and beaded Stoney Nakoda moccasins. G L I D E U P, HIKE DOWN BANFF GONDOLA

An eight-minute gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain

yields panoramic views of six mountain ranges. Keep your eyes peeled for marmots, bighorn sheep and other wildlife. HOOFING IT TIMBERLINE TOURS

Timberline is one of three outfitters that specialise in Banff horseback tours; trips range from 1.5-hour excursions to ten-day expeditions into the backcountry. CRUISE CONTROL BOW VALLEY PARKWAY

A scenic alternative to the Trans-Canada Highway, Bow Valley Parkway engages drive-through visitors with its viewpoints, informational signs and picnic spots.

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over the HORIZON Majesty and mysticism in the mountains of China’s Yunnan province. Plus, a mystery

Scott Wallace p h o t o g r a p h s b y Michael Yamashita by

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Windows at the Songtsam Tacheng lodge look out on terraced fields and mountain peaks

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ABOVE: a monk, in the small village of Tong Dui, holds a photo that would startle the author; RIGHT: Buddhist monks of the yellow hat sect file into centuries-old Dongzhulin Monastery

MIGHT THIS BE HIM? asks Na Niu, a temple caretaker in Tong Dui, a hamlet in China’s rugged Yunnan Province. His gnarled hands unwrap a silk scarf to reveal a blurry black-and-white photograph creased with age. The edges have a scalloped border, customary in the 1930s, about the time my wayward maternal grandfather wandered these borderlands where Yunnan’s mountains push up against Tibet. I peer into the photo. Five faces stare back from across the decades, emissaries from a lost world: three Buddhist lamas in robes and two Westerners in suit jackets. To my dismay, neither Westerner bears much resemblance to my grandfather, Francis Kennedy Irving Baird. Somewhere here, amid the peaks and gorges of the eastern Himalaya, Baird claimed to have discovered a “lost tribe” in 1931, presaging the fictional utopia of Shangri-La that James Hilton would depict in his novel Lost Horizon two years later. Little was known about Baird as I grew up—and little was said. My mother did keep a photo of him among family portraits on my parents’ bedroom wall. I’d steal into the room to study that image of my handsome, shaggy-haired grandfather posing on a

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mountain in what I imagined to be a very remote corner of the world. I was spellbound by the riddles the portrait held. Where was it taken? Under what circumstances? Was my grandfather a hard-bitten explorer—or a charlatan? Was it my imagination, or did he look like a man so seized by wanderlust that he felt boxed in by conventional life? My mother wasn’t yet five when she waved goodbye to him on a Hudson River pier as he boarded an ocean liner bound for Asia in 1930. He promised to come back rich and famous. He did not return. My mother never knew what became of him, not where, when, or even if, he’d died. But she’d remark, as I came of age and embarked on travels to ever more distant lands, that I’d indeed inherited her father’s genes. Whether Baird did lay eyes on a lost tribe remains a question, but my own journeys eventually led me to a similarly isolated indigenous group deep in the Amazon. How to fully comprehend these odd parallels between my life and that of a man I’ve seen only in old photographs: our shared love of the open road, our reluctance to settle down, our respective flirtations with “lost tribes”? What was it about the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau that beguiled him and led him so far from

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home and family? To what degree has he shaped my own strivings? Hoping to find answers, any answers, I’ve come to this distant corner of southwest China. I HAND THE OLD PHOTO back to Niu. Not my grandfather. Still, this hamlet, with its Buddhist shrine, has the mystical quality I imagine he was after. Perhaps the image of Baird in my parents’ bedroom was taken where I stand right now, looking down on terraced fields of wheat and, beyond, the snow-capped Hengduan Mountains, which recede like waves into infinity. The scene could have inspired a passage I recall, in Lost Horizon: “Far away, at the very limit of distance, lay range upon range of snow-peaks, festooned with glaciers, and floating, in appearance, upon vast levels of cloud.” As I thank Niu and turn to leave, he speaks. “The foreigners’ airplane crash-landed in the mountains. They eventually came here to the monastery.” I stop in my tracks. My guide, Liming Jia, interrupts her translation of Niu’s Chinese and stammers, “He is talking about Lost Horizon! They’ve never heard of the book here, but it has become part of their story. Incredible!”


Tibetan prayer flags frame Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan. “With its gilded roofs, it just dominates the landscape,” says photographer Michael Yamashita

Hugh Conway, the main character in Lost Horizon, survives a plane crash in the Himalaya and treks through the mountains to a secluded lamasery called Shangri-La. Enlightenment and harmony reign in this mythical realm where residents enjoy extraordinary longevity. Niu’s words resonate because a kind of Shangri-La seems to have been what my grandfather was seeking before Hilton’s version transfixed the world. Francis Baird claimed, in a 1931 New York Times dispatch, that the tribe he’d discovered likewise lived in harmony and drank from a fountain of youth, enabling them to live well past the age of 100. MY SEARCH FOR MY GRANDFATHER had begun a few days earlier, in the community that now calls itself Shangri-La. (The name was changed from Zhongdian in 2001, after local leaders lobbied the central government for the switch.) A multi-tiered monastery rises on the outskirts, like a scaleddown replica of Lhasa’s Potala Palace, and the historic district’s streets are lined with refurbished wood-frame houses. Spruced-up shanties, teeming with shops bearing names such as “Thousand Joy Supermarket”, now cater to an influx of tourists.

Convinced that a more authentic Shangri-La—and Baird’s own trail—lay elsewhere, I’d set my sights on the little-explored northwest reaches of Yunnan Province. Not a Mandarin speaker and unfamiliar with the area, I arranged to travel with Songtsam, a company with five cozy lodges strategically situated in out-of-the-way hamlets. My itinerary will take me north into one of China’s wildest landscapes: the Three Parallel Rivers National Park, where the Salween, Mekong and Yangtze rivers thunder off the Tibetan Plateau and cut through the mountains of Yunnan as they funnel into gorges twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Most of my route lies within a 23,000-square-kilometre district called the Deqen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Well into the 1930s, this onceunruly region harboured ancient and isolated cultures—an ideal location for my grandfather’s lost tribe. “For Tibetans, Shangri-La is not a real place but a feeling in our hearts,” says Baima Dorje, 48, the founder of Songtsam Lodges, on my first night in Yunnan. We’re downing steaming bowls of pork soup in Songtsam’s flagship property, on the outskirts of today’s Shangri-La. “Everyone needs a personal Shangri-La.” 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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I felt as though I had stepped into Hilton’s novel the moment I entered the lodge. Pine-scented incense filled the air. Upstairs, floating candles blazed in water-filled urns. Liming Jia, thin, with almond eyes, had handed me a cup of ginger tea. “It helps adjust to the altitude.” Now Songtsam’s executive manager, she’s an experienced guide. “We’re almost at 10,000 feet [3,048 mtres] here.” I recalled how Lost Horizon protagonist Conway marvelled at the mix of Western luxury and Eastern attention to detail that greeted his arrival at the refuge: “So far, the appointments of Shangri-La had been all that he could have wished.” Eager to experience the traditions that drew my grandfather to this far-flung land, I jump at an offer the next morning from Tupton, a Songtsam guide, to visit his parents’ home. “Just call me ‘Top Ten’,” he shouts, laughing, as we bounce out of town in the hotel’s Land Rover. Woodsmoke drifts in the frigid December air around shingled rooftops glistening with frost. We round a Buddhist shrine rising like a giant chess piece in the middle of a traffic circle and sail out across fields studded with new, boxy homes; a surge of wealth seems to be flowing into Yunnan these days. But life remains a challenge to many here, as evidenced by old women stooped under loads of hay, and beat-up tractors hauling carts packed with grunting pigs. We pull up outside a mud-walled compound where colourful prayer flags snap in the breeze. Top Ten’s parents huddle next to a cast-iron woodstove in a spacious upstairs room. The walls are brightly painted in Buddhist motifs, including a dharma wheel circling the yin-yang symbol. Top Ten’s father, Nanjie, rises to greet us. His mother, Bancong, feeds logs into the fire; with her high cheekbones and blue head wrap, she looks as if she just walked in off the

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A villager walks past bronze prayer wheels lining a wall of Fei Lai Shi temple, a Buddhist shrine in Yunnan’s snowy backcountry

Asian steppe. Nanjie passes me a cup of thick yak-butter tea. Baird apparently enjoyed similar scenes of tranquillity. He wrote in Sipa Khorlo: The Tibetan Wheel of Life, a book published years later, “I believe there are thousands of people in the Western world who would willingly give all their worldly possessions for a few days of the peace and happiness experienced by these care-free Himalayan tribes.” It wasn’t so tranquil here during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. “We had to destroy religious symbols,” Bancong remembers, “and keep portraits of Lenin, Marx and Chairman Mao on the wall.” Now we bask in the warmth of friendship beneath the eight auspicious symbols of the Buddha, just as surely as my grandfather did in Tibetan homes like this 80 years ago. With the upheaval of Mao’s time receding into memory, a sense of wellbeing has returned. “We want for nothing,” Bancong says. As I take my leave, Nanjie wraps a white kata, or ceremonial scarf, around my neck. “For good luck,” Top Ten explains. “It’s our way to wish you a good life.” THE GOOD LIFE seems to be what Francis Kennedy Irving Baird had in mind as he ventured into the Himalaya and the Orient. But it wasn’t a life of material rewards, and certainly not one dictated by a sense of duty to family. “He forsook the study of medicine for the pursuit of knowledge and adventure in hitherto unexplored and inaccessible regions,” reads Baird’s biography in the introduction to Sipa Khorlo, which he co-authored with travel companion Jill Cossley-Batt, an explorer in her own right who remained a shadowy figure in our family lore. My pursuit of knowledge has taken me to the village of Tong Dui, where Jia has someone she wants me to meet. “This is where a master makes black pottery,” she tells me. “It’s

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Her head wrapped in a warm red scarf, Ga Pong Chu Jui enjoys a RIGHT: copy goes here and laugh behind hands that attest italics if needed; ABOVE: copy to a lifetime of manual labour goes here and italics if needed

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Old ways prevail in Yunnan mountain communities such as Yalang, where women still tend their barley fields by hand

unique to this region.” She leads me up log steps and into a dark room, where potter Sun Nou Qiling is removing a pair of freshly fired dove-shaped pitchers from glowing embers. “They are for serving barley wine,” says Qiling, 64, a slight, balding man of stooped posture. He kneads a lump of clay and forms one of his works of art, then demonstrates how he turns it black by burying it in wood ash. “My family has been doing this for five generations.” This means his forebears were plying the trade when my grandfather travelled these parts. Might he have stopped in here—and left with a souvenir? Who knows; my mother inherited nothing. Determined to pass down something more tangible to my own children and grandchildren, I ask Qiling to wrap up the two pitchers. He does so with evident pleasure, then envelops my outstretched hand in both of his and says, “Come see us again.” If Shangri-La really did exist in physical space, it wouldn’t take much imagination to place it in the Meili mountains. At the start of the fifth day of my journey, I look out on five colossal snow-covered peaks—part of the Meili Snow Mountain Range—in the dim dawn light from the Songtsam Meili lodge. Jia is warming her hands by a coal brazier. She points to the highest peak. “Kawagebo, a sacred mountain to Tibetan Buddhists.” Its grandeur makes me think of Karakal, the icy peak

in Hilton’s Lost Horizon: “It was an almost perfect cone of snow… so radiant, so serenely poised, that he wondered for a moment if it were real at all.” The Meili range marks the northernmost point of my trip; on the far side of Kawagebo lies Tibet, where grandfather Baird also roamed. Fortified with a breakfast of barley pancakes and wild honey, Jia and I take leave of the friendly lodge staff and head south toward the Upper Mekong Valley, which will serve as our corridor back to the urban centres. Our road takes us past an overlook punctuated with 13 gleaming stupas, one for each of the Meili peaks. It will be our last unobstructed view of the sawtooth mountains rising white and brilliant. We duck into a kiosk for incense and pine boughs to placate Kawagebo. As I slide my offerings into a ceremonial oven set beside the stupas, I say a prayer for my grandfather, hoping he found the inner peace he was looking for in this remote mountain realm. Two days later, I bid farewell to Jia and continue on to the cobblestoned town of Lijiang, once a celebrated stop on the caravan route linking the tea plantations of southern Yunnan with the cities of Lhasa and Kathmandu to the west. Its ancient Naxi architecture and stone bridges crossing a lattice of canals have made Lijiang’s old town a World Heritage site and an ever more popular destination for Chinese tourists. But I’ve come to pay homage to the 2 01 7 I SSU E 0 1  

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Yak butter tea, a staple of Tibetan diets, finds takers in the village of Gezinong

eccentric Austrian–American botanist and explorer Joseph Rock, a recluse who lived for nearly 30 years in the tiny village of Yuhu, about a half hour’s drive out of town. I find his home, now a museum, tucked away in a warren of narrow streets lined with mud-brick walls in the shadow of snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It’s a stone-and-wood structure with a shingled roof. During the 1920s and ’30s, Rock sallied forth from here to explore Yunnan’s remarkable diversity of landscapes—from warm subtropical valleys to chilled subarctic heights—in search of exotic plants and local cultures he documented for National Geographic. James Hilton, by his own admission, found inspiration for Lost Horizon in Rock’s writing and images. Did those reports also act as a trumpet call for my grandfather? I think of a letter that Baird had written home from these mountains, telling of his recent purchase of pistols and hinting at the dangers that lay ahead. The lost tribe he sought may have inhabited an idyllic community of harmony and longevity; navigating the broken landscape was another matter. On our final afternoon together, Jia had quipped that she was taking me to a “lost tribes” village, the sort of place grandfather Baird would have gotten wind of. Our vehicle followed a track carved along the wall of a gorge, the roar of the creek below us drowning out the gear-grinding ascent. The track had levelled off at a three-metre-high wooden cylinder spinning inside a scarlet pagoda. “It’s a prayer

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wheel,” Jia had said. “The water makes it spin.” A narrow ditch was funnelling rushing water beneath the wheel, where small paddles kept the auspicious symbols of the Buddha in constant motion. I stood by that relic from the deep past, when our forebears still felt awe at such simple things as the changing of the seasons or the blooming of a flower. A time almost, but not quite, lost. A soft bell pinged with each revolution of the wheel and blended with the laughter of children from a schoolhouse up the hill. The sun was beginning to set, throwing long shadows across the glen. I cast back to my very first night in Yunnan, when I sat with Baima by the roaring fire. “I believe that lost tribes could still exist in these places,” he had told me. As I turned toward our vehicle, it occurred to me that he may have been right, that a lost tribe could be just beyond the ridge, in the next valley over. And maybe, just maybe, my grandfather is there with them, having discovered in this mysterious land the harmony and the unity in which he so desperately wanted to believe.

S C O T T WA L L A C E is the author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes. Veteran photographer M I C H A E L YA M A S H I TA’ S books include The Great Wall: From Beginning to End and Zheng He.


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RIGHT: copy goes here and italics if needed; ABOVE: copy goes here and italics if needed

Rwanda WELCOME TO

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In search of a wildlife encounter like no other

ALISON O’LOUGHLIN (2)

by ALISON O’LOUGHLIN

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Hikers set out into the Rwandan jungle in search of mountain gorillas

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The jungle is quiet.

BILL MCCARTHY/ADAM SCOT TI

The only sound is the chink-chink of the machete as it slices through the tangled vines that block our path up the mountain. Enormous bamboo poles tower over us, swaying gently in the cooling breeze that blows mercifully by. As we trek further into the forest, we leave behind the farms that dot the lower slopes of the mountainside, and the laughing children who tumble, squealing, over each other.

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OUR DAY BEGINS before dawn in the Virunga Mountains,

a range of dormant volcanoes that runs along Rwanda’s northwestern border, almost three hours from the capital, Kigali. Driving through the darkness from our lodge, mist wraps around us like a blanket, chilling the fresh earlymorning air and bringing with it the comforting smell of smouldering wood fires. The sun is just peeking over the horizon when we arrive at our destination: Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park), home to the largest primate on Earth— the mountain gorilla. As we approach the entrance to the park, watched by a disconcertingly lifelike gorilla statue, we hear an unexpected sound, faint, over the noise of the engine. Singing. Alighting from our Land Cruiser, we’re greeted by a group dressed in local costume, dancing, drumming, clapping, singing, giggling. Nearby stands a crowd of yawning, scratching, stretching and shuffling visitors. The female dancers balance intricately woven baskets on their heads as they swing and sway to the drumbeat. One young girl catches her friend’s eye and dissolves into

fits of laughter, her basket teetering perilously. The men, dressed in long blonde wigs and holding wooden spears and painted shields, throw their heads back and forth, smiles wide, eyes gleaming. The acrobatic skills on show are thrilling, the enthusiasm contagious, as we watch this traditional welcome, which, we discover, is performed each morning before groups set off into the park. The dancers are part of the Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association, which was created in 2004 to involve local communities in the protection of the national park and its gorilla population— and in the benefits that accrue from tourism in the region. THE 160-SQUARE-KILOMETRE Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. It was set aside as a national park in 1925, the first of its kind to be created in Africa. In addition to the mountain gorillas, the park is home to golden monkeys, duikers, buffalo, hyenas and even the occasional elephants. More than 180 bird species have also

ALISON O’LOUGHLIN

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ABOVE: performers from the Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association; LEFT: Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park)

been recorded in the park, including 13 species that are endemic to the Virunga and Ruwenzori mountains. The park became famous as the base of US naturalist, Dian Fossey, whose life was portrayed in the film Gorillas in the Mist. Fossey has been credited with saving the mountain gorillas from extinction, thanks to her long-running efforts to bring their plight to the attention of the international community. In the years since she was murdered in 1985, conservation efforts have been hampered by poaching, jungle clearance for pyrethrum crops and, most recently, civil war. However, those efforts have met with some success, with numbers now slowly rising and estimated at about 880 across all three national parks and countries.

The plan for today is for us to visit the Amahoro group, which has 18 members, including two silverbacks (mature male gorillas, typically more than 12 years of age, named for the distinctive patch of silver hair on their back). The group is known for being particularly peaceful—its name means “serenity” in the local language, Kinyarwanda. All mountain gorilla visits are strictly controlled, with only ten groups of eight visitors given access per day. The visits are restricted to only an hour at a time, and are closely watched by a group of park rangers and guards. Afterwards, the guards remain with the gorillas until they create a nest for the evening, in order to protect them from poaching and other threats.

THE PERFORMANCE CONCLUDES and we’re asked to join our group and prepare for a briefing before our audience with the gorillas. We’re told that we could be trekking for anywhere between 30 minutes and four hours before we find the gorilla family group that we’ve been allocated. Volcanoes National Park has ten resident gorilla groups.

TRUE TO HIS NAME, the park ranger who will accompany

us on our gorilla trek, Patience, stands waiting for us as we gather up our backpacks. “If you are stung by the stinging nettles, you must hold your pain on the inside,” he says, his face split by a wide grin. “The gorillas do not appreciate loud noises.” 2 01 7 I SSU E 0 1  

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ARIADNE VAN ZANDBERGEN; ANNA HAIR

RIGHT: a band of mountain gorillas huddles up to wait out a rain shower; BELOW: a female mountain gorilla cradles her baby

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East Africa’s Virunga Mountains are thought to support about 480 mountain gorillas—a little over half of the global population

We set off with Patience and the rest of our guides on a narrow, winding track through the small farms at the base of the mountain. Our entourage grows as local children rush over to accompany us on our walk to the thick stone wall that separates their fields from the dense bamboo forest on the mountain slopes above. “The young gorillas like to eat the fermented bamboo shoots,” Patience explains as we walk in single file through the forest, hampered by clinging mud and vine thickets. “To them, this is like beer, and they love to get tipsy!” We trek higher up the mountain, the pace steady, the excitement levels building. As I drop to the back of the group, I spot an enormous earthworm writhing in the mud, its body as thick as a finger. I point it out to Patience and he practically hides behind me. Apparently he isn’t a fan of creepy-crawlies; however, he then proceeds to tell me about yesterday’s visit, when he ended up covered in silverback saliva after an exuberant gorilla decided that he fancied a cuddle. Pressing on, the mud sucks at our boots, but we ignore

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it; we’re getting close. Very close. There, ahead, the gorillas are feeding in a clearing. Patience, at the head of the group, begins to make grunting noises to warn them of our approach. Suddenly, a strange sensation sweeps over me and I stop; it feels as if I’m being followed. But the rest of the group is ahead of me... Slowly, deliberately, I swivel my head. Hand outstretched, finger pointing, close to touching, a 300-kilogram silverback gorilla reaches towards my backpack. I freeze. Almost as suddenly as he appeared, he retreats, silently melting back into the bush. My heart’s pounding, my body flooded with adrenaline. I turn back and see an array of wide-eyed faces. Patience begins to chuckle. “Welcome to Rwanda,” he says with a smile.

A frequent traveller to Africa, A L I S O N O ’ L O U G H L I N has been lucky enough to spend time with three different gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park.


F LY T H E N O R D I C WAY

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF LAPLAND

Visit Finland, the land of midnight sun and thousands of lakes, islands and saunas. It’s no wonder Finland been rated as one of the top destinations for travel in 2017 – welcome to witness the ancient magic of the Aurora Borealis or venture into the wilderness with a pack of sled dogs.

Read more and book your flights at competitive fares at finnair.com/au


Fire-breathing dragons come to life with fireworks during China’s annual Shangyuan festival

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An aroundthe-clock guide to global adventure

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dawn Whether day breaks gently or in fiery glory, dawn is a time to look at the world anew

Steam rises above molten lava in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

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HAWAII DIVE INTO A NEW DAY, FROM OAHU TO ULURU –­ P. F. KLUGE

IF YOU DREAM OF ISLANDS, dream of how they are at dawn, on the border

ANDREW RICHARD HARA

between night and day, sleep and waking. Dream of them when they’re cool and hushed, before heat and light chase the dream away. I learned this lesson— you could say it dawned on me—years ago. It has been confirmed many times since, across the Pacific and around the world. It’s still dark in Honolulu as I head to the eastern side of Oahu, past black basalt boulders and blowholes, waves geysering into the air. I stop at Sandy Beach, where locals greet the new day, some of them blowing conch shells to welcome morning. Then I drive uphill on the Pali Highway and turn onto Old Pali Road, which runs through a rainforest, a tunnel with eucalyptus trees meeting overhead, mosses, vines, blossoms. It’s cool and green and quiet; a perfect morning in paradise. “Where America’s Day Begins” is a slogan associated with Guam. It also applies to nearby Saipan, eight hours west of Hawaii by plane, across the international date line. I first went to this island as a Peace Corps volunteer. I had requested Ethiopia or Turkey. I was sent to Saipan. It changed my life. I fell in love with the place. I’ve returned many times, to see how the lives of people I know are turning out. When I’m back, I’m up at dawn, driving along a coast lined with red-blossoming flame trees. I turn onto a bumpy road that brings me to Wing Beach just as the rising sun shines on the foaming crests of waves crashing in from the Philippine Sea. It’s a new day’s baptism. Dawn is when you plan your day, your future; sunset is when you contemplate your past. Too often dawn is missed, even in places where daybreak is the heart, not just the start, of each day. Fly into the centre of Australia and you find dawn at its most winning. Here, in a vast emptiness, sits Uluru, a big hunk of red sandstone that rises more than 300 metres and descends as many, or more, below ground, in an arid plain. Its size and solitude, and its place in local creation stories, make it sacred to the Aboriginal people and entrancing to me. In a hotel near Uluru I awaken well before sunrise and am dazzled by a sky that has more stars than I’ve ever seen. Uluru is out there in the darkness somewhere. I drive towards it, park, and approach the sandstone monolith on foot. Ever so slowly, the sky becomes a little less black, then turns grey. The colossus declares itself. It feels like a living thing. It pulses colours: purple, then stark red, then orange, yellow, brown. I move closer to the magic, start running around the rock. Energised, I jog past small caves and sacred springs. I have Uluru to myself. Then daylight arrives. Cars and vans begin to fill the parking lot. Some carry tourists determined to climb to the top of Uluru, a vulgar, sometimes fatal display of egotism that’s officially discouraged but not quite prohibited. With heat comes the flies, all around me, slow, hungry things, a half dozen exploring the netting that hangs from my cap and shields my face. Photographers have told me that sunrises and sunsets are interchangeable. Most people love sunsets. They position themselves on patios and porches, at beaches and taverns, for happy hour, with fireworks across the horizon, captivating until the call for dinner. But to me it’s no contest. Dawn is when the world is at its best, a fine and private place. Breakfast, and everything after, can wait. 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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morning EARLY BIRDS GET THE PEARL IN THE PERSIAN GULF

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BEFORE THE GLITZY SKYSCRAPERS,

before the oil boom, Abu Dhabi (and the rest of the United Arab Emirates) was known for natural pearls, a reputation the region hopes to recapture. On the Traditional Pearl Diving Experience with Al Mahara Diving Center, you’ll sail to Sir Bani Yas

Island on a pearling dhow to learn how to find and identify pearl-filled oysters. Outfitted with snorkelling gear and a basket, you’ll use a stoneweighted rope to help you descend. Whether or not you hit upon a valuable dana, your pearl is a uniquely Emirati keepsake. —Jill K. Robinson

OUTDOOR-ARCHIV/AL AMY

ABU DHABI


FRANS L ANTING/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

TANZANIA

CHARLESTON

GET A GROUND-LEVEL VIEW OF ANIMAL ANTICS ON A WALKING SAFARI IN THE FABLED SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

GEAR UP FOR GULLAH AND LOW COUNTRY CULTURE ON THIS SOUTH CAROLINA ROAD TRIP FROM CHARLESTON TO PAWLEYS ISLAND

THE WILD KINGDOM feels even wilder when you explore it on foot. On a walking safari in Tanzania, you can be led by Maasai guides on three- to 13-kilometre hikes on the Serengeti Plain and into the Ngorongoro highlands, the guides providing explanations of animal habitats and hunting techniques along the way. During visits to Hadza and Maasai villages, kids may rope you into a game of soccer. Don’t worry: you do get to ride 4x4s into the vast Ngorongoro Crater to spot lions, zebras and young elephant calves at play. —JKR

OPPOSITE: off the coast of Abu Dhabi, a sailor navigates his wooden boat in waters once prominent in pearling; ABOVE: a cheetah keeps watch from a termite mound in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park

WHILE CHARLESTON’S VELVETEEN CHARMS

have been luring visitors for centuries, a drive north on Highway 17 up to Pawleys Island reveals a much wilder stretch of coastline—including Waccamaw Neck, or the Neck, for short—that owes its heritage to the enslaved West Africans who worked the rice fields on nearby plantations and to their descendants, who continue to keep the Gullah traditions alive. If Charleston is the Low Country’s historic headquarters, the Neck is its spiritual heart, and a rich vein for cultural exploration; meet basket makers, wood-carvers, soul-food cooks, fishermen, museum guides and living-heritage experts. And now, thanks to widened bridges, improved roads and the opening of a second hotel on Pawleys Island, the rice corridor is ripe for a long weekend. —Jessica Mischner 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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ARGENTINA HIKE TO LUNCH ATOP PATAGONIA’S MASSIVE GLACIER

DRINKS STAY COLD on Perito Moreno Glacier, 250 frozen square kilometres in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the world’s third-largest freshwater reserve. On a day-long Big Ice tour, you’ll get a close-up look at the glacier’s 60-metre-tall front walls. If you’re lucky, you’ll see (and hear) an icefall, as sections crack off the glacier and splash into the water. Then small groups hike with a guide onto the frozen plateau, marvelling at the variety of the topography: crevasses, caves and moulins streaming with meltwater. —JKR

PORTLAND GET BELOW THE SURFACE OF OREGON’S OFFBEAT, BEER-LOVING CITY

PORTLAND’S REPUTATION for the odd and unusual isn’t new. It

turns out that the Oregon city’s eccentricity goes way back—long before the Voodoo Doughnut shop and nude bike festivals. The Underground Portland tour, by Portland Walking Tours, leads visitors through Old Town Chinatown and then underground to the walled-off entrances to the legendary “Portland Shanghai Tunnels” below the former Merchant Hotel. Guides tell stories of how loners were “shanghaied” here (kidnapped and sold into slavery by saloon owners). They provide a glimpse of Portland’s quirks beyond an afternoon walking and gawking along Alberta Street. —JKR

TOKYO EXPORTS OF JAPANESE SAKE to the U.S.A. have grown in recent

years to nearly US$34 million annually, especially of higher-end, higher-priced sake. Create your own special sake happy hour in Tokyo to learn about and taste the wealth of options. Start at Nihonshu Stand Moto, a standing bar in Shinjuku well known among sake lovers, where you can choose from among the offerings on the handwritten menu. Next head over to Kuri in Ginza, which offers more than 100 types of sake, including weekly changing seasonal selections. Both spots have sake sommeliers to provide expert advice. —JKR

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ED NORTON/LONELY PL ANET IMAGE/GET T Y IMAGES

HAPPY HOUR IN JAPAN: TIME TO SEEK OUT SOME SAKE. KANPAI!


Trekkers traverse Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s biggest and most accessible

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KERALA SUNSET IN INDIA SETS OFF A SERIES OF RITUALS –­ GEORGE W. STONE

ON KAKKATHURUTHU, a tiny island in Kerala’s tangled backwaters, children leap into shallow pools. Women in saris head home in skiffs. Fishermen cast nets into the lagoon. Bats swoop across the horizon snapping up moths and the emerald-fringed “island of crows”—the English translation of the Malayalam name for this sandy spot on the Malabar Coast—embraces night. I’m in the prow of a fishing boat piloted by a Hindu man wearing a pressed Oxford shirt and a creased dhoti. He moves methodically, expertly paddling and occasionally standing to punt with a bamboo pole. Three friends have joined me on this cruise. We arrived by motorboat at our island cottage, on our way from the tea highlands of Munnar to the ancient city of Kochi. By request, our Keralan breakfast includes a glass of toddy, which we saw being collected by the local toddy tapper, a sinewy man who shimmies up palm trees to extract the sap that becomes palm wine. When fresh, this cloudy drink offers a sweetly soporific effect—nap juice of the highest order—enough to send us all snoozing until sundown. We awake just in time to pile into our dugout and ply the lagoon. In Kerala, the waters give life, but life flourishes on land. Seen from the lagoon, the world presents itself as a pantomime, vivid but remote. Boys drag their goats from one grassy knoll to the next. Girls bicycle along dirt paths beside the lagoon. Rattan houseboats freighted with tourists pass by quietly (though not as quietly as they did before air-conditioning). As twilight turns to dusk, a shirtless man lifts a weir to change the flow of water into

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dusk If dawn is awakening and daytime is illumination, then twilight is transcendence, a final burst of vitality before darkness falls


AGE FOTOSTOCK

A boater returns home at the end of the day along the backwaters of Kerala, India

his shrimp bed. Village temples pipe devotional music through speakers, casting Hindu sound waves across Vembanad Lake in a nightly mash-up with a muezzin’s call to prayer. “The perfume of Kerala is wood smoke,” says my friend Ali Potia, who grew up in Mumbai, more than 1,600 kilometres north. “The nightly ritual of dusk involves hearths being lit, women cooking and men going to the toddy shop.” I’ve pressed Ali into service as our cultural interpreter, a task he has undertaken with aplomb. Kerala, he tells me, is an anomaly in India—and the world. This small, traditionally matrilineal state has a high literacy rate; a low birthrate; vibrant and vociferous cultural, intellectual and political traditions; and a Marxist ruling party. Campaign posters typically feature a hammer and sickle beside female candidates wearing printed saris. Our boat glides onward. After a few scenic eddies, our captain steers us to the toddy shop, where the same coconut-palm sap that lulled us to sleep in the morning has fermented in the heat and built up a knockout blow. How many trees must a toddy tapper tap to tease out the sap that entwines our minds? We ask, but no-one’s sure. All we know is that the toddy tappers in Kerala are busy men indeed. Skimming the lake gives the feeling of floating above the world, a feeling reinforced by our inverted reflection. I’ve somehow switched roles with our pilot, who sits serenely in the bow while I paddle back to our cottage. A chorus of bullfrogs has drowned out the temple tunes, lotus flowers have closed, and our glowing passage into the gloaming has concluded. Dusk gradually blots out the light in the sky so that all that remains are shades of cobalt and a few scattered, emerging stars. By the time we reach the dock, candles are lit to welcome us home. We stumble ashore. This is how the day ends on Kakkathuruthu: our path illuminated, our spirits roused to the promise of night. 2 01 7 I SSU E 0 1  

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The Church of San Lázaro in Rincón gleams as a place of pilgrimage in Cuba

night CHINA

HAVANA WAKES UP AS THE SUN GOES DOWN ALONG THE VIBRANT MALECÓN ESPLANADE

FOLLOW THE LATE-NIGHT CROWDS TO THIS SIZZLING NOCTURNAL FESTIVAL

WHEN THE SUN DIPS behind Havana’s crumbling façades, residents head outdoors. Streets become soccer fields, front steps turn into living rooms, and when tourists sprint to the Tropicana Club, locals flock to the Malecón. Walk along this eightkilometre esplanade and you’ll feel as if you’re at a world music festival. Grab a sweet treat from the nearby Coppelia ice-cream parlour, or snack on roasted peanuts as you stroll the thoroughfare. Habaneros are ever eager to teach visitors a few steps of the danzón, so don’t hesitate to cut in and dance away the day’s heat. —Jeannette Kimmel

DURING THE SHANGYUAN FESTIVAL on the 15th night of the first month of the Chinese new year, towns and villages across the country bathe in the glow of lanterns. Red paper globes fly among illuminated butterflies, dragons and birds, each written with a riddle—those who solve them win a prize. Also known as the Lantern Festival, the celebration's origins date back more than 2,000 years. Back then, it was also a time of matchmaking, when young women, who were normally cloistered away, were allowed out to mingle with potential suitors.

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CODY DUNCAN

In Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the best time to view the northern lights is after 10 p.m. from September to March

NORWAY

ATACAMA DESERT

GO MAD FOR MIDNIGHT SPECTACLES IN THE FROZEN FAR NORTH

WHEN THE CHILEAN NIGHT IS DARKEST, THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN BEST SEE THE STARS

WHEN IT COMES TO HUNTING the aurora borealis, a key consideration is making sure that nothing stands between you and a clear night sky. In far northeastern Norway, 400 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, the Kirkenes Snowhotel offers both rooms constructed of packed snow and fishinghut-style cabins with arched, panoramic windows and lounge chairs from which to watch the display in comfort. Venture off on a midnight snowshoe hike along a marked route to the edge of a fjord— and bring along a hot beverage from the hotel restaurant to add some coziness. —JKR

SANDWICHED BETWEEN the Pacific Ocean and

the Andes, Chile’s Atacama Desert is one of the driest spots on Earth, thanks to its position in a rain shadow, high atmospheric pressure and the cool winds that blow in from the ocean. Above all, however, the lack of light pollution makes this an optimal site for indulging in a spot of stargazing. Take a tour of the night sky with San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations. Guides help to identify constellations via both the naked eye and through an array of specially aligned outdoor telescopes. —JKR 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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THE HIGH LIFE ESCAPING THE CROWDS IN THE INCA HEARTLAND by NEIL RODGERS

ALEJANDRO MULLER

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OPENING PAGES: hikers on the Salkantay Trek; LEFT: the citadel of Machu Picchu dates back to the 15th century

EACH DAY, 500 PEOPLE SET OUT ON THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU, MAKING IT THE MOST FAMOUSLY TRAVERSED TRACK IN SOUTH AMERICA. THE LESSER-KNOWN ROAD TO THE CITADEL, THE LARES TRAIL, OFFERS A CROWDFREE ALTERNATIVE DESPITE BEING A SEASONED TRAVELLER to Latin America,

I’ve somehow managed to avoid visiting Peru. So when a window of opportunity to fill this hole in my travel experience presented itself, I jumped at the chance to embrace my inner Inca spirit. A prerequisite of my trip was some trekking; I was planning to be at one with Peru and what better way to do that than by immersing myself in the spectacular Andean scenery on foot? As I perused the options, I couldn’t help wondering whether a preconceived notion of waterlogged boots nestling sore toes or the thought of being just one of 500 on a conveyer-belt of trekkers on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu had deterred me thus far. It’s easy to get confused when talking about the Inca Trail. The Incas built a highly advanced network of nearly 40,000 kilometres of trails to connect the distant corners of their vast empire, which stretched from Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile and east to Mendoza in Argentina. Cuzco was at the heart of this great empire and almost all of the principal trails in the mountains that surround the city were either built or improved upon by the Incas. Over the past 30 years, one of these ancient walkways—a particularly beautiful 43-kilometre section of mountain trail that connects the important Inca archaeological sites of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Machu Picchu—has become popular with hikers and is now known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. In response to this popularity, the authorities have been forced to control access to this section of the Inca Trail; all guides must be licensed and only a limited number of trekking permits are issued.

Old and new ONE ALTERNATIVE to the Inca Trail is a more strenuous

seven-day hike via Salkantay, a beautiful snow-capped mountain. The Salkantay Trek is famous for its scenery, which is widely considered to surpass that of the Inca Trail. The hike ascends to imposing glaciers and then drops down through lush valleys carpeted with coffee plantations, before rising again into the high jungle. On this trek, hikers have a better chance of seeing larger mammals such as foxes, deer, chinchillas and even spectacled bears, and the plant life is more varied. I consider myself to be a moderate trekker and had no intention of taking on a trip of the Bear Grylls variety, so the option of a five-day Lares adventure to Machu Picchu piqued my interest. The Lares trail is a great option for those keen to experience the stunning beauty and rich culture of the Andes while taking the “road less-travelled”. Authentic encounters with Quechua communities and the spectacular scenery impart the trek with a wonderful blend of tradition and splendour. Facing a multi-connection journey from Sydney, I decided to include a rest stop in the Peruvian capital, Lima. Old and new collide to both contrast and complement in Lima, the city a blend of sophisticated metropolitan streets, colonial facades and ancient temples. Some of the city’s buildings date back more than five centuries and its stately museums are filled with relics of Peru’s Inca past. However, Lima is also where you’ll find the best of a Peru that’s increasingly confident of its 21st-century style. The bohemian Barranco district is a hotbed of hip art galleries tucked between laidback lounges serving sophisticated riffs on the ubiquitous Pisco sour. Lima is also creeping onto the global fine-dining radar, with world-class restaurants melding local and international cuisines. From Lima, it was a one-hour flight onwards to the Inca capital, Cuzco. Situated at an impressive 3,399 metres above sea level, Cuzco is the 12th-highest city in South America. Travellers to the region are often urged to spend a couple of days here to acclimatise to the high altitude. The terracotta-roofed city sprawls along the Watanay River valley, its striking architecture reflecting the distinct periods of Peruvian history, combining solid pre-Columbian stone structures, Baroque colonial Spanish churches and squat, whitewashed contemporary houses. Walking along the narrow streets, I passed impressive Incan buildings built from huge blocks of precisely cut and shaped stone that fit perfectly without mortar, interspersed with small businesses trading from dimly lit stores. And I couldn’t help but be impressed by the Plaza de Armas, a lively courtyard overlooked by the 17th-century Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin, otherwise known as Cuzco Cathedral, where I joined locals sipping their mate de coca. 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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Unlikely tribe IT WAS IN CUZCO that I met my fellow trekkers. Our party

consisted of two expert guides, two team assistants, a well-researched “baby boomer” British couple, a Brazilian mother with her teenage daughter, my good self and hiking gurus Frank and Alice from New Jersey, USA. Peru’s visitor demographics have changed significantly over the past decade; the country is no longer the sole preserve of budget-friendly backpackers. A discerning, more mature market is discovering Peru and demanding travel options that fit with its boutique style of travel. As our unlikely tribe sipped coca-leaf tea at our briefing, we quickly discovered that the one element we had in common was our delight at the thought that after each day’s hike we could look forward to beautiful bedrooms, Michelin-inspired cuisine, hot showers and the odd bubbling Jacuzzi—all nestled high above the clouds in our eco-friendly mountain lodges, several of which had been established as cooperatives with the local communities. The next day, a two-hour drive took us into the heart of the Lares region, climbing higher and higher along a narrowing road to our first trekking spot. As we all marvelled at the spectacular scenery unfolding around

us, our guide shared detailed accounts of the significance of the surroundings. Sunshine poured across the Andes as we embarked on a moderate climb to the Challwaccasa Pass. Then, after the photographic opportunities had been exhausted, we commenced a downhill trek to the village of Viacha, where we indulged in a barbecued-guinea-pig lunch and a further trek to the hilltop Inca fortress at Písac. The topography was diverse as we passed through rich pastoral regions, traversing mountain valleys and stopping to enjoy scenic lagoons and Inca ruins. A cold Cusqueña (Peru’s premium beer) awaited us upon arrival at Lamay Mountain Lodge in the late afternoon.

Wide eyes THANKS TO A RESTFUL SLEEP and a hearty breakfast, we were well prepared for the next day’s adventure—a visit to the remote and rarely visited mountain village of Choquecancha. A 14-niched Inca wall lines the square of this small, ancient village, where barter is still the main currency and wide eyes welcomed our unfamiliar faces. Upon arrival, we were immediately whisked up a dirt track and welcomed into the home of the village’s matriarch.

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LEFT: the city of Cuzco and the famous Plaza de Armas; ABOVE: hikers enjoy a well-earned drink at the Lamay Mountain Lodge

Under an archway adorned with colourful mountain flowers, she kissed each of us on the cheek and then went back to work at her loom, pushing and pulling a mass of colourful threads as she created her next woven masterpiece. Taking time to wander the cobbled streets, where wayward piglets scuttled past as if on important business, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that time has stood still for this village. Children’s faces beamed as we handed them sweet pastries and we received nods of approval from village elders in exchange for coca leaves. Observing and interacting with the people of Choquecancha, where relationships with one another and the land are so powerful that they permeate every conversation, was a truly humbling experience. That evening, our base camp was Huacahuasi Lodge, which is nestled on the edge of the remote mountain village from which it takes its name. We were all delighted to discover that each of the guest rooms comes complete with an outdoor hot tub in which we could soak our weary bones while soaking up the awe-inspiring mountain scenery. The lodge was formed as a commercial partnership with the local community, whereby community members receive a quarter stake in the business in exchange for the use of the land.

Heart and soul AS WE DEPARTED the lodge the next day and continued along the trail, climbing higher and higher, the traditional stone huts with their smoking chimneys poking through thatched roofs slowly began to stretch farther and farther apart. The trail-side weavers and their colourful handicraft displays disappeared and eventually it was just us and the llamas as we approached the 4,450-metre Ipsayjasa Pass. The skies began to darken and the clouds dropped down, obscuring the gorgeous panorama that surrounded us. The mood was both foreboding and spectacular. Thankfully, the weather held off and we made it to our tented lunch unscathed. Over the course of our trek, these tented lunches were always a welcoming beacon of hospitality. Hot soups, trout farmed in high lakes, mashed purple potatoes, stir-fries, wine-poached pears, barbecued guinea pig and chicken, sweet fruit and teas all appeared just as we were beginning to flag. Refreshed and revived, we continue on, passing another herd of llamas, more alpacas, dogs and women in brightly coloured outfits and hats weaving among the clouds. We soon reached the so-called Sacred Valley, which

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The mountain camp at Huacahuasi Lodge

Huacahuasi Lodge

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ABOVE: the village matriarch greets travellers in Choquecancha; OPPOSITE: exploring the fortress at Ollantaytambo

stretches from the village of Písac to the larger settlement of Ollantaytambo. The Sacred Valley was the heart and soul of an empire that, from the 13th century, stretched out from Cuzco to cover a enormous swathe of South America. Before the Spanish conquistadors destroyed the Inca dynasty during the mid-16th century, its governed territory covered an area the size of Western Europe.

Rollicking ride WE STARTED OUR EXPLORATION of the valley with the impressive ruins near Písac, before moving on to Ollantaytambo’s striking fortress. It’s thought that Písac was built to defend the Sacred Valley’s southern entrance and the fortress at Ollantaytambo the northern. Dating from the late 15th century, Ollantaytambo boasts some of South America’s oldest continuously occupied dwellings. It’s also considered to be one of the best remaining examples of Incan urban planning and engineering. Its steep terraces provide protection for the town and fortress, and several historical records suggest that the Spanish lost a major battle here during their conquest of the region in around 1532. Ollantaytambo is also one of the most common starting points for the Inca Trail, and an hour on the train took us to Aguas Calientes, just below Machu Picchu. At 4.30am the

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following day, with dawn approaching, we wasted no time beginning our journey to the ancient citadel with a rollicking uphill bus ride. As we entered the sanctuary, the sun rose over the iconic Sun Gate, washing the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Awed by the skilful architecture of the numerous watchtowers, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, we each took a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind and absorb the mystical energy. The citadel of Machu Picchu was a complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes; however, it’s unclear whether it was built for religious purposes, as a military stronghold, or as a summer retreat for Incan rulers. The ruins sit on a high ridge at about 2,500 metres above sea level, surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba some 600 metres below. The city’s construction, which began during the 15th century, was commissioned by the emperor Pachacuti. Its unique architecture and design point to the great importance of the June and December solstices to Inca culture; many of the structures are designed to catch the sun’s rays on one or both of those days. The Inca Empire came to a rather rapid end when diseases inadvertently introduced by the Spanish and local in-fighting wiped out an estimated two thirds of the population around the mid-1500s. According to historians, Machu Picchu was likely abandoned at around the same time, probably because of the high cost of maintenance and the various conflicts.

Time travel THE MINIVAN DRIVE that returned us to Cuzco that evening was a quiet one; some of us were lost in sombre contemplation of the end of our adventure, others were simply exhausted from the spectacle of Machu Picchu, but we all shared a sense of having been enriched by our experiences along the Lares Trail. Hiking the Lares Trail is all about being in the mountains with all of the time that you never seem to have, time in which to think, to wonder at nature and to marvel at Inca history. The region’s remoteness has allowed its people to preserve traditions of llama and alpaca herding, potato cultivation and colourful weaving that date back to the Incas. The lifestyles and customs of these hardy people haven’t changed for generations. Even today, the villagers offer a warm hospitality and welcome—in fact, it’s often from the people that trekkers take their fondest memories.

When not traversing the seven continents, N E I L R O D G E R S heads up specialist travel company Adventure World.


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A Room with a Zoo...

uShaka Lodge Unforgettable Dining

Giraffe Treehouse

Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra offers 3 very different accommodation facilities and is amongst the most unique animal lodges in the world. You can stay in uShaka Lodge with its own shark tank, in a Jungle Bungalow virtually built into the habitat of a bear, lion, tiger or cheetah, or in a Giraffe Treehouse where you hand feed your tall neighbour. Included are afternoon and morning tours, 5 star accommodation, gourmet meals and fine wines. Dining is in the uShaka Lodge tropical rainforest cave where you will be joined by magnificent white lions and hyenas. Ph: 02 6287 8444 | Fax: 02 6287 8403 Email: info@jamalawildlifelodge.com.au Web: www.jamalawildlifelodge.com.au Address: 999 Lady Denman Drive, Canberra ACT 2611


A platter of plenty at Valette restaurant in Healdsburg

THREE TASTE TRAILS IN THE FOODIE-EST PLACE ON EARTH

BY ANDREW NELSON PHOTOGRAPHS BY LEAH NASH and CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT

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“LIFE IS ABOUT THE DINNER TABLE”

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Dining takes an outdoor turn in Sonoma County, here at DaVero Farms & Winery

RIDGELY EVERS SAYS this as

he and I survey DaVero Farms & Winery, 27 hectares of olive groves, orchards and vineyards in California’s Sonoma County that Evers owns with his wife, Colleen McGlynn. “And you won’t sit at a table like this,” he declares, “anywhere else in America.” Evers is clearly partial to this land of tawny hills and lofty redwoods bordering the more fame-conscious Napa County, yet his words ring true. Sit at a table in Napa, and chances are it’ll be set with fancy china and polished silver, in the great hall of a mansion. In Sonoma, your dinner may well be served under the stars on a simple wood plank set with mismatched cutlery and candles stuck in old wine bottles. Goats may bleat in the background and chickens may cluck underfoot, but the meal will be magnificent. Dusty and down-to-earth, Sonoma reaps its star power from its affable authenticity. Here, an hour north of San Francisco, soil is valued more than silicon. The seduction is subtle, lingering in the flavours of home-cured pork salumi, the intense aroma of a goat brie, the blackberry bouquet of an Alexander Valley Pinot Noir. Napa can have its super chefs; in Sonoma, celebrity comes from being one of the cheesemongers, olive pickers, pig farmers and grape growers who’ve turned this county’s 4,579 square kilometres into what may be the U.S.A.’s best test kitchen. One hundred years ago, Sonoma resident and The Call of the Wild author Jack London gazed out at the landscape around his ranch and wrote, “I am all sun and air and sparkle.” Sonoma will have the same effect on you on the taste trails that follow.


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4 7878 Dry Creek Rd, Geyserville

Begin at MISSION SAN FRANCISCO SOLANO, in the

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San Francisco

Sonoma

231 Center St., Healdsburg

Kale Caesar salad at Barndiva

CALIF.

7871 River Rd, Forestville

Olive oil from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

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OLIVE OIL TRAIL

town of Sonoma; highlights include a small museum that displays an olive millstone. Northernmost of California’s Franciscan religious centres and the only one built during Mexican rule, this mission sits just off Sonoma’s town plaza. Don’t miss the series of watercolours painted by the early 20th-century artist Chris Jorgensen.

ABOUT 129 KILOMETRES Roughly an hour and 45 minutes driving time

THE HISTORY OF SONOMA’S gnarled olive trees intertwines

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Olive oil from Trattore Farms

Sonoma’s oils come in many flavours, from lime to jalapeño. Stop by the Olive Press, on the grounds of the JACUZZI FAMILY VINEYARDS, south of

downtown Sonoma, to tour the plant where olives are crushed and their oil infused with flavours. “It takes 1,000 pounds [454 kilograms] of grapes to make 60 gallons [227 litres] of wine,” says Vicki Zancanella, a biologist on staff, “and the same number of olives for 15 gallons of oil.”

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Roll an hour north to Healdsburg for lunch at BARNDIVA, an airy locale with a courtyard shaded by mulberry trees. The pea-gravel ground cover evokes a Parisian park. Barndiva serves such fresh-on-thefork specialties as a kale Caesar salad accompanied by olive crostini and pecorino dressing.

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Bed down at the

You’ll find a tasting room with a view at TRATTORE FARMS, 16 kilometres northwest of Healdsburg: The patio offers an expansive vista of the Dry Creek Valley. Trattore specialises both in wines (try its Zinfandel) and olive oils, for which it uses two giant granite wheels to crush the olives into a mash that’s then pressed and refined into oil you can sample.

FARMHOUSE INN, a luxurious retreat in the rolling Russian River Valley countryside. This 25-room resort suggests a dairy theme with its palette of milk tones and the cheese-accented dishes the restaurant prepares, curated by Michelin-starred chef Steve Litke. Other amenities: a spa (go for the “body melt”), a resident cat and s’mores ready for toasting on the poolside fire pit.

Mission San Francisco Solano

114 E. Spain St., Sonoma

24724 Arnold Dr., Sonoma

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ILLUSTRATIONS: CL AIRE MCCRACKEN; NG MAPS

with that of the Golden State. Spanish missionaries brought the first olive cuttings to California during the 1700s, planting them in the grounds of the 21 Franciscan missions that they established along the Camino Real, a route that extended from San Diego to the town of Sonoma. Fastforward to the 1990s, and the growing sophistication of American palates clamours for this nutritional condiment. Local output of olive oil expands. California now presses 99 percent of the nation’s olive oil, with Sonoma County— focused on distilling the most refined grades of extra-virgin oil—one of the state’s biggest producers. This renaissance is due in part to Ridgely Evers, who journeyed to Tuscany to find the perfect olive trees to plant on his DaVero land. Today, Evers and his wife, Colleen McGlynn, cultivate more than 5,000 trees on their spread in the Dry Creek Valley. Add those to the 18,000 Tuscan olive trees that the Kendall-Jackson wineries have planted, mostly in the Alexander and Bennett valleys, and Sonoma is a promising new branch for a fruit with an ancient lineage— as attested here by our olive trail.

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ABOVE: menu items at Barndiva include Sonoma wines and goat cheese croquettes; BELOW: DaVero Farms “olive whisperer” Juan Valladares harvests with care

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ABOVE: guitarist Jordan Colby performs in Healdsburg’s town square; BELOW: Elizabeth Pacheco cuddles a kid at her family’s Achadinha Cheese Company farm

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KendallJackson Wine Estate and Gardens

5007 Fulton Rd, Fulton

CHEESE TRAIL 1

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140 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone

ABOUT 112 KILOMETRES Roughly an hour and 40 minutes driving time

5 Wild Flour Bread Bakery

380 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone

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You’ll find plenty of Sonoma cheeses, from dairies with such offbeat names as Bleating Heart and Pugs Leap, on the chalkboard at Omar Mueller’s homey FREESTONE

Freestone Artisan Cheese Store

ARTISAN CHEESE STORE, an ideal

WESTERN SONOMA COUNTY has traditionally supported numerous family dairies and creameries, thanks to a temperate climate that nurtures plenty of sweet clover for livestock to graze on. More recently, a number of farmers have diversified by crafting all manner of artisan cheeses, from buttery to sharp to crumbly. “It’s a multi-generational obsession, with families working together to sustain the old business and the land,” says Sheana Davis, a noted cheesemaker in the town of Sonoma who consults for other fromage start-ups. Today, these family enterprises are found across the county, turning milk into wheels of cheddar and blue. Their secret begins with the relatively small size of their farms; most support 200–250 animals. “A car is only as good as its engine—an idea we apply to our goats, sheep and cows,” says Lisa Gottreich, cheesemaker and owner of Sebastopol’s Bohemian Creamery. “We have happy animals producing happy milk, which makes great cheese.” Indeed. Ex-U.S. President Obama and the first lady nibbled on Gottreich’s Boho Belle cheese while in San Francisco. This Cheese Trail proposes other places that will please your palate.

Kenwood Inn and Spa

750 Chileno Valley Rd, Petaluma

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Become a “curd nerd” by enrolling in a cheese class (offered a few times a year) at the ACHADINHA CHEESE COMPANY, run by

Donna and Jim Pacheco on their 117-hectare Petaluma dairy farm, 40 kilometres southeast of Freestone. Lessons are hands-on, as pupils plunge elbow deep into fresh curds and whey. Included: a boxed lunch and wine.

place to swap stories with—and get cheese intel from—the genial cheesemonger and his neighbours in the cozy village of Freestone.

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Before the sun sets, barrel north some 48 kilometres to the KENDALL-JACKSON WINE ESTATE AND GARDENS for elegant

wine and cheese pairings. Spice up slices of Boho Belle with a Grand Reserve Chardonnay or balance a Jackson Estate Trace Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon with bites of Two Rock Valley Brie.

10400 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood

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Walk five minutes east on the two-lane Bohemian Highway to the WILD FLOUR BREAD BAKERY for a loaf or two of brickoven sourdough; the crusty breads will come in handy for the cheese you just bought. If you can, get there early enough to also score a loaf of Wild Flour’s Gravenstein apple bread, made with an apple variety native to Denmark that now flourishes in the Sonoma area.

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When you’re ready to call it a night, drive 32 kilometres southeast to the KENWOOD INN AND SPA, a villa-style lodge that blends a Mediterranean feel (Italian furnishings and linens) with a north California sensibility. Among the frills: sunning terraces, a pool and a guestsonly restaurant that serves local olives and Laura Chenel cheese.

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The smoker starts early and puffs all day long at the SCHELLVILLE GRILL,

five kilometres south of Sonoma. Get here for breakfast and your eggs come with homemade smoked paprika sausage. If you’re a late riser, sally in for a lunch of pork ribs or the ten-hour-cooked barbecue pork and grilled cheese.

5 16467 Hwy 16, Guerneville

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Motor north to Santa Rosa to snag some sausages, bacon and jerky at the roadside SONOMA COUNTY MEAT CO. SHOP,

where you can also try your hand at carving. When he’s not grinding grass-fed local beef into hamburger meat, co-owner and head butcher Rian Rinn teaches classes in sausage-making and bacon curing.

16290 Main St., Guerneville

Pie with ice cream at Chile Pies Baking Co.

A 15-minute drive west from Santa Rosa brings you to Sebastopol, where you can fortify yourself with a BLT at ZAZU. Located in the Barlow, a cluster of food- and arts-centric warehouses, this restaurant and bar is sleek but with the friendly vibe of a fish fry. Try the “rodeo jax”—bacon-andcaramel popcorn— or the house version of chicharrones. Then marvel at the hog-wild items for purchase, such as light-up pig pens and lard lipstick.

PORK TRAIL

Top off lunch with berry pie crowned by a scoop of Nimble & Finn’s baconaccented maple bourbon brittle ice cream at CHILE PIES BAKING CO.

in Guerneville, just north of Sebastopol. Both Chile Pies and Nimble & Finn’s are housed in the historic Guerneville Bank Club building. Afterwards, amble down Main Street to find out what’s on at the River Theater, a performance hall popular for its lineup of musical acts.

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6770 McKinley St., Sebastopol

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Hit the hay in another piece of Guerneville history: the DAWN RANCH, built in 1905 on the banks of the Russian River. Fifty three cabins and cottages dot the property’s six hectares, which also support an apple orchard and kitchen garden. If you find you haven’t yet had your fill of pork, the ranch’s restaurant, Agriculture Public House, will be more than happy to cook you up a Berkshire pork chop or some pulled-pork ravioli.

35 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa

Apples from the orchard at Dawn Ranch

“Rodeo Jax” (bacon and caramel popcorn) at Zazu

IF SONOMA SIZZLES, chances are it’s the bacon in the skillet. The county is a centre for such heritage pig breeds as the Tuscan Cinta Senese and the Mangalitsa, a Hungarian hog with rich, fat-marbled meat. Whatever the heirloom breed, these animals lead what Front Porch Farm, a practitioner of sustainable animal husbandry in the Russian River Valley, calls a “fully expressed life”. Says Sonoma farmer/butcher John Stewart, who, with his wife, Duskie Estes, owns the Black Pig Meat Co.: “Our pigs have only one bad day.” They permit their animals to forage in open pastures right up to the time they become menu items at Zazu, Stewart and Estes’ convivial Sebastopol restaurant. “There’s a family behind every business here,” Estes says. “I call it ‘Sonoma soul’. ”

22900 Broadway, Sonoma

ABOUT 80 KILOMETRES Roughly an hour and 15 minutes driving time

1 Schellville Grill

Editorial projects director A N D R E W N E L S O N ( @andrewnelson) has travelled the U.S.A. in search of great tastes. Photographers L E A H N A S H ( @leahnashphoto) and C H R I S T O P H E R O N S T O T T ( @christopheronstott) contribute to numerous publications.

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ABOVE: free-roaming Front Porch Farm pigs forage for acorns; BELOW: dusk descends on Jordan Vineyard, producer of wines and a tasty extra-virgin olive oil

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“I AM ALL SUN AND AIR AND SPARKLE”

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Green hills meet blue waters in Sonoma Coast State Park, skirted by Highway 1

A PERFECT PLACE FOR A PICNIC GUERNEVILLE Hit the Big Bottom Market for ready-to-go bag lunches and meander to nearby Austin Creek State Recreation Area to lunch among rolling, tree-covered hills. BARTHOLOMEW PARK

Tucked between Petaluma and Napa, this private park (part of a winery by the same name) offers hiking trails with views of meadows, shaded woods and, on clear days, San Francisco Bay. DRY CREEK VALLEY

Snap up picnic eats— cheeses, salamis—at the tasting room of the Truett Hurst Winery, then head over to its seating area by Dry Creek to eat and sip the winery’s Petite Sirah as fish swim by.

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CONCIERGE EXCLUSIVELY for ADVENTURE WORLD TRAVELLERS

MAKING TRAVEL EASY You’ve been inspired by the tales of travel to exotic destinations in National Geographic Traveller; now, let Adventure World take you there. Here, in the exclusive Concierge section, Adventure World’s team of experienced travel experts has created a series of tailor-made journeys to each of the destinations featured in this issue. Adventure World goes above and beyond to create unique and extraordinary travel experiences—awe-inspiring, incredible moments that will take pride of place among your memories. 128 

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MARK UNRAU

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130 152 SIMON GEE/CANUK IMAGES; JOHN C. SMITH

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DESTINATIONS

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BAJA CALIFORNIA SOUTH GEORGIA BANFF PORTLAND CHINA

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BAJA’S BOUNTY

A cowboy tune drifts among palo verde trees and the long fingers of cardon cacti. Ranchero Julio Ramero sings not for fun but to guide our mules along the beach. I smile as his soft voice washes over me. This is the magic of Baja California and the Sea of Cortes

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tocked with supplies and a bountiful sense of adventure, follow John Steinbeck’s path into the protected waters of Jacques Cousteau’s “world’s aquarium”. Watch curious grey whales and their babies surface, kayak in glassy coves, snorkel with playful sea lions and hike cactus-clad rims. Fill your days with adventure, culture and a menagerie of wildlife on this island-hopping cruise in the Sea of Cortes. 130 

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DAY 1: LOS CABOS – LA PAZ

On your arrival at Los Cabos International Airport you’ll be met and transferred to UnCruise’s San Jose del Cabo hospitality area. You’ll be joined by your expedition team, who will take you on an overland orientation transfer to La Paz to acquaint you with the dramatic Baja landscape and the week that lies ahead. In La Paz, board the Safari Endeavour, your home for the next seven nights. The captain and crew will welcome you aboard just in time for a cocktail and dinner with your new ship mates. (D)

conditions permitting, gear up for an unforgettable swim alongside these colossal creatures or observe them from above in the skiff. (B)(L)(D) DAY 6: LOS ISLOTES – ISLA PARTIDA

At Los Islotes—a steep, craggy seamount that rises straight from the sea—observe a sea lion colony from the boat and skiff or slip into a wetsuit for an early-morning snorkel with curious, agile young sea lion pups. Afterwards, set sail for Isla Partida for an afternoon of water play or island hikes along desert beaches or into rocky arroyos. (B)(L)(D)

DAY 2: ISLA SAN FRANCISCO

In a playground of steep red bluffs and a sweeping desert beach, kick off your weeklong adventure with a day of play. Don some flippers for a snorkel among colourful sea life, put on your walking shoes for an exploratory hike, grab a paddle or simply relax on the beach with the sand between your toes. The rugged beauty of the island makes it an ideal spot for relaxing explorations. (B)(L)(D)

DAY 7: ISLA ESPIRITU SANTO

Today the ship tucks into a secluded cove surrounded by long fingers of red rock and a golden beach. Spend your last full day enjoying the feel of warm sand beneath your feet on a beach walk, investigating nooks and crannies in the rocks by kayak or exploring a little further afield on a guided hike. Celebrate with your fellow adventurers at tonight’s special farewell dinner. (B)(L)(D)

DAY 3: BAHIA AGUA VERDE

At Bahía Agua Verde clear waters are bordered by sparse, craggy mountains hemmed in green. Explore the coast by small skiff, visit with a local ranchero and his family and take to the canyons and mountains on a mule ride and experience the “real Baja”. Scenic vistas, outstanding exploration, excellent birding and unmatched camaraderie are the order of the day. (B)(L)(D) DAY 4: AT SEA

Sail among islands once explored by the early conquistadors. Your expedition team will be at the ready with more adventurous options from which to choose, including kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding and beachcombing. Discover nature’s diversity and learn about the geological forces that formed these islands. (B)(L)(D) DAY 5: MAGDALENA BAY

Mid-January to early March is when the grey whales arrive each year on Baja’s west coast— migrating more than 19,000 kilometres—to calve in Bahia Magdalena. Ride in a panga and observe these mammals and their babies in the lagoon. From November to mid-January and March, whale sharks, the world’s largest fish species, are known to frequent the bay. Keep watch for the watery “footprints” of these gentle giants and,

DAY 8: LA PAZ – LOS CABOS

After breakfast, disembark your vessel in La Paz and transfer overland back to Los Cabos International Airport for your onward flights. (B)

AT A GLANCE

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Saturdays, Mar ’17 & Nov ’17 – Mar ‘18 TRAVEL STYLE Small-ship cruise HIGHLIGHTS

• Search for marine life, including whales, mobula rays and dolphins • Snorkel with sea lion pups and colourful reef fish • Island-hopping exploration—hike, kayak, paddle board and explore by skiff INCLUSIONS

Seven nights cruise accommodation, selected meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, transfers, port taxes and fees, entry fees to national parks and activities. FROM AU$4,459* / NZ$4,875* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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EVERY DAY A NEW STORY ARCTIC WITH LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS-NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

We have spent 35+ years exploring the Arctic and are continuously discovering new places within it - travelling higher and further into the undiscovered wildness - to share with you all the sights, sounds, wildlife, ice, wonders and people that make the Arctic one of the most life-enhancing expeditions you will ever take. The Arctic has beckoned explorers from the 10th century Vikings to Northwest Passage seekers. Now, 21st century voyagers seeking exhilarating adventures can join us to explore and discover. Contact us for a brochure and book the experience of your lifetime.


Contact your travel agent or visit www.expeditions.com

8-22 night voyages departing May - Aug 2017 aboard National Geographic Orion and National Geographic Explorer

AW 134382240


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IN HEROES’

FOOTSTEPS

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DEVLIN GANDY

ABOVE: the descent onto the Crean Glacier; RIGHT, ABOVE: Jeremy Lindblad leads the team; RIGHT, BELOW: modern tents were a welcome addition


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Re-enacting Ernest Shackleton’s epic crossing of South Georgia island

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n 1916, in what’s still considered to be one of the most remarkable feats of endurance and survival in the history of exploration, Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton led the crew of his ship, Endurance, to safety after it became trapped in an ice floe in the Weddel Sea and subsequently sank. The men’s extraordinary journey included two epic open-boat sea crossings and culminated in a perilous trek across the mountainous interior of the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia from King Haakon Bay on the south coast to the whaling station at Stromness in the north. In October 2016, Lindblad Expeditions recreated Shackleton’s legendary traverse of South Georgia. Led by Jeremy Lindblad, the trek also featured Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the sons of the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Here, Jeremy talks about his experiences on this special centenary trek.

Why did you organise the expedition? The expedition was organised to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Ernest Shackleton’s trek across South Georgia island, as well as the 50-year anniversary of Lars-Eric Lindblad’s first trip to Antarctica with the first-ever citizen explorers. We involved Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay after Sven Lindblad [Jeremy’s father and Lars-Eric’s son] had a conversation with them about exploration and they conceptualised the idea of having the sons or daughters of explorers together attempt to achieve a past feat of exploration in an effort to honour the explorers that have come before us. What did the actual expedition involve? The expedition ran for a total of 23 days, the majority of which was spent aboard the National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion ships. Both vessels set out from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, travelled to the Falkland Islands and then on to South Georgia, where the 11-person trekking team disembarked as a group. The team then completed the traverse of South Georgia, before meeting back up with the ships at the Stromness whaling station, where a celebration was held with the guests who had remained on board the ships. How did you prepare for the trek? For me, the preparation for the trek was just as difficult and daunting as the trek itself. I worked with an elite climbing coach for six months— two hours a day, six days a week—on overall fitness and climbing- and trekking-specific skills. How long did the trek take? How did that compare with Shackleton’s trek? Our trek took about 34 hours to complete, which was slightly quicker than Shackleton and his men, who completed their trek in about 36 hours.

What were the weather conditions like?

We began our trek at 4am in horrific weather. The conditions were very cold and it was snowing and sleeting quite hard. This only lasted for six hours, however, and we were pleasantly surprised when the skies opened up and we had strong sun and clear blue skies for the remainder of our time on the island.

RALPH LEE HOPKINS

What were some of the dangers that you faced? There are many dangers when trekking in such deep snow over the type of terrain that we were traversing. However, the primary worry is crevasses, which can be thousands of feet deep on South Georgia. We spent the entire trek roped up to mitigate some of this danger, but we were very aware of it throughout the trek. Other dangers included everything from exhaustion, dehydration and sun stroke to inclement weather and avalanches. Did you have any hairy moments? There were a number of somewhat hairy moments but nothing too bad. What comes to mind is the descent onto the Crean Glacier, which is an 800-foot [244-metre] drop at a 45° angle. This was dangerous enough because of the possibility of an avalanche, but the actual physical task of getting down terrain like that with 65 pounds [30 kilograms] in your pack while wearing snow shoes and being roped up in a group was suitably daunting. 201 7 ISSU E 0 1  

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The final rest stop before the descent down into Stromness Whaling Station

What did you enjoy most about the trek? The camaraderie in the lead-up to the trek, throughout the trek itself and in its aftermath were, for me, the most fun and enjoyable part by far. When, as a group, people get together to achieve a common goal, the bond that’s formed is incredibly strong. It’s something that we’ll keep with us for the rest of our lives. How much of an impact do you think that modern gear made on your trek compared to Shackleton’s? After completing the trek myself, wrapping my head around what Shackleton and his men achieved with the gear that they had is even more unbelievable than when I had just read about it. The conditions up on the glaciers are incredibly harsh, so the impact of things such as Gore-Tex and modern-day tents and sleeping bags is not only huge but in most cases life-saving. What I find so incredible is not just that those men completed the traverse in worn-out, unfit-for-purpose mountaineering clothes, it’s that they did all of that after going through the most mentally and physically trying times of their lives, from the moment their ship got stuck in the ice many, many months before.

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What insights do you think that the trek gave you into Shackleton’s accomplishments? I think that the value of keeping a level head and remaining positive is what kept Shackleton and his men alive. He knew that there was only one option, which was to survive, and in order to do so he needed to maintain both positivity and rational thought among his men.

AT A GLANCE

ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS 22 DAYS / 21 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Selected dates, Nov ’17 – Feb ’18 & Nov ’18 – Feb ’19 TRAVEL STYLE Expedition cruise HIGHLIGHTS

• Experience three distinct regions • Superlative photographic opportunities • The impossible beauty of the Antarctic ice INCLUSIONS

Twenty nights cruise and one night hotel accommodation, selected meals, transfers, excursions and services of a veteran expedition leader, a team of naturalists, an undersea specialist and a National Geographic photographer. FROM AU$29,740* / NZ$32,750* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

DEVLIN GANDY

What was it like having Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay along on the trek? Having Peter and Jamling along was a real treat for me, especially since the three of us shared a rope and a tent during the trek. These two men have accomplished some incredible feats of their own, but the stories of their fathers are really uplifting and impressive. They’re both very seasoned trekkers, whereas I’m more of an amateur, so when they weren’t making me laugh with their hysterical senses of

humour, they were helping me out whenever I found myself in tough a situation.


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To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com


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Close encounters Introducing the Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures

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MICHAEL NEUGEBAUER

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At the tender age of 26, equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars and her fascination with wildlife, Jane Goodall travelled from England to the wilds of Gombe in Tanzania to immerse herself in the world of chimpanzees. In the process, she provided us with some of our first insights into the lives of our closest living relatives. Goodall documented the complex personalities of Gombe’s chimps, along with their tremendous similarity to humans—from their dietary habits and range of emotional states to their use of hunting tools. When National Geographic published its first cover story about Goodall and her work with the chimps in 1963, millions of people around the world became aware not only of Goodall’s remarkable research but also of the plight of the chimps. In 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute was set up to support the research at Gombe. As the years passed, and the need for a solution to the rapid destruction of chimp habitat grew, Goodall revolutionised wildlife conservation by focusing on the role that people play in the well-being and conservation of animals and their habitats. Since then, the Jane Goodall Institute has been working tirelessly to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of chimps and other apes, and their habitats. Now, global small-group adventure-travel company G Adventures, as part of its commitment to responsible tourism and animal welfare in the tourism industry, has partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute to create awareness and to support the institute’s mission to protect wildlife and support local communities. As part of the partnership, G Adventures has created the Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures, a selection of 20


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HUGO VAN L AWICK; THE JANE GOODALL INSTITUTE

amazing wildlife-focused trips, all of which have been endorsed by Dr Jane Goodall. These journeys have been designed to give travellers the unique opportunity to see some of our planet’s most extraordinary creatures in a way that respects their habitat and freedom. From the shores of the Galápagos Islands to the banks of the Amazon River, the jungles of Uganda and beyond, this year’s list of Jane Goodall Collection adventures will introduce you to the world in ways you’ve never imagined. You can watch orangutans at play in the forests of Borneo on the 14-day Experience Borneo journey; travel through landscapes unlike those found anywhere else on Earth on the isolated island of Madagascar on a 13-night Highlights of Madagascar trip; cruise through the Galápagos on a selection of journeys; and, of course, travel to Uganda and Rwanda to trek to see the majestic mountain gorillas and chimps on the nine-night Culture & Wildlife of Uganda & Rwanda journey. This is just a small taste of the trips on offer through the Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures. To book these or any other journey from the collection, contact your travel agent or visit adventureworld.com.

Culture and wildlife of Uganda and Rwanda 10 Days / 9 Nights From AU$2,975* / NZ$3,485pp* twin share *Terms & conditions apply

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BACKCOUNTRY ON HORSEBACK

Be swept away by the beauty of Banff on a horseback journey through rugged peaks and back-country trails. Ride through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, explore rolling prairies and watch out for wildlife. Discover nature from the saddle as the explorers did centuries ago 140 

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S

now-capped peaks, glistening glaciers and sweeping vistas are what draw visitors to Banff National Park. Enjoy an exhilarating horseback trip through the untamed wilderness and panoramic scenery of the park. Experience an unforgettable excursion through timbered ridges and mountain meadows, and along glacier-fed rivers and creeks. Conquer the rugged back-country trails during the day and return to a rustic yet cosy mountain lodge each evening.


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DAY 1: BANFF

Upon your arrival in Banff, the day is at your leisure to enjoy and experience the authentic and vibrant community and beautiful surroundings. Nestled high in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff is one of the most precious protected places in the world. Take in the spectacular mountain scenery, glacierfed lakes and wildlife at its wildest. DAY 2: BANFF – SUNDANCE LODGE

Meet the other members of your group this morning at the Warner Stables in Banff. You’ll be introduced to your guides before mounting up on your horse for the 16-kilometre ride to Sundance Lodge via the glacier-fed waters of the Bow River and Healy and Brewster creeks. Remote and secluded, historic Sundance Lodge is set among the looming Sundance Mountain range and surrounded by thick woods. During your stay at the lodge, watch for wildlife from the porch or put your feet up by the crackling fireplace. (L)(D) DAY 3: SUNDANCE LODGE

After a relaxing evening at Sundance

Lodge, mount back up for a second full day in the saddle with a day ride up the Brewster Creek Trail. Following lunch on the banks of Brewster Creek, the ride back to the lodge may take you through the weaving river trail or the historic storm pack trail with the rugged Sundance Range dominating the eastern horizon. Return to Sundance Lodge for the evening, where you can relax or spend some time with your new friends. (B)(L)(D) DAY 4: SUNDANCE LODGE – BANFF

Bid goodbye to your hosts at Sundance Lodge and saddle up for a leisurely ride back to Warner Stables with a stop for lunch on the banks of Healy Creek. Arrive at the stable this afternoon and make your way to your hotel for one last night in Banff. (B)(L) DAY 5: BANFF

Your backcountry adventure ends today. Spend your final day exploring Banff and its surrounds. You may wish to ride the Banff Gondola for breathtaking views from the pinnacle of Sulphur Mountain, take a cruise on magnificent Lake

Minnewanka or visit Lake Louise, the “Jewel of the Canadian Rockies” and the world-renowned Moraine Lake. NOTE: A longer itinerary featuring a second mountain lodge is also available.

AT A GLANCE

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Sundays, 14 May – 24 Sep ‘17 TRAVEL STYLE Small-group trip HIGHLIGHTS

• Spend two nights in cosy lodgings high up in the mountains • Ride through the untamed wilderness of Banff National Park • Unique experience with knowledgeable guides INCLUSIONS

Four nights accommodation, selected meals and daily riding excursions. FROM AU$1,245* / NZ$1,305* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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24 HOURS IN

PORTLAND

ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF WWW.PORTL AND.COM

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L

ocated in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, Portland is the largest city in Oregon; its metropolitan region is home to 2.3 million of the most creative and welcoming people you could hope to meet—the door’s always open for visitors who want to explore the city’s 375 square kilometres of exciting things to do, see, eat and drink. From big-flavoured craft beers to even bigger bookstores (the famous Powell’s takes up an entire city block), tax-free shopping, urban wineries, bespoke designers, skiing, hiking and foodie experiences, Portland is a year-round destination with enormous appeal. And it’s easy to get around the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, too, whether on foot or by bicycle, bus or the awesome Max Light Rail, where you’ll be in good company, riding with some of the thousands of locals who use it every day. BREAKFAST

If you’re after a caffeine hit, Portland is an oasis of artisan roasters and tattooed baristas. Try Coava, Heart or Ristretto for a great brew to start your day. Maybe pair it up with something from one of the city’s enticing donut shops. We love Blue Star Donuts, where the tasty offerings are made using a classic French brioche recipe. Or head to the city’s ultra-famous Voodoo Doughnuts. You can even get married there, should the mood take you. For a more elaborate start to the day, try Tasty n’ Sons, one of a number of restaurants around town owned by Portland chef John Gorham. Gorham describes himself as a “chef of the people” and celebrates the Portland dining experience of family-style dishes and seasonal sustainably sourced ingredients. Start with the maple-bacon-wrapped dates or the roasted apple. If you’re feeling particularly peckish, we recommend Auntie Paula’s French toast with pear, maple and whipped cream—it’ll see you good for your next outing. MORNING

After breakfast, head out on a bike ride around the city. Try bike sharing with the new Biketown app, which offers more than

1,000 bikes for hire at more than 100 bike stations. For only US$12 per 24 hours you can pick up and drop off one of these “smart” bikes at your convenience. Start by cycling on over to the lovely Lan Su Chinese Garden, which was built in collaboration with Portland’s sister city, Suzhou. Keep going along the west side of the river across the Hawthorne Bridge, one of Portland’s 12 famous bridges, and back along the Eastbank Esplanade, crossing the Steel Bridge for a great water-side loop. Or, if you would prefer to take a tour guided by local experts, try Cycle Portland or Pedal Bike Tours. LUNCH

Portland is synonymous with food trucks. For the greatest variety, try the food cart pod at SW10th and Alder. Make sure to check out the legendary Nong’s—the Khao Man Gai (chicken and rice with fragrant herbs, ginger, chilies and so much more) is to die for. Or combine shopping with dining at Tidbit Food Farm and Garden, a row of designer food carts on SE Division. Eat your lunch among the potted plants at the communal picnic tables and then visit Menagerie, an Airstream-trailer shop that features jewellery and body care products from independent designers and producers. Wash down lunch with a frosty beer from one of the city’s many craft breweries. Proudly known as “Beervana”, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world. On the eastside, try Basecamp Brewing, Migration Brewing or Ex Novo (the U.S.A.’s first non-profit brewery). Downtown in the Pearl District you might want to order a flight from the 19 beers on tap at Portland favourite Deschutes Brewery, or visit the city’s first craft brewery, and still one of the best, Bridgeport Brewing. AFTERNOON

Time to work off that lunch with some tax-free retail therapy. Bibliophiles will already be on their way to Powell’s, the world’s largest new-and-used-book store. Continue on SW10th to browse in Tender Loving Empire, an independent record label and local-handicraft concept store, Radish Underground, a woman’s

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boutique featuring independent fashion designers, and Wild Fang, the ultimate destination for women who want to let their inner tomboy loose—all conventiently located in a single city block. Stop in at Union Way to purchase a pair of Portland heritage brand Danner Boots then head on to Old Town/Chinatown to experience some of the city’s maker culture. Favourites include Orox Leather’s purses, belts and sandals, and Kiriko Made, where Japanese textiles are transformed into shirts, dresses and accessories. Don’t miss By the Collective—a barbershop, streetwear store and launch-pad for aspiring clothes designers—and up on NW Thurman is fashion-forward jewellery store Betsy & Iya, where you can take a peek into the production studio while you shop. DINNER

Start your evening off with a pre-dinner drop at one of Portland’s many urban wineries, which crush, bottle and age wines right in the city’s heart. Raise a glass of Portland pinot at Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon, Southeast Wine Collective or Teutonic Wine Company. For dinner, try one of Portland’s newest hotspots, Jacqueline. Littered with references to Wes Anderson’s film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, this hip newcomer specialises in local seafood, including Mount Hood crayfish, smoked trout and clams. Other must-tries are Ned Ludd, with its inventive menu of wood-fired dishes, Aviary for its French–Asian creations and Le Pigeon, a standout on the Portland dining scene year on year. NIGHT

Portland has spawned some amazing musical talent. Check the schedules at great venues such as Doug Fir Lounge, Mississippi Studios, McMenamins Crystal Ballroom and Revolution Hall. Then, to complete your night out, head to the Multnomah Whiskey Library to try a dram or two from one of the local distilleries. Finally, lay your head at one of Portland’s many interesting hotels; the Ace Hotel in the old Clyde Hotel building is a block from Powell’s. The Jupiter Hotel on the eastside is equally boutique and creative, or enjoy some downtown luxury at the Nines with its “place to be seen” lobby and sky-high Departure Restaurant + Lounge.

AT A GLANCE

EXPERIENCE PORTLAND 3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS ★ ★ ★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Discover Portland’s bicycle culture • Visit microbreweries and brewpubs in the city known as “Beervana” INCLUSIONS

Two nights accommodation and selected sightseeing. FROM AU$495* / NZ$519* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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Ko Similan Ko Surin Similan Island Phuket Ko Rok Nok

Phuket

Phang Nga Bay Ko Hong Ko Adang

Phang Nga Bay Ko Hong Ko Kradan

Gili Meno

Penang

Satonda Island Komodo Island Gili Kondo

Benoa Malacca

Langkawi

Gili Nanggu

Singapore

PHUKET ROUNDTRIP NORTHERN

PHUKET TO SINGAPORE

EASTBOUND BALI TO BALI

STAR CLIPPER | 7 NIGHTS

STAR CLIPPER | 7 NIGHTS

STAR CLIPPER | 7 NIGHTS

Enjoy 7 nights aboard your tall ship sailing

Work up an appetite while snorkelling

Discover a mix of culture and natural

vessel and discover what makes this part

and dine on Thai and Malaysian cuisine.

beauty in Indonesia. Experience the

of Asia special. This sailing adventure

Starting in Phuket, explore the pristine

dramatic volcanic scenery at Mount

explores Thailand’s largest island, Phuket,

beauty of the Andaman Sea, sail along

Bromo, take a walking tour to the

sails the tropical coast to Langkawi before

the coast of Malaysia before reaching

Crater Lake of Satonda and snorkel

returning to Phuket.

cosmopolitan Singapore.

around the Gili Islands.

INCLUSIONS 7 nights en-suite air

INCLUSIONS 7 nights en-suite air

INCLUSIONS 7 nights en-suite air

conditioned accommodation, port

conditioned accommodation, port

conditioned accommodation, port

charges, all meals, activities and

charges, all meals, activities and

charges, all meals, activities and

entertainment on board the ship

entertainment on board the ship

entertainment on board the ship

and English speaking hosts.

and English speaking hosts.

and English speaking hosts.

$2965*/ NZ $3325*

$2965*/ NZ $3325*

$3339*/ NZ $3745*

FROM AU PP TWIN SHARE

FROM AU PP TWIN SHARE

FROM AU PP TWIN SHARE

Selected departures; 15 Apr ‘17 - 14 Apr ‘18

Selected departures; 25 Mar ‘17 - 28 Apr ‘18

Selected departures; 20 May - 07 Oct ‘17

TO BOOK, CONTACT YOUR TRAVEL AGENT OR VISIT ADVENTUREWORLD.COM

*TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Prices are per person (pp) twin share, cruise only, based on lead-in cat. 6, economy season, inclusive of port charges. Surcharges apply to other cabin categories. Gratuities of $11 (AUD) per person per day are additional and payable on board except for Eastbound Bali to Bali which is included in the advertised price. Valid for sailings as mentioned. Seasonal surcharges & single supplements apply. Valid for new bookings only. Airfares not included unless specified. Offers are subject to availability and can change without notification due to fluctuations in charges and currency. Credit card surcharges apply. For full terms and conditions please view adventureworld.com/terms-and-conditions.as AW 139525137


DA LI A ND LIJ IA N G BY TRAI N

YUN N AN:

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From soaring snow-capped mountain peaks and low Mekong River valleys to the extraordinary mix of peoples and wildlife, China’s Yunnan province showcases the country at its most diverse 146 

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W

ith an alluring mountainous backdrop, Yunnan province is home to 29 of China’s 56 ethnic groups. Discover the spectacular scenery and rich cultural diversity of Yunnan on this journey to Dali and Lijiang by train. DAY 1: KUNMING

Yunnan province’s capital, Kunming, was once the gateway to the legendary Silk Road, the trading route that connected China, Tibet, Myanmar, India and beyond. Today it’s also the cultural, political and economic centre of the province, and one of the most visited destinations in southwest China.

DAY 2: KUNMING – DALI

Your day begins with a short walk in Green Lake Park, where the early risers start their day with some morning tai chi or qigong. Afterwards, visit the Yuantong Temple, one of Kunming’s oldest and most famous Buddhist monuments. Continue to the Golden Temple and the Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Museum, which has a beautiful collection of finery and traditional dress. Dinner will be at the charming 1910 South Railway Station Restaurant, a Kunming staple that was once a train station office and is very popular with locals and travellers alike, before you transfer to the train station, where you’ll be shown to your sleeper cabin aboard the overnight train to Dali. (B)(D) DAY 3: DALI

After the train’s arrival into Dali, head to your hotel for breakfast. Dali is home to the Bai minority, who first settled in the region more than 3,000 years ago. Visit one of the weekly markets that are held in the villages near the lake. Experience the daily life of the Bai fishermen as you travel along the shores of Erhai Lake. Travel to the Three Pagodas at Chongsheng Temple, which stand proudly at the foot of Mount Cangshan. The pagodas, one of which dates back to the ninth century and rises almost 70 metres, were part of a vast monastic centre that was unique in China due to the symmetrical triangle formed by the positioning of the pagodas. Known for

their resilience, the pagodas have survived several severe earthquakes, although one now has a pronounced tilt. Back in Dali, take a stroll through the old town, where you can still find typical Bai homes. Their front porches, famous throughout China, are distinguished by their beautifully carved arches. End your day with a visit to the Catholic church, which mixes Bai and European architectural styles. (B) DAY 4: DALI – LIJIANG

Travel three hours by train to World Heritage-listed Lijiang, the heart of Naxi culture and home to a magnificent labyrinth of traditional houses, canals, stone bridges and cobbled streets. Stroll through the old town along narrow alleyways until you arrive at Lion Hill, which offers fantastic views over the village below. Relax after your ascent with a quick coffee break on the terrace before heading to the Mu Palace, a vivid example of Ming and Qing architecture. Then make your way to the local market on the edge of the old town, where locals, many dressed in traditional clothing, sell teas, vegetables, fruits and even tools. (B) DAY 5: LIJIANG – DALI

The trip up Jade Dragon Mountain, which stands majestically to the city’s north will be the “mountainous” stage of your stay in Lijiang. You’ll visit the Yak Meadow, a lesser known rural area that offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside and mountains.

On your way back to Lijiang, you’ll pass by Lashi Lake, a paradise for migrant birds. Here you’ll ride a horse along the Ancient Tea Horse Trail, a trade route that dates back to the sixth century that will take you through dense forest and past waterfalls and a serene temple, and offer glimpses of the local Naxi farming life. In the evening, head back to Lijiang old town to rest and shower before taking the overnight sleeper train back to Kunming. (B) DAY 6: KUNMING

On arrival back in Kunming, your guide will take you to a restaurant for some breakfast, after which you’ll be transferred to Kunming Airport for your onward journey. (B)

AT A GLANCE

6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Spectacular scenery of Yunnan • Cobbled streets of Lijiang • Ethnic-minority experiences INCLUSIONS

Four nights accommodation and one overnight sleeper train, selected meals, train tickets, services of a local English-speaking guide and transport by private car. FROM AU$1,849* / NZ$1,949* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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AS FAR AS BIRTHDAYS GO, 2017’S IS A BIG ONE FOR CANADA; THIS YEAR IT HITS THE BIG 150. TO CELEBRATE, DESTINATION CANADA HAS RELEASED ITS LIST OF THE TOP CANADIAN BUCKET-LIST EXPERIENCES, WHICH COVER THE LENGTH AND BREADTH OF THIS INCREDIBLE COUNTRY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA!


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THE LAST FRONTIER Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory, is often referred to as one of the world’s last frontiers, a vast, sparsely populated area where most villages and towns are accessible only by plane or boat. Situated in Nunavut’s Kivalliq (or “Barren Lands”) region, Ennadai Lake lies on the path of the one of the planet’s great wildlife migrations. Twice a year, up to half a million members of the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd cross the lake—around April during the spring migration and then back through for the autumn migration around September.

CARIBOU MIGRATION 10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS from AU$8,029* / NZ$8,425* pp twin share

FIRST NATIONS British Columbia is home to the highest diversity of First Nations societies in Canada, each with its own language, traditions and history. Increasingly, these First Nations peoples, who have inhabited the region for some 12,000 years, are finding new ways to share their fascinationg histories through storytelling and cultural experiences, allowing visitors to connect with the origins of British Columbia. A Canadian Signature Experience, the cultural activities at Spirit Bear Lodge, located in the Great Bear Rainforest at Klemtu on an island in remote archipelago off British Columbia’s coast, introduce guests to the Tsimshian Coastal First Nations people, who’ve lived in small villages scattered throughout the region’s bays, rivers and inlets for thousands of years.

SPIRIT BEAR LODGE 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS from AU$3,459* / NZ$3,629* pp twin share

DRIVE THE MARITIMES Hop in your car and drive the iconic roads of Maritime Canada at your leisure. The more relaxed pace of the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island provides you with the perfect opportunity to travel back in time to historical settlements, visit charming villages, and indulge in some of the world’s best seafood. Step inside the walls of the 18th-century Fortress of Louisbourg; visit the iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove; and drive the Cabot Trail, one of the most famous routes in Canada.

ATLANTIC CHARM 14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS from AU$2,149* / NZ$2,259* pp twin share

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply


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THE GREAT OUTDOORS

LUXURY IN THE WILD

Canadians love the great outdoors—whether its kayaking, hiking, horse riding and fishing during summer or skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, snow-shoeing and more in the winter. However, one of the best ways to discover this vast nation is on a bike; two wheels can take you to lots of places that four wheels can’t. You can cycle leisurely through alpine meadows, boreal forests or under endless prairie skies or challenge yourself with some extreme mountain biking through rugged countryside in a national park. And there’s no better way to experience the spectacular Icefields Parkway—the northern section of Highway 93 in Alberta.

Amazing interactions with the natural world live with you long after you’ve returned home. Nimmo Bay Wildlife Resort, one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, was one of the world’s first eco-lodges and today provides a high-end wilderness experience in one of the most remote and stunning places on the planet. Nestled in the old-growth forests of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, you’ll spend your days watching for orcas or bears, kayaking among salmon and sea lions, soaring over the mountains or hiking among them. And at night, you’ll unwind with a glass of wine and a soak in a hot tub in a chalet that seems to float on the water’s edge.

DISCOVER THE ROCKIES BY BIKE

NIMMO BAY WILDLIFE RETREAT

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS from AU$2,419* / NZ$2,539* pp twin share

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS from AU$8,539* / NZ$8,959 pp twin share

RIDING THE RIBBONS

NATURAL HIGHS

Known affectionately as the “Ribbons of Steel”, Canada’s rail network takes passengers through some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world. The luxurious Rocky Mountaineer is so much more than a train journey—it allows you to indulge in world-class cuisine in comfortable domed carriages while travelling through the spectacular and otherwise inaccessible terrain of the Rockies. Canada’s national rail network, Via Rail, recently completed a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of its trains, helping to make its train journeys even more memorable. Add impeccable service and exquisite meals, and you have the makings of a legendary train journey.

The Canadian Arctic is vast, humbling, exhilarating—and provides endless opportunities for thrilling wildlife encounters. For example, there’s nowhere better to see polar bears. Sitting right on a migratory path, Churchill, in Manitoba, is one of the few places in the world where you can observe wild polar bears in an urban environment. Churchill sits on the shores of Hudson Bay, which can host more than 57,000 beluga whales, allowing visitors to see whales in numbers that leave them mesmerised. And then there’s the Arctic fox, one of the most beautiful animals you’ll see in Canada’s north. Venture out onto the tundra for a chance to see these amazing creatures in the wild.

HANDPICKED CANADA

BIRDS, BEARS & BELUGAS

16 DAYS / 15 NIGHTS from AU$5,925* / NZ$6,215 pp twin share

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS from AU$12,309* / NZ$12,915* pp twin share

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply


AWE-INSPIRING, ALL THE WAY A journey onboard Rocky Mountaineer is much more than just a train ride through the Canadian Rockies. It’s the key to unlocking a hidden world of shifting landscapes and unparalleled beauty. Indulge all of your senses as you wind through awe-inspiring scenery, complemented by gourmet cuisine, vibrant storytelling, and impeccable service. Journey to a place that’s truly above and beyond the extraordinary. Ask about upgrading to Rocky Mountaineer’s luxurious GoldLeaf Service.

12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS

GOLDEN CIRCLE VIA WHISTLER

$6,102*AU $6,403 NZ per guest, SilverLeaf Service twin share

Vancouver-Whistler-QuesnelJasper-Lake Louise-Banff-Kamloops-Vancouver 5 days onboard Rocky Mountaineer 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches 11 nights hotel accommodation Vancouver Lookout Jasper Highlights Tour

8 DAYS /7 NIGHTS

COASTAL PASSAGE CANADIAN ROCKIES HIGHLIGHTS

$4,486*AU $4,708  NZ

SilverLeaf Service

per guest, SilverLeaf Service twin share

Seattle-Vancouver-Kamloops-Lake Louise-Banff-Calgary

Icefields Parkway Tour, including Ice Explorer Yoho National Park Tour Rail station transfers and luggage handling National Parks Pass

3 days onboard Rocky Mountaineer 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner 7 nights hotel accommodation Vancouver Lookout 4 Vancouver activity options Yoho National Park Tour

Banff Gondola Helicopter Flightseeing Calgary Tower Rail station transfers and luggage handing National Parks Pass

Upgrades to GoldLeaf Service available

To book, or for our latest offers, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com Terms & Conditions: *All prices are quoted in AUD and NZD, per person (pp) twin share and valid for travel during the 2017 Rocky Mountaineer summer season between April and October on selected dates (Golden Circle via Whistler from priced based on 06 Oct 17 departure and Coastal Passage Canadian Rockies Highlights from price based on 19 May 17 departure). All care is taken to promote correct pricing at time of printing, but is dependent upon availability and will be confirmed at time of reservation. Valid for sale until sold out. Airfares not included unless specified. Offers are subject to availability and can change without notification due to fluctuations in charges and currency. Credit card surcharges apply. For full terms and conditions please view adventureworld.com/terms-and-conditions.


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GORILLAS THROUGH THE MIST

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Those fortunate enough to trek with mountain gorillas often describe the experience as one of the greatest and most emotionally profound of their lives. This is a wildlife encounter like no other and one that really shouldn’t be missed

T

ake this golden opportunity to track rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This is one of the most awe-inspiring and poignant wildlife experiences imaginable. DAY 1: KIGALI

On arrival into Kigali you’ll be transferred to your hotel. Kigali is today a vibrant and attractive city. Its existence stands as a testament to the resilience of this remarkable country and its ability to move forward from its tumultuous part. This afternoon, you may choose to take a city tour, including a visit to the Genocide Museum (at additional cost). DAY 2: KIGALI – VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Depart early this morning to the Volcanoes National Park. After a briefing by the national park guides, begin your gorilla trek in search of these magnificent primates. Keep your eyes peeled as you climb as the rainforest is alive with an array of colourful birds. Once the gorillas have been located, all fatigue will be forgotten—the experience is often described as the most profound natural history experience in the world. In the afternoon, if time permits, visit the markets, villages and local communities or take an optional visit to the twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo (at additional cost). DAY 3 VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – KIGALI

AT A GLANCE

3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park • Visit local villages and communities • Experience one of nature’s most awe-inspiring encounters INCLUSIONS

Two nights accommodation, selected meals, one gorillatracking permit, porterage while trekking, transfers and services of an English-speaking guide. FROM AU$2,629* / NZ$2,765* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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THE

MIGHTY


MISSISSIPPI T raveling on the Mighty Mississippi and its tributaries aboard the American Queen or American Duchess, you will be transported back in time, to an era of leisurely and romantic travel. There is no better way to see America than from the perspective of the river, for the river has played a tremendous role in the shaping of this beautiful country and the lives of the people who inhabit it. After extensively cruising amidst the charms and gracious style of the American Queen or American Duchess, you will forever be changed.

NEW ORLEANS TO RED WING (MINNEAPOLIS) 23 DAY/22 NIGHT – GRAND VOYAGE

2018 AMERICAN QUEEN FARES

2018 AMERICAN DUCHESS FARES

19 August – 10 September

15 July – 6 August

23 DAY VOYAGE

VISIT: New Orleans; Nottoway; St. Francisville; Natches; Vicksburg; Greenville; Memphis; New Madrid; Paducah; Cape Girardeau; Chester; St. Louis; Alton; Hannibal; Clinton; Dubuque; La Crosse; Red Wing

Stateroom

Inside Stateroom Outside Stateroom Deluxe Stateroom

US$ From $5,736* $10,786* $11,736*

23 DAY VOYAGE

VISIT: New Orleans; Nottoway; Baton Rough; Natches; Vicksburg; Greenville; Tunica; Memphis; New Madrid; Henderson; Paducah; Cape Girardeau; Chester; St. Louis; Hannibal; Quad Cities; Dubuque; La Crosse; Red Wing

Stateroom

Veranda Suite Deluxe Suite Loft Suite

US$ From $11,336* $16,336* $19,336*

I N C L U S I O N S • Hotel stay before your voyage – includes breakfast, taxes, porterage and transfers to the vessel • Signature

Hop-On Hop-Off Shore Excursions included in each port of call • Wine and beer with dinner • Coffee, tea, cappuccino, espresso, bottled water and soft drinks throughout your voyage • Special in-room amenities • Daily lectures by the Riverlorian, our resident history and culture expert • Acclaimed entertainment worthy of Broadway • Themed voyage entertainment and events • Steamboat Society of America membership^ • Complimentary laundry services^ • Exclusive City Tours in select ports of call ASK ABOUT OUR TWO 16 DAY VOYAGES

Departing 5 AUG 2018 – MINNEAPOLIS TO NEW ORLEANS AMERICAN DUCHESS Departing 15 JUL 2018 – NEW ORLEANS TO MINNEAPOLIS Details on request AMERICAN QUEEN

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *TERMS & CONDITIONS: All fares are in US dollars, per person, twin share based on lowest available category & include all promotional EBD savings. EBD savings are valid to 31 July 2017 and are not applicable to Cat. E on the American Queen. offers & port charges (correct as of 6 March 2017). Prices on the American Queen are based on Inside Staterooms Cat. E, Outside Staterooms Cat. C and Deluxe Staterooms Cat. A and American Duchess Veranda Suites Cat. VS, Deluxe Suites Cat. DS and Loft Suites Cat. LFS. Valid for new bookings only, can’t be combined with any other offers. All offers are capacity controlled and can be withdrawn or modified at any time without notice. ^Restrictions apply. Cancellation penalties & conditions apply. Prices based on payment by cash or cheque only. Travel agent service fees not included. American Queen Steamboat Company reserve the right to change, correct errors, withdraw from sale any or all fares, itineraries, excursions & fees. For full terms & conditions visit www. aqsc.com.au or contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com


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KERALA e xp e r i e nc e

Named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “50 places of a lifetime”, the southern Indian state of Kerala is a tropical paradise of swaying palm trees, sandy beaches that stretch to the Arabian Sea and the world-famous backwaters

D

iscover the beautiful landscapes of southern India on a fascinating journey through Kerala. See the sun set behind the giant Chinese fishing nets in Kochi, spot amazing wildlife in Periyar National Park, explore the tea plantations of Munnar and cruise Kerala’s backwaters on a traditional houseboat. DAY 1: KOCHI

Peaceful, serene Kochi has been drawing traders for centuries. Known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, the city became an important spice trading centre from the 14th century onward, as Arab, Chinese and European merchants started arriving at the newly formed harbour. 156 

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DAY 2: KOCHI

Take a morning heritage walking tour of the Old Fort area. Witness how local fisherman have been using Chinese fishing nets for centuries and visit Santa Cruz Basilica, which dates back to 1506. As you drive along the coast, you’ll pass through local fish markets and spicetrading bazaars. Later, your sightseeing continues with a visit inside the Dutch Palace and the famed Jew Town area, where you’ll explore the Jewish Synagogue. In the evening, witness the Kathakali dances, one of the major forms of classical Indian dance. (B)

metres above sea level in the scenic Western Ghats mountain range. Munnar is believed to mean “Three Rivers”, referring to the town’s location at the confluence of the Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. (B) DAY 4: MUNNAR

Today you’ll visit a local tea factory and tea plantations. There will be an opportunity to interact with local tea pickers and also to partake in a tea tasting. Afterwards, continue to Eravikulam National Park for a soft trek to encounter the Nilgiri Tahr, a rare species of mountain goat. (B)

DAY 3: KOCHI – MUNNAR

Travel by road to Munnar, a town and hill station situated at about 1,600

DAY 5: MUNNAR – PERIYAR

Travel to 925-square-kilometre Periyar


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National Park, south India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary. Periyar is situated on the banks of picturesque Periyar Lake and is home to tigers, elephants, sambar deer, leopards, lion-tailed macaques and Indian bison. In the afternoon, take a boat ride on the lake for some wildlife spotting. (B) DAY 6: PERIYAR – ALLEPPEY

This morning you’ll visit a spice plantation before driving to Alleppey. Alleppey’s sleepy, palm-shaded backwaters are Kerala’s hidden treasure. Cruise along these historic backwaters aboard a houseboat. (B) DAY 7: ALLEPPEY – KOVALAM

Enjoy breakfast and the sunrise while

cruising. Upon disembarkation, you’ll drive on to the sleepy coastal town of Kovalam, where you’re free to relax. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, Kovalam boasts one of India’s most sought-after beaches. (B) DAY 8: KOVALAM

Begin the day with a morning tour inside the 19th-century British-built Napier Museum and Sree Chitra Art Gallery, which houses more than 1,100 ancient works from the Rajput and Mughal dynasties. (B) DAY 9: KOVALAM – TRIVANDRUM

Your relaxing journey through tropical Kerala ends with a transfer to Trivandrum Airport for your onward flight. (B)

AT A GLANCE

9 DAYS / 8 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Explore scenic tea plantations • Cruise Kerala’s backwaters • Enjoy a wildlife experience in Periyar INCLUSIONS

Eight nights accommodation, breakfast daily, sightseeing with a local Englishspeaking guide and transport by private car. FROM AU$2,269* / NZ$2,389* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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ISLANDS

OF THE PEOPLE


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A REMOTE CHAIN OF WILD ISLANDS OFF THE NORTHERN COAST OF CANADA’S BRITISH COLUMBIA IS RAPIDLY BECOMING A MUST-SEE DESTINATION FOR TRAVELLERS LOOKING FOR A JOURNEY THAT COMBINES UNIQUE WILDLIFE WITH AN AUTHENTIC CULTURAL EXPERIENCE HAIDA GWAII, which translates to “islands of the people” in the indigenous language, is a remote archipelago consisting of about 150 islands of incredible raw, untamed beauty and vibrant First Nations culture. The dense rainforests, sprawling beaches and abundant wildlife, all surrounded by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, are intrinsically interwoven with the culture and history of the Haida people, who’ve called these islands home for thousands of years. It’s well worth spending at least a week in Haida Gwaii in order to appreciate the region’s remote beauty and to learn about its indigenous culture—and exploring on foot, via some of the region’s numerous hiking trails, is the perfect way to start. Naikoon Provincial Park’s Tow Hill Trail, known for the blowhole along the route, offers visitors a combination of peaceful walking through temperate rainforest, breathtaking views from the top of a two-millionyear-old volcanic plug and encounters with a geyser of saltwater that can reach a height of seven metres. Experienced hikers may want to tackle the park’s East Beach Route, a multi-day hike that can last close to a week, from the Pesuta shipwreck, around Rose Spit, to Tow Hill. Also of note is the Golden Spruce Trail, set among giant cedars and spruce trees near the Village of Port Clements, which leads to the former home of the revered

Kiidk’yaas, the ill-fated Sitka spruce with the golden needles. First Nations culture is powerful and allencompassing on Haida Gwaii. The Haida people are well known for their bold art, which includes painting, weaving, jewellery and carving. The iconic carved poles are one of the most recognisable styles of Haida art. The poles are often made from red cedar, a soft, rot-resistant wood, and can tower over 30 metres high. They are carved and raised for a number of reasons. For example, a house frontal pole, attached to the front of a dwelling, indicates which family lives inside; mortuary poles act as both tombs and gravestones; and memorial poles are carved to honour and remember important figures. While most poles don’t stand for more than 100 years, the poles at the World Heritage site of SGang Gwaay (Ninstints) date back to the 1830s and are one of the most visited sites on Haida Gwaii. And don’t forget the wildlife. Orcas and other whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, sea and river otters, harbour seals and Steller sea lions dwell in the sea around Haida Gwaii, while overhead, bald eagles are regularly spotted. And lucky visitors will be blessed with a sighting of the mighty Haida Gwaii black bear—a distinct subspecies endemic to Haida Gwaii—foraging along the shoreline for the myriad intertidal creatures found in the area.

GALAPAGOS OF THE NORTH HAIDA GWAII CRUISE DESTINATION BC

9 DAYS / 8 NIGHTS from AU$5,959* / NZ$6,255* pp twin share To book, contact your local travel agentor visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply


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LARES ADVENTURE TO

MACHU PICCHU Traverse seldomtravelled highland trails surrounded by exquisite snow-capped peaks, past roaming herds of llamas and alpacas, around impossibly hued turquoise lakes and through graceful waterfalls to reach the Incas’ crowning glory, Machu Picchu

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he Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu offers the perfect combination of traditional adventure travel and cultural immersion. Your experience on a lodge-to-lodge journey alternates between an exploration of the astounding natural scenery of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and an intimate look at Andean culture, both in busy towns and in the most remote mountain hamlets. 16 0  

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DAY 1: CUZCO – SACRED VALLEY

After departing early this morning from Cuzco, you’ll have the option to visit the celebrated market at Písac, where indigenous Quechua communities from the surrounding highlands come to sell their produce, or take a moderate hike in the hills and mountains over the Sacred Valley. Following this, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you’ll learn about its unique farming practices and delight in a traditional ‘Pachamanca’ meal for lunch, cooked under hot stones. An afternoon excursion to the archaeological complex at Písac provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks. (L)(D) DAY 2: SACRED VALLEY

Travel deeper into the heart of the Lares region. A road journey into the mountains will take you through remote archaeological sites. After lunch, you can choose between visiting a traditional weaver’s village or a scenic drive and a moderate–strenuous hike amid turquoise lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi. Locals will give you an insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cuzco. (B)(L)(D)


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DAY 3: SACRED VALLEY

This morning, spend some time learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. You can then choose to embark on a spectacular hike over a high pass to the adjacent valley and then on to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, home to some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America, or try an easy hike from Lares Pass on an authentic Inca trail and along a beautiful canyon, down to the local community of Totora. If you prefer to see more of the Sacred Valley, you can drive back for a visit to an ethnographic museum that features the history of Peru’s rich civilisations of the past or choose to explore the valley on mountain bike. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in the Urubamba River countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets. (B)(L)(D) DAY 4: SACRED VALLEY – AGUAS CALIENTES

This morning take a short hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo for magnificent views of the town and the temple. After your hike, enjoy a guided tour of the fortress, one of the best examples of Inca architecture and revel in its mystical history. It’s a perfect introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu. Around midday, embark on a scenic train ride along the Urubamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes, a bustling town that sits below the Machu Picchu sanctuary. (B)(L)(D) DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES – CUZCO

At dawn, commence your visit to Machu Picchu with a bus ride up the mountain. As you enter the sanctuary, the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. You’ll be awed by the skilful architecture of the many watchtowers, the Temple of the Sun and the royal Inca residences, among many other incredible structures. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Let your imagination soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. For those looking to explore further, there’s an optional uphill hike on Huayna Picchu, the towering mountain that rises behind Machu Picchu. After lunch in Aguas Calientes you’ll return in the afternoon/early evening to Cuzco by train and private coach. (B)(L)

AT A GLANCE

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Selected dates, 09 Mar ’17 – 30 Dec ’17 TRAVEL STYLE

Small-group trip HIGHLIGHTS

• Visit hidden communities for a unique encounter with the local people • Explore fascinating archaeological sites away from the tourist crowds

• S  tay at deluxe mountain lodges run in partnership with local communities INCLUSIONS

Four nights accommodation, selected meals, guided tours, entrance fees and permits to sites as specified, transportation and train from Aguas Calientes. FROM AU$3,365* / NZ$3,635*

* Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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DISCOVER NEW ENGLAND

NEW ENGLAND—THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE U.S.A.—BOASTS A STORIED HISTORY AND A RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE. THE REGION IS MADE UP OF SIX STATES: CONNECTICUT, MAINE, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW HAMPSHIRE, RHODE ISLAND AND VERMONT. HERE ARE OUR TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR NEW ENGLAND ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE A NEW ENGLAND BEACH SUMMER

The white, sandy beaches that stretch along New England’s 9,650 kilometres of coastline have long been a playground for locals, visitors and even the odd celebrity or two. Simply combine lobster shacks and fried clams, homemade ice creams and long, lazy days for the perfect summer experience.

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BREW ENGLAND

STEP BACK IN TIME

The microbrewery movement is steaming ahead in New England, where you’re never far from a good brew. From Big Claw Pilsner and Pumpkin Eater Ale to the Three Peak Holiday Stout, which is barrel aged on Frenchroasted Kenyan coffee beans, local brewers go out of their way to experiment with local ingredients.

In New England, the past comes to life. From the 18,000- year history of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, New England has witnessed many of the major events that have shaped the U.S.A. See where the American Revolution started, along with the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

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ENJOY MAPLESUGARING SEASON

As winter becomes spring, New England enjoys its shortest—but sweetest— season, the maple-sugaring season, when maple syrup is made. From late February to early April, farmers are out in the woods with their buckets, plastic tubing and drills as they “tap” the trees for their sap. A bottle of this liquid gold is the best souvenir.


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BEST OF NEW ENGLAND

12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS FROM AU$3,009* / NZ$3,269* pp twin share

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply

MAINE VISIT ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

SAIL ON A WINDJAMMER

PEDAL TO LIGHTHOUSES

PADDLE THROUGH MAINE’S WILDERNESS

Well known for its astounding beauty, Acadia National Park’s 19,000 hectares of mountains, lakes and rugged coastline on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Isle au Haut and Schoodic Peninsula are perfect for wildlife watching, hiking and rock climbing.

Discover Maine’s coast and islands aboard a historic schooner. Anchor in quaint harbours, enjoy the hustle and bustle of working waterfronts, see Maine’s famous lighthouses and take in the stunning coastal views. You can even help to haul the sails and coil up the ropes.

From your bicycle seat, take in panoramic coastal views while pedalling to some of Maine’s iconic lighthouses. Not only are these maritime icons picturesque, each has a unique story, just waiting to be told. Along the way, discover Portland’s history and tuck into its best lobster roll.

If it’s adventure you seek, head into Maine’s woods to experience pristine wilderness. The wildest section of the Appalachian Trail stretches from Monson to Maine’s highest peak, Katahdin, and offers some awesome paddling opportunities for canoers or kayakers.

NEW HAMPSHIRE FIND YOUR ADVENTURE

TAX-FREE SHOPPING

THE FRESHEST

SIGHTSEE—YOUR WAY

In New Hampshire, an adventure could be as tame as moose spotting or as extreme as backcountry skiing. Whatever your preference, leave the tourist track and head deep into nature—perhaps out into the Atlantic for some deep-sea fishing or inland for a hike to cascading falls or some climbing among the tallest mountains in northeastern U.S.A.

Yes, you read that right— there’s no sales tax in New Hampshire. The price you see is the price you pay. If you’re looking for something local, try New Hampshire’s League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and New Hampshire Made, which both have retail stores throughout the state offering locally made goods.

CUISINE YOU’LL FIND

Take in the views from your car window as you drive the 160-kilometre White Mountain Loop. Or follow a snowmobile trail—of which there are more trails than there are roads—take one of the state’s five scenic train journeys, or cruise on a small lake, a river or out on the ocean.

Picked right off the tree or plucked straight from the Atlantic, the produce in New Hampshire doesn’t get any fresher. You can help to harvest your meal’s ingredients at a working farm or simply sit back and enjoy a sumptuous five-course meal.

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the best kept secret of ar abia

T HE SU LTA N ATE OF OM A N Beauty has an address

www.tourismoman.com.au


Discover a country of breathtaking natural beauty interwoven with a kaleidoscope of history, legends, adventure and a blend of ancient and modern culture. There is a reason why Oman was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten countries to travel to in 2017. With dramatic mountains and canyons, spectacular coastline, desert and nature reserves, the natural biodiversity of the landscape is unlike anything else in the Arabian Peninsula. Explore the best kept secret of Arabia; less than an hour’s flight from Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Doha – a perfect side trip for travellers en-route to UK/Europe.


The Rocky Mountain region is one of the best places in the US to experience authentic Western ranch life. In Montana you can saddle up for trail rides, barn dances or chuckwagon races or bunk down in a ranch in Wyoming. The classic cowboy culture of the American West is still alive and well up in the Rocky Mountains.

Alaska’s scenery is astounding – beautiful national parks that are home to an abundance of wildlife, the stunning glaciers and splendid waterways of the famed Inside Passage, not to mention the bear viewing at wildlife lodges, and amongst the wilds of Alaska you can hike, bike, raft, kayak and so much more on an active adventure.

The Pacific Northwest of the USA is one of the lesser visited gems but travellers are awed by the expansive plains, soaring mountains and rugged coastline. You can explore vineyards along the Columbia River and hike through stunning national parks.


Well known as the birthplace of America, New England is a region rich in history and culture, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountains, lobster shacks and clam chowder. The bursts of colour as fall comes to New England are breathtaking and the region has fast become famous for its farm – or ocean – to table produce.

The Deep South is home to an authentic Southern culture - a melting pot of history, cuisine, music and architecture not found anywhere else in the US. And when it comes to American music, all roads lead to the Deep South.

The natural wonders of America’s South West are astounding and defy the imagination. The Grand Canyon is probably one of the best known national parks in the country but the red stone monoliths and spectacular sunsets of Utah’s Monument Valley are an iconic symbol of the USA.

ORDER YOUR COPY AT ADVENTUREWORLD.COM

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CYCLING SONOMA & NAPA The Napa Valley has long been known as one of the U.S.A.’s best wine regions, but a foodie revolution is taking place in neighbouring Sonoma, where farm-to-table produce rules

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njoy the best of the Sonoma and Napa valleys by bicycle, cycling at your own pace. Incredible scenery, amazing food, boutique accommodation and some of the best wineries in the country make this an ideal adventure for foodies and nature lovers. DAY 1: SAN FRANCISCO – NAPA

On your arrival in San Francisco, pick up your rental car and drive to the town of Napa. Just an hour north of San Francisco, Napa is a unique blend of interactive street art, food trucks, vibrant nightlife, quiet river walks, hidden tasting rooms and a lively farmer’s market. DAY 2: NAPA – SONOMA – NAPA

This morning you’ll meet your guide and companions for today’s small-group excursion in Sonoma. You’ll be fitted for a bicycle and safety gear before cycling between boutique and family-owned wineries. Sit back and enjoy a picnic lunch served at a winery overlooking the vineyards. (L)

100-year-old Zinfandel vines grow and family-run wineries abound. DAY 7: HEALDSBURG – SANTA ROSA

Today you can choose to take the short route down the eastern side of the Russian River or the longer adventure over Chalk Hill. Vineyard visits and the cycle route will be personalised for you. DAY 8: SANTA ROSA – BODEGA BAY

Take a leisurely bike ride this morning before the bicycle is picked up then drive to Bodega Bay on the California coast. Enjoy your hotel’s amenities: relax on your balcony overlooking the ocean, listen to the crackle of wood burning in the fireplace or enjoy the popular wine hour in the lobby. DAY 9: BODEGA BAY

Today you can choose to enjoy a horseback ride on the beach, kayak, explore sites where Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 movie The Birds was filmed or drive along Pacific Coast Highway 1 for some spectacular vistas.

DAY 3: NAPA

Bicycles, a gourmet picnic lunch and route maps will be delivered to your hotel this morning. Your bike concierge will take you through the best routes for exploring on your own. Any wine purchases you make along the way will be delivered to your hotel at the end of the day. (L) DAY 4: NAPA – SANTA ROSA

Drive to Santa Rosa, in the heart of Sonoma’s wine country. Visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum, which honours the legacy of the creator of Peanuts. Shop and dine in the downtown’s quaint square area. DAY 5: SANTA ROSA – HEALDSBURG

Begin with a bike fitting and pre-tour orientation by a professional guide at your lodging in Santa Rosa. Set off on your own by bicycle through the Russian River Valley, visiting artisanal wineries. Finish the day strolling and dining in Healdsburg Plaza. DAY 6: HEALDSBURG

Cycle the Healdsburg Loop, which traverses the gorgeous countryside north of the town. Explore the Dry Creek Valley, where

DAY 10: BODEGA BAY – SAN FRANCISCO

Enjoy a relaxing morning before departing for San Francisco, where your adventure ends.

AT A GLANCE

10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Daily, 01 Apr – 05 Nov ‘17 TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Sample local wines • Cycle through the beautiful surrounds of the Sonoma and Napa valleys • Spectacular coastal scenery in Bodega Bay INCLUSIONS

Nine nights accommodation, selected meals, sightseeing as specified, nine days car rental, five days bicycle rental, driving directions and information package. FROM AU$3,359* / NZ$3,625* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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SABI SABI More than 35 years of excellence

SABI SABI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE WAS FOUNDED IN 1979 at a time when South Africa wasn’t yet on the world ecotourism map. Located in the world-renowned Sabi Sand Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park, the unfenced reserve teams highly trained field guides with local Shangaan trackers in open safari vehicles, offering guests the ultimate safari experience. Within this vast, wildlife-rich land, Sabi Sabi has the perfect complement of design themes for its four 5-star lodges. Inspired by yesterday (Selati Camp), today (Bush Lodge and Little Bush Camp) and tomorrow (Earth Lodge), each possesses a distinct character. SELATI CAMP

An air of a time long past lingers in this exquisite camp, which harks back to the grand steam train era. The intimate and comfortable suites use vintage décor and railway memorabilia to give that touch of colonial opulence, while outside, shunters’ lamps and lanterns gently push back the night. BUSH LODGE

The impression that you’re about to embark upon an African expedition begins the moment you arrive at Bush Lodge. This “luxury home in the bush” has been sensitively designed to allow ample room to relax, unwind and savour the tranquillity.

EARTH LODGE

Cleverly sculpted so that it merges into the slope of the surrounding bushveld, Earth Lodge is an architectural wonder that’s virtually invisible to the casual observer. The lodge’s 13 suites, each of which features a private plunge pool, are individually decorated and impossibly luxurious. LITTLE BUSH CAMP

Now celebrating its 11th year, Little Bush Camp represents the transition between the traditional Bush Lodge and the more contemporary Earth Lodge. Its six private suites feature a secluded heated spa bath on a viewing deck overlooking the riverbed.

Close encounters with Africa’s wildlife, luxury accommodation, gourmet food, unparalleled warmth and service, and unique aesthetics have brought Sabi Sabi a long way from its humble beginnings. Today, Sabi Sabi is one of the world’s best, offering the ultimate in luxury African safari experiences. This is the past, present and future of nature—this is Sabi Sabi. 170  

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AT A GLANCE

SABI SABI FLY-IN SAFARI 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

★★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Search for the Big Five in open safari vehicles • Luxurious accommodation in the heart of the Sabi Sands • Award-winning luxury and delicious cuisine INCLUSIONS

Three nights accommodation at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, all meals, morning and evening open-vehicle safaris, selected beverages, local wines and sundowner drinks, environmentalawareness walking safaris, services of qualified rangers and Shangaan trackers, and return flights from Johannesburg. FROM AU$3,249* / NZ$3,439* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.


ADVENTURE WORLD CARES Adventu�e Wo�ld, in pa�tnership with the T�eadRight Foundation, encourages the sustainable development o� tourism by suppo�ting local p�ojects that benefit the envi�onment, heritage and community.

Adventure World has recently completed their TreadRight Foundation project for 2017, helping rebuild a school in Nepal in collaboration with the Happy Hearts Fund. The Prithivi Secondary School in Nepal, which was recently reopened by Happy Hearts Founder Petra Nemcova, will educate and empower over 350 students annually. The whole community – children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, community leaders and partners – gathered for the opening ceremony, and it was a beautiful moment to share. The school suffered immensely following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, however over 350 children are now studying in a safe and resilient school, instead of a temporary learning centre made of tarps following the natural disaster.

TREADRIGHT is a not-for-profit organisation established by The Travel Corporation and its family of brands. To date, TreadRight has helped support more than 35 sustainable projects around the world. To learn more about our past and present work please visit us at treadright.org

a f a m i ly of br a n d s


OUR WORLD YO U R WAY

Now that you’ve been inspired by the stories and journeys showcased in National Geographic Traveller, contact Adventure World to request your copy of our 2017/18 Brochure Collection. Our brochures showcase our incredible tailor-made worldwide journeys, mix-and-match itinerary modules to build your unique journey and extraordinary accommodation options.

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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER

all connected by Mana. Mana is a life force and spirit that surrounds us. You can see it. Touch it. Taste it. Feel it. And from the moment you arrive, you will understand why we say our Islands are

To discover Mana for yourself, visit Tahiti -Tourisme.com.au

TIME TRAVEL PERU'S INCA LEGACY CLU EX

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There are many sides to The Islands of Tahiti. Yet they are

B E S T O F T H E W O R L D   |   B A N F F   |   Y U N N A N   |   R WA N D A   |   B E S T 2 4 H O U R S   |   P E R U   |   S O N O M A

F L OW

© Grégoire Le Bacon

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2017 ISSUE 01

© Myles McGuinness

2017 ISSUE 01

THE BEST 24 HOURS ON EARTH

USA: SAVOUR SONOMA'S TASTE TRAILS

HOW TO MEET A MOUNTAIN GORILLA

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ELLERS

National Geographic Traveller Magazine AU & NZ  

Adventure World in partnership with National Geographic Traveller is delighted to bring to you our exclusive magazine which is packed with i...

National Geographic Traveller Magazine AU & NZ  

Adventure World in partnership with National Geographic Traveller is delighted to bring to you our exclusive magazine which is packed with i...