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WINTER issue 2018

Brazil Cultures collide in Salvador





PLUS Beneath Nepal’s peaks Oaxaca: Mexico’s brightest star Go wild in Kenya



51 CONTENTS Winter Issue 2018

Regulars 4

Editor’s Letter


The Big Picture


Trip Notes


Adventure World Travel Concierge


51 The Beauty of Bahia Cultures collide in the Brazilian city Salvador. Words by Vanessa Glavan Photography by Dan Avilas



Dan Avilas Salvador; Dennis Fast canada


62 Himalayan Heart

84 Natural Selection

106 Rock Star

Mighty peaks, including Everest, are the draw for most visitors to Nepal, but a rich culture thrives in the shadow of these mountains.

Stalking big cats, flying above elephants and acquiescing to the rhythms of the plains are just the start of a journey to Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

Big skies and mighty landscapes combine in Utah, a playground for adventurers, photographers and dreamers alike.

Words by Carrie Miller Photography by Alison Wright

Words and photography by David McGonigal

72 The Call of the South

94 Oaxaca: The Gift of Colour

If music, food, history and fun are high on your holiday priorities, it’s time to explore the southern states of the USA.

Celebrating the hues of Mexico’s most vibrant state.

Words by Carrie Hutchinson and Marissa Parkin

Words by Justin Fornal Photography by Adam Wiseman and Diego Huerta

117 Wild About Canada The diverse Canadian wilderness is home to some of the country’s most spectacular species. We going looking for 10 of them. Words by Alison O’Loughlin

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EDITORIAL Carrie Hutchinson Creative Director Luke Fraser Art Director Beck Haskins Design Karl Mautner Production Ivan Valachovic Editor

PUBLISHING Neil Rodgers Production Manager Marissa Parkin Advertising Sales Justin Jamieson Publishing Director

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER (US) EDITOR IN CHIEF George W. Stone DESIGN DIRECTOR Hannah Tak DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Anne Farrar EDITORIAL PROJECTS DIRECTOR Andrew Nelson SENIOR EDITOR Amy Alipio ASSOCIATE EDITOR Brooke Sabin DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Leigh V. Borghesani RESEARCH EDITOR Alexandra E. Petrie CopyDesk Amy Kolczak, Preeti Aroon, Cindy Leitner, Mary Beth Oelkers-Keegan Editors at Large and Travel Advisory Board

Costas Christ, Annie Fitzsimmons, Don George, Andrew McCarthy, Norie Quintos, Robert Reid CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Karen Carmichael, Heather Greenwood Davis, Maryellen Kennedy Duckett, P. F. Kluge, Margaret Loftus, Carrie Miller, Eric Rosen, Jerry Sealy, Jayne Wise CONTRIBUTING PHOTO EDITORS Kaya Berne, Hope Brimelow, Nicole Crowder, Julie Hau CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Aaron Huey, Michael Melford, Jim Richardson, Krista Rossow, Susan Seubert CONTRIBUTING RESEARCHERS Cait Etherton, Melissa Malamut, Meg Miner Murray, Meg Roosevelt COMMUNICATIONS

VICE PRESIDENT Heather Wyatt; 212-822-7093 DIRECTOR Meg Calnan; 202-912-6703


NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY Micahel L. Ulica BOARD OF TRUSTEES CHAIRMAN Jean M. Case VICE CHAIRMAN Tracy R. Wolstencroft EXPLORERS-IN-RESIDENCE Sylvia Earle, Enric Sala EXPLORERS-AT-LARGE Robert Ballard, Lee R. Berger, James Cameron, J. Michael Fay, Beverly Joubert, Dereck Joubert, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey interim President and CEO

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARTNERS, LLC CEO Gary E. Knell Editorial Director Susan Goldberg CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Marcela Martin GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS Laura Nichols CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Jill Cress CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND EXPERIENCES Rosa Zeegers DIGITAL PRODUCT Rachel Webber GLOBAL NETWORKS CEO Courteney Monroe LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS Jeff Schneider SALES AND PARTNERSHIPS Brendan Ripp National Geographic Traveler is published by National Geographic Partners, llc. For more information contact COPYRIGHT© 2018 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARTNERS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER: REGISTERED TRADEMARK O MARCA REGISTRADA. National Geographic Traveller Australia & New Zealand edition is published by Adventure World Travel Pty Ltd. A.B.N. 69 122 505 631. Level 5, 35 Grafton Street, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022 Australia. © Copyright 2018 Adventure World Travel. All rights reserved. Printed by Webstar, 83 Derby Street, Silverwater, NSW 2128. ISSN 2203-6172

Editor’s letter


othing tastes quite as sweet as a frozen daiquiri during the midday heat at New Orleans Jazz Fest. Between the parades and music spread across a whole bunch of stages, it can be easy to forget that there’s a whole other side to the weekend – great NOLA food and drink to keep you dancing throughout the day. “Do I need to see your ID?” one of the bartenders asks me, as she’s pouring a drink. I flick up my sunglasses. “You’re good,” she says and laughs, taking in the creases around my eyes. I still give her a tip. If you’re into fun and newly formed friendships, there’s nowhere like the American South. On a two-week road trip a couple of years ago, we met historians in Birmingham, Iraq vets in Mobile Bay, set designers in Nashville and bartenders – lots of bartenders – just about everywhere. We stayed in old-school motels, rocked out at music festivals and ate a lot of barbecue. It was the perfect trip, and if real life hadn’t been calling, we still may have been there. (Such is my devotion to the South, I visited a collector of Elvis memorabilia in South Australia on my return. The photo is of me sitting in his replica of the King’s gold Cadillac.) Memories came flooding back as I wrote the feature, ‘The Call of the South’. As they did when I was reading David McGonigal’s ‘Natural Selection’ about his visit to Kenya’s Maasai Mara. We talk about Australia having big skies, but the Mara’s endless blue more than rivals it. Spending time in East Africa is a privilege and it’s a place you could return to time and again. I’m not sure you’d ever become blasé about seeing a leopard tearing apart its kill high in a tree or watching a rhinoceros and her calf grazing on the plains. In this issue, we’ve got more creatures in Canada’s wilderness, as well as stories about Oaxaca, Salvador and travelling through the foothills of Nepal. Big city or remote wilderness? Whatever you’re preference, if you’re anything like us, you’re constantly planning your next adventure.

National Geographic Traveller, published by Adventure World Travel 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 Environment Paper Network.



Carrie Hutchinson

© Myles McGuinness


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

© Grégoire Le Bacon




Evil spirits be gone PHOTOGRAPH BY ARON KLEIN

It’s an ancient tradition carried out in Balkan regions each winter. People dressed in animal skins, masks and elaborate costumes of their own creation walk and dance through villages to chase away evil spirits in a ritual that pre-dates Christianity. The sounds of the bells around their waists – handed down through generations of family members – and the grotesque nature of the get-ups are thought to scare away even the ugliest of monsters. Kukeri, as they’re known, were traditionally men and boys, but in recent years women and girls have begun taking part in the custom. This image is of a female kuker posing with her son outside a rural village in Bulgaria.




Equal parts compelling and complex, the German capital will whet your appetite in more ways than one. These are the places everyone is talking about.

Clockwise from above: science-themed bar, Labor Berlin; a living room at Orania.Berlin; Ernst’s Dylan Watson-Brown in the kitchen.


eeming with laid-back cafes, thrift shops, gardens and heavyweight museums, the trendy Kreuzberg district leaves visitors wanting for little, which makes the arrival of luxury boutique hotel Orania.Berlin (orania. berlin) all the more exciting. Beautifully restored from its original 1913 incarnation as Oranienpalast Café, its 41 rooms are imbued with an understated elegance – warm reds colour plush textiles, balanced by parchment walls, timber floors and large arched windows overlooking tree-lined Oranienplatz. After dark, sip a cocktail as musicians, DJs and slam poets do their thing in Orania Bar. There’s also a literary salon, 24-hour gym and day spa. While gentrification has begun taking root in Kreuzberg, the Wedding neighbourhood retains its cool off the tourist radar, making it fitting as the new location for Berlin’s most exclusive dining experience, Ernst ( The 12-seat diner showcases the less-is-more approach of chef Dylan Watson-Brawn, who trained in the kitchen of Tokyo’s fine-dining institution RyuGin. Exuding a Japanese-style minimalist design, the restaurant

sees guests seated along a maple counter where they witness the chefs in action and hear stories about local producers and winemakers. There’s no menu per se – ingredients are meticulously sourced then crafted into a series of dishes served over three to four hours. You’ll have more luck wrestling a crocodile than getting a seat at the last minute, so book well ahead. If you haven’t had a beer in Berlin, have you really been there? Drink it down at a craft beer bar within a bar, Labor Berlin ( laborberlinkraftbeerbar). Accessed via a side room of Szimpla, the sister of Budapest’s most famous ruin bar, this new offering breathes fun into the local beer scene with its science theme – white-washed walls, a periodic table-style drinks list and bartenders in lab coats – and Hungarian craft beers. There are 12 taps on rotation, as well as a number of bottled varieties. Sip on the likes of Black Mamba Imperial Milk Stout and Anubis Barrel Aged Mead, both by Monyo Brewing Co. Snag a booth then, when hunger strikes, slip back across the hall for a grilled sandwich.  

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 To walk along the Berlin Wall is to sight a piece of history, and now that it has spent more time as rubble than a barricade, there’s never been a more apt time to delve deeper. Berliner Unterwelten e.V. ( takes visitors into an underground labyrinth on its Under the Berlin Wall tour. Wander through the dark service halls of the U-Bahn in search of the escape tunnels where many sought freedom. Learn about Cold War history and stories of success and betrayal, and see the seven escape tunnels near Bernauer Strasse, before returning to the surface beside the Berlin Wall Memorial (right). – Samantha Kodila

Now see this




It’s closed for refurbishment until 2025, but the Pergamon Museum will be reimagined when The Panorama (below) opens in September. Experience the ancient Greek metropolis in 360 degrees at the temporary exhibit. There’s also a 3D tour of the altar.

You may find yourself itching to pull on your hiking boots when Wanderlust opens on 10 May. See around a hundred works showcasing the motif of the wanderer experiencing nature from all angles, a popular theme for nineteenth-century artists.

Step into the light at James Turrell’s installation Ganzfeld “Aural”. The work immerses visitors in an ethereal space, submerging them in an undefined light field that represents the link in Judaism between creation’s beginning and end.

KW INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART Contemporary artists exhibiting at the tenth Berlin Biennale, titled We don’t need another hero and open from June 9, will examine self-preservation as an act of dismantling dominant structures and Berlin’s place in the world.

hanohiki/shutterstock (berlin wall); ASISI (PERGAMON)

In a city with more than 440 museums and galleries, we uncover Berlin’s hottest openings.

Berlin is famous for its clubs, but if techno isn’t really your cup of glühwein, try Clärchens Ballhaus ( This grand ballroom has two main floors, dance classes and a soundtrack that features jazz, swing and soul. And if you recognise the interior, that’s because it was a set for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.



Places We Love Kandy Sri Lanka′s sweet spot

The train journey through the countryside around Kandy is one of the most beautiful in the world.

RM Ferreira/Shutterstock

Sitting atop the central plateau, cooled by welcome breezes and often shrouded in mist, is the last city of the Sinhala kings and a sacred Buddhist site. These days, Kandy is the capital of the Central Province, but UNESCO World Heritage status ensures its laidback magic remains intact. Stroll around one of the world’s most important religious sites. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth is home to the tooth of Buddha. Devotees and visitors flock here during prayers, not to stare at the tooth, but at the gold casket that protects it. For those who time their visit correctly, the 10-day Esala Perahera (expected to start on 16 August this year) is one of the most spectacular festivals in Asia. Dating back to the third century BC, it starts quietly, with the ceremonial planting of a jackfruit tree, but culminates in a parade featuring dancing, drumming, singing, fire breathers, acrobats and lavishly decorated elephants. Once you’ve had enough – if that’s possible – there is only one way to leave, and that’s on the train that rolls through tea plantations and past waterfalls on its way to Ella. It’s a slow journey – about seven hours in all – and while scoring a firstclass ticket is commonly advised, travelling second class means you can hang from the windows for that perfect Kodak moment.


Tasmania’s newest tapas spot comes complete with the work of a visionary light artist.

ART on the side Three more restaurants that are a sight for curious eyes.



elieve a meal is as much about the experience as what’s on the plate? Then you’ll want to book passage to Hobart, where MONA founder David Walsh has launched FARO, a tapas restaurant with a difference. It is set within Pharos, the gallery’s newest space, which features four recently acquired pieces by American light artist James Turrell. Pay a $25 deposit to guarantee a reservation and entry into two immersive works, Unseen Seen and Weight of Darkness. The former involves sitting alone inside a large orb surrounded by

flashing lights and a scratching soundtrack, and wondering if someone slipped you LSD. Weight of Darkness, entered immediately after the 15-minute Unseen Seen experience, is more like sensory deprivation. After you’ve had your mind suitably blown, take a seat in the lightfilled restaurant, where chef Vince Trim’s menu is far less experimental. Share plates like manchego and leek croquettes and char-grilled octopus with smoked eggplant offer familiar, upscale flavours during museum hours and into the evening.




Pharmacy 2


The Modern

This collaboration between Damien Hirst and Mark Hix is a multi-coloured throwback to the nineties, set within the artist’s Newport Street Gallery in the London suburb of Vauxhall. Sample Hix’s impressive menu of British and European classics surrounded by works from Hirst’s Medicine Cabinets and Kaleidoscope series.

This beautiful Hong Kong restaurant, designed by Ilse Crawford, has a dedicated art manager who facilitates a program of exhibitions, talks and workshops. Guest curators bring the best modern and contemporary works to a dining room where guests sup on upmarket Cantonese cuisine from chef Fung Man-Ip.

Its two Michelin stars and long list of rave reviews are enough to attract diners, but there’s also the added bonus of views from the dining room into MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. It’s a sophisticated and serene New York venue in which to savour chef Abram Bissell’s contemporary, often Asian-tinged dishes.


MONA/Jesse Hunniford

Enter a world of sensory delights


millions of years in the making

SE A S ON 2018 H A S BEGUN. B OOK ING S AVA IL A BL E FOR GROUP S UP TO 16 PEOPL E. Ancient mountain ranges and volcanic plateaus, World Heritage Listed National Park and untouched wilderness - this is the Scenic Rim Trail by Spicers. This unique three day/three night hike explores the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland’s High Country; a geological wonder with a rich history among the local indigenous population. Led by our experienced and knowledgeable guides, you’ll enjoy a rare opportunity to explore land previously only touched by early pioneers. Whilst the terrain is rugged, you can expect luxurious glamping-style accommodation, gourmet food and wine, and attentive service from Spicers Retreats every step of the way. All of this just over an hour from Brisbane.

From $2190 per person (twin share). To find out more about the Scenic Rim Trail contact us on 13 77 42, or visit



Transform your journey Tangled cables? Uncomfortable ear buds? Those pesky headphone problems become a distant memory the moment you slip on PXC 550 Wireless by Sennheiser. Designed with NoiseGard noisecancellation technology, these stylish headphones allow you to tune out the world and into your favourite album or podcast with ease. A gentle tap of the touchsensitive ear cups adjusts the volume, skips a track or answers a call, while the built-in microphone siphons peripheral sound so your conversation is always clear. Going on a long-haul flight? Plush material ensures comfort throughout your journey and, with up to 30 hours’ battery life, you’ll be able to listen to tunes from take-off to landing. $499.95,

West Australian Wandering

Off the shelf What we’ve been reading.


Cultural connections

Cup of the best

Map it out

Australia is full of amazing stories, none more so than those from the Indigenous community. Marcia Langton’s Welcome to Country not only lists a huge range of Indigenous tourism experiences – national parks, galleries, festivals, communities open to visitors and more – but it also offers an introduction to other aspects of the culture. Learn about languages, history, story-telling, native title, art and dance, as well as etiquette for visitors. It’s an important guide for travellers who want to experience all aspects of this diverse country. Hardie Grant Travel, $40,

If you’ve been burned by arriving in a new city and not being able to find a decent espresso, arm yourself with Global Coffee Tour. This guide offers the must-drink brews from 37 countries around the world, teaches you how to order in the local language, directs you towards legendary cafes, and points you towards tours of plantations and cupping sessions at urban roasters. It’s the perfect companion for caffeine aficionados wanting to avoid cups of instant. Lonely Planet Books, $30,

Do you like to have a really good plan before a trip? We don’t blame you, particularly if it’s a first-time destination. Anyone doing a tour of Vietnam should grab a copy of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat. It offers all the details, including comprehensive itineraries, maps, historical and cultural context, and insider tips on where to stay, eat, shop and more. The stand-out of this guide is its strong visual style that offers colour photographs, as well as floor plans of some of the bigger sights, like the Hue Citadel and Angkor Wat. Penguin, $30,



Purnululu National Park, south of Kununurra in the West Kimberley region, is one of only 12 UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites in Australia. It covers a huge 240,000 hectares, encompassing some incredible areas of scenery, including the Bungle Bungle Range, but it is remote. Bungle Bungle Guided Tours flies visitors in on either helicopters or small planes before heading off on walks through the towering cliffs of Cathedral Gorge (above), past the beehive-shaped Domes, along the sandy bed of Piccaninny Creek and through the narrow Echidna Chasm. There are three different tours, graded from easy to challenging, all led by local Indigenous guides, who share their culture with guests along the way.

2014 Gold Major Tour and/or Transport Operators


Remote luxury


Pack right Heading off for a couple of days? Imagine being able to put everything you need into a combined suit bag and mini duffel. The Henty CoPilot Messenger holds two suits, shirts and two pairs of shoes, plus all the extra bits you might need. A removable padded laptop pouch holds devices up to 13 inches. Not only that, once you’ve wrapped the suit bag around the duffel, the whole lot fits easily into the overhead locker. $319,



Happy anniversary, New Caledonia. This year marks its lagoon’s tenth as a UNESCO World Heritage site, listed for its natural beauty and remarkable diversity of marine species. Don a snorkel, plunge into the warm, clear water and you’ll discover an underwater wonderland starring vibrant corals, colourful fish, sea turtles and perhaps even a manta ray or dugong.


Colour your world Want to find your bag on the luggage carousel with no trouble at all? Antler’s Juno 2 range combines a tough outer shell in polypropylene with a full complement of bright hues, from hot pink to turquoise, as well as black and white. Regardless of what colour you choose, the wheels and trolley handle all match. There are three different sizes, with expandable versions available. Inside you’ll find a number of zippered compartments for tidy packing, ensuring you’ll always arrive at your destination in style. From $229 for the cabin roller case, APP

Track charges When you’re on a trip it’s incredibly easy to lose track of finances and who paid for what, especially if one of you either always has cash or a credit card that doesn’t attract foreign transaction fees. Enter Splittr. Just download this app, add the friends who are travelling with you, then every time one of you pays for something it’s entered into your phone. The information syncs between all the people using it, and you can use it even when offline. At the end of the trip, Splittr reconciles all the bills and sends you a statement detailing who owes who and how much. Splittr is free to download for Apple and Android; premium lifetime membership costs $3.99.


Discover a unique patch of wild Tasmania at Par Avion’s Southwest Wilderness Camp. Set on the shores of Bathurst Harbour, this luxury experience lets you get right back to nature. Fly to nearby Melaleuca, enjoying the majestic views along the way, then there’s a boat ride to your home for the next two nights. Go hiking along deserted beaches and through some of world’s last remaining temperate rainforest, visit Aboriginal middens and caves, and spot rare birds like the orange bellied parrot. There’s no need to rough it though: you might be sleeping in huts, but there’s excellent Tasmanian food and wine, hot showers and proper beds with fluffy doonas. Don’t have three days? Par Avion also offers scenic flights and day tours to different regions in Tasmania.

I Know a Place Mumbai

She’s lived in the city all her life, so we asked Prachi JoSHi to shows us around Matunga, the neighbourhood she has called home for the past six years.



moved to Matunga after I got married, but it has been my stomping ground since I went to college in the vicinity. It was one of the first planned localities in the city, with wide, tree-lined roads, a number of parks and gardens, and elegant two- and three-storey apartment buildings. Despite the fast-paced


development throughout Mumbai, this is one of the few neighbourhoods that still retains its traditional flavour – whether it’s in the Matunga market area, with its South Indian temples and cafés, or in the leafy by-lanes of Five Gardens, with its heritage Parsi homes and art deco buildings.


Asthika Samaj Temple

Matunga Flower Market

The facade of Asthika Samaj Temple, a 95-year -old place of worship dedicated to Lord Ram, is almost entirely covered with colourful sculptures of numerous deities. Inside, the atmosphere is peaceful and redolent with incense. Ram Navami (usually in March or April) is celebrated with much fanfare and special rituals over nine days. Bhandarkar Marg, Matunga; +91 22 24014170

Stroll towards Matunga railway station and you’ll see an eye-catching array of flower shops lining the footpath. A heady scent fills the air from the thick garlands of roses and marigolds and delicate gajras (strings) of jasmine and aboli (firecracker flower) that adorn the shops. he South Indian Flower Shop is the oldest shop here and dates to 1942. Bhandarkar Marg and Telang Road, Matunga

Amba Bhavan I have a favourite dish at each of the dozen or so South Indian cafés in Matunga. But if I had to recommend just one, it would be Amba Bhavan Coffee Club. I often share a table here with local sexagenarians as we polish off plates of fluffy neer dosa (rice crepe) served with piping hot sambar (lentil stew), washed down with tumblers of filter kaapi (frothy, slightly sweetened coffee). Patel Mahal, Bhandarkar Marg, Matunga, Mumbai; +917738385955; closed on Thursdays

After taking a sabbatical from her banking job six years ago, PRACHI JOSHI stumbled into the world of blogging and feature writing. She writes about all the good things in life and blogs at

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Five Gardens

Koolar & Co

Mysore Concerns

The eponymous five gardens offer a muchneeded green respite, with their canopy of rain trees, copper pods, palms, flame trees and more. The gardens form a community hub, welcoming everyone from kids, who jump around the jungle gym, to space-starved young lovers and senior citizens’ laughter clubs. Magic Tours of India offers a guided nature walk, along with a dash of local history and culture. Magic Tours of India; +919867707414;

A local institution, Koolar & Co opened in 1932 as King George’s Café and was rechristened after independence. Inside, there are vintage posters and mirrors on the walls, a chequered floor, and creaky bentwood chairs. Try the brun maska chai (crusty bun slathered with butter and served with tea), kheema pao (minced meat with bread), and raspberry soda. If you’re ravenous, the Irani Wrestler’s Omelette, made with six eggs and a load of butter, should do the trick. 541, Dr Ambedkar Road, Kings Circle, Matunga; +919892987007

While walking around Kings Circle, follow your nose to the coffee heaven called Mysore Concerns. The entire area smells of freshly roasted and ground coffee emanating from the humble store that’s been around since 1939. The proprietors source beans from the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala to make an aromatic filter kaapi blend. Plot No. 391, Circle House, Sri Shankar Mutt Road, Matunga; +919892011977; closed on Mondays




I Know a Place Mumbai

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Splashing with sea devils In a Maldivian lagoon during monsoon season, a congregation of the ocean’s largest and most charismatic rays gathers to gorge. By Carrie Hutchinson



ough seas obscure my view. In the distance, I can see the Zodiac bobbing on the ocean, but the tell-tale signs of my fellow snorkellers – heads out of the water, jets of water being expelled into the air – have disappeared. Not that I’m particularly concerned. We are in open ocean, but the water is only about six metres deep and I am pretty sure they wouldn’t leave me out here like some sort of Open Water nightmare. The sea calms for just a second and I spot a few people swimming about 40 metres away. Readjusting my mask, I stick my head back


under water and kick off, only to be greeted by the most magnificent sight. A school of manta rays, about 16 in all, is cruising towards me. Every year in Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll, when the southwest monsoon and the lunar tide coincide, huge numbers of rays gather to feed on plankton blooms. Each day, the feeding frenzy goes for between two and four hours. The luxurious resort where we are staying, Anantara Kihavah, runs regular expeditions between May and November and, this being August, we are in the midst of manta mania.


Travel Tales Ocean Adventure

As soon as we are in the water, the first manta appears out of the Depths. On board the yacht on the way to the bay, one of our party, underwater photographer and videographer Dean Cropp, offered a few pointers about swimming with these giant rays. “They don’t like a whole lot of legs and fins hanging down, so stay flat on the surface,” he advised. “Think graceful like Swan Lake rather than Michael Jackson’s Thriller.” He also mentioned mantas often

respond to sounds, so a yell or noise made through a snorkel may capture their attention. In the water, I decide to put his advice to the test. I make a noise – a woo-hoo – beneath the waves and a manta glides just inches past me, giving me the side eye. I wave at another and it swoops back to pass again. As I swim along on my side, stretching arms and legs into a starfish formation, it mimics my movements, its belly just inches from my own. They are incredible beasts, and some have wing spans of three-and-a-half metres. I’m not sure how long I play with them, but eventually they tire of the attention and slide off into the gloom, just as I realise my camera has been clutched in the palm of my hand throughout the entire episode.

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As a group who’d been caught in a storm and struck by sea sickness a couple of days before, only to suffer the ultimate indignity of not spotting a single manta, we’d been hopeful but also anxious on the way out here. There are strict rules about how often the mantas can be visited and the length of time swimmers can stay in the water. If, on our return, we had failed to see them again, we’d be leaving without achieving our prime objective. Everyone on this expedition had their fingers crossed. At least the weather was better. Not that we hadn’t already made the most of the amazing island on which Kihavah is located. It might not be big, but it certainly packs a luxe punch. Such are the vagaries of the flight schedules from Australia to the Maldives, we’d arrived after midnight. Unfortunately I had just got my thirteenth wind, so opened a bottle of Taittinger (it flows quite freely in these parts) and slid into the private plunge pool beneath a full moon. It was the perfect start to an island adventure. The next day, jetlag was easy to kick. A snorkel on the house reef looking for the resident moray eel (found) was followed by lunch at SEA, the resort’s underwater restaurant (delicious). Just a week before, Leonardo DiCaprio had supped here with a dozen Victoria’s Secrets models. Considering his interest in conservation, perhaps he should have instead invited Andy Bruckner and Georgia Coward,



who run an organisation on Kihavah called Coral Reef CPR. Over pan-fried scallops and crusted sea bream, they explain how they’re growing knuckle-sized pieces of coral on rope that they then ‘plant’ to regenerate bleached and damaged reefs. In the afternoon, we sail around the island as the sun sets then gather on the beach for the weekly lobster and champagne evening. If there’s a more decadent buffet anywhere in the Maldives, I’d certainly like to hear about it.


Water views from beside the pool; snorkelling the house reef (below).


Dine beneath the ocean's surface at SEA restaurant; SKY bar and the observatory (below).

There are 80 villas on this private island – some are perched over the sea, others strung along the beach – but it never feels as though there are many other people around. You can ride your bike along sandy paths and only pass staff members, who smile brightly. It could be that everyone is at the overwater spa or learning how to cook Maldivian curries in a class at Plates restaurant. We spy a young boy learning to scuba dive (when I say spy, I mean he waved as he and his instructor finned past the window of the underwater restaurant) and occasionally couples can be seen spotted splashing in the crystal clear, warm ocean. The only time of day when there seems to be more than a handful of people around is during meals, which are always world-class. Even on our second trip to Hanifaru, there was only one additional guest who tagged along with our group. It turns out none of us needed to have worried about the objects of our attention not turning up again. On arrival at the lagoon, guide Javier points out where the currents are and the spots we are most likely to see the mantas. As soon as we are in the water, the first manta appears out of the depths. Then another. And another. It’s a seemingly never-ending manta train. Later, Javier will tell us he counted 25, although he is sure he missed a few.

It never even occurs to me to count – I am spellbound by their grace and size. For the next half-hour we float on the surface and watch them feed around us. Occasionally they barrel roll in pairs, scooping the plankton into their gaping maws helped along by their horn-like cephalic fins (the reason they’ve earned the nickname sea devils). A couple of us yell, “It’s behind you,” in pantomime fashion as one snorkeller misses a manta splashing playfully on the surface just beyond him. Before any of us are ready to return to the island, Javier starts yelling from the Zodiac that it’s time to leave. Rangers patrol the bay – it’s part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the mantas are listed as a vulnerable species – and he’s keen not to earn their wrath by outstaying our welcome. Not that we’ve seen any other boats here since we arrived. “No, really, we need to go,” he implores, as half the group is distracted by yet another display. Back on the yacht, heading towards Anantara Kihavah and the setting sun, everyone agrees our encounter with these charismatic creatures was an experience we’d never forget. Perhaps another few days here in this tropical paradise with our new-found floating friends isn’t completely out of the question.

It’s in the Stars When guests arrive at Anantara Kihavah, they’re introduced to ‘sky guru’ Ali Shameem. Growing up in the Maldives, Shameem became obsessed by the skies above him, particularly the constellations he could see at night. He went overseas to study with famed Italian astronomer Massimo Tarengi before returning to home shores. Thanks to the minimal light pollution here, on a clear night, more than 15,000 stars are visible to the naked eye. Which was exactly what past guests utilised to pick out constellations. That was until the launch of Kihavah’s observatory. A custom-built dome atop SKY Bar now houses a 16-inch Meade LX200 telescope sitting on a giant tripod. Start out on a daybed as Shameen identifies some of the more obvious points in the sky then have a go with the telescope. With its assistance you can see Messier 13, a cluster of about 300,000 stars in the constellation of Hercules. Even for those with little interest in astronomy, this is a unique and magical way to end the day.

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The way it should be Born and raised in Byron Bay, Stone & Wood is proudly local and independent, brewing approachable, sessionable beer in the Northern Rivers of NSW. Inspired by the idea of creating a village brewery and with the vision of building a conscious business, we’re striving to do good in our community with beer that is simply good to drink. We’ve established a national not-for-profit, the inGrained Foundation. It aims to create sustained positive change by directing funds to support grassroots, environmental and social charities in the community…


Stone and Wood Brewing

10 reasons to visit HAWAII

The aloha spirit is alive and well on each of Hawaii’s six islands, but they offer very different experiences. Hula All the Way



In April each year, the town of Hilo on the Island of Hawaii – what many people refer to as the Big Island – comes alive with song during the Merrie Monarch Festival ( Back in 1964, the festival was launched to draw tourists to the economically struggling island, but it now celebrates everything about Hawaiian culture. There’s an arts fair, exhibitions of dance and music, hula competitions and a parade down the main street.

Floating with Giants

Ride On

Ghosts of Journeys Past




Imagine paddling atop a kayak only to have a humpback whale raise its fin from the water just metres away. Without engine sounds or diesel fumes, these fascinating creatures are more likely to come close (you’re not allowed to approach them) for a once-in-alifetime experience. Maui Kayak Adventures (mauikayakadventures. com) runs tours during the calving season from January to March. If you’d prefer to tour in a traditional outrigger canoe or try your hand at whale watching on a stand-up paddle board, check out sister company Hawaiian Paddle Sports (

It’s one of the smaller Hawaiian islands, but it has the highest sea cliffs in the world and a spectacular fringing reef. On Molokai, you’ll also find one of the state’s most interesting excursions. The Kalaupapa Mule Tour ( takes guests on the backs of beasts of burden along the Kalaupapa Trail and down the edge of those formidable sea cliffs to a former leper colony. And don’t worry if you’ve never straddled a mule before – you’ll be shown all the basics before heading off.

Lanai is the smallest inhabited Hawaiian island, and a favourite with those looking to leave the modern world far behind. Kaiolohia, also called Shipwreck Beach, is one of its more spectacular drawcards. This 13-kilometre stretch of sand has a number of wrecked ships, including an oil tanker from the 1940s, along its rocky shoreline. It’s a great spot for walking and beachcombing and has excellent views of Maui and Molokai.

The thrill of a close encounter with a humpback whale during a kayaking tour on Maui.

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10 reasons to visit HAWAII Splash Happy

Food on the Go



Rancho Relaxo

Take an Art Walk



In the heart of Waikiki, you’ll discover a pocket of retro cool. A former 1960s motel has been completely refurbished to create The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club ( Sure, the rooms are low-key gorgeous, with original artworks and mid-century furniture, but it’s the program of experiences that makes Surfjack an even more desirable place to stay. Learn how to make a flower crown, take a surf lesson, visit a local farm, do yoga in the penthouse or chill out at one of the regular live music sessions by the pool or at Mahina & Suns, the hotel bar.

Scenery from the Sky


About 80 per cent of Kauai is inaccessible by land, so the best way to get an eyeful of its spectacular scenery is from up high. Book the Ultimate Kauai Adventure Tour with Sunshine Helicopters ( and you’ll cruise above the landscapes loved by Hollywood directors. See verdant cliffs plunging into the sea on the Na Pali coastline, the crested buttes and deep gorges of Waimea Canyon, and the magnificent Wailua Falls.

Clockwise from top right: dancing at the Merrie Monarch Festival; surf lessons at Waikiki with Surfjack; checking out Kauai by helicopter; an Oahu food truck.



Oahu’s North Shore is known for its epic sunsets, some of the world’s most famous surf breaks and, even if you don’t have a board, sensational beaches. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the food trucks. You’ll find everything from tacos to Thai food, pizza to poke, but you won’t want to miss Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck ( You’ll find two – one at Haleiwa, the other at Kahuka – where you should order the shrimp scampi, a plate of big prawns cooked in garlic and lemon butter.

On the southwest coast of Kauai, you’ll find the charming town of Hanapepe, where the plantation-style buildings are home to restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. On Friday nights, the town hosts Hanapepe Art Night (, where local artists and artisans tout their wares at stalls along the street and the stores and galleries stay open for browsing. There’s also live music, food trucks and street food vendors to make the night complete. It’s more like a block party than a tourist attraction.

The Local Spirit


Sugar cane has been grown commercially on Kauai for almost 200 years and, not surprisingly, it’s believed local rum production stretches back to about then, too. Now, Koloa Rum Company ( continues the legacy, using vintage copper stills and local produce. Head to its tasting room on an historic plantation in Lihue to sip on its range. On Maui, take a tour of Haliimaile Distilling Company (, which makes Pau Maui Vodka using pineapples. – Carrie Hutchinson

Hawaii Visitors bureau/lehua waipa ahnee (Dancer); Courtesy surfjack (Surfing); Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson (Helicopter and food truck)

Leave the built-up areas of Oahu far behind and head to Waianae to meet the residents of the sea. During the three-hour Best of the West outing with Wild Side Specialty Tours (, you’ll get to encounter some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures. First, you and a maximum of five other guests will swim with wild dolphins before climbing back on board to spot whales. Then there’s time for a guided snorkel tour with sea turtles on a beautiful reef for a completely unforgettable experience.

FRASER ISLAND where memories are made...

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1800 072 555 *Conditions apply. Subject to availability. See the website for details.

wild adventures Overnight Sensations Suite Dreams Three more animal sleepovers.

Urban jungle At Werribee Open Range Zoo, just outside Melbourne, guests take part in a unique camping experience for Roar ’n’ Snore. After dinner, check out how the nocturnal animals live and wake the next morning to the call of gibbons.

Kenya calling

Head to Canberra for the chance to sleep with lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!


e should make sure the meerkats are doing OK.” During an overnight stay at Jamala Lodge’s giraffe treehouses, this becomes our mantra each time we leave the room. The cute critters, including a variety of tiny pups, are located in an enclosure just outside our rooms and are prone to bursts of activity any time we peer over the concrete fence. Jamala is located on the grounds of Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium. If spending quality time feeding carrots to Hummer, the cheeky giraffe, from your balcony doesn’t appeal, then choose a room with huge glass windows overlooking tigers, cheetahs, lions or bears (both brown and sun bears live here). Most of the time, they pay little mind to human guests, although one family, who are staying in the bear lodge, admit to spending hours staring



at their huge neighbours napping in the sunshine. While the appeal of spying on the kings of the jungle and plains from bed is undeniable, it’s the behind-the-scenes insights that make any stay at Jamala memorable. Before the zoo’s day visitors arrive (and long after they’ve left), keepers take guided tours. Guests discover the animals’ quirks and habits. We toss treats, wrapped in banana leaves, to the capuchin monkeys and chat to keepers taking the dingoes for a walk. Drinks and dinner take place in the lodge, where the rare white lions, Jake and Mishka, visit to be fed. There’s also the chance to get up close to the rhinos and feed an eland, the biggest species of antelope. For animal lovers, it’s a rare opportunity to see wild animals up close and discover more about the role of zoos and their participation in global breeding and conservation programs. Oh, and you might get to meet a meerkat.

Tropical treasure From Jicaro Island Lodge on Lake Nicaragua, take a kayaking tour to spy the birdlife that resides here or trek into Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve. Here, deep in the cloud forest, keep your eyes peeled for two-toed sloths and howler monkeys.

Courtesy Jamala Wildlife Lodge; Carrie Hutchinson (Nairobi NP)

Deep in Nairobi National Park (below), bed down in a luxe canvas dwelling at Nairobi Tented Camp. At night, you might hear a buffalo crashing through the undergrowth or the roarof lions, and when the sun comes up you’re in prime position to explore the nature reserve and its wildlife.

ask an expert THE JOY OF ONE Aubrey Daquinag relaxing between blogs on Coron Island in the Philippines.


Replace fear with curiosity. There is no point travelling solo if you’re going to ignore the culture, not taste the local cuisine and be fearful of interacting with both locals and other travellers. Yes, it’s daunting to get out of your comfort zone, but it’s important to have an open mind and experience what the world has to offer.


Author, photographer and blogger Aubrey Daquinag loves to travel on her own. Here she offers her five best tips for going solo.


or many people, chucking in the nine-to-five and heading off an endless adventure is their dream. For Australian photographer Aubrey Daquinag, it’s become a reality. For the past few years, she has travelled around the world, turning cafes, co-working spaces and hotel lobbies into temporary office space where she creates her blog, The Love Assembly. On it, Aubrey documents her experiences and encourages other young women to live creative and courageous lives. “Besides doing whatever the hell you want, when you want, the most beneficial thing about solo travel is the fact that the more you explore the world on your own, the more opportunities you get to explore yourself,” she says of her decision to travel to destinations as diverse as Brazil and the Philippines on her own. “To see the act of travel as a form of personal growth and self-development, and to use it as a means to be a better version of yourself, is the greatest thing, I think.” Aubrey’s first solo adventure was a three-month trip to Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Chile. She’d never been to any of those countries and didn’t know anyone living there. Nor did she speak Spanish or Portuguese. But the challenge was transformative: “I saw, experienced and captured so much newness, found sweetness in my solitude, made some of the best friendships, built the confidence to stand strong at challenging times, and learned so many things about other cultures and myself.” Here, she offers five tips for anyone wanting to set out alone.




Download Google Maps offline. This allows you to track your location even if you aren’t connected to the internet. You don’t have to follow it, but it will give you peace of mind while you wander. Make sure you pin the location of your accommodation as soon as you arrive, so that once you’re done with the day’s activities you can easily find your way back there.


Get your bearings before dark. Always know which neighbourhoods are safe to stroll around before you head out to explore at night. Stick to well-lit streets, be aware of the different areas within a city and pay close attention to safety precautions.


Trust your intuition. It’s some kind of superpower. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

© Aubrey Daquinag

Wander Love by Aubrey Daquinag is published by Hardie Grant Travel, $35. It is available in stores nationally and online.

Plan but leave time to wander. I’m all for arrangements, but I recommend being flexible with your itinerary. If you over-plan and find yourself rushing from A to B, you’ll miss the magic of travel and the in-between moments that often end up being the most memorable ones. I generally have one or two things that are a must-do each day, and allow enough time in between to wander.

James Tobin Lord Howe Island Ambassador

Lord Howe Island is Just Paradise. Immerse yourself in the spectacular surroundings and experience some of the world’s best day hikes, snorkelling on the coral reef, hand-feeding fish on Ned’s Beach and much more. This multi award winning, World Heritage-listed paradise is less than a 2 hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane and now is the perfect time to visit.

For further information on Lord Howe Island, visit us online


The last paradise Off the coast of New South Wales, about 700 kilometres northeast of Sydney, lies one of the most unspoiled islands on the planet. By Samantha Kodila



s we walk among the exhibits at the Lord Howe Island Museum, resident naturalist Ian Hutton makes a bold claim: “Lord Howe Island has all the stories of the Galapagos, it’s just Charles Darwin didn’t come here.” Darwin’s Galapagos discoveries revolutionised the way we think about evolution, after all, yet the similarities between the two archipelagos are undeniable. Both were born of volcanic activity and cast off across the sea by shifting tectonic plates, which fostered unique ecosystems both above and below the sea. But while the Galapagos receives more than 200,000 visitors each year, Lord Howe is relatively deserted. Just 16,000 people are welcomed to its shores annually, and this relative anonymity has served the island well – it has flourished. In fact, after a quick glance at the stats it becomes clear the island is a winner of ‘the


worlds’. It has the world’s southernmost reef, home to more than 500 types of tropical and temperate fish and 90 corals. It’s the breeding ground of the endemic Lord Howe woodhen, one of the world’s rarest birds. The world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe stick insect, which was declared extinct in 1960, was rediscovered in 2001 off the southeast coast on Ball’s Pyramid, which is, incidentally, the world’s tallest sea stack at 551 metres high. About seven million years ago, explosive volcanic activity in the seabed of the Tasman Basin thrust a shield volcano 30 kilometres wide more than a kilometre into the skies. The remains – a mere fraction of the original at 11 kilometres long and two kilometres wide, sculpted by the raging seas and winds – is the landscape seen today. It was almost destroyed by discovery – in 1788, one of the commanders of a First Fleet ship sent a party ashore to claim


Stunning views of Lord Howe Island and surrounds from the top of Mount Gower.

it for the British territory (it’s thought the island was unknown to South Pacific Islanders and it was certainly uninhabited). With ships came non-native species like feral cats, goats, pigs and rats, all of which contributed to the destruction of native plants, birds and invertebrate species. Thankfully, conservation has been an integral part of the community; 75 per cent of the island is a protected park reserve and the gradual eradication of predators has seen the return of native species like the woodhen. Other efforts to conserve the environment of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed island have included capping the population at 350 residents and only allowing 400 guests at any one time. Interestingly, this hasn’t dampened the island’s allure. If anything, it has made it more enticing, with avid hikers, divers, wildlife lovers and beach-goers arriving on its shores from around the globe via Sydney and Brisbane. From the moment of touchdown at the airport, guests begin shedding the stresses of today’s modern world. There’s no mobile phone reception, the preferred method of travel is by bike – for the few cars that do grace the roads, the speed limit is a leisurely 25 kilometres an hour – and supplies are shipped from the Australian mainland every two weeks. There is little to distract from the natural surroundings. A few roads weave across the island finishing at its beaches, where glittering water and marine life await. There are the calm waters of Lagoon Beach, which looks out towards the spectacular coral reef. Turtles can be found paddling in the waters off the shores of Old Settlement. A frenzy of king fish and mullets swim in the shallows at Ned’s Beach. Above the water, the island’s vegetation is just as abundant. Coastal grass blankets the low lands, and towering pine and palm trees cascade down the slopes of hills scored by rugged dirt and root-riddled trails. The largest of these is Mount Gower. Standing at 875 metres, Mount Gower is Lord Howe’s highest peak and offers one of the most challenging hikes. Sheer basalt cliffs, groves of endemic kentia palms, rope-assisted climbs and mystical cloud forest all feature on the 14-kilometre full-day trek. The unmarked trail requires walkers to be accompanied by a licensed guide (there are just two on the island) and, as you’re scrambling over boulders, finding a foothold on a tree root, scaling a rock face and learning about the plants and wildlife found on the mountain, you’ll understand why. The moment you pull back the final frond curtain and are rewarded with the breathtaking views of the island, though, the aching muscles are forgotten. Back at the base of the mountain, with the sound of the waves crashing against the shores, you’ll feel different. Sore, definitely. But rejuvenated, too. There’s something to be said for being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself, and immersing yourself in a world moulded by time.

Hikers on the challenging path up Mount Gower.

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Need a travel companion with local expertise? We’ve got you covered.


Strictly Southeast Asia With its remote islands, bustling hawker markets, vibrant festivals and cultural experiences, our northern neighbours offer opportunities for


both quick breaks and longer jaunts.

Koh Lipe, Satun, Thailand. Sunset Long Tails on Sunrise Beach.


Dancing in the streets


Battambang on two wheels Anyone who does a river trip from Siem Reap will end up in the riverside city of Battambang in Cambodia’s northwest, with its faded colonial architecture and low-key vibe. While you’re there, exploring the surrounding countryside, with its tiny villages and hilltop temples, is a must-do. Butterfly Tours offers a day-long bicycle tour, called Lives of Battambang, that takes visitors off the normal tourist routes. Visit makers of noodles and rice wine, check out eleventh-century Wat Ek Phnom and a memorial site for Khmer Rouge victims, and learn about growing rice. Best of all your guides are local students, who know all the people and places along the route.

Dancers at Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City (above); riding over a wooden bridge near Battambang (right); a treehouse at The Gibbon Experience (opposite, top); making soup at Air Itam Laksa (opposite, below).




Iloilo City, on Panay Island, has plenty going for it: grand Spanish colonial churches and restored heritage buildings, a beautiful esplanade along Iloilo River, fantastic seafood restaurants and easy access to peaceful Guimaras Island. But the town really comes into its own in January with the arrival of the annual Dinagyang Festival and the thousands of visitors who come to see it. It’s both a religious and cultural celebration, but the main attraction is the huge street parade. Thundering drums, energetic dance routines and ‘warriors’ dressed in stunning costumes can be seen along the route. If you think it sounds a little like Carnival in Brazil, you’d be right.


High in the forest Fly along zip lines to your treehouse accommodation in the Nam Kan National Park at The Gibbon Experience. This conservationbased tourism project has a number of options, the most popular of which is the three-day Classic Tour. You’ll trek through the forest looking for gibbons, leopards, sambar and barking deers, macaques and many other types of wildlife, as well as glide through the trees among the birds along the 15 kilometres of zip lines to get from one hill to the next. The canopy-top treehouses are some of the highest in the world if what you really fancy is staring into the trees from your bed.


World’s best soup? For food lovers, there’s no destination in South-East Asia quite like Penang. Located on the Malacca Strait, it’s split by water, but regardless of what part of the city you’re in, you’ll discover some of the best street food anywhere. Hit Gurner Drive Hawker Centre for a huge array of dishes or pile a banana leaf with curries in George Town’s Little India. But don’t miss the city’s (maybe even the country’s) best assam laksa at Air Itam Laksa, a roadside stall at the bottom of Penang Hill. Assam laksa is tangy and spicy, devoid of coconut milk and served with shredded mackerel. Find a stool – tables turn over quickly – and order a bowl for about AU$1.20. When you’re done, try another local favourite – the durian ice-cream from one of the stalls on historic Chew Jetty. It’s a funky flavour bomb.


Lost in paradise If you find the crowds of Bali a little off-putting, head to the Kei Islands. Despite being located in the remote Maluku Province on the edge of the Banda Sea, it’s easily accessed from Ambon. Thankfully for seekers of pure bliss, not that many people seem to realise it – only 300 tourists visited in 2016. There are kilometres of soft white beaches, good snorkelling and an underground cave with a natural swimming hole called Goa Hawang. Accommodation tends to be in guesthouses, the local people are friendly and you can go from village to village on scooters. Want to get away from everything? This is the spot.


Meander from one unspoiled island to another under full sail with Burma Boating. Depending on who you talk to, the 400-kilometre stretch of coastline in Myanmar’s remote south known as the Mergui Peninsula is home to somewhere between 800 and a thousand islands. Most are uninhabited and you can travel for days and only exchange waves with fishermen in canoes. During the six-day adventure, you’ll anchor off deserted beaches, snorkel on colourful reefs and enjoy sundowners on deck. There’s also the chance to visit Nyaung Wee Island, where some of the 3,000 Moken people, who used to live nomadic lives on the sea, have now settled. Mergui has only been open to foreigners since 1997, but the Moken have lived a traditional life here for hundreds of generations.



A house on stilts in the Mergui Peninsula; an isolated bay in the Kei Islands (above).


Sail to deserted islands

Where traditions meet your creative soul.



Picturesque Bang Bao Bay on Koh Kood’s southwest coast is home to resorts, dive shops and local bars and restaurants.




Beautiful beaches, no crowds If, in the past, you’ve favoured the sands of Phuket or the bustling streets of Bangkok, Thailand’s Trat Province in the country’s east will likely come as a surprise. Here, many of the tropical islands are part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park, protecting them from the worst of mass tourism. Koh Kood is one of the easternmost isles and the region’s second biggest. Traffic-free roads connect villages, there are three beautiful waterfalls hidden in the forest, and its picturesque beaches are some of the country’s best. One of the prettiest, Bang Bao Bay, has a touch of paradise about it: calm turquoise water, wooden jetties stretching out from the coast and groves of palm trees throwing shadows across the sand. There are some luxury resorts here – Away and The Beach Natural Resort come highly recommended – but there are also homestays and locally owned bungalows and hotels. You can head to the fishing village of Ao Yai – have lunch at Chonthicha Seafood – or simply spend your days lolling by the water in hammocks, occasionally dipping into the ocean to cool off. Make sure you bring all the books in your TBR pile.

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Going underground It’s hard to believe it was undiscovered until 1990. A local man saw clouds billowing from its entrance and could hear the roar of a river from inside. Unfortunately, that same man couldn’t find Son Doong Cave again until 2008. This is the largest cave in the world – 200 metres tall, 100 metres wide and five kilometres long – and entering its huge chamber over a 90-metrehigh rock wall is like discovering another planet. There are jungles, passages lined with fossils, crystal clear rivers and other extraordinary landforms. To preserve this unique environment in the remote Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, only one operator has permission to run excursions. Visitors need to embark on a strenuous trek to get there, but the effort is completely worthwhile once you’re standing in the heart of this otherworldly environment.


It’s regularly voted one of the best venues in Asia, but on Sunday afternoon Manhattan Bar at the Regent Singapore plays host to the city’s only adults-only brunch. Feast on a button-popping range of dishes – eggs served with truffles and caviar, freshly baked bagels and breads, oysters and seafood, plus a full range of hot dishes – but leave room for, well, drinks. When you choose the free-flowing option, you can sup on Bloody Marys, cocktails, wines, beers and, believe it or not, boozy milkshakes. Each Sunday there are three different milkshake flavours, dark rums and maple bourbon to give them a lift, and a bar full of lollies and fruit to garnish your creations. Bon appetite. Camping in Son Doong Cave (above) feels like being on another planet; the Bloody Mary cart (left) at Manhattan Bar’s Sunday brunch.




Brunch like no other

Suit Bags for active travellers and commuters

A local woman looks out over the picturesque Porto de Barra from the historic seventeenthcentury Forte de Santa Maria.

Cultures collide in the Brazilian city of Salvador.

The Be aut y of Bahia

Words by Vanessa Glavan Photography by Dan Avila

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Locals perform capoeira in the streets of Pelourhino, inviting travellers and passers-by to look on.

taring at the brightly hued walls, I am transported back to my university days. Not because I am reminded of them, but because in those days I was surrounded by dull brown bricks. How much more inspired must Salvador ’s students be, learning within this coralcoloured building? We are in the heart of Pelourinho, the city’s historic centre, where there is never a dull architectural moment. My eye is drawn to buildings painted pink, orange, turquoise and even a soft lemon wash. I’m wondering as to their original purpose when I spot a clutch of children peering from one of the second-storey windows. They laugh as members of our group wave up to them. The jewel of Brazil, Salvador was the country’s first capital. Founded by the Portuguese in 1549, it’s considered one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. In Pelourinho – it’s part of the upper town, separated from the lower by a 85-metre-high escarpment – classic colonial architecture still dominates. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 and subject to extensive restoration over the past three decades, Pelourinho is where visitors flock to view the likes of the São Francisco Convent and Church, constructed in the eighteenth century and displaying some of the finest Baroque decoration in the country.

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Inside the SĂŁo Francisco Church. Much of its ornate sculpted gilt woodwork and the paintings were completed during the eighteenth century.

Market stalls line the streets of the old town. A woman dressed in a traditional bright green dress, her face enlivened by daffodil eye shadow and fuchsia lipstick, is running an acarajé stall. These fried bean fritters, often split and stuffed with pastes made from spices and dried shrimp, were introduced to Bahia by slaves from West Africa and they’re now considered one of Salvador’s most popular street food dishes. Tourists interrupt her business for a photo; most then succumb to the temptation of her delicious offerings. Other stands are filled with colourful bracelets and touristy souvenirs. Nearby, high school children are putting on a musical performance and people pause to take in the scene. It might only be a Thursday afternoon, but the entire town seems so vibrant and alive. A local man, who has a small fridge decorated with pictures of lemons and coconuts on his stall, offers me a drink. The icy mixture he hands to me is so refreshingly sweet that, even on this hot day, I am instantly cooled.

Children play in the streets of Salvador (below) – and pose for photographs – during National Children’s Day celebrations; around the cross in front of the São Francisco Church in Pelourhino (opposite), members of the community come together to listen to local musicians.



As we continue through the town, we spot some local children splashing around in the puddles made by a hose and our guide, Gabriela, tells us today is National Children’s Day. As the kids continue to play, a parent hands over a paper bag full of burgers, and they squeal with delight. There is, however, another side to the city’s history. Salvador was the first slave port in the New World, with Africans originally brought here to work on the local sugar plantations. With them came a unique culture – dance, music, religion, food – that even today remains a colourful legacy. The famous Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim is large but simple, a place where Catholicism is the major religion. But here, too, aspects of Candomblé, a form of worship derived from African Yoruba beliefs, are incorporated. When it was first brought to Brazil, the Portuguese colonisers forbade its practise. Instead, slaves attended the Catholic churches and worshipped their Candomblé gods in secret. In the centuries since, the two have come to co-exist. Nosso Senhor do Bonfim is full of life as we enter. At the altar, families are clapping along to a hymn, while in a small room called the Sala dos Milagres (Room of Miracles) next to the nave, wax replicas of body parts – arms, legs, hearts, lungs and

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more – adorn the ceiling like decorations. Here, people leave offerings for the sick or recently healed. Candomblé involves the worship of orixás (deities), who all serve the one god called Oludumaré. “The powerful spirits are prominent in everyday life,” explains Gabriela. Participants make offerings to their chosen deity, each one representing a force in nature. For example, Oxum is the goddess of beauty, fresh water and health, and Oxossi is the hunter. Outside the church, the gates are covered in thousands of coloured fitas, or wish ribbons. They are tied here (or knotted three times around the wrist) for good luck. That night we have our own meeting with the spirits at the Balé Folclórico da Bahia (the Folkloric Ballet of Bahia). Artists and dancers dressed in white, red and vivid yellow – each colour representing a separate spirit – undulate until they appear to be overcome, their eyes rolling back as they move to the beat of

A brightly adorned local stall owner (above) at her acarajé stand in Pelourinho; ribbons are tied to a fence outside Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim (opposite) to remember the saviour of Bahia.

tribal drums and religious chanting. The energy is so electrifying I’m left covered in goosebumps. If experiencing Salvador’s spiritual orixás is a rite of passage, then so is tucking in to traditional Bahian cuisine. Coconut cream, coriander and ginger are hero ingredients here, but rather than simply letting a chef prepare traditional dishes for me in a local restaurant, I head to a cooking class at a home in Graça. If I was excited to learn with Moema Brocchini, the feeling only increases when she meets me at the door with her mother, internationally recognised Brazilian artist Maria Adair. The walls of the home are covered in her colourful abstract works, while each piece of homeware, from the dining table to the glassware, has been hand-painted in her signature style. Moema, who has a long history working in restaurants around the world, most notably in some top Parisian establishments, soon drags our attention back to the task at hand. First, she explains the importance of palm oil in traditional Bahian cooking. It gives dishes a distinct orange colour, although she reveals she only likes to use a small amount in her dishes. In a large wok on the island bench, we mix together ingredients to create moqueca, a dish Brazilians have been making for more than 300 years. It is a seafood stew flavoured

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Locals fill Porto de Barra beach on a hot national holiday (right); night-time entertainment in one of Pelourinho’s squares (opposite, top); a traditional capoeira class with renowned master Valmir Santos Damasceno (opposite, below).

with onions, tomatoes, capsicum, banana and coconut cream. The smell of it is amazing, but I wasn’t prepared for just how delicious it would be. When it is finally cooked and we sit down to eat lunch, I almost immediately help myself to seconds. Clearly Moema doesn’t trust our ability to create a dessert and serves up guava soufflé with cream cheese – a dish also known as Romeo and Juliet – for dessert. This typical Brazilian delicacy is so scrumptious the table falls silent as everyone tucks in. When lunch is done and the plates cleared, Maria offers to take us on a tour of her home. Of course, everyone says yes. After all, how often are you given the chance to poke around a Brazilian artist’s atelier? Downstairs, she has styled each of the bedrooms to suit her children’s tastes. It’s her own room, however, that catches my eye. The bed has been placed on an angle to face a few of the large artworks she holds dear. Even her quilt is hand-painted, with coloured stripes crisscrossing it. Her atelier downstairs is where the magic happens, and there is a work in progress on the bench. Our photographer asks if he can capture a portrait and she automatically sits down on her stool, grabs a brush and begins painting. Maria isn’t posing, but working. When he’s done, she tells him she needs to look over them. She has no qualm expressing which photos she doesn’t like. “I am a perfectionist,” she tells us. Looking around her tidy workspace, this isn’t hard to believe. Back at the hotel in Pelourinho that evening, we hear loud drumming and singing in the distance. Every night is a party in Salvador, so we decide to follow the sound. Strolling through the lanes and following the tribal beats, we easily find the source of the music. A large crowd has formed around a woman dancing in the middle of the street. Her movements are both free and captivating. The crowd sings and claps along to the beat of the drums as her red dress whips the air and she moves among the people gathered around her. Someone in the crowd even drenches her with water in the middle of her wild routine, but she tilts her head back to drink and continues to dance. Her moves are hypnotic. Gabriela looks at us and smiles. If Rio is the heart of Brazil, then Salvador is its soul. Vanessa Glavan travels the world when she’s not advising others on where to go and what to do as a member of the Adventure World Travel team. Dan Avila (   @danavilaphotography) is a Perth-based photojournalist who loves to capture the sights of some of the world’s most remote locations.

Welcome to Salvador Get there

Don’t miss

Salvador is a two-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro. There are direct flights with LATAM and Avianca Brazil.

At sunset, ride the old Art Deco Elevador Lacerda that connects the upper and lower levels of the city.

Eat out

Salvador’s Carnaval, held during February, is Brazil’s second largest, but many will tell you it’s the best. Be prepared to pay a lot of money to join a band and be part of a bloco; many choose to be pipoca (popcorn) on the street.

At lunchtime, do as the Bahians do and sample local dishes like moqueca (fish stew) and xinxim (lime chicken in crayfish and peanut sauce) at the modest but busy Porto do Moreira on R Carlos Gomes. Churrascaria (barbecue restaurants) are popular throughout Brazil. In Salvador, head to Boi Preto Prime, where they’ve been serving up the finest meats for more than two decades. It’s an all-you-can-eat affair, so arrive at the Av Otávio Mangabeira establishment suitably hungry. With beautiful views of the marina and excellent Bahian cuisine, Amado on Av Lafayete Coutinho is the place for a special night out. Start with drinks on the terrace then sit down for tempting seafood dishes

The Bahian coast boasts Brazil’s best beaches, but if you don’t want to travel too far, head to Porto da Barra. The water is calm and clear, the people-watching is fantastic and the waterfront is lined with bars and restaurants. At sunset on Saturday, head to the Museum de Arte Moderna (MAM) for Jam no MAM, a live jazz and bossa nova session.

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photo credit

Buddhist monasteries, such as Neydo Tashi Choeling, are welcoming places to experience the diversity of Nepali culture; a Tharu woman (opposite) wears a traditional dress from southern Nepal. The country itself is a colourful tapestry of 124 ethnicities.

H I M A L AYA N HEART Mighty peaks – including Everest – draw most visitors to Nepal, but a rich culture thrives in the shadow of these mountains.

words By Carrie Miller  |  photography by Alison wright

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On Yogbir Singh Marg street in Kathmandu, vendors sell vegetables, fruits and spices on the road. In this buzzing capital of one million, daily life unfolds in the open.


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This is one of my favourite places on the planet. Kathmandu, Nepal. Specifically Kathmandu’s Boudhanath Stupa, one of the biggest in the world. Its whitewashed dome, tinged with saffron and crowned with a golden spire, is painted with the all-seeing eyes of Buddha. This is the sacred eye in a maelstrom of the profane. Just outside Boudhanath’s gates swirls the dizzying street scene of Kathmandu, as crazy and cacophonous as I remember from my first visit nearly two decades ago: a pressing sea of one million people, with vendors who pursue you for blocks down broken brick sidewalks to sell you a $5 lapis bracelet, past light poles wrapped with beehive-size bundles of gray wiring, the work of electrical wizards or madmen. But the stupa’s gates keep the city at bay. Prayer flags ripple in the breeze as hundreds of pilgrims circle the base of the fifthcentury shrine, always clockwise. Sitting on the top platform of the three that encircle the stupa, I toy with the $5 lapis bracelet I’m wearing around my wrist, my throat dry from the raspy street air that tastes of dust and two-stroke exhaust fumes, and survey the city’s rooftop scene from my perch. Up here life plays out above the pandemonium: tourists relax with beer and pizza at rooftop bars, while Kathmandu’s locals, drawn together from Nepal’s 124 ethnic groups, hang laundry and carefully tend potted trees and plants, their personal oases of green. Lifting my eyes even higher, I see the snowy Himalaya, pink in the dust and haze, climbing halfway up the sky. Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, and these peaks are what draw most visitors here. On my first visit I was a peak pilgrim too, a restless, driven 26-year-old eager to test myself on those high trails. Now I’ve returned to experience a more hidden side of Nepal, a side often overshadowed by these mountains – the diversity of the people and landscape and the rhythm and respite of places like Boudhanath. This time I don’t want to go high. I want to turn my back on the mountains (and my ego) and go inside, hoping Nepal’s ancient culture will reveal itself to me, even if only for a moment.

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Yasushi Tanikado/Getty Images; Previous pages: SIME/eStock Photo

To begin, we make our way to the Neydo Tashi Choeling Monastery Guest House, 23 kilometres southwest of Kathmandu, close to Pharping. The golden-roofed monastery sits on a dusty hill studded with prayer flag–draped pine trees. Home to 150 Buddhist monks, aged five to 27, the monastery also runs an austere 23-room guesthouse for travellers. Some come here to unwind, some to study Buddhism, others to experience a taste of monastic life. Visitors are encouraged to attend the monks’ morning and evening pujas, Buddhist prayer ceremonies. I ask Tsering Hyolmo, the 25-year-old manager of the guesthouse, if it’s strange, welcoming visitors to watch your daily devotional practice. “We enjoy sharing our practice,” Tsering says. “Maybe we have a beautiful place, and visitors want to know about Buddhism. Maybe they just want to get away from the city. Either way we can help.” At 1,700 metres the air temperature is much colder here than in Kathmandu, and I notice Tsering is wearing a down jacket over his burgundy robes. He unlocks the door to my room, which is sparse, simple and everything I need: a sturdy bed, small wooden desk and en suite bathroom. The next morning I hunch my shoulders against the predawn chill and hike up the hill to the monastery. Kicking off my shoes, I take my place among a row of visitors sitting cross-legged on cushions against the back wall, facing a one-storey-tall golden Buddha and rows of monks in their saffron and red robes, which they’ve pulled tightly around themselves in the cold. The noise is deafening. The monks keep up a continuous chant, punctuated with the beating of deep bass drums, the blasts of horns and conch shells, and the metallic clashing of cymbals. I start to sense a rhythm underneath the chaos, although I don’t understand it. As Tsering promised, I do feel welcome, but apart. It’s as though the monks are opening a door and it is up to me to step through. Whenever I lose my focus (which happens frequently) during the puja, my eyes go to the young monks in the back rows, who are behaving like boys at school, stifling yawns with the long sleeves of their red robes and wriggling in their seats until a senior monk walks slowly and watchfully down the line. Until recently Nepal was one of the poorest countries in the world, relying heavily on aid money. Many children end up in monasteries like this one, or the Arya Tara School and nunnery down the hill, because of the free board and opportunity for education. Some children are sent by their parents; others choose to come. Dhekyid Dolma chose to come to Arya Tara at age 12. The 22-year-old nun wants to become a teacher of thangka, a type of Buddhist painting on cotton or silk known for its intensely bright colours and elaborate designs. “I just wanted to be a nun. I want to be a simple person with high thinking,” she tells me. In the rural area of Kurintar, 110 kilometres northwest of

Pokhara, like other cities in Nepal, reflects and bears witness to the majesty of mountains. The city serves as the end point of the famed Annapurna hiking circuit, with views of fishtail-shaped Mount Machapuchare (far left).

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A gallery of faces reveals Nepalis’ irrepressible spirit. A Newar woman wears red and saffron for a Hindu wedding; a villager in Kurintar returns home with fodder for animals. For a young Buddhist monk and a uniformed schoolgirl, life revolves around their studies.


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NG maps. Parks data from the world database on protected areas (WDPA), map data © OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS, AVAILABLE UNDER OPEN DATABASE LICENSE:

Pharping and my next destination, it’s clear that life is not easy, especially for young women who want to be high thinkers. Red dirt trails thread precipitous hillsides from one cluster of houses with corrugated iron roofs to the next, with a narrow suspension bridge over a frothing river connecting the hillside to the main road. In these villages one man in every household works in Kathmandu or abroad to supplement the family’s subsistence farming, and education – particularly for girls – isn’t a priority. I’m spending the night at Summit River Lodge, a sprawling accommodation accessed only by foot, over the bridge. Before the sun has sent exploratory beams through the morning mist, I’m up and climbing the dusty paths behind the lodge. I pass a group of villagers crowded around an older woman carrying a large basket of cherry tomatoes. She has walked from a village an hour away to sell or trade her homegrown harvest. If she doesn’t sell them all, she’ll walk to the next village. I happen upon a woman grinding corn by hand. She stands up to greet me with a shy, warm smile, pressing her palms together in the traditional greeting, bowing slightly. I return the greeting. Namaste – I bow to you. Her daughter emerges from the house briefly, a baby on her hip, before ducking back inside. When she re-emerges, she is carrying a cup of tea for me, and the three of us stand in the cool morning air, the cup of tea warming my fingers, smiling and talking with exaggerated gestures as chickens peck around the satellite dish that’s been placed next to the house. I thank them for their hospitality and say namaste again, winding my way back down the red dirt trail, the sun starting to beat on my neck. Nepal compels you to confront the variety of human existence. There’s no escaping the poverty that throws my own life into stark relief. There is time, however, to consider the balance between poverty and simplicity and to marvel at friendly, gentle people who are willing to open their homes, to put their hardworking lives on pause, in order to share in a conversation. There is time to consider my own perception of what makes for a wealthy life. Nepal is one of those propitious places where you have time simply to be, where precisely constructed itineraries are shredded and you are forced to go with the flow. My Western mind tends to resist that – strongly at first, but I’m starting to let go. I’m in that halfway state when I reach Chitwan National Park, 70 kilometres south of Kurintar. Chitwan is a rare success story of government support, tourism and local involvement working together to benefit everyone. Yet another one of Nepal’s UNESCO World Heritage sites (the country has four in all), the 1,500-square-kilometre former hunting ground for the royal family is the oldest national park in Nepal and home to greater one-horned rhinos, Bengal tigers, leopards, wild deer, crocodiles and 550 species of birds. Determined to protect this wild resource, the Nepali government decades ago called in the army to police the park; only one incident of poaching has occurred in the past three years.

C H I N A Mount Everest










Summit River Lodge

400 mi



M a h a b h a r a t


Arya Tara School


R a n g Bharatpur e Boudhanath Stupa Pharping

ni ya ra a N

Barahi Jungle Lodge

Bay of Bengal

400 km



29,035 ft 8,850 m






Hetauda 10 mi


Nepal Navigation Nepal’s infrastructure is up and running after the devastating earthquake of 2015, but the usual crowds of travellers have yet to return, which means the timing has never been better to visit. DINING and shopping

Kathmandu Fire and Ice pizzeria has been an expat favourite since 2005. Krishnarpan, the restaurant at Dwarika’s Hotel, serves traditional Nepali cuisine. Meals are six- to 22-course extravaganzas. There are plenty of souvenirs to be found in Nepal’s capital city, but for unique, quality pieces try NPI Collection (pashminas) and Buddha Thanka Treasure (paintings). Patan Museum in Lalitpur sells bronze Buddhas.

Neydo Tashi Choeling Monastery

10 km


Visas Tourist visas are available for purchase on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport. They cost AU$65 for 15 days and AU$85 for 30 days, and can be paid for in major currencies. Bring extra passport photos. For more information, see

What to pack Closed-toe, sturdy shoes are a must in both cities and rural areas. It’s a good idea to bring a basic first-aid kit. Always drink bottled water, including when brushing teeth.

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photo credit

New Zealand–based CARRIE MILLER (   @carriemiller_writer) is a longtime Traveller contributor. Photographer Alison Wright (   @alisonwrightphoto) travels often to Nepal as the founder of the Faces of Hope fund.

Reynaldo Solideo

“The quality of life has improved with tourism,” Saket (Saki) Shrouti, my 27-year-old guide from the Barahi Jungle Lodge, tells me. “The communities here were totally dependent on the forest for food and shelter. They were using the wildlife. When the park was created, it put a lot of restrictions on the people. But when tourists started coming, there are roads and electricity here now. Doctors can now get here. Ultimately communities got to know that if we save the rhino, we show the rhino, tourists will come. Many tourists can see one rhino for 40 years. One poacher sees one rhino and it’s gone. And so the locals can see how wildlife conservation benefits everyone.” Chitwan is a Nepal I never could have imagined: lush and languorous, with hazy, fireball sunsets and the swish of the wind catching the six-metre-high elephant grasses. The next morning I’m literally going with the flow, sliding down the wide, unruffled Rapti River on a boat. Mist skirts along the still surface, and the only sound comes from two poles dipping into the water, slowly propelling us forward. Aitaram Bote, 45, stands in the front of the boat; Som Kumal, 33, is in the back. Both belong to the local Boteh tribe, which Saki describes as “expert watermen who know every corner of this park”. Saki himself is full of knowledge about everything we’re seeing, from the egrets to the pair of hog deer grazing on the bank to the mugger (an Asian crocodile) floating as innocently as a log. Suddenly Saki taps me on the shoulder and nods at the opposite bank. A hulking grey figure blends in with the morning mist, but I can make out its fringed ears. The one-horned rhino pauses from its foraging, raising its large head, pinning us with a stare. More than 600 of these behemoths live in Chitwan, thanks to the anti-poaching measures, and I count myself very lucky to be seeing one in its natural habitat. “The rhinos often come down to drink from the river,” Saki whispers to me. “One guest asked me what time they come. I tell her they come any time they want. It’s their kingdom.” It is their kingdom, and by tearing my eyes from the mountains, I am fortunate enough to be granted this uncustomary audience with rhino royalty. I feel the same sensation – a rare peacefulness – that I felt on the sun-warmed steps of Boudhanath, with the women at Kurintar, and during the puja ceremony at Neydo Tashi Choeling. Som and Aitaram pole us over to the riverbank at the confluence where the Rapti meets the Narayani River. As I disembark for a waiting jeep, Aitaram shakes one of my hands with both of his and says a few words. Aitaram and I both look to Saki, hoping he’ll translate for us. “He says, ‘If you come back, remember us.’ ” I want to tell him that I will remember him, as I do the other moments when I glimpsed the hidden heart of Nepal.

One of two peace pagodas in Nepal, Shanti Stupa is a site for meditation atop a hill in Pokhara.

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the South Strike up the band and pour another whiskey. For music, food, history and fun there’s no destination quite like the southern states of the USA. Join us on a tour of 10 city stars. WORDS BY CARRIE HUTCHINSON and MARISSA PARKIN

Three huge guitars mark the Crossroads at Clarksdale, where legend has it musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil; inside the Delta Blues Museum (opposite, top); the patio at Ground Zero Blues Club (opposite, below).




Abe’s Bar-B-Q, famous for its tangy barbecue served with coleslaw and beans, has been a Clarksdale institution since 1924. Hot tamales – usually slow-cooked pork or beef covered in cornmeal then wrapped and simmered in a corn husk until the meal is set – are a Mexican dish Mississippi has made its own. They can be enjoyed plain, but most locals prefer them ‘hot’ – drenched in a spicy hot sauce. And while you’re here, catfish is a must – enjoy it blackened, breaded or baked. SEE THAT

Your one-stop shop for a crash course in the history of the blues in the Mississippi Delta is the Delta Blues Museum. Established in 1979, it celebrates local legends and features photographs and memorabilia, including instruments, recordings, costumes and posters.

Pierre Jean Durieu/Shutterstock (Crossroads); courtesy Delta Blues Museum; courtesy Ground Zero


One of the greatest musical myths of all time is that bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at The Crossroads in order to become a famous musician. Legend has it that this grand bargain took place at the intersection of Highways 49 and 61, right on the edge of Clarksdale. Now the spot is marked by three intersecting guitars and fans travel from around the country, and the world, to see it. As for Johnson’s bargain, he did not achieve much success in his short lifetime. He was dead by the age of 27 and the circumstances of his death remain a mystery, although many believe he was poisoned by a romantic rival. AFTER DARK


This sleepy town of just 17,000 residents in the heart of the Mississippi Delta has built an international reputation on its musical heritage. From the 1920s to 50s Clarksdale was a booming centre for African-American culture and music, particularly the blues. Greats like John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters all have roots here and the city has several notable sites that make up the Mississippi Blues Trail. Most come to Clarksdale, aka Bluestown USA, for the music, but linger for the food and some of that famous southern hospitality.

Clarksdale is home to some of the best juke joints in the country, and you can guarantee there’ll be live music there every night of the year. Ground Zero Blues Club, co-owned by Morgan Freeman, serves up serious southern food and has live music Wednesday to Saturday. Red’s Lounge looks a bit disreputable from the outside, but inside you’ll find cold beer, conversational locals and Clarksdale’s finest blues. THAT ONE TIME OF YEAR

The Juke Joint Festival has been coming to Clarksdale every April for the past 15 years and brands itself as “half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta”. The festival features more than a hundred music acts and about as many art, craft and food vendors. If you’re after an authentic local experience, this is as real as it gets.

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When the Tennessee capital is mentioned in polite conversation, most people’s minds turn to both kinds of music: country and western. For good reason, too. Hang around long enough and you’ll hear tales of musical myth and legend. Impoverished songwriter Willie Nelson writing ‘Crazy’ at the bar of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and selling it to Patsy Cline’s husband. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash spending two days in a local recording studio in 1969 and laying down more than a dozen tracks of which only one, ‘Girl From the North Country’, was ever released. But it’s not just country, and there’s a reason Nashville is known as Music City. There are more than 180 venues around the city and, on top of that, there’s a great food culture, cute and quirky neighbourhoods, and friendly locals.


Don’t miss a helping of hot chicken. Think fried chicken but with a tonne of spice. Ask any denizen of the city where to get it and they’ll give you one of two answers: Hattie B’s or Prince’s. Be warned, though: even if you can handle heat, go easy. At either joint, anything over medium – the top level at Hattie B’s is ‘shut the cluck up!’ and at Prince’s it’s XXX hot – fires up some serious burn. SEE THAT

There are so many places where you can get a glimpse into the music scene – the Johnny Cash Museum, the George Jones Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame – but don’t miss the RCA Studio B tour. Just about every huge name in the music industry, from Elvis to Dolly Parton, recorded here, and the guides tell fascinating stories about the stars and the songs they played. DON’T MISS


If you reckon you’ve got the chops to make it in Music City, there’s only one place to test them: Santa’s Pub. This dive bar in a double-wide trailer serves up $2 beer and some serious karaoke. But only put down your name if you have what it takes. Otherwise, prop yourself up at the bar and enjoy. THAT ONE TIME OF YEAR

The bright lights of Nashville’s Lower Broadway (top); Hatch Show prints are a local tradition (above); learn about the legend at the Johnny Cash Museum (right).



There are seemingly endless festivals taking up the warmer months, but if we were to tell you that the guys from Grammywinning Kings of Leon were behind Music City Food + Wine would you believe us? For two days in September, there are tastings, demos, a huge barbecue, gospel brunch and so much more in the historic venues and outdoor spaces of downtown Nashville.

F11Photo/Shutterstock (Broadway); Lou Stejskal (Hatch); Jejim/Shutterstock (museum)

Many folks see a live show at the Ryman Auditorium, the mother church of country music, but the guided backstage tour is one you won’t forget. Visit the dressing rooms where June and Johnny Cash readied themselves, see the hundreds of Hatch Print posters signed by artists as diverse as Willie Nelson and the Foo Fighters, and stand on the famous stage.


F11Photo/Shutterstock (Elvis); Jacob Blount/Shutterstock (barbecue)

Set right on the mighty Mississippi River, Memphis is a place of ritual and reverence. People flock here to pay homage to Elvis, the blues and barbecue. But there’s history here, too. On 4 April 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated on the steps of the Lorraine Motel, sending the country into chaos. Today, the Lorraine has been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum. It’s not the only part of the city being renewed – the historic South Main district is being revamped and microbreweries, like High Cotton Brewing Company, are opening their doors. Don’t forget Memphis’s vast green spaces and hit Shelby Farms Park, an 1,800-hectare space with 65 kilometres of paths where you can walk, bike or ride a horse. EAT THIS





The American South is famous for its barbecue, but it’s different everywhere you go. In Memphis, it’s all about pork. Mostly ribs, sometimes shoulder, with many establishments cooking it dry rubbed with chilli powder and paprika and served with a side of sauce, either with a vinegar or tomato base. Wrap your lips around the dry-rubbed ribs at Central BBQ. It also does pulled and chopped pork, award-winning smoked hot wings, brisket and all the traditional sides.

Do the full Elvis tour with a visit to Graceland – don’t forget to pay your respects at the King’s grave in the meditation garden – which is as OTT as you might imagine. Across the road from the estate is Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a museum where you can see his cars, planes, costumes and find out more about his life. But don’t leave it there. Head to Sun Studio, where Sam Phillips first recorded musical icons including BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and, of course, Elvis.

Memphis may have been the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll, but it was also home to Soulsville. That’s the neighbourhood where Aretha Franklin, Booker T Jones and Memphis Slim all lived, and where Stax recorded some of the world’s greatest soul records. The story of the early days recording artists like Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, Wilson Pickett and Isaac Hayes, the cultural shifts in the USA and the downfall of the label are all told at Stax Museum.

Sure, spend a night exploring the clubs and bars of Beale Street, but for a truly Memphis night out, head to Wild Bill’s. This is a proper juke joint, so arrive late (definitely not before 11pm), grab a cold 40oz beer and get into the house blues band. It’s only open Friday and Saturday nights, but the doors don't shut till 3am.

It’s May. All of it. The Memphis in May International Festival is the umbrella event for the Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, 901Fest and the Great American River Run. That’s right – food, music, culture, the Mississippi River and more are all celebrated for 31 days straight.

A statue of Memphis’s favourite son, Elvis Presley, at Elvis Presley Plaza (above); barbecued pork ribs and collard greens (top, left) are a staple on the menu at many eateries.

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Kansas City MISSOURI



Barbecue and steak vie for Kansas City’s greatest culinary claim to fame. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-BQue still operates out of a working gas station and locals will happily queue around the block. Familyowned Gates Bar-B-Q traces its roots back to Henry Perry, the godfather of Kansas City-style barbecue sauce – distinctive for its heavy use of molasses. The Majestic Steakhouse, situated in the former Fitzpatrick Saloon – a notorious speakeasy and bordello during the prohibition era – now serves up Kansas City’s best prime dry-aged steaks.

Kansas City’s answer to Memphis’s Beale Street or Bourbon Street in New Orleans, 18th and Vine, was the birthplace of Kansas City jazz. Notable for long jam sessions with a bluesy vibe, Kansas City jazz is distinctive and most often associated with legendary native, Charlie Parker. Today, the district is on the National Register of Historic Places and is noted as a hub of African-American culture and commerce. Before hitting the clubs in the evening, make time for the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.


Glittering chandeliers, scarlet walls, cosy booths and the sultry sounds of live jazz until 3am every day of the year… Green Lady Lounge is a Kansas City institution that draws the best musicians in the business.


At the heart of Kansas City’s sprawling and elegant Country Club District is Country Club Plaza. Developed in the 1920s and inspired by the Spanish city of Seville, the Plaza, as locals call it, is dotted with tinkling water fountains, boutiques and restaurants. Hipsters can head over to historic Westport for craft beers and funky boutiques. Art buffs won’t want to miss the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Home to more 35,000 works of art and free to the public, the museum features collections from ancient to modern.



Barbecue doesn’t get much more serious than the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, the world’s largest barbecue and a feature of the Kansas City calendar for 39 years. The three-day event in September features live music, cold beer and fierce competition with more than 500 participating chefs, pitmasters and amateurs.


The Kansas City skyline overlooking Union Station; the pulled pork meal at Joe’s (top, left).

Jonathan Tasler (skyline); Evan Didier (barbecue); Jen Amato (band); Suzanne C Grim/Shutterstock (Alfred Doucette)

“If you want to see some sin, forget about Paris and go to Kansas City,” quipped journalist Edward Morrow in 1938. Kansas City’s heydey, from the late 1800s until the start of the Second World War, was a hotbed of prohibition-era excess and musical innovation. These days the liquor flows legally, but Kansas City still boasts plenty of raucous jazz clubs, smoke-filled cigar rooms and dimly lit steakhouses. Perched on the edge of the Great Plains, this sophisticated city retains a small-town vibe.


Cajun and Creole are the two cuisines inextricably linked to the city, and it’s more than their origins that join them. The difference? Creole tends to be thought of as ‘city’ food – sauces, French techniques, beautifully set tables – while Cajun is food from the bayou. For more than a hundred years, Arnaud’s in the French Quarter has been serving Creole dishes in its turn-of-the-century dining rooms. For a more casual experience, head to Mulate’s, billed as the original Cajun restaurant, for the fried alligator platter, stuffed catfish and red beans and rice. SEE THAT

Catch the historic streetcar along St Charles Avenue to ogle the glorious mansions of the Garden District. Jump off at Lafayette Cemetery #1 and explore the crumbling aboveground tombs. If you want guidance on where to wander, head to the website of Free Tours by Foot, which has self-guided tours available for download. DON’T MISS

A jazz band on the streets of New Orleans; Big Chief Alfred Doucette, a Mardi Gras Indian, marches in a second line parade (below).

New Orleans is a city with a rich heritage, much of it a mystery for out-of-towners. Backstreet Cultural Museum has a huge collection of artefacts, costumes, filmed records and more documenting AfricanAmerican traditions. If you’ve ever wondered about the Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals and Skull and Bones gangs, it’s all explained under one roof. AFTER DARK


You don’t need to be an expert on travel trends to see why New Orleans consistently turns up on the world’s favourite city lists. With its French and Spanish colonial heritage, and the diverse backgrounds of people who settled there after, it’s got a completely unique rhythm. Sure, the music, food and cultural scenes and famous districts could enthrall for months, but it’s the way the city embraces eccentricity that separates it from the pack. Its residents – who include Sandra Bullock, John Goodman and swathes of musicians – dance to the beat of a different drummer, and their joie de vivre is infectious. When they ask, “Where y’at?” be prepared for entertaining conversation.

While Bourbon Street is all about frozen daiquiris, beads and burlesque clubs, you can escape the bachelor parties at Frenchmen Street. Live bands play jazz, blues, zydeco and just about any other form that gets the party started at clubs like Maison. Catch local legend Kermit Ruffins, who often plays the Blue Nile on Friday nights. THAT ONE TIME OF YEAR

This is a city with a long tradition of festivals, but for music lovers there is none better than New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Spend the day dancing to local jazz outfits, singing praise in the Gospel Tent or catching some of the biggest acts in the world. Held over two weekends at the end of April, it’s an amazing time to be in the city.

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The view across the Mississippi River to the St Louis Arch.


If you have a sweet tooth look no further than the city’s specialty, gooey butter cake. Found almost exclusively in the St Louis area, this decadent dessert is the ultimate local treat. The story goes that a baker in the 1930s mixed up the proportions of flour and butter in a recipe and, rather than throwing it out, served it as it was – dense and rich – much to the delight of his customers. The rest is history. Try it at Park Avenue Coffee, which has four locations in the city. SEE THAT

No trip to St Louis would be complete without a stop at the city’s most famous landmark, the St Louis Arch. The world’s tallest arch at 192 metres, it has 1,076 steps to its peak, but all visitors use the trams to be whisked to the top for stunning views over the city, the Mississippi River and beyond. DON’T MISS


Soulard is one the oldest and most vibrant communities in St Louis. Known for its raucous blues clubs and southernstyle restaurants, it’s the ideal spot for a night out. It’s even better if you’re in town for Mardi Gras – Soulard claims the country’s second biggest Fat Tuesday celebration after New Orleans.

St Louis Missouri

Known as the Gateway to the West, St Louis sat on the edge of the American frontier. Lewis and Clark set out on their expedition from there in 1804 and the city served as the last major stop for pioneers setting off across the Great Plains into the first half of the nineteenth century. Today St Louis is better known for beer and barbecue. Home of Anheuser-Busch, the city has a long brewing history and these days is making a splash with craft brews – try Urban Chestnut or 4 Hands Brewing Company. The local preference when it comes to barbecue is grilled pork ribs slathered in sauce. Fun fact: more barbecue sauce is consumed per capita in St Louis than in any other city in the country.


St Louis has plenty of events and festivals throughout the year – Taste of St Louis is a foodie favourite, while music buffs head to Loufest to check out up-and-coming and nationally known musicians across a range of genres. Spring in St Louis, though, heralds the start of baseball season. The Cardinals have called the city home since 1882 and are one of the oldest and most successful teams in professional American baseball. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic St Louis experience than swigging beer in the sweltering summer heat at Busch Stadium in downtown St Louis while the city cheers on the Cards.



St Louis Ballpark Village is the entertainment precinct outside Busch Stadium.

Courtesy TRAVEL SOUTH USA (St Louis Arch); Explore St Louis (Ballpark Village)

Ditch downtown and head out to the Delmar Loop, home to some of the best restaurants, bars and boutiques in St Louis. Blueberry Hill is a landmark St Louis restaurant and music club that has been attracting locals for more than 45 years. Chock-full of music memorabilia and occupying an entire city block, Blueberry Hill is home to the famous Duck Room, an intimate venue where the legendary Chuck Berry (a St Louis native) played 209 monthly shows up until he retired at the age of 87.


In the vast pantheon of southern classics, biscuits are right up there. If you’ve never eaten one before, they’re quite like scones although not as sweet and most often served at breakfast. Head to Home Grown and you can choose to have your biscuits plain (just add jam) or with ham, egg, turkey sausage, fried chicken or sausage gravy.

Biscuit with fried chicken and sausage gravy; visitors at Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights (below).


In 1980, Ted Turner launched the first 24-hour news channel, CNN, and this was where it all began. The company moved its weekday anchors and some editorial staff to New York and Washington in 2014, but plenty still happens at CNN Center, the world headquarters. Upgrade the standard behind-the-scenes tour, where you’ll see how the news is produced and broadcast over the world, to the VIP version and you’ll get inside the news rooms, studios and control room. DON’T MISS


American Tobacco Historic District (biscuit); Wayfarer Life/Shutterstock (Center for Civil and Human Rights)


If you thought you had to go to Los Angeles to spot movie stars, you’d be wrong. The Georgia film industry ranks third in the country, and in March this year 29 TV shows and movies were being produced in and around Atlanta (The Walking Dead is filmed about an hour from the city). Atlanta is also, famously, the home town of the Coca-Cola Company, a fact which once turned around the fate of the city. In 1964, social conservatives refused to attend a dinner for Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King Jr. Coca-Cola CEO J Paul Austin said the company, now going international, could not stay in a city that would not honour a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Sixteen-hundred people attended and it became the night Atlanta became “too busy to hate”. Those roots have driven the city and it’s now diverse, creative and the capital of the South.

It’s probably no surprise there’s a focus on the history of civil rights in southern cities, but The Center for Civil and Human Rights is one of the few to connect the history of the American civil rights movement and the struggle for human rights around the world today. One of the most powerful displays allows visitors to sit at a replica lunch counter and put on headphones to experience what is was like for young African– Americans who held sit-ins across the South in the late 1950s. People scream, the counter moves as if banged and the stools vibrate as if being kicked. It is a visceral experience that conveys the intimidation and discrimination these non-violent protestors faced daily. AFTER DARK

Atlanta has serious game when it comes to cocktails, but if you want to sip great drinks and cut loose, head to The Sound Table. Navarro Carr is the man behind the shaker, mixing concoctions like the Unvanquished (bourbon, Zirbenz pine liqueur, maple syrup, lime, orange bitters and cardamom). Plus, there are DJs daily and dancing is encouraged. THAT ONE TIME OF YEAR

It’s a music festival but with a distinct difference. In June, Tunes from the Tombs features more than a dozen local acts playing at Woodlawn Cemetery beneath the magnificent magnolias. During the day there are also mini tours where visitors can learn about some of Woodlawn’s most famous residents, including Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind.

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Birmingham ALABAMA

It began life as a steel centre in 1871 and soon became Alabama’s biggest metropolis, earning it the nickname Magic City. That industry is long gone but still honoured at the Sloss Furnaces. It closed in 1971, but became a National Historic Landmark and cultural centre. Take a self-guided tour and check out the metal-arts workshops or catch a concert. A statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of iron, watches over the city from Vulcan Park and Museum, and this is a great spot from where to get your bearings. Also worth exploring are some of the revitalised neighbourhoods, like Avondale, Woodlawn and the Loft District, which are dotted with hip bars, restaurants and shops.

A memorial to Martin Luther King in Kelly Ingram Park.

Get a full menu of southern classics at Saw’s Juke Joint. Its walls are lined in vintage signs, there’s often live blues musicians and it’s a selfdescribed ‘upscale dive’. Order the pork ’n’ greens or barbecue chicken with white sauce then load up on sides like fried green tomatoes, onion rings and sweet potato fries. SEE THAT

There was once a time when life was very different in Alabama. It was at the centre of the civil rights movement and the city was once known as Bombingham, such was the violence that rocked it. Follow the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail, which traces march routes and marks sites of note, including the 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park, in a six-block area. Be sure to stop at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where the Movement Gallery tells the harrowing, heartbreaking tales of the battle for civil rights between 1955 and 1963. DON’T MISS

Whether or not you’re a petrol head, you’ll want to visit Barber Motorsports Park. It hosts the Indy Grand Prix in April and MotoAmerica Superbikes in September, but is also home to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. In 1988, local businessman and former racecar driver George Barber began collecting classic cars then vintage motorcycles. Now the museum holds more than 1400 motorbikes, the world’s most extensive Lotus collection and rare racing cars. AFTER DARK


Henry ‘Gip’ Gipson at his eponymous juke joint.



Not everyone wants to hang out in a field, exposed to impending weather, during a music festival. Thankfully, during August, the bars and small venues of downtown Birmingham are taken over by Secret Stages. Set your sights on checking out as many of the more than 60 up-and-coming bands on the bill as possible because the next big thing or your favourite new act might well be among them.

Kelly B (MLK statue); Carol VanHook (Gip)

If you’re around on Saturday night, there’s only one place to be: Gip’s Place. It’s a proper, old-school juke joint in a tin-roofed roadhouse in Bessemer, about 30 kilometres from Birmingham. The walls are festooned with posters of blues legends, and the same style is coming from the stage. Just don’t forget to BYO beer.


Courtesy Enzina Mastrippolito A-Z Commnications,Inc. (KEENELAND); Cornett Agency (Buffalo Trace)


Founded in 1782, Lexington is an elegant southern city with a genteel air. Surrounded by gently undulating hills in the heart of Kentucky’s famous Bluegrass region, the area has some of the finest pastureland in the world. The limestone rich soil produces the bluegrass on which the world’s finest and most expensive horses feed. Thoroughbreds and bourbon are certainly the city’s most famous exports, but Lexington is rapidly establishing a secondary reputation for excellent craft beers and a growing farm-to-table food movement.



Farm-to-table with a southern vibe is the best way to sum up Lexington’s burgeoning food scene. Middle Fork is a carnivore’s delight, with a keen focus on paddock-to-plate cuisine. Carson’s Food and Drink serves up seriously hearty, modern southern fare with a twist – don’t say we didn’t warn you about the BBQ pork belly beer cheeseburger. The Barn is Kentucky’s only artisan food hall and offers local and international options from craft ice-cream to sushi.

What better way to cap off a day of exploring than a visit to some of Lexington’s revered bourbon bars? The cosy Elkhorn Tavern is housed in the original barrel house of the James E Pepper Distillery, which dates back to 1780. Henry Clay’s Public House is situated in the former home of its namesake. One of Kentucky’s most revered native sons, Clay was also a famous politicians of his time. Known as the Great Compromiser, he served in the US House of Representatives, including as Speaker of the House, and the US Senate, and was also the nation’s ninth Secretary of State under President John Quincy Adams.


Neighbouring Louisville may be the home of Churchill Downs and the world-famous Kentucky Derby, but only Lexington claims the title Horse Capital of the World. Take a tour and get behind the scenes of some of the 450 stud farms that dot the region. Kentucky Horse Park has nearly 115 equine inhabitants grazing on 500 idyllic hectares. DON’T MISS

In Kentucky, bourbon is considered to be its own food group, so you’d be remiss not to visit a distillery or two and taste a local tipple. The idyllic countryside surrounding Lexington is home to some of the best-known bourbon distilleries in the world, including Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace. If you’d prefer to stay in town, Lexington is home to new micro-distillers that are well worth a visit – Barrel House Distilling Company and Bluegrass Distillers are both based in the city’s downtown.


Thoroughbred racing comes to Lexington twice a year in April and October. Opened in 1936, Keeneland is Lexington’s premier racing track and a National Historic Landmark. If you can’t make it for the races don’t worry – Keeneland is also the world’s leading thoroughbred auction house, with annual sales taking place in January, September and November. Spectators are welcome to observe, but be prepared for the breathtaking sums – frequently well over US$1 million – that are paid for the finest horses.

On the track at Keeneland (top); bourbon aging in barrels at Buffalo Trace Distillery (left).

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The fountain in Forsyth Park, built in 1858; gracious houses line the streets in the city’s historic downtown (below).



No trip to Savannah would be complete without a leisurely stroll through its beautiful 22 squares, which comprise one of the largest National Historic Districts in the United States. Picture stately oak trees draped in Spanish moss, tinkling fountains and elegant architecture. Even a short walk through historic Savannah is like stepping back in time.

Elegant, oozing charm and with a reputation as one of the friendliest cities in the USA, at first glance Savannah is a typical Southern city with broad tree-lined boulevards, antebellum mansions and a vibrant riverfront. But make no mistake, it’s also a bit of a wild child. John Berendt’s lyrical work of non-fiction, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, revealed Savannah’s salacious side, and is required reading for any aspiring visitor.

In the heart of the historic district is City Market, a Savannah fixture for more than 250 years. Originally the commercial hub of the city, where locals shopped for groceries and staple goods, it is now the ‘art and soul’ of Savannah, featuring galleries, boutiques, cafes,





restaurants and bars. In the evening it transforms into a hub for live music and nightlife. It’s one of the few places in the USA that doesn’t have open container laws, so grab a to-go cup and stroll from bar to bar. AFTER DARK

It’s known as the most haunted city in the USA, and an evening ghost tour will put you in touch with Savannah’s spooky side. The city has a long and macabre history – it witnessed catastrophic fires in 1796 and 1820 and a series of deadly yellow fever outbreaks throughout the nineteenth century (in the 1876 epidemic, more than a thousand people died). John Berendt’s bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, revealed its sinister side, recounting the 1981 murder of a local male prostitute by Jim Williams, a respected Savannah socialite and antiques dealer. THAT ONE TIME OF YEAR

Skip the sweltering summer temperatures; spring is the best time to visit Savannah. From March to May the city’s gardens are coming into full bloom. It’s also a great time to catch some favourite local events, like the Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens, which lets you peek behind the curtain of some of the city’s most beautiful private residences. March also brings two favourite music festivals, Savannah Stopover and the Savannah Music Festival.

Courtesy ralph daniel photography, inc (Fountain); Visit Savannah (carriage)


With a prime position near the Atlantic Coast, Savannah boasts some of the best seafood in the South and is an ideal place to search out the southern specialty, shrimp and grits. Other seafood specialties include the famous crab stew, which has been a menu feature at the Crystal Beer Parlor since 1933. Vic’s on the River, situated in a former cotton warehouse on the riverfront, serves pecan-crusted flounder and a southern seafood bouillabaisse that is chock-full of scallops, mussels, shrimp and fish in a smoky tomato broth.








Stalking big cats, flying above elephants and acquiescing to the rhythms of the plains are just the start of a journey to Kenya’s Maasai Mara.







Words and photography by David McGonigal






Sunset over the plains of Kenya.

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A Maasai warrior shows impressive vertical leap.

Elephants watch a balloon overhead.


we approach the launch site in the pre-dawn gloom, I’m downplaying expectations. After all, it will be nice to see the plains from above even if there’s no wildlife. It has been my dream to balloon over the Maasai Mara, looking down to see a herd of elephants or a lion stalking its prey, and finally the day has arrived. Our pilot is Vincent Dupuis, a larger-than-life Frenchman who has ballooned all over the world (including Byron Bay) and holds two world titles. His mastery of the craft is excellent and, once we’re airborne, he almost immediately takes us down to tree height to watch a black-backed jackal on the prowl. “Would you like to do a slalom through the giraffes?” Vincent asks as we approach a group – the option looks like a distinct possibility. The giraffes ignore us and graze unhindered. My fantasy is realised: we fly over elephants that raise their heads to watch us. In the distance, we see the ridge that marks the finish line of the Great Migration. By now the wind has picked up and we’ll soon need to land. We brace ourselves. As we’re bouncing over grass and termite mounds, I discover an appreciation for the shock-absorbing qualities of heavy wicker baskets. The traditional champagne breakfast includes pancakes cooked on an old balloon burner. As Vincent entertains us with tales of ballooning over the ice of the North Magnetic Pole another herd of elephants strolls past.

L i f e e v e ry w h e r e “Maasai simply means ‘my people’ and Mara means ‘land of dots’,” Daniel, our Maasai driver, tells us. This simple explanation brings our Kenya safari into sharp focus. He goes on to explain that Maa Sai is the derivation, so his people prefer to use the spelling Maasai, even though it’s often written without the double-a. After many visits to southern Africa, this is my first time in East Africa. It’s surprising to discover just how different it is. While many of the animals are familiar, the landscape is unique. Open plains with a smattering of isolated acacia trees produce a very dramatic and photogenic backdrop to the creatures that live here. The Maasai Mara is best known for the annual migration of wildebeest and the predators that gather to feast on them. In fact, the Mara, as it’s universally known, is much smaller than the Serengeti across the border in Tanzania, so the migration is concentrated here. It’s also the end of the trail: a ridge beyond the reserve (the one we’d seen from the balloon) acts as a natural barrier where the animals must turn south. The Mara River crossing is crowded with death, destruction and photographers in September each year, and is instantly recognisable from the many images that appear in magazines all over the world. “Do you see those lions lounging around in the rocks on that hillside?” Daniel asks. “Well, there are buffalo on the ridge above.” He drives us over for a closer look at the confrontation.

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High in a tree, a female leopard devours a kill.



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We are in the 14,000-hectare Olare Motorogi Conservancy, home to Mara Plains Camp. The conservancy abuts the Maasai Mara and is, effectively, private property. Camp vehicles can drive wherever you want. If there’s a pride of lions by the creek, the driver simply points the 4WD towards the best and closest vantage point. Nor do you need to worry about lots of other vehicles – only the local camps have access. “I think she’s going to fetch her cub,” Daniel whispers, and points to a spot just in front of us where a lioness is approaching one of her babies hidden in the grass. It’s late in the afternoon and we’d spent the past hour watching a female leopard chewing on the remains of a baby eland she’d dragged up a tree a day earlier. With effortless agility, she descended and walked past us, brushing the side of the LandCruiser on the way to her six-month-old cub. Together they climb back to the kill and, after rearranging the carcass on the branch, begin to feast again. The true wonder of game viewing in Africa is that most animals regard vehicles as uninteresting metal boxes. It will be an interesting day when they discover these boxes are full of meat. Only elephants appear to regard our means of transport as something to be considered part of their world and challenged if necessary.



But if the wildlife viewing is outstanding, Mara Plains Camp takes glamping and hospitality into the stratosphere. The supplied binoculars are Swarovski and you can borrow an SLR camera. There’s even a pair of reading glasses by the bed in case you’ve forgotten your own. The expansive tent, built on a deck of thick railway sleepers, is a symphony in copper and leather. The freestanding shower has a view of hippos bathing in the river. The decor includes a large copper bath and two copper sinks, a Louis Vuitton-style leather trunk and leather Kipling desk. The camp has the river on one side and typically Mara scenery on the other. As we watch the play of light over a lone acacia on the horizon, dwarf mongooses play furtively below the dining platform.

On t h e p r ow l Each game drive is a trip into the unknown, but such is the richness of Maasai Mara wildlife, we are never disappointed. In fact, we’re constantly delighted by exciting sightings. The rhythm of a safari well suits insomniacs who appreciate daytime naps. Before dawn you’re on the road and, with luck, the new day reveals a vignette of animal life: a cheetah on the prowl or several giraffes nervously scanning the horizon. Then

Three adolescent male lions (top) keep watch; one of the luxurious tents at Mara Plains Camp (above); sunrise over the Maasai Mara (opposite) during an early morning game drive.

it’s back to the camp for a late breakfast, nap, lunch, and another nap or journal update before an afternoon drive that returns after dark for dinner and bedtime. It’s a simple life that brings you close to nature. The morning is the time of birdsong and plains animals grazing, perhaps grateful to have survived the night. Sunset is a moment of tranquillity before carnivores set out on the evening hunt. Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s line of “Nature, red in tooth and claw” is proven true every day in the Maasai Mara. One morning we see a cheetah emerge from hiding to bring down a young impala then watch a pride of lions on a kill made overnight. Most gruesome is a hyena kill. They hunt as a pack and begin devouring their prey before it’s dead. Despite the predation, the herbivores thrive. Most populous are the wildebeest and there are more than a million of them in the Great Migration. Mixed in with them are half a million Thomson’s gazelles, a couple of hundred thousand zebras and thousands of other gazelles. The universal quest for first-time visitors to Africa is to see the Big Five: lion, elephant, leopard, cape buffalo and black rhinoceros, the most dangerous animals on the continent. Of these, the rhino is the trickiest to find here because they have been hunted to near extinction.

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M e e t i n g t h e M a asa i Arriving at Governors’ Il Moran Camp we’re welcomed by the snorting (and worse) of more than 20 hippos gathered on the riverbank below the camp. More endearing is the family of warthogs that roams the grounds. From the large male to the tiny piglets, this rolling audition for the role of Pumbaa makes every lunch a porcine variety show. Here, our tent on a concrete base is both spacious and well equipped; its bathroom is of the standard of most good hotels. A ceiling fan and billowing net make the bed a cloud-like sanctuary of comfort. It’s one of just 10 well-separated tents, set within the shade of the forest with views over the Mara River. Patrick Reynolds, the ever-present manager, is affable, knowledgeable and ensures that no request is a problem. In the evening, when roaming animals can be an issue, there’s always a watchman with a torch ready to escort you to dinner and back again. The camp offers the opportunity to leave wildlife viewing behind for part of the day and instead use the time to visit one of the local communities. Maasai homes are very dark inside – the red earth walls absorb the meagre light from a tiny window. We are warmly greeted and welcomed inside by the owner. Her grandson is delighted to be able to show us how to start a fire. We’re in the traditional Maasai community of Mara Rianda, the closest to Governors’ Camp. It’s a compound known as a manyatta, made up of 48 tiny traditional houses surrounding an open area where the cattle sleep at night. The Maasai people are statuesque with natural dignity and a great sense of colour coordination and jewellery. They invite us to dance with them, but my leaping is appreciated more for effort than finesse. We had paid for the opportunity to visit the community and are gratified that contributions like ours fund a school and pay its teachers’ wages. Under the clever guidance of the organisation Pack For A Purpose, we’ve also brought some simple supplies the school lacked. The game drive on our last morning in Kenya takes us to the Mara River’s main migration crossing point, although it’s much quieter than it would be during September. We chose to come here outside the migration season and the upside is that we’ve enjoyed wildlife sightings with few other vehicles around. “Come back in September,” Enos, our driver, laughingly implores. “I’ll show you plains full of animals and rivers full of crocodiles. Yes, it’s crowded but it’s wonderful, too.” It’s an invitation that may prove too tempting to refuse. When he’s not leading adventurers to Antarctica, DAVID @davidgmcg) plys his trade as an awardwinning travel writer and photographer. He’s viewed the world’s wildlife from pole to pole, but now lists East Africa as his favourite nature-based destination.




Getting close to the local wildlife.

Capturing the perfect shot Not just big game There’s a temptation to concentrate on shots of elephants, lions and hippos. Some of the most rewarding images, however, may be of a spectacular kingfisher or the endless toil of a dung beetle. Keep it still You’ll mainly be shooting from an open 4WD. Even so, use a tripod (they work surprising well braced against the seat and side). An alternative is to pick a camp with 4WDs that offer small individual camera platforms at each seat with a beanbag on top. Size matters You’ll want a good telephoto lens (around 400mm) so you’re not cropping in to your prime subject and discarding pixels. While the more glass the better, a zoom (like an 80–400mm) lets you compose your image as the subject approaches. That said, make sure you have another camera – even a smartphone – to capture close-up scenes and video moments.

Bright idea When looking at ways to reduce weight you may think your flash is unnecessary. You’ll want it, though, to photograph animals around the camp at night. Carry protection Dust is your enemy and it’s everywhere in Kenya. Use a dust cover, avoid changing lenses and carry a sensor cleaning kit. In the frame Kenya provides the best and worst for clean composition. A single tree on a hill just needs the juxtaposition of the right animal and good light. But animals come in groups and are often around bushes and groves of trees. Scan the whole scene before pressing the shutter and consider shallow depth of field to remove confusion. The light is right Regular dawn and dusk game drives are perfect for photographers, but the golden light doesn’t last long, so you have to be in the right place – or very lucky – to make the most of the best light. Talk about it While most game drivers know the angles photographers seek, you need to tell yours if you want a specific image. Mine was a single tree backlit at sunset and we looked for that at the expense of sundowner drinks.

OAXACA The gift of coloUr celebrating the hues of Mexico’s most vibrant state

WORDS By Justin Fornal Photography by Adam Wiseman and diego huerta


In Oaxaca the rich colours of textiles stem from long-held creative traditions. Miroslava Cruz Ferra wears heirloom attire and a white resplandor specific to southern Oaxaca. Photographed at a lizard conservation centre there, she holds an iguana, a symbol of the local people. 20 18 I S S U E 0 1  95

Since late morning I’ve been chasing 76-year-old traditional dyer Near Oaxaca City, in Teotitlán del Valle, Fidel Cruz Lazo and his family are renowned for their beautiful, handmade Habacuc Avendaño and his son as they braved the rocky coastline of Isla San Agustín in Oaxaca, Mexico. For hours Habacuc scaled Zapotec wool rugs, known as tapetes. Their rugs differ from down slippery boulders into the frothing surf to pluck a single most others in the area, as all of their wool is dyed using natural tixinda snail hidden among hundreds of urchins, limpets and means. Although the actual recipes have been lost to history, other marine mollusks. As soon as he pulled a snail from its hiding self-taught Cruz Lazo has done his best to reverse-engineer the place, the shell filled with a defensive exudate. Careful not to spill way he believes his ancestors coloured their textiles using fruits, the contents, Habacuc gently poured the cream-colored liquid minerals, clays, vegetables, flowers and insects. At Casa Cruz over a skein of cotton draped on his shoulder. This the family conducts demonstrations on how to UNITED STATES was the dyeing technique his family had employed make its fabric dyes. “We are not worried about for hundreds of years. After hours of trailing him people stealing Fidel’s recipes, so we have no Gulf of through the unrelenting Oaxacan sun, I caught secrets,” his wife, María Luisa Mendoza, says. Mexico MEXICO PA up with him as he stood in front of a split in the “Dyeing yarn this way is too much work to be C Mexico IF OAXACA IC City rock. Instead of reaching in for the next precious lucrative. We do it because we love it and to keep OC EA shell, Habacuc stepped aside and nodded to me. the old traditions alive.” 600 mi N GUATEMALA 600 km It was my turn. Historically, the most famous pigment to come out of Mexico is red, which is made from a small I am obsessed with the colour purple, which I wear on an almost parasitic insect known as the cochineal. Cruz Lazo’s son shows daily basis. I have purple rooms in my home and a lavenderme how to harvest the insects off cactus paddles, where they painted car in the garage. My favourite musical artist, Prince, set ingest the plant’s flesh and convert it into carminic acid. Once me on my purple path at an early age. For me the colour evokes dried, their bodies are ground up and mixed with water and bacchanalian rhythms and cosmic sensuality but also antiquity ammonia or sodium carbonate to render a blood-red dye bath. and royalty. Purple stained the sails of Cleopatra’s ship and the Some historians consider this red the greatest treasure, after togas of Roman emperors. gold and silver, the Spanish plundered from the New World. The traditional way of tinting textiles purple involved marine Next we pick pericón flowers (a tarragon substitute), which, snails. But was anyone on the planet still dyeing fabric like this? legend holds, were used in powdered form by the Aztec to relax If so, how did the process actually work? Heartsick over Prince’s their sacrificial victims. The Cruz family now uses pericón to death in 2016, I decided it was time to connect my recent interest make a brilliant yellow dye. We crush local indigo plants to in indigenous textiles with my nearly lifelong passion for purple. make blue, and walnut shells to yield a rich, chocolate brown. In pursuit, I head south. The Mexican state of Oaxaca is a Seeing the amount of work that goes into dyeing each spool of bastion of ancient colour, a land where naturally dyed textiles hand-spun wool makes me appreciate how much we take colour still dazzle with kaleidoscopic opulence. Here pre-Columbian for granted. I look anew at the clothing everyone is wearing, dyeing techniques remain in practice but are increasingly rare. realising what it would take to create those tints naturally.



diego huerta; previous page: Diego huerta; NG Maps

“GO AHEAD, HERMANO. Milk the snail.”

Near Pinotepa Nacional these Mixtec women have added a white huipil to their striped pozahuanco wrap, traditionally worn on its own.ÂŹ

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I stop in Oaxaca City to get my bearings. The Central de Abastos market lures me in with the smell of grilled meat and smoked chilli peppers. I am immediately floored by an eightyear-old culinary prodigy who’s overseeing a toasted-grasshopper stand. She offers me samples from her overflowing baskets of differently seasoned and sized chapulines while eloquently pontificating on their subtle nuances. With a fistful of crunchy insects, I sit down at a stall for goat soup. My steaming bowl arrives with an island of chopped onions, coriander and lime wedges slowly sinking into the fragrant broth. I drink beer and a large mug of foamy hot chocolate made from local cocoa beans. I find an entire corner of the market dedicated to witchcraft and traditional medicine. Among the bags of snake powder, dried roots, copal incense and statues of saints, I discover dust-covered Jenny Hanivers – dried stingrays shaped into mermaids, demons or other mythical creatures – hanging from bits of twine. This haunting folk art, which is believed to have originated centuries ago in Antwerp, Belgium, found its way into Mexican brujería (witchcraft), where it functions as a talisman against evil spirits. The industrious bruja selling them informs me that the terrifying-looking poppet will protect me on my voyage and help me find my way to the sea and the snail dyers. My expedition now has an official mascot. Since my visit, Oaxaca has suffered two powerful earthquakes, but my friends there say that the infrastructure of the city and the region is intact, with tourists welcome more than ever. Although the actual snail dyeing takes place on the coast, the dyers of Oaxaca live in a small inland village. The drive into Pinotepa de Don Luis (not to be confused with the larger Pinotepa Nacional) doesn’t look very different from the approach to the previous dozen villages I’ve driven through. But as I get closer to the town plaza, I see most of the older Mixtec women wearing pozahuancos, the traditional wrap skirt woven with bright red, blue and purple stripes. In front of the central market, I’m drawn to a woman wearing a pozahuanco with Rainbow coalition (clockwise from top left): Restaurante Casa Oaxaca serves a tostada of worms, grasshoppers, and ants; mescal distills in Santiago Matatlán, self-described world capital of mescal; at Casa Cruz, in Teotitlán del Valle, indigo is ground by hand; indigo dyes items such as hair wraps; natural sources richly tint strands of yarn; skeins of snaildyed purple dry on Isla San Agustín; El Chimeco restaurant, in Bahía San Agustín, plates the day’s fresh catch; agave abounds.



adam wiseman (all photos except purple-dyed yarn), Kim Fornal (Purple-dyed yarn)

The day ends with a homemade spread of quesillo cheese, chapulines (grasshoppers) and pork tamales wrapped in corn husks. After supper we toast with shots of red mescal coloured with ground cochineal. I ask Cruz Lazo if he has ever worked with the snails to make a purple dye. “That is a very special purple,” he says. “There are only a few people alive still doing it. The men go out in the ocean and dye cotton using one snail at a time. They cannot transport it, as they do not want to kill the snails. You have to go to the coast to find that.”

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More than a millennium before the Spaniards arrived, Monte Albán – a 30-minute drive from Oaxaca City – was a flourishing Zapotec centre of open-air markets and precisely aligned temples.

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purple stripes much softer and uneven in tone than the others. I realise hers is the real thing, the red dyed with cochineal, the blue from indigo, and the purple hand dyed using the tixinda snail. Her name is Margarita Avendaño. It turns out that Margarita is one of the most respected weavers in the region. She has had her work showcased at El Museo Textil de Oaxaca and the New York Botanical Garden. On a regular day she sits at her stall in the central Mercado Municipal. She weaves versions of the classic Mixtec pozahuancos from synthetically dyed cotton thread. A few times a year, when she receives the snail-dyed thread from her brother Habacuc, she gets to make the genuine article. Although it varies, it takes about three skeins of snail cotton to produce one pozahuanco. Since the snail dyers collectively make only 40 skeins per season, a completely naturally dyed wrap is considered an absolute treasure and family heirloom. Margarita wears hers with great pride. Pinotepa de Don Luis has a colonial central plaza where everyone gathers to sell tamales, tacos and textiles. Here Margarita insists I try the famed tamale de tichindas. Tichindas are small, sweet mussels that are cooked in banana leaf–wrapped tamales while still in their shell. The mussels open during cooking, infusing the cornmeal with their briny oceanic stock.



As in Oaxaca City’s other markets, 20 de Noviembre market brims with food stalls serving everything from chicken soup to hot cocoa. Locals head to this part of the market for its tasajo, thinly sliced grilled beef, accompanied by grilled vegetables and a tlayuda tortilla.

I’m drawn to a woman wearing a pozahuanco much softer and uneven in tone than the others. Hers is the genuine article.

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adam wiseman (market); Previous page: Atlantide Phototravel (temple); NG MAPS; Parks data from the world database on protected areas (WDPA), map data © OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS, AVAILABLE UNDER OPEN DATABASE LICENSE:



This dish is a local specialty of Pinotepa; it’s also impossible to eat gracefully. As we share a small park bench, the plaza floods with traditional Mixtec carnival dancers. In every corner of the city men with wooden masks parade about, playing raucous music and performing elaborate line dances. Some of the dancers are sober, others not so much. Leaving Margarita to tend to her market stall, I set off to explore the town. Most private yards have a calabash tree that is harvested to make ornate canteens incised with images of mystical animals. A family of shell dyers owns one of the homes I pass. The father shows me his purple-stained fingers; he returned from the coast just a week ago. His daughter had already used the purple string he brought back to intricately embroider a white dress. She offers me a sniff of the thread, which still smells strongly of the sea. Before leaving, I visit Margarita at her home, where she dresses in the traditional style, simply wearing a pozahuanco held up by her loom strap. “This is how we used to dress, but now the younger generation wears shirts with their pozahuanco,” she says. Margarita has dozens of synthetic pozahuancos in her collection, but at that moment, she has only one of the rare snaildyed articles for sale. She eyes me running my fingers longingly over the soft uneven purple threads. “My brother had to hunt hundreds of snails to make that purple.” “I know.” The fabric is clearly out of my price range, but in my heart I know I may never have this opportunity again. The timeless debate rages in my head: do I pay my bills or purchase quixotic treasure? The Phoenicians are thought to have been the first civilisation to produce purple from marine mollusks on a large scale dating back to the sixteenth century BC. Tens of thousands of murex snails would be crushed in dyeing centres such as Tyre, Lebanon, colouring garments reserved for the Mediterranean region’s most powerful people. Certain dynasties would even restrict who was legally permitted to wear royal purple. Across the Atlantic, the Mixtec people would later discover a mollusk of their own, and instead of crushing them by the lot, they would simply squeeze them one by one. For centuries the men of Pinotepa de Don Luis have walked their eight-day pilgrimage to reach the hidden beach village of Bahía de San Agustín. Here they take small boats out to rocky coves where they find the tixinda. For weeks on end, the men scamper over the rocks hunting snails and dyeing cotton they will bring to weavers like Margarita. The fewer than 20 living snail dyers now take cars and have government-issued permits that allow them to legally harvest a few times a year. Margarita’s brother has been snail dyeing since his youth. I meet Habacuc and his son at a restaurant in Bahía de San Agustín. He agrees to let me join them for a day of tixinda dyeing. Habacuc orders the grilled red snapper with chipotle peppers, and I am easily talked into the fresh iguana. The owners insist



rr Pinotepa de a M Don Luis ad r e Pinotepa Nacional


Teotitlán del Valle San José del Pacífico

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Isla San Agustín 50 mi 50 km

Te h u a n t e p e c

Santiago Matatlán

Ciudad Ixtepec

Cerro Nube 12,303 ft 3,750 m



Gulf of Te h u a n t e p e c


Travel Wise: Oaxaca Insider tour Guide

Traditions Mexico Eric Mindling of Traditions Mexico has been organising immersive tours and expeditions through Oaxaca since 1997. His skilled guides have access to even the most remote communities.

Hotel Casavegas Outside Oaxaca City, base yourself in Pinotepa Nacional, which has big-city conveniences compared with smaller villages such as Pinotepa de Don Luis. Rest up at this no-frills hotel (+52-954543-5611) before venturing out to the coast.


WHERE TO eat and drink

Hotel Los Amantes In an updated colonialera building in Oaxaca City’s historic centre, this boutique hotel fills its public spaces and 10 suites with contemporary art for sale.

Caldo de Piedra Northeast of Oaxaca City, in the town of Tlalixtac de Cabrera, Caldo de Piedra’s house specialty is a traditional soup cooked tableside using fire-heated stones.

Parador de Alcalá Also in Oaxaca’s historic centre, this eighteenthcentury former mansion offers 21 luxe rooms and a blue-tiled rooftop pool. Traditional Mexican breakfast is included.

Restaurante Casa Oaxaca Alejandro Ruiz’s acclaimed kitchen in Oaxaca City celebrates the state’s flavours in sophisticated ways, from rabbit leg with yellow mole sauce to Oaxacan chocolate mousse.

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I drink the iguana’s blood mixed with mescal to keep me strong while harvesting snails. After lunch, we take the 20-minute boat ride to Isla San Agustín. Once on the uninhabited island, Habacuc tosses a skein of white cotton over his shoulder and takes off barefoot over a barnacle-covered jetty. So begins the day-long Easter egg hunt. In one hand, he holds a stick that he uses to pry loose the golf ball–size snails he finds stuck deep between the rocks. When he streams the snail exudate onto the cotton, it isn’t purple but a whitish yellow. After milking the tixinda, Habacuc places the unharmed snail back into the water to recover. Habacuc and his son repeat this process for the next several hours. Habacuc’s speed and agility are incredible. I do my best to keep up and not fall into the surf. Seeing my obsessive tenacity, he finally allows me to help him. Thrilled, I reach into a crevasse between the rocks, trying to extract a particularly large tixinda. I quickly turn the freed shell upside down with the opening facing the sky. Immediately, the snail squirts out its cream-hued exudate, filling the knobby shell like a small shot glass of milk. I carefully extend my arm so as not to spill the contents. Habacuc smiles approvingly and pours it over the cotton. At the end of the day, we all crawl down to the beach and start to build camp. After gathering some urchins and sea limpets from the rocks to eat, I collapse onto the sand. My head is sunburned, my back is sore, my feet are bloody, and I couldn’t be happier. Habacuc strolls over and drapes the dyed skeins of cotton over a fallen tree. The snail exudate has oxidised, transforming from yellow to blue and finally into unrelenting purple. As the remaining bits of blue fabric fade to violet, the evening sky behind it perfectly follows suit. Every drop of colour produced directly from the Earth carries with it not only the essence of its native terrain but also the profound spiritual intention of those who have toiled to gather it. Their labour and sacrifice make me ashamed of the times I squandered the gift that is colour, a gift that Oaxaca celebrates daily. The striped pozahuanco I did end up buying from Margarita doesn’t sit in a drawer. It isn’t displayed on a wall. Back home in New York when attending formal events, I will often wear a black tuxedo and wrap the pozahuanco around my waist like a kilt or sarong. When I wear it, I can almost smell the salty air and feel the spray from the waves back in Isla San Agustín. I dream of pulling primordial gifts from the sea and painting the world purple.

@justin_ fornal) is a writer and video producer currently researching rare indigenous textiles around the world. Born and raised in Mexico, Adam Wiseman ( @wisemanphoto) travelled to all 32 Mexican states for his book Mexico: A Culinary Quest. Austin-based Diego Huerta ( @diegohuertaphoto) started his six-year “Inside Oaxaca” project to photograph the customs of Oaxacan dress.



diego huerta

Justin Fornal (

During a festival in Ciudad Ixtepec traditional gowns embroidered with silk flowers dazzle as brightly as a shower of fireworks.

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photo credit Wisanu Boonrawd/Shutterstock

A photographer captures the sunrise over the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. The amazingly shaped spires, sometimes also called fairy chimneys, are formed by four different types of rocks that erode at different rates.

Rock photo credit


Big skies and mighty landscapes combine in Utah, a playground for adventurers, photographers and dreamers alike.

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JKO Photos/Shutterstock (Gifford); John A Anderson/Shutterstock (wildflowers); Nina B/Shutterstock (Capitol Reef)

For many years, the Gifford Homestead (above) was part of a working farm. Now set in Capitol Reef National Park, it has been restored to demonstrate the early Mormon settlement of Utah’s Fruita valley; spring wildflowers in Zion National Park (right); a highway winds past chimney rocks and mesas in Capitol Reef National Park (opposite).

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The varied landscapes of Bryce Canyon National Park make it an ideal spot for hikers, rock climbers and mountain bikers. There are even guided horse rides through scenic Red Canyon.

Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock (Narrows); Mike Carr (Watchman)

Hiking through the Narrows oneOld of the most popular attractions in Zion National Park; the A bird‘s-eye view of (left), the Bern Town, Watchman (above) ison the same park’s photographed formation – it’s near the South Visitor surrounded three sides bymost the River Aare. Center and is easily seen from popular Pa’rus Trail.

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photo credit Jane Rix/Shutterstock (mountain goat); Bill Perry/Shutterstock (petroglyphs); Joe Newman (canyoneering)

When hiking in Zion National Park, it’s possible to spot wildlife, including mountain goats (top); petroglyphs carved into rock surfaces by the Fremont people, nomadic hunter-gatherers who lived in the region between 7,000 and 500 BC, can still be seen in Capitol Reef National Park (above); Zion National Park’s slot canyons (right) are the perfect destinations to try out or learn some new canyoneering skills.

photo credit

A Room with a Zoo... Jungle Bungalow

WINNER - Best Deluxe Accommodation in Australia* 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 may be joined by magnificent white lions and hyenas. Ph: 02 6287 8444 | Fax: 02 6287 8403 Email: Web: Address: 999 Lady Denman Drive, Canberra ACT 2611 * 2017 Australian Hotels Association Awards for Excellence

A grizzly bear with its spoils. The species hunts salmon on rivers in British Columbia during spawning season in late summer.

Wild About Canada With its vast tundra and plains, Arctic islands, forests and waters along the Pacific coast, Canada’s wilderness areas are home to some of the country’s most spectacular animal species. Here, we spot 10 of our favourites.

Destination Canada

Words by Alison O’Loughlin

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Canada’s herds of barren-ground caribou are named after their traditional calving grounds. They spend most of the year on the tundra, but migrate seasonally to the sparse conifer forests known as taiga.

Caribou WHERE: Kivalliq, Nunavut

Courtesy Nunavut Tourism

WHEN: from October

It’s one of the largest movements of animals on the planet. Each year, during the northern autumn (usually starting in about October), the huge Qamanirjuaq caribou herd, numbering more than 300,000 beasts, makes its way to Nunavut. As winter takes hold, the herd spends the coldest months foraging for lichens hidden beneath the snow in the taiga (boreal forest). On the shore of Ennadai Lake, Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge sits in prime position in the tree line of the Canadian Barren Lands and in the migratory path of the Qamanirjuaq herd. During autumn, as the sound of thousands of hooves shatters the silence of the tundra when the caribou move south, there is also the chance to see the spectacle of the northern lights shimmering overhead in the evening. Not able to get there during autumn? As the weather starts to warm again come July, the caribou head north. Near Qamanirjuaq Lake, the females calve and raise their young away from the area where the forest borders the tundra and wolves and bears pose a threat to newborns.

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Polar bears WHERE: Churchill, Manitoba WHEN: October and November

Located on the western shore of Hudson Bay on the edge of the Arctic, Churchill is believed to have been a seasonal hunting ground for local Inuit people hundreds of years before European settlement. Despite its long history as a fort and trading post, most visitors now visit the town in northern Manitoba because of its unusually high population of polar bears. During October and November, the bears return from their summer habitat on the tundra to Hudson Bay to hunt seals on the frozen sea ice that forms each winter. It is a sight to behold as males engage in mock battles and cubs tumble over each other in the snow. Visitors to the region travel on raised all-terrain vehicles across the frozen landscapes to Churchill’s best polar bear viewing areas and experience close encounters with these magnificent animals.

Spirit bears WHERE: Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia WHEN: August to October

Found in the remote corners of northwestern British Columbia, the white Kermode or spirit bear has long been part of the oral traditions and history of the local indigenous people. Located in the heart of the aptly named Great Bear Rainforest and only accessible by boat or air, the magnificent Princess Royal Island offers visitors the chance to spot these beautiful white bears, known as moskgm’ol in the local First Nations language. The Kermode bear is not an albino or polar bear, rather a pale variation of the more common black bear, and they make up approximately 10 per cent of the black bear population found on the island. The best time of year to see them is from late summer into autumn, when both they and the populations of grizzly bears are drawn to rivers where salmon are returning to their hatching grounds.


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Puffins WHERE: St John’s, Newfoundland WHERE: June to September

The rocky coastlines and windswept headlands of North America’s easternmost point are an ideal breeding ground for the charming and delightful Atlantic puffin, the provincial bird of the island of Newfoundland. During the winter months, the puffin travels out to sea, returning to dry land during spring and summer to form breeding colonies along the shoreline cliff tops. During the breeding season, the puffin’s beak colour will change to display bright red, orange and yellow colours, which are used in courtship displays. With a lifespan of up to 30 years, these birds mate for life, returning to the same nest year after year to breed. Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, which encompasses four islands off the east coast of Newfoundland, has the largest colony of puffins in North America, and visitors can view them by boat as they take a run-up before becoming airborne.

NATURES MOMENTS UK/SHUTTERSTOCK (SPIRIT BEAR); Courtesy Hello BC POLAR bear); Dennis Minty (puffins)

The puffin (left) is the official provincial bird of Newfoundland; winter in Churchill sees polar bears return from the tundra (below); the rare spirit bear (opposite).

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Beluga whales WHERE: Churchill River, Manitoba WHERE: June to September


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For most of the year, these fascinating white mammals spend their time in the most northern waters of the Arctic Ocean, far away from the presence of humans. From mid-June to mid-September, however, when the ice on the Churchill River begins to break up, the water comes alive with thousands of beluga whales who congregate here so the females can give birth to their young. Curious, social belugas are sometimes called sea canaries for their vocal behaviour of chirps, clicks and trills that visitors who are lucky enough to snorkel with them will hear when they dip their heads beneath the sea’s surface. Those less keen on taking the plunge can encounter these marvellous whales on a cruise – operators have hydrophones to drop into the water, so the noises the creatures are making can be heard on board – or by paddling a kayak into the river.

iStock (belugas); Michelle Valberg for Arctic Kingdom (narwhal); Andrew Stewart (walrus)

A pod of social beluga whales in Churchill River.

Walrus WHERE: Coastline of Nunavut WHEN: June to August

Along the northern coasts of Hudson Bay, Baffin Bay and Foxe Basin in the remote reaches of Nunavut, the Atlantic walrus can be seen making the most of rising temperatures, using their impressive tusks to haul themselves on to ice to rest and bask in the sun. Their blubbery bodies, whiskery faces and long tusks of ivory make them a sight to behold as they huddle in noisy, sociable groups. Travel to the oldest Inuit settlement in Canada, Igloolik, located on an island in Foxe Basin, and an ideal place to experience the Inuit way of life. Alternatively, watch for drifting icebergs as they pass through the narrows of Fury and Hecla Strait, bringing huddles of walrus within easy viewing distance.

Only male narwhals have tusks, and some scientists believe they’re used to communicate; a female walrus and pup on ice (above) – their tusks may grow up to a metre long.

Narwhals WHERE: Baffin Bay, Nunavut WHERE: April to July

One of the rarest whale species on earth, the narwhal has long been the source of myth and legend and captured the imaginations of explorers and travellers alike. With a long, spiralled tusk or tooth protruding from its upper jaw, this astonishing creature is known as the unicorn of the sea. Pods of narwhals can be found in and around Baffin Bay, where they rest and feed from the edge of the ice floe. The northern Nunavut community of Pond Inlet is surrounded by towering mountain ranges, scenic fjords and spectacular glaciers and its location close to the floe edge, where the open sea and frozen sea meet, makes it a perfect spot for narwhals who gather in abundance from April to July.

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The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the few pristine habitats that remain for grizzlies (left). It’s thought a quarter of North America’s grizzly bears can be found here.

Grizzly bears WHERE: Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia

Home to more than half of Canada’s grizzly bear population, the province of British Columbia offers some of the best opportunities to view these animals in their natural habitat, as they fish rivers and shallow waters for spawning salmon in the summer months. The Great Bear Rainforest, which stretches 400 kilometres along the coast of British Columbia, is home to the planet’s largest intact temperate rainforest, providing a diverse ecosystem for grizzly bears to thrive among the maze of coastal inlets and valleys. This remote location is accessible by float plane, and guests stay in small, floating lodges in the rainforest to give them the best access for bear spotting. Morning and evening viewing sessions, where guests watch from small boats, are tailored around the activities and movements of the bears, as they bound up the river after salmon. Otherwise, time is spent in elevated viewing platforms, called hides, watching the grizzlies grazing on grasses and foraging for berries.


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Greg Funnell (grizzly); COURTESY TOURISME QUEBEC (moose)

WHEN: June to October


WHERE: Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec WHEN: Year-round

A male moose (below) feeding on vegetation from the bottom of a lake. The species is an excellent swimmer.

photo credit

When it comes to Canadian wildlife icons, they don’t come more recognisable than these huge, gangly animals that make up the largest member of the deer family. Those who want to catch a sighting of these comical creatures can find them in abundance in Quebec’s Matane Wildlife Reserve, located on the Gaspé Peninsula’s north shore near the mighty St Lawrence River. More than 4,000 moose can be found along the tranquil waterways and peat bogs located throughout the reserve. The males carry huge racks of antlers, used to fight for dominance during mating season, through late summer and into autumn. One of the most unusual characteristics of moose is the species’ strong swimming ability, and they can be seen diving to the bottom of lakes – sometimes to depths of five metres or more – to forage for plants growing there.

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photo credit


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Orcas and grey and humpback whales

WHERE: Haida Gwaii, British Columbia WHEN: May to October

Offering the most diverse marine wildlife in Canada, the Haida Gwaii archipelago on the northernmost coast of British Columbia is often referred to as the Galapagos of the North. Orcas can be found near the islands year-round, while humpback and grey whales migrate between Mexico and the Bering Sea from May to October. The marine protected area of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (the name translates to ‘islands of beauty’) is home to more than a hundred islands and an annual spring plankton bloom that provides a rich food source for migrating whales, as well as birdlife and other marine mammals. The best way to discover the wildlife of these magnificent islands is aboard a small ship or sailing vessel, cruising the waters in search of whales and visiting ancient Haida villages for a unique cultural insight into the indigenous communities who still live in this region.

photo credit Courtesy Hello BC

As a wildlife enthusiast, Alison O’Loughlin has travelled around the world, and has developed a serious addiction to binoculars and khaki-hued clothing.

One of the greatest sights on the water: a breaching humpback whale.

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136 Making travel easy

156 Exclusively for guests of Adventure World Travel


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

Destinations 130 Brazil 136 Nepal 138 Calgary 140 Malaysia 142 Southern USA


150 Kenya 156 Mexico 160 Easter Island 164 Canada 168 UTAH

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rom the bustle of Rio to the wilds of the Amazon, explore the highlights of South America’s largest country. With a combination of cultural city stays and unique outdoor adventures, you will be mesmerised by the kaleidoscope of contrasts Brazil has to offer. DAYs 1–3


RHYTHMS OF BRAZIL Seductive cities, wild jungles and spectacular waterfalls are all part of this exciting South American nation.

Dive headfirst into big, vibrant Rio on an open-top jeep tour and explore this magnificent metropolis that more than 12 million people call home. Stop at the Tijuca Forest. Featuring 30 waterfalls and covering 32 square kilometres, it is one of the largest urban forests in the world. Wildlife abounds in this urban jungle, so look out for toucans, capuchin monkeys and quatis, a Brazilian raccoon. Later, get a bird’s-eye view over the vast Tijuca Forest from the top of Corcovado Mountain, where the statue of Christ the Redeemer presides over the city. Save some energy for Rio’s raucous nightlife. Drop in to Rio Scenarium, one of the city’s most famous clubs, where the locals flock to listen to some of Brazil’s best musicians. Day 2 (B)(L) Day 3 (B) DAY 4

RIO DE JANEIRO – IGUAZU Leave the bustle of Rio behind and transfer to the airport for your flight to Iguazu Falls. The remainder of the day is yours to explore the Brazilian side of the world’s largest waterfall system. (B) DAY 5

IGUAZU When United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Iguazu, she famously exclaimed, “Poor Niagara!” With more than 270 cascades and at nearly three kilometres wide, it is easy to see why she was so impressed. Cross over to the Argentinian side of the falls and follow a trail to the enormous Devil’s Throat Cataract, the largest and most thunderous of the falls. (B) DAY 6

IGUAZU – MANAUS Fly to Manaus, Brazil’s jungle metropolis in the heart of the Amazon. (B)




to the Municipal Square, which offers wonderful views of All Saints Bay. In the evening explore Rio Vermelho, Salvador’s lively bohemian quarter and home to the best nightlife and street food in the city. Traditionally sold from colourful street stalls, acarajé – roughly the Brazilian equivalent of falafel – is a must-try. On your final day, we recommend a capoeira workshop. African slaves used the rhythm and movements of their traditional dances to create a disguised martial art that was an important instrument of cultural and physical resistance. Visit a traditional capoeira school to learn about the history of the sport and even a few basic fight movements. This evening, transfer to the airport or extend your stay. (B)


Today, head deep into the Amazon to your jungle lodge where you’ll spend the next three nights. In the evening, venture out on your first guided wildlife exploration, searching for alligators by canoe. (B)(D)

Negro converge to create the enormous Amazon River. The two rivers flow side by side for several kilometres before intersecting. The vibrant blue waters of the Solimões River contrast starkly with the muddy waters of the Rio Negro to create a unique natural spectacle. (B)(L)(D)

DAYS 8–9

DAY 10




At more than 5.5 million square kilometres, the Amazon is by far the largest rainforest on the planet and features unparalleled biodiversity. You will explore a tiny fragment of this unique biosphere accompanied by a specialist guide who will point out a few of the 2.5 million types of insects, 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species and 430 mammals that call this rainforest home. Travel by boat to witness one of the Amazon’s most impressive natural wonders, the ‘meeting of the waters’, where the Solimões River and the Rio

Return to Manaus for your flight to Salvador, your final destination and the cultural soul of Brazil. (B) DAYS 11–12

SALVADOR Salvador was Brazil’s first capital and boasts beautiful colonial architecture and a rich Afro-Brazilian culture. The city’s historic centre, Pelourinho, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and best discovered on foot. Stop at the Sao Francisco Church, with its extravagant gold leaf baroque designs, before continuing on



★★★★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS • Immerse yourself in Rio’s most famous landmarks • Explore the mighty Amazon • Experience Salvador’s unique blend of magnificent history, striking colonial architecture and African culture INCLUSIONS 11 nights’ accommodation, meals as indicated, sightseeing with local English-speaking guides, transfers and flights as specified. FROM AU$4,895* / NZ$5,275* *Prices are per person, twin share, based on low-season travel. Terms and conditions apply.

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Where the

Wild Things Are Whether you want to see spirit bears in the wild or kayak with orcas, grab your camera and head to British Columbia on Canada’s Pacific Coast.




a number of operators who take bear lovers along the waterways. Grizzlies are most prevalent in Khutzeymateen. The ultimate for wildlife watchers, however, is sighting the elusive Kermode or spirit bear, a black bear that, surprisingly, has white fur. Head to the region of Klemtu for your best chance of seeing them. And although bears are the prime reason most people come to the rainforest, you might also spy sea otters, whales, dolphins and eagles. Hey you, caribou It may not come as a surprise that should you visit Moose Valley Provincial Park in the South Cariboo region, you’re likely to see both moose and caribou. These big deer species – the moose is slightly larger – with their impressive antlers are, in fact, scattered across most of central and northern BC and can often be seen grazing by the side of the road.


ith its lengthy coastline, amazing rainforests and vast array of landscapes, British Columbia on Canada’s west coast is a wildlife watcher’s paradise. Whether your dream is to see bighorn sheep in the mountains, swooping bald eagles hunting for fish or another of Canada’s unique inhabitants, you’ll find them all. Here are five animal adventures you’ll never forget. The bear necessities Grizzlies, black bears and rare white spirit bears all call BC home. The vast tract of coastal forest known as the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the most pristine environments in the world, so it’s no surprise bears love it there. This isolated region, on the central and northern coast of British Columbia, has

Whale of a time The BC coastline, with its islands, passages and vast stretches of ocean, is home to a huge number of species of whales, dolphins and porpoises. When you visit Victoria, on beautiful Vancouver Island, head to Inner Harbour from where the city’s whale-watching cruises depart. From May to October, whale sightings are at their peak and some operators have a 98 per cent success rate on their cruises. You’ll see pods of orcas – sometimes hunting seals basking on rocky outcrops – then head out to the Salish Sea to look for diving and breaching humpback whales. You might also come across minke whales, seals and sea lions. Away from the city, in Vancouver Island’s north, trips head into Johnstone Strait to see all kinds of sea life, including orcas, dolphins and sometimes even black bears. Soaring species From November to March along the dyke bordering the Squamish River in Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, you can view one of North America’s largest congregations of wintering bald eagles. Squamish is located just a 45-minute drive outside of Vancouver and can be a great stop along the Sea to Sky Highway en route to Whistler.

Run, salmon, run From late summer until early winter, witness one of Canada’s greatest migrations when thousands of salmon of different varieties return to their birthplace to spawn. This year is a dominant one for sockeye – this happens every four years – and a great place to observe them is the Adams River near Shuswap. In fact, from 28 September to 21 October, you can join the celebrations at the Salute to the Sockeye Festival. Another great place to view them is the town of Squamish, where the spawning channel runs right through the town. For a close encounter of the fishy kind, join a snorkelling with salmon tour in the Campbell River on Vancouver Island’s east coast.

AT A GLANCE Great Bear Rainforest Adventure Cruise


★★★ DEPARTS 27 Sep; 5 and 6 Oct 2018 TRAVEL STYLE Small-ship cruise HIGHLIGHTS • Travel by yacht into the remote wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest in search of the elusive spirit bear • With the aid of local native guides, visit the best spots for wildlife viewing as you explore remote corners of coastal British Columbia INCLUSIONS Seven nights’ cruise and one night’s hotel accommodation, meals on board the ship, sightseeing, return flights from Vancouver to Bella Bella. FROM AU$8,015*/ NZ$8,825* *Prices are per person, twin share, based on low-season travel. Terms and conditions apply.

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More to the USA

Travel to the USA with American Airlines and choose from an unrivalled network of destinations.


ith so much to see and do, it’s not easy to make a decision on where to go in the USA. Do you succumb to the bright lights? Explore the music scene? Hike through mesmerising landscapes? Whatever your plan, travel with American Airlines and sit back and relax on board the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. American Airlines now flies from Sydney to Los Angeles and offers 192 daily departures from LA to 338 destinations in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Here are five of our favourite US cities to fly on to. Los Angeles This is where most Australians land, and it’s a great place to start. The home of Hollywood and some of the best theme parks in the world, it’s also a city of contrasts. Choose a neighbourhood and get to know a little more of LA. West Hollywood has great restaurants and shopping, plus an excellent nightlife scene, or spend some time near the beach at Malibu. New York City It’s true – there’s always something happening. First-timers tend to head straight to Times Square, which is great if you love crowds. Instead, stroll quieter streets in the Lower East Side and Meatpacking District for independent art galleries, cool boutiques and the city’s hottest restaurants and bars. And you shouldn’t miss the chance to take in a Broadway show or catch the Statue of Liberty ferry.



Miami Known for amazing examples of Art Deco architecture and a vibrant contemporary art scene, there’s more to discover in this Floridian city. Anyone who loves dance, music and food should salsa to Little Havana, with its old-school Cuban vibe. While you’re there be sure to order a Cubano (ham, roast pork and Swiss cheese on a sandwich) at the delightfully over-thetop Versailles diner. Dallas Fort Worth Combine Texan cowboy culture with modern vision at the twin cities. Although connected to one another (and the airport) by an express train, the ambience of the two towns is very different. Don’t miss the presidential history, Tex-Mex food and cute neighbourhoods, like the Bishop Arts District, in Dallas. Fort Worth is smaller but has an enviable array of world-class museums, Wild West experiences and barbecue restaurants. Phoenix When you’ve ticked off the big cities, it’s time to explore more of what the USA has to offer. Arizona’s capital is where desert character meets urban environs. Hike up Camelback Mountain for amazing views, then experience innovative cuisine at finedining restaurants or meet the locals in great dive bars. Oh, and Phoenix is at the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

To book your American Airlines flights, contact your local travel agent or

Real Americas Real Adventure

Introducing In-Depth Tours... Image: Grand Teton National Park

For those looking to dig deeper into some of America and Canada’s most awe-inspiring locations, our small-group In-Depth tours are ideal.

✓ Small group adventures across the Americas ✓ Specialist guides in subjects including wildlife and geology ✓ Host of unique activities, walking trails and wildlife encounters ✓ Experienced tour leaders YUKON TERRITORY

Yosemite and Tahoe In-Depth WASHINGTON 7 days from AU$4,449 / NZ$4,679 Visit Yosemite’s majestic waterfalls, Lake Tahoe’s sparkling waters and stunning coastal cities, andOwatch R E G whales O N in Monterey. Explore pristine mountain peaks, valleys with wild flowers, towering cliffs and Giant Sequoias.



Olympic & Vancouver Island In-Depth 7 days from AU$4,639 / NZ$4,879



Yellowstone & Teton In-Depth 6 days from AU$4,959 / NZ$5,209 M I N N E S O TA

D A K O T AThe west is still very much wild in the The ruggedM beauty forests O N Tand A Nold-growth A of Olympic National Park salute its equally national parks of Yellowstone and Grand W A S HVancouver INGTON dramatic and rugged coastline. Teton. Both are the ultimate W I S Cdestinations ONSIN C A N A D A SOUTH IDAHO Island also shares the same coastline, D A K O T for wildlife enthusiasts and budding A W Y O M I N G ALBERTA which is studded with Black Bear and photographers and the addition of specialistM I C H I G A N M A N I T O B A M O N to T A life. N A Orca Whales. guides helps bring the parks S A S K AT C H E W A N


Lake Tahoe


Yosemite NP


Vernal Fall

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail



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Hoh Rain Forest Rialto Beach

Vancouver C O L O R A D O

Yellowstone NP






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Grand Teton NP/ Jenny Lake

Port Angeles

Olympic NP


Lamar Valley



Spring Creek Ranch












Handpicked Nepal

A land of soaring mountain peaks and ancient temples and monasteries, of wildlife viewing in national parks and breathtaking scenery, Nepal has always had a mystical allure for travellers.


ince Nepal opened to visitors in the 1950s, it has drawn trekkers and explorers to the Himalayas’ hiking trails – the entire length and breadth of the country is a paradise for trekkers – from the demanding climb of Mount Everest to the Kathmandu Valley and Annapurna treks. And while the natural beauty of the country draws you in, once there, it’s the culture and history that leaves a lasting impression. The 2,000-year-old Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu and the village of Pokhara are sights not to be missed, while a game drive through Chitwan National Park can bring you close to endangered wildlife.




KATHMANDU Arriving in Kathmandu is like stepping into another world. Centuries-old Buddhist and Hindu sites sit beside modern hotels and restaurants, and ancient traditions meld with the latest in technology. DAY 2

KATHMANDU Today is all about discovering the ancient religious history of Nepal and Kathmandu. One of Nepal’s UNESCO Heritage Sites, Bhaktapur, is the living embodiment of medieval Nepal. Head to Bhaktapur Durbar Square and take a walk through its storied alleys. Stroll further south to reach Pottery Square, where you can admire the beautiful handicrafts and try making a clay pot. Boudhanath Stupa is the largest in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of that country. While here you will interact with a lama, who will bless the travellers. Afterwards, head

to Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River, followed by interaction with one of the Hindu holy men known as sadhus. In the evening, attend an aarti ceremony, one of the most important observances of the Hindu faith, during which lamps are lit in devotion and thanksgiving. Encounter the tallest mountain on earth on an exhilarating flight past Mount Everest. This flight can be added to your journey on either day two or day 12, depending on weather conditions. (B) DAY 3–4

KATHMANDU – CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK Satisfy your yearning for nature and wildlife at Chitwan, one of the best parks for wildlife viewing in Asia. Track wild Bengal tigers and watch one-horned rhinos bathe in rivers alongside great Asiatic elephants. Discover the park on activities including jungle treks, bird watching and canoe rides. (B)



CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK – BANDIPUR Bandipur, a beautifully preserved village crowning a lofty ridge above the main road to Kathmandu, is a living museum of Newari culture. (B) Day 6

BANDIPUR – POKHARA A journey through spectacular scenery takes you to the lakeside town of Pokhara. In the old bazaar, visit one of its most important shrines. Locally called Bindhyabasini Mandir, this white domelike structure dominates a spacious stonepaved courtyard built on a shady hillock. The park-like grounds offer a fine picnic area and, on Saturdays and Tuesdays, when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, it takes on a festive flavour. (B) DAY 7

POKHARA Spend time visiting the spectacular Ki Singh Bridge and the nearby Devi Falls before moving on to a Tibetan refugee village to discover the community’s thriving textile and carpet industry. (B) DAY 8

POKHARA – ANNAPURNA HIKE Pokhara is the starting point for treks into the stunning Annapurna mountain range. Heading into the hills, hike from Bhurungi Khola to Tikhedhunga, which should take around five hours. (B)(L)(D)


ANNAPURNA HIKE Take in stunning Himalayan views, experience high passes and hike through tiny hamlets from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani, a hike of around six hours. (B)(L)(D) DAY 10

ANNAPURNA HIKE – POKHARA Watch the sunrise over the Annapurna Range. After a five-hour hike from Ghorepani to Tadapani, head back to Pokhara and enjoy a well-deserved drink and a meal in a boutique restaurant. (B)(L)



★★★★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS • The temples of Kathmandu • Views of the mighty Himalayas • Hiking the Annapurna Mountains

Fly back to Kathmandu and spend more time discovering this diverse city. (B)

INCLUSIONS 11 nights’ accommodation, selected meals, sightseeing as specified, services of a private car and driver and local English-speaking guides, three-day Annapurna hike.

DAY 12

FROM AU$2,350*/ NZ$2,580*


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

DAY 11


Your journey to this fascinating and enthralling country ends today. (B)

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48 hours in

CALGARY Love to combine days of adventure with nights out in the coolest restaurants and bars? You’ll find it all (and more) in Calgary.


t’s Alberta’s largest city and the perfect place to start your Canadian adventure. Set on the beautiful Bow River where the prairies meet the mountains, Calgary is a city that is certainly easy on the eye. It also makes it a perfect destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors but still likes urban comfort to be close at hand. Here’s how to spend two days in C-Town. BIKE THE CITY Regardless of whether you’re here in summer or when there’s snow, hire a fat bike and explore the most extensive network of urban pathways and bikeways in North America during your first morning. Follow the Rotary/ Mattamay Greenway – at least for part of its 138-kilometre length – for a ride that takes you right around the city and links parks, green spaces and the river. This is a city that’s also committed to public art, so be on the lookout as you're pedalling around.




DELICIOUS DISHES AND CRAFT CREATIONS Hungry after all that activity? One of Calgary’s best restaurants, River Café, honours the finest seasonal Canadian ingredients with artistry and innovation. Its Prince’s Island location on the Bow River only adds to the magic. When you’re done, it’s time to explore Calgary’s burgeoning craft beer scene. Don’t know where to start? Call the folks at Calgary Brewery Tours and get them to show you the most creative beverages in town.

zipline, mountain biking or skyline luge. Winter activities include snowboarding, bobsleigh and tubing.

VIEW FROM THE TOP Don’t leave it too late to head out for dinner, because tonight you’re accompanying great food with a panoramic view from the top of Calgary Tower at Sky 360. Order a glass of champagne to sip as the sun sets then watch the city illuminate below as you sample the locally inspired menu.

SET OUT ON 17TH Whether you want to do a little lateafternoon shopping or are ready to hit the after-dark scene, 17th Avenue is the place to be. Wander along window shopping in the boutiques, then have a beer on the patio at Trolley 5. When hunger strikes, take a seat at the industrial-cool Model Milk. Once a dairy, this restaurant is now the place to try local and regional produce treated simply to showcase its incredible flavour. When you’re done, sample the local music scene at the Ship & Anchor or Morgan’s Pub. If cocktails at a speakeasy are more your style, find the hidden door to Betty Lou’s Library, where all the drinks are inspired by famous authors.

THE NEED FOR SPEED If you’re someone who becomes an expert on aerial skiing and the luge during the Winter Olympics, you should head straight to WinSport for a morning of pure adrenaline. During 1988, this was one of the venues for the Olympic Winter Games. Now visitors can go there to test their skills year-round. In summer, try the

LOCAL HISTORY TIME Get a taste of local history in the afternoon. During summer, there’s the chance to hire a car and head south to Bar U Ranch, a living museum where you can find out what life was like for working cowboys in the Old West. Otherwise, in the heart of Calgary is Glenbow Museum, which presents the history, art and culture of western Canada.



★★★ DEPARTS Daily, 17 May – 3 Oct 2018 TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS • Discover a world of fossils, cowboy culture and western Canadian treasures • Stay at an authentic guest ranch • Round trip from Calgary takes in Edmonton, Jasper, Banff, Waskesiu Lake and more INCLUSIONS 13 nights’ accommodation, some meals, sightseeing and activities, 13 days’ car rental. FROM AU$2,839* / NZ$3,125* *Prices are per person, twin share. Terms and conditions apply.

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The Fine Flavours of Malaysia If a holiday destination’s variety and quality of cuisine is on top of your must-have list, you can’t miss Malaysia.


alaysia is a country that draws on influences from near and far – Chinese, Indian and even Portugal – so it’s no surprise the resulting cuisine is both delicious and diverse. Food is serious business here and small talk revolves around it rather than the weather. Don’t be surprised if you are peppered with questions like, “Have you makan today?” Makan is the Malay word for eat and it might be the most used word in the whole language. Here are some of the dishes you can’t miss, either at hawker stands or in restaurants, while you’re there. Nasi lemak Imagine starting your day with fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk served with peanuts, ikan bilis (small fried anchovies),



cucumber slices and a spicy sambal. If you’re extra hungry, you might even add a piece of fried chicken or a boiled egg. Nasi lemak is Malaysia’s most popular breakfast dish and some would even say its national dish. Satay Just look for the tell-tale drift of smoke from a makeshift charcoal barbecue, a little auntie furiously fanning the flames over dozens of sticks of delicious satay, and you’ve hit the jackpot. Usually chicken or beef is cut into bite-sized pieces and strung on bamboo skewers before being lovingly barbecued to perfection to create one of Malaysia’s most popular and recognisable dishes. Don’t forget to enjoy them with heaps of spicy peanut sauce for dipping.


Roti canai Inspired by the south Indian influences that have crept into Malaysian cuisine, roti canai is a popular flatbread that is oiled and cooked on a skillet. With its flaky exterior and soft interior, think of it as an excellent Asian take on a croissant. Chilli crab Avoid wearing white and prepare to get messy. This is a meal you have to work for, but it sure is worth the effort. Whole crabs are stir-fried in a special chilli sauce and served family style with mounds of steamed rice to soak up the sauce and cool the burn. The table will probably look like a crime scene by time you are done, but at least you won’t have to bother with the clean-up. Nyonya laksa A rich and spicy soup with a coconut milk base, this is comfort food at its best and a fine example of Nyonya cooking – a unique blend of Chinese and Malay cuisine found in Malaysia and Singapore. Throw in some noodles and whatever else you’re craving – prawns, tofu, cockles, bean sprouts, boiled egg or chicken – and enjoy. Char kway teow It translates as ‘stir-fried rice-cake strips’ and that is pretty much all there is to this popular noodle dish. Wide, flat rice noodles are stir-fried in dark soy sauce and a touch of belachan (shrimp paste) and tossed with cockles, prawns, chives and egg. It’s not particularly good for you, but it sure is delicious. Lor bak Not all sausages are created equal and lor bak is a good example of that. Take minced pork, water chestnuts, five spice and a few other secret ingredients, mix them together, wrap it all up in a tofu skin and deep fry. The result is highly seasoned sausage with an irresistibly light and crispy outside. It’s best enjoyed with a chilli dipping sauce.


★★★★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS • Explore Penang, Malaysia’s prized island, with its beautiful coastline, wonderful cuisine and colonial buildings • Penang is renowned for its food scene, so enjoy dim sum, explore Little India and visit local food markets • Cycle the countryside, visiting local villages and their artisans, as well as sampling local produce along the route INCLUSIONS Five nights’ accommodation, some meals, transfers, half-day dim sum and street art tour, half-day cycling, services of local English-speaking guides. FROM AU$1,189* / NZ$1,279* *Prices are per person, twin share, based on low-season travel. Terms and conditions apply.

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Delicious Deep South If sampling local cuisine is high on your list of travel priorities, there’s no beating a road trip through the southern states of the USA.


ood is serious business in the South and each state claims its own secrets and specialties. Barbecue is ubiquitous, but varies as you travel across the region. Tennessee is famous for dry-rub pork ribs, while North Carolina specialises in tangy, vinegardrenched pulled pork. Charleston and New Orleans are culinary rivals when it comes to sophisticated fine-dining, but don’t turn your nose up at casual local favourites featuring regional specialties like shrimp and grits and muffuletta.


HOUSTON – NEW ORLEANS Leaving Texas, cross the border into Louisiana to begin your true Deep South experience. En-route to New Orleans, stop at Lake Charles or Lafayette to sample boudin, a local speciality sausage, then visit Avery Island, home of Tabasco sauce. New Orleans invented the cocktail, so tonight’s cocktail walking tour is the ideal start to your stay in the Big Easy. DAY 3


HOUSTON As America’s fourth largest city, Houston boasts more than 10,000 restaurants and food representing more than 70 countries. However, as you’re in Texas, stick to the classics – splurge on a juicy steak or slow-smoked barbecue brisket.



From po’ boys to gumbo, jambalaya to beignets, New Orleans is home to some of the most famous and distinctive cuisine in the country. Spend a few hours with skilled chefs learning about the rich Creole and Cajun culinary heritage of the city at the New Orleans Cooking School. (L)



DAY 12



If Mississippi had an official state food, it would be catfish. Enjoy it breaded and fried, baked in the oven with herbs, or blackened with Cajun spices throughout the state.

This charming city is home to the largest registered National Historic Landmark District in the USA, featuring tree-lined streets and antebellum architecture. Drawing on the history of southern cooking coupled with fresh seafood and local ingredients, Savannah has a sophisticated and unique culinary scene.

DAYS 5–6

MEMPHIS Many know Memphis as the hometown of Elvis Presley and his property Graceland, but in foodie circles Memphis is equally famous for its mouth-watering pork ribs. The secret to Memphis-style ribs is the dry rub, a (usually secret) blend of herbs and spices, rubbed all over the meat before it is smoked low and slow until the tender meat falls off the bone.

Atlanta is a well-established hub of southern cooking, with classics such as fried chicken, country fried ham and sweet tea featuring heavily on menus. For a modern twist on local favourites, check out the food truck scene.

DAYS 7–8

DAY 15



Known as Music City and home of the legendary Ryman Auditorium, Nashville is now being recognised as an emerging culinary destination. The speciality here, though, is hot chicken – a spicy deepfried dish served with white bread and pickles. Fill up on some before a late night of live music and maybe a little dancing at some of the honky tonks on Lower Broadway.

A relative new comer to the foodie scene, Birmingham is rated among the best up-and-coming culinary destinations in the country. Visit the original Whistle Stop Café for fried green tomatoes.


DAYS 13–14


DAYS 16–17

NEW ORLEANS You’ve got a final night in New Orleans to try anything you missed the first time or revisit some old favourites.

ASHEVILLE Tucked in the heart of North Carolina’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is best known for its historic architecture and vibrant arts community. Its more recent claim to fame, however, is being home to the most breweries per capita of any US city – its population is just 89,000 people, but the city boasts 26 craft breweries. DAYS 10–11

CHARLESTON In recent years Charleston has famously undergone a fine-dining renaissance. With an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients and an influx of awardwinning chefs like Sean Brock and Mike Lata, the city has established itself as a top culinary destination. Taste local specialities including stone ground grits, southern praline and sweet tea on a Savor the Flavors Food Tour. (L)



★★★★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Independent HIGHLIGHTS • Cooking lesson in New Orleans • Honky tonks and live music in Nashville • Savor the Flavors Tour in Charleston INCLUSIONS 16 nights’ accommodation, 16 days’ car rental, meals as indicated, sightseeing as specified. FROM AU$3,405* / NZ$3,715* *Prices are per person, twin share, based on low-season travel. Terms and conditions apply.

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Journey through the heart of Texas on this

Be dazzled by cosmopolitan Dallas, explore

Experience the dynamic duo of Dallas and

food-themed roadtrip. Houston features a

the Spanish heritage of San Antonio, saddle

Fort Worth before heading down to Austin,

mouth-watering range of fine dining and

up for an authentic ranch experience and

the ‘live music capital of the world.’ Spend

cuisine from over 70 countries. The trendy

delve into Austin’s live music scene. Get

a few days relaxing in the Texas Hill Country

capitol of Austin is famous for barbecue and

off the beaten path and explore the natural

with a stay at an authentic guest ranch and

innovative food trucks. Historic San Antonio

wonders of Big Bend National Park, perched

go wine-tasting in idyllic Fredericksburg.

offers picturesque dining along the River

on the banks of the Rio Grande in the

Stroll the San Antonio River Walk before

Walk and the best Tex Mex in the country.

southwest corner of the state. Don’t forget

visiting the Gulf Coast cities of Corpus

Beer and sausages are on the menu in German-

to treat yourself to plenty of mouth-watering

Christi and Houston.

influenced Fredericksburg, but don’t miss

barbecue and fiery Tex-Mex to get a true

the 45+ local wineries that dot the region.

taste of Texas.




DEPARTS 18 AUG & 02 OCT 18

AU$1,335*/NZ$1,459* PP TWIN SHARE

AU$2,745*/NZ$2,995* PP TWIN SHARE

AU$4,589*/NZ$4,819* PP TWIN SHARE


Fort Worth








San Angelo Houston


Silver Spur Guest Ranch

San Antonio


Dixie Dude Ranch


San Antonio

Austin Houston San Antonio

Corpus Christi

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit *TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Prices are per person (pp) twin share based on low season travel. 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. Prices are correct as of 08 Feb 18. 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 AW 211513343













07 Jul; 18 Aug; 01, 15 & 29 Sep ‘18

30 Jun; 11 & 25 Aug; 08 Sep ‘18

20 Jun; 01 Aug ‘18 (10 nights); *11 night itinerary also available



TO BOOK, CONTACT YOUR TRAVEL AGENT OR VISIT ADVENTUREWORLD.COM *TERMS AND CONDITIONS Prices are per person, twin share, in AUD/NZD, based on cat 6 inside cabin, inclusive of port charges, standard gratuities aboard Star Clipper and applicable discounts. Bali free hotel stay is based on Alila Seminyak Hotel (or similar hotel) Studio room accommodation for two consecutive nights (pre or post cruise) including breakfast, 60 minute Balinese massage, and one-way transfer between airport & hotel and hotel & ship. Hotel room upgrades and additional room nights are available at additional charge. No credit is offered for unused services and no substitution is permitted. Special Offer is subject to availability at the time of booking and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Valid for new bookings only on select dates only as specified until sold out. Offer excludes guaranteed single fare, 3rd person and children rates. Offer is combinable with past passenger and back to back combination cruise discount. Credit card surcharges apply. For full terms and conditions, please visit Issue date 21 Feb 2018. AW213776922


A Different Path

Take the slow road on a self-guided European walking or cycling journey with Exodus Travels.


hether you choose to dip your toes in the ocean off Portugal’s lesser-known southern beaches, skip the cathedral visit to savour another glass of wine with friendly locals in Northern Italy’s world-class vineyards, or simply explore Austria’s stunning lakes by boat instead of bike, you’ll find an independent walking or cycling adventure with Exodus Travels to suit. With more than 43 years of expertise providing small-group culture, walking, cycling and responsible wildlife tours, Exodus Travels has recently added 85 new self-guided itineraries to its adventure portfolio. Each one is ideal for active travellers who love to explore independently, but simply don’t have the time to plan their route or search for the best hotels. This is the best way to ensure they get the most out of the destination’s history, culture, cuisine and great outdoors. Each itinerary has been personally tested by Exodus experts, which means globetrotters are free to take the lead



and determine where they want to go and what they want to see with comprehensive route directions in hand. Exodus provides the best recommendations for unique places to stay – historic castles, manors and farmhouses among them – delicious local lunch spots, picturesque resting places, top-notch wineries and excursion highlights to help explore special places of interest and little-known gems. Each self-guided itinerary is ideal for couples, families and groups of friends, and includes elegant and historic properties, detailed excursion routes, restaurant recommendations, high-quality support through Exodus’ local offices, 24-hour emergency access, and luggage transport. Travellers can enjoy sipping their way through some of Europe’s finest vineyards and breweries, while a wine service provides free pick-up of as many bottles as one pleases for delivery to a final destination, ready to be taken home where they will extend the memories of an incredible journey.


Walking Portugal's Land's End

Austrian Lakes Cycling

Portugal’s Land’s End is the beginning of an unforgettable self-guided walk through the Algarve region, with its contrast of inland trails and dramatic coastal paths. This eight-night journey takes travellers away from crowds of tourists to the unspoiled Sagres Peninsula, a stunning region of golden beaches, dramatic coastlines and idyllic countryside. Independent walkers will follow a mix of forest, valley and coastal trails, as well as some wonderful cliff-top routes on the south coast. Exploring this superb scenery by foot is the ideal way to spot birdlife in the area with endemic and migratory species passing through from Africa and Northern Europe.

The freedom of these leisurely rides along stunning lakes will have cyclists wanting to sing to the mountains as they take in the best of Austria’s cultural gems and history. Every stop brings new discoveries. There’s Mozart's museum in St Gilgen and Gmunden’s ‘floating’ castle, Seeschloss Ort. You’ll also see Mondsee's frescoed high street, including the church where the famous wedding scene in The Sound of Music was filmed. Regional highlights include Emperor Franz Josef's summer residence in Bad Ischl (he declared war on Serbia here, which led to World War I), an unforgettable journey below spectacular mountain peaks by paddle steamer on Lake Traun, and the chance to explore Salzburg itself. Along the way, cyclists have the option to take local buses and boats between delightful lakeside villages, making exploring even easier.

9 days | 8 nights From AU$1,975 / NZ$2,095 Barolo Gastronomic Cycling Tucked away in northern Italy, are the UNESCO-listed vineyards of Piedmont, and there’s no better way to take them in and indulge in gastronomic delights guilt-free than from a bicycle. Cyclists can take their time exploring the region brimming with softly rolling hills, worldclass wines and incredible hotels. The route starts in the lush hazelnut-fringed hills and follows quiet, traffic-free roads winding through terraces of swaying vines, past verdant pine forests and over rippling rivers to pretty hilltop hamlets and ancient castles. The region boasts an incredible array of fine wine towns, including Barbaresco and Barolo, both of which are ideal lunch stops. 9 days | 8 nights From AU$3,005 / NZ$3,155

9 days | 8 nights From AU$2,245 / NZ$2,355

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit

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On Top o f t h e World

In Canada’s spectacular Northwest Territories, you’ll discover untamed landscapes and skies that come alive.


ou come to this part of Canada to get away from it all. The Northwest Territories covers a huge area that encompasses mountains, boreal forest and arctic tundra, and few people live here. Visitors will find most of them in Yellowknife, the off-beat capital on the shores of Great Slave Lake. Here, you’ll discover world-class restaurants, amazing museums and fascinating festivals, as well as ample opportunity to explore the wild side of the Northwest Territories. It’s also where you’ll likely start your exploration of this enthralling part of the world. What to do next? Here are five extraordinary adventures to enjoy on your next visit to Canada’s Northwest Territories.



Nature’s Light Show Watch the dancing hues of the Northwest Territories’ natural wonder, the aurora borealis, during autumn and winter. Each season offers a unique experience, and your choice will depend on what you want to do during the daylight hours. From mid-August to early October is the autumn aurora, while the winter season lasts from late November to early April. At either of these times, if you stay for three nights, there’s a 99 per cent chance you’ll see the northern lights. You can choose to stay in Yellowknife, the aurora capital of the world, and travel out of town as darkness falls – there are a number of key viewing points on Highway 3 and the Ingraham


Lakes, Rivers and Mountains When the weather is a little warmer, there is a huge range of outdoor activities for those who like to get close to nature. Hiking is one of the most popular activities, particularly above the tree line in the Mackenzie Mountains and on the Canol Heritage Trail. But for anyone more likely to enjoy a simple day out tramping, there are excellent trails around Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith and Yellowknife. Whether you’re looking for white water or a gentle stream, kayaking and canoeing is popular. There are multiday adventures along the Coppermine or Nahanni Rivers, where you’ll see amazing falls and outstanding wildlife. Great Slave Lake is the perfect spot for those who like to catch their own lunch and, in winter, when it freezes over, it’s the setting for the month-long Snowking Festival, with its performances, music, film screenings and castle built completely from snow and ice. Trail. Another option is to book a break in a luxury wilderness lodge, some of which even have igloos or glamping facilities for sleeping out below the aurora. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll never forget the magic of the northern lights. Driving The Dempster Built in 1979, the 735-kilometre Dempster Highway takes you across mighty rivers on ferries, past magnificent mountain ranges and all the way through the Arctic Circle to Inuvik. From Inuvik, drive the new all-weather road to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean. Most people start in the Yukon at Dawson City and take a few days to head north, taking in parks and communities along the way. In summer, the highway is open from mid-June to mid-October and again in winter, from midDecember to end of April, when the road turns to ice. All On Ice There are plenty of other activities to pack into winter days in the Northwest Territories. For those who want to drive the ice roads, built each year so communities and mines can be resupplied throughout the coldest months, there are plenty of options, including a route north from Yellowknife to the Arctic coastline. You can also try ice fishing, snowmobiling, snow-shoeing and kite-skiing. Gone to the Dogs One of the most popular winter activities in the Northwest Territories is dog sledding. This was once one of the few ways people could travel a long distance when the snow set in. Now, you can either take a seat on a traditional toboggan and enjoy the ride, or learn to drive the experienced dog teams. You can even travel across frozen lakes and along trails by dogsled before settling in to a heated cabin to enjoy the dancing lights of the aurora.


4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS DEPARTS Selected dates 13 Jun – 7 Oct 2018 Remote, ecofriendly Blachford Lake Lodge is set within the Northwest Territories’ rugged wilderness overlooking Blachford Lake. Each season offers a unique experience. INCLUSIONS Three nights’ accommodation, some meals, return floatplane flights. FROM AU$3,385* / NZ$3,729* *Prices are per person, twin share. Terms and conditions apply.

To book a trip to the Northwest Territories at any time of year, contact your local travel agent or visit

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Kenya’s unique lodges Take wildlife viewing to the next level as you explore some of this extraordinary country’s most beautiful landscapes and relax at a series of exclusive lodges and camps.


ew places on earth conjure images of exotic wildlife and sweeping landscapes like Kenya. From a secluded corner in the hills of the country’s southeast to the mighty plains of the Maasai Mara, immerse yourself in its wilderness. Staying at intimate lodges, with conservation and the local community in mind, this is a unique way to experience this amazing place. DAY 1

NAIROBI – TSAVO WEST Today you are bound for a remarkable corner of Kenya. After the short flight from Nairobi to Tsavo West National Park, you will arrive at the secluded Ol Donyo Lodge, nestled in the verdant Chyulu Hills of southeastern Kenya. This boutique lodge features just eight thatch-roof suites, with each room offering sweeping views of the surrounding landscape and mighty



Mount Kilimanjaro. Located within a community ‘ranch’ owned by 4,000 Maasai, all of Ol Donyo’s lease and conservancy fees are paid directly to the communal landowners to support their efforts to actively protect the land. (L)(D) DAY 2–3

TSAVO WEST Situated amid a diversity of habitats, from dry savannah to green river woodlands and lush mountain forests, the landscape of Tsavo West offers a huge range of wildlife viewing. The higher elevation and lower temperatures of the hills bring magnificent flocks of resident and migratory birds. One of Africa’s largest herds of free-roaming elephants regularly visits the lodge’s watering hole. The dusty plains are prime territory for spotting giraffes, lions and even elusive leopards.


The wildlife is waiting for you and these two days are yours to explore. Enjoy early morning and early evening game drives in an open 4WD vehicle, guided bushwalks, night drives, hiking, horse riding, mountain biking and tracking. You can also view wildlife from the comfort of the lodge in an open-air hide, or sleep out in private ‘starbeds’. (B)(L)(D) DAY 4

TSAVO WEST – NAIROBI – MAASAI MARA Start the day with a final game drive en route to the airstrip for your flight to Nairobi, which will connect with a scheduled flight to the Maasai Mara. Upon arrival, settle in at the Mara Plains Camp. Designed by conservationists, the lodge was constructed to have minimal environmental impact – the goal is for it to become a part of the environment, rather than to stand out from it. Featuring just seven luxury elevated tents, Mara Plains Camp is one of the smallest and most intimate accommodation options in the region. Incorporating local Swahili and Maasai influences alongside colonial touches, the furnishings of the lodge are elegant and reflective of a bygone era. (B)(L)(D) DAY 5–6

MAASAI MARA When it comes to wildlife viewing at the Mara Plains Camp, you will be spoiled for choice. Guests can choose between game drives in the Maasai Mara National Reserve or in the privacy of the neighbouring Olare Motorogi Conservancy away from the crowds. The conservancy is a fabulous reserve of 14,000 hectares that is rich in wildlife, particularly big cats. The open 4WDs

have been designed for comfort and to maximise the viewing experience with only four to five guests per vehicle. Each morning choose your own adventure. Get an early start with a game drive at dawn when wildlife is most active or enjoy a leisurely soak in the deep copper bathtub in your tent – the choice is yours. Spend the rest of your day relaxing, tracking wildlife or visiting a local village before heading out for evening game drives. (B)(L)(D) Day 7

MASAI MARA – NAIROBI Enjoy a final early morning game drive before breakfast then transfer to the nearest airstrip for a scheduled flight to Nairobi. (B)



★★★★★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Independent HIGHLIGHTS • Game drives in the Masai Mara • ‘Starbed’ sleep-out • Intimate safari lodges away from the crowds INCLUSIONS Six nights’ accommodation, meals as indicated, house beverages, flights and scheduled game drives, park fees. FROM AU$8,210* / NZ$8,800* *Prices are per person, twin share, based on low-season travel. Terms and conditions apply.


b e yo nd

manhattan Discover the diverse regions of New York State, filled with natural beauty, amazing wine and much more. It’s all here. It’s only here.


et out of the five boroughs next time you visit New York and discover even more of the amazing sights this state has to offer. Whether you want to taste local wines or infuse your visit with some beachside charm, you’ll find it all here. These are five unique experiences you can only have in New York State.

1. CROSSING THE FALLS In the far northwest of the state, about a six-and-a-half-hour drive (or one-hour flight) from the city, you’ll find Niagara Falls. The three enormous drops of water that make up Niagara straddle the border between the USA and Canada, and are one of the most-popular attractions in both countries. See these amazing cascades and feel the spray on your face aboard the Maid of the Mist. It’s just as stunning from a distance, too. Cross the Rainbow Bridge into Canada – by foot is best – and from its arch you can stare straight at the falls.



2. A TASTE OF BUFFALO Also located in the state’s far northwest, Buffalo sits on Lake Erie's shore at the head of Niagara Falls. And it’s having a beer boom. Old factories are being repurposed to create breweries and they’ve brought a new vibrancy to the downtown and surrounds. Even if you’re short on time, be sure to hit the tap room at Big Ditch Brewing Company to sample beers like the 100% NY Pale Ale, produced from local malt and hops, and Resurgence Brewing Co to try some more experimental drops like Loganberry Wit and Peanut Butter Porter.

3. SHOP TILL YOU DROP Everyone knows that no trip to New York is complete until you’ve hit the shops. At Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets, located in Central Valley about 90 kilometres north of New York City, you’ll find more than 240 high-end designer fashion brands under one roof. Flip


spread out your towel on the pristine white sands of Main Beach or book a table at celeb-approved restaurants like Nick & Toni’s and Harbor East. Not really into the scene? The Hamptons are beautiful year-round, so make a break for the beach out of the season if you prefer to avoid crowds.

AT A GLANCE Northeastern Explorer

12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS DEPARTS 4 Aug and 10 Sep 2018 TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made

through the racks at Tory Burch, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Coach and more, each of which offers between 25 and 65 per cent off regular retail prices. If you’re ready to freshen up your wardrobe, this is the place to do it.

4. FOLLOW THE SENECA WINE TRAIL Fact: New York is the third largest wine-producing state in the USA, with many wineries concentrated in the Finger Lakes region, about five hours northwest of the city. The landscape is incredibly beautiful and home to more than a hundred wineries, many of which specialise in cool-climate aromatic white varieties, like riesling

and gewürztraminer, although you’ll find some delicious reds, too, including cabernet franc and pinot noir. Drop into places like Fox Run Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars and Anthony Road Wine Company on the Seneca Lake wine trail for tastings, winery tours and amazing views.

5. HIDE OUT IN THE HAMPTONS If you’ve ever watched a movie or TV show set in Manhattan, you’ll know that anyone who matters heads to the Hamptons on Long Island over summer. You’ll definitely want to join them. Visit Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner’s home, now turned into a museum,

HIGHLIGHTS Discover the best of the northeast: the natural wonders of Finger Lakes and Niagara Falls, cosmopolitan and historic cities, and a blend of cultures, from colonial New England to French Canadian INCLUSIONS 11 nights’ accommodation, sightseeing and transportation as specified, and services of a Grand American Adventures tour leader. FROM AU$4,049* / NZ$4,259* *Prices are per person, twin share. Terms and conditions apply.

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit

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ADVENTURE WORLD CARES Cruelty, confinement, neglect and abuse means millions of animals worldwide pay a heavy price for tourist entertainment - many even pay with their lives. Tourist activities that involve the mistreatment of animals exist for one reason: tourists choose to support them. Adventure World, in partnership with World Animal Protection, encourages our travellers to enjoy responsible and humane animal encounters.

We support the work of people who, like us, seek to protect the places we explore and who are creating initiatives that are driving positive change. Some of our most memorable and meaningful travel experiences come from encounters with the natural world. Whether you are encountering polar bears in the arctic or on safari in Africa, you can be assured that when you travel with Adventure World you are supporting responsible wildlife tourism.


World Animal Protection has been moving the world to protect animals since 1981. As the world’s leading animal welfare charity, they are active in more than 50 countries around the world. World Animal Protection has consultative status at the United Nations and Council of Europe.



Loop that takes in vineyards, producers of vegetables and herbs, and even a mill. On Sundays, stroll around the Milwaukie Farmers Market and stock up for a picnic at historic Luscher Farm.

(Port)land of Plenty

a taste of


In Portland, Oregon’s capital of quirk, you can taste it all. On a Bike and Brew Tour, sip on craft brews from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company and more. Tuck into handmade charcuterie from Olympia Provisions, fried chicken at Reel M Inn and the O Captain, My Captain, covered in vanilla frosting and Cap’n Crunch, at Voodoo Doughnut. For fine dining with a local twist head to Beast or Le Pigeon.



★★★ DEPARTS 20 Jun, 11 Jul, 8 Aug and 19 Sep 2018 TRAVEL STYLE Small-group trip

From cool-climate pinot noir to the most decadent donuts you can find anywhere, this is where foodie dreams come true.


amous for its New World wines, craft beer scene and all manner of sweet treats, there is a lot more to Oregon than you could ever imagine. Explore all Portland has to offer before heading towards the wine regions, beautiful coastline and mountainous interior for a tasty tour.

Willamette Valley wineries Its history only dates back about half a century, but hundreds of vineyards dot the Willamette Valley, running from Portland to Eugene. Here pinot noir is king, but you’ll also taste excellent chardonnay, pinot gris and riesling. Whether you’re interested in biodynamic wines or family-run vineyards, you’ll find an easy route to follow.

Seafood, eat food The Oregon coastline offers up fine clams, crabs and oysters, and you’ll find them on menus from Cannon Beach to Brookings. But for a closer interaction with your dinner, head to Lincoln City where you can join a crabbing or clamming clinic. Learn how to catch, identify, clean and cook your meal.

Coastal breweries Oregon’s north coast is a haven for craft beer lovers. Head to the port city of Astoria, and settle in for a pint of Trolley Stop Stout at Wet Dog Café & Brewery, the town’s oldest beer producer. Buoy Beer Co is one of the newer establishments. From its waterfront warehouse, you can taste freshly brewed Cream Ale or Mandarina Bavaria Single Hop IPA.

Farms on the city’s edge Just a short distance from Portland, you can follow the Farmlandia Farm

An exploration of the Pacific Northwest’s unrivalled beauty combined with some of the most imaginative craft beers in the country. HIGHLIGHTS • Local beer tastings with a professional guide • Crater Lake National Park • Portland and Seattle, urban gems of the Pacific Northwest INCLUSIONS Seven nights’ accommodation, meals as indicated, transportation and sightseeing as specified, beer aficionado guide. FROM AU$4,145* / NZ$4,525*

*Prices are per person, twin share. Terms and conditions apply.

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Explore the best of both worlds – from the ancient to the contemporary – on this tour of one of the Americas’ most fascinating countries.

ourney from Mexico City to Cancun following a trail of the most important archaeological sites of Mexico, including Chichen Itza and Palenque. Combine this with the colourful marketplaces of Oaxaca, local street food and the beach town of Playa del Carmen.

Located just northeast of modernday Mexico City are the ruins of Teotihuacan, an ancient Meso-American city dating back to 100 BC. Featuring a vast array of pyramids, palaces and temples, Teotihuacan represents some of the best preserved ancient ruins in the Americas and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Day 2 (B), Day 3 (B)

DAY 1–3




Founded in 1325 as the capital of the Aztec Empire, Mexico City has a long and varied history. A fitting place to start its exploration is the Zócalo, one of the largest public squares in the world. The Zócalo has been the nerve centre of Mexico City for nearly 700 years and, prior to the colonial period, served as the main ceremonial centre for the Aztecs when Mexico City was still known as Tenochtitlan.

This morning fly south to Oaxaca, the long-established culinary capital of Mexico. A visit to the Mercado de Comida will acquaint you with local street food specialties such as tlayudas, which are crispy tortillas piled high with beef, cheese and avocado. After you’ve had your fill of local delicacies, explore the unique handicrafts found in local markets and Oaxaca’s stunning colonial architecture. (B)




OAXACA Oaxaca has a strong indigenous heritage and the pre-Hispanic culture of the Zapotec people is evident to this day. Your discovery of ancient civilisations continues at Monte Alban, the ancient capital of the Zapotecs and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to Mitla, another Zapotec ruin famous for the intricate mosaic fretwork that covers tombs, panels and friezes. These mosaics are made with small, finely cut and polished stone pieces that have been fitted together without the use of mortar and are held in place solely by the weight of the stones around them. (B) DAY 6

OAXACA – VILLAHERMOSA Say farewell to Oaxaca before flying to Villahermosa via Mexico City. (B)


Uxmal. Its architecture is characterised by low palaces set around courtyards, decorated with symbolic motifs and sculptures depicting the long-nosed rain god Chaac. Later in the day, continue to Kabah to see the amazing Palace of Masks. (B)(L) DAY 10

MERIDA – PLAYA DEL CARMEN Travel by road to visit one of Mexico’s iconic archaeological sites, the 1500-year-old Mayan pyramids at Chichen Itza. After exploring the site, continue on to Playa del Carmen for a few days of relaxation on the Riviera Maya. (B)(L) DAYS 11–12



After exploring the cultural and archaeological highlights of Mexico, spend two days at leisure in Playa del Carmen. Snorkel, dive, enjoy local seafood and admire the white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. (B)


DAY 13

Today, travel deep into the jungle to visit the mysterious ruins of the Mayan city of Palenque. Dating from 226 BC, Palenque prospered as part of an inland trade route for the Mayan Empire before it was abandoned in the early ninth century. Left to the jungle for centuries, the ruins were uncovered by Spanish explorers in the 1520s. The site at Palenque is so vast it’s estimated that, despite nearly 500 years of exploration since its rediscovery, there may be upwards of a thousand buildings still hidden in the jungle. (B)



VILLAHERMOSA – MERIDA Transfer to Villahermosa Airport for your flight to Merida. Built upon the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of T’ho, modernday Merida dates back to 1542 and is home to one of the largest historic districts in the Americas. (B)

Transfer to Cancun Airport for your onward flight. (B)



★★★★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Independent HIGHLIGHTS • Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza • Culinary delights of Oaxaca • Jungle-covered ruins of Palenque INCLUSIONS 12 nights’ accommodation, meals as indicated, sightseeing with bilingual local guides, transfers and flights as specified.


FROM AU$3,425* / NZ$3,685*


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

One of the highlights of any visit to Merida is the archaeological site of

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to Go Five reasons why seeing Canada from the windows of Rocky Mountaineer is the best way to take in this majestic country.




t continues to be named as one of the world’s best destinations, by both travellers and travel experts, and Canada is 2018’s it country. Thanks to the awe-inspiring vistas showcasing sparkling lakes, snow-capped mountains and local wildlife, Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies remain at the top of many travellers’ bucket lists. With so much to see across the country, there is no better way to experience it than on a train, where you can relax in comfort as the scenery rolls by. Rocky Mountaineer, the luxury tourist train operating in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, is a unique way to take in everything this part of the world has to offer. There are as many reasons to travel by rail as there are trees in the lush Canadian forests. These are the top five.


Take in the scenery Part of our fascination with trains is their ability to go where cars and planes cannot, allowing you to see nature’s most magnificent and otherwise off-limits wonders up close. Travelling by train lets you enjoy the changing landscape, notice the little things out your window, and adventure through tunnels, up mountains and through woods in comfort (and without ever having to enter an airport). On board Rocky Mountaineer, take in the breathtaking Canadian Rockies and Pacific Northwest scenery from your seat, as well as from one of the outdoor vestibules in the GoldLeaf Service, which serve up fresh mountain air alongside the stunning vistas. There’s also the chance to settle inside a bi-level, glassdomed coach to take in even more immersive views. The gentle speed of around 50 kilometres an hour ensures you won’t miss a thing. A taste of Canada Rocky Mountaineer is the perfect setting in which to discover local flavours while being immersed in the beauty and history of the locales that produced them. All the food served on board reflects the regions and is truly Western Canadian. From Alberta beef to British Columbia potatoes, it is locally sourced wherever possible. Between meals, snack on trail mix, freshly baked cookies and gourmet cheese. Wines from British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, local craft beers and other complimentary beverages round out the authentic culinary experience. Make stronger connections Nature isn’t the only thing you'll connect with on board Rocky Mountaineer. One aspect of rail travel that has captivated people for generations is its ability to bond travel companions, as well as bring travellers together. One can’t help but wonder who’s sitting in the seat in front or behind and what stories they could tell. That’s especially true on Rocky Mountaineer, which draws passengers from around the world and all walks of life. Maybe it’s that travelling by luxury

train harkens back to a friendlier time, before smartphones and tablets, when people would talk to pass the time or get lost in their thoughts and reconnect with themselves. Be pampered in your seat On Rocky Mountaineer, expect to relive the days when wellheeled travellers would span the continent amid opulence and five-star service. Two premium levels of service, GoldLeaf and SilverLeaf, deliver similar luxury. Think reclining leather seats, outdoor vestibules, an elegant dining room separate from the seating on the glass-dome bi-level coaches for GoldLeaf Service passengers, and first-class treatment similar to the best from the golden age of travel. Hosts not only bring your meals and beverages, but also tell engaging tales of the history happening outside your window, so that every moment on board feels like service at its finest. Travel through time Rocky Mountaineer offers a rare opportunity to travel back in time. It is the only all-daylight passenger train to follow the historic route that united Western Canada with the east, passing by Canadian Pacific Railway’s last spike in Craigellachie, British Columbia. The luxury line rolls through engineering marvels, such as the Spiral Tunnels, and over impressive bridges. But don’t expect the carriages to be dusty relics – Rocky Mountaineer consists of dozens of state-of-the-art cars, with new GoldLeaf and SilverLeaf Service coaches currently in development. Modern luxury train travel isn’t so much about arriving at a destination, but rather sharing a timeless experience and gaining a new perspective. Rocky Mountaineer pairs the magic of train travel with the stunning Canadian scenery, giving you a chance to enjoy the journey of a lifetime.

To book, or for the latest offers, contact your local travel agent or visit

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A It’s one of the most remote places on Earth but, as Andrea Morgan discovers, Easter Island and its monolithic moai have a mystical attraction.

Rapa Nui Revealed



s a child, I remember gazing wideeyed at images of Easter Island. Where was this magical location? And what are the magnificent moai? Did I see one blink, its mouth move? After many years of dreaming and anticipation, I find myself on the most isolated of islands after a five-and-ahalf-hour flight from Santiago. Steeped in culture and history and with a diverse landscape, this is Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island. Despite the modern advantages of air travel, at some 3,700 kilometres from Chile, it is still one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Easter Island was given its name by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who “discovered” it on Easter Sunday 1722. Anthropological evidence and


radiocarbon dating, however, suggest indigenous Easter Islanders, or the Rapa Nui, landed on this isolated isle in about 400 AD. Originally from Polynesia, they were close relatives of the Mangarevans, from the Gambier Islands. While the local population of ethnically indigenous Rapa Nui and mainland South Americans has increased steadily – particularly during the past 20 years – it still remains compact, with full-time residents numbering just 5,000. The locals are wonderfully relaxed and welcoming, and make every effort to ensure guests enjoy the island’s natural and historical experiences. In 1995, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. The island combines a stunning natural landscape, unfettered by

modern development, and clan devotion by the locals that inspires each day of exploration. The community is concentrated in the main harbour coastal town of Hanga Roa, but it is the moai most visitors come to see. They are at once grand and delicate, stunning in their detail, and mesmerising in their scale. Clusters of moai, said to have been carved by hand from the volcanic quarry between 1400 and 1650 AD, are dotted all over the island and each tells its own story. It is believed each one represents the clan leader of its time, which means no two are alike. Signature locations on the island include Ahu Tongariki, home to 15 of the huge stone sculptures. With a strong coastal breeze whipping my hair about my face, I stand motionless staring into the faces of these deities, curious as to why they are positioned with backs to the ocean when other moai face seaward. As I hike along the stunning coastline, I meet two moai tilting from the ground as though laughing at a joke told an aeon ago. Continuing along the path, I hike up the volcanic rim of Rano Raraku and gaze into the caldera and the turquoise lake within. As I descend into the subterranean volcanic arteries known as Ana Te Pahu, I can’t help but imagine fleeing the slave traders who ravaged the island in the mid-nineteenth century, and pray Ahu Akivi, the seven explorers, will protect me. The history of the islands’ fauna, people and events is beautifully etched into stone petroglyphs here. As though interloping into the gods’ private sanctuary, I visit Anakena, a beach of pure white sand, palm trees, azure waters and an eerie serenity. This is the location for two of the most significant archaeological sites: Ahu Ature Huki, the mystifying and solitary moai with resplendently carved back tattoos, and the Ahu Nau Nau, who represent the Miru clan that founded the Rapa Nui civilisation during the early Middle Ages. Here, where the waves are now crashing, clan heroes of yesteryear bravely swam in competition around craggy rocks and through large swell and shark-infested waters in an annual festival famously known as the Birdman Cult Ceremony. A nod to this event is still

celebrated annually in February during Tapati Rapa Nui (it translates as Rapa Nui Week), where families compete in cultural competitions involving music, sculpture, sport, body painting, fishing and more. There is also a world to explore beneath the waves. There are more than 150 different species of marine wildlife in the surrounding waters, with scientists discovering about 25 per cent of them are endemic to the Island. Leave your watch at home on this journey. Be guided by the sunrise and sunset as the dramatic colour palette paints the sky over Ahu Tongariki. Eat when the incredible aromas of traditional recipes, such as umu tao (fish, chicken or pork wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in hot volcanic stones beneath the earth), cause your stomach to rumble. Allow your daily explorations to take you to the far corners and uncover the eternal mysteries of Easter Island.



★★★★★ DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Independent HIGHLIGHTS • Explora Rapa Nui, with its 30 rooms, swimming pool and open-air Jacuzzis, is located in a tranquil spot from which the island’s mysteries and dramatic isolation are in full view • Its award-winning architecture references both the island’s unique heritage and its vibrant present • More than 20 adventures that can be taken on foot, bicycle or boat allow guests to discover the island’s unique history and charm INCLUSIONS Three nights’ accommodation in a Varua room, all meals and beverages, daily explorations, transfers. FROM AU$3,070* / NZ$3,299* *Prices are per person, twin share, based on low-season travel. Terms and conditions apply.

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EXPLORE MALAYSIA From the bustle of Kuala Lumpur to remote corners of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo, Malaysia is a cultural melting pot waiting to be discovered.
















CALL 1300 295 049 OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT. QUOTE: NGTMY TO BOOK. *TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Prices are per person (pp) twin share based on lead in season. All care is taken to promote correct pricing at time of publication but is dependent upon availability and will be confirmed at time of reservation. 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 AW224400331

SMALL SHIP ADVENTURES Alaska | Pacific Northwest | Columbia & Snake Rivers Hawaiian Islands | Mexico | Costa Rica | Panama


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Offering a hands-on, small group experience to pave the way for up-close discoveries, UnCruise’s fleet of vessels are uniquely equipped for their distinct style of cruising and feature shallow drafts that allow exploration of areas that are inaccessible to larger ships. UnCruise’s innovative small ship adventures and river cruises provide an unbeatable combination of activity, culture, expertise, and unique encounters, coupled with exclusivity, attentive service, and time to experience a destination with only a few like-minded travellers.



Take to Canada’s north to marvel at these amazing creatures and the landscape in which they live.

Classic Polar Bear A




hen you're standing on the outdoor platform of a Polar Rover overlooking the vast tundra, the chill Arctic air feels invigorating. But not as much as the sight of the huge polar bear that wanders up alongside. Safely elevated above, you’re just metres away as you peer down at Earth’s largest land predator. DAY 1





WINNIPEG – CHURCHILL Fly by chartered plane to Churchill, a hospitable frontier town that was founded as a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post. Prepare for your first polar bear encounter during an evening presentation on these impressive carnivores and the northern environment by our professional naturalist staff. DAYS 3–5



Your polar bear adventure begins in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s prairie capital. Once a centre for the fur trade and a Canadian Pacific Railway boomtown, Winnipeg is now the cultural and commercial hub of central Canada.

Custom-built Polar Rovers are the means for getting out on the tundra and spending time among the bears. Although they accommodate up to 35 passengers, there will be a maximum of 17 on these excursions, ensuring everyone






has a window seat. The expedition leaders know the best places to observe the polar bears that congregate in the region each autumn as they wait for Hudson Bay to freeze, signalling the start of the winter seal-hunting season. From the warmth of the rover, look out for mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, or a lone bear ambling over the tundra in solitary majesty. The expedition leader interprets the bears’ behaviour and explains how they thrive in such a harsh environment. In the evenings, meet for dinner and presentations on wildlife and local cultures. When you’re not out looking for bears, explore the coast road on a drive to Cape Merry, where you’ll often spy Arctic fox and Arctic hare. Keep a close eye


out for them, as their snow-white coats offer excellent camouflage later in the season. If the skies are clear, night-time tundra excursions might reveal one of nature’s most exhilarating experiences – a chance to view the northern lights. Although never predictable or promised, the aurora often starts as a pale glow in the northern sky, then the lights begin to flicker and dance in shimmering curtains of colour, most typically green but occasionally red or violet. DAY 6




★★★ DEPARTS Selected dates, 13 Oct – 15 Nov 2018 TRAVEL STYLE Small-group trip HIGHLIGHTS • Close encounters with polar bears in their natural habitats • Tour historic Churchill • Wildlife and cultural presentations by experts

A highlight this morning is an authentic dog sled ride. Meet a local musher and his team, spending time with the lively and affectionate dogs before taking turns riding behind them on an exhilarating trot through the boreal forest. There’s time for a bit of shopping or an optional helicopter tour over the tundra before we depart. After a farewell lunch, fly back to Winnipeg, where a final reception concludes our adventure.

INCLUSIONS Round-trip flight from Winnipeg to Churchill, six nights’ accommodation, all meals, dog-sledding excursion, use of cold-weather gear including parka and boots, services of Natural Habitat’s professional expedition leaders, all activities/entrance fees, evening wildlife and cultural presentations, all taxes and service charges.


FROM AU$9,925* / NZ$10,659*


*Prices are per person, twin share. Terms and conditions apply.

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.

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Witness the majesty of Niagara Falls before

The ultimate Canadian winter experience,

Experience a spectacular rail journey

travelling on VIA Rail’s cross-country

enjoy a magical rail journey from the festive

through the snow covered Rockies before

service, from Toronto to Vancouver on the

lights of Vancouver to the snow-covered peaks

visiting the charming mountain towns of

‘Canadian’. Enjoy stunning winter scenery

of the Rockies before witnessing the Northern

Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.

from the prairies to the Pacific.

Lights in the Yukon.




AU$2,799*/NZ$3,035* PP TWIN SHARE

AU$2,775*/NZ$2,995* PP TWIN SHARE

AU$1,555*/NZ$1,679* PP TWIN SHARE




To book, contact your local travel agent or visit *TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Prices are per person (pp) twin share based on lead in season. All care is taken to promote correct pricing at time of publication but is dependent upon availability and will be confirmed at time of reservation. 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 AW210368914


WinningWinnipeg Manitoba’s capital might not be huge, but it’s big on personality. Check out the five reasons you should add it to your itinerary.


t’s known as the cultural cradle of Canada, with more than a hundred nationalities represented and a year-round programme of festivals and events. Whether you want to skate down a frozen river in winter or sip locally brewed craft beer on a patio in summer, you can find it all in Winnipeg. Taste sensation Winnipeg is known for its burgeoning food scene, and you can experience the best of it at The Forks Market. A meeting place for more than 6,000 years, it reflects the gamut of the city’s cultural diversity. Tuck in at stands like Bindy’s Caribbean Delights, Fusian Sushi and Taste of Sri Lanka. Aside from The Forks, Winnipeg has more than a thousand restaurants in the city alone. You’ll never have to eat at the same place twice.

Codes cracked When Dr Frank Albo questioned the presence of Egyptian sphinxes atop the Manitoba Legislative Building, he likely never imagined it would lead to one of the city’s most popular and mindboggling tours. The Hermetic Code takes you on an extraordinary journey into the mind of its architect and the order of freemasonry, revealing the art, symbolism and numerology that makes this building an astounding masterpiece in the city’s history. All about arts Winnipeg may be small, but it boasts a rich arts and culture scene. From museums to art galleries, indigenous culture to Ukrainian influences, there’s so much to explore within this vibrant hub. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is one of the world’s premier dance companies and it also produces ballet in the park every summer. There’s no forgetting the Royal MTC’s world-class theatre productions, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery can lay claim to one of the most expansive Inuit art collections in North America.

Grand designs Head to the Exchange District for North America’s grandest collection of heritage buildings. Beyond the Exchange, there is also the spectacular Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Royal Canadian Mint, St Boniface Cathedral and Esplanade Riel, which will leave you with lingering memories. Wild things If you’re on the lookout for polar bears, you can come face to face with these majestic beasts in the city’s Assiniboine Park Zoo. The award-winning ‘Journey to Churchill’ exhibit will not only introduce you to the lords of the Arctic, but will also reveal some of the province’s other spellbinding creatures, including snowy owls, arctic foxes, wolves and seals.

To make a booking, contact your local travel agent or visit

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ACROSS UTAH Follow the footsteps of prehistoric beings through an awe-inspiring landscape.


hether you’re a palaeontology novice or devoted enthusiast, this in-depth dinosaur-themed itinerary is a unique adventure through some of Utah’s most dramatic and stunning scenery. DAY 1

SALT LAKE CITY Welcome to Salt Lake City, Utah’s mountain capital and the starting point for your dinosaur adventure. DAY 2


SALT LAKE CITY – VERNAL Head Thanksgiving Point and the Museum of Ancient Life, where you’ll experience hands-on interactive displays, expansive murals and a working palaeontology lab. In Provo, the Brigham Young University Museum of Paleontology is world renowned for its late Jurassic and early Cretaceous dinosaur fossils collected from across Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. DAY 4



Drop in at the Natural History Museum of Utah, a superb showcase of the state’s natural wonders. Later, drive to the George S Eccles Dinosaur Park, which features 125 life-size outdoor dinosaur sculptures.

Start your day at Dinosaur National Monument, where you can view more than 1,500 dinosaur bones that are embedded or partially exposed in the side of the mountain. Well-preserved petroglyphs made roughly a millennium



ago by the Fremont people form a fascinating part of the monument. Many of the depictions are instantly recognisable as birds, snakes, sheep and people, but their exact purpose remains a mystery. Further on, stop at the Utah Field House of Natural History, home to a 27-metre replica of a Diplodocus that was found in the area. DAY 5

VERNAL – MOAB Your journey to Moab will take you past the Prehistoric Museum in Price, where you can view eight complete dinosaur skeletons, as well as dinosaur eggs. Later, visit the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, home to the world’s greatest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur bones – more than 12,000 have been uncovered here over the past century.



MONUMENT VALLEY – KANAB Pass the western tip of Lake Powell and skirt the southern edge of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The National Monument Interpretive Center in nearby Big Water was built in the form of an ammonite fossil. DAY 10

KANAB – ST GEORGE Your route today will take you past Zion, Utah’s first national park. Stop and hike the famous Narrows or, if you’re feeling brave, ascend 450 metres on the vertigo-inducing Angels Landing trail for a panoramic view of the park. DAY 11

ST GEORGE – LAS VEGAS Your final dinosaur destination is the Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson’s Farm with 2,000 of the oldest, best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. DAY 12

LAS VEGAS Your dinosaur adventure finishes this morning. Depart for the airport or extend your stay in Las Vegas.


MOAB Most famous for its proximity to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Moab also features some of Utah’s best dinosaur attractions. The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail and Copper Ridge Dinosaur Trackway are excellent hiking trails that follow dinosaur footprints through open country. At Moab Giants, participate in a real fossil dig in the sandboxes alongside the track. DAY 7

MOAB – BLANDING Blanding’s Dinosaur Museum has skeletons, fossilised skin and eggs, footprint casts and realistic sculptures among its displays. This area also has a well-documented record of early human habitation, and the Edge of

the Cedars Museum features a large collection of ancestral Puebloan pottery and an authentic Puebloan village. Hovenweep National Monument is home to six villages indicating 10,000 years of human settlement. DAY 8

BLANDING – MONUMENT VALLEY Enjoy the scenic drive to Monument Valley via Natural Bridges National Monument, which has three of the largest rock arches in the world. Later stop at Goosenecks State Park and see where the San Juan River has carved deep gorges into the plateau. Your final destination is the iconic Monument Valley. Watch the sun set over the landscape made famous by John Ford in his classic Hollywood films, including Stagecoach and The Searchers.


★★★ DEPARTS Daily, 20 May – 15 Sep TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS • See thousands of years of history at Dinosaur National Monument • Stand in awe of the landscape at Monument Valley • Follow dinosaur tracks in Moab INCLUSIONS 11 nights’ accommodation, 11 days’ car rental, maps, driving instructions and information pack. FROM AUD$1,845* / NZD$2,015* *Prices are per person, twin share, based on low-season travel. Terms and conditions apply.

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DISCOVER UTAH’S NATIONAL PARKS Marvel at stunning landscapes of towering cli�s, deep canyons and ancient rock formations. Utah is yours to explore.
















CALL 1300 295 049 OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT. QUOTE: NGTUTAH TO BOOK. *TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Prices are per person (pp) twin share based on lead in season. All care is taken to promote correct pricing at time of publication but is dependent upon availability and will be confirmed at time of reservation. 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 AW221196277







Since the first international tourist expedition to Galápagos in July 1967 with Lars-Eric Lindblad, we’ve introduced generations of guests to these strange and wonderful islands, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sailing twice weekly, all year round, experience the magic and mystery of Galápagos — the best islands in the world. Quote NGTFLYFREE to book.

Contact your travel agent or visit


1300 295 049 | AW 209133088

A family affair… We at The Travel Corporation, Adventure World’s parent company, have been creating enriching travel and hospitality experiences for over 100 years. As a fourth-generation, family owned business, we provide a rich tradition of expertise, delivering exceptional hospitality, outstanding quality and superb value no matter which of our companies you choose to travel and stay with. Whether you choose to discover an insider experience with Trafalgar, set sail with Uniworld boutique river cruises, the world’s most luxurious river cruise line, stay in some of the world’s best hotels with the Red Carnation Hotel collection or share the gift of travel with your children or grandchildren so they can try our amazing youth brand Contiki, we are confident that there is an option that fits your lifestyle.

YOUR LOYALTY IS REWARDED If you are a previous Travel Corporation guest you can avail of a great range of past traveller rewards from a number of our sister companies. Simply visit to find out more.


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 2018/19 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.



TRANSFORM YOUR JOURNEY PXC 550 Wireless. Upgrade to First Class. Travel with unparalleled sound quality – deep, crisp, powerful – with wireless freedom and up to 30 hours of battery life. Make calls with unrivalled triple microphone array which delivers crystal clear speech clarity. Listen uninterrupted in every environment with Adaptive Noise Cancellation, NoiseGard™.

M10618 ngt01 18 singles final 2018  
M10618 ngt01 18 singles final 2018