Inspiring Vacations – September/October 2021

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UNDERRATED TRAVEL Waiheke, New Zealand

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Northern Lights

ISLAND HOPPER Queensland

HOLIDAY AT HOME Northern Territory

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ALASKA’S FINEST CATCH The Last Frontier’s must-see gems


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Inspiring Vacations has been globally recognised and awarded for it’s handling of COVID-19 during the pandemic. We have adopted the advice of the WHO to ensure all customers can travel with the knowledge of how to travel safely and with confidence.

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FROM THE CEO

WELCOME To our Inspiring Vacations customers and community, Welcome to the September/October bumper issue of Inspiring Vacations magazine! This issue is all about unforgettable travel experiences: the bucket-list trip to see the Northern Lights, the places to visit on your oncein-a-lifetime Alaskan adventure, and the islands just waiting to be explored on Australia’s east coast. We’ll take you on a journey to New Zealand’s secret hideaway and our new series exploring popular tour highlights continues with a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Be sure to keep sharing your incredible travel pictures, and remember to tag #inspiringvacations across any of our social media platforms for your chance to win a $100 e-gift card. Congratulations to this issue’s winner, Peter! As always, please get in touch to share your thoughts – your feedback is very important to us! You can email us at magazine@inspiringvacations. com or phone 1300 88 66 88. If you’re enjoying the magazine – please share with your friends and family. See you next issue.

Paul Ryan CEO

COVER PHOTO: CANOEING IN AL ASKA . AT TILIO PREGNOL ATO/SHUT TERSTOCK

CONTENTS 01 03 05 07 09 10 15 20 26 32 36 38

WELCOME A note from our CEO WHAT’S ON Sep/Oct events, online & offline

INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE Editor Vanessa Mulquiney

10

Art Director SIXTWO Creative Contributors Emily Humphrey, Emma Calley

IN THE KNOW Travel news from around the world FIVE OF THE BEST Flower festivals

15

SPOTLIGHT Cappadocia UNDERRATED TRAVEL Waiheke, New Zealand

Marketing & Advertising Laura Coop Contact For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email magazine@ inspiringvacations.com or phone 1300 88 66 88 (AU)

BUCKET LIST Northern Lights ISLAND HOPPER Queensland COVER STORY Must-see Alaska gems HOLIDAY AT HOME Northern Territory Q&A Johannes Lekoloane, Tour Leader ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER A visit to Denali National Park, Alaska

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32 Inspiring Vacations Magazine is published bimonthly by Inspiring Vacations (ABN 22 623 610 711), Level 2, 420 St Kilda Rd Melbourne VIC 3004. © 2021. All rights reserved. Articles express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Inspiring Vacations.

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INSPIRING KIMBERLEY & KAKADU 14 DAY TOP END ADVENTURE BROOME • KUNUNURRA • DARWIN

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Kakadu NP

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• Transportation included as per the itinerary Horizontal Falls Willie Creek

• In depth day tours and incredible sightseeing, visit the Horizontal Falls by sea and air, fly to the Bungle Bungle, witness crocodiles in Kakadu and see the spectacular falls of Litchfield National Park

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CALENDAR

WHAT’S ON

PHOTOS: REGATA STORICA DI VENEZIA /FACEBOOK ; BUDAPEST BORFESZTIVAL / FACEBOOK; BEN FASHAM, ENTWINED, SCULPTURE BY THE SEA /GARETH CARR; WH IT E N IGH T BEN DIGO/FAC E BO O K

No matter where you are in the world, there’s plenty of events - both online and offline - to enjoy

Western Australia NOW–SEP 5 SHINJU MATSURI

Celebrate the unique culture, community and pearling history of Broome at the colourful 51st annual Festival of the Pearl.

Hungary

Queensland

SEP 23–26 BUDAPEST WINE FESTIVAL

OCT 8–10 & 15–17 OKTOBERFEST BRISBANE

Taste your way through the most beautiful wine festival in Europe, returning to Buda Castle for its 30th year. Held on the banks of the Danube River for four unforgettable days of wine, food and music.

Don your Lederhosen or dirndl dresses and head to the Brisbane Showgrounds for Australia’s biggest authentic German celebration.

Italy SEP 5 REGATA STORICA DI VENEZIA

On the first Sunday of September, a spectacular ceremonial parade down the Grand Canal marks the start of Regata Storica, the most traditional event in Venice’s rowing calendar.

Victoria OCT 2 WHITE NIGHT BENDIGO

Light up your night as the public and private spaces of Bendigo are transformed by stunning displays of light in a vibrant celebration.

New South Wales OCT 21–NOV 7 SCULPTURE BY THE SEA

The world’s largest free to the public exhibition returns to the shores of Bondi Beach, with over 100 sculptures lining the iconic Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk.

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GET SOCIAL

LIKE. FOLLOW. SHARE.

We love our customers sharing their travel photos and memories with us! Use #InspiringVacations when posting your photos on social media and you could appear on this page and be in the running to win a $100 gift card! WINNER

RUNNER UP

N ynda que, L s o M n II Hassa

I was in awe of the beauty, the size and stunning colours of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.

Peacock , Peter M RUNNER UP

This photo was taken in Yala National Park Sri Lanka in February 2020. The peacock is displaying his plumage; fortunately I was at the right place at the right time to get this colourful photograph.

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Gol den Pav ilion , Di ane M

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This is the Golden Pavilion in Nara, Japan. I love the reflections of the temple and trees in the water – it was a very serene and peaceful place.

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TRAVEL NEWS

IN THE KNOW What to do, see and where to play

The show goes on

Broadway is back! A much loved New York staple, the theatres of Broadway are opening their doors for the first time since the pandemic first struck in March 2020. New productions will premiere alongside returning world-renowned classics including Hamilton, Wicked, Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and countless others.

Colosseum’s Secret Tunnels An exciting new experience is awaiting your next trip to Rome! A newly complete major restoration project has transformed the Colosseum, unveiling the original underground tunnels that criss-cross beneath the arena. Open now for the first time to the public, these underground chambers and labyrinth of passageways offer a sneak peek to an age when crowds would gather to watch gladiator fights.

PHOTOS: S AMPHIRE ROT TNEST/FACEBOOK ; ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PI CTURES/ FACEBOOK.

Movie Magic

Enter the world of movie magic with Los Angeles' newest attraction; the Academy’s Museum of Motion Pictures. Opening September 30, the museum is a celebration of the artists, science and history spanning the decades of cinematic history. Take a day to wander past iconic movie props and six floors of revolving exhibitions to uncover the stories behind the silver screens.

Sun, surf, sand, quokka

Find your perfect summer destination only a quick ferry ride from Perth, Western Australia. There’s no better way to explore Rottnest Island than an overnight stay. And, with the opening of the Samphire Rottnest hotel, you’ll be at the very heart of the adventure. Situated right in Thomson Bay, guests can unwind by the pool, sip a cocktail at the beach or venture out to discover the delights of Rottnest Island with its permanent residents...the quokka!

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Escape

AND RECONNECT AT SEA

Stop daydreaming about getting away and start planning today. An exciting new world is waiting to be explored, and there’s no better way to do it than aboard the award-winning Celebrity Eclipse®.

Now, the following are Always IncludedSM to ensure you have everything you need for an unforgettable holiday.*

DRINKS PACKAGE INCLUDED WI-FI INCLUDED SERVICE CHARGES INCLUDED

FEATURED SAILINGS

11-NIGHT GREAT BARRIER REEF CRUISE

3 November 2022 Fares from $2,638 per person†

13-NIGHT NEW ZEALAND CHRISTMAS CRUISE

20 December 2022 Fares from $4,089 per person†

9-NIGHT AUSTRALIAN WINE CRUISE

7 February 2023 Fares from $2,448 per person†

TO LEARN MORE AND BOOK, CALL INSPIRING VACATIONS AT 1300-88-66-88 OR VISIT INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM Health and safety protocols, guest conduct rules, and regional travel restrictions vary by ship and destination, and are subject to change without notice. Due to evolving health protocols, imagery and messaging may not accurately reflect onboard and destination experiences, offerings, features, or itineraries. These may not be available during your voyage, may vary by ship and destination, and may be subject to change without notice. †Prices are per person, in Australian Dollars, cruise only, apply to select sailings, are based on double occupancy, reflect any promotional savings, and are inclusive of all taxes and fees (which are subject to change). Prices shown are for the lowest inside, staterooms available. Pricing is correct as of 31 May 2021. *“Always Included” pricing packages apply to sailings booked and departing on or after November 18, 2020, excluding Galapagos cruises, in an inside through AquaClass® stateroom (“Eligible Bookings”). All guests in an Eligible Booking who choose the “Always Included” pricing package will receive a Classic Beverage Package, an Unlimited Surf Internet Package, and service charges included. All guests in a stateroom must choose the same pricing package. Visit celebritycruises.com/au or celebritycruises. com/nz for complete details. ©2021 Celebrity Cruises Inc. Ships’ registry: Malta and Ecuador.


FIVE OF THE BEST

PHOTOS: RIVERL AND ROS E & GARDEN FESTIVA L ; TESS EL A A R TUL IP F ESTIVAL ; TOOWOOMBA CARNIVAL OF FLOWERS/NIGEL HALLET T; KINGS PARK FESTIVAL SH ERWO O DS IMAGES/FAC E BO O K; FLO R I ADE .

FLOWER POWER Spring has sprung and floral festivities abound

Riverland Rose & Garden Festival October 15–24

WORDS BY EMILY HUMPHREY

On the banks of the beautiful Murray River, South Australia’s laidback Riverland region turns it on for this ten-day festival. The town of Renmark – home to Australia’s largest rose garden – offers something for every taste: open gardens, displays and exhibitions, demonstrations and cocktail nights. Speaking of taste, this happens to be excellent wine country. Cheers!

Tesselaar Tulip Festival September 11 – October 10 Step into wonderland with a visit to the tulip farm in Silvan, nestled in the Dandenong Ranges. There are a variety of tulips – nearly a million bulbs, in fact – on dazzling display, open daily during this month-long festival. It’s the full experience: replica Dutch windmills, clog dancing workshops and traditional Dutch foods. There’s also live entertainment, market stalls, tractor rides and children’s weeks to coincide with the school holidays, with free entry for children and croquet, train rides and a petting zoo.

Floriade September 11 – October 10

Kings Park Festival September 1–30

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers September 1–30

Over one million blooms transform our nation’s capital into a spring spectacle for Floriade. This month-long free event centres on Commonwealth Park, but an additional 300,000 bulbs and annuals will drench the suburbs in colour this year. There are workshops, talks, cooking classes, sculptures, markets, rides, a Ferris wheel and live entertainment, including NightFest for one weekend. Originally conceived as a one-off floral display in 1988, Floriade is now Australia’s premier floral event, in fact it’s the largest in the southern hemisphere. If you can’t make it to Canberra, there’s a slew of videos and even a podcast to enjoy.

Western Australia is renowned for its abundant displays of native wildflowers, with more than 12,000 species blooming across the state (from north to south) between June and November. In Perth’s Kings Park, you’ll find more than 3,000 Western Australian plant species in full bloom at this annual festival held during the month of September. A drenching of bright wildflowers is the perfect dressing on this serene sanctuary, one of the largest inner-city parks in the world, covering 400 hectares of Perth. There are dozens of free events like family activities, guided walks and talks, most of them taking place in the botanic garden.

Find out why the regional city of Toowoomba (just under two hours from Brisbane) is known as the Garden City. Running since 1949, the city’s proud Carnival of Flowers is a monthlong event this year, not the usual ten days. Creativity and colour abound, with a smattering of locations in full bloom and food trucks, workshops, a cinema under the stars and a floral parade on the 18th. Live music reigns at the (ticketed) Festival of Food and Wine on September 10–11. There’s even a dogfriendly program.

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HOLY LAND EXPERIENCE 8 DAY ULTIMATE ISRAEL GROUP TOUR TIBERIAS • JERUSALEM • TEL AVIV

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• Daily breakfast • English-speaking knowledgeable guide on all touring days • Arrival and departure airport transfers and transportation as outlined in the itinerary • Incredible sightseeing including visiting Jaffa, Megiddo, Church of the Annunciation, Wedding Church in Cana, Beit Shean, Qumran Caves, cable car in Masada and experience Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Dead Sea

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Sea of Galilee Nazareth 2 Tiberias Jordan River Beit She’an Jaffa 2 Tel Aviv 4 Jerusalem

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TOUR NOTES

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UP, UP & AWAY

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PR E S S PL AY PR E S S PL AY

WORDS BY: EM ILY HUMPHREY

Floating above Cappadocia’s surreal, lunar-like landscape is a pinch-me moment appadocia is famous for its unique landforms: deep valleys, swirling volcanic-rock landscapes, fairy chimneys that change colour with the sunset, hotels and houses carved into rock. It’s an enchanting, peculiar land, also known for its labyrinthine underground cities. Of course this area, although spectacular at any angle, is renowned for its hot air balloon flights. Early birds can take to the sky over the otherworldly Cappadocian landscape as the sun rises, over the fairy chimneys and down to the canyons dotted around Göreme. The variety of altitudes makes for fascinating perspectives of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, from a bird’s eye view of the valley networks to low-level ballooning that sees you gliding just metres from the walls and ground. Taking off with the sun makes for brilliant photo opportunities during golden hour; rock-hewn beauties bathed in a surreal glow. You’ll drift silently above these formations for a couple of hours in the stillness. The silence (bar the gas jets firing) only adds to the experience. Although a year-round activity, balloon rides are weather dependent as the skies need to be clear and still. Basket sizes vary but there is plenty of room for everyone to get a spectacular view – an ‘edge of the basket’ experience.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO TURKEY? PR E S S PL AY PR E S S PL AY

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Balloons before launch in Göreme National Park; Watching balloons at sunrise INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 9


SLUG | SLUG

Make a Waihekend of it

PHOTO: XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX

Auckland’s island escape is the perfect all-rounder

10 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021


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UNDERRATED TRAVEL | NEW ZEALAND

aiheke Island may be just a short and scenic 40-minute ferry ride from the centre of Auckland’s central business district, but on arrival the picturesque wine-lover’s paradise feels like it’s a world away. Surrounded by the waters of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Waiheke Island has long been a haven for free spirits, artists and Auckland families on beach holidays. These days, Waiheke is a favourite island getaway for Aucklanders attracted to beautiful white sandy beaches and historic sites, a thriving food scene, an eclectic mix of artists, an extensive list of boutique and luxury accommodation, brazen architectural delights and some of New Zealand’s most coveted vineyards and wineries. Waiheke Island may be New Zealand’s thirdmost populated island but with a permanent population of around 9,000 and only 92 km2 land area, it’s hardly overcrowded.

ISLAND OF WINE With approximately 216ha of vineyards and 30 wineries, Waiheke Island is one of New Zealand’s award-winning wine-growing regions. Known for producing flavoursome drops from mainly cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc and chardonnay grape varieties, Waiheke wines are enhanced by the stony soil that lies beneath and the sea breeze that surrounds. With a dry, sunny microclimate, the island has earned the affectionate title ‘Island of Wine’. Most wineries and vineyards on Waiheke have cellar doors, many with on-site cafés or restaurants that can be explored on dedicated wine tours or even by bike or scooter, making the island the perfect getaway for wine and food lovers. Waiheke’s compact size makes it a perfect destination for a day-trip or weekend break and the choices, when it comes INSPIRED to wine tasting or tempting the palate TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND? with gourmet cuisine and locally grown Check out our produce, are endless. tours here Wineries like the Provence-style Mudbrick offer uninterrupted views of Rangitoto Island in the Waitematā Harbour, and a chance to view Auckland’s cityscape from afar. Stonyridge, nestled amongst a swathe of olive groves, is dedicated in its quest to produce New Zealand’s finest cabernet blends and offers a taste of the south of France with a distinctly Kiwi twist. Have a tasting at Batch Winery, a fine example of outstanding contemporary New Zealand architecture, enjoy fine dining at elegant Tantalus Estate, or taste and nibble at relaxed Te Motu.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Looking down from a hill on Waiheke Island; Mudbrick Winery; Waiheke Island; Waiheke Island INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 11


UNDERRATED TRAVEL | NEW ZEALAND

ISLAND ADVENTURES The island might be best known as a must-do for wine enthusiasts, but the numerous white sand beaches also make Waiheke a great place to relax, unwind or make the most of on the water activities. Many Waiheke beaches offer perfect conditions for swimming and the beautiful coastline, small bays and marine wildlife are easily explored by kayak, boat and stand up paddle LOVE NEW boarding (SUP). ZEALAND? WATCH OUR From land to sea, nature is never out FACEBOOK LIVE of sight on Waiheke and one of the best HERE ways to experience it is from above. PR E S S PL AY PR E S S PL AY EcoZip Adventures Waiheke gives an altogether different experience of the island, allowing visitors to fly through the trees on flying fox zip lines, or keep their feet firmly on the ground with an eco-walk through ancient New Zealand forest, exploring native New Zealand flora and fauna and the history of this special island. At the eastern end of Waiheke a historic adventure awaits. Stony Batter Historic Reserve is a labyrinth of underground tunnels – originally dug by hand – dating back to WWII, complete with gun emplacements. Named for the surrounding dramatic rocky outcrops and rugged landscape, a short walk allows visitors to learn about Stony Batter’s fascinating history, while experiencing some of the island’s most stunning landscapes.

There are plenty of accommodation options on Waiheke to suit all styles and budgets. Sitting above the expansive sun-kissed bay and white sandy beaches of Oneroa, the closest of Waiheke’s towns to the incoming and outgoing Auckland ferries, is The Boatshed. With five guest suites, two bungalows and the newly opened owner's villa, the Boatshed is a modern take on the Kiwi bach (beach cottage) and offers a luxury, quintessential Kiwi experience. In the heart of Oneroa, The Oyster Inn is a quirky seafood restaurant where visitors can shop and stay all in one place. Founded by former London fashion and entertainment executives, Andrew Glenn (Louis Vuitton, Topshop) and Jonathan Rutherfurd Best (designer) this boutique accommodation oozes New Zealand sophistication and style. The three guest rooms are simple yet elegant and the on-site restaurant offers a tantalising selection of freshly caught seafood with top local produce. Those wanting to arrive at the Oyster Inn in style can take a seaplane from Auckland’s city harbour. Auckland Seaplanes take visitors soaring over Rangitoto – Auckland’s most prominent volcanic landmark – before landing on Oneroa Beach ready for a feast of the senses to begin. They also fly regularly to Man O’ War Bay for lunches at the beachside vineyard restaurant. 12 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

STORY & IMAGES COURTESY OF TOURISM NEW ZEAL AND

BOUTIQUE DELIGHTS


WAIHEKE’S EVENTS Experience a real taste of the island by taking in an event – from weekend markets where fresh produce and locally crafted gifts can be found, to the spectacular biennial art festival Headland Sculpture on the Gulf (March 2022) – a two-kilometre coastal walkway featuring a diverse mix of sculptures created by New Zealand artists. The Waiheke Walking Festival (5-21 November) is the perfect way to explore the island on foot with guided walking tours, while keen runners might prefer the Wharf to Wharf Fun Run (January), or the Waiheke Half Marathon (May). Celebrate the island’s good food and great wine with the Waiheke Wine and Food Festival in May, held over three days at more than 10 vineyards. Every Easter, the Jazz Festival comes to town, bringing good music and vibes over the long weekend. The Waiheke Island Garden Safari (November) is a self-drive or cycle event that shows off the island’s most interesting gardens, along with workshops and events. Year round, the Waiheke Ostend Market every Saturday morning is a favourite with locals and weekenders alike.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Stony Batter; Waiheke Island; The Oyster Inn

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NEW ZEALAND RAIL JOURNEY 20 DAY NORTH AND SOUTH EXPLORER

AUCKLAND • PAIHIA • WELLINGTON • KAIKOURA • CHIRSTCHURCH • MT COOK • QUEENSTOWN WANAKA • FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

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YOUR 20 DAY NEW ZEALAND RAIL JOURNEY INCLUDES: • 19 nights in 3 and 4-star accommodation • Travel on board the TranzAlpine, Northern Explorer and Coastal Pacific trains (conditions apply); Cruise between Wellington and Picton on the Interislander scenic ferry; 8 days Hertz Group D car rental • Included guided day tours as per the itinerary

We had the best holiday we have ever had. Starting with Inspiring Vacations, their advice was excellent, they kept us informed with all new travel advice and they were always very helpful.

1 Bay of Islands 4 Auckland

Waitomo

• Enjoy the flexibility of independent travel

Picton

• Incredible sightseeing, visit Bay of Islands, Waitomo and Hobbiton, travel on some of the world’s most scenic rail journeys, go whale watching and visit New Zealand’s famous glaciers and national parks

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BUCKET LIST | NORTHERN LIGHTS

Chasing Lights Witness the greatest light show on Earth

INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 15


A

urora borealis, or the northern lights, are one of planet Earth’s magical wonders. Waves of bright colours – greens, pinks, or perhaps blues and reds – emit an eerie glow of light in the winter sky. They may appear as laser beams shooting across the sky like a battle in a sci-fi movie or like rivers of light flowing up into the sky. They may seem like scattered clouds, dancing in the night breeze, or like a vast sky-colour curtain being pulled open. A tear in the sky, a blotch on the night, whatever their colour and shape, if you’re lucky enough to see these natural phenomena then it is something you’ll never forget.

How are they created? The northern lights are created when gas particles from earth collide with charged particles from the sun. The sun’s powerful energy is usually refracted away from earth due to its powerful magnetic field but at both the North and South poles, where the magnetic field is weaker, the solar winds break through, colliding with our natural gasses to cause these colourful explosions. Different types of gas particles in the air create different colours in the sky. Green is created by the collision of oxygen particles that are found around 100km above earth. Nitrogen particles produce a blueish purple aura and the collision of very high-altitude oxygen, at around 300km above Earth, creates a red colour. Green is the most common, with the blues, yellows and purples also often visible. The burning red colour, the rarest of them all, is not often seen because of the high altitude in which it is created. When viewed from space, the aurora looks like a giant green crown sitting on top of the Arctic Circle with red gems sparkling on top. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO NORWAY PR E S S PL AY PR E S S PL AY

FIRST PAGE: Dancing under the northern lights; CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Observe the lights from the comfort of an igloo; Lofoten is situated just beneath the Auroral Oval, a belt of light that encircles the geomagnetic poles and provides some of the best chances of seeing the northern lights; Viewing the spectacular northern lights colours 16 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021


PHOTO: XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX

BUCKET LIST | NORTHERN LIGHTS

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Where is the best place to see them? The north coast of Norway is arguably the best place in the world to see the northern lights. This is because Norway sits below the Auroral Oval. The Oval almost follows the line of the Arctic Circle, the ring that encircles the North Pole at a distance of 2,600km. Although it is said that you should be above 55 degrees north to witness them clearly, the lights have been spotted much further south. In fact, during a couple of seriously strong solar flares last century they were spotted as far south as Hawaii. Most expeditions to see the lights might involve a journey, on foot, by car, snowmobile or boat to the highest, darkest or most remote area possible but whether you’re keen to see the lights from sea, from up high, or from INSPIRED within a forest, there are options for everyone. TO VISIT Lapland, Lofoten, Tromsø and the North Cape are NORWAY? Check out our some of the best places to witness the lights on the tours here Arctic Circle. The remoteness of these areas, and therefore the lack of light pollution, combined with the long dark winters make them seem to glow even Although it is impossible to predict when the more brightly. lights will show, there is a higher chance of seeing Lapland is the home of the Sami people and here in the them during the dark cold winter nights, between north of Finland, you can stay in one of the many igloos with October and March, from 6pm and 1am. They are as clear roofs that allow you to stare up at the sky from the changeable as the weather so there is no guarantee that comfort of your bed. they will be on display. Scientists do know that there is a link The North Cape is the most northerly point of Europe. The between the solar flares and the lights. When there is an hardiest of Arctic explorers can travel out by snowmobile to increase in solar activity and solar flares are stronger, they’re try to catch a glimpse of the lights from the top of the cliffs more likely to collide with earth’s molecules – which means overlooking the Barents Sea. the exploding light will be brighter. A peak sunspot cycle will Above the Arctic Circle and right on the Atlantic coast, next occur in 2024, making the probability of seeing them Tromsø is nestled among the forests and fjords of the west then significantly higher. So, wrap up warm, grab a hot berry coast of Norway, presenting nature’s true intended backdrop. juice and prepare to be enthralled. The archipelago of Lofoten is the most westerly point of Norway, where just a finger of land points out towards the Atlantic. Fishing villages leap out from the dark thanks to the brightly painted, old wooden houses that house fishermen who have lived under this magical light show for centuries. The dramatic scenery of Lofoten, with jagged pinnacles MAIN: Hamnoy fishing village on Lofoten Islands with famed red Rorbu reaching up to the sky, is a sight in and of itself. houses; BOTTOM: Lapland is a magical place, including the snowy trees

When is the best time to see them?

18 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021


FOLLOW THE LIGHTS 20 DAY MAGICAL SMALL GROUP TOUR

OSLO • FLÅM • BERGEN • SAARISELKA • SINETTA • ROVANIEMI • JARVISYDAN • HELSINKI

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YOUR 20 DAY FOLLOW THE LIGHTS TOUR INCLUDES: • 11 nights in 4-star accommodation (1 night in Glass Igloo) + 6 night cruise in a Polar Outside cabin • Daily breakfast, 6 lunches, 11 dinners + 1 farewell dinner • Small group experience with a maximum of 24 guests • Return international airfares with a full service airline

We would definitely travel with Inspiring Vacations again. Thanks for making our bucket list holiday such an amazing experience.

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• English speaking guide from start to end

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• Incredible sightseeing including the southern Fjords of Norway, reindeer and husky farm in Finland plus included sled experiences

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Secret Queensland Think you’ve seen all of Queensland? Here, the secret islands you've never heard of

INSPIRED TO VISIT QUEENSLAND? Check out our tours here

20 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021


I

t may seem counterintuitive to let everyone in on the most secret Queensland islands but really, it would be rude not to. This is Queensland after all, where friendliness is in the water and there’s plenty of island paradise to go around. Plus with so many islands off the coast – almost 2000 diverse beauties, actually – the secret is probably safe anyway. From uninhabited coral cays to luxe, private bungalow-dotted isles, your island-hopping appetite will be well and truly sated. Whether you’re a card carrying Queensland islandophile or just starting out on your journey to true fandom, put this lineup of secret Queensland islands on your list.

For the bundle deal: Frankland Group National Park Looking for a quintessential Great Barrier Reef experience? Who isn’t. Hop aboard a Frankland Island Reef Cruise to this bevy of coral-fringed islands. Just 10km offshore and 45km southeast of Cairns, this uninhabited and World Heritage-listed archipelago – consisting of Russell, Normanby, High, Mabel and Round Islands – is the definition of pristine. Whether day-tripping or staying longer (self-sufficient campers can stay on Russell and High Islands only) the Frankland Islands are perfect if you want untouched beauty. Snorkel straight from the beach, or sink below the surface on a diving adventure for an audience with the Great Barrier Reef’s star attractions. Hard and soft coral, manta rays, turtles, dugongs, whales and giant clams will be the main event. But the islands’ rocky outcrops, coastal vegetation and dense rainforest also set the scene for a staggering diversity of flora and fauna experiences (including an array of bird species) you won’t find anywhere but Queensland.

ISLAND HOPPER | QUEENSLAND

Don’t forget to taste the sweetest part of Keswick Island: its honey. Home to a healthy population of purebred Caucasian bees, the colony produces a unique honey that can only be sampled and bought from the Keswick Kiosk.

Take nothing but memories island: North West Island It’s not a misnomer. North West Island sits (you guessed it) north-west of Gladstone by 75km in the heart of Capricornia Cays National Park. Easily accessed via Curtis Ferry, once you’re at this nature lover’s haven you’re spoiled for choice. Canoeing and diving are no-brainers here thanks to crystalline waters and an impressive array of marine species. Bushwalking, reef walking and fishing also make a compelling case for your attention. Campers, come prepared (bookings and permits are essential). You’ll need all your gear including fresh water, toilet paper and a fuel stove. But the payoff comes in the form of seemingly endless unforgettable moments – sleeping under the Milky Way’s star-studded night sky will stay with you long after you’ve dusted the sand from your swag. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Haggerstone Island; Frankland Islands; Haggerstone Island; Green Hill Fort; Frankland Islands; Wilson Island

The gateway to the Whitsundays: Keswick Island Queensland’s very own Treasured Island (as it’s nicknamed), Keswick Island boasts a bounty of island gold just a short sea or air journey from Mackay, only 32km north. Walk through the beautiful coral gardens or dive into reef caves to see teeming marine life such as turtles, manta rays, dolphins and hundreds of tropical fish species. For divers, Keswick Island has three shipwrecks all within 30 minutes of the island, offering world-class diving and a history lesson in one. If you like bushwalking with a generous dose of the spectacular, hit the trails that snake their way across the island. You’ll wind through tropical vegetation, alongside private coves and fringing reef beaches and underneath a bevy of birdlife. Between June and October, keep an eye out for pods of humpbacks on their annual migration north – one for the bucket list.

INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 21


The not-so-secret, tiny Queensland island: Thursday Island Clocking in at a diminutive 3.5 square kilometres, and part of the 274 islands dotted across the Torres Strait from Gulf of Carpentaria to Papua New Guinea, Thursday Island may not technically be the most secret of Queensland islands, but in the grand scheme of things it’s certainly underrated. Significant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that have been its custodians for thousands of years, explore the connection between land, sea and culture at Gab Titui Cultural Centre. History buff? Head to Green Hill Fort to discover the island’s strategic military WWII history; learn about the region’s pearl farming and shell trade; or simply have a beer at Australia’s northernmost pub, Bamaga Tavern.

Channelling Robinson Crusoe on a yoga retreat, Haggerstone Island is everything you’ve ever wanted in a private luxury island escape nestled into the stunning wilderness of Cape York. The intrepid custodians of this Queensland island gem, Roy and Anna Turner, came here in 1985 with little more than some basic supplies, a tent and a few chickens. Now the relatively unknown island has been transformed into an adventure retreat gilded with just the right amount of luxe. Stay in one of only five lodgings – Lagoon, Kwilla and Beach Huts, Haus Mawu plus The Lighthouse. By night you’ll be immersed in the verdant jungle that you’ve likely been exploring during the day. Everything here is tailored to you. Adventure, wellness or a combo of both – the island (and its attentive staff) provide exactly what you’re searching for. 22 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

STORY & IMAGES COURTESY OF TOURISM & EVENTS QUEENSL AND

The luxury adventure island: Haggerstone Island


ISLAND HOPPER | QUEENSLAND

The one for the eco-warriors: Wilson Island Nature and seclusion intersect at this sustainability-focused haven. Part eco-reserve, part luxe glamping getaway, come here for the modern-life detox – there is no phone reception or WiFi – and stay for the planet-friendly living. There’s no single-use plastic on the island, bedding and linen is all organic cotton and bamboo, and bathroom amenities are 100% biodegradable and native Australian plant-based. Local and sustainable are preferred when it comes to dining and beverages, and recycled resources reign supreme in the design and decor.

There’s also consideration to the island’s vulnerable species, with elements such as turtle-friendly lighting and an annual closure between 28 January to 1 April, so the resident bird population can nest. Closed to day trippers, Wilson Island is home to nine permanent luxury tents with a limit of 18 guests total at any time, for the ultimate island escape. But, if you can’t even bear the thought of neighbours as you swing languidly in your hammock, you can even hire the whole island to yourself.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Green Hill Fort at sunset; Wilson Island is a water lover's paradise: enjoy snorkelling, paddleboarding, beach picnics and more

Thursday Island may not technically be the most secret of Queensland islands, but in the grand scheme of things it’s certainly underrated

INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 23


ESCAPE TO EUROPE

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9 DAY CENTRAL EUROPE EXPLORER

8 DAY ICELAND CIRCLE

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1 Kitzbuhel

AUSTRIA

Akureyri

Myvatn 1 1 Vatnajokull 1 Herad National Park 1 Hofn 2 Reykjavik Glacier South Coast 1 Lagoon

Prague

Vienna 2 Salsburg

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• 8 nights in 3 & 4-star accommodation • 7 breakfasts and 1 special dinner

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• 7 nights in 3 & 4-star accommodation • Daily breakfast

$1,449* PER PERSON

• English-speaking Tour Director throughout the tour

• English-speaking knowledgeable guide on all touring days

• Arrival airport transfer and meet and greet and dedicated transportation as outlined in the itinerary

• Arrival and departure airport shuttle transfers and transportation as outlined in the itinerary

• All entrance fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary

• Incredible sightseeing including travelling Iceland’s famous ring road, stunning volcanos, lava fields, the Myvatn Nature Baths, Gullfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir Geysir

• Incredible sightseeing including guided city tours in Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a relaxing Danube River cruise in Budapest, and incredible mountain scenery and quaint villages in the European Alps

TRAVEL FROM APR 2022 TO MAR 2023

TRAVEL FROM OCT 2021 TO DEC 2022

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9 DAY ITALY AMALFI & SORRENTO

14 DAY SPAIN & MOROCCO GROUP TOUR Madrid

2

SPAIN

ITALY Naples

Seville 2

2 Sorrento 3 Capri

1 Granada 2 Costa del Sol

Tangier

2 Minori

2 Fes

Rabat Casablanca 1

MOROCCO Marrakech 3

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• 11 nights in 3 & 4-star accommodation • Daily breakfast & 11 dinners

$1,999* PER PERSON

• English-speaking local guide during visits to Capri, Amalfi and Naples

• Escorted tour with English speaking guide throughout

• Arrival and departure airport/station transfers and transportation as outlined in the itinerary

• Arrival & departure airport transfers in Madrid, motor-coach during whole program and ferry Algeciras or Tarifa – Tangier – Tarifa or Algeciras

• Incredible sightseeing including a small group tour of Capri, the idyllic coast of Amalfi, a guided walking tour of Naples plus traditional pizza making class

TRAVEL FROM NOV 2021 TO JUN 2022

• Incredible sightseeing including the Mosque Cathedral in Cordoba, Jewish quarter walking tour in Cordoba, visit Santa Cruz quarter walking tour in Seville, guided tour in Fez, guided tour in Rabat, City Sightseeing tour in Marrakech, panoramic guided tour in Casablanca, visit to Generalife Gardens in Granada and guided tour in Toledo

TRAVEL FROM NOV 2021 TO MAR 2022

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ALASKA’S FINEST CATCH The Last Frontier’s must-see gems

Denali National Park

26 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

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WORDS BY EMMA CALLEY


COVER STORY | ALASKA

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hose in search of rugged wilderness will fall in love with Alaska. Dubbed the last frontier, this northern state bordering Canada is positively teeming with natural wonders, from glaciers to mountains and volcanoes. Head north of the Arctic Circle and you’ll find towns rich in Native Alaskan history, with fantastic views of the aurora borealis. Breathe in the crisp, fresh air and take in the sights. Here, 10 of Alaska’s must-see attractions.

INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 27


28 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

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CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Mendenhall Glacier and Lake in Juneau; Pack Creek bear; Humpback Whales playing in the ocean in Juneau; Caribou in Denali National Park; Alaska sign


COVER STORY | ALASKA

1. The bears of Admiralty Island A true Alaskan gem, Admiralty Island in the state’s southeast is just a short boat or float plane ride away from capital Juneau. The island itself is a stunning place, with over 90% designated wilderness and plenty of wildlife, but its biggest drawcard is the bear population. It’s believed that this 155km-long island is home to around 1,600 brown bears, more than the other 49 US states combined, outnumbering the human population almost three to one. The best place to spot these grizzly locals is at Pack Creek, congregating during the summer to catch salmon. For animal lovers, Admiralty Island is a must-see.

2. Mendenhall Glacier

INSPIRED TO VISIT ALASKA? Check out our tours here

Juneau’s most accessible natural attraction is certainly one of its most beautiful. The Mendenhall Glacier flows for 19 kilometres from the Juneau Icefield, down to Mendenhall Lake, providing spectacular views of its ever-changing glacial face along the way. It’s believed that the glacier originated during the Little Ice Age around 3,000 years ago, and has been evolving ever since. Six different trails take people through the Tongass National Forest and up close to the glacier. Those after a leisurely stroll should start at the visitors centre and walk to one of several viewpoints, while others keen for a more strenuous hike should take the Nugget Falls trail that zigzags near the glacier to the base of – you guessed it – Nugget Falls.

3. Denali National Park

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Nestled into the foothills of the Alaska Range, Denali National Park is the state’s pride and joy. This vast and immaculate preserve offers much to the adventurous traveller. Drive (or cycle) along the single, winding road and watch as lush forest gives way to snowy tundra and soaring peaks, including Denali (also known as Mount McKinley). Denali National Park sees Africa’s Big Five and raises it with five of its own: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, grizzly bears and wolves all call the park home, so keep your eyes peeled for the locals.

INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 29


4. Tracy Arm Fjord Tracy Arm Fjord is a narrow waterway that snakes through Glacier Bay National Park, before ending at the twin Sawyer Glaciers, North and South Sawyer. Listen for calving glaciers and thundering waterfalls as you cruise through the breathtaking inlet, past sheer granite cliffs shaped by years of glacial movement and distant snow-capped mountains. Humpback whales, harbour seals, sea lions and many others frequent the fjord, while bears and goats are common land sightings along the way.

5. Ship Creek salmon When people think of salmon, most picture brown bears leaping through water to catch them. In Alaska, this vision is reality. With the arrival of summer, the king or chinook salmon start their journey and by the end of May, millions of fish are fighting against currents and dodging predators with the goal of eventually spawning. A great place to see this migration is at Ship Creek, in downtown Anchorage. Visit Alaska’s busiest king salmon fishery in late May or June to watch schools of them working their way upstream. For the best action, head to the dam before or after high tide and take a stroll down one of several paths lining the waterway.

This magnificent 1,813 sq km ice cap in Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the largest in the US and a popular choice for hikers. The icefield and its glaciers are thought to be remnants of the Pleistocene era, when sheets of ice covered much of the state. Today, although much smaller, the Harding Icefield wows visitors with its otherworldly landscape. Exit Glacier is the most accessible part of the icefield, and the recommended spot for leisure travellers. Those looking for a challenge can tackle the 13 km round-trip Harding Icefield trail, which begins at the Exit Glacier, winding its way up through forests and meadows, before rewarding hikers with panoramic views of the icy expanse, as far as the eye can see. 30 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

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6. Harding Icefield


COVER STORY | ALASKA

7. Glacier Gardens While many come to the state for its natural charms, the man-made Glacier Gardens are just as deserving of a spot on any Alaskan bucket list. In this unusual botanic garden, colourful flowers spill from the tops of upside-down trees, creating a spectacular visual against the natural landscape of Tongass National Forest. Glacier Gardens is the brainchild of Steve and Cindy Bowhay, who designed the space to channel both their creativity and love of nature. Rather than clashing with its surroundings, the garden complements them; the Bowhays used the lay of the land and its natural fauna to guide their horticultural choices. Wander the lower gardens on your own, or enjoy a guided drive through the lush forest, stopping to admire glorious views of Juneau.

8. Kincaid Park Sand Dunes In one of Anchorage’s largest parks, the Kincaid Park Sand Dunes rise from the landscape – remnants from thousands of years ago, when Alaska’s monstrous glaciers retreated. Just like its Arabian desert counterparts, these dunes are active. It’s believed that they’ve been creeping further into the surrounding woods for decades, slowly engulfing trees and anything else in their path. Scramble up the dunes and you’ll see it shifting before your eyes. If you can make it to the summit of the Kincaid dunes, you’ll be delighted with views of the surrounding forest and beyond, out to the Cook Inlet and Kenai Peninsula.

9. Arctic Kaktovik and its pol ar bears

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A beautiful waterfall along Tracy Arm Fjord; Mother polar bear with its cub during sunset on a sandy ground in Kaktovik; Harding Icefield; Moonrise on the beach in Kincaid Park

Once a sleepy Iñupiat Eskimo village, the city of Kaktovik off the state’s north coast has morphed into the polar bear capital of North America. This icy tundra has a population of just 250 people – mostly Alaskans – but seasonal loss of sea ice brings the bears to land, where they feed on seals and the remains of subsistence whale harvests. Tour the island by boat with local guides, learning about the spectacular creatures, as well as the local community and life in the Arctic. Polar bears are often found wandering on the barrier islands or chewing on whale bones by the shore, and spotting them is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

10. Northern lights in Fairbanks Much of northern Alaska is blessed with views of the aurora borealis, thanks to its latitudinal position, but one of the most accessible spots is Fairbanks. In addition to the usual fixtures of the Alaskan landscape – lakes, mountains and biodiversity – Fairbanks enjoys regular northern lights sightings. Between August and April when conditions are clear, the skies of the central city are illuminated with swathes of green, pink and purple. Wander to a vantage point, take a guided dog sled tour through the Alaskan wilderness or snuggle up in a heated glass igloo to watch the aurora dance through the glass ceiling; how you sculpt your Fairbanks adventure is up to you. LOVE ALASKA? WATCH OUR VIDEOS HERE PR E S S PL AY PR E S S PL AY

INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 31


HOLIDAY AT HOME | NORTHERN TERRITORY

WHY THE NT IS YOUR NEXT INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION Got itchy travel feet? You don’t have to go far for worldly wonders, different cuisines and getting lost in nature

32 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021


A

Northern Territory holiday has all this in spades. Flights are no more than three or four hours, and there’s no currency conversion or language barrier. The NT’s massive natural wonders, spectacular waterfalls, vast clear blue skies, star-filled nights, wondrous wildlife, larrikin locals, quirky experiences and culinary magic guarantee it’s different in every sense — and without the crowds, it will energise your soul.

DO MORE IN HELICOPTERS AROUND THE NT THAN NEW ZEALAND’S MILFORD SOUND

TAKE A HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE THAT RIVALS TURKEY’S CAPPADOCIA Float across Australia’s Red Centre in a hot air balloon with Outback Ballooning, looking towards the MacDonnell Ranges. Majestically peaceful, your finale is light refreshments on thousands of years old silky red sands in Australia’s heartland.

EXCHANGE ICELAND’S BLUE LAGOON FOR A SOAK IN THE TOP END’S OWN NATURAL THERMAL SPRINGS Prefer emerald green and natural thermal turquoise waters to float away the hours? Forget Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. The palm-lined, spring-fed Mataranka Thermal Pool and nearby Bitter Springs (both located in Elsey National Park) are your heavenly solaces, where you can restore your equilibrium with surrounding birdsong.

SWIM IN OUTBACK WATERHOLES THAT ARE EASIER TO ACCESS THAN GRAND CANYON’S HAVASU FALLS Throughout the Red Centre there are easily accessible, crowd-free and croc-free waterholes to splash around in. Hidden between towering red rock walls, around an hour’s drive from Alice Springs relax in the cool and refreshing waters of Ellery Creek Big Hole, Glen Helen Gorge, Ormiston Gorge and Redbank Gorge at the base of Mt Sonder. All have walking trails and camping nearby, and your only neighbours are beautiful birds, curious lizards and marsupials.

Helicopter trips make short work of distances in the NT and allow access to some of the world’s most breathtaking slices of nature. In Litchfield National Park, from Wangi Falls get a bird’s eye view of the tabletop escarpment region, land at some of the more remote surrounding waterholes, or privately toast a sensational sunset among the massive magnetic termite mounds. Soar over Uluru, marvelling at this monolith’s sheer size and scale, the panoramic vistas and dramatic gorges at Kings Canyon, then land on Mount Conner savouring the peace and calm. Take a heli-fishing tour to catch that elusive barramundi on a Top End isolated beach or waterway. Drink your way around the Top End on a Heli Pub Crawl to five unique and out-of-theway ‘pubs’ including Dundee Beach, Crab Claw Island and Goat Island on Adelaide River for a refreshing ale and substantial lunch. Fly over plains, lagoons and rivers spotting crocodiles basking in the sun, herds of buffalo, wild horses and myriads of birds along the way.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Couple hiking the Kings Canyon; Outback ballooning early in the morning; Heli Pub Crawl landing at Crab Claw Island; Swimming at Ellery Creek Big Hole; Exploring the West MacDonnell Ranges; Looking down at Mataranka Thermal Pool INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 33


HOLIDAY AT HOME | NORTHERN TERRITORY

INSPIRED TO VISIT THE NORTHERN TERRITORY? Check out our tours here

SATISFY YOUR SOUL WITH A SAFARI STAY IN THE NT INSTEAD OF AFRICA

Forget about looking for the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, come and smile at the Top End’s crocodiles. While you can do this in Darwin, seeing them in their natural habitat is unforgettable. Learn about these prehistoric monsters on an Adelaide River cruise or take an Outback Floatplane half-day adventure. Land on a remote lagoon and join the flat-bottom cruise boat for a cooked breakfast or lunch while nature surrounds you. Jump aboard an airboat for a spin around the surrounding wetlands and say hello to several resident crocs before having the opportunity to do a cage swim in the waters beside the boat.

ONLY THE NORTHERN TERRITORY HAS THE WORLD’S OLDEST OUTDOOR ART GALLERIES Nowhere else in the world will you find the impressive selection of ancient rock art sites that you’ll encounter throughout the Territory. Get back to nature and awaken your senses while viewing these magnificent, culturally significant, outdoor art galleries via a range of invigorating walks around Kakadu’s Ubirr and Nourlangie, Mt Borradaile in Arnhem Land and Uluru in the Red Centre.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Tropical paradise at Banu Banu; Glamping at Kings Canyon Resort; Wangi Falls flowing; Mindil Beach Sunset Markets; People looking at rock art at Ubirr

34 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

STORY & IMAGES COURTESY OF TOURISM NT

GET A GUARANTEED FACEOFF WITH NUMEROUS TOP END CROCODILES

Extend your natural wilderness experience without compromising comfort in real beds. The NT has several stunning African-style safari camp options including the secluded Top End Safari Camp (created and designed by Matt Wright, of Outback Wrangler fame) near Finniss River with gourmet meals, beverages and outback adventures on offer. Hide out in Hideaway luxury cabins in Litchfield National Park; get treated like royalty at five-star Cicada Lodge at Nitmiluk Gorge or relax and recharge at Bamurru Plains luxury tented bungalows on the Mary River floodplains, west of Kakadu National Park. At Watarrka National Park, home to Kings Canyon, wake up to peaceful crested bellbirds singing and take in jaw-dropping desert views at Kings Canyon Resort or Kings Creek Station Dreamtime Escarpment — a working cattle and camel station set amongst desert oaks.


DON’T MISS Beanies, beer cans and black metal. Territorians love a good festival! Here's our pick of some of the Northern Territory's quirkier events, all held during dry season, the most popular time to visit.

ULURU CAMEL CUP – MAY TASTE YOUR WAY THROUGH ALL OF ASIA’S FAVOURITE FOODS AT DARWIN MARKETS

SWAP THE CROWDS ON HAWAII’S WAIKIKI BEACH FOR TURTLES AND EAST ARNHEM LAND’S ABORIGINAL CULTURE Share the vast white sands with local turtles, enjoy fishing and learn Yolngu Aboriginal culture at the eco-friendly beachfront resort, Banu Banu Beach Retreat on Bremer Island in East Arnhem Land, a vast area filled with remote and rugged coastlines, and white sandy beaches. This area can be accessed from Darwin by flight or by taking the Central Arnhem Road via the turnoff 50 km south of Katherine.

EXPERIENCE SOME OF THE BEST OUTDOOR DINING IN THE WORLD Move over Europe, the Northern Territory’s culinary creations will tantalise your taste buds and satisfy your wildest cravings. Choose sophisticated white-tablecloth fine dining under a million stars overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta at Sounds of Silence or Tali Wiru; cruise along the ancient gorge of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge on the Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner Cruise or get back to bush with Bob Taylor with RT Tours in the Red Centre. All are guaranteed to be memorable epicurean experiences.

Given the geographical location, it’s not surprising that you’ll find a proud selection of aromatic Asian delights and markets on offer around here. While Parap Markets on a Saturday morning are the local favourite (Mary’s Laksa is practically a Darwin institution), Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are unmissable. It’s the perfect way to end a dry season Thursday or Sunday between April and October. With endless local handicraft and food stalls, it’s always challenging to choose. Enjoy your dinner on the beach as you watch another amazing day disappear in an array of burnt oranges, reds, blues and purples while being serenaded by local musicians.

All class and no grass – Uluru Camel Cup is like the Melbourne Cup, with some extra humps thrown in. Enjoy all the racing action and fashion you’d expect from a trackside event, against a stunning desert backdrop in the Red Centre.

ALICE SPRINGS BEANIE FESTIVAL – JUNE Beanies, berets, and toques – they’re all here at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. Yep, it’s a whole festival dedicated to knitted headwear in the middle of the Australian desert. From the flamboyant to the fashion forward, you’re bound to find a one-of-a-kind piece to keep you warm this winter.

HENLEY-ON-TODD REGATTA – AUGUST

No water? No problem! Hosted on a dry riverbed, the Henley-on-Todd Regatta is as close as you’ll get to a seaside escapade in the desert. Join a team and man a bottomless ship with your legs, in Flintstones style.

DARWIN LIONS BEER CAN REGATTA – SEPTEMBER

The Beer Can Regatta is the event that combines recycling and building boats in a spectacular way. Build a ‘tinny’ from tin-cans and set sail on an epic maiden voyage from Darwin’s Mindil Beach. When you’re ready to dock, grab a feed next door at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

INSPIRINGVACATIONS.COM 35


INTERVIEW INTERVIEW

NAME JOHANNES LEKOLOANE OCCUPATION TOUR LEADER

COUNTRY SOUTH AFRICA

Meet Johannes Lekoloane, Inspiring Vacations tour leader in South Africa How long have you been a tour leader? What is your role in guiding IV travellers around South Africa? I’ve been a tour leader for the past 13 years. My role is to make sure the tour is run in the most safe, enjoyable and educational way possible. What‘s been your favourite wildlife encounter? A lioness taking down a kudu in Kruger National Park, and also being stuck in the middle of the Chobe River because of a herd of elephants crossing and it was getting dark. What’s been your most exciting (maybe even scary) safari experience? We were on a guided walk in the middle of the delta, a local guide was leading the walk. We came across fresh lion prints and decided to follow the spoor for a few minutes. After about five minutes he quickly spotted an old male lion a few metres away looking at us, while sitting on top of a termite mound. He quickly alerted me and we decided to backtrack until we were at a safe distance before we showed our guests why we backtracked. That was the end of our walk – everyone wanted to get back to the lodge. Do you have a favourite animal? Zebra, honey badger.

36 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

What job would you be doing if you weren’t a tour leader? I’d probably be working with a lot of people… like driving buses. Where is your favourite place to holiday yourself? I love Botswana. What can guests expect to see and experience on safari? Expect to see animals in their natural habitat… nothing beats that! The most raved about encounters are leopard and lion sightings. Outside of the safari experience, what’s an absolute must-do for visitors to South Africa? Trying food, from bunny chow to pap and morogo. Any tips for travellers embarking on their first safari? Don’t ever switch off your camera on a safari, anything can happen anytime. What should eager travellers know about spotting the Big Five on safari? Being too eager to see the Big Five can sometimes spoil your holiday, take it as it comes. There are more interesting things in the wild which will lead to getting the Big Five. Always remember, this is the wild side of life. INSPIRED TO VISIT SOUTH AFRICA? Check out our tours here

INTERVIEW: EMILY HUMPHREY.

Q &A

What do you love most about your work? Meeting people from different countries and cultures, learning from each other and sharing my knowledge about my country and experiences.


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ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER A visit to Denali National Park, Alaska

Alaska isn’t about who you were when you headed this way. It’s about who you become. Kristin Hannah American author LOVE DENALI NATIONAL PARK? WATCH OUR ALASKA VIDEO HERE PR E S S PL AY

PHOTO: DENALI NATIONAL PARK, AL ASKA , 2019. ©INS PIRING VACATIONS

PR E S S PL AY

38 INSPIRING VACATIONS MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021


SPECTACULAR CANADA & ALASKA CRUISE 18 DAY UNFORGETTABLE ADVENTURE VANCOUVER • KAMLOOPS • BANFF • KELOWNA

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TRAVEL MAy 2022 TO AUG 2022 AVAILABLE AT OUR AU STORE FROM

$4,999

* pp

Rated Great based on 2,000+ reviews

ALSO AVAILABLE AT OUR NZ AND US STORES

YOUR 18 DAY SPECTACULAR CANADA & ALASKA CRUISE INCLUDES: • 8 nights accommodation in 3 and 4-star hotels; 7 nights cruise with Royal Caribbean on board the Serenade of the Seas in an inside cabin (upgrades available) with gratuities included • Daily breakfast, 6 lunches and 7 dinners • Return international airfares with a full service airline and coach transportation • Fully escorted (from day 3) by a professional guide • Incredible sightseeing, uncover the beauty of Western Canada, enjoy a city tour of Vancouver, and visit Banff National Park and Lake Louise

We had a wonderful holiday. Everything ran smoothly from flights through to our guide, hotels and sightseeing. Would thoroughly recommend using you to travel again and I can’t thank you enough for your professional approach and support.

*Offers available for a limited time or unless sold out. Check your country store for local pricing and full terms and conditions.

1300 88 66 88 0800 475 025 1 888 356 2021

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TRAVEL FROM MAY 2022 TO AUG 2022

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2 Kelowna

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7 DAY CAPE YORK BY AIR Crock Tent Jardine River Fruit Bat Falls

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• 3 nights at a 4-star property in Cairns • 3 nights in comfortable en-suite accommodation in Cape York

ALSO AVAILABLE AT OUR NZ STORE

• 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners • Uncover the wonders of the Daintree Forest and Cape Tribulation, drive along 4WD-only Bloomfield Track & Telegraph Track, visit Grassy Hill for endless views of Cooktown, the Coral Sea and Endeavour River and take a selfie at the northernmost point of Australia

TRAVEL FROM OCT 2021 TO NOV 2022 Rated Great based on 2,000+ reviews

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1

Cruise Coach No. nights

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$3,499pp*

• 3 nights at a 4-star property in Cairns • 3 nights in comfortable en-suite accommodation in Cape York

ALSO AVAILABLE AT OUR NZ STORE

• 4 nights at the 4-star Fitzroy Island Resort, steps away from the palm-fringed beach • 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 3 dinners • Return passenger ferry from Cairns to Fitzroy Island • Incredible sightseeing including Daintree Forest, Cape Tribulation, Cooktown and Bamaga, stand at the northernmost point of Australia, take a plunge in the inviting waters of Fruit Bat Falls, enjoy lunch at the infamous Lions Den Hotel, and unwind with four night escape to Fitzroy Island

TRAVEL FROM OCT 2021 TO NOV 2022

*Offers available for a limited time or unless sold out. Check your country store for local pricing and full terms and conditions.

BOOK ONLINE AT

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