Northern Territory

the top 5 that did not disappoint

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So we’ve written a post about the top 5 places that underwhelmed us, then we wrote about the top 5 unexpected places and now is our top 5 that was everything plus more than we expected. We should also qualify that we have had lots of “overwhelming” moments on our travel but we narrowed it down to our top 5 for this post – which wasn’t easy.

5. Galapagos Islands

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The place where Charles Darwin came up with his evolution theory.

The place where there is abundance and diversity.

The place where animals and humans can swim together and walk together.

The place we would recommend to everyone in a heartbeat!

4. Uluru

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In the centre of our home country lies the monolith that is ever so famous. It wasn’t only seeing Uluru itself that made this the most jaw-dropping memory we have in Australia, but it was the entire experience itself; seeing Uluru during the day, seeing Uluru changing colours, watching the sunset, being under the stars in the red centre, understanding more about the Indigenous Australian culture and beliefs.

We published a photo essay recently on Uluru if you want to see more photos.

3. Yellowstone National Park 

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Being the first National Park in the world and with 9000 square kilometres to explore, one cannot really not pass up the opportunity to visit here. We visited in October and we had snow – lots of it. And it only made the scenery so romantically magical.

We were able to catch glimpses of different wildlife, we visited Ol’ Faithful Geyser and we were mesmerised by the sweeping landscapes and colours.

This is one of the first places we ever visited that as soon as we left, we said, “We’re coming back here again!”

2. Lake Titicaca

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Floating reed islands? The minute we heard about these many years ago, we knew we had to visit it one day. And when we finally did, we fell in love. It didn’t matter that we were 3000+ metres above sea level and that every few steps we felt out of breath. Because as we stepped on the reeds and realised that we were actually walking on a floating island, the moment was ingrained in our memories forever. Looking around us, we saw the local residents waving to us in their colourful sweaters – welcoming us to their home. On this planet, there are plenty of unique places to see and this is one of them.

1. The Hanging Monastery

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In the side of the cliff, 50 metres above the ground, there stands the monastery/temple that conjures up images of ancient China immediately.

This is the first place that we have visited in the world that brought tears to our eyes. We were so overwhelmed with emotion, peering upwards at it that we did pinch ourselves to see that we were really awake. Then walking through it was another thing altogether – held by what look like only wooden logs – we prayed that it was still architecturally sound. We held our breath when we saw it and we held our breath when we walked through it.

There you have it – our TOP 5 places that met and exceeded our expectations. Any surprises?

There were a few others that were close contenders such as Machu Picchu, Neuschwanstein Castle, Carcassonne, New York City…… plus many more!

Where have you been that you had high expectations of and it delivered? 

Leave us a comment.

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a photo essay of uluru

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Once commonly known as Ayers Rock it is now better known by its indigenous name of Uluru.

Uluru is sacred to indigenous Australians.

This magnificent monolith that is located in the Australia Red Centre is 340 metres high and has a circumference of about 9.4 km.  Made from hard red sandstone, it doesn’t stay red all the time – Uluru changes colour during sunrise and sunset and is a sight certainly worth witnessing. It is at its brightest red in the middle of the day.

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We were fortunate to walk around part of the base of Uluru and looking up, is really something. An experience we will never forget. It still gives us goosebumps thinking about our time here as it really was so extraordinary and magical.

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Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1987.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit our unofficial bucket list

Hope you enjoy our photo essay of Uluru 🙂

Have you visited Uluru? Or is it on your bucket list?

We welcome your comments here.

rise and shine: a desert sunrise

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Sun beginning to appear
Sun beginning to appear

The desert morning was freezing, it was pitch black except for the moon and the “green” lights lining the path directing us to the viewing platforms. Rugged up, we trudged up the slope to position ourselves for an uninterrupted view of Uluru at sunrise. It was worth every numb finger, it was worth every shiver, it was worth waking up at 4.30am. As the sun crept over the horizon in the east behind us, Uluru began changing colour.

Uluru and the moon
Uluru and the moon

With the sunrise day tour that we booked with AAT Kings, we were spoilt (and fortunate) enough to be the only two who had booked the Cultural Walk around Uluru. With two tour guides in tow, we were given a very personal tour of the base of Uluru. We walked half the base to Mutitjulu waterhole and also did the Mala Walk before finishing up at the Cultural Centre which has some educational and very fascinating exhibits on display. Walking alongside Uluru – we learnt a great deal about Aboriginal history.  But all the time, we were looking up, and up at this massive monolith, only to see people  as little as ants walking atop it! One of the tour guides, the one on our Kata Tjuta day trip in fact, provided a great “food-for-thought” statement before he sent the group on our self-guided walk. In so many words, he basically put it to us to ponder how we treat sacred sites such as churches and temples, and therefore why should these sacred sites be treated any different?

Uluru with a little bit of light
Uluru with a little bit of light
Uluru as the sun wakes up some more
Uluru as the sun wakes up some more
Uluru sprayed with more sun rays
Uluru sprayed with more sun rays

Although there is so much left for us to still explore in this area, this was an incredible taster to what the Australian wilderness has to offer. To think it has taken us this long to see Uluru, we can only get excited of what’s next on our Australia to-do list. But before long, we will probably fall back to our old habits of travelling further afield before we try and soak up some more of our own backyard!

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.

a desert sunset

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We couldn’t have asked for better weather while we were in the Red Centre. The skies were blue, the days were warm, there were cool breezes and nights were mild. April is definitely a great time to go where you can escape from apparently large number of tourists and searing unforgiving desert temperatures. One thing you can’t escape from though are the flies. Be prepared by bringing a fly net to put over your wide brimmed hat, or be prepared to spend a lot of the sunlit hours brushing and swotting them away from your face.

Kata Tjuta (known to some as Mount Olga or The Olgas) means “many heads”. Here we were to witness a sunset with drinks and nibblies organised by the tour operators, AAT Kings. With the camera perched, we were ready to capture the many shades of the beautiful rock formation. And how gorgeous they were. The photos don’t do them justice but then again neither can our words.

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.

Kata Tjuta with the afternoon sun
Kata Tjuta with the afternoon sun
Kata Tjuta as the sun begins its descent
Kata Tjuta as the sun begins its descent
Kata Tjuta as the sun is almost hitting the horizon
Kata Tjuta as the sun is almost hitting the horizon