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


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


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 


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


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


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.


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.

a little luxury in the red centre

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On countless occasions, we have spoken to people we meet on our travels overseas who have seen more of our country than we have. In conversation, we sheepishly confess that we haven’t seen the Great Ocean Road, Cairns, Broome or Uluru. And then more often than not the very same people have seen less of their home country than we have. Is it possibly because we forget the wonders we have in our own backyard or simply take it for granted that its not that far away and will always be there? For us, it is a little bit of both. We had this notion that we would travel further afield and do the “harder” trips while we are “young” and save the “easier” ones for when we get “older”.  But its all relative and subjective so why delay what you really want to do because of such perceptions!

So rewind to the beginning of the year when we were thinking of a place to getaway, close enough to squeeze into 4 days but far enough for us to feel like we had a holiday. Flights directly to Yulara and 3 nights at Sails in the Desert were booked. Our review of the hotel can be found on TripAdvisor – link

Now fast forward to the end of April, we were on that Qantas flight flying towards the centre of Australia, eagerly peaking out the windows to sneak a peak of anything and there it was, or more like, there they were: Uluru and the Kata Tjuta sitting tall on the red desert sand. Earth so red that it was quite a sight.

Red earth
Red desert sand

The Sounds of Silence dinner (priced at $188 per head) is such a spectacular experience. It all starts with watching the sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta while enjoying a cultural Aboriginal dance before sitting down to a buffet dinner under the stars. The full moon decided to join us that night along with a sky-full of stars as the sounds of a didgeridoo were played.

Full moon peaking out
Full moon peaking out
Uluru as the sun was setting
Uluru as the sun was setting

In between, main and dessert, an astronomer dazzled us with information about the night sky and one of our biggest highlights was seeing Saturn and its rings in the high powered telescope that was set up. It was extraordinary! Moments like these when you get to meet other like-minded travellers adds to the experience. The food was delicious, with a good variety and the dessert spread deserves a mention.

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.