You’ve no doubt seen the powerful images of bushfires in Australia and heard of the impact they’ve had on the wildlife population. It’s estimated that hundreds of millions of animals have died in New South Wales alone. Many of you are wondering what you can do to help.
First off, if you have travel planned to Australia, check with your advisor and the tour operator on the ground before you cancel. Australia is a huge place, nearly as large as the continental U.S. While large swaths of the country’s southeast have been hit by fires, many places are unaffected. As when any disaster hits, the affected country’s economy needs a jolt. Lost revenue from cancelations of tours in unaffected areas will slow recovery.
The areas most affected are the Blue Mountains and South Coast of New South Wales, East Gippsland and Upper Murray in Victoria, and Kangaroo Island off the South Australia mainland. Sadly, Virtuoso-preferred Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island has sustained heavy damage and is closed indefinitely. Baillie Lodges has vowed to rebuild and reopen the resort, which was a favorite destination of animal lovers in “Australia’s Galapagos.”
Air quality in Sydney and Canberra is a concern, as shifting winds can bring smoke and haze into the cities, but major attractions remain open. The latest updates from Tourism Australia list Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory as not impacted. That means Perth and the Margaret River wine region, Kakadu National Park, the Great Barrier Reef and other popular destinations are perfectly safe to visit.
Victoria’s most visited areas: Melbourne, Phillip Island, the Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley are free and clear, as Adelaide and the Barossa Valley in South Australia.
If you’d like to donate to rescue and recovery efforts, these agencies are doing incredible work and could really use your support. Wildlife: Animal Welfare League NSW, Taronga Zoo Conservation Program, Wildlife Victoria, WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services). Firefighters: CFS Foundation, CFA Victoria, NSW Rural Fire Service. Community: Country Women’s Association Disaster Relief Fund, Kangaroo Island Fire Fund, Australian Red Cross, NSW St. Vincent de Paul Society. Environment: Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Marine Conservation Society.
Australia is a beautiful place and a wonderful destination for travelers, and it could really use our help.
If you are considering an Australian vacation and experiencing what this beautiful country has to offer, take a look at the top five reasons to visit.
The landscape in Australia is tremendously varied. At the peak of the Cape Tribulation are the oldest rainforests to exist. The red sands of the outback provide miles of untouched desert. The green acres of the state of Tasmania and Victoria display forestry to surpass nearby New Zealand.
Australian beaches are an obvious attraction, with about fifty-thousand kilometers of coastline. In fact, more than eighty percent of the Australian population live within one-hundred kilometers of the coast.
The famous sands of Coogee and Bondi in Sydney are a must-see for those who want to try their luck on a surfboard while marking off their experience of a beach barbeque. Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach is a favorite for backpackers. And, if you find yourself in the southern state of Victoria, the waves of Torquay are definitely worth a visit.
One of the main reasons why people want to visit the country of Australia is famously clear weather. Average temperatures in the state of Sydney reach around 78 degrees in summer, with Perth reaching as high as 86 degrees.
The Outdoor Activities
Australians adore the outdoors, and with the marvelous weather who can blame them? There is the standard version of surfing in addition to windsurfing, sandboarding, and kite surfing. There are climbing and hiking and trekking the Blue Mountains. Water babies come to enjoy the white-water rafting down Tully River.
Australia’s wildlife is a captivating sight. The country is home to ten of the world’s eleven most deadly species such as box jellyfish, saltwater crocodiles, funnel-web spider, and the Taipan snake.
The country is also known for some of the cutest animals in the world like the sugar gliders and koala bears. However, kangaroos still seem to be the favorite for most tourists.
Another year is fast approaching. Not just any other, but 2020, a year full of symbolism somewhat just because of numerical coincidence but also because it’s fraught with implications about the future. Technological advances keep opening more and more destinations to visitors from the world over. These places are among those set for a big year in 2020.
The Caribbean island was one of those hit hard by the devastating 2017 hurricane season. Dominica has responded by doubling down on a commitment to sustainability. Single-use plastics and styrofoam are on the way out. Hydro, solar and geothermal energy are in. The hot springs and volcanoes that generate that geothermal energy are also big draws for visitors, as are the excellent diving conditions and new resorts popping up. The waters offshore are teeming with whales and dolphins, and the Sisserou parrot — a must-see for birdwatchers — is found nowhere else but Dominica’s mountain forests.
The country has begun to heal from the horrific genocide of a quarter-century ago, and Volcanoes National Park is fast becoming known for gorilla trekking. With the success of Volcanoes, other national parks are developing throughout the country, showcasing black rhinos and other species that make central East Africa a draw. Akagera National Park has as much wildlife diversity as you’d expect on safari, and the resort scene has developed with opening of such properties as One & Only Gorilla’s Nest.
Even those who have visited Australia might not have made it over to the island state off the southeastern coast of the country’s mainland. Those who do are greeted by an outdoor wonderland full of activity, but also culinary delights such as award-winning black truffles and wines, along with oyster and champagne experiences that have helped being a touch of luxury to the wilds that have defined Tasmania. As luxury continues to be defined by authenticity, capital city Hobart and surroundings continue to deliver.
Sandwiched between Russia and Turkey and long subject to larger foreign powers, Georgia has enjoyed a renaissance of local arts and culture, attracting nearly 10 million visitors per year to a nation of fewer than 4 million residents. Capital city Tbilisi and the rest of Georgia have grown up at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, serving as a main stop along the silk roads. Today, a quarter of the country is covered by national parks, and beaches, ski areas and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The only English-speaking country in South America is also home to the longest single-drop waterfall in the world: Kaieteur Falls. Nearly 1,000 animal species call the rainforests that cover most of the country home. Ecolodges take visitors into the heart of those forests. The cities contain multi-ethnic diversity — nearly 30 percent of Guyana’s residents are Hindu — with elements of European, African and Indian culture and food. A new and exciting year is upon us, and we can’t wait to see where 2020 takes us, and you.
We talk a lot here about how travel is great for spending quality time with loved ones. But for some people, travel is something they do solo for a variety of reasons: busy schedules that don’t allow for vacation time when others can go along, stressful lives that travel serves as a temporary escape from or the simple fact that single people like to travel too. For solo female travelers, safety can be an extra concern. And what good is traveling, alone or with others, if you don’t learn something about yourself? These are some of our experts’ recommendations for solo female travelers.
Australia & New Zealand
Being so far away, these destinations require more time off to visit. Family and work obligations can mean you don’t find somebody to go with you. Fortunately, while you’re certain to learn some new words, there isn’t a language barrier. The people are friendly, and it’s safe. There are enough cultural similarities to help you ease in but enough differences to make for a real adventure. There are great cities, expansive nature and unique wildlife.
Expedition ships often have special sailings where single supplement fees are waived, which means you have your own cabin at no additional cost. You’re still traveling in a relatively small group, so it’s easy to make friends, especially when you’re experiencing something so life-changing. The diversity of wildlife in the Galapagos definitely makes for a one-of-a-kind journey and will prompt some introspection that might lead to journaling in your cabin at night, much like Charles Darwin did when he visited.
The Nordic countries
Quality of life is pretty good, and people are generally welcoming. There’s a reason the rankings of happiest countries in the world basically read as a list of the Nordic countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden are all in the top 10 for this year’s rankings. Depending on when you go, you can maximize your chance at seeing the Northern Lights or have it be daytime all the time. See for yourself what makes life in these countries so happy.
Spain & Portugal
The distance between cities can be covered in a few hours on a train. They’re rich in culture, and the food is incredible. Each region offers something unique, so you can pack a variety of experiences into a compact area. The architecture and art are out of this world. The weather is usually good most times of year. This corner of Europe offers adventure and beauty at every turn.
A lot of locals travel solo, so there’s an infrastructure for it and a level of familiarity. It’s easy to base yourself in one place and do day trips. The country is safer than most, and there are emergency phones and small police buildings called koban virtually everywhere if you need help. Hotels and ryokan are used to accommodating solo travelers, as are restaurants. Some cities offer female-only train cars on public transit.
Australia is not only an amazingly huge place, but it is also astonishingly diverse. To the north, you have the steamy rainforests; in the middle, there is the Red Centre; the marvelous southern mountain ranges; remote West Australian beach fronts, and the world-class East Coast. However, when it comes to traveling where the weather patterns and landscape are extreme, how do you pack?
To help you along, we compiled a list of a few packing essentials needed for your travels to the land down under:
It is important to consider possible luggage limits as well as the high cost of freighting across the country. If possible, you will want to avoid that.
Reusable Water Bottle
Tap water is safe to drink for the most part in Australia. This means there is no fear of parasites while drinking, showering, or brushing teeth and no need to bring along purification tablets on your travels.
The sun in Australia is extremely strong, which means deciding against a layer of a high-quality sunscreen is not recommended. Locals typically wear at least a 50 SPF, and never anything below a 30 SPF.
This item is one of the most important things to pack when traveling to Australia. A swarm of mosquitoes, flies, and sandflies are more than enough to ruin any holiday.
Layers of Clothing
At all times it is important to expect all weather types. Clothing should include a waterproof/wind, beanie, hat, as well as a warm jacket, flip flops, bathing suits and rash guard shirts.
UV Protected Sunglasses
As stated above, Australia sun is strong which means UV levels are high. Be sure to invest in a quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.
To ensure you have a charged phone consider packing a power bank to keep it juiced and ready for use while out in the middle of the Outback.
Contact DMC Travel Tailor at (917) 653-9346 to start planning your travels to Australia.
Travel is easier than ever before, and as a result, we are becoming incredibly well-traveled. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, working with a trusted advisor can open up new regions and territories you haven’t thought about to expand your horizons even further. Maybe you saw the major places on your visit trip or two to a country or region, and now you want to go even more in-depth. These places are for you.
Most of the major cities Down Under are located on the eastern and southern coasts. There’s a whole lot of Outback separating Adelaide in South Australia from Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Perth, the fourth-largest city in Australia with about 2 million inhabitants, is the gateway to the Margaret River wine region, succulent seafood and black truffles just as good as any you’ll find in Europe. These factors contribute to Perth having the most restaurants per capita of any Australian capital and a great bar scene.
You’ve gone on safari. You’ve climbed Kilimanjaro. You’ve even gone gorilla trekking. Well, Africa has a lot more to offer than that. The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar lies east of Mozambique and is home to 5 percent of the world’s wildlife and vegetation. While the beaches are great, there is a diversity of terrain from rain forest to desert, and much of the flora and fauna are unique to the island. Of the more than 200 bird species, about half are found only on Madagascar, which has almost 20,000 plant species, including seven types of baobab tree. Lemurs leap from tree to tree, while chameleons cling to the branches, making for an entirely different kind of safari experience.
Who doesn’t love France? The glamor of Paris, the glitz of the Riviera, the chateaux in the Loire Valley, the beaches of Normandy, the wines of Bordeaux, the food in Lyon. When you think you’ve done it all in France, head to Brittany. Tucked in the northwest corner of the country, it’s one of the last bastions of Celtic culture. The region only came under the control of France in the 1500s and only fully integrated during the French Revolution. You’ll see street signs in Breton and French and experience an entirely different culture and cuisine.
Don’t get us wrong, we love a beach vacation as much as anyone. But with great food, great places and an exchange rate of nearly 20 pesos to the dollar, colonial Mexico is worth a visit. Mexico City is home to the world’s 11th- and 13th-ranked restaurants (plus another in the top 100) and the beautiful Soumaya Museum. San Miguel de Allende is an artist’s or art lover’s dream you should see before it gets too popular, and Puebla is culinary capital with a downtown that is one big World Heritage site. Queretaro’s baroque architecture is a thing of beauty, and Oaxaca preserves key components of pre-Spanish cultures.
Southeast Asia has become exceedingly popular. The beaches of Thailand are known the world over, and river cruises have introduced many people to the wonders of Vietnam and Cambodia. Erase modern borders, and you’ll see that Luang Prabang has all the charms of Chiang Mai without all the crowds. Laos contains elements of traditional Buddhist culture alongside traces of its French colonial past. As with the rest of Southeast Asia, the food scene is hard to beat. The night market in Luang Prabang and street food in Vientiane will have your mouth watering, and you can wash everything down with a Laotian mulberry tea.