It's a Great Big Beautiful World! Let's Discover it Together

Showing posts with label Activities & Excursions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Activities & Excursions. Show all posts

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Leaving Darwin. More Outback Adventures

G'day from Darwin. We're on the move today headed out to our next location in the NT.

It's warmed up a little more, on its way to 103 this afternoon.

Our first stop after leaving Darwin took us to the Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River, where they truly aren't kidding about keeping your hands, arms, feet, legs, and heads inside the boat at ALL times! 

As we progressed further into the Outback, hiking and swimming were on our agenda after we arrived at the Maguk Barramundi Gorge. The water was quite refreshing with 104-degree temps...but it was a nice dry heat as the humidity hasn't arrived yet - that comes with the wet season which is their summer. As the wet season arrives, they'll layer on about 85% humidity or higher.




Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Corroboree 2019 - Welcome to Perth

So what exactly is this conference that brought me to Australia you ask, and why Perth?

The conference itself is called Corroboree West 2019 and is designed to provide continuing education and familiarization to travel professionals from assorted Western nations. It takes place every two years and is put on by the country's tourism authority, Tourism Australia, in an effort to help non-Aussies better know and understand what they are recommending to their clients. The reality is that you can't Google experience, and who better to invite to the country than the people working hard to sell the country to tourists? Here's a little bit about the conference itself.

"CW19 is a combined training workshop and familiarization event held exclusively for Aussie Specialist advisors from our Western markets. Here, Aussie Specialists will meet with around 100 Australian tourism operators during the workshop and networking events, followed by a six-day/five-night famil in a different part of Australia." 

And then here's a little bit about "why Perth". 

"Perth is the ideal location to host Corroboree West 2019 as it is regularly ranked in the top 10 most liveable, friendly and attractive cities in the world. The sun shines for an average of nine hours per day and finding ways to enjoy them is easy, with a huge variety of things to do. New attractions, accommodation, restaurant and food & wine offerings, cultural and entertainment precincts are continuing to change the face of Perth."
The conference is divided up into a combination of seminars, one-to-one networking opportunities with tourism suppliers and operators, and getting out to explore and see the city. Each day of the three-day conference will feature a little of all three of those things, as each smaller sub-group, named for native land or marine animals found only in Australia (my group is the DINGO group), will gather and do some local exploring of assorted sights in and around the greater Perth area. And then at the end of the actual conference, we'll head out for our familiarization throughout the Northern Territory and the Outback. 

On the first day of CW19, the Dingos enjoyed a tour of King's Park & Botanical Gardens, one of the largest inner-city parks in the world at over 400 hectares filled with towering trees, lakes, views of the city, WWI and WWII memorials, and the gardens feature 3,000 of Australia's 12,000 plant species.

After Kings Park, we ventured into the heart of the city to try our hand at a Segway tour, but first a little practice is required!



Following our quick training and practice, we set out to explore the city! Our Segway adventure around Perth this morning was such a kick!




Monday, October 7, 2019

Welcome to Australia!

Wow. Getting to Australia was both the longest individual flight, along with the longest connecting flights I've experienced yet.  16+ hours gate to gate trans-Pacific flight time from Los Angeles to Melbourne on the east coast followed 90 minutes of connecting time later by a five-hour cross-continent flight to Perth on the west coast. 21 hours in the air.  We left on Saturday night from LA, crossed the international dateline somewhere past Hawaii, and landed on Monday morning around sunrise in Melbourne, only to then fly into the early afternoon to Perth. The flights were comfortable and enjoyable for how long they were, but a bit exhausting as well.  This afternoon our smaller group (we assembled at LAX) is meeting up with the larger group attending this conference and heading over to check in to our hotel.  Then we've been the afternoon and evening off to explore and/or relax and refresh as we see fit until the conference actually begins tomorrow morning.  With so little free time, I'm not going to just hang out at the pool or bar like some of my groupmates are...I'm off to do some exploring! 






My visit to Rottnest Island wasn't as long as I may have wanted due to our arrival in Perth and ferry schedules, but it was worth it to visit! It's a great day-destination when visiting Western Australia, and Perth. There's so much to do to stay active or relax, from tons of water activities, tours, hiking, biking, birding, and more! Plus it's home to the world's friendliest mammal, the Quokka.

After Rottnest, I went to Cottlesloe Beach and joined many dozens of locals gathered to simply enjoy the sunset. Picnics and lawn chairs and blankets were spread out everywhere on the surrounding hills, as families and small children played in the water or on the sand building sandcastles. It was a great first-day introduction to this beautiful side of the country!



Saturday, September 10, 2016

Snorkeling Fun!

We were treated to a snorkeling adventure yesterday. The resort features a fleet of 13 watercraft - 5 of which are motorized: a catamaran, 2 diving boats, a snorkeling boat, and a glass-bottom boat. (The rest are non-motorized - kayaks, sailboats, Hobie cats, and pedal bikes). They also feature an assortment of paddleboards and floating rings. We went out about 10 minutes from the shore and enjoyed a nice 45-minute swim. I did not have my underwater camera with me, but a colleague did, and she'll be sharing her pics with me later. I'm looking forward to seeing them!

I saw some Midnight Parrotfish, Yellowtail Snapper, Graysby, Bermuda Chub, Sargeant Major, Sea Cucumber, Brown Tube Sponge, and Bar Jack. It was pretty nice. I liked that it wasn't an extremely long excursion, but was very happy we got to do it. ( I looked at a fish chart this morning to identify what I saw... I didn't know all of the names without that bit of assistance! )

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Catching Salmon in Ketchikan - Such a Thrill!

Today was a great day in Ketchikan and the waters nearby. I caught 4 salmon (3 Coho and 1 Pink), though I had a total of 5, one got away just as I was lifting him in the captain's net. Oh, man! But 4 is awesome and will be some good meals in our house as it's all being shipped home.

The excursion was small and intimate with only 6 of us, plus the captain. We were all from the same ship. One couple from Florida who's been to Alaska multiple times. One couple and their grandson from Southern California, and me. We had a great time chatting and getting to know each other during the numerous long periods of nothing.

We were trolling, which is very common in southeast Alaska, and went out about 10 miles from Ketchikan where the waters were about 500 feet deep, per the captain. All together we caught 14 fish, but one fellow had him in the boat while another guy and I were also bringing ours in, and it slipped out through a drainage vent. We were all sad for him at the time as he hadn't caught a thing yet, but we're laughing about it by the end as he ended up catching two more later on.
It was a 4 1/2 hour excursion and was a fantastic time, and I was definitely thinking of my grandpa today!
I am so thrilled to have been invited to this Seminar at Sea. Getting out to the destinations and experiencing things personally definitely lends a lot more credibility to recommendations I make to my clients and is so very important as continuing education. You won't get THAT from a dotcom site or a club warehouse!

Alaska has been fabulous, and I cannot wait to be able to experience more of this beautiful state in the future. Tonight we set sail back southward with no more port days. We'll be in the classroom again tomorrow morning, and enjoying more of this lovely ship during the rest of this voyage. 

Ketchikan - The Salmon Capital of the World

Good morning from Ketchikan, the salmon capital of the world! As we pull into port, I enjoyed breakfast in bed with a fantastic view of the channel and watched a great video on the fishing industry here, which correlates to my adventure today. Today in honor of my grandfather, dad, great-grandfather, and assorted uncles, I'm off for some salmon fishing. Hopefully, I catch something! It's 61 and overcast, but the air is so crisp and clean. Looking forward to a great day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yukon Ho!

Skagway is such a wonderfully easy port to maneuver. A very short walk from the ship puts you right at the station for the White Pass-Yukon Rail station, but it's also just a quick walk into town and is of course looking very much as it did back in the 1890s the heart of gold rush days.
My excursion package was a White Pass train combo, which actually was the reverse of many of the ones that are readily available. Instead of taking the train first, for my group, it was a bus first, followed by the return trip on the train. We drove about 72 miles north of Skagway into the Yukon (my mind kept thinking of Calvin & Hobbes and "Yukon Ho!"). Shortly after starting up the mountain we encountered a good bit of fog - actually about 20 minutes of our drive was very hard to see anything outside the bus, but thankfully after we'd crested the White Pass summit, we also left the fog behind us as the sun shone brightly.
We passed many beautiful lakes, streams, and some historic mining sites as we reached nearly 3,000 feet - but kept going. Along the way, we heard fascinating tales of how the gold rush came about, and how prospectors had some extreme conditions to face as they moved up from Skagway into the Klondike and the Yukon.
We enjoyed lunch near Carcross, Yukon, and there I got to meet Kenai and Fuzzy, along with other beautiful mushers. The dogs train in the off-season for the Iditarod at this facility in the Yukon. Since there's no snow in the summer, they use special sleds with wheels instead of runners and give rides to visitors. They LOVE to run, and of the nearly 90 dogs there, they all were seeming to bark out "pick me" as their handlers were selecting the dogs that would pull our sleigh. It was great fun, and I'm thrilled to have been able to experience it, as I doubt I'll ever experience the Iditarod for real.
After that, it was time to start trekking down the trails again, and we drove down from Carcross to Fraser, BC, where we picked up the White Pass train south to Skagway. Riding inside the car was nice, but honestly, I loved riding on the platform between cars for most of the way. It was awesome!
The scenery was spectacular as we passed through the Alpine Tundra, and then over the sub-continental divide, which separates the water flow to the Pacific down by Skagway, or way out west at the Bering Sea and down through the rainforest that is around Skagway. It was such fun, I'd love to do it again! It is absolutely a must-do recommendation for all my clients.
Best kept secrets/finds of the day? The arctic desert in the Yukon, and beautiful beach Lake Bennett. Whoo-hoo, some new sand for my "sands of the world" jar.