Travelling is the only thing in the world that you can buy that makes you richer, perhaps not materialistically because when you travel you can’t buy a house or a new car. But travel opens your eyes to new cultures, widens your experiences and literally takes you out of your comfort zone. 2018 simply flew by but with a New Year here there are 365 days to travel the world, so I asked some of my favourite travel bloggers to share what their favourite travel moment of 2018 was to give you some inspiration for your upcoming trip in 2019….
Blue Mountains, Australia – The Earth Travellers
Melissa and Toby, The Earth Travellers, are two 26 year olds with a permanent case of wanderlust. We have travelled to 45 countries between us and are now exploring our own backyard by travelling Australia for 12 months in only a Toyota Landcruiser.
As well as documenting our adventures our blog, The Earth Travellers, aims to show fellow travellers how travel can be done in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Join us on our blog for practical tips on sustainable and eco-friendly travel as well as updates on our Australian adventures at www.theearthtravellers.com
Favourite Travel moment from 2018
The Blue Mountains National Park outside Sydney is the highlight of our 2018 travels. We have been locals in this amazing place for four years now and it is the starting point for our 12 month trip around Australia. Even though we have lived her for so long we still find new activities, walks and camping sites to try out, making every weekend feel like a different mini-break.
The City of the Blue Mountains consists of 27 towns and villages spread over 100km. Altitude levels range from 100 to 1,100 meters above sea level. It attracts more than 2 million visitors each year and it’s not hard to see why with its awe-inspiring scenic beauty, historic charm and opportunities for relaxation.
There is plenty to keep you occupied in ‘The Mountains’ year round. In fairer weather there is plenty of bushwalks, scenic lookouts, swimming holes and shopping. In autumn and winter there is apple and chestnut picking, markets, festivals and cosying up by café fires with bowls of delicious soup. You can find more information on these and other activities in the Blue Mountains here.
You really feel like you are in another world in the Blue Mountains. Sydney sprawls out from the base of the mountains and yet up in the clean, crisp air you can be walking through valleys, along rivers and through rainforest groves with no one else in sight for miles.
The Blue Mountains are accessible via a one hour drive or two hour train ride from Sydney. I recommend taking the train if you have the time. As the train winds its way up the mountain you are treated to magnificent views of Glenbrook Gorge. The train tracks seem to be on the very edge of the cliff! Look down and you will see the meandering Nepean River far below. The views just keep getting better as you climb. I was glued to the window the whole time watching the sprawling vistas pass by on my first Blue Mountains train ride.
Lombak, Bali – Love Cally
The day before we left the UK we had read on the news that several small earthquakes had hit Lombok, a small island near Bali. This installed some fear into us as we were unsure of what to expect when we arrived. After a grueling 14 hour flight we finally reached our destination, filled with excitement but also a little bit of dread.
We quickly headed to the beach to enjoy the sunshine before it disappeared for the day. After a few hours of lounging by the sea, I decided to take a walk to the ocean to cool down. A small group of people started forming a circle around something on the sand and I quickly headed over to have a look. When I reached them I could see what all the fuss was about. The tiniest sea turtle had washed up on shore and was struggling to swim back out to sea, the waves were too strong for the little sea turtle. I watched it for a minute to see if it would fight the waves by itself but had to intervene swiftly. I scooped it up into my hands and swam out into the sea with it which was even a struggle for me because the waves were so strong. Once the waves were quiet, I released the sea turtle into the water and watched it swim away. A wonderful start to my holiday and one I’ll cherish forever.
Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand – Suzy Stories
Although Suzy is a part-time traveller, she has a full-time love for sharing experiences from around the world through her blog, Suzy Stories. When not working as a Social Media Manager in London, she’s exploring the landscapes and sights of new destinations, or taking the (long!) trip to her favourite country, New Zealand, to continue her mission of seeing as much of the country as often as possible.
With a passion for philosophy, culture, food, nature, and photography, she believes there’s always a story that can and should be shared. Through these topics, she hopes to to give a ponderous yet light-hearted twist on travel that highlights how precious our experiences and memories are, and inspire like-minded wanderlusting adventurers on their journey.
One of my favourite travel moments in 2018 has to be the moment I reached the top of the Red Tarns Track in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand. On my third trip to NZ I made it my goal to visit the national park, as it’s home to the tallest mountain in the whole country and boasts incredible alpine scenery, as seen from some brilliant hiking tracks – the most famous being the Hooker Valley Track. Having been so close to the park on just the other side of Lake Pukaki several times, it was my personal mission to finally see the park for myself.
We reached the top of the track on Mount Sebastopol a little after sunrise and boy, we were in for a treat! The day before had seen a blustery storm charge through the village, meaning the crystal clear morning that followed was blessed with fresh snow across the track and jagged peaks, and a view over Aoraki/Mount Cook that would truly knock anyone’s socks off. At the tarns themselves, the still waters gave a gorgeous reflection across the snow-capped mountains, adding even more delight to our already gleeful smiles. Best of all, we had the track and summit completely to ourselves. If you’re planning to walk the track, my top tip is to start out early: it paid off to get up early and catch that fresh snow and unforgettable views!
Aoraki/Mount Cook Village is a tiny tourist village designed to be a rest stop for anyone wanting to embark on the many tracks in the surrounding mountains. Due to its small size and remote location, there’s not even a shop or supermarket in the village – just a handful of restaurants! For me, however, this only adds to the rural experience as visitors feel truly intertwined with nature.
Sintra, Portugal – Edits of Jo
I’m a travel and lifestyle blogger based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I predominately write about my travels around Scotland and the UK more widely but also have a Let’s Talk About Series. Additionally, I document any trips further afield and have recently started A Local’s Guide to Series. When I’m not writing, I enjoy street photography (my Instagram page is editsofjo), getting lost in a good old bookshop and drinking copious amounts of tea (English breakfast or Chai preferably).
I’ve been lucky enough to go on a number of incredible trips this year so picking one top moment was a tricky decision. Looking back at my holiday photos however, a travel moment that stands out for me, was a daytrip I took earlier this year to Sintra whilst in Portugal. Sintra is a hugely picturesque town, situated near Lisbon. This town has so much to offer, in terms of culture, breath-taking views and stunning architecture. I particularly loved exploring Palacio Nacional de Pena, my top travel moment of 2018, which is a whimsical, brightly coloured palace with beautiful, decadent towers and exquisite views.
It’s unlike anywhere I’ve ever visited – the attention to detail in the architecture, the extravagant rooms and well maintained gardens are unique and worth the visit to Sintra alone. My top tip would be to arrive at the palace early in peak seasons to avoid the long queues and to buy your palace ticket together with your ticket to Castelo dos Moures (a Moorish Castle), if you’re planning to see both, to save yourself some money. Once you’ve explored these two places, I’d recommend heading to the follow sites: Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Capuchos Convent and Monserrate Palace and Gardens. There’s a fair bit of walking involved in all these places so be sure to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. End the day in the town centre in one of the quaint bars and enjoy tapas and a chilled glass of wine whilst overlooking the hustle and bustle of Sintra life. Interested in finding out more? Have a read of my 24 hours in Sintra here.
Fuerteventura, Spain – Travelvixta
I’m Victoria, a full time lifestyle blogger with four blogs! I cover a lot of travel at my main blog, but www.travelvixta.com is the place where I can keep all my travel articles in one place going forward.
Our favourite and most luxurious holiday in 2018 was to Fuerteventura. It was the first holiday we had as a family abroad so far – we have a six year old daughter and three year old son. They are no strangers to flying as my husband has family in Germany so we’ve been visiting them ever since my children were babies, but this was our first chance to go abroad as a family for an actual holiday of our choosing.
We stayed at the Club Jandia Princess Hotel in Fuerteventura which is actually 10 minutes away from Jandia, despite its name. We were located on Esquinzo beach which is a beautiful stretch of white sand at one end and the other end is scattered with volcanic black rocks of all sizes. The hotel was beautiful – all the buildings were painted white with palm trees and cacti scattered all around.
My favourite activity was a boat trip from Morro Jable on a pirate ship! We were out at sea for a good five hours where we got to admire the rugged volcanic landscape of the island from a different viewpoint, as well as getting to spot some dolphins!
We also went to a wildlife park and cactus garden called Oasis Park. The kids loved to see all the animals, but I was in my element in the cactus garden which is apparently the largest in Europe.
We were warned before going that this is the windy island, but we had a very calm week with no wind at all, just beautiful scorching hot sunshine!
Tuscany & Lisbon – Tim Schultz PhotographyMy wife and I brought our 22 month old daughter to Tuscany and Lisbon this past fall. We left Florida and braved the long flight to Italy, prepared for any emergency a toddler could throw at us.She was a natural! While we had been to Europe several times before our daughter was born, it was fun to see the world through her eyes. Her first ice cream ever was from a gelato shop in San Gimignano that had won “Best Gelato in Italy.” When she saw the Statute of David she pointed and said, “Pee pee!” Pesto, pizza, and pasta were no match for her tiny stomach. By the time we left Italy, she was saying Ciao to everyone! In Lisbon, she chased the pigeons in Rosso Square and hopped on the steps in Alfama. She devoured every pastéis de nata and cookie put in front of her and danced when she heard live music on the street. What took me several trips to understand she learned in one trip; that travel is about the experiences, not just the famous sites. I can’t wait to show her the rest of the world, even if it has to be EPCOT for now!
Where was your travel moment of 2018? Let me know in the comments below. I will be sharing Elle’s Travel Moment of 2018 very soon!