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Free Spirit Pods: Luxury Eco-Accommodation on Tasmania’s Bruny Island

Free Spirit Pods: Luxury Eco-Accommodation on Tasmania’s Bruny Island

One of the southern-most points in Australia, Bruny Island lies off the south coast of Tasmania. Though despite being just a short drive and ferry ride from Hobart, less than 10% of travelers to Tasmania visit, choosing instead to head to more famous parts of the State like Cradle Mountain and Freycinet National Park.

Their loss!

While Bruny Island may only be 50 kilometres across, the unassuming island is one of Tasmania’s best kept secrets, and while small in size, it certainly packs a heavy punch; think stunning natural beaches, elusive quolls and white wallabies, and sustainable luxury at its finest.

You’ll need at least 3 days to really do the island justice, and when it comes to accommodation, we can highly recommend Free Spirit Pods; gorgeous, fully self contained eco-pods set on the waterfront, backed by 8 acres of bushland on North Bruny Island.

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A Journey From Mainland Australia Aboard Spirit of Tasmania

A Journey From Mainland Australia Aboard Spirit of Tasmania

Tasmania lies roughly 400 km from mainland Australia however it seems like a world away; a magical destination where you can escape the crowds of Australia’s main cities, and access vast wilderness and astounding natural wonders like no-where else in the world.

There’s a relaxing pureness about this small island State, and its towns transport you back to simpler times where modern stresses cease to exist. It definitely offers all the modern conveniences you could hope for, but has somehow managed to maintain its unique culture and charm. Managed to preserve it’s World Heritage Areas, wildlife, beautiful landforms, natural and cultural history, and brought them into modern times.

But it’s difficult to really experience all Tasmania has to offer without a car, so there was no question about how we would get to the Island of the Devil; we would journey overnight from the mainland on Spirit of Tasmania. By transporting ourselves along with our personal vehicle and all our gear we were assured of getting the most rewarding experience Tassie could offer.

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A Craft Whisky Distillery in an 1840’s Coaching Inn: Touring Old Kempton Distillery Tasmania

A Craft Whisky Distillery in an 1840’s Coaching Inn: Touring Old Kempton Distillery Tasmania

Tasmania is world famous for its pure air, clean water, and crisp climate. And if you landed here without context, to our ‘lush crisp landscape battered by chilly seas’, pulled up to an imposing 19th century Coaching Inn, and were handed a single malt whisky, we’d forgive you for drawing parallels to Scotland.

After-all, you need a very stable, cool climate to brew the perfect malt whisky (not even modern climate controlled warehouses are as good as brewing in the perfect natural climate), and some of the purest air and water in the world.

Which is why Scottish Whisky has become so famous.

While both superb locations for making whisky, the difference of Scotland and Tasmania is that the distilling of spirits was outlawed here from 1838 to 1991. Though since the law was overturned Tasmania has experienced a craft malt Whisky revival, and the artisanal Whisky movement has earned the reputation of ‘Scotland Down Under’.

150 years was a long time for Tasmanians to wait between drinks, but the State’s pure ingredients and passionate distillers have more than made up for it since.

And that 19th century Coaching Inn? It exists! It sits at 26 Main St Kempton. 40 minutes from Hobart, the Coaching Inn is now a cellar door, with a distillery you can tour in the convict brick stables.

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Rathmore Tasmania Farmstay: Stay on a Historic Australian Sheep Property (in Luxury!)

Rathmore Tasmania Farmstay: Stay on a Historic Australian Sheep Property (in Luxury!)

Australia has a long history of sheep farming, and within 50 years of their arrival in 1788, sheep had become the main source of income for Australian industry.

29 sheep arrived in Australia with the British First Fleet. 230 years later, wool markets around the world are dominated by Australian exports, and our country has more than 27 million sheep; raised largely for wool over meat.

Humble farming has defined Australia for centuries, and sheep are considered the iconic Aussie flock; farmers continue to work sheep stations throughout the country to feed and clothe the nation.

A true-blue producing nation, there are now 85,681 farms across Australia, and many sheep properties invite you to stay; to swap those white sneakers for gumboots and experience country life in a real and authentic way.

One such property is Rathmore, an hour from Hobart in Tasmania’s Central Highlands; a historic sheep property settled in 1828, which is unique in offering a choice of accommodation.

Choose to stay in the beautiful sandstone homestead with the land owners, with grand bedrooms and period furniture, or in the historic shearers’ quarters, recently revived to offer a country experience that is rustic chic.

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Cygnet Retreat: An Ultra Modern Base for the Wild Nature of the Huon Valley

Cygnet Retreat: An Ultra Modern Base for the Wild Nature of the Huon Valley

Restricted to Tasmania during the pandemic, Mike and I have made an effort to explore our home state. Though being ‘confined’ to such a naturally beautiful island with a number of world famous wilderness destinations free of crowds and chaos is far from limiting!

Our experience in the Huon Valley was the perfect balance of wild exploration, while still being able to relax in luxury after days full of dramatic adventure; a balance made possible by checking into the ultra modern Cygnet Retreat.

Nestled in Southern Tasmania just a short drive from Hobart, Cygnet is now known as the place to escape the fast-paced stresses of our modern day to day.

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The Cape House: Our Stay in a Turn of the Century Luxury Farmhouse in Southern Tasmania

The Cape House: Our Stay in a Turn of the Century Luxury Farmhouse in Southern Tasmania

Growing up in Hobart, I have many fond memories of heading to our family shack along the coast of Southern Tasmania. It had been years since I had returned to this southernmost part of Australia and I was eager to share the area with my American husband.

Basing ourselves in Dover, this region is defined by a culture of holiday homes; you won’t find high-rise cookie-cutter hotels here; it’s authentic living in seaside towns, from cosy waterfront studios, to beach-side bungalows, and locally owned villas in forested surrounds.

Surrounded by wilderness and relaxation, we were fortunate to stay at what must be Dover’s most unique and stunning property, a turn of the 20th century farmhouse that has been very much renovated into a luxury holiday home.

Known as the Peninsula Experience, this unique and secluded property actually boasts two separate houses which includes The Cape House and The Boat House. This is our experience at The Cape House.

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Things to do in the Huon Valley: A 4-5 Day Itinerary for Southern Tasmania

Things to do in the Huon Valley: A 4-5 Day Itinerary for Southern Tasmania

The Huon Valley has long been a popular day trip option from Hobart. After-all, just a 30 minute drive south of the city and you’ll be at the source of some of the finest food and freshest ingredients in the country.

Apple growers, craft cider makers, boutique winemakers, salmon producers, and other homegrown produce means even many locals make the drive just for lunch.

But this is a region defined by more than just its food excellence, and if you’re visiting the State, the traditional day trip from Hobart won’t even come close to doing the region justice.

Because on top of the apple cider, salmon sushi, and mouthwatering apple pie (trust me, you’ll order two servings), the Huon Valley also serves up incredible natural beauty, and a huge range of adventure. And they serve it to you on a platter!

The Huon Valley is full of beaches, caves, thermal springs, and is the gateway to the southern forests and World Heritage Wilderness Walks. You can explore by jet boat, hang glider, foot, or car, and if you’re hungry inbetween, fuel up on produce from local roadside stalls.

The Huon Valley is not a day trip destination. It’s worthy of far more time. We recommend at least four to five days for exploring the region.

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7 Things You’ll See on an Alaskan Cruise

7 Things You’ll See on an Alaskan Cruise

The first time we visited Alaska we flew into Anchorage and planned out a self drive itinerary by land. The thinking was that this would allow us to see and do more.

And while we had an incredible time, camping in the rugged interior of Denali, and encountering bears along some of the States most scenic drives, we actually missed out on the big show.

Because cruising actually allows you to experience more of Alaska than a land based DIY tour; while cruising offers the best of both worlds, and allows for land based excursions, driving means you completely miss out on sailing on the icy seas.

Cruising in Alaska means whale watching at 6am as soon as you fall out of bed. It means the opportunity to visit islands and towns not accessible by road. It means dining on fresh salmon as you float past massive blue glaciers, and snow-capped mountains shrouded in mist.

If you’re thinking of cruising Alaska, the word epic barely does the experience justice. Here are 7 things you can expect to see.

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How to Connect With Other Travelers. Because Friends You Meet Traveling Are For Life

How to Connect With Other Travelers. Because Friends You Meet Traveling Are For Life

Of all the amazing experiences you’ve had abroad, which do you remember the most? Do you remember the hotels and hostels? Do you remember the bars? Could you tell me about the trains you took, the medieval churches, or any of the city parks?

And perhaps you do remember the hotels and hostels. Though when you think about these memories, why do they stick out? What’s the common theme? For me at least, my most memorable moments abroad have always been shared with the people I meet.

Let’s be honest, many of the travelers we meet may only be in our lives for a day. But we appreciate these people for the time we shared together. And some of those we meet do stick with us forever. But even if you don’t stay in touch, the best memories in your lives include each other and that’s a bond which ties you together for life.

The following post is about how to connect with travelers abroad, and why the friends you meet traveling are friends for life.

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The Sexiest Female Travelers of 2015. Brought to you by Individual Health #Geoblue

The Sexiest Female Travelers of 2015. Brought to you by Individual Health #Geoblue

Adventure has been the new pretty for a while now, and women who travel are continually redefining the traditional notion of “sexy” through their passion for exploring the world and adventurous soul.

These women are smart, independent and strong. They navigate unknown cities with a great sense of direction, but also enjoy the spontaneity of getting lost. They’re not searching for money, status or looks, they’re searching for knowledge and world experiences.

These women may not be the most dolled up, but they’re certainly the most authentic. Self sufficient women who challenge, encourage and inspire you to see, do and be more.

Though it’s not even that the following women have all of the above mentioned qualities which ultimately makes them sexy. It’s that they have gone against the “norm” to create a lifestyle that they love. It’s that they’re genuinely happy in life. And happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and reflect that happiness back on you.

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She Travels Without Sight: Crossing Ireland’s Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Blind

She Travels Without Sight: Crossing Ireland’s Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Blind

It was on the second or third day of our Ireland tour when a particular opportunity arose; a chance at a totally new experience for me. We were traveling north from Dublin, and as was explained by our extremely outgoing and animated Irish tour guide, it was optional if any of us wished to try walking across the structure to be found at our next stop.

It was the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Suspended almost 100 ft above sea level, the rope bridge spans a dizzying gap over the North Atlantic from the mainland to a small island. Today it is a popular tourist destination, attracting thousands of thrill-seekers (and birdwatchers!) to the North Coast every year.

If you are bold enough to cross the 65 ft (20 m) bridge, stretching from the mainland to ‘Rocky Island’, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of Rathlin Island, Scotland and the Causeway Coast. Though legally blind, at least I didn’t have to worry about not looking down!

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Make the Most of Byron Bay While You Have the Chance

Make the Most of Byron Bay While You Have the Chance

In addition to Byron being transformed by the new groups of people flocking here, severe coastal erosion has begun taking its toll on some of the area’s beaches. The fear is that climate change may make this more prevalent or at least more difficult to predict.

Australia’s most hashtagable holiday destination is definitely under threat both by an overcrowding of influencers and Mother Nature herself, leaving many to wonder how much longer Byron Bay will keep its appeal.

You may want to check out this beautiful coastal gem sooner rather than later before it loses its shine. Here are just some of the reasons people can’t seem to get enough of beloved Byron.

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Villa Talia: Tasmania’s Ultimate Holiday Escape

Villa Talia: Tasmania’s Ultimate Holiday Escape

Tasmania is a wild island, packed with powerful landscapes both tranquil and pure, yet at the same time untamed. And it’s one of the safest places in the world to travel right now.

Set in the peaceful Huon Valley atop a hill overlooking Southern Tasmania, Villa Talia is a stunning holiday home which presents as an unassuming Australian homestead, though is packed with treasure in the form of opulent furnishings, contemporary fixtures, and tempting adult luxuries.

It’s an adult kinder surprise, and it’s best to be warned that no matter how much you love your own home, from the moment you step through the door, Villa Talia will forever become the home of your dreams.

It’s like running into the celebrity crush you have a free pass for, and discovering they’re just as eager…

You no doubt love your own home and understand the reality of needing to return, but a few nights with Villa Talia is the ultimate fantasy escape; a home you’ll never want to leave.

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Three Things to Consider Before Booking a European Getaway

Three Things to Consider Before Booking a European Getaway

Across the globe, few activities are more highly-anticipated than taking a holiday. Given the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, a change of scenery and chance to relax in a destination of your choice is always a welcomed relief.

However, before booking a European break, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration. Here are three things I highly recommend you consider before finalizing your European vacation plans.

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Assemble Your Clan for Scotland’s Virtual Highland Games!

Assemble Your Clan for Scotland’s Virtual Highland Games!

The scene is set; a summer’s day, a lush Scottish glen, centuries of history, competitors ready to battle it out … it’s Scotland’s iconic Highland Games – but not as we know it this year.

In 2020, for the first time ever, the Scottish Highland Games have been held virtually, and everyone can have a front row seat to the very best of Scottish culture and competition!

The Highland Games are a traditional feature of summer across Scotland, particularly in rural areas. Dating back over 1,000 years, Highland Games are a celebration of Scottish and Celtic culture, centered around a variety of competitions such as heavy athletics, piping, drumming and Highland dancing.

Whether you want to re-watch the action, find out more about the history behind the games, or stage your own Highland Games from home, there are plenty of ways to get involved this year, albeit in a physically distanced and virtual way!

Here’s how you can be part of the action!

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What Can the Casino Tourism Industry Do to Bounce Back?

What Can the Casino Tourism Industry Do to Bounce Back?

There are many industries that face a tough task to bounce back in 2020 and beyond. One of those is the casino tourism industry.

Most casinos around the world have become an attraction in their own right, so much so that whole cities like Vegas and Macau have become known solely for their casino scene.

So it’s no surprise that casinos have become intricately tied to the tourism fabric, with many doubling as fully integrated resorts, restaurants, concert venues, and playing a vital role within local economies.

The casino industry will likely be one of the last to reopen after the pandemic, which will have a huge impact on the speed of being able to return to jobs, and how quickly tourism to the areas around them flourish.

So, what can this industry do to bounce back and get people on board both this year and beyond? We’ve thrown down some thoughts.

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The Best Ways to Camp With Beverages

The Best Ways to Camp With Beverages

Beverages are a big part of the camping experience, and there’s often no better way to quench your thirst than with some delicious libations out in the woods!

Sharing a beer after kayaking, sipping a wine as the sun sets, or passing natural weed around the campfire as you strum the guitar and crack some jokes; these are all camping traditions that make the adventure a memorable one.

But when you’re camping with beverages you can get certain things wrong. As such we’ve put together this handy resource.

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10 Things To Do in Pondicherry: The French Capital of India

10 Things To Do in Pondicherry: The French Capital of India

Pondicherry is a beautiful beach town on the southeastern coastline of India. A French colony until 1954, even today you can still see the impact and influence the French have left.

Here you’ll find colourful alleys, french cafes and heritage hotels. There are European mansions, bougainvillaea laden walls, and chic boutiques in what has become known as the French Capital of India.

From authentic French food to beautiful colonial villas around town, everything in Pondicherry screams France … and French is still largely spoken – the official language throughout town.

One beautiful thing about Pondicherry is that it slows time down for you – the place has such a calm vibe to it, and will leave you with a different experience to the normally chaotic and hectic cities India is more well known for.

From long walks on the beach, or exploring its cobblestone streets (the French call them boulevards and rues), here are 10 things you can do around town.

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Reasons to Visit Kangaroo Island This Year

Reasons to Visit Kangaroo Island This Year

In recent years, rumors have begun to spread about the existence of a wildlife rich island off the coast of South Australia, in the Southern Ocean / Great Australian Bite.

A natural, rugged island where native animals like kangaroos, sea lions, koalas, and penguins roam freely, through an interior of sand dunes, bush-land, and pink lakes; one surrounded with impeccably clear waters where you can swim with wild dolphins, while feasting on mouth-watering food and wine at the end of the day.

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island, and while it feels like you’re a million miles from the rest of the world, the SeaLink Kangaroo Island ferry takes only 45 minutes from the mainland.

Australia’s very own Galapagos, this is one of the world’s greatest nature based destinations, and this year is the perfect time to visit!

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The Studios by Haus: The Perfect Adelaide Hills Accommodation

The Studios by Haus: The Perfect Adelaide Hills Accommodation

Did you know that South Australia is home to the nation’s oldest surviving German settlement? Set in the Adelaide Hills, Hahndorf is what you get when early German migrants travel to Australia on a Zebra!

Yes, you read that correctly! Though the migrants fleeing religious prosecution in 1839 didn’t saddle up on the black and white kind, rather a ship named Zebra which was captained by Dirk Meinerts Hahn.

The slice of heaven in the Adelaide Hills where the passengers and crew would eventually settle would end up being named after the Captain. Today, visitors to Hahndorf experience a traditional European village blended with Aussie spirit.

Set along leafy Main Street in the heart of town are three unique properties by The Haus Group. We stayed at the award-winning The Studios by Haus this past autumn (boutique self-contained apartments), and were totally charmed by this historic yet contemporary Australian town.

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How to Visit and Support Bushfire Affected Regions of Australia – Use Your Tourism For Good

How to Visit and Support Bushfire Affected Regions of Australia – Use Your Tourism For Good

When we embarked on our ‘Road Trip for Good‘ at the beginning of March, the purpose was to visit bushfire affected parts of the country, and do our bit to support struggling local economies.

The start of 2020 saw unprecedented bushfires rip through Australia; millions of people were affected, but the devastation wasn’t just limited to property, wildlife, and land. It also decimated local economies across the country, as travelers cancelled their plans.

Summer is peak season for tourism in Australia, and many small businesses rely on the visitor economy. Even if the fire didn’t reach their doors, the sudden drought of tourism was a heart aching pill to swallow.

Our gratitude can’t be expressed deeply enough for the outpouring of love, donations, and support which flooded in from around the world, and from around the country. But the bushfire recovery is far from over, especially for those who have lost their income.

By mid March a pandemic swept in, and we were forced to rush home. But as Australia went into lockdown and we cut our trip short, the residents of bushfire affected Australia had a clear message:

‘Please don’t forget about us’.

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10 Things You Should Pack on Your Next Road Trip

10 Things You Should Pack on Your Next Road Trip

Road trips are one of our favorite pastimes. They give you the opportunity to see the world in a unique way without spending a lot of money. Plus, you can bring along as many friends and family members that will fit in your car.

Packing correctly for a road trip is an essential part of having a great time. And the benefit of taking a car is that you have more flexibility in what you can pack without TSA or airline guidelines changing your packing list.

The bad news is, you might forget a few things if you’re not organized. Of course, you’ll probably do a good job packing your toys, toiletries, and other daily essentials, but there are a few things people often don’t think about.

So, here are 10 things you might want to bring on your next road trip!

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Things to do in Rishikesh, India (The Yoga Capital of the World)

Things to do in Rishikesh, India (The Yoga Capital of the World)

Rishikesh, a spiritual town located at the foothills of Himalayas, truly represents of the heart and soul of India. And being the country’s epicenter of yoga and meditation retreats, it has earned itself the title of ‘Yoga Capital of the World’.

The town gained worldwide popularity in the 60’s & 70’s with the spreading of transcendental meditation movement, and when The Beatles spent time here on retreat, tourism was definitely helped!

But Rishikesh is not just famous for the peace and tranquility it offers, but also for its range of adventurous adrenaline activities. From white water rafting to bungee jumping, and then back for afternoon yoga, Rishikesh is the perfect place for those seeking both thrill and chill!

Rishikesh is a unique mix of spirituality, yoga, and adventure, so without further ado, here are our top 10 favorite things to do!

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Visit These Two Neighboring Top French Cities: Marseille & Aix-en-Provence

Visit These Two Neighboring Top French Cities: Marseille & Aix-en-Provence

One of my favorite areas of France is the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, home to the Bouches-du-Rhône with its medieval villages and castles, ancient Roman monuments and ruins, and giant citadels. Escape to the Mediterranean coast or head inland to romantic vineyards, lavender fields, and olive groves.

Two cities stand out in the region: its capital Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence.

While these two cities are only separated by a 30-minute drive, they are worlds apart, though to experience one without the other would be doing yourself a disservice as despite a long standing rivalry, the two cities complement each other nicely.

So, in encouraging you to visit these two neighboring Top French Cities, let’s dive deeper into how two cities so close together can be so incredibly different, yet equally enticing.

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4 Things To Do During Dull Layovers

4 Things To Do During Dull Layovers

As exciting as traveling is, airports can be some of the dullest places on Earth (with the exception maybe of Singapore – being in Changi is like discovering wonderland after having fallen down the rabbit hole!) Yes, travel is often about the journey, not the destination, but no one enjoys being trapped in the terminal.

No matter how prepared you are for the airport downtime, armed with a top ten’s worth of airport best sellers and a fully downloaded Netflix hit, it’s still hard to make a layover interesting. Often times it takes all our energy not to fall asleep at the gate!

If you’ve got a long journey coming up, here are a couple of ways you can keep yourself entertained during layovers.

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