Experience Cape Tribulation’s Tropical Wonderland

Daintree-Cape Tribulation is where the Rainforest meets the Reef. A place that you come to reconnect with nature and see the rainforest in its splendour. Just 140 kilometres further north of Cairns, away from the major cities and famous resorts, you will find very laid-back area of Cape Tribulation located in the Daintree region. It is the place where time is seemingly stands still. Untouched by mass developments, this place is where you can still see and feel the real rainforest. It is the place where the centuries-old palm trees have survived invasions. The area has a diverse mixture of nature, culture and history. You’re surely to find some of the most beautiful rainforest coastlines you have ever laid eyes on. Yes, Cape Tribulation is an area of breathtaking beauty with mountain ranges, narrow coastal strips and dense rainforest reaching to the edge of the beaches.

Why Go?

Cape Tribulation area is undeniably one of the most exciting, diverse and magical region to visit in Australia and the Great Barrier Reef sits at the very heart of it. It is richly blessed with nature, culture and history – A place where rainforest meets the reef. It is one of the popular iconic places in Australia to visit. The drive stretches along the edges of Great Barrier Reef to Cooktown along the coastal drive.

This road is known for its vast stretches of stunning coastline, with its breathtaking waterfalls, scenic vistas at every turn, impressive rivers, lush rainforest, rugged terrains and rivers and creeks infested with crocodiles. Given its remoteness and raw, natural beauty, it was the perfect place to visit where I could be safe and also find a ton of outdoor activities to fill up my weekend. The visit to this area promises to be one of the great contrast, beauty and exploration. It gives me an opportunity to enter the tropical wonderland – the Daintree National Forest.

Getting there?

With bitumen road from Cairns to Cape Tribulation and easily accessible by conventional vehicle made this road trip much easier and comfortable without having to load extra accessories. Leaving Cairns early Saturday morning, I headed north of Cairns. Knowing that it was going to be a wonderful getaway of rest, rejuvenation and spending priceless time alone and doing things I haven’t done in a long time made it even more exciting for me.

I began our scenic drive from Cairns to Mossman known as the ‘Greenway’ was a smooth drive without many traffic along the way, except the cool breeze coming off the ocean as I witness the sunrise appearing beyond the horizon. I drove along the windy coast road and through canfields to Mossman town where I stopped for breakfast and coffee break at a local cafe located on the main street of Mossman township.

From the tiny town of Mossman, I continued my drive through cane fields, with the back-drop of tropical ranges on one end and the ocean on the other, until reaching Daintree River Crossing. Daintree River Crossing is the gateway to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest Wonderland. Arriving early at the Daintree Ferry crossing meant that I didn’t have to wait longer than 30 minute and the cost of Ferry crossing is $31 return. 

Daintree River Ferry Crossing

Crossing a ferry is an another experience, as you sit in your car while enjoying the views of the crocodile infested Daintree River.  However, my adventure began from the moment, I drove off the Daintree Ferry. The drive along this road takes you through natural rainforest wonderland.

 

 

Here, I left the scenery of cane-fields behind and onto pristine thick rainforest filled with stunning views of Daintree Rainforest, beautiful beaches and coastlines.

The drive along this road to Cape Tribulation is one of the most spectacular and thrilling experience you will ever have. It took me through lush tropical rainforest, narrow and windy road lined with natural and unique ferns, vines, trees and plants that are unique and only found in this part of the world. The whole area provides a vast array of flora and fauna, rough and dense terrains. It is one of the natural botanic kingdoms in the world. This is the place to come and enjoy, admire and appreciate nature amidst the oldest rainforest in the world.

What to see and do?

The Daintree Rainforest and the entirety of Cape Tribulation boast many stupendous boardwalks through the trees, walking trails and impressive lookouts with stunning views.

Alexandra Lookout

Just within 5 kilometre drive from the Daintree River Ferry crossing is the Alexandra Lookout. The drive along this road gives you an impression of what Daintree Rainforest has to offer. It is widely known as the oldest rainforest in the world and boast plenty of native and exotic plant and animal species along the way. The surrounding landscape is home to some breathtaking natural wonders, many of which can be soaked up from the excellent vantage point of Alexandra Lookout.

As I enjoyed the view from this stunning lookout, it shows how Daintree and its surrounding regions have a rich Indigenous history that spans back thousands of years and the Alexandra Lookout is no exception. The Lookout has signs that I was able to learn more about this fascinating slice of Australian history and discover the importance of Alexandra Lookout in the region’s Indigenous history.

MARRDJA BOARDWALK

Leaving, the stunning views of Alexandra Lookout, I continued my windy scenic drive through the rainforest and every corner I turned, I was surprisigngly faced with impressive rainforest ferns, palm trees and many exotic plants. Within few kilometres, I reached one of the popular boardwalks on the way to Cape Tribulation. This boardwalk known as Marrdja boardwalk is undoubtedly the best in the area. This incredible rainforest boardwalk is a paradise for nature lovers as the rich vegetation and thriving wildlife allow you to get lost in the beauty of this natural park.

As am meandering down the Marrdja boardwalk, it took me into another world where the lush vegetation changing and evolving the richness of the earth and the rainforest echoes with life. Here, I not only got the chance to see the tangle of fig trees embracing each other but the gentle music of the bright streams spilling over rocks and the mangrove forests entwining with the dewy fresh rainforest made for an incredible sojourn. The constantly changing scenery and vegetation within 1.2km along this boardwalk are captivating and it just kept me me enthralled as I stroll along this stunning and impressive boardwalk.

I found this boardwalk to be among the most accessible and interesting of all these trails and it is well worth stopping to see some of the abundant flora and fauna of the Daintree Forest. This boardwalk is a looped walk that begins and ends at Oliver’s Creek, a glistering stream that emerges from beneath the thick rainforest canopy. The boardwalk is only 1.2km in length and is entrely wheelchair accessible. It is really, an instructive and nice boardwalk and there is so much to see. I get to see different types of mangroves, basket ferns, palms, strangler fig trees, birds, green butterflies, exotic mushrooms and the list just goes on. The informative signs along the boardwalk teaches of this land from prehistoric times and I walk, I found signs explaining that this rainforest is one of the places on earth to still be preserving many ancient trees. It is truly an amazing place to be.

CAPE TRIBULATION

The popular Cape Tribulation lies on the coast of the rainforest, where it meets the reef and has a long-stretched secluded beach with the back-drop of lush tropical rainforest and the reef. It is approximately 30km from the Daintree River Ferry crossing. Cape Tribulation is nestled in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest and offers some stunning natural scenes from remote headland that just out towards the Great Barrier Reef. It is reowned for its adventure trails through the rainforest, pristine and untouched lush rainforest, remote beaches, quiet and secluded tourist accommodations and the world heritage rainforest of Daintree National Park.

From the lookout as I looked back at the beach, it has the most stunning view of the coastline and headland. Cape tribulation is also home to 2 interpretive walks – Dubuji Boardwalk that takes you through the rainforest and mangroves. The Madja Botanical Boardwalk and pathway takes you through the high value Daintree coastal rainforest. I took an easy walk on Dubuji boardwalk to the Kulki lookout. It is just a short walk through the rainforest to the headland where a lookout point provides excellent view across the Cape Tribulation beach and pristine coastline. The views from here are stunning and unrivalled anywhere else before taking strolling along the beach.

What a great location to spending time here exploring this tropical world heritage listed rainforest but for those who want to experience a more adventurous road trip, travellers can drive beyond Cape Tribulation coastline. The road along the rough coast way to Cooktown and surrounding villages along the way, only accessible to 4-wheel vehicles. Some of the rugged part of this terrains are rough, dusty and rivers to cross.

 

 

© COPYRIGHT: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

© akamau.org. (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material (photography and writing) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to akamau.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Port Moresby: The Capital of the Land of Unexpected

Papua New Guinea, the country known as the Land of Unexpected, is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Port Moresby also known as Pom City is the capital and the largest city of Papua New Guinea. The city is situated on the eastern shore of Port Moresby off the Gulf of Papua, on the south-west coast of the Papuan Peninsula of the island of New Guinea. It is located about 100 miles on the northern tip of Australia. Port Moresby, has been growing rapidly since gaining independence in 1975 and it is the fastest growing city in the Pacific. With over 800 different languages, it makes this country one of the most unique, yet diverse place on earth to visit. Though English is commonly spoken throughout the country, the two main languages – tok Pidgin and Motu is widely spoken daily among the people.

Port Moresby’s charm lies in the diversity of its cultures and the distinct features of the people. From the highlands up in the mountains to islands of pristine beaches to coastal areas of the country, brings diversity and uniqueness.

WHY GO?

I returned to Port Moresby, the city where I grew up to visit families and some of the familiar places around Port Moresby after spending many years away from the country. Flying into Port Moresby’s Jacksons international airport from Australia, I was both anxious and nervous. I was excited and looking forward to seeing all my immediate and extended families. However, on the other end, I was nervous and petrified about visiting the place. The social media highlight the negative news about the country and potrayed as how dangerous the place is. Yes, if I rely purely on social media, it was easier for me to form a wrong impression about Port Moresby and the country as a while. In reality, I wanted to return to see what life is like in the land of the unexpected

Port Moresby

Arriving in Port Moresby, as soon as I stepped out of the Jackson’s International terminal, I went straight onto my waiting vehicle, surrounded and greeted by family members which was very welcoming. From there, I took an opportunity to ventured through some of the city’s main roads and suburban streets. Driving along the city’s main road and streets, every street corners were packed with street vendors. Whether it was in front of their residence, public bus-stops, front of the major shopping centres or along the busy main streets, they were visibly seeing everywhere and virtually selling anything to make a living. It was a common scene in every street corners and it can be over-whelming if your visiting for the first time in the area.

Street Vendors

Betel nut, one of the major thing that is virtually sold everywhere by street vendors is a nut which many locals chew. It is a drug and can become very addictive. Being aware of the risks, chewing betel nut was not on my bucket-list. I was warned by families that visiting public betel nut markets alone was highly unsafe and tourists or expatriate are most vulnerable. I was recommended to go with family members as public markets, especially in Port Moresby were quite dangerous. The local betel nut chewers tends to be careless when spitting betel nut juice.
Despite Parliament passing the amended Summary Offences Acts which prohibits selling, buying and chewing of betel nut, it has not solved the underlying problem. As I ventured further into the streets of Port Moresby, the streets and footpaths are stained by the blood red spittle that chewing produces and discarded husks clog the gutters. It was quite an eye sore and a very unpleasant introduction to the city.

City’s Image

The city of Port Moresby is one of the most populous places in the country and in the Pacific Islands. Within few hours of exploring the area, I began to find that the city has an image problem, with a firmly entrenched reputation as a violent and dangerous place. I found the streets to be unsafe to walk on and venturing out alone was basically taking my life in my hands. It is full of contradiction and pain. It is a place of wonder, fear, sorrow and neglect, considering hope. The country’s capital bursts with humanity on every street or corner I passed. I could virtually see it all there – poverty, wealth, good, bad, happy, sad, beauty and tragedies.

The more I began to explore, I noticed that behind the beautiful, lavish parts of Port Moresby lies the most abject poverty imaginable. Nothing could prepare me for the stark reality of desperation, misery and despair of walking through a real live slum in the heart of country’s capital. Sometimes the most severe poverty was hidden behind the walls and within the confines of a slum. Other times, it was just starring right back at me like a hard slap across my face. I tried to look away, and ignore the creeping, uncomfortable nagging guilt. But I couldn’t.

These scenes may be a tourist delight but taking time to explore and talking with the locals on the street, I have found that it was expensive, dangerous ( or so many expats will tell you) and not easily walkable. It was easy for me to see why many visitors are tempted to spend as little time here as possible, unless they have a friend or family connection in the city. I found the local people in Port Moresby probably through out the whole country tend to sit on the ground and watch the world go by when they have nothing to do. It was quite intimidating for me as I was already semi-paranoid about rascals pounding on me any minute.

Charming Locals

Beneath this heart-breaking struggle and despair, local people are charming and kind-hearted people once you leave the suburban/urban lifestyle. They are happy and photogenic with beautiful smiles whenever they see someone with a camera. I found that, once you get to know them, they immediately consider you like a brother or sister and are always willing to help out whenever you need assistance. However, like most areas, precaution, self-awareness and slef-alert were my first priority in every location I visited for my own safety. This charming lifestyle brought back past way of life that I once knew and I felt safe in every street corners I wandered around.

LIFESTYLE?

Port Moresby, like most part of the country is home to tight-knit communities, where everyone knows everyone. One of the thing, visitors need to know about life in PNG, is the people are friendly, relaxed and have a strong sense of community.

I originally coming from the country background, I have learnt to accept and become aware of how people in Port Moresby enjoying a slower pace where lifestyle is prioritised. Many really embrace the challenge of saving cash as families and extended families live in same household. I have noticed that this really make an impact on their lives. Every circumstance is different in every household but understanding life in this country is keeping an open mind and seeing and eveluating things from different perspective.

WHERE TO STAY?

There are various types of accommodations in the area ranging from resorts, hotels and private accommodations. However, it is highly expensive to stay in all accommodations. Safety is a major issue but staying in resorts or hotels are safe as they are guarded by securities constantly.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO?

With the unattractive side to the city, there is Port Moresby’s charms that reveal themselves. There is no shortage of social activities in Port Moresby. Many locals enaged in many sporting activities but for many expatriates, they tend to spend their weekends on sailing or fishing, playing tennis or squash game or even running groups.

It is commong for locals, which they prefer to wander around the area with smiling places but for travellers, it it worth visiting the local markets and museums with locals as your guides.

However, other places worth visiting includes:

* Parliament Haus (National Parliament): It is modelled in the style of a Sepik spirit house – “haus tambaran”. It is set in some beautiful and very carefully landscaped gardens.

* A superb National Museum and Art Gallery: This superb museum, beautifully remodelled for the country’s 40th anniversary of independence is the best introduction you can get to Papua New Guinea’s rich indigenous culture.

* Port Moresby’s Nature Park: This is an island of calm. Located not far from the University of Papua New Guinea is this 2km of walkways thread under and through the jungle canopy, with well-maintained gardens displaying both local and exotic plants species, including native and hybrid orchids and many more birds, including the iconic bird of paradise of the country.

* The Adventure Park: This park is located outside the city within few minutes of driving. It is one of the major attractions of the city which includes water slides and ferries wheels, paddle-boats and wildlife encounters

* Colourful Markets: Here you get to wander around and check out some of the locally made crafts, such as the hand-made string bags called bilums.

Many other attractions includes – Bomana War Cemetery, Variarata National Park, Hanubada and Koki villages built over the sea on stilts, National Orchid Gardens, McDonald’s Corner and many more.

All these are well worth a visit and they offer a pleasant way to get away for few hours when visiting the area but it is highly recommended to go with local guides in a convoy.

Exploring the area and Transportation

The city of Port Moresby is not a destination that families and travellers expect to come to enjoy or have a good time. It is a city with minimal attraction and tourism is non-existence in the city. The only main beach in the city, called Ela beach is deserted with no activities, except street vendors and locals prowling the promenade with minimal entertainment. With the rapid growth, there is a dark side. The gritty Port Moresby is not most travellers idea of an enchanting capital. The city has a spread-out collection of neighbourhoods – from modern office buildings in downtown and Waigani and a glitty marina full of yachts, to squatter shantytowns with no electricity or running water that cling to the hillsides. The scruffy market places are where barefoot settlers and villagers from surrounding areas come to sell their goods. The city illustrates the stark divide between expats, rich locals and the struggling locals. According to “Lonely Planet” travel guide, it rates Port Moresby has one of the worst places and most unsafe cities in the world to live.

However, it is entirely possible to get around and visit many attractions and places in this area with the help of public transport but public buses are not reliable, unsafe and dirty. However, my recommendation would be to hire a car and guides and travel in a convoy. To do a self-drive tour and exploring the area in your own time is very dangerous. Driving in the area is straightforward but the locals drive much faster and careless and not wary of others.

Yes, Port Moresby can be dangerous but my experience overall is that it is far from being the hell-hole that the tabloid media love to paint it. With common sense, it will keep you safe and sound. You need to be vigilant and conscous of your personal security. Visiting Port Moresby was not the near-death experience it might appear to be but my visit to the city that I grew up was such an amazing trip. I had the chance to visit some of the places that I was familiar with and other unique places. The experience was a completely different culture and lifestyle that I am familiar with back home.

When you have families or friends living in Port Moresby will definitely give you an unforgettable experience. In sharing my memories in this country, it can give others a different outlook in visiting the country.

 

© COPYRIGHT: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

© akamau.org. (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material (photography and writing) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to akamau.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In Pictures: My Home, My Village

Inuma village, located in the region of Central Province in Papua New Guinea is about 3-4 hours drive along the Magi-Highway, South-East of Port Moresby, the country’s capital city. Village life in Inuma is no different to many remote villages in Papua New Guinea. Many villages have tightly-knit communities that function systematically in many different ways. Many villages are remote, without electricity, mains water and flushing toilets. Spending time in the village made me realise what I take for granted in my everyday life in western society. It brought me to a different world from modern way of life.

To get a better understanding and appreciation of what life is like for the majority of the people who haven’t travelled to a third-world country, you should really consider spending couple of days or stay at a homestay in one of the local villages. You will get a life changing experience, an escape from urban cities way of life. However, staying in the village with families gave me a  snapshot of what life is like in the village. It is a simple way of life that wanna keeps me going back home.

Getting there?

Spending a day in Port Moresby after arriving from Australia was long enough before taking on my adventure road journey on a public motor vehicle (PMV) to my destination – Inuma village. We drove on south-east and for the first couple of hours we drove on hard on good roads (much improved since the 90s when they were pot-holed dirt roads). Once we past the other side of Kwikila, the road conditions began to change. The road by now had deteriorated much from the tarmac of earlier and we bounced around in the vehicle as we dodged or hit pot-holes. Riding on the PMVs with no safety seat belts made the road trip very uncomfortable. It was rough, dusty and bumpy. Along the Magi Highway, we past through many villages and the scenic vast areas of lands untouched by developers made the road trip even more intriguing, an experience of a life time.

Inuma Village

A short while later, we finally made it to Inuma village. Returning back home for a short time after been away for few years refreshed me of childhood memories living in this beautiful part of the world that I call home. The way of doing things have not changed but the quality way of lifestyle have slowly improved over the years. However, the life here in this tiny village of Inuma is much simpler than Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. It is a lot more easier and relaxed way of life. Many villagers go about their ways – go to the rivers for swim and bath, gardening or hunting. I just simply indulge in a stress and trouble free atmosphere.

Lifestyle

Virtually all village life in PNG is subsistence living, Inuma village is no exception. Which means that the villagers grow the majority of what they eat in small gardens. That have cleared by hand from the jungle and bush. In a location such as Inuma, its rich fertile soil provides an abundance of  garden vegetables . And therefore an excellent source of additional food. Then, of course, there are wild fruits found every where. Luxuries such as clothes, washing powder and kerosene for lighting are bought by selling vegetables, fish and hand-made things at the local markets.

The most amazing and exciting part about going back to the village is the way they live and how go about doing things. Having grown up in this village, I still feel that I am much more a part of their lives and blend in many ways as possible.

On many ocassions, village community gather for certain type of project that they all they part in working together. Whether it is for ones own garden or church involved project. Depending on the work but usually they complete the task within the day. The whole village community comes out to help apart from their own individual or family gardens that they survive on. They’re bright, noisy affairs and a whole lot of fun too. The whole atmosphere was electrifying.

What I love about going back home

Who wouldn’t love to go home? There is no place like home and home is where our heart is truly defines how each person or individual belongs to. Being happy, comfortable and relax is a place where you feel like at home and that is something above and beyond.

For the last few decades, going back home to the village had long been a much-loved holiday destination when I could relax and enjoy a break from the 9-to-5 grind back home. The dream of getting off the hamster wheel of working life and take a short break from home away from home, the village life in Papua New Guinea. It was time to go back home and that was exactly what I did. I know it was going to be a culture shock for me going back but mainly for me, I miss the proximity with my families back home, especially after living overseas for almost 30 years, now families at home have grown up children and engaging in so many things. It was the greatest moment for me, seeing them for the first time.

During the few years of my absence from the village and when I went back home to the village, my camera has never been so busy. The village life there has been definitely an eye-opener; the delightful people, the breathtaking scenery, the vibrant village community gatherings, simple and relaxed way of life… Every day there was so many photo worthy moments. Sometimes, it is true that a picture can paint a thousand words. Each picture tells a story of a certain place and time. In my opinion, there is no place on earth that a simple photo can tell so much about a place than Inuma Village. Here are just a few of my favourites.

Village way of Life

 

Faces

The faces of families back home tells a story. Despite modernisation and the threat to their way of life, especially their way of doing things to survive is gradually changing but their beautiful smiles are always cancerous and unforgetable. They still continue to live the way they have for centuries and they are happy. Here are some of my favourites.

Family Fun Experience

Telling my friends that I was going home was a huge wake-up call for me as most of my friends in Australia know very little about village way of life. However, sharing some of experiences like this opens up a whole new world to many. I hope to go back again and spent more time in the village. The highlight of my entire trip was spending time with my families and at the river as kids go about diving above waste-deep waters for prawns for my lunch as we made fires at each site near the river while enjoying my prawns with dry coconut on the menu. Most of the children were happy to get fresh coconut for my refreshment and the entire experience was far better than I first thought. I simply fell in love with the beauty, pristine and untouched environment. It was absolutely extraordinary and like no place on earth to experience this unique way of life.

Road to Port Moresby: Maggi Highway

The trip back from the village to Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea was an experience that won’t be forgotten easily and without a doubt, it was an experience I want to repeat again – that was jumping on any public motor vehicle (PMV) passing along the highway. It was a rough journey but will do it again whenever I go back for a visit.

The road to Port Moresby from the village is probably the least treacherous, however, that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most dangerous roads in the world. I found that, when it comes to driving the Maggi Highway, it is the journey, not the destination, that is the main attraction on travelling on public motor vehicles. There are few words that I can describe the beauty of this drive – rough and dusty road, windy, ever-changing green and lush valleys and passing through many tiny villages. There is only one town along the highway which is less attractive compared to tiny outback towns in Australia which are well-maintained with clean facilities and respected shops. To me this was the experience I wanted to discover – a highway to heaven itself. To others, experiencing and exploring this highway is certainly not for everyone. If you rather sit back, relax and simply enjoy the comfort – travel on your own vehicle.

The trip back home can be describe in one simple word – Incredible. I loved my trip and what truly made the difference was my sister, nephew, brother-in-law and my families back home in the village. Without them, this would have made the trip un-extraordinary. I have seen and experience the lifestyle in just few days and that was just only one small part of it. It was incredibly amazing experience.

 

© COPYRIGHT: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

© akamau.org. (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material (photography and writing) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to akamau.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Enjoying the Ultimate Theme Parks in Orlando, Florida.

EXPERIENCE

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oRLANDO

Exploring the heart of Orlando city that is installed with theme park glory and filled with excitement for all

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Orlando in Brief

The city of Orlando is centrally located in the U.S. state of Florida, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Orlando is the states third largest metropolis. With 233 sunny days a year and thrilling theme parks, makes Orlando the theme park capital of the world. For thrill seekers, millions of visitors come to Orlando for just one thing – Action. It is the place where imagination run wild. Millions of visitors escape to this sunny state, just to experience and visit these fun-pack incredible theme parks and attractions. Whether it is a white-knuckled thrill ride, exhilarating skydive encounter, soothing massage, exciting round of gold, mega shopping junket or a moving theatre performance, Orlando and the surrounding Central Florida region is a perennial favourite destination among holiday-makers around the world. Orlando is the place where they want visitors to stay all day and come back the next day. This is why visitors come to explore unique things to do in Orlando. There are many more reasons why and there are plenty of it? 

Variety of pictures of scenery below

Why Go?

When you may think, you know all you need to about Orlando is theme parks, but there is much more to do and so many things to enjoy in Orlando. However, there is more to this Central Florida city than Disney’s Epcot and Universal’s Wizard World of Harry Potter. In reality, Orlando has a little of this and little of that to appeal to all ages, and there is more to do here than visit theme parks. The subtropical climate makes this city great for golfing and the downtown city landscape is too attractive not to explore.

I wanted to treat myself to an eclectic food scene to venturing over gator-infested waters via zip line and many other plenty of activities in Orlando that weren’t on my radar. I wanted to step-away from the rollercoasters and flashy amusements and slip into the great outdoors which this city have plenty of natural beauty.

My Highlights

It was in early May, I set off for my annual overseas trip and chose to spend two weeks exploring Orlando. I have been to Orlando and other parts of Florida state and I loved it. I have found that Orlando is one of those places, once you visit the place, you will want to come back and stay. This time, I thought, I’ll enjoy exploring the theme parks and other major attractions outside Orlando. Though, I find theme parks to be family oriented but at times, I wanted to amuse myself, with no exception, Orlando is the place where it happens. 

As soon as I set foot in Orlando, I knew what I wanted to see and do, it wasn’t hard filling up my time and was able to do a wide variety of things that pleased me as a free-independent-traveller (FIT). From taking the adrenaline theme park rides to getting lost within the towering giant buildings and being mesmerised in Orlandos nightlife. There was plenty of nature, culture and entertainment.

In Orlando, there are botanical gardens, world-class museums and art galleries and inner city attractions. Over the course of two weeks, I began my Orlando experience with a trip to theme parks, moving next down to Kennedy Space Centre and finishing up my trip in Daytona Beach for 3 days, winding down before continuing to my next destination. It was a wonderful holiday filled with beauty and adventure.   

With so much to do and see int he area, it can be a bit overwhelming to make the most of my stay, here are some tips on that to do and see in Orlando area before heading to the coast – Daytona for relaxation by the beach.

Animal Kingdom Park

My ten day trip began with a visit toDisney’s Animal Kingdom Park, which is one of the 4 largest theme parks that are perfectly located at Walt Disney Resort. This park is filled with endless attractions, adventures and entertainment that reflect Walt Disney’s dedication to nature and conservation. The park is home to more than 1700 animals from over 200 species and sprawling across acres of lush landscape. This is the park’s biggest animal-themed park in the world and here you can see some of the region’s most interesting animals along with others brought in from different countries and learn more about them.

Here you’re able to encounter rare and majestic animals and even get close enough to pet some of them. This park in Orlando was an action-packed day out for me and sure, I went the next day to see and spent more time in the park. What a thrill and magical  experience it was. I felt like, I was seeing the spectacular scenery from the African savannah to exotic animals of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Whether you’re an animal lover or not, this is the right place to create that imagination of “All creatures, great and small” are gathered in one location for children, family and lone travellers come to enjoy. 

Enjoying the views of Pink Flamingos

Sea World

There is no one place on earth more than seeing the underworld creatures, bigger than human beings that is so magical that will linger-on for the rest of my life. I spent a full day at this park exploring the awe-inspiring world of marine life where every encounter was a new adventure. I just loved coming face-to-face with playful dolphins. I just immersed myself in wonder at this park and could see this aquatic world coming alive in from of me as I wandered around. Apart from seeing the world through the eyes of a penguin in the thrilling, chilling adventure of Antartica and laughing to the all-new Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High show, I then climbed aboard and ride the might manta where I experience the power and grace of killer whales in the awe-inspiring Shamu show. It is pure delight and incredible to experience all this in one location.

The park itself is mainly to entertain visitors of marine creatures but there are few other wildlife section where you can enjoy them including dangerous sea-creatures like the sharks and other marine live – fish etc which can be viewed through the glass like in the aquarium.

Kennedy Space Centre

One of the places, I was looking forward to visit which was on my priority list was taking a trip out to Kennedy Space Centre. Growing up as a child, one of my childhood ambition was to see how rockets were built and launched. It was a childhood fairytale, actually turning out to be a reality was beyond. I spend the ultimate day exploring the fascinating Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral. Here you learn about the history of the US space program and watch stunning IMAX films and I had the chance to walk under a Saturn V rocket and got a close-up view of the Space Shuttle launch pad. It was just mind-boggling.

If you have the time, you are able to join in a lunch with an astronaut and will take you behind the scenes of the centres launch facility. It is an experience that every traveller need to see

Daytona Beach

After spending six wonderful days in the city of Orlando, it was time to get back on track for leisure and relaxation. I ventured slightly off route to see some of the small places along the way to Daytona beach. After arriving in Daytona, it was time to rewind after an “action-packed” lifestyle of Orlando. My plan was to do nothing but spent more time at the beach strolling along in the mornings to see the sunrise and in the evenings to see the sunset.

In the middle of the day, my day was spent at the resort’s pool-side reading my favourite scientific thriller book by Lee Child to let the day go by. I continue on my own tour fo the beach for few days before it was time to leave. 

All in all, it was a wonderful ten days in Orlando and I would highly recommend it if you are visiting Orlando and Daytona area.

Daytona beach that goes for miles and miles away

ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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My Ultimate Visit to Washington DC’s Landmarks and Museums

EXPERIENCE

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washington dc

Once you land in D.C you feel the sense of history and power but there is more than just Federal Government. It is vibrant and charming in this nation’s capital.

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Washington D.C in Brief

Washington DC, situated on the east of USA along the banks of the Potomac River is the United States capital. Washington was founded as the nation’s capital in 1971. The states capital is more than the Federal government and politics but the district’s National Mall’s monuments and memorials, eclectic neighbourhoods filled with character and charm brings true local flavour. Washington DC is a place unlike any other. It is a world-class destination featuring breathtaking views and hundreds of free things to do. You get to experience outstanding performing arts at acclaimed theatres, shop in historic Georgetown and be dazzled by a flourishing dining scenes. 

Washington D.C

Why Go?

In my prime time of travelling, I planned a trip to the nation’s capital, Washing DC. Nothing particular in mind but decided go a self-educational journey. America’s capital is rich with history and incredible sights to see. It is one of the most visited cities in the USA and it has been always a great place to visit. This great city offers a variety of interesting experiences from learning about American history and government to seeing many of the most iconic sights in the country. With such a unique place with so much history attached to it, a trip to this destination was going to entertain and educate me. This vibrant city will welcome me to some of the great food, art, cultural attractions and much more. All I need was to pay attention and it will open its beauty to me. 

Exploring the area

Washington DC is a place where as soon as you land there, you get the sense of power, history as the metropolis represent. I feel the vibe around me. I found this city entirely possible to get around and visited many attractions and places by foot. DC as known is home to some of the most significant buildings, monuments and memorials. It has some of the best museums in the world and most of them are also free to the public. When it comes to American history, this is where it all comes together. 

As I decided to get around the town easily than on foot, I got on the Capital Bikeshare program which allowed me to cruise freely around the city without wasting petrol or getting stuck in traffic. I began my Washington DC tour at the National Mall, where I found monuments, memorials and government buildings instead of tons of shopping. I then checked out the Watergate Hotel and Kennedy Centre where I stopped at Foggy Bottom, then I moved on to Georgetown, the oldest district in D.C. This place is filled with 18th-century buildings and the university itself. After I had a stop at the National Cathedral, I made my way to the Smithsonian Zoo. I must say, this is the perfect stop for families with young children and the people young at heart, like I was.

I was so amazed to learn that Washington D.C is home to almost 20 of the Smithsonian Museums and most of the notable museums are free to the public. These museums offer most adults and children of all ages can have an unforgettable experience. From the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History to the Natural History Museum and the American Indian Museum. I spent hours and hours at each and still did not have time to see it all during my entire vacation. A visit to this great district isn’t complete without a stop into these renowned institutions. 

As I explored these museums, by than I was quite curious and I felt the need to channel my inner 007, I went to the International Spy Museum and it was a total complete mind-boggling. Here I learn about the covert operations and intelligence agencies that have shaped the world we live in. It was absolutely surreal. When anyone is visiting Washington D.C, you can’t enjoy any D.C. tourism attractions without admiring the White House. I made sure that it was on my “must-see” priority list.

Some of the highlights of my visit to America’s capital include:

White House

One of the highlight of my stay in D.C was visiting the White House. Taking a tour of the White House in D.C is one of the most popular things to do when visiting the area. It was totally worth it to see the White House up close, even just seeing it from the outside, viewing the grounds and stopping in at the White House Visitor Centre is an experience you won’t forget. Here I learn about the history of the White House, the first families who lived there, the furnishings, the architecture and much more.

Arlington National Cemetery

Experiencing Arlington National Cemetery was perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring sights I had ever witness in DC, besides the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Here, is where more than 250,000 men and women who served in the USA Military have been laid to rest. I wondered along the endless rows of tombstones dedicated to those who made their ultimate sacrifice to the country. This is also home to the Tomb of the Unknowns. This area is guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I also made sure to view the Eternal Flame, which marks the grave of President John F. Kennedy’s final resting place and the Arlington House, a tribute to Robert E. Lee. 

U.S Capitol

A grand symbol of the U.S.A Government and American democracy. The Capitol Building is both a monument and working office building is recognised across the world as one of the country’s most prominent icons of Democracy. It sits atop Capital Hill. The setting provides dramatic vistas of the Washington Monument as well as the other memorials, monuments and buildings that line the Mall. This striking white dome acts as a focal point to the building which welcomes thousands of visitors every year. The guided tours are offered all day long and it certainly gave me an inside look into how United States government works.

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Popular Attractions

Washington D.C has lot more attractions than political buildings, iconic monuments, memorials and museums. There is an abundance of interesting sights to see and visit which are outside the district and the list is endless. To fully enjoy and explore more of America’s capital, you need to stay more than a week to two. Nothing beats the real feel of the place then seeing it on movies, television and magazines.

Where to stay?

There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, hotels, holiday houses, apartments and B&Bs. Also, the town offers a range of properties throughout the district to fit most holiday styles and budgets.

What a thrill to be visiting this great place. It is a vibrant and charming city, yet so much history attached to it. It is a reminder, how great this powerful nation is.

ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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