Category: Oceania

The best ideas for Mauritius holidays

Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is a small island with a big reputation for its paradisiacal setting and weather, festivals, religions and cultures. The cultural harmony and contrasts are especially impressive in a world where people usually seem to be at each other’s throats, and here you’ll find Catholic churches, Islamic mosques, Indian temples and Chinese Pagodas happily rubbing shoulders with one another. The island seems to have an enchanted, protective aura about it. In April the weather is still pleasantly humid and warm and there is only the occasional shower, and one of the highlights of the season is the colourful Ugadi Festival which sees in the Telegu New Year.

Ugadi Festival

The Hindu New Year gets off to a vibrant start on Mauritius with the exuberant Ugadi Festival on April 11th, when people take ritual purification showers and decorate their houses with rangolis and mango leaves. They prepare traditional meals such as Bevu Bella and the climax of the day takes place in hindu temples across the island when Panchanga Sravanam is celebrated. There are also various associated events and market stalls are set up for the tasting of traditional cuisines.

Museums, beaches and waterfalls

Mauritius is famed the world over for being an island paradise rich in natural beauties. The beaches are exceptionally fine stretches of white sand, as you’d expect, but there are numerous hidden treasures as well. Head out to Grand Baie Beach, which as well as being great for strolling and chilling out at the Veranda Hotel also has lots of local boats that you can rent to take a trip around the island and explore its coves and more secluded spots.

The National History Museum is always worth a visit. It’s situated close to Mahebourg town centre and played a prominent role in the local action of the Napoleonic naval wars, when both the French and British commanders of the battling fleets ended up here for treatment after an engagement. It contains loads of wartime memorabilia such as cannons, grape-shot and a pile of wine bottles from one of the British ships.

Tamarin Falls

You can take a local guide out of Henrietta to find these exquisitely beautiful series of waterfalls and take a swim in the lagoon at their base. They’re located close to the Tamarin Falls Reservoir and are a bit of a climb to reach, but well worth the effort. From Henrietta head for Curepipe and then walk uphill for just over a mile.

Blue Penny Museum

It’s probably fair to say that most visitors to Mauritius are not stamp collectors. The name comes from the Mauritian one and two-penny stamps, which are a cause celebre in the stamp world, the mere mention of which is guaranteed to get the heart of any dedicated philatelist fairly pumping with excitement. But you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s more to this museum than its impressive stamp collections, fine as these may be. There are also many great exhibits about the island and its eventful history, colonisation and settlement. It’s the best museum in Port Louis and is overflowing with antique maps, engravings and photographs from various periods.

  • Address: Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis
  • Opening times: Mon-Sat 10.00-5.00
  • Tickets:  150 MR adults
  • Website: bluepennymuseum.com

Great wildlife holidays for Spring

Wildlife breaks are a fantastic way of spending your holiday. Safaris have never been more popular, with tourists desperate to see a wide range of animals all within their natural environment. To ensure you get the best experience and stay safe, use a company such as Wildlife & Wilderness who specialise in putting together the trip of a lifetime. Here’s my guide to the best wildlife holidays you can take in April.

Namibia

Kenya is usually the first place that springs to mind when thinking about safari but Namibia is fine competition for its African counterpart. Sitting on the West Coast of Africa, Namibia offers a wide range of landscapes to explore including desert, dunes, mountains and grassland. During a trip here, you’ll be able to see elephants, white rhino, leopards and cheetahs living amongst many other species. Not only is the wildlife spectacular, but the scenery is simply magnificent. April is a great time to visit with the air fresh and clear and the landscape at its greenest.

There are many must see places to visit in Namibia for your wildlife holiday. Sossusvlei Pan offers the chance to see the highest sand dunes in the world and the UNESCO listed Welwitschia Plains gives you the chance to see the unique Welwitschia plants, some of which date back over 2000 years. Both sites sit within the Namib-Naukluft National Park which is the largest game park in Africa. Another favoured national park is Etosha which will give you the chance zebras, white lions and wildebeest wandering the landscape. Once you’ve explored the land, it’s time to explore the Skeleton Coast which looks out to the Atlantic Ocean. It is a fine place to see the seal colonies as well as the many shipwrecks that scatter the coast.

Poland

Spring is a great time to visit Poland as the country looks at its most beautiful. Temperatures during April average 8C (44F) and you’ll benefit from minimal rainfall. The weather at this time of year is perfect to go bird-spotting, especially as you’ll be in time for the migrating animals and birthing season.

There are two places in Poland which rival anywhere in the world for wildlife holidays, Biebrza National Park and the Bialowieza Forest. Located in Northeastern Poland, Biebrza is the largest national park in Poland. Most famously, it is home to the Biebrza Marshes which is the prime spot for bird spotting. Here you’ll be able to see many species of ducks, geese and birds, as well as  elks and beavers. The Bialowieza Forest straddles Poland and Belarus and is Europe’s last primeval forest. Protected by UNESCO, the forest gives you the chance to see Bison as well as woodpeckers in April. Other great places to see wildlife in Poland include the Pieniny Mountains and Roztocze National Park.

Australia

Australia is famed for its unique wildlife and ecosystems which make it an obvious choice for a wildlife holiday. To see some of its most famous inhabitants, head to Adelaide and South Australia. Here you’ll be able to see wallabies, possums, platypus, emus, wombats and of course Kangaroos. April sees Australia in Autumn, with temperatures in Adelaide averaging 16C (61F).

From Adelaide, the must see destination has to be Kangaroo Island. It is the third largest island in the country and home to a wide range of natural sites. Visit Seal Bay to see the sea lions and seals that live here, take a tour of Flinders Chase and Parndana National Parks or explore the Murray Lagoon and sand dunes of Little Sahara. Other great places to visit from Adelaide include Nullabor Plain, Lake Gairdner and the Head of the Bight where you’ll be able to see whales swim nearby.

Uganda

Once a notorious part of the world, peace has once again returned to this beautiful nation which offers up the opportunity of a lifetime for a primate safari. There really is no finer place to see them in their natural habitat than in this part of Africa.  During your time here, you’ll see chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and baboons, as well as a wide range of wildlife. During April, temperatures average 27C (80F), with low humidity in the air.

I would recommend starting in the west of Uganda, taking in tours of the Kibale Forest National Park, especially taking the Kanyanchu Trail to see the daily Primate Walk . From here make your way south, taking time to visit the Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to one of the oldest rainforests in Uganda.

 

5 Best holiday destinations in March

Timing is one of the most important aspects in ensuring that you truly get the most out of your overseas adventure, so it pays to do a bit of research before you leave. Picking the right season not only gives you the chance to see your destination at its best, but also allows you to pack accordingly. Here are 5 of the best travel destinations for a March holiday.

United States of America

Spring is starting up in March throughout the USA, making it the perfect time to travel. From the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, there’s something for every style of traveller. Take a cycling tour through the scenic Oregon Coast, check out the relaxed living in Hawaii or take a famous American road trip to make sure you see the most from this unique and diverse destination.

Southern Europe

The warming effects of spring see Southern Europe awaken from its cold winter slumber. While still not too hot, the increasing warmth and length of days make March a great time to spend discovering the best that Southern Europe has to offer. The temperature is perfect to get outdoors and explore for the adventurous traveller, with everywhere from the Cote D’Azur to Sicily starting to feel the sure signs of spring.

Africa

Always wanted to experience the magic of Africa, but been deterred by the heat? March is the perfect time to discover this land of wild beauty and spectacular safaris. With the dry season keeping away most of the rain and the tail end of summer giving way to the cooler change of autumn, this is a great opportunity to see Africa without sweltering in the heat. North and East Africa are the best to visit during this time for perfect climate conditions. If you fancy climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There’s also the stunning annual migration of wildebeest and zebra across Kenya from late March. Well worth checking out at least once in your life.

Australia

March is the perfect time to explore Australia. As autumn sets in, the scorching hot days and wild summer storms give way to clear skies and a cool breeze. With such perfect weather and ideal temperatures, you can start to explore everything that this stunning continent has to offer. The sun is still warm enough to encourage a swim on golden beaches or a stunning snorkelling session on the reef. Take a food and wine trail through Tasmania, explore the Snowy Mountains via horseback or discover the wealth of arts and shopping in any of the capital cities.

Caribbean

What could be better than relaxing on the sands of a pristine beach with the tropical breeze rustling the trees and a seemingly endless expanse of glittering water. The Caribbean is a top spot to travel to in March, however be careful to avoid the price spike and rush of tourists during the Easter holidays. For dive enthusiasts, the Cayman Islands are an absolute must-see, while Barbados offers the very finest in dining and boutique accommodation. Of course Jamaica is a popular stop, with many travellers including it on their travel bucket list.

These are some of the best travel destinations that you can visit for a memorable March holiday. Make your holiday one you’ll never forget by experiencing these spectacular travel locations at their very finest.

Best March cruise holidays around the world

There aren’t many holidays in life that feel more luxurious than stepping onto a cruise ship, ready to be whisked off for a few days at sea exploring the area. With a wide range of destinations and cruises available, here’s my guide to the best cruises you should book onto for your holiday in March.

Cruise Australia

Southern Australia is magnificent in March as you can enjoy the warm climate of Autumn. Temperatures remain around 22 degrees and the sun continues to shine, meaning you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings without the searing heat or blazing sunshine of the summer.

For your perfect cruise, choose Crystal Cruises Australia for your choice of liner. This award-winning company will take you on a trip of a lifetime on board their luxurious ships, complete with ballrooms, theatres, bars and opulent rooms. Their three-week cruise around Southern Australia starts in Auckland, New Zealand where you can explore this exciting city on the North Island. Aboard your ship, set sail along the western coast down to Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and finally Dunedin before making your way over to Australia. Cruise across the Tasman Sea before you see Sydney and its iconic skyline appear on the horizon. Believe me, it’s an emotional, unforgettable experience. Spend time exploring this fantastic city before making your way to Melbourne, where you must visit the set of Neighbours! From here it’s along the coast to Perth and Fremantle, your final destination. It’ll be three weeks you’ll never forget.

Cruise Singapore

Singapore is possibly the most suitable place to take a cruise from, with many of the cities buildings taking you back to a time when boarding a liner was the only way to explore far off destinations. March is ideal for a trip here as the monsoon season comes to an end and the temperature is cooler than the humid months that follow.

Board Crystal Cruises’ 2 week round trip to Singapore which will take you deep into the Indian Ocean. Explore the city before you depart, visiting iconic sites such as Raffles to sample a ‘Singapore Sling’, The Majestic and the Zoological Gardens. Once aboard your ship, set off south and start ticking off all the countries you’re visiting. Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and even India all in the space of two weeks of sheer unadulterated beauty and excitement before landing back where you started.

Cruise China

Spring heralds the best time of year to visit China, with temperatures at a steady and comfortable level. With the weather great across the country, there’s no better time to take a cruise along the Chinese coast. Passing through the South China, East China and Yellow Sea, take a cruise from Hong Kong to Beijing. Here you’ll start and end in one of China’s most iconic destinations and will take in Shanghai on your way north. I found it simply remarkable just how many legendary sites this stretch of coastline holds. Being a culture lover, I was in awe of see Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, Huangpu River and The Peninsula all in the space of a fortnight. Simply spectacular.

Cruise the Caribbean

The Caribbean almost feels as if it was made for cruising around. With a cluster of tropical islands in such a relatively small space, cruising is the ideal way to explore this lush region of the world. March is definitely the best time of year to do so as well, with weather at its sunniest, warmest and driest. It’s a popular time of year for tourists wanting to escape the winter.

Take a 14 day Caribbean cruise that will see you start and finish in Florida. Take time to explore Fort Lauderdale and Key West which are both beautiful coastal cities. Your first stop in the Caribbean is the Bahamas, where life really does feel like it’s begun to slow down. After a day exploring, you feel immediately relaxed and in Jamaica, the clock might as well just stop! Your cruise will take you onto the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and the most remarkable thing is that you’ll only have scratched the surface as to what the Caribbean has to offer.

The best festivals and events in Australia in May 2013

Australia is a wonderful country to visit all year round, so it’s no wonder that it has millions of tourists who visit from all around the globe. While winters can get cold and wet in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, the autumn is perfect for beautiful weather and fun events in all of the country’s major cities. Australia has always had a community based culture so it has no shortage of interesting festivals and events worth attending. Whether you’re in to fitness and sports like many Australians, or food and drink, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re in or heading to Australia this May, make sure to add these must-do activities and must-see events to your itinerary.

Noosa International Food and Wine Festival

Hosted in Noosa on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast, the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival is one of Australia’s most renowned events for foodies and wine connoisseurs. With food trails, celebrity chef demonstrations, and concerts complete with a beautiful glass of wine, there’s nothing that’s not to like about this festival – and plus, once you’re done, you can head down to the Gold Coast for some theme park fun.

The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon

An annual event that aims to raise money for more than 700 charities, the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon is the perfect excuse to hit the ground running – literally. Spanning 21.1km, the course starts at Sydney’s iconic St Mary’s Cathedral and winds through the Royal Botanic Gardens, Circular Quay, and Darling Harbour. It’s the perfect excuse to see Sydney and to run for a good cause, so what are you waiting for?

Melbourne International Coffee Expo

Everyone loves coffee, so what’s not to love about the Melbourne International Coffee Expo? Held for three days in May, MICE2013 will play host to the World Barista Championship, the World Brewers Cup, and a dedicated coffee trade show. With a ton of exhibitors and some of the best coffee you have ever tasted, this expo is definitely worth that flight to Melbourne, no matter where you are from in the world.

Rotary Team Challenge

If the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon is too easy for you, then it may be worth gathering some of your fittest friends and entering the Rotary Team Challenge in WA. Beginning in Northam, participants will cycle, run and walk 75km to Swan View Railway Station in Perth. With a track that navigates through the picturesque Mt Helena and the John Forrest National Park, you won’t be short of scenery; plus, all the money your team raises will go towards the MS Society of WA to help support those with multiple sclerosis. Just make sure you train hard at your local Fitness First health club before you take this challenge head on.

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