Author: FoF (page 1 of 5)

Hiking Laugavegur Trail in Iceland

Pictures of Iceland’s breathtaking landscape have recently invaded social media. Between a giant volcanic eruption, WOW Airlines, and Game of Thrones, Iceland has become a hugely popular travel destination. Once thought of as a barren wasteland with freezing temperatures, Iceland is now known as a country full of adventure and beauty. Although there are many reasons to visit Iceland I went for one reason in particular – hiking Laugavegur Trail.

Laugavegur

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Diving Maldives with ScubaSpa

I met some great people during my liveaboard in Australia. When saying our goodbyes we jokingly said “Let’s dive the Maldives next year!” Well, it wasn’t a joke for two of us, and 11 months later Colin and I found ourselves aboard a giant, luxurious boat in Maldives. Overall the diving wasn’t as impressive as Australia or New Zealand. In fact, Maldives is way down on my list of favorite places to dive. However, the boat, people, and gorgeous atolls made this a very memorable trip.

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Staying with the Locals in Maldives

Maldives is known for its picture-perfect islands and bungalows over the sea. What happens if a bungalow or fancy resort is out of your price range? Both were certainly out of mine, but there was so little information about staying with the locals that I wasn’t sure what to do. I always enjoy learning about different cultures, but I was nervous having never been to a Muslim country. Thankfully, a friend of mine agreed to meet me in Hulhumale, the airport island, which gave me the confidence to book a local Airbnb. I’m very glad I didn’t let my preconceived notions dissuade me from an amazing travel experience.

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Singapore – The Garden City

Singapore was never on my bucketlist. I had no aching desire to explore this city-state, but it happened to be the cheapest place to fly into on my way to Maldives. My fellow travelers recommended 2-3 days in Singapore. I gave myself five full days, assuming two of them would be spent sleeping off jetlag. Cities have never been the highlight of my travels but Singapore offered me something many cities don’t – an easy escape. Every day I could add some sort of garden or park to my itinerary. It was a chance to get out of the loud, busy city for a few hours. For this reason I have dubbed Singapore “The Garden City.” If you like gardens I would recommend 3-4 days here, and only 2 days if you don’t.

Singapore

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Six Awesome Places North of Auckland

To conclude my three month trip through New Zealand I spent my last ten days exploring the area north of Auckland. South Islanders claim their island is the best, and of course North Islanders would disagree. The two islands are so different that it’s difficult to rank one before the other, but I really enjoyed my road trip north of Auckland. There was so much variety in things to do and places to see, ten days was hardly enough time to do everything the area had to offer.

North of Auckland

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Diving the Mysterious Milford Sound

New Zealand’s most popular destination is undoubtedly Milford Sound. The rain forest and dramatic cliffs leading into dark, ominous water gives it a sense of mystery. Being one of the wettest places on Earth, it can be difficult to catch this beauty on a clear day. However, its uniqueness is visible even at the cloudiest of times. A rainy day means less visibility but more beautiful waterfalls. I was fortunate enough to visit Milford Sound twice while in New Zealand. Once was to scuba dive the mysterious cold water, and the second time was to take a traditional boat tour. Both visits had their own charm and Milford Sound is certainly a treasure that everyone should experience.

Milford Sound

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Exploring and Kayaking Doubtful Sound

Looking at a map, Fiordland National Park takes up a huge section of New Zealand. Visiting the famous, but small, Milford Sound didn’t seem to do the Fiordlands justice. I wanted to see more of the awesome beauty this national park had to offer and my guidebook recommended Doubtful Sound. Although many people skip it, it’s just as beautiful and dramatic as its sister Milford. It’s also much less touristy because only tour operators are permitted and you cant drive yourself. I wanted to do something more exciting than a boat tour and kayaking seemed like a full day of fun and exercise. Kayaking Doubtful Sound was one of my favorite experiences during my entire New Zealand trip.

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Tongariro Northern Circuit

The 43 kilometer Tongariro Northern Circuit begins as a typical beautiful New Zealand hike. Further along the route it’s easy to see this is no ordinary hike. Walking through dramatic volcanic landscape feels like you’re on an alien planet. With steaming mountains on the left and Mount Ngauruhoe on the right, this Great Walk earns the title in every possible way. Everything about it is great, along with exciting and other-worldly. Out of every hike in New Zealand, Tongariro Northern Circuit was my favorite.

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Sunshine and Swimming on Abel Tasman Coast Track

The northern end of the South Island of New Zealand has many overnight hikes to choose from. After a bit of research I was stuck between the Queen Charlotte Track, Heaphy Track, and Abel Tasman Coast Track; all of which are known for beautiful New Zealand coastline. After speaking to a local friend of mine he couldn’t give a direct answer to which one was the best. However, I was running short on time and he bluntly told me Abel Tasman would be the easiest to check off the list. Queen Charlotte is tricky to organize, Heaphy is difficult logistically, but Abel Tasman Coast Track is all-around easy to plan. Thankfully there were still spots available and we booked them right away.

Abel Tasman

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Pretending to Be a Local in New Zealand’s Nelson Area

During my trip through New Zealand I spent two weeks with a friend in Nelson. After hosteling for the past 6 months I wasn’t sure if the two weeks would be a disaster or loads of fun. Thankfully it was the latter. My time as a local was action packed with hikes, excellent food, and great people. I would consider Nelson to be the California of New Zealand. Known for its perfect weather, consistent calendar of events, and tasty food, being in Nelson was a little like being home.

Nelson

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