Tag Archives: Adventure

Are the Whitsunday Islands Worth the Trip?

The Whitsunday Islands are located off the coast of Airlie beach on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Airlie Beach is a small beach town in Queensland, pretty much 8 hours from civilization to the North (Cairns) and to the South (Hervey Bay). Let’s be honest…Rockhampton doesn’t count.

If you are interested in visiting the Whitsundays, there is an airport near Airlie Beach (Whitsunday Airport) or there is the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island. Although a bit difficult to access, with the long drives south from Cairns or north from Hervey Bay, in my opinion the effort is worth it.

We didn’t have enough time to go all the way to Cairns or Port Douglas, so enjoying a few days in Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays to see the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach was an amazing experience.

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Channel Islands National Park: Kayaking Around Santa Cruz

During our camping trip to Santa Cruz we decided to take a kayaking tour around the island, exploring caves, admiring the beautiful scenery, learning about the history and geology of the island, and spotting wildlife in and out of the water.

Lucky for me, my nephew, Lucas, decided that he would love to go kayaking with me. We listened to the orientation, and then hopped into our double kayak to start cruising around the island.

Not so lucky for me, after about 30 minutes in the kayak, Lucas decided that he was good for most of the remainder of the trip and didn’t really need to paddle anymore. I got quite the workout maneuvering a double kayak mostly maneuvered by me, especially when we rounded the one side of the island straight into a nice headwind. My brother went into this excursion thinking he’d have it tough partnering with Camille, Lucas’ twin sister, but he certainly had the last laugh 🙂

Although my arms were couldn’t move for the remainder of the day following our kayaking adventure, it was truly an epic experience, and one I will not soon forget.

Navigating in and out of the caves was thrilling and beautiful.

The clarity of the water around the island is so incredible, you could see wildlife under the water from sitting in the kayak.

We got a visit from a curious and brave seal pup right off the side of our kayak. We also learned a lot about the interesting history of the island and its change from a Native American hunting ground to a private ranch, and finally to a National Park.

The tour company we booked this excursion with was called Aqua Sports, and they were great, however, I can’t really compare to the other tours aside from that they went a similar route as we did along the island, but didn’t seem to see quite as much as we did. The other tour companies include Santa Barbara Adventure Company and Channel Islands Kayak Center.

Another more budget friendly option for kayaking can be to rent or bring your own kayak over on your ferry. The most convenient option would be to rent from Island Packers. They do charge a small fee to transport the kayaks to the island, so if you rent kayaks, you will have to pay the cost of the rental and the cost to transport them as well. If you’ve never kayaked around the islands before, it’s definitely worth it to have the guides’ extensive knowledge of the island and the experience of navigating through the caves, as the tides can make it quite a challenge to get into and out of some of the caves.

During your visit to the Channel Islands National Park, I highly recommend spending some of your time out in the water around the islands. It’s truly an awesome experience.

Seven Day Road Trip up the East Coast of Australia: Sydney to Airlie Beach

One of the best ways to explore the East Coast of Australia is by car (or camper van if that’s your style). You could basically spend as much time as you wanted driving the east coast of Australia, as there are a ton of great stops along the way. Plus, you never know what you might see!

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I would recommend allowing two weeks if you want to make more stops, spend more time at each stop, or to camp and explore some of the natural attractions in the region.

We only had a week to make it up to Airlie Beach for our Whitsundays adventure (more on that later…stay tuned!), so we researched the most intriguing stops and made the most of our time exploring the region.

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Coalition Snow: Innovative Snowboards for Women, by Women

I recently had a chance to chat with Jen Gurecki, founder and CEO of Coalition Snow, and to try out one of their snowboards in Mammoth, California. I have admired this companies’ products and mission since I first heard about them, but after riding one of their boards, and getting an inside look at how the company was created and the people behind the brand, I am even more impressed.

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Jen has been skiing and living in the mountains for 20 years now, and is incredibly passionate about snow sports and the mountains. She originally grew up near Phoenix, but since moving to Flagstaff for college, she has lived in the mountains ever since. Jen wholeheartedly loves the snow and lives for those epic fresh powder days on the mountain.

Where did the idea for Coalition Snow come from? Continue reading

The Tallest Mountain & the Clearest Skies in New Zealand

After departing Dunedin, our travels led us back through Queenstown and then up through the center of the South Island of New Zealand to Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park and Lake Tekapo.

We had a few good Paleo eats along the way as well. In Dunedin, we had breakfast at this great spot called Good Oil Cafe. They had delicious coffee and food with tons of healthy options. I had the kumara (sweet potato) hash with poached eggs and smoke salmon…however it appears I was too hungry to consider a picture at the time!

For lunch, we ate in Cromwell, a city outside of Queenstown with a cute little historic part of town.

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The Grain & Seed Cafe, despite its name, had healthy paleo options as well. Everything was made from scratch, delicious, and the place is adorable! I had a tasty salad with a mint and honey vinaigrette.

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Adventures in Peru, Part 1: Manu National Park

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After arriving in Peru and visiting Cusco for a few days (more on Cusco in a later post), our first major adventure was our tour of Manu National Park. DSC_0614Since we only had 16 days in Peru, we had to make some tough decisions about what we wanted to see and do.Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail were the reason we were going, so those were set, but we had to figure out how we wanted to spend the rest of our time. We debated between going to Tambopata, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and Manu National Park. Deciding to go to Manu National Park meant missing out on Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon, but if we were going to go to the Amazon, we wanted to get the full experience and spend a considerable amount of time there.

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