Posts from the ‘Surfing’ category

Fly through Gibraltar, Ride through Tarifa

By Jacob Aldridge

There is a small corner of Europe that will be forever England. We’re not talking about the Western Front – we’re talking about Gibraltar, a rock jutting off from Spain into the Mediterranean that entered English hands three centuries ago and shows no signs of ever becoming anything other than a sunny outcrop of the Empire.

It also has the world’s scariest airport.

Today’s Experience

All things going to plan, flying to Gibraltar from London would be an incident free flight. But here, there are so many things that can go wrong. You see, Gibraltar is so small that the only way to fit in an airport runway…

… is to have it cut across the main road!

If you’ve ever been tempted to accelerate when you see a rail crossing closing ahead of you, spare a thought for the motorists who – several times, every day – have to give way to an airport runway.

Why is the Gibraltar airport scary? See the two 'roads' that cross in the middle of this photo? Yeah - one of those is the airport runway, and the other one is Gibraltar's main street! If you want to drive in Gibraltar - you have to drive over the airport runway (and also wait for every take off and landing)!

See the two ‘roads’ that cross in the middle of this photo? Yeah – one of those is the airport runway, and the other one is Gibraltar’s main street! Photo by David Jones , CC License

Beyond its historic value, and unless you love overpriced Marmite and brown sauce, there’s little reason to spend time on the Rock of Gibraltar itself. So we’re fairly quickly crossing the border into Spain, on our way to the Kitesurfing capital of the world: Tarifa.

We’re staying at La Casa Amarilla, avoiding the many hostels on the road into town and basing ourselves in the middle of the ‘old town’.

How old? Ruins of Roman settlement in the area exist nearby, while the town takes its name from Tarif ibn Malik the eighth century general of the Umayyad Caliphate that conquered north Africa and much of the Iberian peninsula.

Control of the town changed hands between several Muslim-ruled principalities prior to the thirteenth century, when the Catholic Sancho IV of Castile reclaimed the region. Any walk through the old town will take in the ‘Puerta de Jerez’ (the last remaining medieval gate) and end at the dominant waterfront feature – the combination of a thousand-year-old Guzman castle and the el Bueno Tower added shortly after the Catholics retook control.

Statue of Sancho IV of Castile, Tarifa Spain

Of course, only Sancho IV receives a statue.

The most Southern point in Europe

From here, let’s walk along the beachfront, and then out along the rocky outcrop. Pause for a moment – you are standing in a key space of world geography. If the world did have four corners, this point right here would likely be one of them.

Look to the left – that’s the Mediterranean Sea, which borders so many empires of history from Egypt to Greece to Rome and Carthage.

Look to the right – that’s the Atlantic Ocean, stretching out to the New World.

Look down – you are now standing on Europe’s most southerly point, the very bottom of a continent that expands up into the Arctic circle.

Now look up – those hills you can see, across the water, little more than a literal stone’s throw away? That’s Africa.

We shot a really short video to take it all in:

In the foreground, a monument to Christopher Columbus - the explorer who sailed with Spanish money. In the background - Africa.

In the foreground, a monument to Christopher Columbus – the explorer who sailed with Spanish money. In the background – Africa.

Giddy Up, Up and Away

Turning north now, putting our back to Africa (sort of – Tarifa is actually further south than Tunis and Algiers!), we can see the full length of Los Lances. Off in the distance, you can see the rotating arms of wind turbines scattered across the hills – the country of Don Quixote has invested heavily in chasing 21st Century windmills.

It’s the same wind that delivers Tarifa its biggest drawcard – and from here, we can’t help but observe the dozens of kitesurfers learning on the sand and taking to the waves. They’re all in search of the exhilaration that standard surfing (with its short wave length) fails to match.

The most popular kitesurfing beach in the world.

The most popular kitesurfing beach in the world.

We went kitesurfing two weeks ago in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic … with mixed results. So rather than risking it again, we’re going to give over control not to the wind but to some equestrian adventures.

Aventura Ecuestre offers a two-hour beach horse ride along Los Lances, and up into the hills of the neighbouring nature reserve. The route is designed to provide beginner (or lapsed) horse-riders with confidence on their steed … and more experienced riders an opportunity to gallop with a guide at a much higher speed! Is anybody in our group daring enough to let their horse take greater control? We’re not game, but we hear there’s nothing quite like breathing in the salty sea air at a full gallop.

Ride a Horse on a Beach in Tarifa, Spain

Photo copyright Aventura Ecuestre.

I like the Nightlife

With the surf culture and a position between the famous Spanish strips of the Costa de la Luz and Costa del Sol, Tarifa has an electric nightlife best described as backpacker-red-wine-chic.

There’s plenty of tapas to choose from for dinner. We know from past experience that your plates of tapas MUST outnumber your bottles of Spanish red wine.

Seafood Paella at El Puerto Restaurante is also a wise option.

Seafood Paella at El Puerto Restaurante is also a wise option.

Thanks to that previous lesson, I’m going to avoid the tempranillo! But pass me another glass of monastrell if you don’t mind; and do try the sherry, because it originates in nearby Jerez and in these parts is anything but your grandmother’s drink!

Just remember – we’re staying in the big yellow building.

La Casa Amarilla - it translates as The Yellow House.

La Casa Amarilla – it translates as The Yellow House.

Want to go? Need to know!

  • You can catch public transport (buses) from Gibraltar to Tarifa – look for “La Linea de la Concepción” routes. La Linea is the Spanish side of the Gibraltar border – there are several, hour-long bus trips from La Linea to Tarifa each day; if those times don’t suit, you may be able to change buses at Algeciras.
  • If you do want to experience kitesurfing in Tarifa, the world’s kitesurfing capital, you’ll have plenty of choice! Our best suggestion is talking to other travellers you meet in the town about their experiences, but if you’re looking for a website that isn’t Google or TripAdvisor, you can start here.
  • Like to master the local wines? The most famous Spanish grapes are tempranillo, often sold under a “Qualified designation of origin” like Rioja. If cerveza (Spanish beer) is more to your taste, try Estrella… or just order una cerveza por favor and drink what gets served.
  • Just don’t call it una servicios – that’s a polite way of saying toilet.

Which did you prefer – Gibraltar or Tarifa? Do you have a favourite Spanish wine? Share it for all our readers in our comments below, or over on our Facebook page.

Why Puerto Rico is America’s 51st State

By Jacob Aldridge

When we arrived here in Puerto Rico, we enjoyed a rapid refresh of the island’s Spanish and American history. This island territory is on the cusp of becoming the USA’s 51st State.

There’s a lot to make Puerto Rico different to the other 50 States, not least its location: Puerto Rico’s capital city San Juan will actually be closer to 33 other countries than it will to Washington DC! But today, we want to put differences aside, and explore the ways in which Puerto Rico will find common ground with the rest of America.

Where is Puerto Rico? Right next to the Dominican Republic, and a long way from Alaska.

Where is Puerto Rico? Right next to the Dominican Republic, and a long way from Alaska. Photo by Wikimedia Commons, CC License.

Why is Puerto Rico like Maui, Hawaii?

Let’s start our morning the refreshing way, by heading down to Condado Beach for a swim. It’s not Puerto Rico’s most gorgeous beach (that’s probably Flamenco Beach, which is on nearby Culebra Island – Puerto Rico is actually a collection of islands; even Old San Juan is technically a separate island, albeit connected by bridges). But Condado is an ideal start to a day in San Juan.

Comparisons with Hawaii – currently America’s only island State – are obvious. And yet many Americans don’t think of Puerto Rico when they consider dream beach holidays. And while Hawaii benefits from being surrounded by 4.5 million square kilometres of Pacific Ocean (1.7 million square miles), Puerto Rico will continue to compete with other Caribbean resort destinations. They do have one advantage, however: US Citizens do not need a passport to swim at Condado, Flamenco Beach, or Vieques Bay.

This is an aerial view of Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico's best beach. If you know of a more stunning beach location … please tell us immediately so we can go!

This is an aerial view of Flamenco Beach. If you know of a more stunning beach location … please tell us immediately so we can go! Photo by Blucolt, CC License.

Why is Puerto Rico like Las Vegas, Nevada?

Gambling, particularly Casino gaming, is still a minority activity in the USA – in fact just one current State, Nevada, allows Casinos to operate state-wide.

Puerto Rico would double that number, and thankfully by bringing a gambling culture that’s more reminiscent of the Rat-Pack-era Las Vegas than The Hangover era Las Vegas. The grand El San Juan hotel and casino has a reputation for being the most opulent; we’re ducking into the Ritz-Carlton instead because we hear they have a better range of table games than most of the others.

First rule to casinos while travelling – No Slots (pokies? fruit machines? call them what you will, they’re not gambling they’re a donation to a company that doesn’t need your money). Roulette, on the other hand, is definitely gambling … and enjoyable as it was putting ten consecutive $2 bets on lucky number 15 only to see both 14 and 16 (twice!) come up, we know when to draw a line.

The second rule to casinos while travelling is placing them into one of 3 categories – sightseeing, reason, or problem.

  • Sightseeing is when you briefly duck into a casino, lost $20, take in the experience and leave (like we’ve done today).
  • Reason is also cool – that’s when you head on a holiday specifically intending to gamble and take in a show, and we won’t pass judgement because what happens in Vegas (or Atlantic City) stays in Vegas.
  • Problem is when you go to a beautiful island like Puerto Rico … and spend the entire time plowing quarters into slot machines. Choose your category beforehand, and bet with your head not over it.
If the Casino isn't your style, the Ritz-Carlton bar certainly is. Did Dean Martin drink Pina Coladas? They were invented in Puerto Rico in 1963, so this year is the 50th birthday of the Pina Colada. And that's a trick question - Dean Martin drank everything!

If the Casino isn’t your style, the Ritz-Carlton bar certainly is. Did Dean Martin drink Pina Coladas? Photo by Cellular Immunity, CC License. (That’s a trick question – Dean Martin drank everything!)

Why is Puerto Rico like Connecticut?

At 13,792 square kms (5,325 sq mi), Puerto Rico would be the United States’ 3rd smallest State by area – north-eastern Connecticut just beats it for size.

Remarkably, Puerto Rico and Connecticut would also be beside each other in a list of US States by population. Coming in at number 29 and 30 on that list, 3.6 million people call each state home, although in this case Puerto Rico just comes out ahead.

(This also means Puerto Rico would have the same representation at Connecticut – five seats in the US House, two Senators, and 7 votes in the Electoral College to elect a President. That’s more than Iowa … and Puerto Rico could be a swing state in future elections.)

Have you ever challenged yourself (or your group of friends) to drink a bar completely out of your favourite drink? Don't come here and try that with Bacardi. It doesn't matter how big your group tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory is, you won't win.

Have you ever challenged yourself (or your group of friends) to drink a bar completely out of your favourite drink? Don’t come here and try that with Bacardi. Photo by Pat7047, CC License.

Why is Puerto Rico like Lynchburg, Tennessee?

After 4 (6?) Pina Coladas last night, we were a little dismissive of Puerto Rico’s best known rum export, Bacardi. We always like to apologise over a drink, and there’s one other fact that’s compelling us to the Bacardi Rum Factory Tour – it’s free!

Beware of local tour operators offering you this tour for anything up to $40. For the cost of a short ferry ride from San Juan and then a taxi (total: about $1.50 each) you can get here and do exactly the same tour for free. And there are samples!

That’s the same amazing price as a tour of the Jack Daniel’s facilities in Tennessee. We won’t get into a bourbon v whiskey v rum debate here, mostly because whiskey is obviously the superior drink.

Would you like a Nightmare with your Bacardi Breezer? An exhibit inside the Bacardi Rum Factory Tour, and a more realistic version of the Bacardi Bat Symbol (Bacardi Logo) than we expected.

Would you like a Nightmare with your Bacardi Breezer? Photo by Tyler S Miller, CC License.

Why is Puerto Rico like Atlanta, Georgia?

Well we didn’t win big at the Ritz-Carlton, so instead of the private jet tonight we’re still going to be flying Delta Airlines. San Juan’s International airport has a reasonable reputation – Skytrax customers rate it a 6.4 out of 10 which means it’s roughly the same experience as Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport (6.3 out of 10 – and yes, we were also only slightly surprised that there’s a database of airport reviews on the internet!)

We probably wouldn’t care about that comparison … if it weren’t for the fact that our flight from this Caribbean island back to the US mainland is actually direct to Atlanta! Both airports also receive mixed reviews for their spaciousness – in Puerto Rico that’s what comes from building a modern airport that’s not yet heavily serviced; in Atlanta, that’s what comes from being the world’s busiest airport for fifteen consecutive years.

Why is Puerto Rico NOT like Los Angeles? I doubt this graffiti art from San Juan's Luis Munoz Marin airport would ever be installed inside LAX.

Why is Puerto Rico NOT like Los Angeles? I doubt this graffiti art from San Juan airport would ever be installed inside LAX. Photo by jplpagan, CC License.

If you needed something to snap you out of the island paradise routine, a busy airport will probably do it. And there’s only so much laying around on a beach you can do, even on a dream holiday. So ladies and gentlemen … start your engines …

Want to go? Need to know!

  • Our two days in Puerto Rico centred on San Juan; for the beach island experience head east to Fajardo, and plan to visit the islands of Palominitos, Culebra, and Vieques.
  • While the 2,500km (1550 mi) distance between San Juan and Washington DC is large, it’s actually only half the distance from DC to Anchorage, Alaska, and one-third the distance from Honolulu, Hawaii. In fact, it’s even closer than Salt Lake City, Utah!
  • It’s been estimated that the entire population of the world could fit into America’s smallest State, Rhode Island. That means you could fit about 22 billion people into Puerto Rico, but good luck enjoying the beach after that.
  • We read several reviews that said Atlanta’s airport is great “when you get used to it”. That bodes well for we everydaydreamers – this is our second visit in a month, and we’ll be back again (carrying golf clubs, hint hint) in the not too distant future.
  • And if you liked this article, seize your wanderlust travel bug and subscribe to our free daily travel newsletter.

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Kite surfing Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic

By Jacob Aldridge

OK, so loads of people come to Punta Cana, on the edge of the Dominican Republic in the middle of the Caribbean, to stay in an all-inclusive resort. This means they don’t have to pay for drinks, or dinner, or think about activities or (really) think about anything at all.

We know that sometimes, that’s exactly the blissful holiday you want. And after the recent news, you have every reason to go for a resort as opposed to a cruise ship!

BUT… we want to make choices, we want to be in control, and today, in Punta Cana … we want to go kite surfing!

This is how Kite-surfing Punta Cana Dominican Republic feels in those moments when it all comes together.

This is how Kitesurfing feels in those moments when it all comes together. Photo by Swell Surf School, CC License.

Today’s Experience

Kite Club Punta Cana offers beginner kitesurfing lessons, ranging from the group session we’ll be taking (two hours after breakfast, and two more hours after lunch) to private courses that can spread across multiple days and all levels of kitesurfing experience. Punta Cana isn’t Tarifa, Spain, or any of the Brazilian beaches where kite surfing is the main event – we’re hoping that makes it easy for us grommits (does that newbie term apply to kiteboards like it does to surfboards?).

We’re starting on the beach (as we did when we learnt to surf in Byron Bay, Australia) with a training kite … and HOLY WOW, there’s some strength in that wind. Ever wondered what whips the kite surfers across the water at such a rapid rate? It’s the power in that wind, and we can see why it’s crucial that we get the feel for it on dry land.

Laugh now as I fall over and eat a faceful of sand! I promise I’ll be more co-ordinated when we get wet.

(OK – maybe that’s me being optimistic. Thankfully, the one thing I can handle easily is the international hand signals every kite surfer needs to know before hitting the water).

Before we get wet, there’s time for lunch. Given the speed that wind can generate, we’re treating this like our last meal.

Somehow, we don't think this sign for Walmart is legitimate.

Somehow, we don’t think this is legitimate. Photo by Ted Murphy, CC License.

So we’ve ordered the Bandera – a traditional Dominican Republic meal, and it’s almost as surprising as that first gust of wind. After a couple of weeks tripping across central and south america, we weren’t surprised to see the rice, beans, and meat combination … the fried bananas, however, we didn’t see coming, and the sweetness cuts through the other flavours just right – you’ll be putting the second spoonful in your mouth before you’ve even fully registered the flavour.

We’ve put another Dominican delicacy, the Habichuelas con dulce (a sweet dessert), on hold – think of it as a reward for when we return from the afternoon’s kite surfing.

How can we describe the experience of using the kite to surf across the waves of the Caribbean? Wet. Wet really sums it up!

There are the exhilarating moments when the wind and the waves combine in the right direction and at the right time. The pure joy when we feel ourselves being held aloft by the equipment, when we have foresight and control over this combination of board, leash, kites, and mother nature herself.

These moments are short-lived as a beginner! More often than not, mother nature responds to our feelings of control by kinking the kite, or compelling us to shift our weight on the kiteboard just too much in one direction. And then SPLASH! We’re in the drink.

THIS is how Kitesurfing feels for most beginners. Still awesome!

THIS is how Kitesurfing feels for most beginners. Photo by Swell Surf School, CC License.

Still – absolutely sensational. Kitesurfing is undoubtedly an uplifting experience!

Thinking of visiting Haiti?

When it came to planning this trip through the Caribbean, the opportunity to visit both the Dominican Republic and its neighbour Haiti was top of the list. Having researched it thoroughly, however, we cannot in good conscience recommend Haiti as a tourist destination again just yet.

You may remember the earthquake devastation in Christchurch, which remains a pop-up city two years later. New Zealand is a wealthy western nation – Haiti (for fascinating and tragic reasons dating back 200 years – this Guardian article is amazing) is an impoverished nation, and was hit by an earthquake that released ten times as much energy as Christchurch’s. As a sad result, 3 years later, the country still carries risks of violence and disease (in particular cholera).

More importantly – even though it is possible to be patient and make the drive across the border, remember that your involvement in the country will likely take away scarce resources. Even today, humanitarian volunteers are still being told that their money, not their food-and-water-consuming presence, is required.

There’s still time after kite-surfing for us to hit some sand. And here in Punta Cana, we have a choice.

There’s the obvious – miles of perfect beaches, begging us for an afternoon walk along the sand or an hour spent lying on the beach and listening to the waves.

Can you picture yourself in the Dominican Republic?

Can you picture yourself in the Dominican Republic? Photo by Ted Murphy, CC License.

There’s also the alternative, resort way to spend time in the sand, and that’s at any of the nearby golf courses. Here, the idea is to avoid the sand and the water … we’re going to blame the workout kitesurfing does on our upper body for the … multiple … wayward shots. Good thing we chose to only play 9 holes!

The Golf Course - the only place on a Punta Cana beach holiday you want to avoid the sand and water.

The Golf Course – the only place on a beach holiday you want to avoid the sand and water. Photo by Corey Ann, CC License.

Over the past few weeks we’ve pointed out how some great travel destinations (especially those off the beaten track) share names, from Antigua (volcanoes v beaches) to Trinidad (reggae v Jesuit priests). Possibly the most confusing is Dominica v the Domincan Republic (tiny Caribbean island v small Caribbean island). So if you’re looking for tips on visiting the Dominican Republic, here’s tip #1 – check everything to make sure you haven’t accidentally booked transport, accommodation or an amazing tour … on another island 500 miles away!

(And if you think it’s a mistake nobody would make, check out this genuinely (normally) great travel blogger – his list of top 5 things to do in the Dominican Republic includes the Boiling Lake in Dominica. If it can happen to him, it can definitely happen to you!).

All that really tells us … is just how amazing and wonderful this world is when you head out there and travel through it. So thank you for being part of the Every Daydream Holiday experience, and with particular thanks to those readers who have signed up for our daily email stories and who have shared our website on their blog or on Facebook and Twitter. See you tomorrow when we we depart Punta Cana for … well, you’ll just have to find out!

Punta Cana Rainbow - our everydaydream holiday gift to you.

Punta Cana Rainbow – our everydaydream gift to you. Photo by Jim Crocker, CC License.

Want to go? Need to know!

  • Because of its appeal to “all-inclusive” resort vacations, Punta Cana also has a reputation for … um … not quite honest resort marketing. In fact, several Punta Cana resorts are mentioned in this article about not trusting hotel photographs.
  • If you’re looking for some Kite Surfing Dominican Republic spots away from the resorts, you can head out to Cabarete or Las Terrenas and hit the waves at all levels.
  • The Punta Cana resort and club has 45 holes over two courses. It’s a peaceful way to spend an afternoon … or at least, it can be.
  • Seize your wanderlust travel bug and never let go with our free daily travel newsletter.

Would you rather be kitesurfing, golfing … or lying on a beach somewhere peaceful? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Little Dune Buggy, in the Punta Cana Sand

By Jacob Aldridge

Think Caribbean island, and you’ll think fabulous beaches and luxury resorts. Flying into the Dominican Republic last night, that was exactly what this chain of islands looked like peeking their sandy beaches out from the greenery.

Flying into the Dominican Republic. Photographs from airplanes are hard to take - a beach holiday in Punta Cana is much easier to take.

Flying into the Dominican Republic. Photo by Krawiec, CC License.

But Punta Cana, on the very eastern edge of the Dominican Republic, is definitely not a poor man’s substitute for Barbados, or Richard Branson’s private island. Nope – this is the adventure capital of the Caribbean, and we’re here to rip it up!

Today’s Experience

The sun rises over the ocean in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The sun rises over the ocean in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Photo by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire, CC License.

Don’t worry – you won’t be expected to jump off a bridge (again) today. In fact, we’ve got a quiet drive from our hotel to the beautifully named Lemon Lagoon Bay.

Assuming a 4WD Dune Buggy fanging it off road could ever be considered quiet!

Little Dune Buggy is a song by POTUSA (Presidents of the USA) - and it seems appropriate for this photo!

Little Dune Buggy, in the Sand; Little blue dune buggy, in my hands! Photo by Raleigh Woman, CC License.

Yeee Haaaaa! It’s the only thing we can think to say as we finally get the hang of these controls, and open up the throttle.

Can you smell the sea air as it whistles through the open cabin of the dune buggy? Our destination is Laguna del Limon, to the north of the island. It’s an amazing, 90km journey – plenty of chances for everyone (who wants, and can handle a manual stick shift) to have a drive, and also loads of time to stop and explore the island – and the ocean that surrounds it!

Our first stop is Uvero Alto, a beach resort town. Wide sandy beaches fringed by palm trees – this is the tropical island lifestyle; we’ve arrived too late in the year to be bothered by Hurricanes, and early enough in the day to beat the ‘crowds’.

The beach at Uvero Alto, Dominican Republic. Peaceful and not crowded, perfect for a beach holiday.

The beach at Uvero Alto, Dominican Republic. Photo by Jaime W, CC License.

That’s a sign of a good holiday destination, by the way. At the really crowded beaches on the French Riviera or the Caribbean, tourists are out before breakfast to claim their preferred spot. When you find a beach mid-morning that’s not full of towels, you know it’s unlikely to be full of people later in the day. If you’ve had enough of a buggy joyride for today, you can probably siesta on a sunbed here and we’ll collect you on the way home. But you’ll be missing out on…

…the inland experience, as we swing through Nissibon. There are workers in the fields (it is Monday, after all!), and most don’t even look up as we coast by. Crazy tourists in dune buggies are obviously a regular thing in the Dominican Republic!

Dune Buggy Tour, from Punta Cana to Laguna del Limon via Uvero Alto and Nissibon, Dominican Republic.

Dune Buggy Tour, from Punta Cana to Laguna del Limon, Dominican Republic. Photo by Rob Wiss, CC License.

Our final stretch takes us back to the coast, along the Playa La Vacama and 15 kilometres (9 miles) of beach driving. If you thought Uvero Alto was quiet, then you’ll reckon this place is a silent monastery. Sure, there’s the low rumble of our various engines, but it barely resonates above the sound of waves lapping onto the shore. The hum of the wind in our ears and the wheels on the sand creates a trance-like state. You want to scream some more yaaa-hoooos to break things up – and before you know it they’re echoed by the passengers in the other buggies.

Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo!!! What a way to feel alive!

Lunch is served at the Hotel Limon, next to the Laguna del Limon. We’ve got plenty of time to experience the freshwater lagoon … by kayak, as we move ourselves around the inland body of water and observe the variety of birds feeding and nesting among the mangroves.

There’s a moment as we find ourselves in the middle of the lake where civilization feels like a work of fiction. The great cities of the world are calling to us, appealing to our traveller and cultural instincts, but right here, right now … it’s hard to believe anyone ever chose to leave their waterside community and go build a skyscraper. Who in their right mind would trade a kayak for the subway?

A bird takes to the air, mangroves and a sunset in the background of this Dominican Republic wildlife photograph.

A bird takes to the air, mangroves and a sunset in the background. Photo by Barbara Walsh, CC License. If you love this photo, visit Barbara Walsh’s photography site and buy a copy for yourself.

No doubt we’ll see some of them on our return dune buggy drive to Punta Cana. Those tourists at the end of their travel, heading back to the grind. Tomorrow, we’ll be at the beach and they’ll be in the office – hopefully they’ll do what all good travel lovers do, which is subscribe to Every Daydream Holiday and enjoy everyday with their morning coffee break.

For now – wherever you may be reading this – let out a few more loud yahoos, to let the world know you’re alive!

A beach sunset in the Dominican Republic. Beach sunsets are easier to photograph than beach sunrises.

A beach sunset in the Dominican Republic. Photo by JDN, CC License.

Want to go? Need to know!

  • Remarkably, it’s possible to organise this whole experience for about $150 each – and half day tours are also available.
  • Punta Cana is best known as an all-inclusive resort destination – as we’ll discover tomorrow, that’s missing half the story!
  • We craft these experiences every day so that travel lovers who might be stuck at work or on their daily commute have a chance to escape – even just for ten minutes. Are you receiving your daily dose of travel escape? It’s free, click here.

What travel experiences have made you feel alive? Share them with the world in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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On The Buses and Off the Mainland

By Jacob Aldridge

Today’s Itinerary

Friday morning dawns clearly, and it’s the smell that first reminds us to the fact that we weren’t camping in the desert last night – while we were sleeping, the Pacaya volcano was still erupting around us (and generating that sulphur smell!). It was entirely worth spending the night here, for the overnight tales around a lava campfire and for this – an opportunity to experience the volcano well before the crowds of tourists arrive.

Volcano by day

Pacaya Morning. Photo by Joachim Pietsch, CC License

So while they’re all just getting off their buses, we’re on our way back to better explore the town of Antigua, Guatemala. Ordered evacuated in the late 1700s, the town today is a mix of those Spanish colonial ruins and a modern central American community wanted to display the colours and flavours of this region. There’s an easy lunch to grab at the markets, and coffee … well, it’s just as good (and local) as the chocolate was yesterday.

Mother and Child, Guatemala

Downtown Antigua. Photo by szeke, CC License

Our last stop is a drink on the rooftop terrace of Cafe Sky, the perfect space to watch the sun set between the volcanoes that surround the town. For us today, the weather is not as perfect as it could be – there are storms rolling in. Make sure you grab an extra drink for the road – we have a long night ahead of us … on the buses.

Chicken Bus!

Chicken Bus! Photo by David Dennis, CC License

Central America is known for its ‘Chicken Buses’, mostly old US school buses repurposed for local transport where they are reborn with character … and a little craziness. We feel a little crazy waiting in the bus shelter for our 7pm bus to arrive, but what a moment to savour when it does. It’s Friday night in Guatemala, and our senses are being pressed by the encroaching storm; focusing us on the small things that surround us as we board; and as lightning cracks and the rain begins to dump our bus pulls out from Antigua on the way back to Guatemala City.

Colourful as the Chicken Buses are (and if you love the photos here, consider buying the book here!), it’s the fellow passengers that make the journey exciting. We’re on a dream holiday, yet for them this is reality, living and working in the small town of Antigua and each with their own reason to be heading into the capital city in the rain. Travelling by bus in Guatemala is a tourist ritual, and to miss a Chicken Bus experience is like going to Pisa, Italy, to only see the train station.

The same can’t be said of all bus journeys, however. This is just the first leg of a marathon effort that will take us all the way from this plantation community on Friday night to the island of Caye Caulker, in neighbouring Belize, on Saturday afternoon.

Tips for surviving long bus rides
We recently shared our tips for surviving long train journeys. In our experience, 8 hours on a train is much, much easier than 8 hours on a bus. And so our tips are different.

  • Pack plenty of water and snacks
  • And pack wet wipes for your face (et cetera). This will help the person next to you as much as it will help you!
  • If you’ve ever had any kind of motion sickness, be prepared to elbow your way to get a seat near the front of the bus
  • Things to bring on a long bus ride start with Headphones, headphones, headphones – you don’t always want to use them because the long bus rides are the perfect opportunity to talk to people, meet interesting fellow travellers (or locals) and gain some tips about places to go / see / eat /sleep. But it’s also good to have a backup plan
  • Don’t plan to sleep on the bus. Unless you’re very tired (or used to it), you probably won’t, even if it’s an overnight bus
  • Move your seat back asap. The longer you leave it forward, the more of a kick from behind you’ll get when you first recline
  • Use the toilet at every pitstop, even if you don’t think you need to go – no matter how bad it is, it’s probably better than experiencing the smell of the bus toilet (or a nasty pothole experience)
  • And here’s a sneaky one we love from Redditer crackanape: “in a cheap country, I try to buy a child ticket for the seat next to me. Sometimes they get annoyed when I can’t produce an actual child, but it’s always worked in the end.”

Our overnight bus from Guatemala City east to the town of Flores is thankfully incident-free, helped by the fact that we booked a 1st Class bus rather than the locals, which are somewhat cheaper but can potentially stop every 30 minutes … for 12 hours.

We arrive in Flores just after 5am, with the sun just a hint on the horizon and the storms having long since rolled through. There’s two hours here to stretch our legs by walking around the small town with the (successful) aim of finding fresh coffee at 7am on a Saturday morning. Most of our fellow passengers are staying here, with plans to visit the nearby Tikal National Park. We have one more bus, an express (always take the express) from Flores across the border into Belize, and up to Belize City where we arrive at lunchtime. As we board the water taxi in Belize City, we can feel our final destination – and then we can see it, the small island of Caye Caulker, where the sea air has the magic effect of washing away any deleterious effects of all that time on the bus.

Snorkelling Caye Caulker

Snorkelling Caye Caulker. Photo by rhurtubia, CC License

Saturday afternoon is spent exploring the island. We have time to ourselves – pretty well everything in Caye Caulker is a 20 minute walk away, at most. (And if that’s too much of a strain, you can hire a golf cart and take it really easy.) And there’s the option of an afternoon Bird Tour where … yes … that’s exactly what we needed to remind ourselves why we travel…a Tucan taking flight!

Tucan takes flight

Tucan play at that game. Photo by lowjumpingfrog, CC License

If the camping and the bus trip are still clinging to you, you’ll love our Sunday plans as we jump onto a boat for a full day snorkelling tour. Caye Caulker is on the edge of a tropical reef, and there’s no shortage of tropical fish and coral to snorkel past. We also have a chance to find out why Shark-Ray Alley is so named – and remember, any fins you see here probably aren’t attached to dolphins!! Lastly, there’s a chance to visit the Swallow Caye Marine Reserve – if anyone is loving the water as much as we are today, it’s these endangered Manatees that just look so darn huggable!

Tropical Fish

Diving for colour in Belize. Photo by A is for Angie, CC License

Manatee AND a Dugong

Is it a Manatee or a Dugong? Photo by Keith Ramos, CC License

Hot lava to cold ocean. That’s the everydaydream holiday weekend!

Want to go? Need to know!

  • You can fly from Guatemala City to Belize City to avoid the buses. Just be prepared to pay over $200 for the 45 minute flight … a positive bargain for the almost $100 you can pay for the onward flight from Belize City to Caye Caulker. Or pay a premium for shuttle buses (and miss the local experience) http://www.transportguatemala.com/shuttle-schedule.php
  • The roads in Guatemala are far better than you’re expecting, which also helps with enjoying the bus experience.
  • Water Taxis will cost $20Bz each way, but like most things in Belize US DOllars are also welcome (just confirm prices before handing them over, to avoid anything untoward).
  • Tsunami Adventures offer bird tours both by walking (on the southern end of Caye Caulker) or incorporating a boat tour to the north of the island
  • Caye Caulker is also a popular dive site, with experienced divers often travelling here just to explore the 145m deep Great Blue Hole in the centre of the Lighthouse Reef
  • Manatees are also known as Dugongs. An endangered species globally, they’re often overlooked in a world of Finding Nemo and Shark Fin Soup. Companies like Humpybong in Australia are trying to change that awareness gap.

What are your tips for long bus rides? Share them with the world in the comments below.

Auckland in 3 Days: Black Sands, Island Ferry, Base Jumping

By Jacob Aldridge

Today’s Itinerary

Stylish start to our 3 days in Auckland

Tamaki Drive, a beautiful start to our 3 days in Auckland. Photo by Elmastudio, CC License

Kia ora, as we end our New Zealand dream holiday with three days in Auckland. Keeping us away from the tourist traps this weekend is Kiwi Kim, a proud local who arrives wearing an Auckland Blues rugby jersey.

She tells us that Auckland is a walkable harbour city, seen by too many tourists only from the inside of a bus. So our Friday morning begins with a coffee reviver and walk to the city beach at Okahu Bay. We walk along Tamaki Drive, a narrow strip of land that provides breathtaking views back at the city, the Harbour Bridge, and out to the volcanic island of Rangitoto.

Does this Bridge look familiar to anyone else?

Auckland Harbour Bridge. Presented without Comment. Photo by Sids1, CC License

Awake now, our wander back into the city takes a detour into the suburb of Parnell to explore the architectural heritage on display, from modern mansions to the colonial-style homes that seem a better fit with the natural surrounds.

Through here, we enter the Auckland Domain, a common of greenery carved out of the city and home to the Auckland Museum. There’s time to wander around the war memorial. And then at 1.30 we are assembled for an unforgettable connection with the Maori Culture, first a tour of the Maori Gallery and then as witness to a Maori Cultural Performance that’s engaging with its energy and confronting in its style.

A Haka Bearing down on You

Maori Cultural Experience – fantastic! Photo by Crys, CC License

Our time in the land of the long white cloud has been focused on more modern pleasures – whitewater rafting and wineries. So the immersion into the Maori culture is welcome, and within only a few minutes we begin to recognise how the indigenous heartbeat has been present through our New zealand holiday all along.

As we leave the Museum, Kim points out Mount Eden, Auckland’s highest natural point at the top of (yet another) volcanic mountain. With true Kiwi craziness, she tells us how she considered adding that walk to our 3 day Auckland itinerary, but opted instead for a place that’s just as high … and a lot more exciting.

View of Auckland, New Zealand

Enjoying Auckland in 3 Days. Photo by Lynda, CC License

So all of a sudden our hearts are racing again, as we ascend Auckland’s Sky Tower … and strap ourselves in for a Sky Jump. 192 metres (630 feet) above Auckland City, with a wire tied to our back, this is BASE Jumping without a parachute.

The moment on the edge lasts forever – and the drop down also feels like slow-motion so we’re amazed to discover we fell that distance in only 11 seconds. Kim (who does this every chance she can) reckons that in free fall we reached a speed of 85km/h (55mph), which means for those 11 seconds we were the fastest moving objects this side of Auckland Airport.

Our hearts will slow down enough for us to sleep tonight, and Kim’s promise of a more relaxing Saturday proves true as she leads us on a trip out to the black sands of Piha beach.

Having taken the time recently to learn to surf, we have a chance to practise some more. The surf here can get unbelievable rough – thankfully, we’ll be containing ourselves to the more protected Piha Bay.

After lunch, there’s an opportunity to walk across the black iron sand to the imposing Lion Rock, which separates North Piha and South Piha beaches. Why is Piha beach sand black? The iron content is so high, the sand can actually be collected by magnets!

Piha Black Sand Beach

Piha Black Sand – so iron-rich it can be picked up by magnets! Photo by Tatiana Gerus, CC License

Sunday is also more leisurely, as we leave the City of Sails by ferry to the nearby Waiheke Island. Auckland twice hosted the America’s Cup, and as we move through the water, the many sailors out and about confirm that the city owns more yachts per capita than any other in the world.

As we disembark the ferry at Matiatia Wharf, we notice plenty of other tourists jumping into tour buses to explore the wineries and local produce of this 7.5Km (12 mile) long island. Kim has told us to wear our walking shoes, however – it means we won’t see as much of the island, but what we will see will be experienced fully.

Of the range of available walks, we’re taking the Church Bay Circuit, a slightly strenuous 3-hour, path across Atawai Whenua Reserve and down to the beach at Church Bay. This is the perfect spot for a picnic, sitting on the beach facing up to the top end of this country.

Bays of Waiheke Island

Bays of Waiheke Island. Photo by Dave Snowden, CC License

The philosopher Lao-tzu told us that ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. Auckland lies almost exactly 1,000 miles from Queenstown, where our Kiwi Odyssey began last week with a single step off the Kawarau Bridge. Tonight, after glacier hikes, winery tours, ferries, trains, and limousines, we have a late night flight to Hong Kong, via Shanghai.

Heading for the bustle of ‘Honkers’ gives us extra reason to appreciate the serenity of the walk back to the ferry, and the calm journey across the water into the city as we bid farewell to New Zealand.

Want to go? Need to know!

  • The world champion NZ rugby union side are called the All Blacks. But did you know that the NZ soccer team are called the All Whites?
  • The Auckland Museum makes some of its pieces available to view online, like this nice collection in tribute of New Zealander and Everest Conquerer Sir Edmund Hillary.
  • The Maori Cultural Experience is a daily performance and gallery tour (though you can choose to see one, and not the other).
  • Some people climb the Auckland Sky Tower for the views, the revolving restaurant, or the coffee, and return down via the elevator. Crazy, but true.
  • A return ferry to Waiheke Island costs $35.50 – Waiheke Ferry fares and timetables are here.

What would you do with 3 days in Auckland? Or indeed, on a New Zealand journey of a 1,000 miles? Please share your experience in the comments below.

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Road Trip, Sunset Cruise, Joy Flight, Wine Tasting, In Heaven?

By Jacob Aldridge

Today’s Itinerary

Beach Sunrise - not just blue

Sunrise in Yamba, northern New South Wales. Photo by Mark Wassell, Licensed under Creative Commons

Australia has a reputation for being a big country. It covers 5% of the earth’s surface all by itself, is twice the size of India (but with just 2% of the population), and is the only country that is coterminous with a continent (we like big words).

Australians also have an infatuation with ‘bigness’, and no Australian road trip is complete without visiting at least some of these … attractions. As we continue our drive down the east coast, we bypass the Big Prawn in Ballina but make sure to stop at the unmissable icon that is Coffs Harbour’s Big Banana.

The Big Banana

Australia’s Big Banana, in Coffs Harbour. Picture by Adam. Licensed under Creative Commons

Since it opened in December 1964, the site has grown into a theme park of sorts and the Big Banana itself has featured on an Australian stamp!. We’re happy to settle for a walk-through the icon, a photo in front, and a banana split (what else?!) in the cafe.

Friday afternoon we arrive at tonight’s pitstop, the beach-side town of Port Macquarie. We’ve missed the May-November whale watching season, but there’s always time to grab a cold drink and enjoy a 90 minute sunset cruise with Port Venture Cruises.

Sunset over the water

Sunset in Port Macquarie, NSW Australia. Photo by Eugene Regis, Licensed under Creative Commons

Saturday morning dawns, and while the humidity decreases with every hour we drive further south, it’s still warm enough to justify an early morning swim before we jump in the car. They call it the Pacific Highway for a reason, as the Pacific Ocean is never too far away.

Until, that is, we turn inland, headed for the regional town of Cessnock. After a few days of relaxation by the water, it’s time to amp up the adrenaline again, and we have just the experience: a 35 minute joyflight in aboard a Nanchang Warbird!

Joyflight - joy?

Joyflight in a 1957 Nanchang Warbird. Picture Copyright Freeman X Experience

The angry flying dragon on the side of the plane speaks to the power the engine creates, as we find ourselves alternating between enjoying the 360 degree cockpit views and feeling the g-forces in manoeuvres at almost 400km/h (250mph). And just when you think you’ve got the hang of this, wham, the canopy opens! It’s intentional – so we can say we truly “felt the wind in our hair” as we zoomed above Newcastle.

Wine Barrel Hunter Valley

Wine Tasting. Photo by Wendy Harman, Licensed under Creative Commons

We’ve earned our drinks on Saturday night, and the town of Cessnock (like all good Australian country towns) offers plenty of local pubs to choose from. We’re really looking forward to Sunday morning, however; Cessnock is the heart of the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s premier wine producing regions.

So from a heady plane flight yesterday to the heady flavours of a good Hunter Valley red wine – and as a sensible precaution, we’re taking a tour and letting someone else do the driving as we explore 5 of the regions 25+ vineyards … plus a cheese shop and some chocolate after lunch.

Two weeks ago it was Viennese Gluhwein, and here we are drinking a room temperature red wine under the Australian sun. How do you explore a big country? One unique experience at a time.

Want to go? Need to know!

  • The Big Pineapple in Queensland is another icon, though the ‘road trip tourist attraction’ is sadly dying in an era of discount airlines
  • Port Macquarie is a popular stop on the east coast Australia road trip, neatly breaking up the distance between Brisbane and Sydney. A longer alternative is to head inland, via towns like Tamworth, Dubbo, and Bathurst
  • Whale-watching season along Australia’s east coast runs from mid-May to mid-November, but there are never any guarantees even during the August-September peak period
  • 20 minute flights are also available from Cessnock, and there are a range of planes and experiences all around Australia
  • Australia’s 3 best wine regions are Margaret River (Western Australia), the Barossa Valley (South Australia), and the Hunter Valley (New South Wales)

Agree or disagree with our east coast Australia road trip suggestions? Want to recommend a winery elsewhere in Australia? Let us know in the comments below.

Let’s Surf Byron Now, Everybody’s Learning How…

By Jacob Aldridge

Today’s Itinerary

Learn to surf to be like this guy

Surfs up! Photo by Sander van Dijk, Licensed under Creative Commons

Nothing cures a Christmas hangover like an early morning swim in the ocean, so when we say farewell to Cabarita Beach in Australia we do so with clear heads full of beach Christmas memories.

We’ve hired a car, as we continue the self-drive exploration of Australia’s east coast, led by our local guide (and everydaydream co-founder) Jacob. There are almost 1,000 kilometres (625 miles) between the cities of Brisbane and Sydney – that’s the distance between Paris and Prague (but with far less Germany along the way).

Today is a much shorter stretch of that road, the drive from Cabarita Beach to Byron Bay. Byron, as it’s more commonly called, is Australia’s eastern-most point, home to an iconic light-house, several surf beaches, and a range of cultural events including the annual easter Blues and Roots festival.

The Lighthouse at the End of the World

Byron Bay Lighthouse, Australia’s eastern-most point. Photo by thinboyfatter, Licensed under Creative Commons

We arrive about 11am, and the walk up to the lighthouse is our first destination. Construction began here in 1899, cost £10,042 (those are Australian Pounds; the Aussie dollar wasn’t born until St Valentine’s Day, 1966), and featured an eight-ton French-made optical lens. The lighthouse is still active, and also includes a permanent red light that shines on the nearby Julian Rocks, more famous today as a dive spot than for shipwrecks.

Not in Rome

When in Rome. Photo by Taki Lau, CC License

Obligatory “eastern most” photos taken, there’s a few moments to look out over the ocean and reflect that the expanse of the Pacific stretches here for 11,500 kilometres. Head out in a straight line, and the next land mass you will find is Chile, South America.

Lunch is a casual affair at the Beach Hotel. “Top Pub” to the locals, and situated in the middle of town overlooking Main Beach, it’s theorised that every backpacker who’s been to Byron has enjoyed a beer here, and the chips aren’t bad either.

And then we’re off down to Belongil Beach to learn how to surf with Black Dog Surfing. The basics of surfing seem simple as we run through them on the sand: dangle your feet over the back, pop yourself up with intent in one, quick movement, and then hold your balance.

Best Learn to Surf School in Australia, Byron Bay

Learn to Surf in Byron Bay, Australia. You won’t be the only one! Photo by Viajar24h, Licensed under Creative Commons

The only things to do in Byron Bay

Things to do in Byron Bay. Photo by BudgetPlaces.com, CC License

Sun set, Byron style. Photo by Aidan-Sally, CC License

Sun set, Byron style. Photo by Aidan-Sally, CC License

Actually mastering this while the waves are crashing down around you is a different matter! Thankfully, in this heat, nobody’s complaining about constantly being dumped into the cool blue water. And by the end of our 3.5 hour lesson, we’ve all managed to get upright a couple of times – nothing to challenge local(ish) boy and new surfing world champion Joel Parkinson, but enough to ensure we will leave Australia with some experience of this national obsession.

You can – and many people do – spend an entire holiday in this town. Our afternoon surf lesson is a start – there are even surf schools offering 3 month long intensives, until even the goofy foot can hang ten. For us though, there are other towns further south as we continue toward Australia’s largest city.

Want to go? Need to know!

  • Tourists make this trip on wildly varying budgets. One of the cheapest ways to do it is to rent a camper van – transport and accommodation in one expense. Wicked camper vans may not be the cleanest, but they sure are the funniest
  • A goofy foot is actually just a left handed surfer, so it’s not as insulting as it seems
  • Parko is actually a Coolie boy – closer to Cabarita than Byron, but local to Byron when compared with Vienna and Oman
  • Byron Bay hosts the Blues and Roots ‘Bluesfest’ festival in easter, and Splendour in the Grass in July. Different styles of music fans will have their preference; local farmers welcome both because it seems rain is guaranteed every time
  • The Pacific Highway runs down Australia’s east coast, and is a reliable road, although popularity (especially over Christmas) makes it Australia’s deadliest highway – drive safe

Are you a grommit, goofy foot, or newly crowned world champion? Share your surfing tips (or Australian coastline experiences) in the comments below.

Bridge Climb and an Australian Beach Christmas

Our Christmas Itinerary

By Jacob Aldridge

Waking up beside the water in the river city is always a treat, even when we do it this close to dawn. The first rays of each new sun strike the top of Mount Warning, about 2 hours south, and we have somewhere special to be not long after the sun rises in Brisbane: on top of the iconic Story Bridge.

After the safety instructions, we climb as a group 80 metres above the Brisbane River, right to the top of the steel cantilevered bridge, opened in 1940. This is your last chance for a bridge climb Christmas gift – photographs of you dressed like a Teletubbie in your grey-and-blue jumpsuit are a guaranteed hit.

Story Bridge Climbers

Climbers on the Story Bridge, Brisbane. Photo by ed37, Licensed Under Creative Commons

From up here you can see all the way from the Sunshine Coast up north to the Gold Coast down south. For tourists, Brisbane is mostly a gateway to these miles of beaches. And for Christmas, it’s south to the beaches that we must go. And we’re going down faster than you might imagine – this is an abseil climb!

If you’re used to a northern hemisphere winter Christmas, then an Aussie beach Christmas comes with fair warning. There are no chestnuts roasting on an open fire – in fact, there’s a total (outdoor) fire ban here at the moment, as the mercury moves past 30°C (86°F) most days.

Jacob's Christmas Pavlova

Our co-founder Jacob once made this Pavlova for a family Christmas. Once.

Hot roasts and puddings are mostly replaced by cold slices of ham and pavlova smothered in summer fruit. And forget staying indoors – an Australian ‘White Christmas’ means beach cricket and plenty of sand being kicked in the air.

Limoso put us in an airconditioned car for the trip – to avoid the GC crowds, we’re driving a little further south, to spend Christmas on the northern New South Wales beaches of Kingscliff and Cabarita.

Christmas day feels similar wherever it is celebrated. The anticipation; the opportunity to reflect on another year over, and a new one just begun. Travelling at Christmas and away from family, it can be a sad time, as those you love enjoy festivities without you. This can also be an opportunity to forge new traditions, replacing mulled Gluhwein and turkey with cold beer and prawns (or vice versa).

After the pressies, it’s down to the beach. Everyone’s a mate today, so get stuck into the nearest game of cricket – guaranteed there’s someone trying out the new set from Santa.

Sun, Sand, Water - Howzat!

Australia’s national sport, played in Australia’s favourite backyard – the local beach. Photo by Colin J, Licensed under Creative Commons

Some folk are sticklers for the rules of beach / backyard cricket – 3 step run ups to bowl, one-hand one-bounce catches, and any shot into the water is six and out. We’re more relaxed – making the water part of the game is a perfect excuse to field knee-deep in the ocean! Everyone agrees that you can’t get out first ball.

And there’s always patience for beginners – ask for a bat, have a swing, try not to get caught, and remember to have fun.

The perfect right hand break

Catching a wave. Photo by Aristocrats-hats, Licensed under Creative Commons

Cold prawns and cold beer

Prawns and Beer – enjoyed worldwide, perfected down under. Photo by Kevin Walsh, Licensed under Creative Commons

There’s unanimous agreement on the evening of Christmas Day, as we sip another cold drink, eat some more prawns, and brag about the waves we caught on a borrowed body board, or the diving catch we made in the sand. Today was brilliant, and with Boxing Day (December 26th) also a public holiday, we’ll be doing it all again tomorrow.

From the team at Every Daydream, have a Merry Christmas. On Thursday, we’ll be back with another great Australian summer tradition – the ocean road trip!

Want to go? Need to know!

  • Story Bridge Adventure Climb were just the third bridge climb in the world, and offer a range of bridge climb packages including a New Year’s Eve fireworks climb
  • Gold Coast accommodation books out early for the festive season. We think the less popular destinations, like the Sunshine Coast and Northern NSW, are much nicer anyway
  • There are even pseudo-professional beach cricket series in Australia – watch some video here
  • Become an Aussie Christmas legend by making your own pavlova from scratch. Or just be sure to buy a kilogram of prawns on your way to the party!
  • Stay up to date with a free subscription to our daily destinations email

Wherever you are in the world, what are your Christmas traditions?

Have you experienced a Christmas travelling away from home?

Tell us in the comments.