THE BALI SWING
PLAYGROUND FOR ADULTS
Before I jumped on a plane to Bali I’d already seen pictures of the Bali Swing on Instagram. However when I asked about it while in Ubud, it turned out that The Bali Swing was not known by everyone. You can use a swing in Bali on various spots, yet my aim was to swing above the gorge as seen on pictures, not just somewhere in the middle of the rice fields. And so I jumped into a taxi that took me to The Bali Swing, located just about a 30 minute drive from Ubud. Upon arrival I found out that it had only been opened a few months earlier, so it wasn’t a coincidence that not everyone yet knew about it.
MUST DO IN GERMANY
Looking for a something fun to do in the German Hunsrück region? Then definitely consider the Geierlay suspension bridge. This suspension bridge in Germany is located in the Hunsrück just a three-hour drive from the Dutch-German border. I visited the bridge three times in recent years, the last time I even was completely alone. Below you will first find my original report and photos from August 2016, followed by updates and tips that I added following my second and most recent visit in May 2019. Enjoy reading!
10 TIPS FOR FIRST TIMERS
TRAVELING IN NEW-ZEALAND
For nature that is. Most of us come to New Zealand because of the amazing landscapes and I will never forget what was written in the guestbook of the hostel I stayed in Auckland after arrival in my first trip. It said ‘please go to the South Island as soon as you can!’. Of course, we had unfortunately booked a return trip from AKL meaning we had to return up north and leave the South Island behind at some point, which made me ache to go back. The second time I went to New Zealand, I flew out of Christchurch, so your trip definitely ends with a bang of truly stunning nature.
Are there still unknown places in Norway? Places that hardly anyone goes, where there are no blogs about and which you cannot read about in the travel guides? I thought this was not the case until a year ago, when I ended up in a place so incredibly beautiful that you can’t imagine there are hardly any other tourists. Still, that place is there and I found it by accident. I’m talking about Blådålen and the Møsevassbreen in Folgefonna National Park in Norway. A vacation in Åkrafjord If you mention Åkrafjorden, hardly anyone knows this fjord. And neither did I until last year. Although I had traveled twice in Fjord Norway before, there was still an unfamiliar fjord in front of me, which I accidentally stumbled upon during my search for a small cottage in Norway. We were looking for a quiet holiday home on a fjord in Norway and above all: affordable. I spent hours searching, and eventually ended up renting at a small house above the Åkrafjord. After a few days with just rain and a lot of time spent indoors, we decide to go out. Searching for beautiful hikes in the area does not initially give a lot of options. We make an attempt to hike to the Åkrastølen, but the bridge across the river has been washed away by all the rain from the previous days. On various Norwegian hiking apps we research other hiking options and then suddenly I notice the south side of the Folgefonna National Park. On Google Maps I see a road and a line along a lake to a glacier. The next day we decide to go for it, in search of a nice adventure! A drive through Blådålen “The blue valley” or Blådålen is an hour’s drive from our cabin. First we have to leave the fjord, up the mountain pass and there seems to be a small road into the valley. The valley is dominated by the huge water reservoir and the hydroelectric power station, but once past this an amazing portion of beauty opens up in front of us. Not only is the weather beautiful, but all around us are lakes, mountains and green meadows. We are surrounded by herds of sheep and even spot a huge sea eagle with our binoculars. Using our navigation we drive on, there is no longer a cell service but the road should lead to a lake, from where we can hike towards the glacier. Arrival at Møsevattnet After a long climb with hairpin bends over a very narrow road we arrive at the Møsevattnet, a turquoise lake surrounded by rocks and in the distance: a glacier. It turns out to be the Møsevassbreen, one of the glaciers of the Folgefonna National Park. There is an information panel at the parking lot showing that there is some kind of hiking trail towards the glacier. We grab our backpacks, put on our hiking boots and set off for the glacier, off to seek some adventure! Heading to Møsevassbreen Is there a trail? No there is no real trail. There are occasionally cairns who indicate the route, but otherwise it is mainly a lot of jumping and climbing over boulders. Sometimes it is flat, sometimes it is steep and hands are involved. After an hour we look up, the glacier mouth seems to be just as far away. We descend again to the lake, then we rise again. Finally we arrive at a ridge and the marking ends there. Below us there is an abyss, we cannot continue here unless we climb up. From here, the trail only ascends further away from the glacier. But … that doesn’t matter. In the meantime we have come quite close to the glacier (without meeting anyone on the way) and we sit and enjoy the stunning views. The sun sometimes breaks through and illuminates the bright blue ice in a special way. A piece of ice calves off the glacier, which then thunders into the water of the Møsevattnet with a loud bang. So we sit here for over an hour to enjoy a cup of tea and a stroopwafel. There we are, in at the end of the world, just an hour and a half away from the main road. Enjoying all the beauty within sight. In the end we decide to slowly start making our way back. Every now and then I glance over my shoulder. What a wonderful surprise during a rainy holiday! Also check the video that I made of this trip: Conclusie en disclaimer Before I started writing this blog I tried to do some research on Blådålen and Møsevassbreen but I found almost no information online about this valley. Shame? No, certainly not, because although I hope that more people will enjoy this beautiful place in Norway in the future, I also hope that mass tourism will not discover it. Do I contribute to this in a certain way by writing this? Perhaps. But I also really enjoy sharing a newly discovered place with you. The eternal dilemma of the travel writer …
Despite the fact I don’t live in New Zealand, I’m proud to be able to say that I’ve been to Abel Tasman National Park five times over the past years. It’s one of those places that I always tend to return to while in New Zealand, even though it’s on the other side of the world. By now, I’ve actually tried most of the Abel Tasman National Park walks and I decided the time was right to make a list so you can pick your Abel Tasman walk. Enjoy! A short introduction to Abel Tasman National Park Abel Tasman National Park is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who arrived here in 1642. It’s the smallest of New Zealand’s national parks and located on the northern part of the South Island, about a 1.5 hour drive from the city of Nelson. You cannot access Abel Tasman National Park by car, the best ways are on foot or by kayak. You can also take a tour by boat or access with a water taxi. The park is known for the green and lush forests as well as the golden sand beaches. Birdlife is abundant in the park and it’s definitely one of New Zealand’s most amazing places to visit in my opinion. Below you’ll find a list of the best hikes in Abel Tasman National Park, from south to north. Day walk from Marahau to Anchorage (or vice versa) One of the most popular walks inside the park is the day walk from Marahau to Anchorage Bay. This walk is about 12 kilometers and not too difficult. The trail is well paved in most places and there’s little altitude difference. You can visit some very nice beaches along the way such as Apple Tree Beach and Akersten Bay. Those beaches are generally below the main trail and will make it a bit more ups and down. For this walk you’ll need to book a water taxi ride from Marahau to Anchorage or vice versa. I used Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi for this and booked a few days ahead as it can be quite busy. You can also do the walk in the other direction of course, which means you’ll be walking back to Marahau which gives you a bit more freedom to walk back to your car (in case you’re driving) rather than having to hurry up for the water taxi. Check the video that I made here: Pitt Head, Anchorage From Anchorage Bay you can walk to the Pitt Head viewpoint, just above the bay. The walk to the viewpoint is about 25 minutes one way, but you can also make a 1.5 hour loop of it. The trail is well paved, not too difficult and the views from Pitts Head are simply stunning. You can combine this walk with the Anchorage – Marahau walk if you decide to do the hike this way and you’re not in a hurry. Bark Bay to Torrent Bay Part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, this is a popular half day hike as well. Ask for the water taxi to drop you off at Bark Bay and walk back down south to Torrent Bay. This walk will be around 2.5 hours, depending on how busy it is at the swing bridge that you’ll find along the way. Since there can only be 5 people on the bridge at the same time, waiting times may occur. When I was there for the Abel Tasman Coast Track, I had to wait a few minutes to pass the bridge. Headlands Track Those wishing to visit Totaranui can hike the Headlands Track, a one hour walk from the settlement. It’s just an introduction to the variety in landscape and will give you an idea about the different ecological systems inside the park. It’s a one hour return walk from the DOC campsite. Anapai Bay One of the nicest bays inside Abel Tasman National Park is actually Anapai Bay. Since water taxis don’t go past Totaranui, it’s much more quiet here than on other beaches. I had the beach pretty much all to myself when I visited and it’s just an hours walk including one good climb from Totaranui. You can also decide to push on to Mutton Cove, another hour from Totaranui, making it a two hour one way walk. Mutton Cove was even prettier than Anapai Bay and … much windier as well! Whariwharangi Bay At the end of the road near the settlement of Wainui you can do the Whariwharangi Bay walk. This one will lead you to the quiet Whariwharangi Bay and same name backcountry hut, a former homestead which is now in use as the last hut on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. It’s a four hour return over the hill from the parking lot. If you have a bit more time to spend, make sure to add Separation Point as well. If lucky, you can see a seal colony there. Separation Point is another hour past Whariwharangi Bay. Wainui Falls Walk One of the best and easiest walks in Abel Tasman National Park is definitely the Wainui Falls Walk. This 1.5 hour return walk starts just outside the park, which you’ll enter along the way. The falls are 20 meters high and especially when it’s been raining they are quite dramatic. In this article you can read all about my visit. The Abel Tasman Coast Track And last but not least, the Abel Tasman Coast Track. This famous 3-5 day Great Walk of New Zealand is a must if you enjoy tramping. I did this hike twice, one from Marahau to Totaranui and once all the way onwards to Wainui Bay. A full blog is coming up soon, you can find my old post here. I actually thought that the best part of the walk was between Totaranui and Wanui since this part of the national park gets way less visitors than the southern section. I did the hike in November and even then I still had parts of the walk all to myself, or I’d only run into little people at some places. Note that all huts and campsites must be booked year round! Conclusion and disclaimer I hope you’ve found this article useful and that you’ve enjoyed reading about all the best Abel Tasman National Park walk options. Always make sure to check the DOC website for latest information regarding possible hikes, closures and track changes. In this article you’ll find affiliate links. If you make a purchase through any of those links, we may earn a small commission without extra cost to you!
Highest peaks always appeal to my imagination. So while I was passing through the Eifel recently, I decided to make a stop at the Hohe Acht, the highest “mountain” in the Eifel. The word mountain is of course relative because it is just 747 meters high. Because I also some weird kind of thing in my head with the number 747 (you will probably not be surprised that I am an avid airplane spotter) I thought it would be a nice idea to climb the highest mountain in the Eifel after the highest mountain in the Sauerland which I climbed last year. Here you can read all you need to know about climbing the Hohe Acht in the Eifel mountains in Germany. About Hohe Acht As mentioned, the Hohe Acht (the high eight) is the highest point in the Eifel. This summit is located in the north of the Eifel near the village of Adenau. From Arnhem in The Netherlands, where we live, it’s a short 2.5 hour drive only. The north of the Eifel is home to the Hocheifel, an area with the highest peaks of the Eifel range. The mountain is an extinct volcano from the Tertiary and offers a panoramic view of the Westerwald, the Hunsrück and the Siebengebirge in good weather. Heading up Hohe Acht: my experience It is a gloomy day in early summer when I drive home from the Moselle region where I spent my vacation. After an overnight stay at a campsite just south of the Hohe Acht, my holiday has come to an end, but not before I have climbed the Hohe Acht. I enter “Hohe Acht” on Google Maps and navigate to the “Wanderparkplatz Hohe Acht” on the L10. Upon arrival there are already several cars and a camper, but it does not look very busy. There are several circular walks you can make and I decide to go for the H3. Unfortunately I lost the trail after fifteen minutes because I seem to be not paying attention to the markings, which are plenty. Fortunately, the road to the Hohe Acht is straight up and sometimes even steep. Getting lost is impossible. A paved trail has been constructed for cyclists, but little use is made of this. After about twenty minutes of walking I arrive at an opening in the forest. In front of me is the Kaiser Wilhem Turm from where you can admire the view. I climb up a bit uncomfortably, after all it is still corona time and I don’t want to bother others. Once at the top there appear to be three other people, it just fits a meter and a half away. Fair enough, despite the gray weather and the threatening skies, the view is superb. I stare into the distance for a while but quickly become distracted as more people climb up the tower. Time for me to descend again and leave them some space. I make a half-hearted attempt to find the H3 again but then water starts to fall down from the sky. And since I don’t feel like getting soaked this time, I quickly descend back to the car. A nice micro adventure in Germany for on the way, not super special, but with a fabulous view. Useful tips for your visit to Hohe Acht There are several trails up, a simple but occasionally steep forest trail and a cycle trail. The latter was hardly used. There are several routes to the top and beyond. The H2 is 5 km long, the H3 is 4 km long and the “Kalderborn cow walking trail” is 23.5 km long. The Kaiser Wilhelm tower is not exactly at the highest point of the Hohe Acht, it is next to it. Here is a column which is officially the highest point in the Eifel. There is plenty of parking, but avoid busy times and the weekends when racing at the Nürburgring. During several weekends it is free to drive here (also on the weekend that I was there) and that caused quite a bit of noise. It was certainly not a very relaxing experience. I also made a short video: enjoy watching! Conclusie en disclaimer Hopefully you found this article helpful. If you want to know more about Germany, please visit my Germany homepage with numerous tips for active things and beautiful hikes in Germany. This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via such a link, we will receive a modest commission for you at no extra cost.
Let me start by saying that both treks are tough and should not be underestimated. If you have no experience in trekking, you will have to carry lots of stamina and willpower in order to make it to either basecamp. It’s not easy but not impossible either. Which of the two is the most difficult is hard to say and really depends on various factors. If we look at altitude, Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely the most challenging reaching 5.364 meters above sea level. If you decide to trek via Gokyo, which I strongly recommend so you won’t have to hike the same route twice, you will have to cross Cho-La Pass which is even higher and reaches as high as 5.420 meters. Annapurna Base Camp is located at 4.130 meters above sea level, meaning you need less time to acclimatize.
Iregularly have discussions with friends about whether you have to travel far away (= outside of Europe for me) every year. Not only because of the flying embarrassment that seems to be on the rise, but also because there are plenty of nice walks in Europe. You don’t always have to go far to see beautiful landscapes. Need inspiration? Then read on in this article with the beste places to hike in Europe, from north to south. All trails have been made by myself so I only advise you from my own experience, as you are used to from me. Enjoy reading and hiking!
The good thing about hiking in New Zealand is that it can be done from anywhere as there are numerous of trails all over the country, whether it’s close to the city or far away from civilization. In addition to my old post, I will also add more information about the best multi-day hikes in New Zealand as well as shorter hikes that can be done by anyone. Enjoy this list with the best hikes in New Zealand!
When planning to hike a long(ish) track, it’s wise to figure out as much as you can about the trail. What the distance is, how to get to the start and end and what the current trail situation is. Many of these things can be found online nowadays and by doing some research beforehand you can avoid unpleasant surprises along the way. Such as not carrying enough drinking water or having to make a river crossing. But also there may be ferries that are not running on certain days or the bus service you may need could be limited on certain days. All these things can be found out well in advance.
We found another hiking paradise and it’s called Tasmania. Located on the opposite part of the world for us, we spent a month here, exploring what Australians call ‘the Apple Island’ by foot and by bike. We knew that Tasmania had some pretty spectacular scenery to offer but we kept on being surprised over and over again by the diversity of this place. One day we’d stand with our feet in the sand on some stunning beach and the next day we’d be in a rain forrest discovering the prettiest little waterfalls. When you are going hiking here, there is no way you will get disappointed. Here is our selection of the best hikes in Tasmania!
For me, a visit to Crater Lake National Park had been on my bucketlist for many years. Being from The Netherlands it’s not nearly as well known and popular as other US National Parks such as The Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park. However, after hearing about this place from a friend, I knew I wanted to go here one day. I kept on googling Crater Lake National Park year after year, at some point I knew it was my time to head on another trip to the US and go for it. And so I finally got to visit Crater Lake National Park after wanting to go for such a long time.
On We12travel you will find everything you want to know about outdoor traveling, nature and hiking. From the best outdoor clothing to the greatest multi-day treks in the world, and everything in between. I’ve been inspiring readers from all across the globe since 2011 and am the leading Dutch outdoor and hiking blog ever since. I help you in your search for beautiful hiking destinations, preparing for your trek and planning your trip in nature.