Unique and offbeat activities and adventures make every destination more exciting. Thankfully, Sydney has a world of quirky, cool, and unique activities, many of which tourists do not visit. The next time you find yourself in the Harbour City, be sure to squeeze a few of these sites into your trip:

Sydney Harbour aerial photo
Sydney Harbour

Cockatoo Island

Located out in Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island was a penal colony in the early- to mid-1800s before becoming the site of one of Australia's largest shipyards. Nowadays it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and intriguing blend of prison and shipbuilding history. It has also become a regular venue for festivals, art installations, and outdoor events. Definitely a must visit during the warmers months.

Sydney's Best Offbeat Beaches

Sydney's most popular beaches are always crowded, but there are alternatives. Check out the second oldest national park in the world, the Royal National Park on Sydney's south coast — great for surfing, snorkeling, or just relaxing on the beach. Or go north up to Manly and check out secluded Collins Beach at Little Manly Cove. The beach is small, but when visiting on a weekday you are almost guaranteed to have the sand to yourself.

Explore Bundeena

Located just a short train ride to the southern suburb of Cronulla, there is a little place named Bundeena. This hip, quirky village is home to large number of artists, and not-so-surprisingly is full of boutique cafés and independent art galleries. Definitely a great day trip and chance to escape the crowds of the city.

Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge, one of the best unique and offbeat things to do in SydneyImage via Flickr by Mertle

Cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge ... on Foot

Over 200 trains and nearly 200,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day, but few people cross on foot ... by walking across the top of the bridge. Yes, that is what you can do thanks to a company called BridgeClimb. The entire expedition takes 3-1/2 hours and comes with a complimentary group photo, bridge climb completion certificate, and hat.

Witness the Bondi Rescue

Since 2006 a reality TV show / documentary known as Bondi Rescue films every summer at Bondi Beach and then begins broadcasting in February. If you are visiting Sydney during the summer months, consider taking a brief stop at Bondi Beach to watch the lifeguards hard at work dealing with shark scares, water-related injuries, drunk beachgoers, and other beach hijinks. Did you know the lifeguards here perform over 5,000 rescues every summer?

Learn More About Rugby

One of Australia's most popular sports is rugby and catching a game firsthand in Olympic Park is one of the unique, iconic things to do when visiting Sydney. Never seen a rugby game before? Its similarities with American football will make it an interesting experience for visitors from the United States. Rugby season runs February to July, with the semi-finals and playoffs taking place in late July and early August.

  Ready for an offbeat Sydney adventure?

  More Offbeat Travel Guides
Published in Australia

Namhae Island is located in the very south of South Korea. It's the perfect break from the polluted hustle and neon bustle that most Korean cities tend to have. Best known for its golden beaches and glorious weather it's surprisingly also a place not too many people know anything about it.

Namhae Bridge in South Korea is a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge

Namhae Island is strangely connected to the mainland of Korea by a Golden Gate Bridge imitation, constructed in 1973. From Seoul it takes about 6 hours, by car. The island itself is home to some of the most stunning scenery in Korea. The jagged cliffs cut and wind in unison with the highway and you will find it hard not to be impressed by the contrasting landscape and beaches beneath them.

The island has been left mainly untouched and employment on the island is primarily a result of its large agricultural and fishing community. During the wet seasons it is common to see rice paddies carving into the cliff side with cows plowing fields in favour of machinery. The dry season sees the rice replaced by garlic, with the majority of garlic in Korea coming from right here.

Transportation There & Back

Car Rental   The cheapest rental companies are located closest to the airports. For almost four days rental expect to pay $180-250 depending on how well you research. Use a few price comparison search engines as there are certainly deals to be had.

  Make sure you ask for an English GPS well in advance. Google Maps navigation doesn’t work well in Korea. The Korean map applications are also infuriatingly incompetent. If you can't read or type in Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) you will need a sat nav system. Without a GPS it can be expected that you’ll miss turn offs and probably find yourself stuck on incorrect, never-ending, toll roads for long periods of time. Some signs are in English but directions are not particularly accurate. However, it is do-able -- if you are up for a challenge.

Bus + Car Rental   Alternatively you could hop on a bus from Seoul to Namhae Island and rent a car by the Namhae bus terminal once you arrive. This would prove to be much cheaper in terms of gas/petrol and probably less hassle. The price of car rental is still going to be the same when you arrive.

Bus + Taxi   You cannot rely on public bus services on Namhae Island so should have a plan for either private car hire or taxi. A ride right across Namhae Island (300km) in a taxi would cost about $90, but you probably won't be going that far.

Here is the bus timetable courtesy of the Seoul Tourism Board.

Seoul ←→ Namhae Express Bus Schedule

Departure

Arrival

Departure Time

Ride

Fare

Seoul

Namhae

08:30, 09:50, 11:30, 13:30, 15:10, 16:40, 18:00, 19:00

4.5 hrs

22,200 won

Namhae

Seoul

07:30, 08:30, 10:00, 11:30, 13:00, 15:00, 17:00, 18:30

4.5 hrs

22,200 won

  Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal: Subway Line 3, Nambu Bus Terminal, Exit 5 / +82-2-521-8550 (Korean)
Namhae Bus Terminal: +82-055-864-7101 (Korean)

Where To Camp On Namhae Island

There are numerous unpopulated beaches that are all equipped with camping facilities. Get there early to claim a spot. If you don’t fancy camping then don’t worry as motels are plentiful, just stay on the main roads until you see one. Expect to pay $40 a night. Camping is free.

Sangju Beach   (상주은모래비치)

Sangju Beach on Namhae Island, South Korea

This is the main beach on Namhae Island. Expect clean facilities, plenty of restaurants, karaoke rooms, fireworks, large families and overcrowding. Don’t expect camping courtesy or etiquette. If you have a spot with a good view it’s only a matter of time before someone squeezes into it, to pitch a monster of a tent. A lot of drunken Korean fathers stumble about the tents with flashlights on their heads. Think 28 days later with head-torches when it's dark.

Songjeong Solbaram Beach   (송정 솔바람해변)

Songjeong Solbaram Beach in Namhae Island, South Korea

This is the sister beach to Sangju. Fewer people flock here but camping is still busy with many late comers opting to camp in a run down orchard/car-park near the back. Expect another nice golden beach that boasts less people than Sangju as well as a couple of supermart-style convenience stores. Don't expect much else. Head east on Highway 19 until you see signs for it.

Sachon Beach   (사촌해수육장)

Sachon Beach in Namhae Island, South Korea

This is not visited by many people. Head west on Highway 19 and follow signs towards the Hilton Hotel until the road 1024 forks. Pay close attention to the signs as it is very easy to miss. It's a couple of coves below the Hilton and is towards the South West of Namhae. Expect peace and tranquility but limited facilities and only a couple of snack shops. Excellent for private camping. Don’t expect people or any places to eat.

Other Beaches   Take a look on a map and explore. There are plenty of little coves and beaches all over Namhae Island that many people miss. Just be a bit adventurous. And make sure to assess how far the tide comes in before pitching your tent ;)

Activities On Namhae Island

Sea Kayaking

Kayaking the sea caves around Dumo, Namhae Island, South Korea

Sea kayaking around the sea caves in Namhae Island is an excellent way to spend the day. Fish can be seen darting about below the kayak and sea insects are plentiful. It is extremely tranquil. Gliding along the calm ocean allows you to really take in the beauty of the area.

  Kayaking for 3 hours will cost about $25. Paddle boarding is also available. If you get there after 1pm expect large tour groups and lengthy booking waits so get there early.

Kayaking the sea caves around Dumo, Namhae Island, South Korea
Jessica and myself sea kayaking

Sangju Beach   (FREE)

Sangju Beach on Namhae Island, South Korea

Even if you're not camping here, you can enjoy Sangju beach for the day. The end of the beach has some relatively powerless quad bike rentals so is partitioned off most of the time.

Where To Eat On Namhae Island

Around Sangju you can find only a handful of affordable restaurants. There are a few fresh clam and sashimi restaurants if you are feeling flush. Prices are heavily inflated due to tourism, but wandering the busy side streets you can find some decent grub, although you may have to wait a while.

  One benefit of having a car and not being in a tour group is the freedom you gain. So head towards Namhae town and find some shops, restaurants and convenience stores. Everything here is much more affordable and much less crowded.

Sachon Beach (FREE)

Sunset at Sachon Beach in Namhae Island, South Korea

Aim to wind down here and watch the remnants of the day disappear along with the sunset. Driving down towards the beach you pass through a few rice paddies, which, if holding water will reflect the beach and its surroundings superbly. The road is extremely thin and windy, so be extra careful not to destroy the serenity of the area by plowing your compact Hyundai straight into a field of rice. There are a couple of convenience stores here that stock very little other than snacks and beer. But what else do you need?

Geumsan Boriam Temple (FREE)

Decorations at Boriam Temple in Namhae Island, South Korea

Located near the summit of Geumsan Mat Buntain sits Boriam Temple. Watching the sunrise from here is relatively popular among the local hikers. Wake up early enough and leave enough time to drive here. Some tour buses also offer the chance to visit. There are a several trails which lead to the temple and can take a number of hours to hike. Alternatively, you can drive your car and park 900m from the temple, walking the rest in 10 minutes. The choice is yours.

Listening to the monotonous chanting of the monks whilst watching the sunrise is both hypnotic and calming. The only sound aside from the chanting is the occasional shutter sound from a nearby DSLR camera that is capturing the moment.

Sunrise at Boriam Temple in Namhae Island, South Korea

Stroll back down and share a smile with the disappointed folk who have all missed the sunrise as they race past desperately trying to witness something they’ve clearly missed.

Driving Around Namhae Island

Driving around the cliffs on Namhae Island you can see the glistening waters of the sea contrasting with the golden beaches and it makes for a truly remarkable drive. Oversized coaches do tend to block the roads in the afternoons so expect some traffic. If you get good weather then driving around the island might actually be your favourite part of the trip.

The German Village

The super-touristy German Village of Namhae Island, South Korea. Avoid.

During the 1960’s 10,000 Korean nurses headed to Germany to seek work in exchange for cheap credit with the government. The German Village is for those who returned. All the materials that went into building the houses came from Germany and over the past 10 years the area has become a settlement/hamlet for 35 families, 90% of which are Korean-German.

Unfortunately, in exchange for the family loyalty, the village has been turned into a tourist hot spot whereby tens of thousands of people flock here, creating congestion that goes on for miles. The tourists disrespectfully take photographs posing next to the residents homes, trample through their gardens and even wander into their living rooms. Engelfried (82) is a German local and told a newspaper that “It’s treated like a museum village.” It is promoted by Seoul Tourism board and they have placed a huge car park only a short walk from the village. Avoid.

The American Village

The American Village of Namhae Island, South Korea

The most recently constructed but not so popular cousin of the abov. The placard reads “designed to be the last settling place for Korean-Americans who have dreamt of returning to and retiring in their homeland.” Walking up and down is relatively surreal with cheesy western inanimate objects glued to the walls, such as, surfboards and American driving plates.

  Heading back towards your city whether it’s Seoul, Busan or elsewhere, you can expect heavy traffic when approaching if it’s a holiday weekend. Add at least an extra hour to your return journey.

Published in South Korea

Goa is as amazing as it can be. I have been thrice to Goa in the last two years but my love for it never dies. I always enjoy the cool sea breeze, the culture, the food, the music, the people, the freedom of mobility and the most amazing vibrant atmosphere there.

It was in 2002 when I first visited Goa, which was a college tour and some how it started on a very bad note. We missed our train, travelled through bus and the trip was reduced to one day and night. All tired and some of us were down with fever but still we were able to hold few good memories of laugh, share, love, emotion and entertainment. It was a memorable trip though it had some soar notes. Goa never touched our hearts on this trip. It was in 2011 that I needed a vacation due to the high pressure of work and few suggested for Goa. Since my hubby was with me on last Goa trip (college) last time we thought that it will be good to recall those old days and we backpacked and took the flight to Panjim, the capital of Goa and its lifeline city.

Goa Beach in India

Since we were travelling with the winds (in other words without any reservations) we first though to get ourself a rest and then turn for the beach and the lovely place. We looked for the room and then took a rented bike from the corner shop. I was really very happy driving a vehicle around the roads of Goa. The bike and four wheelers (self-driven) are easily available on rent in Goa and it increases your mobility too. A great reason why I love Goa the most...it provides you freedom to move at your will.

Typical beach in Goa, India
Long and peaceful beach in Goa

The beaches of Goa are great, very long and quiet except for the north Goa beaches like Bagga and Anjuna, which are usually crowded with domestic tourists. We stayed near Candolim Beach and frequently visited it during our stay. There were a fewinternational tourist relaxing and taking a sun bath, but not too many. Several were getting body massages done on the beach by the locals.

Candolim Beach in Goa, India
Long and peaceful beach in Goa

The beaches not only provide relaxing area but also prove to be good playground for kids of all ages -- 0 to 99. There are various adventure and sports activities going at various beaches but you can find them more prominent at Anjuna Beach. There you can go water skiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, speed boat rentals, etc. Lots of fun and adventurous activities in Goa is another reason why it's a favorite of some many travelers.

Building sandcastles on the beach in Goa, India
Building sandcastles...the favorite pastime of every kid!

Locals in Goa are jolly and are willing to help. We almost took various inroads and never found ourself lost, even late at night. Though at night it can look spooky, we got help when we wanted so it became the another reason why Goa touched my heart.

The lush greenery of Goa, India

Even the lush green fields and road side greenery adds to the beautiful atmosphere. The sunset was my another favourite thing I loved to watch sitting on the beach side sipping my drink and cherishing the sounds of sea waves.

Sunset over the beach in Goa, India

Goa is a fabulous place for eateries and wines in India as you not only find good quality seafood but also other eateries serving continental and Indian food. The Goan cuisine is also fascinating and its a blend of Indian and continental cuisine. Plus with so many fine eateries just around the corner in Goa you need not ever worry for food, even around midnight -- Goa has a very active nightlife culture. As far as the drinks are concerned, you can find various brands being served here. Goa is heaven for alcohol lovers as the drinks are cheap here. Fenni, a local alcoholic drink made from cashew nuts, is very popular among the locals and tourists. It is very strong. Yes, Goa is truly a must visit for all the alcoholics out there ;)

Sunset over the beach in Goa, India

The next best part of Goa that helps make it my favourite was its nightlife. You walk down the street at midnight and you see people moving, shop twinkling with their colourful lights, casinos working...it is the only place in India to have legal casinos and people sipping their drinks at various bars.

The beachs in Goa, India

Goa has many facets. It's not just the beaches and bars but beyond that it has a vast diversity to offer. The famous waterfall of Doodhsagar, the calm beaches of south Goa, the elephant village, the backwaters of Goa and tons more. Even with three trips down, I am planning another vacation to Goa soon to explore it further.

Panoramic shot of Goa Beach in India

Published in India

Do you find traditional hotels and resorts uninteresting when out on a vacation? Avid adventurists and nature lovers will say ‘yes’ to this question, and this attitude is the reason why the camping culture around the world is on rise. Camps help you to experience nature at close quarters. Be it on mountains, in deserts or be on beaches, camping is an ideal way of exploring the beauty of nature. India and its diverse geography offer a variety of camping sites where you can spend the night under a moonlit sky, sitting with your friends around a bonfire enjoying the beauty of nature. HoliDaze picks from the top camping sites in India include:

Camping in Rishikesh, one of the top places in India for camping

Rishikesh

  Uttarakhand

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is a tourist place with deep spiritual connection where tons of adventures await. The place is one of the most sought after camping sites due to its awesome natural beauty and various adventure destinations. Living by the banks of the River Ganga is a great experience for anyone. July to September is the best time for enjoying camping in Rishikesh and perfect for adventure lovers.

Camping in Spiti Valley, one of the top places in India for camping

Spiti Valley

  Himachal Pradesh

Located in the Trans-Himalayan belt of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti Valley is described as “a world within a world” by the famous English poet Rudyard Kipling. Camping here gives you a wonderful opportunity to get close to nature and explore this stunning valley. Spiti Valley is also a well-known adventure destination amongst Indians but has yet to truly catch on with foreign tourists -- all the more reason to visit now, before it does! Camping here in May or June gives you relief from the heat of late summer.

Camping in Mussoorie, one of the top places in India for camping

Mussoorie

  Uttarakhand

Adventure lovers and campers gather in Mussoorie to enjoy the thrills of camping and return home with memorable experiences. You will feel like you are in a different world soaking in the splendid views of the white capped Himalayan peaks from the comfort of your camps. Mussoorie, also known as the gateway to Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines, is the favorite spot of trekkers due to its rugged terrains and scenic beauty. March to June is the ideal time for enjoying camping in Mussoorie.

Camping in Jaisalmer, one of the top places in India for camping

Jaisalmer

  Rajasthan

Camping near to the Sam Sand Dunes in Jaisalmer gives you the opportunity to enjoy local Rajasthani food, cultural dances and more. The camps are lit by Mashaals and campfire to provide a truly royal feel of the bygone era. If you are yet not satisfied, watching stars at night from the deserts of golden city is an experience of a lifetime. You can also enjoy camel safaris in Jaisalmer. Needless to say, winter is the best season to enjoy camping here.

Camping in Ladakh, one of the top places in India for camping

Ladakh

  Jammu and Kashmir

Camping is truly an exciting experience in the land of high passes. Enfolded by the arid mountains, Ladakh offers a variety of camping sites for campers of all types. The banks of Pangong and Tsomoriri lakes are ideal camping sites where you can explore the beauty of Ladakh. Of course some other travelers prefer camping in Markha Valley, another favorite destination among trekkers. July and August are the best months to enjoy camping in Ladakh.

Camping in Chandertal Lake, one of the best places in India for camping

Chandertal Lake

  Himachal Pradesh

Also dubbed as ‘the lake of moon’, Chandertal Lake is an ideal camping site. Located at an elevation of 4300m (14,107 ft) in Lahaul and Spiti Valley, Chandertal Lake offers you a great camping experience right in the lap of nature. A stay in the camps here will surely mesmerize you and bewilder your senses. However, altitude sickness may be an issue.

Camping in Anjuna Beach, one of the best places in India for camping

Goa

  Goa

Known for its beautiful beaches, Goa offers campers a variety of camping sites. Spending a night at a camp on one of the Goa’s most popular camping locations allows you to experience the happening culture and nightlife of Goa. Agonda beach, Ashwem beach, and Anjuna beach are a few of the best camping sites here. You will get to experience something new with a beach party while camping in Goa. And be honest, who doesn't love beach parties?

Arguably the best way to enjoy the serenity of nature, camping is one of the best outdoor activities that anyone can enjoy without intense training or practice. It allows you to escape the city and modern life, and provides an opportunity to explore the unexplored countryside. The next time you are in India, be sure to take some time off the beaten tourist trail to enjoy a little camping.

See More       India Unexplored: 24 Incredible Offbeat Destinations   India HoliDaze Guides

Published in India

Hawaii is rich in activities and attractions both cultural and geographic. It poses as one of the top tourist destinations in the US. You can also find great accommodations in many places such as the Bluegreen Resorts. Consider visiting the following locations if you are planning to tour the Hawaiian Islands.

1. USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is the biggest natural harbor within the State of Hawaii, initially referred to as “Pu’loa” by the ancient Hawaiians. Situated in Honolulu, the USS Memorial at Pearl Harbor is the top tourist destination in the Hawaiian Islands. You can visit here to see the nine historic sites where the WWII began for America. At the Pearl Harbor, you can get a movie ticket to watch a film that summarizes the history of this primeval site.

2. Waikiki Beach

The name Waikiki means ‘sprouting waters’ and refers to the freshwater rivers that used to flow towards the ocean. It was at first a holiday destination for Hawaiian royalty but was later recognized by foreign visitors. The Beach town of Waikiki is decorated with a broad array of luxurious resorts and restaurants. In Waikiki Beach, you can see the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, the Waikiki Aquarium, and Honolulu Zoo.

img src="/images/countries/us/hawaii-north-shore.jpg" alt="The north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, is one of the best surfing destinations in

3. The North Shore of Oahu

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The North Shore of Oahu is the geographic region between East Oahu’s Kahuku Point West Oahu’s Ka’ena Point. The North Shore of Oahu is widely acclaimed for its huge waves and impressive coastline that attracts surfers from all around the world during the Winter. Among the famous North Shore surf spots are Sunset Beach, Ehukai Beach, and Waimea Bay. Here you will also see the historic town Hale’iwa that is widely recognized for its art galleries, a surf museum, food trucks, and yoga studios.

4. Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

The Na Pali Coastline is considered one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is rich in Hawaiian cultural history. The perfect way to explore this coastline is by use of an ocean vessel. You can also choose to study the coast through the Kalalau Trail by foot and experience the magnificent beaches, streams and natural waterfalls.

5. Road to Hana

This is one of Hawaii’s most spectacular landscapes. As you are on the Road to Hana, you can get a glimpse of the Twin Falls, the Garden of Eden Arboretum, and Wai’anapanapa State Park. In Hana Town, you can check out the art galleries, farmers markets, and Hana Bay.

6. The Kalaupapa National Historical Park

This is a secluded destination ideal for lovers of nature. It serves as a symbolic gesture of contemplation for those who have suffered from Hansen’s Disease. As you tour Kalaupapa, you can stop to experience the windward side of the peninsula.

The view of Waikiki Beach from the top after hiking Diamond Head Volcano in Hawaii

7. Diamond Head State Monument

This is Hawaii’s most renowned signpost. While at Diamond Head State Monument, you should take the short hike through old military bunkers. Remember to carry a flashlight as part of the trails goes through long dark tunnels.

8. Haleakala National Park

The Haleakala National Park is perfect for camping and hiking trips. The summit area here offers a stunning view and landscape good for watching sunrise or sunset.

9. The Island of Lana’i

Sometimes referred to as the “Pineapple Isle”, it is a striking, privately owned island located in the Hawaiian archipelago. While in Lana’i, you can explore the beautiful garden of Keahikawelo, a landscape of rock towers, Sweetheart Rock, and the romantic Puu Pehe Beach. There are also some world-class golf resorts and scuba diving spots here.

10. Hawai’i Volcanoes

To get the history of how the Hawaiian Islands were formed, visit the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Here, there are some volcanic lava fields, steam vents, old lava cave, the Kilauea’s Caldera and the Halema’uma’u Crater.

With all these breathtaking attractions, Hawaii is your destination of choice. It is fun to visit whether you are traveling alone or with your family.

  Want More Hawaii?

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Published in United States

Beautiful natural scenery and sights, fun water-based activities, top-notch shopping, addictive nightlife, amazing food, and so much more: Just because you only have a short time in New Zealand's most impressive city doesn't mean that you should miss out on some of the best things the city has to offer.

Hike a Nearby Volcano

Auckland is home to a whopping four dozen volcanoes! That means no matter where in town you are staying, there is a nearby volcano that you can hike up and enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree view. Don't expect lava flows though -- these volcanoes have erupted only once in history and are now dormant. In fact, most are lush green parks.

Read More Free Things To Do In Auckland

Splash Around With Some Water-Based Fun

Water plays an important part in the weekly life and fun of Auckland residents thanks to the Auckland Bay. Hop a ferry and explore some of the nearby islands. Get your adrenaline pumping with activities like surfing, kayaking, jet-boating, diving, and windsurfing. Or if relaxation is the name of your game, enjoy some peaceful morning fishing or soak up the sun on a beach.

Karekare Beach near Auckland, New Zealand

Insider tip: Nestled in the countryside west of Auckland is Karekare Beach, overlooked by most tourists and much more refreshing than the crowded beaches at the heart of town.

Tingle Your Senses

Unlike anything else I have ever experienced, the Odyssey Sensory Maze is exactly what the name suggests: an invigorating journey that will stimulate all of your senses and leave you wanting more. Each section features unique obstacles, lighting, music, and yes, even smells. There is a jungle zone, a cave zone, a space zone, and...well...you'll just have to discover the rest for yourself.

Read More Offbeat Sights and Activities in Auckland

Learn More About the Māori

Maori man issuing a challenge at a cultural show at Rotarua, New Zealand
Photo courtesy of Peter Mackey

The Polynesian settlers who originally settled in New Zealand became known as the Māori. Their rich cultural history shaped and still plays a part in New Zealand culture, despite making up only 15% of the country's population. Learn more about the Māori by visiting one of Auckland's many museums, art galleries, or cultural attractions.

Enjoy the Best Auckland Has to Offer

Certain things always tend to be better in big metropolises, primarily shopping, nightlife, and food. Thankfully, Auckland excels at all three. If it's shopping you crave, there are numerous hotspots around town, such as Queen Street, Ponsonby, Newmarket, the Britomart Precinct, and of course Takapuna up on the North Shore.

When it comes to nightlife, many of the same areas known for spectacular shopping are always home to the city's best bars and clubs. Britomart is a popular favorite with both locals and foreigners, but Ponsonby and Parnell are where the stars shine. However, there are also other offbeat after dark Auckland areas, such as K Road and High Street.

As far as great food, that can be found throughout the city. Just ask a local!

Published in New Zealand

Few Caribbean destinations are as spectacular as Punta Cana, the furthermost eastern point of the Dominican Republic. The name means "Tip of the White Cane Palms" and from the minute visitors arrive it is easy to see why: Punta Cana is where the palm trees and beautiful blue of the Caribbean Sea converge together in the most pristine white sand beaches you will find anywhere. Hundreds of resorts are located here and choosing the right one can be difficult, so I've put together a guide on all the best Punta Cana hotels no matter what type of vacation you are looking for:

Romantic Getaway

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

When it's time to whisk the love of your life away for a romantic Caribbean vacation, The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana is arguably the best destination in all the Dominican Repbulic. Their spacious and luxurious suites are second to none. However what truly makes them the ideal place for a romantic rendezvous is the private in-suite whirlpools.

Family-Friendly Retreat

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

When taking your family to a tropical paradise like Punta Cana, it's important to stay at a hotel that is the epitome of "tropical paradise." The Majestic Colonial is one of the most pristine and impressive hotel resorts that I have ever seen. Immaculate grounds, breathtaking views, helpful staff, and of course plenty of children's activities to keep the little ones amused all come standard. However my personal favorite is the overwhelming choice of food; nearly every type of cuisine imaginable can be found in the restaurant!

All-Inclusive Fun

The only thing that makes paradise better is not having to deal with any bothersome restaurant or bar bills. Plus there is nothing quite like the thrill of an open bar or never-ending buffet, two things that quickly become clear to those staying at Barceló Bávaro Beach, one of the top-rated all-inclusive luxury resorts in Punta Cana.

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Beyond their obligatory beaches and pools lies everything that guests could ever need: fitness center, casino, multiple bars and restaurants, golf course, even babysitting services. Wrap it all up with a bit of Punta Cana sun and a warm, friendly staff and it's no wonder that the worst part about Barcelo Bavaro is actually leaving.

Nothing But The Best

When only the finest all-inclusive five star luxury will do, look no further than Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel. This award-winning hotel resort is consistently ranked as one of the best resorts in all the Domican Republic. A sprawling complex of buildings, beaches, pools and palm trees, Iberostar Grand Bavaro is large enough that even when fully booked the property never feels crowded.

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Budget-Friendly Options

Although Punta Cana is not what one would describe as a budget travel destination, there are several budget-friendly options available that will allow visitors to enjoy paradise without breaking the bank. Backpackers will feel right at home in the Punta Cana Hostel, which has a community kitchen, restaurant, bar and pool. among other amenities. Another great option is the Hotel Cortecito Inn Bavaro with beach-side views and complimentary breakfast.

  flickr //   sackerman519   ianbruce   dbrekke   drewott

Published in Dominican Republic

Corpus Christi is the perfect getaway year-round, but for those of us who unfortunately have to work for a living, sometimes a weekend is all we can escape for. Luckily, it is entirely possible to see both the best of Corpus Christi and a few overlooked nuggets in only 48 hours.

Best Seafood? You be the Judge

Crawfish boil

Corpus Christi is known for great seafood and we all have to eat, right? The two most well known seafood joints in town are Snoopy's Pier and Doc's Seafood & Steak Restaurant. Both are located right next to each other on Padre Island and cannot be missed -- just follow the crowds. Stopping at one of these two fine establishments on the way in or out of town is almost an unwritten law among regular visitors to the island.

Another place you shouldn't miss is the Costa Sur Bar & Grub, which has built up a rather large and loyal local following. Their cuisine is an interesting Corpus Christi-twisted take on Peruvian fusion seafood. Come for the fish, stay for the ceviche. They not only serve it they serve several different types!

  The Best Non-Seafood Restaurants In Corpus Christi

Best Sights In Town

The USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas

The Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Memorial are the two most popular sights in town. While they should not be missed, visitors that only have a limited time in town should definitely arrive in the morning to beat the crowds. The two are also located right next to each other and both open at 9am daily.

Visit the aquarium first and you shouldn't need more than an hour or two if you have kids. Once aboard the USS Lexington you can spend the better part of the day! It is a decommissioned aircraft carrier that is loaded with history and plenty of interesting things to explore on every floor from front to back. Overnight stays are even possible.

  Unique And Offbeat Things To Do In Corpus Christi

Best Beaches Around

While people always have their own different personal favorite section of beach for a variety of reasons, the question of whether Mustang Island is better than North Padre or vice versa has finally been settled: North Padre is the winner, most specifically Padre Island National Seashore. Home to over 70 miles of beaches -- at least for visitors whom come equipped with a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Texas beaches

During my trips I have learned this: Mustang Island is great to go for a short stop, but if you want to spend half the day or even the entire day away from it all, opt for North Padre Island. Bring some food, water and yes, even a six-pack of beer, conveniently "forget" your cellphone at the hotel, and prepare to relax the day away.

Best Lodging Options

Although camping on the beach is always an option, it's certainly not the most romantic of options for a quick weekend getaway. For that check out my guide to cheap hotels in Corpus Christi on Hipmunk. (Yes, I'm a regular writer for them too.)

View the Corpus Christi travel archives for much more!

  flickr   //   thesuperstar

Published in United States

A picturesque paradise. The Beach. (Yes, that movie was filmed here.) Welcome to Koh Phi Phi. Located in the Andaman Sea between Phuket and Krabi, the Phi Phi Islands are a very popular tourist destination in Thailand.

More than 1,000 people visit Koh Phi Phi ever single day.

Below is a photo gallery of our journey from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands and our time there:

Departing Phuket Island's harbor on a ferryboat
Departing Phuket Island's harbor on a ferryboat

A long tail boat near Phi Phi Island's shore
A long tail boat near Phi Phi Island's shore

Impressive sailboat visiting Phi Phi Don
Impressive sailboat visiting Phi Phi Don

Phi Phi Island's harbor
Phi Phi Island's harbor

Green waters at Phi Phi Ley Island
Green waters at Phi Phi Ley Island

There's heavy traffic around
There's heavy traffic around

Somebody boarded the boat
Somebody boarded the boat

A boat around
A boat around

Phi Phis Islands beachside
Phi Phis Islands beachside

Published in Thailand

South Padre island is an amazing island with a variety of fun activities and over thirty miles of beaches just begging for you to stick your toes in the sand and relax in the sun. Of course the only thing that makes a trip to this beautiful island better is staying directly on the beach and only having to walk a few steps from the hotel lobby to the golden sand. That having been said, these are some of the top beachside hotels and resorts in South Padre Island, Texas.

Schlitterbahn Beach Resort

This sprawling 25-acre water park and hotel is one of the prime highlights of the island. Schlitterbahn South Padre is home to over a dozen gigantic indoor and outdoor water slides, nearly two dozen blood-pumping and water-spraying attractions, and several slow-moving rivers that are perfect for a lazy tube ride. Staying on-site offers the added convenience of being able to enjoy the beauty of the beach, the excitement of the water park, and the privacy of your hotel room all in one place, not to mention plenty of dining options.

Schlitterbahn South Padre Island, Texas

Isla Grand Beach Resort

This picturesque resort is known for throwing some of the best beach parties, most notably their annual Spring Break bash. Regardless of the time of year, every day and night the week Isla Grand has themed activities and events to keep guests entertained. This includes family fun like sandcastle building on the beach and arts and crafts, as well as evening shows in the nightclub. Other seasonal options include parasailing and banana boat rides. There is also plenty of year-round fun to be had at the tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and hot tubs.

Pearl South Padre

Nestled on the beach right across from the bridge, the Pearl South Padre is one of the island's gems. All rooms have a balconies and amazing oceanfront views, plus there is even a large pool featuring a swim-up bar and grill for guests looking to avoid the salt water. Another popular feature is the Pearl's collection of packages and daily trips designed to make the most of your stay on the island. The hotel is also located right next to Schlitterbahn, making it a breeze to get the best of both worlds.

Hilton Garden Inn

One of the most popular and well-reviewed hotels on the island, the Hilton Garden Inn is located mere footsteps from warm white sand and sparkling blue water. As the northernmost hotel on the island, guests can enjoy a large and less-crowded portion of the beach. Windsurfing and jet-skiing are popular with guests here, as are snorkeling and fishing. Above all, do not miss out on the breakfast buffet, easily the best breakfast in all of South Padre!

La Copa Inn Beach Hotel

La Copa ia a pet-friendly hotel and ocean side restaurant, and it offers one of the best values for the price on the entire island. It has an intimate, almost family run atmosphere and helpful staff. However, during Spring Break, it does have a tendency to be overrun by college students lured in by the cheap price. All the exciting water-based activities from parasailing to dolphin-watching can be booked through the concierge, and the Schlitterbahn water park is less than a five-minute walk away.

The beach at South Padre Island, Texas

The Palms Resort

If a laid back resort with a "mom-and-pop" feel is what you crave then look no further than The Palms Resort. Located a little further north up the island, this resort is all about relaxation, whether on the beach, in their indoor heated pool, or the Cafe on the Beach. The only thing better than the food is the breathtaking Gulf view.

  As a blogger ambassador for Hipmunk I have written several articles for their site and am now taking part in Hipmunk's #citylove campaign, where they have given me the opportunity to share some of my favorite locations with you.

Have you ever been to South Padre Island?

Published in United States
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