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Adventure Travel

Six Cycle Friendly Cities of Europe

Six Cycle Friendly Cities of Europe

On Yer Bike; On two Wheels Cycling is a popular, affordable and environmentally friendly way to see a city. In many European cities, it is positively encouraged. City planners are realising the benefits of cycling as a mode of transport and are providing cycle-paths, plenty of parking for bicycles, automated bike hire facilities, smartphone apps and bike-friendly public transport. Not all cities are equal in their provision of cycle-friendly facilities. Many provide facilities aimed solely at the commuter and not the visitor. I have picked out several of Europe’s cities that are best explored on two wheels. Each of the six have excellent facilities and infrastructure specifically aimed at the cyclist. Copenhagen The Danish capital has been at the forefront of making a city cycle-friendly. They have been so successful at it that the word, “Copenhagenization”, defined as urban planning…

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New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty

New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty

This edited post about New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty was originally published on the Avanti Travel Insurance blog where I write a regular post for them. Plenty to do in the Bay of Plenty In 1796 Captain James Cook anchored off the shores of a large bight in the north-east of New Zealand’s North Island. He noted the supplies of food at the Maori villages along the shores of the bay were plentiful. Accordingly, he named it the Bay of Plenty. With 259km of sandy coastline, a mild climate and a large sheltered natural harbour it is becoming increasingly popular with international visitors. There is always plenty to do in and around the Bay of Plenty. Surfing With so much coast open to the Pacific swells the Bay of Plenty is a popular destination for surfers from novice to experienced….

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Snorkelling Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef

Snorkelling Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef

Today, June 8th is World Oceans Day. It’s a day to celebrate our oceans and a reminder how fragile they can be. I thought it would be appropriate to post photographs of my recent trip to Exmouth in Western Australia where I spent most days snorkelling on the Ningaloo Reef. The Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s other barrier reef and, while not as long as the Great Barrier Reef, is nevertheless quite extensive and comes close to shore in several places. It is easy to snorkel without the need to hire a boat or take an organised tour. One of the best snorkelling locations is Oyster Stacks but there are several other places too including Coral Bay and, if you are careful of the currents, Turquoise Bay. Here then are some of the photographs I took while testing out a waterproof camera…

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Five things you must do in Exmouth, Western Australia

Five things you must do in Exmouth, Western Australia

Exmouth is remote; at least the Western Australian version is. Stuck up on a hot, dry, cyclone prone peninsula it was ignored by the indigenous people as a place of punishment. Only the military showed any interest, firstly during World War II and later as a satellite communications hub. Now, however, Exmouth is the centre of a thriving adventure scene. Situated on a finger of land on Australia’s western coast it is washed by the Indian Ocean on one side and the quieter sheltered waters of the gulf on the other side. Much of the North-west Cape is protected. The Cape Range National Park covers the western half of the cape and the Ningaloo Marine Park the whole of the Ningaloo Reef, Australia’s ‘other’ barrier reef. In addition, there are also smaller reserves and protected areas along the coast. Although this means…

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Sicily Unpacked: Active in San Vito

Sicily Unpacked: Active in San Vito

Under the waves lapping on the rocks in the sheltered cove of Sicily’s north-western tip it was a completely different world to that above the waves. Seaweed in all its myriad forms covered the rocks. Flashes of silver revealed where tiny fish were feeding. On many of these submarine rocks clusters of black spiny spheres of sea urchins lay in wait for their prey. A thousand flashes of light reflected off a shoal of fish twisting and turning pretending they were larger as one than they were as individuals put in an appearance. A brightly coloured rainbow wrasse as colourful as any tropical fish was feeding on algae from the rocks. Even a lone harmless jelly fish put in an appearance… Snorkelling is not the only activity around San Vito lo Capo, a small town on the peninsula in the…

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Family Travel Show – Special Offer

Family Travel Show – Special Offer

Over the years I have been travel writer I have seen family holidays evolve from beach, camping and Disneyland to holidays that are more adventurous, more educational and more experiential. A hunger for experience, a desire to educate, and the determination to share our passion for travel with our children is driving the trend away from entertainment and towards more experiences and learning. At the recent Family Travel Show at Olympia, London there were a surprising number of holidays that families may not have even considered were possible with children in tow. I have highlight some of these below. Safaris Several safari operators now feature activities aimed at children. Children are often as interested in the smaller creatures of the bush as they are about the Big Five. A guided walk looking at ant lions, rhinoceros beetles and the like is just as exciting as seeing…

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Kit Review: Mobile Solar Power Charger

Kit Review: Mobile Solar Power Charger

Solar power chargers are a great idea in the mobile digital world where everything needs to be charged and battery life technology has not been able to keep pace with power demanding technology. I have lost count of the times I have lost power in a camera, phone or other battery operated gadget. The answer is to carry extra batteries, but these can be heavy and some products, notably those from Apple, have integrated batteries. Another solution is to carry a power bank like the Aqua Trek I reviewed in an earlier post. These can be a little heavy but are able to supply enough power for charging several gadgets. In my opinion the optimum solution is to use solar power to charge up a power bank which can then be used to charge whatever device needs it. I already have…

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Kit Review: Aqua Trek Waterproof Power Bank

Kit Review: Aqua Trek Waterproof Power Bank

The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the MSC “Aqua Trek” 6600mah Waterproof Power Bank was it’s rugged but stylish look and feel. The question was does it perform as well as it looks? Tech Specs First the tech bits. The ‘Aqua Trek’ is a power bank with a Samsung 6600Mah lithium polymer rechargeable battery that weighs in at a slightly weighty 240g; fine for a backpack but too heavy for a pocket. It has a micro USB input socket with a charging cable included in the box. Output (DC 5V/1A) is through a standard USB socket. The bit that interested me was the claim that it was waterproof with the proviso that the USB sockets cover was secured and closed. Testing it out It is claimed to be waterproof (see proviso above), sand proof, dust proof and shockproof….

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French rivers to canoe

French rivers to canoe

France is blessed with many rivers suited to canoeing or kayaking. Some of the more popular rivers can resemble the M25, London’s orbital motorway, on a weekday morning. Others are less congested and it is possible to have the river to yourself. I have chosen a few that are suitable for little or no experience of paddling and where it is easy to rent a canoe or kayak. The Ardeche The River Ardeche, in the region of the same name, is famous for the gorges through which it flows before emptying into the Rhône at Pont Saint Esprit. The gorges themselves are 26km in length and, once in them, there is no way out for the canoeist except the other end. There is limited emergency access by a very steep track about half way down the gorge. Along the way are…

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Activity breaks to keep you fit

Activity breaks to keep you fit

It is about the middle of January that the New Year’s resolutions made are first broken then forgotten. Most common among the broken resolutions are those involving keeping fit, being more healthy or exercising more. Mid-January is also the time of year when we begin thinking about the where and what of our travel plans. Perhaps, for the reasons above, you are looking to be a little more active on your holiday. Alternatively you might be an active person looking for something a little different in an activity break. I have researched and discovered a few activity breaks that appealed to me and thought you might like to share them with me. Some are to far flung and unusual places and others are gentler and easier to get to. For those who hesitate to take an activity break fearing it…

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