I’m standing on the edge of Rio de Janeiro’s famous Pedra Bonita getting ready to jump. Perfect crescents of white sandy beach meet twinkling blue ocean 500 metres below but the city’s beauty is the last thing on my mind as I’m focussing on the single 7-word instruction given during the world’s shortest safety briefing: “Just run as fast as you can”.
So I do…….despite every instinct in my body telling me not to, I run as fast as I can towards the edge of the cliff until the edge disappears and I’m jerked upwards, screaming and thinking about how I’m too young to die. The world spins, a blur of colour and nausea but then…….I’m flying! We whoop and spin skywards, thankful to be alive. The flourescent fabric balloons over our heads as we drift over colourful favelas trickling down lush hillsides beneath Christ’s outstretched arms. The city has never looked so beautiful.
There’s one very good reason why Peter Jackson picked New Zealand to film his blockbuster trilogy The Lord of the Rings – the landscape is quite simply not of this world. From the smouldering moonscape of Tongariro National Park to the postcard perfect jade waters of Abel Tasman, it’s hard to believe such beauty exists on planet earth. But it does and it’s ripe for exploring, so what are you waiting for?!
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I’m hanging my head out of the car window like a dog, scanning the treeline as we swoop around another corner. The mighty Southern Ocean hurls itself against the cliff face a few hundred metres below us but that’s not what I’m interested in at that particular moment, as there’s a whiff of eucalyptus on the sea breeze which means they’re close! And by ‘they’ I mean fuzzy grey koala bears! There are dozens of them dozing in the branches of the eucalyptus trees around Kennett River along the Great Ocean Road. It’s just one of the many unexpected delights that can be found along this iconic route. Read the full post
My teeth chatter as we lurch over another pothole and my ill-fitting helmet slips down over my eyes for the 14th time, but I don’t care because we’re riding through the most spectacular tree lined avenue, the sun flashing through the leaf canopy like strobe lights. When we top the crest of the hill the sea stretches out twinkling before us, framing a perfect crescent of white sand. We oooh and aaah as we have done on every hilltop and around every corner so far that day.
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There are no shortage of beautiful beaches in the Philippines. There are long ones, pink ones, hidden ones, deserted ones, rugged wave battered ones and sugary white ones. There are beaches full of colourful kitesurfers and beaches for cocktail swilling backpackers. The choice is mind boggling. The only trouble you might have is deciding which beautiful beach to sink your toes into.
Having spent a month in the Philippines travelling to as many of the islands as we could manage, we found lots of stunning beaches, all unique in their own special way. Here’s our pick of the best. See full post