Unexpected Brazilian lockdown

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 42 / April 2020

Greetings to you all,

As many of you will know Helen and I travelled to Brazil in mid March for a 3 week recce trip down the south coast of Bahia. Whilst the original plan had to be completely rearranged as our intended destinations were locking down, we were warmly welcomed at Butterfly House, a small, relaxed beach pousada on the Maraú peninsula, on the Baian coast just south of Salvador. Little did we know that a month later we would still be at Butterfly House living a dream existence in this heavenly spot while our loved ones back home faced weeks of lockdown.

We wish to continue to share with you our travel inspirations, whisking you off to far away destinations. Jess travelled to Australia at the end of 2019 and visited some very lateral destinations in South Australia. A year previously Nico also made the journey down under and found herself in the enchanting landscapes of Tasmania. Next week we will also be showcasing some of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Whilst it is not possible to physically travel now it is still possible to dream of future travels and remain happy and positive for the time ahead.

We hope you and your loved ones are all safe and well.

South Australia

South Australia has an abundance to offer, but visitor numbers remain low with less than 500,000 international visitors per year. Highlights include Australia’s best-known wine regions, photogenic arid landscapes and stunning coastal scenery, delicious local produce including fresh seafood, and to top it off an abundance of wildlife in this natural haven. Sit back and discover some of the more lateral destinations in South Australia.

Arkaba Conservancy

Arkaba is nestled within the Flinders Ranges in the outback of South Australia and is surrounded by the walls of Wilpena Pound and the Elder Ranges. The journey to Arkaba begins in Adelaide from where you can drive 5 hours through the scenic Clare Valley or charter a flight to Hawker airstrip, just a 20 minute drive from the homestead. The homestead was originally a farmhouse built in 1851 and now accommodates just 10 guests with 5 guestrooms. Each room is unique and retains the character of the building and all open up onto a shaded veranda with views of the surrounding ranges. In the dry and desolate landscape of the outback amenities such as air-conditioning and a swimming pool are luxuries few travellers get to experience, but Arkaba boasts both. However there is no wifi, phone signal or televisions so the focus is very much on relaxation and switching off from technology. The service, food and quality of the guides are all excellent. Activities generally take place in the morning and late afternoon, and consist of walks, hikes, jeep drives and sundowner drinks. Expect to see spectacular outback scenery as well as a variety of wildlife including kangaroos and emus. When you are not out on activities you have time to relax at the homestead where you can read, swim, nap, drink wine/beer (there is a well stocked fridge with wine from local vineyards) and generally just relax. Arkaba is a year round destination with hot, dry summers and cold winters.

Port Lincoln

Port Lincoln is located on the Eyre Peninsula and is the Seafood Capital of Australia. There are multiple direct flights daily from Adelaide to Port Lincoln taking just over 1 hour. Australian Coastal Safaris specialise in tours in this remote, untouched part of Australia. The founder, David aka Lunch, is an outstanding ambassador of the Eyre Peninsula. Lunch was born and raised in the area and his knowledge and enthusiasm for the region know no bounds. He knows all the best hidden spots and where to find the freshest seafood imaginable. There is so much to see and do including visiting national parks, going on a sand dune jeep adventure, seeing kangaroos, koalas and emus up close in the wild, going snorkelling with dolphins and sealions, and doing a boat trip to an oyster farm where you learn to shuck oysters; as well as generally enjoying the spectacular coastal scenery and the delicious local produce. For accommodation you can choose between South Point Beach House, a 4-bedroom house owned and run by Lunch and his wife, or the Port Lincoln hotel a mid-range property in the centre of town. Port Lincoln is an off the beaten track destination that offers beautiful scenery, delicious food and wine and a very passionate and enthusiastic guide in Lunch himself. This truly is an untouched part of Australia that really is a hidden secret.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is located 14 kms off the South Australian coast and can be reached by flight or ferry. Over one third of the island is protected nature reserves and this provides a fantastic habitat for a wide range of wildlife species. The native animals include kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, sealions, seals and over 260 bird species, which can be seen throughout the island. As well as the abundant wildlife Kangaroo Island also offers beautiful scenery, pristine beaches, a dash of adventure and delicious local produce. The Flinders Chase National Park on the wild west end of the island is home to Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks, two of the major sights on the island. This is also a great place to see the large colony of fur seals. Seal Bay Conservation Park is another great location, where you can see sealions on a beautiful white sand beach. Sadly Kangaroo Island was badly affected by the recent bushfires in Australia which destroyed the landscape and the wildlife population. Many homes and businesses were also impacted, including Southern Ocean Lodge, the island’s flagship hotel. But thankfully there are lots of wonderful alternative places to stay, including the recently opened Oceanview Eco Villas. This small family run operation consists of Two-bedroom villas which are ideal for families offering lots of space. The villas have lovely views and wildlife can often be seen on the property.

Tasmania

Tasmania is one of Australia’s greatest hidden secrets and is a beautiful and unique part of the country, with dramatic coastlines, vineyards and wonderful fresh local produce. Due to its location, Tasmania enjoys a much more temperate climate than the rest of the country with warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters. This temperature variety makes for extremely different landscapes, from snowy peaks to sun-drenched beaches, and an incredible array of unique endemic wildlife.

Hobart

Quirky Hobart is not only the gateway to this scarcely visited island but also Australia’s second oldest capital after Sydney. Nestled amongst the foothills of Mt Wellington, the town combines heritage charm, scenery and culture in a setting of exceptional beauty. Its well-preserved surrounding bushland reaches close to the city centre, beaches line the shores of the river and award-winning restaurants offer fine dining experiences using the best Tasmanian produce, while on the waterfront punts and fishmongers sell the freshest seafood straight from the Southern Ocean.

Overlooking Hobart Harbour, the industrial-chic Henry Jones Art Hotel was built by reconverting Hobart’s oldest waterfront warehouses and is Australia’s first dedicated art hotel. Through the rise and fall of industries, including Sir Henry Jones’ IXL jam empire, the harbour side location has been central to Hobart and its people and today blackwood-lined boardrooms have been refashioned into indulgent suites. In the style of a shipping shed that was once on the site, the slick Macq 01 Hotel overlooks the waterfront and features decor inspired by local history. In this place, the Mouheneenner people fished, the first Europeans set foot ashore Van Diemen’s Land and an industry was borne amid the bustle of Hunter Island. Today, the modern MACq 01 shares the stories of these colourful characters whilst featuring what could be the best views of Hobart’s waterfront. Finally, for those preferring to avoid the hustle and bustle of the waterfront, the sophisticated Islington Hotel is located on a quiet elevated street with fantastic views of the harbour. The beautifully restored stately home set within manicured gardens now features 11 luxurious suites and is decorated with ancient and modern artworks by the likes of Picasso and Warhol.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Part of the World Heritage–listed Tasmanian Wilderness, this national park is located in the central area of the island and incorporates glacier-studded mountains, river gorges, lakes, tarns and alpine moorland. In fact, the park encompasses seven of Tasmania’s 10 highest mountains as well as Lake St Clair, the deepest lake in Australia. This ecological variety is ideal for a vast range of activities such as trekking, mountain biking, horse riding, river rafting and skiing, and wildlife is friendly and plentiful including wombats, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, quolls and platypuses.

Most of the accommodation options are located around Cradle Mountain and the upscale Cradle Mountain Lodge is set in a secluded area less than 2km from the Mountain itself.  The well-appointed cabins, ideal for both families and couples, are surrounded by nature and guests are guaranteed to share their terraces with curious wombats or wallabies. The larger Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village is a great and more budget friendly alternative to the Lodge and also features detached wooden cabins with cosy wood burner stoves.

The Coast

From the popular Freycinet National Park on the Eastern coast to the less known Bay of Fires in the North, the coasts of Tasmania are very different from the rest of the country and offer a great variety of landscapes. Regardless, one can expect white sandy beaches, pristine wilderness and unique rock formations. Freycinet National Park is home to the iconic Wineglass Bay, a long sandy beach and one of Tasmania’s most photographed views. In addition, there are many short or longer walks across the park suitable for all abilities and that lead to secluded bays, empty beaches and bird-filled lagoons making Freycinet an ideal destination for birdwatching, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, mountain biking, beach walking, and rock climbing.

The Bay of Fires conservation area extends along the coast from Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point in the north and is famous for its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and orange lichen-covered granite boulders. The area contains many small secluded beaches and inlets to explore. Binalong Bay is the area’s main beach – a beautiful stretch of white sand and clear water for swimming, snorkelling, surfing or simply relaxing but there’s a wealth of wildlife to discover too, including many birds as well as possums, wallabies and spotted-tail quolls. The area is renowned for game fishing, and the offshore reefs contain rich marine biodiversity that attracts divers and snorkelers.

The fairly large Freycinet Lodge is the only hotel located within the National Park but is currently being rebuilt. Saffire Freycinet Lodge occupies a fantastic private location by the entrance of the Park and boasts incredible panoramic bay views. The eclectic, ultra-modern suites have floor-to-ceiling windows as well as private courtyards or decks and spacious living areas. Activities on offer include guided hikes and bird-watching tours, plus golfing and mountain biking but with a private beach located a mere 2-minute walk from the rooms and an award-winning spa, relaxation is also a great option.

The Bay of Fires is completely off the beaten track and as such, offers very little in terms of accommodation. The most popular option here is offered by various campsites located in the southern and middle sections of the conservation area but eco-lodges and glamping, such as the Bay of Fires Bush Retreat, are thriving and are a great opportunity for adventuring in style. The Retreat is only minutes from the stunning sights of the Bay of Fires and is the perfect base from which to explore this iconic area. Sleeping in dapper and beautifully decorated bell tents set in rugged nature is magical and surf-loving hosts Tom and Anna live on site and will be around to offer advice or for a chat. Tom, former head chef and co-owner of two acclaimed restaurants, is passionate about quality Tasmanian produce and his relaxed nature is reflected in his cooking style.

Up Periscope: Savasi Island Fiji

Fiji can easily be combined with a trip to Australia with multiple flights to Nadi and then connections to other Fijian islands. To reach Savasi Island fly from Nadi to Savusavu and then its only 10 minutes by road to the hotel. Located on a 52-acre private island but with only 10 villas, Savasi Island offers luxury and privacy surrounded by natural wonders. Enjoy secluded sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, expansive sea views, dense jungle and volcanic rock formations. There are plenty of activities including hiking, diving, mud crabbing, fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, yoga, cooking class and more. Or you could decide to just relax and enjoy the beach and pool and maybe indulge in a visit to the spa.

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