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7 Trips We Remember, Now That Travel Has Been Taken Away

Tuesday, 21st April 2020

new zealand waiheke island beach istk

While the world is on lock-down, trying our best to keep coronavirus down and our chins up, we have plenty of time to reflect on the things we love about life, and for many of us, one of life’s biggest joys is travel. Our clients and staff have been on some amazing adventures all over the world and we asked them about their favourite memories from a lifetime of travel.

Here’s the memories they shared…

1. Canada

From our client, Jean:

Deep into the Smith Inlet, the Great Bear Lodge is a small lodge with huge amounts of wildlife to be seen! I had a rough idea of what to expect and what I hoped to see but the reality of it was so much better! This wasn’t even peak season but there was wildlife everywhere! Grizzlies and black bears, gray whales, otters, eagles, hummingbirds-something for everyone! As much as I know how lucky I was with seeing so much, the guides were so knowledgeable and friendly and then the service and food at the lodge being so good that even if there was less wildlife seen, it would still be a magical couple of days.

british columbia great bear lodge young bears

2. South America and Antarctica

From our founding director, Clive and his partner Sari:

Just over seven years ago my partner Sari and I embarked on one of our most memorable trips ever. We were away for nearly four weeks and visited the only two continents we had not previously been to, South America and Antarctica. We decided to focus on the more tropical regions of South America which contrasted superbly with the cool majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula. The journey proved to be even more remarkable than we had dared to hope for, and for anyone looking for a trip of a lifetime, this would be my recommendation…..and if you had say three more weeks, how about tagging on the Galapagos, Peru and Costa Rica?! The list is almost endless.

antarctica peninsula ships bow jc

3. Svalbard

From our client, Colin Kemp:

We spent a week on the Professor Molchanov, a converted polar research vessel with a Russian captain, Kiwi purser, Argentinian chef, Dutch guide Rinie van Meurs (an expert on polar bear research and behaviour) and 32 passengers.

We left Longyearbyen and headed North, calling in at various fjords to admire glaciers and wildlife among the pristine arctic wilderness. We got as far as the pack ice in the Hinlopen Strait, before heading back, calling in at different spots to our outward journey.

The highlights were many! Having a polar bear expert as leader, he was able to locate distant animals with ease and allowed us to approach carefully (and respectfully) whilst in zodiacs. The below photo was taken whilst standing up in a zodiac (we took it in turns). We were told that it was probably a two year old-the most dangerous as it would have recently left it’s Mother and was therefore likely to be inexperienced, hungry and unpredictable. You can see it is sizing us up!

Overall, we saw more than 20 polar bears, including a mother with 2 cubs and 2 separate bears on seal kills. Other highlights included arctic fox, reindeer, walrus, bearded seal, minke whale and huge flocks of brunnich’s guillemots and little auks.
This trip is still the best one I have ever done, even though I have visited 6 continents! Hopefully, I will get the chance to travel again in the future.

svalbard polar bear tongue out boat safari basecamp ki

4. Swedish Lapland

From our clients, David and Alison Goodall:

Our trip was just brilliant. You fly to Jukkasjärvi (where Volvo has their cold weather testing facility) and drive approximately 80 miles to the lodge. The snow everywhere was hip-deep, making snowshoes or skis essential off the few roads. If you walk no more than 200 yards from the lodge into the forest all you can hear is silence; stunning. Just don’t get lost; no signposts out there!

Dog sledding is something I’ll never forget – not least because my wife overturned the sled(!), but also for the silence apart from the swish of runners on snow. How do you overturn a dog sled? Answer: forget what the hand signal for “slow down” means! A trip neither of us will ever forget.

swedish lapland arctic retreat husky sledding on trail

5. Alaska

From one of our travel experts, Doug:

Starting the day with a bush plane over the Wrangell St Elias National Park and over the stunning Root Glacier, we landed in Kennicott – a historic ghost town. The highlight was supposed to be the glacier hike but it was a combination of everything about this remote area which just grabbed me. The abandoned copper mine was just picture perfect set amongst the most spectacular backdrops. I went on this trip almost 4 years ago and both myself and my travel companion can remember everything so vividly. This day and many others in Alaska will never be forgotten.


6. Iceland

From our client, Virginia Routledge:

Earlier this year I travelled to Iceland, with Discover the World, to take some photographs for a project entitled ‘Seeking the Aurora”. It was a wonderful trip – extraordinary sights, constantly changing weather and both physical and mental challenges. The physical challenge of steep walks to waterfalls and icy paths while the mental challenge came from driving on snowy roads! It takes a while to get used to snow tyres which do give you much better traction than you might imagine. It just takes a short while for you to convince yourself of this!

The main purpose of my trip was to take photographs on Diamond Beach, which is located on the east side of the south coast of Iceland. I had originally hoped for sunrise pictures but the distance from my hotel to the beach was just under 200kms. So day time photographs it had to be, I left the lovely Stracta Hotel in Hella at 0645am and started my drive. The first part of the journey was in the dark, with the roads empty and the sky slowly clearing to reveal an ever changing landscape of mountains, villages, snow and rock. I made a couple of short stops en route and arrived at the Beach, which is just next to Jokulsarlon, at around 1130am. The weather was dreadful but the scene was worth it. The beach is made of black volcanic sand, and, as I had hoped, was covered in icebergs! These varied in size from the very small, no more than 2in in size to the huge. I spent a very eventful two hours at the beach, only driven away by the arrival of rain. Cutting my leg by falling over an iceberg, getting a walking boot full of water, having a damp coat, jumper and shirt didn’t detract from the wonder of the trip!

If you like photography, have a camera and a tripod and happen to be in Iceland, then this is a must do trip!

iceland jokulsarlon beach photograpers rth

7. French Polynesia

From our client, David Trotter:

The most wonderful holiday we have ever had. The cruise on the Aranui was everything we had hoped for, the crew were all delightful and so cheerful. They would sing at every opportunity and could not have been more helpful. The resort in Papeete was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. We had a great time with the campervan and went right up to the north of the North Island. It was very remote but beautiful. We also visited the ancient kauri forest with its gigantic trees.

french polynesia bora bora nui aerial view astk

Feeling Inspired?

Browse our collection of holiday destinations with inspirational and imaginative itineraries and start dreaming of when we can travel again.