Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, United States of America

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

On a whim I decided to visit Acoma Pueblo on someone’s recommendation.  This turned out to be a very good recommendation.  It was about an hour’s drive from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and then another hour to Acoma Pueblo which is west from Albuquerque along the I-40.  I am so glad I took the trip – it was fascinating to see the way the Native Americans live and their traditional dwellings.

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S.A.  No electricity (although some have generators), no running water (they bring in water from one of the three villages) and no sewerage (I noticed they had portaloos).  The Pueblo was atop a hill (a sandstone mesa to be precise) and the scenery was magnificent.  Wide sweeping vistas reminiscent of any of the old westerns I

Sweeping views from the mesa
Sweeping views from the mesa

saw as a kid.  It was very hot up at the Pueblo and luckily I had brought an umbrella with me so I was shaded from the sun bearing down on me.  The language of Acoma is Keresan which was an oral language only.  Recently they have taken to writing it down phonetically using the English alphabet (modern Latin alphabet) so that their language may survive.  Many of the inhabitants are artisans and had their wares for sale outside their houses.

Adobe building in Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
Adobe building in Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

There was a cemetery and mission church called San Esteban del Rey.  Out of respect we were asked to not take photos of these areas.
Late afternoon I returned to Albuquerque and checked into my hotel before grabbing some dinner and watching the 4th July fireworks that seemed to be happening in many various places around the city.

On the road back to Albuquerque
On the road back to Albuquerque

Sailing in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Sailing in the Bay of Islands
Sailing in the Bay of Islands
Aboard The Phantom
Aboard The Phantom

The Bay of Islands is in the far north part of the North Island of New Zealand.  The area is sub tropical and is very laid back in attitude.  There are 144 islands, some being very small and others a little larger.  This is a great spot to sail because there are so many places you can stop, have lunch, swim a little and relax.  The weather was great when I was there – not too hot and certainly not cold.  The biggest town in the area is Kerikeri, followed by Pahia which is where I stayed.  You can catch a ferry across to Russell which has a wild history as a 19th century whaling port. Also in the area is Waitangi where you can visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It is New Zealand’s most important historic site where in 1840 New Zealand’s founding document was signed: the Treaty of Waitangi.  There are so many activities you can do in the Bay of Islands area such as swimming, sea kayaking, whale spotting, shopping and sailing.

Yachts in the Bay of Islands
Yachts in the Bay of Islands

I paid for a commercial trip on a boat since I didn’t have any contacts in that part of the world but didn’t check it out too much beforehand.  I thought I was going to be spending a couple of hours on a yacht sailing out, around and back again to Russell.  It turned out to be my favourite day in New Zealand.  We spent six hours out on the water with a stop at one of the islands for lunch.  There were only two passengers – myself and a young lady from Switzerland.  The owners, Rick and Robin were two very interesting people with colourful backgrounds.

Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Northland, New Zealand
Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Northland, New Zealand

You can do day trips to Cape Reinga, which is the north westernmost tip of the North Island of New Zealand. I found this exhilarating as we drove along the beach (something I had never done before). There is a nifty lighthouse there, Cape Reinga Lighthouse, and you can see where two bodies of water meet – the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  In Maori mythology this is where the spirits of the dead leap off to the afterlife.

Getting back to the sailing, I would say to definitely wear sunscreen even if the day looks a little overcast.  The reflections off the water usually make sunburn a little worse.  Take a bottle of water too to keep hydrated.  Lunch was supplied and was very nice indeed so you don’t need to worry about that.  The conversation was interesting as we learnt about Rick and Robin’s travels and adventures.  They were a very welcoming and warm couple who were also interested in their passengers.   I absolutely love sailing but even if it was your first time you would it hard to not enjoy yourself.

Rick and Robin, owners of The Phantom
Rick and Robin, owners of The Phantom
At the helm of The Phantom in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand
At the helm of The Phantom in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Great Oyster Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia
Great Oyster Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia

If you want to feel like you’re the only person on this planet for a short while at least; if you want to be at one with nature; if you want to witness a pristine part of earth before it disappears, then Wineglass Bay should be on your list to visit.

Located on the Freycinet Peninsula on the east coast of Tasmania is Wineglass Bay.  The beach has been consistently voted in the top ten beaches in the world and this is what drew me to it in the first place.

Wineglass Bay, East Tasmania
Wineglass Bay, East Tasmania

This is a beautiful pristine part of the world.  If you love walking you will be in heaven. Pink granite mountains, clear water and untouched beaches made me feel like I was in the last piece of wilderness in Australia.  From the carpark you need to hike to the beach but on the way the views from the lookout are stunning.  There were so few people around that for most of the walk I was alone.  It was a strange feeling because how often are we totally alone? I kept looking over my shoulder.  Once down at the beach there were friendly wallabies who came up to me.  One had a joey (baby) in her pouch.  They were just gorgeous!  I loved it.

The wallabies were surprisingly tame and curious.
The wallabies were surprisingly tame and curious.
A wallaby and her baby
A wallaby and her baby

 

Another one of my favourite activities was when I flew over the peninsula in a Cessna.  There were acres and acres of national park (the park is 169 square kilometres or 65.3 square miles), spectacular cliffs, deserted beaches, rugged coastline, azure water and, of course, the beautiful Wineglass Bay.  This was a definite highlight of my trip.

Deserted beaches on the Freycinet Peninsula, East Tasmania
Deserted beaches on the Freycinet Peninsula, East Tasmania

I stayed in one of the environmentally friendly cabins at the Freycinet Lodge which overlooks Great Oyster Bay.  While not cheap the cabins aren’t as expensive as the nearby luxury Saffire Lodge.  I would have loved to stay there but it was quite out of my budget!  There is also camping by ballot available at the Freycinet National Park, however, this option is only available over the warmer months as it can get quite cold in Tasmania.  The nearest small town is Coles Bay so you can grab supplies there and find more accommodation choices.  Whatever you do, don’t miss this very special part of Australia.

Jetty at Great Oyster Bay
Jetty at Great Oyster Bay

 

Hello and welcome!

 

Fitzroy Island view

Hi, while I’m not a jetsetting, 20 something, traveller who roams the world whenever I wish. I do like to explore and explore I will. I’m going to take you on a journey that encompasses the familiar and the exotic.  So come along and enjoy yourselves as we explore the world together. Watch this space…