Holy crap 2016. What happened? You started off pretty OK and then shit just got weird. I have seen 2016 referred to as the year of the dumpster fire, but for me personally it has been pretty OK. My posting frequency is still a little less than what could be desired, but I totally promise that I do feel bad about it and I will try to correct the error of my ways in the new year. I promise.
But 2016 has been a pretty OK year for me in terms of travel. Although I am in a more “career” type of job now, I still have had plenty of flexibility to exercise my travel muscle. (Gotta keep up the fitness).
Best Domestic Travel Destination in 2016
We haven’t done much in regards to domestic travel this year. There have been a few weekend trips here and there, but 2016 was mostly devoted to discovering our new city – Sydney. We have amassed a collection of “best bush walks in Sydney” and “best beaches in Sydney” type of books and have spent our time exploring areas in and around this incredibly diverse city.
I haven’t posted much about these explorations, but you can expect to see some posts full of urban Sydney adventures to be coming your way in 2017.
In addition to our Sydney explorations, we did spend one weekend on glorious Cradle Mountain during the Tasmanian winter. It was Jake’s first time seeing snow since he was a little baby. It was also when Jake really proved himself to be a good little hiker, going about 8 – 10 km’s per day without being picked up. We even wandered across a cheeky wombat.
Read more here: Hiking Cradle Mountain for Kids
Best International Travel Destination in 2016
This year saw us take four international trips, three of which were to new countries for me (all of which were new countries for Jake). Probably my number one international trip was Papua New Guinea. I had been looking forward to this trip for about a year and had booked myself onto the one ship doing the 10 day circuit each year.
The holiday was a girls holiday (plus Jake) with two of my girlfriends joining me on the cruise. I have to say, I have fallen in love with the idea of a girls holiday, although the two girls I went with were extremely easy to travel and get along with in particular.
Cruises are great for kids as well. Jake loved the kids club and I would put him in for 1 – 2 hours per day so that I could go and get massages or spend some time lying in the sun by the adults only pool. Plus the range of other activities kept us all quite busy.
But the best part of the cruise was the unique way in which it allowed me to explore Papua New Guinea. We had six stops in different parts of PNG, all of which were totally different from the last. The time allowed to us by the boat was just the perfect amount of time to explore each area, and there is no way we could have experienced so many unique places so easily if we were traveling independently.
Read more here: Cruising Papua New Guinea
Best Travel Food Experience in 2016
I can not even express how thoroughly I enjoy the food of the Pacific Islands. Fresh fish, both cooked and raw, hearty root vegetables, and coconut in everything. It’s both light and fresh, and comfort food all at the same time. In fact, I loved it so much that I have been inspired to try making some Cook Island food back home here in Sydney. My project for the next little while is to track down the proper ingredients and recreate some of my favourite dishes here. And don’t worry, there will be an accompanying blog post.
Best Travel WOW Moment in 2016
“OK this is the end of the road.” That was pretty much all the instruction we received as we were dropped off at the start of the walking trail which led to Batad. It was about a 20 minute downhill walk, which over all was not too bad. It was a bit unnerving walking so far downhill with all our gear on though, when we were not even really sure if we were going down the correct path. But we finally made it to the town of Batad and were greeted with this view.
I don’t think I need to really say more.
Read more here: Rice Terraces of Batad
Best Family Travel Moment in 2016
“Mamma, the lady just said Cook Islands!”
That was Jake’s (incredibly loud) outburst when we were at the Te Vera Niu cultural center in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Our guides were taking us on a tour through a cultural village and it became apparent just how much Jake had absorbed when I was talking to him about the Cook Islands pre-trip. He was incredibly engaged throughout the entire tour, and you could tell he was actively listening by his on topic outbursts.
But the best was during the dinner and fire spinning/ dancing show. Even though the show was over an hour long, little Jake was enthralled. He sat there motionless with his eyes glued on the performers. I can only imagine what was going on in his 3.5 year old brain.