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Adventure Travel

A Quicky around Ireland

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We flew out to Dublin from Edinburgh late on Thursday night with a smooth transition through customs into Ireland.  Much to my annoyance my new “smartphone” decided not to be so smart and wouldn’t pick up any of the roaming signals as the Three network decided not to automatically set this feature up.  My fault for not checking I guess. Picked up the rental car and headed off to the outskirts of Dublin for a sleep before an early rise to head down to the Cork region in the morning.

Thanks to the continental brekky providing us with our stamina for the day (plus 8 free muffins stuffed into the girls handbags) we were off to Blarney.  Our first stop led us to the recommended Rock of Cashel, which I originally understood to mean that it was Gaelic for Castle but turns out its a grand old Cathedral.  We were just in time to catch a tour around the site which always helps with understanding the history of the area.  The site even contains a graveyard which you can still be buried in if you are on the register, however this has dwindled to just 5 locals all over the age of 80.  Once they have passed away then no one else will be buried on the site.  

Stop 2 was right down at Blarney Castle next to Cork.  Amazing grounds with Blarney Castle rising above numerous caves and passages dug into the rocks beneath the foundations. The main reason for visiting was to kiss the old Blarney Stone so that we might gain the “Gift of the Gab” or achieve great eloquence.  No luck so far but that might be because I only gave it a minor brush after seeing the slobber marks left by the other hundreds off tourists that had preceded us that day!  Adela assured me that she gave it a good old smooch though as you hang upside down over the walls of the castle.  So was not really looking forward to later on when she leant in close…

As per usual, our holidays are punctuated with food experiences and this was no different as we prowled around for half an hour looking for the best eating spot and decided upon a really tasty Chinese restaurant with starters, mains and desert for a reasonable £15. 

Blarney to Galway.  Google maps is telling us that its only 5 – 6 hours to drive, however as with previous experience driving across Canada and USA I knew this would extend into 10+ hours after stops and detours.  Sure enough after only an hour we had visited Ross Castle on the Killarney lake front which has a spectacular setting.  Our drive continued on to the Dingle peninsular with stops at several beaches.  Some brave souls decided that since the sun was poking through the clouds it was summertime and speedos seemed to be the order of the day.  Luckily I forgot mine on this occasion as the water would have created some incredible disappearing acts in the nether regions that would rival David Copperfield’s acts.

Through Dingle to pick up some lunch and up and over the amazing Connor Pass (the highest mountain road in Ireland) with some beautiful scenery.  Unfortunately there was heavy fog at the top but some amazing views nonetheless.  Quick pit stop for lunch with turkey and coleslaw sammies on the beach.  Amazingly you are allowed to drive along the beaches although I was fairly worried that our tiny Fiat wouldn’t make it off again but some smooth wheel spins ensured our safety.

We drove onwards to the breathtaking Moher Cliffs which plunge over 200m into the Atlantic Ocean.  I only wish we had some binoculars so that we could see the Puffin’s clearly.  Absolutely gorgeous and produces some great (and not so great) vertigo moments for someone like myself who is petrified of heights!  I couldn’t believe Adela and Warrick could stand so close to the edges with no barriers.

From left to right – Warrick, Adela, Cole and Kate at the Cliffs of Moher (we are in our jandals of course)

We parted ways with our flatties the next morning so that we could head out Aillwell Cave and they could lounge around in the Cafes of Galway. I must say that Aillwell Cave was definitely one of the highlights on the entire trip with a short tour in near pitch-black surroundings with a well informed guide.  The caves were formed from an underground river before drying out and is where the local, now extinct, bears use to hibernate.  At one moment the guide shut off all the lighting within the cave to understand how it was for the discoverer of the caves. You could not even see your hand 1 cm from your face and the guide informed us that if you spend just 72 hours in that level of darkness you will end up blind from your eyes straining to pick up light sources. Spooky.

We ventured back to Galways and enjoyed the atmosphere of the local Arts festival and tourist sites including the Spanish Arches, Cathedral and canal with an ice cream in hand.

Some amazing features in Aillwell Cave including this 10,000 year old Pillar

We spent Sunday night in Dublin enjoying a well earned pint of Guiness, which tastes a lot better in the city it is brewed in I must say.  After stuffing ourselves from the hotel breakfast buffet the next morning Adela and I joined the free Dublin walking tour. Any chance we get we always jump on a free walking tour in all the major cities as they are a great way to see a large portion of the city and quickly gain your bearings. In addition they are free although always worth at least £5 in tips to the unpaid guide who does a good job of sneaking in the word tips every chance he gets. As usual we took in all the most important sites including the Cathedrals, bridges, top pubs in the Temple Bar area and other historic landmarks. All accompanied with a historical background of the Irish independence movements.  

Guiness – its so much nicer in Dublin

Although we managed to see a large portion of Ireland, travelling 1100 km in just 4 days we really only scratched the surface and will be returning shortly when we get the chance to explore and enjoy the sights again at a more leisurely pace.

On a final note, make sure if you have not taken the next day off work when you get back to the real world, don’t go catching the 10.55pm flight!

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Four Jandals

    July 27, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Photos will be uploaded once I have downloaded them off the camera.
    Please leave comments on how I can improve my blogs if you want to take the time.
    I know my main concern is the length and boring layout of step-by-step guide to our trip so be kind.
    Also any questions about Ireland and our journey then please feel free to ask. Thanks.

  2. warrickhunter

    July 27, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Second tip. Never leave your passports behind at the hotel. Makes for an expensive trip retrieving them three days later…

  3. Four Jandals

    July 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Added some photos that were missing to spice it up.

  4. Rose winslet

    February 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I’d check the local car rental companies’ sites for a good offer, they’re cheaper year round. In the Canaries for example I prefer a small car which costs 100 euros per week.

  5. @earth2eartha

    February 24, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Ahhh! Beautiful! I went through all of that – except kiss the Blarney stone… :'( Was it a good kisser? Ha! 🙂
    Great Photos! Good times in Ireland! Love that place…

    Eartha

    • Cole Burmester

      February 24, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      It was pretty horrible with all the saliva from other people there! Not very hygienic I think haha.

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Adventure Travel

Explore Auckland’s Coasts With One Exquisite Walking Hike

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There is a wonderful place found in the far southwest of the Pacific Ocean. It is a place called Auckland, and it is found in the amazing terrain of New Zealand. It is a place that commands the attention of over 1 million people who prefer to live and reside in this majestic city.

Did you know that Auckland claims the top spot in New Zealand with its wide range of people and the most concentrated number of people within a city in New Zealand?

But why do so many people come to Auckland, New Zealand, and live there? What do they appreciate the most?

The truth is that the answer may vary, and it may differ from person to person, but it is hard to deny that nature is not a crucial part of their decision making. The beautiful city has fantastic places that offer great adventure and recreational activity.

You can take advantage of the diverse coasts, hidden coves, and more of the northern area in the North Island. It is known for its various boats, and some believe that it has more ships than any other city in the entire world.

It is a city that resides between two large fantastic natural harbors.

Let us find out more about how you can explore this majestic city with one fantastic walking hike.

The Auckland Coast

For those who want to stay near to Auckland’s city and travel well, it is necessary to start your journey with the Auckland Coast’s breathtaking area.

Did you know that Auckland’s coast ranges over 15km, will take over four hours to traverse, and is somewhat challenging to navigate? But the truth is that it is worth it. Why is it worth it? Well, you can seemingly walk the length of an entire nation within the span of a few hours. If you wake up early in the morning and go on this journey, you can finish your hike by noon or an hour past noon.

But in that brief timeframe, you can experience several oceans, notice a slew of volcanoes, and have a glimpse into people’s regular lives in the New Zealand area.

This fantastic walk is excellent because of its duration and because you are able to experience lush greenery and park settings over 30% of the time. It is a great way to clear your head, get to know more about the people you are traveling with, and experience the refreshing Auckland air.

Experts suggest beginning your journey at the less intriguing Onehunga area and then moving forward with public transportation at the Britomart stop. You will find that you can travel east to take in the water sights with a bit of work.

When your walk is over, you can grab a fresh beverage at the Waitemata Harbour, a premium harbor.

You will want to make sure to bring some healthy snacks along for the walk because you may not notice different places to eat as you go on this part of the hike.

It is best to ensure that you understand that you must input the Ferry Building into your mobile device or ensure to use the local municipal iSITE for further guidance.

If you are limited on time, I would suggest that you go on this route because it lets you take in the entire area and understand this excellent place.

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East

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Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.

What makes the Middle East such an exciting yacht charter destination?

Dubai: Glamour and shopping

An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.

Abu Dhabi: Art and architecture

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.

Oman: An understated gem

The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.

At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.

Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.

The Kingdom of Bahrain: Home of diving

It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.

Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.

The Red Sea: Reefs, diving and beaches

The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.

Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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