Memorable travel moments: Hinchinbrook Island

“From paradise to paradise I go sweeping; collecting rocks & views; owning nothing but what I feel.” Alice Walker

Hinchinbrook Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is Australia’s largest island national park. I travelled there with my friend Mary and we had a wonderful escape from our usual 9 to 5 lives – hiking the 32-kilometre Thorsborne Trail through unspoiled wilderness.

The hiking was amazing, but the most memorable part of the trip was our lazy rest day at Zoe Falls. We took a dip in the refreshing pool, bathed under the waterfall, hiked to the top of the falls for incredible views of the beach and ocean, and occasionally pinched ourselves to make sure it was all real. This was our version of paradise and we didn’t have to share it with hundreds of people, because we’d carried heavy packs through swamps to get here. It was one of the most wonderful days of my life.

If you’d like to see more photographs from Hinchinbrook Island, click here.

Memorable travel moments: African elephants

“They say that somewhere in Africa the elephants have a secret grave where they go to lie down, unburden their wrinkled gray bodies, and soar away, light spirits at the end.” Robert McCammon, Boy’s Life

One of the most exciting wildlife encounters I had was in Botswana, when a herd of about 100 elephants surrounded our safari truck.

I know, it sounds unbelievable; but we came across this herd just as they were coming in from bathing (and playing) in the Chobe River. The safest course of action was to stop the vehicle, turn off the engine, and just wait until they were gone. So we sat inside the truck, whispering excitedly as the entire herd came within a few metres of us.

The bull elephant, in the photo above, stopped right beside the truck and turned back, as if to look at us inside the vehicle. The silence was deafening.

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