We saw so many amazing animals at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. Amongst them, we saw a cassowary (they are like dino birds!), platypus, echidna, comodo dragon, tree kangaroo, and many more. We had a great time and definitely recommend a trip over there if you have time on your trip. We were told that this was the best zoo in Sydney, and we weren’t disappointing!
In looking for a multi-day tour of the Great Barrier Reef we found that the majority of cruises are designed for scuba divers, so we were thrilled when we discovered Coral Expeditions and their ship the Coral Expeditions II, which offers itineraries that cater to snorkelers.
This was our first cruise on a small vessel (the ship holds around 50 passengers), and we were pleasantly surprised with the amenities and level of service onboard. The common spaces, including a lounge, dining room and sundeck, were clean and well-maintained. Our cabin on Deck C featured two fixed twin beds with drawers for our belongings, a small closet, and a built-in writing desk. The bathroom was our least favorite part of the room, as we struggled to alleviate the humidity and moisture that would build up after showering.
We would definitely travel with Coral Expeditions again, although next time we’d probably choose a larger room with a double bed.
Kuranda’s Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly exhibit in Australia, and a wonderful spot for nature-loving kids and adults alike. You’ll find 2,000 butterflies (give or take) in the sanctuary, including the iridescent blue Ulysses and the brightly colored Cairns Birdwing. The butterflies and moths in the main aviary seemed to be most attracted to guests wearing white, so if you hope to have any land on you, white clothes seem like the way to go!
We’ve been whale watching before, but our tour in Sydney with Ocean Extreme was an entirely different experience. Ocean Extreme’s zodiac boat sits low in the water and provides an unobstructed view of the whales from every angle, which brings you much closer to the action than a traditional whale watching vessel. We were even lucky enough to get some underwater footage on our GoPro!
We would recommend this tour to any animal lover who doesn’t mind a bumpy (but exhilarating!) ride.
We loved our stay at the elegant Four Seasons in Sydney, Australia. Our guest room was lovely and the housekeeping staff was especially wonderful; we loved the turndown service, complimentary water bottles, and organic toiletries. We didn’t think a room with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House was worth the price to upgrade, although we imagine it would have been the icing on the cake!
The 5-star Pullman Reef Hotel in Cairns, Australia is a beautiful hotel with a luxurious, tropical style. Our spacious guest room had a king bed, couch, and writing desk, and the surprisingly large bathroom featured a double vanity, spa bathtub, marble shower, and separate powder room. We loved the perks at the Pullman Reef like the complimentary mini bar, pillow menu, free drink each night in the trendy BAR36, and complimentary daily breakfast in the Thai-inspired Tamarind restaurant.
We enjoyed a one night stay at the Hilton Cairns in Queensland, Australia during our trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Our King Deluxe room was clean, the bed was super comfy, and our balcony overlooked the stunning waterfront. The hotel staff was extremely friendly and accommodating of our early check-in and late check-out request, which we greatly appreciated after our (very!) long flight to Australia.
Overall, we found the Hilton Cairns to be a great value for the price, and would definitely consider staying there again.
The Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa is a comfortable, well-appointed hotel that’s perfect for quick access to the slopes. We enjoyed the Hilton’s many amenities (like the heated outdoor pool and on-site ski and snowboard rentals), and were glad to be so close to the shops and restaurants in Whistler Village.
The Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, Canada is a nicely-appointed hotel with spacious, comfortable guest rooms. The Hyatt is located downtown next to Burrard Station, so many of Vancouver’s must-see tourist spots are a short subway ride away (and as a bonus, the Hyatt Regency is also a convenient spot to catch bus tours like the shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge). Highly recommend!
On our 10 hour tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle, we visited Gulfoss Waterfall, went snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure, hiked through parts of Thingvellir National Park, and visited the Geysir hot springs (home to the geyser after which all geysers are named). It’s little surprise that the Golden Circle is considered one of Iceland’s must-do itineraries.
There are few places on Earth like French Polynesia. This paradise has some of the best snorkeling we’ve ever experienced, with sharks, sting rays, manta rays, moray eels, myriad varieties of fish, corals, and more. On land, the white sand beaches and lush jungles are breathtaking. And staying in an overwater bungalow is the icing on the cake.
Hallgrimskirkja is a beautiful church in the center of Reykjavik. Its central location—and the fact it’s one of the highest buildings in Reykjavik (and Iceland)—means that it has gorgeous panoramic views of the city from the top. It’s definitely worth paying the extra fee to ride the elevator up and see the city.
On the Moorea Cata Jet tour, we drove a mini speedboat around the island, with a couple of stops to check out stingrays, reef sharks, and a secluded private beach.
We stayed at the historic Omni Mount Washington Resort (also known as the Mount Washington Hotel) during the winter. The property is full of character, and we enjoyed our stay there. The skiing was just a short drive away, the views were great, and the staff was very courteous.
The Innside New York is conveniently located in the heart of downtown New York City. In this tour you can see the hotel lobby and our guest room. We enjoyed our brief stay at Innside and were pleasantly surprised to have such a high quality experience at a (relatively) low price. The front desk and room service were attentive and friendly, and the hotel offered unexpected touches—for example, all the beverages in the minibar were free! We also requested some hair styling products from the concierge, and they delivered several complimentary bottles of Tresemme. Overall, a great stay in NYC for an affordable price.
Here’s our video tour of the Sofitel Ia Ora Resort in Moorea. It’s as a great place to spend a week with a lot to do. We definitely recommend getting a overwater bungalow because the views and snorkeling are phenomenal. It’s one of the reasons to go to French Polynesia in the first place! There an infinity pool, a bar, a restaurant with daily entertainment, a nice beach, and phenomenal snorkeling for a resort. The views are also spectacular during the day and at night.
Here’s our 4K video tour of the Luxury Overwater Bungalow that we stayed in at the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. It was an amazing, albeit different, experience from what we had at the Hilton in Bora Bora. Our room was fantastic: a great view of Tahiti, not too far of a walk from the restaurant, and perfectly situated for great snorkeling right off the deck. We were in room 108 in case you want to reserve the same specific room.
Here’s our tour of the amazingly spectacular Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort. It is quite simply one of the best places to stay on the planet. After landing at the airport, the experience starts with a boat ride to get to the hotel’s private atol, and continues with the amazing room, activities and service. We went to the One Million Dollar View lookout atop the complex and did lots and lots of snorkeling throughout the whole resort where we saw octopii, eels, and eagle rays in addition to a huge variety of fish and coral.