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Traveller stories: Why we all need to spend time in Nepal

There is something thrillingly unnerving about strapping on your hiking boots and walking out the door to head to a totally foreign country to take on one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. It was the adrenaline behind that thought that drove my split-second decision to make the Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar trek my honeymoon. Best decision ever.

As an experienced long-distance walker and outdoor lover, I was fascinated by the “what ifs” and the “what the” that would come with planning a trek to Everest Base Camp. What I put a lot less research into, but what endeared me most, was the country and people of Nepal. It is a place that has left me feeling like I gave it my all – yet I fight the urge to return immediately as there is so much more to see and do.

Granted, my three-week journey through Kathmandu and the trek to the foot of Mount Everest was a mere fragment of what this magnificent country and its astounding geographical and social diversity has to offer, but irrespective, I was definitely rewarded and drew a lot from the little time I was there.

Kathmandu; an energetic, dusty, noisy, driven enigma left my new husband and I spellbound. We grew addicted to the buzz of life as we strolled the streets, getting lost in back lanes, dodging traffic to cross main roads and seeking solace from it all when we needed to recharge in one of the many great places to find carbs and a cold beer (we were making the most of our pre-trek bulking!). I had exhausted my quota of street-dog photos before we had even left the city.

The unrelenting bustle of Kathmandu is a striking reminder of the scale of one small life in a city that works more than it plays.

While the potential to overwhelm is looming, the relatability to a community with a never-ending thirst for improvement led me to reflect on my own drive. A drive that has led me to the depths of exhaustion and illness, a drive that forced me into years of rejuvenation and reinvention, a drive that is now subdued by a conscious understanding of the meaning of life for me – to enjoy, to wonder and to live in gratitude.

The sleepy villages dotted throughout Sagarmatha National Park could not have been further from our metropolitan experience.

Friendly teahouse staff; crisp, clean air; the gentle swaying of branches in the Himalayan breeze and the dotting of Rhododendrons as they came into bloom, which accentuated days spent in the wilderness.

Gravel, cobblestone, rock, sand, grass, ice underfoot and the ever-present rhythm of small rapids model the scenery as we weave our way across great rivers again and again while making our way up the valleys.

There is nothing that can replace the restorative nature of time spent in the wilderness with good people, good food, a dose of camping and a friendly battle with Mother Nature herself.

To walk alongside towering peaks and frozen waterfalls whilst keeping an ear out for the next hint of Zokyu or donkey bells – subtle and soothing in sound, yet a minor thrill to make way when on the mountainside of the track. To describe how satisfied I was in every moment would be impossible.

I came to Nepal to test my ability to surrender to the entirety of another environment, to forget the many things that I am at home and the many things that occupy my thoughts; wife, sister, daughter, state manager, cancer survivor, athlete. These things seem to engulf our daily mindset unless we pay great mind to construct our thoughts.

I was amazed at how easily the vastness of this great country swept my thoughts away, endearing me with the mystery of what lay behind every hill, peak, temple and building and engulfing every molecule of my body – demanding my presence in the here and now.

My experience of Nepal was a perfectly timed reminder that just as in travel, in life we will never see, taste, touch or smell everything we yearn to experience.

The wandering souls of us adventurous people will always want to immerse ourselves more but, for now, I am satiated just enough to resist the urge to buy an international flight. Just for now.

Words by Sally Dobromilsky
 

Inspired? View our range of Nepal treks >


Tasmania's 8 most toughest treks

There’s no shortage of hiking trails that explore Tasmania’s stunning landscapes and if you like your treks a little more challenging, this list offers you the chance to get out of your comfort zone and really test yourself.

We’ve narrowed down Tasmania’s best and most hardcore hikes, which are tough, long and breathtaking, and not to underestimated. But all your efforts will be rewarded tenfold – from the pristine wilderness and new friendships formed to the supportive guides who will help you tackle the elements on and off the track.

While you don't need an Olympian level of fitness, previous outdoor experience is essential and you will need to train for these trek. So get inspired and start training with our pick of the most challenging trails.

Tasmania’s hardest hiking trails: 8 of the best


South Coast Track

The South Coast Track is undoubtedly one of the last great wilderness treks in Australia and is also known as one of Tassie’s toughest multi-day treks. Crossing the unspoiled wilderness of the island's southernmost shores, this challenging, 9-day trek covers 85 kilometres over a variety of landscapes – from empty beaches, towering rainforests, and alpine heights.

Trekking towards the Ironbound ranges on the South Coast Track in Tasmania |  <i>John Dalton</i>

You can expect to carry a full pack of up to 20kgs, walking 10-15 kilometres each day across remote walking tracks, sometimes across river crossings, muddy moors and steep ascents. The rewards, however, are tenfold. The ever-changing landscape, pristine wilderness and abundance of wildlife make it all worthwhile – not to mention the feeling of elation and pride as you finish the trek!

Expect river crossings when trekking Tasmania's South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i> The vast expanse of Tasmania's South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i> Looking towards South Cape Rivulet from the high clifftops down the coast   |  <i>Phil Wyndham</i> Trekking behind a waterfall on the South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i> Trekking from Little Deadman's Bay to Osmiridium Beach |  <i>Jon Herring</i> Remote trekking from Melaleuca to Cox's Bright |  <i>Jon Herring</i> Vantage point along the South Coast Track |  <i>Steven Trudgeon</i> Tasmania's South Coast Track is one of Australia's most epic bushwalks |  <i>John Dalton</i>

  • TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: The South Coast Track >

Mount Anne Circuit

The classic Mount Anne Summit is one of Tasmania’s greatest bushwalking challenges, with all of the ingredients that make up an epic wilderness trek. With deep forests, idyllic lakes, sub-alpine crags and exposed scrambles, the iconic hike tackles terrain in areas that are subject to some of Tasmania’s most changeable weather.

Looking over Lake Judd towards Mount Anne |  <i>Tourism Tasmania & Geoff Murray</i> Views over Lake Judd from Mt Anne, Tasmania |  <i>Roz Barber</i> Looking out from Bechervaise Plateau towards Mt Anne |  <i>Brian Eglinton</i>
 

The four-day itinerary includes a summit of the highest peak in Tasmania's remote southwest, with exhilarating views across most of the southwest of Tasmania.

While it is a demanding bushwalk where you need to be comfortable with carrying a full pack, the support of our experienced wilderness guides will help you tackle the elements on and off the track.

  • TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: Mount Anne Summit >

Frenchman’s Cap Trek

Frenchman’s Cap is one of the top walks in Australia and is a 46-kilometre moderately challenging return journey that gives trekkers some of the best views across the entire World Heritage Wilderness area. With extraordinary side trips to high peaks, trek over varying terrain including button grass plains, mossy rainforests, trickling creeks and windy rock faces.

You will be tested as you manage the unpredictable weather, mud and climb a steep 450-metre ascent to the summit of Frenchman's Cap. Recommended for experienced trekkers, each hill climb will be worthwhile as you welcome the panoramic surroundings of Mt. Ossa, the Arthur Range and Macquarie Harbour all from the summit.

You can also combine this epic summit with a rafting expedition of a lifetime along the Franklin River, recognised by many as one of the greatest wilderness experiences on earth.

  • TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: FRENCHMAN'S CAP TREK >

Port Davey Track

The Port Davey Track is a winner for those looking to avoid foot traffic and truly immerse in sublime World Heritage wilderness. Enter into the Lost World Plateau and surrounding ancient mountain ranges; walk to rare pockets of rainforest, camp on the banks of the mystical Crossing and Spring Rivers, cross the magical Bathurst Harbour by rowboat and summit Mt Hesperus in the Western Arthur Range.

Approaching Bathurst Narrows on the Port Davey Track |  <i>Stef Gebbie</i> Port Davey Track, Tasmania |  <i>Leon Bedford</i> Trek the remote Port Davey Track |  <i>Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman</i> Views to Mt Rugby, Port Davey Track |  <i>Leon Bedford</i> Walking on the Lost World Plateau |  <i>Stef Gebbie</i>
 

Come open-minded and ready for a wonderful remote experience whatever the weather. You can combine this trek with the South Coast Track for an epic traverse of the entire southwest of Tasmania.

Walls of Jerusalem Circuit

Only accessible by foot, remote alpine herb fields, highland lakes and glacial moraines await! The Walls of Jerusalem hike is a full-pack trek requiring experienced walkers to carry between 15-20 kilograms of their gear on their back – including a portion of the groups food and equipment. You'll hike through a natural fortress of peaks and crags that take you along a biblical theme through Tasmania’s only true alpine National Park, but be warned, Tassie's weather at altitude is known for its unpredictability so come prepared for the unexpected!

 

Despite being next door to the Cradle Mountain National Park, 'The Walls', as it is often referred to, sees much fewer visitors.

  • TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: WALLS OF JERUSALEM CIRCUIT >

Federation Peak

Federation Peak (1224m) rises dramatically from the heart of the Eastern Arthurs Mountain Range within the wild Southwest National Park. Alongside its close cousin the Western Arthurs, the ascent is described as one of Australia’s toughest bushwalking challenges. The first ascent of Federation Peak was completed by John Bechervaise in 1949 and to this day the exposed and technical mountain offers even the most hardened adventurers a thrilling objective.

Hanging Lake, Federation Peak |  <i>Roz Barber</i>

Counting in multiple contingency days gives maximum opportunity to summit in fine conditions. The extreme undertakings to Federation Peak are considered some of the toughest on the island, so much so that while guided trips can be operated in these locations, it's by special request only and an extreme vetting process is undertaken to ensure trekkers are experienced and capable.

A high level of fitness and technical introductory rock climbing skills are required to take on such an expedition. Ideally, to attempt the Federation Peak ascent people should first complete the Western Arthurs or Mt Anne Circuit or have had extensive unsupported full pack carrying bushwalking experience.

 

Western Arthurs Traverse

There's no denying that Western Arthurs deserve a spot on Tasmania's most challenging hikes list. Located in the remote Southwest of Tasmania the Western Arthurs Traverse presents one of the world's great bushwalking objectives.

The Western Arthurs Traverse is an extremely demanding full pack carrying bushwalk, so contingency and rest days for the full traverse of the range should be included given the region's capricious weather conditions. Trekkers who are confident in difficult geographical and weather situations and with previous hard bushwalking experience is a must.

 

The Great Tasmanian Traverse

Be one of the first to complete Tasmania's ultimate long-distance, multi-activity adventure, which combines five of Tasmania's great adventures via land, sea and air. You'll need plenty of endurance as you cover close to 300 kilometres over 6 weeks, explore the ‘Apple Isle’ of Tasmania from end to end.

The epic expedition will see you walking four of Tasmania's greatest multi-day treks through World Heritage Listed wilderness, including summitting the iconic Cradle Mountain and Tasmania's highest peak, Mt Ossa, and paddling down the mighty Franklin River. But if you can't do it all in 39 days, you can always complete a section.

  • TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: THE GREAT TASMANIAN TRAVERSE >

Walk past spectacular landscapes on Tasmania's Overland Track |  <i>Mark Whitelock</i>

Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track: New Zealand's next Great Walk

Soon to become an official Great Walk of New Zealand, you'll want to experience the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track in the Fiordland National Park before everyone else finds out about it.

Travel editor, writer and global tour guide, Shane Boocock, shares his walking journey on one of the Southland's most iconic tracks.

As a relatively obscure song alludes to in its opening lines: “Passing seasons all but fade away into misty clouds of autumn grey,” so in Southland, seasons change rapidly as I was about to find out. The weather gods were on our side and the morning mist was soon burning off as we started hiking the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track

The track is administered by a private trust that offers trampers a three-day hike staying two nights en route in their private backcountry lodges. My accommodation for the night before the trip was at the amusingly named, The Wicked Dump near the Hump. This is just outside of Tuatapere, the closest town to the start of the track, on a small rural block where an old dairy shed has been converted into a lovely one bedroom, self-contained cottage. It’s a great place to drink a glass of chardonnay on sunset as the owner’s sheep graze in the next paddock. 

The first part of this journey was a four-minute chopper ride to an isolated spot on the coast near Flat Creek. This in effect reduces the track distance by 10 kilometres. Interestingly, about 85 percent of hikers who attempt the track are, for the most part, Kiwis. Our group consisted of a couple from Tauranga, Lyn and Malcolm and Errol from Dunedin as well as our guide Liz from the West Coast. 

Our first day’s ascent was only 12 kilometres but it was the last five kilometres that would test our stamina and ability to climb from sea level to 1,014 metres at the very top – literally a ‘stairway to heaven.’ 

This is an area with more wilderness and less people than you’ll find on other tramping routes in New Zealand – it’s that remote. From the shoreline of unspoilt beaches we walked along the track experiencing the diversity of our beautiful native bush as it changes dramatically with elevation gain from native podocarp forest to soaring limestone ‘tors’ on the mountaintop.

Group enjoying the well built Tuatapere Hump Ridge trails |  <i>Shane Boocock</i> Home for the night - Okaka Lodge |  <i>Shane Boocock</i> Time for a quick cuppa along the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track |  <i>Shane Boocock</i>


The first couple of hours from Flat Creek are across a fairly level forest track where the sun filtered through the dense canopy into even denser undergrowth. Then the track started getting steeper as our group of five climbed slowly to our first rest stop at Water Bridge. As the name suggests it’s a good place to refill your water bottles by slinging an old billy-pan into the clear stream below and hauling it back up to the bridge with the attached rope.

From now on it was all uphill to our next rest spot, Stag Point, where our lunch was consumed looking out over the Southern Ocean. It’s here you suddenly realise how much wilderness you’ve tramped through as the forest below is laid out like a giant jade green carpet stretching to the ocean.

Finally we reached the summit where a wooden walkway loops around a landscape of alpine plants, such as the Mount Cook Daisy and giant ‘tors’, with views at one point extending west out over the beauty that is Fiordland National Park.

Dinner at Okaka Lodge was sumptuous. Starters were garlic and chilli prawns on a fragrant bed of shaved cucumber and coriander, followed by a ribeye steak with blackcurrant and onion glaze and kumara mash with seasonal green vegetables. For dessert we were offered the most sinful chocolate mousse ever served! This really was heaven.

The start of another day: it was 8.40 am. From the warmth of Okaka Lodge it was time to head along the Hump Ridge itself to a spot known as Luncheon Rock, a slab of stone that juts out into thin air off the ridge. However, during the night it had rained heavily and we woke to fine misty rain and winds blowing at what felt like gale force. 

Liz our tour guide blurted out, “It’s a claggy sort of day isn’t it, you can’t see bugger all really.” How right she was. Everyone donned thermal layers, leggings, gaiters, beanie-hats and rain jackets – weather in this part of New Zealand can change dramatically in minutes, so carrying all-weather gear is encouraged even in summer.

Not a bad place for a photo - sweeping views of the Southern New Zealand coastline |  <i>Shane Boocock</i> Look over there - stunning views across Fiordland National Park |  <i>Shane Boocock</i> Where all good boots go to retire on the Hump Ridge Track |  <i>Shane Boocock</i>
 

Once we reached Luncheon Rock it was downhill all the way... over 3,000 steps or more it was later divulged. The boardwalks and steps are all handmade especially on the steeper sections but more so in places where the fragile alpine environment needs protecting.

Emerging from the track we found ourselves on an old bush tramline. The single line ran from Port Craig (once known as Mussel Beach) to the Wairaurahiri River for 14.6 kilometres where a steam locomotive once hauled logs from the bush workings to the new sawmill that had been established in 1916.

Walking this section gives you the opportunity to cross the historic wooden Edwin Burn Viaduct and the Sand Hill Viaduct. Unfortunately DOC have closed access to the largest viaduct in the Southern Hemisphere, the Percy Burn Viaduct which is 35 metres high and 125 metres long, as they deem the structure to be too dangerous. (Since writing this there is new funding in place to strengthen the whole structure and to reopen it in the future)

Sadly the original owners of the Port Craig sawmill and operations had under-estimated the cost of working in such an isolated region and over-estimated the volume of timber that could be extracted. By 1928 with the approach of the Great Depression, a decision to close the mill and the tramline was inevitable.

Today all that remains is an old school house (now a DOC hut), the walls of the old Boiler House and relics of a bygone era strewn around the area. This is also where the Port Craig Lodge is situated and after hiking 20 kilometres that day it was a welcome sight for our weary group.

Accompanied by bottle of Otago red, what Lynda described as, “Lunatic Soup,” dinner at the lodge was whitebait fritters for the entree, smoked salmon with a sweet chilli and citrus salsa with citrus and poppy seed rice and seasonal green salad for the main and a pavlova nest with fresh whipped cream and central Otago summer fruits... not a bad way to end a 20 kilometres day I reckon.

Walking along the southern coastline of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track |  <i>Shane Boocock</i>


On day three we departed at 9.15 am along the coastal track from Port Craig, ‘the timber town that pushed boundaries’ heading for Blowholes Beach, which by the way, no longer blows.

Breakfast that morning had been bacon and scrambled eggs, what Malcolm referred to as, “Crackle Berries.” However when there was some left over bacon, Lynda the lodge manager proffered it to Malcolm who gladly accepted it. Sliding the rashers onto his plate she said, “Here you go, a heart attack on a plate.”

Immediately we were under a dense canopy where light hardly penetrated, stepping over corduroy pungas in muddy patches as we slowly made our way back to Flat Creek. 

The trail was through more podocarp forests of rata, red and white pine hanging like an umbrella above a shag pile floor of ferns, unidentified plants, epiphytes, moss, lichen, vines, decaying trees, bamboo orchids and even a small Prince Charles fern (so named as it’s considered flouncy – go figure). 

Bouncing over wooden bridges spanning bourbon-stained streams, uphill over and around headlands towards Track Burn, and onto Stony Creek and then finally across the swing bridge that straddles the Waikoau River where a couple of whitebait fisherman had left nets out.

Smack on 4.00 pm we arrived at the end of the Hump Ridge Track at the Rarakau car park. My neck and shoulders ached, one of my knees felt like a hot skewer was passing through the joint as I climbed the last few steps. My left foot was in pain with a bloodied toenail and I could’ve killed a cold beer and soaked my body in a hot tub right there and then – but all that would have to wait.

These are just a few of the things you should expect after hiking 52 kilometres in three days. But make no mistake as I dragged my aching limbs, tired muscles and sore body for 17 kilometres on that last day, I wouldn’t have missed ‘Hiking the ‘Hump’ for all the whitebait in Southland.

Words by Shane Boocock, Editor of Let's Travel.
 

 

Where to go stargazing in Australia: best camping destinations

Look to the heavens at these top stargazing spots across Australia. These wilderness camping destinations, located in Australia's spectacular and iconic National Parks, offer the best chances to see the Milky Way galaxy in all its starry glory on a clear, dark night.

Here are our top stargazing spots to see Australia's night sky at its best.

Australia's best stargazing spots
 

1. Warrumbungles National Park, NSW

The night sky filled with bright stars over Australia's only Dark Sky Park in the Warrumbungles. |  <i>Destination NSW</i>

No where else in Australia is there a place where the sun sets and the stars easily reveal themselves with the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds at the centre of the light show – and all visible with the naked eye on a clear night. As Australia's only Dark Sky Park, Warrumbungle National Park is the best place in Australia for stargazing as light pollution is not an issue, meaning that you can encounter the starriest of skies, which makes an incredible backdrop when camping in the Warrumbungles. 

• CAMP HERE: Warrumbungle Summits >

2. West MacDonnell National Park (Tyurretye), NT

The stars of the desert sky are a stunning backdrop to our unique Semi-Permanent Campsites |  <i>Graham Michael Freeman</i>


Get familiar with the constellations along the Larapinta Trail deep in the heart of the West MacDonnell Ranges. After a day's trek through ancient landscapes, relax at exclusive eco-campsites awarded for its sustainability and outback comfort and gather by the campfire as the sky dresses up in cosmic illuminations. You can even take your swag outside your tent and sleep under the stars if you're after that real outback experience. 

• CAMP HERE: Larapinta walks >

3. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, TAS

A rare light show colours the sky over Cradle Mountain |  <i>Pierre Destribats</i>

Go on an astronomical quest in Tasmania's most iconic national park and World Heritage-listed area. Ending each day at scenic campsites with delicious meals prepared by your guides, the peace and wonder that descends upon the Overland Track at night is truly magical. Surrounded by true alpine wilderness, the starry night sky adds to the enchanting experience.

• CAMP HERE: Overland Track & Cradle Mountain walks >

4. Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles), WA

Spend your evenings stargazing at our wilderness campsites |  <i>Tourism Western Australia</i>

Fly to a maze of ancient landforms and experience true outback solitude that will keep you inspired every step of the way. Sleep in swag style with uninterrupted views of the stars whilst surrounded by the red cliffs of the Bungles at Piccaninny Gorge, one of the world's most remote wilderness areas.

• CAMP HERE: Bungle Bungles & Piccaninny Gorge Trek >

Have a spot that deserves to be on the list? Let us know in the comments.
 

Discover the heart and soul of Australia – view our range of outback walks >


18 wildlife photos that will make you smile

These animal photos will make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside others, we hope, will make you laugh out loud.

Find a fun selection of images taken by our travellers, staff and photography pros, such as Richard I'Anson and Alex Cearns – who lead special tours that show you how to capture the world’s most stunning destinations on camera.

Share this post with a friend and spread some happiness (and adorableness!). And remember: the best animal encounter is a wild one.

1. When you've almost made it to the bedroom but you settle for the couch


Emperor penguin and chicks in Antarctica |  <i>Kyle Super</i>

2. Don't you just hate it when you have an itch you just can't scratch...  


A zebra in the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania |  <i>David Lazar</i>

3. We all have a friend that's just the right size to prop on  


Wild elephants in Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka |  <i>Scott Pinnegar</i>

4. Because we all need a friend to lean on  


A King Penguin keeps a close eye on it's chick |  <i>Richard I'Anson</i>

5. When the dentist compliments you on how well you've maintained your teeth
 

Young lion cub in Chobe National Park, Botswana |  <i>Jez Hollinshead</i>

6. The special moment when you make a new friend on a hike


Meeting a llama on the Inca Trail |  <i>Bette Andrews</i>

7. Or when you capture a tender moment on a wildlife safari


Lion family in Chobe National Park, Botswana |  <i>Jez Hollinshead</i>

8. It helps to see the funny side of life

Leopard seal humour in Antarctica |  <i>Eve Ollington</i>

9. Hmmm, that doesn't smell right...


Zebra love in Etosha National Park, Namibia |  <i>Peter Walton</i>

10. I think this sea lion can smell it too...


A sea lion in the Galapagos Islands |  <i>Alex Cearns | Houndstooth Studios</i>

11. Finding out your favourite TV series is getting cancelled


Mountain gorilla family in Rwanda |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i>

12. Taking a nap to recover from your food coma


Sea lions resting on the Galapagos Islands |  <i>Ian Cooper</i>

13. Getting caught with your hands in the cookie jar


Snow monkey in Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan |  <i>Felipe Romero Beltran</i>

14. When you tell yourself you can do a pull-up but get stuck halfway


Sloth in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica |  <i>Sophie Panton</i>

15. If this doesn't make you go awwwww, I'm not sure what will


King penguin and her baby in South Georgia |  <i>Peter Walton</i>

16. That one friend that's been waiting behind the bathroom door to scare you  


A young bear tentatively peeks around a wall to see what's happening |  <i>Alex Cearns</i>

17. I'm not lazy, I'm just on "energy saver mode"


Galapagos sea lion playing on the waters edge |  <i>Alex Cearns | Houndstooth Studios</i>

18. Elephant advice: Friendship is the glue that will hold the world together


Orphan baby elephants in Udawalawe, Sri Lanka |  <i>Houndstooth Studio by Alex Cearns</i>

Have a photo worth sharing? Tag @worldexpeditions on Facebook or Instagram, or submit your photos to [email protected].

Inspired to see animals in the wild and take your own photos? View our wildlife safari adventures >>

Honeymoon experience for adventurous couples: trekking in Nepal review

Read about how a couple made their honeymoon into a bucket list experience in Nepal's Himalayas.

When Ben and I decided to make our Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar Trek with World Expeditions our honeymoon we knew we were putting our adventurous faith in this company to give us the experience of a lifetime.

We were looking for an adventure to match our marriage in magnitude and spirit.

From the moment we arrived in Kathmandu and were greeted by the first of many exceptional World Expeditions staff we knew we had made the right decision. Every single staff member that we met was refreshingly positive, so incredibly knowledgeable (a good thing when you find yourself in an exotically unfamiliar country), and clearly have our enjoyment and safety at the heart of all that they did.

The beauty of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

Highlights From a Honeymooner’s Perspective: Travelling with World Expeditions Review

The comfort and luxury of the Raddison Hotel was an indulgent escape from the chaos of the local streets. Ben and I thrilled in the vibrancy of life around Thamel by day, retreating to the Raddison’s rooftop garden terrace for carb loading and honeymoon beers as a short-lived post-wedding celebration prior to the mind-blowing flight that is the transfer from Kathmandu to the trekking region.

Landing in Lukla, alongside other groups of trekkers, it was immediately apparent that we were with a top-end travel company.

The service that World Expeditions provides ensures that their clients are comfortable, satisfied and can focus on the adventure at hand as we knew our needs would be well and truly thought of.

Nepali guides, porters and staff

Our guide, with over 30 years of trekking experience, instilled in us the same quiet confidence that he had already forged in our ability to enjoy our trek. Manzoor was the perfect coach for this adventure, striking the right balance of providing the facts and technical prep that we needed for every section of the trek, while also generously encouraging our individual journeys – personal challenges and all.

No baggage (literally or figuratively) seemed too unwieldy for this man of the wild, who expertly helped each member of our small group navigate the glorious intensity of this mental and physical epic. The same can be said for the team that trekked with us; our Sherpa Dinesh, Sarder Padam, the kitchen crew and porters.

Their warm humour, hospitality and general legendary natures have imprinted in my mind the camaraderie that is unique to those drawn to the Himalayas, and which I feel so privileged to have witnessed.

Travelling with like-minded travellers

While we were a small group, our chatter was mighty, and as we made our way through Sagarmatha National Park toward Mount Everest, we struck conversations with dozens of trekkers, comparing stories and sharing encouragement.

Trekking with a dream team to Everest Base Camp |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

Staying in private eco campsites in the Everest region

While most folks thought we were crazy to be camping in tents most of the way, we were not so quietly confident that we were hands-down having the best experience.

Arriving at camp at the end of a rewarding day on the track to a warm tent, with a bowl of hot water to wash the day away, a cup of tea and cosy dining rooms to sit and banter in was bliss.

Himalaya grade sleeping bags and comfortable beds gave all of us revitalising sleep night after night; let the chorus of impressive snoring be testament to the fact that we were all warm and snug.

 

As we reached the highest altitudes toward the top of our trek, we took on the once-in-a-lifetime experience of sleeping in the tea houses. Let’s just say we were all so glad to return to camping again on descent!

This trek is for adventurous souls who want to revel in playing with Mother Nature’s limits; however travelling with a company such as World Expeditions ensures that the challenges of the trek remain in the battle with body, mind and wilderness, not logistics.

Magical Himalayan landscape on the Everest Base Camp Trek |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

Words by Sally and Ben Dobromilsky

10 luxe eco-friendly stays in Australia

Love the idea of capping off your day on the trail with sunset cliff-top drinks, or maybe kicking off your hiking shoes whilst your own personal cook preps your dinner? You can still enjoy a walking or cycling adventure without having to completely "rough it out" in the Australian wilderness. 

These beautiful, sustainable escapes are not only glamorous but leave a small environmental footprint too, so you can best explore the many Great Walks of Australia without sparing on your comfort.

Best Australian eco-friendly accommodations for walkers and cyclists

  1. Larapinta Trail Eco Campsites, Northern Territory 
  2. Spicers Vineyard Estate, Hunter Valley NSW 
  3. Maria Island Bush Cabin, Tasmania 
  4. Spicers Retreats, Main Range National Park, Queensland
  5. Bay of Fires Lodge, Tasmania 
  6. Arkaba Homestead, South Australia 
  7. Cradle Huts, Tasmania 
  8. Injidup Spa Retreat, Margaret River, South Australia 
  9. Friendly Beach Lodge, Tasmania 
  10. River Murrays Houseboats, South Australia
 

Larapinta Trail Eco Campsites, Northern Territory 

Multi award-winning outback comfort in the Red Centre 

 

Incorporating new sustainable technologies, glamp in safari-style tents in an incredible desert setting. Easily wash off the trail dust with a hot shower before tucking into three-course meals freshly prepared by the guides. 

These campsites continue to set the standard, having won three times at the Northern Territory Tourism Brolga Award for Ecotourism (in 2016, 2017 and 2019).

Facilities at our eco camps |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i> Relaxing in front of our spacious Larapinta In Comfort tents |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i> Spacious and comfortable sleeping tents at Fearless Camp. They are 2.2 metres high so you are able to stand up in them. |  <i>Ayla Rowe</i> Enjoy a campfire on our Larapinta Trail walks |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i> The stars of the desert sky are a stunning backdrop to our unique Semi-Permanent Campsites |  <i>Graham Michael Freeman</i>
 

• STAY HERE ON: The Classic Larapinta Trek In Comfort >

Spicers Vineyard Estate in the Hunter Valley, NSW 

Deluxe vineyard accommodation 

Our deluxe accommodation in the Hunter Valley |  <i>Spicers</i>

Enjoy your own luxurious private ensuite with a spa, open fireplace and king-size bed topped with a private vineyard view and mountain backdrop. It's the perfect retreat after a day's cycle with a well-deserved glass of fine wine in hand! 

• STAY HERE ON: Hunter Valley Deluxe Self Guided Cycle trips > 

Maria Island Bush Cabin, Tasmania 

Premium wilderness stays on Maria Island, Tasmania 

Maria Island accommodation

Tucked away in beautiful forest surrounds and it's only a stone's throw away from stunning beaches! Fall asleep in eco-friendly cabin comfort, but not before savouring a gourmet dinner and watching the beach sunset with a glass of wine. 

Specially designed to have a small environmental footprint with bush showers and clean composting toilets, glamp here on the first two nights of the 4-day Maria Island Walk. 

• STAY HERE ON: The Maria Island Walk >

Spicers Retreats in Main Range National Park, Queensland 

Gourmet walking experience on the Scenic Rim 

Tent accommodation at Spicers Canopy

From Spicers' Luxury Canopy Tents to its Timber Getters eco-cabins, each accommodation on the Scenic Rim Trail walk is decked out for the active traveller who deserves a bit of indulgence. 

Escape from the every day to a world of luxury, whilst still enjoying a sense of adventure in a region with more than 30,000 hectares of ancient rainforest, escarpments, stunning mountains and volcanic plateaus. 

• STAY HERE ON: The Scenic Rim Walks > 

Bay of Fires Lodge, Tasmania 

Award-winning comfort to your eco-experience 

Bay of Fires Lodge |  <i>Great Walks of Australia</i>

Set on a hilltop, 40 metres above the pounding sea with arresting coastal views, experience the very best of the Bay of Fires wilderness in comfort on an idyllic short escape crowned with delicious meals prepared with the freshest local produce and accompanied by fine Tasmanian wine and beer. 

In an area of great significance to the Aboriginal community, the lodge is in gentle communion with the wilderness for maximum connection to the landscape with minimum impact on the environment. Solar-powered, an open fire, large timber deck with glass pavilions, hot showers and comfortable beds add a touch of luxury at the end of each day’s activities. 

• STAY HERE ON: The Bay of Fires Lodge Walk > 

Arkaba Homestead, South Australia 

Bush luxury in the Flinders Ranges 

Camping in a swag under the outback skies

Immerse in the story of the land with exclusive creature comforts on the Arkaba Walk. Enjoy two nights camping in deluxe swags on the signature star beds open to views of the countryside and above, a canopy of stars. 

The final nights are in the 1850s Arkaba Homestead for the added outback luxury at the end of your walk. Wildly beautiful, wake up to panoramas of Wilpena Pound and the Elder Range with all its en-suite room built with French door openings onto the deep homestead veranda. You can also extend this experience with the Murray River Walk staying on a premium houseboat.

• STAY HERE ON: The Arkaba Walk >

Cradle Huts, Tasmania 

Private eco-hut stays on the Overland Track 

Enjoy a glass of wine after a day's trek along the Overland Track |  <i>Great Walks of Australia</i>

Kick off your hiking shoes and put your feet up in one of five ecological and sustainable private huts nestled away in the World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. 

A haven to retreat to at the end of the day on the Overland Track, you’ll indulge in fresh-baked afternoon tea, fine wine and hearty meals prepared fresh. Not to mention, you'll enjoy a hot shower, the joy of a potbelly heater and comfy beds. 

• STAY HERE ON: Cradle Huts Overland Track >

Injidup Spa Retreat, South Australia 

Relax & rejuvenate in the Margaret River region 

Cooling off in Injidup Spa Retreat private pool villa

Stay in oceanfront luxury and pamper your senses when walking along the best sections of the Cape to Cape Track. The intimate coastal retreat is nestled above one of the most beautiful beaches for spectacular ocean views and the tranquillity and privacy many dream of. 

End the day with sunset cliff-top drinks, a dip in your private pool villa and world-class food. Don’t forget to treat yourself with a lovely massage or spa treatment. 

• STAY HERE ON: The Cape to Cape in Luxury walk >

Friendly Beach Lodge, Tasmania 

'Off the grid' escape in Freycinet National Park 

Friendly Beaches Lodge

Explore world-class coastal scenery by day, before retiring in award-winning eco-luxury at night. Nestled in a 130-hectare private sanctuary, the lodge is sustainably built and completely ‘off the grid’ with solar power, waterless toilets and rainwater tanks to maintain its pristine surrounds. 

Sleeping lodges contain a lounge area with a fireplace, a shared bathroom with a claw foot bath, a separate shower room and two composting toilets. 

• STAY HERE ON: The Freycinet Experience Walk >

River Murrays Houseboats, South Australia 

Stay on an exclusive floating house

Houseboat Lounge

Combine your trip with the Murray River Walk onboard a comfortable houseboat and dine from a menu designed by a renowned native food pioneer.

Enjoy a back to nature experience that has the comfort of a luxury holiday as you walk through the ancient red gum forests of the great Murray River, before retreating to your own modern double room with hot showers and a hot spa on the top deck. 

• STAY HERE ON: The Murray River Walk >

View our range of ‘In Comfort’ adventures or check out more unique accommodation stays from around the world.


Europe’s Best Walking Trails: Where to hike in Europe

We've asked you before about how many epic trails around the world you know. Walking brings a lot of benefits from reconnecting with nature, to challenging yourself, spending time outdoors with your loved ones, and discovering places otherwise not easily accessible. It is therefore that we wanted to bring you this list of the UK & Europe's best walking trails (and one cycling path) to present you with some options closer to home.

Most of the European hiking trails below can be undertaken as a self guided walking (or cycling) trip: perfect for travellers who are after a lot of freedom, flexibility and sense of accomplishment without compromising on the security and organisation of a guided tour. For those that prefer a guided option, we have indicated the possibilities for this per trail.

1. Wainwright’s Coast to Coast

Length: 309 km / 192 miles across England from the Irish Sea to the North Sea

Walking up from Fleswick Bay on Wainright's Walk |  <i>John Millen</i>

What makes it special: One of Britain’s classic walking routes, the Coast to Coast, was originated and described by Alfred Wainwright, author of a well-known series of mountain-walking guide books on the English Lake District. Walk this trail for the accomplishment of crossing England from the Irish Sea to the North Sea under your own steam. Along the way, explore the stunning three national parks of the Lake District, Pennines and North York Moors.

>> Guided options available.

 

2. Camino de Santiago: Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela

Length: the French part of the pilgrimage comprises 461 km / 286miles and the Spanish section to the tomb of St James adds another 481 km / 298 miles

Pilgrims on a self guided walk along the Camino in Spain |  <i>Sue Finn</i>

What makes it special: In the 9th century the tomb of the apostle St James was unearthed in Compostela. The site became the focus of a pilgrim trail beginning in France and crossing Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Ever since, walkers have completed this route that comes with a true sense of camaraderie along the way. While there are many different routes to Santiago de Compostela, the most well-known of the Camino de Santiago walks are in Spain and France.

Did you know? 2021 and 2022 have both been declared by the Pope as Holy Year, normally when St James’ Day on 25th July falls on a Sunday. Complimented by lots of festivities, ending your Camino pilgrimage during the weeks around St James is an extra special time to be there.

>> View guided full Camino walks.

 

3. Tour du Mont Blanc

Length: circling the Mont Blanc massif in roughly 170 km / 105 miles

The Mont Blanc region offers some of the best walking in the world |  <i>Tim Charody</i>

What makes it special: Sitting on the Italian and French border is Western Europe’s highest mountain – Mont Blanc. At 4810m, the scale of Mont Blanc and the other 4000m+ peaks in this region of the European Alps is certainly impressive. The Mont Blanc massif was first climbed in 1786, and the ascent gave birth to modern day mountaineering. It is not only a region for climbers however, walking in Mont Blanc has become so popular that the region is now the third most visited natural site in the world. Anyone who travels here will soon see why.

Without doubt the most famous Mont Blanc trek is the classic and full circumnavigation: Tour du Mont Blanc, however families and walkers of various abilities can choose a trail to suit their fitness level. Summer traditionally is the most popular time, travel in spring or autumn for even quieter trails and perhaps some snow on the route!

>> Guided options available.

 

4. Via Dinarica

Length: 1260 km / 783 miles for the entire length of the main route from Slovenia to Albania

Enjoying the splendid view over Trnovacko Lake on the Via Dinarica walk

What makes it special: The Via Dinarica is a long distance mountainous walking trail of which the main route (White Trail) spans the Balkan countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. This European walking trail follows the main ridge of the Dinaric Alps, a glorious landscape woven with primeval forests and cosy mountain villages. Along the way, collect mesmerising natural sights such as the heart-shaped Trnovacko glacial lake; the turquoise waters of Rakitnica Canyon; and the rocky panoramas of Bosnia's highest peak, Maglic.

>> Guided trip.

 

5. Haute Route

Length: 180 km / 111 miles from the Chamonix valley, home of Mont Blanc, to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn

On the way to the Matterhorn, Switzerland |  <i>Carol Gorgie</i>

What makes it special: The walkers’ Haute Route (High Level Route) links the valley of Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland. You trek through some very dramatic alpine scenery, experience traditional European mountain culture and find yourself amongst the highest peaks in Western Europe including the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Dent Blanche. The hiking trail is steeped in mountaineering legend, a route first taken by British climbers at the end of the 19th Century.

Although the Haute Route is popular, it is rugged at times and you will find that compared to many other areas in Switzerland, most of the paths are little trodden, giving rise to an excellent variety of alpine flowers and frequent sightings of alpine animals.

>> Guided options available.

 

6. West Highland Way

Length: 155 km / 96 miles across the Scottish Highlands

Group at Blackrock Cottage, Scotland

What makes it special: Embark on a hike on the West Highland Way and you step back into history - most of the stages follow the famous droving and military roads that linked the Scottish Highlands to the Lowlands. Many of the hotels you find today have originated from the droving inns that have operated for centuries. On this official UK long distance trail you’ll also walk to the foot of Ben Nevis and past the shores of the UK’s largest lake, Loch Lomond.

 

7. Rhone Cycle Path

Length: 1250 km / 776 miles along the course of the river Rhone from Switzerland to France

Crossing the Hermitage Bridge on the Via Rhona

What makes it special: Connecting the Swiss Alps with the Mediterranean, the Rhone River holds an important place in history. Serving as an inland trading route where goods were transported as far back as the Greek and Roman civilisations, the Rhone connected many of France's most important cities and subsequently many smaller villages were built alongside it. Today, the cultural and architectural legacy of this period can still be found in many places along the river and can be discovered on a cycling trip.

 

8. Via Alpina

Length: the full thing is about 5,000 km / 3,100 miles, but our section is around 100 km / 62 miles

Hohturli Pass from the Bluemlisalp Hut |  <i>Nicola Croom</i>

What makes it special: Also known as the Swiss Alpine Pass Route, which is part of the full Via Alpina across eight countries, the section between Meiringen and Lenk on the Via Alpina captures the essence of the Alps and Switzerland’s most stunning alpine scenery. Whilst the high mountains are an obvious drawcard, there are so many other highlights such as the sound of cowbells as you make your way along scenic paths, the picture postcard villages and towns you pass through and the wildflowers lining the trail.

 

9. King Ludwig’s Way

Length: 120 km / 74 miles to King Ludwig’s famous castle of Neuschwanstein

Bearded King Ludwig pointing the way. |  <i>Will Copestake</i>

What makes it special: When walking in Bavaria it is plain to see that Germany is proud of its rural heritage. It is a stronghold of the green movement and the country’s wealth has helped it to conserve its beautiful landscape and historic monuments. The King Ludwig’s Way walking trail takes in two of Bavaria's most scenic lakes and passes through charming villages of geranium-bedecked chalets and characteristic onion-shaped church spires. There are masterpieces of baroque architecture, monasteries, churches and a cathedral, to be seen on the way and not forgetting King Ludwig's extraordinary castles of Neuschwanstein at the end.

 

10. John Muir Way

Length: 215 km / 134 miles along what is known as the Scottish Coast to Coast

Wild Landscape towards Loch Lomond |  <i>John Millen</i>

What makes it special: The John Muir Way is a route that symbolically links Dunbar (John's hometown) with Scotland’s first national park (Loch Lomond) and the Trossachs with Helensburgh (from where John and his family departed for the USA) in the west. Both towns are located by the sea and as such the trail is known as the Scottish Coast to Coast. Along the way, you are rewarded by views over Ben Lomond, an exploration of Edinburgh, and lots of historical features. There are many highlights on the John Muir Way – contact our team to learn more.

 

Would you like to know more about any of these long distance trails in Europe? Please do get in touch by email or for a phone call with our experienced team to discuss your queries.

New Zealand backcountry hiking: why visit Ben Lomond Station

Don't you just love it when you head out for a hike and find a stunning spot all to yourself? Located just a short drive from Queenstown, Ben Lomond Station is one of the few remaining high country stations owned and operated by New Zealanders, which means you'll enjoy your sweet dose of uninterrupted wild adventure.

Not to be confused with Ben Lomond Track, which is owned by NZ's Department of Conservation and has public access, Ben Lomond Station is private land filled with old gold mining pack tracks, diverse landscapes and exclusive comfortable lodges. It makes the perfect place for hiking, relaxing and appreciating New Zealand's stunning beauty.

Here are 5 reasons to hike on Ben Lomond Station.

1. You'll be the only ones here

Ben Lomond Station is privately owned so there are no big crowds making it a truly rare and exclusive outdoor experience.

No better place to take a break and admire the view than on Ben Lomond Saddle |  <i>Janet Oldham</i>

2. The endless rugged landscapes

There's no denying the landscapes are one of the main drawcards to this 33,000-acre station. Where else can you experience expansive views of snow-capped ranges, sweeping tussock lands and beautiful beech forest all in one place?

Walk along tussock ridgelines high above the Shotover River, heli-hike along the sub-alpine flanks of Ben Lomond (1748m) and explore abandoned gold mining relics, water races, razorback ridges and river valleys right until the finish.

The walking tracks are graded moderate to challenging and are best fit for experienced hikers. You'll follow sheep tracks and the trails of hardy miners who preferred to take the straight line route instead of switchbacks!
 

Moonlight Station (MSQ) |  <i>Colin Monteath</i>

  

3. The Foster Family


True, local kiwi hospitality can be hard to come by when travelling in New Zealand these days but there's no shortage of it here. John and Ginny Foster are the proud owners and managers of Ben Lomond Station. Originally farming a small coastal property in Golden Bay, they moved to the high country in 1987.

 
John and Ginny from Ben Lomond Station |  <i>Colin Monteath</i> Forgotten gold mining machinery from the 1800s gold rush. |  <i>Colin Monteath</i> Vast tussock lands of Ben Lomond Station |  <i>Colin Monteath</i>


4. The history

Reading about the mining history on the Moonlight Track |  <i>Colin Monteath</i>


Ben Lomond Station has been a key part of Queenstown's history for over 150 years. The station was part of a run that was over 200,000 acres and included all the land in this area east of Lake Wakatipu. The original run holder William Rees reportedly flipped a coin with early pioneer, Nicholas von Tunzelmann, to decide who got which side of the lake.

Follow the tracks of historic gold mining water races built 150 years ago passing through beech forest and tussock lands. During your walk, you'll learn about the stations history and gold mining by the foster family themselves.

Fun fact: Over 3000 people lived in the Moke and Moonlight valleys during the gold rush. These rivers were some of the richest in the world.

 

5. Private Moonlight Lodge: uninterrupted views from your window

Moonlight Lodge easily makes the list as one of New Zealand's most comfortable and secluded backcountry lodges. Located deep in the Moonlight Valley, a 14km walk from the Shotover Valley will bring you to the comfort of the lodge. Fit with double/twin ensuite rooms, a spacious lounge, dining area with a licenced bar, large stone fireplace and commanding views of the peaks that surround, you'll feel relaxed in no time.

To top things off, you'll experience true local hospitality with a delicious meal prepared by station owners, John and Ginny.

World Expeditions' Moonlight Valley and Ben Lomond Backcountry Hike and Ben Lomond Backcountry Explorer includes stays at Moonlight Lodge. 

 
Private Moonlight Lodge accommodation |  <i>Colin Monteath</i> A cup of tea and a biscuit is the perfect way to end a days walking! |  <i>Colin Monteath</i> Cosy accommodation at Moonlight Lodge |  <i>Hamish Foster</i>
 


Summer trekking guide in the Indian Himalaya

The mountains of the Himalaya go beyond the borders of Nepal – and with the summer trekking season upon us from June to September, below are five unique ways to experience the Indian Himalayas on foot.

Traverse the dramatic region of Zanskar

It would be hard to surpass this challenging Trans Himalayan circuit of Ladakh which travels over high passes via ancient trails. Trek through isolated Buddhist villages to reach the secluded Himalayan kingdom of Zanskar.

This part of the Indian Himalaya is known for its rust coloured mountains and dramatic deep gorges, and villages which are cut off from the outside world for much of the year. Eventually, you will complete your circuit through the Indus Valley for an all-encompassing Himalayan adventure. This Zanskar to Indus Traverse is definitely one to add on your adventure list.

Best time to travel: September

Zanskar in India Himalaya - World Expeditions

 

Capture the spirit of trekking in Ladakh

What better introduction to the visually stunning and culturally rich region of Ladakh than trekking through hidden valleys. A land of high passes on the borderlands of Tibet, Ladakh offers timeless landscapes and vistas of spectacular scenery. This is where the snow leopard seeks out the highest ridges at the margins of the season.

The rugged region of Ladakh is characterised by remarkable Buddhist monasteries and ancient forts. Think of the striking Tikse Monastery and the historic Stok Palace just to name a few.

Best time to travel: late June and July

Capture the spirit of trekking in Ladakh with World ExpeditionsYou can camp underneath the stars and alongside the vast waters of the stunning Tso Morari Lake in the spectacular Rupshu Valley.

Go Beyond the Markha Valley

Also known as ‘Little Tibet’, this ancient Buddhist enclave on India’s northern border is the highest plateau in the state of Kashmir. Explore on foot the Ladakh heartland, where the flutter of prayer flags and the ancient mani walls reflect the deep seated Buddhist heritage, and follow established trails linking whitewashed settlements and tiny monasteries, with spectacular views of the Zanskar Range stretching to the borderlands of the Tibetan Plateau.

Best time to travel: early July and late August to early September

Beyond the Markha Valley - summer trekking in India

Step into the world of mountaineering

Keen to extend your mountaineering CV? On a high-altitude foray in Ladakh you can get ideal (albeit challenging!) introduction to Himalayan climbing.

Within relatively easy distance from each other are the twin peaks of Ladakh: Stok Kangri (6,153m) and Kangyaze Peak (6,400m). You can ascend both of them in one mountaineering holiday and be welcomed by stunning views of the beautiful Markha Valley from their summits.

The region around these peaks offers some fantastic mountaineering activities as there are plenty of high passes to cross. It is home to the world’s highest road of ‘Khardung La’, and it is filled with trails linking tiny whitewashed settlements and traditional Buddhist monasteries.

Best time to travel: August

The surreal beauty of the Indian Himalaya |  <i>Brigitte Najjar</i>Photo: Brigitte Najjar

Remote Ladakh with Garry Weare

If you’re an intrepid traveller who loves to explore the most beautiful, little visited corners of the Indian subcontinent, join Lonely Planet author Garry Weare to take you there!

Whether this is a first time trek in Ladakh or an ideal follow up this new trek from the Nubra to Indus valleys will surpass expectations. The trek winds through remote Buddhist settlements and summer grazing camps that afford the opportunity to explore side valleys as we gradually make our way to the base of the Lasermo La. Unparalelled views and rich Buddhist culture of Alchi, Lamayuru and Likir monasteries complete this journey.

This trip will be led by adventurer and trekking legend Garry Weare who has been involved with World Expeditions since its inception in the mid-1970s and over the years he has devised a number of itineraries across the most beautiful corners of the Indian Himalaya.

Best time to travel: September

Diskit Monastery in Nubra Valley, Ladakh |  <i>Garry Weare</i>

If these five different ways to experience this corner of the Indian Himalaya got you hungry for more, with World Expeditions you can choose from a range of travel options to experience trekking in Ladakh. If you like the trips a little different, we can help you build your own adventure.

Have you travelled to the Indian Himalaya? Share your experience below.

Cape to Cape Track: Hiking and cycling training tips

Deciding where to travel is not always the biggest dilemma. Often, the crux is how to do it. Do you like the idea of blending cycling and hiking into one trip? On my visit to Western Australia, I chose to do just that as part of my exploration of the Cape to Cape Track.

Whether or not you plan to take on this iconic coastal trail, these training tips will help you best prepare for your next multi-day, coastal adventure on foot or by bike.

Why hike and bike?

If you choose to ride, you’ll benefit from covering long distances and no doubt seeing further, faster; but hiking can often take you to areas inaccessible by other means at a slower pace.

This was the very question I asked myself ahead of my trip to Western Australia. I’d been invited to take part in the 10th anniversary of the Cape to Cape mountain bike race, a four-day event based at Margaret River. For the first time, the race would not trace the traditional linear route from Luuewin Lighthouse to Dunsborough township. Instead, they’d chosen to loop around the local vineyards and popular single-track trails.

Keen not to miss the incredible coastal views and a chance to spot migrating whales in the distance, I decided to pack the trail shoes and extended my trip to include a three-day hike along the famous Cape to Cape Track.

A cosy beach corner along WA's Cape to Cape Track |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

My trip down under was limited to 10 days – an ambitious timeframe coming from the UK! To make the most of it, I joined a team to wander the well-known route, covering close to 60 kilometres of coastal terrain. Quite the post-ride warm up! With a day to rest, I switched my hiking shoes for the saddle; this time to ride 230 kilometres of sensational singletrack.

So how did I prepare for this multi-day, multi-discipline adventure? If you’re considering a hike and ride combination, then read on for my top training and preparation tips.

Prepare for the terrain

The Cape to Cape track is coastal and whilst it doesn’t gain much elevation, the terrain can be tough on your body, particularly your feet!

Day after day, you’ll be tackling sandy tracks and long sections of beach, so you’ll want to condition yourself for the endurance required. Distances can reach 25 kilometres per stage, so you’ll need to be ready for multiple hours on the move.

Be beach-ready

The ideal way to condition yourself for the impending sand is, of course, to mirror this in your training hikes. Find a local beach if you live near to the coast, a lakeshore, or muddy ground, to emulate the sticky nature of the sand. If you stick to tarmac or hard-pack trails, you’ll gain miles but your muscles won’t be accustomed to the drag. Make sure to do long-distance efforts on this type of terrain to gain muscle memory and to be mentally ready too.

Dare to bare?

Enjoying a barefoot walk along the beaches on the Cape to Cape Track |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

You might prefer to shed the shoes and walk barefoot on the beach? I hiked a six-kilometre stretch with my boots dangling from my pack. Doing so is a great way to improve balance and posture – but I’d recommend making sure you’re prepared for the abrasion from sand.

Take shorter strolls by the seaside or get used to barefoot on grass, or simply walking around the house. I found this a great method to toughen up the soles of my feet too.

Be bike prepared

When it comes to riding, preparation is also key. For the Cape to Cape, I researched the right tyre choice – your wheels are the contact point with the trail, so you have to be sure you’ve got the best tools for the job. Trails around the Cape to Cape are often dry, rocky and very sandy! Hiring a quality bike will make all the difference, and if you want to luggage transfers taken care of as well, turning to a trusted company like Australian Cycle Tours will take the hassle out of planning.

Take your bike for a spin at your local beach if you have coastal access in order to get used to cycling on varying conditions. If this isn’t an option, cycling on wet mud and slicker conditions offer a similar feel and will help you to find the balance needed.

Bike training for the Cape to Cape Track |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

Carry your gear

Whilst the guided routes on the Cape to Cape don’t require you to lug tents and sleeping bags, you’ll certainly be carrying a backpack with extra clothes, food and plenty of drinking water.

During my hike, the storms set in, so don’t underestimate the amount you’ll choose to take with you – it might even include a swimsuit if the water’s not too cold! Ideally, you’ll be able to train outdoors, but if you’re adding mileage at the gym, consider wearing your pack during the session too. Step machines or treadmills can be a great way to squeeze in sessions around a busy work life.

If you prefer carrying a lighter pack, opting for a guided tour on the Cape to Cape Track with a professional guide and support staff allows you to get an in-depth cultural exploration of the region with extra comforts.

Resting at a beach along WA's Cape to Cape Track |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

Know your kit

Fitness is one element, but you won't go far by bike or foot if you’re uncomfortable in your kit. Whether it’s a new saddle, pack or shoes – be sure to log time with them so you don’t discover any unwanted discomfort on the trail. Equally, be sure to read the recommended kit list or research blogs from those with experience of the area.

Hiking kit
Simulating the actual event is the best way to train – load up your pack and take it on your training hikes or even walks to and from work. Practice using a bottle or bladder for drinking and find out how easy it is to access your camera or snacks. This may seem mundane, but when you’re trekking day after day for multiple hours, you want to make tasks as simple as possible.

As tiredness sets in, it can be easy to not eat or drink as much as you should, so being sure it’s of minimal effort to do so will help you as the days stack up.

When it comes to hiking footwear, the Cape to Cape is ideally suited to a lightweight pair of outdoor shoes as well as gators – a truly useful aid to combat the infiltration of sand! Practice using these and don’t just throw them on the first day of the trek. Also, take a spare pair of socks. There are times on the path when your feet may get wet, so being armed with a dry set will help to avoid the onset of blisters.

Cycling kit
For the bike, the same applies. You’ll be sweating from the heat and effort, so if you’re not used to wearing a pack on the bike, make sure to train with one. Another skill to perfect is eating on the move. When you’re riding long days in the saddle, a top tube feed bag is also a useful addition, so you don’t have to stop to eat or try and dig awkwardly into your back pockets.

Clock the kilometres: mileage munching

Clocking up the kilometres is the best way to prepare for endurance, but many of us have busy lives and have to save the big days for the weekend. Consider if you can walk to work? Perhaps you can get off the bus or train earlier and add some distance to your legs mid-week? Could you walk to work one day, then bike home? Trying to combine walking and cycling equally within your week will ensure you’re not focusing on just one area.

Repetition reaps reward

The key to multi-day is to replicate this repetition as part of your training sessions. If you only have one day to add in the big distances, consider splitting the time between the bike and the trail shoes. Find an off-road route that you can ride, rest, then hike. If you have more time, ride one day and hike the next. Getting your body used to waking up tired and having to go again, is as much a physical training exercise as a mental one.

Good luck on the trail!

Words by Catriona Sutherland, a UK writer and athlete who travelled on the Cape to Cape Track in Western Australia. Read more cross training tips from her >
 


Cross training for multi-day adventures

Prepare for your next multi-day hiking or cycling adventure with these cross training tips and exercises from outdoor enthusiast, athlete and Her Outdoors Life blogger Catriona Sutherland.

Cardio counts

When taking on a multi-day adventure, endurance is key, so clocking up kilometres can best prepare you for the long distances on the trail. Take a day out of your weekend to do a big hike, attempt a longer bike ride or throw in a 5K or 10K run mid-week.

Set up a daily steps challenge to keep you goal-oriented throughout your week, then increase your kilometres or step count as you progress.

Bike training for the Cape to Cape Track |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

Weights work wonders

Cardio isn’t the only key to endurance success. Time in the gym can do wonders for both cycling and long-distance hiking. Once a week, try to fit in a session using weights. Not everyone is comfortable pumping iron, so I’d also recommend a gym class, as this is great for professional guidance and motivation from those around you.

Squats, lunges and sit-ups using hand weights are an excellent method of increasing strength.

Core stability is critical to endurance longevity, so even if you can’t make a class, allow time at home to do this. Use your downtime efficiently, for instance, when watching a TV show or listening to a podcast, try planks sets to develop strength in your abdominal area. I’ll typically try 30-second intervals with short rests in-between.

Set yourself a challenge each week and see if you can increase the time of each rep.

Climbing for cross training

Hit your local climbing gym to activate your leg muscles |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

If the regular gym isn’t your thing, then why not try climbing? On wet days or dark nights, I head to the climbing wall to mix it up. As well as arms as legs, this is an excellent opportunity to work your core muscles and balance too. I also find squeezing my feet into climbing shoes an ideal way to condition them too!

Allow time to recover

As you train for an endurance you’ll gather distance, but with that comes the need for recovery too. Planning in an easy week every third week is a good guide, so you don’t overload - risking injury or illness. Recovery doesn’t also have to mean complete rest either. Easy, short rides or walks are a good way to keep your body moving.

To ease out muscles and reduce your risk of getting injured, a foam roller is an ideal aid to combat potential problems. I will make time at least once a week to roll out my calves, quads, lower back and the soles of my feet. As I travel regularly, I also take with me a smaller mini roller or ball, so I can make time during or between flights to keep my body moving.
 

Words by Catriona Sutherland, a UK writer and athlete who followed these training tips on her adventure on the Cape to Cape Track in Western Australia. Read more hike and bike training exercises from her >

Let us know in the comments below, what's your workout routine when preparing for a multi-day adventure?


14 unique accommodation stays around the world

Those of us who love adventure travel are familiar with the saying, “it’s the journey, not the destination”. Whether it’s walking with camels in the Australian desert, traversing Costa Rica by raft, kayaking in the Antarctic or trekking in the Himalayas, “getting there” is all part of the adventure. As is where our travellers sleep each night.

From sleeping in a traditional Japanese ryokan, staying in a treehouse in South Africa for a true ‘bush feeling’ or spending the night at a striking campsite in the heart of Australia’s outback. If you're looking to sleep somewhere more inspiring than the four walls of a hotel on your next trip, this list offers exciting 'alternative’ accommodations set in beautifully unique places when travelling with World Expeditions.

Stargaze from Martian Dome Tents | Wadi Rum, Jordan

You'll feel like you're a world away sleeping under a blanket of stars in a futuristic dome surrounded by remote sand dunes and rugged mountains. Upgrade from a standard tent to a Martian Dome Tent for luxury and coziness in Jordan’s Wadi Rum, also known as the ‘Valley of the Moon’.

Martian Dome Tent room Martian Dome Tent external view Martian Dome Tent balcony Martian Dome Tent at night

Combining modern style comforts with an authentic desert experience, the living quarters of each dome tent feature individual air-conditioning, a private bathroom, hot water as well as a separate viewing terrace.

• STAY THERE: Jordan Highlights >

Hop aboard a traditional Dhoni | Maldives

A traditional dhoni cruise is the best way to explore the turquoise waters of the Maldives

Imagine days sleeping onboard a traditional Dhoni in the Maldives cruising between far-flung atolls and reefs by day, stopping to swim or snorkel in the translucent waters and then spending the evenings moored off a different island.

Resembling a traditional Arab sailing vessel and handcrafted locally from coconut palm timber, our Dhoni’s have been converted into live-onboard cruise boats with plenty of room for relaxing and watching the world go by. There’s also ample opportunity to meet the locals of small settlements or enjoy a fresh seafood barbecue on pristine uninhabited beaches.

• STAY THERE: Maldives Dhoni Cruise >

Traditional ryokan inns | Japan

At first, you'll encounter something of a bull-in-a-China-shop feel, but this reaction normalises as you immerse in this delicate environment of spaces and displayed heirlooms. The traditional style accommodation of a ryokan means sleeping on a futon bedding laid out on tatami floors.

Ryokan Asunaro Takayama, day time set-up Ryokan triple room set-up Group dinner at the Wakimoto Ryokan, Asuka |  <i>Janelle Williams</i> Evening ryokan meal during the Kumano Kodo hike

The warming hospitality of the local innkeepers combined with the countryside atmosphere and the exceptional Japanese dinner makes the experience extra special.

• STAY THERE: Backroads of Japan >

Sleep comfortably under mighty Himalayan peaks | Everest and Annapurna, Nepal

Morning views of at our Kyangjuma campsite |  <i>Kelvin Law</i>

Wired for a trekking adventure but want the luxury of putting your feet up after a long day's hike? Experience warmth, privacy and superb views at our exclusive Nepal eco camps – it wins out on sustainability for a back to nature experience that doesn't spare on your comfort. Plus our fully serviced camping based treks support local communities at every level of the operation, including our porters who are provided with a good working wage, insurance, trekking gear, food and accommodation.

Featuring standing height tents, off-the-ground beds, clean mattresses and pillows, heated dining areas for meals and 'downtime' and western-style toilets, with many also fitted with hot showers. Watch the video below to take a virtual tour of our private Nepal campsites.

 

Camping high in the clouds is truly a style of travel worth experiencing!

• STAY THERE: Annapurna and Everest treks >

Overnight in a treehouse | South Africa

Set in a beautiful game-rich area, spending a night in a treehouse in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve offers a true ‘bush feeling’ that gets you away from it all without sparing on your comfort.

Reaching up into the trees, the wooden structure comes with a game-viewing platform and a top deck with a bed, as well as an enclosed outside bathroom and shower. The treehouse can sleep a maximum of two guests, however it does need to be pre-booked due to high demand. With a bed and a view to be remembered, it's perfect for fearless romantics.

Graceful gazelles brighten each day while on safari in southern Africa. |  <i>Karibu</i>

• STAY THERE: Kruger Walking Safari >

Experience award-winning desert comfort | Larapinta, Australia

The multi-award-winning semi-permanent eco camps provide easy and uninterrupted access to nature, a feeling of solitude and an expanded sense of the vastness of Australia's unique desert plains. It's a perfect retreat for walkers exploring the outback on the iconic Larapinta Trail.

A night under the Central Australian skies can be mesmerising |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

Enjoy the comfort of beds, walk-in ‘safari-style’ tents, large floor-to-ceiling windows for you to soak in the magnificent views, hot showers and charging port facilities. Aimed to deliver previously unavailable levels of comfort to trekkers in a climate known for its extreme temperatures, its new sustainable technologies are used with structures designed to allow the land to recover during the off-season, maintaining the idyllic natural setting of these wilderness sites.

These campsites continue to set the standard, having won three times at the Northern Territory Tourism Brolga Award for Ecotourism (in 2016, 2017 and 2019).

• STAY THERE: Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort >

Once-in-a-lifetime ice camping | Antarctica Peninsula

Camping on the ice in Antarctica |  <i>Justin Walker</i>

A voyage into the Antarctic's otherworldly environments puts you among breathtaking frozen landscapes, rugged icy coastlines, stunning coves and islands and abundant wildlife. So why not make camp here like a polar explorer? A night out on the ice is a popular experience that will create memories to last a lifetime.

You'll stay in special wind and waterproof tents, high-quality polar sleeping bags, comfortable mattresses and field equipment are provided to protect you from the elements at night.

Our active base camp Antarctica Peninsula voyages also offers an experience of the Antarctic wilderness like no other with zodiac cruising and optional kayaking, snowshoeing, mountaineering and hiking activities.

• STAY THERE: Base camp journeys to the Antarctic Peninsula >

Live like a nomad in a traditional ger | Mongolia

Nomadic ger, Mongolia |  <i>Loren Winstanley</i>

Take a step back in time and into the shoes of local nomads in West Mongolia as you experience one of the last few wildernesses on earth. Marvel at unique and untouched features such as windswept sand dunes, ancient dinosaur relics, solid ice formations and of course Mongolia’s famous wild horses.

It is here where you can find the original mobile home: the ‘ger’, a circular tent, is an age-old tradition coming from the Mongolian nomads. Made from a wooden frame and covered by wool felt, which keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer; it is very easy to collapse and re-assemble again.

The first gers are believed to have been put up 2500-3000 years ago and their design has not changed much since then. Our gers are spacious and come with comfortable beds, soft linen and extra blankets for cooler nights. Rather than electrical bulbs, candles illuminate the gers at night.

They offer an excellent opportunity to live as the locals do on the Mongolian Steppe with plenty of interaction with a local family.

• STAY THERE: Mongolia Panorama >

Stay on a floating house | Murray River, South Australia

Stay in a modern houseboat along the Murray River

Step onboard a modern houseboat for a unique way of experiencing Australia’s greatest river, The Murray. Ancient red gum forests, spectacular floodplain wetlands, red ochre-coloured cliffs and meandering creeks are your surrounds.

Each night you can relax in your own double room, enjoy hot showers and take a soak in the top deck spa. You'll be treated after your daily walks with 3 courses of superb Riverland cuisine from a menu designed exclusively by a renowned native food chef. Savour local brews, Riverland wine and Riverland roasted coffee – heavenly!

• STAY THERE: Murray River Walk >

Stay in the world’s first geodesic hotel room | Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Patagonia EcoCamp

The award-winning EcoCamp Patagonia is situated in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and provides the region’s first fully sustainable accommodation, complete with green technology.

Modelled on the traditional Kawesqar hut of the native people, the campsite is a collection of striking, comfortable dome tents. It is perfectly immersed in the wilderness of Torres del Paine, with ceiling windows that allow you to look up at the starry night sky.

• STAY THERE: Torres del Paine Ecocamp >

Open your tent to endless Caribbean sea vistas | Belize

If you're looking for a tropical escape that beholds amazing wildlife and bird watching opportunities, look no further. Stay in a remote tropical marine park fifty-five miles off the shore of the Belize Mainland. Under a canopy of coconut trees, relax in a safari-style beach cabana with endless views of the Caribbean. You'll see why it's a designated World Heritage site.

Half Moon Base Camp backs onto the blue waters of Belize

The secluded and renowned Lighthouse Reef Atoll offers a stunning exploration of Belize's richest coral reefs. Dive in and snorkel the Barrier Reef depths and famous Blue Hole, take a paddle by kayak or try your hand at stand up paddleboarding.

You'll sleep in comfortable wall-tent cabanas with wooden floors, a wooden stand light with a kerosene lamp. The beach base camp consists of a central Pavillion, which acts as a social hub, and includes freshwater showers, modern compost toilets and propane-powered refrigeration.

• STAY THERE: Belize Jungle and Reef >

Wilderness camping | Mount Kenya

Cloudy scenery as we arrive at our Lake Ellis campsite |  <i>Heike Krumm</i>

Many would argue that Mount Kenya is the most visually stunning of Africa’s ice-capped peaks and more dramatic and interesting than the country’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. So when it comes to ‘sleeping out’, it doesn’t get much better than camping under the stars alongside Lake Michaelson, 4000 metres above sea level in Mount Kenya National Park.

Sit around the campfire under the starlit sky and hear the sounds of the African night – whether that is the call of a bush baby or the howl of a hyena – which enhance the whole experience of a wilderness escape.

Our seven-day ascent is an exhilarating trek with stunning alpine views, diverse wildlife and some of the most beautiful campsites in Africa.

• STAY THERE: Mount Kenya Ascent >

Trans Siberian train | Russia, Mongolia and China

Trans Siberian Train dining car mongolia |  <i>Kerren Knighton</i>

Few train journeys on earth conjure up such variety as the Trans Siberian; it has captured the imagination of travellers for decades with the entire rail journey taking 13 years and 4 months to build!

This superb 5000km journey through history traces the classic route from St Petersburg, home to the magnificent Hermitage, to Beijing where iconic attractions abound. Highlights along the way include the Gobi Desert, Lake Baikal in Siberia and the Mongolian Steppe.

Sleeping on the train in the four-berth sleeper compartment is an experience in itself. We also offer an option to upgrade to first-class in a two-berth privates sleeper for the entire journey.

Bring a good book, a chessboard and a bottle of vodka and you're sure to form some memorable friendships while watching the world go by.

• STAY THERE: Trans Siberian Rail Journey >

Trulli House | Puglia, Italy

The beehive shaped ‘Trulli' - ancient houses of Puglia

The distinctive Trullo houses of Italy’s Puglia region are scattered around the intriguing town of Alberobello. While the rooms are minimal they are furnished with the quaint countryside atmosphere and are well located in the heart of the Puglia region.

There are many theories behind the origin of their conical shape design and dry stonewall construction. One theory is that, due to the high taxation on property, the people of Puglia constructed them in this way so they could be quickly dismantled whenever tax inspectors were in the area.

Staying in these compact houses is a unique experience offered on cycling and walking holidays in Puglia with UTracks.

• STAY THERE: Walking in Puglia >

Everest Base Camp trek highlights: My unforgettable moments

It all starts so serenely; wandering along cobbled paths, gentling descending sloping stairs as we farewell Lukla and look eagerly ahead to what lies in the valleys and mountains in front of us.

A passing donkey thrust into the face of a fellow trekker in an act of karma as the universe reminds her to slow down breaks an air of anticipation. Our small group muffle our laughter.

Over the coming fortnight, we would all unknowingly forge the journey of a lifetime, each member of our team on a slightly different mission yet unified in our resolve: to see Mt Everest and her Base Camp with our very own eyes.

Comradeship

The camaraderie that grows from a journey shared is like no other. Different to that forged in the workplace, the sports team or the circle of childhood friends; we were all adventurers with a common goal and despite having no shared experiences, we were full of kindred spirits.

There are countless moments where the solace of a person who was a stranger a few days ago becomes so fitting in the context of having shared this unique experience.

Trekkers en route to Everest Base Camp |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

Perseverance

They say you must be tough to take on the Everest Base Camp trek, which is true in part, but more so because mental resolve is overwhelmingly the deciding factor in reaching the top. Going into this trek, I knew it would test me.

I’m a survivor of cancer and while I beat my illness over a decade ago I continue to negotiate the ongoing side effects, which I see more as a dare to challenge than an impediment or reason to retreat. This made the moment when I stood at Everest Base Camp all the sweeter.

Trekkers, Sally and Ben, in high spirits on the Himalayan trails |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

Achievement

I took in the crystal-clear view of the top of Mt Everest – which is rare during this time of year – as a big high five from Mother Nature to myself. The magnitude of the landscape surrounding Everest Base Camp, the formidable presence of the Khumbu icefall, and the dozen or so tents dotted amid the glacier were so much to take in.

To walk amid this wilderness for days upon end felt like a privilege, especially after the demand of the altitude and unforgiving weather systems. We were visitors in Earth’s freezer and she was only permitting us to stay for a short while.

The locals

Those who call the Himalayas their home have adapted to the harsh conditions.

Yaks, dzopkyo, donkeys and their herders are constantly passing us; bells gently ringing to alert us that they are here to bring more supplies that will sustain the villagers and help us and our fellow trekkers on our journeys.

Yak sighting at Everest Base Camp |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

School children cheerily zip down the paths at a pace much greater than our own and hotel managers wait until dark to light their fires. To them is it summer here, meanwhile we ate dinner with gloves on.

You know it’s been a good journey when you can make an entire photo album purely from livestock. The majestic calm of the yaks enchanted me; their elaborately decorated collars, their voluptuous hair, their delicate steps, and the lucky ones sporting red and white earrings.

Some would say they have more grace than those of us in our small group who hit the dirt often; of the hundreds of yaks I saw, none put a step wrong but of our nine travellers, it wasn't all gracefully sailing.

While it all sounds poetic and scenic, there was also much grunting, puffing, tears and we held off on the beers.

Camping with World Expeditions brought even more legitimacy to the journey as we refused to retreat from nature, choosing to immerse ourselves in the wilderness of the Himalayas wholly.

Morning views at our private Kyangjuma eco-campsite |  <i>Kelvin Law</i>

The Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar trek is not a journey that you can wake up and decide to take on next Tuesday – although we did meet a few exceptional nomads who were doing just that. (But even these souls met challenges, however a donated pair of fresh tweeds instantly solved a week-long crisis for them.)

This is the kind of trek that you minimise as much as you can upon approach and are astounded at the accomplishments within each moment, each hour, and each day. You have to really want it. And when you finish it, the feeling of accomplishment is awesome.

Words by Sally Dobromilsky

Feel inspired? Begin your fully supported journey to Everest Base Camp with World Expeditions, pioneering adventures in the Himalayas since 1975 >


Travel Better: Memorable Responsible Travel Moments

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of our pioneering Responsible Travel Guidebook, a document designed to educate travellers on how they could reduce their impact when travelling.  Since then, our commitment to minimal impact tourism has seen us introduce many more initiatives that have been embraced by our travelling community – check out the highlights below.

In a world that is so beautiful, we aim to bring you closer with nature and create meaningful experiences with local communities and their cultures responsibly. It is a world with endless natural wonders to explore; a place we call our home. But it is a world that is undoubtedly under threat from our impact.

Since our inaugural Himalayan trek in 1975, we have been leaders in Thoughtful Travel. From day one, our ethos was to get out of the bus and to reduce our impact by exploring the world under our own steam. For over four decades, we've been creating genuine and sustainable itineraries to help protect what is delicate and to leave a positive influence. It has been in the past 20 years, however – where 'green travel' has become mainstream – that our responsible travel initiatives have received the public support required to become a real success.

A particular highlight was receiving the Environmental Achievement Award for our ‘Responsible Travel Guidebook’ publication from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2001, which educated travellers to reduce their impact and has since evolved into our Thoughtful Traveller booklet. Almost 20 years on, we’ve continued to pioneer minimal impact travel ideas with our ‘BIG Adventures. Small Footprint’ travel ethos at the backbone of our itineraries which we consciously craft to respect and positively impact the well-being of the communities and ecosystems we visit.

But we could not have come this far without our thoughtful travellers who have supported us and helped collectively change the world for good. Not only do our travellers leave with an enriching and transformative adventure experience with us, they have helped champion positive changes so others can also appreciate and experience the beauty of the earth. So thank you!

Your support means we can continue to make lasting positive impacts so future generations can also experience the wilderness of the Franklin just as beautifully 40 years on; or to responsibly walk the Larapinta Trail in the footsteps of the Arrernte people, one of the longest continuing cultures on the planet.

From protecting wildlife and supporting renewable energy, to lending a philanthropic arm for our Lend A Hand Appeal – with over $38K raised so far for struggling travel industry workers, our travellers and supporters are all amazing! Learn more about our most memorable responsible travel achievements and commitments below.

Quick links: jump to an achievement
Offering carbon-neutral trips
Allowing travellers to invest in local communities and support cleaner energy at no extra cost
Distributed 485 emergency packages to stricken communities
Launching Community Project Travel in response to the 2004 Asian Tsunami
Allowing travellers to sleep greener at our eco-friendly campsites
Raised over $7 million for charities worldwide
Funding and supporting education projects in poor communities
Bringing tourism dollars to remote communities
Pioneering regenerative travel which aims at positive social and environmental impact
Became a founding member of the 10 Pieces Litter Collection
First company to develop a formalised animal welfare code of conduct
First company to stop offering orphanage tourism
Became founding supporters of the International Porter Protection Group
Hosted a Thoughtful Travel Q&A
Were the first charter member of the ‘Peace Through Tourism’ campaign
Completed over 400 Youth Service Learning Programs
An ongoing commitment to improve through the power of partnerships

Thoughtful Travel Highlights

Offering carbon-neutral trips

We have long been concerned about the impacts of global warming and the impacts tourism contributes to that. While travelling has unavoidable carbon emissions, we're continuing to take BIG steps to reduce our footprint and improve our operations at every level.

From November 2019, we began to offset 100% of the unavoidable carbon emission from our adventure travel holidays, so travellers can explore the world sustainably.

“Travellers can continue to travel, providing incredibly important revenues into nations where tourism is a vital part of the national GDP mix, and do it guilt-free. We also encourage travellers to carbon offset their flights using the airline programmes. It’s an important trajectory that we hope the entire industry will join in on.” – Sue Badyari, CEO of World Expeditions Travel Group

In the industry, we can continue to foster change for good while supporting jobs for those employed by tourism around the globe, and that is a win-win.

Allowing travellers to invest in local communities and support cleaner energy at no extra cost

The carbon credits purchased from South Pole to offset emissions from trips are absorbed by World Expeditions, not passed on to travellers. In turn, our travellers help the climate cause to transition from fossil fuel dependency to renewable energy and help to protect and regenerate forests that capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.

This means that for each active holiday our travellers book onto, they are directly supporting Positive Impact Projects in places such as Australia, Vietnam, China and Zimbabwe, which address the UN Sustainable Development Goals, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

You are supporting projects in Australia, Africa and Asia.

Distributed 485 emergency packages to stricken communities

Food and hygiene packages have been distributed to families in Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, India and Peru thanks to our 'Lend A Hand Appeal' supporters. Read more about the appeal and how you can donate today.

Porter families in Nepal receiving our 'Lend a Hand Appeal' food packages

Launching Community Project Travel in response to the 2004 Asian Tsunami

Our travellers across the globe with World Expeditions have been making tangible change in underprivileged communities that receive little to no government support and require assistance through our Community Project Travel trips.

The dedicated division first launched in 2005 in response to the devastating Asian Tsunami in 2004 and has been a continuing force for good. Working alongside volunteers from the host communities, travellers complete grass-roots construction projects that have been funded by the World Expeditions Foundation.

“It has become the portal for travellers to immerse in community project works that, while small scale, are measurable and leave a permanent benefit for the community once complete. As a profit for purpose division, we were able to deliver dozens of projects across the globe. This is a great pride for us, and a joy for the travellers that participated.” – Sue Badyari, CEO of World Expeditions Travel Group

Allowing travellers to sleep greener at our eco-friendly campsites

Our portfolio of adventure holidays have always had a light environmental footprint by designing trips that allow adventurers to travel under their own steam – on foot, by bike or kayaking or rafting, with low carbon accommodation preferred.

 

In Nepal, our exclusive campsites offer new levels of comfort during a trek whilst caring for the environment and local communities. It provides year-round employment and career opportunities for the Nepali people (a camping-based trek can employ 25% more local people than a teahouse or lodge-based trek) and ensures a significantly smaller environmental impact, as deforestation is a major ongoing concern in the Himalaya.

On our Larapinta trips in Australia, our three-time award-winning campsites continue to set the standard, incorporating new sustainable technologies including solar lighting systems and a hybrid grey water disposal system designed for the arid environment.

Facilities at our eco camps |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

Where campsites aren’t used, we use comfortable, locally-owned accommodation to support the local economy and are eco-friendly and which often encourage communities to preserve their traditions so travellers can enjoy their downtime and feel great about it.

World Expeditions' active itineraries are crafted to minimise road travel and to maximize our travellers own power to get them from point A to B.

Collectively raised over $7 million for charities worldwide

Since its inception, our dedicated charity brand, Huma Charity Challenge, developed programmes that allow our Charity Challenger participants to run, cycle, trek or climb their way around the world whilst raising much-needed funds for important causes. View various Charity Challenges you could take up >

The Conquer Kozi team at the summit of Mount Kosciuszko |  <i>Ayla Rowe</i>

Funding and supporting education projects in poor communities through our philanthropic arm, the World Expeditions Foundation

Founded in 2007, the World Expeditions Foundation aims to improve the standard of living in poor and indigenous communities, largely through education-oriented projects from donations raised.

It served Nepal very well after the earthquakes in 2015 where the generous flow of donations were able to relieve many people in the worst-hit regions with tin roofing, canvass and canopies as well as fuel and food to help them get through the earliest days of the disaster.

One of the charity’s major programmes is the Rebuild Nepal Projects, which continues to support the redevelopment of classrooms across remote mountain communities affected by those earthquakes.

“It took sheer perseverance to see through the establishment of the World Expeditions Foundation to become a full DGR entity. That is, those donating to the foundation could receive a tax-deductible receipt which is a major propellant to heightening donations to create greater positive impacts with the projects we are supporting.” – Sue Badyari, CEO of World Expeditions Travel Group

Bringing tourism dollars to remote communities who have limited access to income from other sources

Our unrivalled range of exploratory treks to remote destinations, like the Great Himalaya Trail, spread tourism dollars to local communities that benefit from travellers visiting.

Partnering with local operators and hiring local guides and leaders sees our traveller’s dollars investing in these local economies. It’s a fantastic way our travellers can give back to the communities they visit and better spread out the positive and negative impacts of tourism on the destination.

Local people of western Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Pioneering regenerative travel which aims at positive social and environmental impact

On top of our sustainable practices, we actively work to improve the destinations our travellers visit and essentially leave the place better than they found it. It’s about restoring and improving the health of the earth, not just maintaining it.

As pioneers of the Franklin River Rafting Expedition in Tasmania’s World Heritage wilderness since 1978, our responsible travel practices has allowed future generations to experience it just as beautifully 40 years down the track.

 

On the Larapinta Trail, as visitors on the sacred land, we work alongside the indigenous traditional owners and NT National Parks & Wildlife to allow clients to gain a deeper understanding of the need to conserve the Aboriginal cultures and respect their place and lifestyle in Australia. A partnership between the landscape and the campsites has been established to maintain respect for country, to enhance the sense of place and to provide a total environment experience of the Larapinta trek.

Our Larapinta eco campsites provide shelter to our walking groups through a series of minimal impact structures and each campsite's semi-permanent design allows the land to recover during the off-season.

Became a founding member of the 10 Pieces Litter Collection

Focusing on litter ‘hotspots’ on mountain trails, it is offered on treks in Nepal, Bhutan and Peru, as well as the Mount Rinjani and Mount Kilimanjaro summit treks. This litter minimisation initiative and education lobby, helps supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal of climate action, through traveller engagement.

As the only Australian tour operator of ‘10 Pieces’, this initiative encourages trekkers to pick up 10 pieces of litter each day. While ‘10’ may sound like a nominal number, it multiplies immensely through the collective power of a group of travellers.

First company to develop a formalised animal welfare code of conduct

Under the guidance of World Animal Protection, World Expeditions developed a 10-step ‘Animal Welfare in Tourism Code of Conduct’ on how to be an animal-friendly traveller and see wildlife in a responsible way that does not cause harm.

World Expeditions' animal welfare policy is an industry-leading step towards integrating animal welfare with broader responsible tourism

Nicola Beynon, World Animal Protection

Most recently, we removed the Eagle Hunting Festival from its Mongolian programme, as part of its drive to ensure all its trips adhere to the strictest standards of animal welfare.

First company to stop offering orphanage tourism to prevent the unnecessary institutionalisation of children in developing countries

All instances of orphanage tourism were removed from our itineraries in 2013, when research first revealed a direct link between the increase in the number of orphanages in developing nations and the increase in tourism numbers. Read more about Child Safe Tourism.

 

Became founding supporters of the International Porter Protection Group

Mountain porters are an integral part of each World Expeditions trekking or mountaineering adventure. We support the International Porter Protection Group, Porters' Progress UK and the International Mountain Explorers Connection and, to ensure safe working conditions, developed a dedicated ‘Porter Welfare Code of Conduct’ for the porters it employs in Nepal, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Kenya and Tanzania.

 

Hosted a Thoughtful Travel Q&A

The Q&A in March 2018 provided quality information and guidance on best sustainable travel practices and to inspire attendees to become stewards for travelling sustainably and responsibly. The live-streamed event featured expert panellists who discussed important responsible travel topics including ethical voluntourism, working conditions for porters in Nepal, voluntourism and why travellers should think twice before visiting an orphanage overseas. You can watch the discussion in the below video.

Were the first charter member of the ‘Peace Through Tourism’ campaign

It aims to create awareness that the privilege of travelling provides a unique opportunity to learn more about Earth, the wonder of its natural beauty, and its many diverse peoples, cultures and heritage while fostering mutual respect, understanding and appreciation with each person we encounter in the process.

From animal welfare to child safe tourism, World Expeditions has always adopted and adhered to responsible and sustainable travel practices

Successfully completed over 400 Youth Service Learning Programs, which tie in projects that aid communities and natural environments

Through our youth brand, World Youth Adventures, we have committed to instilling service values in students and young travellers by providing Service Learning Programs guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals for schools across the globe – from renovating schools to assisting the upkeep of wildlife sanctuaries. Find out more >

Painting at a community project in Nepal |  <i>Greg Pike</i>

An ongoing commitment to improve through the power of partnerships

We continually collaborate and seek guidance from a range of expert organisations, including World Animal Protection, ReThink Orphanages, 10 Pieces, South Pole Group, Leave No Trace, World Peace Tours and the International Porter Protection Group. This ensures that our travel philosophy and in-field operations reflect up-to-date sustainable practices.

As said by American novelist, poet, environmental activist and farmer, Wendell Barry: “The earth is what we all have in common.”

Together, we can foster change and instil greener and smarter travel behaviours to protect our planet's most vulnerable destinations and transform tourism's impact on nature and communities.

Let’s continue to do our part to leave a positive impact and use thoughtful travel to not only see the world, but to make it a better home.

Published 1 December 2020.

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<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/SHX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Sherpa Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Sherpa Expeditions</div>
Sherpa Expeditions is a specialist in self guided and guided walking and cycling holidays in the United Kingdom and Europe. Detailed route notes provide a definite guide to places in Europe for active walkers and cyclists.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Youth Adventures"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Youth Adventures</div>
World Youth Adventures is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.