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Peter

Peter

Australia

Oct142010

Travel Recommendation

Royal National Park

Sydney

My Recommendation Tip

Just south of Sydney lies the world's second oldest national park - Royal National Park. It's here that you'll find some stunning coastal scenery. For those who like their walking, the 26km coastal walk reveals rocky outcrops, secluded sandy beaches and the odd waterfall . But don't be put off if you haven't the time, or the stamina, to do the walk. It's a pleasant drive through the park and there are places, such as Watamalla, where you can take in the scenery. There are plenty of other places to take in the diverse terrain too, from the northern most point at Jibbon Head with its views of Port Hacking to the southern most Stanwell Tops, which is a favourite for hand gliders.

My Photos

  • Royal National Park
  • Royal National Park fauna
  • Royal National Park
  • Royal National Park

Oct142010

Travel Recommendation

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Turkey

My Recommendation Tip

Cappadocia is one of those places you're unlikely to ever forget. The countryside is dotted with pinnacles (that look like castle turrets or giant mushrooms) that have a soft rock on the inside, and hard rock on the outside. They have been used as homes and churches through the centuries, and some are now becoming hotels. What makes it even more unforgettable is seeing it from a hot air balloon. They say that Cappadocia is one of the best places to take a balloon tour as the air currents through the valleys allow the pilots, with plenty of skill, to skim along the contours of the countryside to the point where they come close enough to pluck an apple from a tree! The balloon tours are expensive, but it is one of those must-do experiences (I'm really glad my wife talked me into it!)

My Photos

  • Balloons everywhere
  • Balloons in the morning light
  • That was close!
  • Hot air balloons in Cappadocia
  • Up, up and away!
  • Look out for the bump!

Oct142010

Travel Recommendation

Ankara Suggested Itineraries

Ankara

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Ataturk's Mausoleum is monumental, and is obvious that the country revered him. The museum hidden under the plaza highlights all his achievements, from creating the Turkish alphabet, his push to modernise the country, to the role he played at Gallipoli in World War I. For an Australian, it's interesting to hear the other side of the story!

My Photos

  • Ataturk's Mausoleum
  • Ataturk's Mausoleum

Oct142010

Attraction

Ephesus (Efeze)

Izmir

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
The ruins become very busy as the tour groups from the cruise ships make their way to Ephesus. But its the crowds that also helped me to imagine what Ephesus would have been like back in its hey day, particularly as I walked down the cobblestones past the agora.

My Photos

  • The Library of Celsus
  • The Library of Celsus
  • Ephesus ruins
  • The crowds at Ephesus

Oct132010

Travel Recommendation

Things to do on Santorini

Greece

My Recommendation Tip

Santorini isn't just about watching the cruise ships dock and winding your way around the souvenir shops in Fira. You can take a tour out to the island in the centre of the caldera, Nea Kameni by boat. It's here where you realise that living on Santorini has been pretty precarious. The islands are basically sitting on top of a volanco, and it's on the centre island where you can see the suplhur fumes escape from a landscape that doesn't seem to have any vegetation. Another short boat stop away are the hot springs, but when mixed with the cool Agean Sea they are tepid at best! While you're in the mood for learning about Santorini, check out the museum of Prehistoric Thera in Santorini. It shows how the island's ancient inhabitants lived all those thousands of years ago before volanic earthquakes made it a harder place to live!

My Photos

  • Santorini cruise
  • Ancient Thera relic
  • Volcanic crater on Nea Kameni

Oct132010

Attraction

Parthenon

Athens

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
As you walk through the Propylaea and get your first glimpse of the Parthenon you can't help but be in awe. The notion that such a large temple was built over 2000 years ago is mind boggling. Visiting the Acropolis Archeological Museum nearby is a must, as it gives a greater picture of how the Parthenon would have looked all those years ago, and what it has since been through!

My Photos

  • The Parthenon
  • The Parthenon

Oct132010

Attraction

Santorini

Athens

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
WE had a great time strolling the streets of Fira and looking out across the caldera. The amazing thing is that Santorini is perched on the rim of a volcano, and we took a tour to the island in the centre with its hot (or perhaps tepid) springs and the sulphur gases rising out of the moonscape.

My Photos

  • Not a bad spot for dinner!
  • Action on the Agean
  • A typical Santorini building
  • The view from Fira

Oct132010

Attraction

Hierapolis

Izmir

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
You feel like you get a two-for-one deal at Hierapolis. Not only do you get to see Roman ruins (without the Ephesus sized crowds), but you also get to see the dazzling white natural cascades of carbonate minerals built up over centuries from the natural spring.

My Photos

  • Pamukkale
  • Pamukkale
  • Pamukkale
  • Hierapolis

Oct132010

Attraction

Yerebatan Sarayi (Basilica Cistern)

Istanbul

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Have a look at the columns in the Basilica Cistern ... there are very few that match. Apparently the Romans recycled columns from elsewhere in the country when they built the cistern. The cistern is a cool place to go to escape the Istanbul summer heat, and the fish seem to like it too!

My Photos

  • Basilica Cistern

Oct132010

Attraction

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

Istanbul

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Hagia Sophia is one of those places in which you can't help but be in awe. It is easy to see why Byzantine Emperor Justinian all those centuries ago was blown away when he saw the interior of the church/mosque/museum. Just the size and space of the building is overwhelming. My tip is to get there as soon as it opens to try to beat the tours from the cruise ships.

My Photos

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Hagia Sophia

Oct102010

Travel Recommendation

Sunset watching in Santorini

Greece

My Recommendation Tip

Santorini must be one of the best places to watch the sun set. We watched the sun set from two places. We watched it turn a brilliant orange as it set behind the island of Thirassia and the lights from the cruise ships slowly lit from the top of the caldera in Fira, and while on a tour from a boat moored off the town of Oia.

My Photos

  • Sunset from the boat
  • Dusk in Santorini
  • Sunset over Santorini

Sep092010

Attraction

Blue Mountains

Sydney

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
The Three Sisters and the Jameson Valley are spectacular, but it's also worth going past Katoomba and onto Blackheath. From there you can get to a couple of lookouts with views of the Grose Valley and the Bridal Falls. The valley almost looks prehistoric!

My Photos

  • The Three Sisters
  • Grose Valley, Blue Mountains
  • Bridal Veil Falls
  • Bridal Veil Falls
  • Pulpit Rock, Grose Valley

Sep082010

Attraction

Galata Tower

Istanbul

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Walking around the top of the Galata Tower is a great way to get your bearings in Istanbul. The 360 degree views helped me to figure out how the city with its Golden Horn, Bosphorous River and mosques are pieced together. Some say you can get the same picture more cheaply by going to a rooftop bar, but no bar would have the same height as the tower.

My Photos

  • Galata Tower
  • Galata Tower

Sep082010

Travel Recommendation

Port Stephens from Sydney

New South Wales

My Recommendation Tip

To get away from the crowds on Sydney's Bondi Beach head north to the picturesque Port Stephens. It's about a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney but the view from the top of Mt Tomaree along the coast with its fingers of sandy beaches and offshore rocky islands is worth it! And I even saw a pod of dolphins!

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