Posts Tagged ‘Oceania’

Top 10 Ultimate Escapes in Australia
Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The following is a sponsored destination post brought to you by Flight Centre Australia.

Australia is a country with a rich landscape and many natural wonders. Home to some of the world’s most famous monuments and cities, Australia is perfect for escaping the daily grind of repetitive work days and routine. You will fall in love with the beauty Australia has to offer, and you will go back home wanting to come back before you even set foot on your door step. Australia is a country with much diversity, from the slow relaxed atmosphere of Queensland to the hustle and bustle of New South Wales. Not to say places like Sydney’s Bondi Beach aren’t as relaxing as some of the best Queensland has to offer – each state is unique in itself in this amazing country many call home – Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef

Of course The Great Barrier Reef is one of the top places to go on an Australian holiday. As one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is home to millions of species of fish, marine mammals and coral. Vibrant and full of life, the Reef is a must see for anyone. Composed of over 2,900 individual reefs, it’s impossible to see it all. One day spent here will be enough for lifelong memories.

Kangaroo Island

Situated 70 miles southwest of Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is a historical and natural wonder. Filled with beautiful shorelines and forested land, this island will amaze your family from the moment you step off the ferry transport. From sea lions to sand dunes, you will have a blast exploring everything Kangaroo Island has to offer.

Sydney Harbour

This harbour is as massive as it is beautiful. Fireworks are often lit from the harbour, making it a great spot for viewing. The ships coming in and out of the area are also a spectacle to see.


This massive island is an excellent place to take your family for learning about history. It is also the natural home of Tasmanian devils. Though they are nocturnal, you can sometimes catch them lounging in the sun.

Great Ocean Road

Australian holidays wouldn’t be complete without a trip down Great Ocean Road. It borders the sea, making it a perfect road for sightseeing Australia’s beautiful coast.

Kakadu National Park

This national park is a must see. Here you will find a rich melting pot of natural life. The photo opportunities are worth the trip alone.


The fourth largest city in Australia is home to a sprawling metropolitan area. Perth is great for families because there is so much to do here. You can visit museums or spend your days at the beach. If you are planning Australian holidays, then Perth is a must.

Port Douglas

This tropical beach-side city is perfect for surfing, kite surfing and parasailing. If you are looking for a tropical getaway, Port Douglas is a superb choice.

Red Centre

You wouldn’t spend much time in Red Centre, but if you are adventurous it is worth touching foot into. Being able to say you have been to the Australian Outback is definitely great for bragging rights. The desert here is brutal, so come prepared.


Uluru is a World Heritage Site, and it is essentially a massive rock in the middle of the desert. It draws in thousands of curious tourists each year, and it is a spot of mystery. It is a scared spot to the Anangu aboriginal people. When visiting here, be sure to stay for sunrise and sunset. The colors of the rock and landscape are truly a once in a lifetime sight.

Whether you want to lie on a beach for 2 weeks or explore unchartered terrain Australia is a country which truly has it all. Escape from what you are doing right now and make a life changing decision to visit God’s country and see why so many people have migrated to this amazing diamond in the rough.

On the Road: Writer’s Retreat
Monday, September 26th, 2011

Let’s ignore the fact that you’ll never work again. Skip over the part where you die alone and penniless on a twice-flipped mattress in some dockside flophouse. Such fates are inevitable if you walk away from your job. Accept it. Move on.

I know that’s slightly unfair to say, because I did exactly what you’re thinking of doing, and yet here I sit with all my original teeth and a perfectly pleasant relationship with my creditors. Still, it’s what folks told me, so I’m riling up your muse with an equal punch of pessimism.

That’s right. In 2007, against all warnings, I traded my desk job in Manhattan for the wilds of New Zealand. The plan was to wander a bit, to clear my head so that I may pursue a dream: Writing full time. It was a gamble, but for some reason that didn’t worry me. I knew that when I was checked into hereafter and they asked me, “did it all work out?” I could at least shrug my shoulders and say, “I gave it a shot.”

Of course, giving it a shot can mean different things to different people. Here’s what it meant for me:

Actually writing

At first, I pledged to take time off from pounding the keys. I thought traveling was about unencumbered reflection. I quickly discovered it was also about sitting around, about dead hours in the mornings and evenings, bad weather keeping me hostel-bound in comfy chairs next to fireplaces. There was ample time and inspiration to write. In my office monkey days, staring at a computer was the last thing I wanted to do with my free time. In New Zealand, after a day of driving or exploring, sitting down with a laptop was as welcome as cracking a beer. And since wi-fi was, more often than not, purchased by the minute, I didn’t have the funds to be distracted by the latest videos of slow lorises.

Junking things

I did a lot of tramping (learn the local lingo, gang). At one point, I tossed my ragged boots into a rubbish bin (see that?). They had reached their expiration date, but it was also a symbolic gesture. I was saying goodbye to some old writing as well. I had written my first novel three years prior and had tried, unsuccessfully, to find representation for it. If I had stayed home, I might still be tinkering with the thing. Sure, it had gotten me somewhere as a writer, but it was a muddy manuscript, full of un-patchable holes (and footwear metaphors). Junking jobs and boots granted me the courage to junk that first novel and concentrate on something new.

Disabusing myself

I was a traveler, but it didn’t mean I was a travel writer. Many fall into the trap of thinking, “I must be the first son-of-a-gun to backpack across New Zealand—I jot it all down, I’ll be the next Paul Theroux.” Even if travel writing was a vibrant market (it wasn’t and it isn’t), it didn’t mean I had the skills to pen a bestseller. I had to accept this early. Traveling isn’t a writing skill. My abilities were more suited to children’s fiction, so that’s what I concentrated on. I saved the observations and anecdotes for my journal.

Networking out of network

I met two types of people on the road: those taking a break from life and…Germans. Lots of Germans. Many were fresh out of school, but some had well-established careers back home. None could recommend an agent or introduce me to a publisher. That didn’t matter. These connections were more important as confirmations that I wasn’t some foolhardy dreamer or, if I was, that there were plenty of others like me. We sat around at night talking about the crazy things we’d do upon our return to the “real world.” One woman planned to open a cupcake shop. There was a guy determined to swap banking for bicycle repair. The Germans, contrary to their grim reputations, were the freest of spirits, with many simply declaring “I am going to continue traveling,” in thick Bavarian accents.


Publishing is a slow business. Even on the Internet. Would you be surprised to learn that I’m writing this article in January 2008? (And using the cash to apply for my third adjustable rate mortgage!) When I left on my break, I had some pieces on submission and queries out with agents. Normally, that would lead to weeks of refreshing the Inbox every 15 seconds. Hard to do when you’re challenging some Dane to a scree-surfing race down a volcano. The rejections came slowly, but they came with little notice. When I’d returned to the U.S., it was like I’d hopped over all that anxiety and into the future. Sure, I was unemployed, with nothing floating out there. But I was unburdened. I had the beginnings of a novel, a nothing-to-lose attitude and the confidence that a clean slate can be a good thing. With nary a flophouse in sight, I’m still confident it can.

Aaron Starmer wrote much of DWEEB (Random House, 2009) in backpacker lodges.

His latest, The Only Ones (Random House, 2011), was written in his new office—a desk in his living room next to pictures of Tahiti, Kenya and, naturally, New Zealand.

Visit him at

Photo Friday: Routeburn Track
Friday, July 29th, 2011

Routeburn Track

This Photo Friday from the Routeburn Track in New Zealand was shared by Dena Hughes on our Facebook Fan Page.

During her career break, Dena spent part of the time trekking the Grand Transverse in New Zealand, which includes the Routeburn Track. She shares “Emerging from the trees on our Routeburn descent, the valley opened to reveal her majestic beauty. Simply stunning. What better reward for taking a little time off to see the world?”

We think it’s definitely worth it. Where has your travel reward been?

Want to see you photo here? Check out our easy submission policy!

On the Road with Kailey Lockhart
Monday, March 14th, 2011

Basic Training member Kailey Lockhart had been dreaming of traveling the world ever since she was a child.

“I feel like extended world travel has been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. My parents used to say that when they asked me what I wanted to be when I get older, I would always say ‘I want to travel the world.’”

Kailey Lockhart

For three years she had been mentally planning for her round the world adventures, which finally began in December 2011. “Before I left, I looked into my heart and I asked myself what I really wanted from this trip. I didn’t even ask myself why, I just wrote down some of the things that I felt were me.”


Life on the Road: Bert & Patty
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

[singlepic=1579,250,,,right]It has been three months since the three couples from our Career Breaker Round-Up have hit the road, so we thought it would be fun to check in and see how they have been adjusting to life on the road! The fun part is that all three took off in completely different directions, so they’ll have very different cultural experiences to share as well.

We’re checking in next with Christine and Paul of Bert & Patty, who started their travels by getting married in the Cook Islands! They have just started exploring Australia after spending that past couple of months in New Zealand.

What has been the most difficult thing to adjust to on the road?

There are so many things to adjust to while traveling for an extended period of time. For us, the most difficult thing has been having to continually carry around our food, and creative menu planning. While we were traveling in the US, we had a rental car and could keep a cooler in the car and transfer our groceries to the refrigerators once in a hostel. That was really convenient. Now that we’re traveling by the Stray Bus, we have two bags of groceries that we carry with us. One bag is for food that needs to be kept cold (milk, etc), and one for food that can be kept at room temperature (apples, oatmeal, etc).

When we were at home, like most people, we would shop for 3-4 weeks worth of groceries at a time. On the road, we aren’t getting that wonderful Costco buy-in-bulk discount. We can only shop for 2-3 days of groceries since we only have two bags for storage. We’re eating a lot of the same staple foods as well: muesli and oatmeal for breakfast – rice and pasta dishes for dinner – Leftover rice and pasta dishes for lunch the following day. It can get very monotonous.


New Zealand: Overview Video
Monday, December 8th, 2008

Following Australia, Michael and I traveled to New Zealand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is a video overview of our experience.

Text Version: Next stop – New Zealand. Known as the capital of adventure tourism, there is no shortage of activities to fill the days. And with 30% of the country designated as national parks or reserves, it is renowned for its walking trails.


New Zealand: Christchurch
Monday, December 8th, 2008

Michael and I traveled to New Zealand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is an excerpt from our travel blog.

We were excited to see New Zealand before we even landed. From the sky we could see the crystal blue waters, the glistening white mountaintops, and the vast green pastures of the beautiful South Island. We were ready to get going.

New Zealand is much smaller and easier to travel around than Australia, so we decided to higher a car so we could take our time exploring the South Island. New Zealand is so small in populace (4 million people) that even their cities have a small town feel to them. We arrived in Christchurch late afternoon, so after finding a place to stay, our next task was to find some food and wander the quiet streets.


New Zealand: Kaikoura
Monday, December 8th, 2008

Michael and I traveled to New Zealand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is an excerpt from our travel blog.

New Zealand is a mecca of outdoor activities and Kaikoura would be our first experience with it.  We arrived on a cloudy afternoon into this small coastal town, known for their whale watching tours and opportunities to swim with the dolphins.  But we opted to explore the peninsula by foot.  And the site of clear blue skies the following morning offering pristine views of the rising foothills was a great start.

We headed to the beginning of the peninsula to have a look at the local seal colony before heading up and around the top.  For miles all you could see were views of the water and pasturelands, which we were walking through.  At points we had to wait for the local “cow-wow” to end their meeting at one of the steps that take you up and over to the next field before proceeding.


New Zealand: Renwick
Monday, December 8th, 2008

Michael and I traveled to New Zealand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is an excerpt from our travel blog.

The beautiful blue skies followed us up the coast as we made our way to the small town of Renwick. Many people who travel to the Marlborough wine country will base their wine tours out of the much larger town of Blenheim. But as Renwick literally sits in the center of the wineries, we thought it was much better suited for our needs.

There aren’t as many options for accommodation in Renwick but by far the most popular choice is Watson’s Way Backpackers. They offer a variety of sleeping options – from campsites and campervan parking to dormitory style rooms and private en suites. They also have a large kitchen and grill as well as picnic areas and a wraparound porch.


New Zealand: Marlborough Sounds
Monday, December 8th, 2008

Michael and I traveled to New Zealand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is an excerpt from our travel blog.

[singlepic=362,200,,,right]We had a few days before we needed to make our way to the Nelson area for our Abel Tasman experience, so we decided to explore the Queen Charlotte Sound located in the Marlborough Sounds. This area offers access to the North Island via ferries from Picton to Wellington. And it also offers some beautiful hikes and kayaking.

The Queen Charlotte Track stretches 71km (44 miles) and passes through coastal forest and pastures. Along the way are various campsites and lodges, many only accessible by ferry or foot. If you are doing the entire track, or even multi-day hikes, you can even send your gear ahead to your next lodging via water taxi.


Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go