• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Spectacular Polar bear sighting at Seal River Heritage Lodge

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Dennis Fast and Churchill Wild

Picture courtesy of Dennis Fast and Churchill Wild

We have just received news from the above Lodge that this year’s numbers of Polar Bears around the Lodge are the best they have ever known.  The best day they have had was 21 bears sighted between the Lodge and their whale swim point.  The ice pack, which was still visible a week ago, has now dispersed pushing the bears back on to the coastline.

Additionally all the bears are looking fit and healthy making for very special photo opportunities – especially when you have an expert on hand to help with how to make the most of your chances.

Picture courtesy of Dennis Fast and Churchill Wild

Picture courtesy of Dennis Fast and Churchill Wild

 

Picture courtesy of Bill Lyne and Churchill Wild

Picture courtesy of Bill Lyne and Churchill Wild

 The other news from the lodge is that the Beluga whales are back in huge numbers as well.  Imagine jumping off the back of the Zodiac in a wet suit and snorkel and listening to the whales singing to you.  They even seem to answer your own attempts of singing to them!

As this a very special destination and places are limited you need to be getting in touch with us now to ensure you are there for next year’s spectacular.

For more information on the lodge or to make this part of your own bespoke, tailor made holiday please call us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Picture courtesy of Ian Johnson and Churchill Wild

Picture courtesy of Ian Johnson and Churchill Wild

Australia’s Top Shipwreck Dives of all Time

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Tourism Australia recently sent us their newsletter and we thought this was a great blog to share.  Queensland may be home to the Great Barrier Reef, but it’s also home to some of Australia’s most interesting diving sites based around some of the greatest shipwrecks in history from warships to trawlers. Read on to find out the must dives of Australia:-

 

 1.  SS Yongala

Considered one of the world’s top dive sites, the SS Yongala shipwreck is situated 12 nautical miles off Alva Beach near Ayr. This ship sank in 1911, but it was more than half a century before she was discovered. You’ll find giant groupers and schools of trevally and cobia here, as well as sea snakes and turtles.

2.  Tangalooma Wrecks

Situated within swimming distance off Brisbane’s MoretonIsland are the rusty wrecks of 15 ships that were deliberately sunk to create a break wall for small boats, as well as provide the perfect spot for divers and snorkellers. You’ll find wobbegongs, trevally, kingfish yellowtail and tropical fish at the Tangalooma Wrecks which have been here since 1963.

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

 

3.  HMAS Brisbane

Despite its name, the HMAS Brisbane is not situated off the Queensland capital, but on the SunshineCoast between Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. Operating between 1967 and 2001, this former warship was sunk in 2005 and now provides the ideal artificial reef for divers with a huge array of sea life to discover in and around the wreck.

4.  The Lady Bowen

This elegant old lady was built in Glasgow in 1864 and arrived in Australia four months later, but met her fate when she crashed into Kennedy Shoal near DunkIsland in 1894. These days, The Lady Bowen is home to giant groupers, sea snakes, sharks, rays, lionfish and turtles at this dive site.

5.  St   Paul

Divers consider this wreck off MoretonIsland as one of the most challenging, as it sits in an exposed area of sea with no decompression diving. But this wreck carries a tragic history worth exploring. Eighteen people died when it mysteriously hit Smiths Rock back in 1914, during good sailing conditions.

6.  RMS Quetta

Considered one of Australia’s greatest marine tragedies, 133 people died when the RMS Quetta sank in 1899, after striking a coral mount near the Adolphus Channel in the Torres   StraitIslands. Cod, trout, angel fish and barracuda are common here.

The AllSoulsQuettaMemorialChurch on Thursday Island was built in memory of the ship.

7.  Severance

For divers looking for a more intact site, head to LadyElliottIsland in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Just offshore here, you can explore the remnants of the Severance, a two-masted sailing boat that sunk in 1998. So new is this wreck, remnants of the sails can be seen, and you’ll likely encounter a moray eel here.

8.  The Cremer

Situated just 10 metres offshore from KeswickIsland, off Mackay, The Cremer is considered a perfect dive, thanks to its shelter from wind and current. This large steamship sank in 1945 and is now home to giant Maori wrasse fish.

9.  The Singapore

Another treasure of the warm water off of KeswickIsland is The Singapore, which sunk in the late 1800s after striking a large rock just offshore. Considered a more challenging dive than The Cremer, it sits in some 25 metres of water and is home to pelagic fish, sharks and rays.

10. The Llewellyn

Closer to Mackay, you’ll find the wreck of the Llewellyn, which is ideal for novice divers. This coastal steamer mysteriously disappeared in heavy winds in 1919 between Rockhampton and Bowen and was only located in 1997.

11. Cetacea

Off the Southern Great Barrier Reef coastline of Seventeen Seventy you’ll find the remnants of the Cetacea, a 13-metre trawler which sank in 1992. This lady of the ocean sits 32 metres underwater on a sandy bottom, attracting a variety of marine life such as rays, grouper, tuna and trevally.

12. Barcoola

Also around the same area as the Cetacea lays the wreckage of the Barcoola, sunk in 1994. Some believe this is the stand-out dive – she’s in 41 metres of water and home to groupers, cod, kingfish and giant cobia. There are often large rays, bull sharks, and bronze whalers here, too.

13.  Karma

The trawler met her karma in 2003 and now sits upright in 26 metres of water, again off the Southern Great Barrier Reef coastline. This is considered an accessible dive for both open water and advanced divers, and is home to thousands of fish and other marine life.

 

If you would like to find out more or incorporate one or more of these dives into your own bespoke, tailor made holiday then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

 

 

The Great Barrier Reef – The ‘Great Eight’

Posted on:
Posted by:

Amanda Skingle

 

Picture Credit Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort

Picture Credit Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort

Africa has the ‘Big Five’…The Great Barrier Reef has the ‘Great Eight’

Here you will find eight iconic residents of this fantastic underwater eco-system which until you have seen them all, really means you haven’t seen the Great Barrier Reef at all.

Whales, Manta Rays, Clown Fish, Turtles, Potato Cod, Giant Clams, Maori Wrasse and of course Sharks.

The largest coral reef system in the world is their home. Some might migrate here, some might travel along its length and some stay in exactly the same place all of their lives.

They range in size from 18cms long right up to 18 metres long and are the ‘heroes’ of the reef.

To put it in perspective how wonderful diving the reef is you can spend about an hour in the water on an average snorkel or dive. That dive site changes with the tides, during daytime and night and throughout the seasons so what you see in one half of the day can be totally different in the other.

You could visit exactly the same site every day for a year and always see different things there….so if you think you’ve seen ALL OF the Great Barrier Reef…think again.

So, if you would love to dive off into another world to find the reefs great eight then let us help you make it part of your very own bespoke, tailor made holiday to Australia all you have to do is contact us on 01323 446550 email info@experienceholidays.co.uk or click on the contact us link on our home page.

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland


Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

Cruise to Papua New Guinea and learn to take underwater photos

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

When planning your bespoke trip to Australia make sure you talk to us about your time in Perth. There is so much to do here with the Daintree Forest, Great Barrier Reef and Tablelands to explore. You should ensure you give yourself plenty of time to see all that this part of Australia has to offer. It is a holiday destination in its own right.

For those that want to make even more of their time here and to explore even further afield then the following could be added to your tailor made holiday. Join a 6 day adventure with North Star Cruises to Papua New Guinea.

Picture courtesy of True North

Picture courtesy of True North

You will fly from Cairns (flight costs included) to Alotau to join your North Star vessel and sail in to the South China Strait. Over the next few days you will explore the Louisiade Archipelago, one of the great island arcs of the South Pacific, nearly 400kms of islands and barrier reefs along the northern edge of the Coral Sea. You will meet the seafaring Dobu people and have the best diving, snorkelling and fishing to be found in Papua New Guinea.

Snorkel over the Japanese Zero wreck at Deboyne Island, swim with manta rays at Losai Island and drift snorkel with huge trevally fish at Nivani Pass. You will have the chance to explore the little islands and to meet the locals and enjoy amazing meals on shore and on board. Take to the air in the helicopter to fly over the Calvados Barrier Reef and again over Misima Island for stunning views of emerald green islands in a deep blue tropical sea.

Finally, on some of the cruises an award winning underwater photographer will be on board to give you tips and guidance on how to make your underwater photos the envy of friends.

Call us to ensure Perth and Papua New Guinea are part of your bespoke, tailor made Australian holiday on 01323 446550 or email: info@expereinceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of True North

Picture courtesy of True North

A Mixture of African Experiences

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Here is a suggested itinerary that can be adjusted to meet your requirements:

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 Day 1  Arrive in Johannesburg and pick up your hire car. Depending on the flight that you have taken either spend one night in the city or drive to the Kruger National Park. Here you will have three nights in a lodge in a Concession within the Park which ensures that you have the best of game viewing. Kruger remains one of Africa’s prime game watching places and being in a Concession will allow you to join night drives or walking safaris. You should have plenty of wildlife encounters and your guides have an extensive knowledge of the area and amazing eyesight for spotting animals.

Day 4  Head south and into Swaziland for an overnight stop. Take the opportunity to learn about this mountain kingdom and its culture. The cooler air is very welcome as are the people who you will meet.

Day 5  Today has you back in South Africa in KwaZulu Natal and your destination is Isimangaliso Wetland Park and a two night stay in a forest lodge deep in the park. Here you have the chance of kayaking or boating on the lake and looking for the myriad number of birds, hippo and other game that live here. There is a chance to track turtle at the right time of the year.

Day 7  Transfer to the coast and time to enjoy the miles of pristine sands and the Indian Ocean. This location offers South Africa’s best snorkelling and some great diving sites. The other option is enjoy the sea and remote location.

Day 9  Leaving the coast and wetlands behind you have a short drive to Hluhluwei Mfolozi Park for a two night stay in the Park – the only lodge within the Park. All of the big 5 are here and you can also add in whale and dolphin watching in the season.

Day 11  Your next destination is set with the Battlefields and Zulu culture very much in mind. Take a tour of the main Zulu War battle sites and then add in a dinner in a Zulu village to learn about their culture and watch their dances.

Day 13  Drive down to Durban or back to Johannesburg for your flight back to the UK.

This gives you a real flavour of South Africa and can easily be adjusted to meet your interests, time constraints and budget.

And the Pound is currently strong against Rand making Southern Africa a great destination.

So to plan your bespoke tailor made holiday please give us a call or drop us an email – Tel 01323 446550 or Email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Kenya – the home of the safari and still one of the best places for wildlife viewing

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

It was good news at the end of last week when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office revised its views on travel to Kenya. Apart from those regions abutting the border with Somalia, the rest of the country is considered safe for travellers.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Being one of the first to take advantage of this news could ensure you have a wonderful safari in iconic African surroundings, finishing with time on one of the world’s best beaches and all at very reasonable prices. Provided you do not want to go in school holidays or when the wildebeest migration is in the Masai Mara then you could very well be going for a 4 night safari followed by 5 nights on the beach and including your flights for under £2,500 per person.

IMG_9075

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Nor are we talking about large hotels and crowded minibuses. We are thinking of small tented camps in some of the best locations in Kenya. Because you will be in a Conservation area or Game reserve that exists alongside the National Parks, you will have a feeling of safaris as it was when it all started. Then there is time to relax on a stunning silver beach and the warm Indian Ocean to swim in. Relax, snorkel, dive or deep sea fish – it is all up to you.

Direct flying time is just over 8 hours and usually overnight allowing you to start your safari soon after you arrive.

Act soon and contact us on: Tel: 01323 446550 or Email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

IMG_9216

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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