Ultimate Tasmania Itinerary: 10 Days In Tasmania

Ultimate Tasmania Itinerary: 10 Days In Tasmania

Tasmania, Australia used to be the butt of many Aussie jokes. But it's not quite like that anymore. As people everywhere are learning about the magnificence of this island state, it is blossoming into a tourism, foodie and outdoor adventure mecca. With remote wilderness landscapes, expansive surf beaches, an emerging café scene, and regular music and arts festivals, now is the time to visit Australia's island state (before the secret's well and truly out about Tasmanian holidays).

 

As a Tasmanian myself, I often hear people saying "I have always wanted to go to Tasmania, but never had the chance", or "one day I'll go to Tasmania". It might be the southern-most point in Australia and the edge of the world, but with incredibly cheap and quick flights from the mainland there is no excuse any more. Only 1 hour and $50-$100 by plane from Melbourne and you are transported to another world. A world of tranquility, the freshest air, and the most exciting adventures.

 

You can be forgiven for wondering "what would a Tasmanian holiday actually look like?" Well, here is a Tasmania itinerary I prepared earlier. Jam packed full of the best this beautiful state has to offer.

 


READ MORE: 40 BEST Ways To Spend Your Summer In Tassie


Tasmania Itinerary

A subterranean walkway at MONA (photo from Sahra via Flickr)

 

Day 1: Hobart


So you've arrived in Hobart. Welcome to Tasmania's exquisite capital city -- the perfect place to start your journey!

 

After sorting out a rental car (trust me, in Tassie you'll need one) and checking into your accommodation it's time to hit MONA. MONA is the Museum of Old and New Art and it has been getting some serious attention recently. This museum is guaranteed to make an impression with the attention-grabbing art. You can even see an artificial poo machine... now that's something you don't see that every day.

 

A walk around Sullivan's Cove and the wharf is a great way to spend a pleasant evening in Hobart. This area extends into Salamanca so there are plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you occupied. Make sure to try some of Tasmania's well-renowned whiskey, wine, and seafood if you can.

tasmania itinerary


Saturday markets at Salamanca (photo from Robyn Jay via Flickr)

 

Day 2: Hobart or Bruny Island


Head down to the beautiful sandstone-clad Salamanca Place in the morning. Locals know that Salamanca is the place for brunch. The pick of the bunch would be the Machine Laundry Café or Smolt in Salamanca Square, or head up to nearby Battery Point to eat at Jackman and McRoss or Pollen Tea Room.

 

Hot tip 

If you're in Hobart on Saturday then you should make sure you wander around Salamanca Market. This market is Australia's largest open air market and is full of fantastic stalls. Salamanca Market has oodles of fresh Tasmanian food, local musical talent, and trinkets. The atmosphere is unforgettable!It runs from 8:30am - 3:00pm on Saturdays

 

In the afternoon, pay Mt Wellington a visit for the (uncontested) best view of Hobart. It’s a comfortable 20min drive from the CBD and the road takes you to the summit. All along the mountain there are plenty of places to stop and admire including Secret Falls at the Foothills, having a bite to eat at the Fern Tree Tavern, or walking the Pipeline Track. A full list of walks around the mountain area can be found at Greater Hobart Trails. I would recommend a stop at the Organ Pipes walking track on the drive down. It only takes 20mins walking until you're right up close and personal with the imposing rock spires.

 

If you're heading up in winter there is regularly snow and the road might be closed (plus it's freezing cold eek!), so be prepared!

 

tasmania itinerary

The view of Hobart from Mount Wellington (photo from Adam Selwood via Flickr)

 

For the best evening vibes head to the suburb of North Hobart. North Hobart boasts a restaurant strip that puts all others to shame and it continues to get better and better. Along the North Hobart strip you can indulge in a drink or two at Room For a Pony, grab some mouth-watering food at Pancho Villa or Capital, or see some live music at the Republic Bar.

 

ALTERNATIVE: If Mount Wellington and Salamanca don't tickle your fancy, a trip to Bruny Island may be a great alternative.

 

Day 3: Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur


 

It's time to say goodbye to beautiful Hobart and start exploring further from the capital. Where's the best place to venture to first? Well it's gotta be the Tasman Peninsula. This is the epicentre of rugged landscapes and Tassie history. Drive on down to Eaglehawk Neck which will take about an hour and a half. At Eaglehawk Neck you will find extensive views out to Tasman Cape.

 

In the Eaglehawk Neck area there is plenty to see. If you're on Instagram you have most likely already gawked at the geometric patterns of the Tessellated Pavement -- now it's time to see them in real life. Also it is worth seeing Tasman Arch and the Blow Hole. These are all only a couple of minutes away.

 

tasmania itinerary

The Port Arthur Penitentiary (photo from Andrew Braithwaite via Flickr)

 

Next, head to the former convict settlement of Port Arthur. Here you can uncover Tasmania's fascinating convict past. Many of the sites are well-preserved plus there are plenty of picnic spots to enjoy a packed lunch. If you're feeling a bit spooky then there are ghost tours at night around many of the old prison buildings. This tour gets the nerves going and also provides some more intriguing insight.

 

You can buy tickets for the Port Arthur Historic Site here

 

Once you've had your dose of convict history, drive down to the start of the Cape Hauy walking track. There is a well maintained camping area at Fortescue Bay located amongst picturesque bushland and beaches. This is a spectacular place to camp (assuming the weather is good) and it at the starting point for one of Tasmania's greatest short walks.

 


READ MORE: Tasmania's Best Short Walks


 

Day 4: Tasman Peninsula and the Capes


 

Today is going to be a big day so start early. It's time to pack up the campsite, put on those hiking boots and start this epic day walk. The Cape Hauy walk is a relatively leisurely 3.5/4 hours return. This hike will show you dramatic and jaw-dropping sea cliff views. Since the Three Capes Track was developed the infrastructure here has improved a lot so the tracks are a lot easier now. Keep your eye on the ocean too because pods of seals and dolphins are commonplace around here!

 

The Cape Hauy walk is the easiest (and quickest) of the cape walks but provides equally spectacular views. If you are looking for something more challenging then Cape Raoul or Cape Pillar might be for you.

 

In the afternoon, settle back into the car and head up to Tasmania’s East Coast. It's now aptly named the "Great Eastern Drive" and you will soon see why. The coastal scenery is spectacular! Aim for Coles Bay which has a huge range of camping and other accommodation options. This is about a 3 hour drive from Cape Hauy so plan accordingly.

 

About Me

 

Day 5: Freycinet National Park


Now you're in Coles Bay you can access the many amazing day hikes nearby. People come here is primarily to see Wineglass Bay so you should, too. There are several walks which get you to Wineglass Bay or to some amazing views. There is the traditional saddle walk over the Hazards Mountains with a half-way lookout point, or you can climb up Mount Amos for a view with some serious height advantage.

 

If you just feel like quickly seeing Wineglass Bay and then heading back and relaxing then I would recommend doing the lookout walk (1hr return) and then coming back to Honeymoon Bay. Honeymoon Bay is within the borders of Freycinet National Park and is a secluded, peaceful beach. It is the perfect place to kick back and read a book. Sunsets and sunrises anywhere around Freycinet National Park are bold and worth watching.

 

Coles Bay is a great base for kayaking and fishing if you want a break from hikes. For surfers, Friendly Beaches is only a short drive away and gets great waves.

 

tasmania itinerary

The view of Wineglass Bay from the lookout

 

 

Day 6: East Coast of Tasmania and Bay of Fires


 

Continue making your way up the coast. When going through Bicheno don’t forget to stop for a pie at Blue Edge Bakery - they're pretty famous in Tassie! Bicheno itself is a pleasant seaside town with a beautiful beach. It is worthwhile taking a break from driving and hanging out here for a while.

 

If you are looking for a break from the coast, taking a side trip to Douglas Apsley National Park is a good option. This National Park is packed full of waterfalls and has a famous watering hole. The watering hole is the perfect place for a refreshing dip.

 

The stretch of coastline that steals my heart is the Bay of Fires, just north of the Binalong Bay along the upper sections of the Great Eastern Drive. It is easy to spend hours strolling along the vast empty beaches admiring the striking coastline. Much of the coastline is an orange colour due to the lichen and it gives a spectacular effect.

 

Tasmania Itinerary

 

 

Day 7: Launceston


 

Today aim for Tasmania’s second biggest city: Launceston. Along the way there is an excellent dairy at Pyengana that produces delicious award-winning cheeses and ice cream. All these joys can be found at their Holy Cow Café.

 

Only a few minutes' drive from the dairy is St Columba Falls, one of the highest water cascades in Tasmania. The waterfall is only a short walk to reach from the carpark. The rolling farming hills around Scottsdale are very picturesque to drive past as you continue on to Launceston.

 

When arriving in Launceston head to the Queen Victoria Museum. This place has some great exhibits on Launceston's railway heritage, blacksmith factories and Tasmanian fauna. For lunch, the café on site has affordable food and seating inside an old railway carriage. If museums are not your thing, driving along the Tamar Valley just north of Launceston is another option. This region is full of rich farmland with many wineries, berry farms and lavender fields. Many businesses sell products right from the farm or cellar door, so stop off at any that take your fancy.

 

Tasmania Itinerary

Green surrounds of the Tamar Valley (by dal48 via Flickr) 

 

In the evening grab some BBQ items from a supermarket (along with anything you picked up in the Tamar Valley) and head to the Cataract Gorge. This canyon is only a few minutes drive out of the town centre and is a pleasant picnic spot with free BBQs on site. It's one of Launceston's icons and a great place to spend an evening. You can go swimming in the pool or Gorge itself for free, so pack the swimmers and go for a refreshing dip.

 

 

 

Tasmania Itinerary

The Cataract Gorge - a great picnic or BBQ spot (photo by Atsushi Kase via Flickr)

 

Day 8: Cradle Mountain and Liffey Falls


 

Time to head to one of Tasmania's most famous locations: Cradle Mountain. Pay Liffey Falls a visit along the way for a gorgeous pitstop. It's a peaceful waterfall nestled amongst lush Tasmanian rainforest and worth some time.

 

There are many styles of accommodation within the Cradle Mountain National Park. You can choose between camping, cabins or lodges. There are many stunning walks for all abilities and capturing the beauty of Cradle Mountain is possible with most of them. Easier walks such as the Dove Lake Circuit are accessible and stunning. If you're game then you can try the Cradle Mountain summit which gets pretty steep towards the end but is comfortably a day walk. Visit the Information Centre on site for a comprehensive list of walks and check the weather before leaving, conditions can change quickly!

 

 

Tasmania Itinerary

Many tourists miss Liffey Falls -- don't make that mistake! (Photo by Scott Cresswell via Flickr) 

 

Tasmania Itinerary

A spectacular view of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake (photo by Chris Baxter via Flickr)

 

 

Day 9: Stanley and the North-West


When you feel satisfied with what you've seen at Cradle Mountain you can pack up camp and make your way along the Northwest Coast. There are many great locations to stop and take in the views, such as Table Cape which is a lighthouse-topped landmass with tulip fields bursting into colour during spring.

 

Boat Harbour is another spot worth checking out. This place is a small seaside town with a calm sheltered beach perfect to have a picnic on. Stanley is a unique location to visit made famous by 'The Nut', a large rock landmass towering above the fishing village below. Climbing The Nut is a bit of a Stanley rite of passage.

 

 

Tasmania Itinerary

Stanley and 'The Nut' (photo from Eli Duke via Flickr)

 

Day 10: The Hardest Part (Leaving)


 

On Day 10 you will probably have make your way back to wherever you're leaving from and this can be done in several ways.

 

LAUNCESTON

Leaving from Launceston would give you more time to relax and is the best option. Driving to Launceston from Stanley would take about 2:30hrs and can be done via Burnie and Devonport.

HOBART

If you're leaving from Hobart you can drive down directly through the Midlands Highway which would take around 4:45hrs but isn't the most scenic route. Alternatively you can take the longer (around 6:00hrs) and winder option which goes down the western side of Tassie. Here you can pass through rugged Tasmanian destinations such as Queenstown and Derwent Bridge (and possibly pop into Strahan).

 


 

Having grown up in Tasmania it is a place that I will always recommend to family and friends. Tasmania is truly unique and will take your breath away. The Apple Isle is packed full of adventure and 10 days will give you a good sample. With a growing tourism industry, the time to visit Tasmania is now. The infrastructure is in place and the numbers are starting to creep up so get in while you can. If you enjoy good food, an emerging art scene, and rugged natural beauty, then this is the place for you. There is so much more than what is mentioned in this Tasmania Itinerary but it is a good start.

 


 

If you've been to Tasmania or want to know more, please comment below! 

 

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How To Legally Stay Longer In Europe: The Schengen Zone

How To Legally Stay Longer In Europe: The Schengen Zone

posted in: Advice | 0

 

For those of us not blessed with European passports (eternal sad face), the Schengen Area, or Schengen Zone, puts a real dampener on any hopes of a long-term European holiday. The Schengen Area comprises of many countries in Europe and sort of works like a visa. Within any given 6 months, you have 90 days available to explore any of the countries within the Zone. This isn’t 90 days for each country, it is 90 days in total. Once 6 months (or 180 days, to be exact), have passed, your time restarts and you get another 90 days. It can be a bit of a bummer and travellers are always looking for a way around it.

 

Schengen

A map of the Schengen Zone

 

At the time of writing, the member states of the Schengen Zone are:

 

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,

Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg,

Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia,

Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

 

This can be summarised as: basically all the countries.

 

Many travellers choose to just ignore the Schengen Zone rules and see what happens. I, personally, am not about that life. Mostly due to being weirdly scared whenever I do anything wrong, and also out of simple respect for the law. Nobody would ever associate me with #thuglife, but that’s okay because #thuglife’ing the Schengen Zone can actually land you in some dodgy territory. What actually happens when you get caught overstaying is a bit of a travellers’ urban legend. Each backpacker you meet with have some different take on it. Stories I’ve heard range from Spanish border guard not giving a sh•t, to people being deported, to people getting 10 year bans from entering Europe. Europe people — that’s a big place to get banned from.

 


READ MORE: Europe on a Budget: 14 Unbeatable Tips


 

All in all, probably not worth illegally trying to overstay.

 

So what can you do?

 

Legally Overstay! 

 

 

The easiest way 


There are a number of ways to do this, but I will start with the easiest. Although it seems like all the countries you want to visit are in the Schengen Zone, there are a surprising number which are not included (or are waiting to be included, but are not yet). And these include:

 

The United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Macedonia,

Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Belarus, Romania,

Serbia, Albania, the Ukraine, Russia and Turkey

 

These destinations are totally worth visiting and will not rack up days on your Schengen count. Although some need visas in advance, like Russia (see: The Interesting Process of Getting A Russian Visa), a lot give you multiple-entry 90 days visas free-of-charge upon entry, like Croatia. I found the Schengen Zone a bit of a blessing in disguise because it meant I went and explored more off-the-beaten path destinations in Europe and made some of my fondest memories.

 

To  also help pass my days awaiting the reactivation of my Schengen time, I went to Morocco for a couple of months to work teaching English. This was a unique and life-changing experience which I wouldn’t have otherwise had. There are cheap flights there and in terms of saving money, it was a backpacker’s dream!

 

The Balkans are also amazing, full of rich history and have so much to explore. Although these places may not be where you originally intended to visit, the Schengen Area pushes you to have a look and spend some real time getting to know the less-touristy areas of Europe and its surrounds.

 


READ MORE: Euro Trip: Your Ultimate Guide To A European Gap Year 


 

Extended visas


For some countries you can get extended Schengen visas, but I do not believe this is available to Australians. So you have to get extended visas for certain countries, but this can be a real pain. Do your research before you go, it’s not something that you can just wing, as many visas will require you to be in Australia to lodge an application. Popular destinations for these extended visas are Germany and Greece, from talking to others who have done it.

 

 

Get the best advice


The best and most update advice will always come from the Australian Government, so make sure you check with them before leaving to Europe. Unfortunately, this blog cannot be used as a substitute for actual legal and visa advice. Have a look at SmartTraveller for the Australian Government’s more detailed information, or the European Migration and Home Affairs website.

 


Have questions or stories about the Schengen Zone? I would love to hear from you?  


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Chefchaouen: Exploring Morocco’s Blue City

Chefchaouen: Exploring Morocco’s Blue City

posted in: Morocco | 4

Chefchaouen is perched between mountain ranges and with a restored kasbah and beautiful medina, it truly is a stunning destination. The encircling old town walls are a reminder of the city's past, being founded in the 1400s as a fortress. Nobody really knows why all the walls here are painted blue, although there are a few popular theories, but it is supposed to represent the sky and heaven. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of some of the other Moroccan cities, like Marrakech, then this is your place. The blue-washed walls give a sense of surrealism, and the omnipresent kif growing in the surrounding fields contributes to the relaxed atmos. One of the highlights of my trip to Morocco was sleeping under the stars on the rooftop of a beautiful blue riad in the old town of Chefchaouen, and waking up in the morning to the sounds of donkeys from the surrounding farmland.

 

Although with the rise of Instagram it seems as though Chefchaouen may not be the same under-explored destination as it was when I visited several years ago, the charm here remains. The real magic of this city lies not so much in the attractions, but the atmosphere. Wandering through the blue-washed streets while sipping freshly-squeezed orange juice feels like being in an entirely different world. Being located in the northern area of Morocco means that there is a lot of Spanish influence in the realms of food and language.

 

If you are visiting Morocco then a trip to Chefchaouen is strongly recommended. It is a unique part of the country, and the world, alike. Take your time and allow yourself to relax among the charm of the old town, you will not regret it. After falling in love with Chefchaouen, I really wanted to share my experiences so have written this quick guide to the city, highlighting the things that I particularly enjoyed.

 

Chefchaouen

 

 

Where To Go in Chefchaouen


 

 Wandering around the Kasbah and medina is a definite must. Dotted with many cafés and shops it is a never-ending marvel to explore. You can also enter the Kasbah itself which is a beautiful building with lovely views.

 

See the traditional clothes washing area at the top of the river, where people still go to wash their clothes to this day. It is a bustling part of the community.

 

 Cross over the nearby hill where there is the Spanish Mosque, if you hike up in the evening you will be able to see sun set over the town of Chefchaouen. And if you’re especially lucky you might even see some goats up a tree, which is a sight that you really have to see to believe

 

Nearby there are the Cascades d’Akchour which are beautiful but full of people which can hamper the experience. The Bridge of God is also only a Grand Taxi trip away, but with fewer tourists around it may be a good alternative to the Cascades.

 

Walk up and around the city walls for a spectacular view over the Rif mountains and the city itself

Washing Chefchaouen

Washing clothes at the river

 

 

Chefchaouen sunset

Overlooking the city from the Spanish Mosque

 

Chefchaouen Spanish Mosque

The view from the Spanish Mosque at sunset

 

Chef

The perfect little lane ways of Chefchaouen, complete with many sleeping cats

 

Where To Stay in Chefchaouen 


Blue streets Chefchaouen

One of the many blue streets

 

Chefchaoeun accommodation ranges from somewhat shifty backpacker hostels, to rooftops, to stunningly designed riads; so there really is something for everyone. The type you choose really depends on your scene, I tried two different places here and could easily see that they suited two different kinds of traveller.

 

Pension Souika is a kif smoker’s paradise – so it wasn’t ideal for me from the outset as this is not my scene. The rooms were cheap and for an even lesser price, you could sleep upstairs on the roof near the chill out area. As I fell asleep to the sound of developing emphysema, so the main positive about this place was that it hardened my non-smoking resolve. Although for people who do come to Chefchaouen to sample the kif this is probably a good place to meet other similar backpackers and camp up in a cheap location.

 

Casa Amina is where I moved to when I wanted a break from the hostel. This place was run by a gorgeous old man and had recently been restored. With beautiful rooms and couches to relax on, as well as good WiFi, this place felt like a haven. I slept on the roof here for a very good price and had a marvellous time.

 

How To Get Around


Getting to Chefchaouen can be done from a variety of Moroccan cities. I caught the bus directly from Casablanca which was closest to where I was working at the time, but it also leaves from most other places. It was about 6.5 hours from Casablanca, but the bus was air-conditioned and quite comfortable. Trying to get back was another story; with buses booked out for days, so I was stranded for longer than I had anticipated. So book a return ticket if you know your dates. The main bus station in Chefchaouen is around 1.5km from the medina.

 

Getting around the area is easier as Chefchaouen is a small city and most of the sites are within walking distance. To get to nearby locations, such as Cascades d’Akchour and the Bridge of God, it is necessary to take a Grand Taxi. For the best deal, make sure your Grand Taxi is full of people (even if this means waiting at the rank for more travellers to arrive in search of a taxi), and agree on a price before you leave.

 


READ MORE: Young, Female and Working In Morocco


Chefchaouen Lane way

A colourful laneway with local handicrafts for sale

 

What To Eat


 “Prickly Pears” are cactus fruits and Moroccans are mad for them! There will be vendors at the side of the road that will sell them for very good prices if you know how to barter. If you can, bring a local with you so they can help you pick a good one. They are super delicious.

 

 Just on the outskirts of the old town, near the tourist bus ticket office, there is a great local café with super cheap prices. I can't quite remember the name unfortunately, but the Moroccan friends that I was with at the time said that it was good value and authentic.

 

 Granada Restaurant in the medina is very cute and does amazing food! Run by an old man, it has a variety of tajines, couscous, meats and omelets. It's a pokey little restaurant which is stacked full of character and should be your first port of call for a good feed. Plus the sign out the front is absolutely adorable.

 

 Avoid the main square as it can be a bit of a rip-off and less authentic.

 

Granada

The entrance to Restaurant Granada (complete with adorable menu)

 

prickly pears

Prickly pears on the side of a walk around the town

 

Additional Tips 


  • People speak Spanish more commonly here than French (unlike other parts of the country), you are better to try and communicate with people in Spanish than in rusty Arabic!
  • Book a return trip on the bus, because once you arrive in Chefchaoeun it is really hard to get bus tickets back – so book in advance!
  • If you’re not keen on the dope scene, some of the hostels may not be ideal. The one I stayed at was not my style and I had to leave. But there are definitely kif-free alternatives for backpackers, just read traveller reviews carefully and with a grain of salt.
  • Some people don’t like you taking pictures of their front doors/houses, so honour someone’s wish if they ask you to stop snapping away. It’s more important to be respectful than have that mad Instagram, believe me, being yelled at by an old lady in Arabic is not that fun.

 

Chefchaouen view

Looking over the rooftops from near the city walls

 


Been to Chefchaoeun or keen to know more? Comment below!


 

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Chefchaouen Pinterest

Over-Touristed and Over It: An Opinion On Mass Tourism

Over-Touristed and Over It: An Opinion On Mass Tourism

Tourism has hit an all-time high and is reaching critical mass. Attractions, cities, and even countries, are putting their feet down in the face of overtourism with popular destinations like Barcelona, Santorini, and Dubrovnik proposing tourist caps. And it is not just in Europe, but all over the globe. It has all sparked an awful lot of debate. Isn't tourism good for economies? How many tourists is too many tourists? Aren't we all contributing to this problem? And, how would we even decide how to restrict people?

 

As travellers, we are all part of the problem. I don't personally buy into the tourist vs. traveller argument; all travellers are tourists, and all tourists are travellers. In my opinion, both are just words. And no matter which word you choose for yourself, if you are visiting somewhere, you are in one way or another contributing to this problem. It is a responsibility which we all bear, and a problem we should all work to resolve.

 

Over-tourism at Koh Phi Phi

Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi, where you can't swim because the shore is lined with speedboats

 

After ten years of pretty consistent travel, I can honestly say I have felt a change. I have watched social media engulf our generation and seen travel become an assumed right rather than a privilege. International travel is no longer restricted to the bold or free-spirited, or even to the wealthy. It has become a huge part of the lives of most Australians, spanning socio-economic strata, geographic differences, and all age groups in a way nothing else has.

 

Travel is a commodity. As it inserts itself more into our everyday lives, businesses are capitalising. It is chicken and egg situation though, and we can never really know which came first. But what we can know is that it is sold and packaged as any other good would be; and increasingly so. Glossy adverts for cruises and tours take up large spreads in magazines, line the sides of buses, and fill any advertising slot you can imagine. Influencers sell destinations, hotels, and a way of life, to you via whitewashed and warm-toned photos in your Instagram feed.

 

With this advertising on the ever-up-and-up, it really is no surprise that we are all lapping it up. It creates an increased pressure to jump on a plane, and leaves us with the omnipresent thoughts that maybe we haven't lived until we've travelled, and maybe we would be happier if we went to the other end of the earth. And with prices becoming cheaper and cheaper every day, most of us travellers really do buy into this idea. And we buy that plane ticket.

 

But with this mass movement of people, there comes trouble.

 

At Angkor Wat it was impossible to see the temple with the number of iPhones held up capturing the exact same photo of the sunrise. Pulling up to the shores of Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands, it was hard to the see the actual beach between all the bikini-clad Instagram models and tour groups wanting to get the perfect snap. And in Dubrovnik,Croatia, it felt like being on a conveyer belt of tourists walking around the streets of the old town. And with each season it seems to get busier and busier. If you have ever read any of my blog posts, you will know how much mass tourism gets on my nerves. But what is the solution?

 

Over-tourism Angkor Wat

I remember taking this photo in Cambodia when there was a (relative) slump in the number of people walking past  

 

As I said before; just as every person should be allowed to travel, everyone who chooses to must also take responsibility for the problem. I strongly believe that travel should not be something for a capped number of people willing to pay the highest price, or just for travellers with a certain style. Everyone should have equal opportunity to explore our world and share ideas, culture, and experiences. After all, we travel to meet all varieties of people from all areas of the globe, not just the 1%, or other travellers from certain countries.

 

So what on Earth can we do about all this? How can we have equal opportunity to all, but also not have too many tourists? Well, I believe that the solution lies in conscientious tourism (or travel depending on your label affinity). As more and more people choose to travel, being ethical and conscientious becomes more and more important. And although it won't solve all the problems (like the sheer numbers), it will ameliorate the majority of what makes mass tourism so unbearable.

 

Over-Tourism Europe

A common scene at Montenegrin beaches in the summer season

 

Put money into local economies. Pay your way in the country you are visiting rather than funding international travel corporations. Reject cruise ships and tours where non-local guides are employed. If you want a guide, find someone local so you know your money is going to a good place. Travel in a way where you can stay in local hotels and accommodation rather than onboard ships or in international chains. And, despite how incredibly tempting it can be, forgo the McDonald's and KFC for God's sake and eat some of the native food -- trust me, it'll be good.

 

Dress respectfully and pay attention to the local customs. Even though you see somewhere on Instagram, it doesn't mean it isn't someone's home. Always read up about what is polite in the country you are visiting. Although I strongly believe that people shouldn't dictate what you wear, I do think that when you're a guest in someone's country, part of the assumed T&Cs of your trip is agreeing to their customs and being respectful.  Even though your favourite blogger wore a see-through dress in Morocco, doesn't mean you should too. Also remember that one rule might not apply everywhere in a destination, like the much stricter dress codes for temples in Thailand as opposed to beaches.Pack appropriately and remember you are a guest. Respect goes a long way.

 

Learn the language. Even if it's just a few words. English may be considered a lingua franca, but you will get much further if you can be polite to people in their own language. A friendly "Please", "Thank you", and "Hello" are some of the most valuable tools in a traveller's repertoire. Travel is phenomenal when it involves meaningful interactions with people, and you may not even be get through the gate of these conversations without knowing "Hello". A lot of people find it rude if travellers do not even attempt to speak in the local tongue, so if you make the effort, it can pay off and give travellers a much better reputation.

 

This one might sound a bit like what your mother would tell you but it's super important: treat countries how you would like yours to be treated. Just because you are on holiday it doesn't mean all manners and respect should fly out the window. Don't litter. Don't be rude. Don't break the law. And for the love of all things good, try not to get trashed and naked in public (which happens more than you would think). There is still so much fun you can have without going overboard and treading on toes. Respect, respect, respect. I feel like I have said this so much but it really is the fundamental part of it all.

 

Over-Tourism Cambodia

Rules are made to be broken? Maybe not

 

And lastly: Spend. Time. Seriously, you won't regret it. Consider limiting your trip to places you really want to see and see them fully. This means not only do you have a more meaningful time, but you make less emissions and contribute less to overtourism, as multi-destination trips can add massive numbers to destinations. 

 

With travel becoming ever-growing part of life, trying to make your travel conscientious can ease the burden of mass tourism on the countries and populations being affected. Although conscientious travel may not stop the massive numbers of people on the move, it can help curb the negative side effects of having such large numbers. Despite the pressure we all feel from advertising, travel is not a necessity (plus sometimes it's just not your thang) and it does have large economic, cultural and environmental consequences. And remember to always think of the bigger picture, not just the one you'll post on Instagram. 


What is your opinion about overtourism? Do you have any ideas for a solution?


 

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South Korean Food: Foods You MUST Try In South Korea

South Korean Food: Foods You MUST Try In South Korea

Korean cuisine is becoming ever more popular in my hometown of Melbourne. This growing presence piqued my interest. I wondered whether the food was the same as presented in the restaurants of Melbourne, or rather if it was an entirely different world altogether. Throughout my week and a half in Seoul, I was able to scratch the surface of the incredible cuisine fueling Koreans.

Over the course of the trip, it was great to be surrounded by locals at the Asian Medical Students’ Conference, family friends, as well as a fantastic guide at Urban Adventures, to fully immerse myself in South Korean food. This local perspective meant that each meal was a new Korean dish, which varied from the smoky Korean BBQ restaurants, to street food stalls, to bustling market places, and all things in between.

From these experiences I would love to share with you the South Korean food I would strongly recommend visitors try. This is a comprehensive mixture of main meals, desserts, and beverages to guide you on this gastronomic adventure. Of course it was impossible to try everything, so the list is not exhaustive – I cannot wait to head back to Korea some time soon and try more mouth-watering dishes.

South Korean Food

 

Chopped live octopus


Octopus Gwangjang

Chopped Octopus

This really was the strangest thing I have ever eaten. Over the first few days in Seoul I had seen a lot of octopi in fish tanks at the front of restaurants and had not thought a lot about it. It was not until a evening visit to Gwangjang Market that I understood their fate.

My friend from the conference, Syifa, really wanted to try chopped octopus. Little did I know that this meant chopped live octopus. After looking around the market for the best price, a group of us ended up finding an obliging stall owner who gave us a reasonable deal.

She pulled the squirming octopus out of the tank and posed for photos before swiftly grabbing a cleaver and chopping it up. Presented on a plate the octopus was still squirming. Each individual part of the octopus was moving independently and uniquely – it looked like a plate of worms.

It took a long time to work up the courage to try a bit, and when I finally tried it, it was a strange sensation. You have to chew the octopus completely to pieces so it doesn’t stick to your throat as it goes down. Occasionally the suckers will stick to your cheek or teeth and you have to pry it off with your tongue. The whole thing was really bizarre. It is best to not think too much of it.

And then you swallow it. The taste is not overwhelming. It does not even taste much like seafood. Most of the flavour comes from the soya sauce it is doused in.

Would I eat it again? Maybe, actually… probably not. But it was a great one for the bucket list!

Price: between 10,000 and 30,000 won – don’t be afraid to bargain.


READ MORE ABOUT GWANGJANG MARKET: 14 Best Things To Do In Seoul


Asian Medical Students' Conference

Successfully eaten the octopus!

Kim Chi


Kim Chi is the food I had heard the most about before heading to Korea. Although it sits on the must-try list, it was not my favourite food. Kim chi varies slightly around the country and between North and South, however the fundamentals remain the same. It is pickled cabbage usually in a spicy marinade that is generally served as a side dish. If you are in Korea it would almost be a crime not to try it.

On my Seoul Street Food Tour with Urban Adventures, my tour guide told me a pro tip about how to eat kim chi which you can read about here: Exploring Seoul Food With Urban Adventures.

Mung Bean Pancakes


Mung Bean Pancake

Mung bean pancakes are a Korean specialty and a common street food. For the best ones you should head to Gwangjang Market where the quality is unparalleled. Watch as the pancake is fried up in hot oil by a stall owner, and I promise your mouth will never water so much again. As they are quite oily and filling, I would recommend sharing with a friend.

Alongside mung bean pancakes, there are plenty of other varieties of pancake to try including ones with meat. For strict vegetarians or people with dietary requirements, be aware that the pancakes are all cooked in the same oil so it may contain traces of meat.

Price: 4000 won for 2 pancakes

Mung Bean Pancake Gwangjang

Bibimbap


Before the flight over to Korea I had never heard of Bibimbap, but it is now one of my favourite dishes! I first tried it as the special meal on Singapore Airlines and was mightily impressed, despite the fact that it was plane food. Once in Korea I truly realised how popular this meal is.

Bibimbap comes with a bowl containing soybean sprouts, optional meat and shitake mushrooms, carrot, egg, zucchini, sesame seeds, and a separate bowl containing warm cooked rice. On the side there is hot pepper paste and sesame oil. Essentially, you mix it all together and enjoy!

It is a fresh and spicy meal that is enjoyable in any season. The servings are hearty and you do not finish feeling hungry (assuming you can maneuver the chopsticks well).

Korean BBQ


Seoul Food

Going to a Korean BBQ is a fantastic sensory overload. Atmospheric restaurants line the streets of Seoul and provide these interactive meals. Each table comes with an embedded hot plate and a copper-coloured exhaust fan, giving the restaurants a unique and almost futuristic appearance.

You can choose from several types of meat, with pork, beef, and chicken being the most common. The tables are loaded with the various fillings and accompaniments for the meat. You are also given bowls of rice, a traditional soup, and traditional steamed egg.

Each table cooks their own meat and once it’s cooked you wrap it up in sesame leaves with whatever fillings take your fancy. It turns out kind of like a mini Korean burrito.

I was lucky enough to try Korean BBQ twice when in Seoul, once with family friends, and a second time with Urban Adventures. I would strongly recommend you read more about the Korean BBQ experience which can be found here: Seoul Food With Urban Adventures.


READ MORE: Seoul Food: Exploring Seoul Food With Urban Adventures


Korean Pork BBQ

Pork BBQ Korea

Bread from May Bell Bakery


May Bell Bakery

May Bell

On my second-last day in Seoul, I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful May Bell Bakery with Sunny, a gorgeous and incredibly generous family friend. May Bell Bakery is home to the best bread in Korea; and oh boy it is delicious. The mastermind behind the bakery is the lovely Mr Chuong. This incredibly talented man with ample chuong (a Korean expression meaning “heart” and generosity) is not only an impeccable baker, but also designed the stores, built the furniture, and painted the art.

If you find yourself in the Itaewon area you must try the bread or pastries here. Pair your selection with a coffee from the shop upstairs for a wonderful treat. Be aware that the bread routinely sells out so make sure you get there on time!

Chicken and Beer


Chicken and beer is a cultural icon in Korea. Baskets of fried chicken are enjoyed by thousands throughout the city in the evenings and is a popular post-work meal. Whether you’re eating it in restaurant or on the banks of the Han River, this meal will please. The fried and flavoured chicken is delicious – especially the spicy option! It is all washed down with a refreshing Korean beer. The recipe for a perfect evening.

Bingsu


Bingsu is a Korean dessert which can only be described as epic. The shaved iced milk comes adorned with various ice-creams and other additions. It is all stunningly presented and is unbelievably refreshing. My personal favourite flavours were matcha, as well as the blueberry cheesecake flavor from Subling. If you are in Korea, your trip would be incomplete without trying bingsu.

Patbingsu

Any type of street food 


Myeongdong Food

Myeongdong Street Food

Myeongdong Stalls

Street food is everywhere in Korea and it is thoroughly delicious. Whether you want egg bread or fried noodles, you are sure to find it in one of the stalls. Many stalls have the prices in English and sometimes you can negotiate a cheaper price if there are a few of you buying the food. With street food use caution, I always go for stuff that is fried and cooked in front of me rather than raw food, or foods that will have been sitting out for a while.

Drinks


All good meals are, of course, accompanied by the perfect beverage. In Korea there are no shortage of beverages to choose from. A few of the options are:

  • So ju | A Korean vodka and soda mix which is available in convenience stores. This is a strong drink but tastes good considering the number of standards. The nicest flavours are grape and apple.
  • Rice wine | A fermented white liquid which comes in a green bottle. It is lightly carbonated and refreshing with a hot meal.
  • Korean beer | there are several options to choose from and the beer is pretty good. The famous brands are Cass and Hite.
  • Rice drink Sikhye | this drink is rice water sweetened with malt and is available in some restaurants but also abundant in street-side stalls.
  • Pear drink | this sweet pear juice is incredibly refreshing a delicious. It is famed in Korea for being good for hangovers, but you'll love it at any time of day.

Gwangjang Market


Tried South Korean food or have questions? Comment below - I would love to hear from you! 


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