Travel Feature

A Blind Trip to Pulga, Kasol and Kheerganga

Would you be ready to go on a blind trip? They are also called surprise trips and mystery trips. I have always been excited about the possib...

Travel Guides

Discover hidden myths, taste diverse food and sleep below a sky full of shooting stars and galaxies every night. Our guides will help budget travelers to travel more, and explore more destinations.

10 Best Road Trips in Australia

Lush rainforests, stunning beaches, glistening coastlines, and the deep red Outback make Australia an incredible place to explore. And the best way to explore the unimaginable beauty of Australia and make the journey memorable is to take a road trip in Australia. Grab your 4WD or caravan, pack your stuff, and hit the open road!

In general you have to leave the main roads and drive a few miles away from it to find the interesting stuff. Where paved highway is the norm, then they are largely very safe. With the proviso that if you are a long way from a major city you should be careful about planning your fuel stops.

There will be adequate fuel supplies on most paved roads as long as you plan to refuel at regular intervals taking the fuel consumption of your vehicle into account. Some of the truck-stop meals may be expensive and basic and the suggestions of taking water are sensible. There can be unexpected holdups even on good roads and having water available can make these more bearable.

Consider if you will really need a Four Wheel Drive vehicle. For example, you could go from Cairns (or any other major city) to Ayer's Rock and travel around Uluru and Kata Tjuta without leaving the bitumen. In other words a 4WD vehicle may be an unnecessary expense. You may not even need one if your excursions on to dirt roads are going to be limited such as in the Kalbarri National Park.

Best Road Trips In Australia

Wondering which way to go? We have listed below some of the best road trips in Australia for you.

1. Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Stretching along the southern Australian coast from Torquay to Allansford in Victoria, Great Ocean Road is not just a famous road trip but one of the best drives on the Earth. While you are on the way to this iconic stretch, take it slow and enjoy the unforgettable views of the coastline, sunburnt cliffs, shipwrecks and the famous Victorian splendour - 12 Apostles. These are the limestone rock formations that rise from the Southern Ocean alongside the Great Ocean Road.

2. The Big Lap

It is one of the best and epic Australian road trips you will ever take in your life. From big cities to coastal towns, you get to experience everything on a single road trip. The route takes you around Australia following the 15,000 kilometers of Highway one linking some major cities like Sydney, Cairns, Darwin, Brisbane, Broome, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Esperance. Not days or weeks, but you will require months for this road trip.

3. The Great Barrier Reef Drive, Queensland

Is the thought of a long drive scaring you? Don't let it. Not every amazing road trip is a long drive in a big country like Australia. Just 140 kilometres drive from the tropical city of Cairns to the Cape Tribulation is the Great Barrier Reef drive. You would be surprised by the wonders at the two World Heritage Sites - Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Forest. You can even relax under the palms, snorkel, and spot the tree kangaroos in Port Douglas on the reef.

4. The Nullarbor, South Australia

If exploring wide-open spaces is on your bucket list, plan your road trip to the Nullarbor Plain in Southern Australia nestled in the middle of the Eyre Highway. This straight, treeless plain is a fascinating 146 kilometers long stretch of land. You can connect to the road via Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne easily. It is also home to the world's longest golf course, prolific wildlife, and unique caves.

5. Great Alpine Road, Victoria

This road trip extends over 500 kilometers through the Victorian High Country to the Gippsland lake area, starting from Wangaratta. The Great Alpine Road offers some amazing scenic views as it is lined up with historic towns and villages, including Beechworth, Bright, and Omeo. Victoria's Mt Hotham is truly a treat, offering horse riding, fishing, downhill skiing, and trekking in the warmer months. If you are traveling during winter, make sure to pack skis and boots and fit wheel chains to your car.

6. Great Beach Drive, Queensland

A Road trip to Great Beach Drive in Queensland is literally like no other. It offers you truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience of driving through stunning beaches, national parks, and world heritage-listed sites.

7. Outback

If you break down in the Outback, STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE. When driving in the Outback be sure to have at least 20 litres of water, 20 litres of fuel, 2 spare tyres and some canned food. AT LEAST. Travelling in remote areas is made very much safer if you carry a SPOT or an EPIRB or a satellite phone that can be rented from camping stores.

If you are going to travel the road less travelled, then you should not be considering doing this on your own at your current apparent level of experience. There are tour companies doing ‘tag-along’ tours and you will be able to travel some Outback tracks while being supported and assisted. Admittedly you will pay for the privilege but it may be a life or death decision. When things go wrong in the Outback they can go very wrong very quickly.

Make sure that your vehicle is in good condition. If you own it, join one of the programs that provide roadside assistance if you break down. If driving a hire car, find out what arrangements will apply if the car breaks down. Check what accommodation and fuel services are available on the route you are going to take, and what this will mean in terms of the number of kilometres you will need to cover each day.

8. East Coast, Tasmania

Tasmania is one of the most amazing destinations with abundant natural beauty. Experience it yourself by taking the scenic road trip from Hobart to the Bay of Fires via St Helens, Swansea, and Bicheno. Extremely beautiful Tasmania's east coast boasts stunning white beaches, views, walking tracks and wildlife. The road trip also allows you to take a detour to Freycinet National Park, a destination with granite mountains, prolific birdlife, soothing bays, and so much more.

9. Gibb River Road

Where paved road is not the norm, it is not a good idea for tourists to travel without a decent amount of research. The exception to this is probably the Gibb River Road in Western Australia which is a reasonably popular tourist road. But even there if you didn't research in the rainy season you could find the road impassable.

10. Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales

New South Wales' Grand Pacific Drive is one of Australia's most breathtaking and scenic coastal drives you should not miss. It's a 140 kilometers long road trip from the south of Sydney in Royal National Park to the Shoalhaven region. The drive takes you along the rainforests, beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, mesmerizing views, cities and townships of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, and the Shoalhaven, and over the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge.

Conclusion

A road trip in Australia is on the bucket list of millions. Fulfill it by driving to these Australian routes in your 4WD or caravan. Whichever you travel from, make your road trip extra comfortable and convenient by adding the latest 4WD and caravan accessories from Xtend Outdoors.

About Author: Danny Smith is CEO and Founder of Xtend Outdoors Australia which manufactures and sell caravan annexes, awnings and accessories. He just love caravan holidays and frequently blog about caravanning trips, parks and tips.

Ireland Travel Insurance: 6 Features You Must Know

Ireland, also known as the land of scholars and saints, attracts tourists from all around the globe. This island is sure to give you an experience like none other. With its fascinating history, romantic landscapes and elysian castles, it is one of the popular locations for art lovers. Therefore, if you are planning an international trip, Ireland will be a great choice. But it is also crucial to buy Ireland Travel Insurance to have a secure and convenient stay.

Although it is not mandatory to buy travel insurance for visiting Ireland, it does help an individual to tackle any unforeseen financial burden. This holds true for all international travels and not just Ireland. Travel insurance significantly reduces any financial liability that can arise while travelling.

travel insurance for ireland

Here are six features of Ireland Travel Insurance that can reduce any financial burden on the insurer.

1. Medical cover

Ireland's weather is significantly different from India. The weather changes drastically within hours. An individual not accustomed to such weather may fall sick. The cost of medical treatment in Ireland is very high. Hence, it is advisable to opt for Ireland travel insurance as it covers all the medical and non-medical expenses.

2. Loss of baggage and check-in baggage

One of the most common issues international travellers face is the loss of baggage. According to a report, approximately 1.4 million bags get lost each year. Such incidents can leave a sour taste in one's mouth. Buying Ireland travel insurance can cover all your losses so that you return with sweet memories to cherish from your trip. A majority of insurance providers also cover the loss of passports in their insurance plans.

3. Trip delay, cancellation, and interruption cover

With the help of this feature, an individual can file a claim for trip delay, trip cancellation or trip interruption. Trip delay benefit helps an individual to get over short unexpected pauses in your trip. This benefit will compensate for one's lost expenses and other costs that one incurs because of this delay.

The trip cancellation feature covers individuals when they are willing to cancel their trip for some reason. The coverage includes pre-paid, non-refundable costs like airfare, cruise tickets, tour bookings and hotel reservations

Trip interruption occurs when a traveller has to cut his trip short and return home. Similarly, it can also occur when one stays at their destination longer than expected. In certain scenarios, one can get a refund for their prepaid expenses and cover costs for extra accommodation.

4. Upgradation to business class

If an individual wishes to upgrade to business class for a more comfortable journey, they can do it with the help of this feature. One can receive coverage of about USD 1000 under the Ireland travel insurance policy.

5. Emergency hospitalisation cover

Hospitalisation costs in a first world country like Ireland are soaring high and the climate conditions of this country change by the hour. It is sometimes possible that one cannot adapt to such vigorous change in climate. Under extreme circumstances, one may need to get hospitalised. If you find yourself in such a situation, you need not worry about the expenses.

Ireland travel insurance will provide you with a comprehensive cover that encompasses all the hospitalisation bills.

6. COVID cover

The coronavirus is a global pandemic and with different mutations of this virus coming up every quarter, it is wise to have a covid cover in your Ireland travel insurance plan. As you are in an unknown land in this uncertain time of the pandemic, you should only buy a policy from trusted insurance providers like Care Health Insurance.

Buying an Ireland health insurance policy will make sure that you do not leave any stone unturned to secure your convenience. It can cover a variety of unforeseen expenses which can burden you financially. It is still advisable to look at all the terms and conditions and exclusions in the policy. Also, know how to file a claim to avoid any last-minute confusion and problem.

5 Best Places to Visit in Dalhousie

Dalhousie, is an eye-catching hill station in and around five hills in the State of Himachal Pradesh. For the British Empire in India, it was a place of summer retreat. Situated between 6000 to 9000 feet above the sea level on the western boundary of the Dhauladhar mountain range in Himalayas, it hosts glorious snow-capped peaks.

Dalhousie is a hill station full of colonial charm of the British era. The city is named after the 19th century British Governor General Lord Dalhousie. Different levels of altitude of the city with a great variety of vegetation that includes pines, cedars, oaks and rhododendrons in bloom. There are also magnificent views from the Chamba Valley and the mighty Dhauladhar range with its imposing snow covered peaks fill an entire horizon.

The English made Dalhousie a summer resort during the colonial period, in order to take advantage of its mild climate while the plains of Lahore or Amritsar cooked in the sun. Dalhousie keeps track of this past with a number of luxury but dated hotels. Just like Manali, even Dalhousie is a perfect place to enjoy your quality time without your spouse and family members. It is one of the best places to visit in India during winters for amazing views.

Dalhousie is blessed with varying altitudes with a variety of vegetation such as deodars, oaks, and pines. The little town of Dalhousie flaunts a rich architectural legacy, much of which is visible in the sacred churches like St. John's Church, St. Francis Church, etc. The hill station gets its name after India’s former Viceroy Lord Dalhousie. It is an ideal destination to avoid the crowd of Shimla, Kullu, and Manali.

Dalhousie is a village scattered on the mountainsides at 2000 m altitude. The panorama of the Pir Range mountains to the north is remarkable. The Dalhousie hill station is filled with a primitive charm that evokes nostalgic memories of the British Raj. The hill station is one of the best tourist places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.

You can see the prevalence of the Scottish and Victorian carving styles in the cottages, bungalows, and churches in the town. You can see the flowing Ravi and Chandrabhaga (Chenab) rivers from the Himalayan glaciers at the base of Chamba. The town has many national forest and wildlife sanctuaries, the famous one being the Kalatop- Khajjiar along with the Khajjiar Lake.

An important annual event is the pilgrimage to Mani Mahesh Temple and the lake present over there. In addition, there are several challenging trekking routes over Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. There are also good trekking routes for the budding trekker. Minjar Fair is a great fair celebrated in the month of August for one full week.

People of Chamba always long for this fair. At this time, many tribal people in thousands and tourists assemble in the Chamba Chaugan to give offerings to the Ravi River. As an offering, coconut, coin, fruit, and some Sherfs of paddy are kept in a piece of red cloth that is then tied to pour into the river. This red cloth offering is known as Minjar.

On the last day, a procession is carried out from the Akhand Chandi palace to the bank of the Ravi River. This fair commemorates the victory of King of Chamba over the ruler of Trigarta (Kangra) that was celebrated by greeting him with sheafs of paddy and maze. Summer is the best time to visit Dalhousie, but most of the tourists visit it from May to September.

You can also visit the National Himalayan winter trekking expedition held between December 1st week till January week one. The famous food that you can enjoy here is Mudra, Dham, Aktori and Luchi Poti.

The ideal getaway to soak in natural beauty with minimum distraction and maximum comfort. You will find yourself immersed in the rejuvenating power of nature at every turn. Wake with the gentle light of sunrise, energised by the joyful chirping of birds. As evening sets in, sink into the feeling of peace as the stars take over the vast canvas of the sky.

The beauty of Dalhousie can be estimated rightly by its title, the Little Switzerland of India. This charming hill station is settled on five majestic mountains namely Kathalagh, Terah, Potreyn, Bakrota and Bhangora. The beautiful lakes, enticing waterfalls and dense green wildlife sanctuaries are the main elements that make Dalhousie one of the top scenic hill stations of India.

If there is any location in the checklist that looks most remarkable throughout the snowfall, it is Dalhousie. The classic atmosphere created by the Scottish as well as Victorian-style will certainly teleport to a different time-zone. Vacationers hoping for the finest places to go to in Himachal in winter months can choose this location.

best places to visit in dalhousie

1. Bhuri Singh Museum

For any visitor to Chamba and Dalhousie, this is a must see hidden jewel in Chamba. It is a repository of the novel Pahari art and sculpture. The king of Chamba, Raja Bhuri Singh was a prospect thinker and he knew the importance of conserving the age-old relics. His contribution towards the museum includes the donation of the Royal Collection and appointment of a British scholar and archaeologist named Mr. JP Vogel as the first guardian.

In the museum, the culture and history of Chamba since the 6th century AD is conserved. The museum includes the collection of Pahari paintings of 18th and 19th centuries, Bhagwat Puran wall paintings of 19th century, Chamba Rumals, sculptures depicting the Kashmiri style, Gupta tradition, and Gandhara and Kushan schools, carved fountain slabs, arms and ammunition of the 19th century, wood carvings of 6th and 9th century A.D. from Bharmour, jewellery, old coins and rare images.

2. Dainkund Chowari Jot

This hillside station was one of the most preferred summer locations of the Britishers that is reflected in the majestic Victorian style mansions in this area. Among them, one of the most well-known is Panch Pulla, Satdhara Falls as well as the Dainkund Peak.

The places forming the religious heritage of Chamba and are well-preserved until date. Most of the local population are worshippers of Shiva, Devi (goddess), and Naga Devta. The urban and royal groups are worshippers of Vishnu. It was the temples of the Chamba town that were not attacked by the Muslim invaders due to its remoteness, while most of the old temples of North India were in their attacks.

The other reason for their current existence is that the rulers in this region supported art and culture due to which they fought against the dictatorship of the Mughals trying to destroy the temples. To stimulate this never-dying spirit, many excellent masons and craftsmen from North India made Chamba their dwelling place whose skills in the form of magnificent bronze statues are still noticeable in many temples.

Listed here are the famous temples. Hari Rai Temple is in Chamba created in 11th century AD in a Shikhara style and is dedicated to Vishnu. Chamunda Devi Temple is in Chamba built after the 11th century AD in a pent-roofed style. It is situated at a distance of 1 km from Chamba Chaugan on the top of the hill from where a calm view of the Chamba valley and the Ravi River is a must to see.

Mindal Vasini Temple is at a distance of 15 km from Killar in the Pangi Valley and reveals the Buddhist and Hindu temple styles. The Temple of Purthi is at a distance of 30 km from Killar in the Pangi Valley and is well conserved. Mani-Mahesh Temple is the temple at an altitude of 14000 feet dedicated to Shiva, built in the Shikhara style. It was built before the 6th century AD.

3. St. John's Church

Listed here are the famous Churches all of them located at Dalhousie. Rich in colonial architecture, the city preserves some beautiful churches such as the St. John's church (the oldest built in 1863), St. Francis' Church (built in 1894), St. Andrew's Church in 1903 and St. Patrick's Church in 1909.

Created in Victorian style, it is a Protestant Church located at Gandhi Chowk. St. Andrew's Church is a Protestant Church and is famous as the Church of Scotland.

4. St. Patrick's Church

This is a Protestant Church situated near the military hospital and its prayer hall carries a capacity of 300 people. Sacred Heart Convent School is a school for girls that are run by the Belgian Sisters of Charity.

5. Kalatop wildlife sanctuary

Go for picnics under the sun, explore sight-seeing tours, and don’t forget about Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary. With its exotic flora and fauna, the Kalatop wildlife sanctuary is a joy for nature lovers and wildlife photographers. The place is very wooded, the beautiful cedars of the Himalayas (Deodar) and the giant rhododendrons, in bloom in early April form a very pleasant setting.

The serene atmosphere and hustle free ambience of Dalhousie works as an icing on the cake! Pick up your camera and go to places like Panch Pulla, Chamara Lake, Satdhara Falls, Khajjiar and Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary to get the best shots.