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2 mins Read | 1 Month Ago

VACATIONS Newsletter – October-2022

VACATIONS Newsletter – June 2022

The world is going through a crazy turbulent time. It seems everything is undergoing a change and no body is sure of what the next day will bring. Wars, wildfires, markets swinging down and further down, India not reaching the finals of Asia Cup – the unexpected seems to be everywhere. But to an intrepid traveller this unexpected is what adds to the charm of a vacation. A traveller learns to take unplanned situations in their stride and don’t get rattled with missed flights, changing vaccination requirements, visa delays and what nots. And once you learn to take chaos in your stride, that’s when you find the real calm.

Much like our Great Ocean Road trip in this month’s issue. Road Trips have a certain charm that other holidays can’t provide. That’s because it is unique from the standard package tours in many ways :

  1. Nothing is fixed : There’s no airline or train schedule to follow. You can decide what time you want to start and what time do you want to stop. You are in complete control. This feeling is liberating.

  2. You see what tourists never see : A tourist goes from one attraction to another, and misses out on the real culture, real nuance, real feel of a place. When you are on a road trip, you go through the opposite ‘non-attractions’ and that’s when you really discover a place

  3. Break from work / social media : If you are driving, you are hopefully not looking at your mobile every now and then. And this forced abstinence rewires the brain in many ways. In our daily lives we do not realise how much stress does constant attention to devices cause. Its only when we give it up forcefully, we experience the peace.

  4. Therapeutic for the Soul : Once you are on the road driving, you feel centred because you are focussed. You connect with your inner self, specially if your co passengers are not very chatty. This centring is akin to what a meditation achieves.

We don’t know of any other mode of vacation that has so many benefits all rolled into one and is also cheaper than air travel. So go on, take out the maps and get ready to hit the road.

Soul Trip : A deeper travel experience

Travel is not just an annual ritual with family. It is not just the days off from work. It is not just a change of scene. It is not just a visit to meet parents or other relatives.

When done right, any trip can become a journey that changes you. So how is it that some journeys touch us more deeply than the others. If you will analyse this, you will find a few common elements between your best trips.

You are involved in the meticulous planning : It will not be one of those trips where you just tag along. Chances are you led the research and planning for the whole group of people on this trip. You read a lot of material, found brochures and even asked around. By being involved in planning , you start building a connection with that place. Also, all the research creates an anticipation that shoots up the endorphins.

It's not a rushed 5 day-6 night check list: Pace of vacation is important. It is important that travel is not treated as a work check list. By trying to do less, it is possible to feel more. Try not to treat the trip as a project but as your hobby. Here, the journey is more important than the destination.

It has lots of local food and authenticity: The world is full of cookie cutter experiences now. In such times, when you move out of the obvious and go for authentic experiences of local food, non-touristy events and attractions, connecting with local people, you trip is bound to leave a deep, lasting impression on you.

And this is how you can convert any trip, even official, into a soul trip.

Discover Your World

Australia: Great Ocean Road

Australia – the great down under which comes out tops when it comes to holidays in the lap of nature, from magnificent coral reefs to surf waves to vast deserts to dense rain forests , Australia has it all. Australia is so huge, so beautiful and so well connected that you can choose to head out in any direction and be assured of a drive that can be as short or as long as you want, and with hundred percent assurance of beautiful scenery that can move your senses and spirit. It offers many epic road-trips and one of the most iconic one is the Great Ocean Road in the state of Victoria.

The Great Ocean Road is listed as an Australian National Heritage. It is a 240-kilometre stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, you might be surprised to know that the road is also termed as the world's largest war memorial.

The Great Ocean Road is more than a road – it represents a coastal region of south-west Victoria, Australia, running from Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong to Portland near the border with South Australia. One of the most scenic parts of the road is the stretch between Port Campbell and Peterborough. This is the section contained by Port Campbell National Park and has the major rock formations. Hugging the coastline, meandering through the rainforest and cutting through pretty towns, it is a route that offers not only stunning views but action-packed adventures and activities too.

The Great Ocean Road is a fantastic drive, not only for the scenery but also for the winding cliff-top roads. Motoring enthusiasts travel the road for the sheer excitement of feeling the corners and having fun. It would be difficult to not stop very frequently for photo-ops and highly Instagram-able pictures.

There are so many beautiful spots, that you can fall into a yet another spectacular view fatigue when driving the road. Is it worth pulling off the road for another cliff drop, another gorge, or another arch? Make sure you plan your trip, so you can skip some attractions if you need to, but don't miss the truly amazing ones.

Great Ocean Road can also be traversed by public transport but this way you stand a chance to miss out on the hidden gems which are away from townships and along the coast. Those little nooks and crannies where there are no other tourists, just you and the vast stretch of Southern Ocean ahead of you.

Coach tours can also be booked if you don’t want to drive but as we submitted before, the thrill and the feel of a self-drive trip is unlike any other. We strongly recommend a self-driving trip up and down the Great Ocean Road for an experience of a life time.

October is a great time for this road trip. It is the middle of spring in most of Australia and the end of the dry season in the tropical north. Temperatures are creeping up after the cool of winter, and rainfall is generally low throughout the country. Overall high probability of great weather. So not just a 4-wheel driving trip, you can also undertake a motorbike journey.

Scattered throughout the towns along the Great Ocean Road are several superb places to grab a bite. Enjoy an ice cream snack at Dooley’s Ice Cream in Apollo Bay or indulge at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery in Bellbrae.

There are also breweries and wineries along the road serving up excellent drops. Airey Pub has its own micro-brewery, Rogue Wave, and in Lorne you can enjoy free samples at the cellar door of St Anne’s Vineyards. No matter what your taste, there’s something for you along the Great Ocean Road. Don’t miss out on the many beer and wine festivals happening all across to mark the Spring season. See some of the events listed below.

To spend nights, choose your favourite kind of stays – from camping grounds, to youth hostels or to luxury inns. Chart your route in such a way that you reach your next halt before night falls. Or if you are the more adventurous sorts, throw caution to the wind and see where the Great Road takes you. Either way, this road trip is bound to be a memorable one.

Events in October 2022 in Australia:

1 Oct – 31 Oct: Multiple spring festivals and flower shows in parks all over Australia.

1 Oct – 7 Oct : Kakadu Bird Week, Jabiru, NT

1 Oct – 31 Oct : Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations , Coonawarra, SA

1 Oct – 2 Oct : Gears and Beers Festival , Wagga Wagga, NSW

1 Oct – 31 Oct : Sydney Night Noodle Markets , Sydney, NSW

14 Oct – 5 Nov : 2022 Brisbane Fringe, Brisbane, QLD

14 Oct – 16 Oct : Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Phillip Island, VIC

16 Oct – 30 Nov : ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 , Multiple Cities.

19 Oct – 30 Oct : Adelaide Film Festival, Adelaide, SA

21 Oct – 7 November: Sculpture by The Sea, Bondi, Tamarama, NSW

*Please confirm all event and festival dates and venues before booking.

COVID UPDATE : At the time of writing, the following protocol is being followed for international arrivals into Australia : Visitors do not need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to meet Australian inbound travel requirements. Visitors do not need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to travel to and from Australia. From 12.01 am on Friday 9 September 2022 (AEST), the mask mandate for international flights to Australia will be removed. Please note that different states might follow different protocols.

For any latest update, please check your airlines’ site or https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ or https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19/ .

Travel Smart

While apps such as Google Maps, Waze, Accuweather, Wunderground, Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix are the most obvious ones to load up on your devices, here are some specific apps that can help you get more out of the outback in Australia :

  1. Wikicamps : WikiCamps offers the largest and most up-to-date database of campgrounds, caravan parks, hostels, day-use areas and public dump points (not to mention points of interest and information centres too) throughout Australia. Kept up to date by users as they travel, it is an ever-growing resource packed with invaluable information – making it one of the Top Travel Apps in Australia. And with the offline map function, it’s the perfect app for finding all things camping (and road trip) related. Easily one of the most useful travel apps in Australia

  2. The Outbound Collective : These are the adventures you never knew you needed. Download the app, input your location and you’ll be presented with a list (or a map if you prefer!) of hiking, walking, cycling and photography spots close to you- complete with pictures and recommendations from those who have been there before. And it works wherever you happen to be. It’s the perfect inspirational app for exploring nature near to you when you’re not sure what you want to do or have landed in a new destination.

  3. The Happiest Hour : Who doesn’t love a good happy hour? And with this app (and using your current location), you’ll find the nearest 2-4-1 cocktails, BOGOF beer (and more!) to you in any given destination. The app also helps users track down happy hour-related food deals, from pizza and pasta to dumplings and almost everything in between. 

  4. AllTrails: This app has over 200,000 curated trail maps around the world – with over 7000 of them available for Australia. Get inspired by local walking and biking trails and nature opportunities near you, and read user reviews and tips to find out what to know before you set off. For a fee, the maps can be downloaded and used to track your adventures in real-time or can be used for free via mobile data while you’re out and about. You can even use the GPS on your phone to track your trails – which may help you retrace your steps if you get lost – easy to happen in Australia, mate !

  5. Road trippers: Plan your route, find attractions along the way, estimate driving times – Road Trippers is a favourite road trip travel app has been the go-to app across the globe for putting together itineraries for years. Is invaluable when it comes to navigating the outback on the Aussie roads

  6. Fuel Map Australia: Avoid that wave of panic that makes you drive directly to the nearest fuel station as soon as the petrol light comes on, and use the app to find not only the nearest petrol station but also the one with the cheapest fuel at any given moment.

Sustainable Travel Tip of the Month

To get a sample itinerary for Australia, Click here

Travelling, especially road trips, can become bit of an ethical conundrum for environment-conscious travellers. Vehicles are gas-guzzling, emission spewing, bane of the modern society after all. But, with a little bit of a careful planning and foresight, we can at least reduce our carbon foot print.

Specially in a fragile ecosystem such as Australia, there’s even law protecting the Great Ocean Road in particular. In December 2020, a legislation went into effect to legally protect the Great Ocean Road – called the “Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Act 2020”. However, in the absence of a law, all responsible road-trippers should follow these :

  1. Opt for an electric car : First and foremost, try to choose an electric vehicle over a fossil fuel one. With the growth in options and charging stations everywhere, this is now much easier than it was even just five years back. Research your route and check the viability of using an electric vehicle.

  2. Keep your car tuned up and tires inflated : Whichever car you choose, it is necessary that it is at peak performance level to reduce emissions.

  3. Pack all your reusable: cutlery, water bottles, and coffee mugs, drinking straws, plates, bowls and shopping bags. Just by refusing to take any single-use plastics or Styrofoam cups, you would have already done the road and the ocean a great favour!

  4. Don’t use disposable batteries : These days almost all electronic items are chargeable with electricity. Avoid using disposable batteries. And if you do, never throw them on the road, in the jungle or in the ocean. Put them in an appropriate recycling bin.

  5. Eat local, seasonal food: Avoid foodstuff that has to be shipped across thousands of miles. Eat what grows close by and what the locals swear by.

Finally, consider offsetting your carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets from the valid organisations. You can calculate your emissions and do the transaction for a set monetary value equivalent to your emissions on these organisation’s websites. In Australia, you can use GreenFleet to buy carbon offsets.

‘Vacations’ is powered by OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels – a social enterprise that promotes travelling as a means to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Incubated at IIM Bangalore, OneShoe is the source of most authentic travel experiences around the world.

Link to : oneshoetravels.com

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