Posts Tagged With: Australia

Best Places To Hunt For Buried Treasure

If you are the type of person that likes to stay away from tourist traps, then this article is for you! This is a list of the best places to hunt for buried treasure according to lonelyplanet.com

1) Opal mining, Coober Pedy, Australia

Outback adventure and the chance to strike it rich: can you dig it? The good folk of Cooper Pedy can… and have done, ever since opal was first discovered there in 1915. Named from the local aboriginal term ‘kupa-piti’ (meaning ‘whitefella in a hole’), this far-flung town is known as the opal capital of the world; it’s also famous for its underground homes, excavated to escape the desert sizzle. While hardcore miners need a government permit, anyone is allowed to fossick – in local parlance, ‘noodle’ – through the town’s many mine dumps. Don’t let the whimsical verb fool you: many a noodler has hit paydirt.

Before going it alone, try a sanctioned noodle at Tom’s Working Opal Mine (www.tomsworkingopalmine.com.au) or Old Timers’ Mine (www.oldtimersmine.com).

2) Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Home to a huge, mysterious hole nicknamed the Money Pit, this otherwise unremarkable island is the destination for those answering the call of booty. First discovered in 1795, the cryptic Pit is the site of the world’s longest-running treasure hunt… although just which treasure is being hunted remains the cause of frenzied debate. Rumoured riches hidden within the hole (which supposedly runs at least 60m deep) include Captain Kidd’s stash, the lost jewels of Marie Antoinette, documents proving the ‘real’ identity of Shakespeare (Francis Bacon, FYI) and the holy grail of treasure seekers, the, erm, Holy Grail. Beware the booby traps!

Oak Island is privately owned, and permission is required before setting off to solve the mystery of the Pit. Start here for legends and links: www.oakislandtreasure.co.uk.

3) Geocaching, Las Vegas, USA

Cache-ING! Looking for loot in Las Vegas? Forget fruit machines and bank breaking: these days, thousands of Sin City visitors are forgoing gambling for geocaching. A real-life treasure hunt that relies on GPS and cryptic clues, geocaching is more likely to yield a Kinder Egg than that of the nest variety, but that hasn’t stopped five million enthusiasts worldwide. Vegas has become a must-do for the high-tech hobbyists, with more than 2400 stashes hidden in and around the city, including scores on the Strip, in the surrounding desert and in spooky spots for ‘haunted’ night caching.

Head to www.nevadageocaching.com and www.geocaching.com for the lowdown on what lies beneath.

4) Gold Detecting, Papau New Guinea

There’s gold in them thar hills… and on them thar islands… and under that thar sea. Papua New Guinea is absolutely awash with the shiny stuff, and while much of it falls into the hands of multinational mining companies, there’s no reason the budding prospector can’t have a pick or a pan as well. Gold fever peaked in the 20th century, with nuggets the ‘size of goose eggs’ attracting feverish prospectors, including a certain Mr Errol Flynn. These days, PNG’s rough-and-tumble landscape (social and geographic) make joining an organised tour a better idea than striking out on your own. They’re not cheap, but with a potential ‘Eureka!’ moment lurking beneath every step, who cares?

PNG Gold Tours offer fully escorted, two-week gold-hunting trips to Misma Island, an area renowned for rich alluvial deposits. Visit www.pnggoldtours.com.

5) Digging for Dinos, Australia

Thrilled by theropods? Is ‘muttaburrasaurus’ more than just an amusing tongue-twister to you? Then it’s a fair bet that joining a dinosaur dig is your idea of the ultimate treasure hunt. And where better to pander to your inner palaeontologist than outback Winton, home to Australia’s largest horde of dino bones? The not-for-profit organisation Australian Age of Dinosaurs holds tri-annual Dinosaur Discovery Weeks, giving enthusasauruses the chance to excavate, plaster and prep fossils buried for the last 95 million years. No experience is necessary, but only 13 spots per dig are available. Book quickly: they’ll be gone before you can say ‘Diamantinasaurus matildae’.

Digs run between July and September. Find out more and reserve your spot at australianageofdinosaurs.com/aa-dig-a-dino.php.

6) Roman Coins, English Countryside

Either togas suffered from a lack of pockets or departing Romans hadn’t time to stop at a currency exchange, because England is absolutely aglitter with ancient currency. And it’s yours for the picking. Amateur archaeologists and quaint folk with metal detectors have been responsible for massive finds across the island; in 2010, an NHS chef uncovered a pot filled with 52,000 coins dated between AD 253 and 293, the largest such hoard ever discovered. Coins have been unearthed as far north as Northumberland and west of Exeter. Study up, be sure to get landowners’ permission and you too could hold history in your hands!

Contact the National Council for Metal Detecting for information on detector hire, regional clubs and valuing your treasure: www.ncmd.co.uk.

7) Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

Peg-legs, black spots, West County accents: if there was a map showing the home of every pirate cliché known to fancy-dressers, Norman Island would be marked with an X. Not shivering your timbers? Perhaps its fictional name, Treasure Island, will make you go ‘aaaaargh’. The inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of mutiny and booty, Norman Island today is a haven for snorkellers and nature lovers (no shoulder-parrots spotted… yet). But rumours of undiscovered doubloons hidden in The Caves – a series of aptly murky watery caverns – attract rum-hoisters convinced the island remains home to ‘plenty of prizes and plenty of duff!’.

Norman Island is a short boat trip from Tortola, the biggest and most populated of the BVIs. Tortola is reached via ferries or flights out of various Caribbean hubs. See www.normanisland.com.

8) Artic Amethysts, Kola Peninsula, Russia

Far above the Arctic Circle, all that glitters is not ice: western Russia’s extreme north sparkles with the purple slivers of the prized amethyst. The rugged Kola Peninsula – a mineralogist’s dream with its hundreds of rare rock and metal species – is home to the windswept, amethyst-rich Tersky Coast. Unlike gold, the amethyst is surprisingly easy to find if you know where to look (Tersky’s Korabl Cape – ‘Ship Cape’ – is a great place to start): simply look for the purple clumps. In addition to its beauty, amethyst has a legendary quality which may come in handy in these frozen, vodka-loving lands: it’s believed to protect its bearer from drunkenness.

While spotting amethysts is simple enough, getting around Kola Peninsula is not. Consider joining a mineralogical tour with the South Kola group (www.kolaklub.com/southkola/mne.htm) or Kola Travel (http://kolatravel.com/mineralogical_holidays.htm).

9) Fossil Gawking, Gobi Dessert, Mongolia

To the hurried eye, the vast Gobi Desert looks like 1.3 million square-kilometres of dusty nothing. But stop, stoop and focus: the Gobi is one of the world’s richest fossil depositories, with many ancient (as in,100-million-years-ancient) remains lying only centimetres from the surface. It was here the first dinosaur eggs were discovered; other major excavated finds include rare mid-evolutionary birds and some of the world’s best-preserved mammal fossils. Hunting hotspots include the Flaming Hills of Bayanzag and Altan Uul (‘Golden Mountain’). You’re not supposed to take your finds home with you – they’re rightfully considered national treasures – but here, especially, the thrill is in the chase.

Independent (not package) tours can be hard to stumble across, but not impossible. Many guesthouses in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar can help get your expedition underway.

10) Wreck Diving, Florida, USA

It may be known as the ‘Sunshine State’, but many of Florida’s richest attractions haven’t seen the light of day in centuries. Thought to be home to more sunken treasure than any other state in the USA, Florida’s blue waters may be hiding more than US$200 million worth of loot. Now home to Disneyworld and pampered retirees, the state was once a notorious pirate haven (even Blackbeard dropped anchor here), and its hurricanes sent countless Spanish galleons to Davy Jones’ locker. Check local legalities before you wriggle into your wettie, and never dive alone in Florida’s oft-treacherous waters: those wrecks are down there for a reason.

The website www.treasuresites.com/indexn.htm is a treasure trove itself, with super-detailed listings of potentially enriching (and legal) wreck-dive spots across Florida.

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Top 15 Must Sees in the South Pacific

1) Kakadu National Park, Australia

Find legroom, extraordinary wildlife and ancient culture in Australia‘s largest national park.

2) Franz Josef & Fox Glacier, New Zealand

On the ground or in the air, discover the icy grandeur of these centuries-old ice floes.

3) Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Flipper-kick into a luxury liner, hack through to a cave, bus up to picture-perfect beaches.

4) Rurutu, Tahiti & French Polynesia

Believe in magic after swimming with migrating humpback whales.

5) Tongatapu, Tonga

Marvel at the South Pacific’s Stonehenge, explore pyramidal tombs and applaud the spurting blowholes.

6) Gizo, Solomon Islands

Surf without surf-rage in warm crystal-clear waters at Pailongge’s excellent reef-breaks.

7. Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia

Pay homage to Australia‘s most sacred rock.

8) Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Explore the volcanic wonderland on one of the world’s best day walks or a challenging mountain bike ride.

9) Sydney, Australia

Sexy beaches, stylish bars and sassy culture all topped off with views over the stunning harbour.

10) Ile des Pins, New Caledonia

Glide across tranquil Baie d’Upi on Île des Pins in a traditional sailing pirogue.

11) Wellington, New Zealand

Windy Welly isn’t all politics: revel in NZ‘s best nightlife and caffeine-scene along Cuba St and Courtenay Pl

12) Federated States of Micronesia

Sample some of the Pacific’s best diving, including Chuuk‘s amazing WWII wrecks and Yap‘s beautiful manta rays.

13) Aitutaki, Rarotonga & The Cook Islands

Discover the underwater wonderland of Aitutaki‘s world-famous lagoon.

14) Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ribbon your way between the beach and bush along Victoria’s exquisite coast.

15) Napier, New Zealand

Sip on a syrah amid the Art Deco ambience of the Hawkes Bay Wine Region.

 

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Best Adventure Vacations

These are the best adventure vacations for the thrill seekers who are studying abroad according to tripadvisor.com

1) San Juan, Puerto Rico

Aquatic thrills abound in Puerto Rico, from world-class surfing at Rincon where the swells reach 35 feet to relaxed scuba diving, particularly around Mona Island, Desecheo Island and Vieques. On terra firma, the tropical terrain yields prime hiking, horseback riding and rock climbing opportunities.

2) Bali, Indonesia

Take in the lush, volcanically active landscape of Bali while whitewater rafting on the Ayung and Unda rivers. Or get the heart pumping off-shore with an ocean-rafting sightseeing and snorkeling tour in boats that reach 44 miles per hour. Surfers hit the island’s western side for big-time swells.
 
3) Grand Canyon, National Park, Arizona, United States
 
At this behemoth of a canyon, whitewater and calm water rafting trips plunge along 277 river miles, fixed-wing and helicopter tours soar above its mile-deep maw and hikes and mule rides cover the terrain from rim to rim. Horseback tours operate from stables just outside the park’s south entrance.
 
4) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States
 
Located about two miles north of the airport, the Kona Coast State Park’s trio of tranquil, uncrowded beaches cater to swimming, kayaking, picnicking and snorkeling. It’s possible to spot Hawaiian green sea turtles among the arches and caves of the offshore coral reefs. Surfers congregate in the winter for the big surf.
 
5) Thailand
 
Thailand takes adventure to another level. The south’s beaches and islands offer sea kayaking, cave abseiling and climbing on stunning limestone stacks that rise from the Andaman Sea. Jungle treks and canopy tours await inland. In the north, mountains and rain forest backdrop exhilarating outdoor adventures.
 
6) Chengdu, Sischuan, China
 
Perched in a high mountain valley, Huanglong or Yellow Dragon National Park offers invigorating adventure options. The ambitious can trek to Lhasa, whitewater raft or embark on multi-day river journeys. Alternatively, a five-mile trot brings you to five terraced, temple pools glowing with stunning hues.
 
7) Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Within the nearly 1,200 square miles of one of America’s first national parks are top-notch hiking trails to waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, meadows and the iconic granite cliff, Half Dome. Three stables inside the park boundaries lead horse and mule rides that last from two hours up to a full day.
 
8) Vietnam
 
Vietnam’s famed jungles are amazingly alive. Jungle trekking reveals a near unimaginable wealth of flora and fauna. Nowhere offers more creature encounters than the country’s oldest national park, Cuc Phuong, home to a staggering 43 biodiversity hotspots and over 300 types of rare tropical birds.
 
9) Brazil
 
The wealth of flora and fauna and opportunities to observe them are unparalleled in the Amazon. Riverboats ply the waters of this fascinating wilderness, home to pink river dolphins, clamorous howler monkeys and raucous toucans. Photograph your adventure, run the rapids or stalk elusive jaguars by night.
 
10) Morocco
 
The Saharan dune field of Erg Chebbi undulates along the southern Moroccan border, near the small Berber village of Merzouga. Four-wheel-drive and camel safaris traverse this desert region, bringing you front and center with fine red sands piled up to 820 feet high and star-saturated night skies.
 
 11) Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
 
This tropical wilderness, home to more than 350 species of birds is a nature lovers’ paradise. Explore pristine rainforest where scarlet macaws and toucans swoop and howler monkeys cavort. Horseback ride through dense jungle and along remote beaches where high breaks are perfect for surfing.
  
12) Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Region, Peru
 
Hike the Inca Trail to the majestic Lost Cities of the Incas, hidden in dense Amazonian jungle, 7000 feet above sea level. This ancient road treks 25 miles from Cuzco through deep Andean gullies and is not for the faint-hearted. Climb up to overlook the ruins and the Urubamba Valley from Huayna Pichu Mountain.
 
13) Moab, Utah, United States
 
With three scenic byways, plus Canyonlands and Arches national parks close at hand, Moab inspires outdoor desert adventures. Cycle, climb or hike among sandstone cliffs and mind-blowing rock formations, raft the Colorado River or take a four-wheel-drive day trip through the arid backcountry.
 
14) Provence, France
 
Cycling through Provence’s rolling hills and charming villages, along twisting country roads and past 2000-year-old Roman aqueducts is by turns exhilarating and relaxing. Elsewhere in the region, a slew of activities awaits, from cliff climbing to skydiving to horseback riding or alpine skiing.
 
15) Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes, Belize
 
Belize’s largest island and an often overlooked Caribbean gem offers astounding diving and snorkeling. This English-speaking nation is home to the second-largest coral reef system in the world. If you want to stay atop the waves, this Caribbean idyll provides fabulous fishing, sailing and kayaking.
 
16) Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, United States
 
A single road accesses the six million acres of wild landscape in Denali National Park, and few private vehicles are allowed to travel it. Instead, park shuttles transport visitors into the wild for backpacking, wildlife spotting and attempts to climb 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak.
 
17) Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
 
The wealth of wonderful wildlife in the Galapagos defies the imagination. Get up close to fearless sea lions, majestic tortoises and amiable iguanas by hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and diving. Evolve to another level entirely by cycling by cinder cones, lava flows and tunnels or multi-hued beaches.
 
18) Kruger National Park
 
A game drive in search of the Big Five – lions, leopards, cape buffalo, elephants, and rhinos – is only the start in this South African safari mecca. Hit one of four adventure trails in a 4 X 4 for a self-guided tour through the park, take a ranger-led bush walk or soar in a hot-air balloon outside its boundaries.
 
19) Nepal
 
When it comes to mountain climbing, Nepal is the big one, but the home of the world’s highest peak has got a lot more to offer than mighty Everest and its neighboring summits. The Himalayan kingdom also offers excitements such as the stunning Annapurna trek, wildlife jungle safaris, rafting and paragliding.
 
20) Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
 
With 1,400 miles of coral reef stretching along the Queensland coast and 1,500 fish species, the World Heritage List-designated Great Barrier Reef is a scuba lover’s dream destination. Accompany underwater exploration with coastal adventures like bungee jumping or rafting through rain forests near Cairns.
 
21) Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, United States
 
Ashy plumes of smoke and red-hot lava stream from the active craters in this Big Island park, 30 miles southwest of Hilo. Crater Rim Drive takes cyclists through deserts and rain forests and into the caldera of Kilauea volcano. More than 150 miles of hiking trails cover its 333,000 acres.
 
22) Scottish Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom
 
Hike or mountain bike past castles, lochs, Highland Cows and purple heather in the romantic Scottish Highlands. Experience the beauty of the country as you trot north on the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fort William or explore the country’s first national park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
 
23) Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
 
As one of the wettest places on earth, Milford Sound provides an emerald-green and waterfall-rich backdrop for hiking, biking and kayaking. The Fjordland stretches more than 124 miles south to Preservation Inlet, with an extensive trail network to support travel of the self-propelled variety.
 
24) Northern Norway, Norway
 
More than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle waits this land of midnight sun, Northern Lights and spectacular skiing. The Lygen Alps offer a slew of snowy delights, from off-piste skiing and snowmobiling to dog sledding and reindeer trekking. Once snows melt, glacier walks, kayaking and hiking top the bill.
 
25) Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia, Australia
 
In the Flinders Ranges, easily reachable from Adelaide, hiking and cycling trails criss-cross the southern region, caves and gorges carve a beautiful swath through the center, and kangaroos bound across red earth in the northern Outback. Four-wheel drive safaris delve into this designated National Landscape.
 
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