Holiday Away In The Awe And Soul Of Nature
People travel for many reasons. An escape. The nightlife of another land. Fun with friends. The soul searching of solitary wandering. To say nothing of seeing the beautiful spectacles of civilisation.
Yet there is also the brilliance, if not ecstasy, of a single mountain-scape or the shimmer of a lake; the tumble of a canyon or the pleasant solitude of a wind-sung forest.
The mountain that is a cradle
Australia offers more than a small selection of lands of wonder. One, Cradle Mountain, is in the country’s far too often overlooked travel destination of Tasmania.
Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain is situated on the northern end of the Cradle Mt–Lake St Clair National Park.
The peak, which reaches 1,500 metres above sea level, is so named because it resembles a gold mining cradle, and is only half the reason for such a journey.
A physical wonder is rarely in isolation, and is more often a singular extension of an already brilliant expanse. Such is the case in this national park: icy, crisp streams; ancient pine forests; glacial lakes.
Those who want to extend their trip into a more inspiring, if tiring, effort should be aware that the mountain is the starting site for the panoramic six-day Overland Trek.
The sand and sites of Fraser Island
Fraser Island, in Queensland, enjoys all the right numbers to be an excellent travel site of natural wonder.
Around 200 kilometres north of Brisbane, it is a 123 kilometre-long and 22 kilometre-wide island with pristine beachheads, forests of rich fauna, and over 100 freshwater lakes. It reputedly hosts the last pure dingoes in Australia, and bird watchers are sure to have fun.
The island, a World Heritage Site, can be explored through a number of hiking options, including the 90-kilometre Fraser Island Great Walk.
Kingfisher Bay Resort offers a luxury base on the island. It organises guided tours and vehicle hire.
The best way, however, to experience this island’s air and sea is to spend the evenings under the stars, with a tent as your home. Of course, do your homework before embarking. The natural world is not always nice, with snakes a part of the eco-system (to say nothing of reported sightings of crocodiles).
The tiger lept over the gorges of Yunnan
It is a photographer’s dream, a travel enthusiast’s pleasure. It is Yunnan province in southwest China.
Forgetting about the rich history of the region, you could wile away days and weeks simply sampling the geography.
Those who truly love their photography could do worse than going to Yuanyang county in the province’s south. It offers spectacular vistas across terraced rice paddies, and, due to the rich colours of the landscape, provides excellent shutter opportunities.
The northern summer in the Luoping valley, part of the province’s east, is a visual feast. Yellow canola bursts from the farms, while impressive dark hills reach from a sea of gold — the result of the canola.
There is also perhaps the best named world heritage site in, well, the world: Tiger Leaping Gorge. A traveller might follow the path of the Jinsha river (a tributary of the Yangtze) and so stumble into a land of natural and cultural wonder: small villages, green pastures, sheer cliffs, quiet forests.
Airfares to China from Australia are surprisingly cheap. Be sure to pack a spare set of shorts in your carry-on bag. If, as happens, your main bag is lost, it is less than pleasant to be stuck in jeans in southern China in the warm months.