The West Kimberley region has just joined an exclusive club of iconic, well-loved places in Australia, including Bondi Beach, the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru. The Australian government has announced that the West Kimberley, in Western Australia’s far north, will be awarded National Heritage Listing!
Congratulations to our friends at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) who, along with other environmental and cultural groups, have run a passionate campaign to help protect this region. “Formal recognition of the importance to the nation of the West Kimberley’s natural and cultural values confirms what many in the region and elsewhere already know – that this is a very special part of Australia that is too precious to lose to industrialisation,” said ACF CEO Don Henry.
Looking at the wisdom and warmth in those eyes, you know this women must have a thousand stories to tell. That’s the impression you get when you first see this wonderful photo taken by Jonathan Lewis. And it turns out there is a great tale attached to this special travel photo…
“In 1976 my friend visited a small village in rural China and photographed an elderly lady who he made friends with. We hiked back up the village in 2011 and my friend brought his photograph along, just in case someone recognised her.
Soon Muslim communities will mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Brunei that means very special celebrations and Ai Lee, owner and operator of our Brunei Urban Adventures day tours, lets us know more about the local festivities…
“This year Hari Raya aidilfitri or Eid falls on 31 August or 1 September, 2011 (determined by the result of the new moon sighting). The special thing about the festival in Brunei is that Istana Nurul Iman, the world largest residential royal palace, will open to the public from the second day of Hari Raya for three days. This is a unique tradition found only in Brunei!
Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) recently celebrated 10 years of operation. A fantastic milestone for this self-funded NGO, but it’s been a bumpy ride trying to look after working animals during tough political and economic times. Last year alone ACE provided veterinary care to approximately 100 animals a day and helped educate 400 children a week on animal welfare. The Intrepid Foundation is proud to have provided much-needed financial support and Kim Taylor, ACE Centre Manager, gives us an update…
“It has certainly been an eventful few months since our emergency appeal for assistance in February. The response for funds was a great help to get us through the trying times. Earlier in the year we had to evacuate all animals and people from the ACE premises, as the threat of looting or a deliberate arson attack was too great a risk for the stable animals. All animals that were sent home were visited by our three Egyptian vets to ensure they were being well cared for outside the walls of ACE. Making these visits amongst the tanks and military presence, made it far from a normal drive to the villages around Luxor.
Argentina may be the second biggest country in South America, by area and population, but the World Heritage-listed Parque National Los Glaciares in Patagonia is one of the continent’s most dramatic landscapes. The spectacular region is overwhelming, as Emma Mitterhuemer discovered…
“When people say “moving at a glacial pace”, I will now think of something moving with such incredible, brutal force that it takes with it everything in its path! The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the world’s only advancing glaciers and fills the space between two peaks much like a giant frozen river spilling out into a valley. The glacier is well balanced, advancing around 1.5 metres each day and simultaneously shedding the same amount of ice into South America’s third largest body of fresh water, Lake Argentina.
The Thai language has the second largest alphabet in the world. So while it can be tricky to get your tongue around the local language, Michelle Stucky had no trouble finding the words to describe her Thailand experience…
“Ten days ago we boarded a plane in Indiana for an adventure of a lifetime. Leaving behind everything we were accustomed to including air conditioning, bland foods, and the English language.
Intrepid trips always include as much local transport as possible, because half the fun of travel, is the travelling itself! Great Indochina Loop is a perfect example of this, as Zoe Rees discovered…
“The second day into my Great Indochina Loop trip and I was already immersed in local life on board an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It was great fun to be surrounded by men, women and families, all going about their everyday chatter and snacking on unusual food. You can sit back and soak in the experience, or if you are game like our group, just join in. I recommend practising your charades first and be prepared to laugh lots!
The Trans-Siberian Railway is hailed as one of the great train journeys of the world and Tina Gerets understands why it attracts thousands of enthusiasts every year…
“For some people the thought of spending close to 100 hours in a confined space is daunting. But having done the ‘Trans Sib’ (as it is affectionately known) 7 times already, I can assure you this is not a reason to stay at home. In fact, the 3-night journey between Ulan Ude and Kungur seems to fly by, and that’s Intrepid’s longest stretch on the train. I would plan to update my journal or catch up on sleep and reading, but that never happened because I simply didn’t have time!
It’s incredible to consider just how many charity organisations are achieving remarkable results and helping local communities with no support from their governments. Intrepid’s Jo Stewart has just returned from Kenya, where she had the privilege of seeing first hand how one such organisation was helping kids and their families to get on the right track…
“Driving along a dusty highway littered with rubbish, tin roofed shacks and the odd herd of cows, Nairobi is hot, relentless and raw. The journey to the Intrepid Foundation-supported New Hope Children’s Centre reveals many uniquely African sights, none more so poignant than the numerous make-shift coffin shops, which act as a visual reminder of the fragility of life in Africa and the sad fate that many people meet much, much earlier than needed due to disease, famine and preventable illness. But this is not a grim tale designed to garner guilt, but a soulful success story built on hope, kindness, generosity and dedication.