While hiking through dense forests, across mountain tops and over empty deserts is absolutely my favourite way to explore a landscape, there is absolutely no substitute for any kind of boating experience on open water. Many years have past since I left home to begin travelling around the world but I still remember clearly the many stand out experiences of that first trip, and it’s no coincidence that most of them had something in common; from the rafting, cruising, to the sailing - the best experiences were often on the water.
I never had the opportunity in my youth to go boating, nevermind boating in Sydney. This was mostly because boating seemed like an expensive thing to be doing at weekend, but then also because the weather was not so good in Ireland. However, one of the beautiful things about travelling the world is the huge variety of experiences and thankfully for me, this also meant some weather which was actually ideal for taking a boat trip or other water based activities.
There was the electrifying white-water rafting down the Zambezi, the majestic sunset cruise in Zanzibar, sailing the Whitsunday Island paradise and then the boat trip with friends on Sydney harbour cruises after arriving to work in Australia. Hiking, cycling and all other modes of transport are obviously still enjoyable, but there is something special about being out on the water, about being able to see everything from a different perspective and the feeling it brings to be away from the chaos of the towns, cities, work or wherever you leave behind.
The best travel experiences
On the Zambezi, the excitement of the enormous rapids brought so much adrenaline that, once we stepped onoard that boat, literally nothing else in the world seemed to matter. In Zanzibar the feeling of standing with the tropical island on one side, and a huge sunset over the Indian ocean on the other, was so incredible that we ended up taking the cruise on two more occasions. Whitsunday Islands was spectacular, to cruise around the islands and drink in some of Australia’s most incredible scenery was simply unforgettable. And then there was Sydney Harbour cruises, we wanted to get away from the city, to enjoy our own space and company which the cruise was so easily able to offer. Having considered renting from Sydney Harbour boat hire, we decided on the cruise so we could sit back, unwind and enjoy the serenity of being out on the open ocean.
Not everyone has the privilege to grow up on a beach or be within easy access of the water, but with the cost of cruises and boat hire being so affordable it now strikes me that many of the best travel experiences are actually on water, which is perfect as I leave for Halong Bay next week!