The sky is full of seabirds, big fat clumsy squawking birds, swooping, diving and clattering – and most of them seem to be coming straight for me. Thousands of providence petrels nest on top of the 867-metre summit of Mount Gower on Lord Howe Island, which I have just spent about four hours sweating my way up along with 18 other walkers. Our guide summoned the birds with a high-pitched guttural call and down they came, crashing through the forest canopy to see what the noise was about. Dozens thump to the ground around us with such force, it’s surprising they don’t injure themselves. One walker, with a mild bird phobia, runs off in horror. Once landed, they rest for a minute, checking us out before they go back to fighting each other. The birds spend most of their lives at sea, so are awkward on land with their webbed feet, and have no fear of humans. Some of our group can’t resist the urge to reach out and pat them. It’s an exceptional up-close wildlife … [Read more...] about Birds, sweat and fears on Lord Howe Island’s grand Seven Peaks Walk
Grand canyon holidays
Kids in the Rockies! A wild family adventure in Canada's natural adventure playground By David Rose for The Mail on Sunday Published: 09:59 GMT, 18 November 2012 | Updated: 09:59 GMT, 18 November 2012 e-mail View We call the next part the wake-up call,' said our guide and captain, Andrea, an expert canoeist from Quebec. 'It's just a foretaste, really. Then we get a minute's break, and after that, the fun really starts. So here it comes ... Get ready to paddle, right side ... NOW!' Crashing into the wave made by the first rapid, we obeyed Andrea's instructions. And then the 15-mile ride began - a drenching, freezing and utterly exhilarating aquatic bucking bronco down the Sunwapta River, near the resort of Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. Into the wilderness: There is fantastic white-water rafting to be had at Sunwapta Falls...just don't get too close to the edge! For the first 30 minutes after launching, the river is mostly calm and flat, allowing the six of us in … [Read more...] about Kids in the Rockies! A wild family adventure in Canada’s natural adventure playground
With private pools, vast cellars and throngs of discreet but obliging staff, Australia has a handful of internationally renowned luxury lodges where a single night’s stay costs upwards of A$1,000 – and sometimes far more. But often the biggest selling point isn’t the amenities, it’s the location. Sparkling bays, islands ringed with white sand and valleys teeming with native wildlife are the grand promise. While their day spas and five-star restaurants might be exclusive, the landscapes these sites occupy aren’t necessarily inaccessible. Hiding down the track or across the sea are far more affordable places to stay, with that same magical feeling. We asked travel writers across the country to select visited-and-vetted, affordable “dupes” – that’s bargain-hunter code for “duplicates” – of some of Australia’s most elite destination resorts. 1. A spot on the edge of the Southern Ocean Five-star destination: … [Read more...] about Five affordable alternatives to Australia’s extravagant luxury lodges
An Instagram beauty influencer was jailed for four years on Thursday after it emerged that she was illegally injecting hyaluronan as "filler" into the lips and noses of women across Germany. Many of the women later complained of complications relating to the impromptu surgeries. According to German magazine Spiegel, the 29-year-old influencer, who has not been named, charged around €300 ($330) for the injections and carried them out in her own living room and later in hotels across the country. The student has around 100,000 followers on Instagram, and used the social media platform to advertise her service. The trial also investigated apparent tax fraud. The judge determined that the influencer must repay around €67,000 ($73,500) in unpaid taxes. The court in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Bochum agreed that the pregnant social media star will be allowed out of jail to give birth in freedom before serving the rest of her sentence. "You should be happy that … [Read more...] about German Instagram beauty influencer jailed for illegally injecting nose and lip fillers
Robert Redford had Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods as a project in development for over 10 years. At some point, however, the movie simply rotted in its box, and this weekend the lid was lifted on the whole stinky mess. Not that I worry too much about Redford movies but I do object when he takes down a great actor along with him. Nick Nolte plays Bryson’s erratic acquaintance Steven Katz, a role originally earmarked for the late Paul Newman, and the idea that Nolte and Newman are interchangeable entities suggests that the worm was in the conceptual apple from early on. it’s compounded by sitcom-style Grumpy Old Men gags about crapping in the big woods, horny bears, Nolte clambering pants-less out of bedroom windows with irate husbands on his tail, that sort of thing. All of which reminded me of my favourite line in any Nick Nolte movie, this one from Who’ll Stop The Rain (1978), in which he played Ray Hicks, Nietzschean merchant sailor and principled heroin … [Read more...] about A Walk in the Woods: what’s Nick Nolte doing in a stinker like this?