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Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso

A Day in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Valparaiso, Chile

Coming from the sea, Valparaiso looks strewn with candy. Colors dance like forgotten rainbows across the 42 cerros (hills) that face the bay and that give this UNESCO World Heritage Site its charm.

At its front are the whirring cranes and colossal ships that speak to its importance as a working port, while rising steeply behind them are the mishmash of crumbling colonial buildings that are evidence of its tangled past.

It’s a stark difference to the orderly buzz that dominates Chile’s capital of Santiago. I have made the journey east to experience its famous quirk for myself and to meet the Valparaiso locals (known as porteños), who remain closely connected to both sea and the hills. Read More

Explore Hobart Five Ways :: A Mini Travel Guide

Tasmania used to be the brunt of many jokes by their fellow mainlanders, but now it’s Tasmanians who are having the last laugh. This small island state lying off the tail end of Australia is turning out to be quite the getaway. And Hobart, the capital, is stealing the show.

Sitting pretty at the foot of Mount Wellington on the Derwent River, Hobart is Australia’s most southerly capital. Once a quiet backwater, this creative capital came into its own when MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) gallery opened in 2010. Intrigued interstaters who came to investigate discovered Hobart’s thriving arts scene, along with a blossoming food and wine industry showcasing the state’s local produce.

There is a good range of accommodation in Hobart to suit all budgets and tastes, from luxury art hotels to budget hostels. The most recent artsy addition is Ibis Styles Hobart, which is set to receive a five-star Green Building Council of Australia certification for sustainability.

Getting around the city centre is fairly easy, but it’s a sprawling city so it’s a good idea to venture further than the main centre to see it all. This month, I’ve teamed up with AccorHotels to bring you 5 different ways to explore Hobart that will allow you to get a real feel for the place.

By Bike

under Down under tours

Photo credit :: Under Down Under Tours

Considering Hobart is known for its thriving arts scene, it would seem fitting to start off your tour of the city with Artbikes. Available five days a week from Rosny Barn on Hobart’s eastern shores, Artbikes allows art lovers to easily access the myriad cultural attractions in the city. Their Dutch-style bikes are designed by Vanmoof and come with a helmet, lock and cultural map.
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An Eco-friendly Family Trip to Marysville :: A Town Rebuilt from Ashes

Just over nine years ago, the worst bush fires in Australia’s history devastated the small town of Marysville, a scenic hideaway at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, only 90 minutes from Melbourne. Since this terrible event, known as Black Saturday, Marysville has well and truly risen from the ashes. Determined residents have rebuilt the town and it’s now bigger and better than ever. Tourism is once again booming and the environment is flourishing.

I visited Marysville recently with the family. We arrived when the sun was shining and even when it started pouring, we explored happily. It’s a small town with lots to do in the area so is perfect for a short visit, or longer if you’ve got time aplenty.

Here we share why Marysville is the perfect green Yarra Valley getaway for families.

The Black Spur

the black spur
If you do decide to head to Marysville, make sure to enjoy the drive there, and don’t forget to look up! The Black Spur is a 30 km section of road between Healesville and Marysville that is lined with towering Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus rengans), which, thankfully, escaped the bush fires.

Standing 100 metres tall, these are the world’s tallest flowering trees and are an impressive sight from below. Slow down, open the windows and enjoy the smells and sounds of the forest as you go.
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8 Eco-Friendly Music Festivals for Green-Minded Revellers

Monika Tudja

Monika Tudja

This is a guest post by Monika Tudja, the co-founder of – a site dedicated to helping music lovers explore festivals around the globe.

No matter the weather or time of year, there’s a music festival happening somewhere in the world. The summer season is drawing to a close in the southern hemisphere, but the party’s only getting started up north of the equator.

Eco-conscious revellers are aware of the environmental impact of festivals, as are many of the organisers, which is why we’re seeing a move towards more cleaner, greener events all around the globe. But with so many to choose from, which ones stand out from the crowd?

Aside from a good time, these music festivals have something special to offer – the creators have gone to great lengths to ensure sustainability and environmental awareness are at the core of their event. All you have to do is have the time of your life… and leave no trace.

Glastonbury :: United Kingdom

The world’s biggest green field festival, Glastonbury brings in 175,000 attendees every year so it’s no wonder they’re keen to promote a sustainable environment over of the weekend. At Glastonbury, things are done differently as the festival highlights new, and unpopular, issues about the environment. Aside from bringing in amazing musicians and artists, Glastonbury Festival changes the mentality of people by giving them the chance to “open their eyes” to these issues and make a change. Their list of green policies is impressive and in 2017, Worthy Farm partnered with Oxfam, Greenpeace, and WaterAid as part of their ‘Worthy Causes’ initiative. The festival also takes a break every seven years to allow the land to recover from being overtrodden year-after-year; 2018 is what they call their ‘fallow’ year. The next festival will take place in 2019.

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Angkor Wat

Top Ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites, According to Tripadvisor

With 1,073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore, it’s hard to choose which ones to visit. Luckily, Tripadvisor has done the hard job for us and compiled the top ten best UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage sites across the globe, according to their reviewers.

Which site will you visit first?

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Anghor Wat

Angkor Wat

Image via Flickr by Chris

Whilst one could be in danger of being ‘templed out’ due to the sheer number of them in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat should not be missed and is best toured with a knowledgeable guide to provide you with fascinating facts on the building process, history of it and Cambodia generally. The best views are at dawn or dusk, when the crowds have gone and the lighting reveals its true majesty. You can find tours on TripAdvisor which include either a sunrise or sunset visit with a private guide from AUD$51, or even take a helicopter tour over this famed site, discovering the ancient constructions from above, and which includes a dinner and traditional dancer performance.
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The Sustainable Living Series at Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Running from now until the end of June, The Sustainable Living Series is a set of workshops designed to help Australians embrace a greener lifestyle. Held at The Calyx in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, the events aim to inspire attendees to learn new skills for healthy living that won’t cost the earth.

Plastic Free Home

Saturday 24 March 2018
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Cost: $40 or $35 Foundation & Friends members

Plastic Free Home

Plastics have infiltrated every aspect of our lives from packaging to food storage to skincare and clothes. Consequences are negative for our health as chemicals from plastic packaging leaches into our food, and also for the environment, with plastic pollution devastating our oceans and poisoning precious wildlife.
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Gili Lankanfushi lead image

Sustainable Luxury at its Best :: Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Cycling along the jetty, I spot a dark flash in the water just outside my villa. A pectoral fin breaks the surface. It’s a black tip reef shark. Not too huge; about a metre long. I park the bike by the front door and fumble for the keys in the depths of my tote, still keeping track of the shark. It disappears under the villa.

I can’t get the door open quick enough. Once I’m in, I dump my bag on the day bed, grab my fins and mask and make a beeline for the deck at the front of the villa. I haven’t been swimming with sharks for ages and don’t want to miss the opportunity. But I’m too late. I realise I’m never going to catch this fish and watch it lazily swim away through the sea grass in the bay. “Next time,” I say to myself.

overwater villa gili lankanfushi

Villa No.26. My home in the Maldives for four days.

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Parrtjima, a festival in Light, Alice Springs

Parrtjima :: A Festival in Light Illuminates Alice Springs Desert Park

The second annual Parrtjima – A Festival in Light has opened in Alice Springs, home of the Arrernte. Illuminating Alice Springs Desert Park for 10 nights, the free outdoor public event showcases contemporary art by talented Aboriginal artists from around Central Australia.

Derived from the Arrernte group of languages, Parrtjima (pronounced Par-CHee-ma) suggests shedding both light and understanding on a subject. In Central and Eastern Arrernte, ‘apateme’ means ‘to have trouble understanding something’ and ‘pwarrtyeme’ means ‘to shine’.

A highlight of the program will be the mesmerising illumination of a 300-million-year-old natural canvas – the majestic West MacDonnell Ranges. The event includes installations involving artists from the central desert region and a Festival of Knowledge Program, which aims to deepen visitors’ experience. Here, Arrernte Elders share their art knowledge and culture through a series of talks and events.
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lake mountain alpine resort

Our First Snow Experience in Australia: Lake Mountain Resort

Squinting through the fog, I strain to pick out the girls from the sea of people at the top of the toboggan run. There are two problems with this: one, the fog is so thick I can barely see the fingers on my outstretched hand before me; two, it seems like every other child on the mountain is dressed in the same pink and blue checked Aldi ski-gear.

Eventually, I locate my eldest just as she pushes off from the top of the slope, whooping as she descends… then bashing into some poor soul’s shins at the bottom. I race after her, signalling apology to the cross guy rubbing his wounds.

It is an early start to make it to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort before the crowds descend. I had been warned to arrive early as admission to the resort closes after the day’s limit of cars is reached. Waking the family at 5.30am isn’t easy, especially when the kids have finally achieved the Holy Grail of sleep and regularly sleep through the night. The promise of snow and a day on the slopes is an easy bribe. The words, Frozen, Elsa and Anna may have been mentioned to entice them from their slumber.

After a quick breakfast and a few squabbles about the suitability of glittery tap shoes on the snowfields, we head off for our first frolic in the snow in Australia.
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koala australia

Save the Koala Month 2017

September is the natural breeding season for koalas, so it’s very fitting that the entire month is dedicated to the Save the Koala campaign.

Now in its 29th year, Save the Koala Month was created in 1988 to raise awareness of the plight of the koala and encourage fundraising to support the work of the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF). The money raised through Save the Koala Month goes towards the long term survival of Australia’s wild koala population, which, according to the AKF, sits around 43,000. Only a decade ago the koala population was in the hundred thousands.

To ensure the long term survival of koalas in the wild, the AKF works on getting effective legislation passed at a federal level. However, because the AKF is a not-for-profit organisation, it does not receive government funding. They depend on donations from individuals and the community to be able to continue their work.

sleeping koala

Image by Alex Proimos via Wikimedia Commons

Koala concerns

There are a number of factors influencing the decline in wild koala population. Found mainly in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and a few small areas in South Australia, koalas in many parts of Australia have been ravaged by drought or bush fires over the past few years, which has severely impacted on koala numbers.

Clearing of land for housing, agriculture and development is encroaching on the koala’s natural habitat, with vast green corridors that koalas once used to move around disappearing.

CEO of the AKF Deborah Tabart OAM says, “Residential developments in koala habitats has pushed the marsupial native’s population in southeast Queensland to a point beyond recovery.” As a result, the AKF is campaigning the federal government to establish a Koala Protection Act, which would see tighter constraints imposed on the type of areas developers could build in, thus protecting koala habitats.

With a rise in human settlement comes a higher risk of dog attacks, especially if green corridors are non-existent, which means the only way koalas can get from tree-to-tree is to climb down and walk. This also increases the risk of injury and death from traffic accidents.

If koalas manage to escape being hit by a car, attacked by a dog or caught in a bush fire, there’s always a chance they could catch a dose of chlamydia, which is currently rife among some populations of koala. The good news is that a scientist very recently discovered a new drug to treat chlamydia in koalas, which can have a devastating effect on the animals causing blindness, pneumonia, infertility and even death.

koala smiling

Image by Adolf via Wikimedia Commons

How You Can Help Save Koalas

Every year, the AKF asks the public to come up with, and implement new fundraising ideas. The more innovative the better!

Deborah Tabart of the AKF is amazed at the creativity of koala lovers from around the globe. “Without the people of the world, the plight of the koala would be much worse. Now it is time to save koala habitats.”

Hold your own fundraiser

Have a garage sale; host a cake stall; sell stickers, organise a no-uniform day at school asking everyone involved to give a gold coin donation towards the Save the Koala fund.

Buy merchandise directly from the AKF

The AKF sells stickers, temporary tattoos, wristbands and soft toys through their online shop that you can sell as part of a fundraiser, or keep for yourself if you wish.

Collect donations

Place a donation box in your workplace or child’s school. If you’re really keen, contact your local council and ask if you can place a few donation boxes around your suburb or town.

Get crafty

Dig out the knitting needles and sewing machine and get creative. Handmade toys and gifts are great to sell to raise funds.

Get social

Use social media for good – spread the word about your fundraising efforts to maximise reach of this year’s Save the Koala Month, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #STKM or #STKM2017 when sharing.

The AKF is always looking for new ideas on how to generate funds to continue their work in koala protection. If you can think of any new and innovative ways to support the AKF, get in touch with them via the Save the Koala website or the Save the Koala Facebook page.

This article first appeared on Our Planet Travel. The information has since been updated.

You can read more articles about Koalas on Eco Traveller Guide here.