Gulshan Bafna is the visionary COO of Vinayak Group. In a parallel life, where he is away from the negotiating table, he is a pure traveller seeking unseen and unknown experiences, a true lover of world cultures, languages, souls, food, oceans, with interest in the wild and urban alike.
When making a trip to ‘the land of Down Under’, Tangalooma Island is a MUST go to. Hands down, you will regret it if you go there and do not be part of the experience of this island. Nature and the sights are good enough to give you the sense of being one with nature. Sitting about a 75-minute catamaran cruise from Brisbane, Australia, this place is one of the places that you have to see. It does not matter if you are travelling solo or travelling with family as I was.
Yes, it was a trip to Australia in October of last year. It’s one of the best times of the year to visit. I along with my beautiful wife took this trip for twenty days, and it was fantastic. When I started planning the trip, people asked me not to miss was the Great Barrier Reef in Crain. They were not wrong. The Great Barrier Reef is the most breathtaking thing I have ever had to experience.
Considered endangered, this is one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. If you love the ocean there is almost none that compares. It is believed that the best time to visit it is between June and November every year, and luckily we got there just in time.
There is no trip to Crain that will be worth it if you have not experienced the barrier reef. It is recognized as the world’s largest coral reef comprising 3000 coral reels and 600 islands that are continental. I am not sure of the statistics, but surely it was breathtaking.
If you are travelling to Crain, this is an experience I highly recommend, not just because it is a good place to see, but to know the kind of universe we live in. We also get a sense of how we have to preserve what we already have and are ruining it.
We went on two separate one-day trips that we picked. On the first day, we went for a Day Trip – Silverswift. In this experience, we went on a catamaran. They took us to different locations, to allow us to dive and look at the ocean and the species down under. If you can’t swim or dive for the first time then you can take introductory diving and carry on with the plan. Our highlight was to sight clownfish, of Finding Nemo fame. And of course, the surrounded water drools with sharks, rays, whales, dolphins, sea snakes and more.
Some of the things I can recall was obviously the beautiful view of seeing the different species that inhabit the ocean. Snorkelling is a must in the barrier reef. Depending on what you want to do, pick the one-day trip options that you think works for you.
Then on day two, we took a half-day trip to the Green Island Eco Adventure. About 27 kilometres from Crain, Green Island is an amazing coral cay. If you want to see marine creatures and transform your life forever, this is certainly a place you should go to. We spotted some turtles and that was simply experienced like none other.
The underwater experience is mind-blowing. Just the species that you will see, if you can swim and are fairly fit, this is totally the place that you want to spend some time and money. We went for the guided tour with instructors giving us all the instructions. The greatest thing is that even if you do not know how to float there are many places that you can walk off the beach and see the beauty that is underwater. Or perhaps just grab a place on the beachside, order a cocktail and relax!
There is always something I recommend when I travel, and that is to see the marvel that our world has to offer. This is certainly one of those. The ocean always has a calming sense on me and my wife, and this barrier reef with all its beauty was really relaxing. I recommended that anyone that travels to Australia, take the time to spend some time to visit the barrier reef before we as humankind might ruin it completely.
The world, as I know it, is constantly changing. The Crain Barrier reef experience made me feel, at least for that day, that the world had stopped still. I was one with the universe, while I absorbed its magic.
My wife and I had the best time looking at the mesmerizing beauty of the ocean. She specifically loved it because the travel bug has caught on to her majorly. After a day trip to the barrier reef, watching the sunset in the Australian ocean, with my beautiful wife was the greatest experience.
Reflecting on the wonders of the universe has always been my thing to do. And watching a universe that exists underwater was particularly special.
Where do you go to actually see what actually culture depicts? Take a trip to New Zealand and head to their Tamaki Maori Village Evening Cultural Experience. We had the luxury of going there on our honeymoon, and it has to be one of the best decisions we made! We decided to go there one of the evenings of our much loved New Zealand honeymoon. Just the experience can blow you over, as it did to us.
It is New Zealand’s Best Award Winning Cultural Experience and according to them they have a 3 hours 30 minutes Maori Cultural Experience, and clearly, they do not disappoint. What’s more, they have a range of menus that include vegetarian and gluten-free food.
Situated in the Rotorua’s ancient Tawa forest, it is considered the most award-winning Maori cultural attraction in New Zealand. We started on our exploration in a coach, and just the journey can be considered breathtaking just for how beautiful the sights are. Additionally, our driver also entertained us by telling us very interesting stories. As is the tradition we had to nominate one of the people in the coach to be the Maoridom, considered the chief that represents our group on their soil.
We entered the outskirts of the village when the coach stopped, and we were welcomed with a formal ceremony, and a performance that they call ‘haka’. This beautiful performance is considered a traditional war dance that is done as a show of strength and power. The welcome call, the sights, the dance were all such a pleasure to experience. It was completely removed from any experience we have experienced before.
Once the initial welcome was done, we strolled through the beautiful village and saw all the workmen and women who were showcasing their skills in weaving, carving, and tattooing. We had the option of visiting traditional houses where the locals still continue to teach their own how to do the ‘haka’ and other warrior training. I and my beautiful wife left no stone unturned to get a taste of it, and they were grateful enough to teach us a thing or two of their beautiful tradition.
The walk towards the hangi meal was not only mesmerizing, but it was also even a reminder of the centuries of heritage that lives on in different parts of the world. The hangi is a special traditional New Zealand method of cooking food. They heat rocks that are buried in a pit oven. This includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. However, it is important to remember that if you want vegetarian or gluten-free food, you should try and tell the team while booking the trip itself. They were kind enough to make the exceptions for us.
After taking a stroll back in time, we were glad to smell the deliciousness of cuisine that we had never tasted before. My wife and me being foodies, we were certainly looking forward to the experience. The cultural festivities started and made us feel special because they took the time to put out a special performance just for us that included song and dance that their tradition is famous for.
Finally, the food arrived. It was just as the aroma promised. Different, intriguing, interesting and nothing like anything we have eaten before. As the journey started to come to an end, and the village was winding down, I and my wife finally strolled back with the rest of the group towards the coach. On our walk back, we marveled at what we witnessed for the few hours.
As my wife and I embark on a new beautiful journey and start a new life, we were so thrilled and humbled to see how traditions are still maintained and nurtured. We found a new love for traditions and culture and realized how little we know about our own even, back home in India. Certainly, every culture has its own beauty and we for one promised ourselves we will try and gather as much experience as we can on every place we go to.