outdoors

Unplanned Highlights From Australia’s West Coast

One Week Itinerary for Australia's West Coast

Travel bloggers are notorious for telling you not to plan. I know.

We’re always like, “Just get lost! See what happens! Go with the flow!” And then we post 3,000 words on how much we love organizing our trips, the perfect day to book your flight (57 and 1/2 days in advance, in case you were wondering*), and the 37 apps you should download before you go. But aside from that, don’t plan a thing!

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Road Trip — Duluth and North Shore, Minnesota

Road Trip --
 Duluth and North Shore, Minnesota

So hopefully by now, I’ve convinced you to go to Minneapolis. In which case: hey, fantastic! Way to go, me. (And you too, I guess.) I hope you’ll love it.

But why stop there? There’s plenty more Minnesota to see, and I know just where you should go next.

Note: For one day, this road trip is kind of a beast. If you’re on a time crunch or just like going quickly, starting from and returning to Minneapolis/St. Paul is definitely doable as a day trip. If you want a more relaxing, meandering experience, I recommend breaking it up and staying the night (or several) somewhere along the way. In the summer, you’ll probably want to book in advance — especially around holidays like the 4th of July or Labor Day.

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Road Trip – Tasmania: Nine-Day Itinerary

Road Trip - Tasmania: Nine-Day Itinerary -- Em Dashed

Welcome to the second post on our road trip through Tasmania! In part one, we went over the “back story” — renting our campervan, deciding how long to visit for, purchasing a national parks pass, and more. If you’re interested in the logistics, make sure to check it out. (Don’t worry; I’ll wait.)

Otherwise, let’s get into the road trip itself!

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Road Trip – Tasmania: Background Info + Planning Our Visit

Road Trip - Tasmania: Background Info + Planning Our Visit -- Em Dashed

Tasmania is Australia’s smallest and only island state. It’s named for the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman — a guy who managed to get like 47 world features named after him despite hightailing it outta New Zealand as soon as the Maori showed their faces. (Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, the spot on NZ’s South Island now called “Golden Bay” was initially deemed “Murderer’s Bay” by Tasman. Well, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word.)

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Crocodile Spotting on the Daintree River

Crocodile Spotting Daintree River

By the time we arrived in Far North Queensland, we already had a pretty decent arsenal of Australian wildlife sightings under our belt.

So far, we’d encountered Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, koalas, dolphins, emus, and echidnas, to name some of the higlights. As far as kitschy animal sightings went, there was just one more big one to check off: the almighty crocodile.

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The Weirdest Spots on Fraser Island

Best Spots on Fraser Island

When I first read that Fraser Island was the world’s largest sand island, I kind of thought that was a gimmick. Like naming them the Pancake Rocks because they “look like stacks of pancakes” (only if your pancakes are especially sharp-angled) or calling it the Blue Mountains cause of a slight blue-ish haze off in the distance (not exactly the dramatic scene I was picturing).

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Huka Falls Walkway — Taupo

Hiking to Hot Springs - Taupo

I realize it’s highly unlikely you’re looking for another reason to visit New Zealand. You’ve probably already got a list longer than Rory’s reasons for attending Yale — even (or maybe especially) if, like me, you’ve already been there.

But sometimes I sit down to write about the country I actually live in, and then 1001 things to say about New Zealand pop into my head, and as I see it, I’ve got two options: fight it, or just share some more NZ content.

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Snorkeling in the Whitsundays

Snorkeling in the Whitsundays

One of the many ways I’m kind of weird is that — while I apparently have zero qualms about booking a one-way ticket to New Zealand without a job, or jumping off a bridge over a river filled with storm debris — there are some areas where I prefer baby steps.

Take water activities, for instance. I’m not the world’s greatest swimmer. Despite the fact that I grew up in Minnesota, a state that literally took its name from the Dakota word for “water,” I’ve always been more comfortable on land.

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Sunset at Cable Beach — Broome

Sunset in Cable Beach, Broome

I can’t speak for everyone (to the shock and chagrin of many, I’m sure). But I would imagine we all have a place that, despite our open minds and best efforts, just didn’t “wow” us. Somewhere we don’t hate, or associate with a terrible experience, but merely wouldn’t think to recommend to our friends while there are so many other options in the world.

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