Home DESTINATIONS Guide to Fiji’s best nature-based activities

Guide to Fiji’s best nature-based activities

by Fiona Harper

[vc_row][vc_column][penci_container][penci_column width=”11″][vc_custom_heading text=”Fiji’s best nature-based activities” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:42|text_align:center|color:%233a3a3a|line_height:1.2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Playfair%20Display%3Aregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1635977598878{padding-right: 50px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 50px !important;}”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ el_width=”10″ accent_color=”#d89145″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1635978228655{padding-right: 50px !important;padding-left: 50px !important;}”]When serial adventurer and author Paul Theroux lobbed into Fiji while paddling the Pacific he observed in The Happy Isles of Oceania that ‘loud laughter was the Fijian way of conveying the bad news that something was impossible.’ It’s hard to imagine good-natured Fijians being disagreeable. Along with their trademark ‘Bula’ greeting, Fijians are known for warm hospitality – wide-mouthed smiles that invariably precede laughter.

Their easy going nature almost guarantees that a Fiji holiday is going to be good fun. Toss in an island archipelago with an abundance of natural beauty and Fiji’s heart and you’ve found Fiji’s heart and soul. Here’s our top picks for getting your nature fix in a tropical paradise.

Hike to the Wailing Rock & send a message on the coconut telegraph

Long before mobile phones dominated our lives, Fijian warriors were using nature’s own coconut telegraph to communicate. Using a hollow wooden log Tui Lawa elders would strike a wailing rock called Vatu Tagi, much like a drum and which has a distinct ringing sound, to send messages during times of war. The sound would reverberate around Malolo Island, informing elders to convene for a chiefly meeting.

There’s a Fijian saying that translates to ‘Malolo is where the sun comes to rest’ based on a belief that it appeared that the sun was resting as it set behind Malolo Island. The wailing rock is located on a large rocky outcrop high atop the summit of Malolo and is accessed via a narrow track. The hike is popular as a pre-breakfast appetiser or at dusk to witness the sun rest upon the Pacific Ocean.

Get there from Malolo Island Resort

Celebrate an ancient turtle calling ceremony

Villagers at Namuana Village on Kadavu Island perform an emotional sacred turtle calling ceremony high on a headland above Udelevu beach. Legend has it that a princess and her daughter were out fishing when they were captured by warriors and tossed into the boats’ hold. When a storm threatened to capsize the vessel the women morphed into turtles and escaped.

Today, colourfully dressed women summon their descendants by dancing, chanting and singing to call turtles home. When a turtle surfaces and makes its way shoreward the laughing, singing and chanting reaches fever-pitch as the whole village celebrates the reappearance of their ancestors.

Get there via a Lau Island Cruise with Captain Cook Cruises[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”14913″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1635978474296{padding-right: 50px !important;padding-left: 50px !important;}”]

Get castaway on an uninhabited island

Tom Hanks along with his bearded bedraggled character Chuck Nolan have a lot to answer for. Ever since he washed up on uninhabited Modriki Island (also known as Monuriki) after a plane crash, travellers have been flocking to the island he was marooned on in the 2000 movie Cast Away. It’s understandable. Beyond the obvious ‘Insta boasting-worthiness’ of the islands serene beauty, a forest clad peak tumbling into a swathe of white sand kissed by an emerald sea are the drawcard. Snorkelling, swimming, beachcombing and daydreaming of an uncomplicated life on a tropical island keep most visitors enthralled.

Get there on a day trip from Likuliku Island Resort.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”14915″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1635978527711{padding-right: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1635978569870{padding-right: 50px !important;padding-left: 50px !important;}”]

Wash away your cares in a therapeutic mud bath

There’s no denying the allure of therapeutic warm spring-fed mud pools at Sabeto Mud Baths. Fed by geothermal spring water from an inland volcano, the outdoor baths have a distinct sulphuric aroma typical of therapeutic pools.

The mud bath ritual is not for the squeamish. Wearing a swimsuit (tip: do not wear white!) visitors step into the warm muddy waters of a small pool as soft mud squishes between their toes. After soaking in tepid waters bathers are then lathered in mud the colour of dark chocolate and the texture of clotted cream. It’s then a matter of standing around in the sun for around 20 minutes while the mud bakes firm and dry. Then it’s back into the pool to wash away the mud before hopping into a much cleaner and larger pool to soak away your cares (and any remaining mud).

Is the mud bath therapeutic? It’s hard to say, but it’s certainly good clean (eventually!) fun. It’s certainly relaxed in true Fijian style.

Get there by private car from Nadi or Lautoka

Hike to waterfalls in the rainforest

There is no better place to cool down from tropical heat than in a fresh water pool fed by a tumbling waterfall. Head to Tavoro Waterfalls in the Bouma National Heritage Park on Taveuni Island where a three-hour hike will take you to three waterfalls. The first swimming hole is a mere ten minutes from the trail head and has a large pool fed by a waterfall plunging about 25 metres. Leave the crowds behind and carry on hiking the forest trail where you’ll come to two more falls and swimming holes. The smallest waterfall has a pretty pool at its base inhabited by fresh water prawns. The trail can get a bit overgrown and slippery so sturdy hiking shoes are a must.

Nearby Lavena Coastal Walk is another splendid hike complete with coastal views, a swing bridge river crossing, and a waterfall reached by a short swim-through a grotto.

Get there from the Taveuni coastal road[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”14914″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1635978357549{padding-right: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;}”][/penci_column][/penci_container][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner]

Vanua Balavu, Bay of Islands, Lau Group Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

Muana-i-cake Village on Fulaga Island

Go beyond the South Pacific cliche of palm trees and beaches to meet the people of Muana-i-cake village (pronounced Mon-a-tha-key), a village of around 100 residents on Fulaga (pronounced Foo-lang-ah) Island (also spelt Vulaga Island) in Fiji’s remote Southern Lau Group. Fulaga Island is about as far east in Fiji as you can without sailing into International Waters.

With little outside influence, villagers live much as their ancestors did, fishing and farming to support each other, heavily influenced by traditional values. Sharing of skills and resources underpins a strong community spirit which benefits residents of three villages on Vulaga Island.

Men and women practice traditional crafts like weaving, carving and making magi magi, a rope woven from the fibres of coconut husks that is used to embellish buildings across Fiji. Vulaga Island weavers and carvers are recognised as some of the most skilled in Fiji with their craft works highly sought after.

If you can’t travel to Fulaga to see their crafts you can find some of these exquisite works from Lau artisans for sale in Jacks stores in Nadi and Suva.

READ Bay of Islands – one of the world’s best anchorages

Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle
Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle
Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

Fulaga Village welcome by Chief Mika

“I am Mika Colati from Muana-i-cake village of the Vunikoro clan, Acting Chief of Vulaga Island in the Southern Lau Group, Fiji. I welcome you into our village.

I think it is a good idea to collect the stories from us, so everybody can look back at what is recorded to help us remember our traditions. I remember our forefathers, our grandfathers and my father and know that solesolevaki* and veiwasei* * is a good idea, we really like how it helps the village…  our families can look back and everybody will remember our village.”

* Solesolevaki defines the community spirit which guides villager’s contribution to the overall prosperity of the village by helping each other with farming, building, fishing, family chores, or wherever else help is required.

** Veiwasei describes the generosity of sharing resources and skills between family, clan and village

Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

Chief Mica (who sadly passed away in Nov 18) conducts sevusevu ceremony at Fulaga village

Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

The author Fiona Harper and Chief Bese who sadly passed away some months after this photo was taken

What you should know about Fijian Sevusevu ceremony

Sevusevu is the name given to the gift presented to the village Chief when arriving at a Fijian village. The usual gift is yagona (kava root) or kava powder, and is offered to the Chief as a goodwill gesture to request permission to visit the villages’ traditional land and waterways.

Fiji’s common law decrees that all land belongs to locals and so permission must be sought when visiting. It is customary for visitors to seek permission through the head villager, known as Turaga ni Koro (pronounced too-ranga-koor-oh), to request sevusevu ceremony. To not do so is a sign of disrespect and visitors are considered trespassers if they do not partake in sevusevu.

Village etiquette requires that ladies wear clothing that covers their knees and shoulders, men should wrap a sulu or sarong around their legs and hats and sunglasses should be removed. Taking photographs of sevusevu is usually ok but it’s polite to ask first.

Sevusevu ceremony can be a short casual affair that is over in a few minutes or it can be an elaborate ceremony with the entire village present, and may be the precursor to an extended celebration around the kava bowl that lasts long into the night. It depends entirely on the village and how they choose to conduct sevusevu. The ceremony starts with everyone seated on the floor, the Turaga ni Koro will speak, the Chief will speak, usually in Fijian, then at the end there will be an English translation welcoming visitors into the village.

In Fulaga Island, sevusevu is always a reason for celebration, as it signifies new yacht crews have arrived in the lagoon and will likely be spending time in the village. Sevusevu is an opportunity for host families to welcome new arrivals and show them around the village. If a couple of yachts arrive around the same time, a group sevusevu ceremony will eventuate, the kava bowl is filled and visitors and villagers will likely spend many convivial hours around the kava bowl.[/vc_column_text]Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle
Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle
Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle
Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

Village Life on Fulaga Island

There are few places in the world where a war of global significance that impacted millions of people can slip by virtually unnoticed. Vulaga, a far-flung weathered limestone island archipelago rising from a picturesque lagoon in the South Pacific Ocean, is one of them.

An elderly island resident Moses says when asked about how village life has changed over the years that in the early 1940’s villagers had no inkling that a world war was raging over their watery horizon. “We didn’t know anything about a war. We had no radio,” he recollects.

Straddling the International Dateline dogleg at longitude 180 degrees, Fulaga Island  is home to approx. 400 residents across three villages – Naividamu, Muana-i-rai and Muana-i-cake. Muana-i-cake is the central hub of Fulaga Island and is home to the primary school, nurses station and a hut which serves as the bank and post office.

Residents maintain a subsistence lifestyle, harvesting food from the land and sea to supplement supplies that come by the irregular barge service from Suva.Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle
Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

Visiting Fulaga Island

Cruising yachts make up most of the outside visitors to Fulaga, which almost 100 yachts dropping anchor in the lagoon each year. Some crews return year after year so warm is the welcome from villagers. Yachts pay FJD50 to the Chief before being invited to a sevusevu ceremony, the traditional welcome ceremony which grants permission for visitors to access land and sea belonging to the village. READ Boating Guide to Fulaga Island

Families at Muana-i-cake village take turns at hosting the crew of each yacht, inviting crew to become part of village life. The first time I visited Tai was my host, then the next visit Jojo (George) and Ma along with Tai hosted me. Their generous hospitality is almost overwhelming, sharing meals, fresh fruits and fish along with an endearing friendship. This hosting arrangement is not common in Fiji and offers a rare opportunity for visitors to get to know the locals and learn about village life. At Fulaga Island, with little digital connection and far from the high tech mainstream world, daily life is all about connecting with one another and helping family and friends.

On my first to Fulaga I travelled with Captain Cook Cruises, who run approx. three annual cruises to the Lau Group. On this first visited we stayed just long enough to get a tantalising taste of this beautiful island outpost, inspiring me to return. Later, I returned to the Southern Lau Group on a yacht for an extended visit after cruising the Northern Lau, then again last year. The fascination with this remote island remains, not just because of its drop-dead gorgeous island landscape (as important as that is). What really stands out from visiting Fulaga is the warmth and heartfelt welcome by villagers given to visitors.

Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle
Fulaga Island / Vulaga Island Fiji | Travel Boating Lifestyle

Fulaga Island Fiji Google Earth

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Sailing Indonesia on traditional pinisi sailboat with Seatrek Sailing Adventures

I’ve recently been exploring eastern Indonesia’s Spice Islands and Maluku Island groups. I was travelling onboard a traditional Indonesian sailboat, known as a phinisi, which is a timber-hulled gaff-rigged ketch. Ombak Putih has a crew of 15 Indonesian seafarers, guides and hospitality crew who kept our 12 passengers fed, hydrated and fully entertained over 12 days.

Following the ancient wake of 17th century spice traders

These images were captured to tell the story of our voyage as we followed in the wake of traders who landed on these shores as far back as the 16th century. The attraction was initially nutmeg, which only grew on one island – the small piece of land in the Banda Sea called Run Island (pronounced roon).

Alfred Wallace made his mark in the Spice Islands

We’re also following the trail of British natural historian Alfred Wallace (of the famed Wallace Line which distinguishes animal species east and west of the line) who had his epiphany about natural selection while suffering from malaria on Halmahera Island

We started our voyage in Ambon, travelled to Run Island and Banda Neira in the Banda Islands. Then we sailed northwards towards Sapura Island, Manipa Island, Balan Balan Island and Bacan Island. Crossing the Equator (my third time crossing by sea) north of the Guarici Archipelago  we sailed into Ternate where our voyage ended.

I travelled with Seatrek Sailing Adventures  who run sailing trips year round across Indonesia as far afield as West Papua from their base in Bali.

I hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I enjoyed making them.

If you’d like to see any of these images displayed on your own walls, please drop a comment below or contact me in the usual way – I can make it happen via my online store at mitribe.shop.

Fiona x

The stories behind the photographs

Capturing photographs from my travels around the world, I love the serendipity of heading out for an adventure to see what I may discover.

Boats and travelling across the sea is definitely where I feel most at home and I was thrilled to spend 12 glorious days sailing through eastern Indonesia. Find me a boatyard, a marina, an anchorage or a boat harbour and I can amuse myself for weeks, if not months.

The equipment I use

My main camera is a Canon 5DM4 with my go-to lens being a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 ( I absolutely LOVE this lens!). I also travel with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L which works for wide-angle, and a 100-400mm which is great for wildlife.

Usually I travel with a Manfrotto tripod, though I also have a Manfrotto monopod which works well with the 100-400mm lens.

For calibrating my screens once I start the editing process I recommend either of these products:

Calibrate ColourChecker (sells for approx AUD250)

Datacolour SpyderX Pro (retails for approx AUD260)

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Swimming with giant tuna at Port Lincoln South Australia


Fiona Harper takes her life in her hands swimming with Giant Tuna being primed for the Japanese sashimi market.

Giant Tuna are harvested in the Southern Ocean near South Australia’s Port Lincoln, with most destined for Japanese dinner tables. But before they’re bound for the dinner table swimmers can get up close and personal with these hungry predators of the deep sea.

What we'll be covering

The sea erupts into a feeding frenzy & I'm in the thick of it

 Slipping into the deep green ocean a few miles offshore  from Port Lincoln in the Southern Ocean I’m enclosed by a circular net approximately 40 metres in diameter. Giant tuna are nowhere to be seen. In fact, the ocean seems devoid of any marine critters. I’m the only swimmer in the net and seem to have the entire ‘pool’ to myself. 

So far, so good.

Gently buffeted by ocean swell, I’m grateful for the protection the net provides as these waters are known to house some of the most ferocious creatures in the sea. Great White Sharks live here, making me just a little nervous, though I know I’m safe within net which forms the tuna enclosure.

Soon however my attention is drawn to the sea below which has suddenly erupted into a boiling frenzy of splashes, fins and tails. The water explodes into a feeding frenzy and I’m in the thick of it. I feel like I’m in a horror flick as those terrifying scenes from Jaws flash through my head.

I tell myself to stay calm. Then, I take a deep breath, fill my lungs and my snorkel with great gulps of  air and I duck my head underwater to see what the heck is going on. The giant tuna have arrived and I literally squeal with  excitement in my snorkel.

Swimming with giant tuna is not for the squeemish

I confess I was less than thrilled when I saw ‘tuna swimming’ on my itinerary while visiting South Australia. Sure, I’ve swum with dolphins, turtles, sea lions, even sharks. But tuna? My first (nonsensical) thought was ‘how do they get the cans to float?’

My ignorance was quickly dispelled within minutes of stepping onboard Adventure Lady, a 14m purpose built vessel, at Port Lincoln Marina. Captain Matt Waller loudly declared that he ‘loves eating tuna, catching tuna and talking about tuna,’ leaving no doubt about his passion for these fish before launching into a fascinating introduction into the tuna fishing industry. It’s a lucrative industry that sees the Port Lincoln community home to the highest population per capita of millionaires in Australia.

Beneath the surface is literally a sea of tightly packed fish darting swiftly and seemingly effortlessly just beyond my mask. Knowing that the Southern Bluefin Tuna never stop swimming, reaching speeds up to 70km per hour, it’s somewhat unnerving to be in such close proximity to these enormous fish. Some of them are almost as large my own 55 kg frame. Momentarily I notice a dead pilchard lob from above, which lands in front of my mask. I have just enough time to register its presence before it disappears in a blur of razor sharp teeth amid deep blue flashes reflecting sunlight on a rotund, streamlined body. A Southern Bluefin Tuna, commonly caught weighing in at over 100kg and up to 2m in length, snatches the fish in its gob as it whizzes past, leaving behind a turbid stream of bubbles.




How big are giant tuna? The clue is in the name

Having been pre-warned of the size and speed of the tuna, I’m still startled enough to inhale a mouthful of water as I gasp with surprise the first time it happens. Others in our group who have stayed on the floating pontoon above are dangling pilchards from their fists or lobbing them into the ocean around me. Being in the water is unsettling even though it’s perfectly safe. It’s fascinating being immersed in such a captive environment. Who knew that tuna could be so interesting? Or so large! 




Thankfully I survive the encounter unscathed and with a newfound respect for these farmed fish that are actually quite beautiful. Port Lincoln fishermen steam more than 180 km offshore to catch Southern Bluefin Tuna, much of which is destined for the Japanese market. Live tuna are herded into floating nets and towed back to the waters surrounding Port Lincoln, a journey that can take up to five weeks. From there they are fattened up in farming nets just like the one I’ve emerged from, until they are ready to be harvested and exported.

You won’t need to travel all the way to Japan though to savour southern Australia’s delights. Award winning Del Giorno’s Cafe Restaurant on the Port Lincoln waterfront, just down the road from the Port Lincoln Hotel, has a menu that seafood lovers will relish. Though there is a thriving fish cannery in town, expect the freshest produce harvested from the diverse Eyre Peninsula, including wines produced locally like a sassy Sauvignon Blanc or two.





Do you want to see giant tuna, swim with great white sharks or sea lions at Port Lincoln? Click the links for more information.
Adventure Bay Charters
Tunarama Festival


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Fiona Harper travel writer and Travel Boating Lifestyle
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Polar bear in a grassy field bathed in sunshine in Manitoba Canada

Are you wanting to know where to see polar bears in Canada? We’ve listed everything you need to know below.

Polar bears get their own global day (27 February)  to help raise awareness of the challenges they face in a ever-changing world. We’ve highlighted some of the best polar bear photos from hiking with polar bears from Seal River Lodge in Manitoba, Canada

Polar bear in the sunshine, on a rocky beach with blue sky
A polar bear appears to practice yogic poses (we think!) on a beach. Image © Fiona Harper

As Manitoba, Canada emerges from winter, polar bear mums with new cubs start to emerge from the snow dens they’ve bunkered down in.

As snow and ice start to melt in Arctic regions, 27  February is celebrated as  International Polar Bear Day. This special day celebrates these magnificent apex predators, and  is aimed at raising awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by polar bears in a changing world, where their habitat is threatened as the planet warms. 

If you are lucky enough to see polar bears in the wild, on their own turf, grab the opportunity with both hands and don’t let it slip. It is, quite simply, extraordinary, and will create memories to last a lifetime. Watching polar bears going about their business in the wild is an incredible experience that is both beautiful and thrilling. There is nothing quite like staring into the eyes of an Arctic apex predator, safely accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, knowing that they are weighing up your potential as their next feed. 

With more than 60% of the world’s polar bears found in Canada, the remote town of Churchill offers one of the best opportunities to  see polar bears in the wild.

A healthy young polar bear wandering the tidal flats of Hudson Bay. Image © Fiona Harper


  1. Polar bears are the largest land carnivore: Males can weigh more than 700kg.

  2. Polar bears aren’t actually white: Polar bears have black skin and hollow, colourless hair. Their hollow fur reflects light and traps the sun’s heat to help keep them warm.

  3. Their movements might look slow and cumbersome but don’t be fooled: Polar bears can reach speeds of up to 40 km per hour on land and around 10 km per hour in water.

  4. Shrinking sea ice is their biggest threat: The bears rely on sea-ice as a platform to hunt prey like seals. Rising temperatures is causing sea ice to melt earlier.

  5. Two-thirds of polar bear litters are twins! A female polar bear has around five litters in a lifetime.

    More polar bear facts

A polar bear outside Seal River Lodge appears to be smelling the flowers. Image © Fiona Harper


If you’re curious about what polar bears get up to when they think no-one is watching them, watch live Polar Bear cam highlights from Wapusk National Park, Manitoba. We take no responsibility if you can’t drag yourself away for many hours and watch this endlessly – it’s not time wasted we promise!


In Churchill, Manitoba, tundra buggies are a common way to see the rulers of the Arctic. Tundra buggies are all-terrain vehicles that stands over 13ft above the ground, which is a safe height from which to view polar bears in the event they are curious enough to stand on their hind legs to get a better look at the humans inside. ) and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. For tundra buggy tours check out Frontiers NorthLazy Bear ExpeditionsGreat White Bear Tours


Polar beach on a beach catching the last rays of the sun
A polar bear on the beach outside Seal River Lodge. Image © Fiona Harper

Another option is a smaller scale, open-air, low-impact tundra vehicle, called a ‘rhino’ which can  navigate boggy lowlands and tidal flats and gets you closer to seeing polar bears.

Polar bear outside Seal River odge on Hudson Bay foreshore
A polar bear outside Seal River Lodge on Hudson Bay foreshore. Image © Fiona Harper

But really, the best way to see polar bears is at ground level, on their own turf on their terms. Churchill is the only place in the world that offers a walking tour by
Churchill Wild
with polar bears. Yes, that’s right, you can hike with polar bears. eeeek! Churchill Wild offers one of the most extraordinary opportunities to literally walk in the footsteps of these Arctic apex predators. Guided walks combine seaplane flights from Churchill with almost a week-long stay in a lodge, right in the heart of polar bear country. This is the best opportunity to get up close and personal with these fantastic beasts in complete safety. Don’t be surprised to see polar bears sniffing around the safety fence (that’s to keep guests safe, not the bears, which are roaming wild) when the BBQ is fired up. They seem to be attracted to the tantalising aroma of grilled bacon, for some reason.

More information: Canada Keep Exploring

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Where to see cassowaries at Mission Beach, Etty Bay and other cassowary habitats of north Queensland.

Cassowaries are one of Australia’s most spectacular (sorry emu’s you need to lift both your game and your colour palette), and one of only two of our flightless birds. Found in small pockets of Wet Tropics rainforest of north Queensland, the world’s third largest bird is an endangered species. Us humans are their biggest threat.

It’s hard to imagine that a bird that can weigh 60kg or more and stand taller than 2m could just disappear from the planet. With less than 4,000 cassowaries left alive, it’s a very real possibility.

Read on and you’ll find out where to see cassowaries around Cairns and north Queensland

A striking looking bird with a body cloaked in glossy black plumage,  adult cassowaries have a significant casque, or helmet, on their heads and drooping red wattles that dangle like a string of beads from vibrant purple and blue necks.

The jury is still out on the purpose of its casque, but as it continues to grow throughout a cassowary’s life, it’s a reasonable indicator of a bird’s age. Research indicates it may also assist cassowaries in “hearing” the low vibrating sound made by other cassowaries. The casque is spongy inside a firm outer casing, so that it may also  act as a kind of shock-absorber that protects the bird’s head when  pushing through the dense rainforest it inhabits.

Cassowary in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper

Cassowary habitats

The two main regions to sight cassowaries in the wild in north Queensland are around the Mission Beach area and the Daintree Rainforest at Cape Tribulation.

But cassowaries roam far and wide, foraging in forests to satisfy voracious appetites for fleshy fruits found in rainforest, melaleuca swamps and woodlands. Sometimes seen on beaches of tropical north Queensland, they mostly use these open areas to move between food sources.

Cassowary in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper

Known as rainforest ‘gardeners’, cassowaries swallow fruit whole, digesting the pulp and passing the seeds in large piles of dung, distributing them over large areas throughout the rainforest. Cleverly, they revegetate their habitat while also devouring it! 

Some rainforest seeds are reliant on the cassowary’s digestive process to help germination. Cassowary scat is humongous and can hundreds, if not thousands of seeds. A ready-made fertiliser, the dung helps many kinds of seed to grow into the rainforest that makes the Wet Tropics unique. 

Cassowary dung north Queensland
Cassowary dung on a forest trail in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper

Where to see cassowaries at Mission Beach

Mission Beach has four small residential beachfront communities separated by conservation zones designated as wildlife corridors to allow cassowaries to move freely within native forest.

It’s not uncommon for residents to see them pop up in their gardens or along the road verge. The waste transfer station is a common place to sight them, as is the nearby walking track that links Wongaling Beach and South Mission Beach. 

Other common spots for sightings are either side of the main road into Mission Beach, the grounds around Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park at South Mission Beach, and the forest area around Licuala Rainforest Walk. Bingil Bay has a healthy population too – pop into Bingil Bay Cafe and the staff will likely know about the most recent sightings.

Cassowary in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper

Threats to cassowaries

Vehicle strike and dog attacks are just some of the threats cassowaries face. Roads around the Mission Beach area have reduced speed limits to help prevent accidents as cassowaries are forced to cross roads when moving between forest areas. Sadly, not all drivers respect the vulnerability of the species and road accidents are too common.

Adults with chicks face particular threats as the young ones are oblivious to the dangers of speeding vehicles.  Local residents (mostly) take much pride in their flightless residents and there’s a local movement to help preserve and protect this important species.

Mission Beach Cassowaries Facebook page acts as an unofficial record of sightings with locals regularly posting photos and videos of birds seen. 

At the time of writing, Cassowary Coast Council has approved a helicopter landing facility which will impact cassowaries inhabiting an adjoining wildlife corridor, contrary to community sentiment. The beauty of Mission Beach is its natural heritage, peaceful ambiance and relaxed village lifestyle. It’s a short-sighted decision to approve an aviation business in the heart of the coastal village with its significant visual and noise pollution.

Read more about how you can help.

Cassowary in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper

Where to see cassowaries at Etty Bay

There’s a small population of cassowaries inhabiting the rainforest surrounding the small cove of Etty Bay, approx 30 mins north of Mission Beach.

Here, it’s not uncommon to see cassowaries on the beach, poking around the beachfront caravan park or grazing on rainforest food on the roadside verge on the road into Etty Bay. Drive carefully on the winding section as you approach Etty Bay, as you may see cassowaries alongside this winding road.

Cassowary in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper

Where to see cassowaries at the Daintree and Cape Tribulation

Further north, beyond Cairns and Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest and the Cape Tribulation area is home to a population of cassowaries. With a reduced speed limit from the ferry crossing of the Daintree River all the way to Cape Trib, cassowaries are often spotted roadside.  

Drive slowly, wind down the windows and breathe in the pristine air filtered through one of the world’s oldest living rainforests. 

Take one of the walking tracks along elevated boardwalks, such as the Madja Botanical Walk or Dubuji Boardwall to increase your chances of a cassowary sighting. Even if you don’t see a cassowary, through interpretative signage you’ll gain a terrific insight into the life cycle of Wet Tropics rainforest, mangrove wetlands and all its inhabitants, large and small.

Wild cassowaries often roam through the forest at the Daintree Discovery Centre, making the elevated boardwalks a prime viewing position, if you’re lucky enough to be there when cassowaries are roaming.

Cassowary in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper

Have you seen a cassowary? Let us know in the comments below!

Cassowary, north Queensland
Young cassowary in north Queensland, Australia. Image © Fiona Harper
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Abandoned farmhouse in West Jefferson, North Carolina USA
North Carolina | USA

Where to pick blueberries in North Carolina's high country

Travelling through the USA for one month I was endlessly disappointed whenever I ordered a chai latte. Americans, it seems, just don't know how to make a good chai. Then I stumbled upon a foodie gem in the high country northwest of Raleigh and found a cafe who knows how to make chai!

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Hammock swinging is almost an Olympic sport in the Appalachian mountains

Heading northwest from Raleigh, we’re bound for West Jefferson at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The only thing I know about our destination is that there will be a hammock strung between two trees. Not for sleeping in, mind. No, it seems that hammock swinging on the side of a mountain is a contender for a burgeoning Olympic sport in these parts. I’ve no complaints. In fact quite the opposite and I make a mental note to bring my best hammock game to West Jefferson.

As the late afternoon sun filters through the leafy canopy overhead, we string a hammock high on the ridge and have a calming view down through the valley and across to forest-clad mountains in the west. After a busy couple of weeks travelling through eastern USA, attending a crazy-busy travel media conference in Orlando, contracting COVID-19 and coming out of recovery, a long weekend in the mountains was exactly what my body and soul needed.

As enticing as it was to laze around watching clouds skid across the sky, there were mountains to be explored. Mountain men to meet. Blueberries to be gorged upon. And North Carolina’s best chai latte to be discovered – what an unexpected surprise that was! (hint: you’ll find North Carolina’s best chai latte at The General Store in Lansing). There was also delicious Pie on the Mountain Pizza to be devoured, Molly Chomper Cider to be slugged down and an adorably cute puppy at our friends’ home which needed cuddles and a lap to lounge upon. Who am I to deny such a creature such attention?

As to the rest of the long weekend traipsing around Lansing and North Carolina? Well, there was so much to see and do, I’ll let these pictures tell a thousand words…

Enjoy these photos from Lansing and West Jefferson amidst the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.

Exploring the mountains of West Jefferson & Lansing, North Carolina


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Fiona Harper travel writer and Travel Boating Lifestyle
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Why settle for a boring hotel room when you can check into one of the world’s best overwater bungalows? For a self-confessed water baby who’s partial to romantic tropical getaways, if given the choice I’ll always choose a room with a water view, water side location or, best of all, over the water with direct ocean ocean access from an overwater bungalow. Here are some of the best overwater bungalows from around the globe.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort | Fiji

Fiji has cornered the South Pacific market when it comes to idyllic beachfront hotels but there are only two resorts in the entire country that has overwater bures (Marriot Momi Bay opened in 2018). Islands magazine rates Likuliku Lagoon Resort at No. 3 in their Top 10 Most Romantic Resorts globally in part because of their stunning overwater offering. We rate Likuliku as one of our favourites too. Teetering atop the reef at the northern headland of a crescent shaped cove, 10 bungalows are styled on a traditional Fijian village. A luxurious adults only retreat, Likuliku means calm water and perfectly describes its Yasawa Islands location.

Glass panels in the floor as well as the bathroom vanity top bring the ocean indoors providing a sort of personal ‘marinelife TV’. Timber decks with sun lounges, outdoor showers and ladders into the sea allow full immersion for water babies.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort Fiji

Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island | Tahiti

Bora Bora is well known for it’s ridiculously turquoise seas bathed in a balmy tropical warmth. But this island archipelago is also famous for a proliferation of hotels perched above the sheltered water of ocean lagoons. Few are as plush as those found on the lush private island known as Motu Piti U u Uta. Arrive in James Bond speedboat style, zipping across the lagoon after touching down at Bora Bora Airport. Once ensconced in your Island Luxury Overwater Bungalow, enjoy views of the craggy peaks of Mt Otemanu. That is if you can drag your eyes away from the mesmerising ocean vista that dominates the foreground.

Naturally, elegant French-based Sofitel luxury hotel brand is at their most stylish in French Polynesia. Expect understated perfection. Accor’s sustainable development Planet 21 program includes such practises as serving non-endangered seafood and sourcing local produce in the restaurant and capturing that Tahitian sun to heat bungalow showers.

Sofitel Bora Bora Tahiti

Royal Huahine Resort | Tahiti

While we’re talking Tahiti, Royal Huahine Resort is worthy of inclusion in our Best Overwater Bungalows feature simply because these Tahitian overwater bungalows are not located at Bora Bora. Not that there is anything wrong with Bora Bora, quite the opposite in fact. But it’s good to have options beyond the mainstream popular choices, right? Making few red carpet appearances for the paparazzi, Huahine Island gets a gong thanks to its far-flung location on the ‘Isle of Gardens’.

Moderately priced, small and intimate, Royal Huahine is for those who like to indulge in nature and can get by without an endless menu of scheduled activities or tours. Just eleven overwater bungalows face west to capture the sun setting over the watery horizon. Shaded sun decks and a swim platform at sea level make it easy for diving into the deep blue sea.Tahiti Royal Huahine

Warwick Le Lagon Resort | Vanuatu

Beautifully located above Erakor Lagoon in the heart of Port Vila, there are just 4 much-sought after overwater villas at Warwick Le Lagon. Unlike more traditional South Pacific overwater complexes that are linked to the land by elevated boardwalks, the villas at Le Lagoon are partially built onshore on a peninsula jutting out into the lagoon. They’re a little like a hotel room with the added advantage of tranquil lapping water viewed from a private patio on the seaward side.

All inclusive meal plans keep things affordable while Ni-Vanutua people rival Fijians for their warmth and friendly hospitality. Don’t miss Port Villa Markets for a fascinating insight into how the locals live, eat and play. Pop into the maze of craft stalls for some souvenirs to take home.

Le Lagoon

L’Escapade island Resort | New Caledonia

New Caledonia’s only overwater bungalows can be found at L’Escapade Island Resort, a short boat ride from downtown Noumea. 25 overwater bungalows are spacious, styled on functionality rather than luxury while being well appointed. Wide staircase-like steps to reach the sea where it’s likely you’ll see turtles foraging in the shallows.

As the resort is located on a private island, activities are limited and dining options outside the resort are non-existent. Go here for far-flung, tranquil relaxation with a French Melanesian cultural style.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island | Maldives

It would be remiss of us to neglect to mention the Maldives, a country which is undisputed leader in overwater accommodation. The problem with the Maldives is where to start, with over 80 private island resorts, most of which have bungalows tottering above the sea. Some, like Conrad Maldives Rangali Island offer extreme indulgence. Like a 24 hour Butler service, glass floors, outdoor spa, private infinity pool and ocean view bathtub for example. How about a circular bed that rotates through 270 degrees to follow the sun as it sinks into an endless Maldivian sea? Sure, why not.

If all that overwater action gets a little too tedious, drop down below sea level for an underwater dining experience at all-glass Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. But Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is not just a pretty face. The resort (which is actually 3 resorts in one) makes regular red carpet appearances, picking up awards for its outstanding accommodation, cuisine and hospitality.

Conrad Maldives

Coconuts Beach Club | Samoa

In Samoa bungalows are called fales (pronounced far-lay) and are usually pretty simple huts consisting of little more than a raised timber platform with thatched roof. Samoan fales are just about always situated on a glorious white-sand beach shaded by coconut palms. Bedding down in a fale much as the locals do, is definitely one of those highly recommended ‘when in Rome’ holiday experiences. The six overwater fales at Coconuts Beach Club on Upulo Island raise the comfort factor significantly.

Walls of glass frame panoramic views from within and are a bonus for those who struggle in tropical heat and like to keep the air-conditioning cranked up yet still enjoy dreamy ocean views. Bathrooms are superb with with opaque ceilings bathing the room in light creating an outdoors feel – slide back the glass doors onto the sundeck and bathe indoors/outdoors while enjoying the salty scent of sea air wafting through.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge | Cambodia

Let’s move away from dazzling tropical atolls with overwater bungalows perched atop coral reefs for the moment. In Cambodia 4 Rivers Floating Lodge has an inland location surrounded by virgin jungle. In southern Cambodia at Tatai, 4 Rivers Lodge is not far from the Thai border and is midway between Bangkok and Phnom Penh. The jungle location is serene and green where nature dominates the view while forest walks and wildlife spotting is the main activity.

The 12 Tented villas are reminiscent of African safari game parks and are cleverly connected by floating boardwalks. Canvas walls are broken up with floor to ceiling mesh windows. The cathedral ceiling channels a Big Top circus tent with its lofty central peak. Octagonal shaped overwater tents come with king or twin beds, plush ensuite and a comfy sitting area. The best view in the house is from a sun lounge on the deck where jungle and river views dominate.

Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa Cook Islands

Dreamy Cook Islands brochures were tantalising water babies to its shores long before Instagram became flooded with photos of untouched beaches shaded by palm trees. The Cooks ticks all those essential tropical holiday boxes: white sand, tick. Palm trees, tick. Tranquil lagoon teeming with marinelife, yep. Aitutaki Lagoon takes the gong for the most picturesque atoll on the planet. Throw in overwater bungalows lined with woven pandanus leaves, lofty thatched roofs, outdoor bathrooms on the edge of that lagoon and we’ve found holiday heaven. Warm and friendly Polynesian culture who open their ample arms to embrace visitors will ensure you never want to leave.

Cook Islands Aitutaki

Avani Sepang Gold Coast Resort | Malaysia

Less than one hour’s drive from Kuala International Airport lies a little Malaysian secret getaway that feels a million miles away from the big city bustle.  Admittedly, with 300 Polynesian-inspired overwater villas, the word is definitely out about this little piece of tropical paradise. No matter, it’s pretty easy to imagine you are the only resident once ensconced on a sun lounge bathed in a golden late afternoon glow, G&T in hand as the sun sinks below the horizon.

Avani sepang Malaysia

Have you stayed in an overwater bungalow? Would you like to? Tell us about your favourite overwater hotel in the comments below!

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Disney World Orlando. Image Fiona Harper
Orlando | Florida

Florida stands for Fun with a capital F

Florida is undisputedly USA's Fun Capital. Whether your idea of a god time is ziplining over alligators, rollicking through theme parks.

Orlando is the only place in the world where you can have a private meeting with the legendary Mickey Mouse (he’ a REALLY big deal in these parts), zip across alligator-infested everglades in an airboat, cast a Harry Potter-worthy spell in Diagon Alley, dine with rock music legends at Hard Rock Cafe and enjoy spectacular fireworks after dinner – all in one day. But that’s not all. Orlando is known for its theme parks but the whole city itself is like one big party on steroids. If you can’t find something to tickle your fancy in Orlando, you probably don’t have a pulse. Here’s seven uniquely Orlando adventures to float your holiday boat

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1. Fireworks shows happen every day of the year

Orlando does fireworks like Melbourne does coffee, Venice does gondolas, like London does Wimbledon. Making time to view the nightly fireworks spectacle is mandatory after-dark entertainment when in Orlando. From the “Disney Enchantment” show at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and “Harmonious” at Epcot, to Universal Orlando’s nightly “Cinematic Celebration,” fireworks shows happen at various locations city-wide. Then there are additional seasonal displays to add to the enchantment. Expect fireworks displays to ramp up a notch on the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve and during Halloween – whenever there’s a significant date on the calendar, expect the fireworks gods to deliver big time.
Firewords display at Disney World. Image Visit Orlando

2. Spoiler alert: it's all about Mickey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for much of the past five decades you’ve probably heard of the loveable big-eared rodent called Mickey Mouse.

Eternally youthful with his unlined face and a grin that lights up a room, the world’s most popular rodent, Mickey Mouse has been around for almost 100 years. His spiritual home is Disney World and its Magic Kingdom, which celebrates 50 years young this year. Disney World is an enchanting destination dedicated to fun where a Cinderella Castle illuminates its surrounds with a dazzling glow sparkling like fairy dust. Spectacular fireworks shows each evening add to the magical atmosphere. Book a photo session with Mickey or any of the popular Disney characters to take home a cherished memento.

3. Rockets are not just for astronauts

Nowhere else in the world can pay your entrance fee and rock up to watch a real live space rocket being launched. You can in Orlando. Head down to Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral to get the low down on USA’s space history and to watch a launch up close and personal if you time your visit right. Or alternatively, watch a rocket being launched from Kennedy Space Centre from a unique vantage point across the city. Wheel at ICON Park or Exploria Stadium in Orlando are excellent places from which to view a live rocket launch spectacle.

4. EPCOT: where a utopian community became a fun park for all

EPCOT is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. If you’re thinking that’s an odd name for fun-filled theme park you’d be right. The original concept conceived by Walt Disney himself was to create a utopian community devoid of crime, unemployment and pesky vehicles which produced pollution.
The experimental community quickly evolved in a theme celebrating people and cultures from across the globe and explores the magical wonders of science and technology. Theme park rides include classic favourites themed on Frozen or the hilarious Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or the breathtaking exhilaration of Guardians of the Galaxy rollercoaster. A Beauty and the Beast ride takes you into the mysterious world of storyteller Angela Lansbury while a virtual hang gliding adventure takes travellers on an exhilarating airborne global soiree. Nemo and his maritime pals feature on a jaunty underwater experience without all the peskiness of getting wet.

5. “Congratulations, you are being rescued” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In a galaxy far way at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll find an array of Star Wars Experiences (if you can ignore the presence of the Orlando city skyline as a spoiler) where you’ll go down a rabbit hole of outer other-world adventures of the galactic kind. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge where you’ll be immersed deep into legendary Star Wars stories on an interactive adventure. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan (confession time: I’m not and have no clue about who the characters are).

But Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not just about outer-galactic thrills. There are a host of thrilling and family-friendly rides, attractions, restaurants, cafes and parklands. If you can’t find something to suit your fancy at Hollywood Studios you’re probably not trying hard enough.

In the words of K-2SO in Rogue One: a Star Wars Story, ‘congratulations, you are being rescued.” Enjoy the ride!

Hollywood Studios, Orlando. Image Fiona Harper
Hollywood Studios, Orlando. Image Fiona Harper

6. Fly on a zipline with 'gators

Ziplining is probably not the first thing you think of when you think of alligators (if you give them any thought at all). But after visiting Screamin’ Gator Zipline at Gatorland and you won’t be able to think of anything else whenever a gator pops up in your social media feed or on TV. Gatorland is the unofficial alligator capital of the world with thousands of alligators, crocodiles and many other reptiles in the park. If you’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (is there anyone on the planet who hasn’t??), you’ll possibly recognise some of four-legged A-list reptilian stars ziplining above the gators offers a unique perspective to see these prehistoric creatures.
Gatorland Florida

7. Orlando is for Art

With glitzy, gaudy and garish theme parks hogging the spotlight in Orlando, you could be forgiven for thinking the city has no classic arts culture. Think again. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is noted for its fine collection of art nouveau, including a significant collection of works by stained glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Amongst many outstanding exhibits is a restored Byzantine-Romanesque chapel interior complete with exquisite leaded glass which Tiffany designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Expo in Chicago.

The Downtown Orland precinct is the hub of the city’s arts precinct with the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts the venue for some of Florida’s most exceptional performances.

Downtown Orland. Image Fiona Harper

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Fiona Harper travel writer and Travel Boating Lifestyle
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mojito | Travel Boating Lifestyle by Fiona Harper travel writer

Five simple ingredients are all it takes to make the classic Mojito, rum being the crucial element. Mojitos are a classic cocktail that are popular no matter which mojito cocktail suits your style.

Mint, lime and sugar topped with soda water are the backing singers to rum’s lead for this cocktail favourite, creating a harmonious concoction that’s been around for eons. Purportedly known as a Draquecito and named after pillaging pirate Francis Drake, around 1860 the Draquecito became the Mojito. Hardly a revelation, given that sailors and rum go together like ducks and water.

So what makes a good Mojito cocktail? Like many of life’s important questions, there are oodles of individual interpretations. Though most would agree a Mojito is best served tall and long, preferably bathed in sunshine with a backdrop of cool Cuban grooves. Dirty (dark rum) or Virgin (alcohol free), English (gin and lemonade instead of rum and soda) or Royal (champagne instead of soda) Mojitos, propping up bar stools from Havana to Hamilton Island we’ve found Ten of the Best, in no particular order.

1. Rum Bar (Airlie Beach, Australia)

In the heart of  Queensland’s Whitsundays sugarcane country it comes as no surprise to find this gem at the altar of rum worship with around 330 rum bottles lined up behind the bar. As self confessed rum-nut Bar Manager Mark Wyatt puts it, ‘to say you don’t like rum is like saying you don’t like music’. According to Mark, the secret to a good Mojito is that it should be made with love. Yep, it’s as simple as wanting it to be great right from the start. Add fresh juicy limes, aromatic fresh mint (‘not something resembling last season’s hedge trimmings’), and quality Cuban rum such as Havana Club three year old and you have “the best Mojito ever,”  say the crowds.
Top Pick: They don’t know how to mess up a Mojito: trust the bartender!

2. Le Caveau Restaurant (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Deep in blueberry country comes this surprise packet, served beneath a tangle of sun-dappled vines at Le Caveau Restaurant at Domaine de Grand Pres. Snappy wines and divine food are the reason most flock here on a summer afternoon, but those in the know actually come for the Mojitos. Particularly so during berry season (July & August). Tinted the softest pink thanks to delicately muddled raspberries and blueberries picked fresh from nearby fields, this is a beguiling take on a classic.
Top Pick: Berry Burst Mojito

3. Rock Bar, Bali

Close enough to taste the salt laden air of the Indian Ocean on your lips as it crashes on the rocks below, Rock Bar oozes glamour in spades. A regular on the red carpet for Best Bar awards, come for the ‘in your face’ oceanfront view but linger beyond sunset for the Mojitos. You won’t be disappointed. Cocktail Maestro Laval Lim-Hon has muddled his mixes for European and Hollywood royalty.  Mojitos come served in cool glasses suspended over natural rock within a fishbowl base. Frock up and arrive well before sunset to take the vertical inclinator from atop the cliff down to Kisik Beach before settling in on a plush sofa beneath the stars.
Top Pick: Rockito Mojito (Blueberry)

4. New York Bar (Tokyo, Japan)

Surely one of the sexiest cocktail bars this side of New York, vast walls of towering glass offer extraordinary views 52 floors above Tokyo. Scarlet Johanson may not have found herself quite so Lost in Translation had she ordered a Mojito instead of a vodka tonic when she sidled up beside Bill Murray. Intimate and mysteriously moody, Havana Club 3 year old makes Mojitos here a stand out. Don’t even think of claiming a stool before dusk has descended in order to appreciate the sultry vibe of a tinkling piano. Despite the ample panorama beyond the glass, this is an ‘intimate liaisons’ kind of spot.
Top Pick: Classic Mojito

5. Cove Bar, SKYCITY (Darwin, Australia)

Sophistication is a word rarely associated with Darwin, given its reputation as a frontier town happily strumming its own tune. Sure, it’s always been pretty easy to slake one’s thirst in the place that brought us the 2.25 litre Darwin Stubby. But with the recent opening of Cove Restaurant and Bar, poolside across the lagoon from swanky swim-up lagoon suites, the setting is seductively sophisticated:  perfect for soaking up Darwin’s laid back charm. Sri Lankan Kithul treacle is muddled into fresh limes and mint, then shaken to create signature Mojitos. Check in to a lagoon suite and chill out at the swim-up bar before a few languid strokes to retreat on your private sundeck.
Top Tip: Mojitos in bikinis at pool bar

6. La Bodeguita del Medio (Havana, Cuba)

The underwhelming facade belies the red carpet reputation this place has for Mojitos thanks mostly to author and imbiber Ernest Hemingway. The note above the bar in his handwriting has done much to attract a steady stream of pilgrims to the otherwise non-descript street: ‘My Mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita’ it says. But there’s no point having a reputation if the reality doesn’t stack up. Concoctions using Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos Cuban Rum, arguably one of the best aged rums in the world, ensures a steady stream of thirsty aficionados continue to pay their respects when in Cuba.
Top Tip: Mojito Royal

7. Sky Bar leBua (Bangkok, Thailand)

Sky Bar Bangkok
Not for the vertigo inclined, 63 floors above the bustle of Bangkok, Sky Bar seems to hover seductively beneath the stars. That is of course when the smog clears: Bangkok is hardly the kind of location you’d choose for star gazing. It is however the perfect locale for funky nightlife lubricated with lashings of liberal Mojitos.
Top Tip: Classic Mojito served long and strong

8. Sugar Lounge (Manly, Australia)

Rum nut and guitar playing songwriter sailor Jimmy Buffet would undoubtedly find himself right at home at Manly’s waterfront Sugar Lounge. Beach bar by day, once the sun disappears beyond the Blue Mountains, Sugar Lounge morphs into a cosy cocktail lounge with a sophisticated splash of salt served with a dash of Sydney brashness.
Top Tip: Get there at sunset, Mojito in hand, to watch the light reflecting on the surf

9. District American Kitchen & Wine Bar (Phoenix, USA)

At first glance, unflatteringly named prickly pear hardly screams ‘taste me’. But then, if you’ve not imbibed in a Prickly Pear Mojito, you’re doing your tastebuds a disservice. Inspired by herbs and produce grown on the rooftop garden bathed in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert sunshine, the Mojito secret ingredient is lavender-infused stevia syrup, made in-house with fresh lavender plucked from the rooftop.
Top Tip: Prickly Pear Mojito topped with ginger ale

10. Fix (Surfers Paradise, Australia)

No shrinking violet when comes to good times, Surfers Paradise knows how to party. For those who simply don’t know when to stop comes the ultimate ‘morning after the night before pick me up’: a Breakfast Mojito. Yep, that’s right. Mixologist (rather a sick puppy I suspect) Grant Collins has the audacity to pose the question ‘Is it really OK to enjoy rum for breakfast’? You be the judge.

Top Tip: Breakfast Mojito, deconstructed so you can mix your own

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I’ve recently been road tripping around south east Queensland Australia, looking for interesting photography topics, scenes and destinations. I’ve been following the coast mostly, and these photos reflect that. It’s no surprise to anyone, least of all me, that boats in all states of neglect or otherwise feature. Find me a boatyard, a marina, an anchorage or a boat harbour and I can amuse myself for hours.

These images were captured somewhere between Burrum Heads in the south and Bowen in the north, and many ports in between. Bundaberg turned out to be the biggest surprise package, with a surf culture I had no clue existed. Admittedly, it helps having a cyclone brewing off the coast to generate surf-worthy waves. And, as my surfing-mad brother pointed out, Bundaberg is no Gold Coast when it comes to waves. But Bundy surfers happily take whatever swell comes their way.

I hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I enjoyed making them.

If you’d like to see any of these images displayed on your own walls, please drop a comment below or contact me in the usual way – I can make it happen via my online store at mitribe.shop.

Fiona x

The stories behind the photographs

Capturing photographs from my travels around the world, I love the serendipity of heading out for an adventure to see what I may discover.

I’ve been road tripping around south east Queensland, looking for interesting photography topics, scenes and destinations. Mostly I’ve followed the coast and the photos reflect that with a water or maritime theme. It’s no surprise to anyone, least of all me, that boats in all states of neglect or otherwise feature. Find me a boatyard, a marina, an anchorage or a boat harbour and I can amuse myself for hours.

These images were captured somewhere between Burrum Heads in the south and Bowen in the north, and many ports in between. I hope you enjoy them! If you’d like to see any of these images displayed on your own walls, please drop a comment below or contact me in the usual way – I can make it happen…

Fiona x

The equipment I use

My main camera is a Canon 5DM4 with my go-to lens being a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 ( I absolutely LOVE this lens!). I also travel with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L which works for wide-angle, and a 100-400mm which is great for wildlife.

Usually I travel with a Manfrotto tripod, though I also have a Manfrotto monopod which works well with the 100-400mm lens.

For calibrating my screens once I start the editing process I recommend either of these products:

Calibrate ColourChecker (sells for approx AUD250)

Datacolour SpyderX Pro (retails for approx AUD260)

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Travel Boating Lifestyle is managed by Fiona Harper

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters on which we live, work and travel. As people who seek meaning and knowledge through storytelling, we recognise that the First Peoples of this land have been doing so for over 60,000 years. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.