Exploring an ice cave in Iceland

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Exploring an ice cave in Iceland

There are many good reasons to visit Iceland in winter - the off-season crowds, the higher probability of chancing on the elusive northern lights, the magnificent half-frozen waterfalls, the pristine snowscapes and the gratifying sensation of being able to jump into a warm geothermal pool when you are freezing cold outside! And topping the list of must-dos is to explore an ice-cave!

With the erratic weather conditions in Iceland, a visit can be dangerous as ice-caves are known to be unstable in an ever-changing glacier landscape. There is always a real risk of collapse.

Therefore it is important to join a local guided tour rather than exploring alone. We chose to go with Glacier Adventures as recommended by our favourite Iceland blogger - iheartreykjavik. Glacier Adventures is a family owned business operating out of Hali Country Hotel in Hofn where we stayed for 2 nights. Our initial booked date was cancelled due to intermittent snow blizzards and strong gale winds but fortunately, there was a window the following morning where the weather took a turn for the better and the tour was allowed to continue. It was comforting to know that they take safety as top priority!

The journey into the ice cave was an experience of glacier walks on crampons, bridge crossings across ravines, and canvassing rock edges with carabiners securing us to safety lines. Halfway into our trek, a light snow blizzard ensued and the surrounding black rocks transformed into a field snowy wonderland. What a sight!

Upon descending into the ice cave, we were surrounded by beauty that is out of this world. With light rays streaming in through the glacier above, the reflecting multi shades of blue is just unworldly. Nothing like we ever seen before, it was nature's masterpiece. Truly an awe-struck experience that is going to stay with us for a very long time!

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Where we stayed in Iceland

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Where we stayed in Iceland

South Iceland Itinerary - Winter

  • Reykjavik - Harbor Apartment (Airbnb)
  • Flúðir - Dalabyggd 24
  • Vik - Garðar 1, Reynisfjara (Bungalo)
  • Hof - Hali Country Hotel
  • Vik - Vestri Pétursey
  • Selfoss - Gesthús
  • Keflavik - Hotel Berg

Ring Road Itinerary - Autumn

  • Reykjavik - Harbour Apartment
  • Selfoss - Lambastadir Guesthouse
  • Vik - Vik Hostel
  • Hof - Bakki Guesthouse (ceased)
  • Seyðisfjörður - Hotel Aldan
  • Myvatn - Vogafjos Guesthouse
  • Varmahlíð - Hestasport Cottages
  • Vatnsnesvegur - Ósar Hostel
  • Snaefellsnes Peninsula - Hótel Búðir

There are few things that can beat the experience of having the vastness of the country all around you. It's so easy for us to find our way into empty corners where we can enjoy the solitude and connect with our inner beings. Nothing short of magical. Secret spots reveal themselves if you look hard enough. Shot with Canon 6D Music - To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra Check out our travel videos: Tasmania - vimeo.com/peteramber/tasmania Bagan - vimeo.com/peteramber/bagan New Zealand - vimeo.com/peteramber/newzealand Maldives - vimeo.com/peteramber/maldives

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Leia & Lauren goes to Iceland!

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Leia & Lauren goes to Iceland!

"Did i hear you correctly? With the babies? But they are just 5 months old!"

Pretty universal ‘you must be crazy’ reactions we received when we announced that we were planning a family vacation to Iceland, in winter no less. We knew travelling with a baby isn’t an easy feat, needless to say with twins and without any help! Being a new parent, I have to be honest that I was overwhelmed at the initial thought - the safety of my children, the sanitation, the fussing and the packing. We could have easily left the kids at home with our parents but we knew it was just a matter of time before we needed to overcome the fear of travelling with the bubs, surely this had to happen someday, we might as well muster the courage and make it now!

The Plan

Travelling with them isn't unmanageable, but rather it requires some intensive research, detailed planning and contingency plans. The key here is to understand that all your activities have to revolve around your babies routine, rather than otherwise. When babies are happy, you will be too. Here are the details of things:

  • If possible, coincide your flight timing with babies sleep time
  • Book bassinets early for the long haul flights
  • Give special instructions for the baby stroller to be available at the arrival gate - choose an airline that provides this service (we were surprised Finnair did not have this service thus you can imagine we had to lug around our carry-ons and carry our babies, do a customs checkout before proceeding to the arrival belt for our pram, which proved to be physically challenging!)
  • Weather conditions to decide the type of clothing they require
  • Sanitation conditions (thankfully we didn’t have to avoid any places in Iceland)
  • Nearest hospitals and relevant emergency numbers stored on both our phones
  • Availability of hot water facilities in all accommodations
  • Reservation of baby car seats and get a confirmation with your rental company before the trip
  • A daily itinerary that included babies’ feed and sleep breaks
  • Every baby is different. Please consult your PD just to make sure he/she is safe to fly!

And I have not even started on the packing list yet!

The key here is to bring extra of everything. From missing a flight to getting stranded due to bad weather conditions, you never know what could happen. The last thing you want is to run out of milk powder (always carry a fresh packet in your carry-on lugguage), diapers or the right medication if your babies happen to fall sick. Prepare extra change of baby clothes, bacterial wipes, baby moisturizer and prepared baby bottles for the flight. It is possible to bring your own cooked water, you just need to declare it at the baggage scan. Hot water is easily available upon request on board.

The Flight

And so, here’s sharing Leia & Lauren’s maiden long haul experience.

Leia gave her charming wide-eye look to the check-in service team.  It wasn’t a full flight so we scored a comfortable whole row seating. I guessed their cheeky tees probably helped as well =)

Leia gave her charming wide-eye look to the check-in service team.  It wasn’t a full flight so we scored a comfortable whole row seating. I guessed their cheeky tees probably helped as well =)

During take off, they were fed milk to equalise the air pressure, which gave them much comfort.

During take off, they were fed milk to equalise the air pressure, which gave them much comfort.

Bubs tugged snuggly into their bassinets for a good night sleep.

Bubs tugged snuggly into their bassinets for a good night sleep.

Are we there yet?!

Are we there yet?!

They flew well for their 12 hour long-haul, happy and relatively cooperative, save for some fussing when they wanted to sit up and stretch after a straight 6-hr sleep or when they purely just wanted their feeds/cuddles. Surely that’s normal. It is slightly easier when they are of this 5-12 months of age, where major vaccines have been done and they are well-established into a consistent sleep and eat routine.

The Adventure

Reality was, we were dog-tired from the trip and not spared from some very stressful moments. Our girls probably won’t remember the -10 degrees weather, the 30m/s gale winds, the erratic snow blizzards, the insane fireworks, the elusive aurora borealis, the breath-taking waterfalls, and all that Iceland has to offer, but still we find this experience all worthwhile as we now have beautiful memories and stories to look back on and share!

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Leia & Lauren - The First 100 Days

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Leia & Lauren - The First 100 Days

The first 100 days of our momo twin daughters Leia and Lauren. This is the side many didn't get to see. At the risk of serious cord entanglement, they were born at 32 weeks at 1.5kg each. This video shows how small they were born, how frail they were and how far they have come.

We feel incredibly blessed to have doctors, nurses, friends and family who have supported unconditionally in this journey. We hope this video gives faith and inspiration to those parents with preemies and that the dark days do pass quickly, and happy (noisy) days shall prevail. God works wonders!

Shot with Sony A7S and A7RII

Music licensed from Musicbed

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Bruny Island - an experience of the Tasmanian wilderness

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Bruny Island - an experience of the Tasmanian wilderness

273 steps to the sweeping view of The Neck from Truganini lookout

273 steps to the sweeping view of The Neck from Truganini lookout

An island off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania, Bruny is having its moment. Idyllic sand beaches, pristine turquoise seas and pure tranquility are here for the asking. It's no wonder this natural beauty still tops the list of summer weekend getaways for the local Tasmanians.

Getting to Bruny is convenient, with (almost) hourly ferry timings that transported us with our car from Kettering jetty to the island in around 20 minutes.  There are a few notable places of stop-bys in Bruny that we visited including; Get Shucked for its fresh pacific oysters, Cheese Company for its unique array of distinctively-Tasmanian artisan cheeses , Premium Wines for its refreshing unwooded Pinot Noir and delish food pairing in the relaxed atmosphere of a vineyard.

In pursuit to experience the wilderness at its best, we opted for a stay at the 100-acre Hot Tub Hideaway. This amazing cottage is located within a 100-acre private bushland and meadow overlooking Cloudy Bay - isolated enough to capture the tranquility of the lush greenery. Presence of wildlife adds to the charm of this property - we had wallabies hopping around our doorstep!  Come night fall, the sky comes alive with shining stars littered across the horizon.  Pour a glass of wine and kick back in the private hot-tub as you admire the stars, how's that for a relaxing stay!

Off the beaten track stays make travelling so much more fun and exciting

Off the beaten track stays make travelling so much more fun and exciting

Our hideaway under the star-littered night

Our hideaway under the star-littered night

Click here for our Bruny Island collection

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