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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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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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Bagan - the Land of Pagodas

Sunrise on a misty morning from  Shwesandaw temple

Sunrise on a misty morning from Shwesandaw temple

The place that should be on everyone’s bucket list!

Situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, we were blown away by the sheer expanse and magnificence of Bagan. Historical and peaceful, the temples and pagodas in this archaelogical site are a marvellous sight to behold.

Bird's eye view over the ancient kingdom of Myanmar, overlooking Irrawaddy River

Bird's eye view over the ancient kingdom of Myanmar, overlooking Irrawaddy River

With thousands of pagodas, I will not tell you which ones you should visit.  Every one that we explored has its own unique character, shape and story. The amazing thing is, regardless of size, there is always a buddha sculpture in each of them. The big temples such as Shwesandaw and Ananda are the tourist draw and can get really crowded so head out early to secure a good spot for sunrises or sunsets. We found the smaller ones way more fun to explore! Savour a more peaceful experience at smaller temples such as North Guni- we had to squeeze through narrow stairwells and tight arches to get right up the top, where we are rewarded with a private experience and the sunsets/sunrises were equally marvellous, it felt like the place was ours.

Bagan sunrises are stunning, with rays peering through the morning mist and hot air balloons flying across the plain as the sun slowly rises, bringing warmth and illuminating the pagodas across the ocean of green.

That being said, Bagan is the perfect place for a hot-air balloon ride! It is a fantastic way to have a collective view of pagodas that dot the landscape. We flew with Eastern Safari and had a great time, right from the start where we were picked up in a cool vintage van from the hotel, to savouring the panoramic views from the top, and having the experience completed with a champagne toast. Tickets are seasonal and its recommended to book well in advance.

Rented electric bikes were our option to get around Bagan. Roads are well-paved and the dirt paths are fairly easy to ride through and explore. In our opinion, far more exciting than having a guide or a car. Ride into the countryside discover the smaller and less visited temples, you will be amazed at what you find. Be prepared to take off your shoes when you step foot into the temples, it is only respectful.

The second largest 18-metre long reclining Buddha sculpture in Bagan, a surprise find in the seemingly small brick structure around the Shwesandaw compound.

The second largest 18-metre long reclining Buddha sculpture in Bagan, a surprise find in the seemingly small brick structure around the Shwesandaw compound.

Oasis Hotel was our choice of stay and we loved the location of Nyuang U. It is a short 10min e-bike ride away from the archaeological site and away from the touristy areas of Old/New Bagan. For food and drinks, we turn to our cozy little restaurant "A Little Bit of Bagan” that offers free WIFI and rentals of e-bikes. Be sure to try their avocado smoothie!

Our trip has been made further memorable by the warmth and hospitality of the Burmese friends that we met on this journey, who has been so kind to share with us so much about this amazing place.

Click here for our Bagan collection

Check out our travel video:

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Iceland - Magical land of waterfalls

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Iceland - Magical land of waterfalls

Waterfalls are countless for a little country like Iceland. The beauty of it is, these strikingly-beautiful falls are usually found off the beaten track, where the country's nature remains raw and at your own risk. You can get up close!

 

Our personal favourite has got to be the magnificent Dettifoss - the roaring waters before having it in line of sight tell-tales that he is massively powerful. No doubt, it had us mesmerised. It's no surprise they call him Europe's greatest!

Click here for more Iceland collection: Iceland East/North and Iceland West/South

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