Some Travel Suggestions You May Not Have Considered @katnielsencreates
The rise of social media has seen a significant increase in travel to population destinations all for those Instagram posts. Everyone seems to want to chase and capture the same pictures. I took a trip to New Zealand, last year a country despite being born there, I had never actually photographed. That famous Wanaka tree which was located five minutes from where I was staying when I wandered down it had over sixty photographers with tripods. The Church of the Good Shepherd wasn't much better. I made this exact trip with my parents when I was around 12 years old, and there was barely a soul around but neither was Instagram.
You can create your entire travel experience based on the images you see on Instagram, and it seems we have lost the art of exploration. The answer is not to stop travelling but to travel more mindfully, be more adventurous and be different in your approach to travel. Go to places that aren't being thrust into the spotlight and share your own unique experience instead of replicating a trip someone else has taken.
RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS
I have been here twice now, and it's easily one of my favourite travel destinations. The easy-going island life makes it a pacific paradise, that melts away any stress you may have had. Rarotonga is a fantastic destination for snorkelling, paddle boarding and a great place to learn to dive. This is a tropical location for everyone from families to honeymooners. The colours displayed at Sunrise and Sunset are like nothing I have ever seen before and this is literally a photographers dream. Lisa from The Wandering Lens has prepared some beautiful destination guides for the Cook Islands.
Aitutaki which means little island is located off Rarotonga with a short 50 minute flight. The crystal clear, turquoise water and seclusion make this little place a common destinationfor honeymooners. It is much more expensive than Rarotonga for Accommodation so you can opt to do a full day trip instead.
I have lived here for nearly ten years now and still only scratched the surface of this large part of Australia. I firmly believe Western Australia has some of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in the world. The surfing here is incredible, with so much diversity in the landscape. You will need to devote a significant amount of time if you decide on doing a road trip. Western Australia has some breathtaking scenery that you just won’t want to miss.
Literally the most Isolated part of the world it makes this a less accessible and desirable location for travellers. However you won’t be disappointed and it’s worthwhile taking sometime to explore this remarkable part of the world. Margaret River, Esperance, Exmouth and Broome are all wonderful places to visit each offering very unique experiences.
Another must-see part of WA is the Ningaloo Reef a World Heritage listed location with one of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world. This runs within close proximity to the shoreline, making it accessible for all skill levels.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
One look at the water here is enough to convince you that this is a paradise worth exploring. Largely untouched, it has maintained it’s raw beauty. However due to ongoing crime, a travel agency tour is recommended in order to explore this diverse country safely. You have mountains in the Eastern Highlands, Huon Peninsula has ancient coral reefs or relax in the resort town of Madang. If off the grid travel is what your after this is the perfect destination. If you are adventurous the Kokoda Track is Australia’s version of a Pilgrimage taking up to 11 days to complete. If your not up for that challenge there are plenty of amazing walking tracks to explore.. Papua New Guinea has some remarkable dive locations, waterfalls, beaches and customs, with the oldest continuing culture on the planet today.
This entire county is incredibly photogenic the landscapes are breathtaking. From the Škocjan Caves where the light streams in over the water or the Sveti Tomaž with the magnificent alps as a backdrop or the Ljubljans rivers, boat rides and romantic bridges give you all the vibes of Venice without the huge volume of tourists constantly flowing. You can also capture images of wild bears in their natural habitat here, how incredible.
In the winter the surrounding Julian Alps offers the perfect alternative to the more expensive Swiss Alps.
Costa Brava which offers everything Barcelona does but without having to share it with so many tourists. While also being much more affordable.
Tamariu, is one of the best beaches in Costa Brava, Calella de Palafrugell. This was one of my favourite locations in Catalonia. The water clarity was unreal and I enjoyed some of the best food here as well. Girona is another spectacular location worth visiting. Made famous for being a location for the 6th season of game of thrones. Additionally, The Medes Islands are perfect for snorkelling. The architecture here is also spectacular.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Bosnia has a rich history stunning architecture and spectacular gastronomy. The people are warm and accommodating to tourists making it an experience to remember. Endless walking trails and skiing, and the many cultural influences of Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Islam. Which is reflected in the architecture, cuisine and music making this a magnificent and unique destination.
The Kravica Waterfalls are breathtaking while Sarajevo Baščaršija is like stepping into an entirely different world. The history here while stepped in heartache continues to heal from it’s tragic past and rise above the adversity. The idyllic, mountainous landscapes, culture and history make this an intriguing city to add to your bucket list.
RAJA AMPAT, INDONESIA
Raja Ampat has over 1500 islands, think lush jungles, with sandy white beaches, secluded lagoons, extensive caves, and majestic crystal, turquoise waters. Tourists and influencers have overrun Bali and this untouched paradise is worth the journey. It’s the ideal location to free dive and explore the raw beauty of this incredible ocean destination.
This is a location that requires a bit of planning to get too making it a journey only a passionate traveller is likely to commit to.
If you are looking for tradition and authenticity, Naples offers that. Often stepped in negative reviews, and while some of them are valid, it's not a reason to pass up an opportunity to explore this incredibly diverse city.
If you're a fan of Italian art, the museum of Museo di Capodimonte has the most incredible collection and is the largest museum in Italy. If you are like me, I love to find inspiration for photography from art. Just wandering the streets and artisan shops is fascinating in itself.
The Napoli Sotterranea underground a guided tour by candlelight and be prepared to squeeze through tight spaces as you go back in time. The history here is phenomenal and the Greek-Roman Aqueducts are a captivating design, stepped in over 2000 years of history. The underground city became an air raid shelter during the Second World War and the entire town of Naples could be safely housed here.
You can ferry over to the Bay of Naples, and visit Procida's delightfully coloured houses. While Sorrento is the more cost effective alternative to locations like Almafi and Positano. If you still want to visit these places you can still take a day trip on a private boat which is worthwhile but pricey. I saw Kris Jenner when we were in Amalfi.
Newfoundland has magnificent icebergs, extensive coastline, walking trails, and a large variety of whales that travel through here between May and September. The incredible glaciers are a landscape photographer's dream. Sadly climate change has dramatically affected these ice mountains, and they may no longer be visible in years to come, which is such a shame.
With a strong viking history, the locals are incredibly friendly here. With a deep connection to the ocean they are known for their generous nature. The culture here depends on the sea and it’s strong community connections during difficult times. Canada’s east coast is well known for it’s cuisine and if you enjoy an isolated, alluring scenery this is the destination for you.
Andorra resides on the borders of Spain and France with the majestic Pyrenees Mountains. Its official language is Catalan and it is a taxhaven so get your shopping in while your here. I loved this quaint little country; there was just something magical about Andorra. Naturlandia is worth a visit if your interested in adventure and the views are just breathtaking. Andorra also boasts the top winter sports destination in Europe with a variety of different mountain resorts. The Architecture is made from stone and slate giving it an old world feel. Andorra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to it’s uniqueness and natural wonders. Its absolutely a destination to add to your bucket list. Full of unique and wonderful experiences like staying in an Igloo or relaxing in one of the many mountain spa complex’s.