Category Archives: one thing

quick travel tips – if you do only ‘one thing’

Yellowstone National Park – Lamar Valley

rainbow over yellowstone national park

Yellowstone’s pot of gold – Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park WY/ID/MT ©theexplorerslens.com

If you’re contemplating a trip to Yellowstone National Park – and who isn’t – the one thing we’d recommend you include in your itinerary is at least a day trip to the Lamar Valley. Tucked into the north east corner of the park amongst the mountains exists a place where time, “progress”, and crowds have thankfully forgotten. Elk, bison, and pronghorn graze along the banks of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek under the watchful eyes of golden eagles, wolves, and grizzlies. With seemingly no attractions and fewer services the Lamar is easy to overlook, but if you’re wildlife junkies like us this is where the real Yellowstone exists.

If you need a little stretch, a short trip to Trout Lake will reward the patient with delightful sightings of River Otters and,if timed right (late June early July) Cutthroat gathering to spawn at the mouth of the inlet stream. Each evening the pullouts are populated with spotting scopes as the ‘wildlife hopeful’ scan the fields for wolves and grizzlies.

The closest services outside the Park can be found in the hamlets of Silver Gate and Cooke City MT. Interesting places onto themselves and well worth a look to get something to eat before returning to Yellowstone to continue wildlife watching.

Not Ghan’a Do it Again – The Ghan Red Kangaroo Class

alice springs the ghan ©theexplorerslens.com

In hindsight the camel would have been a better option – Alice Springs, NT ©theexplorerslens.com

Sometimes our adventures don’t go as planned with unexpected results. Our time experimenting with rail travel in Australia’s outback was one such occasion.

The plan was to ride The Ghan from Alice Springs to Adelaide enjoying a classic rail adventure on New Years Eve featuring a desert sunset, a decent meal, and some drinks to welcome the New Year. A quick nap and a dawn arrival in Adelaide also worked in our favour as we avoided a costly hotel stay during the holidays. At the time it sounded like a no-brainer.

Our research indicated that it was way cheaper to fly but we were hooked on the romantic notion of spending New Years Eve on a train in the outback so we elected for most cost effective option Red Kangaroo class. How bad could it be?

Lessons Learned

a) Scenery – The outback is gorgeous,

b) “Fresh light meal” means foil wrapped microwaved bacon burger,

c) Bar service closes at 10. But it’s New Years Eve. Bar service closes at 10,

d) Red Kangaroo class rail cars (at least the one we were in) are showing their age; uncomfortable, hot, and odiferous.

An epic fail on our part.

The one thing we’d recommend if you find yourself contemplating a similar situation… fly. It’s cheaper, far more convenient, and you’ll probably get a better meal on the flight. If you still insist on riding the rails, we’d recommend a researching other levels of hospitality that The Ghan offers and hop over Red Kangaroo class.

Resources

Great Southern Rail – The Ghan

Walk Dubrovnik’s Walls

one thing dubrovnik ©theexplorerslens.com

Fort Bokor (Zvjezdan) - Dubrovnik, Croatia ©theexplorerslens.com

Walking the fortified walls of Dubrovnik was a pleasant surprise and highlight of our trip to Croatia. If you had to do one thing in Dubrovnik we’d recommend spending the 10 euro per person and take your time exploring the city’s history and archecture along this 2 kilometre wall walk.

Bonus Tip: Hold on to the ticket you receive for the wall walk, it also allows you to enter the St. Lawrence Fortress opposite the fortified city free of charge. Great views overlooking old Dubrovnik.