Just outside of Sydney, Australia‘s city limits are the Blue Mountains. The region has gorgeous plateaus and cliffs that are covered in lush greenery that seem as though they have never been touched. Flickr user VernsPics slept in a cave and rose with the sun to get this unbelievable sunrise peeking through the clouds.
Hotel and travel review site TripAdvisor.com has come under fire in recent years for the abundance of fake reviews on its website, but many travelers still see the platform as the industry’s leading place for “real” information about a hotel or destination.
But the site was dealt another blow this week when Peter Hook, a general manager of communications with Accor hotels in Sydney, Australia, admitted that he has posted 100+ anonymous reviews online in recent years, Travel Mole reported. Most of Hook’s reviews were positive reviews about Accor hotels or critical reviews of the brand’s competitors.
The company Kwikchex, which specializes in online reputation management, identified Hook, who wrote reviews under the name Tavare. Hook admits to writing the reviews, but claims that each “resulted from personally experiencing the product.”
A spokesman for TripAdvisor told the Telegraph: “It would clearly be inappropriate for a senior executive of a hotel company to review hotels within their own company. All hotel reviews posted by this member are being removed pending investigation.”
The video above captures an incredible light show happening at the Sydney Opera House as part of the fifth annual Vivid Sydney festival.
The largest light, music and ideas festival in the Southern Hemisphere, Vivid Sydney features lighting installations around the harbour foreshore, live music performances at Sydney Opera House and over 120 creative industry events.
Part of a tourism push, the festival has grown year over year and is expected to attract 550,000 visitors this year alone.
The artists making up the show come not only from Australia but from the USA, Germany, Italy, Greece, Malaysia, Korea, Poland, Brazil and New Zealand.
For the first time this year, the area’s famous Harbour Bridge will also be lit up on its western face, and, with a creative touch, the light show will be controlled by the public from an interactive touch screen, through a collaboration with Intel and with Sydney’s 32 Hundred Lighting.
The Darling Harbour is also part of the show, featuring water fountains, water projection screens and light shows.
We love the above video and only wish it was set to music so that we could feel more like we were really there! If you’re in the area, please send us your comments below – we’d love to hear how it looks, sounds and feels to be there live!
Traveling to seven continents in seven days is grueling enough. Throw in a daily match against a former professional squash player and that makes for some pretty exhausting travel.
Two former pro squash players, Peter Nicol and Tim Garner, are in the midst of a week-long, 40,000-mile world tour in an effort to get squash into the 2020 summer Olympics. Their whirlwind competition ends in New York City this Saturday after successive matches in cities on each of the other continents: London, Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Santiago and the Falkland Islands.
Wait… the Falkland Islands? That’s not quite Antarctica Geographically; it’s South America. And politically, well, it’s still in Europe. Perhaps they are going by the ecozone or floristic kingdom definition of Antarctica? Perhaps.
This type of trip flies in the face of all the principles espoused by slow travel, but it’s an impressive feat all the same. It still kind of blows my mind that we can access every edge of the planet in but a week (at least nominally or floristic kingdom-ly).
For those wondering, they’re currently tied at two games a piece. The ultimate winner is likely to be the one who doesn’t collapse from jet lag in New York.
[Photo credit: SummitVoice1]
They started trekking the planet more than a year ago, promising to travel the globe bringing children in classrooms from around the world with them, virtually, as they visited scores of countries and continents. Now their journey is complete and Darren and Sandy Van Soye are back to tell about it.
The story begins in February 2012, when the couple from Southern California started on a global adventure to raise awareness about world geography and make the subject more accessible to children. Hoping to visit 50 countries on six continents in 424 days, they planned to share the journey with more than 700 classrooms representing 50,000 students.
“Our dream is to educate children about geography and world cultures so we’ve planned the ultimate trek around the world to do just that,” Sandy Van Soye told Gadling when they began. In January of this year after passing the 50,000 mile mark, they had stopped in 40 countries with another dozen or so to go before returning to the United Sates. At the time, they had already beaten their own projections with 850 classrooms in 20 countries following their journey online.
Now with their world trek complete, the Van Soyes have traveled a total of 77,000 miles or the equivalent of three times around the earth at its equator. Their trek is an impressive amount of travel in such a short period of time for sure. But how they went about it is even more interesting.Starting on January 28, 2012, the journey began aboard a cruise ship, Princess Cruises‘ Pacific Princess, a small ship, which proved to be an efficient mode of transportation.
“We used cruise ships to get us between continents so that we could see more of the world,” said Sandy Van Soye. Spending 97 days of the nearly 500-day trek at sea the couple racked up 35 ports in 18 countries. An impressive number but travel via cruise ship is not the fastest way to be sure. From San Diego, it took 29 days to reach Sydney Australia, normally a 16- or 17-hour flight. But along the way, they visited Hawaii, American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand.
After a seven-day trek in Tasmania, the team boarded another cruise ship, Ocean Princess to travel near Australia’s eastern coast, along the way visiting the Great Barrier Reef, the city of Darwin, Bali, Indonesia, and Ko Samui, Thailand, before arriving in Singapore. At each stop, they selected travel plans that would show students following along the natural beauty and unique people they encountered.
On land for the next eight months via a series of multiple day hikes, they visited 27 more countries in Asia, Europe and Africa before boarding the Pacific Princess in Rome. That Mediterranean sailing crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailing up the Amazon River all the way to Manaus, Brazil.
Two months on land took them through 4,600 miles of South America before the final leg of their trek a voyage on Star Princess in Valparaíso, Chile, for their fifth and final cruise home.
Of all the places they went, which was their favorite? Kenya because of its rich culture and natural beauty
“It is a place that kids (have) heard of, so it was a pleasure to go there and talk more about it,” said Sandy of their visit to three Kenyan schools, one in the Maasai Mara and two in the Samburu region.
The biggest surprise along the way? Riga, Latvia
“There was just so much to see and do here and, though it is a capital city, it was relatively inexpensive,” said Sandy.
In addition to a lifetime of memories, the Van Soye’s trek produced a library of 60 four-page education modules for teachers available as supplements to existing classroom materials.
Also, their Trekking the Planet website contains free articles, quizzes, more than 70 documentary videos and a summary infographic: “Trekking The Planet: By The Numbers.“
So is that the end of the road for this couple? Hardly.
Driven by the fact that nearly a third of U.S. young adults cannot locate the Pacific Ocean on a map, Trekking the Planet hopes to help educators change these statistics with future geography-oriented projects.
[Photo credit – TrekkingThePlanet]