5 continents and 10 countries but where are you going within each of those countries?
We’ve chosen the countries, and now it’s time to map out our route within each country. I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal, so I prefer to have things planned out, especially when traveling with kids. We can decide specific activities when we’re on the ground, but I’d at least like to know where we are going to go. Again, my overarching framework is to balance seeing nature/animals with seeing historical and cultural sites. We want to see some of the big cities and the countryside. With those parameters in mind, here is what I’ve come up with:
Peru – We fly into Lima, get acclimated, then head down to the Sacred Valley to see the ruins and meet some alpacas. Since we are trying to go at a slightly slower pace than a 1- or 2- week vacation, we will not be going to the Amazon Rainforest or Lake Titicaca 🙁
Brazil – We fly to Iguazu Falls (Foz do Iguazu) and spend a few days at the falls. This is where we hope to see lots of macaws. I’ve been told to see the falls from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides. We then head to Rio de Janeiro / Niteroi for about 10 days.
South Africa – We fly into Johannesburg, take the overnight train to Port Elizabeth, then rent a car and drive along the Garden Route to Cape Town before taking the overnight train back to Johannesburg. Along the way, we’ll stop by Elephant Addo National Park, Tsitsikamma National Park, and Hermanus for whale watching.
Kenya – We fly to Nairobi to visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and maybe take a trip to the Rift Valley before taking the overnight train to Mombasa for some time on the beach (with side trips to see more elephants in National Parks).
Australia / Zealandia
Australia – We fly to Melbourne, rent a car and drive south to the Twelve Apostles, then back up and around to French Island, where we’ll camp with Koalas and see the penguins on Phillip Island before making our way along the Princes Highway up to Sydney with some kangaroo spotting along the way.
New Zealand – We fly to Auckland, explore that area as well as the Waitomo Caves (glow worms) and the Rotorua area (sheep, hot springs, etc.) before heading to Christchurch. On the South Island, we plan to do star gazing (Mt. Cook) and whale watching (Kaikoura).
Malaysia – We’ll spend about a week in the Selangor area, just outside Kuala Lumpur, before heading to Borneo – Kuching, Gunung Mulu National Park (exploring caves and the rainforest canopy), and Sepilok (orang utans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, etc.)
Thailand – We’ll take the train up to Bangkok, before heading to a resort that borders a National Park in Sam Roi Yot for Christmas. There we hope to spot some pink dolphins. Then we head to Chiang Mai and will ring in the New Year with the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park.
India – in Northern India, we’ll spend a couple days in Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal), Keoladeo National Park, Jaipur, Amer, and Ranthambhore National Park where we hope to spot a tiger. Then we’ll take the train to South India and travel around Kerala (houseboats, tea and rubber plantations, elephant parade) before spending our last few days on a beach in Goa enjoying some mangoes!
Italy – we’ll explore the sites in Rome, Florence, Viareggio (to see Carnavale), Siena, Parma (cheese anyone?), Naples and Pompeii.
Then it’s back home to sunny California. I can just see the 6 months flying by already! If you have any suggestions of things to see or do, please let me know.