3 Years on.. Places I can’t get out of my head

Budding photographer at Sadia Orphanage, Kenya

Budding photographer at Sadia Orphanage, Kenya

Back in 2015 as part of the monthly bloggers linkup I shared my passion for Africa as the place I couldn’t get out of my head. Three years on and is it still the place I can’t get out of my head?

Yes… but it’s not alone. As I reflect back on my blog from time to time or my Instagram feed memories come flooding back from the years of travel I’ve done. It’s been a decade since I first stepped on that plane to Austria and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Before I turned 30 I shared an array of 30 of my greatest travel experiences, I think they best demonstrate the places and experiences that I can’t get out of my head and are always in my memories.

1. Taking that first step towards the other side of the world (Austria) »

Austria was my first taste of Europe and meeting so many new cultures. I made some lifelong friends and caught the travel bug.

Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt, Austria

2. Hiking in Rwanda to see mountain gorillas »

Nothing quite tops seeing a mountain gorilla in the wild, free and happy without a care in the world. The knowledge that it could easily take a few steps towards you and destroy you in an instant is far from your mind when you first step through the bush to see these incredible creatures.

Silverback Gorilla

Silverback Gorilla, Rwanda, 2011

Gorilla in Rwanda

A baby gorilla in Rwanda

3. Moving to London »

London is often on my mind, but these days its more about the people I met there than the travel opportunities. I loved the brunches with friends, drinks with workmates, games of rugby and wanders in the park. There was always something to do and someone to catch up with.

Green Park, London. Copyright Ngaire Ackerley, 2013

Green Park, London.

4. Discovering Bosnia and Herzegovina »

Bosnia and Herzegovina are places that sit deep in my heart, that pull on my heart strings and keep me grounded. The pain and despair that Bosnia and Herzegovina have been through is incredible, yet today it is an area of beauty, culture and incredible food.

Blagaj Tekke Monastery, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Blagaj Tekke Monastery, Bosnia and Herzegovina

5. Cruising Around the Galapagos »

This is up there with Africa. It’s one of those times that I didn’t quite appreciate as much as I do now. Seeing such unique wildlife and being completely remote on a boat cruising around islands is something truely special.

Male Red Frigate Bird, Punta Pit, San Cristobal

Male Red Frigate Bird, Punta Pit, San Cristobal

Marine Iguanas on Islote Tinoreras

Marine Iguanas on Islote Tinoreras

6. Immersing myself in Patagonian Nature »

Patagonia has so much to offer from the East Coast wildlife, to the West Coast glaciers and mountains. It’s an area that I see so much of New Zealand in and can really appreciate how incredible our natural landscapes and wildlife are.

Southern Right Whale (head), Puerto Piramides

Southern Right Whale (head), Puerto Piramides, Argentina

7. Safari in Africa »

If you ever go to Africa, then a safari has to be on the cards. Preferably a remote one with few tourists. I’ve been lucky to go on several game drives and boat trips to spot a wide array of African wildlife roaming free in the national parks. I could easily jump back there at any given moment.

Leopard, Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Leopard, Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Baby Elephant from the breeding herd

Baby Elephant from the breeding herd, Etosha National Park

8. New York, New York! »

For someone who dislikes cities, New York has a charm of its own. There is so much to do, eat and enjoy there.

Central Park, New York

Central Park, New York

9. Best Waterfalls in the World – Iguazu »

Yes, I called it. Iguazu has the best waterfalls in the world. Given that is spans three countries and you can get up close, above and below, I think it wins hands down.

Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

10. Delving into the Jungle and Entry to the Amazon Pampas, Bolivia – A Top Experience »

I’d never heard monkeys cry quite like the Howler monkeys. I’d never imagined pink dolphins or Birds of Paradise. I’ve never even heard of a Capybara. The Pampas is so unique and has some incredible weird and wonderful creatures to share. 

Sloth in tree (climbing down)

Sloth in tree (climbing down)

Bird of Paradise, Pampas, Bolivia

Bird of Paradise, Pampas, Bolivia

Brown Howler Monkey

Brown Howler Monkey

Capybara

Capybara

11. Top Experience: London Olympic Games »

The London Olympic Games was a once in a lifetime experience and one I’ll be lucky if I ever get to repeat.

At the Olympic stadium awaiting an Athletics final!

At the Olympic stadium awaiting an Athletics final!

12. Salt Flats of Bolivia: Salar De Uyuni, A Top Travel Experience »

Salar De Uyuni is so vast, empty and white. Sometimes you can’t quite tell what is salt and what is sky, but one thing is for sure — it is like nowhere else in the world.

Clouds at Salar de Uyuni

Clouds reflecting at Salar de Uyuni

13. Swiss Styling through Switzerland »

Switzerland is a little part of Europe that I hold near and dear. It’s old heritage buildings and clean and crisp nature makes you want to pinch yourself to believe what you’re actually looking at.

Swiss Alps, near First. Copyright Ngaire Ackerley 2013

Swiss Alps, near First.

14. Greek Islands »

Cocktails, beach, sun, Greek food, flowers and white washed stone buildings. The Greek Islands mean summer and is a warm spot to dream about whenever you need cheering up.

Oia, Greece

Oia, Greece

15. Hiking up Machu Picchu Mountain »

It may have freaked me out with the sheer drops as I hiked up, but Machu Picchu Mountain was a true achievement and one I’ll never repeat.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, view from Machu Picchu Mountain (one time I was glad to overcome my fear of heights)

16. Paragliding in Slovenia »

Slovenia is a little known country with plenty of delights. It’s the country that saw the end to my European scholarship exchange. Paragliding off a mountain and over a lake was so freeing and delightful.

Paragliding in Slovenia

Paragliding in Slovenia

17. Walking amongst Chimpanzees in Uganda »

Chimpanzees in the wild are nothing like the zoo. They sound incredible as there voices travel through the forest. Then there’s moments where you can just see them thinking and realise just how much like humans they really are.

Chimpanzee, Kibale National Park, Uganda

Chimpanzee, Kibale National Park, Uganda

18. Cinque Terre: Walking through 5 little Italian Villages, A Top Travel Experience »

Cinque Terre is one spot that I always like to recommend to people visiting Italy and one that I loved walking. So scenic and so beautiful.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Village of Vernazza amongst the 5 villages of Cinque Terre

19. Ireland Photo Blog – A Top Travel Experience »

Ireland is one I remember for the people and the nature. So green and so friendly.

Coumeenoole Beach, Ireland

Coumeenoole Beach, Ireland

20. Discovering the Aurora Borealis / Northern lights »

The Northern Lights is something so unique to nature and this world, that photos and videos just can’t quite do justice. To see the sky above you open up in colourful moving colours makes you feel like you’re on another planet. These photographs are ones I took during my time in Norway.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Me with Violet

Me with Violet, babysitting a baby baboon in Namibia while volunteering

21. Wildlife Volunteering »

Volunteering with wildlife in Namibia and Ecuador was something to remember. It was eye opening and memorable to be so close to such unique animals.

I’ll never quite forget showering and sleeping with a baby baboon named Violet either!

monkey chichico, volunteering in Ecuador

monkey chichico, volunteering in Ecuador

22. Skydiving over Lake Taupo, New Zealand »

Let the adventure begin! This was possibly the start of my adventurous streak and one I’ll never quite loose…

Skydiving in Taupo, NZ

Skydiving in Taupo, NZ

23. Meeting Condors in Colca Canyon, Peru »

Cycling along and seeing these incredible large birds glide around Colca Canyon was another of the ‘pinch me’ moments. Coming from a country of many flightless birds, to be so close to such enormous birds in the sky was a wonder.

A condor flying in Colca Canyon

A condor flying in Colca Canyon

Condors competing for a perch

Condors competing for a perch, Colca Canyon

24. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey »

Dawn in the sky, gliding over valleys that just look like they are landscapes from another planet. Pretty darn cool!

Hot air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey, 2012

25. Pyramids of Giza »

The pyramids of Giza are just one of those places that you need to experience for yourself and not be tainted by anyone elses opinions. They’re a wonder of the world and one that I hope everyone can enjoy one day.

Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

26. Petra, Jordan »

A whirlwind adventure day to Petra to walk down the canyon and look up at the vast stone city that was lost for so long. Something hard to believe from little ol’ New Zealand.

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

27. Hitting the Sandy Slopes, Namibia »

Swapping the snow for sand anyone? It was pretty awesome to see how fast you can reach on a piece of board head first down Namibian sand dunes.

Sandboarding in Namibia

Sandboarding in Namibia

28. Thailand, A Taste of Asia »

I never quite saw the party side of Thailand, but I did see how colourful, creative and different it is from anywhere else in the world.

Temples in Bangkok

Temples in Bangkok, Thailand

29. Discovering the Quirks of the United Kingdom »

Ahh the memories of the UK travels. From the much loved Edinburgh to the Welsh seaside. The UK has so much to offer and I’m so pleased I made the most of it when I lived in London.

Edinburgh, Scotland (nearly every year)

Edinburgh, Scotland (nearly every year)

30. Rediscovering New Zealand »

Coming up three years back and I’m still rediscovering my homeland. New Zealand is a beautiful area with so much to offer nature lovers. My recent South Island road trip has taken me from place to place making me wonder if the scenery can get any more beautiful that this.

Still reflections of Lake Matheson

Still reflections of Lake Matheson

Hokitika Gorge

Hokitika Gorge

Looking out from the Oparara Arches

Looking out from the Oparara Arches

Mt Ruapehu, Ohakune

Mt Ruapehu, Ohakune

Another stunning sunrise

Another stunning sunrise, Auckland

Whakapapa Skifield - Happy Valley at sunset

Whakapapa Skifield – Happy Valley at sunset

So, those are the places I really can’t get out of my head and I hope I never do. Travel memories are some of the best ones we can have. Such growing experiences to learn, discover, enjoy and appreciate.


Wondering what’s happened to the South Island road trip blog posts? Don’t worry they’ll be back next week and it’s all about my favourite spot in the South Island – Wanaka! Stay tuned!

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