• A model of the Arc of the Covenant

  • Blessing the water

  • Christians showered with blessed water

  • Priests chanting

  • Dancing and drumming as part of Timkat

  • Tabot is wrapped in cloth and carried through the crowd

  • Priests dance and shake their clappers during the procession

  • Priests holding Lalibela crosses

  • Colour of Timkat

  • Waiting for proceedings to begin

Timkat Festival Ethiopia continues…

Day 2 of the Timkat Festival,  we reach the special ground where the waters are blessed for the Baptism rites. The whole area was crowded, and locals waved lighted tapers as the priests

  • Cliffs play host to thousands of breeding pairs of guillemots

  • An icy home for these gulls

  • Cautious yet inquisitive walruses

  • Every ledge is precious to these Guillimots

  • Thousands of Glaucous gulls

  • Magic

  • The magestic polar bear

Arctic Wildlife wildlife and more wildlife – Arctic Part 2

Our trip was all about the Arctic wildlife. The best opportunity to photograph a bear surely had to be the site where the remains of a sperm whale had been

  • Feel the serenity

  • Zodiac excursion

  • Arctic Rainbow

  • Blue glacial ice

  • Spend time watching the amazing birds

  • Waiting for the ice to carve

  • Ship ahoy

  • Kayaking in the Arctic

  • Arctic bergy bits

Arctic Part 1 – Exploring Svalbard

It’s coldish up here in the Arctic, ranging from daily maximum of 1 degree celsius to an incredibly warm 10 degrees. On the warm days, we shed layers like reptile

  • Dressing for the ceremony

  • Hamar women dancing prior to ceremony

  • Looking cool

  • Becoming a man

  • Face paint part of ceremony

  • Becoming a man today

  • Young boy ready for initiation

A Hamar boy becomes a man – Omo Valley Ethiopia

Young men from many cultures must endure rituals to enter manhood. The young Hamar men of southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, prove their manhood by eventually succeeding at ‘cattle-jumping,’ a challenge

  • I do!

  • Full bloom in Shinjuku Gyoen park - FINALLY!

  • Blossoms everywhere

  • Everyone's welcome

  • Kanazawa castle

  • Vibrant blossoms

  • Tokyo with the sakura blooming

  • Chasing cherry blossom in Japan is well worth it

Chasing cherry blossom in Japan

Take a tour named Japan in Spring and it’s perfectly reasonable to expect to see cherry blossom … and lots of it. What I didn’t expect was the fervour that came with

  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

  • Magnificient waterfallsa

  • Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik

  • Hardy Icelandic horses

  • Old whale watching ship in Iceland

  • Whale watching

  • Quaint farm houses in Iceland

  • Huskavik port

  • Cutest puffins in Iceland

  • Stunning scenery everywhere

  • Erupting hot springs

Iceland – Lots of green and lots of ice

Iceland conjures up images of a remote island in the arctic, with freezing temperatures and a small population. After all, who could live on an island in the middle of

  • What do make of all these Australians

  • Meet the locals

  • City view of Tehran

  • Flag of Iran

  • Brett at a local restaurant

  • Local Tehran students

  • Visit the carpet museum in Tehran

  • View of Tehran

Tehran – it’s not what you think

I cannot recall visiting any country in any part of the world where the people are more welcoming than in Iran. This might sound like a big statement but it’s true. Within my first 24

  • Nalychevo National Park - Kamchatka

  • Travertine Creek Kamchatka

  • One of the many carnivores to be found in Kamchatka

  • Ex-military helicopter is the standard mode of transport

  • Valley of the Geysers

  • A Kamchatka brown bear

  • One of the many volcanoes in the UNESCO-listed area

Land of Fire and Ice – Kamchatka – Far Eastern Russia

I’m fortunate enough to have visited the land of fire and ice on a few occasions. It’s a destination that few people can pronounce and even fewer know where to find. Kamchatka

  • View of Khiva from the wall

  • Want to buy a carpet?

  • Old city of Khiva

  • A wonderful book to read if visiting Khiva

  • The walls of Khiva

  • Walls at sunset

A Carpet Ride to Khiva

I liked to think I was well travelled but my recent visit to Uzbekistan made me realise that skiing four continents (even including sliding down a couple of runs in

  • View above Victoria Falls

  • Brett & Holly Goulston at the falls

  • Don't miss out on this

  • Our Blue Dot group ready with raincoats

  • View from Victoria Falls Hotel

  • View from the helicopter

  • Holly Goulston ready to take off

  • Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls – The Smoke that Thunders

Mosi-oa- Tunya translates to the Smoke that Thunders. It describes the world’s greatest sheet of falling water aptly, where over 500 million litres of water each minute, pours over the

  • Enjoy the peaceful waterway of Okavango

  • Mokoros or dug out canoes

  • Focused on her job

  • Flying over Okavango Delta

  • Some impala on our walk

  • One of our paddlers

  • Our paddling crew in Okavango Delta

  • Water lillies in the Okavango delta

  • Herd of impala in the delta

  • Gordon and Julie McRonald on tour

  • Beautiful local girl

The Okavango Delta, Botswana – one of Africa’s most incredible places

Even in the dry season, the Okavango Delta in Botswana’s north west, is an amazing sight. It’s the world’s largest inland delta, which, depending on the season, sprawls across some 15,000-22,000 square

  • Timurid ruler

  • Colourful suzannis make a perfect souvenir

  • Old photos of Samarkand

  • Exploring Samarkand

  • Meet the locals in Samarkand

  • Registan Square Samarkand

  • Traditional food

  • Magnificient Sher Dor Madrasah

Samarkand on the Silk Road – the ancient trade route linking China to the Mediterranean

Samarkand – conjures up so much when you say the name. One of the oldest inhabited cities of Central Asia, Samarkand was a legendary stop along the Silk Road, being strategically

  • Victoria and Alfred Harbour

  • Cape Seals

  • Nelson Mandela's statue on Robben Island with Brett & Holly Goulston

  • Rock hyrax commonly called a dassie

  • Wine regions near Cape Town

  • Table Mountain aerial cableway

  • African penguins at Simon's Town beach

  • Victoria and Alfred Harbour Cape Town

  • Local musicians

  • District 6 Museum

Cape Town – Africa’s Most Beautiful City

It’s hard to argue about the beauty of this city, at the very bottom of the African continent. Cape Town points of interest including Table Mountain as a backdrop to the

  • Nomadic golden eagle hunter

  • On the road in Kyrgyzstan

  • Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karakol built with no nails

  • Livestock is moved to mountains during the summer months

  • Brod Brennan at Lake Issyk Kul

  • In Kyrgyzstan they serve a type of bread called “boor sok

  • Kyrgyz musicians

  • Summer yurt camp for Kyrgyz family

Travelling through Kyrgyzstan

With an average elevation of 3000 metres and over 90% of the country covered in mountains, you’re in for a treat when travelling throughout Kyrgyzstan. After being in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan the

  • Panama City bus

  • UNESCO old town cathedral

  • Portobelo Spanish Fort

  • Frank Gehry designed Natural History Museum

  • UNESCO site Society of Jesus, Casco Viejo

  • Black Jesus in Portobelo

Panama City – a cultural cocktail of contrasts

After a three-day visit to Panama City, I can confirm that Panama is not just about the Canal!  Panama City is the most cosmopolitan capital in Central America where many

  • Victoria Memorial

  • Artisan making clay statues in Potters Lane

  • Flower market in Kolkata

  • Sunset over Hooghly River

  • Bath time by the Hooghly River

  • Waiting for the train

  • Waiting for the next ride

Kolkata – India’s second biggest city

Kolkata is very loud and very busy and some parts (but not all) are dirty. It could be best described as chaotic, but its utterly fascinating and if opening your mind

  • Ancient city of Petra

  • Camels in Jordan

  • Cool off in the pool

  • This might be your camel

  • Desert sunset

  • Brett Goulston and guides in Jordan

  • Ready for your camel ride?

Two of the best in Jordan

Often it’s a country’s capital city that offers a tourist the best things to see and do with the most important places of interest usually located there. This is not

  • Ovoo - made up of rocks and blue ribbons

  • Flaming Cliffs Mongolia

  • Yol Valley frozen river

  • Brod standing on frozen river with ovoo behind

  • Ovoo looking across Flaming Cliffs

Sacred Ovoo’s of Mongolia

According to Wiktionary an Ovoo is a shamanistic cairn found in Mongolia, usually made from rocks or wood and found on or around mountains.  These large piles are found on mountain

  • Rhino out in the open grass

  • On safari in Kazaringa

  • Sunrise over Kazaringa National Park

  • Salient features of Kazaringa

  • Up close to one horned rhino

  • Early morning elephant safari

  • Sneaking up on a rhino

  • Hunting leopards in Kazaringa

  • Mother and baby rhino

Kaziranga National Park – Assam, North East India – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

The rays of the early morning sun bounced off the water drops on the giant elephant grass as our mahout steered his 37-year-old elephant on our 5.00am morning safari. The

  • Bonifacio Citadel

  • Wonderful Corsican cheese

  • Bonifacio port and marina

  • Kings Aragon Steps

  • Seagull and the cliffs of Bonifacio

  • Bonifacio atop its Limestone promontory

  • Azure blue water of Corsica

  • Corsican olives anyone?

  • Meet the locals

  • Dramatic face of Bonicacio

  • Stunning Corsican cove

Bonifacio – Corsica – A wonder to behold

One of our best experiences was a day trip from St Teresa di Gallura on the northern tip of Sardinia on a ferry to Corsica.  Bonifacio  is a town on the

  • Japanese geisha girl

  • Sado Island taiko drumming

  • Anyone for squid

  • Japanese shrine

  • Quaint wooden buildings

  • Taiko Centre for a hands-on drumming experience

  • Cherry blossoms in the spring

  • Spring in Japan

  • Blue Dot Travel clients learning to drum

  • Japanese girls in traditional dress

  • Bamboo forest in Japan

Sado Island – Japan’s most precious gem

Sado Island, one of Japan’s smaller islands, is rarely visited by the European Tourist. In fact, it’s very difficult to find anyone – even in the hotels – who speak

  • Buddhist statue in ancient city of Polonnaruwa

  • Sigirya an ancient rock fortress

  • Warthogs on parade

  • Deliveroo Sri Lanka style

  • Elephant safari in Sri Lanka

  • Crocodile alert

  • Sigiriya fresco wall paintings

  • Leopard up a tree in Sri Lanka

  • Road side fruit stall

  • Sail away from Negombo Beach

  • Ceylon spotted deer

Sri Lanka

It’s no wonder that Lonely Planet recently named this island-nation the “hottest destination on the planet to visit”. And they weren’t talking about the weather! There are so many reasons

  • Lip plates worn by Mursi tribe

  • Hamar women in traditional clothes

  • Ritual face painting of Hamar boys

  • Typical houses made from acacia wood

  • Modern take on Hamar tribe boys gear

  • Hamar women at market

  • Karo men like to dress up

  • Young Hamar man in traditional costume

  • Painted face of Hamar boy

The Tribes of the Omo Valley – Ethiopia

The Omo Valley, in the remote south-west of Ethiopia, is a vast river basin fringed in the far distance by mountains. Life here has largely stood still.  No Ethiopia trip is

  • Burchell's zebra

  • Lioness kicks back and relaxes

  • Small ears ... small eyes ... big mouths!

  • Time to head home late in the day

  • Brett & Holly Goulston ... cute hats!

  • Tranquil lands provide sanctuary to much wildlife

  • Baby elephant after its bath

  • Wildlife is abundant and in close range

Botswana – It’s as good as it sounds

Just saying this country makes you feel like you are on an exotic safari! Recently I camped in Botswana with my teenage daughter. It was a never-to-be-repeated daddy/daughter experience. There

  • Beautiful Split Harbour

  • Harbour of Hvar Island

  • Rooftops from Dubrovnik wall

  • Walls of Dubrovnik

  • Terracotta roof tops

  • View from Castle Hvar

  • Dubrovnik Church Tower

  • Dubrovnik Harbour

  • View from Hvar Castle

Croatia with its picture perfect coastal towns

Croatia could be described as the “new” Italy for Australian travellers. The people, the pace of life and the food are considered “similar but different”.  If you haven’t visited

  • Gorilla eating tree bark

  • Walking to find the gorillas

  • Two juvenile gorillas

  • Brett and Kate ready for ultimate gorilla experience

  • Magnificent siverback gorilla

  • Mother and baby gorilla

  • Tranquil Uganda landscape

Trekking with the Gorillas in Uganda

There are just 880 mountain gorillas left in the wild. They exist in three countries; The Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, has over 400 living in the mountains, almost half

  • You may be lucky to see a tiger in Southern India

  • Bath time by the river

  • Enjoy House a boat experience on the tranquil backwaters of Kerala

  • Boatman with bamboo pole

  • Everyday life along the river

  • Kerala houseboat

  • Local transport on Kerala backwaters

  • Back waters of Kerala

House Boating on the backwaters of Kerala

The South of India around the Kerala Backwaters, could not be more of a contrast to the North. If your view of the North conjures up images of overcrowding, huge

  • Ancient citadel - Tower of David

  • Ultra orthodox children

  • Israel's Negev desert is magic

  • Dinner Tel Aviv style

  • The Bell Caves have a unique sound

  • Explore the landscape of the Negev Desert on camel

  • The Dead Sea - lowest point on earth

  • Wailing Wall in Jerusalem

  • Palestinian man enjoying his lunch

  • Fascinating ancient ruins of Beit She'an

Why you simply must visit Israel

Israel has many unofficial names including The Jewish State, The Promised Land and the Land of Milk and Honey. But it could also be called Iswowl! There is so much

  • The famous Bikini Girls mosaic

  • Images from the Great Hunt

  • Inside Villa Romana

  • Bringing back the wild boar

  • Gentlemen hunting scene

  • The cheeky embrace

  • Elephant boarding a boat

  • Fishing from a boat

  • Lion kill mosaic

  • Most likely created by north African craftsmen

Villa Romana del Casale – Wonders of Sicily

A major highlight of our visit to Sicily was Villa Romana del Casale, a Roman Villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3km outside the

  • The origin of nuraghes is uncertain

  • Nuraghes from prehistoric Sardinian culture

  • Each nuraghe is different from the other

  • Each nuraghe contains hundred of stones

  • Stand only by virtue of the weight of the stones

  • Large stones on the base of nuraghe

Nuraghes from prehistoric Sardinian culture

No one can visit Sardinia without becoming aware of the island’s ancient Nuraghes, built between 1500-1200 BC. They are Bronze Age circular towers built with local rock without mortar of

  • Iranian women

  • Ancient city of Bishapur

  • Beautiful places to visit in Iran

  • Dried herbs used in Persian cuisine

  • Friendly locals in Iran

  • Turquoise tiles of Iran

  • Persian gardens

  • Beautiful eggplants for sale

  • Rolling dough for dinner

  • Architectural columns with blue tiles

  • Want to buy a carpet?

Iran – Gem of the Middle East

Often when you mention to a friend or family member that you plan to tour Iran or have an interest to, it is often met with a question of “Why?”

  • Local fishing boats

  • Dried fish at the market

  • Colourful sign

  • Fresh produce at the markets

  • Beautiful old wooden buildings

  • Beautifully restored building

  • Locals going to work

Paramaribo, Suriname

I’m on a research trip with my wife Kate, doing our homework for a tour to what is collectively knows as The Guianas. We travel from Guyana to Suriname, flying into the

  • Timkat Festival unfolds

  • High priests carrying the church Tabots

  • Deacons in a rhythmic dance

  • Orthodox Christian priests bless the water

  • Christians showered with blessed water

  • Annual site of Timkat in Lalibella

The Festival of Timkat in Ethiopia

The Timkat Festival is a highlight of any visit to Ethiopia. Celebrating the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, it is one of the most important religious events in the Ethiopian

  • The Big Tsingy

  • One of the many lemurs

  • Crossing the suspension bridge

  • At the river crossing

  • Rafts are pulled across the river

  • Ring-tailed Mongoose

  • Climbing up through the gorge

  • Tsiribihina River crossing

  • Everyday tasks along the river

  • Using carabiners to hook on and off

  • Crossing suspension bridgs

  • River crossings on the way

The Big Tsingy – Madagascar

The highlight for many of us on our Madagascar trip has been the trip to the Big Tsingy. Just getting there is an adventure! After passing through ancient baobab forests we finally

  • Three Brothers rock

  • Valley of the Geysers

  • Native wildflowers

  • View from your helicopter

  • Cute ground squirrel

  • Brown bear looking for salmon

  • Fishing for salmon in Kamchatka

  • Brett hiking up Mutnovsky Volcano

  • Looking for wildlife

The wilds of Kamchatka in Far East Russia

Not many people know where Kamchatka is. And not many people can pronounce it, let alone spell it. For the record… it’s a peninsular at the southern end of Siberia,