5 Trips South of the Equator!
The Southern Hemisphere may contain significantly less land than the Northern Hemisphere, but what it lacks in civilisation, it makes up for in experiences. The travel experts at KAYAK.com.hk took a look at some of the North’s most iconic destinations and activities and found it’s just as easy to create these experiences south of the equator, and often closer to home. In fact, doing so will get you far more travel credibility, and result in a trip with fewer crowds. While it may seem hard to narrow it down, the KAYAK.com.hk team has compiled a list of the 5 most impressive trips to enjoy all the Northern Hemisphere activities in the South:
Fjords: New Zealand vs. Norway
Where: Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand
People visit Nordfjord, Norway, for its incredible scenery, speed boating, rafting, canoeing, glaciers, skiing, waterfalls, hikes and scenic drives. Visitors to Milford Sound, New Zealand, marvel over the incredible scenery, speed boating, rafting, canoeing, glaciers, skiing, waterfalls, hikes and scenic drives. Do you see where we’re going with this?
New Zealand’s Fiordland rivals Norway’s in almost every respect. It is also closer to home and a lot less crowded. Some may even say the beer is better. Regardless of our bias, Milford Sound is often referred to as one of the 10 most beautiful fjords/sounds in the world. It is among the most famous tourist destinations in New Zealand. Dramatic peaks rise and the frequent rain cascades in waterfalls over staggering cliffs. Marine life is in abundance, both above and below the water, with the latter even more visible via the underwater observatory at Harrison Cove. Stay in nearby Queenstown, the gateway to many of the region’s iconic attractions, including popular ski fields like Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
How to get there: Flights from Hong Kong to Christchurch from $7,367*
Where to stay: Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel from $1,760* per double room per night
Unsolved Mysteries: Stonehenge vs. Easter Island (Rapa Nui) Moai
Where: Easter Island, Chilean Polynesia
As much mystery surrounds the Easter Island Moai as it does Stonehenge. Plenty of theories have been expounded, many have never been proven. Stonehenge is known the world over as one of the most famous megalithic monuments, but in terms of mind-boggling scale, the Moai win. It is mind-boggling in that it seems a sheer fluke the Polynesian people ever reached the island in the first place, let alone the fact they produced and transported literally hundreds of monumental stone statues. Fortunately, it is a LOT easier to get there these days, with flights from Santiago, Chile and Tahiti every week. Never fear though, the island is still one of the most isolated on earth and the weather is pleasant all year-round.
The 900 or so monolithic human statues were carved during the 10th to 16th centuries, and these days you can find them scattered across the island. While the cultural aspects of the island will keep you intrigued throughout your stay, it is also home to excellent surfing and diving, with two white sand beaches, Anakena and Ovahe. Tour groups are your best bet to really gain an insight into this fascinating region, but if you’re keen to plan your own itinerary, pick up a rental car, motorcycle or mountain bike and head out into the archaeological wilderness. While we may never know why the Rapa Nui people carved these monuments, we can sure admire their work and be tantalized by the enigma surrounding this beautiful island.
How to get there: Flights from Hong Kong to Easter Island from $14,439*
Where to stay: Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa from $3,788* per double room per night
Epic views:: Kings Canyon vs. Grand Canyon
Where: Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Central Australia
If there was a canyon hall of fame, the Grand Canyon would be a nominee, a stalwart, and a winner. Australia’s Kings Canyon hasn’t always been a contender as far as the world’s most known canyons go, but its relatively recent rise in popularity is for good reason. This formerly ‘hidden’ secret of Australia’s outback has long been revered by locals for its breathtaking formations, and contains sites sacred to Australia’s indigenous people. If you have the stamina, the challenging Kings Canyon Rim Walk will reward you with spectacular views over spellbinding desert colours and magnificent rocky outcrops, and lead you through intriguingly named spots like the ‘Garden of Eden’.
Although the Australian terrain can be merciless, a 4WD isn’t necessary for the trek from Alice Springs to Watarrka National Park. Pick up a standard rental car from the airport and take your time, meandering through the beautifully rich, arid landscape on a well-sealed highway. Cool off with a dip at Glen Helen Gorge along the way. True explorers won’t flinch at the extra kilometres required to cover the distance to Uluru. After all, this renowned landmark is at the centre of many an Australian story, and well worth every minute spent gazing upon its awe-inspiring majesty.
How to get there: Flights from Hong Kong to Alice Springs from $7,875*
Where to stay: Kings Canyon Resort from $1,344* per double room per night
Romantic Getaways: Bora Bora vs. Maldives
Where: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
All you romantics out there, listen up. Your search for the most amorous destinations may have you set on the Maldives, but before you commit, take a look at your Southern Hemisphere options. You want idyllic? French Polynesia has the goods. Bora Bora is often compared to the Maldives and more than lives up to the challenge. While both regions are known for pristine beaches, turquoise waters and endless sunshine, Bora Bora is truly a jewel of the south seas. A tiny island northwest of Tahiti in the South Pacific, it is the definition of paradise.
Bungalows perched over strikingly clear water, coral reefs perfect for scuba diving, lush tropical forests and majestic dormant volcano, Mount Otemanu, at the centre of it all. Choose your own Bora Bora experience – relax, get active, partake in culinary delights, learn a new skill, or simply let romance guide you. With water and beaches this enticing, it’s likely you’ll spend a lot of time near the shore. For a break from the sun, join a jeep safari and explore further inland or head to Vaitape village for some retail therapy.
How to get there: Flights from Hong Kong to Vaitape from $14,016*
Where to stay: Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa from $2,984* per night, or for the ultimate luxury, stay at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, for a cool $32,344* per night.
Aurora: Southern Lights vs. Northern Lights
Where: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Atlantic Ocean
When it comes to the aurora, the Southern Lights is most certainly the underdog. This has nothing to do with how remarkable the dancing southern sky may appear, and everything to do with the lack of land from which to view it. In reality, the aurora australis is just as impressive as its northern counterpart, and if you’re up for a real adventure, there are a handful of magical destinations with solid ground upon which to stand and watch the heavenly symphony.
The Falkland Islands is one such place. A visit between April and August will ensure the days are at their shortest, and the nights are long and fruitful in terms of astronomic and atmospheric sightings. While the sun remains above the horizon, take a historical walking tour of Stanley Town, or make the most of the archipelago’s stunning white beaches with a visit to the local penguin and elephant seal colonies. The cosy accommodation available is a definite upgrade from other, more Antarctic options like ice camping, and the friendly vibe will have you relaxing in no time.
How to get there: Multi-city flights from Hong Kong to Mount Pleasant from $22,349**
Where to stay: The Waterfront Hotel from $1,581** per double room per night
Top tip: Multi-city flight searches on KAYAK allow you to create a custom itinerary, whether it be your own version of a round-the-world trip, or an extraordinary adventure to the furthest reaches of the globe. Hacker fares, like those found for the Falkland Islands, help you discover the best deals by combining one-way fares that are cheaper than standard return tickets.
To search and compare prices for flights, hotels, car rentals and much more, visit KAYAK.com.hk or download the app.
*Prices displayed are based on searches conducted on 10th February 2016. Flight prices are based on a round trip economy fare for travel from 21-28 May 2016. Hotel prices are for double occupancy per room per night. Prices are subject to change, availability may be limited or offers may no longer be available. **Flight price displayed is based on a multi-city search and hacker fare, which combines multiple one-way fares to create a custom itinerary. Flight and hotel prices for the Falkland Islands are for travel from 19-28 May 2016.