Friday 9 December 2016

Top 10: Intrepid honeymoons

Amorous adventures

Online Editors

Published 23/03/2016 | 12:37

Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
Sunset at the sisters in Monument Valley, USA. Photo: Deposit
Aurora display in Skaftafell, Iceland
Polar bears in Canada. Photo: Deposit
Iran by train
Torres del Paine National park

Looking for something an awfully big adventure on your honeymoon? We've got ten once-in-a-lifetime trips.

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Spearfishing in Australia

Try your hand at spearfishing with Indigenous Australians in an Aboriginal village. The action-packed itinerary on this 10-day tour of East coast Australia also includes snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef (above), sailing and swimming around the Whitsunday Islands and a surfing lesson with a local pro down at Byron Bay. If you still have energy to burn, there’s an optional sea kayaking add-on.

Details: From €2,479pp, including accommodation, excursions and internal transportation. Flights are extra. This is a small group tour, so you may wish to add on a weekend in Sydney. See australiansky.ie.

Trekking in Patagonia

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Explore this fascinating region in the far south of Chile and Argentina, famed for its breath-taking natural beauty. The 10-day tour kicks off in cosmopolitan Santiago and culminates in Buenos Aires. You’ll fly down to Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s southernmost region, before heading out to the Patagonian wilds. Highlights include the Torres del Paine National Park and dazzling Perito Moreno Glacier.

Details: From €3,035pp with Gohop.ie. This is a small group tour with modest accommodation/camping en route.

Gorillas in the mist

Not willing to completely forgo your few days’ relaxation on the beach? Black Tomato’s two-centre trip to Rwanda and Mauritius includes four nights at the luxurious Virunga Lodge in the Parc National des Volcans, from which you’ll go in search of Rwanda’s mighty mountain gorillas. The remainder of your honeymoon will be spent at the exclusive Oberoi Resort in Mauritius.

Details: The price starts from €7,220pp, departing Dublin, and including flights, accommodation, experiences and local transfers. See blacktomato.com.

An Arctic ice bear adventure

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See polar bears in the wild in Churchill, Canada. Approximately 1,200 of these enormous bears congregate on Hudson Bay during official polar bear season in October/November, making it the unofficial polar bear capital of the world. This 6-night tour includes walking tours with a specialist bear guide and the chance to view the mystical Northern Lights.

Details: From €7,559pp, including flights and accommodation at the Dymond Lake EcoLodge. With Canadian Sky (canadiansky.ie).

Splendid isolation in Namibia

The Namibian Desert is one of the most remote places on earth. Vast and arid, Serra Caferna and the Hoanib Skeleton Coast are so secluded, they are accessible only by light aircraft. Accommodation for the first part of the trip is in luxury, thatched chalets, complete with private deck and hammock for romantic stargazing. Fly by light aircraft on to the Skeleton Coast Park to continue your luxury wilderness safari. The trip includes desert activities and nature walks.

Details: From €6,485pp including flights from London Heathrow, with Rainbow Tours (rainbowtours.co.uk).

US National Parks Tour

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Journey though some of North America’s most spectacular national parks, lakes and canyons on this 14-night tour covering six states. The trip includes a Navajo guided tour of the back roads of Monument Valley, wildlife spotting in Yellowstone and hiking in the Grand Teton Mountains.

Details: The small group tour costs from €5,309pp, including flights, transportation, accommodation, the services of a professional tour guide and entrance to the national parks as detailed in the itinerary. See American Sky (americansky.ie).

Cruise the Amazon

Explore the Amazon by boat - a fascinating and unique experience you’ll be talking about for years to come. Expect to spot wildlife including pink dolphins, sloths and toucans along the way. The trip also includes two full days in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, where you’ll have the opportunity to see the jungle up close in this, one of the most unspoilt and diverse parts of the world.

Details: From €2,999pp. Includes international flights; transfers by riverboat, plane and private bus; 6 nights’ full-board aboard the Amatista Amazon and the services of a certified Amazon Reserve naturalist guide. See Tropical Sky.ie.

Epic Weekend in Iceland

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If you don’t have weeks to spare, you can still enjoy the adventure of a lifetime on an epic weekend in Iceland. The perfect short honeymoon takes you on a phenomenal journey across dramatic landscape, bunking under the shadow of Eyjafjallajökull, an active volcano. Next, you’ll travel by private helicopter over the highland plateau of Sprengisandur, before heading to the remote region of Midgard where you can unleash your inner Bear Grylls on a polar survival course.

Details: From €3,070pp with Epic Tomato (epictomato.com). Includes domestic travel, accommodation and all guiding, support and equipment. Flights are extra. Wow Air flies from Dublin to Reykjavik with one-way fares from €69.

Balloons over Atacama

Jet off on a honeymoon to Chile and get a different perspective of beautiful Atacama with a balloon trip. Starting in May 2016, visitors will be able to take to the skies above the Valley of the Moon on a sunrise flight over the Atacama’s many-coloured rock formations, salt plains, and snow-capped volcanoes - something that has never been available before. The full experience will last up to three hours, including a pre-launch tour of the balloon with the pilot and a champagne breakfast on landing.

Details: An 11-night Chile and Bolivia itinerary will cost from €5,825pp, including the balloon flight, stays in Santiago, San Pedro de Atacama, La Paz and the Salar de Uyuni, as well as return flights from Dublin, all domestic flights, many meals and transfers. Visit intolatinamerica.com.

Journey Through Persia by Train

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Since the DFA relaxed its travel advice for Irish nationals visiting Iran, holidaymakers have been returning to the country. A journey through Persia by train is the perfect honeymoon for an adventurous couple. This 12-day trip kicks off in Tehran, taking in ancient citadels and Persian palaces, travelling across lands where some of the world’s greatest kingdoms once rose and fell. Voyage through the ancient desert trading city of Kerman and the Persian paradise gardens of Shiraz, and stop to explore the UNESCO World Heritage crumbling palaces and the stunning blue-domed Shah Mosque.

Details: From €3,919pp, including return flights from Dublin, accommodation, meals, all transfers and transportation; entrance fees and sightseeing with an English-speaking guide; services of a tour leader throughout and visa support for Iran. With Regent Holidays (regent-holidays.co.uk).

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