A Visit to the Orphaned Wildlife (OWL) Rehabilitation Society

Daisy stared at me from behind the bars of her enclosure, curious, willing me to come closer. Robust and healthy, she looked just like the owls I saw in the wild a few weeks ago. The difference? Daisy can’t fly, can’t hunt, and thus can’t survive in the wild. So she’s here, at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL), a non-profit raptor and owl rescue centre that takes in injured and orphaned birds of prey.

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New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Knuckle Hill Track and Kaihoka Lakes

The panorama from the top of Knuckle hill is incredible; from 342 metres above sea level you can see most of Whanganui Inlet, and in the other direction nothing but trees. The drive to get here isn’t too shabby either. The road winds around the inlet, crossing streams and small bays. At low tide it is stunning with tiny channels snaking their way through the mud flats and seaweed and the late afternoon light giving it all a silvery glow.

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Western Southland: The ‘Other’ Side of New Zealand’s Southern Scenic Route

NZ’s Southern Scenic Route is more than just the Catlins! That stretch of road is famous for a reason, but what many people don’t realize is that there’s another side to it. The Southern Scenic Route actually extends West of Invercargill along the Southern coast of New Zealand and up to Manapouri. It winds its way through farmland, historical and cultural sights, and past endless gorgeous beaches, with far less tourists around than in other parts of the country.

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On the River: Taking the Boat From Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar

Taking the boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar is an excellent chance to see life along the river. The ferry leaves just as the sun is rising through the mist; seagulls follow the boat as it makes its way from the dock up the river, hoping it will churn up a tasty snack. Cargo and fishing boats pass, some loaded down until they’re barely peeking out of the water, and stops at villages along the way make an interesting diversion.

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New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Hooker Valley Track

The Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is one of New Zealand’s most popular, and I can see why. Winding between towering mountain peaks covered in snow, the track is easy, relatively flat, and well-maintained. Only taking a few hours, it’s one of the easiest ways to get to the spectacular alpine views New Zealand is famous for. No strenuous uphill hike, no climbing, no helicopters needed.

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Tiger Leaping Gorge: Hiking Yunnan’s Most Dramatic Scenery

There were two choices for going back up to the road: the ‘safe path’ or the ‘ladder’. While the right choice seems fairly obvious, please understand that the safe path meant retracing our steps and going a very long way out of our way just to get back to the restaurant that was essentially right above us. Tiger Leaping Gorge was really about to test my fear of heights.

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Alejandro de Humboldt National Park: Cuba’s Masterpiece of Biodiversity

I sighed as once more I yanked my shoes off before making my way slowly into the water. Stepping carefully, I made my way to the other side of the river, trying not to let the current knock me over. I emerged from the water onto the muddy bank and jammed my feet into my shoes. I’d given up on socks three crossings ago and there was no point in bothering to lace my shoes up tight, because just ahead I could see the trail descending to the river once again.

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