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Down Under and Over the Hills: Australia’s Best Camping Spots

Special thanks to Alex Johnson from Sydney, Australia for writing this week’s guest post. Alex is a 23-year-old lover of life, brunch & adventure. After moving to Sydney when finishing a journalism degree, he began his blog Inspire A Better Life to positively influence others to get out there and see all life has to offer. Join Alex as he discovers this life, one day at a time, documenting his thoughts and other along the way!

Today Alex shares some of his country’s best camping spots with UndiscoveredWanderings. With winter coming to our neck of the woods, Australia’s summer is just around the corner–a perfect time to head Down Under and visit these fantastic places! Thank you, Alex, and welcome to the UWanderings community!


Five Best Camping Spots in Australia
-By Alex Johnson

You have all your gear and you’re raring to go for your next big camping adventure in Australia, but where do you go? What are the best camping spots in Australia? Well, here is a list of the five best camping spots to get you going on your next big adventure.

Broken Hill, New South Wales

If you like a taste of the Outback that is closer to home, Broken Hill Tourist Park is the place for you. With captivating landscapes to die for, lush sunsets and clear nights under stars, it’s hard not to fall in love with the place.

If you are a lover of art, there are also 30 art galleries showcasing works inspired by Broken Hill. Silverton is also nearby, where many movies have been set, including Mad Max 2, The Adventures of Priscilla, and Mission Impossible 2. Baz Luhrmann also filmed a section of Australia in Broken Hill.  



Millaa Millaa, Queensland

If you are looking for beautiful waterfalls, look no further than Millaa Millaa Falls. Not only does Millaa Millaa have amazing waterfalls, it is also home to Queensland’s highest mountain, Mt. Bartle Frere.

With stunning scenery and an amazing mountainous backdrop, Millaa Millaa Falls is one of the most photographed places in all of Australia–making it the perfect place to get that Instagram-worthy photo and relax in one of the best places in the world.

Port Fairy, Victoria

If you are a fan of stunning coastal scenery, flourishing gardens, beaming lighthouses and an abundance of birdlife and rock formations, then Port Fairy is the best place for you to camp.

The place is full of rich history and wide streets filled with nineteenth century cottages. It’s also home to lots of native animals in the wild, including everything from southern right whales, seals, and dolphins to wallabies, kangaroos, and emus.

Bright, Victoria

If you would like to camp during Autumn, look no further than Bright, a town in Victoria. Bright is famous for its wineries and fall foliage, which creates memorizing autumn colours. It’s also close to Mount Buffalo National Park and Alpine National Park.

During this time the Bright Autumn Festival is on, celebrating the gorgeous autumnal display. Delany Avenue and Cobden Street, near Ireland Street, are great spots to fully appreciate the Bright Festival’s autumn colours.

The Blue Mountains, New South Wales

The Blue Mountains (pictured above and below) is a stunning natural spectacle that is worth the trip, however far it may be. There is plenty to do here for those wanting to explore the World Heritage-listed area a little more adventurously.

The Blue Mountains is located just southwest of Sydney, covering an area of over 1,400 square kilometers. I know, it’s massive! If driving from Sydney to travel to the Blue Mountains, it will take you about an hour and a half, but you can also catch the train, which will only take you just over two hours.

There are plenty of outdoorsy activities to enjoy in the Blue Mountains, so why not head to Centennial Glen Stables and go on a horseback riding tour on a sunset ride with great views along a variety of trails. Trail rides go for 2-5 hours, depending on what you sign up for.

There are plenty of camping spots in Australia; these are just a few of the amazing places on offer! Remember–camping is a great way to recharge and relax. Be sure to research and get out there to create those memorable adventures that will stay with you for a lifetime.


Become an UndiscoveredWanderings Guest Poster! We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. We’ll always publish under your name. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

Bowling Lanes Turned Checkout Lanes At This Grocery Store

Bowling Shoes Not Required

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A special thank you to Erin and Jeff McNeil, owners of this Grocery Outlet location, for assisting UndiscoveredWanderings with this article. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and are pleased to share our experience with our readership.

A few weeks ago, we did a piece on a retro-themed grocery store in Seattle’s Skyway suburb. Just when you finally wrapped your mind around the concept of a grocery store that’s also a tourist destination, we’ve got another one for you, except it didn’t start out as a store. It was once a bowling alley.



The same owners of the Skyway Grocery Outlet location actually started their first store here in Renton, WA–just outside of Seattle–in 2010 (the Skyway one in 2013). A bustling bowling alley for 40 years, when the McNeils moved in and turned it into a Grocery Outlet, they knew they had to keep the local heritage alive, so they built their store around the bowling alley. They even asked the demo crew to leave the old bowling lanes intact, which are now part of the checkout lanes.

As Erin explained to us, a number of local artists have done work here to keep Seattle’s heritage alive. Many of the old trophies and bowling memorabilia that dot the store’s landscape were donated by locals who had lots of memories and stories to tell.

There’s a lot of Seattle heritage here, for sure. “We try to promote local”, she told us. It’s a source of pride in the community. 

LINKS
Learn more about the owners
Visit the Skyway location


We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. We’ll always publish under your name. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

Abandoned Buildings Meet Nature Trail

An Unusual–Yet Brilliant–Combination

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Many thanks to Friends of the Outlet, Inc., who maintain the Keuka Outlet Trail, and who kindly assisted UndiscoveredWanderings in putting this article together.

We love a good nature trail, especially one that’s different from the rest. The Keuka Outlet Trail in New York’s Finger Lakes Region is, for all intents and purposes, your average trail……just kidding; we doesn’t cover “average”. Actually, this trail’s claim to fame is what’s along it: abandoned buildings.

And they blend in perfectly with the scenery.



So why abandoned buildings? Simply put, they’re icons from another era. The Outlet Trail is a seven-mile pathway from Pen Yann to Dresden, NY–right between Keuka and Seneca Lakes. Its location along what was once the Fall Brook Railroad and, before that, the Crooked Lake Canal gives you a peak into the trail’s industrial roots. It was once dotted with small businesses, including a mill. The remnants of some of these legacies of industry are clearly visible along the trail today, showing their age with decay and overgrown vegetation that would make any urban explorer or Walking Dead fan overjoyed. We’re not gonna lie–it’s really cool!

Although hikers are not allowed in the buildings for safety reasons, you can clearly see into them from the main footpath. Adding to the allure of urban decay is the scenery around it. Traces of canal locks and walls give the Outlet Trail an iconic beauty that is rarely seen. The best abandoned structures are located on the side closest to the Dresden, NY entrance.

The Outlet Trail is partially paved, but still accommodates for all seasons, including winter (snowshoers and cross-country skiers enjoy it). You can also bike it. We recommend visiting in late summer or early fall for the best views and weather. The Trail is open from dusk until dawn each day. Please stay on the trail and obey all signage.

Oh–and in the summertime, there’s an ice cream stand near the trail’s end in Dresden. Yum!

LINKS
Learn more about the Outlet Trail


We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. We’ll always publish under your name. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

You’ve Arrived at Seattle’s Most Retro Grocery Store

Of Course We Found This in Seattle!

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A special “thank you” to Erin and Jeff McNeil, owners of this Grocery Outlet location, for helping UndiscoveredWanderings with this article. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and are pleased to share our experience with our readership.

When was the last time you thought of a grocery store as a tourist destination? When was the last time you were in Seattle? If there’s any city in America with offbeat grocery stores, why wouldn’t it be here? We were encouraged to visit this particular store by our Airbnb hosts during our visit last year. “It’s a grocery store with lots of cool iconic stuff in it”, we were told.



Our curiosity drew us to the road…

And so we ventured to Grocery Outlet—specifically, the Grocery Outlet of Skyway, Washington, just outside Seattle. It’s one of two stores independently owned and operated by Erin and Jeff McNeil. The McNeils, who’ve been in the grocery business for most of their lives, had a goal: to make their stores not only a place to shop, but also a destination. See why they got UndiscoveredWanderings’s attention? But how does one make a grocery store, of all things, stand out when there’s so many in every neighborhood?

One Word: Retro

It started years ago, when the building located at 68th Avenue South was just another neighborhood grocery store under a different name and ownership. Skyway was a bustling hub, a haven for musicians–including a young, up-and-coming Ray Charles—and intellectuals alike. It had the Route 66 vibe back then, Erin explained to us. The store eventually closed down and the building sat abandoned for a number of years.

But in 2013, the McNeils opened up this, their second store, under the Grocery Outlet chain. Yet they wanted more than just a place to buy groceries. They wanted a place, Erin recounted, that would be talked about and make the community proud. It was their goal to attract shoppers from throughout the Seattle area. With the neighborhood’s rich history in mind, they stuck to Skyway’s retro roots. It’s been a labor of love ever since…and it’s paying off.

The McNeils put as many retro-themed items in their store as possible. They sourced from places in Washington, Oregon, and even Canada to acquire the most offbeat and nostalgic items, including a life size Clark Kent in a phone booth, readying his Superman costume. There’s plenty of local history here, too, like old lockers from the local fire department (see gallery below). All of these items adorn shelves, floor space, and ceiling tiles as you casually make your way through the isles. The aura of the store definitely channels that back-in-time Route 66 feeling.



By the way, Erin and Jeff sourced all of these items within three months prior to Grocery Outlet–Skyway’s grand opening. Not bad. And their primary means for finding all this cool stuff? Craigslist.

Four years later, the McNeils are pleased with the store’s progress; Erin described things as being in a “good rhythm”. Not only has the community flocked to Skyway’s Grocery Outlet, their clientele continues to expand to include regular shoppers from all over the Seattle area. And of course, there’s the out-of-town visitors like us.

This is truly an Undiscovered Wandering, a title we reserve for the most offbeat places we visit. Oh–we mentioned that this place is one of two stores. Yup, there’s another one out there, which was built into an old bowling alley. Read about it here.


We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. We’ll always publish under your name. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

Balloons! Balloons Everywhere!

See You in Albuquerque

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To be honest, UWanderings probably won’t make it there this year, but we went a couple years ago and had a blast. If you catch yourself in the ABQ in early October each year, you might wake up early enough to notice hot air balloons floating around the city. Morning is the best time for ballooning due to air temperature.

It’s a bizarre feeling watching a balloon hover over you while driving on Interstate 25 as you’re heading to the Fiesta’s fairgrounds, where you can get local eats and buy cool souvenirs at any one of the tented venues. A must see if you’re there; a must do if you’re a ballooning enthusiast.

This year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is from October 7-15, 2017. See the link below for more details.

Official Balloon Fiesta Website