August 18, 2023

Tripologist: Is it possible to hike Nepal in comfort?

By Michael Gebicki
August 18, 2023 — 2.45pm
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I have a long-standing wish to visit Nepal. As well as seeing Kathmandu and surrounds I want to do some hiking in beautiful scenery, not too challenging but preferably without too many trekkers, and I want to do it in relative comfort. J. Arlenson, Manly, NSW

Scenery of Ghandruk village looking out to the Annapurna mountains.Credit: iStock

One that should work well for you is the Slow Walking in Nepal tour from Be Your Best Tours. From Kathmandu, this 12-day tour heads north from Pokhara to the western side of the Annapurna Range to spend several days at a comfortable lodge in the Lower Mustang region, from where there are daily hikes along trails that thread past villages through fields of millet and barley to monasteries and temples. The scenery is incredible, and the pace lives up to the “slow walking” label, with the option to spend a day at the lodge instead of on the trail. Food and accommodation are high standard, bearing in mind that Nepal is a third-world country and you’re walking in a remote area.

We are a group of five single women travelling to New York for 10 nights and looking for suitable accommodation, centrally located in Manhattan’s theatre district with a kitchenette and lounge area. A B&B with shared facilities would be suitable. Can you recommend anything that doesn’t break the bank? C. Kreamer, Pyrmont, NSW

Be prepared – accommodation rates in Manhattan are about 50 per cent higher than pre-pandemic. Even a room in a youth hostel is likely to cost over $200 per night. It’s going to be hard to find B&B type accommodation in Manhattan’s theatre district. All the accommodation in that part of town is hotels but if this location is a priority, you might try Romer Hells Kitchen. This is a modest hotel but even so you’ll be paying close to $500 for a room with twin queen beds, and that’s if you book and pay now. If you’re more interested in a B&B, one that might work for you is Mount Morris House. It’s in Harlem, and a fair way from the theatre district, but this is a pretty good address, close to the subway station on 116th Street, total 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, within easy walking distance of Central Park and the price is decent.

We are a fit group of four and following an organised walking tour from Auckland we have 10 days before our flight leaves from Wellington. Where should we base ourselves to see the best on offer between Auckland and Wellington? We like day walks, nature, good restaurants. We will have a car. A. Wilkin, Russell Lea NSW

Visit the famous Champagne Pool thermal lake of Rotorua.Credit: iStock

Rotorua would be my first choice. It’s brazenly devoted to tourism, but that’s not to downplay its five-star natural credentials. Set on top of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, this is a hissing, spurting geothermal wonderland, with geysers, steaming ponds frosted with calcium and mud pool hot spots. Drive outside the city limits and you’re in untamed country, where spring-fed streams sprint through native forests into lakes that are home to giant rainbow trout. Mountain biking in the Redwoods, whitewater rafting on the Kaituna River and hiking in the Waimangu Volcanic Valley are just a few of the adventures on the doorstep. Rotorua also has a well-established Maori community, and Maori culture is stamped indelibly on the town, although for most visitors, their most intimate contact with that culture will be a hangi, a traditional feast, followed by a Maori concert.

To the south, one option is Lake Taupo, one of the largest crater lakes in the world, surrounded by forests and a scarred volcanic landscape threaded with superb hiking trails. The other option is Mount Tongariro, where the Tongariro Crossing ( is rated one of the finest one-day walks in the country. This is a trek through an open wound in the earth’s crust. The exquisitely fused rocks, lava bombs, pumice, scoria piles and lava flows along the trail are straight from the vulcanologist’s textbook, but the crowds prove its popularity. If you do the walk plan with care – it’s long and fairly tough and you need to pay attention to the transport arrangements.

I have a milestone birthday coming up, planning to celebrate with a trip to somewhere in the Caribbean. I’ve been to the USA several times, what are other options for getting to some of, the destinations within the Caribbean? A. White, Ivanhoe East VIC


The most practical departure point for the Caribbean is Miami International Airport, from where you can fly to just about anywhere in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, the Dutch Antilles, Grand Cayman Island, Anguilla and the US Virgin Islands. The most direct route to Miami is a one stop flight from Melbourne via Los Angeles. You could also fly to some Caribbean destinations via New York City. Getting to the Caribbean without passing through the USA is difficult. The other option would be to fly to Santiago and then take another flight north. For example you could fly from Santiago to Bridgetown in Barbados via Panama City but this would take longer and the price would be considerably higher than via the USA.

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Travel advice is general; readers should consider their personal circumstances.

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Michael Gebicki is a Sydney-based writer and photographer who has been writing travel articles since 1982. Michael is Traveller’s resident Tripologist, answering your travel questions and offering expert tips and advice.Connect via Twitter.


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