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Be inspired every day with Living North
Retirement Bucket-list Breakaways Danube River Cruise
July 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

Celebrate retirement and the beginning of a brand new chapter by ticking a once-in-a-lifetime experience off your bucket-list

Whether you've always dreamt of an African Safari, you're up for an extreme road trip or you'd simply like to relax in luxury by the world's largest coral reef, let us inspire your next holiday now time limitations are a distant memory.
Kruger National Park Safari

Many of us dream of an African safari and Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves, offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see wildlife up-close. The most in-demand animals to see are of course, the ‘big five’ – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo (oh my!). But you should also get your camera ready for antelope, birdlife, fish, cheetahs, hyenas and zebras to name just a few more. 

Add to your experience with various additional activities such as a hot air balloon flight at dawn, and you can learn all about the vital work taking place for the survival of African wildlife at rehabilitation, breeding and endangered species centres. Whilst there are various safari packages ranging in days, type of accommodation and routes, we recommend Siyabona Africa’s ‘5 Day Luxury Kruger Safari in Style’. A luxury airline will fly you into the wilderness where a private vehicle will then take you to Singita Lebombo Lodge overlooking the N’wanetsi River. When you’re not out exploring on game drives and guided walking safaris you can make the most of gourmet meals and the wellness spa. 

If you want to extend your trip, why not plan an excursion to Cape Town to experience city life?

Route 66

Fancy a road trip? There’s none quite like the historic Route 66, any American will tell you, but you’ll need to spare more than two weeks to take in the sights. Various tours will take you along arguably the most famous route in the world from Chicago to LA, passing through Springfield, St. Louis, Amarillo (cue Tony Christie), Albuquerque and Flagstaff, staying at a range of accommodation along the way. But a highlight has to be the mighty Grand Canyon (while it isn’t technically on Route 66, it’s worth a detour – head to the South Rim for the best view). And don’t miss the enchanting Petrified Forest National Park, browse memorabilia in the historic buildings and shops at Williams, and try your luck in Las Vegas. When packing, less is more, but as long as you’ve got some comfortable and sturdy footwear, sun protection and your camera, you’ll be good to go.

Inca Trail & Machu Picchu

If you’re a history buff and a keen hiker, trek the Inca Trail into the Peruvian Andes to follow in the footsteps of a great lost civilisation. Think snow-capped peaks, cloud forests, wildflowers and fascinating ruins at every turn. One of the world’s most famous hikes, the Inca Trail winds from the Urubamba River through cloud forests to the ruins of Machu Picchu via its exclusive Sun Gate (one of the New Wonders of the World, expect stunning panoramic views from this 15th-century Inca citadel). It could be the toughest hike you ever experience, but it’ll certainly be the most rewarding. The Incan Empire created thousands of kilometres of trails to link its settlements and centres of civilisation, and today the Inca Trail consists of three overlapping trails (Mollepata, Classic, and One Day) with Mollepata the longest of the three with the highest mountain pass. 

Trekkers usually take four or five days to complete the Classic Inca Trail. A maximum of 500 people are allowed on the trail each day (and must have a permit) so the high season books out very quickly. Independent travel companies such as G Adventures run guided tours (with meals and transport to and from Cusco – an architectural beauty that was once capital of the Inca Empire – included), and it’s recommended you arrive at least a day prior to the tour to acclimatise to the altitude. Prior to your camping expedition, why not treat yourself to a luxurious stay at Casa Andina Premium Cusco (with colonial courtyards just five minutes from the main square). 

Great Wall of China

Pack your walking boots and head to the iconic landmark that is the Great Wall of China for panoramic views across mountains and valleys (especially from Sanshibadeng, the ‘Spiderman Wall’) and gain a greater insight into East Asia’s past. It took more than 2,500 years to finish the construction of the Great Wall and it stands proudly today at 21,196 kilometres long. But while we refer to the Great Wall as ‘it’, it’s actually a collection of fortifications and each stretch offers a totally different experience. Tourists love Badaling (easily accessible by train with the Great Wall Museum at its foot), Mutianyu (with watchtowers and fortresses and accessible by cable cars or chairlifts) and Jinshanling (the most popular hiking route). But if you’re up for a challenge Jiankou is far less tourist-heavy with no cable cars but a very steep climb up a mountain. 

Some hiking tours are available from Jiankou to Mutianyu. To make the most of your visit (and to aim for the perfect sunrise shots), search for accommodation close to the wall. We love the eco-friendly Brickyard Retreat at Mutianyu and Mutianyu Great Wall Hotel for perfect mountain views. 

Danube River Cruise

One for architecture admirers, discover some of Europe’s most vibrant and influential cities on a luxurious Danube river cruise, passing by architectural beauties such as Budapest’s Parliament Building, Bratislava Castle in Slovakia and Austria’s Melk Abbey. The likes of Viking and TUI offer various cruise options to sail along the second longest river in Europe, which was once a frontier of the Roman Empire. TUI’s Icons of Europe cruise sets sail for 16 days and will take you to see the sights in Cologne, Nuremburg, Vienna and Budapest (to name just a few) whilst Viking’s new Treasures of the Danube cruise gives you the chance to explore Germany, Hungary, Vienna and Salzburg before trying Budapest’s culinary delights. 

If you’re a real foodie, the Austrian city of Linz has a dessert named after it (the Linzer Torte) – try one at the family-run Café Jindrak, which set a world record for creating the largest one. Newcastle Cruise Club also offer an almost endless selection of seven-night Danube cruises, whether you want to see all the sights or are seeking a romantic and relaxing break on the water. 

Great Barrier Reef & the Whitsundays

Take in the beauty of the world’s largest coral reef on a trip to Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world made up of more than 3,000 individual reefs, coral cays and islands.

It’s home to stunning marine wildlife (whales, dolphins and more than 1,500 species of fish) and you’ll be unsurprised to find that the best way to explore this natural beauty is by boat. Head to Cairns and Port Douglas for day cruises or dive into glass-bottom boat tours and snorkelling activities at Green Island. 

To explore some of the lesser-known areas hop aboard the Whitsunday Blue, a luxurious catamaran which will take you around the Whitsunday Islands. For the best photographs book a helicopter flight. 

Various islands have their own luxury and boutique resorts so when you’re done exploring for the day head to the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort in the heart of the Whitsundays, one of Australia’s most popular private island resorts. Research suggests Fraser Island enabled the southern and central Great Barrier Reef to develop and at Kingfisher Bay Resort on K’gari (or Fraser Island) at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, you can treat yourself to a spa villa with a private deck and spa bath.

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