A travel editor chooses five top journeys

By Jim Eagles

Herald travel editor Jim Eagles selects five of his favourite trips, here and abroad

People often ask my wife and me, "What's your favourite trip?" and it's always a question we have great difficulty answering.

We love travelling to new places, exploring ancient buildings, experiencing unique cultures or seeing fascinating wildlife, so every trip is a favourite in some respect.

How can you compare seeing Angkor Wat at dawn, waking in the night to find a Zimbabwean elephant standing over your pup tent, travelling across the vast plains of Siberia by train, watching the sun rise over Stonehenge, meeting the Huli wigmen in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, sharing a glass of wine with a kangaroo in Adelaide's Cleland Wildlife Park or standing on the edge of an active volcanic crater in Vanuatu? They're all amazing experiences.

So, while I was supposed to choose my favourites trips for this article, I can't. Instead I've selected five experiences which in different ways were very, very special:

* Trekking through the foothills of the Nepalese Himalayas to see the majestic sight of Mt Everest - first climbed by my childhood hero Ed Hillary - looming above.

* Soaking up the amazing atmosphere at one of the world's great sporting occasions, a Manchester United home game at the Field of Dreams, the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester.

* Experiencing the harsh beauty of Antarctica with its extraordinary combination of lively penguins and somnolent sea elephants, newborn icebergs and vast, empty ice fields.

* Savouring the luxury of one of the world's great hotels, the grand old Raffles in Singapore, where even checking-in is a joy.

* Following in the footsteps of Captain James Cook on a Discovery Voyage through the misty, untouched wilderness of New Zealand's southern fiords.

But I could easily have chosen another five which would have been just as special: cruising down the River Rhine past ancient cities and majestic castles; visiting a nomad family in the great grassy valleys of Mongolia; hearing the singing of humpback whales in Tonga; walking the spectacular Tongariro Crossing; or leaving civilisation behind and exploring Sepik River in a dugout canoe.

The point is, there are glorious experiences to be had everywhere.

There's as much joy to be had close to home, say taking a four-year-old grandson to Motat, as in the remote corners of the globe, maybe being woken by Tibetan monks clashing gongs at 2am to celebrate a festival.

It's a marvellous world out there...

- NZ Herald

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