• Natalie Alayne

Top 30 Unique Tours

Updated: Oct 1, 2018


As a crew member working on cruise ships I got to go on some seriously incredible tours. I have been fortunate enough to experience things that people only dream of. There were so many times that my Husband Lee told me to edit and post my photos so that other people could enjoy them. So here I go. To celebrate World Tourism Day I have compiled a list of my top 30 unique tours with their respective photos to inspire the travel bug in you. Enjoy!


#30 – ‘Screeched In’ (Newfoundland Screechers Association), St John’s, Newfoundland

20th August 2016


I am kicking off my list with this fun fav. To become a ‘Newfy’ in Newfoundland they have a time-honoured tradition where you sing a folk song, down a shot of screech and kiss a fish. It may sound strange but boy is it a good time!


www.newfoundlandscreecher.com


#29 – Giants Causeway, Belfast, Ireland, UK

11th August 2016


Looking out over the unique rock formations you hear the sound of waves crashing up against the shoreline. It is a dramatic, but beautiful backdrop.


www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway


#28 – North Cape (Nordkapp), Honningsvag, Norway


This tour took as to the end of Continental Europe. The air was foggy and made it hard to see out across the horizon but I was able to capture the cliffs edge and monuments. It felt like we were on another planet.


www.nordkapp.no/en



#27 – Cayman Turtle Centre, Grand Cayman, Caribbean

19th December 2013


I absolutely love turtles and to be able to hold one was pretty surreal. I really like this place because it has a turtle conservation program where they release them back into the wild.


www.turtle.ky


#26 – Bering Sea Tour, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

5 August 2014


Ever seen the Deadliest Catch? That is Captain Derrick Ray in the photo with us. The crew were really nice and put on quite a show!


www.alaskacrabtour.com


#25 – Loch Ness, Invergordon, Scotland, UK

20th June 2016


Ever since I watched the 1996 Loch Ness movie with Ted Danson I had always wanted to visit the Loch. Knowing that it was on my bucket list Lee organized to rent a car so that we could take a day trip through the countryside. Unfortunately we didn’t see Nessy but the scenery was well worth the drive.


www.visitinvernesslochness.com



#24 – Hobbiton, Tauranga, New Zealand

16th February 2016


Story has it that when they were scouting locations for the movie they flew overhead and absolutely fell in love with the land. They knocked on the owner’s door and asked if they could film there. Now it is one of New Zealand’s top ten attractions.


www.hobbitontours.com/en


#23 – Sail Boat Adventure, St Maarten, Caribbean

25th April 2014


I did this tour on my own with a group of guests because it was so popular there was no other way of getting a spot. We climbed aboard Canada II, one of the America’s Cup sailboats and raced head to head with another sailboat. We took turns manning the different positions on the boat and then enjoyed a cold beverage as we casually sailed back into port.



#22 – Alcatraz, San Francisco, USA

5th January 2016


Without giving too much away, my favourite part of the whole Alcatraz experience was when the guard asks you to close your eyes and listen to the sound of the cell doors closing. The hairs on my arms literally stood up on end.


www.nps.gov/alca/index.htm


#21 – Tulum, Mexico

20th February 2015


Tulum is such a special place with its Mayan history and coastal beauty. I am quite fond of this photo, so much so that you may have noticed it is the backdrop to my website.


www.tulum.com


#20 – Abandoned Village of Hesteyri, Isafjordur, Iceland

15th August 2016


The village of Hesteyri was abandoned many moons ago when the whaling industry collapsed. On this tour we walked along the shoreline, ate yummy waffles and saw whales. It was a very peaceful place.


www.boreaadventures.com/boat_tours/Hesteyri


#19 – Diving in Bermuda


Bermuda is where I got scuba certified with Fantasea Diving. Whether you go swimming, snorkeling or diving Bermuda is amazing because the water is crystal clear, there are so many beautiful fish to see (including the bright Parrot fish) and because you are surrounded by layers of reef the likelihood of seeing a you know what is slim to none. My favourite thing about diving in Bermuda is the cute little fish that always want to play with you. There were so many times that I would lay on my tummy along the ocean floor and watch them swim by. They are so inquisitive and are just as interested in you as you are with them. I would literally be face to face with them and when I ran my finger through the sand they would get so excited and swim in circles. It reminded me of a dog when you are about to through its ball. It was so cute!


fantasea.bm



#18 – Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

13th November 2015


By far Las Calestas had the best food that I have ever tasted on tour. Lee and I also got to dive with a sea lion so we had a pretty good day!


www.vallarta-adventures.com/en/tour/caletas-beach-hideaway


#17 – Disney Land, Los Angeles, USA

22nd January 2016


Disney Land was also on my bucket list. Lee had been many times before but this was my first. I remember feeling like a kid the whole day from the moment we arrived at the front gates to the very last firework. I tell you something I have never taken so many steps in one day before. When you go, make sure to wear comfy shoes.


disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disneyland


#16 – Vestmanna Sea Cliffs, Torshavn, Faroe Islands

22 June 2016


The scenery reminded me of Jurassic Park. I kept thinking, “where are the dinosaurs?”




#15 – Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, Sydney, New South Wales

10th September 2014


Being on top of the bridge feels like being on top of the world. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. There are several different paths that you can explore and the one we did takes you to the very top. My Mum and I climbed the bridge just before sunset, which made for a pretty spectacular view of the harbour as we descended back down the ladders.


www.bridgeclimb.com


#14 - Saving Turtles, Cozumel, Mexico

15th November 2014


It was coming up to the end of the Mexican Riviera season and it was looking like I wouldn’t get a chance to go on this tour. Luckily for me someone cancelled and I was able to take the very last spot. I got to help rescue baby turtles from their nests and even got to release one into the ocean. This was a pretty cool experience!


cozumelcruiseexcursions.net/baby-sea-turtle-hatching-cozumel.html


#13 – Parasailing, Grand Cayman, Caribbean

5th December 2013


This was my first time parasailing and I couldn’t believe how much it felt like I was flying. We took off and landed from the boat so we were never fully submerged in the water. The shades of blue in the water beneath us were beautiful.




#12 – Zip Lining, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

4th June 2014


The Zip Rider is the longest zip line in the world. It stems 5,495 feet from an elevation of 1,320 feet, taking you up to speeds of 65mph. It is the most breath taking thrill ride ever! I rode it twice and would go again in a heartbeat.


ziprider.com/rides/icy-strait-point



#11 – Glacier Safari by Four Wheel Drive and Ice Cave (Into the Glacier), Reykjavik, Iceland

30th July 2016


Walking deep into a glacier is not something that you get to do everyday so it was a surreal but memorable experience. I liked exploring all the passages and seeing the walls lit up with lights.


intotheglacier.is


#10 – Myvatn Naturebath, Akureyri, Iceland


This experience is awesome! The pool is full of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 2500m and naturally heated to 36-41 degrees. The water contains a unique blend of minerals and silicates, which have nourishing properties. Lee and I also experienced the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik but we preferred the Myvatn Naturebath in Akureyri because it was more authentic and wasn’t over crowded.


www.myvatnnaturebaths.is/en




#9 – Dog Sledding in Juneau, Alaska, USA

25th July 2014


This was the first time that I had ever flown in a helicopter and experienced riding on a dog sled. After we did a big lap of the glacier we came back and played with the puppies. They were so cute! Dog sledding was also offered in Ketchikan on land and it too was a lot of fun (22nd June 2014).



#8 – Hiking La Grande Soufrière Volcano, Guadeloupe, Caribbean

4th April 2014


With an elevation of 1,467m this volcano is the eighth highest mountain peak in the Caribbean. I really liked that the terrain was preserved and there wasn’t any steps to aid in our exploration. Another volcano that I hiked in the past was Mt Vesuvius in Naples, Italy, which has an elevation of 1,281m.



#7 – Bamboo Rafting Down the Martha Brae River, Jamaica, Caribbean

4th December 2013


Lee and I had only been dating for two months when we went on this tour together. The raft was handmade and led down the stream by a local. To be honest it is one of the only times where I sat back and took it all in rather than focusing on taking photos. The whole experience felt really intimate and reminded me of the gondola rides in Venice. It was relaxing and I enjoyed every minute of it.


www.jamaicarafting.com


#6 – Hike to Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), Stavanger, Norway

14th June 2016


Talk about a hike. It takes just over three hours to get there and definitely isn’t for the faint hearted. Check out that view though. OMG right!?!


www.pulpitrock.no/home/


#5 – The White Pass Railway Train, Skagway, Alaska, USA

23rd May 2014


Absolutely breathtaking would be the words I would use to describe this tour. Lee and I were in Alaska when the mountains were covered in a blanket of snow, which made for beautiful photos. I think the time of year that you decide to go makes all the difference. See for yourself, it’s simply breathtaking!


wpyr.com



#4 – Golden Circle Road Trip, Reykjavik, Iceland

9th July 2016


What a road trip this is! We hired a car and drove it ourselves because we wanted to take the time to appreciate everything the circle had to offer. As you can see by the photos Iceland does not disappoint. I could literally watch that geyser all day long.


www.icelandtravel.is/golden-circle





#3 – Caving in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland

6th October 2013


I still to this day can’t believe how adventurous this tour was. With our hard hats on we walked through the forest, repelled down a slippery wall and climbed inside the caves narrow opening. In case you were thinking that it was all lit up with rails and signs, oh no, it was a real cave with mug, loose rocks and echoing passages. My favourite part of this tour was when we all sat together and took a moment to turn off our headlamps. As we sat there in the darkness all we could hear was the running water from the stream beneath us. Having experienced this with my Mum and Hubby, it is something that I will never forget.


www.cyclesolutions.ca/tour/caving-tours/cave-adventure/



#2 – The Amazing Secret River (Rio Secreto), Playa del Carmen, Mexico

27th February 2015


I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever experience anything like this. Before entering the cave the guide said a prayer to the Gods. Once we were inside I remember just being in awe of my surroundings. The turquoise colour of the water was absolutely stunning. The stalactites and stalagmites were glistening like crystals. This place is a hidden gem!


www.riosecreto.com



#1 – Mendenhall Glacier Trek By Helicopter, Juneau, Alaska

27th June 2014


The final three tours were all amazing but ultimately this experience takes the cake for me. Once we were all geared up we hopped into the helicopter, which took us for a scenic flight over snow-covered mountains to the top of the Mendenhall Glacier. When we landed we on put shoe spikes and were given hiking sticks. Before long we were off exploring the white wonderland with our guide. We climbed over ice, repelled down ice walls and even got to drink glacier water. It was an incredible experience!


www.northstartrekking.com




Please note: I have written this list from my own personal experience on these tours. If you require any further information kindly refer to the tours official websites. Alternatively, if you have any questions about my experiences I would be happy to answer them for you.


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Happy travelling . . .