One reason to join a MeetUp group like Muscat Adventures and Social Club is to go to places that one would not dare to venture alone. The hike to Tahery Cave, in the Sharqiyah region of Oman, is one of these places. Firstly, you need a decent 4×4 skills to get to the trail-head. Secondly, the navigation to the cave is tricky. We wandered off our hike on the way back, despite being accompanied by a very experienced guide that visited the place handful of times. No videos from the hike, but you can check out some photo slides below.

Here are directions to the start of the trail. 4WD highly recommended.

And here is the map (one way only)

There is also a possibility to hike through the cave and spend a night inside. Probably the best is to join an experienced company like Husaak Adventures.

Visited in 2019

Oman Aquarium, Muscat ***

The Oman Aquarium started in 2019, it is a great place especially for kids to get close to various fishes and animals. The aquarium features a large number of local Omani fish and animals including sharks, sting rays, turtles, scorpions – as well as many non-local fauna such as penguins and crocodiles. The place is located in the Mall of Muscat. If you visit, do not forget there is an additional option to feed the fishes and turtles.

Short video from the visit to the aquarium
And the longer one…

Both videos were done using the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and were edited in Final Cut Pro X. The music was composed using Garage Band.

Pros: Wildlife, spectacular mountain landscapes, a giant stone crater called Wilpena Pound, 4WD

Cons: Very hot in the summer, flies everywhere

One of the best national parks in Australia. It’s a long drive from Adelaide, but absolutely worthy. We recommend you take a 4WD car to enjoy Barachina Gorge. Also, although very expensive, take a flight over Wilpena Pound with one of the companies – we took an early morning flight. We didn’t go up Mount St Mary peak as it was too hot, and we also heard the walk is discouraged by the indigenous people. Please also check out the official website of the park.

Pros: lots of camping spots, interesting geological features, flowing water (if you’re lucky) and pools

Cons: too much trash left by campers

This is Route #20 in “Oman Off-Road – 38 adventurous routes” guide. You will find a link with directions here too. Please note the wadi, for some reason, is called Wadi Far in Google Maps.

There are few geological features in the wadi including ‘Moho’, Mohorovicic discontinuity, which is the boundary between the Earth’s crust and mantle.

One of the remarkable highlights of Oman for any traveller is to visit a falaj – Omani’s ancient engineering in action. The Aflaj (plural form of falaj) systems are ancient water distribution channels. They are located close to the mountains and the majority are in the regions of Dakhiliyah, Sharqiyah and Batinah. In 2006, five Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. In January 2020 we visited Falaj Al Muyassar in Rustaq.

More information about falaj systems in Oman:

In 2006, UNESCO listed the following five aflaj as World Heritage Sites:

  1. Falaj Al Khatmeen
  2. Falaj Al Daris
  3. Falaj Al Malki
  4. Falaj Al Jeela
  5. Falaj Al Muyassar

Pros: (probably) the best views of Muscat, very close to the city – just 6 minutes away from Muscat Grand Mall,

Cons: steep trail, not recommended for kids

Here are the coordinates of the trail leading to the peak of White Mountain / Jebel Abyadh. The start of the trail is quite popular with many people stopping to enjoy the sunset over Muscat.

Mutrah geotrek – West (C38)

Pros: easily accessible, nice geological features

Cons: very short – the loop will take you less than 1 hour, the track is not maintained so slippery in few spots

Link to the coordinates (it’s a shorter version going through a little dam, not recommended with kids) and Google Maps trailhead.

Other links with the trail description:

Photos taken in January 2020.

Other great hikes in Oman

Pros: tranquil beaches you can have for yourself only 1 hour away from the mainland, marine life (turtles, ospreys, sea eagles, fishes, coral reef, sea-snakes, moray eels)

Cons: can only visit between October and February, which is a good thing, despite being a nature reserve the place receive heaps of rubbish both directly from the sea, but unfortunately from the visitors too.

Our top activities here 1) chasing turtles and fishes, 2) cleaning up the islands, 3) taking photos and videos of this beautiful place

Chasing turtles

Cleaning up the islands

Taking more photos and videos

Jervis Bay, ACT/NSW ****

Pros: the whitest sand in the world, beautiful beaches worth visiting anytime of the year, Hyams Beach, Booderee National Park, Honeymoon Bay, Point Perpendicular, and few other interesting places to visit nearby including Pigeon Mountain in Morton National Park

Cons: busy during public holidays

Anyone visiting Muscat must notice the majestic mountains bordering the city. Few people actually venture to explore the area as the wadis are wild and underdeveloped, unlike Wadi Daqah Dam. The mountains feature heaps of geological gems that are worth exploring. Check out The Oman Geo-heritage Guide app (apple android web) which is a great resource with both descriptions and directions to the wonders of geology in Oman.

My morning trip in December 2019 to one of the areas, Al Aqbiyah, covered four attractions, including two geological wonders: Wadi Aqbiyah (hike), Ayn Al Hammam (hot spring), Wadi Hammam lookout, and Al Awabi quartzite site.

1. Wadi Aqbiyah hike

It’s a very scenic wadi with a few swimming holes very close to the start of the trail. Please check the coordinates for the hike here.

Our short video from the trip.

2. Wadi Hamam lookout

You can find this scenic look out here

3. Ayn Al Hammam (hot spring)

It’s largely underdeveloped site that local people use as a wash place. The water is actually too hot to have a bathe.

4. Al Awabi Quartzite

The place is not marked on Google Maps, but you can find the location in the Oman Geo-heritage Guide app. The ruble that you will see next to the road is Al Awabi quartzite. These rocks are considered to be semi-gemstones. From the website: the Cretaceous quartzite here originated in the time of the dinosaurs around 90 million years ago. The quartzite was originally sandstone. It changed its structure (metamorphosed) under heavy pressure when the ocean floor was pushed over oceanic sediments and the Arabian plate. This caused the quartz crystals within the sandstone to change, recrystallizing to form a new rock: quartzite. (source)

Pros: Great hiking, spectacular landscapes, lots of stargazing opportunities as virtually no light pollution (some observatories will let you take a photo with your own camera – check out mine taken with the old D60), few places to visit on the way or around the park.

Cons: it’s far from Sydney (about 500 km)

Useful links:

Pros: fossils – amazing petrified trees full of colors, learn about early inhabitants of the area some 8 000 years ago, some nice walks

Cons: small park with not too many other activities around

Pros: beautiful mountain ranges with nice walks and views (views of Halls Gap from The Pinnacle), a very special Hollow Mountain walk with some interesting rock features, waterfalls (McKenzies Falls, Beehive Falls, Silverband Falls), organic olive oil nearby, short drive to a small but picturesque Mount Arapiles – apparently one of the best rock climbing places in the world

Cons: caught a flat tire, hard to combine with other trips (e.g. it’s about 2 hour drive one-way from the Great Ocean Road)

The Grampians National Park (aka Gariwerd), commonly referred to as The Grampians, is a national park located in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. The national park is situated ~250 kilometers west of Melbourne.

What NOT TO BE MISSED in the park:

  1. The Pinnacle – walk and lookout
  2. McKenzies Falls – a short walk to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Australia
  3. Mount Duwil (aka Mount William) – great spot at sunrise or sunset. You can drive almost all the way up.
  4. The Balconies – nice hike to an interesting rock features
  5. Aboriginal shelters e.g. Ngamadjidj Shelter
  6. Lastly, Hollow Mountain hike.

Also, if you are in the northern part of the park, I recommend you visit Grampians Olive Co. (also known as Toscana). They have fantastic organic olive oil and olives.

Useful links

I travelled to the park in April 2016 – Anzac Day long weekend. Unfortunately I caught a really strange flat tire… one of the wheels kept on losing air… I found a reason, which got fixed very quickly.