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.

Australia, National Park

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.

Sounds of Aussie nature

Manly Dam 9.5km hike following Circuit Track with a detour to Heath Track.

Recorded at Manly Dam Reserve, Sydney, Australia.

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One of the favourite things to bring from Oman is frankincense resin incense. For millennia, religious leaders have contended that burning incense resin is excellent for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is suitable for our brains too. As ScienceDaily shared (source), an international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, described how burning frankincense activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.

You may need a few things to enjoy the benefits of your Omani frankincense resin.

Firstly you will need a burner.

NAGU Handmade Ceramic Lotus Incense Burner Holder,Stick/Cone/Coil Incense Holders,Antique Home Decoration(Blue)

Small Decorated Brass Charcoal Screen Incense Burner with Wooden Coaster (Black)

Alloy Censer Burner Incense Lotus Buddha Incense Burner Holder Bronze Vintage Incense Burner Charcoal Stove Luxury Stand Incense Metal Home Decoration Office Room Tea House for Stick Cone Reel Incense

And some charcoal disks:

Coals Instant Light – Incense Instant Coal Disks – Coal Tablets – Charcoal Disks – Set of 100 Coals – 33 mm Quick Light Charcoal Briquettes – Natural Coal Disks – Slow Burn and Low Smoke (100, 33mm)


And a great video showing what to and what not to when burning incnese.


We recently visited one of the biggest sites with Aboriginal engravings – Moon Rock in Garigal National Park in Sydney, Australia. The place offers a beautiful vantage point with views of the ocean. Some sources say Moon Rock has about 50 engravings depicting Aboriginal astronomical knowledge, lunar phases, and Baiame, the creator-spirit.

The Moon Rock loop hike is an easy one that will take you less than an hour. And the trailhead is about 20 minutes drive from North Sydney.




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Links:

Hiking the world – great resource with many other Aboriginal and hiking sites

Aboriginal Heritage Office

The Gourmet Campers blog is from a family of four that loves to travel, exploring new places, and enjoying live events. Reach out to find out more! gmetcamper@gmail.com

How to Enjoy a Vacation During COVID

While the COVID-19 virus continues to roil, everyone, but especially children, need an opportunity to rest and recharge. Whether it’s traveling to a distant destination or planning a staycation at home, be sure to wrap things up at the workplace so you can leave work behind and focus on time with family or friends. Some advanced planning can help ensure when your kids have downtime, you’re planning things to keep them engaged while creating opportunities for fun family memories. The Gourmet Campers shares a few ideas.

Can You Travel?

As the pandemic continues to wax and wane, there are some areas that are still considered dangerous hotspots for travel. Use caution when planning an away-from-home vacation, whether that’s traveling to an exotic destination, or even just visiting relatives in other parts of the country. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control can help you track where COVID is still prevalent, as well as provide guidelines for COVID-related precautions different parts of the country are taking that you’ll need to be aware of, and follow, if you visit. This typically includes protocols around masking and social distancing. Carrying hand sanitizer and frequently washing hands is another wise practice.

Plan a Staycation

A staycation means looking for leisure opportunities in your immediate vicinity, and it can actually be a fun pursuit. Many people live next to attractions that others travel far and wide to see. Areas of historical interest that are within driving distance can be great opportunities to appreciate the wonders your own region has to offer. 

Learn in advance what parks and attractions are open, and what requirements they have around COVID precautions. You may decide to camp by renting an RV, pitching a tent, or even just taking day trips that allow you to see the sights without having to come in contact with too many people. According to USA.gov, your state’s department of travel and tourism can be a good resource to use when making your plans.

Vacation at Home

While it might seem like we’ve all been spending a lot of time in our homes, there are still some ways to create meaningful downtime when kids are on school breaks. Consider building a patio, a fire pit, or installing a net for badminton and volleyball. 

If you have something like a hot tub or a pool, it’s wise to have a fenced-in place, both for security, safety, and privacy. It costs on average about $4,500 to install a fence, depending on size and materials, but it’s important that you have it done professionally by someone licensed, bonded, and insured who also knows to check underground utilities. Look for companies online by searching “Angi fence installation” and get written estimates from several companies before deciding on a service provider.

Generation Wild notes that getting into the great outdoors is another safe pastime during COVID that can build an appreciation for the natural world. Birdwatching, identifying fauna, learning basic outdoor survival skills, and looking for wildlife can all be things that teach kids new skills. It also allows you to get away from a confined environment, stay healthy, and have fun at the same time. 

 Photo by Pixabay

Dreaming Dinosaurs 12 wall stickers Dreaming Dinosaurs wall stickers are a great educational tool and a fun way to decorate your room. Dreaming dinosaurs are peaceful and the set includes Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Brontosaurus, Pterodactyl, Parasaurolophus, and Triceratops.


Planets and Stars wall decals are a cool way to decorate your room while learning about planets and star constellations. Kids love to assist with picking the location.


Ocean creatures wall decals will brighten up your room. We put it in the bathroom.


All stickers are available on Amazon Australia website with a super quick delivery.

Pros: close to Sydney (basically it’s a Sydney suburb), great walks, close to water, aboriginal engravings, Austrian Club, you can do it with kids

Cons: too close to the city (roads, noise, people) for people seeking more solitude

And below are some photos and directions of the loops we took, which started at Seaforth Oval, then following Timber Getters Track to The Bluff Track, Austrian Club to refuel, and back to the start following Engravings Trail. Overall it’s about 7km.



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Firstly, we don’t know if that’s the actual name of the lagoon. We found names such as Wadi Darif (Tharif/Tarif) and Khawr Dhurf. The place is desolate, but we did find lots of 4×4 tracks and a few roaming camels.

Secondly, we didn’t make it to the coast as the road was getting trickier and trickier.

Lastly, we think it’s a fantastic spot for an overnight stay with the vast landscapes that must be amazing at sunset or sunrise.



Here are directions that we took.

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And yes, you can find some palm trees in the lagoon.

A must visit for anyone travelling on the coastal route between Hasik and Duqm. Khor Sanq (also known Wadi Al Nakheel) in Niyabat near Hasik is a beautiful natural oasis rich in palm trees. A narrow trail between the khor and mountains will lead you to a 300m secluded beach only accessible on foot or by boat — also an excellent place for camping.




Bula Vinaka! Fiji is well known for its beautiful white-sand beaches and gorgeous weather. We visited the Fijian islands back in 2016, but only now, thanks to the pandemic, we had a chance to edit and review our memories, photos and videos.

One of the most remarkable moments was swimming with reef sharks.




One of our life’s goals is to visit all the US National Parks. So far we are jointly at 54% and hope to catch up very soon as the list, luckily, keep on increasing.