Tom Rooney Travels

Tom Rooney

Tom Rooney Travels

Welcome to my travel blog. During this visit I encourage you to take a walk in my shoes while browsing through these entertaining and informative travel journals. My weblog features journals, photos and videos from many of the world's beautiful countries. I have over two decades of travel experience, and feel blessed to embark on regular trips abroad. There are endless delights to enjoy while exploring foreign countries. After all, how else can you meet so many of the world's proud people and experience as much wonderful culture?

Travel is developing into a lifetime passion and I believe I'm making a positive contribution to global society, thanks to the bountiful gifts bestowed on us by Mother Earth. My journals from around the world commence in 1986, and are written for you to read sequentially as a travel book if you have the time. Otherwise, feel free to pay a short visit until next time to catch up on my blog. The journey through life takes us on an unforgettable adventure, and I'm confident you'll enjoy viewing recommendations on places to stay, locations to visit, and things not to be missed for the traveller in all of us.



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since my arrival in the South Pacific

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Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal January 15th 2019

As the years pass by and I gradually add to the number of countries visited, it seems a more spontaneous travel approach is beginning to flower within your intrepid travel correspondent. I'm happiest when the experience of a country begins to unfold as a result of my visit, and lately have shied away from burying myself in information about countries prior to arrival. It goes without saying the occasional surprised look comes my way in the first few days after arrival, nevertheless I bury myself in each destination and the experiences on offer to ensure I'm enriched by the country and her people. The inaugural visit to Solomon Islands has been the latest example, where it all magically unfolded for me over the course of ten days, and what a wonderful experience it's been! For a ... read more
Vilu outdoor museum
Tenaru Falls
Park Heritage hotel

Oceania » Tonga » Vava'u January 5th 2019

The island of Vava'u is situated in the north of Tonga, and is famed for beautiful beaches on it's Outer Islands. Many tourists visiting the Kingdom only stop off in Nuku'alofa, before catching an Air Tonga flight north to the resort mecca. However, I had the privilege of spending four enjoyable days in the capital prior to heading to the airport, for a direct one hour flight on a propellor plane out to Vava'u. There seemed to be quite the crowd milling around at the arrival area of the airport, but to my astonishment I wasn't pounced upon by a bevy of taxi drivers haggling for business. This was a first for me, literally no-one was paying me any mind. I couldn't believe it, and out of desperation approached a westerner for help. He got the ... read more
Secluded beach
Neiafu centre
Neiafu coast

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu December 29th 2018

Back in 2015 I had my heart set on visiting Tonga, with flights and accommodation booked as part of a previous South Pacific adventure. Mother Nature, however, had different plans as a volcano burst out of the ocean just off the coast and started spewing volcanic ash in a major eruption. Bizarrely; I had gone through check in, customs, and immigration on multiple occasions, and the planes had taken off, only for the pilots to announce mid flight we had been ordered back to Auckland. This was my version of Groundhog Day, where every day is the same! After three days of trying I had no alternative but to abandon my dream of visiting this South Pacific paradise. Well, here we are at the tail end of 2018, and this time around an effortless commute from ... read more
Tsunami rock
Natural Land Bridge

Asia » South Korea » Busan July 19th 2018

I'm not sure how this sudden change has come over me, where I seem to have transformed in to the most compliant traveller going around! I'll never forget these past 10 days in Busan, a beautiful city at the base of South Korea. The welcome has been overwhelming, the people I've met kind and friendly, and the invites arriving at a dizzying rate. Basically I've become accustomed to just saying yes to anything. Tom, would you like to go to Cheongju for a day trip ... yes; Tom, would you like to go to a restaurant to try this traditional Korean dish tonight ... yes; Tom, shall we go and explore a temple today ... yes; Tom, do you want to come to the spa with us tonight ... yes; how about karaoke tonight ... yes; ... read more
Beautiful temple
Stunning temple
Temple stairs

Asia » South Korea » Seoul July 8th 2018

Korea is a super cool travel destination and should be high on the bucket list for lovers of travel. The home of K-pop is an all singing, all dancing extravaganza and a must see for travellers visiting Asia. It's been a long held dream to revisit this wonderful country, it's thrilling to be back after many years. It's clear the Koreans haven't been sitting on their hands in the last few decades, as first impressions of Seoul leave me wide eyed and very impressed. The Korean economy is an economic juggernaut, with the wealth generated evident throughout the Korean capital. Despite the ongoing threat caused by the aggressive posturing of the North Koreans, the demilitarised zone just sixty kilometres north seems a world away from the bustling and energetic lifestyle enjoyed by the citizens of Seoul. ... read more
Palace entrance
Ceremonial guard
Gyeonbok palace

Asia » Taiwan June 28th 2018

The summer months are typhoon season in Taiwan, a period of volatility over the Pacific Ocean that can lead to severe ramifications for the people of the region. Since my arrival in Taipei there's been a typhoon alert in place, however there's been no evidence of severe weather during my visit to date. So I decided it was time to explore more of this magical island, and booked a train ticket for the four hour journey down the east coast to the city of Taitung. A traveller in Hong Kong recommended I visit Green Island, however the ferries weren't running due to the weather, so I decided to push on to Dulan. The little town is renowned for surfing and a hippy lifestyle, and attracts an interesting and vibrant group of tourists and Taiwanese alike. It ... read more
Little park
Rest hut
Coast in the rain

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei June 21st 2018

It's apparent the future of an independent Taiwan will remain uncertain, with the spectre of their giant and powerful neighbour China sure to exert an increasing influence over this small island. Nevertheless Taiwan is an economic powerhouse of the region, specialising in the high tech sector and striving to maintain economic prosperity for the country in to the future. Despite my extensive travels throughout Asia over the years this is the first visit to Taiwan, and I'm thrilled to have near on two weeks to explore the island and get to know the people. The world is full of fascinating destinations to visit, and finally I can add Taiwan to an ever expanding list of countries I've been privileged to visit. The journal left off at the conclusion of a wonderful visit to Hong Kong, from ... read more
Taipei 101
Central Tamsui
Lovely waterfall

Asia » Macau June 14th 2018

Macau was handed over to the Chinese on 20 December 1999, thereby concluding 400 years of Portuguese rule in what had become the last European colony in Asia. The catalyst for the changeover stemmed from the return of Hong Kong by the British two years earlier. Once again I'm curious to visit for the first time since Chinese rule was established, just as I did recently in Hong Kong. It should be noted Macau has a similar arrangement with the Chinese to the one with Hong Kong, where for 50 years post handover the region will operate under the one country, two systems arrangement ceasing in 2049, two years after Hong Kong is fully integrated with China. It's common knowledge that Macau's claim to fame is as the world's premier gambling mecca, with revenue generated from ... read more
Lovely architecture
Ruins of St Paul
Beautiful square

Asia » Hong Kong » Kowloon June 7th 2018

Have you ever come across a blog from a traveller who last visited Hong Kong during British rule, well before the handover of the territory to China in 1997? Well, dear reader, if you haven't I urge you to read on. I've been at the airport since, which by the way didn't exist when I last was last in Hong Kong proper, but always in transit on the way to other exotic destinations. Of course I've heard anecdotes from travellers about Hong Kong under Chinese rule, but I believe the best way to form an impression of a destination is to get there in person and explore. It goes without saying the skyline of Hong Kong Island has changed from my previous visit all those years ago, but I'm delighted to say that Hong Kong still ... read more
Lion statue
Lovely architecture
Beautiful city

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast September 7th 2017

In February of this year the government of Belarus introduced an option to visit the country without the requirement of a visa in advance. It's understood the initiative may be expanded in the near future, nevertheless the current offer is a good fit for my itinerary this time around. There are restrictions on the visa on arrival; it's only valid for flights in to Minsk airport, and can't be accessed from a land crossing at this stage. Immigration will accept visitors for a maximum five day stay, with the only requirement the purchase of compulsory medical insurance at the airport at a cost of a few dollars. How good is that, I have the opportunity to visit Belarus without jumping through bureaucratic hoops of applying through the embassy! As soon as I arrived at the gorgeous ... read more
Central Minsk
Mir castle
Moat at the castle

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