A Great Place
When should you visit very special and unique places in the world that touch you? Places with an atmosphere you can’t describe or where you even get overwhelmed with emotion.
Expedition cruises to Antarctica are only possible during the southern summer between late October/November and March. This is the time when the ice break ups, which allows cruise ships to pass. Depending on the month, there are slight variations in what you’ll see and which antarctic animals you may spot:
November (Icebergs, Seals)
Best time to see the ice breaking into large icebergs and amazing sculptures. Wildflowers are in bloom, and it’s a great time to spot breeding elephant seals. However, it’s still very cold. Temperatures are way below freezing.
December (Warmer, Seals, First Penguins)
Days are long, with 20 hours of sunshine. Still a great month to spot seals and already some active penguins. It’s also getting warmer with temperatures around freezing.
January (Warmest Month, Penguins)
The perfect month for wildlife viewing, with plenty of penguins active, as well as seabirds and a few whales. Days are still long. It’s also the ‘warmest’ month with temperatures slightly above freezing.
February - March (Whales)
The best time for whale watching such as humpback, sperm, and orca. You can also spot fledgling penguin chicks, especially in February. It’s getting a lot colder again in March.
April - September (Winter)
Winter in Antarctica. The temperatures are freezing (up to -30°C). No possible way to visit, as the polar ice blocks the ship traffic.
At sunrise - Best in winter (May to September)
If visiting Sri Lanka; don't miss the tea plantations in higher elevation. To watch the tea pickers harvesting the leaves you need to get up early. They start working with cool and pleasant temps at sunrise before it is getting too hot for them to work.
Climate / Weather
Nuwara Eliya has a mild climate without a real "dry" season. From December to February/March nights are cold and even frost can occur, but it warms up during the day. The driest months are February and March. Heavy precipitation occurs from October to December.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Very busy from mid-April on due to the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. In April it is essential to book many months in advance. Hotel prices increase a lot.
It's very popular hiking to the top of the Tiger Cave Temple. Therefore, start either early morning with a pleasant temp before the buses arrive or in the late afternoon when it starts to cool down, and the stairs are in the shade. The entrance to the stairway is always open, and there isn't any fee requested. Sunrise and sunset are marvelous, but you need a flashlight for the way up or down.
The summit from the distance
You get the best shot with the Buddha Statues on the top with sunlight in the morning. The downside the sun is heating up the stairs which makes it even harder to climb 1.237 steps up and down. After rainfall, the stairs are a bit slippery.
The Tiger Cave Temple is part of many day trips combined with the Emerald Pools. When the buses arrive, it gets crowded and can spoil this awesome experience. Therefore, rent a scooter or take a tuk-tuk to get there independent either early morning or late afternoon. It's also the best time to handle the heat.
The view from the summit
Weather, Seasons, and Crowds
- Dry Season from December to April
It's always pretty hot day temps are above 30°C throughout the year but drier the reason that the humidity is more bearable. Showers occur mostly in the afternoon or night. Between January and March, you get frequently a clear blue sky. However, it's the peak season, very busy, and hotel prices are the highest.
- Rainy Season from May to November
Wet season with higher humidity. The temps are still around 30°C but muggy. Most precipitation occurs in September. During the rainy season, everything can happen: Typical are days with 1-2 brief showers. You might even get two weeks of perfect dry weather or sometimes almost a week of straight rain. If you don't like crowds at all and can deal with unpredictable weather and rain, this is your season. Preferably not September, which is the wettest month. In the rainy season, no tourist crowds spoil the experience. It’s also the green season when rich fauna comes to life.
Geierlay is one of the most picturesque bridges in Germany. It's a half-day trip to the popular suspension bridge if you are in the Hunsrück area, at river Moselle, Eltz Castle, or as a good stopover. The bridge is open 24/7. The visitor terminal is opened each day from 10 am to 4 pm and provides a map in different languages.
It's utterly crowded during the summer and weekends are the worst, especially on sunny days. In autumn the views are just spectacular with the fall foliage. To avoid the crowds, visit the bridge early morning or late in the evening in the summer. Very few visitors in winter only.
Tip for photographers; The sunlight is best in the evening. The sunset is just gorgeous here.
The blowholes at Dolomite Point are best visited during high tide with the south westerly swell: Tide times Westport The Pancake Rocks are easily accessible and a popular destination also for tour buses. It's less crowded in the evening, and the sunset is spectacular.
Usually, the summer is pleasant and the winter mild. The day temps in summer are around 25°C/77°F, in spring and fall up to 17°C/63°F. A high amount of precipitation throughout the year on average each month more than 200 mm except February which is usually a little drier. Spring is the wettest season influenced by the winds from the Tasman Sea. The rain increases quickly closer to the mountains. A local saying “go deep, go steep, get wet”. Anyhow, some hikes include a river crossing, and it can be more difficult in spring due to heavy rainfall. Check conditions at the visitor center first.