Ben Groundwater
Ben Groundwater


Inspiration • April 2017

Amazing travel experiences worth getting up early for

While you may associate a holiday with a chance for that much needed lie-in, there are certain sights and activities that make getting yourself up before the sun eminently worthwhile, says travel writer Ben Groundwater. Set the alarm for these… 

01 Uluru

Watch Uluru light up at dawn in Australia

You can’t appreciate just how many shades of red and orange exist in the natural world until you’ve seen Australia’s great monolith, Uluru, spring to life in the early morning. The rock seems to pass through the entire spectrum as the desert wakes around it, providing ample visual fodder for watchers and photographers alike.

02 Cappadocia

Take a balloon flight over Cappadocia, Turkey

It’s hard to say which is more spectacular: the view of Cappadocia, central Turkey’s famously rocky region, from the basket of a hot-air balloon at dawn, or the view from the ground as these brightly coloured orbs float majestically overhead. Regardless of where you’re standing, you won’t fail to be impressed.

03 Fort Lauderdale

Go SUPing at dawn in Fort Lauderdale, USA

One of the US’s most popular beaches is an oasis of calm early in the morning, particularly when viewed from a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Tours with Sunrise Paddleboards begin as the daylight is just starting to strengthen, taking paddlers from Fort Lauderdale’s placid canals out onto the ocean in time to see the sun break across the horizon.

04 Volcano Villarrica

Climb Volcan Villarrica in Chile

There’s something truly magical about pausing midway through your climb up Volcan Villarrica, a live volcano in Chile’s Lakes District, to watch as the sun cracks the horizon. Suddenly, you see what’s around you: icy slopes, green fields and lakes far below, and the top of the volcano high in the distance. It’s not a necessity to begin this journey before dawn – but it is worth the effort.

05 South Africa

Watch as the animals awake on safari in South Africa

It’s still dark when you stumble out of bed and wander into the tearoom to slurp a hot drink and prepare to head off. There’s talk among the safari-goers of what you’ll see today at Shamwari a private game reserve near the South African coast: lions, maybe, or elephants. A leopard if you’re really lucky. The only certainty is that the animals of Shamwari rise with the sun, and it pays to be watching when they do.

06 Noryangjin Fish Market

Hit the markets in Seoul, Korea

There are plenty of great markets in Seoul, from the herbal medicine market in the Dongdaemun suburb to the electronics market in Yongsan and the traditional stalls in Namdaemun, where you’ll find just about anything you desire, at a bargain price. Early risers, however, should head to Noryangjin Fish Market, a colossus of a space in the Dongjak district that’s bursting with fresh seafood of the weird and wonderful kind. Best of all, it’s open 24 hours a day.