Ian Wilson

Ian Wilson was born in Edinburgh and grew up in New Zealand with a yearning to travel. He's been globetrotting since he went round the world at the age of nine.
After university in New Zealand and Oxford, where he gained a DPhil in political philosophy he founded WEXAS in 1970 and since then, as Publisher of Traveller magazine and the Traveller's Handbook, he has explored hundreds of destinations, years ahead of the hordes, the more remote the better.
Ian's interests include surfing, diving, sailing, skiing and collecting early maps of New Zealand.

WEXAS

Ian Wilson's activity

  1. June 2007
  2. Ian Wilson reviewed Ericeira's surf in Portugal

    " One of several Portuguese surf spots that are good and can get big in winter. The water is cold though - cold in summer and colder in winter, so a wetsuit is a necessity all year round. Lots of locals and probably quite a few visiting British surfers wo…"

  3. Ian Wilson rated Ericeira's surf

  4. Ian Wilson rated Surfing Cape St. Francis

  5. Ian Wilson rated Surfing Shipwreck Bay

  6. Ian Wilson rated Hossegor Surf

  7. Ian Wilson rated Surfing J Bay (Jeffreys Bay or Jeffreysbaai)

  8. Ian Wilson rated Surf Cloudbreak

  9. Ian Wilson rated Surfing G-Land

  10. Ian Wilson rated Nias: Jungle Surfing

  11. Ian Wilson rated Surfing the Macaronis

  12. Ian Wilson rated Surf Teahupoo

  13. Ian Wilson rated Surf Steamer Lane

  14. Ian Wilson rated Ride Rincon's waves

  15. Ian Wilson rated Surf Pipeline

  16. Ian Wilson rated Surf Sunset Beach

  17. Ian Wilson rated Bells Beach Surf

  18. Ian Wilson rated Margaret River's Surf

  19. May 2007
  20. Ian Wilson reviewed Bali in Bali, Indonesia

    Now ranks with Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives as a place full of top end hotels like Aman Resorts etc. But there are still cheap places to stay. Still getting over the Kuta bombing. Better to leave Kuta alone and travel round the island going north …"

  21. Ian Wilson reviewed Yasawa Islands in Fiji

    The best of Fiji that is open to tourists if you can afford it. Places like the Yasawa Island Lodge and Blue Lagoon resort could easily cost £500 a day for a couple. Great snorkeling and very unspoilt. Local people extremely friendly, unlike their Frenc…"

  22. Ian Wilson reviewed Patmos and the Dodecanese in Dodecanese Islands, Greece

    The Dodecanese islands are also great for a yacht charter, but less interesting if shore based, though they are easily visited by island hopping on the famously handy Greek ferry boats. Elsewhere, Hydra is a very pretty place to visit for a day or two …"

  23. Ian Wilson reviewed Alonissos and the Northern Sporades in Sporades Islands, Greece

    Best to visit the Sporades in a hired yacht. The islands get more and more uninhabited the further east you go. Perfect for a flotilla sail if you have kids."

  24. Ian Wilson reviewed Ibiza in Ibiza, Spain

    It's not all Club 18-30 and vomiting oiks and ladettes. That tends to be concentrated in a few places. But Ibiza is best visited on a charter yacht. There isn't a lot to see ashore except the main town, but offshore rocky islets are good for a day's sn…"

  25. Ian Wilson reviewed Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and its Moai in Easter Island, Chile

    A weird place. No trees except for a small clump in the middle of the island. Only one swimming beach at Ana Kaena. You could swim in front of the one and only town on a calm day but the beach is rocky. There was no upmarket accommodation open when I w…"

  26. Ian Wilson reviewed Eleuthera in Bahamas

    Eleuthera is Greek for freedom. This long island has some very expensive accommodation, especially at Harbour Island at the top end, where most of the population is white (like St Barths). The snorkeling anywhere along the rocky coastline is quite good …"

  27. Ian Wilson reviewed Mauritius in Mauritius

    I have been to Mauritius three times and each time I have found the south end, around Le Morne more interesting than the more developed areas on the west and north coast. The game fishing is said to be good if you like killing sailfish. The diving, ho…"

  28. Ian Wilson reviewed Lamu Island in Coast-Tsavo, Kenya

    I have been close but not got there. Plays on its Arab past, like Zanzibar. Some expensive laid back accommodation there, but I suspect it could be a boring place after the first couple of days."

  29. Ian Wilson reviewed Huahine in French Polynesia

    This is one of my personal favourites among the Society Islands. When I was there it had only one hotel and we made a point of not staying in it. There was great snorkeling on the drop off 100 yards in front of where we stayed, lots of big fish coming…"

  30. Ian Wilson reviewed Bora Bora, Pacific island paradise in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

    Avoid Tahiti - expensive and unfriendly. In fact most of the Society Islands are far from friendly. Moorea is the most beautiful and Huahine and Raiatea the least visited. If it's diving you're after, go to the Tuamotus, though there's not much else the…"

  31. Ian Wilson reviewed St. Vincent in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

    I would rather spend time here than on St. Lucia, the people aren’t that friendly, but there is some great diving, especially on the north-eastern (windward.) side. The ocean swell is fantastic if you, like me, enjoy seeing schools of large fish. It a…"

  32. Ian Wilson reviewed Lord Howe Island

    I haven't been there but know a bit about it. Good for a short visit in the warmer months of the year, but I suspect that three days there would be enough as it is tiny and has a tiny resident population with lots of homestays and small lodges. Various…"

  33. Ian Wilson reviewed Lord Howe Island

    I haven't been there but know a bit about it. Good for a short visit in the warmer months of the year, but I suspect that three days there would be enough as it is tiny and has a tiny resident population with lots of homestays and small lodges. Various…"

  34. Ian Wilson reviewed Key Largo and The Florida Keys in US South East, United States

    Not very interesting. Occasional sea aquariums along the long causeway running through this chain of islets. Nowhere of interest to stay until you get to Key West, which has been taken over to some extent by gays. If you are into Hemingway history, it's…"

  35. Ian Wilson reviewed Cousine in Seychelles

    Accommodation in all of the Seychelles is extremely expensive as the government takes a very large cut of whatever the hotels charge. Good beaches but you can get just as good elsewhere for a lot less money. Cousine is a small island with an expensive r…"

  36. Ian Wilson reviewed Praslin in the tropical Seychelles in Seychelles

    Praslin has a few very good beaches (watch out for sea urchins though). Famous for its coconuts but that's not a reason to go there. If you had a week to spend in the Seychelles and a reasonable but not huge budget, I would choose La Digue and Praslin i…"

  37. Ian Wilson reviewed Cocos (Keeling) Islands in

    Fly from Perth, Western Australia. It may have got easier in recent times but formerly you couldn’t go there without an invitation from someone who lived there. Excellent diving and snorkeling and the history of the place makes fascinating reading. Not m…"

  38. Ian Wilson reviewed San Salvador (Watling Island) in Bahamas

    This place is so special to me I probably shouldn’t even be mentioning it. It’s not for nothing that Club Med have set up here with a place devoted exclusively to diving. There isn’t much else to do on San Salvador except visit old ruined plantation ho…"

  39. Ian Wilson reviewed Tresco in The United Kingdom

    Tresco is wonderful if you like short walks in the prettiest imaginable surroundings, especially when you consider that you are in the UK still. Flowers everywhere in Spring and Summer. There is nothing to match it except perhaps Flores and Corvo in the …"

  40. Ian Wilson reviewed Madeira in Funchal, Portugal

    Spectacular scenery. Dangerous roads if you hire a car (too many tour buses coming the other way and filling the whole road on blind corners). No beaches. (Go to neighbouring Porto Santo for a beach). Plenty of swimming off rocks though. Most hotels in F…"

  41. Ian Wilson reviewed Korčula in Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

    I have sailed along this coastline in a small yacht and frankly the islands, the restaurants, the atmosphere and the local people's friendliness doesn't compare with the Greek Islands or more especially the Turkish islands, which are the best of the thre…"

  42. Ian Wilson reviewed Isle of Skye (Eilean a Cheo) in Scotland, United Kingdom

    Great scenery, if somewhat treeless. Great for serious walking and hill climbing. Cab boggy and lots of scree climbing up to the higher peaks. Very uninhabited in most parts. Friendly locals who still speak Gaelic as well as English. Good B and B's and h…"

  43. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing Lennox Head in New South Wales, Australia

    " Great point break and ok for intermediates and up, but likely to be unbelievably crowded when surf is up."

  44. Ian Wilson reviewed Surf The Pass in New South Wales, Australia

    As Lennox Head, but even more crowded."

  45. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing Ti Tree Bay in Queensland, Australia

    Dominated by long boarders, so short boarders don't stand a chance of getting many/any waves. Unbelievably crowded when surf is good which is quite often). Warm water most of year. Half a mile walk to get there. Take off slot very small, which means tha…"

  46. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing at North Narrabeen in Sydney, Australia

    Long a favoured local spot in Sydney with a wave that was once known for its tubing waves. Localism strong. Only for locals or the very experienced who can challenge local dominance."

  47. Ian Wilson reviewed Margaret River's Surf in Western Australia, Australia

    A big left that can get up to 15' plus. Not for the faint-hearted and involves a long paddle offshore to get out there. Experienced surfers only and can get crowded despite the degree of challenge the wave presents. Other spots in the Margaret River ar…"

  48. Ian Wilson reviewed Bells Beach Surf in Geelong West, Australia

    One of the best big right handers in the world, most similar to Jeffreys Bay in South Africa. Good surfing, however very crowded and popular as is nearby Winkipop. Better to drive further along the coast to less crowded (though not quite as good) spots."

  49. Ian Wilson reviewed Surf Sunset Beach in Hawaii, United States

    World famous break on north shore of Oahu. Only breaks when fairly big (and in winter). For expert surfers only. Crowded even when big."

  50. Ian Wilson reviewed Surf Pipeline in Hawaii, United States

    The world's most famous surf break, thanks to the intro shots to Hawaii Five O etc. Challenging, crowded and definitely for big wave riders only. Tahitian big wave rider Malik Joyeux was killed there recently. Backdoor Pipeline: The right hander at …"

  51. Ian Wilson reviewed Ride Rincon's waves in US West Coast, United States

    One of the best point breaks in California, and possibly the best. Works best on north swells in the winter, but when it gets good (which is not that often) every surfer within miles descends and it gets incredibly crowded. Holds shape with size and ca…"

  52. Ian Wilson reviewed Surf Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, United States

    A challenging big wave spot in Santa Cruz (northern California). Can be consistent in winter. A short right hander that is completely under the control of the locals, so don't think about it unless you are a real expert. Wetsuit a must, even in summer. …"

  53. Ian Wilson reviewed Surf Teahupoo in French Polynesia

    This wave has become famous in the last ten years, but is dangerous and only surfed by experts, usually internationally known surfers. It's the scene of an annual competition. The wave is a big ledge left that is incredibly fast and hollow. You need a …"

  54. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing the Macaronis in Indonesia

    The trouble with all the Mentawai breaks (there are now about a dozen well known spots) is that even though you need a boat to get there, they are still generally crowded, either with others from your own boat or surfers from other boats, of which there…"

  55. Ian Wilson reviewed Nias: Jungle Surfing in Indonesia

    The wave that opened the door eventually to the nearby Mentawais. A great right hander and not that difficult. Gets up to about 12 foot. A right hander that is catch-able and make-able with a good ride of about 80 metres. It tends to be consistent and …"

  56. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing G-Land in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

    Restricted access keeps numbers down. A big perfect fast left that peels for a couple of hundred yards or more. Nothing wrong with the surf and the crowds may even be down with limited numbers at the nearby camp, but the wave itself is a challenge to ca…"

  57. Ian Wilson reviewed Surf Cloudbreak in Fiji

    A world famous left that can be relatively easy to catch on certain days, and breaks consistently at certain time of the year, often at 10' plus. Restricted access by staying at expensive local surf camp, which will bus you to the wave in one of their b…"

  58. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing J Bay (Jeffreys Bay or Jeffreysbaai) in Eastern Cape, South Africa

    The main break is one of the best right hand point breaks in the world, if not the best. Suitable equally for long and short boarders, it holds size and sometimes gets up to 10' plus. Waves break with few sections and are makeable. Suits intermediate a…"

  59. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing Cape St. Francis in Eastern Cape, South Africa

    Right handers. Fairly inconsistent compared with nearby Jeffreys Bay, this area includes Bruce's Beauties and Seal Point, but you’re are more likely to get a wave here than at Jeffreys Bay, if only because on a good day the crowds will be less. "

  60. Ian Wilson reviewed Surfing Shipwreck Bay in North Island, New Zealand

    Basically a series of three left point breaks. Breaks well only rarely and only when big (over 8'). A challenging wave for experienced surfers only. Likely not to be too crowded, but don't go there on spec in the hope of a wave as it's very unlikely you'…"