Day Trip to the Blue Mountains..

Well, this was no typical tourist trip to the Blue Mountains… As I managed to go with this fantastic lady; Gabi Hollows, who owns a house out there. She is a friend of Nicole’s, and needed to go there to sort out her holiday house anyway. This was a great privilege.. let me explain..

We arrived at her house in Sydney, so we could all go together. This is the first house I have seen in Sydney that is so traditional. It is very similar to an old english country home.. rather than a town house in Sydney! It is the ideal combination of modern and old, with the newer areas blending so well into the old structure of the house.

Gabby is the co-founder of the Fred Hollows Foundation Charity, and in doing so hasIMG_1142.JPGcompleted such selfless work throughout her life, which has been acknowledged by her numerous awards.. just google her name! She is one of Australia’s 100 Living National Treasures… and I spent the day with her!! If that isn’t great travelling, I don’t know what is…!

It was essential to take a selfie whilst looking at the three sisters, the sheer size of them was unbelievable. I’d of thought I’d be used to huge scales, since being out here for so long.. But no, Australia never fails to surprise me!





After I wrote my last post, I went straight to Watson’s Bay. Dimity is the daughter of one of my mum’s friends from when she was out here. This friendship has gone down the generations, as she is now a great friend of mine. She is aiming to come to England for a few weeks in January, which I am so excited about. She is at university in Sydney, and is unfortunately studying hard for her exams, so it’s difficult to see her often. However, she makes up for this, as when we do meet, she always drives me to the most beautiful places, that I haven’t even thought about visiting. On this occasion it was Watson’s Bay.


Watson’s Bay is incredibly beautiful, as you can see from the pictures. There is something historical I should definitely be writing about.. It is something to do with world war two, and is potentially an old settlement?!

Whilst I may be horrendous at remembering historical facts.. I never forget recent dramas. In the case of Watson’s Bay… It is the fact that it is located very close to ‘the gap’. This is an ocean cliff, which is a very popular and famous Australian suicide
destination. Since 2008, there have been numerous measures put in place to reduce the casualties, like Lifeline and cameras watching.

Sorry for being so morbid, I just found it quite fascinating. The main importance of this post was to purely show the beauty of the area. There were some great opportunities to capture an ideal shot of the harbour bridge too. Definitely worth visiting when trying to capture a good Instagram photo!



Watson’s Bay

Back to Sydney..

Since arriving back in Sydney, I haven’t done any crazy touristy activities. Instead I have been getting into the Australian way of life… for me, this involves brunching and take-out coffee every day.


I have been living in both Bondi Junction and Curl Curl.. these are an hour apart. However, most of the journey is by ferry.. so I don’t mind taking in the incredible views of circular quay…


I met Lindsey on the ferry in the first week of being in Sydney, and since I have been back I have been staying in her beautiful house, and trying to help out with the youngest of her six children! She is incredible.. 6 kids… no help…! Doing this may seem like a waste of a travelling experience.. I beg to differ, as I’m experiencing the real Aussie lifestyle and in doing so, helping others. I also feel so at home… and valued! They are definitely my Aussie family..

I have been meeting up with Eline; who I met whilst on the boat out to the Reef. She is living with a family in SummerHill, this is roughly an hour from Bondi Junction. But starting on Monday, she will be working in Bondi Junction for a Soup Kitchen. She studies nutrition at University, and is therefore involving her knowledge into helping the kitchen create healthier meals. Her working in Bondi Junction is ideal for us to meet for dinner lots in my last few weeks.

I visited where she is staying this week. Again, it was so interesting to experience yet another Aussie lifestyle. In her case, its living in the suburbs of the city. With quiet roads, small towns and larger houses!


She is living with a family for the next six months, who used to live next door to her in The Netherlands… making them her Aussie family! Their house is beautiful, and so of course I took so images for this blog…

On the nights that I am staying in Bondi Junction, I am staying with a family friend; Nicole. She works as a Vet, and has a few hours free during her day, in between morning surgery and afternoon consulting. This gives us a window to go out to lunch together. This week we ventured to Rose Bay.. which is stunning. We had a light lunch overlooking the small harbour.

Anyway, my friend Abbey from England arrives on Monday. So I have actually made a plan for us to fit in all of the touristy activities whilst she’s here.. Toronga zoo, Bridge Climb etc.

Link to Eline’s Travel Blog

The Great Barrier Reef

I went with a company called Passions of Paradise, it is a slightly more expensive tour to do but I was recommended it by the people I was staying with. Apparently they have a lot of people that come back from the tour of the reef saying “Amazing experience, but quite an overcrowded boat”, so paying that little but extra for a better service was definitely worth it for this “once in a lifetime” experience. It cost a total of $174, and this included a delicious lunch, as well as morning and afternoon tea.

Passions of Paradise offers a full day, departing from Cairns at 8am and after visiting Michaelmas Cay and Paradise Reef, we arrived back at 5pm.


The highlight of the day was meeting Eline; she was also travelling alone and we met within the first few minutes of boarding the boat. We got on instantly, and this made the trip so much more enjoyable. The two and a half commute to and from the reef would of been a little boring without anyone to chat to. It was also great to swim with someone, to share the wonderful experience and discuss some of the absurd looking fish! We also managed to hire a waterproof camera together, which made it cheaper, and rather than just getting a load of selfies of myself and the fish. We got some great action shots. I will update this blog with those images… once we have uploaded them onto my laptop!


After laughing about the numerous meals out we have had alone… We decided to break a trend and spend the rest of the week dining together.


Eline is from the Netherlands, and will be in Sydney for a total of six months to carry out her internship. We are planning on meeting up loads when we are both back in Sydney. This is very exciting, as such a large city can be very lonely at times, when everyone around you is busy working and socialising in their specific social circles.

I was interested to find out that individuals from Sydney tend to be very difficult to befriend. As apparently more often than not, they tend to have very full social circles and not a lot of time to take on board new friends. Apparently this is down to many factors, but the main one being that once you live in Sydney you don’t tend to move elsewhere… What place can beat such an exceptional city?! If these people went to school in Sydney.. then University… and now work here… they have collected a very large group of people surrounding them.




River Cruising Surfer’s Paradise

Another excursion I did was a lunch river cruise. I would recommend this to everyone. I find that seeing places from a boat is such an incredible way to see more of an area. As you haven’t got the traffic and noise to distract you from the beauty available to see. 

It cost $26 for the hour and a half trip, with lunch included. 
The highlight of the trip would have to be cruising down “millionaires row”, where I was just amazed at the creativity of such incredible properties. With every house so modern, and different to the one next door. 

I have found that having huge varieties of houses all placed on one road, is very typical of Australia. I have been told that it is because they tend to knock down old houses to replace with modern ones, whereas in England we appreciate the beauty of our old English architecture. 

Following this trip out, I left the Gold Coast. I was very sad to leave Patti, a fabulous elderly lady who feels and acts like she’s 60, yet she’s 84. As a child, she used to visit the Gold Coast on holiday. At this time, there was one hotel and few necessary small shops. She has now lived there for twenty years, and intends on moving to the outback this year. It has got too overpopulated for an elderly lady to function easily and still feel part of a community.

Anyway she is definitely an inspiration… to be that lively, healthy and excited for life at such an age! She has no illnesses, and puts it completely down to the fact that she has lived all of her young life on a farm in the outback (before retiring to the Gold Coast). All she would eat was meat and vegetables, with the occasional home cooked pudding. She believes that her little intake of artificial preservatives throughout her life is the reason she is still so vibrant and energetic now.. I’m definitely taking note!!

Bush Walking in Cairns…

I don’t even know where to start with this trip… It feels like one of those eye opening experiences that will be with me forever. Probably the only one I have ever had of this significance. And wait for it… It is purely down to the people I met!

As you know, I am a huge fan of Airbnb… So I booked another for my stay in Cairns. It was located behind the botanical gardens, and a twenty minute cycle ride into the town centre.

On arrival, I was greeted by this lovely Japanese lady; Akiko. She provided me with a matcha tea (green tea in a powder form) and healthy cupcakes! Couldn’t of been more perfect after my flight!

Akiko then showed me the botanical gardens and part of the rainforest, following the shortest walking track, this took roughly an hour. It was so lovely to be encouraged to get out straight away and explore, as if I am honest all I wanted was a nap! IMG_0779IMG_0786IMG_0791

Later that day I booked my place onto scuba diving the reef.. which only had free spaces for Thursday. On Wednesday I decided to walk the longer route within the rainforest. This took me three and a half hours.. and was absolutely fascinating. It was scary at time, as during the whole trip I passed two people… So I had hours with no sight of a human. I couldn’t stop worrying about coming across a snake… and no one would hear my scream!! I have been assured it is actually pretty unlikely I will come across a snake. IMG_0814

As you can see.. the view at the top was well worth the three hours of silence!!IMG_0818IMG_0825


Whale Watching on the Gold Coast

Sorry for my lack of posts recently. I have been taking note as I do things.. Just never getting round to actually formatting the posts. It’s crazy how time flies, especially when you’re travelling!

Anyway, whilst on my trip in Surfer’s Paradise I did a few tourist attractions, which helped me build a better picture of where I was staying, and what the Gold Coast really looks like.

Firstly, I went whale watching. After being in Byron Bay and hearing so much about these famous whales.

… I saw a lot of information regarding whales when I visited the most easterly point of Australia; which is located close to Byron Bay. So figured it’s probably something I should experience. 

So I ventured out into the sea, leaving from the marina mirage in Surfer’s Paradise. I went whale watching for 3 hours… And I managed to see two whales and a group of dolphins. It cost $100; At first I thought this was too expensive… but it would of cost the same amount to visit Sea World; an attraction park where you can see and learn lots about the sea life. I figured you can watch Dolphins doing tricks in most tourist places, like Siam Park in Tenerife (somewhere we go every year).

I would say it was worth the money, this is down the fact that I did not just see whales, but.. I got to experience a huge group of dolphins swimming beside the boat whilst taking in the exceptional beauty of the Gold Coast’s coast line.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a picture of the whales, as they only came up briefly and I was too fascinated at how huge they are! The structure of the boat trip was that we ventured out into the sea for probably an hour, until we got far enough out to see the whales in their natural habitat.
We struggled for a while to catch a glimpse of the whales, as once they spouted and made it clear where they were… We would head over, and they wouldn’t come up for air and then the next time they’d of moved somewhere completely different.Whales can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes (as you can imagine that would be pretty boring), but luckily the average tends to be 7 minutes, which makes it a little more exciting.
It was a fantastic experience.. Would definitely recommend!

First Day on the Gold Coast

So after a short bus trip I arrived in Surfers Paradise, where I was welcomed by lovely Patti. My initial reaction to the place was shock at how big it is, skyscrapers and everything so built up. Quite a different sight to what I have seen in the last week (Farm & Byron Bay). 

Spending the day exploring and getting a feel for the city with Patti, was a great introduction to another wonderful city within this beautiful country. We went up to Mount Tamborine… en route visiting Patti’s friend who lives in the most spectacular house. Where she has lived for 50 years! 

We enjoyed a cup of tea whilst taking in the incredible views, and I was introduced to Tim Tams… Safe to say I’m so glad they aren’t in the UK, definitely too yummy, the temptation would be mad! 

Following this we drove up higher, to the lovely town of Mount Tamborine. It has beautiful local shops and cafes. With shops ranging from aboriginal art shops, which offers a very unique and natural style…

…to the sweetest cafes offering various homemade food, I found savoury muffins…!!

Whilst on the journey home, I noticed these stalls on the side of the road, where locals are selling avocados!! Can’t get more natural/organic than that…

We have made plenty of exciting plans for my week on the Gold Coast… Will keep you updated as always! 

Backpacker… Am I? Aren’t I? 

Byron Bay is obviously a hugely popular backpackers destination, with the amount of backpacker travel guides stopping you to try and sell you a skydive.. Scuba dive.. Bus trip… I am just not sure how well I fit into this “backpackers” category.

1) I am interested in doing a skydive over cairns, but can’t let myself buy it from these travel agents, as all I can think is that why would I use the middle man?! Probably pay for this when I arrive at cairns without a booking, but that’s just me… When they sell it too hard, I back well away!!

2) I won’t ever be staying in a hostel alone. Have done loads before with friends.. There’s just something so daunting about sleeping in the same room as others with no friend to have your back if something happened. And after my first stay in an Airbnb being so successful.. I will be doing this much more.

3) I know what everyone says about backpackers making friends in hostels… On buses… During trips… But I much prefer making friends in a less forced environment. Speaking to locals, people in cafes, on local buses, on walks etc.

4) Budget… Am I meant to have one?! Probably gonna end in tears, but I am just living in the moment, I have a rough idea but not looking into it too hard/often. I am the type of person which would hate seeing my bank account constantly getting so dry, and would miss out on enjoying myself, so instead I don’t look… Oops!

Anyway… I did say I was a rookie traveller!

Byron Bay

Byron Bay isn’t what I expected… It’s so hippy! I was expecting a pretty tiny place with incredible beaches, which it is… I just wasn’t expecting the shopping, cafes and huge culture! Barefoot.. Indie clothing.. Spray painted camper vans.. Dreadlocks.. And a generally very very chilled out way of life!

Every few shops there is a different cafe selling different foods, accommodating every diet/allergy. I am currently sat in a cafe called fundies, which is part of a whole foods market. I have been really enjoying the Palio breakfast granolas on offer in Byron Bay, they are just loaded with nuts and seem to fill me up until dinner. Expensive choices.. But worth trying out this “culture”??

I never really understood the paleo diet, so I bought a book on it and it’s fascinating… There doesn’t seem to be food categories cut out like most diets.. The main thing cut out is just processed food/chemicals… Sounds like a good way to go. But difficult without the right surroundings to make it possible I guess.. The thing about Australia is it is home to making every diet/lifestyle choice sustainable. 

Although Byron Bay is fantastic, I am glad I’m only here for a few days, as it doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of walking (which I love), as the best walks are only really accessible with a car. So while here I have done the lighthouse walk, which as the pictures show… Is iconic. But I’m looking forward to doing more walks at the Gold Coast. 

I also visited The Farm Byron Bay, which is again linked into this mindful lifestyle approach. It has been created as way for people to see the importance of eating local/organic and wholesome foods. It is a wonderful area, with the ability to explore the fields, learning about their approach as you go round. Whilst also eating a wonderfully healthy meal at the restaurant ‘Three Blue Ducks’.

I found these fascinating natural food wraps made out of bees wax, they are reusable and can last up to a year, a way of avoiding the use of plastic and using nature instead… I obviously had to buy some!!