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!
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 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!!
I am currently writing this sat on a bus heading to Byron Bay. Safe to say I have had the most fantastic weekend in the country. Staying with some more friends of my mums; the Newsome family, who live on a farm near a town called Glen Innes.
They have huge amounts of cattle, and therefore use horses as a way to monitor the cows and heard them in when necessary. It was such a great experience to ride horses as a purpose rather than just as a sole hobby, like we do back home in England. The horses are very different, as they are working animals and are therefore extremely obedient, chilled out and well behaved (a nice change for me).
Sometimes we went out riding to check up on the cows that are having calves, and other times we used the horses to move the cows into different fields or the yard.
The family compete in camp drafting events. Camp drafting is when they take these horses to other areas in the country, and have to separate a particular cow out of its group before guiding that cow at speed around different obstacles on a course. I’ve seen lots of videos of them doing this and it looks like great fun, as well as a very practical hobby to compete in, as the process is what they use on the farm anyway.
Glen Innes is a small town, accommodating roughly 6,000 people. It has everything you would need, yet the Newsome’s still live 20-30 minutes outside the town anyway. As you can see they live in the complete country side, with just fields to be seen, my first thought was how well it would suit a horror films plot. No where to run to… With the neighbouring farm probably a mile away!
It was such a memorable weekend, my first insight into the Australian country life. It makes the England country side look man made, with all the structured fields and hedge rows.. This country side is a lot more natural, with a few fences the only thing different to what nature originally created.
I am now off to Byron Bay to stay in an Airbnb, before heading to the Gold Coast. It was pretty cold here in the country, but apparently a few hours north makes all the difference!
Unfortunately today was the first day in Sydney where I have experienced bad weather! It rained a lot, but was still relatively warm.
Anyway, tomorrow I am embarking on a 7 hour train journey into the outback, to a place called Glen Innes. Here I will be visiting a farm, where friends of my mum live. I am so lucky to be experiencing so many different places within Australia, and this is all down to the contacts my mum has over here. All very exciting!!
So I will be on the farm for a few days, and will update you on what I get up to when I get the chance.
After this little trip I plan on getting a bus further north to Byron Bay for a few days, to then meet another of my mum’s friends who lives on the Gold Coast! Then the plan is to go to Brisbane before flying back to Sydney.
Just a plan at the moment.. will update you all on what actually happens!
So seeing as I have walked southwards towards Little Bay.. I decided today I would venture north and do the coastal walk towards Bondi Beach… Which is obviously crucial to see, with it being Sydney’s most famous beach.
The walk took me past Bronte Beach, which is again stunning. I definitely need to find someone who will show me a bad area of Sydney… To try and stop me from doing everything I can to live here one day!!
Passing Tamarama Beach at 10ish was the perfect time to stop for breakfast, where I had Quinoa Granola, yogurt and fruit… With the most spectacular view… Worth every penny!
Bondi Beach is huge! Despite it being so fabulous, I would probably say I preferred Tamarama Beach, as its smaller and Mackenzies Bay is just so cute.
I honestly cannot believe they call it winter here?! I am in heaven… The perfect weather for my walks… Not too hot or cold.
I am now off to explore the coastal shops in Bondi… Let’s pray they’re average… Slim chance but trying to be optimistic about finances!!
Ok so yesterday was yet another fantastic day.. After posting my last update and finishing my shopping trip in Bondi Junction (which was way too tempting for the start of my travels!)… I headed to Circular Quay where I got a ferry to Manly.
As you can see… The ferry was spectacular, with the best views of the Royal Opera House and the general beauty of Sydney city centre.
On the ferry which took roughly 30 minutes, I met this lovely lady; Lindsey. Once we got chatting about life and my plans for Australia… She kindly offered to let me stay in her house whilst she goes away in early September.
Lindsey is a fabulous mum of 6!! I’m looking forward to meeting up with her again before she goes away, to make plans and to generally get to know her.
She lives in Manly, so Charlotte and I have decided to venture back from Melbourne for the week of the 4th Septmeber. This way Charlotte can see the full beauty of Sydney and I can say my farewells! Manly is stunning, and I cannot wait to spend a full week there… visiting all the bars!!
Due to my stop over in Abu Dhabi, the remainder of my journey only took 12.5 hours. On arriving in Melbourne, I changed my flights and flew to Syndey. Somehow this meant I managed to avoid the huge amounts of queues at customs and arrive in Syndey’s domestic airport.
I managed to recognise Nicole from Facebook pictures, so jumped in her car and headed to a party with her. It was her sister Rachel’s friend from Univeristy who was turning 50. It was a great introduction to an incredible city, with such kind and friendly people everywhere! I was very surprised at my lack of jet lag, I have managed to get straight onto their time zone!
Nicole had Sunday afternoon off work, so after my walk from clovelly beach to coogee beach we met for coffee overlooking the sea!
This is by far the most iconic places I’ve ever visited, it doesn’t surprise me that it’s so hard to get visas to stay here, as why would you want to live anywhere else?
This is winter… And both days I’ve been here it’s been better than the majority of the U.K. Summer.
It is as easy to find a green smoothie here as it is to find a tescos in England! And it is the norm to dress in active wear.. The whole city lives and breathes this healthy lifestyle.. I love it!!
Following our long walk alone the coast line, basically walking from clovelly beach to Maroubra beach (with driving the bit which we couldn’t get round on the coastal pathways). We then ventured to Little Bay to visit Pattie; a family friend who I have met often, due to being a close friend of my grandma. She also lives in a spectacular place with a view of the sea from her living room!
I am writing this post from a cafe called ‘nutrition station’ in Bondi Junction, which hosts a huge shopping centre where I was able to sort my Australian SIM card out and where I might of purchased some more active wear!!
After this, I’m heading to the rocks and hoping to catch a ferry somewhere beautiful. To then meet Nicole at her spectacular gym for a yoga class.. Will let you know about it tomorrow!
As suggested by Claire on reception, I am currently sat on the 74th floor of the Jumeriah Hotel, with scenery that I have only dreamt of. This is the best decision I have made since visiting Abu Dhabh… What a great way to experience the full beauty of a city in one outing.
Maybe my naivety, (and I promise I have glanced at a map) but I was so unaware of the amount of water surrounding the city of Abu Dhabi!!
I am currently sat overlooking the Emirates palace and the presidential palace, which apparently is where the fast and furious 7 was filmed! With endless blue waters and once again incredible architecture, this feels simply unreal.
The visilibilty isn’t great today, as apparently on a good day you can see the grand mosque. I did want to visit this during my trip, but seeing as I am leaving this evening, I won’t manage it. Despite it being a must see… I have visited the Omani Grand Mosque, so I have prioritised experiencing this scenery up here as it is something different and very informative, in terms of getting to know the city.
It cost 75AED to visit this observation deck, roughly £15, yet 50AED can be used as a voucher for food and drink whilst up here. It is definitely worth every penny, to be able to experience the remarkable panoramas that Abu Dhabi has to offer at such a reasonable price!!
So today I decided to walk down the Corniche, which my hotel looks over. Before leaving, I glanced at a map, and found the corniche beach which didn’t look too far away. Within minutes of starting this walk, I was melting, despite the strong breeze! The only time I have ever come close to sweating like this, I was doing Bikram Yoga for 90 minutes, not a 30 minute walk!!
The views are exceptional, with either crystal blue seas, immaculate infrastructure or sky high buildings surrounding me. Quite different from my usual surroundings in suffolk!!
The thing I cannot understand is how empty everywhere is. As you can probably see from my pictures, there isn’t a person in sight. Even when I visited the World Trade Centre I struggled to find crowds of people. Where is everybody? My guess is that everyone is working, and because of the vast amount of sky high buildings, everyone is cooped up in there and avoiding the heat! Guess its a weekday, but even weekdays in London are so much busier than this, especially around lunch time. And I stupidly decided to head out walking at 11am, with the hottest part of the day approaching!!
Anyway, I’m back now, and planning to chill out and sunbathe. I’m looking into visiting the Etihad Towers tomorrow (my last day), as apparently they have an incredible observation deck… I’ll keep you posted…