Trip to the country…

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! 

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Plans for the next few days..

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!

 

Clovelly to Bondi Beach Walk

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!! 

Ferry to Manly

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!!

Arriving in Sydney

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!

Observation deck @ Etihad Towers

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!!

Walking the Corniche

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!!

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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…
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First few days in Abu Dhabi

After a quick nap, I ventured to explore. Finding the city fascinating and generally melting in the 40 degree heat. Behind my hotel is the corniche, which brings a lovely breeze. However when I walk further into the city, passing the skyscrapers, the wind stops and it’s an unbearable humidity!

As the rookie budget traveller that I am.. First on my list was to get my nails done. Typical! I passed this nail salon, but I thought it looked closed, I’ve attached a picture of the front windows.. Not exactly inviting! … This is actually down to the customer’s religion, not being able to be observed whilst pampering themselves.


This turned out to be very interesting, again chatting to the nail technician, she explained her situation. She is from the Philippines, and is married, yet her husband is back in the Philippines with all of her family. The company let them return home after one year if they pay for the flights, yet if they work for two years the company will pay for their return home. I’m starting to get the feeling that it’s very common for people to work away from their families, children and partners for months and months!

After this, I visited the World Trade Centre. This is a complex of three skyscrapers, which includes two malls and two hotels.

One of the markets is a traditional soul market, here I purchased some dates, almonds and spices. I also bought two pairs of earrings for the price of roughly £10. To begin with I was really struggling how to work out the currency in my head, but I just admitted defeat and carried my phone calculator around, dividing everything by 4.7.


The other mall was more westernised, with shops likes addidas, top shop and H&M etc. I found the most amazing evening dress shop, called Bissan. I’m gonna have to save up and purchase one for my 21st…

 

Travelling to Abu Dhabi

Despite the quick turnaround, I was pretty prepared and calm about my trip to Abu Dhabi. I am doing my whole trip from now on with Etihad airways… and a very smart airline it is! By far the largest plane I have ever seen, I was desperate to check out the look of business and first class… but the fact it has two floors didn’t work in my favour! The plane has cameras above so we can witness take off and landing on the screens. With it being less than 24 hours since I flew with Ryanair, it was pretty easy to be impressed!

I met my first friend of my trip on the flight, she sat next to me, and was flying to India to visit family for 5 weeks. She lives in Toronto, Canada and stopped off in London for a few days to see it.

Anyway, exiting the airport I was bombarded by taxi drivers “taxi…? taxi…?”. Being my usual sensible self, I was in shock at the confrontation and just picked one at random. Jumped into a black car, “don’t worry about seat belt”… I started to rethink my recent decision.

Turns out he works for a UAE taxi service, so all good. Sitting comfortably and realising he speaks good English… Of course I start questioning him!

His name is Ritvik and he is 29, he has wife who is 26 and they have a 2 year old boy. He is from India, yet he has worked in Abu Dhabi for the past 14 years. The deal is that he works for 12 months, and is then allowed to visit India for one month. So he has seen his little boy for two months of his life so far! He believes he will be working in India for the foreseeable future. And whilst he is sad to be apart from his family, he is happy with his job. As he is able to send money home every month, he earns 2500UAE each month, this is the equivalent of roughly £500. Most of which is sent home to India. Every day I travel I feel less and less like a country bumpkin and more and more like someone with interesting experiences!

Anyway, I am writing this from the hotel. Seeing as I was arriving at 3am, I did not see the point in booking a room in the hotel for that night. So, I am currently sat writing this from the hotel lounge, with the possibility of getting my room at 9am, so I now have five hours to wait…

 

Tenerife

There isn’t a lot to comment on about Tenerife. It is our annual family trip, which works really well. We stay in the Royal Tenerife Country Club, Golf Del Sur.

It is the perfect location for us:

  • 10 minute drive from the airport
  • A walk into the town
  • A walk away from a beach (short drive to our favourite beach)
  • A £20 taxi from Playas Las Americas (most important!)

On this occasion, we were accompanied  by my older sister, Steph and her partner, Darren, and their gorgeous two sons, Freddie, 7, Hugo, 4. As well as my auntie and her husband, Jane and David.

Steph, Bo and I decided to walk Mount Rioja for fitness purposes on Thursday morning. My fitbit announced we climbed 67 floors and walked 5700 steps in about 40minutes. After we returned back for breakfast, everyone else decided they wanted to walk it that evening… Obviously we couldn’t resist the challenge so walked it twice that day. And then again on Saturday morning. As you can see, the views are stunning and well worth the effort.IMG_3637

 

IMG_8870Hugo running around the local’s beach bar fully naked, with two lines of black sand positioned in the worst place imaginable. Loving the fact he was making people laugh, he carried on lapping up the attention. Completely unaware quite what they were laughing at!!IMG_9271

 

 

 

 

Landing in Stansted at 3pm on Sunday, realising I had to be back in Heathrow for 12pm the following day was a struggle. It was a quick trip home to pack and say goodbye for 9 weeks!