The Best Backpacker Islands In Fiji

After spending a month in Fiji and visiting 12 of the Yasawa and Manacuna island chain I wanted to share my knowledge to help you get the most of your trip and ensure you have the best time possible while keeping to what can be a strict budget!

I’ve chosen the islands based on the likeliness of meeting fellow travellers and with enough free activities to keep your days filled with fun!

 

 

South Sea Island

I loved my time on South Sea so much I wrote it’s own post, Check it out here!

With communal dining tables and one large dorm room of 32 beds it’s pretty hard not to get talking to people here! Be sure to take advantage of the free water sports on offer with your new friends.

Beachcomber Island

Another Island I spent some time on and ended up writing a whole post about my stay, Check it out here!

Known as the party island of Fiji it is pretty hard to not meet people, With a huge dorm room of 198 beds and communal style dinning the folk at Beachcomber try hard to get groups of people together ready to enjoy some time together in the evening once the fun really begins! If you are staying on Beachcomber for a couple of days and do make some new friends, why not arrange a day trip from the island over to Cloud Nine? A floating bar in the middle of the Paficic Ocean…. What dreams are made of! Check it out online here!

 

Wayolailai Ecohaven Resort

One of my favourites which I spend many a day lounging in the hammocks on the beach enjoying lazy sunny days. I’ve wrote a whole post about it here.

Sitting on the hillside with the most dramatic sunsets I’ve seen, the tradition keepers at Wayolailai are keeping things real. With traditional Bures (a wood or straw hut some what similar to a cabin) room upgrades sitting pretty within the gardens of the property.

This resort has plenty going on to meet others staying on the islands and for those into keeping active you will find lots of like minded backpackers. With kayaking, summit hiking, shark diving there is something for everyone.

For those more like myself be excited with jewellery making classes, basket weaving and star gazing.

 

Barefoot Manta Resort

With the resort located smack in the middle of three beautiful beaches it is easy to see why this is a firm favourite with the backpackers! With one for Sunrise, Sunset and Manta Ray Beach sitting right on the well know Manta-Ray channel its easy to wile the days away.

As the resort sits on the channel for the passing Mantas come summer (May-Oct) floods of backpackers arrive hoping to arrive their dreams of seeing these majestic creatures in the wild. With viewings almost daily in the season you won’t need to wait long until you are doing the snorkel fins and mask and heading into the water, and then what a story for your dinner companions.

Having lots of activities on the books it is a real crowd pleaser, From abseiling down the rocky cliffsides to Weaving lessons they are also home to the Vinaka Fiji volunteer program (check out there website here) meaning you can pay back to the beautiful country as a thanks for hosting you!

 

White Sandy Beach

Located on the largest island in the Yasawa group, Naviti there is two resorts next door to each other meaning you have twice the chance meet up with new travellers.

Not everyone wants a party resort to meet others and lets face it although great for a couple of nights your liver and wallet will be glad you’ve moved on which is where White Sandy Beach comes in. It is a quiet resort so if you were wanting the party life I suggest this may not fit the bill, but for those looking for something more traditional to share with their fellow peers than White Sandy Beach is the place to be.

Sitting beachfront this small property has a house reef steps from your dorm and a hammock with the best view of the bay.

With a large communal dinning table and activities planned by the staff you will never get bored. With Fijian singing and dancing its hard not to get involved. Personally my favourite part of the none flashy resort is the staff, They work incredibly hard to ensure everyone who visits will not be alone and are great at helping those who may be a little shy meeting the other travellers at the resort.

 

Boathouse Nanuya

Mega modern Nanuya is for the flash packers amongst us. Lets face it after a couple of weeks/months without the home comforts there is nothing nicer than having a these on hand and this is where the Boathouse comes in.

Decked out with ultra modern features like hot water (can be a rarity in Fiji) air conditioning, a western menu, WIFI and now with SKY  it attracts all those who’ve missed creature comforts.

Not like this is a bad thing, for myself I know I was desperate for a hot shower and a great burger after a month of fish and curry it was all I was dreaming about! As this is a great resort for everyone you get an opportunity to meet lots of different people, Most of which you will find have visited the other islands also.

With so many activities and facilities on offer it can be easy to spend 4/5 days at the resort so keep this in mind when hopping through the islands! Sign up for the sunset cruises, Glass bottom boat tours, fishing trips but be sure to check out the close by Sawa-I-Lau Caves for a great afternoon out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Ocean Roading

Who doesn’t love a road trip? Imagine 243 kilometres of coastal road with the big blue on one side and the other dramatic cliff-side and green rain-forests while you drive one of the most popular drives in the world.

Stretching from Torquay in the East, Only 97 kms from Melbourne to Warrnambool in the West this drive is made of so famous thanks to the passing of the surfside resorts, and scenic landscapes along its stretch and the important history it plays for the Australians.

Built in memorial of those who fought and dies within the first world war, the servicemen who returned were given reemployment in building this roadway to help the coastal towns in their struggle with their isolation from the larger ports and cities.

Here’s my low down on the Great Ocean Road and my tips on where to stay and see along the way!

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*Torquay

Heading only few hours drive from Melbourne this coastal town is one of the most famous along the route as it is home to the surfing mecca of Bells Beach. Home to the Rip Curl competitions every Easter this is the longest running surfing competition and means you are sure to be able to spend some time watching the pros do there best practising even outside of the summer season! We ended up spending three hours in the rain mesmerised by the swells of the water and the elegance of those riding.

There are tons of discount stores in Torquay should the surfer chic take hold and you are desperate for some new gear. For those looking for professional gear these outlet stores will offer better discounts than you can get in the larger cities.

If you are new to surfing personally I prefer Torquay to have your first experience rather than in Byron as everyone is keen to. The beaches in the area have taught Kelly Slater and that’s a good enough excuse as any, Lessons for beginners, intermediate and advance can be picked up locally and keep your eye in the store windows for local instructors rather than the larger group sessions!

If you are the sporty type or are pushed for time have wander at the Australian National Surfing Museum to learn more, or try your hand at some sunbathing and surf watching from the shore!

Looking for somewhere to stay? Try the Bells Beach Backpackers for an affordable and comfortable stop.

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*Lorne

Heading further west Lorne is another cute seaside town, Although for us we used this as the gateway into the the Great Otway National Park. With hundreds of walks, hikes and sights we wanted to spend a couple of days away from the beaches discovering the more interesting in land area. With lush tropical plants and ferns its hard to remember you haven’t just entered Jurassic Park. Take in an evening tour with your torches looking for the elusive glow worms that live within the tropical fauna

For those wanting to learn more history surrounding the great ocean road head to the heritage centre in the visitor centre in town.

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*Apollo Bay

Heading further south Apollo Bay is a popular stop way on the route, and a nice place to rest for a night or two. With a lovely long beach right on the roadside it is easy to spend a day or two soaking up the sun in the summer months and enjoy the small town charm.

We also used Apollo Bay for the Otway national park as we were again closer to some of the hikes in the area and took in a couple of waterfall hikes the hostel reception staff recommended.

We also headed out to the Otway National Park from here to Lake Elizabeth for canoeing at dusk to see if we could spot the magical platypus. Only a 50 min drive each way this was an amazing experience and can be booked before you arrive here. Advance booking is highly recommended and if you don’t spot a platypus then you will receive a 20% discount on your next trip. If you chose the dusk rather than the dawn you may also spot those glow worms I told you about!

Looking for somewhere to stay? Try the surfside Backpackers located just opposite the beach, this popular hostel has lots of common areas and chances to meet new people.

 

*Twelve Apostles 

Heading north again towards our final stop now, over 227 kms from Melbourne is the twelve apostles off the coast of port cambell national park. Formed from the erroision of the harsh southern sea there are now fewer than 10 remaining so no better excuse than to pull over before they completely disappear.

dsc00716As you can see from my picture even a day in the middle of summer doesn’t mean the weather will play nice!

These limestone stacks are the most famous structure along your trip and one of the busiest spots you will come to along your journey with day trippers desperate to get a selfie with the Apostles in the background.

There are tons of spots to pull over on your way to Warrnambool, including any of the beaches along the shipwrek coastline, the Loch Ard Gorge or the London Arch.

 

 

*Warrnambool

Saving the best for last (If travelling from Melbourne) Warrnambool was my favourite town on my journey along the great ocean road and my starting point as we drove from Adelaide.

As we were out of season it was unfortunate we couldn’t take advantage of the local whale watching tours, although we did head to the look out point over the waters to see if there was anything else we could spot!

Be sure to head back to the Tower Hill area for Kangaroo, Emu and Koala spotting as they are both native to the area, take in some of the short nature trails or complete some of the longer hikes. Be sure to enquire about the tours surrounding the local Aboriginal culture!

Dining at Cactus Jam was a highlight and having some flavoured margaritas to toast our journey was brilliant. The food was incredibly tasty and good value, a great find and I highly recommend it to anyone who makes it this far!

 

Now I know there are some who are visiting with a short window to explore the area and with day trips from Melbourne on offer you have no excuse not to see the wonders along the route, However if you have the opportunity to spend longer make sure you do! Hire a camper/car and spend at least 3 nights travelling along the GOR, I’m positive you wont regret it… Hopefully after reading my post you’ll know there is so much more to see than the Twelve Apostles. 

 

Travel agent top tip, be very mindful of the ever changing speed limits if you are hiring a car… Thanks to this i received my first ever driving offence. Although there are no cameras in place there are plenty of speed traps and police waiting, drive with extreme caution around and during public holidays.  

A Photo Post Of My South African Safari

Having safaried in Kenya before I was better prepared with my trusty bridge camera this time and I wanted to share some of the amazing snaps I captured on my trip.

I apologise in advance for those who are squeamish, one of the greatest experiences of my safari was witnessing a cheetah feasting on its lunch.

These pictures were taken at The Garden Route Safari Lodge.

Constantia Wine Route, Cape Town

Dating back to 1685, Constantia is home to the oldest producing vineyard in South Africa. Often overshadowed by the neighbouring regions of Stellenbosh and Franschhoek, Constantia is actually also the closest region to Cape Town; Only 15km (20 mins) from the city centre, Nestled below in the green of Table Mountain.

Perfect for those looking to sample the local wine without having to sacrifice time travelling, there are 9 estates to discover each with their own samples and specialities. I wanted to give you the low down on my favourite properties in the region and more about the cellar tours and wine tasting on offer so you can plan your day out in Constantia.

 

 

 

Klein Constantia

Dating back to the original Constantia formed in 1685, The property was established by the first governor of the cape, Simon Van Der Stel. Although rumoured to have been chosen for its beautiful location in the valley of the Table Mountain National Park it also benefits from the soils from the slopes and the ocean breeze brought in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Know your in good taste when Klein favoured by many a royal and celebrity including authors and poets from the 18th & 19th century, Jane Austin and Charles Dickens.

Good value wine tasting is on offer at Klein with prices from 50 Rand per person which includes a try of all estate wines.

*No need to pre book here, Just arrive on the day and join onto a tasting tour. Although please check online for opening hours before planning your visit.

 

Constantia Glen

Relativity new to the game, Constantia Glen only planting it’s first grapes in 1999, and producing their first Sauvignon Blanc in 2005, still are an award winning producer in the area. Ranked as a boutique wine estate I would suggest visiting the Glen over lunch time and ordering a cheese platter to accompany your wine tasting, Trust me when I say it is one of the nicest I’ve enjoyed. Wine tastings can be pre booked online starting from 55 Rand per person and you can have a choice of 3 different seating areas all with their own setting and views.

Book your packages online here.

 

Groot Constantia

Officially the oldest wine producer in the region, Groot offer something different with their cape dutch architecture and desert wines. Located right on the City Sightseeing bus route this stop off within the Constantia means you wont need to worry about who is driving and arranging a taxi, the bus will take you from the city to the estate.

‘Groot’ in dutch translates to Great, Meaning then basically named themselves ‘Great Wine.’ Arrive with high expectations and you will not be disappointed, With cellar tours (60 Rand each) and wine tastings (45 Rand each, or combine them both for 70 Rand each) you can also expect an expert to talk you through the selection of wines and to tell you a little more history of the estate and owners.

*No pre-booking needed at Groot for the wine tasting or cellar tours, However the tours only run on the hour from 10:00 and the last tour departing at 16:00.

 

Eagles Nest

Located high in the slopes of Constantia, Eagles nest is another relativity newcomer to the game. This family owned boutique vineyard has a huge following thanks to its reasonably priced picnic baskets you are able to enjoy in the grounds of the property (£25 for 2 people, plus the purchase cost of a bottle of wine) Sat so high up in the route it gives a beautiful lookout over the valley and vineyards.

Wine tastings start from 50 Rand per person, and should you like to have a wine tasting before purchasing your bottle to accompany your picnic you will need to pre book before your arrival.

Book your visit online here.

 

* At the time of posting 50 South African Rand = £2.50 or $3.50 Us Dollars *

 

 

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Who doesn’t want to see the majestic Table Mountain up close and personal! After a recent trip to Cape Town this spring it was the first stop after landing in the city. I wanted to share my tips on Table Mountain, The How to get there and the what to do’s!

The name was given from the meteorological phenomenon that occurs which forms a billowing fabric to fall over the Mountain giving it a table cloth appearance over it’s flat surface, Table Mountain has been named one of the 7 new wonders of the world (as of 2011) and is often ranked within the top 10 sights to see before you die.

 

Getting to Table Mountain

Getting to the Aerial cable car entry is easy enough! With the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus dropping at the entrance it is easy to include within the package. However there is a free bus service which will take you to the same drop off point for those whom are aren’t. The MyCiTi shuttle service from the Lower Tafelberg Road stop, just off Kloof Nek Road is free of charge and runs from opening time until 7pm so for those travelling in the summer months of November to February who are hoping to wait out the sunset  this might only work for one of your journeys. There are other busses that run to the lower cable station but will charge and you must use your myconnect card to pay for the journey, and they will not expect cash. Taxis and Uber’s can be ordered for collection and will charge approx. 15 South African Rand per km.

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The easiest way to get to the top….

Is of course the cable way! A wonder of it’s own the cable way has been running since 1929 and has undergone some modernisation over the years, With new 360 viewing the floors of the carriages now rotate as you travel to allow all guests get the best views.

For the small price of 255 South African Rand (£12) you can purchase a return on the cable way to the top and back. Always ensurer to check online before visiting to check the days operating hours, And due to high winds they may not be running without any notice. I found following them on twitter meant I was always up to date.

For those who are looking for something a little more challenging you are able to climb to the upper cable station via Platteklip gorge, the most direct route. This steep hike can be done in only a few hours for those who are super fit, and can be accessed from Tafelberg Road. Please only climb while the cable car is operating, and be aware of sunset timings… You do not want to be caught out and try and climb back down in the dark. The path is well constructed but is very steep, there was plenty of opportunities to sit and bathe in the sunshine and look back into Cape Town and table bay while you climb so make sure you pack a lunch and plenty of water!

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Now What?…

Now you’ve made it to the top whether hiked or cabled you are free to spend as long as you want at the top. Personally I think joining onto one of the guided walks (which run every hour on the hour) are a great way to learn the local history of the island and to understand where you are looking out towards. With fauna on the top of the Mountain you are unlikely to see anywhere else in the world the guides are informative and  are happy to answer any questions you might have.

If you prefer to wander on your own there are three walks you can take, and with the longest only being 45 minutes you don’t have to spend all day there. Almost all of the walks once at the summit are wheelchair friendly with paved walkways and signage.

Those who are looking to stake their claim to fame are able to climb to the highest point on Table Mountain, Maclears Beacon which sits pretty at 1085 m Above sea level. Follow the yellow painted footprints on the path ways to take you to the chains and poles erected to help assist you to the rocky steps.

 

 

For more information on the cable way please visit their website here.

For more information on the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Bus and it’s route please visit their website here.

Always advise others when hiking and when can be avoided please do not attempt alone. If doing so please ensure you advise your hotel reception desk and advise a time you are likely to return.

Garden Route Game Lodge. A Review, South Africa

Located only 3 1/2 hours from Cape Town and 1 hour from George this little slice of wonder is nestled amongst the Langeberg Mountain range and is accessible from the most southern major entry ports of South Africa and as the name gives away it is located on the entry onto the famous garden route!

I was lucky enough to have a two night stay while on my travels last month and thought I would share my thoughts on the hotel and game.

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The appeal of a family owned and operated lodge enticed me to try  them out. I think having the owners around can make a massive difference in the experience and service you receive!

As it is a private game lodge the experience will be different to that if you were staying within the national parks, As the lodge owns 3000 hectares of land it can be easier to spot the wildlife although they have less animals as they haven’t the space the national parks have. They do have Rhinos, Lions, Elephants, Hippo, Buffalo, Cheetahs and Leopards (although these are wild and pass through the park as they like) you have a high chance of spotting the big 5.

These sights work towards rehabilitation and conservation, As animal poaching in South Africa is the worst in the continent the owners have come together to get some security in place for these animals and now each Rhino has it’s own personal security guard… Drastic times call for drastic measures. Until poachers are no longer a threat to these timid creatures this is what has to be done. Learn more about the projects in place here.

 

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The open Land Rover game drives (which are included within the room rate, twice a day) depart on sunrise and sunset rides everyday and can last between 2-3 hours… Although if like us you have a lion blocking the road this can quickly become 4-5 hours! The rangers are employed for their expertise on the local wildlife and fauna, Some of the random facts we learnt will stay with me for quite some time.

On top of the game reserve the hotel is home to a reptile centre and skull garden for encounters with the animals. The hotel is geared towards families with young children (6-12 years) as the hotel can offer babysitting/child minding programmes and activities for the younger ones and families will receive their own game drive to ensure plenty of time can be spent as they chose while in the game reserve.

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The hotel is separated by room types with standard rooms located closest to the main facilities and the private chalets located overlooking the valley and watering hole.I stayed in the standard rooms and there was nothing standard about it. With a huge floor space and beds we had our own en-suite which came with bath and shower. Each room comes with its own mini bar/fridge and deck area for valley views while drinking sun downers.

 

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The hotel serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests in the Serengeti’s restaurant in the main building and as the hotel comes as half board as standard it does mean you are subject for your own lunch but luckily the menu is very reasonably prices with prices from 80 RND (£4) for a burger or open sandwich,

As for the meals that are included they do come as buffet style and are sublime with interactive experiences. In the evenings the chefs cook the meat to your taste on a BBQ while you fill your plate with the side dishes, With options of chicken, Impala and Ostrich there is always something different to try. As I mentioned all is cooked to your taste and if it’s all new to you, you can ask for the chefs recommendations!

Now a safari in South Africa would not be complete without a boma or in other words an African BBQ. As I as travelling during the winter season they couldn’t host an evening Boma but we were treated to an indoor breakfast buffet in the Boma located next to the pool area. The breakfast was amazing with eggs cooked to choice and pancakes. Cheese boards and cold cuts with a choice of juices, teas and coffee we really were spoilt for choice.

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In case you are only passing by and haven’t the time to stay at the lodges you are in luck as they do offer game drive safaris for day guests! Have a check on-line for availability and prices.

http://grgamelodge.co.za/

This is a 3* lodge hotel where prices start from £90 (per room) per night based on two people sharing on a half board basis including 2 game drives per night paid.

South Africa Rand was 20 to £1 at the time of writing (June 2016)

Kuzuko Lodge, A Review. South Africa

If you are looking for a little luxury on your trip in South Africa then look no further than Kuzuko Lodge. Located less than 2 hours away from Port Elizabeth’s airport Kuzuko makes a great beginning or end to your trip along the ever popular Garden Route, Somewhere to rest up before or after the long flight.

A private game lodge with over 15,000 hectares of ground located within the Greater Addo Elephant National Park there is lots of chance to spot the big 5 and lots of other firm favourites. As the lodges has its own private grounds please remember this is going to be a different style of safari than those only travelling within the National Parks, There will be a limited number of animals which they own and breed themselves and will have less of the authentic experience. For those who like to tick boxes then I do recommend a hotel which has it’s own grounds as you are very likely to find at least 4 of the big 5 (That elusive Leopard can not be kept by by fencing they can build.) But for me still not having spotted the Leopard means I have yet another reason to return!

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With 24 luxury chalets the hotel does not feel over crowed and allows guests to feel spoilt when they arrive as the staff to guest ratio is very high and without strict timings on meals it means people can dine when they chose.

The chalets themselves were beautiful with a small sitting area and large bathroom with separate shower to bath, However I do believe the main feature of the room is the oversized patio area overlooking the grounds and the mountainous backdrop. Even with the winter chill it was beautiful to sit out and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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The game drives and rangers are second to none, They are full of knowledge and certainly go the extra mile to ensure you have the best experience. With sundowners provided mid safari, you are taken to some of the highest points of the range to enjoy a beverage out of vehicle.

My best memory from my time in South Africa will be from our Cosmic safari in the Boma at Kuzuko Lodge.With hot drinks and desert we were taken down into the Boma (Picture a hidden garden behind the bamboo) where a fire pit had been lit and chairs set out for us all. Our ranger joined us and turned out the surrounding lights and it was like someone has turned a TV on above us, The sky came to life with hundreds of stars visible without the light pollution of any near by towns. We spent the 90 minutes being show our star signs, and learning facts about the nights sky from South Africa. Being a bit of an astrology freak I could listen to stories about the stars for days, but this truly was special and such a lovely experience to be included at the lodge. A warn crumble, a hot tea and the milky way… what more do you need? After the safari finished we continued to spend the evening on our private balcony with a bottle of wine to continue star gazing.

With other activities on offer at an additional fee including Big 5 Nature walks, Nature hikes to the bush man paintings, Cheetah experiences and children clubs there is plenty to fill your days.

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Kuzuko Lodge is a full board accommodation with standard breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. With every 1 night stay booked you are entitled to 2 game drives, One sunset after check in and sunrise before checkout. If staying more than 1 night you are free to spend the day at your choosing and can use the facilities at the Lodge including the swimming pool and spa or you can book onto additional activities provided by Kuzuko at an additional cost. 

Kuzoko has 3 wheelchair accessible rooms available to book online through their website below! The game vehicles have access with ramp to door access. 

http://www.kuzuko.com/

My Favourite Sights In Prague

Having just returned from a wonderful four days in the city of Prague I thought I might share my top sights not to miss… Other than Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock.

Located in the capital of Czech Republic in the kingdom of Bohemia lies the beautiful historic town of Prague. Unfortunately famous for its stag weekend reputation it pleasantly surprised me on my arrival to have only seen the one group on what might of been the busiest weekend of the year, Easter Weekend.

Any illusions you might have of a weekend in Prague I’d like to help change, as this has quickly become one of my favourite cities!

Prague Castle

This world recording holding residence to past King’s of Bohemia is recognised as the largest ancient castle in the world. It is easily the biggest tourism draw to the city. Personally I am not one for a castle tour but we happily followed the masses on a tour. The views from Starbucks roof terrace is easily one of the best you will find and provides panoramic views out over Prague below.

If you time your visit right you will be able to see the changing of the guard, that’s right just like at Buckingham Palace this is quite a big deal. Crowds will gather to watch the guards leave their post, and if you are there for 12pm (lunchtime) you will be provided with entertainment from the fanfare ceremony that happens daily.

Once you have had your fill take a slow walk back to Lesser Town down the hill. A long road lined with shops, restaurants and cafes there is plenty to see and places to stop.

Nerudova Street

One of my favourite history facts is before street numbers and road names existed there was another way people recognised addresses, With house signs which happened to be pictures displayed on a plaque above the door. If you were looking for the bakers house, all you’d have to do is look the loaf of bread picture! I love this and think it would be amazing if this of been continued even to this day… I think my house would have an aeroplane plaque! 😉 The signs have been restored on some of the houses on this street located just below Prague Castle. Take a walk back to Lesser Town passing through and see if you can spot the house of two suns.

John Lennon Wall

Located just below the castle in Lesser Town, this monument to peace, love, art and John Lennon was created back in the 1980’s after his murder. Used as a way for young Czechs to show expression through the means of Art in anger to the communism. Western music was banned in the country and repenting against this they would write lyrics from the Beatles onto the wall.

What started as a portrait of John himself has now been lost underneath the layers of paint that have been covering the walls for many years. After trying to cover the wall with whitewash and rid the graffiti it has become impossible to cover it quicker than the artists arrive. Now left to be decorated as seen fit this massive tourist attraction will be ever changing with messages that still reflect the hopes from those in the 80’s, messages of peace and love.

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The Old Jewish Cemetery

Located within close distance of the old town this old Jewish Ghetto is home to one of the most beautiful, sobering graveyards I have visited. It is believed to be the largest recognised Jewish cemetery in Europe, where thousands of gravestones are lain in the small courtyard at the Pinkas Synagogue. The synagogue after communist regime was closed and the 77,927 inscribed names of the holocaust victims were erased, but these later were restored and now they cover the entire interior of the building.

Rooftop Drinking

With such a beautiful square it would seem a shame not to see it from above in all its glory! We decided to skip the queues to climb the clock tower, after all it’s what we came to see but we still wanted the vantage point it offered. I’d heard there were some rooftop bars in the Old Town and decided to check out the terrace at Terasa U Prince Hotel. With reasonably priced cocktails we treated ourselves to a sundowner and watched the sunset from the warmth of the heat lamps wrapped in blankets.

My tip is to give the food a miss and make this a pre dinner drink.

Petrin Hill

Located close to Prague castle this proud hill sits atop the terracotta roofs and golden spires of the city below and is popular for those looking for a walk away from the crowds or a perfect picnic spot. Easily accessible from the city using the the funicular railway (also known as a cliff railway or a cable attached tram for almost vertical climbs) for those not looking for something as energetic or a short but steep walk up the 327 meters. Passing through some manicured gardens, and through the memorial to the vitims of communism there is plently of opportunities to stop along the way and once you arrive at the top there are cafe’s and coffee shops. Trust me the view will be worth it!

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Petrin Look Out Tower

Don’t think the that’s the end of the fun once you’ve made the climb! You are able to get even higher! This mini replica of the Eiffel Tower sits atop of Petrin Hill adds another 60m onto your height for some clearer views of the city below. For less than £10 per person you are able to purchase a ticket for the climb up the 299 stairs to the observation deck at the top. There is an elevator which operates at an extra cost (free to pensioners and disabled guests) for those unable to make the climb after a trek up Petrin Hill.

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 Powder Tower

Dating back to the 11th century this Gothic tower is one of the remaining castle gate entries. Used as a decorative entry to the castle grounds rather than defensive means, it was used to store shotgun powder in the 17th century hence the name “Powder Tower.” A great example of the classic Gothic architecture of Eastern Europe this tower stands proud at the entry to Old Town Square and separates the new from the old. It is possible to climb to the lookout 44 meters above Old Town Square for a small fee.

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Bruny Island. Hobart, Tasmania

Another Island located off the south coast of Tasmania this little eco-haven is a holiday favourite for visiting sea lions, whales and dolphins! Only an hour and a half from Hobart this fantastic day trip is a great way to see a different side of Tasmania and experience the wonderful wildlife the island has.

After some thorough research into my trip to Hobart I came across  Bruny Island Cruises, who offer day trips from Hobart including your bus and ferry over to Bruny.

Arriving at the office on the morning of my tour was not difficult to find, Located just up from the Mona ferry on the harbour we had to check in from 07:45 for a 8am bus to head towards Kettering to catch the ferry.

The bus journey was fairly quiet with most people dozing and with plenty of opportunity for day dreaming and watching the scenery go by. We arrived at the ferry by 9:30am and our final destination at 10:30am. We had time for a mid morning tea and cake before our briefing on the day ahead. Included within the price is a 3 hour cruise around the south of the two islands that make up Bruny.

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We were given waterproof ponchos to protect us from the sea spray and bad weather (which we were so lucky and had beautiful sunshine all day) and headed out.

The tour has live commentary with three guides aboard who are more than happy to share their knowledge of the Islands. The sailing was at a leisurely pace and full of photo opportunities, they took us all the way over to the home of the sea lions which was my favourite part! Being one of my favourite water animals I couldn’t believe how many of them called the Island home there few thousands of them, sunning on the rocks or playing in the water below they gave us plenty of time to watch them from a safe distance (for their sake, although it was for our noses as well I suspect)

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Heading back to Adventure bay for lunch I couldn’t believe how quickly the day passed. Another part of the package was a two course lunch at the beach side cafe, and was a pumpkin soup with a bread roll and a ham and salad sandwich, although they do cater for a vegetarian or gluten free menu also.

Heading back home I was so pleased with my experience it certainly for me was the best $225 dollars I’d spent in Tasmania!

What Do You Mean You’ve Never Heard Of K’Gari? Fraser Island, Queensland

Located along Australia’s famous East Coast, approximately 200 kms north of Brisbane Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, world heritage listed and the only place where the rainforest grows on sand!

Having been home to the Butchulla people for over 5000 years I was there for a very important day in 2014 when an important battle in the campaign to re name the island back to its original name formally restored.

K’gari – Literally, “paradise”

Almost everyone you are likely to speak to won’t of even heard of this word, Unfortunately it will be a slow process for the Butchulla community before this becomes the common name. Quite like Uluru (the more commonly know Ayers Rock) has been dealing with since it was granted duel name status to recognise the importance to the Aboriginal people back in 1993.

The name ‘Fraser Island’ came about after a Scottish woman, Eliza Fraser shipwrecked upon the island and consequently told “tales of captivity” by the Butchulla’s in the 1830’s which due to the nature of the claims led to the massacre of the islands inhabitants and tribes.

So you can see why this is very important for the Butchulla’s and Aborigines of Fraser Island and Australia for this name to be brought back into the common use. So for this reason I ask when posting blog’s about the island and pictures to use the #K’gari let help get the word out there.