I’m forever in Canberra it’s like a second home now, I wanted to round up a couple of my favourite places to visit to accompany my brunching guide and to get you outside of the civic centre
I can’t pass up a sweet treat so when I heard about the ‘freak shakes’ of Canberra I couldn’t not go! With fair prices, $9 for a ‘baby size’ or the regular size is $12, personally I can eat either with no problem but you are staying for lunch then a baby shake will do!
With changing choices I went straight for the ‘Micheal Jackson’ with brownie, roast Marshmallow with vanilla & chocolate ice cream!
I love a good burger and am always on the hunt for a new place to try, now Broadburger have opened in a permanent home at the old bus depot markets (Kingston) it’s so easy to plan a day trip to both!
My poison is the double cheese which is coated in American mustard and tomato relish and easily eaten with a side of fries. With prices starting from $14 for a single burger chips are purchased in addition.
Located in Braddon this burger joint has people flocking from all over to try their delicious creations!Housed in an old mechanics garage just outside of the city centre centre these guys serve up burgers and fried chicken with a range of shakes or beers with prices staring from $15 Including a massive portion of fries! I went for the double deluxe which was amazing, cooked through and juicy with the greasy sauce oozing out!
Hands up who likes a doughnut? Well these guys are not to be missed while your in Canberra. Being a little exclusive makes things even more so exciting. These beautiful crispy on the outside squishy in the middle stuffed doughnuts are delish and enough to sway me to an unhealthy breakfast and an early Sunday start to catch them before they sell out at the Sunday regional farmers markets (Best be there before 10am to get your hands on one) They also are now stocking in Ainslies IGA and Deakin IGA store along with vegan choices at the cruelty free shop, delivered 3 times a week!
As they don’t have a website follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
Located in one of my favourite suburbs ‘Gold Creek’ I just love coming out for a walk and some lunch over a sunny afternoon. Cafe enjoy is located next to the Dinosaur museum with ample parking and park and fish pond for the children.
They serve their full menu all day meaning if you fancied a burger for breakie then order away!
I’ve eaten breakfast and lunch here on different occasions and am always pleased with the portion size and haven’t been disappointed yet! Chicken parmigiana is my perfect lunch but a bacon and egg roll with coffee for under $10 is a bloody bargain breakfast!
As they do not have a website sure to check them out on Facebook for opening hours.
Thumper & Miss Bunny
Another located in Gold Creek this gorgeous hideaway is located inside the old red brick schoolhouse. With fresh coffee, Toasties and cakes this is the perfect place for a catch up or a drink in the sunshine.
Another restaurant without a website, check them out on Facebook for opening hours.
So there you have it, comment below and let me know if you’ve been to any already or where else you might suggest?!
Having just visited Hong Kong I wanted to share my advice about getting around the islands of Hong Kong.
Although there is over 200 islands to explore most tourists will stick to the main areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Lantu Island and the New Territories all of which can be explored by the MTR.
As a tourist arriving into the city you are able to purchase an airport express travel pass. This gives guests a return airport transfer and three continuous days travel on the MTR network.
For only $350 Hong Kong Dollars per person you can collect your pass at the airport and start using it straight away! Considering an airport transfer starts from $19 US Dollars per person one way you’ve already saved.
Having missed out on the batu caves last time I visited Kuala Lumpur I knew I didn’t want to miss out this time round and spent some time studying the map and from talking to the locals I wanted to share the quickest and most cost effective way of visiting yourself.
Located approx 40 minutes by train from Kuala Lumpur central in the area of Gombak, the limestone cliffs are home to a series of caves and cave temples which are a must see while in the city.
The caves are the most popular Hindu shine outside of India and is dedicated to the Lord Murugan who guards the entrance to the entrance to the caves and the worlds tallest statute of the god.
Getting to Batu Caves
As I mentioned getting to the caves are pretty simple, once you’ve arrived at KL Sentral station you can hop onto the KTM Komuter line and head to the Batu Caves station. Tickets are simple to purchase and can be done from the ticket machines as they have an English option. For a return ticket you are looking at an approx cost of 7RM.
Tickets now come as plastic coins which you tap into the screen of the barriers and save to exit on the other side, heading to the platforms all are listed and have signage in English again and you can know you’re in the right place thanks to the signage above the tracks.
For ladies also travelling on their own you’ll be pleased to know there are women and children’s carriages only if you prefer this choice, just make sure you keep your eye out for the floor and door markings, and those travelling I a larger group beware you aren’t getting in the carriage unless you fit the criteria.
The station is the last on the line and all stops are announced in English and a handy lit map of the stops show where you are headed next. Once you’ve arrived and exited the station the caves will be rig in front of you and with free access there are no queues to join and you are then able to explore the area.
Arriving at the caves you will find yourself at the bottom of the towering staircase to take you to the cave system at the top, If you do want to see it for yourself you must climb all 272 steps. Be sure to stop along the way (foot traffic allowing) as you’ll be able to get some beautiful views and see just how far you’ve gone! The entrance to climb and into the cave is free of charge, however if you’d like to go into the dark cave with a guide this is an additional cost and must be booked on arrival for an allotted time.
* Be careful of those pesky monkeys, they love they love to take ahold of anything your carrying. Hold onto phone and camera tightly and do not try to touch or feed them.
* Remember to be respectful of where you are visiting. Local cultures have different beliefs and arriving to the caves in short shorts or short skirts may be frowned upon and don’t be surprised when you are advised you must pay for a Sarong or cover up due to this. Smoking is not permitted within the grounds.
Not being a morning person my favourite time of the day is dusk and I love to plan how I’ll view the last light of the day.
My most memorable moments from my year in Sydney were watching the colours change from my favourite spot in the Sydney Harbour, since I’ve learned to appreciate the moment a little more and enjoy with a sundowner, great company or a good book!
Here are some of my favourite pictures over the last couple of years! Pictured above is the rolling green hills in Cairns while I was on a sunset water tour. Australia, Cairns. Queensland.
Just look at this beauty I caught the last moments of last month (November) on my walk home from work. UK
This is from one of my most recent trips, After arriving on the ferry we climbed the short walk to the look out point to arrive in the nick of time! Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.
This was a picture perfect moment I captured while I was spending time in Fiji, You must expect a view like this nightly! Naviti Island, Fiji.
I caught this while we were bumping around in our safari jeep headed out to see what animals we could come across as the day turned to night. Addo National Park, South Africa.
My final sunset memory is the unforgettable experience of watching the sunset from Uluru, Australia. This is a once in a lifetime kind of thing and to experience the colours of the rock and sky change together is incredible!
Follow me over on Instagram for the most up to date photos and blog posts here.
Only living a few hours away I am embarrassed to admit in my 27 years I still hadn’t made it to Blackpool for the annual Illuminations festival.
Once a year the whole of the beach promenade is lit up with the lights from the Blackpool Tower and festive Street lights, from late September until the Christmas lights switch on people flock to the seaside town to see the lights in the glory of winter…. Personally I think people want to start the festivities early and get into the Christmas spirit!
We visited early October and were surprised as to how busy it actually was, car parks were filled, the roads were blocked and the streets filled. Make sure to arrive early and be preapred to leave the car, we parked at the football ground only a short walk from the south of the promenade and the Blackpool Tower.
I love the British seaside, penny machines, fish and chips and no matter the weather a 99 cone.
With more displays and projections than ever before you can easily spend a weekend enjoying the lights and the local attractions during the days.
Check out 2016’s illuminations, and check up online for a trail map to follow to see them all! Click here.
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.
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!
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.
Being the largest city in South Africa, And the second largest city in the continent (only beaten by Cairo) you would expect there to be plenty to entertain the tourists that pass though however before I arrived I thought I might struggle to find things to do and was I proved wrong! I wanted to share my top tips on what to see and do while in Jozi.
Lebos Soweto Bicycle Tours
Located in the famous south western township (otherwise known as soweto) This little hostel located in the area of Orlando West within SOWETO host daily bicycle tours in the local area. Taking you out for either 2 or 4 hours your tour guides will lead you though the houses of Orlando and take you to the main sights in the local area, Including Nelson Mandela’s house and the Hector Pieterson museum. Your tour includes lunch and they are more than happy to stop while you take photos, Trust me your phone/camera will be glued to your hands! On a side note for those not looking exert themselves Lebos also offer Tuk Tuk tours in which you can be driven around in their awesome Tuks Tuks with a guide (As shown below!)
Prices start from 430rand for a 2 hour cycle. Tours can be prearranged online here.
Valakazi Street & Nelson Mandela’s House
The only street in the world which can lay claim to once being the home or not 1 but 2 Nobel Prize winners; Desmond Tutu & Nelson Mandela, Possibly the most famous street in Johannesburg is a must see while in the area. With dining options and local bars you can easily people watch from the outdoor Terrence’s and order some authentic local South African cuisine.
Although Nelson’s family no longer live at 8115 the building has been turned into a museum for guests to see the humble beginnings the legacy started from and hear the meaningful life he lived. Nelson donated the house to the Soweto Heritage Trust on
1 September 1997 and asked for it to be kept as a museum for people to visit and learn.
It truly is a unforgettable moment and hearing the guides stories, showing us the bullet holes that still exist in the structure is heart breaking.
Entrance starts at 40rand per person. Learn more online here.
Hector Pieterson Museum & Memorial
On June 16, 1976, Soweto high school students took to the streets in a peaceful protest against the sub-standard education in black schools but on the way to the stadium, they were met by the apartheid police. One of the first to be killed by the police was 12-year-old Hector Pieterson. The soon iconic image of Pieterson’s body being carried with his sister running alongside.
The memorial was opened by Nelson Mandela in the early 1990’s and the museum followed in the early 00’s. With an aim to persevere the memory of the events of the day, there are a collection of eye witness statements, pictures and historical documents and certainly plays an important part of South African history.
Another museum that may interest you if you would like yo learn more about the apartheid in South Africa you can visit the museum on Cnr Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road. Learn more here
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Look no further than the SOWETO suburb of Orlando west! With the option of Bungee, Free-fall (yes you read that right, Check out the videos online on the link below) tower climbing and paint balling this place have it all. With a new cash free policy all bookings must be pre-booked online with a debit or credit card.
Check out there website for more information, videos and booking links here.
After spotting an advertisement for a lunch time special we decided to give it a try. For 109 CZK you could try their 2 course menu. With a different curry on offer each day with the deal it does mean you cant be fussy, but for £3 each you can’t complain! They mix up the days with a vegetarian then meat option the next. We dinned and had the Sag Chicken which was very tasty and within the deal you receive a portion of rice and a desert of Kheer; Saffron flavoured Indian Rice Pudding.
Both were very tasty, and for only £3 it is a bargain! This worked out as our cheapest meal/snack while we were travelling in Prague and considering it’s Old Town Square location it is a great lunch stop off!
(They also offer a 3 course dinner menu for only 399 CZK, £11 each. However this is an all meat dinner, And when I asked about vegetarian alternatives there didnt seem to be another option)
Oh my good God! This place is amazing! We had walked pasted twice before I gave in and we tried to get a table, with the choice of an hour and a half wait or perch on the end of someones larger my rumbling stomach got the better of me and we crashed crashed a group of young girls meal out.
The restaurant is casual dinning and perfect for a quick meal, lunch or dinner. But be warned there isn’t many seats and does fill up quickly so book ahead where you can.
Burgers were good value between 205 – 285 ck although they don’t come with Fries on the side and are purchased separately, we ordered a portion between the two of us and it was plenty with the massive burger each. Admittedly we spent more on the selection of dips to go with them than the actual Fries with Chipotle and refried beans….
We stubbled across this cutesy little place while wandering down all the little cobbled streets around the Old Town Square and was so glad we chose to dine here.
The menu is a selection of Italian dishes, although personally I don’t think I could of been tempted away from the pizzas after seeing them delivered to others tables and went straight to that section of the menu!
Located right next to the astronomical clock in the old town square.
After a day wandering we happened upon Las Adelitas after noticing a sign leading into a building, Hidden within an alley way in the basement this place can be easily missed. Having only just eaten we chose to eat here the following night and booked a table, Which we were lucky to have done as this seems to be the in place and was heaving, Which just added to the atmosphere! We devoured the menu and settled on Burritos and Flautas which were served as something similar to an enchilada. After a small issue with the arrival of mine (which the staff fixed flawlessly and professionally) we enjoyed what might of been my favourite Mexican, and thanks to the staff we were offered the chance to have a pudding free of charge.
I have to add a special mention as I thought the décor and atmosphere here really makes the restaurant something special, Having travelled through Mexico I really think they have grasped the Mexican vibes and was thoroughly impressed! Even if you are only after a tasty cocktail after dinner elsewhere this place is sure to please!
*Trdelnik – “tr-del-nik”
Okay so I had so many of these sweet treats I lost my mind a little, I think I tried one very time we walked past a stall! They are very moreish!
So you are probably wondering what I am on about right now… These sweet treats, Sometimes referred to as a chimney cake are hollow sweet pastry/bread rolls. They are made by rolling out thin strips of dough and are rolled around a wooden stick and then are cooked on coal fires then are lathered in butter, sugar, chocolate and often Almonds or Walnuts and served piping hot… Don’t trick yourself into thinking they are anything less than 600 kcals for something as little as these!
They are the perfect street snack as they rip apart in the spiral it is cooked and be torn into bite-sized pieces. We found them in various different ways from Nutella in the middle to ice cream! All forms are mega tasty so don’t miss out on these!
On my first visit to Australia we flew with Cathay Pacific whom’s home base is in Hong Kong, Being a savy saver I had researched online that with a British passport we were able to leave the airport should we have a long transit*. Booking our flights to arrive at 6am and then not to depart earlier than 10pm it gave us the right amount of time for a visit to the city.
Already knowing about the Disneyland in Hong Kong it was my mission to convenience my mum and sister this was how we should spend our day! Luckily for me the Disneyland resort and Hong Kong airport are located on the same island of Lantau it means it would only take 25 minutes to arrive. On the morning we arrived we caught a taxi from the airport to the park, Which had I of done more research on we could of travelled by MTR (train) directly from the airport on the Disneyland Resort Line at Sunny Bay Station which travels from early morning until late night for a fraction of the price! Timetables of the train can be found here online
We arrived at the park way before entry was admitted into the park, With little other choice we decided to use the free transportation to the Disneyland Hotel where we booked onto a breakfast with the characters. I hadn’t done that even as a child (even though I visited Disney Orlando more than 7 times while under 16) because the price is always expensive, However we decided to spoil ourselves and £30 spent later we had access to the Enchanted Garden Restaurants all you can eat buffet and I finally got to try the Mickey shaped pancakes and waffles I have lusted over… And Mickey even came over while I was eating to point them out!
Now finally getting onto the park! This is possibly one of the smaller of the Disney parks, and was more along the lines of Disneyland Paris before they opened the Walt Disney Studios Park. However I had read online they offer a transit ticket, which as long as you have your boarding pass as evidence of you departing within 72 hours they would take 40% off the day price for you reducing the price from 539HKD (£47) to 250HKD (£25) and as I mentioned before we were only in the country for 16 hours we received this discount which I felt made the park much better value!
Personally I feel like the smaller the park is the more it reminds me of being a child again! I mean it’s not often in my adult life I am as excited about riding the carousel than when I’m at Disney! There are still a few big rides, Like the Runaway Mine Train, Space Mountain and the RC Racer, but ultimately this park is filled with the classics, “It’s a small world”, Dumbo the flying elephant and Mad Hatters tea cups.
What the park might lack in big thrills the park is filled to the brim with interactive attractions and shows, Which were great to get away from the humidity in Hong Kong… And apparently a snooze for all, As most shows we went into watch people were taking advantage of a quick 40 winks before heading back out in the parks! With a Lion King and Beauty and the Beast show happening while I was there we had sneak peeks into the Broadway style shows.There is also heaps of opportunity to meet your favourite characters with loads of appearances throughout the day in the different lands of the park.
Plan your trip using Disneyland’s fantastic online interactive website here.
* This should always be double checked with your airline / travel agent before arranging any land based activities, and can depend on your nationally to ensure no visa is required!
After being lucky enough to spend a week in this beautiful city I wanted to share my top places to see and go while in Amsterdam!
The red light district
I understand there is a lot to be said about one of the oldest districts in the city but it is not to be missed! Join on to a tour if your concerned about visiting in the evening but I don’t think it’s any worse than walking around any city center! Make sure you visit some of the local bars, but skip the coffee shops… Expect high prices for a dive shop.
one top tip is to visit the red lights secrets museum which shares knowledge from the sex workers and even gives you a chance to see how it feels sitting in the windows for yourself!
People Watch in Dam Square
People watching is one of my favourite hobbies and having the tables set out facing the street must of been thought of by someone else whom is nosey! There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants where you can get your fill and easily pass away the hours… Made even cuter with the blankets provided by the bars ect to wrap around your legs, it really helps tick off the cliché European city must do!
Check out a diamond factory
There are a few open factories to the public as Amsterdam is well known as one of the worlds most famous diamond cuttings, Even with its own cut the ‘Gassan’ opens it’s doors to the public to teach you a thing or two about a girls best friend. The tours are usually free during 9am until 4pm and will teach you a little more about how a Diamond gets it’s grading and will show you what our little gems started out like. Check out the tours online here.
Completely different to your usual river cruise I found the canal cruises really exciting! I am biased I suppose as I will always do a river cruise no matter the city I am in, but seeing Amsterdam from a completely different point of view was almost peaceful in comparison to the what can be chaotic streets above. With over 100 kilometres of waterways it is a maze behind the madness and will take you down streets you wouldn’t have passed otherwise.
For some fun shopping avoiding the tourist trap that is Kalverstraat (just behind Dam Square, where you will find a million H&M’s and Forever 21) have a wander around the Jordaan district. Here you will find lots of independent shops, bars, coffee shops and restaurants. We spent hours one rainy afternoon ducking in and out of the shop while waiting for the clouds to pass. Check out the shops here.
Visit A ‘Coffee shop’
I don’t think there are many people who would visit Amsterdam without visiting a Coffee shop at least once… And I don’t mean for a hot drink 😉 We only visited one while in Amsterdam and chose to have a ‘space cake’ rather than smoke. There are coffee shops all over the city and are recognisable by a white and green sticker in the window, and means they sell marijuana. The most popular are the Greenhouse thanks to it’s famous guests, The Bulldog as this is considered the first ‘coffee shop’ most are located in the dam square and red light district areas, and generally your nose will point you in the right direction. Although not legal in the country these coffee shops some how escape the laws and are able to sell to the public, but by law these establishments are not allowed to sell alcohol… Personally I think this a responsible choice and theoretically means there is less alcohol abuse in the country.
Visit the Conomerie
Fancy giggling like a school girl at the sight of a condom? Head to this superstore where size doesn’t matter, and can make your favourite condoms to order to your own size? This quirky and funny shop is located just off dam square near the red light district. Even the window display draws in the crowds, with a statue of liberty and a zebra condom. Check out their website here.
Anne Franks House
Again this is not something that should be missed while in the home city of the famous Anne Frank. After hiding from the Nazis in the annex of her fathers office this space is now open to the public and you are able to step behind the bookcase and take the narrow staircase to where she was a prisoner in her own home.
To avoid the long queues it is advisable to pre book on-line before hand, however when I tried to do so the website kept advising the dates I wanted to travel were not on sale. We arrived an hour before they stopped allowing entry and walked straight in.
Located behind the Rijksmuseum this now iconic sign-age has been instagramed a thousand times, but join the masses with your own photo. This is also the location for one of the outdoor ice skating rinks in the winter, which the second I saw I had to get on. I love an outdoor rink… Nothing feels more like Christmas is coming.
Amsterdam Sex Museum
Probably the most random of museum i have ever visited… Spread over three house in a labyrinth of staircases this museum is the oldest of its kind, with an extensive collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and even attractions. For the 4 euro admission it is a strange attraction to visit, but when in Dam and all that!
Do A Free Walking Tour
Arriving into Amsterdam we had no clue where anything was and with the knowledge you get from the tour guide is valuable. We did a tour with Amsterdam 360 and you can read my separate post on them here.
Take A Day Trip
If like me you are planning on staying in Amsterdam for a longer break why not get away from Amsterdam for a day and visit another Dutch city? You can jump on a train from Centraal station and visit the smaller towns of Delft which is famous for its blue and white painted pottery or how about The Hague? Home to the Dutch parliament & Noordeinde Palace. Both are a little more interesting than the better known Rotterdam which is more of an industrial city with very little to sightsee or wander through.With both cities only less than an hours journey they can be easily visited within a day trip with a direct train from Amsterdam.
Van Gogh Museum & Rijksmuseum
Not being a huge fan or art paintings I wasn’t sure how I would get on at Van Gogh, But I knew I couldn’t of been in the city and not visited. Honestly I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed myself. We decided to do the multi media guided tour which was an upgrade of another 5 Euros and I personally think was worth the money. Had some interesting facts and I prefer to be told about the paintings while looking at the rather than having to read the plaques next to them! 😉
Hiring A Bike In Vondelpark
I was a little too nervous to run a muck on the streets of Amsterdam so as an alternative we decided to hire out bikes in the city central park of Vondel. A rainy afternoon seemed like the perfect time and covered in our waterproofs we hired bikes for an hour and explored.