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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The Best Islands To Snorkel Or Dive In Fiji

Albeit known as one of the best places in the world to snorkel and dive, Knowing the islands and destinations to visit in Fiji to get the most out of your trip are key. I wanted to share my knowledge on where to visit for the best diving and snorkelling you can get while travelling in Fiji.

The main island in Fiji, Viti Levu does have diving opportunities however the Yasawas is a underwater haven of tropical fish and coral to you to explore.

 

 

 

Barefoot Kuata Resort

Located only 2 hours away from the Port on an island of the same name; Kuata. Located within a protected marine park you know the offerings at Barefoot Kuata are going to be good. With offering footsteps from the beach for snorkelling you can be transported into a world of diverse ecosystems, Including visiting the local family of white tipped reef sharks whom live within the islands closest reef.

For those interested you can take part in the Shark snorkelling trip to visit the local white tip reef sharks, However if you already own a dive liencse then taking part in the world famous shark dives ($299 per person) in the most popular activity on the island. With opportunities to dive with Bull Sharks (within season, Feb-Nov outside of mating season) but more often than not you can spot Hammerhead Sharks, Tiger Sharks and many more.

First time divers and more advance divers are catered for at the wonderfully run Crystal Blue Reef Safaris, With learn to dive packages and advance diving packages which you can purchase along side your stay on the resort. With promotions running to learn to dive starting from $873 FD per person, it isn’t as cheap as those South East Asian destinations but the reefs here are full of colour and life it would be an achievement to say you completed this somewhere like Fiji!

For those looking to do something different night diving is on offer at Barefoot with the local team to head out, or try your hand at sphere fishing to catch dinner for the island!

If you are looking for something a little different then Barefoot Kuata fits the bill, with accommodation ranging from dorms to private bures it can fit within anyone’s budget.

You can book online directly here, or book through Awesome Adventures here.

 

Mantaray Island Resort

Having stayed on Mantaray for some time I have already wrote it’s own separate blog post which you can check out here! My favourite thing about the resort is no matter how long your stay you pay only once for the rental of your snorkel equipment and is a fixed fee of $10 FD, with over 40 dive sights to visit they really are geared up to those water babies!

You can book directly online here, or through Awesome Adventures here.

 

Barefoot Manta Resort

Yep that’s right, there are two Barefoot resorts within the Yasawa chain, And the third property to make it onto the list is located further north towards the famous blue lagoon diving sight and still within easy access to the Mantaray channel that passes through the Yasawa’s.

For certified divers you will be in your element with more than 20 dive sights to chose from within easy access. If you fancied taking your diving further you are able to work towards you advance dive packages and beyond with the dive masters here. If you are new to diving you can take introductory lessons or complete your dive license here.

Snorkelling and diving with the Manta-rays in the local area can be arranged during the months of May-Aug and to ensure sightings they will head out early morning and wait for the first to be spotted before taking guests,. Meaning if the chances are low you can prepare for a day of sunbathing or another sight rather than wasting time in the channel with no reef and strong currants waiting for something not coming!

The island is rather large and has 3 beaches for guests to chose from, Sunrise, Sunset and Manta Ray giving everyone a little more privacy although you can guess which is busy when!

You can book directly with Barefoot online here or through Awesome Adventures here.

 

South Sea Island

Having stayed at the South Sea Island before I can vouch for the amazing snorkelling in the area, However I did not dive! You can read all about South Sea Island on my seperate review here!

You can book online through Awesome Adventures here but you are not able to book directly with the resort.

 

Botaira Beach Resort

This little exclusive resort only hosts 11 rooms keeping things more personal, and is only 3 hours away from Nadi on the largest island in the Yasawa’s, Naviti Island. With a western setting you can be assured you are going to be spoilt when it comes to sunset views!

Sitting firmly in the centre of the chain of islands means it gives Boraira easy access to a handful of reefs for snorkelling and diving, One of the most famous is the Manta-ray channel that passes close by which house guests are taken over to during the dry season May-Aug.

Reef Safaris are responsible for the diving and snorkelling activities that happen on the island and can cater to any sized group and any ability. If you are new to diving you can take part in introductory dives or complete your dive licence, However if snorkelling is more your bag the team at Reef Safaris operate snorkelling trips out on to the many reefs in the area, or you can hire the equipment and spend the day off the house reef footsteps off the beach! If you already dive and have a licence the team will take you to to visit all the glory spots in the area, that prove the claim of diving is the best in Fiji.

You can book directly online here, or through Awesome Adventures here.

 

Coral View Resort

Another island I’ve spent more than some time on, I have wrote a whole post on my experience on Coral View Resort. Check out the post here!

Book direct online here or book through Awesome Adventures here.

 

Nanuya Island Resort

For those looking to spoil themselves on land and below then Nanuya is perfect for those not looking for something a little more lux.

For those looking for some claim to fame this is where the movie ‘Blue Lagoon’ was actually filmed! The beaches are beaut and being in the blue reef from the movie ensures you’ll be able to spot some awesome sights on your trip.

Possibly better suited to a couple than groups or families things are set up for twos, From the dining setting to the message tables those without a partner might feel a little left out! With some of the most vibrant and dramatic sunsets I have witness Nanuya is a little gem.

With diving packages to the blue lagoon and beyond again the dive team are able to arrange an array of activities to suit all requirements dependant on the level of skill.

You are able to book online directly with the resort here or book online through Awesome Adventures here.

 

 

If booking through Awesome Adventure check out the pre packaged island stays if you are planning on spending longer in Fiji and fancy seeing more than one island! The packages offer accommodation on a varity of the islands and include all your transportation between on the Yasawa flyer.

 

 

The Best Islands In Fiji For Families

When you think of Fiji tropical islands, crystal clear waters and white beaches come to mind… The next thought? How expensive it must be. As Fiji becomes more available to every budget I wanted to share my top tips for families looking to head over.

As the Yasawa’s are the heart of Fiji and is the most recommended place to visit, I wanted to help those avoid the party islands for the backpackers and find something suitable to families of all ages.

 

Paradise Cove

Winning the 2016 Trip advisor traveller’s choice award Paradise cove is located 3 hours from Port Denarau back on Fiji’s main island. This  little beauty of an island is the perfect location for those with young children who may become bored quickly on the ‘big yellow boat’. With rooms right on the beach they have room sizes that can suit even a large family as a 2 bedroom villa can accommodate up to 6 people.

Meal plans are compulsory and are an additional cost of £65 per adult and £35 per child, Which will include full board meals, Lunch when you arrive to the island, your evening meal and full cooked breakfast. With a changing menu you need not worry about getting bored and as they are able to cater for even the most difficult children or allergy you can be rest assured you will desperate for the next meal!

Paradise cove offer full kids club facilities from ages 3 and upwards. With programmes including indoor and outdoor activities, including things like face painting and crab hunting and for the older children and those which can swim will include things like cooking lessons and snorkelling tours.

Baby sitting services can also be arranged while staying in Paradise cove for an additional fee for those looking to be able to enjoy a dinner alone.

Book online here or through Awesome Adventures here.

 

Blue Lagoon Beach Resort

Suituated within it’s name sake (1980’s movie) the Blue Lagoon Beahc Resort is located 4.5 hours from Port Denarau back on Fiji’s main island. The resort is reasonably new to the game and is suitiable to all guests as they do offer rooms from dorm style to luxury suites. The rooms are still as large, with types to fit up to 2 adults and 4 children or 5 adults sharing.

Meal plans are again an additional compulsory payment on arrival at the resort, at a costing of £45 per adult and £30 per child (5-12yrs) which will include lunch, dinner and breakfast daily while staying at the resort. Mixing things up slightly if staying during the summer season you are treated to a Fijian BBQ or keeping things traditional every Friday evening you are treated to a Lovo meal…. I’ll leave what that is until you arrive. Catering almost all dietary and dietary requirements please just ensure you mention at the time of booking.

The activities and entertainment on offer at the Blue Lagoon Resort made the island as special as it is to me. With choices of movies under the stars, Fijian culture shows, crab racing and band boys made the evenings something special every night (minus Sunday) With plenty happening during the day I felt I never stopped…. Although when I wasn’t running around on various activities you tend to find me in the hammock!

Blue Lagoon offer full kids club for children aged 3 upwards, although those younger are invited to join in on activities when accompanied by a guardian. With similar programmes to that of Paradise Cove (well the are owned by the same company) you are assure the children are well looked after while you top up your tan or enjoy some of the free activities on offer on the island.

With the added offer of children under 5 stay and dine free of charge this little gem works out very well for a budget conscious family.

Book online here or though Awesome Adventures here.

 

Octopus Resort

On the lush green island of Waya the Octopus resort is located only 2.5 hours from Port Denarau back on Fiji’s main island, making this a firm favourite for families with younger children. With some of the largest room types in the Yasawa’s you can sleep up to 8 in one two bedroom family villa.

With lots of activities on offer, Including the popular movies under the stars Octopus Resort have something for everyone. Trying to keep to it’s traditional roots the island has locals living alongside the resort and often host village and school visits , and the woman of the villages coming to the resort to teach basket weaving and jewellery making. The resort hosts it’s own children’s club and runs daily all year round free of charge for children over the age of 3yrs.

Daily activities are in place and run the same days of the week, with the Octopus Olympics, Kava nights, and discos under the stars parents are able to hire the services of the onsite babysitters and enjoy a childless evening.

Meal plans are payable locally in addition to the room costing, £40 per adult and £25 per child (5-12yrs)

Book online here, Or with Awesome Adventures here.

Nabaua Lodge

Located 4.5 hours from Port Denarau back on Fiji’s main island the Nabua Lodge is located within the Blue Lagoon close the to the Blue Lagoon Resort.

This no frills, Family run accommodation is a favourite for those looking for something a little more remote and traditional Fijian. Without the full facilities like the other resorts on this list, the Nabua lodge is more suited to those with older children unsuitable for the children’s clubs who are happier with adult company. With activities on offer like Kayaking, snorkelling and trekking this suits families who are more active and are happy to provide their own entertainment in the evening.

Although basic the staff are anything but, You can still expect the Fiji sparkle and the can do attitude. As meals are included within the room rate you can ensure a strict budget can be stuck to and still be able to enjoy the tropical Fijian islands.

 

You are more than welcome to take your own snacks to the islands and are not obilgied to purchase addtional snacks or drinks outside of your full board plan. I purchased snacks and bottled water from the supermarket at the port before I boarded the flyer boat.

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.

Tasmania sights

I always find Tasmania is the least blogged about state of Australia, and while I was travelling I found it to be less appealing to others than South Australia?! I wanted to share my top sights to see after my month in Tasmania and see if I can change your opinion of Tasmania.

With most of the activities on the island surrounding the great outdoors I wanted to share my favourite spots on the island and where to capture those ista-worthy shots!

 

Wine Glass Bay

wineglass bay

Located within the Freycinet National Park Wineglass bay got its name from the change of colour in the waters during the Whale slaughters that happened during the 1800’s. Now with its protected national park status you can enjoy a guilt free wonder with a steep 45 minutes uphill from the main car park to wineglass lookout point for views like mine above, then if that’s not enough for you, you can take another walk a mile down to the beach to see the beautiful white sands, Take a dip and maybe spot a wallaby or two dancing along the shores.

(Unlike me try taking a walk in the afternoon while the sun is behind you to stop the darkness on the cliffs in front of!)

 

Bicheno 

bicheno

Spend a night at the seaside town of Bicheno, Located on the east coast visitors flock here in the summer months to catch the best surf on the island, it’s mild year round climate and for its local nature…. The Fairy penguins.

With nightly parades in the local town you can enjoy a more personal experience than that on Philip Island, VIC. Run by locals to protect the wildlife the tours run year round at dusk and give you the opportunity to watch the penguins come in from the waters after a long day and make their way home.  

Other things to do while staying in Bicheno is to head to the famous blowhole to see nature in its glory or head out to the local wineries and have a tasting or two.

 

Bay Of Fires

bay of fires

Located in the north east of Tasmania the Bay Of Fires is a 50km stretch of beach named after the fires made by the local aboriginals, by Captain Tobias Furneaux. With lots of different beaches you can visit I spent a couple of nights in the area trying to get out to a few different ones. My personal favourites are Cozy Corner, The Gardens & along Skeleton Bay.

If you love to walk, you have the opportunity to hike this trail over 4 days and see the whole stretch of beach, camping along the way you can join an organised trip or travel on your own!

 

Cradle Mountain National Park

Cradle Mt

Located in the North West of Taz this huge national park is filled to the brim with sights to see! I’ve chosen two walks at Cradle Mountain to tell you about, Dove Lake walk and Marion’s Lookout.

Marion’s Lookout is shown above in the picture as one of the points on your climb to the top! This is a steep and strenuous walk so is only advised for those with moderate fitness levels, and wanting a climb lasting about 3 hours return.

For those looking for something slower paced or travelling with a family a walk around the lovely Dove Lake is perfect. Taking 2 hours or so this walk takes you through lots of different landscapes which everyone will enjoy. The ballroom forest with it’s fairyland feel is enchanting and will leave you imagining who really lives in the forest! Passing Pencil Pine River you can spend some time trying to spot the elusive platypus and keep your eyes peeled for Wombats as you walk and enjoy the flat, boardwalks.

 

Lake St Clair

lake st clair

Also located with the Cradle Mountain National Park, the deepest lake in Australia is surrounded by lush greenery making a pretty picture! Although we were unable when we visited if your feeling brave enough to jump in the cold waters go for it! The lake does not have it’s own lifeguards so please be careful and watch over others.

 

Russell Falls

russell falls

You can’t come all the way to Tasmania and not see the two most famous waterfalls of the State! First up is Russell Falls located within the Mt Field national park, on an easy 20 min stroll you will find yourself passing through what could be mistaken as Jurassic Park! The pathway leading to the falls will leave you in awe as you gaze up to the skyline above you enclosed by trees and ferns, It certainly took me longer than the advise 20 minutes as I couldn’t stop taking photos.

 

Montezuma Falls

montezuma falls

Located on the West Coast Montezuma Falls are the highest waterfalls in Tasmania at a staggering 104 meters. This easy walk on mostly flat path will take you to the base of the falls leading you through the rainforest of giant tree ferns following parts of the old bridge which you wouldn’t believe once was there. Part of the journey is along a one path metal bridge which is the best part of your walk right next to the falls but for those scared of heights this might be the point of your return!

 

Henty Dunes

Henty Sand Dunes

Located within driving distance of Strahan in the West coast of Tasmania the 30 meter high dunes are calling your name to race down or toboggan down! Created by high winds brought in from South America the dunes are always growing. Hiring a toboggan locally is the easy…. Climbing to the top to slide back down is the hard part!

If you aren’t sure you want to race down on the toboggans try your hand at dune running, just make sure you always run in a diagonal line!

 

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Located half an hours drive away from Hobart this none for profit organisation is a fun afternoon out for all. With the elusive Tasmanian Devil in the park you can see how unlike it’s cartoon counterpart it really looks like! The park has free roaming Kangaroos you can purchase food for and feed, Look at the little joey I spotted in it’s mothers pouch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The What’s What Of Gili Trawangan

Located only a few hours by fast boat from Bali this Indonesian isle is famous for its nightly parties and stunning beaches, Often referred to as the party island or simply Gili T.

Having recently returned from Bali and spending some time on the popular Indian ocean island of Gili Trawangan I wanted to share my top tips of how to spend your time while travelling.

 

Turtle Conservation

A humble offering of insight to the life of the local turtles surrounding the islands, This little spot plays a huge part to the local wildlife numbers. Nesting does not happen on the Gili islands, the guys who run the site actually rescue the eggs from the island of Lombok where it is considered a local delicacy. They allow the turtles to hatch as naturally as possible given the circumstances and allow them a safe home while they grow (to 10 months) before releasing them in to the wild. Often the public are invited to such an occasion, normally happening in September of each year and for a small fee can release them. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the conservation programme and the allowance of the public to be involved, however speaking to a few of the workers changed that by advising how little they would be able to raise if this was not an occurrence. Please give generously when visiting and take the time to read the information board they have provided to explain the necessity of the programme.

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Lookout View Point

Located in the southern part of the island this view point will take you to the highest point of the island, and give you an incredible view of the sunsets you will grow to expect while staying on the islands. A steep but short walk will take you to the top of the hill and opens into a clear grass area where you can enjoy a sun-downer or two before the sun settles behind the sea. Be sure to leave quickly afterwards as it will become dark very quickly.

There are two paths you can take to get to the top of the island. I recommend coming from the south path which is more of a scramble up and is located next to the stud horse farm and then come back down the path near happy house as this has more steps (although if it was like anything when we travelled some of the steps are inaccessible so you will need to detour from the path a couple of times.

 

Sunset At The Exile

If like me you don’t always want to have to work for the rewards I highly recommend getting yourself to The Exile. Located on the southern tip of the island this little beach bar was my favourite place we stopped. After cycling past and see the fun bean bags and colourful umbrellas I was sold. Approaching the beach I saw they had a sea swing and my day was complete! With a great Indonesian menu and cheap drinks I was happy in my pink bean bag and spent the whole day watching the world go by and waiting for the sunset.

After a day at the bar, with lunch, soft drinks, Bintangs and sunset snacks our bar bill was only 270,000 (£15 between the two of us)

Hiring Bikes

Cycling around the island is the best way to get around, and is the best way to avoid the horse and carriages on the island. Hiring a bike can start at 25,000 (£3) for 1 hour but you are able to barter your way down on a full day cost. We paid 100,000 (£6) for us both for about 30 hours of hire. We didn’t feel the need to barter further than that and were happy with the price we paid. Please remember they do need to make some form of a living!

Cycling around the island is super easy, pick whether you would like to start north or south… then go! There is one main road that takes you around the whole island and in an hour/ hour and a half you’ll be back to where you started. Don’t the scared about travelling down the side streets all roads will take you to the beach and you’ll be able to catch your bearings.

The best beaches for snorkelling are located in the north of the island avoiding the boat paths, And the more popular beaches along the west coast of the island are best for sunbathing and something a little more peaceful.

 

Spa Treatments 

Where else in the world would you expect to have high serviced beauty saloons and rock bottom prices than in south east asia, and Bali/Gili will not disappoint. You have your pick of the salons along the east side of the islands all offering similar prices and services you really are spoilt for choice. I treated myself one rainy afternoon to a pedicure, manicure and full body massage for only 250,000 (£15)

 

Sama Sama Bar

One of my favourites along the east coast, Sama Sama have a nightly reggae band for your easy listening. Perfection to me is nothing more than a cool beer and a beat to sway to. I loved the atmosphere in this bar and my favourite for a couple of evening drinks.

 

Movies On The Beach

You have a few choices for the evening movie entertainment schedule with Villa Ombak (located on the east coast) Jessica’s Homestay (located on the east coast) Think open air cinema screens with bean bags, fresh popcorn and free of charge wave sound effects. Each of the hotels advertise the offerings of the day and normally have 2 nightly showings.

 

Gili T Night Markets

Just opposite the harbour are the nightly night markets of Gili T. A foodies delight, these markets are set up daily from 7 until 10 pm and where you will find the cheapest food on the island. With fresh Indonesian dishes to choose from be sure to grab yourself a seat at the communal dinning benches and soak up the atmosphere.

 

Shisha 

Treat yourself to a real Boho evening of Sisha at a few bars along the east coast strip. Aptly named horizontal is bean bags and low tables ideal for those looking for a couple of drinks and some fun flavoured shisha. Another popular bar is Pesona further south along the east coast.

My Recommendations Of Places To Dine In Senggigi, Lombok

Having spent a week in Lombok recently I wanted to share my top places to dine while staying in Senggigi!

La Chill Bar

Located on the most southern end of Senggigi’s main road La Chill is the ‘place to be seen’ with lush surroundings and located in a prime sunset viewing spot La Chill is as its most busiest as the sun goes down. We arrived at 5pm and treated our selves to a couple of cocktails before dining after the sunset. Prices were the most expensive we had seen on the island so far, But comparing them to back home it is still cheaper!

Budget – £££

You can book a table online through the website here.

 

Taman 

Located on the main road in Senggigi this ever popular diner was always filled when we passed so we took a look at the menu to see what we were missing out on! The menu was varied and had a mixture of western, Indonesian and Indian dishes, and prices were good with cheaper options for those on a budget.

Honestly my favourite thing about the menu was the Bintang Radler…. Basically flavoured larger with a choice of lime and GRAPEFRUIT!!! Have to say I’ve never been so excited to try a drink, and it did not disappoint it was so moreish! Weirdly I was only able to get this in one other bar after this on Gili T.

Budget = ££

Follow them on facebook by searching Taman Restaurant.

 

Lina

We stumbled across this little delight on our way to La Chill one night and resolved to head back later in our week.

This little hideaway is located right on the beachfront and seemed to be very quiet considering its location. Having compared the prices to other restaurants in the area Lina seemed to be a very cheap comparison!

Focusing on local dishes they were half the price of other local places, with most dishes starting at only a couple of pound.

They also have Bintang special offers for sundowners.

Budget – £

 

The Chandi Resort

After a walk around trying to find some loungers on the beach to rent we came accross the Chandi Resort, Which for 75,000 (approx. £6.50) in a bar tab bill you could hire the loungers for the day and use the bar/ restaurant and bathroom facilities all day. I personally thought it was very good value and meant you had an excuse to not move from your lounger for lunch! I tried the stone baked pizzas and thought they were great! 


Happy Café 

Located on the main road, this is spot always seemed to have live music (every night of the week) which makes it a winner for me! We arrived early and took advantage of the drink offers while reading through the menu. 

When we arrived at 7 pm it was very quiet and once the band started about 9 pm there wasn’t a seat spare in the place. It seems to be very popular and having to turn people away from then. We left at 10:30 pm to head home and the staff seemed confused that we wanted to leave as early as we did…. We were just ready for bed! 😉

Budget = ££

Temptations Bakery

Noticing a pattern where all these recommendations are yet? With everything being on the main road you don’t have to walk far to find the best spots in Senggigi. Luckily/Unluckily for us Temptations was right across the road from our hotel and boy did we take advantage, With a cupcake here and another there it wasn’t long before we’d tried half of the menu between us both.

Although we never ate in nor anything that wasn’t in the beautiful display I did have a chance to read through their menu and the lunch offering they had all looked very good with lots of vegetarian options and even gluten free which I have to admit I hadn’t seen much advertisement on anywhere else.

Budget – £ (Cupcakes and some main dishes)

 

 

I based my budget suggestions for a savvy saver…. With £ = Less than £5 per main course, ££ = Between the values of £5-10 per main course and £££ = Over £10 per main course.

La Plancha, Seminyak. Bali

I had to share the not so secret La Plancha with all my followers!

For our last night in Bali we wanted to treat ourselves (meaning pay on credit card and worry later) We’d read all about Potato Head and as much as I wanted to go I didn’t think visiting one of the most popular bars on the island was high on my list of places to visit, I wanted to try somewhere without the snobbery and the hype, Low and behold we found La Plancha.

Located on the beach between Jl. Dhyanapura & 66 road it is nestled between a few other bars offering similar set ups, However I had already been to a bar owed by the same people and knew if it was even slightly similar I would enjoy it.

We had pre booked a table on facebook a few days beforehand and were advised there is a 250,000 IDR minimum spend to do so (approx. £15 at the time of my travels) Which we were happy to do. The menu is not extravagant and is mostly bar food but the portions are good and overall the prices are not as expensive as the Potato Head.

My favourite part of the evening watching the sunset in the distance, Listening to a playlist I couldn’t of put together better myself enjoying some of the best cocktails of my whole trip!

 

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Johannesburg Things To See And Do

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

 

Orlando Towers

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.

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)