My Top Things To See & Do In Queenstown, New Zealand

Chances are you’ve already heard of Queenstown. The adrenaline capital of New Zealand, here you’ll be able to throw yourself out of planes, off bridges and be thrown about in the Shotover river in the speedboat tours.

Having spent my days with adventure and as much relaxation as possible I wanted to share my favourite things to see and do…

Milford Sound

Being one of the closest, most populated towns to the lakes you’ll be sure to see all the advertisements for the trips to the most famous fjords in the Southern Hemisphere.

Milford is located approx. 3/4 hours away in the Fjordlands so is a big trip out!

I headed out with Jucy on their ‘Sunriser’ trip and with a 5:25am pick up I was seriously regretting not going for their late option but boy was I glad I did. To be honest I slept the whole way out so time passed without much worry but when we arrived there was very few other boats on the water allowing us to feel alone with the world in one of the greatest natural wonders.

Be sure not to miss this, it’s an incredible chance to see a world heritage sight and is often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. With the added possibility to spot seals, penguins, dolphins or even whales along the way.

Prices start from $125 with return transfers.

Book direct with Jucy here online.

Onsen Hot Pool

So this was a little splurge and having seen pictures online I knew if I never went back and hadn’t been I’d live to regret it…. Money’s only money right & I was there to earn for these things.

I booked a morning session and work up to sunshine which was fantastic. When booking if choosing an hour slot (starting on the hour) then you are able to use the free shuttle bus they have to get you back and forth from Queenstown as it is located about 10 mins outside the city.

The onsen is your own for the hour and comes with a retractable roof so get the most of the spectacular views over the Shotover River, occasionally you’ll see the boating passing by.

Now I’ve been I am desperate to go back, although maybe this time I’ll book the evening special with the lanterns! (Swoon)

Prices start from $80 a pool.

Book direct online here.

Luge And Gondola

I’d been seeing this all over my Facebook before I arrived and knew I had to go. There’s 2 options here, walk up and save yourself $30 odd dollars by not travelling up on the gondola and purchase the luge tickets separately (chair lift is included to the very top) or if you’d prefer the quickest option then you can purchase a bundle with the gondola included. Prices can vary so be sure to check out all the options, I purchased 2 luge rides and the return gondola for $49 however there are deals for 5+ rides with the return trip up from $50. Be sure to check out my post here on how to save money while your travelling in New Zealand.

Saturday Markets

If your travelling during the summer months be sure to check out the local markets, get yourself prepared for winter with some m wool hats/gloves/socks or some art work. Even if your budget won’t stretch to souvenir purchases a morning stroll won’t do any harm?

Jetboats

Okay, so if you’ve not seen them plastered all over any NZ arrival adverts then let me fill you in. New Zealand has a thing for adrenaline and these speed boats are basically stunt boats with passengers, you’ll be racing, spinning and simply thinking your going to crash into something the driver neatly avoids.

They are great fun, but not for the weak stomached. To be honest there are so many companies in queenstown offering a very similar experience and I chose mine based on location and price. (Check out my post here about saving while travelling)

Sunset On The Lake

Probably very cliché but honestly one of the best ways to end your days is to grab a dinner to take to the lake and eat from your lap watching the sunset between the glorious mountain ranges.

You’ll find everyone down here from about an hour before sunset with entertainment even. Grab a $5 dominos, a cider and enjoy the calls of the waters and be sure to have your camera close by!

I did all these activities alone as I am a solo traveller, Don’t think any are not worth doing alone as you’ll only regret it. Sure things are always fun to share with others but sometimes you just don’t have the chance, be sure to check out your hostels notice board as they may arrange day trips locally and you can join with others and make a friend or two!

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My Favourite Sydney Markets

Having lived in Sydney for over a year I wanted to share my best loved weekend pastimes and give you all the needed info on the best markets Sydney has to offer for a wide variety of needs.

So in no particular order….

The Rocks Markets

If your looking for something a little different and want to be in the most luxurious setting then The Rocks is just the ticket. Home to the oldest settlement of Sydney, just by the harbours edge these markets go all out bringing you some of the best local produce.

Often purchasing direct from the designer/Artist where else better to look for your souvenirs for back home?  With ranges of dresses, one off jewellery and original art works and prints you’ll be sure to find something.

These are definitely the prettiest of all the markets, splayed out across the cobblestone streets and with glimpses of the opera house be sure to spend some time in the Rocks to explore the beautiful area!

The rocks markets are held Saturday & Sunday with a food market held on Friday evenings. Be sure to check out there website here for timings and seasonal variations. You’ll find the markets at the most Northern end of George Street, The Rocks.

Glebe Markets

If your looking for a more traditional trash and treasure (or a car boot for the British) then this is just the ticket. With second hand goods for sale amongst stall holders you’ll be able to spend hours looking through racks of clothing, books and CDs/records and new designs at this hip open air markets.

With food for sale and even an area to try on clothing you’ll easily be able to will away a couple of hours.

Be sure to check out the local area while these, Glebe is a hot pot for independent restaurants, bars and stores and is one lovely long road taking you to Glebe park and the foreshore for some lovely views out over the water.

You’ll find the Markets every Saturday morning at the public school located at 183 Glebe point road. Be sure to check out there website here for timings and seasonal variations. 

Manly Arts And Crafts Market

A market with a view, Manly’s markets are held just off the beach front, perfect for those who are wishing to enjoy a sunny day on the coast.

With stalls selling prints and art, jewellery and hand made leather goods is is often my first stop when bringing visitors and for when I need to treat myself to a new piece of jewellery. I’ve just brought my third ring in as many years and they are all still in beautiful condition even with wear everyday.

Getting to Manly may be a little more difficult than some of my other recommendations but I do thing Manly is a must do while in Sydney! – Be sure to take the walk to Shelly beach and see if you can spot any Eastern water dragons!

If you are lucky enough to be visiting for on the third Saturday of the month then head round the corner to Manly Public School for their markets. A trash and treasure you’ll be able to kix with the ‘real’ locals and help the school in their fundraising.(Located only a few moments walk away on the corner of Darley Road and Wentworth Street.)

Manly markets are held on Saturdays & Sunday’s on the corner of Market Lane & Sydney street. once off the ferry follow the signage to the beach and you’ll find them half way down. Be sure to check out there website here for timings and seasonal variations.

Sydney’s Paddy’s Markets

Likely the largest you’ll find in Sydney Paddy’s indoor markets are chockablock of stalls selling everything from art prints, key rings and novelty t-shirts. Held Wednesday to Sunday there’s no need to rush trying to time your days right, you can pop in for some release from the heat/rain.

They may be a little tacky but you’ll be sure to find something for anybody here! I’ve brought a ton of art and prints from here which all hangs proudly on my walls at home.

Paddy’s markets are held Wed-Sun and located on the corner of Thomas & Hay streets, Haymarket. Be sure to check out there website here for timings and seasonal variations.

Arriving Into Hong Kong

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.

Read up more online here.

Then get yourself out there and explore Hong Kong, posts to be loaded shortly about things to do in Hong Kong.

Batu Caves, Malaysia 

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.

Top tips

* 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.

India Clothing Guide For Women

After spending the last couple of weeks in India I wanted to help those overwhelmed with their upcoming trip as I had been only just before.

After hearing numerous stories and seeing a large misconception from my own experiences,  I’d heard about women travelling alone and feeling uncomfortable in public and I can hand on heart advise this was not the case for me and I saw what I would only describe as beachwear being worn in the larger cities of New Delhi and Jaipur!

Now first things first, You are going to be looked at. It’s normal, we all love to people watch and the locals are no different. Depending on where you are visiting they may have never seen a red head/blonde *insert something about your self here* before and you must just learn to take it in your stride.

Yes you must dress modestly. However this is all relative to each!

Maxi skirts will become your best friend if they aren’t already, You’ll be thankful when it comes to using the roadside/attraction public squat toilets. I didn’t find this attracted anymore attention than usual either.

Keeping to the culture keeping your shoulders and knees covered is the best way to show respect and be comfortable. Cotton and light coloured clothing in those hot summer months are also best advised!

For me I had plenty of tshirts and blouses which kept my chest covered and shoulders off display and topped up my stash with a quick visit to primark.

Has anyone else been before? How did you feel and what did you wear?

Places To Vist From Ubud, Bali

Located in the uplands of Bali only 2 hours from the popular coastal resort, Ubud sits pretty amongst Bali’s most famous landscapes.

Most may recognise Ubud from Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ the picture however is a little different from that you will find when you arrive. Having built on the back of the tourism with the books popularity there now is much more than perceived in the movie, Not that this doesn’t better benefit the local communities it does mean you won’t fall off the beaten track as she does in the movie.

Having recently visited I wanted to share my top not to miss tips to show how you can get off the beaten track!

 

Tegenungan Village Waterfall

Located only a short drive from Ubud plan a day to visit the beautiful falls, As it is only a short drive and a small entry fee (10,000) plan a full day here to give you time to climb down and spend some time in the waters. Although a steep climb is is not as far as it appears! As we were on a day trip we only got long enough to visit for a photo stop however we’d of liked to spend a long morning there, Taking a slow walk back to the restaurants and stalls along the entrance and car park before we headed home.

 

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Tirta Empul (Holy Spring Temple)

With so many great places to visit in Ubud a couple of days in the town will not go a miss! Tirta Empul or for the tourists known as the holy spring temple is a place where the local Hindus are able to self cleanse the mind and soul using the holy waters in the natural springs within the temple. It was super interesting to obverse each person ‘cleansing’ themselves and there was nowhere I felt as calm while I travelled in Bali.

Entrance was approx 15,000 per person and it does included a sarong hire (bring your own if you wish to use the cleansing pools)

Plan to spend a hour or two to enjoy all on offer, and to capture photos. There is some of the most beautiful architecture I’ve seen and I spent ages trying to capture the intricate details.

On a side note if you were looking to get some shopping done and knick-knack shopping done the market maze on your exit is the place to go! You can enter the markets without having entered the temples so if temples aren’t your thing check out the stores. They have the same produce as the markets in Ubud market but the ladies here see a lot less visitors in the same space of time so get less trade. I brought so much while I shopped I spent my daily budget within 15 mins.

 

 

Tegallalang

Often seen blazoned across the front of the Bali guide books the rice terraces in Bali are unmissable. Only a very short drive from Ubud you enter into the small village set around the planting fields.

As one of the more recognised this unbelievably is located on the side of the main through road, Surrounded by shops and restaurants, It feels so out of place. When we travelled the fields had just been recently cut back so it wasn’t as spectacular as I’d seen in previous photos and it turns out had we arrived only a day before this wouldn’t be the case (ask your hotel and local drivers as they’ll be able to advise locally the last time it was cropped)

You must pay an entry fee when arriving in the village, and is a per car/motorcycle and less than £2. You then are free to scramble in the fields and capture as many photos as you would like.

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Goa Gajah (Elephant Temple)

Located only 6kms from Ubud this beautiful carved cave is not to miss if you are looking to include some culture in your trip to Bali.

Somewhat misleading the Elephant temples name comes from the intricate carvings on the entrance into the medication cave. You can easily spend an hour or two and hire a local guide on arrival to talk you through the history of the temple and it’s historical purpose for the locals of Indonesia.

Entry is approx. 10,000 per person

If you are after shopping the markets surrounding the temple are a great place to grab a bargain. The stall holders get less trade here due to the lack of visitors so make the most of an afternoon and give your money into the local communities and grab your self a treat or two.

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Please remember as when visiting any local religious sites and small communities to dress appropriately. This will mean ladies covering their arms and legs while in the vicinity. As the weather can get humid I recommend wearing a t-shirt with a pair of shorts and purchasing a sarong from the local traders to use as a wrap up and cover your legs.

 

All prices are quoted in local currency and based on an exchange rate correct at the time of posting. £1 is equal to 17,000 IDR

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.  

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 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.