Kiwi Experience: South Island

17990171_10212859656628463_5775142417002948905_o.jpgAfter a rocky three-hour ferry journey to the South Island and a few hours on the bus I arrived in the small town of Kaiteriteri. With two nights booked, I planned to visit the Abel Tasman National Park but because the weather was forecast to be awful the following day (thanks Cyclone Debbie) I didn’t set an alarm for the bus which takes you there. As a girl from Scotland I should have known not to trust the weatherman because as you guessed it, I opened the curtains and the sun was finally shining. Instead of going on a scenic hike I checked out the beach and somehow ended up taking a strangers dog for a walk so that was fun.

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Westport Beach

By the time I’d arrived in Westport we had to rush back onto the bus to catch the beautiful sunset by the beach. Although Westport is famous for surfing, I had no plans to go surfing in the dark so I spent my evening socialising over a bottle of wine…very exciting.

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Lake Mahinapua

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Lake Mahinapua Hotel Costume Room

On the way to Lake Mahinapua we stopped to find a fancy dress costume for our ‘Under The Sea’ theme. We stayed at the Lake Mahinapua Hotel which is infamous for Kiwi Experience backpackers getting dressed up and pissed every night.  If you ever visit you’ll find me in the photo album on April 8 2017 as a big submarine – I clearly didn’t get the memo about dressing sexy. Unfortunately with the paint not drying on time my costume spent most of its night drying next to the fireplace before I ruined anyone else’s costume. The hostel also has a jade carving workshop where you can pick a piece of stone and carve it yourself for $20. As you can see below, I created my very own Harry Potter necklace. 17814634_10212827779391552_9095229993038384720_o17904014_10212827784031668_8239024888873418032_n To stay at the hostel it’s a whopping $55 NZD a night so you’ll be glad to hear the unlimited roast dinner and breakfast which they provide is pretty darn tasty! However, if you’re not on the Kiwi Experience bus I’d save money by just checking out the lake whilst on route to Franz Josef.

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Franz Josef Glacier

Only two hours down the road was Franz Josef where I stayed for three nights at the Franz Josef Rainforest Retreat. As Kiwi Experience describe it: “Franz Josef is the northern gateway to Te Wahipounamu, the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage area. The region includes Aoraki/Mount Cook, Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring, the Fiordland National Parks, and surrounding conservation lands”.17903463_10212827727870264_1446113800021985135_n

Seeing as I was in such a beautiful place I booked the Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike with Kiwi Experience at a lovely discounted price of $370 instead of $460.  Apparently 75% of the time the hike gets cancelled due to the weather-not because a little rain will hurt you (you get wet on the glacier)-but because if it’s too cloudy the pilot can’t see where they are flying.  Thankfully the weather was nice and because I was the lightest of the group I was seated next to the pilot…best view in the house! In total you spend around 3 hours on the glacier with an informative guide.  The package also includes all of your hiking gear (as you can see it wasn’t too big for me at all) and free access to the hot pools which is amazing after an icy morning!

Skydive Fox Glacier: If you have ever met me you’d know that skydiving is something that I’ve always said I’d love to do but would never actually do it. However, travelling is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and doing crazy scary things – fear is all in your head. Plus with Skydive Fox Glacier being rated as one of the most scenic places in the world to go skydiving I didn’t really have an excuse for not throwing myself out of a plane.  17952957_10212859603267129_6388242501303158118_nI am not even going to lie, I was terrified beforehand (as you can see from this lovely picture) and began to question why I didn’t just stay on the bus! However, the staff were very reassuring and made everyone feel at ease about the whole process. The funniest thing about it all was when I was hanging out of the plane I didn’t feel scared any more, I just looked down and accepted that I was about to go flying oot! Free-falling is such a surreal and amazing experience, everything you were worrying about beforehand just goes out of your head, you’re flying and enjoying every second of it! well, 50 seconds of free-fall to be precise.
17991427_10212859625267679_1673728186789692721_oThe only downside was that when the parachute went up my ears popped really badly and the pain lasted for a good few days but I survived the fall and got to glide the parachute so it’s okay. The total cost of skydiving at 13,000ft including the video, photos and a free t-shirt was $480…these skydiving companies sure know how to get rich quick!! I know it would have been more “cool” to have jumped at 16,000ft instead of 13,000ft but to free-fall for 65 seconds instead of 50 seconds would have cost an extra $100…gotta save money y’know! However, if you’re thinking about doing it, just do it! it’s such a sense of achievement.

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Fox Glacier

After Franz Josef I spent four nights in Wanaka where I’d planned to do lots of hiking but instead I spent most of my days in bed, eating lots of chocolate and feeling sorry for myself because I’d finally caught the Kiwi Experience flu which was going around. Oh and I still had sore ears, yay.

20170421_140111On the 15th of April I finally arrived in the adventure and party capital of New Zealand, Queenstown where I’d booked to stay for over a week at Nomads and Base hostel. Queenstown is a tiny little town but it has a lot to offer and it’s so beautiful. As I’ve never been ski-ing before it would have been nice if I’d visited during ski-season (June-October) but I guess it’s always an excuse to come back. However, if you’re looking for some good hikes with scenic views then Queenstown is the place to be! I only climbed up to the Skyline Gondola and the Queenstown Hill but both were very beautiful. Another “tourist attraction” which is worth a visit is Fergburger, a tasty burger bar that serves big ass burgers and tasty fries. I liked it but you need to make sure you visit at a good time or you could be queuing for over an hour. Yes I tried Devil’s Burger too (where the locals go) but I actually prefered Fergburger.

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Milford Sound

Whilst I was staying in Queenstown I took a 12 hour day trip to Milford Sound which is apparently referred to as The Eighth Wonder of the World. Perhaps it’s because I get seasick easily but I actually thought the route to Milford Sound was more scenic; crazy beautiful roads with glaciers, mountains and lakes, just beautiful. In Winter the route is very dangerous due to avalanches so it’s easy to imagine why you cannot stop at a lot of points and need to drive with chains. Thankfully because I was visiting in Autumn we stopped to take some nice pictures along the way.

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On route to Milford Sound

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Sunset at Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

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Hannibal

After Queenstown I spent a night stargazing in Lake Tekapo which is situated in an International Dark Sky Reserve. One day I’ll have to come back to do the Earth & Sky tour because it would be interesting to learn more about the southern night sky and see the stars more closely. I missed out because I was trying to save money.  On the plus side, if you stay at the Lake Tekapo Motel and Holiday Park you’ll get to meet crazy looking Hannibal, a stray cat which the staff now look after.

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Lake Tekapo

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ChristChurch Cathedral

I only spent one night in Christchurch because to be honest I didn’t feel like there was much to do there. The city is only halfway through rebuilding from the 2011 earthquake so when you’re walking around the city it kind of makes you feel a little sad.

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Tahunanui Beach- Nelson

My last stop on the South Island was Nelson where I stayed at The Bug Backpackers for two nights and one night at the Paradiso hostel.  As the weather was nice I spent my days cycling around the small town and checking out Tahunanui Beach. Although Nelson was my last stop on the South Island, I spent a further night in Wellington and Taupo on the way back up to Auckland.

On another note, whilst you are on route to a new destination, Kiwi Experience stop for photo opportunities which I’ve not really included in my blog posts as they’ll take forever to write-up. However, two of my favourite stops were Lake Pukaki and Lake Rotoiti. If you want to take a photogenic picture of a duck in Lake Rotoiti then all you need is food, just try not let the ducks steal your sandwich like this one did.

Overall, New Zealand has been one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited (the pictures taken on my smashed up phone do not do it justice) and I’ve loved every second of it…well maybe not the sand flies.  If you like outdoorsy stuff then I cannot recommend it enough! Definitely my favourite country so far on my travels. Although, travelling here has reminded me of Scotland quite a lot so perhaps that’s why I loved it so much?  all I know is that its made me want to travel my own country so I might just start heading back that way soon…

We’ll see.

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Although the minimum time for the Super Funky route is 28 days I ended up spending 42 days travelling with Kiwi Experience. I also spent a week in Auckland before booking my trip and four nights afterwards which isn’t included in my total. I met a lot of people who did minimum time and I honestly couldn’t imagine it being as enjoyable because most days you’re on the bus for a long time, the weather can affect a lot of activities and sometimes you arrive too late in certain destinations to do anything, then you’re off again the next day! My personal opinion, give yourself some time to relax and the ability to change your itinerary! Travelling everyday can get exhausting.

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Kiwi Experience Itinerary

New Zealand: North Island

On March 20th I traveled to Pahia Bay of Islands for two nights where I took a day trip to Cape Reinga and the 90 mile beach. Personally, a lot of it reminded me of Australia so I didn’t feel like I’d visited anywhere different but it was nice spending the day with everyone. In Pahia I stayed at the hostel Base Bay of Islands which was such a good laugh, why can’t all Base hostels be this small!?

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Whilst in Pahia I tried horse-riding for the first time which to be honest was quite daunting to start with because my horse being a bit mischievous! Thankfully Horsetrekn are with you throughout the trek so once I understood how to control him more it was a nice experience.

I then headed back to Auckland where I spent one night at Nomads Hostel, it’s not the best hostel in Auckland but I spent most of the night in Habana Joe’s which is a cheap backpacker bar before getting up for Hot Water Beach in the morning.

received_10155041096990102[1]Just a 10 minute drive from Hot Water Beach there is a 2.5km walking track which takes you to Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay and Cathedral Cove – famously recognised from the film The Chronicles of Narnia.  If you have a sunny day like myself then you should definitely check it out because it’s a pretty walk, I almost felt like I was in Thailand again!

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I then headed to Hot Water Beach Holiday Park where we spent the night drinking until it was time to head to, you guessed it, Hot Water Beach! We walked to the beach around 21:00pm because if you arrive at high tide the hot springs will be underwater.  You can dig your own hot water pool but it’s quicker and easier to jump in a pre-made one. The hot pools certainly lived up to their expectation because our pool was boiling hot (they say it’s around 64 °C (147 °F) which made it great to relax in on a cold evening.

The next day I headed to Waitomo for one night where I visited the famous Waitomo Glowworm and Ruakuri Caves.  I couldn’t take pictures inside the glowworm cave but if you look online I am sure you’ll find some.
received_10154247776867181[1]The next stop of my travels was at the Maori culture capital of New Zealand, Rotorua on March 25th for three nights. On the way we hopped off at the Hobbiton Movie Set which was a great experience! you also have a tour guide who is knowledgeable about the film production so any die hard fans can put them to the test. I’m not going to lie I really need to re-watch the movies it’s been a few years!

17632004_10212664585551808_2974012064593807905_oIn the evening I went to the Tamaki Maori Village where I learned all about the Maori culture, the whole evening is very interactive and includes a traditional hangi buffet meal which you can eat as much as you want. The dinner and desert is seriously amazing! so amazing that I ended up being sick because I was a greedy little piggy but it was totally worth the pain.

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Wai-O-Tapu Champagne Pool

I also checked out Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland,  an active geothermal area in Rotorua with Headfirst Travel.  If you have time you need to visit because it is seriously fascinating.  The next day I went white water rafting with Kaitiaki Adventures in the Ngati Hinerangi & Ngati Hinekiri river. It was my first time going rafting and it’s safe to say when I saw the first raft flip over down a 7 metre waterfall I got a little bit anxious but thankfully both myself and the raft survived.

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Yes that’s me with my head almost in my lifejacket!!

Unfortunately whilst I was in Rotorua I received news that my Granddad passed away which isn’t ideal when you’re miles away from home and surrounded by strangers. I debated coming home but after speaking to my family we agreed that I should stay in New Zealand and continue my travels.

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Lake Taupo

On a more positive note, the next stop was Taupo, home of the largest freshwater lake in the southern hemisphere.  I originally planned to stay for two nights but because the weather turned to shit I extended my stay so I could do the Tongariro Alphine Crossing. On a plus side the bad weather gave me an excuse to hide in the library and update this, how very exciting.

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Tongariro National Park

On Friday 31 March I left at 5.30am for Mordor (Tongariro National Park) and to reach Mount Doom (Mt Ngauruhoe). With the last shuttle being at 16.30pm I decided not to climb Mount Doom because with it adding an extra 2 1/2 hours onto the journey myself and my hiking side-kick Pippa would not have had time to stop for a break (or twenty) and trust me the crossing is challenging enough! 17814201_10212742322615186_7492193356950481624_oI am actually surprised you’re allowed to climb up Mt Ngauruhoe but I guess they do advise that you should only go up if you have a high level of fitness. Overall Tongariro National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, you genuinely feel like you’re on another planet because it’s so diverse. One day I’ll come back with a car and climb Mt Ngauruhoe so I don’t have to worry about the stress of getting stranded in Mordor.

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Tongariro National Park

After waking up and feeling like I couldn’t walk, it was time to head to River Valley, but not before Kiwi Experience took us on a slighly shorter 1 and 1/2 hour walk in the Tongariro National Park. Unlike half the bus who refused to do anymore walking, I forced myself through the pain because I knew it would help in the long run, go me!  The drive to River Valley is very scenic and the lodge itself has no wifi or reception which makes a nice change.20170401_203018 You’ve probably heard about River Valley because it’s the lodge with the “orgy room” ie 19 beds basically together. Thankfully the only thing I caught that night was about a million sandfly bites.

My last stop on the North Island was Wellington where I visited the famous Te Papa Museum where you learn almost everything you can think of about New Zealand, even dinosaurs!. The museum has six floors and it’s very interactive so you can spend a good couple of hours checking it all out – which is good when your first day in the city is when the remnants of Cyclone Debbie arrive!20170403_131215

On another note, if you’re looking for a nice restauarent, Masala do a good lunch meal for $7.80 which includes a curry, rice and nan.  I promised myself I’d cook healthy meals in Wellington because I’d be in Base for three nights but yet again I’ve been eating out and drinking everynight, why let old habits die hard eh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Zealand: Kiwi Experience

If you have read my last post you’ll know that I’ve already started my Kiwi Experience trip so with me being on the move everyday or two it’s impossible to keep this updated as I go!r2rzjjfuslr8rpbnijto

I purchased the Kiwi Experience Super Funky pass for around $800 NZD (I should have purchased it in Oz!) which takes me around the main New Zealand spots, including Bay & Cape and Milford Sound.  Due to having to purchase an onward ticket, I am travelling for around 7 weeks on the Super Funky route below:

Auckland-Paihia-Cape Reinga Day Trip- Paihia-Auckland-Hot Water Beach-Waitomo-Rotorua-Taupo-River Valley-Wellington-Abel Tasman-Westport-Mahinapua-Franz Josef-Fox Glacier – Wanaka-Queenstown-Milford Day Trip-Queenstown-Tekapo-Chirstchurch-Nelson-Wellington-Taupo-Auckland.

Unlike Australia where you get taken from A to B, with Kiwi Experience the driver isn’t just your bus driver but also an informative tour guide.  You’ll do walks and activities on route to your next destination as well as stopping for food and alcohol…they don’t say Kiwi is a party bus for nothing!  Throughout the journey you’ll be given information which allows you to decide which activities you want to sign up for and how many nights accommodation you want the driver to pre-book. With Kiwi you’re guaranteed at least one nights accommodation in each destination and three nights in Queenstown. However, if you’re tight for time I recommend booking your bus itinerary and extra accommodation in advance because during peak season they will fill up rather quickly.

With regards to the driver pre-booking your accommodation, it can be more cost effective to ask where you’ll be staying and book the hostel online yourself (most of the time it’ll be Base or Nomads).  Alternatively, you can save money by purchasing a Base Jump Card for $269 NZD which gives you 10 nights accommodation for the price of around $27 NZD per night. The only downside with the pass is that the maximum usage at each hostel is 2 nights so any extra nights you’ll need to pay for yourself.

I purchased my Base Jump Card and some activities in advance with Peterpans Travel which I regret doing just because once they have your money their customer service isn’t so friendly afterwards. I paid $789 for the Base Jump Card, Hobbiton, Kaitiaki White Water Rafting, The Tongariro Alpine Crossing shuttle, Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (Headfirst Travel), Tamaki Maori Village, Waitomo Glow Worm and Ruakuri Caves.

If you want to save money, don’t make the same mistake which I made of using Peterpans but instead check out www.bookme.co.nz  because it is so cheap! I wish I’d discovered this website sooner. However, if you’re feeling lazy you can always book activities on the bus because they offer discounted prices too.

Okay I’ve had my rant, let’s focus on Kiwi again! If you want to stay longer somewhere you can always call the Kiwi Experience toll free number on 0800 364 286 (NZ) and change the date you’d like to leave. The process is very easy because it is a hop-on, hop-off bus, and even if the bus is full on the date you’d like to leave you’ll be put on standby – just make sure you don’t miss your scheduled bus as you’ll have to pay a $50 admin fee.

Last but not least, if you like sleeping you aren’t likely to get any on the bus because not only is the music always blasting but clipboards (activity sign up sheets) are flying around everywhere.  However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed adventure (which also doesn’t also involve getting pissed every night) I have heard you should check out the bus company Stray instead.

I hope this post is informative because  at first I was a bit confused with how it all works but once you get on the bus you’ll realise it’s not as complicated as it sounds.  P.s New Zealand is amazing!!

New Zealand : Auckland

After my airport fiasco (see previous post) I arrived during the night in Auckland on Monday 13 March.  For the first two nights I stayed at YHA because it was close to the airport shuttle stop and included free WiFi. Normally I don’t stay at YHA hostels because there’s never much atmosphere but it’s always  nice to relax after a hectic day.

I then moved to Haka Lodge hostel on ‘K Road’ for five nights which was nice and environmentally friendly.  K Road is full of bars, quirky restaurants, vintage shops, strip clubs and kebab takeaways so depending what you’re into you might enjoy it up there!
During my time in Auckland I explored the city, checked out Mt Eden, unfortunately spent money shopping and took advantage of the free library computers (exciting times).  At night I did the usual backpacker things like pub crawls and free pizza/punch nights. I also went to the Sky City Casino which would have been fun if I didn’t loose money…thankfully it wasn’t that much.
If you have time you need to check out Sal’s for an 18 inch pizza and Joy’s Ice-cream, delicious.
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George in the park festival

 After hosteling it up I spent the weekend at my friend Emma’s flat which I am so not jealous of at all!  On Saturday we headed to a free music festival which was fun, although watching Emma trying to get through her St Paddy’s Day hangover might have been the best part.
On my last day in Auckland I organised a rough itinerary for my Kiwi Experience journey over the next 7 weeks. I will explain all this in my next post because if you haven’t noticed by my snapchat (xsarahscott) or Instagram (Sarah_scott1) I’ve already started my trip,  I am just unfortunately behind on Facebook and of course here!
 

Trying to get out of Australia

I woke up on Sunday 12 March feeling positive about my next adventure, until I lost my passport on the way to the airport and was refused my flight to New Zealand.

Whilst on route to Cairns Airport I received a call which made me realise that I was in the wrong shuttle bus – for once it wasn’t actually my fault and the drivers mistake.  As we weren’t too far away from the hostel he dropped me off and picked up the poor lad whom he was  meant to collect, which seemed easy enough, until I noticed that I’d left my small backpack with my passport, money and valuables on the wrong bus.

Thankfully the bus operators were sister companies so it wasn’t too complicated to liase with them.  Finally, we were reunited and the panic was over, well you would think…

When I went to check-in I was refused my flight to New Zealand because I didn’t have an onward ticket. With limited time and getting myself into a panic, Quantas allowed me to board my flight to Brisbane because I wouldn’t be leaving the country. I tried my luck again in Brisbane but unfortunately the same situation happened, I needed proof that I was going to leave New Zealand.

I quickly tried to find a cheap flight online which would be useful in a few weeks but with the check-in desk almost closing, I had no choice but to let the Flight Centre book a “cheap” ticket back to Australia.

Now that means I’ll either have to apply for my second working holiday visa (if you get investigated it can take weeks), apply for a tourist visa and buy a flight out of Australia, contact Quantas to try change it or don’t get on the flight at all.m

Although most countries I’ve been to  don’t seem to ask for your onward proof of travel (in my experience), New Zealand appears to be really strict in enforcing this rule. Therefore, to avoid any hassle make sure that you have one or you could end up spending a fortune like myself! Alternatively, you could purchase a fake ticket but because I was so rushed I didn’t think about that option until it was too late.

On a positive note my two Qantas flights were really good and they included nice meals and drinks.

With regards to my blog, you’d think being on buses and planes etc would give me all of time in the world to keep this updated, however, attempting to write whilst trying to get through a hangover mixed with motion sickness all of the time isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Plus if you could see the state of my smashed up phone you’d understand why I hate using it.

East Coast Trip: Cairns

On Friday 3 March I finally arrived in tropical Cairns, the last stop of my East Coast trip and Australia for a while!

17201449_10212455988897022_4718621595032718282_nFor the first five nights I stayed at the infamous Gilligan’s. I decided to stay here because I’d heard it was amazing and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The hostel itself is clean and the nightclub is pretty cool (it’s not your typical dingy backpacker bar) but to be honest it’s just another massive hostel that doesn’t really offer anything else apart from free entry to the club –  I prefer smaller hostels with events as they tend to not only have a better atmosphere but usually include free WiFi and breakfast etc.

For the remaining five nights I moved to Mad Monkey backpackers which in my opinion is much better than Gilligan’s.  For the same price you get extras like really good free WiFi (most hostels in Australia make you pay), air-con, nice bar/pool area and sociable events.  The best part though is the free hot breakfast which they offer as it’s honestly the best free breakfast I’ve  everhad from a hostel, and I’ve stayed in a LOT of hostels.

Apart from my rant about hostels, if you’re in Cairns you need to book a Atherton Tableland or Cape Tribulation tour with Uncle Brian’s because it’s informative and hilarious…the reviews don’t lie! I did the one day Cape Tribulation tour  which involved a crocodile tour; exploring the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, the Daintree Rainforest; swimming in freshwater streams; visiting Port Douglas and seeing the spot where Steve Irwin died, lovely. Seeing Stingrays whilst snorkelling is actually really common, you gotta be careful in these Straya waters!

With Cairns being the last stop of my East Coast trip it’s been really nice as I’ve actually have time to relax – sometimes travelling can feel exhausting when you don’t spend more than two days in one place. Although it’s cyclone season, I’ve been lucky with the weather as I’ve spent everyday reading and tanning by the lagoon (I’m pretty impressed with how brown I am now!). If you’ve never been to Cairns, the heat can get a bit intense because of the humidity (it reminds me of being in Asia) so be prepared to feel like you’re cooking alive!

Seeing as Cairns is backpacker central, I’ve spent my nights taking advantage of all the events involving free food and booze! My favourite was with Paradise Travel/Woolshed on Friday’s because there was lots of free goon, beer, cider, champagne, sex on the beach cocktails and a crazy amount of pizza!  With girls drinking free in The Woolshed and Gilligan’s, it’s definitely a North Queensland thing as you’d never get that in New South Wales…or if you’re boy. 😛

With my Australian visa ending on March 13th,  I was going to go back to Asia before using my second year visa. However, after spending the last 17 months in the sunshine and on beaches, I’ve decided to have a change of scenery and check out New Zealand because it looks so beautiful and I really enjoy the outdoors.  Until next time Oz!

East Coast Trip : Magnetic Island National Park

After an extremely hungover journey on Wednesday, I arrived at Bungalow Bay Koala Village in Magnetic Island where I had booked to stay for two nights.

I was a bit apprehensive about visiting Magnetic Island as I’d recently met a lot of travellers who told me that they hated it. However, if you like all things nature, forest trails and fancy staying on the Koala Sanctuary site then you’ll really enjoy the hostel and Magnetic Island.

20170302_171145Due to Bungalow Bay being in the forest you’ll say hello to a variety of  insects and geckos (sometimes even in your room) so if you’re not a fan of bugs I’d stay in Base which is on the opposite side of the island.  If you’re anything like me and get bitten alive by mosquitoes wear mozzy spray regardless of where you stay!

On Thursday I did the two hour tour around the Koala Sanctuary. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but it’s basically a tour where you learn about some of the wild animals which are on the island and throughout Queensland. You can also hold and take pictures with the animals…apart from the venomous spider. The main selling point of the sanctuary is the $18 koala cuddle souvenir photo but if you’re looking to save money I’d skip it because as you can see below, you can pet and take selfies with another koala anyway.

After the tour myself and another girl did the Forts Walk which took us about an hour and a half. Most people hire cars or scooters and spend a whole day doing the walking tracks, but to be honest, it was unbearably hot so we just did one and rewarded ourselves with an ice cold cider.

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The other benefit of visiting Magnetic Island is spotting lots of wild Koalas!

We then bumped into another girl who was on our Whitsunday’s trip so we all went out for dinner and spent the night talking about every backpackers favourite conversation, travelling.

 

East Coast : Whitsunday Islands and Airlie Beach

As I’ve been moving further North almost every second day and doing lots of activities it’s been getting quite hard to keep this blog updated but I’ll catch up eventually.

After a lovely 18 hour bus journey from Rainbow Beach, I finally arrived in Airlie Beach on Friday 24th February.  Airlie Beach is a small tropical town which I thought was really nice because it has a lot to offer, especially for backpackers. It is also the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands so that obviously was a plus too. 

 

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Airlie Beach Lagoon

 

I spent two nights at Nomads Airlie Beach and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was because every Nomads I’ve stayed in hasn’t been the greatest of hostels. 

 
On Sunday, 3rd of March I packed my cider and bikinis and headed towards the harbor to board the sailing boat, Spank Me! If you’re anything like me and suffer from motion sickness, I highly recommend buying Kwell’s from your local pharmacy.
 

 I spent two nights and two days sailing and snorkeling around a variety of islands in the Whitsundays.  Despite constantly looking out for sharks, swimming in the Great Barrier Reef was such a beautiful and amazing experience. I only have one underwater picture but I’m sure most of you have seen it already on documentaries.

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Luncheon Bay

 
Unfortunately I can’t remember the names of every place we stopped so I’ve stolen this list from their website to give you an idea : Whitehaven Beach, Hayman Island, Hook Island, Whitsunday Island, and Boarder Island, with snorkeling stops at Blue Pearl Bay, Luncheon Bay, Caves Cove, plus plenty of other top locations.
 

 At night you could fall asleep on the  deck whilst watching the stars (which was stunning because you were in pitch blackness) but it was so windy I always just went inside after a while.The food on board was unreal and  as someone said, it was literally enough to kill someone so I was extremely happy that I never got hungry!

On Tuesday we sailed back to Airlie Beach where I  ripped half of my hair out trying to brush it (there’s no showers on board).  At night  I headed out for the Spank Me after party and because it’s ladies night on Tuesday’s I drank for free all night. Unfortunately drinking shitty cheap wine seemed like a good idea until the next day when I almost died getting myself to Magnetic Island.

East Coast Trip: Fraser Island

I booked a 3 day 2 night camping safari trip to the worlds largest sand island, Fraser Island. With the company Pippies we were put into groups of 8 to drive our 4-wheel-drive vehicles around the island and rainforests. We slept in our private campsite and breakfast, lunch and dinner was always provided. There was enough for seconds so it was pretty decent!

Day 1:

  • Driving along the beach (everyday)
  • Central Station Rainforest
  • Lake McKenzie
  • Maheno Shipwreck

 

Once we got back to campsite, some of us went up a red sand dune to watch the sunset. If you’re going don’t bring alcohol unless you want to be drinking sand too!

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Day 2:

  • Champagne Pools
  • Pinnacles
  • Indian Head
  • Tea tree lake

The tea tree lake was so good for ex-foliating your skin, you could even brush your teeth with the sand!

Day 3:

  • Eli Creek
  • Hammerstone Sandblow.
  • Lake Wabby

When you got into Lake Wabby it had those fish that eat your dead skin so that was a weird experience!

Driving the 4-wheel-drive vehicles was such a funny experience because the car was bouncing around like crazy! For days it sounded like someone was revving the engine because someone must have been driving the car like a racecar and blew a hole in the exhaust pipe…I swear it wasn’t me.

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Group 4!

Whilst driving we were lucky enough to see dolphins in the ocean. I also saw Dingos,  a snake on the beach and in the campsite I met a few crazy iguanas.

When I arrived back in Rainbow Beach I was so exhausted I was asleep by 9pm. Now I’m on a 18 hour bus journey to Airlie Beach, fun times ahead!

You can read more in detail of the tour I did at the following link: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/AttractionProductDetail?product=6587FRASER&d=255078&aidSuffix=xsell&partner=Viator

East Coast Trip : Noosa

I arrived in Nomads Backpackers on Thursday evening so the only logical thing to do was to head out for some free pizza and goon at Peterpans. Whilst I was there I won a $25 voucher for drinks and food at KB’s bar so that was a good start to the evening!

On Friday myself and two of my roomies headed to the Noosa National Park. We started at the Tanglewood Track then finished with Coastal Track back towards Noosa Main beach. With the boiling sun and forest hills it’s safe to say we were fighting for the showers when we got back!

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Noosa National Park

On Saturday I went Kayaking at the Noosa Everglades where I had my own tour guide which was a surprise –  I also didn’t realise I’d be kayaking for 5 hours!  I had never been kayaking before so it definitely was an experience, especially for my arms. Here are some pictures:

On another note, the check-in process for Nomads (Noosa) and wait for food is so slow that you could probably get to another country quicker.