Shopping at traditional markets called Souks
Before I headed back home after 7 weeks of travelling, I decided to see the traditional markets in Dubai because they were recommended to me by a good friend of mine.
I took a cab from my hotel and started at the fabric souk. The cabs are very cheap there (15/20 min = 4€), so don't go by bus or train!
After walking along the streets I walked down to the Dubai Creek. There I took a water taxi - called Abra (for only 1 Dirham) and crossed the river.
At the other side of the river there are the spice and gold souk.
Spices are very cheap - always negotiate with the sellers about the prices! You are in an Arabian country where this is common.
As I'm a student I didn't buy any gold jewelry so I can't tell you anything about the prices.
After I spent all my money on spices & fabrics I went back to the hotel and drove to the airport.
I had the best end ever for my trip because "Emirates" surprised me by upgrading my Economy ticket to Business Class... maybe you are also that lucky. ;)
10 December 2013
Exploring Dubai and the desert in 2 days
Start your Shopping Tour @DUBAI MALL - the biggest mall in the world.
You will find EVERY label there - from designer luxury shop (Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, ...) to cheap clothing chains (H&M, Zara, Forever21, ...).
The food court is incredible - anything for every taste.
After leaving the mall you will have no money left ^^ "Shop till you drop"
In the evening go outside & watch the amazing fountain water show
& visit Dubai Aquarium - it's the biggest fish tank in the world.
Burj Khalifa - At the Top @Dubai Mall
The highest building in the world - go up to ~550m: I would recommend it in the evening because you can watch the fountain show from another perspective.
Ticket ~25€ (I bought it via the internet 30 days before).
Do a Jeep Adventure Safari with a BBQ in the desert
Relax at the public beach & take a picture with Burj Al Arab in the background.
9 December 2013
4 Days in Sydney in 1 Tip
Ideal for low budget travellers: attend a free city tour (3h everyday at 10:30am & 2:30pm, meeting point on George Street between St. Andrews cathedral & the town hall) -> www.imfree.com.au
Take a bus to Coogee beach and walk along the coast until you get to famous Bondi Beach. It's free, good for your body & you will see a lot spots of beautiful Sydney.
Take a ferry @Circular Quay to Manly (~14 AU$) & go back when it's dark because then you will see the Opera House lightened up in the darkness.
Darling Harbour - Madame Tussauds, Acquarium, "Zoo" (hug a koala bear there), "Golden Bucket"
Buy a combi ticket & choose between 5 attractions for 75 AU$, it's best value for the money.
Walk and relax in the Royal Botanic Garden next to the famous OPERA HOUSE.
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay (it's for free).
Eat the best pancakes @Pancakes on the Rock close to Cir. Quay.
Shopping @Bondi Junction or on George Street.
Little tip: WALK as much as you can.
8 December 2013
BEST BEST BEST Sushi in Auckland
Sushi Lovers should not miss having Sushi @Bruce Lee Sushi in Newmarket
Prices are fair and the quality is A+
You get there by bus or car.
Newmarket is also well known for shopping. There is one mall and other smaller shops along the road.
Go shopping on Queen Street or walk 30 min to the very cute suburb called "Ponsonby".
Shop designer/vintage 2nd hand clothes at Tattys Designer Recycle (www.tattys.co.nz) in Ponsonby
Also a good place for shopping are the shops @New Market
Best Steak in Town @Angus Steak House
Eat a steak @Angus Steak House.
Best steak I've ever had, but you should book a table because it's very popular and delicious.
You can choose the type of steak you want from the "Steak Bar" and take as much salad as you want from the salad bar.
After you've decided the type of steak you bring it to the cooking station und the chefs ask you how you like it.
After waiting for about 15 min everybody at our table (8 people) received their steak and it was huge!
I couldn't finish the steak although it was so yummy :)
The price was ~35 NZ$
Above Auckland - the Skytower (& other tips)
Start with visiting the skytower in order to get an overview.
Buy the 2-way-ticket for additional 2$ - with this ticket you can go up during the day and in the evening.
-> The city looks incredibly by night.
Drive to mount eden and walk around with a good view and enjoy the fresh air.
Just walk around the city...it's very international, many students, cool bars and restaurants.
Visit the zoo if you like animals.
If you are looking for a hostel, go to Fort Street..there are 2 very good hostels in the middle of the city centre sourounded by bars.
7 December 2013
Hard Rock Cafe @Port Denarau, Nadi
You won't believe but there exist a Hard Rock in Fiji!
A must for every fan!
It's the typical Hard Rock style with Fijian spirit.
Buy some souvenirs there for yourself, friends or family.
At the port there are some small shops and bars as well.
Very nice in the evening for having a cold drink.
Wilson...? Seaspray to Castaway
Day-Cruise to CASTAWAY! Yes it is the island, where the film with Tom Hanks was filmed.
Start with the ferry in Port Denarau and get off after 1-1,5h and jump on the sailing boat.
On this boat you will spend the day.
The trip includes snorkelling gear, a super delicious BBQ, some fresh fruits, cake and all drinks (incl. wine & beer) on the sailing boat.
Start the tip with a glass of sparkling wine before having some fruits and enjoying the sun on the deck.
At lunch time you stop @Castaway and get your snorkelinng gear on and jump in the water and explore the underwater world in front of the island.
Spend some time walking on the beautiful island before getting back on the boat for the BBQ.
After BBQ you will cruise to another island viisting a traditional village and drinking some Cava.
After that most of the day is over and you will cruise back.
It really takes the whole day and it costs at about 80€ (180-200 FJ$) but you will get a lot for your money.
Acitivities you MUST do in Fiji
Try cava = traditional Fijian drink made of a dried root
Snorkelling: see the beautiful reef, exotic fish and find Nemo!!!
Swimming with MANTARAYS: they come between may and september (I think) and if you are lucky you can swim with them - they only come to one specific place. It's possible to do that at Barefoot Island or at White Sandy Beach - they charge a fee (incl. snorkelling gear) about 35-40$ and each cent is worth it - DON'T MISS IT!
Diving/Shark cage diving
Get refreshed with a superfresh Coconut
Wave a basket made from coconut tree leaves
Make jewellry out of coconut
Read a book, get tanned and relax without internet
Adopt the Fiji Feeling and get relaxed - you are in Fiji and there is FIJI TIME
Visit a traditional village
Morning hike (5:30 am) @Waya Lailai you have a great view and you will see the sunrise
Favourite island: Barefoot Island
6 December 2013
largest Hindu Temple in Oceania
Half of the population in Nadi are Hindus.
At the of the main road in Nadi Town you will be surprised by spotting a big colourful temple.
I didn't expect something like that in Fiji...you feel like in India!
Just look at the pictues...but they don't transfer the real colourness of the temple. You can't pass this temple without stopping there,
They charge you a 3$ entry fee for lending you something for covering your shoulders and a long skirt.
Shoes need to be taken off...that's normal for Indian Temples.
lovely place, tasty Chinese food, great prices
It is a very lovely place with a great atmosphere, especially in the evening because the garden is decorated with lights, there are candles on the tables and it's surrounded by hedges.
The food is so delicious...I swear....the cashew chicken or the Wan Tans...mmhh
and it's cheap (for Fijians it would be expensive but because the Euro is so strong it's very cheap for us....1$/portion rice; 8-10$/main course)
check it out
Travelling with the Bula Pass
If you book a trip at the travel desk - ask for the BULA PASS!
With this pass you can do ISLAND HOPPING INDIVIDUALLY & choose from day to day where you want to go.
The ferry is included.
The prices vary on the amount of days and how many Coconuts you choose.
1 Coconut = lower price, "worse" rooms
3 Coconut = higher price, better rooms
(I chose the 1 Coconut because all meals were included and most of the accommodations were super)
Thre is a free shuttle from Smugglers/Horizon/all hostels there to the harbour only in the morning because there is only one ferry a day heading up North.
My favourite islands/ressorts were:
- Barefoot Island (best location & rooms)
- Waya Lailai (best food)
- White Sandy Beach (great entertainment)
Party in Fiji (Nadi)
Take a cab from your hostel (mine was Smugglers Cove) to one of the 3 Party locations:
1) ED'S BAR - nice bar with good music and pool tables - very funny after drinking some beer :)
They charge a 5$ entry @weekends for men - it is a very cool there because it is not only indoor and you can watch the stars and shooting stars.
2) WITHE HOUSE - this like a club/disco, free entry - there are many locals and music was good as well.
3) ICE BAR - sorry I didn't go there, but heard it's great!
ALL 3 ARE VERY CLOSE EACH OTHER - if you don't like one of them, go to the next one.
Beautiful hostel @beach
For your fist night in Fiji I would recommend Smugglers Cove. There is a free shuttle from the airport to the hostel.
I booked a 4-bed-room with bathroom with breakfast & it cost me about 20€, which is quite expensive for Fiji. But there are bigger and of course cheaper rooms as well and also rooms only for girls.
It's more like a hotel than a hostel because there is a very good restaurant and bar. They've also got a swimming pool. During the day and also every night are activities like a fire dancer show or making coconut-jewellry.
The staff is very friendly &funny.
@Smugglers you can find a little shop if you have forgotten anything; a travel desk for booking your further trip and an ATM (but they charge a fee for withdrawing money).
(Horizon is another hostel next to Smugglers and they only charge 10$/night incl. breakfast -> for lower budgets)
5 December 2013
Party & Accomodation
Before we headed back to Auckland we didn't want to miss partying and celebrating the end of trip.
We started at the bar/restaurant next to Nomads which had very good food and also special offers. Because we started drinking there, I can't remember the names of the clubs and bars where we went afterwards BUT there are very cool ones close to this hostel.
So go out and don't miss Wellington's nightlife!
(Of course there are no pictures from this evening ^^, sorry for that)
4 December 2013
Te Papa - More than a museum!
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand so you shouldn't miss it on your tour.
We stayed there only for a short time but what I can say is that you should definitely visit the Te Papa Museum - at least there is free entry.
It is a very modern museum located in the harbor.
Inside you will find different themes - starting at the Earthquakes, Maori Culture, modern Art, NZ in general (animals) and so on...AND it is really appropriate for children because there are lots of activities and games, as well as for grown kids. ;)
As I mentioned in the headline - it is more than a museum!
3 December 2013
Skotel @Tongariro Skiing Resort
Tongariro National Park is a very beautiful place for hiking (we did a short one for about 1,5h) or for skiing. There is the possibility to hike up the mountain with a guided tour but only when the weather conditions are good.
The Hotel/Skotel was good, especially the food and the lounge where you can sit in front of a fire place while enjoying a glass of wine.
(We stayed there for 2,5 days.)
2 December 2013
Largest Maori village in the world
This village is one of two original Maori villages in the world. It's located in Rotorua. Go there and sit on the pavement especially when it's cold...why? Sitting down is warm due to the hot water springs over there. ;)
Go the St. Faith's Anglican Church and feel the Maori spirit.
1 December 2013
Let it Glow @Waitomo Caves - glow worm invasion
After Raglan before driving to Rotorua you should stop in Waitomo and explore the caves. There are lots of companies that offer various underground adventures.
Our Tour was operated by Waitomo Adventures and they offer 5 amazing options: Tumu Tumu Toobing (what I did and which was really great fun, took 4h - 173 NZ$), Haggas Honking Holes (250 NZ$), Lost World (4h - 325 NZ$), Lost World (7h - 465 NZ$) and St. Benedict's Caverns (173 NZ$). There are lower prices for early birds.
It was really worth the money but also exhausting and you need to be sporty and should not be claustrophobic. But in the end you will be glad having done this and seeing these tiny little mysterious glow worms!
If you are hungry after your surfing lesson - go there and have your meal. It's very delicious and offers moderate prices.
Surfing Surfing Surfing
Take a surfing lesson @Raglan Surfing School
Great instructors and the Tasmanian sea offers awesome waves.
Huge and long beach.
30 November 2013
Stop @Whangarei Falls
Take a short break and enjoy this incredible waterfall and nature! great experience for free :)
Hug one of the huge and old Kauri Trees.
(Last picture taken from a short driving break point - Uretiti Rest Area)
29 November 2013
Take a Walk @Treaty Grounds
3-4 hour walk trough the deepest New Zealand forest, mangroves to explore New Zealand's birds.
28 November 2013
The Rock House Boat
Bay of Island - Paihia - 2 nights @The Rock Boat! Very cool and definive a must!
Rooms are small but comfy and the people working there are very very friendly. There are several activities on the boat organised by them: Paintball duck shooting, having a BBQ, night kayaking and swimming in the fluorescent water, fishing, diving and hunting sea urchins and trying them afterwards if you are tough (I did it ^^), short barefoot hiking at a backcountry island - if you are lucky you will spot dolphins or orcas.
Lots of fun and activities and definitely great value for the money!
I had a great time @Rock the Boat
Nomads - nice hostel, centrally located
I booked a trip round the North Island of NZ @G-Adventures. Our trip started at this very nice hostel. Prices are ok and it was clean and save. A plus point definitely is that you can store your luggage on the day you leave at the travel agency from the hostel which is at the same time a place where travellers meet for playing table soccer or having free tea.
The Shopping Street "Queen Str." is very close as well as several bars and international restaurants and fast food chains.
After meeting my group members at this hostel we headed up north to Bay of Islands.