Around The World · 207 Days · 119 Moments · October 2017

Pippa's adventure down under!

13 May 2018

Oh my god my journey is over.. I can’t believe it. The last 7 months have flown by. I’ve experienced so much and met some wonderful people. I got to stay at a wonderful house in Thailand and re do my diving tickets in beautiful water. I went through some high and lows in my yoga teacher training and saw why people love Bali. Little did I know I’d be heading back. I had my first Xmas down under, albeit windy, I ticked diving the barrier reef off my bucket list. Got to catch up with Angela after 10 years.. then onto NZ. I travelled the length and breadth of the country several times in the end! I hiked the tongariro alpine crossing, dived in a fjord and bay of islands. Walked lots and spent lots of time on buses. Fell even more in love. Inadvertently hurt my ear so Fiji was a no go. So back to Bali for 19days PanchaKarma. Intense and amazing at the same time. Then onto HK the crazy busy city that it is but it has a certain charm with its spectacular skyline. So till the next journey 😁
I am slightly over the chaotic streets and shopping malls. The food out here has been challenging, so I found m&s for lunch :) I got picked up for a tour at 1pm and we headed to Victoria Peak for the stunning view you can see. It’s 400m above sea level and shows the extreme nature of this city. From there we headed to Aberdeen fishing village where we had a boat ride and the contrast between old and new was clear to see. Then they took us to a jewellery factory to show us the industry side of the city and we could purchase of course! On the drive to the next location to the largest outdoor escalator there was a huge protest so it slowed our journey abit. We got the escalator and it was clear to see that I should have stayed in old HK not Kowloon, lots of little streets with shops.. next time :) from here we got the famous star ferry back to Kowloon side to join our cruise. Then at 8pm watched the light display and saw the city in all its glory! My last night of my journey 🙁

12 May 2018

Last night I went to see Cirque de la Symphonie at the Hong Kong cultural centre. I found on a what’s on in the city website and thought it could be fun. Slightly unusual and not necessarily 100% my sort of thing but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Circus performers doing there thing to amazingly played music. It also took me away from the hustle and bustle of the city as the busy nature of it can be quite tiring!
After the sky observation trip I headed out of the city to Lantau island to visit the giant Buddha statue. I think the name sums it up nicely. It was sweltering hot today so I couldn’t stay too long! I climbed to the top of the 254 steps (it was hard work!) to see the very impressive Buddha. There were amazing views of the surrounding area and coastline. I have to say I didn’t know what to expect with the landscape outside of Hong Kong and I was pleasantly surprised. It was beautiful. Normally you can get a gondola to the top of the mountain here where the Buddha is but typically it was out for maintenance this week so we had to get a bus for the fairly long journey up. It was still worth the trip though :)
Today was a hot one! Things don’t seem to open up till 1000 probably because they are open so late at night! I started the day going up to the sky 100 observation deck in hong kongs tallest commercial tower. The observation platform was at 393m high and as it would had a lovely view over this immense city. It’s crazy to see all the 1000s of blocks of flats in the area and just how many people live in this one area. From here I ventured into the MTR the subway to go to a different island for the big Buddha.

11 May 2018

I arrived in Hong Kong at midnight so I stayed in an airport hotel last night. I got into the city to my perfectly situated hotel in Kowloon around midday. I booked a tour for Sunday that will take me to the majority of tourist places which leaves shopping and walking! I gave it a good go today and walked 23000 steps / 15km and looked in numerous shops. It’s crazy how many massive malls there are here and how many people are shopping on a weekday! I spent 7 hours walking and still didn’t really see any of HK! I did however stock up on some supplies as it’s tax free here. I went to the water front which overlooks the financial district of the city and again it’s crazy how big this place really is. I actually find it really surreal being here for some reason, maybe just because of its epic proportions or the fact my last few months have been spent in quieter countries. I went back to the waterfront in the evening to see the skyline lit up. I am working out my plan for tomorrow now :)

10 May 2018

So have heard me talk about Sanur before so I won’t bore you. I had my last few days here before heading to Hong Kong shortly. I have to say it was quite challenging with the food options and making healthy choices. I tried to mix it up half and half and I’ve still had no coffee!! Sanur was beautiful yet again, busier then before but it’s not rainy season and also no volcanic eruption this time. I have spent nearly 2 months of my 7 month journey here and it’s safe to safe it’s served me well and given me a lot In many ways. It’s strange sitting in the airport as it feels like yesterday I was here about to fly to Sydney. Kind of wish I was heading back out that way again. Time has flown.. Bali will also be quite special for me and I will be coming back.

7 May 2018

Day 19 of PanchaKarma.. my last day 🙁I’ve had an interesting time doing this detox, from horrible ghee drinking to amazing treatments and chatting about bowel movements over the dinner table. Now where else can you do that!!? After years of abusing my body I had a lot of toxins to clear and the result of the programme was being clear of all toxins and 7kilos lighter but in a healthy way. I’ve eaten beautiful Indian soups and curries and learnt a lot about Ayurveda and how I can continue to follow it when I leave. It will be hard work to adopt all of what I’ve learnt but even just a few changes will benefit me. Eating for my dosha type and what to avoid. I met some amazing people on this journey here and we bonded over bowel movements or lack of them! I certainly feel better then when I started but still have to work on things especially with my anxiety. Meditation is my prescription but I do struggle with it. I left this arvo and now have a few nights back in sanur, my go to town!!

6 May 2018

Roya and I got picked up at 0545 to go on a spiritual healing trip. We stopped to get dressed into Balinese ceremonial clothes before being driven out of Ubud. We stopped at Tegalalang where we took photos of the beautiful rice paddies. Next time I’m here I’ll explore the countryside more. From here we went to the temple where the cleansing by water would happen. There was some rituals done before we entered the water with the fountains (you can see them in the photos). Each water fall relates to a different area to cleanse 1)body 2)mind 3)soul 4)let go. In turn we would put are head & body under each one respectively after saying a prayer for what you want to release, the last one letting go of what doesn’t serve you. From here we went to see a local shaman which is a Balinese physic almost. She was actually pretty spot on with a few things, so I’ll be watching this space for some of what she said. This was a truely special day to experience &something I’ll remember for years to come

3 May 2018

Day 15 of PanchaKarma.. I am only just beginning to get slightly bored of soup! Thank god the ghee is behind me now though.. I decided to stay and do 19 days to really give my system a reboot. There’s lots of treatments still, some of which i won’t describe on this as it might put you off your dinner. It’s amazing the conversations we have round the dinner table here that you would never dream of having anywhere else! My time here is nearly over and hopefully my digestive system will start up again before I leave! Today a friend I made called Roya and I walked to the near by rice paddies just before sunset. It was chaotic on the roads to get there but when you’re in the fields it’s calm, peaceful and beautiful. It was lovely to escape if only for an hour and to stretch the legs :)

27 April 2018

So some may recognise this place from my last visit to Ubud. I ended up back in the monkey forest today. It was a lot busier then before as no volcano eruption this time. Also it wasn’t raining as it’s no longer rainy season :) there were lots of babies this time that were very cute. You have to be careful of not carrying things loosely or plastic bags as the monkeys will have them! Nadine and I went through into the town to get money and a spot of shopping before heading back into the forest. We didn’t stay long before walking back to the centre. I certainly still don’t have all my energy back yet and I was missing the peace and tranquility of the centre by the end. I don’t think I’ll leave for the next few days and just enjoy it when I can.
Day 9 of PanchaKarma! I have stopped drinking ghee now and had a slight cleanse so feeling abit more energetic then before! The food we get is slightly more interesting now then just plain clear Vege soup. Today I was quite adventurous maybe abit too energetic for being on the programme. I went into Ubud city with Lauren to buy a few things and we had a pedicure which was lovely. Ended up on the back of a moped to get back to centre! Then I went to the cooking class they have on a Friday and it was very interesting indeed. It’s all based around Indian cooking but cleverly done not to unbalance the doshas (I know you mostly won’t understand what that is!) it was interesting after eating so bland & clean for 9 days. I then had my treatment for the day which was an all over body massage. I’ve been having a lot of them lately :) I was going to go read but Nadine asked if I would go to monkey forest!

22 April 2018

I’m nearly 4 days through the PanchaKarma. The 1st photo is the ghee we have to drink at 0630 every morning for 6 days. Each day the amount goes up. It is utterly disgusting! All I’m eating is vegetable soups only when the ghee is fully digested. Yoga at 7 is nice but when on ghee you have to be careful to not make yourself sick as you then have to drink it all over again! I saw the doctor on the first day who prescribes your herbs for the programme and also what treatments etc they recommend as well as explaining your constitution. In Ayurveda there are 3 doshas that you can be; kapha, Pitta or vata and you are born with a certain constitution which can be a mix of 2 or all 3. Over the years they can get in-balanced through diet and lifestyle. I am a kapha / vata and both are in balanced. The kapha is why I’m heavy and the vata is why I like to get up &go but it causes the anxiety! Diet and lifestyle can balance them!!! It’s an interesting topic that’s for sure.

18 April 2018

So I’m off to do a Ayurvedic PanchaKarma detox for the next 2 to 3 weeks in Ubud. I am literally back tracking my route out here! It’s going to be a pretty intense couple of weeks but after the last few months of traveling with eating and drinking anything i want it should do me some good! What made me laugh was their pre programme instructions, cut out caffeine, alcohol and meat in New Zealand. They’re having a laugh with life in NZ! Just today I’ve had 2 coffees, oops! One reason I wanted to do this in the first place. One part of the detox I’m dreading is a week of drinking ghee, it’s going to be horrific! However I am looking forward to the Ayurvedic treatments each day. Anyone that’s interested in it just google for more details!
So the time has come for me to actually leave NZ. Only 2.5 weeks late and to a different country then planned. Unfortunately Fiji volunteering has been cancelled and also the weather there hasn’t been great with cyclones so i didn’t feel like it was right to go. I’m pretty gutted it didn’t work out! I feel like my journey is coming to an end which is sad, the main part of my exploring is over. However I have seen some amazing sights especially with the 2.5 months in NZ, this really is a country any outdoors person should visit. It won’t disappoint. I do love it here but the enforced stay somewhat thew me but I think I’ve made the most of it. I’ve certainly pushed my boundaries over the last 5.5 months with hostels and solo travelling and I wish I’d done it sooner. I always said I’d never do hostels and now look at me! I’ve learnt to live with the same clothes & amenities choosing tours instead! Today I head back to Bali, this time for an epic detox. A clear out for mind & body!

17 April 2018

Somehow nearly missed my flight even though I was in the airport! Let’s see how the ear is!

14 April 2018

Today Sabine and I went on the mail boat cruise that left from picton. If you can believe it theres people that live in remote areas of the Marlborough sounds where they can only access it via boat. So their mail gets delivered by boat! The cruise lasted a few hours and Mail was hand delivered to residents waiting on their jetties! We also stopped at the point where Captain Cook landed and stayed all those years back. This may sounds stupid but I’ve seen so much beautiful scenery over the last 2.5 months here that I think this tour was a little wasted on me. I am looking forward to being able to leave soon and then be able to appreciate it better the next time I’m out here!

12 April 2018

I did a bike wine tour with Sabine the lady I met in Nelson. We had the bikes from 10 to 3pm and a map of the wineries and off we went! We were so lucky with the weather it lovely and sunny in the morning, fortunately we took lots of photos on our way to the first winery. I would say we managed to get our way round 7 of them! We tried a range of wines from sav blanc, rose, Pinot Gris, Pinot noir, Syrah, bubbly and I’m forgetting a few! A lot of places the tasting was free but a few you pay like $5. I’m very new to white wine but I found in NZ I prefer them to their reds! I’m still a fan of Pinot Gris but I’ve certainly tried my fair share of other grape varieties to really prove it! This is a lovely way to spend the day in the gorgeous Marlborough region fairly inexpensively! Just remember to leave space in the suitcase for the bottles..
I met a lady in the hostel last night in Nelson that was heading to Blenheim today so I decided to join her instead of going tomorrow. We have planned to go on a cycle tour of the vineyards in the Marlborough region tomorrow :) however today we ended up finding our way to the Villa Maria cellar door for some free wine tasting. I tried their black label sav blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Syrah and merlot/cab sav. Villa Maria is a well know brand in the UK I think. I’m sure Lindsay bought a bottle once. I have to say this is one time I noticed more expensive bottles tasting better! My favourite is still the Pinot Gris though. I supposed the guy by telling him Aldi do Marlborough sav blanc and Pinot Gris! The Marlborough sounds region is beautiful, rolling fields and hills covered in vineyards with the mountains for backdrops. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s cycling, hopefully not drunk in charge of a bike!! Hopefully the weather holds out as well.

11 April 2018

Today I headed back to South Island! This time on the interislander ferry. I went up on the bridge and it was pretty rough. Wellington actually most of NZ had a storm for the last couple of days and had caused huge swells in the straights. The ferry left an hour late as they to wait for the waves to go down from 7m to 5.5m. This was still pretty rough! Once in the Marlborough sounds though it was beautiful and very scenic. I’m not in Nelson. The sun was out when I arrived and is one of the areas of NZ that gets the most sunshine hours so hopefully it stays nice. I’m still trying to work out a plan as Fiji had yet another cyclone yesterday! So my planning is still in progress.

6 April 2018

On the journey from Raglan to Rotorua we could do a drop off to do the Hobbiton movie set tour. This is something I hadn’t had a chance to do so it was nice to get the opportunity. I remember Lindsay making me sit through hours of lord of the rings films so I really enjoyed my tour. It’s “The Shire” from the lord of rings and the hobbit trilogies. It’s located on a farmers land just out side of Matamata. For the hobbit films the farmer sensibly asked peter Jackson permission to make it into a permanent feature to allow tours. Great idea as it’s now one of the most popular tours in NZ. It was bigger then I thought and there are 39 hobbit holes and it felt like a proper little village I’d quite happily live in! There was even a bridge, the mill and the green dragon pub where we finished our tour with a pint of cider or ale. There is even a fake oak tree that they built for the films that still sits there today. It was very cute seeing it and made me smile.

4 April 2018

I am currently on another hop on hop off bus and have been in the Coromandel in a place called Hahei. I think I have found my new favourite place in NZ. We were so lucky with the weather and it’s paid off coming now and not when I arrived in February. I did the walk to cathedral cove which reminded me a lot of Noosa in Australia. A coastal walk with lots of stunning views. Cathedral cove itself is a white sand beach with a large cave on it that you can walk through to the other side. It’s a famous landmark in NZ. I had a swim there and back in Hahei beach which is where we are staying. It honestly felt like we were in parts of Thailand at times. Definitely a good place to come for a beach holiday with walks. Tomorrow we leave and I think I may actually head for Wellington again and maybe top of South Island for abit.. who knows, I certainly don’t! Still trying to work out my plan now the volunteering isn’t happening.

3 April 2018

On the way to Hahei we went to hot water beach which is a natural phenomenon. Due to the tectonic plates in the area it warms the water below the surface. So if you dig down a small way the water can be boiling hot, so you have to find the right spot to sit in! It was very busy with tourists but it was also a nice place to go for a swim in the sea.

30 March 2018

Petra is still in town thankfully so I’ve had someone to hang out with and not stuck on my own! Which is good as I was meant to be in Fiji now. Today we decided to to go across to Piha Beach which is on the west coast of Auckland. On the bus we met some other lovely female solo travellers that we hung out with for the day. The beach Is a famous surfers beach with black volcanic sand. We went to the KiteKite falls first and apparently the forest will soon be shut to visitors as there’s a bug found there that’s deadly to the famous Kauri trees which is not good. We then went for coffee and walked up to a look out to the Tasman sea and across the beach. The big rock in the middle looks like a lion from the side! Then finished the afternoon on the beach and went for a choppy swim! Petra and I went to go for a quick dinner and ended up bumping into the girls and had a nice Thai meal with them. So what could have been a shitty day turned into a nice enjoyable one. Planning starts tomorrow!

29 March 2018

So part of what I wanted to do with this trip was to get back into my diving and do a marine conservation programme in Fiji. Typically I have hurt my ear through diving which prevents me going to Fiji!! Somehow I gave my self a barotrauma in my right ear which has turned into an infection. The doctor in Auckland has been very thorough but said not to fly for a week and recommended no diving for a month. SO what now... not sure is the answer as the conservation programme may not happen now. I will probably have to be careful doing to much diving too quickly so diving twice a day for a month may not be ideal. Once I have a plan I’ll write an update :)

27 March 2018

Just found out I have an ear infection so I’m on antibiotics! No diving the poor knights for me tomorrow and no real need for me to stay in Whangarei anymore but can’t change it all now! I will have to buy a new bus ticket to go to Auckland sooner I reckon in the morning. Anyhow it can’t be helped and thought I’d post the last few pics from Paihia. It’s been a lovely few days up here and it’s been so nice seeing the sun :)

25 March 2018

More dive shots :)
I went diving in Bay of Islands today. It was in deep water cove. First dive was on the wreck of the HMNZ Canterbury which was a frigate that had a fire on it and they choose to sink it as a dive site so it was perfectly intact. We swam through the sonar room and into the helicopter hanger. Very surreal especially having recently been working with the navy when the ships were floating. Not sure I like seeing them on the seabed. However this one was purposely sank. The second dive was on a reef and there were plenty of lovely fish around and the visibility was fantastic. We went into a couple of caves which was interesting. The rainbow warrior is also in the bay of islands which I haven’t had a chance to do this time. So it will be an excuse to come back.
Today I got the ferry to Russell with Petra. We walked over to long beach and had a stroll then a lovely swim. It was a gorgeous beach for swimming, sandy with not many waves! The day started off cloudy but the sun came out and turned into a beautiful day and the water was nice and warm. Tempted to stay all day but we had to walk back to Russell to meet my friend Scott and his wife from the cruise ships for lunch. We all went to the Duke of Marlborough which is probably the most famous hotel in NZ. We sat on the terrace which overlooks the bay and I had some lovely wine and seafood chowder. Well worth trying if you come here! I promise I wasn’t the only one with ice cream either.. we all had one in the photo not sure why only mine showed! Also I don’t think the stocks were designed for eating ice cream in.. it was somewhat tricky 😆The weather today made it an all round lovely relaxing Sunday.

24 March 2018

A friend I made on the stray tour Petra arrived to Paihia today so I met her after my walk. We went along to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds which is where the treaty between the Maori and the British crown was signed in February 1840. We went to a traditional Maori show where we were lucky to have an extra performance from a Maori boys school who we on a rugby tour and also sang! They sang some lovely traditional songs and performed the Hakka which was amazing. Very special moment. From there we had a guided tour where they explained the history of the treaty and the grounds it was signed on. Petra and I also met for a couple of drinks and dinner this evening. As we were sat in the bar the sky just opened and there was monsoon level rain coming down! It was from a little trickle into the sea from the outfall to a full on waterfall!
I managed to dodge most of the rain today :) this morning I went on a small boat tour of the bay of islands today from Paihia. The first couple of islands were blurred with rain but then we stopped on the island that James Cook stepped ashore on first called Motuarohia. From here we went to the top of a hill for an amazing view point. Then I got dropped on a Island called Urupukapuka where there was a 6km walk to the other side. It was like a mini walk the wight very hilly. The views were amazing though and the local residents were more then inquisitive! I had forgotten to bring my swim stuff but that didn’t stop me as the water looked so inviting and the beach was deserted..I then had an hour or so wait for the boat to pick us up. I had to shelter from a torrential downpour but it was worth it. The boat then took us back to Paihia.

23 March 2018

The last few days all I seem to have done is sit on the kiwi bus relocating! Well I’ve finally got to my destination which is Paihia in bay of islands. On the way up we stopped at Whangarei that I know very well to see the waterfalls there which were very pretty. My hostel in Paihia is the Haka lodge and it has amazing views over the water and to Russell in the distance. I went for a nice drink in a bar over the water whilst waiting to check in. I don’t think I’ve stayed in such a nice hostel before and these views are worth far more money then they charge! The weather turned very rainy this afternoon so didn’t do too much. I’m hoping tomorrow will be better as I have a boat tour booked that also drops you on Urupukapuka Island where I’ll do a walk. So fingers crossed for good weather. I have diving booked on Monday of the wreck Canterbury so I’m looking forward to that.

22 March 2018

I have been to Auckland a few times now and the last time when I arrived I had torrential rain for days on end! When I arrived this afternoon it was beautiful and sunny. So I made the most of it down at the viaduct with some wine. Went to a couple of nice places by the marina one of which was Danny dolands an Irish bar and met a couple of nice welsh girls! That’s one thing I have the confidence to do out here and when travelling Is to go for a drink on my own, I can’t do that at home! Shame I am only staying overnight this time but like anywhere a place is so much nicer in the sunshine. Early in the morning I head for bay of islands for some sightseeing and diving so I’m keeping my fingers crossed the weather stays good!

21 March 2018

I left Wellington today back on kiwi experience. It was pouring most of the way, north island doesn’t seem to like me! Thankfully by the time I got to Taupo the sun was out and I could finally see the lake. The last time I was here I couldn’t see it most of the time. Lydia picked me up from town after work and I’m staying with her tonight to pick up all the stuff I left. My god I’ve doubled my luggage it’s ridiculous. The view from her place makes up for the luggage issue! Plus having cuddles with my favourite doggy! There’s something quite special about Taupo and it makes me do silly things like jump out of planes like the last time I was here! I only get to stay one night unfortunately this time so no time to do any other silly activities.

20 March 2018

South Island is just as scenic from the air! The flight only took 35 mins so never climbed too high to miss the view. Also got to see the ferry but didn’t make it on there this time. I have run out of time!
Christchurch has really grown on me the last few weeks. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to get taken to some lovely view points of both the city and of port of Lyttelton. It’s been interesting to visit Christchurch and seeing how the impacts of the earthquake are still very evident. However that doesn’t stop things here and the city has found ways of making it a quirky fun place to be. I love the fact they still have the trams running which gives it an old fashioned feel with lots of new architecture mixed together.I would love to come back when the rebuild is complete to see how it looks then. I also found my new favourite coffee shop here called the caffeine laboratory. This would certainly be my local if I lived there. You all know how love my mochas, that hasn’t changed! My time in South Island is up and I’m actually really sad. I’ve had a fab time and didn’t think I’d end up liking it as much as I do. Flying to Wellington this evening to rejoin the green bus... wish me luck!

18 March 2018

I had a free day in Christchurch today and went to the Botanic Gardens for a wonder. The weather was beautiful and I sat and listened to a band that was playing in the park. I love that out here every city has botanic gardens to escape to.

17 March 2018

Today I met up with another cowes escapee!! Teresa who I used to work with In the pier view who has been out here for years. She took my back to Akaroa where I was when storm Gita came through so I never really saw it. It was funny today as the Diamond Princess was anchored there, I can never escape them! It’s a beautiful seaside side with lovely little shops. We had a lovely lunch at harbour beach bar & view which is sat over the top of the water. The drive in and out of the town is just as pretty. Although it was cloudy it was lovely to see it with no rain. It was just as lovely to catch up with Teresa after all this time.

16 March 2018

From Sophie’s in wanaka it’s a long drive back to Christchurch! Fortunately it turned out my friend Lindsay was travelling on the bus from Queenstown so she came with me instead. The first part of the journey took us across Lindis pass which has an elevation of 972m.. it was pretty awesome. Lindsay and I had travelled to lake Pukaki a few weeks back before the big storm and the lakes were covered with clouds. So we were lucky to experience them yesterday with bright sunshine. It really made the colour of the water bright blue. Also we could see mount Cook in the background which was stunning. We stopped at a salmon farm where they do lovely hot smoked salmon :) We then went past Lake Tekapo which was equally beautiful before heading back to Christchurch. Altogether it took us 8 hours! Slightly longer then it should have done but the day was too good to not stop for photos.

15 March 2018

Wanaka I had a lovely few days chilling out and catching up with Sophie and her little one Scarlett. It’s great having friends all over the world but sad in another way when you don’t get to see them much! She’s doing very well though and loving NZ life which I can why. She took me on some lovely walks and drove me around the area yesterday as we had little one. Around every turn there’s some amazing views to marvel at. Around here the lakes are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. When the sun hits the water the blue that shines back is just stunning. Anyone coming to NZ needs to visit wanaka :) Hopefully it won’t be another 10 years till I see Sophie again!

14 March 2018

Today Sophie and I went to Mount Aspiring National Park and we hiked up Rob Roy’s valley to see the glacier. The walk at the start felt like we should have been in a Lord of the rings film with the scenery. Then we got into the woods for the up hill walk to the lower look out for the Glacier. It was nice to get so close to it and we got a really good view. We didn’t continue up to the top look out because we were slightly short of time! On the drive out of the park we ran in to some rush hour traffic.. 100s of sheep. It’s true what they say that there’s definitely 4 sheep to every 1 person living here :)

12 March 2018

I have been wanting to do some diving in NZ and I heard about the diving in Milford sound when I was on the boat in Doubtful Sound. It was quite a mission to get there for it but I hired a car from Christchurch so I was able to get there. We had to wear a lot of wetsuit; vests, 8mm wetsuits, socks, gloves and hood but the water was only 18c so wasn’t too bad. Fjord diving here is known for black coral which is actually white! Also with the rain that day it leaves a layer of fresh water on the surface which can make the water seem dark, although the visibility was actually pretty good. I had to stop myself thinking about how deep the water was there as I imagine it was 100ms deep and who knows what is down there. On the dives we saw 2 small sharks, lots of crayfish known as NZ rock lobsters, a sting ray and some other fishes. In terms of diving I would put say it’s the best I’ve ever done however the scenery that you surface to is out of this world. I’ll never forget those dives 😁

10 March 2018

Today I set off on my own again this time with a hire car for the week. I drove to Dunedin which took about 5 hours from Christchurch. I’ll only be here for the night though so not had much time to explore. However from what I’ve seen it looks like parts of the city are nice which old architecture and several nice churches and buildings. They even have a Cadbury’s factory here which I will definitely have to stay out of! I have already put enough weight on on my trip so far. Tomorrow I head for a place called Te Anau.

9 March 2018

How could I forget white water rafting! On our way back to Christchurch some of us went to do some grade 5 white water rafting. It was freezing in the river but the actual white water element went so quick! It was pretty epic but over far too quickly. We had 6 of us from the tour in my raft and we certainly had a lot of white water over the top of us at the end. No one fell out though from our boat just one lady from another.. I would certainly like to do some more and it would have been good if the rafting element was a bit longer! I’m hoping to get some photos to put up later.

8 March 2018

I decided to join a tour on South Island as I hadn’t got anything organised. For the last two weeks I’ve been travelling round with 24 people from all round the world from 18 to 65 on a bus known as the love shack with lantern our tour guide. It was a funny couple of days trying to get to it as a few of us joined in Christchurch had to join a group that had been formed in Auckland a week before. So it’s always hard to then join in. However it all worked out fine and we drove I don’t know how many 1000 Kms around the South Island saw some amazing places, had several drinks, jumped out planes, jumped off cliffs, swam with dolphins just to name a few things. We are all slightly poorer now but certainly gained some experiences and memories that will last a life time. Some of us got off in Christchurch last night and we waved the bus off this morning as they head north again. It was really sad to see the bus go. I have certainly enjoyed the fun and laughter of the last 2 weeks 😁
After our cycle In Wanaka we headed for Mount cook the tallest mountain in in NZ. I was sat in the front seat of the bus and got some stunning photos on the drive. When we arrived at our accommodation we went for a 2.5 hour walk to the Hooker Valley where we got to a good view point of the mountains and mount cook. As we were setting off an ice avalanche on one of the mountains sounded like a freight train coming through. The lake at the end of the walk had little ice burgs on it which was pretty cool. The walk also had suspension bridges across rivers. All in all a very interesting walk :)
After leaving Queenstown we drove to Wanaka where we had a coupe of hours cycling on a track around the lake. We took our time stopping for photo opportunities as you can see the landscape. We then got picked up by our tour bus at the floating tree which is now the most photographed tree in the world apparently. It never used to be famous but it was put on Instagram once and now everyone photographs it! So I had to follow suit. Wanaka is a beautiful little town and I will be going back there this week to stay with my friend Sophie who has lived in NZ for years. It will be nice to chill out there with her for a few days :)

7 March 2018

Last entry for Queenstown! After quad biking I met Marine a girl from the tour at the top of the Gondola. Stunning views yet again and at the top there is a luge circuit where you basically sit on a tray and speed your way down the mountain. A lot of fun and probably just as fun as biking. The gondola certainly gives you a good view of the surrounding area.
On my second day in Queenstown I went quad biking up the hills over looking the town and lakes. There was just two of us which was good. It very much reminded me of growing up with Fergus teaching me to drive motorbikes and quad bikes as a kid. It would have been nice for him to have been there too! The scenery was amazing and getting a view point above the lake was fantastic. I was so lucky with the weather for this. Haven’t had as sunny a day as that in a long time.
Queenstown is a lovely city on the South Island. The lake is gorgeous and we saw it with good weather and bad. When the sun comes it it is stunning. I certainly think I could have stayed there longer but I may be bankrupt as everything is so expensive. Other then walks everything to do there costs a lot a lot of money! Queenstown has 25000 permanent residents but can rise to 70000 in the peak seasons which happen to be all year what with the summer and then ski season. There still isn’t enough accommodation to house everyone . I certainly made the most of being in the adventure capital of the world with the zip lining, canyon swing and quad biking.
I read about this place before I even came to NZ. Famous for its burgers and never having to advertise. Also appropriate for its name seeing as though my cousin is known as Ferg! The queues are always huge and the place is open 23 hours a day. We went at 1100 to avoid the lunch rush but I have to say it was possibly the best burger I’ve ever had so I’m glad I went to try it out :)

6 March 2018

Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world and I can see why. I went and did the shoot over canyon swing and Fox lining. The zip lining has a free fall element before zipping across the canyon after having to run and jump off the edge your self. This was pretty cool but then the main event was the canyon swing which is only 2 years old. You can choose how you want to jump off. I chose the slide but you could go upside down, backwards, hands tied behind your back, on a bike or a chair.. the list goes on. I think I found this more scary then jumping out of a plane because you can see the bottom of the canyon and you launch yourself off the edge. Unlike parachuting where a man does it for you! Sat on the top of the slide with the guys getting me ready was freaky. Then it’s into a 60m free fall before a 250m swing then they hoist you back up! It was bloody scary but amazing and over so quick! Very glad I did it but once was enough :)

5 March 2018

More from Doubtful sound

4 March 2018

We got dropped at matapouri where we boarded a ferry that took us across the lake to board a bus for a hour drive across the mountains to join our overnight boat. We spent a night on Fjordland navigator in the doubtful sound in the south of South Island! They took us around the area where we went kayaking (photos to come) before going for a sail In the Tasman sea. We saw a seal colony on the outskirts of the fjord. The scenery was stunning and very different to the Norwegian fjords because the mountains are covered in rain forest. NZ are trying to make secretary Island pest free and restore it back into the natural environment to allow endangered wildlife to breed more successfully. The photos sum up the experience quite nicely and think it was the most peaceful thing I’ve done in a while. The bridge was open door policy which was nice. At one stage they turned all engines and generators off to allow us to stand in silence and listen to the wildlife.. amazing :)

3 March 2018

Photos from the road on our stray bus! During this tour we have done a lot of driving but I had to show some photos that I’ve taken on or by the bus.

28 February 2018

As many of you are aware I love dolphins always have done. It’s been a dream of mine to swim with them in the wild and I now have. In Kaikoura on the east coast of South Island it’s famous for dolphins and whales. We were taken out not that far from land where they search for the dolphins and they found some for us! We then threw ourselves off the back of the boat in the hope of swimming amongst them. It was freezing cold but the dolphins would swim straight past us and around us. There were about 200 near us :) the captain would sound a horn when he wanted us back on board and we sat on the stern as he moved us to where the dolphins had gone and we repeated this 3 times before heading back to land with the dolphins playing on the bow. Yet another things ticked off my bucket list 😁

26 February 2018

I chose to go canyoning in able Tasman and it was the best day I’ve had so far I think. It started by getting all the gear needed then getting on a water taxi which was driven into the water by a tractor with us on it. Once in the National Park we hiked up the mountain with our wetsuits on our back and then at the top of the gorge we got changed and had a sandwich. From there we jumped, slid, abseiled and zip lined our way back to the beach. It brought back memories from a road trip to Scotland with Lindsay and bob when I was 17 where we did very similar but on our own! There were 2 big jumps on the trip one from 6m and one from 8m, the last was pretty epic but once you get over the fear it’s pretty cool. The water was very cold but we were moving and climbing to keep us warm! It was a brilliant day and when I get the photos I’ll put them up so you can see what we got up to!
Photos from my canyoning trip in able Tasman

25 February 2018

After Picton we drove to Able Tasman on the north west coast of South Island. It’s New Zealand’s smallest National Park but the most visited. It was very badly damaged by cyclone Gita and we were the first ones back into the accommodation we stayed at after it was badly flooded. All through our journey to and from able Tasman there were new rivers and road closures. They certainly aren’t that well designed to handle the bad weather here with their road infrastructure etc. The weather wasn’t fantastic in able Tasman but you could see the scenery was beautiful. I chose to go canyoning here which I’ll talk about in the next post. I would definitely like to come back to this region and spend more time exploring. There’s lots to do from canyoning, walking kayaking, swimming to sailing so you could easily spend a week just here! On the tour you have lots of extra activities you can pay to go do and there’s certainly a lot in NZ so it will be an expensive trip by the end of it!

24 February 2018

I have just started a 2 week tour of South Island with stray travel. We made the long journey from Christchurch to Picton and after cyclone Gita one of the main roads was closed so t took us 2 hours longer then normal. However the toad took us through the hills and we stopped off at Nelson National Park which had a beautiful lake. I’m getting fed up of saying everything here is stunning!! So I’ll let you see the photos and you can see for your self. We arrived into Picton around 1700 which was enough time for a nice coastal walk before trying some of the local wine and my first early night in a long time. Today we joined into a bigger tour group that came from north island. We drove through the Marlborough district and any of you that love sav Blanc will know it’s famous for producing very good wine! We stopped for wine tasting but I can’t say I noticed a difference between these and the $8 supermarket ones, still fun though. Currently heading for Able Tasman & canyoning tomorrow :)

22 February 2018

The transalpine train journey is known to be one of the most famous in the world. When Lindsay the girl I met in Auckland suggested it I thought it sounded like a good idea! The journey takes you from Christchurch across the country to Greymouth and takes around 5.5 hours. It is very scenic and round every corner you’re just left stunned by the view. We got off in Greymouth for the night and there was nothing to do there at all but it was nice for the rest. I made the train journey back he next day and left Lindsay there as I started my stray tour the next day. I would highly recommend anyone coming here to do this trip but maybe a day trip is all that’s needed!

19 February 2018

I came down to Christchurch early to do some sightseeing with a girl I met Lindsay. We decided to hire a car and with the impending arrival of cyclone Gita decided to head straight to the lakes the first day. It was a long journey from the city but worth it. We went to lake Tekapo and Pukaki two of the three largest alpine lakes in the Mackenzie basin in South Island. They are truly breathtaking with the mountains surrounding them. It was very windy that day but we went up to a look out at the top of Mount John to see Lake Tekapo and there’s also an observatory there where you can go to see the stars. It is a dark skies reserve famously known for star gazing. I would definitely want to go back when there weren’t any clouds! We went to akaroa on our trip but didn’t really get to enjoy it as the storm brought in lots and lots of rain! I’m sure it was a beautiful town but can’t say I got to see much of it. Will have to try and go back.

18 February 2018

Christchurch was somewhat devastated after the 2011 earthquake and it’s still very visible today. It’s strange walking round the city, it looks like it was involved in a war with many half destroyed houses still standing. They are rebuilding but it seems to be coming along very slowly. In the pictures you will see containers that are either supporting some walls or preventing walls from falling on passing pedestrians. Also they have a memorial of 185 white chairs representing each of those that died in the quake. The cathedral was ruined as well and they built a temporary one out of cardboard almost! It was surreal looking around the city but there was a certain charm surrounding it with all the wall art, funky bars and free events. They certainly have a long way to go rebuilding and getting back up running as an effective city but they are making a good start!

16 February 2018

Wellington Is a really lovely little city by the water. It holds lots of events some of which are free. I went to a free music event last night. Also every Friday they have night markets on Cuba street which is a funky place with cute shops and coffee shops/ restaurants on it! There were lots of food stalls and tonight they had a parade for Chinese New Year. It was packed with people and some bizarre food options. Tomorrow is meant to be a lantern parade as well which I’ll try and go see.
Te Papa museum of New Zealand is a huge museum on the waterfront of the city. It’s free and you need a good couple of days to see it all properly. It has all sorts of exhibitions from cultural Maori facts to land to sea and a very impressive Gallipoli one. The Gallipoli one was quite moving and showed the impact it had on NZ as such a small country. They have a lot of information on the earthquakes the area faces and even have a a room that simulates one. We also stumbled across there 20year anniversary that same day with free love music which was pretty cool.

13 February 2018

Part 2 The scenic tour was still amazing and straight out of lord of rings basically. The grade 5 would have been amazing but this was a good back up option and beat siting in the lodge miles from anywhere. This afternoon we jumped on the bus to head for Wellington but this time I knew some people so it made it nicer then being the old one with no friends!! I’m not going to use kiwi experience all the way round but I certainly think for the journeys I do make with it that I will actually survive and only feel too old a few times each day haha! Now for exploring Wellington then South Island :) hopefully the rain will stop but it’s a very active cyclone season in the Pacific so it has a big knock on affect out here unfortunately..

12 February 2018

Part 1 - I pushed / challenged my boundaries yesterday and got on my first kiwi experience hop on hop off bus. When I tell people I had booked that they all laughed at me because of my age I comparison to who travels them normally and what they get up to! It did put me off and as a result I booked an actual tour with South Island. However I figured for travelling between places I didn’t want to waste the money so plucked up the courage to get on one from Taupo to Wellington To try and find somewhere it wasn’t raining. So I got on my first big green bus yesterday and everyone was sooo young like 18 mainly straight from school. I didn’t really know what the itinerary was and we stopped in a remote region called river valley overnight with no signal at all. This was good as people had to talk to one another as there was no where to go. I met a few really nice people and booked on for grade 5 rafting but the stream was too fast. Will continue in next entry as limited letter count!

11 February 2018

The weather has been awful in NZ since I’ve arrived, apparently very unusual for this time of year annoyingly! I’ve changed my plans about 3 times so far trying to work out things to do. Today I went to waitomo caves 2 hours east of Taupo and went black water rafting. Basically you get kitted up in wetsuits and given a big rubber ring before you descend into the caves. From here we followed a series of tracks through the caves and saw lots of glow worms then we got into the water where we did some more weaving and wadding through cold water. There were a couple of jumps and a bit slide to go down in the dark which was fun. If you are someone who gets chrostophobic Or scared of the dark this is probably not for you! It was very surreal floating through the caves in the dark with just glow worms for lights. You do have head torches for part of the journey so not completely In the dark. It was a very good day to avoid the rain! Hopefully I’ll have photos to put up soon.

7 February 2018

I hiked the tongariro National Park yesterday which is a dual heritage heritage site. It’s a 19km walk through the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe one of which we renamed doom mountain! It’s New Zealand’s oldest National Park and it’s landscape is amazing. The lord of the rings trilogy filmed here for many of the scenes. I did the walk with a guy I met in the hostel in Auckland who happened to be doing it the same time I wanted and then surprisingly I bumped into a couple I met on the boat in the Great Barrier Reef. So our group turned into 4 which was a lot of fun as we climbed and stumbled out way over the mountainous terrain! It took us 7.5 hours and by the end of the downhill section my calf muscles were very sore to say the least. I am so glad I did the walk though as the scenery was stunning and really have a good insight into NZ’s outdoor beauty.

4 February 2018

The weather has been pretty poor since arrived so on Friday I ended up in a coffee shop where i saw some people from the hostel. I ended up spending the day with them and a couple of us decided to go chasing sunshine for the weekend. Ended up going north to Whangarei where we stopped in Waipo cove where we found some sun and a swim! This morning was raining heavily in Whangarei so we headed out to the coast in the hope it would be better and thank goodness it was. Matapouri beach is stunning and after a swim and a step slippery climb over the hill we got to the mermaid pools. It was a rough day so we didn’t venture in but still beautiful to see. Something out here the sun is incredibly strong so I’m glad for my UV swim stuff from Australia. I have really enjoyed actually doing some solo travelling as it’s amazing who you meet along the way. Just a shame sometimes it’s only for a couple of days at a time. It was lovely to finally see some sun here. I hope it may come back a bit more

2 February 2018

The weather has not been the best in Auckland since I arrived. It’s like winter! So today was actually sunny but very windy so made my way on the ferry to a small town called Devonport with some girls from the hostel. There was great views from the top of volcanic cones of the city and it was a nice day out of the city. In the evening we went down to wynard quarter which is down on the harbour and an area they are redeveloping. In the summer they put on free outdoor movies which was la la land this time. By the time we went to sit down it was too busy so ended up having some drinks out instead :) I can’t put photos up at the moment as I’m having problems with my iCloud and photo storage for some reason!

30 January 2018

So I’m leaving Australia today. The last 6 weeks have flown by. I am actually pretty sad to be going as I feel like I’ve been living a bit of a Sydney life which is pretty fun. I’ve done so much since being here.. I have travelled well over 2000miles mainly by road from great ocean road to cairns. I’ve been diving on the barrier reef to walking in the blue mountains. Topped off today with yoga at 7am at the top of Sydney sky tower.. pretty cool. I don’t feel like I’ve touched the surface of this country yet so I am sure I will be back to investigate further!

27 January 2018

Finally did the famous bondi to coggee walk. It was a very hot day but an amazingly beautiful coastal walk passing through lots of little coves and beaches. It’s only 6km so doesn’t take to long and we ended up at coggee with a lovely beach. We were in desperate need of a cool down so had a refreshing swim in the sea which helped a lot! Our friends Doug and Lauren from cruise ships joined us for lunch which was very nice as I haven’t seen them in a few years!

26 January 2018

Australia Day 2018 Sydney! Wow well what can I say. I am very glad that I came back to Sydney in time for today and also made the effort to hang around waiting for the evenings events. Sydney know how to throw a party and I don’t think I’ve really been a part of anything quite like this before. There were ferry races, tug and yacht ballet, tall ship races to name just a few activities. I went down to the opera house to watch those events then went for lunch round in darling harbour. The evenings events didn’t kick off till 1830 so I wondered back and hung about in the crowds waiting. I have to say I am really glad I did as it didn’t disappoint. There was a concert, yacht and ferry sail by’s, jet skies (with fireworks), guys with jet packs on (with fireworks strapped to them if you can believe it). The opera singer was a highlight with fireworks going off at the same time. Australia really is an amazing country. I love their spirit for life and today just demonstrated that.

23 January 2018

I’ve just got back from my 3 days on the Great Barrier Reef. Finally ticking that off my bucket list! Again the weather was pretty grim but we got the odd glimpse of sun and it made so much difference. The diving was very easy and enjoyable. Visibility was not always great but we saw a lot of fish, a few sharks, a cuttlefish and turtles. I actually enjoyed the night diving which I always thought I wouldn’t from my Egypt trips. So I definitely would like to do more. You see so much more at night with the big stuff! Something I am still aware of is I am not great at navigating under water! We had to self guide but I buddied up with 2 other English guys and we only got lost a couple of times! I really had the opportunity to practice with my camera but I still can’t get the lighting brilliant but the cloud probably didn’t help with that. The trip was well organised. the journeys to/from the reef were very rough! Some us went for dinner and drinks with some of the instructors last night.

20 January 2018

I was meant to be doing the yongalla wreck dive on this day but the weather cancelled it which is was very gutted about as it was meant to be the best dive you’ll do! So I ended up in cairns 2 days early. I was very unlucky as I arrived just as their wet season did so it was pouring with rain! I thought it was appropriate to go see water falls. So we spent a long day in the bus heading south chasing them! Went to numerous different spots along the way to see different ones. I didn’t fancy swimming in most as it was pretty chilly! I did have a swim in a lake at the end. The scenery was amazing!

15 January 2018

I have always heard such amazing things about the Whitsundays that it was a must do! I got a 17 hour overnight bus to Airlie beach and that day joined the boat in the afternoon. As luck would have it it wasn’t so much on my side as the weather was pretty shitty! Lots of storms in the area. The first night was very bad and for Whitehaven beach it wasn’t exactly postcard material. However it was still beautiful and for me not having the sun was probably better. It does just mean I will have to go back another time and hope for better weather! The other people on board were lovely and a really nice mix of people. It certainly made the trip. Just shame it wasn’t longer!! I may well go stay with one of the ladies when I get to Sydney which will be nice. A few of us went for a few drinks the evening we got off and I can see why airlee is so popular for young sailors! Then another bus yesterday ending up in cairns a couple of days early!!

14 January 2018

Noosa Sorry I’m a bit behind but I wanted to add noosa in as it was a lovely place to visit. Noosa was voted as the most popular destination for Australians to holiday. It’s a charming little seaside town with overpriced food but beautiful scenery. The beach is of course lovely and it was so nice to see when I went down there early at 7am on Sunday all the kids out for some big beach/ swimming event. It certainly is a lovely healthy outdoors life here. The main thing to do here was walk to hells gate in noosa National Park which had a stunning coastal walkway. From here you can see passing marine wildlife. I spotted a sting ray/manta ray but no dolphins. There were fairy pools on the walk to that you climb down to, and they are little pools of sea water that the waves come into so it was quite fun. I also spotted a koala in the tree here as they live in the national park. I got my tour to Fraser Island from here and if I lived in noosa I would own a big 4x4 and go on the beaches!

13 January 2018

Fraser Island was an early start having to be picked up in Noosa at 0615 by a fun looking 4x4 truck. I didn’t know what to expect on the tour and I had a huge smile on my face when we turned onto 40mile beach which is a highway out here! Traffic consists of 4x4 and people! So our 2 hour journey to Fraser was on the beach. I would definitely have a 4x4 if I lived here and would be on the beach driving all the time! So much fun. We passed through rainbow beach which has multi coloured sands then onto towards the ferry to the island. It was the most beautiful ferry landing I’ve been to, pure white sand! Once on the island it was a very bumpy ride to lake Mackenzie with a tea and biscuit stop on the beach first. Lake Mackenzie is a natural lake one of the biggest perched lakes which means it’s only fed by rain water no ground water at all which means it’s totally pure with perfect silica sand! We had a walk in the rainforest before heading home to noosa on the beach again. Great day :)

10 January 2018

Diving in Byron Bay

9 January 2018

Byron Bay has always been spoken about as the place to go! I enjoyed visiting but felt very old and like I was back at school. It was where the cool hip young ones hang out. I don’t think it helped that I was staying in nomads the party hostel! First evening I went with a couple of English girls from my dorm to the lighthouse which was a nice coastal walk with the most easterly point of Aus and lighthouse at the top. It was nearing sunset so very hot and beautiful. I went diving the next day (photos to come) which was ok but nothing special as visibility wasn’t great and it was quite cold. However we did see some sharks on the bottom at the nursery as it’s called. They all looked asleep! Also saw a turtle. I let a nice girl from the U.K. doing that and spent the evening together with the girls from my dorm which was very pleasant. I thought I was due on the 0800 bus to Noosa it was 0900! Byron is certainly the place to go to hang out and look cool.. not sure I fit into that category

7 January 2018

Day 1 - Surfers Paradise & Burleigh Heads National Park I only had one day to explore here which will be the theme of the trip. On recommendation from the hostel I took the tram and bus to Burleigh Head beach where I walked around the coastal walk in the National Park to the river. This is where lots of people go to swim as it’s calm but a strong current so there lots of wildlife. Had I have known I would have taken my mask and snorkel as I saw a manta ray from the beach and it would have been awesome to see it from the water. The water colour and temperature were amazing, my only thing is I don’t tend to stay long in the sea because of the sun and wish I could stay longer.. likewise on the beach! I’m making the most of the time I am in it or on it though. Surfers Paradise is certainly a busy place with lots of tourists and I get the impression most of the beautiful places are on the outskirts. However I did enjoy it here and the observation deck was a great way to end it with wine!
Well I can’t believe how the time is flying. At another airport this time only a short hop up north to the Gold Coast. I chose orange for the flight details as today was 42c.. feels like your in an oven instantly! So it will be interesting to see what it’s like up north.. hot I reckon! I’ve had a fun few weeks but definitely looking forward to getting out and seeing some of Australia that I haven’t seen before! So the next 2 weeks I am travelling 1500 miles and got sailing and diving booked in! It will be an experience hosteling it all the way but I’m up for a challenge. It may be a sleepless few weeks but will be worth it.

5 January 2018

Today we went on a hike at the Grand Canyon in the Blue Mountains National Park. You can see why it’s the Aussies Grand Canyon. Very beautiful scenery and lots of nice places to shelter from the sun under large rocks! The hike took us just over 2 hours and lots of lots of steps. There is just so much to do in this country and I haven’t even touched the surface. I love being able to get out and explore all these beautiful places and this one being close to home (Angela’s home). On the way home we stopped to see the famous three sisters landmark. I saw them when I was here 9 years ago and I’ve never forgotten that day so it was lovely to see them again. I am off on Sunday to go up north and I am looking forward to doing some proper travelling. I’ve loved staying with Angela but it doesn’t feel like actual travelling living in her home with her life and friends. It’s certainly nice to see a locals life too though :)

30 December 2017

To complete the trip this morning we went to London Bridge, the grotto, Bay of martyers and bay of islands (Aussie version). It was very very windy today So the sea was a sight. You can see why they had various ship wrecks back in the day. From here we drove to Melbourne where I caught up with Fiona a friend from the grand princess. The photos are not in any particular order I’m afraid! Just too many for one post.

29 December 2017

Yesterday and today we finished the great ocean road.Saw Cape Otway lighthouse the oldest in Aus but it wasn’t open for us to get close to it unfortunately. Then on to the 12 apostles. Rain was bad so didn’t spend too long there. There are no longer 12 left I think it’s just 7 as some have fallen away. We then went back to see Gibson’s steps which lead you down to a beach but the weather was awful so went to port Campbell for a well needed warm up and brunch! Lordy ard gorge was next on the list. To hard to describe them all as they are all land formations that have been formed years and years ago but all are very scenic. As it was still raining we drove back on ourselves to walk to triplet falls (in the rain still!) driving through fog. Honestly it’s felt like a British winter here not an Aussie summer. On the drive back the sun sort of came out so we managed to do Gibson’s steps and the beach was amazing..
I’m going to have to do two entries for the last 2 days as too many photos! Great ocean road has been impressive. Weather not great but amazing sights and lots of driving. Started at the lighthouse in airleys inlet, 2 hours queuing to get into Lorne to go up to Eskrine Falls then back to great ocean road to drive to Apollo Bay. This is where we stayed at my first ever hostel and I’m hoping it’s the worst I’ll see in my time in Aus. The ocean road is like the Aussie equivalent of amalfi coast in Italy without all the towns! It was good we split the trip into 2.5 days to get all the sights in and also miss some of the traffic by getting to sights early. Although the rain did hamper day 2 abit we made the most of it. I will talk about day 2 in the next post as I can’t get all the pictures up. The pics are from all the days!

28 December 2017

Today we started our journey on the great ocean road. Weather not great but amazing scenery. Started at a light house in airle inlet then a massive queue into Lorne. We went to a waterfall at Erskine falls in Otway National Park that was very pretty. Lots of annoying tourists getting in the way of photos though! Then onto Lorne Pier where there were lots of ocean swimmers that looked fun. Finally further along the road to Apollo Bay and our beautiful accommodation for the night. My first ever hostel and it’s really awful.. I am hoping they are not all like this! I’m just hoping no bed bugs! Trying to embrace the experience but booking accommodation 2 days before travel does not leave you many options so making do! Tomorrow we plan to leave early to get to the 12 Apostles before the coach loads of people from Melbourne. Then a few other beach sights and more waterfalls.

26 December 2017

As many of you are probably aware I’ve always wanted to do the Sydney Hobart race that leaves Sydney on Boxing Day. I’ve never managed to do so I thought I should at least watch the start. I was amazed to see the support it gets out here, 1000s if not more people come out to watch the start. It’s nice to see sailing getting so much support. So I trekked out to Watson’s Bay which is on the headland at the entrance to the harbour. Such a small world bumped into my friend from my time at carnival uk who now works here so spent the time with him which was good! The wind died for the start so wasn’t that impressive and there didn’t seem to be as many boats as I’m used to with our fastnet but lots of news helicopters for coverage which was cool. Also stumbled across a nudist beach called lady bay as well which was quite bizarre! Watson’s bay was also lovely, with a nice walk to the lighthouse which was covered with people watching. So it was nice to see here as well as watch the boats.

25 December 2017

Happy Christmas from down under! Tried to have a walk this morning but it felt like a british xmas with wind and rain so went back to bed! Had turkey so felt like a normalish lunch which was nice. Have a lovely day and I hope Santa brings you everything you’ve wanted xx

23 December 2017

Today we went to Palm beach which is where home and away is filmed. It was funny to see the beach for real and the coffee shop location. Although very different from the one on the show! We went to the top where the light house is where you get the shot of the two beaches either side. Pretty amazing views. It was very hot getting up so as soon as we were at the bottom we were straight in the sea! We went for a drink In the very nice coffee shop where we ended up with 2 extra smoothies and a brownie for some reason..Very odd but well received! Then we drove round to ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park to West head view that overlooks palm beach where we were earlier. We climbed down the epic hill to get to west head beach for a quick swim passing a few lovely spiders on the way. By this stage it was 6pm so we made the long climb back up and headed home. A lovely day out exploring. Just goes to show how much there is to do in Australia and not enough time! 1 day to xmas.. unbelievable x

18 December 2017

I hired a bike from the rocks, after having a lovely French croissant and coffee and headed off to get the Manly ferry. The ferries are a great way to see the harbour and all the sights for very little money :) Manly is beautiful, long stretch of beach that looked good for surfing. I had to stock up on more suntan lotion as I’m getting through it quick! I had fish and chips looking at the sea then cycled up to all the view points of the coast and the city. Stopping where they filmed Great Gatsby it was very beautiful! At one of the furthest points away I ran over a snake which was a funny experience... didn’t mean to but not sure who was more scared! It wasn’t there when I turned round so I don’t think I killed it. I then headed down to Shelly Beach were I went for a lovely swim. Sea temp is certainly cooler then Asia but lovely. It looked to be great for snorkelling so I may end up going back one day.I ended a beautiful day with a lovely coffee and cake at the boat house!

17 December 2017

We visited Taronga Zoo which is the biggest zoo in Sydney. It was pretty big with lots of walking! It kind of felt like it was winter season though as some areas were closed and not all animals were there! However it was still a great day as the weather wasn’t best for the beach. The zoo overlooked the Sydney Harbour so some fantastic views we on offer :)

16 December 2017

Today we went on the Sydney Opera House tour that my lovely ex colleagues from the MOD got me as a leaving present. It was very informative and enjoyable. We hen went for lunch on the quay side overlooking the bridge and harbour and docked cruise ship which brought back some memories! Then we walked all the way round the back of the opera house to mrs macquaries chair monument where I got some of the amazing photos or the bridge and opera house in alignment! We visited the art gallery and national library which were lovely old buildings with air con and free water fountains so I was happy! Then we walked back through the royal botanical garden and Hyde park of all places! I think I survived with out burning but ally of factor 50 was being applied! Tomorrow we are heading to one of the beaches and light houses that feature in home and away so that will bring back some memories I’m sure!

14 December 2017

I’ve arrived in Sydney. Nice easy ✈️ and a whole row to myself so I got some sleep. I arrived to the hottest day of the year so far, about 40c! The car said 50c when Angela’s parents took me for lunch! I hung 3 loads of washing out and each lot was dry on about 30 minutes! Just hanging it up I could feel myself burning. I will have to be super careful and have already brought some more factor 50! Angela is busy working in the week so beginning to sort out my plan. We are going to use the present work gave me when I left and have the opera house tour on Saturday so that should be fun! I am hoping to get some sleep as I’ve been awake a long long time but it’s pretty hot still.. 25c at 2330!

13 December 2017

So my time in bali is up. It honestly has been an amazing month. From diving with manta rays to becoming a yoga teacher, to volcanic eruptions, to spiritual healers in Ubud and of course the beautiful beach in sanur with far to much food! To top it off a couple of hours in a spa to fill myself full of the cheap massages out here before hectic Australia comes with its higher price tags! I can’t believe I’ve been away 6 weeks and that this time tomorrow I’ll be in Sydney.. crazy really! I can’t wait to see Angela after 9 years but on the other hand I could very easily stay in Bali for a long long time! I feel calmer here almost. Still non the wiser over what I want to do with my life but I do know what I have been doing for so long is probably not for me going forward. I’ve learnt a lot of things out here alternative to western thinking and it’s certainly intrigued me. I will definitely come back to Bali. Hopefully sooner rather then later. First off to my next adventure out of Asia!
I was sat having my lunch when this huge procession started to go by. I got up to have a look and it seemed like a celebration. I asked one of the locals and it turned out to be a high priest who had died a couple of months ago. They were all following to where the cremation is going to happen. His coffin was even carried during this parade. This just sums up Bali’s culture, passion and spirit. I did feel sorry for them in the intense heat but this is a way of life for them out here and their religion is hugely important and integral to everyday life here.

12 December 2017

Warung Amphibia So last night in Bali :( :( I have used trip advisor a lot here and this place was number 1 for seafood in sanur. Initially I was abit put off as it’s a little shack on the beach but reviews were amazing so I gave it go. You can choose any fish you want and they cook it fresh whilst you sit on the beach and wait. Well it didn’t disappoint. The grilled calamari and prawns were amazing.. very tasty and not stupidly expensive for the quality! A nice way to spend my last night here. I am going to try and get up to watch sunrise.. wish me luck haha!
Griya Santrian - Sanur I treated myself to a lovely hotel for the last two nights and just wanted to show you some pictures! It’s right on the beach with lovely gardens and swimming pools. They are only at 15% capacity so I got an upgrade to a room near the beach :) now is certainly the time to come to Bali for good offers and every time I’ve been in the pool I’ve had it all to my self! I did a spot of yoga on the beach this morning and half way through Mount Agung started puffing away! It’s been doing that all day but hidden by cloud for most. Sometimes you see the ash above the cloud but it could be easily mistaken for clouds! Il now sat having a cocktail on the beach before heading off to this beach shack for fresh fish.. will update you later on it!

11 December 2017

Anyone that comes to Bali especially Ubud should visit monkey forest. It is a conservation area right in the centre of the city based on the concept of Tri Hita Karana. This is a Hinduism philosophy which means “three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being”. It certainly is a little haven in the middle of a busy albeit quite city (due to the volcano a lot of people have not come which is devastating for those relying on tourists). I certainly felt like I was on a film set for Tarzan or raiders of the lost arc!

8 December 2017

I haven’t written anything for a while so I thought I should. The last few weeks have been quite intense with a few highs and lows. Yoga teacher training is also a journey for yourself as well as yoga. I wouldn’t say i have come out with any more clarity on where my life should lead me but maybe with some food for thought with other areas within yoga that I may continue to learn about over the years.ive pretty much been a vegan too! It turns out I’m a good yoga instructor who figured? I battled with my self confidence over not looking the part of a yoga instructor and to stop worrying about what level my own yoga practice is at. My instructors reckon I should go and teach. is yoga enough for me as a job.. at the moment I’m not sure? It certainly makes me feel me calm and at peace with myself when I’m embracing it. I will have to try and find some people on my journey to teach! I am in Ubud now.A very spiritual and yogi capital! I will endeavour to be more active on here again!

27 November 2017

The last couple of days have been very surreal. The volcano is very active and the airport is closed yet we are continuing our yoga practice like nothing is happening! We are very lucky to be outside of the area affected and think we’ve managed to persuade our slightly nutty instructor moving to the bottom of the volcano might not be such a good idea. Today we practiced inversions with candle light from black outs and extreme thunder storms over head, maybe from rainy season mixed with magnetic ash clouds! Then singing the Mother Earth mantra when lots are having to evacuate their homes was very strange! Spirits have been abit low today so some of us have broken out into town tonight and I’m having coffee and cake, very naughty but makes me feel abit more like pippa again! Funny how we have a smile on our faces from getting out for an evening! Hopefully flights will resume soon. I’m fighting my urge to get anxious but having the yoga to concentrate on is good. Volcano photo not mine

22 November 2017

So for weeks before I came out to Bali Mount Agung was rumbling. Today it had a little eruption. Apparently in Bali this means the gods are angry. Something I’ve learnt about the Balinese culture is they all believe strongly in the power of these gods and make offerings to them up to 15 times a day. We even have a little temple for each of our little houses/ rooms we are in that they give offerings to daily. There is no great feeling out here that it will erupt again but only time can tell. Some villages close have been affected by the ash but there’s only an 8 kilometre exclusion zone. They reckon this eruption occurred because we’ve had lots of rain and it was sitting in top of the rising magma which built up the steam which has just been released. For the second half of the yoga course we are meant to move further to the east of Bali so im not sure what will happen with this yet. The photos are from last week and some from the plane to show the size of it!

18 November 2017

Kura Kura yoga Retreat. I have had my first couple of days at the yoga retreat for my 200 hour teachers course. Yesterday I felt very out of place like I didn’t belong with all the super fit and skinny Minnie’s here but today I’m feeling more relaxed. There’s 18 women from all round the world here and everyone is lovely which is normally the case with yoga. I will be spending 3 weeks with them which is pretty intense. It will be interesting to see how the course goes and all the theory side. I am really enjoying learning about the history behind yoga. Only thing is there’s a lot of sitting on hard floors listening which my back is not a fan of! I really am enjoying the experience so far and am looking forward to doing more actual yoga over the weeks. Tomorrow we get up at 0545 to get ready for our blessing by a priest on the beach. We have to dress in sarongs and have made offerings to take. There is a picture of the offering. The ceremony sounds like it will be really interesting..

17 November 2017

Last day on Ceningan. Diving with a bunch of Aussies today. Brent, Kelly & Ben and anik from the resort. Saw mantas today although the visibility was bad it was so great to see them:) They were all so lovely and great to talk to. Ended up going for dinner and drinks and chatting away. It’s lovely when you meet people and can enjoy an evening with complete strangers. It certainly helps doing something like diving to meet people and it’s been so nice having dinner with someone. That’s certainly something I’m not keen on with solo travelling is having dinner on your own. I love to talk. It’s interesting to talk to people and learn about what they do and what they believe in. I am glad that I read about getting people to write me notes as it will be nice to look back on them at the end to help remember these random nights. Tomorrow I am on to the main reason that I came on this journey, the yoga course. It feels like I am adding lots of chapters to a book doing this!

16 November 2017

Had my first two dives this morning and went to manta point but they didn’t see any manta rays in the water and it was fairly rough so we turned round. The 2 dives I did were good saw some turtles and big fish but no BIG stuff yet, no mola mola either and they are meant to be huge! Hoping for tomorrow. There’s very little to do at my accommodation so I’ve come for a walk and found this cute place, very set up for the tourists but nice all the same to sit with a cold drink watching the storm roll in. There’s certainly lots of Aussies out here, main nationality of tourists! It’s called Seabreeze Ceningan! I think I better leave soon before the rain comes. It certainly is a different pace of life out here. I’m feeling very chilled :)

15 November 2017

I chose Ceningan resort as it’s an eco dive centre that was meant to have yoga as well so it ticked all the boxes. (Yoga unfortunately not on) The journey to the resort was an adventure in its self. It started with wading out to a speed boat and thankfully for me some poor local had to carry my very heavy bag onto it. The boat took us to Nusa Lembongan where we disembarked the same way into waiting pick up trucks pretty much sitting on our bags. This took me and one other lady to a small boat at the yellow bridge where my bag nearly sunk it. This was our transportation to the resort. It is very quiet here as it is low season and thankfully this other lady from Belgium is around for company. I am the only diver here and we set off to look for manta rays in the morning. The afternoons will be reading (for me that’s a challenge!) as there’s very little to do. It poured this afternoon but it is rainy season 🙁 The bungalow accomadation are very cute and it has an outdoor shower!
So as many of you are probably aware I am some what addicted to mochas especially mettricks ones. So I thought it only prudent to try out a bali version and it was very nice and a lot cheaper! I found this cute little place called Kopi kiosk coffee hut which was full of ex pat Aussies, Brit’s and me! I had to get my caffeine fix before 3 weeks without it but diving first....
I came to Sanur for one night purely as a place to sleep before leaving for Nusa Ceningan island but I realised I could spend much longer and didn’t want to leave. I will definitely come back. I was walking on the beach and swimming in the sea by 0830 wanting to explore as much as I could before getting the speed boat at 1200. The beach and sea was lovely and I could have stayed all day. I recommend Sanur if you want a laid back beach holiday but with things to do and in town as well. I think the pictures speak for themselves :)

14 November 2017

The currency out here is confusing £10 is 177550rp! This does mean my nice dinner and beer cost me £6.. also if your out here just remember when they present the chicken satay out here it’s still cooking over coals so don’t eat raw chicken (hoping I realised that in time! Currently sat with a beer listening to a great live band at Mango beach restaurant with the sea next to me.. I think I’m going to like this place!
I’ve arrived in Bali and lessons learnt already.. do not trust what STA travel tell you! I should have done my own research into Bali visas. I’m staying over the 30 free days so have to extend whilst here however I didn’t realise I needed to buy a certain visa on arrival to allow me to extend. Thankfully I happened to be googling it when waiting for bag already with stamp in passport (ooops) so after a long and eye lash flattering conversation with the grumpy immigration man I managed to buy the correct one after he had been telling me I’d have to cancel my tour and leave early! Now I’ll have to go find the local immigration office to extend. Typical me staying 32 days in Bali and £50 extra for visas! Thankfully nice taxi man waiting who took me to my guest house.. it has the smallest entrance you’ve ever seen but the nice owner was waiting for me. The room is perfect for £19! The beach is only 5 minutes walk away and hopefully I get to see it in daylight before I go to the island :)

12 November 2017

So today is my last day in Thailand for this visit! I cannot believe it’s time to go already. I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks and feel like it’s been a great way to start my travels. Getting my confidence back to dive has been the main agenda item but I’ve seen so much more since I’ve been here. I cannot thank Chris enough for her help and support when I’ve been here. It’s been nice to ease into this journey with a friendly face for company. In the last few days I’ve been to temples, marinas, beaches and for a brutal massage this afternoon. I will miss the Thai massages that’s for sure. My bag is packed and it seems heavier and more full then when I started. I’m one casualty down already my lovely pink towel got one outing to the beach and I promptly forgot it! Let’s see if it’s over weight tomorrow! So Bali tomorrow via Kuala Lumpur... onto the next adventure.. diving, yoga and island hopping 😁

11 November 2017

As you may have gathered I love Thai food so it was apt for me to do a course! It started with a trip to a local market, the first of which was pretty much under water after a massive down pour so ended up at an undercover one. It was really informative and interesting to see all the many fresh ingredients you can buy out here plus the amazing fruit. I came home with a couple of lovely mangoes (hopefully). We then went on to the house on the hill for the course, everything was set up for us so all we had to do was cook. It was very interesting to learn the techniques they use for preparing the ingredients compared to what I’m used to doing when I cook thai food. I cooked Penang curry, Pad Thai, chicken with cashew nuts, Tom Yum Goong and deep fried bananas (strangely nice). I couldn’t wait to try them and had to wait till they were all cooked! By the time I’d worked my way through the dishes I was very full and had enough left to bring Chris a doggy bag! I recommend doing this!

7 November 2017

So my week of diving has come to an end. It took me a couple of days to get my head used to being under water again but it was well worth it. My accommodation in Kata was lovely and well placed for Chalong pier where we were diving from. I think I have eaten my fair share of Thai food for the year now! I was diving with super divers based in Patong. Patong is an experience to say the least and I can best describe it as the Magaluf of Thailand!! Thankfully I only spent one day there in the pool and the rest based on different dive boats. I had an American instructor called Conner who was very laid back but good. I am glad I re did my tickets to give me my confidence back. The diving was really good although some visibility was poor. I dived on koh Phi Phi where the film the beach was based, did a wreck dive, a drift dive and saw numerous fish, eels and turtles. No big stuff unfortunately but maybe on future dives. I certainly will come back to Thailand for diving.

5 November 2017

Arrived in Kata this evening and managed to make it to the beach for sunset time! First night flying solo for the week.. Kata looks like a lovely beach and very busy! You have to have your wits about you walking through town, it certainly caters for the many tourists but it has a fun vibe about it and lots of places for me to get yummy food. Getting ready for the start of my dive course tomorrow. I am looking forward to getting in the sea that’s for sure! I will update you on my diving later in the week! X

4 November 2017

Had a few really nice chilled days with Chris. Loved the pool and the view for morning yoga! I had a Thai sports massage today and I feel about 6ft tall now! I’ve learnt a few things since I’ve been out here.. never knew latex rubber came from trees, toothpaste is really cheap here and iPads need certain chargers! Thank god for having a friendly local named Chris to help me.. We went to the local night market last night, always an experience! Can buy and eat anything and everything. As you probably are all aware of I love Thai food so am certainly in my element out here as the photos show!

2 November 2017

So made it to Phuket after a couple of flights and 5 films later! I never manage to sleep on long haul for some reason. My friend Chris met me at the airport which was lovely and have had a chilled day admiring the view from her house! I had the most amazing Thai massage this afternoon that was relaxing yet painful all at the same time! Ive made it to 32 hours awake now so time to try and sleep! X
So the time has finally come.. waiting for boarding! Thank you for everyone who is following me. I will endeavour to update you all with some stories and photos soon! See you in year! X

19 October 2017

So just under 2 weeks till the off... a mix of excitement, anxiety and fear of the unknown springs to mind. The pile is growing ever bigger in the corner of my room and I somehow don’t think it will all fit in! I have decided to try and make this trip not just about exploring the world and the seas but of mindfulness. I really want to be someone who can fight anxiety through this education of meditation. So wish me luck!! My nephew was born this morning and I can’t wait to meet him this weekend. Will probably hate to say goodbye to my 3 amazing nephews and nieces.