Asia, Australia and Oceania · 430 Days · 132 Moments · September 2017

Sam and Taz's Travel Blog


5 days ago

Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The crossing is a one day, 19.4km hike around Tongariro National Park. The walk started at 1100m altitude and was pretty steady going for a few km as we walked in the valley below Mt Ngauruhoe, an active Volcano. This meant the terrain was pretty rocky and almost moon like. After a while we had our first steep climb of the day up towards the south crater (1680m). This climb provided us with some amazing views of the land we had just covered. Then we had it pretty flat again for a little while in the crater before we climbed again, this time it was so steep there were even ropes to help pull yourself up! At the top(1886m) we were rewarded with views of the Emerald Lakes and surrounding areas. After this we had one more steep climb before our descent to the car park. There wasn't much to see for the last 8km as we just descended through the hills. An absolutely stunning walk that words or pictures do not do justice. Beer time now!

8 days ago

Waitomo. After our wonderful stop in Rotorua we headed over to Waitomo for some underground action! Along the way we stopped at Blue springs and Marokopa Falls. Blue spring is supplied by the Mamaku Plateau and takes around 50-100 years to reach the spring. This means the water has a super high purity level, resulting in the blue colours. Marokopa Falls were next, these were probably one of the best falls we've seen on our entire trip,definitely within the top 5! The next day was our main event in Waitomo. An underground caving and black water rafting adventure. This involved slipping into a wetsuit and heading underground into a natural cave network. Whilst we were underground we had to jump of waterfalls, crawl through small holes and float along the streams in our rubber tubes. We also got to see some more glow worms which were amazing! Not a trip for the faint hearted or if you don't like small dark places but it was absolutely incredible!

9 days ago

Rotorua. Our next stop on our travels was Rotorua. This is a town renowned for it Maori culture (35% of the population today are Maori) and Geothermal activity. These two genres were to be the main focus of all our trips during our stay in Rotorua. I could write so much about each one, whether that be about Maori history or the geography behind the Geysers but for two reasons I won't be doing that. Mainly I don't have enough words on each blog post and also I can't really be bothered ๐Ÿ˜‚ but if anyone is interested then feel free to ask as both subjects were truly fascinating. Our first night saw us head to Tamaki village for a traditional Maori experience and dinner. Here we learnt about their culture including war, dances, games and the Haka. Dinner was a tradition Hangi meal cooked in the ground. The next day we headed to Te Puia, home of large Geysers and mud pools. A fascinating place. After that we relaxed at a natural spa being supplied by the local spring.

4 November 2018

Coromandel Peninsula. We had just one night on the Peninsula so it was just a quick pitstop. We had a 5 1/2 hour drive on the day we arrived so we didn't get there till around 3pm. After checking in we just had a short drive out to a beach and found a rope swing where we acted like kids for a little while. It was great fun! ๐Ÿ˜‚ The next morning we awoke early and headed down to Cathedral Cove. The cove is a good hours walk from the car park but we were short on time as we had a long drive later in the day too so we caught the park and ride as far as we could. It was still a 20 minute walk each way but it would help us out later in the day. It was a lovely beach with a couple of caves and a couple of rock stacks in the sea. Next we headed down to Hot water beach. Here you can dig your own hot tub at low tide where the hot Geothermal water filter through the sand. The water was super hot! Too hot to go in without being cooled with sea water. Another great experience

3 November 2018

Bay of Islands. We're doing quite a bit of driving during this trip so a lot of our days aren't filled with too much so I'll just be doing a post for each destination we visit rather than for each day We left Auckland and headed north to Paihia, our base for two nights to explore the beautiful Bay of Islands On the way up we stopped at a couple of nice waterfalls before arriving in Paihia mid afternoon. The next day we caught a ferry across to Urupukapuka Island where we spent the day walking, looking at the amazing views and relaxing in the bay. The weather wasn't great but we still had some sunny spells throughout the day. It's very different to Australia here. It sounds funny but I'd describe it as almost like a tropical version of the UK. There is plenty of lush green farmland inhabited by sheep, much like the North Yorkshire Moors. It just happens that they are surrounded by beautiful crystal clear waters and have slightly better weather! Our next stop is Corromandel peninsular

1 November 2018

Karekare falls, Piha and One Tree Hill. Today started off very slowly. The weather was absolutely horrific so we just mooched around the airbnb for a little while before heading out to grab some supplies for our road trip. After lunch the weather was a little better so we ventured out west from Auckland to Karekare falls and Piha beach. Now, on a sunny day these would have been absolutely beautiful. However the weather still wasn't great by the time we arrived. Luckily the falls were only a short walk from the car park and still looked impressive despite the howling wind and rain. The same could not be said about Piha beach. The waves were wild and the sand was being blown about everywhere by the gale force winds. On the way back to Auckland we stopped at another one of the extinct volcanoes that provide great views of the city. The weather was slightly better here so we could see a little bit but it was still blowing a gale! Last night in Auckland tonight before our road trip.

31 October 2018

New Zealand day 1: Auckland! Yesterday we flew into NZ and arrived to our accommodation around 5pm so we just did a food shop and then settled in for the evening. Today we got up and headed for our first stop of the day, Mount Eden. This is one of around 40 extinct volcanos around Auckland that helped form the cities landscape. It also provides great views of the city and surrounds. Our next stop was across the bay at Mount Victoria, another volcano that provides views across the bay and of the city. Next we headed into Auckland itself for some lunch, a little wander round and to go up the Sky Tower. This is a 328m tall telecoms tower with a viewing deck on the 51st floor. Much like the other two view points, we had cracking views of the city and surrounding volcanos and mountains.

29 October 2018

Rest of Tasmania trip. So, as usual, I've been lazy and forgotten to do the Journi for a while. This means that I'm just gonna do one post for the rest of our time in Tassie! After we left Queenstown we headed back to Hobart where we would spend our final two nights on Australian soil. On the way we stopped at iron blow lookout, which is an old copper mine, and Russell falls which, unlike some waterfalls on the mainland, actually had a decent amount of flowing water. Our final day in Hobart was spent tasting some fantastic Tasmanian wines and having a stroll around the city. We had an early night on our final night due to having to get up at 3.15am for our flight to NZ! ๐Ÿ˜ท

27 October 2018

Cradle Mountain and devils@cradle Today we may or may not have visited Cradle mountain. It was so cloudy and rainy that we couldn't actually see it so who knows if we were really there ๐Ÿ˜‚ After yesterday's dramatics, we were unfortunately unable to complete the longer walks around the NP that we had planned. Luckily the weather was terrible so we didn't miss out on too much! We hopped on the shuttle bus from the visitors centre to dove lake, from where you're supposed to be able to see the mountain.. See last picture for what it should look like ๐Ÿ˜‚ We also stopped off at a Tasmanian devil sanctuary where they care for and rehabilitate Tassie devils so they're ready for re entry to the wild. Tassie devils are an endangered species of marsupial only found on Tasmania. We had a ranger tour which told us all about their plight and how numbers have plummeted from 200,000-15,000 in only around 20 years! They're very cute looking animals until they show their teeth..

26 October 2018

Launceston to Mole Creek (via Launceston General Hospital).. Today started in a very dramatic fashion. As we were going down the stairs to leave our accommodation Tazzy missed the last two steps and tumbled to the bottom, seriously hurting her ankle in the process. Luckily we were about 1min from the hospital so we hopped over to a and e for an xray. Luckily nothing was broken, just a severe sprain so the nurse just put her into a very flattering space boot.. ๐Ÿ˜‚ This incident, unfortunately, put a halt to our plans for the day and probably the rest of our time in TAS. So the rest of today was spent driving round looking at the pretty views, having a stop for ice cream (as you do when injured/ill/upset) and looking at the 'big Tassie Devil' statue. Our stop for the night was a very old world pub in Mole Creek. However it was very comfortable and served up decent grub

25 October 2018

Bicheno - Launceston We didn't see a great deal today as we spent a lot of time driving. Just before we arrived to Launceston we stopped at Cataract Gorge for a short walk and a look around, which was pretty nice. Next we headed into the city centre to have lunch and visit the Japanese Macaque monkeys.. For some reason they have an enclosure of about 50 monkeys located in the park which is free to view. They were very cheeky and entertaining little monkeys. We had a stroll around the city centre before heading to our accommodation for the evening.

24 October 2018

Hobart-Bicheno Today we got up bright and early to start our travels around Tassie. Our journey today was around 270km from Hobart to Bicheno via Freycinet NP. At Freycinet NP is the famous Wineglass Bay. Here we did the wineglass Bay lookout walk which was about a half an hour from the car park up steep rocky steps, but boy the views from the top were worth it! On the way up we passed a sign that led to a walk down to the beach.. On our way back we decided it would be a good idea to embark on this walk to the beach. 1000 steps each way! No typo there! It took us around 30 mins each way to descent and re ascend the stairs and we were knackered by the top, luckily it wasn't hot! Tazzy wasn't best pleased that I 'made' her do this extra bit of the walk. After our walk we continued our journey to Bicheno which was our stop for the evening.

23 October 2018

Tasmania Day 1: Hobart/Mount Wellington Flight to Hobart from Melbourne was a lovely a short one of only 1 hour. However the turbulence coming into Tasmania was like no turbulence we have ever experienced before. It was very cloudy and began with a few shakes but for about a minute we had a very bumpy ride! Plane was swaying left and right and it felt like we dropped 1000 feet at one point. We both were a bit shaken up by it and itโ€™s safe to say we were relieved when we landed! Anyway at the airport we picked up our hire car for the week...a brand new Holden Equinox! A very nice drive. We took a drive into the city, had some lunch and stopped off at the visitors centre as we always find them very helpful for our travels. We then drove up Mount Wellington. It is 1271 meters tall and we drove right to the very top. Once we reached the summit the temperature had dropped a huge 10 degrees meaning it was now a very cold 7 degrees! However the views were incredible!

21 October 2018

Melbourne! After cairns we had a quick 3 night pit stop in Melbourne to visit a friend from uni who was just starting her working holiday visa in beautiful Melbs. After arriving in the afternoon on the first day we went straight to our airbnb to meet up before having a quiet evening in. Next day we headed into the city to hit up all the tourist hotspots and have a drink or two. On our last day the weather was great (28ยฐ) so we all went to the beach for some sun (potentially our last chance to sunbathe on our trip...) before heading out for dinner in the evening followed by a trip to the casino! After this we leave mainland Aus and head to Tasmania for a week.

18 October 2018

Cairns and Great Barrier Reef! We've been slack at completing our journis this last week. Sincere apologies to all our dedicated followers. We had 4 nights in cairns, mainly to have a bit of a relax after the campervan and also to explore the GBR. Our first venture out to the reef was a day trip on a boat out to a couple of the reefs for some snorkelling and water activities. The water was unbelievably clear with so many different fish and beautiful coral. Our next experience of the reef was from the air! When you're on the boat, you don't truly get an idea of the scale of the reefs so we decided to jump into a plane and take a short flight over the reef. All we could say was "wow". Absolutely unbelievable it was, seeing the reef in all its glory from above. The rest of our time in cairns was just spent chilling by the lagoon or organising stuff for the rest of our trip. Melbourne next to see a friend from Uni!

16 October 2018

Goodbye Harry! We were up bright and early today to pack and make sure we were back in cairns on time to drop Harry off! Between Port Douglas and Cairns is about 30km of stunning road and scenery known as the Captain Cook Highway. We stopped at a few beaches and lookouts along the way back to cairns before we treated ourselves to a final lunch before dropping Harry off! We've now got 4 days in cairns, mainly to relax before we head back down to Melbourne to see a friend from uni. From there we continue our travels to Tasmania and New Zealand

15 October 2018

Daintree River Cruise and Port Douglas. Yesterday we left cairns again and headed north for 2 nights. We decided to stay the night in Daintree for one reason and one reason only.. CROCS! So we got up and headed down to the river for a cruise along the Daintree. Unfortunately we saw no crocs! It was a fairly interesting tour still with lots of wildlife and views of the rainforest. After the tour we jumped back in Harry and headed back south towards Cairns to Mossman gorge. Here we had a quick walk through the rainforest and along the gorge. Our final stop of the day was Port Douglas, which was also our stop for the night. We had a quick relax on the beach before having a stroll through town for a beer and ice cream. Tonight is our last night In Harry before we have 4 days in Cairns.

14 October 2018

Skyrail and Kuranda scenic railway Today we decided to do something even more touristy than normal. We booked a double pass on a cable car and a railway journey. First up was the Skyrail cable car trip. This was a 7km cable car that took you up and over the rainforest below. It had two stops along the way that we got off at, one was a short walk around the rainforest and one was for a viewpoint of Baron Falls. However the weather was very cloudy and we couldn't see much at all! The cable car finished in Kuranda which was a quaint little tourist village selling all sorts of nick nacks. We decided to treat ourselves to lunch today as well! Kuranda was also he starting point for our train journey back down the range. It was a lovely 1hr30 trip that took us through tunnels, over bridges, along the edge of baron gorge and past waterfalls. Some consider the track to be one of the biggest engineering feats in Australian history. The weather was a lot better on the way down too!

13 October 2018

Waterfall day Today we felt very much at home, the weather was overcast and we were driving around lush Green hill and mountains. However it was still high 20s and very humid so maybe not quite like home! Our day consisted of driving around and visiting numerous waterfalls during the trip. First stop was Ellinjaa Falls which were just a short walk from the car park down to the base of the falls where you could have a few paddle if you so desired Next was Zillie Falls. Here we could only access viewing point at the top of the falls. After that was the main attraction of the day, Millaa Millaa Falls, one of the most photographed falls in Queensland. Also famous for appearing in the Herbal Essences advert a few years ago. You could also have a swim here if you wanted, however the weather wasn't great so we didn't bother. Our final falls of the day was Malanda falls. These were nothing special and provided a pool at the bottom for kids to splash around in.

12 October 2018

Josephine Falls and Babinda Boulders Today we had a short 1 hour drive north. First stop was Josephine Falls! This has got to be one of the best waterfalls we have been to. Full flowing, picturesque and we could swim in it and slide down part of it! It was rather cold when you first dipped your toe in. But as the saying goes...itโ€™s alright once youโ€™re in ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ Once we finished having fun there we had a short drive to the Babinda Boulders. This was another swimming hole where we took another dip. At a free campsite tonight again with the aim of saving some dollar. This place has coin operated showers so we could have a hot shower for just $2! Bargain! Can you believe this time in 8 weeks weโ€™ll be home ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ™ˆ excited but sad as well!

11 October 2018

Townsville to Mission beach Today was another travelling day as we drove 3hrs from Townsville to Mission beach. We left around 9 so arrived at Mission beach at lunchtime. We've been very full on the last few days so we just chilled this arvo. Played some card games, drank some beer and layed at the beach However we're now very close to Cairns so the end of our campervan adventure is near!

10 October 2018

Magnetic Island (named because Cptn Cook mistakenly thought the island caused his compass to malfunction) We hopped on the short ferry ride across to the island where we then picked up our ride for the day, a topless car! (see pics) Our first port of call was a 4km walk around an old Fort and gun emplacements on the hill overlooking the sea. This was a base for the Australian Army during WWII, but it didn't see much action. The guns were only fired once in anger and that was because of mistaken identity! There were also a few koalas on this walk which made Tazzy happy. Next we went to Arthur's Bay for a quick chill before heading to horseshoe Bay for some lunch. Being thrifty as always, we had packed a lunch. Next was to Hawkins point lookout. This involved a steep climb through the rocks which then gave us views over the mainland. Last we hit the beach for a quick snorkel. Unfortunately the Marine life wasn't great compared to some other places we have snorkelled!

9 October 2018

Airlie Beach to Townsville After 4 days relaxing in Airlie beach, we had another long drive today to take us to Townsville. We had a pretty chilled morning and set off around 9am. Our first stop of the day was in Bowen at the Big Mango (Australia has a lot of different 'big' things in random places, no idea why). Here we tried some local mango sorbet before we were on our way again Once we arrived in Townsville we found our usual lookout spot, Castle Hill, which as usual, gave us stunning views of the area. Next we found the Townsville sign before heading for a quick drink and then to camp for the night

8 October 2018

Some more Whitsunday Photos!

6 October 2018

Whitsunday Catamaran trip! Today we left on a 2 day, 2 night boat trip around the Whitsunday Islands aboard an 18 man Catamaran. We did so much over the two days that it will be difficult to talk about it all in detail but it was an absolutely amazing trip with stunning scenery and marine life. We also celebrated our 4 year anniversary on the boat! We couldn't think of a better place to spend it! Here is just a brief outline of what we did: Snorkelled at many different sites (we saw turtles amongst other fish which made tazzy very happy) Spent the morning at Whitehaven beach (one of the most beautiful places we have been to! Stand up paddle boarding in the ocean chilled in the on board hot tub! Saw marine life from the boat, both at day and at night with the boats underwater blue lights!

5 October 2018

Day 16+17 We didn't feel yesterday deserved its own post.. We drove for 300km, arrived in Airlie beach and Sam got his haircut. Today we were woken up by the heat! After driving 300km north in one day, we really noticed the difference in the heat. This morning we completed a very hot and hilly 5.4km climb up Mount Rooper which provided us with stunning views from the top out over the Whitsunday Islands. Got back for lunch time before heading to the lagoon for an afternoon chill. Tomorrow we leave Harry for two days as we embark on a 2 day sailing tour around the Islands! This is the trip that, arguably we have been looking forwards to most since we first arrived in Australia! During our trip, Tazzy will also be celebrating a big milestone. 4 years with Sam! If we have signal out on the boat then we will keep you updated, otherwise you'll hear all about it when we return to dry land!

3 October 2018

Day 15: Yeppoon + long drive We woke up bright and early today to the sight of grey clouds covering the sky, which scuppered our plans to head to the beach and Lagoon for the morning. Nonetheless we found a nice little headland walk which led us through the rocks and hills for 2.3km to a lookout from where we could see turtles! Then we headed to Yeppoon but unfortunately the weather still wasn't great so we just had a little stroll around town before we got fish and chips for lunch! After lunch we had a 200km drive to our rest area for the night! This one even has showers! 300km drive tomorrow so won't be much to write home about again!

2 October 2018

Day 14: Beach day Didn't do a great deal today, spent the morning at the beach before tazzy did some washing in the afternoon.. We did have a stroll along the Anzac memorial walk in the town which was nice

1 October 2018

Day 13: The one where we entered the tropics. Today we left our free camp and headed up to Rockhampton. Rockhampton is a couple of things. It is Australia's beef capital, being home to around half of all Australia's cattle and It is also where the tropic of capricorn runs through. Our first stop of the day was rockhampton botanical Gardens and its free, yes free, zoo. Now it was no Australia zoo but it was pretty good, we spent about an hour looking round the different animals. Tazzy was enthralled by the chimps.. I wonder why๐Ÿ‘€ Next we travelled just up the road to where we crossed from temperate Australia into tropical Australia. There wasn't much to see here, just a spire an a couple of signs, but a cool little thing nonetheless. Our final stop in Rocky was Mt Archer (603.5m ASL). This had a lovely winding road up to the top. From here we were surrounding by stunning views of the countryside. We then headed for our campsite in Emu Park for 2 nights. Yes this one has showers...

30 September 2018

Day 12: driving day and town of 1770 We didn't do a great deal today as we had a lot of distance to cover. Started the day with a nice stroll along the beach, even spotted a few dolphins splashing around. Then we hit the road and headed for Agnes Water and 1770 for a quick visit. 1770 is named after the year that Captain Cook first landed in the town. Botany Bay was the first Australian place where he made landfall and 1770 was the second. Then we had some lunch in Agnes water, Tazzy made a ham roll ๐Ÿ˜ด whilst Sam went to the famous Agnes water bakery to get a pea and steak pie ๐Ÿ‘Œ After that we had a bit of a drive again before we hit our stop for the night.. A free camp! We decided to try and stay at a few more free camps along the way to save a bit of money. This one was a lovely spot by the river and it had toilets but no showers. Luckily the weather helped Sam out! (see Taz's insta) Off to Rockhampton tomorrow where we'll cross the tropic of capricorn

29 September 2018

Day 11: Bundaberg Distillery tour Today we left Hervey Bay and headed for Bundaberg (the home of rum and ginger beer). We arrived around lunchtime so we grabbed something to eat before heading over to the Distillery for our tour. We had a look round the museum first which taught us about the history of the rum and the company and a little bit on how it was made. We then started our guided tour which took us around all the manufacturing process from the Molasses to fermentation to distilling. Unfortunately we couldn't take any photos as we weren't allowed to take electronics in.. After the tour we were treated to two free drinks as a part of the package so we made sure to try some of the top shelf rum that we wouldn't otherwise be able to taste. Overall a very good experience and would definitely recommend.

28 September 2018

Day 10: Fraser Island tour Today we went on a 4WD adventure tour of Fraser Island (it has just had a name change back to K'Gari which is Aboriginal for 'paradise). Started off bright and early with a pick up from our campsite before we jumped on a barge for the short journey across the water. Upon arrival we were straight into the off roading as we headed for Lake Mckenzie. This is a freshwater lake that is only filled by rainwater and has no output stream, so what goes in, stays in. This lake was stunning, crystal clear water and fine silica sand. Back into the bus and we headed through the rainforest to our lunch stop. After lunch it was out to 75mile beach and then on to a couple more stops, Eli creek and Maheno shipwreck (a NZ built ship that served in WWI as a hospital boat, but then it broke free being towed back and ended up on Fraser. It was then used for bombing practise during WWII which is why it is in pieces now). Back to mainland on the evening ferry in time for dinner

27 September 2018

Day 10: Dolphin feeding! A bright and early start for us today to go and feed some wild Humpback Dolphins. It was a short 3 minute drive to Barnacles dolphin centre for a 7am start. Already there was a queue to get in! Feeding commenced at 8 so in the hour before it started we got to see the dolphins in the water and had a bit of a commentary from some of the volunteers. Legend has it that this centre helped heal a mother dolphin so the dolphins kept coming back to the same area. After a while, these guys started feeding the dolphins a little bit. By law, they are allowed to feed each dolphin 3kg of fish for breakfast. The dolphins then go off and eat about 15kg more during the day, so they are by no means dependent on this centre. We also learnt that it is illegal to swim with or touch the dolphins in this neck of the woods. 8am came round and it was our turn to feed one of the dolphins a fish (a tiny proportion of their allowance)! It was over in a flash but a good experience!

26 September 2018

Day 9: Noosa Heads/ surf lesson! Today we got up bright and early for a two hour beginner surf lesson. We started on the beach practising our moves before swiftly moving into the water for some real action. Both of us took to it pretty quickly, managing to get to our feet for a decent length of time after just a couple of goes! After many more tries we both were able to catch a wave and surf to shore, which made us feel like pros (though I'm willing to bet that we certainly didn't look like pros!!) Surprisingly (after our experience with stand up paddle boarding) Sam was marginally better than tazzy, managing to catch a couple on his own. However we were both very glad we managed to stand up on the board at all! Last night was our final night in Noosa so after our lesson we headed up to Tin Can Bay, via a quick penelope pitstop in Rainbow Beach. Hopefully got something very exciting to post about tomorrow so fingers crossed! ๐Ÿฌ

25 September 2018

Day 8: A very rainy day! Weather was extremely rainy so Tazzy did the washing and then we went to the cinema to see the new Johnny English film. When we got back to camp we sorted out some more plans for Tasmania by booking some accommodation. We had fajitas for dinner. Up early tomorrow for a surfing lesson!

24 September 2018

Day 7: Noosa Heads/boat cruise Today we decided to give Harry a rest and take a scenic boat cruise into Noosa! We hopped on the ferry at around 9.30 this morning and headed along the Noosa River into the main part of town. Upon arrival we took a stroll through all the boutique shops and cafes before descending on the beach for a couple of hours sunbathing. We also decided to treat ourselves to lunch today. We decided on pizza as it is near enough impossible for us to cook pizza whilst in the van... Had another little stroll before jumping on the afternoon ferry back. Turns out Harry didn't appreciate us leaving him for the day so he decided to have a faulty cell in the battery, meaning we had to get roadside assistance out and then after we were jump started, go and get a new battery fitted (we're fully insured so this didn't cost us anything luckily and was all sorted within the hour) Weather is not looking good tomorrow so we may well hit the cinema!

23 September 2018

Day 6: Noosa Heads National Park. Today we went to Noosa NP and did a 6km coastal walk all along the cliff top around the headland. The day started off well because right at the start of our walk we saw our first ever wild Koala (Tazzy was very happy!). Along the walk there were some amazing views back along the coast, both north and south. We stopped at some rock pools along the way too, where Taz took a dive. We also stopped at a secluded beach for an hour or so where Sam took up his usual position diving in and out of the waves. BUT! The best bit of the day was seeing all of the whales out at sea, there must have been at least 5/6 that we saw. Sam managed to get one picture but unfortunately our camera skills couldn't get any more. Back to camp for a BBQ tonight!

22 September 2018

Day 5: beach day. Not too much to write home about today. Spent the morning at the beach in Mooloolaba before heading up to Noosa where we'll spend the next 4 nights. Hopefully going to have a surf lesson and hire a boat so there's some things to look forward to!

21 September 2018

Day 4 in Harry: waterfall and mountains day. Today we took a short trip west into the Blackall Range and surrounding national parks. We started off at Mapleton falls National Park, here the falls were visible from a lookout just 50m from the car park! We also did a short 1km loop circuit around the rainforest just as a warm up. Next we headed to Kondalilla (means rushing water in aboriginal language (very original)) Falls. Here we did a 5km walk from the top, into the valley and back up, via the falls and its rock pools. This was a very steep but equally scenic walk. Our final falls of the day were Gardener Falls. These were just a short 300m walk from the van and had a deep pool at the bottom which a lot of people took advantage and were jumping into. (for some reason these falls and streams reminded me a bit of sheep's wash). All along the drives there were numerous lookouts providing some stunning views back on the Glass House Mountains.

20 September 2018

Campervan day 3: Bribie Island to Bli Bli. Didn't do a great deal today, we've got 4 weeks to cover just over 1000 miles so we've got plenty of time, meaning we don't have to be full on everyday. Today we just went to Bribie Island for the morning, had a walk along the beach to an old WWII Submarine control room, went to a lookout and then had a stroll and relax in town before heading to our next stop up the Sunshine coast. The Island is formed completely of sand, much like Fraser Island or Moreton Island, however because it is so close to mainland and accessed by Bridge, it is a lot more developed than the other two. It was also a very important island during WWII as it was Australia's first line of defence in protecting against invasions. On the way to our campsite we stopped at another lookout, giving us 360 views of the surrounding mountains and coastline.

19 September 2018

Campervan day 2: Glasshouse mountains. Today we took a short drive from the campsite over to the glasshouse mountains, just north of Brisbane. These mountains were another discovery by Capt James Cook, who we all know by now, was from Yorkshire! He named them the GHM because he felt as though they resembled glass furnaces which he recognised from his hometown (Marton, If anyone knows where that is). We started the day with a drive to a lookout so we could get our bearings of all the mountains. Only two of the mountains are open to the public and one of them you need to be a skilled rock climber to ascend. So, naturally, we chose the other mountain to climb(Mt Ngungun). It was a rocky, steep 40 minute climb to the top but the views of the surrounding mountains and over to Moreton Island were definitely worth it! Took a stop at a pick your own strawberries farm on the way back which was.. Cute.. Back to the camp in the late afternoon to chill. Had hotdogs and pasta pesto for dinner

18 September 2018

Campervan 3.0. Meet Harry the Hiace, our 3rd campervan on our epic Australian adventure! This time we have gone for Travellers Autobarn as our choice of company for this 4 week adventure that will take us from Brisbane to Cairns. Not much happened on pick up day really. We went to pick up the stuff we left at our old apartment whilst we were in Fiji, stocked up with food and essentials and then headed to our first campsite for the night. First dinner back on the road was tacos. I promise the following posts will be more exciting, once we start our adventure properly!
Back on the road means Journi is back! But first...Letโ€™s go back to last week and talk about Fiji ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐ŸŒด What a beautiful place ๐Ÿ˜ Our trip consisted of island hopping through the Yasawa and Mamanuca islands. We visited 4 islands and the mainland where the capital is Nadi. We swam with reef sharks and mantarays. Both very impressive and an amazing experience for us. Every time we arrived to a new island we arrived by long boat and we were normally greeted with a hello song. Bula is the Fijian welcome...BULA! Our accommodation was bures which were small huts which was pretty basic accommodation however typically Fijian. During the time we werenโ€™t off doing trips we would usually lay in a hammock and sleep/read/or just look around to take in where we actually were. So glad we took the time to visit Fiji while weโ€™re on this side of the world. 100% recommend Fiji...but island hop and stay in typical Fijian accommodation, not luxury accommodation, this way you get more of a Fijian expe

4 March 2018

**TAZZYโ€™S THOUGHTS** What a trip! Weโ€™ve both been working hard earning the dollars since mid October so it was nice to get away and it reminded us of the real reason why we came to Australia...to travel! Like Sam said Uluru was spectacular to watch at sunset but the walk we did at Kings Canyon and the views we saw were just stunning. We ate Kangaroo for the first time (sorry kanga) and it tasted very nice. We saw dingoes, camels, and I fed a very hungry emu! (Think I almost lost a finger!) The flies were beyond irritating and have no personal boundaries! Hence why me and Sam were fashioning very attractive fly nets around our heads. We have officially been to the centre of Australia (middle middle) and the heat was intense. Doing this trip has really made me understand how vast Australia is and you really donโ€™t want to be stuck in the outback! Another highlight is star gazing in the evening where we saw some shooting stars. 4 weeks left in Melbourne...!

2 March 2018

Hello everyone! Just thought we'd post a quick update about the amazing trip we went on this weekend to the 'red centre' of Australia in the NT. We had a brilliant tour from Alice springs down to Uluru and King's Canyon and back. Haven't got many characters so will have to keep it concise. Had a long drive on the first morning to uluru, about 450km. We visited Kata-Tjuta and then to Uluru for a champagne sunset which was incredible. 4.30am wake up call the next day to head back to Uluru for sunrise and a 10km walk around the base. Again, amazing experience. Then we had a 300km drive to King's Canyon. Another 4.30am wake up call and a climb up 'heart attack hill' to watch the sun rise over the Canyon. Believe it or not, this was even more impressive than Uluru! We then did a 7km walk around the rim of the Canyon which provided some stunning views. Overall feeling: Uluru was iconic and best viewed from afar, but Kings canyon was just incredible and the highlight of the trip

2 January 2018

Happy new year to everyone ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿบ Hey everyone, we hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and new year! Thought we would update you all on how we've been getting on over the last few weeks. Tazzy made sure we got our Christmas decs up bright and early to ensure it felt as much like Xmas as possible. (it really didn't feel like Xmas at all) Christmas eve we went to a rooftop cinema to watch Elf (Tazzy was very excited ๐Ÿ™ƒ) Christmas day we got up bright and early to open presents and call home on their Christmas eve. Then we headed to St kilda beach for a day of relaxation and a few beers ๐Ÿบ after, we came back to the apartment to cook an epic Christmas dinner that was the most homely part of the period. Cricket! Tazzy went to 3 cricket 'matches' over the Xmas period, all of which were absolutely terrible and did nothing to persuade her it is a good sport ๐Ÿ˜‚ New years eve was a chilled one with a few drinks and fireworks! Only a short concise one as I only have 1000 characters!

18 November 2017

Update from Tazzy! *BREAKING NEWS* We have moved. Cutting a long story short...the guy we were renting from was subletting the apartment to us which the agency were happy for him to do. Whoever owns the apartment decided to move agency. This agency found out the apartment was being sublet which they werenโ€™t happy for him to do. Luckily, the agency we were with had another apartment available in the next building! So today...we moved! Took about 6 trips up and down the lifts, backwards and forwards but we got there in the end. We are on the 49th floor so have a great view. And we actually think this apartment is nicer so winner! In other news I had my first full working week since leaving home. Was dreading it at the beginning of the week but it went surprisingly quick. Although the weather this week has been 30-34 and beaming sunshine so really didnโ€™t want to be inside! Typical today it decided to chuck it down. Also...Melbourne is well on its way to being Christmasified ๐ŸŽ„

7 November 2017

Update from Tazzy So weโ€™ve been in our place in Melbourne for 3 weeks now. We are really starting to know our way around...not using google maps as much now! Sam is settled in to his job and I started my job last week (working in HR/recruitment). I also played my first netball match down under! Itโ€™s mixed netball this league so not the same as playing at home but it gets me on the court! Last week we went to the Melbourne Cup! The day started very wet and cold but the sun started to appear in the late afternoon. We both placed some bets and obviously won some and lost some. Think we both just about broke even! It was also rammo! Was like being in a tin of sardines for the main race and bless Sammy he was too short to see anything ๐Ÿ˜‚ This weekend the weather has finally picked up! So we spent most of our time at St.Kilda beach. The weather changes quickly and dramatically in Melbourne but this weekend it has been between 23-26 degrees,set to reach 30 tomorrow! Stuck in an office though

29 October 2017

Tazzys thoughts! Thought Iโ€™d write a bit about my weekend volunteering at Fast5! For those who donโ€™t know, Fast5 is a different version of netball where there is 5 players instead of 7, shorter quarters of 4x6mins and 3 different areas to shoot (the further away from the post the more points you get). There is also a power play where in that quarter whatever you score is doubled! As a volunteer, I was on the VIP ticket box and just helping out at back of house. But whenever we werenโ€™t working we could watch the games! For England, they finished Saturday undefeated and top of the table! Sunday came and they faced Jamaica in the final! A rarity for England being in a final! As you can imagine I was very excited and couldnโ€™t sit down during the game. I was cheering loudly and waving my flag about! Seeing England win whilst being in Australia is amazing for me. Such a privilege to witness it and also volunteer at such a great event. Oh...and I got a photo with the whole squad ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

24 October 2017

Melbourne update! We have found a flat, Tazzy has two interviews and Sam starts a trial at a job tomorrow! We moved into our new flat last night with two other English girls! A very luxurious 17th floor pad, right in the city centre with a pool and a gym!! A massive weight off Tazzy's shoulders as she was starting to get panicky.. (if anyone wants our address, just drop us a message) Oh and it's technically got a 'sea view' ๐Ÿ˜‚ (see pics) Tazzy has two interviews with job agencies tomorrow that will hopefully get her an office job. Ryan and Jorge(Sam's mates) who have been out here a year already said he'd be able to get a job with them doing removals so he starts tomorrow on a trial doing that!

21 October 2017

Melbourne! We've finished our 'holiday' period for now so won't be posting as regularly in the Journi! We have spent the last 3 days traipsing round Melbourne looking for a room in a flat.. Finally we found a place tonight that we'll move into on Monday for around 4 months whilst we work and save some money! Will keep you all updated on how we get on with job hunting now! We haven't done any 'touristy' things yet but I've attached a few photos of things we've happened to have seen

18 October 2017

Lakes Entrance boat cruise. This morning we just relaxed and chilled around the pool enjoying our last day of our 'holiday'... We then had some lunch before heading out into town to catch a boat tour around the lakes! It was a lovely 2hr30 min tour that took in loads of little islands and ' Riviera' locations with some beautiful scenery and even more beautiful houses! Back to camp to have dinner and start searching for somewhere to live for the next 4 months!

17 October 2017

Mallacoota - Lakes Entrance (215km) Had a bit of a lay in this morning and set off around 9.15 as there wasn't too much to see on the drive today. In fact we didn't stop at all en route and arrived in Lakes Entrance around 12pm and went straight to the visitors centre to seek out their recommendations. The first thing the lovely lady said to do was to take a quick drive up to a local viewing platform that provided great views of the surrounding areas. Next we found a chippy and had some lunch, taz had chips and prawn cutlets, Sam had chips + gravy and chicken nuggets! Chip portions are huge out here.. (along with lots of things: bottles and cans of drink are bigger, but not by much which is strange. Beers are 330ml back home but 378ml out here) Then we took a stroll to 90 mile beach before heading to our Campsite to chill by the pool for a few hours! We only have two nights left of our 'holiday' before we find a place to stay and work for a few months!

16 October 2017

Mallacoota and surrounding areas. Today was very much a drive, short walk to see something pretty, drive a bit, walk again etc etc. Our first point was Bastion lookout. This provided us with more fantastic views of the sea and surrounding headlands (no were not bored of these views yet) Next was Betka Beach, an area where the Betka river joins the sea. However when the tide is out an island is formed in the middle which is pretty cool! Sam took advantage of the shallow waters and decided to have a seat in the river and read his book.. Then was Quarry Beach. This was an area with some colourful layered rocks known as folded or faulted rock strata.. Then the best bit!.. Secret beach! Luckily we got there when the tide was out so we could access the sea caves! Finally came Pebble Beach, this was more of a rock pool beach with lots of different marine animals supposedly on show, but we didn't see much! Back to camp for a quick drink and game of pool before evening chilling!

15 October 2017

Narooma - Mallacoota We set off bright and early this morning as we had another long drive ahead of us! We decided to do another 'tourist drive' along the coast which took in lots of lovely villages, lookouts and headlands! The stops along the route were: Bermagui: stopped here in fisherman's wharf for some breakfast and also viewed a lovely sea pool here! Mimosa Rocks NP (Wajurda point lookout) Merimbula Pambula Eden (another lookout) Mallacoota - our stop for the night! A lovely little campsite right on the seafront and on the edge of 'Croajingalong' national park (1 of only 12 UNESCO biosphere reserves in Australia) which we are going to explore a bit tomorrow! Oh, and we entered our 4th state of our trip, Victoria!

14 October 2017

Narooma + Montague Island Today we spent the day locally around narooma. We started off with a nice walk around the water and boardwalk to a surf beach where we watched out to sea and the surfers! Then we took a nice stroll back into town for a penelope (beer for Sam and a mocktail for Tazzy) at a lovely little 'tiki' bar on the riverfront. Stopped to buy a couple of beers on the way home.. Tazzy paid $6 (ยฃ4ish) for a bottle of rekorderlig cider in a shop! Not a pub.. Madness ๐Ÿ˜‚ Back to the camp for a chill and early dinner before this evenings activities... WHALE WATCHING TOUR!!! this evening we went on a whale watching tour and then to Montague Island to view seals and penguins before heading up the lighthouse and then getting the boat back! It was excellent seeing the whales up close! I won't talk much about it, I'll let the pics do the talking! Back in bed for 9.30...Sam is up at 3.30am to listen to the Watford match ๐Ÿ˜‚

13 October 2017

Canberra-Narooma (200km) We set off early this morning as we had a long drive back to the coast. We had some interesting windy roads as we made our way back across the 'Great Dividing Range'! Our first port of call back on the coast was Batemans Bay. From here we picked up a tourist coastal drive that took us to numerous different beaches and lookouts along a 20km stretch of coast: Denhams Beach Surf Beach Macenzie Beach Malua Bay Guerilla Bay Mossy Point lookout Broulee, and then back in land to Moruya to have some ice cream on the river front! Next we had a short 50km to Narooma, our resting point for the next two nights. We got ourselves checked in and headed straight for the beach. Sam did another BBQ for dinner before we headed for 'Australia rock' (a rock that looks like Australia and no one knows how it was made!) Booked onto a whale, dolphin and penguin spotting tour tomorrow at Montague Island!!

12 October 2017

2/2 Australian war memorial! This was not only a memorial to all of Australia's fallen soldiers but also a fantastic museum telling us all about Australia's involvement in a number of different wars. Sam found this absolutely fascinating, It had rooms on WWI, WWII and a number of themed rooms, such as an 'in the skies' room which showed a number of different fighter jets. We could have spent hours there but we were short on time! Headed for the campsite and then the campsite bar to have a drink and play pool.
Canberra! Today we decided to take a detour on our road trip and head inland to Australia's capital city. It was a 200km journey from Jervis Bay and on the route we did not see a single shop or petrol station for at least 150 of those kms! Upon arrival in Canberra we were shocked as to how small it was. we knew it was only 300,000 people, but to actually see how small it was was quite a surprise! For reference, the most pointless town in the UK, Luton, is only 60,000 people smaller! First we headed for Mt Ainslie lookout which provided some great views of the city. Then we headed to the Australian Institute of Sport! This is where many of the elite sports are based and where a number of athletes come to train. We got a guided tour around the facilities which was fantastic and very interesting to see into the lives of elite athletes! Next we went to the Australian war memorial.. 1/2

11 October 2017

Sydney - Jervis Bay Today we said goodbye to Sydney and headed on another road trip in a campervan. This time to Melbourne. Took us around 1hr30 to get to Jucy on public transport but not much effort required! We were on the road by 12.30 on our way to our first stop of the day, Kiama and its Blowhole! This was a fascinating piece of nature that we still are not 100% how it occurs.. We left there and headed towards our camp for the evening in Jervis Bay. Arrived a little bit too late to actually explore the area which is a bit annoying as we have to leave early to go into Canberra tomorrow! BBQ tonight on the campsite facilities

10 October 2017

Blue Mountains! Today we got up and took a short walk to the car hire shop and got ourselves a car for the day (nice little Toyota Yaris) and headed for Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Took 2 hours to get there and the weather was pretty grim upon arrival to our first stop, Wentworth Falls. However soon after parking, the weather picked up and gave us some great views to begin with! Next we went over to the 'three sisters', these are three rock stacks that stick out from the cliffs. Again, amazing views and the weather was better by now! After that we went to 'scenic world' which is home of the world's steepest railway, the highest cable car and the biggest cable car. We got unlimited passes to go on them! The railway was unbelievable! 52ยฐat its steepest and you could angle your seat so It felt like 64ยฐ! Was nerve racking sitting at the front of the almost vertical descent! We rode this and the cable car a few times before heading home! Last night in Sydney before another camper

9 October 2017

Chill day at the beach! Not much to write home about today. Weather was beautiful today, around 30ยฐC so we spent the morning at a beach (with some of the most powerful waves Sam has ever seen), came back to the apartment for some lunch before heading out to another beach for the afternoon. Sam spent most of this session jumping under, over and riding the waves! ๐Ÿ„โ€โ™‚๏ธ Headed back to get some chores done. (tazzy did some washing and Sam supervised)

8 October 2017

Biking around Sydney Olympic Park. Another 'miserable' day In Sydney today so we decided to do something that wasn't reliant on brilliant blue skies; a bike tour around the Olympic Park. Our first obstacle occurred when we found out that the park was an hour outside the city?? So we hopped on the ferry and embarked on the long journey down the Parramatta river. Upon arrival we hired a bike each for two hours and set off on our tour of the venues.. 1.aquatic centre 2. Hockey centre 3. Tennis centre 4. Netball centre (not an Olympic sport though ๐Ÿค”) 5. Qudos bank arena 6. ANZ stadium Overall we did 13km on the bikes It is a wonderful area of 'Sydney' with lots of shops, offices and open green spaces to relax. Took the long journey back to manly and stocked up on food supplies. Tonight Sam is making mince and potato stew!

7 October 2017

Manly & Anniversary dinner Had a bit of a lay in today as a weekend treat and then got up and had a stroll around manly and surrounding beaches.. All was well until we heard an 'air raid siren' go off as we were walking along the beach and people running out of the sea. What is going on we thought?! Next, over the public address system came this.. "there has been a shark spotted near the beach, the beach is now closed until further notice". Little bit of excitement as boats patrolled trying to get rid of the shark! Had a stroll round to shelly beach which is renowned for its snorkeling (we'll probably go back there on Monday) before having some lunch and then heading back to base for a chill and planning session before dinner. Tazzy is celebrating 3 years with Sam so we went out for a celebration dinner tonight to 'meat District Co.' had a few beers and cocktails before both of us had a ribs combo meal! Very delicious. Back on the ferry to manly now

6 October 2017

Walk across Sydney harbour Bridge and night noodle markets. Woke up this morning and the weather was miserable so we laid around for a bit and Ieft to go into Sydney a bit later. Started with a walk around the rocks. This is where some of the first settlers and convicts inhabited Sydney. Then we headed for the bridge, and first of all, the Pylon lookout! This provided us with some amazing views (it was now sunny) as well as providing us with some interesting facts about the bridge! For those that didn't know, the bridge had many designs submitted but the winning tender was from 'Dorman Long and Co Ltd. From Middlesbrough! Walked across the bridge and into Luna Park, this is a nice little amusement Park area with very expensive rides! Next back across the bridge to find a happy hour before we went to the' night noodle markets' for some yummy Asian street food for dinner (Sam had masaman beef curry and tazzy chicken noodles). Saw some awesome views on sunset on the ferry back!
Walk across Sydney harbour Bridge and night noodle markets. Woke up this morning and the weather was miserable so we laid around for a bit and Ieft to go into Sydney a bit later. Started with a walk around the rocks. This is where some of the first settlers and convicts inhabited Sydney. Then we headed for the bridge, and first of all, the Pylon lookout! This provided us with some amazing views (it was now sunny) as well as providing us with some interesting facts about the bridge! For those that didn't know, the bridge had many designs submitted but the winning tender was from 'Dorman Long and Co Ltd. From Middlesbrough! Walked across the bridge and into Luna Park, this is a nice little amusement Park area with very expensive rides! Next back across the bridge to find a happy hour before we went to the' night noodle markets' for some yummy Asian street food for dinner (Sam had masaman beef curry and tazzy chicken noodles). Saw some awesome views of sunset on the ferry back!

5 October 2017

Coogee Beach - Bondi Beach coastal walk. Took about 1hr40, 2 buses and a ferry to get to coogee and the start of our walk! The walk was about 6km long and took us around 1hr30. We started on Coogee Beach and headed south along the cliffs edge towards our next bay on the walk, Clovelly. This was a lovely little secluded bay ideal for kids! Next up came Bronte Beach, another lovely looking beach with some good surf! Tamarama was the last stop before Bondi. We knew when we were close to Bondi as we could see a turn ahead on a cliff top with lots of people pointing their cameras into the bay ๐Ÿ˜‚ We were a bit more impressed with Bondi today but still agreed that we had seen many more picturesque beaches on our travel down (namely Shoal Bay) Stopped for an ice cream and then chilled on the beach for a couple of hours before embarking on a similar length journey back to Manly. We picked up some supplies for dinner (chicken schnitzel and chips) before grabbing the bus to our apartment.

4 October 2017

Sydney Opera house and harbour Bridge views!
Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Botanic Gardens, Woolloomooloo, Hyde Park, Paddy's Markets and Westfield: Today we took another self guided walking tour around the city, this time visiting all the places above. We got off the ferry and went straight to the opera house. It's not as white as we thought! This provided Tazzy with perfect opportunity to whack out her selfie stick for the viewsss๐Ÿ˜ Took a stroll around the Botanic Gardens to 'Mrs Macquarie's chair' which provided us with stunning views across the harbour of the bridge and Opera house. Then we headed to Woolloomooloo wharf for lunch at 'Harry's cafe de wheels' which claims to have the best pies in Aus! Sam had pie, peas and mash and tazzy a hot dog.. Was very nice! Next stop the ANZAC memorial in Hyde Park before Paddy's markets (a huge indoor market selling everything you could think off) Then we went to Westfield shopping centre so Sam could get his phone fixed!

3 October 2017

Sydney + Bondi Explorer hop on hop off tour. Little bit cloudy today so we decided to do something that didn't require too much sun.. A nice, touristy bus tour! Was actually very good, there were two loops; a city loop and a Bondi loop which, you guessed it, took you round the city and then changed buses onto the Bondi loop. Both routes provided some great views and some very informative commentary.. Did you know that a 'wharf' stands for Warehouse at the river front?! I know for a fact that neither Sam or Tazzy knew that! Impressions of bondi.. Sam was very very underwhelmed by it, although that maybe because of the weather. Sam felt that we had seen much nicer beaches on our travels down. Jumped back on the ferry to manly. Upon arrival in Manly, Sam had just enough time to get his long overdue haircut. There were 4 barbers in the shop, all English! Back for the usual evening routine!

2 October 2017

Sydney Tower Eye and walk around Today we decided to go up the Sydney Tower Eye and to have a self guided walking tour around part of the city. We jumped on the ferry for our epic commute from Manly at around 9.30am. Upon arriving in Sydney, Sam had to find somewhere to get a quote to repair his phone so he could show the insurance company.. ($449, luckily the insurance payout is covering 75% of that!) Had a quick picnic (we made our own sandwiches, very thrifty) in Hyde Park (a 1:8 scale replica of London's Hyde Park) Then we headed up to the tower's observation deck before going on our guided 'skywalk' with David, who was one of the most camp, diva style people I've ever seen. But absolutely brilliant and really enhanced our tour more than the beautiful skyline already had. Had a quick walk around Chinatown and darling harbour before our obligatory stop at Hard Rock Cafe for a drink! Back to accommodation for around 7pm for dinner and chill. (it's nice to have a sofa again!)

1 October 2017

Budgewoi - Sydney (Manly) Got all of our stuff packed away and headed for our new airbnb home for the next ten days. We decided to drop all our stuff here first as we have to drop the camper off on the other side of Sydney and didn't want to carry our stuff back on the buses! All went without a hitch, took a bus, train and ferry to get us back to Manly but not much effort required. The Sydney to Manly ferry provides stunning views of the city, opera house etc and we will be providing many photos of these on our daily commutes! Did a quick food shop before coming back to the apartment to chill and have dinner! Looking forward to exploring Sydney over the next week or so!

30 September 2017

Lake Macquarie Woke up to another airbnb cancellation for our commonwealth games trip! What is going on?!? So spent the early morning finding yet another place! Went for a walk around the lake this morning. The water would have been glistening and beautiful but the weather was a bit miserable. Still warm though! Had some lunch, before heading back to Caves Beach to watch the AFL (aussie rules) grand final. Found a lovely little 'hotel' on the clifftop to watch it in. We managed to stay until half time and although the game was pretty exciting, we didn't really know what was going on ๐Ÿ˜‚ For the record, Richmond Tigers beat Adelaide Crows 108-60 (you score either 6 or 1 depending which posts the ball goes through) Back to the campsite for our last night in Monty before heading to Sydney for 10 days tomorrow ๐Ÿ‘Œ

29 September 2017

Stockton - Budgewoi Woke up to bad news this morning! Our airbnb host for the Commonwealth games next April cancelled our reservation so we had to find somewhere else to stay.. Luckily we found somewhere this evening. After that we headed for Mt Sugarloaf which provided us with panoramic views over the Hunter valley, Pacific ocean and Lake Macquarie. The attached pictures won't do the view justice! Then we headed for Swansea to visit the ocean caves on Caves Beach. Some interesting caves that appear everyday at low tide allowing you to explore what would normally be under water. Came to our new campsite for a bit of lunch before heading out to another lighthouse. This time, Norah Lighthouse! Back to the camp tonight to sort our new airbnb accommodation for the Commonwealth games next April and for some dinner.
Tazzy's thoughts: (Sam's reaction) 1. I haven't worn make up for a whole week! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ(hallelujah, less time spent waiting for her to get ready) 2. The local aussies must think I have tourettes. Whenever a fly comes near my face I twitch and shout f**k off quickly and aggressively... They keep trying to fly into my ears, there's so many of them ๐Ÿ˜ญ(this really does happen a lot. Painful to listen to her screaming constantly ๐Ÿ˜‚) 3. When they advertise something as $19.99 etc,when you go to pay its actually $20 because they no longer use 1c or 2c coins. Why not just advertise as $20!! ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ’ต (agree with tazzy on this one, but I'm more chilled so not making a fuss about it)

28 September 2017

Stockton Not much to talk about today. Weather was a bit miserable (not really miserable compared to UK but miserable for Aus) so we just chilled round the camp site and went for a quick walk to a ship wreck. The shipwreck walk was pretty cool, it was a ship from 1904 sailing Antwerp that ran aground just before entering Newcastle Port. Also saw some container and gas ships entering the port.. Yes this is really all I have to write about today ๐Ÿ˜‚ Apart from that we just had a competition of all the games we have out here (4 different card games, guess who, connect 4, hangman, lines + squares, tic tac toe and Pool in the rec room). Tazzy won 7-2 so Sam has been sulking all day ๐Ÿ˜ they were stupid games anyway.. Also we saw on the news that Shoal Bay (where our last campsite was) has been closed today due to waste water flowing into the sea. Close call from us! Dinner of chilli tonight before we watch San Andreas later

27 September 2017

Shoal Bay - Stockton Short trip today of around 50km from one campsite to the next Not much in stockton but it was very convenient for us to get to Newcastle (sorry Boro fans) and its right on the beach! I can assure you that Newcastle in NSW is a lot nicer and has a much nicer river and even a beach! It is also the 7th largest city in Australia with a population of just 309,000. For reference, Liverpool is the UKs 7th city with a population of around 800,000. Had a nice walk around the beach to the lighthouse and then headed for the WWI memorial walkway. This is a 450m long elevated walkway that opened in 2015 to commemorate 100 years since Australia started their involvement in WWI. Found a riverside bar for happy hour, tazzy had a glass of wine and Sam a couple of beers. Weve also noticed that pubs In Aus are called hotels, very strange. Back to the campsite and played a couple of games of pool (tazzy won both..) in the recreational room before dinner tonight

26 September 2017

Shoal Bay/Nelsons Bay- stand up Paddle boarding (sup) and snorkeling! Due to the crystal clear and calm waters in the bays nearby, we thought we'd take advantage of them with some water based activities! First of all we headed to Shoal Bay to try our hands at SUP for the first time. We rented two boards for half an hour and went out to the water! Started off well, both of us were standing up pretty quickly but then the wheels came off for Sam as he lost his balance and tumbled into the sea! Back up he got and regained his balance, but not for long as he went in again ๐Ÿ™ƒ tazzy stayed bone dry throughout... ๐Ÿ„โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ„โ€โ™€๏ธ Next we went over to 'Fly point' in Nelsons Bay to do some snorkeling. We had picked up a snorkel set each last night in anticipation. The sea was beautifully clear with loads of fish, but was freezing cold! Tazzy used her gopro under water so keep an eye out for videos when we have decent WiFi!
Port Macquarie - Shoal Bay Forgot to write this last night! We had a longer journey today, around, 250km so set off nice and early so we didnt lose too much of the day. Arrived at our new campsite around 12pm and had some lunch before heading straight for the beach to relax for an hour or so. Then we went to Tomaree Mountain to climb to the summit. Everyone said it had amazing views so we couldn't really miss going up there. And boy they were right, It may have been slightly overcast but the views were still incredible. It wasnt a very long walk to the top but very, very steep! Had a quick look around the town before heading back to camp for the usual evening routine!

24 September 2017

Port Macquarie. The day started with a leisurely walk around the town and along the breakwall and beaches, some stunning views from lookouts and even saw some glimpses of whales again! Came back to the campsite for some lunch and to chill by the pool for an hour or so. We decided we'd take Kenny out to see some of his mates at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, we got there for the 3pm guided tour. So sad seeing some of the injured koalas, some had lost eyes and limbs and had to stay in the hospital forever as they wouldn't survive in the wild ๐Ÿ™ Then went for a quick drive along the coast to another Lookout point where we saw more whales and showed Kenny and Kanga the views! Back to the campsite via an ice cream parlour ready for the evening and dinner (curry tonight) before finishing 'Legend' tonight

23 September 2017

Woolgoolga - Port Macquarie (via, Coffs Harbour and Nambucca Heads) Not so much drama today. We set off around 9am from woolgoolga so we could visit a few places before we arrived in Port Macquarie. First stop was coffs Harbour and 'the big banana' which was basically a seaside amusement area but a bit nicer (mini golf, water park, ice rink etc) Then we stopped off to do some food shopping and grab some lunch before continuing our journey to Nambucca heads. This was just a quick pitstop so we could go to 'Captain cook' lookout which had some amazing views and we thought we even saw some whales! For those that don't know, captain James Cook was born in Middlesbrough very close to lots of Sam's family! We arrived in Port Macquarie around 3pm and got ourselves checked in. We had already done quite a bit today so we just chilled by the pool and did some washing before dinner. Tonight we decided to have a Fry up for dinner before watching 'Legend'.

22 September 2017

Yamba - Woolgoolga Filled up with fuel (around 85p/L), stopped off for a couple of essentials and it was then that Sam realised he/we had left the campers power lead up in Byron Bay. We were on an unpowered site in Yamba so didn't notice. Tazzy was claiming we needed to drive back to get it (100km each way), but Sam, having a more sensible head thought to just go and buy a new one, although this did cost us $45... Now we could set off properly on our 110km trip to Woolgoolga. We arrived at the campsite around 12, checked in and had some lunch before heading out on a walk to a local 'waterfall' (see pics for the disappointment). Then went to the beach for about 10 mins as it was far too windy so decided just to walk round town instead and venture out to the lookout point. Thrifty dinner of instant noodles tonight and we're currently sat at a beachfront outdoor free cinema watching 'Lion'.

21 September 2017

Byron - Yamba We checked out of our campsite in byron around 9am and headed for Yamba, our next stop. The drive took around 2 hours so we arrived around 11am and got checked in. We were allocated our site so went off and found It, on first glance we thought it looked a bit sandy but not too bad. Turning was tight so we had to do a few manoeuvres to get on, but then all of a sudden the van wouldn't move... Tazzy had got us beached and a wheel stuck behind a root. After a few attempts to get out, 4/5 guys from other sites came to assist, but to no avail! Eventually, we found our tow pin and someone had a rope so was able to pull us out. Great start on our new campsite ๐Ÿ˜‚ The rest of the day went swimmingly. Took a stroll into yamba (it's not a very big place..), went to the beach and then to the pool. Eventually after the water took 12545 hours to boil due to the ridiculous wind, we had pasta, beans and cheese for dinner. Yum!

20 September 2017

Beach and Brewery day: Today we decided to have a chill day and head to the beach. We spotted a nice beach on our walk yesterday so went back to there for the morning to relax. All was going well, Sam was reading, tazzy was sleeping.. But then, then we heard commotion near us, turns out a snake, yes a SNAKE was just slithering past people! ๐Ÿ Headed back to the campsite to have some lunch before we headed out to 'Byron Bay Brewery' for a drink. Sam had a 'pony round' which is a taster board of 4 different beers they make and tazzy had a sparkling wine. Then we walked into Byron for a mooch around some shops and another drink. Tazzy bought a beach bag and Sam came away with a new cap to replace his worn out NY Yankees one! Tonight we had our first bbq in Aus! There are public bbqs everywhere in the towns and cities, and even on our campsite so we decided to make use of them and have a bbq tonight. Just simple sausages and burgers but it was yum!

19 September 2017

Walk to Cape Byron lighthouse and 'most easterly point of mainland Australia' ,we awoke bright and early this AM and checked out of our campsite in the Gold Coast and headed for Byron Bay. Checked into our new campsite around 11am,got our stuff sorted and then headed straight out to explore the area. We decided to walk over to the lighthouse and eastern most point of Australia (10km ish round trip) Was a pleasant enough walk with some very steep stairs to the top. Some serious views along the way of the bay and surrounding areas, even spotted peop surfing from the cliff top! Had a quick pitstop at the beach on the way back and Sam went into the Pacific! Our/his first venture into the sea on this trip. Back to the campsite around 4.30, got ourselves showered so we could chill before Sam cooked spag bol tonight. Very yummy ๐Ÿ Forgot to take Kanga and Kenny again ๐Ÿ™ƒ
Tazzy's thoughts: great trek to the most easterly point of mainland Australia, views were impressive. Byron is a lovely little place with lots of bars, shops and cafes. Will definitely be heading out for a drink tomorrow night. Finally... Today I had the best shower I've had since we've been here in Oz...clean shower for once!

18 September 2017

Wet n Wild - Gold Coast! First night in the camper was very comfortable! Today started like normal, had breakfast in our van before setting off for the water park around 9.30 to get there for opening. All started well, Sam beat taz at a few 'super 8 aqua racer' races(see map for slides), we did a few rubber dingy rides (constrictor, river rapids) before we headed over to the extreme H2O zone! Tazzy managed to get sam to go on tornado before we got all the way to the start of kamikaze and Sam bottled it! ๐Ÿ˜‚ so tazzy had to wait for another single rider! Did all the other rides numerous times more except aqualoop which neither of us would go on! It's one of the ones where the floor drops from under you and you fall vertically) Left around 4pm, got back to camp and had a beer with Dave, one of the locals on site before tazzy cooked fajitas for dinner. Tazzy's thoughts: Sam's a ๐Ÿ“ he should have gone on the Kamikaze because it was amazing!

17 September 2017

Gold coast views, our camper and Sam's smashed phone!
Campervan pick up day!! Checked out of the hostel at 10am and grabbed an uber over to the campervan location. Checked in, got a tour of the van and off we went. First stop: food shop to get essential supplies for our journey. Next stop, our first campsite! Found our pitch and Taz sorted out all of our mess in the van. Then we took a quick trip into the gold coast (not going to explore it too much as we come back here next year). Just went up the observation deck, which, when it was built was the tallest residential tower in the world! Amazing views along the Pacific coast. Back to the van.. Sam smashed his phone! ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜ฆ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜’ gonna talk to insurance tomorow Then Sam cooked dinner (chilli con carne) whilst tazzy did some washing! Teamwork ๐Ÿ‘Š Tazzy's thoughts: the camper is a lot more spacious than jucy but more difficult to drive! Don't know how Sam could be so calm when he smashed his phone, I would have had a break down ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ We forgot to take Kenny and Kanga out today..

16 September 2017

Not much to write home about today! Had breakfast as normal, got some supplies for our campervan which we pick up tomorrow! We found out we booked the wrong campsite so we had to sort that out ๐Ÿ˜‚ Then took a walk to Roma Street Parklands for a walk and wander round. Very nice, tranquil area in the middle of the city! Had a penelope's pitstop (that one's for your Steve) and a pint of Bulmers before heading back to the lagoon for a sunbathe and a dip. Quick change and out for an early dinner! Managed to bag ourselves free pudding as Sam complained because our dinners didn't come together! ๐Ÿ‘ŒIt's our last night of eating out tonight, gonna be thrifty once we've got the camper as we can cook for ourselves ๐Ÿ˜ Back to the room to pack before Sam chills and the watches tonight's premier league matches and tazzy sleeps, probably ๐Ÿ˜‚

15 September 2017

2nd new feature of the blog: meet our mascots, Kenny the koala and Kanga the roo. They will be joining us on our adventure and getting in lots of photos
Brisbane to Mt Coot-tha summit walk: 7.5km uphill! Stocked up with stuff for a picnic after having breakfast and headed on our epic trek up to Mt Coot-tha. Google maps said it would take us 1hr40 mins but with a few rest stops in took us closer to 2hr15 mins. Boy what a walk that was! Absolutely knackered by the time we got to the top and ready for our picnic (cheese and ham rolls, Cheetos, pineapple and yoghurt for anyone who's interested). Words cannot describe the view from the top and pictures don't do it justice but believe us when we say the view was incredible! Had a quick alcoholic bev in the cafรฉ before wandering round admiring the view for a little bit to pass the time until the bus came. (yep we weren't stupid enough to walk back as well!) upon entering the bus and informing the driver of our trek he proceed to ask if we "were OK?" for undertaking such a silly walk ๐Ÿ˜‚ Back for a well earned rest and nap before dinner later
Tazzy's thoughts: "such a long way, who's stupid idea was it to walk UP the mountain and not down it!? Incredible views from the top and our new mascots are so cute!"
Some viewssssssss from the top!
Suncorp stadium on our walk today

14 September 2017

'free' day in Brisbane: Awoke like normal, went for breakfast etc. Then we headed down to North quay to pick up the cities free ferry service along the river. Took this all the way to the end before eventually getting off at Kangaroo point. (look out for a boat named after you Isabella) From here we had a walk along the river for half an hour or so before stopping for our very thrifty picnic lunch! We then continued our walk all the way back to the southbank, 4.5km!(where we went to the lagoon yesterday). This is where we picked up the Brisbane equivalent of 'Boris bikes', we rode them for around 8.5km up and down the riverside. $2 a day for a membership with unlimited free rides under 30minutes. Took a walk back to the room to get changed for our one 'fancy' night out this week ($20 for steak and beer/wine combo). Sam even put his shirt on and new linen trousers (thanks mum ๐Ÿ‘Œ) Currently sat in the Plough Inn along the southbank with an Aussie wine and Aussie beer ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿท Night all ๐Ÿ‘‹
Dinner time!
Boris bikes and Queensland firebirds netball team on a ferry!
River Cruise and walk

13 September 2017

Day 3 Brisbane: Pretty chill day today, got up around 8.30, headed for some breakfast before strolling over to the 'Southbank'. This is an area with lots of bars and restaurants and even a man made lagoon on the river! Said lagoon was to be our destination for the morning, a few hours chilling by the pool. Lunch time came round soon enough and we had arranged to meet one of Taz's friends from uni who has moved out here to join an ice skating team. We went to a Mexican burrito and tequila bar. It was very tasty and had good cocktails and beers! Next we headed for the 'Brisbane' sign for the typical touristy photos (had to be done) Back to the lagoon for a quick dip before showering and heading to a pub for a quick drink. Back at the hostel for around 5.30 to do some more admin stuff/booking campsites for next week. Doing nothing really makes you tired! ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด

12 September 2017

So we went to the zoo! Australia Zoo to be precise, the home of the late, great, Steve Irwin! We booked on the 'greyhound package' which included transport there. Got to the zoo ready for opening at 9am. Started off with a couple of hours stroll around the zoo (I won't type every animal we saw, I'll just post the cool pics!) before it was time for 'wildlife warriors' in the CROCOSEUM (a full on stadium at a zoo). Very very good show it was, lots of wildlife, birds, snakes and crocs to name a few. Then came the best bit of the day, feeding the kangaroos!! Amazing experience and they're all so chilled out. Next came a couple more shows which were pretty good: crocs:live and a koala show.. Don't get me started on koalas, they will be talked about in tazzy's thoughts ๐Ÿ˜‚ Couple more hours to explore after the shows before heading out to wait for the bus back. Thoroughly enjoyable day
TAZZY'S THOUGHTS: the koalas are very cute and fluffy, and I want one! Also koalas are not bears and kangaroos have slimey tongues!
Snakes! ๐Ÿ˜ท

11 September 2017

Tazzy's thoughts: very pretty bridge this evening, lovely eye-catching colour
Sights on tonight's walk! 205 days till we go to the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth games! #teamengland
Day 1 Brisbane: Orientation day. Up and showered by 9.30 ready to head down to the free breakfast provided in the bar attached to the hostel, just Cereal and toast but it's free so no complaints! Went for a quick walk along the river boardwalk and back up through town before meeting 10 other guys for our orientation morning about working in Australia. We had a presentation telling us all about tax, bank accounts, medicare and sim cards before heading to the bank to open our bank accounts! Next we went off to the 'mygov' building to sort out our medicare card which allows us free necessary treatment whilst we are here! Lunch time was next and we headed straight for the nearest Nandos after finding out last night that they have them in Aus! Back to the hostel to do some laundry and book our trip for tomorrow (keep your eyes peeled for a very exciting post, especially you Isabella!) Pretty boring post today as we were just getting things in order to allow us to work here.
Night 1 Brisbane: We arrived at the hostel around 8.30PM and got checked straight into our room which we are sharing with 4 other people, all German! Bit of a culture shock coming from the Mรฉridien but it's fine as we've both done similar at uni before. We got ourselves settled before heading out to grab something to eat and get a drink at the bar downstairs. Got to sleep around 11.30pm. New feature: Tazzy's thoughts, a feature where tazzy basically moans a lot "I don't like how messy some people are! Things have places! I will not be cooking in the kitchen and I will always wear flip flops in the bathroom #hygiene๐Ÿ™ˆ I look very much forward to the campervan "

10 September 2017

14 hours later and we made it! ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ straight through customs and now waiting on a shuttle to our new home for the week! Currently 7pm local time
Just a quick one today! Up and checked out of the hotel by 11am but making the most of the facilities (swimming pool and bar mainly!) before showering and heading to the airport around 5pm. We leave Abu Dhabi at 10pm tonight and land in Brisbane around 5.30 on Sunday (Aus time) Won't have much WiFi between now and then so we'll update you upon touchdown in Australia ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ
Last day in the 40ยฐC heat! Arriving to 20-25ยฐC in Brisbane will actually feel lovely and cool

8 September 2017

Abu Dhabi evening Desert Safari: We were picked up along with 4 others from the hotel in a nice 4x4 and taken on a 45 min drive out to the desert (via the grand mosque which is very impressive) Once at the desert, the dune bashing commenced! Up and over dunes we went at break neck speed, felt like a roller-coaster at times. Then, of course, we got stuck and all the other drivers had to dig us out ๐Ÿ˜ฒ After that we had a pit stop at a camel farm for photo ops before heading to our 'traditional Arabian camp' for the nights entertainment: First off was a quick camel ride! Great experience but not very comfortable. Next came the belly dancing which was a lot more interesting for Sam than It was for Tazzy! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Then came the bit we had both been waiting for, food! Nice basic Emirati 'bbq' food, delicious! ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‘Œ Finally the lights were turned out so we could gaze at the beautiful desert sky and stars! Long drive back to the hotel for 9.45! Overall a great evening out
Getting stuck, camel and belly dancing
Desert safari via Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Day 2 morning: Due to the weather being mad hot yesterday we thought we'd get up and out early in the hope it was slightly cooler.. We were wrong! Still stupid temperature, no wonder no one was walking anywhere. We jumped in a cab (22AED/ยฃ4 for 15 min journey) at the hotel and headed for the sights. 1. Emirates Palace 2. Marina Mall (sweet sweet relief from the heat) 3. Corniche beach 4. Etihad towers We aimed to be out for around 3 hours, but managed about 40 minutes of walking before retreating to the mall again for some respite! We feel bad for not exploring more but the heat is unbearable. ๐Ÿ˜ฐ To get on a bus in Abu Dhabi you need an 'oyster card', fair enough we thought. But try finding somewhere to actually buy an oyster card; impossible! We hunted one down eventually only for it to 'only accept coins' ๐Ÿ™ƒ. Off we went to find somewhere to get change.. Many conversations later we were finally sorted with our tickets! Currently back by the pool before desert safari tonight.
Some sights around Abu Dhabi today

7 September 2017

Goodnight from Abu Dhabi! Desert safari and heritage village tomorrow ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช
Typical Emirati dinner tonight
Day 1 pt 2: After a few hours we left the pool to freshen up and then go for a walk.. Upon leaving the hotel the concierge told us it was far too hot and that we were mad (you know it's hot if the locals think it's too hot (40ยฐC)) Nevertheless we headed out with confidence we could complete our walk.. We were wrong! Headed straight to the Abu Dhabi mall for an ice cream ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Been a long day so we're back in the hotel room for a nap before dinner!
Day 1: After a pretty routine flight we landed at Abu Dhabi Intl airport at circa 6.45am. Customs and baggage claim was noticeably quicker than in the UK!!! Made our way to the bus stop to get the public bus to our hotel.. Complicated ticket machine meant Sam was actually helping others get their tickets! Slow but easy journey to the hotel on the bus. Upon arrival we were greated by lovely staff who were happy to check us in early. The receptionist informed us she only had a smoking room available at the time but we were welcome to try and if it smelt then to go back down! It did! So we went to see her again, she apologised and would upgrade us to a room with a view and balcony if we could wait an hour! Result ๐Ÿ’ช Access to the club lounge came as a nice surprise as part of our package (free soft drinks and snacks all day and beer between 6-8) After getting our room we headed straight for the pool in scorching 36ยฐC heat! Even the sea water was warm.
View from hotel room into the bay
Viewssss from the plane

6 September 2017

Heathrow T4 prior to departure! Sad goodbyes all round