My trip to Australia
As a Travel Advisor with Gap 360 I can always count on being asked these three questions:
‘Do you get to travel a lot with your job?’
‘Where are you off to next?’
‘What’s your favourite destination?’
The latter question I’ve always answered Mozambique. I know the meaning behind the answer is always assumed to be the destination I found most morally enlightening, where I discovered the meaning of life, where the scenery took my breath away… really it’s where I had the best time! Culturally profound, I know… so it’s been Mozambique for the last few years, because when I went there, the diving was fantastic and the nightlife even better.
Since my recent return from Australia, however, I have a new answer to the frequently asked question!
I was lucky enough to enjoy a one-month trip up the East Coast of Oz, from Sydney to Cairns and I hands-down had the absolute best month of my life. The food, the weather, the people, (the goon!), the beaches, the scenery, the wildlife, the nature, the activities… everything about the trip was amazing. I’m still reeling from the adventure and love reliving it on the phone to customers who are planning their trip, or about to head over. It gets me all excited knowing what an amazing time they’re going to have!
So starting off with the flight… I generally enjoy flying, especially the in-flight entertainment, where I catch up on all the ‘rom-coms’ that my boyfriend refused to go with me to see at the cinema. However the thought of flying for 2 whole days, was a task I was not looking forward to.
It actually wasn’t so bad! It went pretty quickly and was surprising enjoyable! Other than the dilemma I endured, when I woke up expecting breakfast and actually was served hot spicy curry… apparently due to the time jump it was now dinner… I just wanted toast!!!
Sydney is a fantastic city. The hostel I stayed in was called Wake-up, which is an amazing place for young travellers. The whole place exuded a ‘cool’ atmosphere and I immediately fell in love with it.
The nightlife in the city was awesome. I had a little group of party animals on my tour, so I dismissed the heavy eyelids and tried my best (at the weary old age of 23) to keep up.
The first week sped by and before I knew it, I’d seen the sights; I’d met some amazing people, partied the night away, eaten a LOT of noodles and was ready to start travelling up the coast.
Before I talk you through the next part of the trip, I thought I’d mention something that was a reoccurring theme throughout my stay. Goon. It’s wine in a box. You remember when you were younger and bought wine in a box? Yes, this is that wine.
In Australia, alcohol is rather pricey, so the antidote to this is buying 4litres of wine for $10 (generally shared between two or more, accept for the crazy few who decided to take on the challenge of a whole box… bad idea, do not try this at home) rather than $30 for one bottle. The results are… well I’m sure you can imagine. Needless to say, when you travel to Oz, you’ll find out about the goon in good time.
Next stop – Spot X – for a week of surfing! This was my favourite part of the trip. I love surfing! I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I stood up a fair few times, even once or twice without help from the rather dreamy instructor (who everyone was trying to impress with their amazing surf skills and I was failing miserably!) I also got a picture of me standing up, which, lets face it, is all that matters. (Now my FB cover photo)
The atmosphere at the camp was so cool! When you weren’t surfing, you’d sunbathe on the grass where there is always music playing, or go paddle boarding down the crystal-clear creek, sit round the camp listening to the ‘cool guy’ playing his guitar, or start early on the goon! It was so much fun, so chilled after the hectic week I’d had in Sydney and once again, met some wicked people.
Then onto Fraser Island. The world’s largest sand island. You need a 4X4 to get round the island, as the highways are literally the beaches! Generally spending 3 days here is enough to see all the sights; swimming in the beautiful fresh water lakes surrounded by bright white sand, trekking through the sub-tropical rainforest spotting wildlife and learning about the fascinating history behind the island, climbing up mountains so you can spot sting-rays and turtles from a birds-eye view, getting the classic ‘jump in the air’ picture with your group!
The photographer in me (I use the term VERY lightly) was thrilled with the ready-made postcard shots… I even saw a dingo!
The only way to describe the Whitsunday islands is … wow!
I embarked on a 2-day 2-night boat trip from Airlie beach to sail around the famous Whitsunday islands. There was a group of 25 of us on a boat, that to look at you wouldn’t think could house so many, but did so quite comfortably.
The trip consisted of chilling out on the boat, snorkelling, more chilling, bit of swimming, sail around, chill a bit more. One of the days we spent the morning on the famous and absolutely breath taking White Haven beach (Google it, it really does look like that!) The water was so clear and warm, there were stingrays swimming around in the shallows with you, the sand was so white… it was the best beach I have ever visited.
I did end up getting ludicrously burnt; the sun really does get stronger the further up you go! So the after party on Airlie beach was somewhat hindered by my bright red face, but with the goon flowing freely, it was quite difficult not to enjoy myself.
Last but most certainly not least Cairns! Finally in the tropics, where I was greeted with thunderstorms and enough humility to frizz even my dead straight hair. I’m always quite excited when faced with this kind of weather; so different from the UK it feels very exotic.
Cairns is an amazing place to get all your adventure activities done. While I was there I dived the incredible Barrier Reef, went White Water Rafting down the Baron River and (my personal highlight) had a Hot Air Balloon ride over the Atherton Table lands.
That’s 3 of my bucket list ticked off in 3 days!
The nightlife was also great, I had a couple of… experiences… at Gilligan’s (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been there!) All in all, it rounded of my trip with a spectacular bang and I’ll always think very fondly of that little city.
So that’s my 1-month in a rather rushed nutshell. So much still I haven’t mentioned, like the awesome hippy town Byron Bay, where I considered dredlocking my hair and getting a nose ring just to fit in. Or the amazing Bondi Beach, which I can 100% see myself going back to live and working in an ice-cream shop, surfing after work and always having a wicked all-year-round tan.
I loved every minute of it; I’m so grateful I was able to experience such a once in a lifetime trip.
Want to follow in my footsteps?