Monday, 18 November 2013

TRAVEL: What to pack for a weekend away

EVERY SINGLE TIME I go away I always panic about what to pack....
What if I don't pack enough clothes? What if I forget something important?
I find myself Googling "What to pack for a weekend away" "packing for weekend holiday" "what to take on a long weekend" etc.... And now I have my own list to check off each time and here it is---

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TRAVEL: Maleny and Montville part 2

Travel post: Our 1 year anniversary, spent in Maleny/Montville in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

It is safe to say we had the most amazing weekend ever in Maleny and Montville.

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Thursday, 31 October 2013


Last Halloween, I was working as a waitress in an Irish themed bar/pub/restaurant in Emerald, Queensland. My manager made me dress up as a German bar maid to promote our Oktoberfest and I guess I caught someone's eye ;) ....
And he caught my eye too. This random guy dressed as The Joker scared the life out of me and my friend. I later saw him after I knocked off work and we had a quick chat.... And we have been together ever since :)

Here is us that night (no photo together so I had to photoshop one, I don't have computer skillzz, I know...)-

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

TRAVEL: Glasshouse Mountains

TRAVEL POST: Mount Ngungun

This is just a mini post--- me and the boyf climbed up Mount Ngungun which is one of only two Glasshouse mountains open for the public to climb. The others are all closed due to dangers on the track - you *can* walk up them if you want to but, really, please don't. Stay safe guys.
 We both wore trainers rather than flip flops (aka thongs) which was good because towards the top it did start to get a bit rocky! The climb wasn't too hard, it was a hot day so I got pretty sweaty but neither of us were out of breath at the top.
It didn't take too long either, we stopped for a while at the top taking in the views - about an hour in total from start to finish including a while to drink in the views & take loads of photos!

Below - some pictures I took using my iphone, they turned out really nicely!

TRAVEL: Mount Tamborine

TRAVEL POST: Scarecrow festival at Mount Tamborine

I had an amazing day with family and friends at the Mount Tamborine Scarecrow festival, in October 2013.
Mount Tamborine is up in the Gold Coast hinterland and a popular spot with tourists. It is most famous for the Gallery Walk which is the main street through town, filled with various shops and cafes.
Mount Tamborine offers great views over the coast, it can get pretty windy up there  and chilly in the winter!

The scarecrows were spread all around - outside people's homes, outside shops and on random street corners. It was really fun spotting them and the Celebrity themed Scarecrows were hilarious!

 Above: beautiful views from Mount Tamborine

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TRAVEL: Toowoomba

TRAVEL POST: A long weekend in Toowoomba

I am an organised person, I like to make plans in advance and get everything sorted out. The plan was to spend the Labor Day public holiday weekend up in Bundaberg visiting Trent's cousins. A couple of days before the long weekend, Trent changes his mind and suddenly there is no plan. I looked at places to stay on the Sunshine coast, Brisbane and even the Gold Coast but TWO DAYS before the long weekend obviously everywhere was either booked or ridiculously expensive.
So that is how we ended up going to Toowoomba and we both actually really liked it there!
See, sometimes things really do work out for the best in the end.

Above: the sun setting as we drove up from Brisbane to Toowoomba.

We stayed in a great motel called the Great Divide - it had a spa bath! It was honestly the most luxurious motel we have stayed in, the room was beautiful and the staff were so helpful.

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TRAVEL: Killarney

TRAVEL POST: A drive out to Killarney, via Warwick

I had never heard of this small country town before until Trent suggested we take a drive there. Well, its about 3 hours each way so we didn't get to spend too much time in the town itself but the drive was absolutely gorgeous - I love seeing small towns away from the coast, its like a whole different world and I wish more people would venture out beyond the cities and the beach.
Killarney has a pub, hospital, school, a couple of coffee shops, 2 estate agents, a supermarket and there was even a traveling library in the car park when we arrived!
Close by is Queen Mary falls and a selection of walking tracks, which were beautiful.

 Above: charming old pub in Killarney

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TRAVEL: North Stradbroke island

TRAVEL POST: A weekend at North Stradbroke island

My boyfriend's family had organised a family reunion for August 2013 on North Stradbroke island. As usual, I was unsure if I could go as I had no idea what was going on in my life! I did end up going, and luckily found a job the following week so everything turned out pretty much for the best :-)

We drove to the ferry and took the car over to the island, as I mentioned in a previous post - yes, buses do run on the island but I wold probably recommend you take a car.

Above: the amazing view from the ferry. The sky and water were so so blue!

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TRAVEL: Currumbin / Gold Coast

TRAVEL POST: Currumbin & the Gold Coast

I live here so, as with Brisbane, instead of doing multiple posts I will try and keep everything together for Currumbin and the Gold Coast

Here are some beautiful pics from my local beach:

Above: you can see the high rises at Surfers from Currumbin alley.. they almost look as though they are floating on water

Read more - after the jump (click below:)

TRAVEL: Brisbane..again!


Bris, Brissie, Bris-vegas... however you say it, its still an awesome place!

This post covers the dates between June 2013 and --- 2013
I make multiple trips to Brisbane and its silly to keep posting individual articles each time I go, so view this as a Brisbane Collection, if you will..

June 2013: We stayed in Base Central - it has the most amazing location. Right across the road from Central station, round the corner from Queen st and right on top of Down Under bar! We went downstairs to Down Under bar for our night out and it was great. Lucky for us - it was Ladies Night AGAIN. I don't know how we do it, I think the Free Alcohol Gods have blessed me and my friends. But there we go - another night of free drinks and a stonking headache the next day.
Down Under bar is pretty much backpackers and students only. From what I can remember they held a Michael Jackson dance competition on stage and some other sort of "get the crowd involved" activities...
Above: Yep we did dance in the cage.

TRAVEL: Kind of....a short stay in Burpengary

TRAVEL POST: Burpengary, Caboolture, Glasshouse mountains, Montville, Maleny, Stradbroke island...

Soooo I went and stayed with my boyfriend's family while I recovered from tonsilitis. He was working in Moranbah so I went alone, having met his family only once previously (at his sister's wedding).

To say I was spoiled is probably an under-statement. Their house felt like luxury after spending two months in dorm rooms... I had a whole double bed all to myself! Heaven. His mum, dad and brother were all so nice and friendly to me, I really felt at home when I was there. I was initially only going to stay for a couple of nights but I ended up staying about 10 instead. And we did fit some sight-seeing in, which is why I am counting this as a travel post, of sorts...

A couple of days after I arrived, we took a ferry over to Stradbroke island for the day - it was pretty cold and extremely windy but we had a lovely day driving around the island.
Above: one of North Stradbroke's beaches

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

TRAVEL: Hervey Bay

TRAVEL POST: Hervey Bay... why was it so cold??

Surprisingly, I managed to get some sleep on my over-night Greyhound from Mackay down to Hervey Bay and to make things better my hostel had sent a mini bus to pick me up :)
The communal areas of the hostel I chose were nice (the kitchen and living area were excellent)
I was extremely unimpressed with the room - it was an 8 bed shared dorm with one horribly dirty en-suite between us, there were no communal showers.

My good friend Melissa lives in Hervey Bay and luckily she was free to hang out so she drove me to the harbour, we met her boyfriend when he finished work and then she drove me to see her house (also helpfully, she drove me to Woolies so I could buy some food! THANK YOU!!)

Above: a gorgeous HBay beach

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TRAVEL: Mackay

TRAVEL POST: A fleeting visit to Mackay

As Trent was working in Moranbah and he drove to Airlie Beach, he promised to drive me to Mackay where I planned to stay for a few days and maybe even try to find a job. I called the one and only hostel in town - it was fully booked for the night.


I was surprised as during my trip we had literally just turned up on the doorstep of every hostel and they had room for us, but I rang the Mackay one in advance and it was already booked.
So me and Trent drove to Mackay and  just spent the day there - it worked out for the best really because I ticked everything off my list of stuff to do there, and staying the night was therefore unnecessary anyway.

Above: Mackay CBD

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TRAVEL Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays

TRAVEL POST: Airlie Beach and a day trip to the stunning Whitsunday islands

Another Greyhound, from Townsville down to Airlie Beach where I was meeting up with Deb + El again then having a weekend with my boyfriend on his days off from work :-)

Airlie Beach is so pretty. It is definitely a backpacker haven - it has lots of funky little shops, a McDonalds, hot weather, a huge choice of hostels, bars and nightclubs and the most important thing of all - a lagoon!
It is also the gateway to the Whitsunday islands for fishing, snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

A common theme during my time with the girls, was free champagne. We drank bottles of it in Mission Beach, had a free night out on it in Cairns and found ourselves winning top prize at our hostel pub quiz - which was another bottle of bubbles! Of course we had to go for a night out now! We met some random guys from New Zealand and they bought most of our drinks that night because they fancied Debs - yay another cheap night out! Followed by another horrific hangover....

Above: drinking in Airlie Beach - we loved Beaches, the Irish bar and Mama Africa's!

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TRAVEL: Townsville and Magnetic Island

TRAVEL POST: Townsville + a day trip to Magnetic Island

I liked Townsville a lot more than I thought I would. Not many others actually stayed in Townsville, most backpackers just use it as a platform to get to Magnetic Island.

I took a Greyhound from Cairns, we passed through Mission Beach and I felt a little pang in my heart because I genuinely loved my time there, but I resisted the urge to get off the coach there. We also passed through Tully & its giant gumboot (aka wellington boot) - see below.

 Above: our bench at MB <3
Above: the huge gum boot at Tully!

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Monday, 28 October 2013

TRAVEL: Atherton Tablelands

TRAVEL POST: Atherton Tablelands, rain forest, waterfalls... beautiful

We took a day trip from Cairns up to the Atherton Tablelands and we had such a great day! We went with Captain Matty's Barefoot tours, our tour guide was really chatty and the other backpackers were cool too.
It was a long day but definitely worth it, we paid around $80 for a full day tour + morning and afternoon tea (you can either bring your own lunch or buy it from the pub we stop at for a break)

 Above: the whole group in a huuuge tree!

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TRAVEL: Cairns

TRAVEL POST: Cairns.... I'm in love!

We (myself, Eleanor and  Debbie - two girls I met working in Mission Beach) hopped on a Greyhound up to Cairns and didn't look back.
Everything was perfect: the weather, the other people (so many backpackers!), cheap accommodation, free alcohol and plenty to see and do to keep us occupied! I ended up staying in Cairns longer than I planned, the girls left me after a couple of days and I stayed on. We met up again in Townsville (more on that later).

Above: Image from Google. Cairns is stunning, the lagoon is certainly a focal-point.

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Friday, 25 October 2013

TRAVEL: Mission Beach

TRAVEL POST: Mission Beach!

I went and stayed with my mum for a while after I came back from Thailand, then I went to Trent's sister's wedding. And the itch came back. I needed to leave, explore, travel.... GO!
I found a job on Gumtree - 3 hours work a day at a hostel in Mission Beach in exchange for free accommodation, laundry, internet and weekend BBQ.
Okay, sweet!

I caught a flight from the Gold Coast to Cairns, then my first ever Greyhound (there were many more to come!) down to Mission Beach, to Absolute Backpackers :)

Above: Absolute Backpackers is WITHOUT DOUBT the best backpackers I have ever stayed at and I am not just saying that because I worked there. It is a beautiful building, the staff are always cleaning and the management are lovely (especially Peta!). It is located near to Woolworths and the beach... what more could you ask for?

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TRAVEL: Sunshine Coast

TRAVEL POST: Twin Waters , Sunshine coast

Love is in the air doo doo doo doo doo....!

My boyfriend's older sister pulled off one of the fastest organised weddings ever!*
*Excluding Don't Tell the Bride
They got engaged in March, set the date and April and did the deed in May at the Twin Waters Novotel Resort on the sunny Sunshine Coast.

Having returned from Thailand, I was unsure if I could even go or not as I was back on the job hunt and had no idea where work would take me..!
In the end, I took a job a couple of days after the wedding so I was able to attend :)
It was a beautiful weekend.

The theme colours were black and white, here is the gorgeous invitation we received:

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

TRAVEL: Thailand

TRAVEL POST: Thailand - Bangkok, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and back to Bangkok.. phew!

For a few weeks between March and April 2013 I was one of them. You know who they are. That group of backpackers who just seem so exotic and crazy because they are exploring Thailand. It seems so far away, so beautiful, so hot, so different, so exciting. Everyone there seems so cool, so happy, so free. Everywhere you look there are anklets, sarongs and hangovers.
I can now count myself as part of that (quite large) club of people who have Been To Thailand.

Club rules:
When you meet another person from the club you MUST squeal "OMG did you go to the Full Moon party?"
The only correct response to this is "YES! Did you?"
Well, of course they did.
Now you can discuss how amaaaaazing it was and then perhaps talk about the food ("Can you believe I didn't even get food poisoning?"), the weather ("So hot!"), the people ("So friendly!"), the shopping ("So cheap!"), the accommodation ("So cheap!") and Thailand in general ("So hot! So friendly! So cheap!").

Above: a stock image from Google images that I thought was a pretty good snapshot into Thailand tourism.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

TRAVEL: Rockhampton & Yeppoon

TRAVEL POST: Rockhampton, Yeppoon and the drive down with the boyf.

Despite what actually seems like an attempt to discourage tourists from visiting (no backpackers hostel, no man-made lagoon), I have been to Rockhampton 3 times and liked it.

Arriving at Rockhampton, known as the Beef Capital of Australia, the first thing you see is a large bull-

Its sad there is no backpacker accommodation in town (the closest hostel is in Emu Park) because backpackers just pass it by, I did so myself when I caught a Greyhound down from Mackay straight through to Hervey Bay. During my time backpacking down the East Coast I really saw no reason why some towns gets loads of backpackers whereas others are completely snubbed, I guess the crowds all follow each other- everyone goes to Cairns but no one goes to Rocky. That's just the way it is.

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TRAVEL: The drive from Emerald to Currumbin, Gold Coast

TRAVEL POST: We drove the 12-hour horror from Emerald to the Gold Coast.

February 13th, 2013:
I felt sad about leaving Emerald before I actually left but when it came down to it, I wasn't sad to go, I was excited. I stayed there longer than I intended to and I was ready for new places..!

Above: a photo of generic road/sky/sun/trees somewhere along our journey.

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TRAVEL: The Gem Fields, Qld

TRAVEL POST: The Gem fields, Queensland, Australia
The gemfields: Rubyvale, Sapphire and Anakie

I had a day off work (in January 2013) so my boyfriend drove me to Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale - aka, The Gemfields.
They aren't too far from Emerald and I would recommend them as worth a visit. What part of human nature could resist the opportunity to strike it rich by finding a shiny stone in the dirt?

We stopped off first at Anakie, Trent knows the owner of the pub here, we had a quick look at the interior decoration, pictures below-

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TRAVEL: Emerald

TRAVEL: Emerald, Queensland, Australia.

I had been job-hunting for over a month when suddenly I had 3 job offers to choose from - an Irish pub in Charters Towers, an Irish pub in Emerald (whats with all the Irish themed pubs in Qld?), a hostel in Agnes Waters, oh yeah and a motel/hotel in Miles.
(Nope, I hadn't heard of any of those places either.)

Decisions, decisions.
I chose Emerald, because-
1) Dad recommended Emerald as it was a booming mine town
2) The job offered staff accommodation
3) Emerald has an airport that links to Brisbane
.... 4) Fate. Emerald was where I met my boyfriend. We have been together almost one year now!

So, on Thursday 4th October 2012, I found myself in a strange, hot, country town called Emerald.

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TRAVEL: Currumbin, Gold Coast

TRAVEL: Currumbin, Gold Coast

I am really rushing through now! Trying to catch up on a whole year of travels!
Sorry my writing is quite poor & not very informative. I'm trying to get this blog set-up and running. Once I have caught up with myself I can go back and edit things :)

Currumbin Rock pools are a must-see.
The pools are on the edge of Springbrook National Park so it is very green and leafy up here, with ancient trees that have grown extremely tall. The area has a short walking track (roughly 1km) that leads up to an old saw mill and back.
 The rock pools do get busy, especially on weekends. There are often teenagers there, jumping into the pools, despite all the signs around the place saying NO DIVING (I've heard many a horror story about people hurting themselves in these pools..).

It gets pretty cold up here in the winter but its lovely to visit all year round.

TRAVEL: Byron Bay & surrounds

TRAVEL POST: Byron Bay, Pottsville, Cabarita, Salt, Hastings Point

(Basically, in Sept. 2012 we drove from the Gold Coast down to Byron and stopped at a few places along the way)

Byron Bay is popular with EVERYONE. I am yet to meet someone who had a bad time here.
It is always filled with backpackers enjoying the laid-back feel of the place. It isn't quite as out-there/hippy as Nimbin (wanna go? Hop on the "Happy bus"!) but there is a lot of crystals and tie-dye. As a result of this, I can recommend Byron as one of the most vegetarian friendly places I have visited.
There's a Moroccan themed place down one of the side streets behind the beach front - its painted yellow and offers pitta bread, falafels and hummus - I've forgotten its name :/

The best thing about Byron has to be the lighthouse and views from its location - on a large hill overlooking, well, everywhere. It is the most Easterly point of Australia and offers amazing views in all directions.
We especially go there to spot whales swimming by! I have been lucky enough to spot dolphins there and also a random goat that lived on the hill by the lighthouse.
Its a very popular spot for weddings.
The cafe at the top, near the lighthouse, is priced very reasonably considering that it has a monopoly on tourists up there.
Continued after the jump
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TRAVEL: Brisbane

September 2012


I love Brisbane. I truly do. Its not a scarily large capital city like London or Sydney, but its not small and boring either. It has a lovely relaxed, chilled out feel and the sun always seems to be shining :)
There are plenty of museums, galleries, gardens, shops & river side cafes to keep you occupied.
Really, if you haven't been to Brisbane, why not?

I have been to Brisbane many times, but still have a list of things to tick off and do!

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TRAVEL: from Birmingham to the Gold Coast

September, 2012.

TRAVEL POST - in September 2012 I began this incredible journey. I packed up a HUGE suitcase (31 kgs to be precise) and hopped on a plane from Birmingham, UK to Brisbane, Australia. I worked 3 jobs after I graduated from uni (box office/bar in a nightclub, Boots Christmas casual and as a receptionist at a temping agency) in order to save up for this - the most amazing time of my life.

My last view of England, courtesy of Birmingham airport
Read more (reviews + pictures) after the jump...
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