To me, Brisbane is simply a smaller, less impressive Sydney. As you can probable tell by the lack of photos, I didn’t find this city that exciting. For some reason, I didn’t warm to this city and I don’t know why. Nonetheless, South Bank – an area lined with lagoons and park land on the southern bank of the Brisbane River, was beautiful. Perhaps I just missed being by the sea?!
Australia Day fell on our time in Brisbane and luckily Helena, Harrison and Maggy were all in the city at the same time, so we met up at South Bank for a picnic. Such a lovely day, topped off with celebratory fire works over the river!
There isn’t tonnes I can say about this place, as the majority of my time here was spent in the hostel (Bunk) or outside of Surferes Paradise. Unless you have the money to go to the water parks and theme parks, there isn’t a lot to do here in the day. But, it’s not all bad! Some of my favourite memories were made here. On our first night in the hostel, we met a lovely couple Helena and Harris – who we have actually ended up spending the rest of our time up the east coast with.
The days were pretty chill, spent lounging on the beach or wandering the streets; lined with incredible skyscrapers. The nights were definitely the highlight. Surfers Paradise is renowned for being the ‘party stop’ on the east coast – living up to its name as the Miami of Australia. Most evenings were spent playing numerous drinking games and drinking too much goon, which usually resulted in a midnight dip in the hot tub!
Away from the built up area of Surfers, we found paradise at Tallebudgera Creek in Burliegh Heads; a secluded haven, just a short tram ride away that provided breathtaking views of the Gold Coast skyline. The creek had the clearest water I had ever seen, full of schools of shimmering fish. This little title adventure was the perfect way to end such a lovely trip.
Byron bay was as expected (although my only expectations come from watching The Inbetweeners movie), a cute little hippy beach town by the sea. We began our stay in Belongil Beach at Byron Beach Resort, which is by far my favourite hostel; such a beachy, chilled vibe and right opposite the beach. I couldn’t recommend it enough annnnnnnd it’s got a great little booking hub ‘RatPack Travel’ where we booked all of our trips up the East Coast.
From the hostel, we borrowed body boards which was so much fun (even though the surf was awful)! You could also hire bikes, so we cycled in to town a couple of times and down to a creek at the bottom of our road. Although the hostel was a little far out from town, that didn’t matter – Belongil is such a lovely place, surrounded by wildlife and nature.
Next we rented an Airbnb in Suffolk Park, a suburb of Byron near Tallow Beach. The town was even slower than the relaxed atmosphere in Byron Bay, so not much else was done here other than trips to the beach, so can’t really complain! It was a chance to wind down and get stuff booked and ready for our trip up the coast.
On the way to Cape Byron lighthouse (the sweatiest walk of my life as we went mid day!!!), we visited Wategos Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen! To top this, we spotted dolphins out at sea and a wallaby on our walk back. Although it’s a super long, hilly walk, it was worth it! The views were incredible and along the way was the most easterly point of Aussie mainland – which is pretty cool.
I would recommend Byron to anyone, such a perfect environment to wind down and chill.
Located in Umalas, Seminyak, the villa was at the end of a quiet road surrounded by paddy fields and exotic trees. The little details and decor of the place was stunning – a mix of local Balinese produce with a modern touch.
As a lover of all things ‘home decor’, I took the opertunity to capture the beauty of the villa with a mini photo shoot…
Bali is a holiday I will never forget. Since it was my mums 50th (and she’d always wanted to make it one to remember), my family flew out from England and myself and Joe from Australia to celebrate her special day on the lovely island!
Our villa was the perfect; a mix of both authentic Balinese style with a touch of modernness. We probably spent about half our time there in our pool, with the added bonus of the pink flamingo (named Albert) that came with the villa. Although our local beach was windswept and lacked sand to lounge on, we found paradise in Nusa Dua; the peninsula of Bali, providing a stretch of clear, light blue ocean and white sand. We also fell in love with the beach club Potato Head; a perfect place to watch the sunset and sip on a cocktail. To experience ‘real’ Bali, we took a day trip to Ubud (south of the centre of the island), village surrounded by luscious rice fields and greenery. Here, we visited Tarangarang rice terrace and Tegenungan waterfall – both beautiful places.
Spending Christmas here was odd and felt quite surreal! Nonetheless, the day was perfect; spent by the pool and finished of with a Christmas meal on the beach, watching the sun set.
I can’t forget to mention Umalas, the cat we named and unintentionally kept as our own (probs by feeding it tuna). It’s owners came to collect her the following day, as it was lost!
Leaving Bali was hard, as I had to say goodbye to my family for a second time. However, I am excited to continue my travels in Australia over the new year…
Where do I start… Manly is up there with one of my favourite places on earth! Only a 20min ferry ride from Sydney’s Circular Quay, Manly certainly lives up to its name as the ‘Surf City’. It’s just so chilled here! For the majority of my time I found myself either lounging on a beach, chilling by Shelly pool or relaxing in a cafe with a chai latte. It’s the dream. As for the evenings, there is such a lovely, happening atmosphere; the beach fronts are lined with groups of people having a drink or enjoying a picnic. I even witnessed a group where someone was playing their guitar in a circle of their friends – a very stereotypically ‘gap year’ sight!
I was lucky enough to have my birthday in this amazing city; one I will never forget! I can now say that I spent my November birthday in the sun (which is a first, living in England). Joe arranged such a lovely day, which included snorkelling, where we spotted a sting ray, having a lovely lunch at The Boathouse on Shelly beach (one of the prettiest cafes I’ve ever seen), topped off with watching the sunset on the beach with a drink in our hands.
As Manly has adopted the name ‘Surf City’, it only seemed right that we gave surfing ago! Although I failed to stand up first time, I would love to practise and learn to master it. I have also fallen in love with paddle boarding as it’s so relaxing! At Little Manly cove, we paddle boarded over a turtle and a giant manta stingray.
Manly will be greatly missed! I would absolutely love to come and visit again in the future.
I have been in Sydney for about a month now, and am absolutly loving it! Although it is a long way from home, which is hard, the amazing places the city has to offer makes the distance a lot easier.
The weather has been perfect so far with a lot of sunshine as it is the beginning of summer in Australia, so there’s been a lot of sightseeing, picnics and beach days.
I’ve experienced my first hostel stay, at Wakeup! Sydney, which wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Of course, I visited the Opera House and Harbour bridge at Circular Quay but, my favourite spot in the city is Mrs Macquarie’s point; a look out spot in the Royal Botancial Gardens, providing stunning views of the harbour. However, as a lover of the beach, Bronte (a beach suburb along the Bondi to Coogee walk), is definitely up there too.
The best thing about this city, is the contrast of both the bustling Central Business District and the serene coastline, scattered with flawless beaches and hidden bays.
I went to Barcelona for a short city break, to explore the city with my family and Joe. We rented a cute little AirBnb apartment near Passeig de Gràcia, with a lovely roof terrace providing amazing views of the cluttered roof tops.
During our stay, we made sure to visit the famous sites the city has to offer. First, Barcelona beach appealed to us as the perfect place to go after a day of travel and a morning of shopping at Brandy Melville (best shop on earth). The stretch of beach offered a more relaxed vibe up against the bustling city that stood behind us. Whilst a day of relaxation was lovely, we picked up the pace and roamed the streets to visit one of Gaudí’s masterpieces; Casa Batlló. The architecture and design was stunning and so intricate; perfect for taking lots of photographs! We also got the metro to Park Güell, another of Gaudí’s creations. Its the perfect location for a stroll, whilst providing incredible views of the city below. On the final day, we traveled up coast to a little Catalonian town and beach called Montgat and enjoyed a day of unwinding in the sun.
For dinner most nights, we opted for restaurants in the area surrounding our apartment; choosing from a variety of steak, tapas and health food menus – whilst trying out a number of mojitos (my personal fave)!
I would recommend Barcelona to anyone and everyone! I purposely didn’t visit the Sagrada Família so I have an excuse to go back!