Sunday, 4 September 2016

Australia: Magnetic Island

From my first week in Cairns I then took the bus to Townsville where I then got the boat across to Magnetic Island. I didn't really know what to expect from the island as I hadn't done any research and the lady at STA had booked it all for me!

The boat was a quick journey across and I met some girls that seemed to be nice, but turned out to be very two faced. You soon learn when travelling that not everyone is nice and that not everyone wants to make new friends, especially when people are already travelling with a friend!

From arriving to the jetty I then took a bus to the hostel, which took us a long route through some tiny street and finally dropped us off right outside the hostel. I was staying at Base (which is basically the only hostel on the island!). The hostel was beautiful, right on the beach and the dorms were like cabins, I checked in and headed to my cute dorm. It was nearly dinner time so I headed to the communal area to get my free welcome drink. In the queue I got chatting to a group of friends who were from London and travelling together. They were super friendly and invited me to get dinner with them. They had hired a pink barbie car (which is what the island is famous for!) and took me for a spin in it, which was such fun! We didn't find anywhere for food so headed back to the hostel to eat there. We ordered our food and some drinks.

The evening entertainment for that night was Boozy Bingo, the name pretty much says it all! I had a cracking evening and it ended with us all dancing on the tables! The strange thing was that at midnight its illegal to stay open any later so everything shut down and we all headed to bed!

The next morning it was Australia Day. I met a friend at breakfast and we decided take advantage of the free snorkelling, however the conditions weren't very good. We ordered some beer and sat by the pool for the rest of the day. Sadly I had to leave that afternoon to catch the bus to Airlie Beach. I wish I had stayed an extra day on Magnetic and had the opportunity to explore the island, I will know for next time!

We got the boat back to the mainland and then I took my bus onto Airlie Beach. As it was Australia Day the bus was so empty so I enjoyed a lovely sleep!

I arrived to Airlie Beach and walked to the Nomads hostel and had an early night ready for the Whitsundays tour the next day!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Australia: Cairns

Following on from my American adventure I didn't know what would happen to this blog. However, as I have just returned from 2 months in Australia and New Zealand and I intend to do much more travelling in the near feature, I thought this could become a travel blog. I love reading other peoples blogs about travelling and find them not only super interesting but very helpful too! Therefore I am giving back to the cyber world and recalling my adventures too. I hope my trip inspires you to go on a trip yourself.
Let me give you a brief background: I was in a job but not really enjoying it because a recruiter misled me on the job role. Anyway, I spent my entire 6 months in the job looking for another job and also dreaming of getting away. When I was asked to return to the company I worked for on placement to cover a maternity leave I jumped at the chance. Now this role didn't start until late March, and it was only January. So I handed in my weeks notice, booked my flights and flew out a week later - spontaneous I know! I was going half way across the world all on my own, what was I thinking?! But it has been the best thing I have ever done!  (also look how small my rucksack was! Best decision ever taking as little as possible, trust me you don't need a lot of stuff!!)

I flew into Cairns with no plan whatsoever, except for 3 nights at the Caravella Hostel. The Caravella Hostel provided a free pick up from the airport, so I headed to the pickup destination and waited for the transport. It was baking hot and such a surreal feeling being in a completely new country.
I arrived at the hostel and even though it was only 9.30 in the morning and way too early for check in my bed was free. I was taken to my dorm, which was a 6 bed with private bathroom. I decided to go exploring and get my bearings so headed out. I wandered around the lagoon and into the centre.
I headed back to the hostel and sat by the pool reading my book, I got chatting to some girls who had just finished the Oz Experience trip and really recommended it.
I headed into the centre to go and book myself onto it. After going to the wrong place and getting into a little panic I finally ended up at STA travel where I met a lovely girl who helped me book the trip. As it was so last minute I couldn’t get onto certain trips for a week, so that meant spending a little longer than expected in Cairns.

My first trip was the Great Barrier Reef boat trip with Passions of Paradise I arrived for check in at 7.30 in the morning and got taken to the boat. I found myself a table with other travellers and we all got chatting. We set sail to our first stop. The trip was choppy and many people started to feel sea sick including myself. However once we stopped I felt miles better. I had opted to do an introductory dive as I have never been scuba diving before and always wanted to. We had a briefing and then we were sent to get all the gear on. Once all kitted up we were taken to the side and told to jump in the water, which was much harder than expected as all the equipment was so heavy!! We then had to practise breathing and going under water. I couldn’t grasp it at all and started to panic, I felt really out of my comfort zone, but kept telling myself that I needed to do it; it was an experience of a lifetime. The guide could tell how determined I was so he took me off underwater swimming on my own and I was fine. We all linked arms (6 of us in a group) and swam with the guide to the bottom of the ocean. Once the guide to see we were confident he let us swim on our own. The scenes were incredible all coral and all the fish were breath-taking.  It is something I will never forget. Once our session was up it was back to the boat to take the equipment off and then we had some free time for some snorkelling. Following from this we had some lunch that was provided, there were a selection of salads and meats to choose from and also bread. Once lunch was finished we set sail again for the next stop Michaelmas Cay. This is a remote island that humans are only allowed on a small part of as the rest is habited by puffins! We decided to take the mini boat to the island first and then snorkel back to the main boat.  The snorkelling here was incredible, and we took advantage of the free snorkelling guided tour. We saw lots of nemos, turtles, sting rays and a reef shark too! Once back on the boat it was time to set sail back to the mainland. The gang decided to sit at the front of the boat on the ‘trampolines’ for a sunbathe. We also enjoyed an afternoon snack of cheese and biscuits which went down a treat!
We arrived back in Cairns and I headed back to the hostel to freshen up.

That evening I met everyone from the boat for dinner at Gilligan’s, and then we stayed there for a night out. I also met my friend from home who had moved to Sydney there too, which was fab! Travelling on your own is great but seeing a familiar face is the best feeling ever (I will mention more of this later!)

The next day was a free day so I chilled with my new friends who had just come off a ‘’TopDeck’ tour from Sydney.

The following day was a Barefoot Tour of the Atherton Tablelands. Again this was an early start but I got picked up from the hostel. I made friends with a girl who was waiting for the same trip. We first headed to a lake that was very cold. Myth had it that a woman died in the lake and her remains are the water which is why it’s so cold! We were then provided with breakfast of pastries and fruit which was delicious! We stopped at a village to buy some lunch, I grabbed a sausage roll from the bakery and then we headed to the next stop. Here were some incredible waterfalls with rocks that were slippery so you could slide down them. We stayed here for a while going down the ‘slide’ and taking lots of pics!We then took the long drive to Millaa Millaa Falls. Here is where Peter Andre filmed mysterious girl and also where the herbal essence advert was filmed.  We did the standard hair flick photo (mine was pretty sweeeet!) and also swam under the waterfall.Then it was back on the minibus to the next stop of the day, not before we had enjoyed many packets of Tim Tams. We stopped briefly at some more waterfalls, these were very secluded and we were the only people there. We enjoyed some afternoon tea and then onto the final stop of the day.We stopped at a huge lake, but as it was coming to the end of the day and I was finally starting to dry off I chose to sunbathe instead. However you could jump into the lake from the trees which was pretty cool! Then it was the long journey back to Cairns and dropping everyone off at their hostels/hotels.

Once home I went for dinner with two of the girls from the trip who were both at my hostel. We went to the thai restaurant at the front of the hostel which is apparently one of the best places to eat in Cairns – it was tasty!

The next day was another chill day so I spent it with the TopDeck gang by the lagoon. We then went out for dinner that night and I got an early night as was leaving to Magnetic Island the next day.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

New York

So I am home and settling back to this cold weather and weird time zone. I have unpacked and repacked ready to head back up north for my final year of Uni!!

Here goes my final post of my summer state side!

We left San Francisco on Monday evening, our flight was meant to be at 11.20pm but was changed to 12.20am (early Tuesday morning really!)

We spend the Monday exploring the parts of San Francisco we hadnt been to yet. We went to see the 'Painted Ladies' which are the famous houses. Shame one of them was covered in scaffolding!

We then carried onto Castro which is the gay district. We went shopping in a couple of really good thrift stores which had a lot of designer gear!

We headed up the hill of Castro and stopped at a cute cafe called Squat and Gobble. We both had pancakes, I had the apple crumble one. It was delicious!

We then explored Castro more and ended up a a cute park which a shop assistant recommended to us. We chilled there for the afternoon enjoying the sunshine.

We headed back to the hostel, cooked tea and waited for our transfer.

We took our first flight which landed at Dallas, Texas at 5.30am their time, only 3.30am our time. By the time we had got to arrival it was 6am so we grabbed the weirdest breakfast ever at TGI Fridays. There is a first for everything and this was definitely one of those weird experiences!

We then left Dallas at around 7am and landed in New York, Newark airport at noon. We treked accorss New York with all our bags and on various trains and finally reached our hostel.

We had been told to not go any further than 110th Street in New York, our hostel was between 110th and 111th Street. It definitely was not the nicest of areas but for the price was paid for the hostel the location was fab. Only a 2 min walk to the Subway. The hostel however was something else. It was, how to say it nicely........ disgusting. It was so dirty and the up keep awful. However it was a bed to stay in, for the cheapest you will EVER get in New York.

We showered, changed and headed to Times Square for dinner. I was like a proper tourist walking up the stairs from the Subway, just staring in awe at being in New York!! It was amazing.

We ate dinner at Bubba Gump, I had a yummy burger. We then treated ourselves to the most calorific and delicious dessert ever! It was our first proper meal of the day!

We then headed to the 9/11 memorial museum. It is free entry on Tuesday evenings, if you booked in advance. I had been super organised and had booked these tickets in LA!!

Anyway we went to the museum, and it was so well done and so moving. The stories to read, pictures to look at and seeing peoples possesions was all so emotional. The blue wall was a very clever idea and I even took a picture of the information as I thought it was a lovely idea:

We then headed back to the hostel.

On Wednesday we went on the ferry to Staten Island, this is free and goes right past the Statue of Liberty to get good pictures. We also explored Staten Island and saw the new memorial for 9/11. It was a beautiful memorial and there was a gardener arranging flowers there for the next day (as it was the 13th anniversary).

On arriving back to New York we went to explore the piers and chilled on a pier for a bit catching the sun. We then headed back on the subway to see the highline. The highline is a new garden which has been built on a disused railway. We got off at 14th Street and walked to the highline where we spotted an indoor market - Chelsea Market. We had a little look inside and then went onto the highline. It is such a cool concept and they difeinitely need one of these in London!

We then went and had dinner, my first ever Chipotle. Me and Laura both went for the burrito and it was soooo good!!

We got the subway back to our hostel, showered and got ready for the Yankees game.

The game was New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Jets. The stadium was huge! Again we got our tickets from and only paid $4. We then moved to better seats for a better view. The game was good fun, and of course the Yankees won!

The next morning I headed out to explore on my own, first I headed to Grand Union Station, took some pictures inside and then walked to New York Public Library, passing through Bryant Park.

I then jumped onto the subway to Lincoln Center where New York Fashion Week was being held. I didnt see any celebs but took some pics of cool people anyway!

I then met Laura at Times Square at 1pm. We headed out shopping. I bought some nice bits from Victoria Secret, its so cheap compared to home would be rude not to!!

We then walked 5th Avenue before ending up in Central Park and chilling there.

We then went to Bloomingdales where I bought my long awaited Kate Spade bag - its beautiful!!

We then headed back on the Subway to Chelsea Market as we knew there would be somewhere inside to get food - it is a food market afterall!

We chose this delicous Italian with homemade pasta. We also shared this amazing meat and cheese platter - delicious!

We then got the subway to 9/11 memorial to pay our respects for the 13th Anniversary. The area had been closed all day to the public and only open for family members, however opened for the public at 6pm. It was very moving to see the memorial, and peoples names covered in flowers, letters and pictures. Many people had turned up to pay their respects. There were also two lights in the sky to symbolise the two towers.

I feel very privaledge and moved to be in New York for the 13th anniversary.

The next morning we headed to Port Authority Bus Station to take the bus to Jesery Gardens outlet in Newark for a final day of shopping. The outlet was amazing, and we both spent farrrr to much but it was worth it! Getting Abercrombie and Fitch trackies for £12, you cannot complain can you!!

We shopped pretty much all day, and then got an Uber to the Prudential Center for the Enrique and Pitbull concert.

We were going up the escalators to our section, (section 231, super high up!!) when someone who worked there, think he was a security guard started speaking to us, asking us where we were sat.We told him and he goes, sorry girls you will have to turn around and go back down whilst taking out a wadge of tickets. He gave us new seats, section 3, ROW 1!!!  We went back down, all super excited and went to find our seats. We were at the front of the seating area. All that was between us and the stage was the standing area!! What a nice man to give us those tickets"

The concert was amazing and we both had the best night ever! Thanks Laura for the best birthday present!!!

The next morning was my last day in New York, and Laura was off to stay with her friend. We said our goodbyes and I headed out into New York for the last time!

I went to Brooklyn first to walk over the bridge to New York and put a lock on the bridge, along with thousand of other people.

I then went to see Carrie Bradshaws house from Sex and the City. Unfortunately it was having work done on it and there was scaffolding.

I then headed to the Imagine, John Lennon memorial in Central Park, before grabbing my second Chipotle of the trip and back to the hostel to get my bags.

I got to the airport and my flight was at 7.30pm.

I arrived in England at 7am the next morning.

What an amazing time I had, I am so sad it is all over.

2 months working at Disney and then 1 month travelling!

I am a very lucky girl, thanks to all who made it so special. And also to those people who actually read this thing!!