Fraser Island, where nature is your playground

My first day in Rainbow Beach was not so great. After another long bus journey I arrived to heavy rain which lasted all day. Even though it was raining I still did my usual thing of getting lost and exploring my new surroundings but there wasn’t much to see, just a parade of shops and about 3 hostels and a beach. I then spent the rest of the day watching movies in my hostel, Pippies.

The following day was much better, the sun was out and I went for a morning jog along the beautiful coastline then sunbathed on the beach before my 2pm meeting to discuss my camping trip;

3 days and 2 nights on the worlds largest sand island – Fraser Island.

The meeting was to advise us of the dangerous animals, especially Dingos and how to drive on the island. We were then split into 4 groups of 8 and these people would be who I would be sharing the 4×4 and cooking with. I was very fortunate to be put in a great group, 5 lads from Belgium and Germany and 2 girls from England. After the meeting we set off in our groups to do our food & alcohol shopping for the 3 day trip. We spent $26 each which provided us with breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks and luckily we bought just enough to last us.

The next morning we all gathered around our cars for a few final tips and then we made our way to the ferry to take us across to Fraser Island. Once on Fraser Island the fun began immediately. Always following the lead vehicle driven by our guide Brett, the first driver of our car, Benni, raced us along the long stretch of sand dodging waves and rocks. We then swapped drivers twice whilst driving inland up and down sandy tracks surrounded by forrest. The forrest was amazing, especially when you remember that there is no soil on the island at all, just pure sand. After a few hours of crazy bumpy driving we arrived at Lake Mackenzie.

Lake Mackenzie, originally named Booroongora, is a huge lake made of pure fresh rainwater. The sun was blazing and so it was a welcome relief to jump into the fresh clean pure water. We spent a few hours here before it was my time to drive! I was nervous to begin with, as I haven’t driven for a few months, it was an automatic which I had never driven before and I was going to be driving on sand. Once I got going though, it was so much fun and easier than I thought.

Heading further north after some lunch we stopped at the shipwreck S.S Maheno. The Maheno was a luxury passenger ship and also used as a medical ship in World War I. The shipwreck will stay in the same spot until nature takes it away.

Another driver took to the wheel and we headed for camp. Pippies Tag Along Tours have a campsite permenantly set up and so all we had to do was choose a tent, crack open a beer and start cooking dinner. Our group had decided on bbq for the first night and so we had a lovely feast of meats and salad. After food, the alcohol took control and we all started chatting easily and then started playing drinking games and ended the night dancing around the campsite.

The next day my group were severly hungover but luckily we knew we were in the tour guides car that day so we didn’t have to drive. Instead we were able to relax and enjoy the day. First stop was the Champagne Pools, this is actually the sea but rocks are placed in a way that the waves crash over them and then the sea water forms lots of little bubbles, hence the name Champagne Pools. After a nice refreshing swim we then headed for Indian Head. This is a huge cliff face where the original natives of the island spotted Captain Cooks ship approaching the island. We sat on top of the cliff for a while watching Mantaray and Turtles gliding through the waters below us.

After a spot of lunch it was on to Eli Creek. Eli Creek is a flow of fresh water on the beach pushed out by natural springs further in the island. The power of the springs pushing the water out creates a natural flow which enables you to slowly float down the shallow creek. Our tour guide provided us with rubber rings which added to the fun.

Another night was spent in camp (after sandboarding down the sand dunes) eating and chatting and I also had an encounter with a Dingo! We had seen a Dingo in camp the night before but it just looked at us and walked away. This time I was coming out of the shower block alone when the Dingo came out of the bushes and started walking towards me. I doubt it would have done me any harm but it was not worth the risk. I calmly shouted back to the girls in the showers to open the door quick and I slowly walked backwards into the block. I waited 5 minutes and then we all walked out together, by this time the Dingo had moved on. Phew!

The last day on the island was spent at Lake Wabby, a lake formed in the sand dunes. It was once one big lake, but over years more sand dunes have formed, creating smaller seperate lakes. Again this was fresh water and after a long, hot, tiring 40 minute walk into the island and across sand dunes it was a beautiful welcoming lake. A lovely end to such a great weekend.

Our tour guide Brett was brilliant, so knowledgable, passionate, relaxed and good fun, I would definately recommed this tour to anyone travelling the East Coast.

So much fun and so much beauty on one island where nature is your playground.















Sailing the Tropical Waters of Whitsundays

Sometimes I surprise even myself. 2 nights and 3 days onboard the S V Whitehaven, a 17.5 metre yacht, is not something I ever saw myself doing. But the offer of cruising tropical waters of the Whitsundays, (the Whitsunday Islands are a collection of continental islands off the central coast of Queensland, north of Brisbane), sunbathing on the open deck, snorkelling coral bays and stepping on the beautiful sand of Whitehaven Beach was an opportunity I could not miss out on.

A very expensive $400 paid for 3 days and 2 nights and food on the boat, use of kayaks and snorkel gear and also 3 nights accommodation at Airlie Beach Waterfront Backpackers.

We set sail on Friday morning after meeting the 3 crew members and the other 24 passengers I was to spend my time with onboard, all of whom where really nice. We were given a safety talk and then it was 3 hours of sailing to reach Whitehaven Beach. The weather was perfect and we spent the 3 hours sunbathing and getting to know eachother.

Arriving at Whitehaven Beach, the largest of the 74 islands, the boat moored up and we jumped into the speed boat to take us over to the island. After a short walk through a wooded area we stepped onto a beautiful beach with miles of pure white sand and beautiful blue water. We spent a few hours here taking photos, sunbathing and playing frisbee and then we took a walk up to a viewpoint to witness a beautiful scene. The tide had started to go out and the clear blue sea gave way to swirls of white sand and in the shallow waters you could see Stingrays gliding through the water. Beautiful.

The next 2 days were spent sailing and stopping off at various coral bays for snorkelling and kayaking, with each coral bay getting more colourful and a wider range of marine life swimming around.

The food on the boat was amazing, lots of it and also snacks inbetween meals meaning I never went hungry. The crew were very knowledgeable and each evening they would sit with us and talk through the islands, coral bays and marine life we had seen.

My main concern about sailing was suffering with sea sickness. It isn’t something I normally suffer with but I had never been on a boat overnight, but luckily I was fine and loved every minute of it. The cabins were very hot and the beds rather slim but all in all very comfortable and opening your eyes in the morning looking through the porthole to see the sun and sea is a picture I will never forget. At night we would all sit around drinking and chatting under the bright stars. I was lucky to have a lovely bunch of people onboard and met some great personalities.

After the sailing trip I stayed in Airlie Beach for 3 more days. It is a beautiful beachside town popular with backpackers. The sea is inhabited by jellyfish from November to May. But there is a big swimming lagoon on the shore similar to the lagoon in Cairns. There is also an area of the sea sectioned off by nets. I spent my days in Airlie running, swimming, bush walking and meeting more great people. But once again, lots of goodbyes as I set off further down the east coast on a 14 hour overnight bus. Next stop Rainbow Beach.











Where Rainforest meets Great Barrier Reef

“Asia is all about culture & history, Australia is more about nature and beauty”. These were the words of a fellow traveller I met in Indonesia and in my first week in Australia I was able to witness the beauty of nature myself.

Daintree Rainforest is the oldest known rainforest in the world and the edge of the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef, so whilst standing on the golden sandy beaches of Cape Tribulation I was able to marvel at 2 of the worlds natural wonders at the same time. Pretty amazing.

I had already snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef and so it was time to explore the rainforest. Our guide led us into the rainforest following a guided path until we came to a stream. We were told we could swim in it as it was perfectly safe but we weren’t warned about the strong current! I got into the cold but refreshing water and started swimming about, then I spotted a big rock which the sun was shining on so thought I woud swim over to it to warm up. As I put my hand on the rock the strong current suddenly pushed me away and was pulling me along down stream. I was really struggling to fight against the current but finally found a calm spot and used all my strength to swim and pull myself out. I was pretty worried for a while but now all I can do is laugh at the thought of me bobbing down stream in the worlds oldest rainforest! That’s not something that happens every day!

After our swim we were ushered back to the minivan after what was about just a 10 minute walk in the rainforest! I was not impressed. Luckily, the tour we was on could be done in one day or split over 2 days so you could spend the night in the rainforest. We opted for staying over and so we had the opportunity of experiencing more of the rainforest. We stayed in a hostel which was made up of little huts in the forrest and we had booked a night walk. Although the night walk cost us an extra 40AUD (about £22) it was worth it. Our guide took us into the forrest following only natural paths, once we were deep in the forrest he asked us all to turn off our torches. I was waiting for my eyes to adjust to the dark so I could start to see objects but it was so extremely dark it was impossible to see anything and because the trees tower higher than the eye can see I couldn’t even see the stars! We stood in the rainforest in pitch black for about 5 minutes just listening to all the different sounds. At first I was really scared but then I was just mesmorised. After a few minutes I began to see fire flies flitting about and then I noticed the luminous fungi! It was all around us, sparkling. It reminded me of the sea plankton in Cambodia. It was quite a magical sight. When the torches went back on we continued our walk and along the way we spotted a Forrest Dragon, (only found in the Daintree Rainforest), a yellow and red frog, many Huntsman spiders, a huge Brown Tree Snake and lots of other weird and wonderful creatures.

The following day we cruised along the Daintree River and was fortunate enough to spot a few crocodiles along the riverbank. It really was amazing seeing all these animals in their natural habitats and not behind a glass at the zoo.

I spent a week in total in Cairns, I met some lovely girls from England and Canada and had a great last night at the Woolshed which is a popular backpackers club.

After more goodbyes I set off on my own again for the next part of my trip.









Bucket List Item – Snorkel a Living Reef – ✔️✔️

For those of you with a good memory, you will notice that this item is in fact already ticked off my Bucket List. I did snorkel many amazing reefs in the Maldives, but you will surely agree that snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef deserves a double tick!

Setting sail at 8.30am on a very nice boat we were provided with tea and coffee and entertained by the fabulous crew. After an hour or so we moored at the first outer reef approximately 70km offshore.

As we have now entered the season for jelly fish we had the option to hire stinger suits. Now if there was a jelly fish I am pretty sure I would be the one it hunted down! So I paid $10 for the protection. I put on my mask and fins and waited for my turn to jump in. I was most excited. I prepared my mask and snorkel perfectly so that I didn’t have any issues once in the water and then I jumped in. I started swimming amongst the huge colourful fish and this would have worried me in the past but I just swam along with them, taking in the abundant colourful marine life. The sea was so calm and not too cold and the visibility was amazing, unfortunately the coral was slightly disappointing. Most of the reef was dead and so the once colourful coral was a bit dull. The coral in the Maldives were actually so much nicer.

We returned to the boat for a very tasty BBQ lunch and set sail for the next reef. This reef was much better with bigger more colourful fish, I even saw a Barracuda which was quite possibly the same size as me, masses of superb coral formations of all shapes and sizes and a lot more colour. The deep drops off the coral walls would normally panic me but I was loving every minute of it gliding over the deep drops and searching for weird and wonderful fish in the cave like holes, floating above the shallow coral with the fish poking there heads at me a few inches from my face.

All in all an amazing day.





Touch Down in Cairns

150,000IDR airport tax, 2 flights and 10 hours later I touched down in Cairns, Australia. I had pre-booked a hostel called Nomads Serpent and they provided free airport pick up which was a great start. Because Australia is quite expensive for a backpacker, a lot of hostels seem to help with that issue in small ways. For example the hostel Nomads offers free airport transfers, free bus to and from town every hour, free bus to the Reef Terminal once every morning, a kitchen so you can cook your own food, the choice of a $3 meal every night, (usually a pasta or rice dish, never any meat) and lots of activities in the hostel. It does mean that people do not venture out as much, as they have so much comfort in the hostel, but for gap year travellers it’s a good set up.

My first night in Cairns was spent with a group of girls I was sharing a dorm with and we purchased our ‘goon’ (cheap box wine) and stayed in playing drinking games. The next day I explored by taking a long walk into town along the coastline. Unfortunately the beach is not the sort you can sunbathe on and you certainly cannot swim in the sea as Crocodiles inhabit the area. There was however a huge free outdoor swimming pool, also known as the lagoon.

Oh and can I just add, the idea of cooking for myself and doing my own laundry is not pleasing me! I have had to do laundry but so far I have managed to avoid cooking by eating the free hostel breakfast, buying things like noodles and fruit for lunch and eating the $3 meal. Happy days!

As you have probably come to realise, I am not the sort of person who can laze around for too long, so the thought of hanging out in the hostel for days was not appealing to me. So me and a dorm buddy set off to the Tour Agents to book some trips. Australia is very backpacker friendly and like Asia there are lots of Tour Agents willing to give you a good deal. But unlike Asia, the tours are very very expensive. We managed to get a 3 day and 1 night deal. The first day we were to sail to the Great Barrier Reef and snorkel 2 sites, then the second and third days we would be doing different activities like trekking the rainforrest and midnight walks to see the nocturnal animals of Australia, accommodation, food and transport for $333 (£203).

I was also very tempted at the offer of a skydive, I was very close to booking but it was so expensive. If I have money left at the end of my trip…watch this space!!





A small section of beautiful Asia but a big part of my life.

I was so sad to leave Asia, the culture, the food and the people. It is extremely easy and cheap to travel Asia which enabled me to experience more than I ever thought I would in such a short space of time. I learned so much of the history and way of life of each and every place I visited and saw so many different sides to each country:

I witnessed the hardship, learned of horrific pasts, I took in the beauty of the natural surroundings from simple rice paddies to active volcanoes. I partied with other travellers and locals in up and coming areas. I lazed on beautiful beaches, swam in waterfalls and trekked through muddy forrests. I tasted the most amazing local dishes and even learned to cook some of them. The list goes on and on and as much as I enjoy writing and sharing this travel blog I could never fit on paper the amount of wonderful memories I have and will cherish forever.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Lombok, Gilli Tarawangan, Ubud, Kuta and Sanur – a small section of beautiful Asia but a big part of my life.

How fortunate I am that the next part of my adventure is only about to begin. Australia here I come….





2 Months, 2 Weeks, 0 days!

Today’s To Do List:

1. Apply for Australian E-visitor – check!

This could have easily been a disaster down to bad planning of mine. As I was in Australia at the beginning of the year, I already had an E-visitor which was valid for 1 year. This visa was due to expire 4 days before I was due to fly out of Australia! I wasn’t sure whether I would be granted another one whilst one was still in existence, so I hit the submit button and waited in anticipation for the email from the Embassy. 5 minutes later, ‘I wish to advise that a visa has been granted’.  Phew!

2. Attend appointment with Travel Specialist for advice on vaccinations – check!

Luckily for me, being the pin cushion that I was last year, has saved me from having to have any further travel jabs. I, along with everyone I know, hates injections so when advised that I didn’t need any I could have hugged the Travel Specialist! But with every ‘up’ there is always a ‘down’ – Malaria! Whilst in Thailand I am at low risk but as soon as I approach the border of Thailand and over into Laos and onto Cambodia I am in a high risk area.

I was given two options of malaria tablets – the cheaper option at 30p a tablet but was told I cannot drink alcohol and skin will be extremely sensitive to the sun – hmmm no drinking or sunbathing whilst travelling, kind of defeats the object!

Second option at £3.20 a tablet! Instantly I turned my nose up at this but the Specialist was keen to tell me that these tablets have little or no side effects, hence the price! Now, as a solo traveller, being sick as a side effect of tablets, drinking alcohol and causing the tablets not to work and therefore a higher possibility of contracting malaria is obviously a big concern and so I took my nose out of the air and I have decided to look around for the same tablets but at a cheaper price. And so, the search begins…

Not bad for half a days work.