New Zealand

My 2-week itinerary for the South Island of New Zealand in Summer.

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After 2 days back in Australia, post-Borneo, came the family road trip in New Zealand. We were hitting up the South Island, hiring a motor home for 2 weeks. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time but we definitely fit a lot in. Driving 8am-8pm  pretty much everyday, going on walks, hiking glaciers, sinking NZ brews, hiring helicopters, swimming in glacial lakes… We checked off a serious list in the time we had.

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We flew in to Christchurch and it was one week after a major earthquake in the South Island. Every local we talked to thought we were, quote… “Fucking crazy” to be in the country! It didn’t worry us too much. Maybe only my middle brother Tim, who checked the GeoNet app every ten minutes to read into the aftershocks. After loading up our rig with a lot of groceries and a lot of booze, we hit the road. We started by following the art trail set up throughout Christchurch. After a beautiful day wandering the incredible rebuilt city, we had a killer meal at the Engineers Bar before heading North to a campground by a river just north of the city. The next morning, we changed routes after some research, avoiding the north of the island due to road closures and aftershocks. Instead, we headed for Arthur’s Pass.

Arthur’s pass took us a full day and around every corner we were all blown away. This road is so diverse; from flat fields full of sheep, to rocky hills covered in boulders, to ski slopes, to snow-capped mountains, to engineering feats. It truly was a shocking start to this trip in all of the right ways. My brothers were already claiming NZ to be their favourite country, two days in.

From Arthur’s Pass we then headed up to Pancake rocks which was to be the furthest north we would head in this trip. Following the winding coastal road and ending the day at Monteith’s Brewery Greymouth, it was a great way to spend day 2.

The following day I searched Instagram for some ideas along the road we were taking. I have never used this as a way to find travel ideas, but it was an amazing way to find hidden gems that we may have missed otherwise. With the users of Instagram as our travel guide, they brought to light Hokitika Gorge which was one of my favourite places on the trip. The milky turquoise river and surrounding misty rainforest was one of the most beautiful walks. It was about 5 minutes from the car park, so the walk was not too strenuous at all. We set up camp late that night and enjoyed ciders and cards. We had such a nice time each night, talking, laughing and just having family time in general. Even after arguing about where to park the rig for 40 minutes earlier that evening.

Day 4 was glacier day! Franz Joseph Glacier and Fox Glacier only half an hour apart, so we were able to drive freely between the two in the same day. We visited the tourist information centre to get some advice on which was best to hike considering the misty conditions. We waited it out for some better conditions over lunch in the van as everything in those towns was very expensive. That afternoon we walked to the viewpoint of Franz Joseph Glacier. Most of the trails were shut due to the danger of ice melt. Through the clouds we did get a glimpse of the glacier for about 20 minutes, which was all we need for a family picture and then we were on our way. We ended the day at Bruce Bay. This beach was covered in the most amazing driftwood as far as the eye could see! However, watch out for the plague of sandflies if you ever camp here, you really couldn’t spend too much time outside exploring.

I woke up in Bruce Bay on my 22nd Birthday. We had a lovely day driving, with some incredible stop off points. We found a place called Blue Pools where we spotted some backpackers jumping off a bridge into the turquoise glacial lake below. We jumped in on the action literally. When your body hit the water it burnt your skin it was that cold! I have never tried to leave a body of water so quickly. My poor mum had to watch all her babies take the leap into the lake with all of those tourist onlookers. Sorry mum but It was an experience with my brothers that I’ll never forget. We then sun-baked on the stones by the river to warm up before heading back up the hill to have a lunch at Haast Pass. We even got to rip out the lay bag and have a beer in the sunshine. We ended this day at Wanaka, setting up camp in a caravan park to take advantage of the hot showers and went out for honestly the best Italian feast ever! The beef cheeks gnocchi was just out of this world, it melted away in your mouth. This town was foodie heaven. It was my kind of town.

The next morning, we had a wander around town and some lunch by the lake before heading on towards Arrowtown and then onwards to Queenstown, where we booked in a few days of adventure. There are plenty of places selling the adrenaline tours in the village, so you can pre-book or take your luck when you arrive like we did. Price wise, I don’t believe there was much difference. They don’t call it the adrenaline capital of the world for nothing! On that note, we managed to fit in the luge that evening which is honestly some of the best fun and the site has amazing views. It’s bobsleds without the tracks, and you pick up some serious speed. We purchased 8 runs and we loved every damn minute of it. You get air, you can run into your brothers. So worth the $$$.

Queenstown is very expensive, so we drove the rig outside of the town that evening to set up camp in the free camping zone. If your van has a self contained sticker on it, you are allowed to camp in these zones. We did see some guys sleeping in their car next to us get a fine unfortunately. Queenstown especially is super strict on free campers just as an FYI.

We were up bright and early on day 7 and kicked off the the adventure with the terrifying shotover jet. These things skim over as little as 10cm of water and go very very close to rock walls and trees on the banks. Absolutely insane. We then jumped into our very thick wetsuits for the white water rafting tour. The bus ride up to the drop in zone, was more gnarly than the rafting itself. Our mini bus with trailer hugged this cliff road as cars passed by. Lucky we had a very talented driver and a charming French guide to take our minds of the danger. We jumped in the raft and had a very quick 101 lesson of rafting as the runs got progressively more intense. We never flipped the raft which was nice as even with our thick suits, the water was freezing. The adrenaline was pumping near the end as we went through caves and popped out of a small waterfall. It was so much fun. We then filled our stomachs with the famous Fergburger! Apparently you can’t leave Queenstown without trying this bad boy. The locals advise Devils Burger instead of, but i’ll you be the judge. We then went out to the Havana Cuban Rum Bar for a night out. It happened to be Crate day too, so the town was pumping with people partying. Crate day is an unofficial holiday in NZ, where people buy crates of beer and just drink in the parks in the afternoon sun. Such a fun idea. Our time here has even convinced my brother Tim to move to Queenstown. He actually moved just this weekend that has past.

Day 9 we headed towards Milford Sound. We decided to skip the walk and the boat offerings and my parents went straight for the spontaneous Helicopters! What an absolute trip and a memory I will never forget. We had a chopper and a pilot who said he would take us wherever for 30 minutes. 1. Glacier 2. Milford Sound waterfall 3. The ocean for some potential whale spotting. It was so incredible to see the glacier from the sky and he was nice enough to stop on top of the glacier for a family pic and snow ball fight. This was something that was so unexpected, but it absolutely brought the trip to the next level. This was the first time in a helicopter for me and it was quite a way to crack that cherry. Afterwards, we went on a bit of a bushwalk before finding camp and trying to come down off the buzz with a few drinks and dinner. I perfected cooking rice on the stove top that night which was a huge feat for me as well. We camped at Te Anau Downs.

Day 10, we decided to stick around the national park for some more bushwalking and chilling out. Mirror lakes was a highlight and it is just of the road. A great place for some tricky photography!

Day 11 we continued on down south to Invercargill on the South coast, the famous hometown of Burt Munro, the World’s Fastest Indian which was exciting for my brothers and Dad who enjoyed the film growing up. We then found our free camp just before dark at Haldane Bay. Roads around here were not sealed and in our big rig, it was slow going.

We left early the next morning to continue along the coast towards Nugget Point. We had a full day driving (well my Dad did) and we made it Dunedin in time for a quick brew at the Speights Brewery by the fire place. Just before dark we went to the reserve at Taiaroa Hill were you can see the incredible albatross, seals and maybe even a penguin if you are lucky.

Day 13 we had a drive through the eclectic University houses around the University of Otago. These houses had very clever names and makes you really jealous that you aren’t a part of the culture there. We then headed north for a full day of spotting seals along the coast line near Moeraki for the amazing rock formations and wildlife. It was amazing to be so close to such huge seals. We then had a stop off in a little town called Oamaru. This town was an absolute gem and I wish we could have spent more time here. Make sure you have a wander through Steampunk HQ. It is a wild metal museum and the owner is hilarious. Such a cool experience, and very clever art installations. After experiencing the taste of White Bait, we were off inland where we set up free camp on Aviemore Dam. We looked like we were on a boat you could camp so close to the waters edge. It was a great end to another huge day of adventuring.

Here it comes the last full day of the trip (the worst part of any trip). Where the heck did all of the time go? We drove direct to Mt Cook Village for a beautiful day of hikes and swims in glacial lakes. We were even able to see proper icebergs in the lakes cracking away. It was happening right before our eyes, it was incredible. After some lunch in the sunshine, we drove towards Lake Tekapo for our last night. We stayed in the local caravan park as it was getting dark, however it was very expensive so I don’t recommend it. The facilities were ok though and I enjoyed a nice hot shower. The lake was also surrounded by the incredible Lupins. We saw these flowers all over the South Island and they are stunning! When I think of NZ, I will now include lupins in the memory mix.

Day 14, we left by 9am for the drive straight back to Christchurch to sadly end our little NZ adventure for now. We returned our van and got a lift from the hire company back at the airport, not before stopping off for some fresh roadside cherries before we jumped on our flight back to Sydney.

Highlights:

  • Helicopter flight over Milford Sound & the Glacier
  • Italian food @ Francesca’s Italian Kitchen in Lake Wanaka
  • The amazing Lupin flowers as far as the eye can see.. All over the South Island
  • Steampunk HQ, Oamaru
  • The local Dairy’s (milk bar/corner stores) for Ice-cream… So much Ice-cream
  • The beautiful local ciders and wines everywhere
  • Spending time with my incredible Family!!!
  • Tim sleepwalking and falling on to my youngest brother Bailey.
  • The family trash talk
  • The family stories and laughs each night
  • Our little camping dinners
  • The crystal clear water
  • How well NZ caters for free campers
  • The out of this world bushwalks
  • Whenever we ate out, the food was always top notch in quality & produce

I hope I have convinced you guys to head to the South Island and have a drive around. I 100% can guarantee you will NOT be disappointed. It is an incredible country. I will also be heading back soon I am sure of it. So if you have any tips to share with me, please do in the comments. I would love to hear them.

In the meantime, be sure to check out my brother Jayden’s video representation of our trip.

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Borneo

Finishing my studies at University has been the first big change for me over the past few months. University has been the best four years of my life and now that’s finishing. The University lifestyle does not stop as easy as it starts put it that way. That time has been fun and rewarding and relaxed, inclusive of all of those late night study stresses. It is now that I have come to truly be appreciative of it all… Off course when it has finished. However, I know that the friends, the memories, the experiences, the knowledge, that is all coming along with me in life. So it is all going to be ok.

Moving on from University I was planning a gap year. A year of of travelling with my partner Jon. We would go from South America to the US, Canada, through China and Russia, down to Spain and Portugal. I was saving, planning and preparing for this adventure, telling a few people about it. However, a couple weeks out from my final examinations at the end of last year, I received a call from my internship host company offering me a full-time position in the Media Industry. It was a great opportunity, that essentially fell into my lap. I had to take it, right? This was something that I knew I wanted. But did I want it yet? The answer was that I really I wasn’t sure… But what I did know, was that I was handed an opportunity, a great one and so I took it. So far it has proven to be a fantastic decision. A year or two of full-time work will only help me save and plan for an even better journey. I’m cutting back, saving up and eventually, hoping to take off with Jon on a beautiful adventure abroad.

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So with these changes shaking me up a little, I booked a graduation trip to Borneo straight after my University exams finished back in November last year. The goal of this trip was to see the Orangutans in the wild. With dwindling numbers, it was important for me to see them in their natural environment. And that I did!! They are such gorgeous animals, so intelligent and strong. I could have watched them all day if I were able to. But the reality was I was visiting the Orangutans natural environment, at the Sepilok reserve in Eastern Borneo. Humans were only allowed into the park for fundraising purposes for four hours a day, which looking back I am grateful for, as this kept the reserve strictly educational and preserved the rights of the animals to be safe in their natural environment. You couldn’t touch them, you couldn’t feed them, you couldn’t even get close enough for a damn selfie, and that is the way it should be.

The second item on the agenda for Borneo was hiking Mt Kinabalu. With very little research and planning, we walked into a storm of high quotes and ridiculously over the top deals to climb this mountain. The lowest we could get it down to for the 2-day hike was around $600 each. Not being avid climbers, we passed this opportunity on and decided instead to spend our money on a beach hut on the South China Sea. We booked a beautiful treehouse villa for 5 nights on Manukan Island. We saw the vast mountain in the distance and instead spent our time sleeping on the beach, swimming, drinking, playing cards and eating. We found some serenity on our private beach which was needed after a busy few days in Singapore and finishing University exams a few days earlier.

To close our trip, we decided to splash some cash on a tour to see the famous Proboscis Monkey. Included in this trip was seeing the Fireflies on an evening boat trip which also sounded intriguing. We talked South Korean politics with a lovely couple we met and also debriefed about the recent success of Trump in the US election. We talked about how when we flew out of Australia, Hilary was winning and upon landing in Changi Airport, we found out it was quite the opposite. Anyway, politics aside, we definitely heard the Proboscis monkey and saw their obscure noses and long tails which achieved another goal of the trip!  I didn’t manage any pictures unfortunately, but do yourself a favour and google them! The fireflies were also magical specs in the balmy evening sky. I really recommend this tour on a stay in Borneo, it was an unexpected highlight getting the two in one.

Lastly, I have to point out its not always peachy… I had my whinges of course as I do in any backpacking trip, with swollen feet from the heat, too much rubbish and pollution in the ocean, not the best food I have had travelling, and being scared to death by a little rainbow snake and geckos. But that is travel. That is adventure and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I ticked off seeing two of the most amazing monkeys in the world in their natural environments and I got to relax on the South China Sea with my Best Friend Jon. It was a beautiful trip.

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Singapore Round One & Two

For a very small island, Singapore sure does not disappoint when it comes to entertainment, food and culture. The buzzing city is filled with Singaporeans, Expatriates and Tourists from all over the world and with that, comes a vibrant mix of cuisines, languages and personalities. For a country I had only ever thought of as a stop over destination, Singapore has now  quickly become one of my favourite places in the world.

The first reason is of course the incredible food. In Singapore, you can eat food from all over Asia, in the one place! Hawkers Markets like the famous La Pau Sat, are filled to the brim with Indian food, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, and Singaporean foods. You name it, it will be there. You can have a lot of fun trying foods from all over Asia, in a bustling marketplace, drinking cold Tiger beer or fresh juices. If you manage to get to one of these markets, please try the Satay cooked by being fanned over coals, it will change your perspective on satay for the rest of your life!

Singapore is one degree north of the Equator, so this means that the heat is out of this world. Air-conditioning is everywhere, however I quite enjoy the tropical humidity when walking about and then the huge afternoon storms like Niagara Falls. There is plenty of greenery in this well engineered island, with the government aiming to have a park within a 10-minute walk from every home in their sustainable development plans. Despite the urbanisation all around, lush green botanical gardens and parks soften this city, making it a truly beautiful space.

Culturally, Singapore may look like a Western society when you see brands like Uber and McDonalds and hear English being spoken everywhere. However, Singapore like any country has got an incredible history, with both inspirational aspects and dark memories. I learnt a lot about this on my first visit to Singapore back in July 2016, when the reason of my visit was for a UOW Business Study Tour. Here we had a fantastic guide Stephanie, who has been living in Singapore for over 20 years and had a lot to share with us. Aside from Stephanie’s knowledge she shared with us on Singapore’s history, business and trade life and Singaporean culture, Steph gave us the heads up to visit the National Museum of Singapore that has a brilliant timeline of the country, with guided English tours running everyday. Due to timing, I did not get to get to see this exhibit until my second visit in October 2016 when I visited with my partner Jon. You find out that Singapore has gone through some very dark times with the Japanese occupation, moving through to the constant back of fourth of the country being tied to Malaysia, to the countries independence and modernity of the country with very clever social engineering. If you have an hour in Singapore, check this exhibit out with a tour guide, it will be well worth your time.

There are many things that interested me about Singaporean society, such as the overwhelming statistic that 91% of residents owned their homes. Public Housing is prominent throughout Singapore, but not as we in Australia may know it. The government own a lot of the residential buildings and encourage/make available the property to purchase for the average income earner, which is an incredible feat to have so many people owning their homes. A further thing that shocked me was the large portion of elderly people working in hospitality roles due to the absence of a pension system. It is a culture that traditionally, younger generations will look after their elderly family. However, you may find a 70-year-old hobbling over collecting your bowl after your meal, because if they don’t have any family, they will continue to work right throughout their lives. On a side note, a pension system is now in place, but it doesn’t help a lot of the current elderly society. Of course no country is perfect and even with the social systems in place, there are still issues. However, overall Singapore is a nation to be rivalled and is extremely interesting to learn about it’s successes over the years.

There is no shortage of things to do either. Shopping, eating out, Broadway shows, beaches, hikes, theme parks, architectural feats, gardens, museums, markets… You really cannot get board in Singapore. I have now spent 10 busy days total there and still have things I would like to see and do and of course EAT! I will now try to always turn Singapore into a short stay if passing through, or even make it a destination on it’s own, with Scoot flights from Sydney as cheap as $139, which is cheaper than a domestic flight! The heat, the food, the shops, the entertainment, the culture, it is well worth a visit. If you have been to Singapore, shoot me a message or comment below and please let me know of your experience!

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Malaysia

A short piece on my experience in KL Malaysia as part of a University subject thanks to the Australian Government NCP scholarships.

To head to the International airport for a University subject was not something I was expecting to experience. Thanks to UOW and the Australian Government, myself and 20 other peers got to fly over to Malaysia and Singapore for a beautiful 10-day experience. We kicked it if off flying with Air Asia direct to Kuala Lumpur. The majority of the group flew with Singapore Airlines, however a handful of us decided to save some of our scholarship and rough it. I had asked friends about the experience with the airline and was preparing myself for eight hours with no entertainment, no food and intense air-conditioning. I arrived armed with my snacks, books and a comfy jumper. I am a really great sleeper so I was not worried about the budget flight at all. I’m pretty short so do not find snuggling up on an economy seats to be that bad, however I can’t speak for everyone. It was a dragged out trip without a movie or two, however I got there in one piece, my luggage arrived and I even got given a meal. I really can’t complain too much considering the flight was around $280.

We walked out of the airport to a slap in the face from the heat, welcome to the equator! We jumped in a cab and arrived at the most outrages looking hotel you can imagine. It was way to extravagant for a bunch of University students who were only there to sleep, but we just had to soak up the experience. We were in Malaysia for four days to learn about the business environment, including opportunities and challenges the region is facing.

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We had the weekend to explore and so myself, Ben, Cam and Lizzie hit the town in style in our air-conditioned minivan. We wont be doing that again as taxi cab vouchers are super expensive from the hotel. You can just walk outside of the hotel and around the corner to find metered cabs which are a bargain. We wandered the Little India precinct and afterwards had lunch in a Hawker’s market. I had a spicy Char Kway Teow and fresh juice costing a total of $3. We then caught the train out to the Batu Caves, which also only cost a few dollars. The stairs, the smells, the monkeys, it was all happening at the caves, I’m really glad I went, this was one of my highlights of KL.

My next highlight… THE FOOD! Oh man I could not get enough of all the amazing dishes available. I could eat a different dish for the rest of my life at a Hawker’s market, there are just so many things to try. Each stall does 10-20 dishes really well and so you are overwhelmed with choice walking into one of these places. I pretty much was taking on a three course meal twice a day just because it was so affordable and tasted amazing. This was on top of the huge hotel buffet breakfast!

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A second highlight would have to be an evening out in KL. I have to mention the heli-pad bar. We took an elevator to the top of a building that looked absolutely dead, no signage, there were no people, it kind of looked like it was being renovated downstairs. All very confusing. However, much to our delight when we arrived at the top, we were welcomed by bar staff who took our orders, made our cocktails and then we went up a stairwell to the heli-pad that was converted into a chilled out bar space. Tables and chairs were spread out, with a rope barricade around the rim of the roof. It was all very relaxed. I don’t know if alcohol and an open roof without a reinforced barricade would fly in Australia, but it was really cool. The experience was awesome, we got to watch the sunset and it was great for some group shots with the famous Petronas Towers as a backdrop.

I was not really sure what to expect in regards to the academic side of things and it was a little relaxed, however that worked well as it allowed for a lot of extra time for activities. Overall we did learn a lot about business etiquette and how business runs in the ASEAN region which was very insightful. Similarly, we also received really great advice on applying for international jobs and how to stand out.

I tainted my last day with a hangover, that was a bit of a buzz kill. I have truly learnt from the experience and it just isn’t worth it. I really mean that, much better to keep hydrated with water or fresh juice I have decided, especially whilst travelling. As for KL itself, pretty great for food and shopping. If I get the chance to head back to Malaysia, I would really like to explore the national parks in the north and the islands off the coast of Malaysia.

I hope to have the Singapore post up shortly. I just have a lot of pictures to go through!! Thanks for reading!

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Singapore & Malaysia trip planning

Winter break from University has finally come around and this is the last holiday of my undergraduate course. A bittersweet milestone as I come to complete my double bachelors. So to celebrate, I have enrolled myself in a holiday subject! It isn’t as nerdy as it sounds. This subject enables me to travel overseas, whilst also receiving a Government scholarship which means it is a FREE TRIP!

Next weekend I am heading off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as Singapore for two busy weeks. The trip is with the UOW Business Faculty and we are jetting off to build relationships with our neighbouring region, South-East Asia. I have saved every dollar of my scholarship and booked the cheapest flights possible, flying with Air Asia to KL and home with Scoot to Sydney. I will however not be roughing it accommodation wise, as the University have booked us into 4-5 start hotels for the trip. I am sure I can live with that.

We have consistently been reminded that this is a subject and we will have to undertake academic work. However they have given us plenty of “free-days” and here are some of the sights I have planned, after speaking to Family and Friends…

Kuala Lumpur:
Taking it to the streets for FOOD!

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Thean Hou Temple

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Batu Caves

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Petronas Towers by Night

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Singapore:

Gardens by the Bay

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A stroll down Emerald Hill Road

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A cocktail at Cé La Vi

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Trying Peranakan food

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A stroll down Haji Lane in the evening

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Mud Crab is a MUST

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If anyone reading has any other must-sees, please comment below; I would love to hear them. Looking forward to blogging about it all!

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Image Sources:
http://chasingplaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Slider-Jalan-Alor-food-street.jpg.
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/kuala-lumpur/sights/religious/thean-hou-temple#js-tab-photos.
http://static.asiawebdirect.com/m/kl/portals/visit-malaysia-com/homepage/kl-tours/half-day-batucave/tourParagraphs/tourbt/BucketList/02/image2/batu-01.jpg.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/kuala-lumpur/sights/architecture/petronas-towers.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/singapore/sights/parks-gardens/gardens-bay.
http://hype.my/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Peranakan-Homes-1024×685.jpg.
http://q-ec.bstatic.com/images/hotel/840×460/151/15197605.jpg.
https://cn-production.s3.amazonaws.com/reviews/travel/houseofperanakansfoodspread.jpg.
https://cn-production.s3.amazonaws.com/reviews/travel/houseofperanakansfoodspread.jpg.
http://assets.cougar.nineentertainment.com.au/Assets/GourmetTraveller/2013/05/07/4229/1112GT-classic-chilli-crab-628.jpg?Image=%2FAssets%2FGourmetTraveller%2F2013%2F05%2F07%2F4229%2F1112GT-classic-chilli-crab-628.jpg&Height=733&Width=628&Constrain=True&AllowUpSizing=False&Mode=Crop.

 

CAIRNS

A long weekend to North QLD to escape university and catch up my exchange girlfriends!

It is rare that I get a chance to take some time to appreciate the true beauty of the travel opportunities that surround me here in Australia. When I got news that my beautiful exchange friend Taylor was choosing to come over for her graduation trip, I jumped at the opportunity to meet up with her. It was in the middle of my University session, right when all my midterms and assessments were due, however I couldn’t let the opportunity fly by. So I booked 4 days in lovely sunny Cairns in northern QLD.

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Taylor and her best friend Janessa are from Ontario in Eastern Canada. For them I knew the heat, beaches, food, culture and scenery would be an incredible experience. Palm trees, Indian curries, Thai salads, white sandy beaches and sunshine are some of the things that I take for granted and get to experience so often. It was great to be surrounded by two amazing travel partners who got me excited about exploring Australia.

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I flew with Virgin Australia up the east coast of Australia from Sydney, which only took about 3 hours. The return flight cost me $260 which was surprising. When I landed, I split a cab with three women from Ireland to get into the centre of town. There was a local bus and airport shuttle however it did incur a bit of a wait and I was so excited to hit the wine and meet up with the girls. We enjoyed a good old Aussie BBQ, also meeting some lovely German travellers.

It was amazing to hear how travellers get around, found long-term accommodation, found work and moreover what they felt of Australia as a country. It was extremely interesting to hear how travellers do it. I find Australia very expensive to travel in, so it was nice to get some tips on how exactly it is done right. When you are a local you have a very different perspective on the traveling and accommodation options.

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Taylor, Janessa and I hired a car through AVIS, and arriving late for the pickup enabled me to get upgraded to a sport model. We found the back doors on the third day of our trip, which was hilarious. Poor Janessa was climbing through as if it was a two-door every day. Sporty cars are very deceiving. Having the car was the best way to head north and explore the coastline. We traveled to Kuranda, Port Douglas, Palm Cove, the Daintree rainforest and even right up to Cape Tribulation, the end of the bitumen road north!

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The wildlife was very intimidating up north, even for an Australian. There is always an unsettling feeling of salt-water crocodiles as well as having face-sized colourful spiders swinging around the bush walks. The beaches have stinger nets, crocodile warnings, stinger safety kits (vinegar) and lifeguard sign warnings as you enter and also on the beach as well. Very different to the NSW South coast. The coastline is a little churned up in this area and not the picturesque Great Barrier Reef, with the turquoise coloured water you expect. However it is warm, the sand is white and I was with beautiful company, so I loved every minute of my long weekend.

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I highly recommend taking the opportunity to spend a few hundred dollars to visit the stunning locations around Australia. It doesn’t take much and staying in hostels and taking advantage of free tourist attractions such as bush walks, local markets, lagoons and beaches can help save you a bucket load. Splitting costs with a few friends is also a fantastic way to experience the best there is on offer. Start planning that weekend trip, get out and about, as no one ever regrets traveling. You will also meet some amazing people, and see your own country in an incredible new light.

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Fiji

Bula!!! Happy New Year to everyone reading! I brought in 2016 on a boat that was cruising through the Yasawa islands of Fiji. The second week of the year was spent on the mainland, relaxing in a resort. My Fiji trip was with my mum’s side of the family, all sixteen of us. It was at times a little crazy travelling with this many people. The stand out moments would include my mum loosing her suitcase in the airport for 20 minutes, catching taxis together and organising sixteen people to meet up in agreement at certain times. If you can imagine the start of the ‘Home Alone’ films, when they are leaving for the airport, at times we looked the same. It was certainly a different type of holiday, one never experienced before, but I enjoyed every minute with my loved ones.

Night one was spent on the mainland. The room was not big enough for the six of us in my family, so they gave us a second room. It wasn’t luxury, but it had air conditioning and a bed, it was all we needed. The next day we jumped in a car, picked up some essentials including kava and fireworks. We then ate some Indian food for breakfast, which brought back lovely memories of the Sri Lankan food I was eating just weeks before. We met up with the rest of the family at the Port to jump on our boat for the week. We travelled with Captain Cook cruises which I loved as you got to move around to all of the beautiful islands. It was not a huge cruise ship, yet it was all-inclusive food wise, had a bar and inclusive water sports.

The beautiful tropical heat was so easy to sit in and the swimming and snorkeling every day was incredible. The fish and coral I got to see was absolutely mind blowing. I have seen the Great Barrier Reef, but do not remember seeing nearly as much as what I was lucky enough to see in Fiji. I felt like I was swimming around in a tropical fish tank. The fish swim around you as you are snorkeling over the coral and the swell pushes you along, so you really just have to jump out of the boat and float.


I had my first scuba diving lesson on the boat, which was a great experience. It is so bizarre to breath under water as your brain is telling you the complete opposite. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the experience once the initial fear and panic went away. I hope to one day try it out in the ocean, but I may need a couple more pool lessons under my belt first.

At night time we all enjoyed dinner together and played card games with a cocktail. The weather unfortunately was not the best as cyclone Ula was bringing terrible winds, rain and swell. The boat took most of the swell, however it was disappointing with the wind and rain as sometimes it was too dangerous to leave the boat for swimming. We made the most of it though and did not let the cyclone ruin our experience.

 

It was sad to leave the boat after a beautiful seven days out in the ocean, however we had the second part of the holiday to go. We all said goodbye to our new family friends we met on board from Melbourne as well as saying goodbye to the befriended crew and hopped on a bus to the Radisson Blu Resort. This was my grandparents plan for their 50th wedding anniversary. We arrived to huge apartments and a lovely big pool. We met up with the one family left, to make up everyone from mum’s side of the extended family. We spent our time reading by the pool, swimming, going to town, drinking a lot of cocktails, pool hopping between the hotels and eating. I enjoyed a lovely massage in the spa on one of the afternoons. This was very much a holiday. We celebrated my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, my uncle and aunt’s wedding anniversary and also my cousin, Rebecca’s birthday. It was a holiday to be remembered and it was great to have everyone together.

Before we went our separate ways, we spent the last day at the thermal mud baths on the mainland (Sabeto Hot Springs). This is such a fun activity with a group. First you lather up in mud, and then you dry out and crack in the sun. Into pool number one to wash off most of the mud. Following with 3 further thermal springs, each progressively getting warmer and cleaner. It was hilarious and you are very relaxed by the end of it.

Fiji, for a student is a very expensive country for accommodation, airport transfers, food and alcohol as a lot of things are imported. Whilst you can support the economy, there are a few things you can do to make it more affordable. 1. Buy duty free alcohol and bring it with you on holiday. 2. Travel on the local buses rather than by taxi. 3. Eat a buffet meal and buy no other food for the day. 4. Book an all inclusive travel deal (food, accommodation, airport transfers) 5. Buy food from the supermarket and cook breakfast and lunch, only eating out once a day. 6. Go and explore the islands, that is where you will find the incredible parts of Fiji.

The islands of Fiji are stunning, the weather (even with a cyclone) is beautiful and the people are so lovely, happy and welcoming. If anyone has had an experience of Fiji, please comment below I would love to hear from you.

 

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Sri Lanka

What a summer it has been! I kicked it off in November with an amazing three weeks, backpacking through Sri Lanka with Jon. We saw wild elephants, ate amazing curries and lazed about on beautiful beaches. After an incredible few weeks, it was back on a plane and home for Christmas. On December 28th, the extended family and myself then jetted of to Fiji for two weeks. I feel so lucky to have been able to see two beautiful countries with loved ones. Exploring, soaking up the sunshine, hiking, swimming, drinking, dancing and all round relaxing, have been some of the highlights. Here is a further run down of my summer adventures.

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The summer started with Sri Lanka (Lanka), a country only really beginning to blossom for the tourism industry and I am glad I saw it this way. The country is laced with tea fields, national parks, wildlife, awesome food and beautiful people. It took a bit of getting used to the pace of Lanka and of course a few days to get back into the travel mode, but we had a total blast. Night one was spent in a very hot hostel, next to the airport. We spent $10 to get there in a car and it was to be the only car ride of the entire trip. We had to wake the night attendant, who obviously had grown used to the loud noise and heat. We made it to the room with a fan, threw our bags off and hopped in to bed. I was so tired I didn’t care about the humidity at midnight or the noise. As you may have seen in my previous posts about travels, travelling from point a to point b, is never as glamorous as the Instagram account may seem.

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Day two and we jumped in my very first Tuk-Tuk to an ATM and supermarket for water. The honking, weaving out of the lines and the overtaking is insane, but somehow in the madness of it all, it works. We then enjoyed bananas and coconut pancakes (Pani Pol) for breakfast, showered and jumped on a city bus to Colombo. The bus costs 140 rupees for the both of us, about AU$1.40. As you can see from the price of the taxi, this is why we never got in a car in Lanka again. The bus was open to the elements, doors, windows, everything. People were singing and playing music, and there was a TV in the front of the bus playing karaoke the entire way. We arrived at the Colombo fort railway station and begun the haggling for our next Tuk-Tuk. Thank goodness Jon had some experience with the haggling before, as it is intense. For us we are arguing over a few dollars, but for the drivers, it is the difference between getting the average weekly earning in a day or not, so it is serious business. The first guy tells us 800 rupee, the second, 400 rupee. The drastic drop excites us, so we take it. When we arrive at the hostel however, he informs us, it should have been 200 rupee. It takes a few goes of getting ripped off, before you can work out the fair prices. We then extended our visas at the immigration office, had an awesome lunch of rice and curry and walk back to the hostel in the sunset.

Day three, we made our way on foot to the Commonwealth city cemetery. Through the thousands of headstones, I finally started to concentrate on reading them and Jon’s Great Uncle’s was the first I read. Jon’s great uncle Ivan Knight was on his way home from the war when he came down with pneumonia and unfortunately passed away in Colombo. We left a feather and a rock from home on the headstone as well as flowers. We then walked back through the streets to a shopping mall to pick up a SIM card AU$14 for the month. We then had more rice and curry; I had the vegetarian and Jon, the fish. Basically what the dish is is a large portion of rice in the centre, then about 5 different types of curry around it, with poppadum’s and chutney on the side. We definitely deserved a lunch break after the 24km of walking that day. After lunch, I undertook my first haggling experience and nailed it! I had the game face and the exact change, it couldn’t have gone any better. We went to the station to book our seat on the train to Kandy. You usually have to pre-book first and second-class seats. If you rock up on the day of travel, you might be lucky, or you might have to travel third class. Which just means no seats. Second class is split into two, reserved and unreserved, these carriages include seats but with the windows open. Finally there is First class, which is reserved seats and air-conditioning. We generally travelled second class because the train is so slow that with the windows open it is better for sightseeing and photos. However on that first train ride to Kandy, First class was “apparently” all that was left. You could be travelling anywhere, sitting on the comfy seat, air-conditioning and movie screens. Those tickets were AU$10, so it did not bother me, but from that point on we always tried for second class.

We left off for Kandy on Day four, Jon tried the train food that came past. He tried prawns in a deep fried dough ball, also a falafel-tasting ball. It was delicious and salty, however I steered clear of the prawns. You point to what you would like, they wrap it a newspaper sleeve for you and then say how much you owe them. When we arrived , we had Tuk-Tuk drivers left, right and centre asking us to come with them. Jon had told me that its best to walk away from the station for a bit to get out of the craziness, and also get a better price. A guy followed us however and was very friendly. We went with him and he tried to sell a deal for the next day to us for 4000 rupee. The hostel told us it should be 2000 when we arrived. We met an Aussie guy and a Swedish girl at the hostel and went for lunch together. It was the best little café, making traditional Sri Lankan dishes. We then walked around the beautiful lake before heading back for a swim in the hostel pool.

Day five, Jon and I caught a Tuk-Tuk to the Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya, this driver also tried to sell us a tour deal. They all want to be your driver for the day taking you to the several attractions around Kandy, including monasteries, and elephant orphanages. This wasn’t for us, so we decided to spend our day strolling through the gardens. Entry to the park was 1000 rupees. It had the most incredible orchid flowers and bamboo forests. You could also wander past families of monkeys cleaning each other. We caught a Tuk-Tuk back to the same café as yesterday (Garden Café), where I smashed four vegetable roti, my new favourite food. The afternoon was spent lazing in the sun by the pool and then we walked back down to garden café for more potato curry and roti. We went with this Hawaiian man, who was a travel writer and talked the entire time. He was very interesting and had a lot of stories to tell. We then drank beer and then tea on the rooftop of the hostel. The weather was perfect even though we were now up in the mountains.

Day six begins hilariously with an insane monkey attack on the rooftop at breakfast. We were sitting with an Australian couple admiring the monkeys saying how cute they were when we realised it was after our food. It jumps on the table, fangs and all, grabbing the jam bowl with its hands. The old Sri Lankan man gets a boat oar, who knows were from and starts chasing it. Meanwhile 15 hostel guest are laughing and squealing in a huddle. The monkey just hisses at the man and jumps on the two Dutch girls table, stealing the crackers. It finally then leaps off into the trees and we all slowly pull our shit together sitting back down and composing ourselves. It then makes it way back to the table finding the jam again, throwing its little devil hands into the jar. By this stage we were all in the kitchen, which is an enclosed glass box and we are watching the whole thing go down. The old man and the oar, the manager and the broom and this little shit of a monkey with the jam jar. He jumps on the roof and drops the jar, which smashes everywhere. He then runs off on power lines. It was seriously the most hilarious breakfast. The food when we did eat finally was amazing. It was coconut rice and chilli paste and we drunk fresh passion fruit juice and Ceylon tea. We then said goodbye and headed for the train station, running into mister tour guide from day 1 in Kandy. He asked us why we didn’t go with him, we told him we didn’t take a tour at all, he smiled and wished us safe travels. We hopped on a bus to Dambulla. The station was absolutely nuts! Jumped on the bus with our bags, which was a tad dramatic, as the driver wanted to put the bags underneath the bus, we insisted, as it was all of our stuff that we kept it with us. By the end of the travels, we didn’t care about where our bags were, but for the first time, we were just testing the waters. From Dambulla we jumped on another bus to Sigiriya. This bus was so hot and everyone stands up for foreigners to sit, which made us feel awful. Jon stood and let a women and a baby sit, who stood for us. The sitting system, from what I could make of it, seemed to be first for the Buddhist Monks, then tourists, then females, then males. The driver was nice enough to ask our guesthouse, and made a special stop for us on the road. We walked into Liyon Rest Guesthouse and it felt like we were on safari. The little huts out in the field, surrounded by trees and kingfisher birds flying around. It was sunset and truly beautiful. We had the welcome tea and then went for a walk up the road to an archeological ruin. We ate a home cooked dinner from the managers ‘mama’ $6 each and it was amazing. The mosquito zapper that night did not work, so Jon and I were getting slammed, even with spray on us. Blood spots were everywhere after the 3am killing spree.

Today we jumped on the bus to Sigiriya (Lions Rock). Then a Tuk-Tuk to a smaller rock on the side of Sigiriya fort, which was $5 instead of $45 for Sigiriya. We had it to ourselves, got to take pictures of the site and saw the biggest horizontal brick Buddha. Walking down was a whole lot easier. We turned down a $2 ride and walked in the heat of the day, which was kind of silly and trivial. We then wanted to catch a ride to a resort, to spend the afternoon in their pool and restaurant, which they allow. So we haggled a man from 1200 rupees to 700 as the iPhone said it was 10km. However this was birds eye not road kilometers. So when we arrived I felt bad for the guy, asked his number and asked that if he collected us later that night, I would pay him 1200 and gave him 800 for that ride as it was around 30 minutes. The resort was incredible, it looks like a long lost Jurassic park. The building is completely enclosed in vines and trees and the corridors are open to the wild. We swam in the infinity pool and laid on the sun chairs reading our books until sunset. It was incredible! We got changed into our ‘going out’ attire, and went to the buffet dinner. There were so many options you could not even try everything. We stuffed ourselves silly and bagged a couple of things, called our driver and made our way back to the mosquito hut. Our driver came and we paid him the agreed amount when we arrived back safely. He dodged feral dogs and cows the entire way. I gave him the bananas from the buffet as for some reason I still felt shit. Jon told me we just paid him a quarter of his monthly wage and that made be feel better. The manager of the homestay had fixed our room with a new mosquito zapper and we slept without a single bite.

 

We enjoyed another beautiful breakfast the next day, paid the bill and jumped on the bus back to Kandy to do our washing, staying at the same hostel as last time. When we arrived we booked our tickets to Hatton. We ate dinner with a Danish girl and Argentinian man, also had great stories to listen to.

Day nine, we caught a Tuk-Tuk to the station, and the driver drove so fast on back roads, laughing the entire way. We were late for the train, but hey… It is Lanka, the train is also late. When the train arrived, we accidentally jumped on Second class unreserved. You are unable to walk through the train, so a huge tour group jammed us in. I was not standing when we had paid for seats, so I pushed through the crowd and Jon followed. When the train arrives, it is so manic with people pushing on and off to get the unreserved seats. We finally find our carriage with help from the guard. The train journey itself was incredible, winding through the tea fields for three hours. We get off at the Hatton station and find a driver with my name on a sign organised by the hotel. We pick up some water and snacks and the drive takes around one and a half hours. He stops along the way allowing us to take pictures and enjoy the magnificent view. The room is very old and basic, but we were leaving for the hike at 2am, so it really didn’t matter. We enjoy rice, curry and beer for dinner and head to bed. Outside is filled with barking dogs and tour groups chatting loudly. I slept for probably 2 hours.

2am we get up, dress warmly and begin the 5800 steps to the summit of Adam’s Peak for sunrise. It is said to be the sacred footprint of Buddha/Adam/Allah. We see a lot of foreigners walking the 7km road to the base. This hike is intense and as it is a pilgrimage, there are people of all ages doing it. There were monks barefoot, from locals carrying things up on their heads, to kids 10 years old. It was the hardest hike I have ever done, and I am glad you do it at nighttime as you can’t see what is ahead of you and it is also cooler. A monk at the start blessed us, and we make a donation. Jon and I quickly ditch the group we started with, as we are not avid hikers, we stopped every few meters to breath, using the power poles every 20 steps as mini goals. The moon is out so you can only see a few steps in front of you and the vague outline of the mountain range. It was off peak season, however you can make stops the entire way at teahouses for bananas, drinks, and roti. The prices increase the higher you get. Arriving at the top felt like the biggest accomplishment. We strip off and hang everything on the railing with the 200 other tourists. We put dry, warm cloths on and find a step to watch as the stars turn to into the sunrise. The mountain range begins to illuminate. A monk then opens the monastery and rings the bells. It is truly magical. Walking down is faster, but very difficult on your already sore legs and knees. Half way down we see men carrying concrete bags on their heads, wearing thongs. Some ask for food and water. I hand over my apples and water. I instantly felt bad for complaining. We arrive back at the room, drink some tea and then our driver arrives to take us to the 11am train. The hotel owner begged for a good review on booking.com. Whilst we didn’t sleep, it is the closest guesthouse to the base. The driver takes us back to Hatton; we stop at a bakery for some donuts and roti. We wait for the train; I use my first stand up toilet. Then we get some street food (pop corn) and Jon pushes me on the unreserved carriage to find seats. We get two seats and buckle down for the painfully slow, rocky ride through the tea fields and mountains. It is said to be the most beautiful train journey in Lanka. That it was, however my legs were so sore it was all I could focus on. We arrive in Ella to a storm of locals selling hotels, guest rooms, drivers and motorbikes. We navigate through them, crossing the road to our 4 star hotel pre-booked. A huge hill to walk up to the hotel, which was so mean on our bodies with our packs, however we are greeted with a cold towel and fresh juice. The room is awesome and I have my first hot shower since home. Washing my hair feels amazing and Jon is glad to not have to walk anymore due to chafe. We watch Harry Potter and order room service. Perfect ending and exactly what we needed. We are definitely flashpackers.

Day 11, I can barely walk. My muscles are so, so, so sore, it is insane! We eat a western breakfast, which actually makes me feel sick because I haven’t eaten anything but curry in so long. We jump on the bus and we had a dare devil driver. He was going way too fast down this mountain, every time we came around the corner we were lucky not to find a truck waiting. The back seat actually broke because of his intense breaking. The kids next to us were laughing, but no one else seemed to be worried. Everyone was holding on though. We swap busses halfway when we are out of the mountains and make our way to Tangalle. We saw an elephant walking through the rice paddies on the side of the road which was cool. We then catch a Tuk-Tuk to a reggae hostel I have seen online. We arrive to 5 men, smoking, drinking and playing cards. They are happy and very keen to show us the room. We eat lunch whilst we decide if we are going to stay there and get drinking with them. They organise a nice price of $30 a night and it could not get any closer to the beach. We then swim in the ocean and watch the sunset. Bob Marley is blaring in the background; we then eat dinner with a Swiss girl and American dude. We exchange travel stories and I then slowly make my way up the stairs to the room to sleep.

Day 12, today is my 21st Birthday. We spent the day chilling on the beach, and also ducking into town for ice blocks and a birthday cake. I didn’t want a cake, but Jon insisted. A huge slab cake with decorations and my name cost $6. This also included three cupcakes, one each and one for our driver. Jon said it was the best $6 he had ever spent, I agreed. We then napped and went down stairs for some dinner (fresh fish and chips). The guys from the hostel bring out Arrack (Sri Lankan coconut rum), beers and candles. We sing, cut the cake and then the ‘Sri Lankan family’ starts feeding it to each other, including Jon and I. So everyone has a piece, but you feed it to everyone else. It was hilarious. The staff had even invited friends to join in on the party. They then pull out fireworks, that Jon decided to light. Then we also we lit a bonfire. We dance a little before it begins to rain, so we head to bed.

Day 14, we catch a bus to Tissa, which is a 2 hour journey. We stop at a market for fruit and water. The room had no aircon and was super hot as we were in a rainforest environment. A huge storm came and turned everything into a river! It was insane. We book into our early morning Yala National Park safari and watch YouTube until we sleep.

Day 15, we woke at 4am for the Safari. The jeeps race all the way to the gates to be the first one into the national park when it opens at 6am. The rivers, trees, rocks, wildlife and sunrise were incredible. We saw elephants, monkeys, buffalo, sloths, birds and a lot of peacocks. We unfortunately did not see the star animal, a jaguar. It did not bother me however as we had an awesome day racing through the park. Criticisms of the park would be that jeeps get way to close to animals and scare them away. Also too many jeeps in general, that are half full. We then caught the bus back to Tangalle, staying at a different place, which was silly, as the reggae place was so awesome. Hotel we stayed at was bloody horrible and being renovated, awful decision on my end. We end up finding a cool driver with a pink Tuk-Tuk and he takes us to a really nice place for dinner. He also showed us how to eat traditionally with our hands. He then also taught us a lot about the culture and the country. Finally he dropped us back, also offering to take us further along the coast tomorrow.

 

 

Day 16, we take the driver up on the offer and head all the way to Tallala, stopping at a few beaches along the way. The coastline and beaches are all so beautiful. We then bargain for a room for $70 a night with breakfast and dinner included. We spent the three days chilling on the beach, eating drinking and enjoying the sunshine. We build a sandcastle one afternoon and had a huge crowd watching us. We explained that it was Sigiriya (Lions rock fort), which helped to describe what a sand castle was.

 

Unfortunately, whilst relaxing at Tallala beach, I check my UNI exams results to find I failed one of my examinations. I contact my tutor back in Australia who said that if I didn’t do a repeat exam before christmas, I had to repeat the entire semester. Super unaccommodating, but hey it was me who failed, first time too, so really bad timing. I contacted Singapore Airlines to see how much flights were to change. Jon convinced me that it really was smarter for me to go home and do it; otherwise it would jeopardise my last year of University study. It made me so sad to cut the holiday short and I felt so guilty for cutting short Jon’s trip. He did not seemed too worried, but it really did not sit well with me.

Day 18, a Canadian lady went absolutely crazy at a staff member who shooed a wild dog away from the hotel. She was very overprotective of these dogs, which was very entertaining over breakfast. This was perfect, as service in Lanka is super slow. Takes a half hour for your drink and then an hour for food, and it does not come coordinated with your table guest. They serve me, then a man across the dinning room, then Jon’s drink, then someone else, then my tea, then Jon’s food, then someone else, then my food. I found it hilarious, but at times frustrating when you could see the food in the kitchen sitting there. We ate a seafood lunch, beautiful last day, watching the sunset.

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Day 19, we catch a bus to Matara, swapped and then a further bus to Galle. We found a nice room and bargained again. $85 for a really cute room and breakfast included. We walked around the Galle fort, which is set up just for tourists. We brought presents and then had lunch, mango lassi and rice and curry. We then had a nap, before heading to a cute bar for some drinks. We find ourselves a rooftop restaurant for seafood, beers, brownie and ice cream. The bill was expensive for Lanka ($50), but we had fun.

Day 20, we collected some more presents and wandered around the fort. We had a burger for lunch before heading back to the hotel to wait it out for our evening train up to Colombo. A lighting storm had come over just as we were leaving for the station. However our driver is still nice enough to let us stop for roti and water before we get to the station. We get on 2nd class unreserved. Arrived back in Colombo, it was dark. Leave the station for the hotel. Jon uses his iPhone to direct the Tuk-Tuk driver. Checked into a nice room, eat 2-minute noodles for dinner and watched movies.

 

Day 21, a struggle with the slow service as it finally started to bug us. The toast was always cold and it was killing me. Such a small factor that you think would not matter, but it was frustrating. We did a little more gift shopping and then exchange Jon’s money back to Australian. The driver on the way there was shocked we were not religious and kept asking questions about it. We then walked along the beach, through really nice hotels for air-conditioning. When finally back at the hotel, I hope there is a shower, there isn’t. We walk for roti and wait for 5 hours until we can leave for the airport. We talk to the hotel front desk staff about their University studies, goals and dreams. Also about the countries gender inequality. We then get a Tuk-Tuk to the station where we hop on a bus. I am sitting at the front with three other men, no seat belts and air-conditioning blaring in my face. It was a heck of a journey. Jon is sitting with our bags behind me. We arrived at the airport also hoping for a shower, no luck. So we changed clothes, spend our last rupees at the supermarket and jump on our 1am plane. I had gastro on the plane home so as you can imagine, that was fun. In Changi Airport Singapore, Jon uses our airport vouchers to buy a new perfume; we eat some breakfast and jump on the last leg back to Sydney!

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Sri Lanka was an incredible adventure and even though we cut the journey short, we saw everything we wanted to. It was my 20th country to visit and I would love to go back one day. I hope everyone who reads this is convinced to go along for a summertime adventure in Sri Lanka. I will be making another blog post for more pictures in the coming days. Also next week you will be able to read about my Fijian adventure!

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