Fun Day Trips Out of Sydney

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Stanwell Tops

My favourite thing about Sydney is that there are so many things to see that are only just a day trip from the city. There are so many beaches along the coast to visit and the Blue Mountains are less than a two-hour drive away.

Jervis Bay

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Hyams Beach

A great day trip out of the city is Jervis Bay and Hyams Beach. Hyams Beach is considered the whitest beach in the world. It’s about a three-hour drive from Sydney and we took a leisurely drive down stopping at several spots. Starting quite early in the morning our first pit stop was Stanwell Tops (first picture above). If you need to sort out any reminder of how beautiful Australia is Stanwell Tops is ideal. The view was stunning! We sat for a good ten minutes and I went to go get an affogato at the local ice cream truck. The picture explains it all really. The next stop was the Cathedral Rocks in Kiama Downs. We decided to do a bit more exploring here climbing the rocks and walking around the area.  It was a beautiful sunny day so wanted to take advantage of the weather.  Do watch the water as the waves can get quite big around the area.  Our feet were pretty soaked after walking on the rocks.

Or last pit stop before Jervis Bay was the Kiama Blowhole.  It was a bit underwhelming and there were heaps of people. However, it was a good time to get lunch. We ate at the Neptune Café as the Wharf Restaurant had a line out of the door. I got a really good burger. They have gluten free options and as a person allergic to wheat this is always ideal. I loved the quirky décor of the café.

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Kiama Blowhole

After a solid lunch we were off to our final destination, Jervis Bay. We stopped to get food to have a dinner bbq when we arrived at camp. Then we jetted off to make camp. I would defo suggest going camping for a night at least like we did. It was super convenient and close to the Hyams Beach. Also, it was reasonably cheap which is hard to come by in Australia.

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BBQ

We had an amazing group bbq and talked. It was a great night of beers, talking, and dance parties at the beach.

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Hyams Beach

The next day we spent at Hyams Beach and truly the sand is so white. The water was a bit too cold for me so I think I spent a total of five minutes in it. We only stayed a night but you could definitely do two if you wanted. After a few hours at the beach and lunch we jetted back straight to Sydney.

Norman Lindsay’s Gallery

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The grounds at Norman Lindsay’s Gallery

If you’re into art and up for an hour drive out of the city, Norman Lindsay’s Gallery is a great spot. It’s located in Faulconbridge up in the Blue Mountains. After feeling quite drained from city life it was a relief to head out to the Blue Mountains. I had never heard of Norman Lindsay but my partner had gone to the gallery a few times and liked his work. We headed out quite late in the day and took a leisurely drive out. We started the day at the café on site and had lunch before heading to the gallery. The gallery is relatively small and can be seen in an hour. Here, however, is where I learned about the Magic Pudding. I felt at a loss since it seemed like something most Aussie kids grew up with. So it was something eye opening for this American. It was cool to see the original sculptures.

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Magic Pudding

We even got to talk to an artist at the gallery that was currently working on prints and etchings. The staff was extremely friendly and answered as many questions as we had. The grounds are really lovely and honestly were my favourite part. We walked around to look at all the sculptures and fountains outside.

It was so tranquil and by closing time of the gallery we were the only one’s walking around. It was good little side trip up to the mountains to escape city life. I would definitely suggest this little spot for anyone interested in Australian art.

Palm Beach

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Palm Beach

Another good day trip away from Sydney city life is Palm Beach home of the filming of Home and Away. I won’t lie, I still haven’t seen an episode of the show. However, the beach is really beautiful. Honestly, I can’t pass up an opportunity to head to the beach. It’s about an hour drive away from Sydney. My partner and I went a few days after Christmas and surprisingly it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be. Still a struggle to find parking but a few spots were straggling about so I can imagine it could get busier.

It was the height of summer so it was incredibly hot. The sand was at least ten degrees hotter than the air. This required us to run back to the stairs to head to the car as our feet felt on fire. Don’t forget to apply suncream more often then you think.  We made that mistake applying twice and burnt to a crisp for being out in sun for a total of three hours.  The Aussie sun plays no games.  Luckily, the water was super refreshing and after a short swim we head to get lunch. We ended up at the local fish and chips shop. I had a really amazing seafood salad that hit the spot. Across from the shop was another bit of beach and we watched the boats for a bit before heading back to Sydney.

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Palm Beach views after lunch

 

This is the great thing about Sydney really, there are so many places close by that are worth the trip to see. It is a great city for anyone that likes to explore nature and the beach is never too far away. And sometimes an escape out of the city is necessary to refresh and rejuvenate.

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Alice Springs to Adelaide: the life-changing Outback road trip

C U in the NT and the Festival State

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The seven-day trip from Alice Springs to Adelaide showed me the true Australia. The Outback in all its glory! I took a plane from Sydney to Alice Springs and the landscape was beautiful to watch change, from the intense city landscape to the beauty of the barren centre of the country. I decided to take this journey with a tour company. I barely trusted myself to drive in Tassie and driving in the Outback sounded overwhelming. I decided to join up with Groovy Grape as a mate told me they had a great time on the same tour. After spending a leisurely day in Alice Springs, I woke up the following day at 6 am to join the tour group to head to Kings Canyon. We stopped on the way at a camel farm at Kings Creek Station, which I opted not to ride a camel as I have done before. I hadn’t done much research apart from Uluru so King’s Canyon was a welcome surprise. We started the afternoon trek and it had some absolutely stunning views. I would definitely suggest anyone heading to Uluru to check this place out. The Garden of Eden was beautiful and serene. It was absolutely still and it felt untouched. Apart from the massive hill at the beginning of the trek it’s relatively easy.

The following day we headed off to Uluru, stopping on the way at Mount Conner Lookout and the salt field close to it. Also popping in at Curtin Springs which seemed like the only place for a crazy amount of miles. Then we had our first glimpses of Uluru. Our first stop was the cultural centre to learn more about the rock and the Aboriginal people of the region. After this short tour we did a base walk of Uluru. This is not for the faint of heart on a sunny day. I drank so much water. I was told the key to trekking in the Outback is you should have to pee on the bushwalks. If you aren’t then you started drinking either too late or not enough. It was surreal seeing Uluru in person. I’ve seen millions of images of this site and nothing prepared for me the up close and personal experience. The rock is huge and our base walk was about 11km. Our guide was kind enough to explain the stories of the rock and the legends that the rock shows. It was so interesting! It’s so much more than what it seems. I had no idea about how sacred this site was and that it is inappropriate to even climb Uluru. The day ended with a great sunset over Uluru with a good beer. The changing colors were fantastic and the beer I had was much needed after that day. The only downside is we were there during the super moon, the moon looked great but we didn’t get the epic night sky of the Outback. That has been a true downer for me. All the more reason to head back, right?

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Sunrise at Uluru

We had a 4 am wakeup call the next day to make sunrise at Uluru. It was surprisingly chilly in the morning which I felt unprepared for with my light rain jacket. However, the view made up for it and it quickly warmed up. After the epic sunrise, we headed off to Kata Tjuta (Valley of the Winds) which was my favorite part of the trip. I didn’t know what I was up for on this trek. It was amazing! I didn’t expect this at all. The views were stunning. We started off by going to the viewing point to take in the site then we set off for a trek in the site. It was a hot day so we started quite early and left before noon. The pictures should tell enough. I didn’t realize how sacred this site was so apparently you aren’t supposed to take pictures (oops!). It was a truly picturesque place however and I was astounded by what was around me. That night we watched sunset of Uluru and Kata Tjuta from our campsite before a long day of driving crossing the border into South Australia.

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Kata Tjuta
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Sunset view

The next morning was an early one too. We stopped over in Coober Pedy for the night. This is been claimed as Australia’s weirdest city because people live in caves. They’re not actually caves but everyone lives underground because it’s too hot to have a house on top of the ground. It’s pretty unusual. We took a tour at their tourism centre to see how they found opal their and how they dig the opal mines. It was interesting to learn about how they polish the opal and the difference in what makes a good opal. After this tour, we walked around the tiny city of Coober Pedy going to the Catholic church that’s also underground. We stopped by the Kangaroo orphanage that’s located in Coober Pedy and got to pet a young roo. I love learning about the wildlife of Australia! Plus petting a kangaroo always tops my list of a good time. That night we had pizza and went to an underground bar that was filled with mainly locals and a few tourists. We got to request music so we had a good time. We stayed in a cave that was the coolest thing ever. So dark and cool! Had an amazing sleep!

The next day we were off on the road again. We had a few stops that day. The first up was Lake Hart which is a massive salt field. It seemed like it was never ending. Just a massive expanse of white salt. I even bothered to lick it and yes it was rather salty, who would’ve thought? We were told that sometimes they test cars for going the fastest out there but I couldn’t find anything to confirm it. It was still beautiful. The next stop was Woomera a little town known for the RAAF testing range. We went to the cultural center and looked around at all the missiles they had around the town. Our last big stop of the day was Alligator Gorge at Mt Remarkable National Park. After the last few days this site seemed a bit underwhelming for me. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs for bit. That night we spent at a campsite in Wilmington. I was quite ready to have a mini-lie in before heading off to Adelaide and sleep in a bed.


The next day we headed to our final destination. I was so excited for wine tasting in the Clare Valley! I wanted to have a day to relax after days of hiking and too much sunshine (I didn’t even know that was possible). We went to Jeannert Wines and I quite possibly had the best cider ever. I could’ve had so many of them too. It was great to try a decent selection. There was a wine for everyone in the group. It was extra special because they also had beers and cider. The location was truly lovely! I loved all the flowers. It seemed so quaint. We had our last lunch together as a group and headed off to Adelaide.

Adelaide is Radelaide! There’s so many parks and the city was so easy to walk. However, I felt like there wasn’t that much to see as a whole. I suppose coming from Sydney I am jaded. I still found stuff to do in the extra day I had before flying back to Sydney. I headed to the South Australian Museum. This was the highlight of Adelaide. They had some cool exhibits on but I really liked the Australian Aboriginal Cultures section. It was really insightful as I can definitely say I don’t much about the history of Australia. Also, I enjoyed the minerals exhibit on one of the top floors. After that I went to a restaurant to get tacos- Latino Cocino. I got the tostada and it hit my Mexican food spot. I’m always on the search for the best Mexican food around the world. Then, I took a nice stroll around the botanical gardens with a mate of mine followed by going to Koko Black to have the salted caramel delice. The desserts there were to die for. Finally heading to the airport to head back home.


Overall, the week was exhausting and inspirational. Seeing this much of Australia and seeing such iconic places as Uluru was a gift. Australia is truly a beautiful country and I’m so glad to call it my home away from home. I would suggest anyone to do this trip and in the least go to Uluru and be amazed by all its beauty.

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Groovy Grape Tour Group at Uluru

Weekend Away in the Gold Coast

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The view of Surfers Paradise from Elephant Rock at Currumbin Beach

The last minute decision to head to the Gold Coast was the exact decision I needed to make. I had been itching to travel and after a few bad turns the thing I needed to do was to get out of Sydney for a short weekend break. Heading out Friday evening and coming back Monday evening was perfect. I headed out from work and flew out. Getting from the airport to Surfers Paradise was an easy bus ride and tram away. While waiting for the tram I was greeted by a rather intoxicated older gentleman that felt like serenading me with his guitar. Even asking for requests. It was pretty hilarious, luckily this Aussie was harmless and probably just wanted someone to talk to but I felt like it was a big Welcome to Queensland! Arriving at my hostel, Budds in Surfers and I was instantly greeted by a group of people heading out on the town. I opted out as I did work all day and was quite geared up for a night of drinking.

I decided to get up early on Saturday head to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to achieve my lifelong goal of holding a koala. The sanctuary was really quite nice. On the entrance you are immediately greeted by koalas in their habitat. I decided to do the koala experience at 3pm so I decided to walk around and see the other habitats. I had a great time with some kangaroos. Specifically, one that decided to sit right on me as I pet it. Truly an amazing experience.

After I had my fill of the Aussie wildlife I head to Currumbin Beach as I was told on entry that there was a Sculptures by the Sea going on along the beach. The sculptures were massive. There was a huge turtle and ginormous beach chairs on the ocean. It was really unique.

After this I headed back to the sanctuary for the koala experience. This was so cool. They took us into the koala enclosure where about 17 koalas were hanging out/mainly sleeping. They spoke about the koalas and what the sanctuary does. Then answering all of our questions about the cuddly creatures. After this I finally got to hold a koala. The delightful lady Peppermint was very hard not to steal. They really are as cute as they seem. After I got my professional photo I headed back on the bus up to surfers. There I got ready for the infamous hostel pub crawl. Starting at Melbas and going to four more pubs/nightclubs was absolutely fun.

Peppermint and I

Luckily the following day was rainy so I was able to hang around the hostel and have a full recovery from a night drinking. We ended up going back to Melbas for karaoke that night. It was a great time.

Monday I headed down to Burleigh Heads Beach to have a relaxing last day in the Gold Coast. The view of Surfers from Burleigh heads is rally amazing. Also walked around Burleigh head national park to take in more views of GC. The Tumgun Lookout was worth the walk. I then headed to California tacos to continue on my search for the perfect tacos in Australia. They were pretty good tacos, not up to standard but pretty good for the GC. I headed to the airport in the evening and headed back to good ole Sydney.

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The group from the pub crawl. I am in the back jumping
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In case you ever want to know Aussie lingo

Melbourne

Street Art, Great Ocean Road, and tons of making friends with animals

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Here’s Caitlin again in the land of Oz. I went to Melbourne back in June of this year. After visiting the city of Melbourne the decision to keep living in Sydney was very hard. Melbourne has less up tight city vibes, more culture, and great coffee (sorry Sydney coffee lovers everywhere). The beaches and my mates are what keeps drawing me back to good ole Sydney. This trip was an amazing weekend getaway and I hope to go back and explore even more.

I went on this trip with two amazing mates and we had a blast. We started with a walk to CBD and a tour of the amazing street art in Melbourne. There is an incredible amount of street art in Melbourne its almost overwhelming. So many unbelievable laneways. Hosier Lane and AC/DC lane are absolute musts. If you seen any photos of Melbourne street art it probably came from Hosier or AC/DC lane. Below is a map of all the locations of major street art. We walked around to at least six or seven of them and it was worth it.

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http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/Placestogo/PublicArt/Documents/Street_Art_Map_May_2016.pdf

 

We detoured a little bit on our jaunt and ended up in the Royal Botanical Gardens. We stopped at the Shrine of Remembrance which has amazing city views. Walking there we heard cannons go off and decided to check it out. Mainly because we had no idea that’s what happened there.  I’m a massive history buff so it was nice to walk around the shrine and take it all in.  After this we walked back over the Yarra River and went to lunch at Mamasita. A personal goal in my life is to find amazing Mexican food in Australia and this place was amazing. I had the street style corn in a cup, pork taco, and huitlacoche quesadilla. Any time a quesadilla is on offer as gluten free I have to have it.  It was the best part of the meal by a landslide.

After our little jaunt we went and viewed more street art heading to Presgrave Place, Union Lane, Caledonian Lane, and Snider Lane. With a quick stop into Dukes Coffee Roasters for a delicious latte. We then walked around Chinatown for a bit too and looked at all the delicious Asian dessert shops. We didn’t try any and I actually regret that. Then heading back to our hostel to prep for a night out.

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The next day was spent at St.Kilda Beach to wander and check out the Brighton Bathing Boxes. Neither were as close to each other as we thought so we ended up getting a short uber between each other. In St. Kilda I had one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. It was from a coffee cart next to Luna Park from Bean to Melbourne. It was incredible! Apparently they travel around Melbourne so definitely find where they’ll be at. After that we headed to the bathing boxes.  They were so unique and not one the same. Glad we made the trip to take the touristy photo in from of the Australian flag bathing box. After this we headed back to gear up for the early morning call to the Great Ocean Road.

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The early morning wake up call of 7:05 was well worth it to go on the Great Ocean Road. Pictures will not do it justice at all. The 12 Apostles are absolutely worth the trek. Along the way we stopped to feed some birds and view some koalas in the wild at Kennet River. The birds were hilarious to feed. There was so many of them and once you had one eating some feed another one would be right there, too. Also, venturing to the Razorback and Loch Ard Gorge along the way. The beauty of the 12 Apostles was breathtaking. The only downside was making it during sunset. It was beautiful but I think it would’ve been much better a few hours earlier.

The last day was spent at the Melbourne Zoo. We had a flight in the evening so not enough time to really venture too much. The butterfly habitat at the Melbourne Zoo was outright the highlight. Being covered in butterflies flying around was amazing. Honestly, I felt like this Zoo didn’t compare to Taronga Zoo in Sydney at all. It was great to see the animals but Taronga has amazing views of Sydney and much bigger habitats. However, if you’re in Melbourne I would still check it out.

All in all, Melbourne is a great city filled with pleasant people and tons to do. There’s still so many restaurants and coffee shops I want to try. My list was honestly way too big for the amount of time we were there. All the more reason to make a trek back.

Other stuff not mentioned but I totally rate 10/10:

Bars: Naked for Satan and Blackcat Fitzroy

Clubs: Poof Doof (LGBTQ friendly)

Live like a local in Rome

I was blown away by the beauty of Rome right from the start of my trip. Open fields, forests, flowers, and the train ride from the airport to my bed and breakfast was a sign of good things to come. My countryside retreat for three days was located 10km from the center of Rome. I decided to stay out of Rome for many reasons, the main ones being that I wanted to experience how the locals live, go where they go, eat where they eat and essentially enjoy the prices that come along with all of the above. I wanted to breathe some fresh air and not be surrounded by tourists but at the same time have the option of accessing touristy spots at short notice. Of course as I discovered, sometimes trying to fit in with the locals can be a bit challenging, as you will soon read.

I knew I was going to get lost on this trip, I wanted to. I left the train station and found my first bus without much effort. While waiting at the bus stop, I met a Peruvian guy and we started chatting about life in Italy. The Italians are a laid back bunch, which was evident as soon as I got on the bus. I approached the bus driver and confidently asked for “un biglietto grazie” (a ticket please). He looked at me as if I stepped on the wrong bus and replied ‘I don’t sell ticket,’ very well I said to myself as I looked for a seat, meanwhile acting like I knew exactly what just happened. Five stops later and I realized I had to get off on the fourth stop. Of course if you don’t indicate that you need to get off at a certain stop then the driver will not stop and will actually increase his speed. Again I pretended that I knew exactly where my stop was while trying not to break my neck while looking at the name of the stop as the driver flew by. Anyways, I got off at the next stop. I decided to walk to the previous stop because just next to it was where I would catch the second bus that would finally take me to my destination. Now this stop was not a happening stop. Meaning that I waited 30 minutes without even a hint of a bus coming in my general direction. It was getting a little dark and so I decided to walk, guided only by a photo of a google map that I took. It was a 40 minute walk and I was moving. Luckily for me, 15 minutes into my walk, a little bus zoomed past me and stopped about 20 meters ahead to let someone off. I ran up to the bus and this time, a little desperate, showed the driver where I needed to go. A friendly Italian chap overheard me and said that he was headed in the same direction and would show me how to get there. Uh a sigh of relief.

 

I finally arrived at my hotel and was greeted by Romina, who made me feel very welcome. She explained where I need to go to experience local cooking. She said go to this restaurant called La Treggia, ask for Fabrizio and tell him I sent you. This right here guys was one of the highlights of my trip. Fabrizio hooked me up and I got to taste some of the best food I have ever tasted. He is the owner and head chef and he comes to every table and takes the order himself. He recommends the special of the day and really puts love into what he does.

 

Day 2 started off with a 45 minute walk/wait for the bus followed by getting off at the wrong stop again. I finally made it to the train and took a 20 minute train ride into town. I asked for a train ticket at the station and was sold a bus ticket. I asked if I can use it for the train and was told yes. It appears that no one buys train tickets. Anyways, once I made it to Rome center, it was just beautiful sights after beautiful sights. Fountains, monuments, museums, the Coliseum, the cobbled streets. It was just amazing. I found a hidden pizza place, which just opened for lunch and not too long after I arrived, the place was full. The third best pizza I have ever tasted. After Milan and after Fabrizio from the night before.

The most awe inspiring thing for me in Rome was the Trevi fountain. It was on my list of sights to see and I had more or less an idea of where it was, but it caught me by surprise as I turned the corner. I was really impressed and was left in awe of its majestic beauty.  When in Rome definitely go to the Trevi Fountain.

I did some really amazing meditation in the center of Rome. I plugged in my headphones, blasted Ave Maria, and took in deep breathes while getting lost wandering the cobbled streets, each piece of architecture more impressive than the next.  I highly recommend doing this.

The Vatican is epic. St. Peters Basilica and The Sistine Chapel  was all just so beautiful.  I’m not a fan of museums, but I decided to pay the 16 euros to see the Vatican museum. It was well worth it. You need at least one full day in the Vatican. St. Peters Basilica is one of the most awe inspiring pieces of Architecture I have ever seen. After half the day in the Vatican, I then took the train back to the country side.  Day two ended of with a top dinner at Fabrizios followed by an even better sleep.

On day 3 I decided to explore some of the street art in Rome. Rome is known for having some of the most amazing street art in the world. It is kind of strange to see a door without graffiti, a painting, or an arrangement of stickers. Seeing a mixture of the old with the new is very refreshing. After my street art tour, I decided to have a drink in one of the pubs. I found the owner to be very friendly and the afternoon was spent making new friends while enjoying some locally brewed Italian beer. It was great.

Word of advice! Don’t assume that your departing flight is going to be from the same airport where you landed. Man did I screw this one up. Monday morning, 04h30am, I’m up and getting ready to leave in order to catch my 06h30 flight back to Paris. I get to the train station around 05h15 where I patiently wait for my train that will take me to the airport just 10 minutes away, life is good.  While waiting, I just decided to actually look at my boarding pass for the first time and I noticed that the airport code was different. Quick side note, another reason why I chose to stay out of Rome is that I would be close to the airport to catch my early flight on Monday. Whoa was I smart. Anyways after swearing under my breath and calling myself an idiot over and over again, I went to a small gas station just next door and I requested a taxi to take me to the other airport in Rome, which is located on the exact opposite side of where I was. After 30 minutes of waiting and two calls to the taxi company later, I accepted the fact that 1. The taxi was not going to show up and 2. I was going to miss my flight. I took the train into Rome, caught a taxi to the other airport, which was about a 30 minute drive, and then I was told that the next flight back to Paris is in 12 hours, pay 100 euros and it’s yours. Oh how we learn. In many ways this was a great lesson. I was so preoccupied in living like the locals and being close to catch my flight that I forgot to notice a rather important detail. In travelling these things happen, they must happen in order for us to not only learn, but to also find the positive in everything. Rome was amazing. I highly recommend that you go and visit or live there if you can. Walk as much as possible, learn some Italian before you arrive and remember to live like the locals. Visit Trevi Fountain, download Ave Maria and don’t forget to double check your departing flight. Until next time Cheers and safe travels.

Road Tripping In Tassie

Part Two: Tassie

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Freycinet National Park

Last minute trip to Tasmania was the best idea! Planned the trip and booked flights on a Friday and up in the air the following Monday. We were only there until Thursday of the same week so it was intensely jam-packed.   Flew into Hobart, rented a car, and we were on our way to Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay. It was little over a two-hour drive but it was definitely worth it. It started out as quite a gloomy day but by the time we got to Wineglass Bay it was completely clear. The walk to Wineglass Bay is a little arduous but the overlook for it is beyond worth it. It’s positively gorgeous and the water is so blue. We walked down to the beach and walked around and sat listening to the ocean waves and enjoying the view.

After all the walking around the park and taking in the beautiful beach we were on our way to Launceston for the night. Following a super early flight and all the driving we were very exhausted by the time we arrived. We ended having dinner at Burger Got Soul and I had a delicious Tassie Tempter on gluten-free bread. I’m still trying to accept the idea of having an egg on my burger.

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Cradle Mountain Boathouse

The next morning we got up and headed straight to Cradle Mountain to do the Cradle Mountain lake walk. It was a very moody and misty day. Luckily we didn’t get rained on until the very end. The lake looked rather mystical that day with the fog and eerie sounds of barely anyone around. I would definitely suggest going on a clear day so you can actually see the mountain however, we didn’t have time to really schedule it out. However, it was a good trek.

Following this we were on our way again back to Hobart. We ended up there late evening checked into the cutest Airbnb in North Hobart, called Pocketspace, and we were off on the search for food. We ended up getting tacos at Sons of Baja. The tacos were not bad but unfortunately I consider myself a taco connoisseur from growing up in Florida where there’s great Mexican food they had tough shoes to fill.

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Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve view

Next morning we were out early again and headed to Bruny Island. Bruny Island was probably my favourite part of the whole trip. We took the ferry over to the Island and we were off to take the Bruny Island Wildlife Cruise. We stopped along the way at the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve for a spectacular view of Bruny Island. We then had to make sure my mate could sign up for the cruise. After they were signed in we stopped off at Adventure Bay just to sit and take in the beach. The cruise itself was amazing. It last about 3 hours and you get to head into the Southern Ocean and see a bunch of seals. The only downside is it gets quite cold and I really regret not bringing another jacket. I was pretty cold for most of the ride. After the amazing views of Bruny Island we headed back onto the Island for a winery stop. We ended up at Bruny Island Premier Wines. I got a lot of food and I do not regret the food baby afterwards. I started with clam chowder and a bunch of oysters. For dessert I got a cheese plate. I won’t lie the cheese in Tassie is AMAZING! Honestly, the best part. I also had a very good class of Chardonnay.

After we ate clearly way too much we rolled ourselves back to the car and headed off the island back to Hobart. We took it easy for a bit and ended up walking down sto Hobart’s main centre, Battery Point, and having dinner at Monty’s on Montpelier. I had probably the best bbq beef I’ve had in my life. Of course we had to have more oysters so I had that to start.

On our last day we had every intention to go to the art museum MONA but we decided to have brunch instead. We ended up at Providence Café that was close to our Airbnb. It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. Not to mention the owner is apparently gluten free so there’s a lot of different options. I had a great scramble with basil and feta cheese on toast. Also, a great cup of coffee.

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Scramble from Providence Cafe

I really wish I brought Tassie coffee back with me. After a very relaxed morning we headed to the airport to drop off the car and wait for our flight. All in all, it was a whirlwind of a trip but I’m glad I went. The people were lovely, the food was a hit, and it was so beautiful. Not to mention, I ended up having a 30-minute conversation with an employee at the airport, which I feel would never happen in Sydney. I love random talks with strangers. Unfortunately (fortunately), now I want to head back to Tassie and explore more. I’ll just have to plan another trip out there.

Adventures in Language Learning

Hi guys,

This is Stephen aka the wandering linguist. I’m honored to have been invited by the founders of Missionwanderlust, Caitlin Knightly and Kassim Richards, to share with you what will hopefully be some inspiring epicness. I’m a homeless, hungry South African living in Paris (by homeless I mean I move a lot! And for being hungry well that’s the adventure part)

I’m currently on a language learning mission to become fluent in four languages and hopefully, once achieved, I will keep going for more. Born and raised in South Africa, I lived in Miami for several years (where I met my two awesome above mentioned sidekicks), attained Spanish fluency by living in the Andes mountains in Ecuador for two years and now Je parle avec le French in Paris, where I have been for the past 7 months. I’m also an aspiring vlogger, photographer, and basically working on kicking my creativity, waking the beast while inspiring you guys to travel, learn another language and get lost in the awesomeness of it all.

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Costa Rica 2012. My language learning journey starts here.  Paradise located 2 hours from the USA.  The locals use the term Pura Vida, which means Pure Life. As is evident by the guy dancing on the car roof to good vibes and an epic sunset.

Post 1 February 19, 2016

My first post involves a girl from Saudi Arabia, who was my inspiration to write this post and TLC. Now until my blog posts start bringing in millions of readers, I find myself working at a hotel in the heart of Paris (great for my French), anyways this is where we met. We started chatting about different countries and cultures and she explained that she lives in London and is in Paris for the weekend. She expressed that she does not like France because not many people speak English and she went on to say how rude the French are because of it. Now I’m sure many of you know that the French are often labeled as being cold towards foreigners who don’t speak French and I think that they have every right to be. I asked her if I had to walk into a store in London or Saudi Arabia and expect everyone to speak French, would I not be looked at strangely and be asked the question where are we? We cannot expect the locals to speak our language if it is not one of their official languages. I said that it’s great that the French are proud of their language and I think they should protect it in any way possible. She looked at me with a rather negative gaze and then proceeded to dive into her cell phone. That was the end of our conversation, but it was great because it gave me the idea to write this message and highlight an important topic of what we shall call ‘travel language courtesy’ or TLC.

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No car, no mortgage, no wife, no kids. I can pack up and leave whenever I want in under 30 minutes. Keep it simple.

You see when we plan a trip, a lot of time goes into booking the flight, researching hotels and preparing our equipment, but we often neglect perhaps the most important part, language preparation. Just assuming everyone speaks your language is a very narrow minded mistake that I think we have all been guilty of at least once during our travels. If you are going to visit a country where you do not speak the language, I highly recommend that you download a language podcast or an app or even purchase a book at least 3 weeks before your trip and spend at least 15 minutes a day on the basics of the language. Work on pronunciation as well. I guarantee you that this small investment will make your journey so much more epic. Many times when you converse with someone in their language, they will reply in English, don’t feel offended, let it ride, It’s possible they are studying the language and they would also like to practice. You see the more we travel, the more we start to realize that speaking the language of the country we are visiting is in fact embracing the culture to the utmost degree. Communication is the essence of love and without it we cannot truly connect as human beings. Technology has made this so much easier by providing us with hundreds of thousands of different tools to get us off the ground and conversing in a foreign language. Whether it’s a book, a CD or an app, there is just no excuse for not being able to communicate with the locals in the country you are visiting. As we speak, I’m following an app in Italian by Lingopedia in order to prepare me for an upcoming trip to Rome next week. It gives you well-rounded lessons in many different environments and so far it is going really well. The last time I was in Italy I ran into a nasty train conductor who decided to check tickets on the only day I decided not to buy one. At the time my TLC was around a negative 50 and so it was a mess trying to explain why I was basically stealing a ride. Needless to say it was horrible and since then my TLC has greatly improved. I can feel my confidence increasing for this next trip and I know I will be ready to communicate with the locals as soon as I arrive. It’s also always good to have a dictionary on hand, and if it’s an app make sure to download it in case there is no wifi.

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These are my kids. Some say kids tie you down, my kids set me free.

In my future blogs I will be delving more into the benefits of language learning and I will also be giving tips on how you can prepare, language wise, for your upcoming trip. I will also be sharing more stories about how knowing the basics of a language have helped me and made my experiences so much more enjoyable, as well as stories where not knowing the language proved to be rather uncomfortable and at times dangerous. So next time before you plan a trip don’t forget your TLC! All it takes is a little motivation, 15 minutes a day and an effective language-learning tool. Before you know it you will be negotiating a deal with the locals or explaining to a rude custom official why you overstayed your visa, whatever it may be, the fact that you have somewhat of a base, could be the difference between an epic journey or just a sightseeing escapade. All that counts is that you put the effort and enjoy the smiles that come with the ride. That’s it for now, until later. Cheers and peace out.