Monday, 30 March 2015

cruising the whitsundays

Alrighty so here we go again! Paradise anyone? I've been wanting and waiting to write this article in a long while. So much to tell you guys but I have been so busy with work and many other travel plans.

The first week of February, my boyfriend and I decided to escape the city for a few days. Little did we know that it was the rain season! So in a sense, we were off to Thailand (weather-wise). In the morning of the 5th, we woke up damn early and I arrived at Airlie Beach less than a couple of hours later. Everything may be far by car in Australia, but so close by flight! Airlie Beach is a nice village but so-so. No great cafe, so many tourists and only a few okay-ish hostels. The beach is also mediocre. So first day, unable to check in so we went to the beach. Mediocre, maybe but so warm!! Really warm with coconut trees and white sands. Then, it started to rain a loooooot. But this wasn't a problem, purely because it was so much fun. We stayed in the water for so long, between rain and sunshine. There was only both of us and honestly it was on e of the best day we had so far. Then we went back and forth to the hostel, getting changed and having shower. Nothing much to eat, so we headed to Woolworths to improvise some Caesar salad. At the end of the day, the sun started to shine again and we discovered the awesome Lagoon. Although I had been to Airlie Beach before I never noticed the Lagoon. So warm and still clear water, it's an awesome place to have fun with friends and lovers. Little bridge and everything, we may have spent 2 hours or more there. At night, we realised how tanned we've got although the sky was mostly cloudy the whole day. Back in our little room, we got ready for the next big day.

Day 2 and last day in the north coast, we woke up really early heading towards the port. We had booked an all-day cruise to the famous and beautiful Whitehaven Beach. The morning starts pretty tough, with shaky boats and flying coffees (morning tea). We stopped in a few islands, including Hamilton Island, picking up and dropping off people. We then arrived to THE place after so many people had thrown up. The sea is usually calm, according to our guide but again, it was rain season, hence the storms.

Whitehaven is absolutely stunning and we had a beautiful sunshine in the morning. We were supposed to snorkel in a hidden little beach but the activity had to be cancelled due to weather conditions: apparently, we wouldn't have seen a thing (where you usually see turtles etc). We headed to Betty's Beach - THIS is the famous landscape you see on postcards with the sand banks, not Whitehaven. We went on a little "hike" to Hill Inlet and observed the breathtaking view. Running back down, it was time for us to swim. We tried to snorkel but the crystal clear water was blurry. We then spent around 4 hours on the main Whitehaven Beach, having lunch and swimming the whole time. Although I love waves it's nice to have a calm sea in which you can swim as far as you want because the currents aren't so strong. The sand was white and really smooth. I thought I was in Seychelles or Maldives or some crazy honeymoon place. It was the best scrub I've had and the best swim with my partner in crime ;)

Back in town, we improvised a dinner in front of TV series again. So warm, we realised after getting out of the shower that we literally burnt. Since that day I'm trying to keeping my natural tan because it's already autumn and I want my Aussie summer back!

Some tips... If you go to Airlie Beach, you can stay longer but there is nothing so you will have to book tours and cruises, which are pretty expensive. I recommend the Derwent Hunter sailing cruise if you love sailing boats. It's a beautiful vintage boat and that's what was organised for us the first time I went there. The food on the boat is awesome and if you go in Spring (Sept - Nov) it will be awesome for snorkeling around the little islands, like I did. But this time, since I went with my boyfriend I thought the stunning Whitehaven would be perfect as a couple holiday. You have plenty of choices and anything to suit all tastes. Have a look at "Cruise Whitsundays" website for best deals on cruising and hopping around the Whitsundays islands. If not, check the Derwent Hunter. I can't really recommend eating places but definitely make your own food or BBQ!

Upcoming posts on the remaining of our holidays and exciting Byron Bay! I'll be off to New Zealand and Melbourne again so you can expect some loads of travel post :)

Monday, 2 March 2015

melbourne journey

Melbourne is anything great that you can think of. Between the 21st and 25th of January I had the beautiful opportunity to finally visit this lovely city, only an hour away from Sydney by plane.

Why so great? Because it was sunny, I didn’t have the 4 seasons in one day as expected and, obviously, it was the Australian Open of Tennis!

First things first. On day one, it was night so we simply settled in our new home after a great Mexican dinner at Mamasita. Best mojito I’ve had so far. I might not be difficult, but this one was magic. Oh, and the location was awesome. Just go up the stairs to a tiny little cosy room. Closest train/tram stop? Get off at Parliament.

Day two: probably the most tiring day, we literally visited the whole city. Starting with the iconic, Flinders Street Station, having a look at the things around and Federation Square, where a big buzz was going on with all the ticket selling for the tennis. Then walk around the arcades. The ones just across the streets where the prettiest. Lovely cafes for your brunch and this little cupcake place drove me insane. Continuing into the arcades, we found a lovely tea room where we decided to have our lunch. Due to the popularity (hence the cake photos) we had to queue for a while. Honestly though, we were a bit disappointed with our lunch. Maybe we should have opted for a dessert instead cause they definitely looked yummy. What I loved about this experience was all the vintage/ancient style arcades that reminded me of London. If you can, have a look at the spices boutique right in front of that team room (Gewurzhaus).

We then headed towards the street with all the famous street arts. Awesome time. After a bit of walk, direction South Bank, where a stop along the Yarra for a summer drink was a must. We found out an Ice Bar, but the entry was a huge $35, not really worth it. Still walking, and obvious tourists, we headed to the Skydeck to have an overview of Melbourne. Again, breathtaking view and scary experience at The Edge. A few cameras were present to film the Open from there. We ended the night with a Kayak session and fish and chips on the Yarra (Kayak Melbourne): a lovely experience that I will definitely do again.

Day three: Federer. Yup, not in our plans but who could resist to the Open of Tennis with Federer and Bouchard? For $115 per person, we had access to all the courts, activities and of course, a seat to see the matches on the biggest arena: Rod Laver Arena. We kept our morning to see the training sessions, visit the boutiques, try some rackets and drink a few beers. We then went to have a seat when it came down to Eugenie Bouchard playing, followed by my favourite of all times: Federer. Needless to say he lost the game in front of our eyes…

Day four: Great Ocean Road. There is no Melbourne without a GOR tour. From the tiniest to the most famous sites, the views were stunning. I booked the tour via STA Travel but a bit disappointing compared to Wild Life Tours’ schedule. $125 per person, and the lunch was awful… Besides that, mother nature satisfied me and the Lord Arch Gorge with the 12 Apostles were my favourite spots. 

Tip: go there if you can drive and do all the tour yourself, taking as much time as you can. I will definitely do it again and drive all the way to Adelaide. After the tour, we had a yummy dinner at Movida Tapas. I certainly recommend this place and do take the calamari in the Spanish cans.

Last day: Only a few hours remain until our flight. We take the train over to Brighton Beach, to see the famous cabins. Pretty but windy for sure. After a great morning walk, we were hesitating as to where to have our last meal. Somehow, we found hidden place in Brighton, were we had our best burgers ever, ever, ever. I repeat: the best burgers ever (The Royale Brothers).