Gallery

Beaches

I am currently sat on Monkey Mia beach in Western Australia and it got me thinking about New Zealand. I would generally say that I prefer New Zealand to Australia but there are certain things New Zealand just doesn’t have that Australia does and vice Versa.

One of those things most definitely being beaches, when I was younger I was never a big fan of beaches or summer in general being very self conscious and not liking the lack of clothes available to me in summer to cover up the body parts I didn’t like (that’s a story for another day). As I’ve got older however I’ve really started to love summer and beaches and have learnt to put aside my insecurities or at least bury them so that I can start to enjoy all the wonderful things involved with Summer.

I think the moment I fell in love with beaches was in November 2011 when I saw Santa Monica beach for  the first time, it grabbed a hold of my heart and has never let go. I came to have much appreciation for beaches whilst I was travelling there, I had a much smaller budget than I’ve had the last couple of years, looking back now I’m not how I managed to travel consistently for 4 months on almost no money.

This is where beaches came in, they’re free! They were the places I could go when I didn’t want to spend any money, but also didn’t want to sit around the hostel all day or if I didn’t like my hostel or room or roommates or I just felt like having some alone time. My time in the States happened when I’d just been through a massive emotional upheaval so I was a little fragile. I remember Sandra Barbara beach being my sanctuary for the few days I was there as all of the above reasons applied whilst I was there.

Coming to Australia made me fall in love with beaches even more, again they were free and as a solo traveller they’re a place you can go by yourself with out feeling too much like Billy no mates. Each Australian coast how ever does happen to be beautiful beach after beautiful beach which definitely endears them to you.

Whilst I’m sat here looking out to sea watching a pelican and seagull diving for fish, I can’t think of any place else I’d rather be and how very grateful I am that I haven’t let my insecurities ruin my love for a place where Mother Nature has really out done herself and how I will miss such beautiful beaches when I head back to New Zealand at the end of the month.

P.s. I have written this on my iPad so please excuse any typos or spelling mistakes.

Image

Auckland:

I flew into Auckland and 

On my first full day I met up with a girl I’d met in LA a few years ago who’d always offered to be my tour guide if I was ever in Auckland so I took her up on her offer.  

She drove me round to some beautiful little bays on the Eastern side of Auckland, you can see the difference between Oz and New Zealand, there are a lot of little islands in Auckland’s harbour one of which is dormant volcano! Although Auckland is actually on two harbours just to one up Sydney, so there is water everywhere in the city, the water is the same as Oz beautiful turquoise and the beaches are beautiful white sand as well.

The next couple of days were seeing the sights of Auckland.  I went up to the sky tower which is the tallest building in Auckland, it was a bit of a spur of the moment thing but I got there in time for sunset, but unfortunately it was too cloudy to see the actual sun which was a shame, but it had great views of the city.

On the Friday evening I met up with Tamlyn another girl I’d met in LA who also offered to be my tour guide, she picked me up early and took me to one of the most famous sites in Auckland one tree hill, although a Maori got angry and cut the tree down so it is no longer one tree hill.  

The views from the top were amazing though and you could literally the weather fronts moving in off both harbours, luckily we were in the middle so missed the rain.

Next stop was Mount Eden it’s another Auckland landmark and you can see it from most places in the city.  Once we got up to the top I learnt that Mount Eden is an extinct volcano, you can still see the crater -middle bit- which is now all covered in grass, you aren’t allowed to walk down into it, but I think you still get a sense of it from above. There were 360 views from the top as well, luckily by that point the storm and blown over and it was lovely sunshine! I’m learning that you never quite know what the weathers going to do here because of the two harbours and all the mountains.

After mount Eden we headed to the Auckland museum where I got to see some examples of  the Maori art work which as really interesting.  I also saw a simulation of what would happen if Auckland dormant volcano were to erupt, it was pretty scary actually defiantly an eye opener. The museum has some beautiful gardens so we wandered around those before heading down to the harbour to get some dinner.

Image

Lake Cave:

Since the last time I’d been in Maragret River I didn’t manage to get to see Lake Cave, it was something I really wanted to do whilst we were there over Christmas.  A couple of guys from the hostel were going so we tagged along with them. 

Lake Cave looked amazing in the pictures so I was really excited to go and have a look. It’s slightly different to Jewel Cave (which I saw last time I was in the area) in that it’s at the bottom of a massive cavern there are 500 steps up and down to Lake Cave. Once we were down there though it was amazing it had straws like Jewel Cave did but not as many and the main difference is that Lake Cave has water in it, it’s fed by an underground lake and it has a suspended table which was incredible to look at. It’s really difficult to describe but it is basically a mass of straws that over the centuries have come together to form one massive structure that hangs just above the water now, but once was attached to the cave floor. I’ve never seen anything like it before, really makes you think about how old the cave is and how many thousands of years it taken for the thing I’m seeing to have been created.

It’s much smaller than Jewel Cave and the 500 stairs back up were a bit of challenge, we made it without stopping! After that we headed to the beach for the rest of the afternoon to work on our tans, as Margaret River is home to some beautiful beaches.

Image

South West Australia Road Trip Day 3:

Valley of the Giants and Margaret River:

The Valley of the Giants, is a forest of giant red tingle trees, which you can do a tree top walk around.  We got there for bang on 9am which is when the walk opens, so we had it pretty much to ourselves. The tree themselves were huge and definitely live up to their name, I’ve never seen trees that tall, I tried to reach over the tree top walk to touch some of the trees,  was too short and couldn’t quite reach.  You can also do walk around the bottom of trees which we did after, the trees get hollows in them from animals or fungus they grow up with the trees some of the hollows are big enough to drive through, which you aren’t allowed to do any more. 

Our next stop was at a beach called Hamlin Bay, where sting rays like to hang out, unfortunately for us the weather was a bit miserable and the sea was choppy, which the sting rays don’t really like.  They tend to swim into shore when it’s calmer and especially when the fisherman are around with their catch.  It was another beautiful beach though.

Last stop of the day was Jewel Cave in Margaret River, which completely blew me away, everyone kept saying there were some cool caves around the area and I don’t really know what I was expecting when they said cave, but not what Jewel Cave was.  We walked down into this massive cavern and all over the walls and ceilings are these ‘straws’ of rock that are caused by rain drops soaking through from the surface above and releasing carbon dioxide, in an active cave which jewel was it takes 60 years for one of the straws to grow an inch and Jewel Cave is a very active cave. We went through two different caverns both of them so impressive and they had a cool light show which illuminated different parts of the cave.  We went out a different way to the way we came in it was very tight and involved going up some a lot of stairs with the walls of the cave right next to us, our brilliant tour guide Karen told us to watch out for our left shoulders so we didn’t brush against the rock.  This was the worst part for me, I didn’t like being so enclosed underground, was very relieved when that part was over. 

Image

West Coast Tour Day 4: Coral Bay

Coral Bay is on the Ningaloo reef, which is the west coasts version of the Barrier Reef except it’s a lot more alive! I did a glass bottom boat along with a few others. There were a lot of fish just swimming underneath the boat when we were getting in at the shore, apparently they like to eat the Algie off the boat and actually clean it! 

As we were heading out to our first snorkelling stop we saw some Dolphins off the side of the boat, as well as a lot of colourful fish and coral.  The first snorkelling stop was an experience for me, as it was my first time snorkelling.  It took me a little while to get going as putting my head under goes against all my instincts having had a lifetime of ear problems (I have custom made watertight ear plugs now) and every time I went under I instinctively took a deep breath! 

Once I got the hang of it though, it was amazing such a cool experience there are so many fish and the coral is just everywhere in some places it goes right up to the surface and can be seen above the water line, they were like mountains of coral.  We had about half an hour to snorkel after that we headed to a sea turtle sanctuary where you’re not allowed to snorkel but quite a lot swam under the boat and all around the boat think that was my favourite bit as I haven’t seen any sea turtles yet.  

Our second snorkel spot was a lot choppier and I could feel a lot of water splashing against my ears so I decided to get out after a out 10 mins, thinking the other two girls were still out there I was surprised to find out I had lasted the longest as the other two were already back on the boat.  We could see a lot under the boat so didn’t miss out on too much. 

The rest of the day was just spent chilling on the beach, which is the most beautiful beach I think I’ve ever seen.  I have to say Coral Bay was my favourite place on the whole trip, I would definitely recommend visiting.

Reminding myself why I’m here…

image

Sometimes, no
matter where you are or what you’re doing life gets in the way and you forget
why you’re actually doing what you’re doing.  That has been Sydney for me
recently, life on the job front has been fairly stressful, and I’ve said in
previous blogs that at times I’ve felt like Australia has been a struggle, so
I’ve decided that it’s time to start appreciating how lucky I am to live in
Sydney and focus on the positive.

Starting with the
famous Coogee to Bondi walk or at least that was the plan anyway… turns out
Annika and I took the wrong coastal path (there are no signs) and ended up
walking to Maroubra beach instead of Bondi which turned out to be way better as
it is much prettier less touristy beach, that neither of us had been to before.  That we discover just so happens to have a
giant Rubix cube and a few other fun things on the beach, which big kids such
as ourselves could try and climb on and take pictures with.

It’s been a while
since I’d been to a beach – it has been winter- so it was fun to go again reminding me before it gets too hot and busy why Australia has always held an attraction to me, cities on the coast.

image

On Wednesday
evening I attend my first event at the Opera House. I saw
Anything Goes which was just brilliant the cast were amazing and it was so
exciting to actually make it inside the Opera House for a change instead of standing outside taking a million pictures.

We went for a drink
in the Opera Bar before the show, even though Sydney has been doing a brilliant
impression of London in September this week being cold, rainy and grey it was
still fun to sit outside whilst drinking a cocktail looking out over one of the worlds most recognisable landmarks
with good friends, it was hard to remember why I was ever stressed to begin with?

image

This week has
really refreshed my enjoyment of living in Sydney and made me appreciate just
how lucky I am to have spent the last five months living in one of the most beautiful
cities in the world, reminding me exactly why I have always dreamed of
Australia and wanted to live here in the first place.