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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.

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Last Night and Day in WA:

The next day was my last full day in Perth and was spent just sorting things out and packing as I had bought a 45 litre backpack I was desperately trying to get down to for New Zealand.

In the evening I met Becky, Stacy and Emily for dinner at this purely Vegetarian Indian restaurant called Annalakshmi which works purely on donations, you pay what you think the meal was worth.  It’s yummy a must when in Perth.  We got a table outside that looks over the Swan River where we saw the sun set over, we went out for a drink after that as well.

My flight was at 11:50pm the next day, so I had just enough time to meet up with the girls again at Cottesloe before going back to the hostel and grabbing my stuff before heading to the airport.  It was very emotional saying goodbye to the girls, we’d all been around in Perth for a long time which is rare when you travel so I got a bit more attached to them.

I was really very sad to be leaving Perth as I had the best 2 months in WA and made some amazing friends but so excited for New Zealand such mixed emotions.  

As if I’d have gone to WA first then I would have definitely done my 88 days regional work to get my second year visa, I suppose everything happens for a reason.

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New Years Day 2016:

New Year’s Day we didn’t really do much apart from recover from the night before and from Christmas, it was also very hot high 30s, you don’t really feel like doing much in that weather. 

Becky, Stacy and I met at Cottesloe one of the nicest beaches in Perth to watch the sunset and have fish and chips – for them I had a veggie burger- it must be the thing to do on New Year’s Day in Australia as the beach was absolutely packed!!

It was fairly cloudy but the sunset was so beautiful, I couldn’t capture the beauty of it on camera one of the best sunsets I think I’ve ever seen. It was like the sun was putting on its first show of 2016, the clouds lit up all pinks and oranges and yellows beautiful against the white sand and turquoise water. 

As soon as the sunset though everyone was off to the chippie for their dinner. All in all it was a great way to start 2016.

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Bunbary:

We drove up to Bunbury for the night stopping of at beautiful Busselton on the way for breakfast. We decided to spend our last night in Bunbury as we had to have the car back early and it’s only a couple of hours from Perth and it’s the second biggest city in Western Australia so we all wanted to have a look.

 Michelle a girl from our hostel in Margaret River was heading back to Perth as well so we gave her a lift up with us. There isn’t too much to do in Bunbury, they have a beautiful beach which went to and had an ice cream, something that I don’t think I’ve ever done in December before! 

Instead of cooking or going for a meal we decided to go get some snacks and have dinner on the beach whilst watching the sunset. It’s one of the best things about being on the west coast watching the sunset over the water, and what a sunset it was.

The next morning we got up early to head down to the beach to see if we could see any Dolphins as Bunbury is a bit like Monkey Mia in that it has a lot of dolphins in the area that you can interact with. We were limited on time as we had to have the car back, so we weren’t able to stay long enough to see the Dolphins come in which was a bit of shame.

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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.

Wine Tour in Margaret River

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Margaret River is known for its wine it’s the biggest wine region in Australia, so it only seemed fitting that we do a wine tour. Which is what we did. The company we did the tour through was called Wine for Dudes they were really good, we went to four different wineries, a brewery and a chocolate factory.

When we got to each winery we sampled 3 or 4 whites and red and if we were lucky a rose. I learnt why you see people swirling the glass and sniffing when they drink wine, the swirling releases the smell and you can tell what berries/fruits were used as well as the grapes.

The first winery we went to was my favourite, they had a really nice sweet white wine. It was family owned and had a couple of dogs running around the place! I’m by normally a big fan of red wine I find it a bit thick but I learned that it smells really nice and fruity it’s a shame it doesn’t taste as nice as it smells! 

In each winery there was a little bucket that you could pour the wine into if you didn’t like it and water available to clear your pallet, before moving onto the next wine. I think I did pretty well and tasted all the wines I didn’t pour any out until the last one of the day it was really hot and I just couldn’t drink anymore red wine so I had a sip then poured out all three of the red wines.

So we didn’t get too drunk we had a massive lunch of handmade pizzas and chips at the second winery we went too. We had to mix our own wines for lunch I thought we get a choice of wines but we didn’t it was just red wine a mix of shiraz and merlot I couldn’t drink the whole glass I tried my best but Red Wine is the only wine I can’t drink.

 The chocolate factory was massive and very busy but had free samples of their chocolate buttons on milk, dark and white chocolate needless to say I helped myself to quite a few free samples, we didn’t have very long there as if was so busy.

The brewery was right next to the last winery and had a really good vibe to it, there was a live band and a big beer garden where you could have lunch, you had to pay to sample the beers, I’m not a big beer drinker so decided to save my money for other things.

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Christmas in Margaret River:

For my first Aussie Christmas my friend Stacy and I headed down south to Margaret river for a week.

Christmas day in true Aussie fashion we went to the beach and spent most of the day there.  The beach was pretty crowded and there were a lot of people there with families and friends, a lot of them had on Father Christmas hats as well! 

It was a very chilled out Christmas Day, I even went for a little dip in the sea which was absolutely freezing!! Once we left the beach we headed back to the hostel, where we did want to do the traditional Aussie BBQ, but there wasn’t a BBQ at the hostel so we had to settle for just cooking our veggie burgers normally.  Another first was having a veggie burger for Christmas Dinner, it was definitely a unique Christmas.

I hope all yours were lovely and filled with family and friends.