Ancient temples, pickpocketing monkeys and a taste of luxury in dreamy Ubud

Despite being a big believer in shoestring travel and hostel life, (I spent the best part of 8 months in a sweaty communal dorm room and loved every minute,) every so often you crave a little luxury. Nothing too fancy. Maybe just a place where you don’t have to race everyone to the kitchen at 7am to get the last scrapings of free jam to put on your toast. … Continue reading Ancient temples, pickpocketing monkeys and a taste of luxury in dreamy Ubud

Hidden graffitied laneways, a concealed coffee culture and chic night spots: the secret side to Cairns

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of Cairns. In fact, for the first few weeks I actively despised it. In fairness, this was mainly due to me coping badly with Sydney withdrawal symptoms and working in an English school hopelessly stuck in the 90s (I’m talking tape cassettes, actual tape cassettes…) run by a troll faced, miniature dragon lady who hated my … Continue reading Hidden graffitied laneways, a concealed coffee culture and chic night spots: the secret side to Cairns

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand’s faded party paradise

Thailand has always had a special place in my heart. For years I had dreamed of visiting this enchanting land of elephants, jungle fringed beaches and spicy noodles and when I finally did visit, it was my first taste of somewhere truly ‘exotic’. The first time I had ventured, completely alone, into the unknown. I was 22, fresh out of uni and keen to start … Continue reading Koh Phi Phi, Thailand’s faded party paradise

Sweet Home a La Tania where, despite telling myself never again, I seem to have found myself for another ski season

Ski seasons are for 19 year old stoners, or rich, bored daddy’s girls. Ski seasons are for young, stupid people who don’t mind working ridiculously long hours doing such exciting things as scrubbing toilets and baking bland sponge cakes, or ferrying whiny families to and from Geneva airport, or serving endless shots of Jäger every night till 4am and never getting a night off to … Continue reading Sweet Home a La Tania where, despite telling myself never again, I seem to have found myself for another ski season

An (almost) untouched paradise: the gorgeous Gili islands

I have been wedged between my boyfriend and a sweaty stranger, my bare thighs sticking uncomfortably to a plastic seat, for almost 3 hours. The window nearest to me stubbornly refuses to open more than a crack and the colour of most of the passengers faces combined with the relentless rocking of the stiflingly hot boat explains the pervasive smell of vomit. A wooden dock … Continue reading An (almost) untouched paradise: the gorgeous Gili islands

Getting the Bali Bug: Kuta, Legian and Seminyak

There are places that have a certain allure to them, countries that seem impossibly exotic. Hawaii for example. Fiji, Bora Bora. And Bali. Bali has an irresistable appeal, the name conjures up images of pristine beaches, delicious food, monkeys and jungles, rice terraces and temples. I tell my Sydneysider friend that I’m heading to Bali as soon as my Australian visa expires expecting her to be … Continue reading Getting the Bali Bug: Kuta, Legian and Seminyak

Innisjail, Cell Block F: the dark side to banana picking

I love Sydney. I love Kings Cross, where ultra-hip, ultra-rich 20 somethings and gay, retired millionaires walking their ridiculously tiny dogs up and down the tree-lined streets of Potts Point coexist peacefully with the scantily clad prostitutes and down and outs who litter the infamous Darlinghurst Road. This is where I called home for 8 months at Zing backpackers, conveniently located near the subway (2 stops one way and … Continue reading Innisjail, Cell Block F: the dark side to banana picking

Pink Barbie cars on Magnetic Island, sailing around the ridiculously photogenic Whitsundays, jumping out of planes in Mission Beach, diving the Great Barrier Reef and avoiding the locals in Cairns…Welcome to tropical North Queensland

Back at the Nomads hostel in Rainbow beach we have a few days to try out some of the activities on offer in this teeny tiny town. We attempt sand boarding on the huge sand dunes nearby, without much success, and wake up super early one morning to drive over to Tin Can Bay, a small spot where, every day without fail, wild dolphins swim into the shallows to … Continue reading Pink Barbie cars on Magnetic Island, sailing around the ridiculously photogenic Whitsundays, jumping out of planes in Mission Beach, diving the Great Barrier Reef and avoiding the locals in Cairns…Welcome to tropical North Queensland

On the BTOA (Big Things of Australia) trail : tacky but fun Surfer’s Paradise, boring Brissy, ‘how the other half live’ Noosa and a real desert island experience on Fraser Island.

After 4 nights at the Arts Factory, (I could happily have stayed longer but the hippies were getting too much for Lisa) we leave Byron behind us and drive on to Australia’s answer to Miami, Surfers Paradise. Disappointingly, there is not a surfer in sight, but there are loads of Continue reading “On the BTOA (Big Things of Australia) trail : tacky but fun Surfer’s Paradise, boring Brissy, ‘how the other half live’ Noosa and a real desert island experience on Fraser Island.”

The infamous Arts Factory Lodge, naked men & quirky little Nimbin: my stay in bizarre but blissful Byron Bay

It’s road-trip time! After months of working hard teaching in the big city it’s time to say a sad goodbye to Sydney and my students and venture up the east coast all the way to Cairns with Lisa. We’ve bought a knackered Continue reading “The infamous Arts Factory Lodge, naked men & quirky little Nimbin: my stay in bizarre but blissful Byron Bay”