Redhead Beach near Newcastle is a very special place. My friends live there in a cute cottage and they can see the ocean from their living room. I’m not jealous at all… They were out one of the weekends so we invited ourselves to stay at their place. I have to say, it’s the perfect place to rejuvenate, pure bliss. An endless beach perfectly flat for a jog, pro surfers catching waves every second, people strolling along the shore and flying kites. There are also a few lovely walks around the coastal bush lands definitely worth checking out. I had an amazing time boogie boarding and was sad to get out of the water. The only thing missing was good coffee. I’ve tried a few places nearby and was unable to find a place which served decent brew.
Long weekend ahead and where to go… You are spoiled for choice in Australia. If you have not yet ventured out to Jervis Bay, it’s a must. Pure white sand beaches, crystal clear water. It helps if the weather is good too. On the way down south from Sydney I stopped to have a snack by the beach near Kiama. There was only one person surfing, so peaceful and empty. Then, I was heading down to Vincentia and arrived when it was pitch black outside. I could hear the waves crushing as the accommodation was right by the ocean. I was impatiently waiting for the morning to admire the view and go for a beach jog. I wasn’t disappointed, maybe a little with the weather and the drizzle. It was absolutely gorgeous. In the afternoon I went for a coastal walk to Hyams Beach. This place is in the World Guinness Book as it has the whitest sand in the world. It’s a stunning place. The next day I ventured to Kangaroo Beach, played some beach volleyball and went boogie boarding. On the way back from the South Coast I stopped for lunch in the cutest village I have ever visited in Oz: Berry. The place is full of charm and character. There’s a number of interesting cafes and local boutiques worth a visit if you have the time on your hands. All in all, Jervis Bay was absolutely beautiful, will definitely go back and hope for some better weather.
Tropical Queensland is my happy place, so green and full of exotic species. My favourite place of all is the Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. There are no hotels or places to stay as it’s a National Park but you can camp if you feel like it. You need to pay a speedboat transfer fee and $5.50 for entering the National Park. I went there during the rainy season so decided to go on a couple of day trips with Ocean Rafting instead of camping. The view from Hill Inlet was unbeatable; vast beach with bright white silica sand and ultra clear water. I truly felt as if I was in heaven or paradise. I walked through the shallow waters with sting rays escaping from under my feet. I was accompanied by a number of hungry seagulls when lunching on white sand banks. It was great to swim in the water to cool down. I honestly think this is the most stunning beach I’ve seen in my entire life. It might stay that way forever.
If you love the beach and always look for the azure water going to Whitsundays is a must. The ocean is of this incredible turquoise colour. The beaches are nice but there’s one magical place you cannot miss. It’s Whitehaven beach on Whitsunday Island (more about it in part 2…).
I was based in Arilie Beach a little backpacker town. It was fairly empty due to the rainy season but a great time to relax plus I was really lucky with the weather. Palm trees anywhere you look, the lagoon for a lazy afternoon and new beach slightly tucked away from the main street called Boathaven Beach. There’ s a brand new stinger net there to protect you from any unwelcome visitors and a couple of boat wrecks cosily sitting at on the sand banks. It’s very quiet with no cafes and very few people strolling around. Walking to the beach for the first time I thought there’s no public access (signs past the sailing club) but walking a few meters down the road opened up the entrance to the beach. I found a great place for lunch: Easy Cafe with best coffee in town. Friendly service relaxed atmosphere and decor, all you need to have a perfect holiday.
Pictures from Whithaven Beach to follow shortly in part 2, for now I keep on dreaming…
There’s something for everyone on this island. If you love to surf, it’s paradise, if you’re keen on partying go to Kuta, food is cheap and delicious, people are friendly, if you just want to rest there are many gems hidden away and an endless number of places to get a massage. If you are into yoga and love spiritual places Ubud is a must for you. Arts and crafts are everywhere, catering for people with different budgets. There are thousands of little shops and independent designers boutiques selling quality clothes and jewellery. You’ll be spoiled for choice. I also went for a day trip to Mt Batur while staying in Ubud. I have to say I’m not a fan of climbing but this one was certainly worth the effort. Amazing views and warm rocks of the living volcano, puffs of steam coming out of random places. Simply magical. The car ride up to the track was fun with breathtaking panorama. I went to see a couple of cultural shows. There are quite a few of them around Bali and I would highly recommend going to one of them. I wouldn’t say Bali has stunning beaches however there are few places worth exploring. I mentioned Dreamland Beach in the previous Bali post however my personal favourite was Padang Padang Beach. Crystal clear water, pure sand and huge rocks here and there reminded me of Thai beaches. If you really want to see amazing beaches you have to go to a nearby islands. More Bali info and photos to come soon…
Visiting new places is my addiction. I chose to go to Melbourne for the last long weekend. One hour on the aeroplane and you are there. I think it was the shortest flight ever. Since I landed in the evening I wandered over to the Southbank to see the fireball show put on by the casino on in the evening every hour on the hour. I expected something spectacular that would last for at least 10 minutes. Instead,I witnessed a few fire flames being spat out of large concrete columns for a minute or two at the most…. Anyway, Southbank looks really colourful and impressive even when it rains. The next day, I explored a number of Melbourne’s laneways with hundreds of independent boutiques, galleries, hidden bars, cafes and quirky restaurants. I absolutely loved the atmosphere. There’s a great vibe around and people seemed to be generally content and relaxed. The following day I headed down the Great Ocean Road (will have a separate post on it) – totally worth the effort. I decided to go to the beach on the final day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous (unlike the other two days) so it a good choice. I visited St Kilda and enjoyed a jug of Sangria in peace away from the city’s hustle and bustle then jumped on the train to Brighton Beach. It’s only a short walk to the most adorable beach with tens of colourful beach huts lined up along Dendy Beach. Such a simple idea made this place truly vibrant. I could not stop taking photos. I was back in the city to go up the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance to admire Melbourne’s panoramic views. Absolutely breathtaking! Melbourne is a funky Australian city, I loved the trams and wide streets as well as the super narrow laneways. Many people say it feels more European than Sydney or Brisbane. I think it’s more Australian as well as more fashionable and has a great culture vibe, perhaps with a slight European twist.
The thing to remember is bring some warm and waterproof clothes when visiting the city. Melbourne is much colder than Sydney and the weather can change without a warning even on a warm summer day.
City view from the Shrine of Remembrance
Sangria at St Kilda
Summer is just around the corner and Sydney is back to life… not that it’s ever asleep anyway…. With numerous music festivals, food events, art shows and exhibitions there is plenty to choose from. Last weekend I went to the 18th Biennale of Sydney in Cockatoo Island. It’s easy to get there as there is a free ferry service provided from Wharf 6 in Circular Quay every 30 minutes. Fifteen minutes later you get to the island (as long as the captain can park the boat – it took another 15 minutes to do it during my trip…). The only thing you’ll need is time. You can spend hours wandering around the exhibits. If you get tired grab a coffee at one of the bars and cafes, relax admiring panoramic harbour views. For more information on this and other Biennale events go to http://bos18.com. Hurry, the festival ends this weekend 16th September!
Have you ever been stuck at home wondering what to do? You don’t want to go too far to waste your time but you fancy something different. Next time you have no idea where to go head to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Located in the Rocks near Circular Quay and the Opera House it’s easy to get to by train or bus. There’s no entry fee to wander around the museum but sometimes they charge you for specific exhibitions. The place has been recently extended and revamped, it’s fun and vivid and some of the exhibits fairly interactive. Once you get tired there is a cafe on the top floor with stunning Opera House and Harbour Bridge views, just perfect on a sunny day. If you have more energy and time it’s great to walk across the Bridge. You can take breathtaking photos and enjoy the views. With even more time to spare you can climb the steps of the Pylon Lookout to have 360″ panorama of the Harbour. Once you are on the other side of the Bridge explore Kirribilli’s cafes or restaurants, go to the Luna Park for a quick ride on the Milsons Point side. Either way you won’t be disappointed and you definitely get enough exercise for the day.
Exhibits at the MCA
Bali, sounds so exotic… Not so much to the Ozzies since it’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in Australia. At first, I had high expectations since it’s such a well know place worldwide and a dream for many. Having talked to a number of people (mostly SIdney-siders) my expectations have changed. A number of my friends said a lots of places are full of noisy Aussie bogans. In the end, I had no idea what to expect so decided to go there with an open mind. I absolutely fell in love. There are so many things to do and every day of the trip was different. The plane touched down in Bali at night so I could not see much. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning. My friend and I stayed at Crows Nest, a stunning bungalow in Suara Ombak near the main beach. You could hear the waves crushing in a distance. It felt as if we were in the middle of the jungle with all the exotic trees and plants around. After breakfast, I ventured down the stairs to the beach. It was peacefully stunning. Unspoiled by the tourists, with huge rocks scattered around the sand. Later that day our group went for a stroll to Dreamland Beach. Walking through the bushes and local roads we could see Balinese people busy with farming and other house work. Once we got to the beach everyone was speechless. The location was perfect. Slightly secluded, the water was azure blue and the sand was light golden. Huge waves were chasing one another crushing at the last moment. We went to the top of the cliff and got into a hotel bar for a few drinks. Refreshed and relaxed we went to the Pura Luhur Temple in Uluwatu. We watch a cultural show at dusk and played with the monkeys… I should probably say they played with us… If you had anything detachable like sunglasses, hats or jewellery you should be more than sure one of those cheeky creatures would grab it in half a second. I’ve seen a number of monkeys wandering around the park with prescription glasses, scarves or hair clips. I, for example, lost my hat kneeling to take a photo of my friend and a monkey when another animal came running out of nowhere, jumped onto my back and ripped the hat of my head. I was lucky though since a kid passing by retrieved it for me… I learned my lesson…
Stunning Dreamland Beach
how to carry heavy stuff…
Not so innocent here, didn’t know monkeys had access to prescription glasses…
It’s time to do some whale watching! The Baleen or Humpback Whales are on their annual migration. Humpbacks travel thousands of kilometers from Early May to Late November, between their winter breeding ground to their summer feeding ground along the East Coast of Australia. Be prepared and patient. Make sure you have a good pair binoculars with you or a good zoom lens attached to your camera. Otherwise, you won’t see very much… It’s always nice to get out of the house anyway and walk around. I decided to go to the North Head Lookout (past Manly) last weekend. It was a really sunny day with a few clouds scattered around the big blue. The view was absolutely spectacular. You could see the city with tens of boats cruising along the harbour. I have not seen too much in terms of the whale, maybe besides the water going up in the air from whale’s exhalation and white water breaking around the animal but it was definitely worth to get out of the house. Next time I’ll try to get closer and perhaps jump on one of those whale watching boats!