Finishing On Ice 

adventure, backpacking, couple, Travel

Time seems to be steaming ahead and it’s crazy to believe another month has passed, and with it, our time in Australia. We’ve both agreed after much deliberation that our final aus adventures (I.e. this blog) come in at number one for our time here. 
The last two legs of the trip saw us endure two lovely coach trips of 12 and 10 hours respectively. One was overnight and the other during the day and they were both pretty grim but worth it for the pennies we saved! The first long haul was to get us to a place called Airlie beach which is the main gateway to the Whitsunday islands. We booked onto a 2 night, 3 day catamaran tour with 10 others and were not disappointed in the slightest. The group we had were awesome and whilst the only other male had the personality of a frying pan and enjoyed an 8pm bedtime, I just embraced the gay best friend role amongst the 8 other ladies. The boat itself was brilliant, complete with paddle boards, clear kayaks, sea scooters and a huge sunbathing net. Every day we had 3 quality meals cooked for us and we all brought our own alcohol on board. We boarded the boat in the afternoon so the first stop was actually a sail to the anchorage for the night which allowed us to mingle and have drinks with our Austrian, Australian, Taiwanese, and Danish friends (some mix I know). We watched the sunset from the boat and then did some star gazing. As we expressed how life couldn’t get much better, a huge shooting star arched over us all and seemed to last forever… not a bad first day!

The following morning involved a trip to the world famous great barrier reef and it was everything we expected, huge colourful coral, more fish than we could count (including nemo who was tucked away in his anemone), and a monster fish called George who was genuinely the size of a labrador. We had to wear stinger suits as it’s jellyfish season and the deadly irukandji can be lethal!

In the afternoon we visited Whitehaven beach which was postcard worthy, we walked through the crystal clear waters accompanied by lemon sharks and manta rays! Whitehaven beach is the second most photographed location in all of Australia (after the Opera house) and it’s easy to see from the pictures why.

Another night of drinks ended with the skipper showing us his party trick; he went to the bottom step of the boat, began to thrash around in the water with a metal pole and to our amazement the black sea lit up like fairy lights which was actually the result of phytoplankton which glow green when they are moved in the water! Our final day topped everything off, we anchored in turtle cove after passing two dolphins on the way and began another snorkelling excursion. This time we were on the search for sea turtles and within minutes we succeeded. Thriving in the 30 degree ocean the turtles were easy to find and  amazing to encounter, they are also quicker than people think but once you find them they are more than happy to swim alongside you. This concluded our adventure around the Whitsundays and is something we won’t forget in a hurry!

The last few days before we departed to Bali we were based in Cairns in another air bnb. This time it was a ‘tree house in the jungle’. I loved it but Brogan’s ongoing gecko phobia continued to plague her and resulted in daily (humane) removals which if anybody hasn’t seen a gecko run before is not an easy task… We also had a chance to visit the Daintree rainforest and Cape tribulation where the great barrier reef meets the jungle – pretty cool! The stereotype of Australia and Spiders also become very apparent here, there were some big ass spiders out there with webs the size of pillowcases!!! 

Fraser At Its Finest

adventure, backpacking, couple, Travel

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and one of the most iconic places to visit in the whole of Australia. The world heritage site is so well protected that only two resorts have ever been commissioned to occupy some of its precious land. We booked onto a two day overnight tour with around 20 others, all managed by our brilliant tour guide David. At 7am we were collected and made our way to the ferry. After a ride through the shark infested waters (it’s illegal to swim in the sea for this very reason), we entered the bus. As far as buses go this was more or less as good as it gets. In order to traverse the sand, the bus was a heightened 4WD with a tank like engine and reinforced body (David also drove it like an absolute nutter which was fun). The first day we visited the freshwater ‘Lake Mckenzie’ with its crystal clear water. Following this, we had a rainforest walk, took a dip in the ‘Champagne Pools’, and climbed ‘Indian Head’ where we bonded with two more Brits whom we spent much of the remaining time on the tour with. Fraser Island is home to hundreds of animal species and while we unfortunately encountered no venomous spiders or snakes (residents include the black widow, funnel spider, python, and death ada) we did get to see a dingo munching on a coconut which is fairly rare (we had to keep our distance as they have been known to be aggressive). We also saw a giant lace monitor lizard and loads of fish.


The group you get placed with is always a lottery and we had a pretty good mix, I mean everybody seemed sociable and up for a laugh. So after dinner we asked a few people if they were up for some beverages at the beach bar and most seemed keen. Brogan and I had a few drinks in our room before making it down to the bar expecting to see 5 or 6 people down there, at worst case 2 or 3? Unfortunately it seemed everybody decided to call it a night at 7pm, leaving us two in the bar with our cocktails and a hint of disappointment. What’s more annoying is the two Brits actually went down to the bar about 5 minutes after we gave up hope and left! 

Day two was as good as the first and began with a 1 hour uphill hike across sand dunes to Lake Maunganui which was well worth the blood sweat and tears. The lake was filled with the same fish they use in the infamous foot cleansing tanks and ours were just as eager to have a nibble. After a quick stop off at a shipwreck, we concluded our journey at ‘Eli Creek’ which is a natural current through the jungle with the purest drinking water you can find. It’s hard to do the whole experience justice, but as you can see from the pictures, Fraser Island has some spectacular places and that’s why it’s in our top three of the travels so far. 

On a side note we were surprised at how peaceful a sleep we had considering the abundance of animal inhabitants on Fraser Island. It seemed we had a delayed effect here and in fact our night in the YHA hostel back on mainland was the ‘creepier’ one. After the nightly ritual of squashing 4 or 5 mosquitos, we began to settle down, had a quiet read, and started to feel relaxed enough to drift off… and then BAM, this grotesque beetle thing with wings drops on my bare belly from the roof and starts crawling around the bed (I’m sure it was purposefully parading around the mattress to taunt us). I quickly tried to squash it but you know what these cockroach species are like, they never die. After managing to clear this out and once again about to enter dream land, Brogan let’s out a massive gasp and shouts ‘GECKO ON THE WALL’ which was that loud, it not only spurred the gecko into a panic attack causing it to race around the wall, but it also managed to wake the loud snorer from next door who we were moaning about (there’s always a silver lining). We finally cleared the room of wildlife and had a horrific nights sleep, but all in all one of the most incredible experiences we’ve had!

Australia Zoo: A Short Story 

adventure, backpacking, couple, Travel

Before our flight up north we were able to drive up the sunshine coast which is home to the famous ‘Steve Irwin Zoo’. You don’t realise how much he meant to Australia until you realise you’ve driven down Steve Irwin way, Steve Irwin pass, and Steve Irwin drive just to get there! The zoo was brilliant and contained everything from koala bears to lions, there was also a Kangaroo walk where you could just sit and hand feed all the roos! The day ended with a Croc show (Steve’s favourite) and really showcased the power of the beast. After a final taste of the city life in the form of Brisbane (shops, food, Harbour night lights) and we were back in the air on our 25 minute flight to Hervey Bay which began our adventure on the renowened Fraser island… to follow shorty.

Our Liebster Award!

Couples, Liebster Award, Travel, Travel Tips

Wow! We are delighted to announce that we have been nominated by Wanderfully Living for the Liebster Award! We are really grateful for this award given we have only been blogging for just under 5 weeks now! Please go check out their blogs on Health & Fitness, Travel, Lifestyle and lots of great money saving tips!! 

So THANK YOU Sean & Rhianne for this lovely nomination, we are lovely forward to all your future posts. 



What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. It’s a great way to discover great blogs by new bloggers and support one and another in the blogging community. 


What are the rules?

  1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blogs.
  2. Answer the questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate other bloggers to receive the award and write them several new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Liebster Award logo in your post and/or your blog!


Our nominees…

Gypsy Soul Travelling

Tales Of Elsewhere

The Quiet Traveller


Our answers to Sean & Rhianne’s questions…

What made you start blogging, and how long have you been? 

We first started blogging as a result of some really positive feedback from our family and friends. We only started a small blog on Facebook to keep all of our loved ones up to date with our adventures, then almost everybody was strongly encouraging us to make the blog more public as they were so impressed and entertained by our posts! 

What is your dream career and why?

It’s hard to conceptualise what a ‘dream career’ might look like, one does not truly realise the satisfaction they gain from work until they have immersed themselves in it, we like to think of work in terms of factors, that is, to establish a comfortable living, engage in work which positively affects the outcome of something wider, and to always maintain a healthy work life balance in order to sustain strong connections with not just each other, but also with our families and friends who are there for us.

Where is your favourite travel destination and why?

This was the only question we didn’t agree on so therefore…

Jamie: While our travels are not yet over, my favourite destination has been Sydney… The place has it all: bars, restaurants, beaches, atmosphere, scenery, iconic buildings and best of all the absolutely stunning blue mountains! 

Brogan: This is a tuffy! I have been lucky enough to travel different parts of the world with my family whilst growing up. Each country offering you something different. However in terms of consistency…I would have to say Florida. It has been such a big part of my childhood going to Disneyland etc that I could go there every year and never be bored of it. I’m still a child at heart! 

What is your number one piece of advise  to new bloggers?

Be yourselves. We blog our journey in a way that truly represents the experiences we encounter. From euphoria to disasters, highlight it all, nobody has ‘the perfect trip’ and if everybody cruised through hassle free, how would anybody learn and adapt for the future. Our goal from the start has been to assist other couples who may embark on similar excursions and in order to do that we always  advocate realism! 

If you could go anywhere right now, where would it be and why?

Well right now we are sat on the white sandy beaches of Bryon Bay with the pristine clear blue ocean at arms length, there really is nowhere else we would possibly want to be… 

Tell us about your worst travel experience.

So our first night of the 4 month backpacking adventure in the hostel was going well, nice comfy bed, fairly quiet, not too warm, pretty ideal really. At about 3am Brogan woke me up to inform me that somebody was trying to open our door, I initially brushed it off as noise coming from the other dorms. I soon realised that in fact yes our handle was going up and down and behind the frosty door I could indeed see the outline of a man, my heart really began to race when I realised there seemed to be a crow bar swinging from his hand. As the man in the room, I stepped up to the challenge, testosterone was flowing, my masculinity was at serious stake here, I flung the window open ready to engage in battle and was greeted with a heavily intoxicated german traveller trying to find his room. He also had a stray cat between his legs (giving the illusion of a crow bar). Thankfully he realised the error of his ways, drunkenly apologised, and wandered off to his own room…

Our questions to the nominees…

  • What inspired you to travel?
  • What is your favourite and least favourite travel destination, and why?
  • What are your Top 5 survival items for backpackers?
  • What has been your most creative meal whilst travelling?
  • If money, visas and commitment were no object where would you live, and why?

To our nominees…

If you are able to send a message or email notifying us once your post is live to make sure we don’t miss out on it that would be awesome! 

Jamie & Brogan 

Instagram:

@broganharker

@jamiedenison1993

The City Life

adventure, backpacking, couple, Travel

First of all we would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has followed our blog so far. We have already reached over 10,000 views which is incredible! It’s nice to know your interested in what we get up to and hopefully find some of it helpful! 

The vast land of Australia has been all about the big cities so far and we are loving every minute of it. The first stop was Melbourne where we stayed for two nights. After exiting the airport and carting our bags on and off various buses and trams, we finally made it to our pretty average hotel room! Aside from the poor sleeps we had, Melbourne is an awesome city with great coffee, really good sushi and some pretty interesting street art. We enjoyed some tapas one night and ended the evening with a drink on a hidden rooftop bar (Goldilocks) overlooking the skyscraper buildings. We also got involved with national pizza day and used as many discount codes as we could find to get a pizza hut! After our jam packed visit to Melbourne, we were back in the air again, bound for Sydney, but this time with two new British friends who we clicked with on the bus journey to the airport (we bonded over being northerners)!

Sydney has been awesome and we have had 5 nights here which makes it our longest continuous stay in any place of the travels so far. Where do I start… The Opera House, Harbour Bridge, street performers, marina, cruise ships, never ending shopping malls and food courts, Coogee/Bondi Beach, there is genuinely something new and interesting round every corner in Sydney. While all this has been brilliant, the winner for us has to be the Blue Mountains National Park which was a 2 hour road trip we embarked on with our new friends Lorna and Declan from the airport. The walking tracks take you to some breathtaking views and if you veer off track a bit you can find some (admittedly) quite precarious cliff edges where we got our awesome pictures! We also climbed down (and back up) about two hundred nearly vertical stairs to get underneath the Wentworth falls which again was an unforgettable place to be. The pictures  speak for themselves… what a day!
Slightly off tangent, we’ve had a couple of interesting incidents with our hosts at the Sydney Airbnb. Firstly, we have been having a constant air conditioning battle with them as our ‘zone’ temperature is connected to their bedroom so everytime we put it on we hear these little ninja footsteps, and moments later surprise surprise the room gets significantly hotter!! This has happened back and forth every night and has become a contest of stubbornness between couples.

The second incident was after we returned to the flat (quite noisily I should add) following a peaceful day at the beach. I wandered into the kitchen to begin cooking dinner and heard this high pitch moaning coming from the bedroom, I asked Brogan to confirm my suspicions and she returned to reassure me that in fact yes there was a happy ending going on right next door to us from our usually shy and reserved hosts!

Following Sydney, we are picking up another rental car tomorrow which we have for about 9 days as we make our way up the east coast to our next stop, the renowned Bryon Bay! We have booked some awesome stuff over the next few weeks, planned out the rest of the trip and we cannot wait for what awaits us around the corner! We will keep you posted!

Jamie & Brogan 

Instagram:

@broganharker

@jamiedenison1993

3106 Miles Later

adventure, backpacking, couple, Travel

On the last leg of our journey in NZ, we thought we would RELAX at the Hanmer Springs pool complex which is marketed as a sort of mini centre parcs for New Zealand, little did we know that the day we opted to go was actually a national holiday in the form of “New Zealand Day”. The tranquility we anticipated was quickly replaced by an environment resembling Blackpool Pleasure Beach during a heatwave. Joking aside, when the hordes of families began to filter out for tea we had a lovely little afternoon!

While the above was an enjoyable interlude, the main purpose for venturing up the east coast was to visit Kaikoura, which was heavily damaged by the Earthquake and has really suffered ever since (almost every building/business seemed to be abandoned and the roads were an absolute bombshell). Aside from the damages, Kaikoura is home to an abundance of wildlife and we made good use of this benefit. Throughout our two days we went kayaking alongside seals in their feeding grounds and experienced a whale watch tour where we (luckily) saw two magnificent sperm whales surface for oxygen before diving to the deep dark depths shortly after. We weren’t expecting to make this tour as it was fully booked and were on a reserved wait list but as the sea was so choppy the captain issued a strong sea sickness warning which worked in our favour as many who were booked on actually backed out as a result of the conditions, they were not exaggerating either, Brogan and I enjoyed the journey sick-free but we were genuinely surrounded by vomiting from just about every possible angle!!


After finally making it to our final day in New Zealand, Christchurch, we did a full repack, abandoned a pair of walking shoes, waited an hour at the check-in desk as I was not granted a Visa for Australia (we got extra leg room for our troubles) and unfortunately had a delay on our flight. Things all ran smoothly from this point though and I was able to write  this ending to New Zealand cruising at 800km/h, Brogan reading Harry Potter beside me. We’ve had such a brilliant month and are now ready for the next chapter in the series as we approach the land of the Kangaroo… Bring on Australia! 

Jamie & Brogan 

Instagram:

@jamiedenison1993

@broganharker

Picking Up The Pace

adventure, backpacking, couple, Travel

The South has seen us busier than ever and we have moved through it an alarmingly fast rate! Following our short but sweet time in Nelson we headed to the Abel Tasman which is (debatably) the most beautiful part of New Zealand; we were given over an hours training (excessive I know, but it was for a fancy kayak… it had a rudder and everything) and we made our way up the east coast where we saw some unbelievable views and also managed to get quite close to the seals and their pups on Adele Island. From this strenuous day we had a mammoth 4 hour drive straight down to Greymouth where we stayed one night in a hostel in order to avoid an 8 hour journey to the Franz Josef Glacier (our primary destination). Following a colossal amount of eye spy games we made it to the Glacier and checked into our hostel. This is where things went a little downhill; Brogan says she instantly smelt sick mixed with excessive amounts of cleaning detergent (I didn’t – perhaps my sense of smell was destroyed by rotten eggs Rotarua) which wasn’t the best start, followed shortly after in the morning with the bad news that the helicopter glacier hike was cancelled! They say bad things come in threes which seems to ring true as the earthquake damage to Kaikoura means we were unable to book onto the whale watching tour! 

Things looked up by the time we arrived in the activity hotspot, Queenstown. Our accommodation was less backpackerish than usual but after our cancellations and disappointment we thought we would have a little luxury thrown in there! The hosts Mary and Rory were brilliant and we also met a few others including two honeymooners (definitely not backpacker accommodation). It was difficult deciding what to do with so many options but Queenstown saw us cable car to the top of the mountains and race down the luges (note – we incorrectly attached the go pro to the helmet and it flew off half way down the track but survived with just some scratches), ride the shotover jet which takes you in and out of canyon walls at 40mph with the sole intention of getting as close as they can without damaging the boat (a cool £250,000 if anybody fancies one), and finally the onsen hot pools where you sit in a natural hot tub (champers in hand), click a button and a shutter door retracts to reveal the views of Queenstown.

In stark contrast, I managed to convince Brogan to stay in a glamping tent in the middle of a farmer’s field near Lake tekapo (I say near but it was in the middle of nowhere) complete with a portaloo, no phone service and about 300 freshly sheared sheep. After a bbq with drinks in the sun and a game of cluedo absent Snapchat or Facebook, Brogan eventually agreed it was a good idea! It was all going so well, but I’ll admit the next incident was not so ideal. As we settled into bed ready to switch off the solar lamps, Brogan screams at the top of her voice ‘WHAT WAS THAT’ and we both jumped out of bed to witness a pretty hefty spider strutting across the bed. From this moment on, any chance of a good night’s sleep was blown out of the window, the slightest of sounds or movements was shortly followed by Brogan jumping out of bed and in turn a stressed and disorientated Jamie confused from all the commotion!

We are now in a place called Geraldine staying with a wonderful host called Annette who has just this minute offered to cook us Bacon and Eggs in the morning (Brogan thinks she has the hots for me), tomorrow we head up to Hanmer Springs (4 hour drive) leaving just 2 more destinations to go in the land of the Kiwi! 

Jamie & Brogan 

Instagram:

@broganharker

@jamiedenison1993

TOP TIPS FOR THE NORTH ISLAND- NEW ZEALAND

Couples, new zealand, Travel, Travel Tips

As our journey of the north island has sadly come to an end we thought it may be useful to share our couple’s backpacking tips. 

The Bay of Islands

Must see’s & do’s:

The Rainbow Falls- beautiful scenery and a good picture spot. Pick a sunny day if possible! 

Grab a kayak and paddle your way around the islands. You will come across empty beaches which you can claim for yourselves! 

Take the ferry across to a town called Russell for a little sight seeing.

Places to stay:

We stayed in Pickled Parrot Backpackers in Paihia for our whole duration in the Bay of Islands and would definitely recommend it, not too noisy but enough going on if that’s your scene. 

Places to eat:

£-££ El Cafe- Serve a mixture of food but we got burritos from there which were amazing! Oh and a banana and Nutella milkshake! Cheap and tasty. 

££ Alfresco’s- Great spot for a beach view and amazing food! We went here a couple of times – more of a treat but shouldn’t break the bank too much (try breakfast for a cheaper option). 

When we didn’t eat out and wanted to save a little money we just went to Countdown (Big supermarket chain across NZ) and grabbed some groceries and cooked some meals. If you’re chicken lovers like us, they do some reasonably priced hot chickens ready to go -a useful tip is to go in the late evening and they sell these at big reductions! 

Whitianga

Must see’s & do’s:

Cathedral Cove- AMAZING and completely unspoilt. Definitely a must see! Also involves a pleasant 30 min walk with some incredible views.

Hot Water Beach- Gets very busy around low tide but worth doing for something a bit different. We struggled to create a “hot” pool at first so make sure you ask around to see which areas are hot – Buy a cheap spade before you go as they charge $5 to rent along with a $10 deposit! 

New Chum Beach- Quite an unusual/cool walk to get to but make sure you wear suitable footwear and avoid the mistake we made wearing flip flops! Big waves here so be careful! 

Places to stay:

Here we found that Airbnb was in our favour for cost and quality of facilities. Given we have a car, not all centralised hostels were ideal as they had no parking facilities. We were only a 5 min drive from the town and were very close to a couple of supermarkets and a petrol station. See link below!

http://abnb.me/EVmg/XnZ9k5FfgA

Places to eat:

We thought we would take advantage of the fact we had the kitchen to ourselves and therefore did a relatively big shop at Countdown for most of our lunches and dinners. 

££ LaLa Cafe- Just before digging our hot pool we grabbed a ham and cheese croissant, side salad and relish which was honestly delicious. Quick and easy!

Tauranaga

Must see’s & do’s:

Mount Maunganui- A great walk up to the top! Harder than expected, once we got to the top we got told we went up the easier way…we couldn’t believe it!

Places to stay:

We were fortunate enough to stay with relatives whilst being in Tauranga for the night, however friends have recommended the Pacific Coast Lodge Backpackers, Harbourside City Backpackers or the Seagulls Guesthouse.

Places to eat:

££ Pronto Burgers- After the walk we needed to refuel so grabbed a “healthy burger” (basically the burger without the bun and salad) from Pronto and it was very tasty! We had the peri peri chicken and the satay chicken.

Rotorua

Must see’s & do’s:

Hobbiton Movie Set Matamata- If you are a Hobbit or Lord of the Rings fan, this is definitely up your street! I don’t really want to give any spoilers away but it’s worth the money and the tour guides are amazing, they know everything and anything about the books and movies. Oh, and you get a free beer inside the hobbit pub!

Kerosene Creek- Really cool natural hot springs that can be quiet depending when you go (avoid weekends). It was rainy the day we went but getting into what seemed like a hot tub made up for it!

Geothermal Wonderland- If you are intrigued by the Rotorua smells, very interesting natural complex. Worth a visit but be prepared for the rotten egg stench!

Kuirau Park- Cute little park to have a picnic and dip your feet in the hot pools.

Places to stay:

Kiwi BnB- We decided to try a bnb out to see if there was any difference in terms of experience to backpacking hostels and Airbnb. We found that there definitely was…there were lots of rules we had to follow which we mentioned in our “We smelt it before we saw it” post. Check it out for more details! It was quite a unique experience to say the least, the hosts were incredibly polite and the place was super clean and quiet.

 Places to eat:

££ Indian Star- Incredible food, nice atmosphere. This place was located on Eat Street (a lively food area, lots to choose from) and was worth the 15 minute wait for the table! 

££ Nando’s- If there are any other Nando’s lovers out there then I’m happy to inform you there is a Nando’s just around the corner from Eat Street. Overall we were slightly disappointed with the standard of the food- think glorified KFC?but each to their own.

Taupo

Must see’s & do’s:

Black Water Rafting Waitomo- One of the best things we have done in the North Island for sure!! Not so nice putting on the cold wet suits but once you’re down in the caves in your rubber ring surrounded by glow worms it is all worth it. 

We would rank it in the Top 5 things to do in the North Island without a doubt! 
Huka Falls- You can walk, mountain bike or take a jet boat to see these falls but we decided to mountain bike. We thought we would take on the challenge, and it paid off once we had finished. We really felt as though we had accomplished something. Would recommend for people who are into fitness! P.S be prepared for a bit of saddle sore afterwards…

Tongariro Crossing- We did plan to do this 8/9 hour walk up the mountain but unfortunately with timings and the weather not being on our side we weren’t able to do it! We were gutted about this so if you are thinking about doing this, do plan ahead and check the weather etc. We have only heard good things about this walk.

Places to stay:

Base Backpackers- We booked a double room here which actually came with a private bathroom which was good! The staff were really friendly and didn’t have any problems except one night when we had to be up early and heard the nightclub antics! If you want a quiet location this is not ideal, the complementary ear plugs are a good indicator of what to expect, having said this it’s a really cool hostel. They have entertainment on every day of the week- we took part in the quiz! (Didn’t win I’m afraid but if you did you won a $75 bar tab).

Places to eat:

£-££ Element Bar- This was the bar that was part of the hostel. All meals were under $10 and were surprisingly ok! I’d recommend the veggie lasagne and the chicken burgers. Good place to eat if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and don’t fancy cooking. 

££ Yo Fresh- We grabbed a quick lunch here which consisted of chicken, veg and potatoes! Cheap eat and pretty good.
£-££ Sushi Paradise- This was right next door to Yo Fresh! This was more of your traditional sushi places with lots of options and tasty food. 

Wellington

Must see’s & do’s:

Te Papa Museum- Great place to visit whilst being in Wellington. It’s free and you can spend as little or as long as you want there. 

Empire cinema- Brilliant, large double seating and not huge so more of a cosey feel, bought some ice cream and sweets for the movie and went to see the award winning, Lion- fantastic film!!!

Cable Car- If you are wanting a good view of Wellington and don’t fancy incline walking for an hour or two then take the cable car, it’s cheap and you can walk around the Botanic Gardens.

Cuba Street- Lots of great places to eat down here and a few independent stores which were quite quirky.
Lambton Quay- Good place to shop if you are looking to buy anything.

Places to stay:

Back in Airbnb…we stayed at a place just 10 mins drive from the centre of Wellington. It had the most incredible views and a lovely dog named Ralph. The Owner Chris was a nice, chilled out guy who was more than happy to chat with us and give advice on nz – See link below!

http://abnb.me/EVmg/nG59EBNUgA

Places to eat:

£-££ Satay Village- A great cheap eat for those who like Malaysian food. 

£-££ Best Ugly Bagels- The Chickaboom bagel was probably the nicest bagel we have ever had! $12 may seem a little expensive but you get so much topping, sauce etc with it! 

£ Mojo- All you coffee lovers out there…head to Mojo, it literally has the best coffee going!

££ Dirty Little Secret- We went here for a few drinks, really cool place with some pretty sweet views of Wellington on the rooftop!

And there it is…Some of our tips and recommendations for the north island NZ! Let us know if you find this useful by liking or commenting below. We are happy to answer any questions you have!

#ITTAKESTWOTOPSTIPS 

Jamie & Brogan

Instagram:

@jamiedenison1993

@broganharker

The Windy City

adventure, backpacking, couple, Travel

Our final destination in the North Island saw us visit the capital city Wellington for 3 nights as you saw from the previous post! People weren’t lying, it is very windy so a wind proof jacket wouldn’t go a miss! Chris (Airbnb host) and Ralph (the Schnauzer) made us feel very welcomed at their place. Ralph was just a legend… It’s not weird to call a random person’s dog the same one as your own at home? and proceed to call him that for the entire stay is it?! (Withdrawal symptoms are still heavy). 

Wellington is a really cool city, we have experienced a Kiwi cinema (watched Lion and was incredible), eaten some `Ugly` Bagels, explored Cuba street, shopped on Lambton Quay, travelled up the Cable Car,  honed our kiwi knowledge at the Te Papa Museum and last but not least…had some outstanding coffee (to Brogan’s disgust – she thinks I have a genuine addiction and I don’t think she’s wrong). 

It should also be noted that as we walked through Wellington I was expressing how amazing New Zealand was for it’s lack of chavs, literally 5 minutes later we walked around the corner and saw a 20 stone Kiwi lady pushing a supermarket trolley with a pitbull next to her kicking a Kiwi man because he had told her to stop ‘messing around with a drug dealer’ – think Kiwi Jeremy Kyle and you’re on the right lines.

To conclude our Wellington visit we had some drinks on the balcony with Chris and watched Indiana Jones! 
Saturday morning we were up at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry over to the south Island. After docking we drove straight down to Nelson to meet a couple of Brogan’s uni friends and we’ve planned to share a villa in Bali! 

North island ✔

Jamie & Brogan

Instagram:

@broganharker

@jamiedenison1993

Meet Ralph

backpacking, Couples, Travel

Following our time in Rotarua, we travelled to Waitomo where the glow worm caves are situated, here we booked onto the Black Labyrinth excursion which saw us put on wetsuits, grab a tube, and head 70 metres underground through the caves… We had to scramble under very low roofs, navigate the rapids and jump backwards from some mini waterfalls, at the end the whole group joined together, switched off our head torches and spent 15 minutes gliding underneath the most densely populated area of glow worms which was unreal (probably the highlight of the trip so far). Unfortunately for safety reasons we couldn’t take the go pro down so you’ll have to take our word for it!!

After the caves we drove straight to Taupo for a 3 night stay at Base Backpackers – this is more of a party hostel but still pretty cool! We chatted to a few travellers during our stay and took part in a quiz (which unfortunately we didn’t win). The hostel is built above its own nightclub and the free ear plugs left on the bed when we checked in were a fairly good indicator of what to expect. On the whole it wasn’t as bad as we expected, the final night was too hot to keep the windows shut and we did have a horrific sleep due to loud bass.

During Taupo we mountain biked over 7 miles to the Huka Falls which was a spectacle and then we relaxed in the natural thermal pools which have 4 ‘difficulty levels’ with the top pool at 41 degrees (one of us made it, I’ll leave you to guess who). On the final day we planned to walk the tongariro crossing (8-9 hour hike), however if anybody is familiar with the term ‘saddle sore’ they will realise why this consequence of the previous days biking inhibited this part of the plan! I’ll be honest I got it worse and as our budget is tight, if somebody could send out sudocrem or nappy rash cream that would be fantastic…

After checking out from Taupo, the second long haul drive (6 hours) to the capital city (Wellington) was completed and that’s where we are tonight! We are back in air bnb’s for the time being as it is cheaper than using booking.com around these areas. As you’ll see from the photos there may have been another reason for booking this accommodation *cough* Ralph. The owner of the house Chris is a top guy and was grateful because with the help of @charliedenison we managed to highlight a cyst on Ralph’s paw which he is going to need treating at the vets!

It’s crazy that in three days we will be catching the ferry down to the south Island and as you can see from the map, we have already covered so much distance in such a short space of time!

Jamie & Brogan

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@jamiedenison1993

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