70 Facts: Our Four Month Backpacking Trip

backpacking, couple, Travel, Travel Tips

It’s hard to summarise in words everything we’ve done so the best way to showcase it is through some facts… 

Travel

 
117 hours of self driving
44 hours of coach journeys
26 public bus rides
15 flights
14 boat trips
12 rented bicycles
11 train journeys
1 crazy tuk tuk

Accommodation

21 Hostels
15 Hotels
8 Air bnb’s
2 Boat sleeps
1 Sleeper train
1 Airport sleep
1 Tent

Highs

42 cities/towns
29 beaches
16 amazing sunsets
15 lakes
12 waterfalls
7 countries
7 temples
6 museums
5 kayaking trips
5 snorkelling trips
4 rides down the luge
3 caves
2 paddle board sessions
2 mountain bike rides
2 shooting stars
1 surfing lesson
1 shot over jet ride
1 cliff jump
1 whale watch
1 black water rafting experience
1 mountain climbed
1 game of mini golf
1 trip to the zoo
Infinite amounts of walking and hikes

Lows

13 bug exterminations
3 bouts of The Bali belly
2 bouts of The Thai tummy
2 bouts of The Saigon squirts
2 packets of Imodium
2 scars
1 foot wound
1 leg wound
1 earthquake
1 missed flight
1 monsoon
1 migraine
1 lost bum bag (later found in a basket)
Infinite insect bites
Infinite repacking of bags

Miscellaneous

109 days without any major fallouts
60 litres of sweat
60 unnecessarily bought protein bars
19 nationalities befriended
18 dogs we named Alfie
14 books read
14 bottles of suncream
7 vodka buckets
6 massages
4 haircuts
4 near death experiences crossing roads
2 kisses from a ladyboy
1 new year in Thailand
1 birthday
1 anniversary
Infinite amounts of street 

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@broganharker

@jamiedenison1993

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!!! 

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@jamiedenison1993

@broganharker

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!

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@jamiedenison1993

@broganharker

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.

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@broganharker

@jamiedenison1993

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