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… 


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


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


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


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


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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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 




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 




Top Tips- 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! 


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!


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!


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.


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.


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. 


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!


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!


Jamie & Brogan




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




    We smelt it before we saw it

    backpacking, Couples, Travel

    The travels are still in full swing, the wallets are taking a beating, but we are adopting the ‘once in a lifetime’ mentality. Having to unpack and repack our bags on a nearly daily basis is becoming monotonous but life is pretty sweet all things considered… We had the pleasure of staying with relatives on Wednesday for one night in Tauranga in their luxurious house complete with hot tub, pool and two lovely dogs.

    Following lunch, we headed straight out to conquer Mount Maunganui which is on our hosts’ doorstep and is also home to some pretty impressive views! The walk was harder than we anticipated with some steep inclines in places. Once we reaches the top we met two Kiwi gentleman who were intrigued by us Brits and were interested in our plans/our bag of assorted nuts. After enjoying some well earned dinner at the bottom of the mountain (Pronto Burgers) we returned home and called it a day. The following morning we said our goodbyes.

    Whenever we embark on a new chapter in the travelling book we experience mixed emotions… excitement at the prospect of new territory, but apprehension because when you’re on a budget you tend not to be so confident about the conditions in which you will be sleeping each night. It’s fair to say that the accommodation in Rotarua named ‘Hot Spring B&B Kiwi’ has been the most peculiar so far. The building is home to around 5-10 Japanese individuals, with the decor reflecting this. We were greeted by a reserved and quiet lady who showed us around, within minutes the rules were being fired at us… shoes are to be left outside, no eating or drinking in the rooms, no showers past 11pm, clean up signs in every room, perhaps the most amusing of all, a curfew at 10pm, following which the outside doors would be locked! It should be said that the hosts have been immensely polite and the speed at which our dirty plates dissappear is astounding considering we never see these ninjas! One really cool feature is a large walk in hot spring bath which is filled with naturally heated volcanic water generated from underground- definitely the highlight of this stay!

    Now Rotarua is quite unique for one strange reason… there is an intermittent stench of rotten eggs which follows you no matter where you go, this is due to the sulphur, and although quite unpleasant at times is a result of the geothermal activity in the area which is the base of all the interesting activities that happen in Rotarua. In terms of our experiences, where do we start… we have been to a huge natural waterfall bath named ‘Kerosene Creek’ which is that hot it took Brogan a good 15 minutes to get her knees in, visited Waiotapu thermal wonderland which contained a variety of geothermal wonders (Brogan genuinely walked the entire route pinching her nose as the rotten eggs were intense here).Today we visited Hobbiton where The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed, this was genuinely brilliant as it showcased the extensive efforts that underpinned the production! We learnt that the entire set was taken down after the first trilogy and then rebuilt entirely for the hobbit, Peter Jackson also made one poor soul repaint 240,000 artifical tree leaves a different shade of green as he wasnt satisfied with the first attempt! This afternoon we went on a tree top walk through the Redwoods forest, and tomorrow we are booked onto the Black Labyrinth water rafting tour. This 3 hour adventure through the Waitomo Caves will see us stick on a wetsuit and venture down into the natural currents of the caves on tubes where the famous glow worms live! From here we head down to Taupo and are back in the good old hostels which will, I’m sure entail more interesting tales…

    Jamie & Brogan




    Backpacking with Airbnb

    backpacking, Travel

    So with our next destination came the first of the long drives… five and a half hours to Whitianga (fit-ee-anga), although this would induce suicide on anything resembling the M62 or M1, cruising through forests on smooth roads and passing multiple insane view points along the way, the five hours soon passed. So following our interesting hostel experience we thought we would change it up a bit and give Airbnb a go (for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Airbnb is a platform for people to rent a room out in their actual houses while they continue to live in them… strange I know). We were slightly anxious approaching the house where we would be staying for the next few nights, primarily brought on by the abandoned cars, run down houses and the large social services building on the doorstep, we began to wonder if this was New Zealand’s answer to benefits street. Anyway we parked up on the grass and on approach were greeted by a middle aged kiwi couple who were friendly and interested in all of our plans for the month, after a good chat they showed us to our room and we decided to have an early night, ready to visit Cathedral Cove in the morning. One thing we are becoming aware of is the trust that New Zealanders have in their communities, windows are left wide open all day when nobody is home and cars are left running with no owner in sight, it’s a refreshing environment to be in.

    Our time in Whitianga has consisted of Cathedral Cove which looks like something plucked from a postcard, forest walks, incredible sea food in Coromandel town and today we hiked to a place called New Chums beach… not a shop in sight or any form of money making ventures, just completely unspoilt paradise. We also went to the Hot Water beach which is an area on the sand which the underlying volcano heats up to form boiling hot water, you are given a spade and literally dig your own hot tub – the combination of volcanic water and sea water makes for a bath like temperature. After struggling to make any serious headway on the hot tub, we began making jokes to a couple across from us who were also having difficulties, we decided to combine forces and made the best hot tub on the beach! The two guys Celene and Rieki were from Canada and we ended up chilling with them for a couple of hours and plan to meet them again at some point on our trip. In summary it’s been another brilliant leg of the journey and we are loving every minute of it.

    Tomorrow morning we drive south down to Tauranga and are staying with relatives who have kindly put us up for the night before we climb Mount Maunganui (it’s not as intense as it sounds).

    Jamie & Brogan




    Finding our feet in the land of the Kiwi

    backpacking, Travel

    So after 22 hours of flying and 8 hours of airport mooching we safely arrived in Kiwi land. The first task was to collect the car which was surprisingly nice considering the price we paid! After the most laid back handover service we were given the keys and dropped off our bags at the hotel which we booked near the airport as we knew we would be shattered. To avoid falling asleep at 10am we took a drive to Auckland and had some lunch by the harbour with some incredible views. At about 6pm the jet lag properly set in and we had to succumb to sleep and enjoyed a monumental 12 hour sleep until 6am the following morning.

    On Friday morning we got straight off and drove 3 and a half hours north where the bay of islands resides. Even the drive was enjoyable, one minute you’ll be cruising through subtropical forests and the next, driving alongside the coast, every now and again passing a sleepy village. For two nights we are staying in the pickled parrot backpacker hostel in a double room, everybody has been friendly and on arrival we got chatting to a nice German guy (who will return to the story later). The bay of islands is beautiful, we explored the beaches and had lunch, after this we walked up to the rainbow falls which looked like something you see on a postcard!

    So our first night in the hostel was going well, nice comfy bed, fairly quiet, not too warm, pretty ideal really. At about 3am Brogan wakes me up to inform me that somebody is 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 dangling from his hand. So 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 the ‘nice German guy’  who was heavily intoxicated and trying to find his room, he also had a stray cat between his legs (it’s worth mentioning that the cat’s tail was what gave the illusion of a crow bar). Thankfully he realised the error of his ways, drunkenly apologised, and wandered off to his own room…

    Today we went kayaking around the bay of islands which was surreal, we bumped into two other British kayakers and all paddled to an island where we found a completely deserted beach! Tonight we are going to join our new friends for a few drinks before our 5 hour journey to Whitianga in the morning. All in all the first few days of travelling have been unbelievable and we can’t wait to continue exploring!

    Jamie & Brogan