Thanks for the memories Australia!

Can I describe my Australian experience in one word, probably not! The two months I spent in Oz were incredible to say the least, I experienced something new everyday and was constantly amazed not what only by what I achieved but the sites I saw and the people I meet along the way. The Oz Experience pass was a great way to see the sights and as I had no idea what many of the tours involved I was always surprised and pleased by what was offered. Picking an Australia highlight is very difficult, Uluru has long been a dream of mine, however Magnetic Island is definitely an underrated jem. The people I met made my Australian adventure all the better, and as they say you never really travel solo!

Don’t forget to watch out for Kangaroos!
Final night in Sydney
Flying over Sydney was always going to be special

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1,600kms later – Darwin to Alice Springs

The next stage of the tour was the long 1,600km drive to Alice Springs. Starting in Darwin the first day we headed down to Katherine Gorge. Once there we hiked out to a waterhole and waterfall before catching a boat back through the gorge which was truly beautiful.

Katherine Gorge
Another Katherine Gorge snap!
Boat cruise was well deserved after the hike
 

The next day we travelled down from Katherine, first stopping at a thermal river for a swim were I was rather startled by a frog staring up at me from the toilet! From there we headed down south stopping at many a roadhouse or outback pub along the way including the famous Daly Waters Pub – currently for sale if anyone’s interested?! From there we headed on for seemed like an eternity before reaching our campsite for the night.

Spotted at a roadside pub
World famous Daly Waters Pub

The final day of tour and Alice Springs was in site! Only another 600km to go! We headed first to the Devils Marables, another aboriginal site of significance. These rocks were alone amongst an another wise flat landscape. Following stops at many more roadhouses we reached the Tropic of Capricorn before finally heading into Alice Springs!

Devils Marables
It looks slightly like a pacman
Tour group 2!
Avoiding the aliens!
1,600kms later I made it!

Melbourne Adventures

I arrived into Melbourne on Monday lunchtime, and after getting slightly lost on the way to the hostel, I wasted no time heading out and seeing some of the sights. I took the Route 35 team around the CBD in order to check out some of the sites.

Federation Square

On Tuesday morning following a much deserved lie in, I headed out for more exploring. Having previously picked up serval maps for self-guided walking tours, I explored the Melbourne lanes, Fitzroy Gardens and along the banks of the Yarra River, before my legs got too tired to carry me home!

The Lanes
Melbourne street art

Inspiring words in Fitzroy Gardens

Selfie on the Yarra River

The Yarra River

On Wendesday I headed down the Great Ocean Road on a tour organised with Bunyip tours. We visited most of the major sites, including the Twelve Aspostles, Cape Otway Lighthouse, and I saw my first Koala! The tour was a great way to see all the sites of the Great Ocean Road in just a short space of time.

On the Great Ocean Road
Koalas!!
Lighthouse selfie
Cape Otway Lighthouse
Beach selfie
Selfie along the Great Ocean Road

12 Apostles

Thursday, was the day that I’d been looking forward to for a long time: the Neighbours Tour! We headed out to Ramsay Street and around the outdoor sets – and I even saw Dr Karl! In the afternoon, I headed over to St Kilda on the tram. After wandering around the streets and through the Botantic Gardens, I grabbed dinner at a evening market before being treated to the most spectacular sunset over the sea and a quick glimpse of the Penguins on the pier.

On Ramsay Street

In front of Karl and Susan’s house!


Meeting James Mason who used to play to play Chris Pappas

Melbourne skyline from St Kilda Pier

Melbourne sunset
Penguins on St Kilda Pier

It only took four days for Melbourne to win my heart, but alas Sydney called!

So long Singapore

Well my flight is delayed yet again, but at least I’ve had a business class upgrade to make it a bit more bearable! My last few days in Singapore have been super busy with lots of sightseeing.

On Friday I visited the Cloud Forest at the Gardens by the Bay and had a browse around the large shopping centre, managing to pick up a few freebies along the way. Friday night was also Chinese New Year’s Eve and I meet up with members of my tour group in the evening to join in the celebrations first in Chinatown and then in Marina Bay.

In the Cloud Forest

Against a wall of leaves

Welcoming in the year of the Rooster

Fireworks at midnight!

On Saturday I headed down to Clarke Quay to soak in the atmosphere and grab a spot of lunch. While Clark Quay was quiet, it was a nice area to wonder around and I imagine it comes alive in the evening! On Saturday evening I headed to the world famous night safari at Singapore Zoo, where I saw various animals including lions, tigers, elephants and hyenas. The night safari was unlike any other zoo experience I’ve had before and something I’d definitely recommend should you find yourself in Singapore.

Mexican on the waterfront

Zebras at the night safari
Elephants at the night safari

Night Safari selfie!

On my final day in Singapore I headed down to the Botanic Gardens and the National Orchid Garden for a wander round before gathering my things and heading to the airport.

Barack Obama Orchid in the National Orchid Garden

More orchids

Orchid selfie!

Singapore airport is something else. After arriving and checking in my bag I was rather too excited to discover I’d been upgraded to business class! I took a dip in the airport pool and although my flight was delayed the upgrade definitely softened the blow.

Too excited by the thought of a free upgrade!

Just chilling in business class

106,000 steps later, it’s safe to say Singapore you’ve been a blast!

Heading South

First of all apologies for the radio silence over the last week. I’ve been heading south through Thailand and Malaysia and now find myself in Kuala Lumpur. My final few days in Thailand saw island hopping, lots of beaches and a sun tan.

Looking for Leo in Maya Bay

Sea and sun on Tup Island

After the final day in Krabi and a full day drive I found myself across the boarder in Penang, Malaysia. Country number two! The first day was spend with an amazing guide Steven, learning all about the history of the city and visiting the many sites, before day two was spent looking at the street art in the area.

Group selfie with the Chinese lanterns

View over Penang / Georgetown

Street art in Georgetown

From Penang, we transferred to the Cameroon Highlands on a bus which can only be considered as the height of luxury for a day trekking in the rainforest. I was super proud of the fact that I managed to complete the two hour rainforest trek without falling over! Our day out also consisted of trips to a tea plantation and strawberry farm.

Pre- jungle trek

With the worlds largest flower

In the tea fields!

I now find myself in Kuala Lumpur. I spent the first afternoon visiting church where my mum was christened and my grandparents married and now I find myself wandering round the other sites with the rest of my group.

Most photographed structure in KL

Following the family history trail

Goodbye Bangkok, hello Sunshine 

My last few days in Bangkok involved visiting the Skybar, Chatuchack Weeekend market and exploring a few more temples. I said goodbye to my hostel friends on Saturday evening following a longer than expected walk back from the market through the streets of Bangkok.

View from the Skybar in Bangkok

I then joined up with the G Adventures group I was going to be travelling with down to Singapore for my final day in Bangkok. While many of the groups opted to visit the Wat Pho and Grand Palace, sites I had already visited; I decided to spend the day exploring on my own the Golden Mount and other temples.

At the top of the Golden Mount – 344 steps later!

Our trip down to Krabi was on the overnight train – which was rather comfortable despite the bumpiness. We arrived in Ao Nang early in the morning and headed straight over to a local beach for sunbathing and chill time before heading off for a sunset kayak later in the evening. I may already be sunburnt – but I’m looking forward to the next few days relaxing by the sea.

I can think of worse places to spend a Monday morning

Kayak trip yesterday evening