The Whitsunday Islands

Ahoy captain…

20th, 21st &22nd September 2017

I’ve had a bit of experience being on a boat in England but I don’t think I’d be able to ever beat the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands.

We were on the boat, named Broomstick for 3 days and 2 nights, soaked up the sun, snorkelled with the fishes and turtles, watched the sunset and gazed at the stars. It was honestly the best few days spent with some new friends. There were 19 of us on the boat not including the captain, Rob, and 2 crew, Saskia and Mertha who were so great, they had so much knowledge and had the answers to all our questions. The group of people we were on the boat with were good fun too, it was always going to be a risk throwing a bunch of people together on a boat but because of the boat we had picked luckily it was all similarly minded people. You’re never going to get on with everyone but we found out kind of people and bonded. 

I’m going to let the pictures do the talking with this post so get ready for the stunning views!

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Side note… I saw so many more views but a lot of the time I didn’t take my phone as I didn’t want to take it off the boat to the beaches! So I’m hoping that my mind keeps it in my memory for ever! (if not google will help trigger).

Final note… we had nachos on an island and it was the best thing I have ever eaten/experienced in my life. 

After we got off the boat we headed back to Airlie beach for a night and I really liked it and would like to go back and explore some more if we have the opportunity. 

Next stop, Noosa for a trip to Fraser Island…

Speak soon,

Hannah x

 

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Magnetic Island

Barbie car dreams

16, 17 & 18th September 2017

Magnetic Island or ‘Maggie‘ as it is to the locals was the first stop on our east coast trip. After getting our very first greyhound to Townsville we jumped on the ferry for a 20 minute journey to the island. Once off the ferry, we had an eventful bus journey to the hostel (note to self: don’t get on a public bus with your big ass cases in rush hour). 

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BASE hostel is where we were staying and the view was something like off a postcard. It was a big site and had lots going on, a lot busier than our hostel in Cairns.

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We stayed in a beach hut which thankfully was bigger inside than it looked!

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We arrived in the evening and after filling our bellies we sat looking out onto the sea with a fruity cocktail. Bliss after a day travelling.

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DAY 1:

We were up early and eager to start the day because we had managed to secure a Barbie car for the day, which we could drive around the island exploring, living all our childhood Barbie dreams! We hired the car from a company called ‘Tropical Topless’ and it was reasonably priced at $90 for the day. 

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The island has lots of stunning spots, a favourite of ours was Picnic Bay, where we sat for a while and soaked up the sun and even had a dip in the sea, the first time we have been allowed in the sea since being in Oz! The island isn’t very big which is what makes it so good as you can just hop form bay to bay finding your own quiet spots and feeling like you’re on a private beach. 

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The roads on the island are winding and are quite hilly but when you can get views like this it is so worth it. Luckily for us in Australia you drive on the left so we adjusted to the roads easily. 

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We caught the beautiful sunset looking out onto the sea and it’s these moments that make you pinch yourself, reminding you that hard work pays off and makes all the saving worth it. 

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DAY 2:

Four words… Bungalow Bay Koala Village.

Do you even go to Australia if you don’t take pictures with a Koala? 

What a whirlwind of an afternoon! This was by far the most fun I’ve had so far. Starting off with turtles, the ranger guided tour talks you through the animals whilst letting you hold and interact with them.  From turtles to crocs and all the different types of lizards in between the tour lets you release your inner inquisitive child and ask all the questions you want, silly or not. My favourite part of the animals was their names, they all had really normal human names like Kevin and Beth the lizards and Kelly the turtle. 

The main attraction was obviously the Koalas. Hagrid and Pebbles, were hands down the cutest damn things I’ve ever seen. They are SO soft and chilled, they spend 18-20 hours a day sleeping (GOALS) and always look like they have a smile on their face. Hagrid was in the tree and you could go in and stroke him whilst he slept and Pebbles was the star of the show who we got to hold.  They were both so chilled but it was important to us that we knew they were being looked after. The Koalas are only allowed to ‘work’ or be held for 30 minutes a day a few days a week so they can get all their sleep and aren’t distressed. 

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The evening of day 2 was filled with more fruity cocktails and some brilliant BINGO ran by the hostel. We were sat right near the front so had a great spot and even won a few free drinks and had a bit of sing song! All in all, a great night on a great island.

Magnet island is 100% a must see and with all the beach areas is one of the least expensive stops on the trip! We had the best couple of days and would recommend it to anyone on their east coast trip!

Next stop, Airlie beach for our Whitsundays adventure….

Speak soon,

Hannah x

Waterfall Wanderers

Mysterious girl on repeat

Thursday 14th September 2017


Today we headed to the Atherton Tablelands and went waterfall spotting. 

We were picked up at 7am by the most cheerful bus driver I have ever met! His name was Jim and he honestly made the trip. Jim is the king of dad jokes and has the best timed music playlist I have ever heard, from waterfalls by TLC as the waterfall came into view to blasting the YMCA on the way home. 

We went to 8 different spots throughout the day, the first being about an hour and half north of Cairns but the journey didn’t feel bad at all because Jim had so many facts about the rain forest and the views kept you occupied.

Stop number 1: Babinda Boulders.
Filled with aboriginal history of a tragic love story which you can read about here

Stop number 2: Josephine Falls.
The first swim stop of the day was the beautiful Josephine Falls which has a natural water slide which was amazing, it was so fun! You have to be careful though because the rocks are so slippery! I slipped and fell down the rocks more times than I like to admit but so did everyone so I wasn’t alone, and Jim was always on hand to help you back up! Just another reason Jim was so good he was the first in the water and last out! He took some fab pictures for us all. The water was so clear, with little to no current and it was so refreshing to jump into after being in the heat, a welcome break after being in the salty sea!


Stop number 3: Millaa Millaa Falls
Que the music. Yes you heard correct, this is the scene of the iconic Peter Andre music video for Mysterious girl. It’s famous for a few other adverts such as herbal essence shampoo hair flips and and an advert for Quantas, but who cares when you can transport back to the nineties and pretend you are shooting your own version of the song? Of course Jim was an expert at getting the perfect shot for all our Instagram needs, I will say that the longer the hair, the better. 


Stop number 4: Malanda Pub
Time for lunch! Here we stopped at the Malinda pub that is over 100 years old and is like an old tavern for some pub grub which was well needed after a morning of adventure! The pub had some great trinkets and posters on the wall showing it’s history. 

Stop number 5: Mount Hypipamee
This was a nice bush walk up to an 85 metre deep volcanic crater. It was a really nice walk but I’m not going to lie, I was on edge thinking about what was hiding in the trees and bushes! 


Stop number 6: Curtain Fig Tree
This was a really interesting looking tree and that has 15 metre high tree roots that have engrossed another tree. 


Stop number 7: Platypus Viewing
Just before the last stop we went to a little creek to go and look for some platypus. Unfortunately we didn’t see any but Jim did say it was mating season so I think they were a little busy! 

Stop number 8: Lake Eacham
The final stop was the breathtaking Lake Eacham. This dormant volcanic crater is filled with turtles and supposedly a crocodile! The water is a warm 23 degrees day and night and it was so lovely to sit and watch the sunset to end a fantastic day.

Overall the waterfall wanderers trip was honesty so worth it. We were dropped of by Jim at about 6pm after having a good old sing a long on the journey home! Not only did we stop at 8 different viewing spots we were well fed andal kept entertained in between stops not just by Jim but the stunning views of the Atherton Tablelands, I would 100% recommend.

Next stop Magnetic Island…

Speak soon,

Hannah x

P.S. Shout out to Jess and Alex for sticking by me when I wasn’t feeling my inner wanderer and was struggling with the bugs and stuff. I am and will always be a big city girl at heart. 

The Great Barrier Reef

Real life finding Nemo

Wednesday 13th September 2017

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I found paradise.

We booked a boat trip to the reef and it was everything I wanted it to be. We left at 9am and didn’t get back until 5pm. I’m not going to lie the first part of the journey on the boat to the reef was a bit hit and miss. I’ve been out on a boat plenty of times in Wales where the water is about 50 shades darker and the sea a lot choppier, but for some reason my stomach was not loving the Australian waters! Thankfully it calmed down once we stopped and I managed to pull myself together enough to snorkel.

The view on the way out was stunning, I’ve never seen anything like it. The only way I can describe it is that it was like a green screen, it didn’t look real. There are lots of islands surrounding Cairns and each one is slightly different, making it unique.

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It was cloudy in the morning but the sky cleared as the morning went on, leaving blue skies and clear sea for miles. It really put things into perspective as to how big the world is, it is 70% water after all.

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We went to two spots of the reef, the names however I cannot remember! The first was filled with fish and coral, it was insane how close you were to everything. It was my first time snorkelling and it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately for me, due to my asthma I wasn’t able to do a dive, but Jess and Alex both did it and I am so proud of them! They said it was incredible to go deeper and see more kinds of fish and they even had some great pictures with a real life Nemo! There was a clown fish family and luckily the photographer got some great shots.

After that we had lunch and soaked up the sun on the top deck of the boat.

The next spot we went to was a small cay, which is a small island of sand in the middle of the sea, or as you can see from the pictures, paradise. We got to swim and snorkel over to it and it was just stunning. I know I keep saying it but it just doesn’t seem real, the most memorable sighting of the trip was a royal blue starfish that looked like it had a velvet texture. It was so bright and beautiful it really reminds you how important it is to protect the reef and the life in it. We spent about an hour on the cay, just letting the waves take us in and out, counting the fish go by, it is a moment I will cherish forever.

Next stop, the rainforest…

Speak soon,

Hannah x

I’M HERE!

Can you believe it? I can’t

The past week has been a whirlwind and a half! I left Manchester a week a go and have been in Cairns for 5 nights now. I’m not going to lie to you the journey was tough! I haven’t done a long haul flight in over 10 years so the first flight to Hong Kong was a lot. 11 hours on a plane is a long time, I managed to get though 2 films and a whole TV series! We had a 14 hour stop in Hong Kong and went to Hong Kong Disney land which although was fun, I was really struggling with jet lag and the humidity was too much to handle! The next flight was 7 hours so felt small in comparison to the first. I won’t dwell on the journey as it wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable experience! 

Now for the good bit…

I have one word for this place and that is BEAUTIFUL! Cairns its self is quite a small city by the sea, you can’t swim in the sea though because it’s full of things that want to eat us! Instead of risking a dip in the dangerous waters it has an esplanade alongside the sea, leading to a stunning man made lagoon.

 

We have spent most of our time by the lagoon and the rest of the time sorting out all the life admin that comes with going travelling! I finally have an Australian sim card now and have set up an account with job search which will help with finding a job when funds get low!

I am keen not to let my fitness slip whilst over here and how can you say no to a run when you have these views? The esplanade is perfect for running but speaking from experience it is 100% best to go either early morning before 9am or late afternoon, after 4pm. Foolishly, I though it was a good idea to go at 2 in the afternoon yesterday and the heat was horrible! 

 

We have 4 nights left here in Cairns and then we are beginning our trip down the east coast making 4 stops en route to Brisbane. But before we go we can’t leave without going snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef and taking a trip to Daintree rainforest! So expect some more spam from that in the next few days! 

I have been collecting some things for my scrapbook so I will update that shortly but as always I’m making no promises!

Speak soon,

Hannah x

Last Day In Work

Day 1 of unemployment…

Friday 11th August 2017 will forever now be known as the day I finally left my job. What started as a 6 week summer temp job when I was fresh out of uni turned into a pretty busy 2 years. 

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I got lots of lovely cards and gifts in my last few weeks and they were really unexpected so shout out the teaching staff that bought me the flowers and the goodies you really made me feel appreciated. The things that people wrote in the cards really mean a lot and I will miss the people at work very much, but I’m not going to lie I am glad to leave! 

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From the office, the people I work with the most got me a bag full of treats and I am all about the puns. The bag included:

Even good girls get their hands dirty
Cucumber & mint cleansing hand gel 

These lips were made for kissing (and eating cake)
Peppermint lip balm

SMILE
Handy compact mirror

Ah..aah…aaah A-TISHOOS!
10 pocket tissues

You’re mucky but I love you
10 handy little wet wipes

All of these items are travel size and will come in so handy for the flight as during my 36 hours travel time I’m going to need to do some freshening up! 

Another present in my gift bag was some DKNY Women limited edition perfume which smells AMAZING it is so fresh and light just what I’m going to want to smell like in Aus. Unfortunately it’s a little big for my rucksack so it will going the case but it will 100% coming with!

The person I work most closely with is Chloe and like the little gem she is, she got me a lovely bracelet to match the one she got me at Christmas. They are from a brand called JOMA Jewellery and they come with a little message, this one says:

This little bracelet reminds us to see adventure awaits, life’s full of possibilities!

The message really hits home and just adds to the already brimming excitement that I am feeling!

FullSizeRender (12)The bracelet on the left with the envelope attached is the one Chloe gifted me on Friday and the one on the right with the flowers is the one she got me at Christmas. 

Leaving work felt really surreal, as I was walking down the stairs leaving it just didn’t feel like that was the last time. I think for the first week it will just feel like I am on holiday, it will definitely be a while before it sinks in that I have left and that I am unemployed… hopefully not for too long! 

Either way I plan to enjoy my time off making sure I get to see my family and friends before I go.

Speak soon,

Hannah x

P.S 3 WEEKS

1 Month & Counting…

30 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes

Can you believe it? I can’t. Months and months of planning and it’s almost here!

Things to do in the next 4 weeks:

  • 5 days in work
  • Leaving drinks
  • PACK (with the help of friends because I cannot be trusted to pack alone)

Plus a few other things but those are the biggies. 

I can remember writing the 18 and 11 weeks and counting posts and it seeming so far away and now it feels so close, I think what gets me the most excited is the fact I only have 4 weekends left and plans for each of them so I know they will fly bye so my main mission is to enjoy and soak up all the time left I have with my family.

There’s a slight tinge of sadness with it in that I am struggling to fit in saying my ‘bye for now’s’ because people are so busy and I want to make sure that I get to see all my friends and family before I go. Goodbye’s are something I struggle with and I don’t think anyone really likes them. This is why I have been calling them my ‘bye for now’s’  because I know I will see them again and with technology these days such as, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, there really is no excuse to not stay in touch. I’ll be spamming my friends Instagrams with pictures of beautiful views (and selfies) so they’ll have no choice but see what I’m up to! 

Still buzzing with so many emotions but one things for sure the excitement is overflowing!

Any tips on smart packing, send them my way! 

Speak soon,

Hannah x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Went To The Zoo!

The final birthday gift

Alex, Jess and myself went to Chester Zoo over the weekend and it was fab. We had such nice weather which I think was the reason the animals were all out to play. 

My favourites were the Giraffes and they were in their outside area which was really good as they were so close!

Recently a new Giraffe was born and he was out to play! He was adorable and although he looks tiny compared to the adults he is still very tall!  

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Other highlights included the Lions, Penguins and all the different types of monkeys who were so playful! We also got to see the Cheetahs at feeding time which was a good interaction to watch as it really showed they’re personalities.

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We walked through the Butterfly house which is a “free flying zone” and one of the butterflies saw Jess’s coat and though it was a good place to rest so landed on her shoulder! She was so calm, I freaked out a little i’m not going to lie but still managed to get a good picture!

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They have a mirror as you are leaving the house that is there for you to check if any have landed on you so you don’t leave with them and they escape! 

Another free flying zone is the Bat house. Past experiences in this have been a little scary i’m not going to lie! They come so close to you it is a little “jumpy” and its pitch black so you can’t really see anything! We were stopped outside in a small que as they have to limit the amount of people going in and out now due to the bats learning that if they hover near the exit, they can escape! How funny?! So as you are leaving the keeper is stood by the exit and opens the first door for you and shuts it straight behind you. As I left two followed me so they ended up trapped in the exit! This meant Alex was trapped with the bats for a bit longer as the keeper had to spend a few minutes catching them and getting them back in! 

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Overall we had a lovely day and it was nice to go and visit the animals before we jet off on our travels and i’m sure we will visit the Australia Zoo and see some more!

Speak soon,

Hannah x

P.S TODAY MARKS 7 WEEKS TILL THE BIG DAY 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Weeks & Counting…

How will you know it’s the right decision if you never make it?

This week has been a week. I went from telling work about my travel plans, giving them a heads up that in a few weeks I would be handing in my notice to actually handing in my notice yesterday and all of a sudden it got real, real quick.

Definitely not in a bad way, it felt so good to finally share this secret that I’ve been bursting to tell everyone but it also made me feel slightly anxious because I just confirmed the date I leave my job, loosing that security of having a monthly income. I started this job as an innocent graduate, fresh out of university ready to enter the ‘real world’ and what started as a 6 week summer job turned into a permanent position that has 100% had its ups and downs. 

The reaction form my colleagues has been really heartwarming, they have all been so positive about what I’ve decided to do. Although they are gutted to loose me (obviously), they understand why I am going and the majority have said they wish they could do the same or wish they would have done it when they had the chance! I will will be sad to say goodbye as I have made some friends for life but I cannot wait to go for my leaving drinks and have a good old gossip before I leave.

Although scary, I know for sure I wouldn’t be able to get through this stress without my amazing friends and family so shout out to them for keeping me sane! 

Speak soon,

Hannah x

 

It’s The Little Things

Language Barrier?

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Mum gave me this yesterday and I absolutely cracked up! I can tell i’m going to have endless fun with this during the build up and once I get to Aus. 

It took a while for Mum and Dad to come round to the idea that I was disappearing for a year and only recently are they starting to engage in more conversations about me going. They’ve always been supportive but I’ve not long been back from 3 years at uni and I think they secretly love having me around! 

Of course I will miss them like crazy too and this present really made me realise that its going to be the little things that I will miss. 

Apart from the obvious ones like thongs being flip flops, one of my favourites is that household linen in Aus is known as manchester! Not sure how true they are but I will try them out and let you know how I get on!

It works both ways because I can’t wait to test the Aussie’s on their knowledge and introduce them to some Mancunian slang!

Speak soon,

Hannah x

P.s Tomorrow marks 14 weeks till the big day!