A Travellerspoint blog

Brisbane, Surfers and Australia Day

After an amazing time in Cairns and a great road trip with Yaz we were feeling a little low. Brisbane was very rainy and when we went for a 10 minute walk we came back absolutely drenched through. We could see the beauty of Brisbane though. It had a lovely walk alongside a river and lots of free museums and art gallerys with some interesting things. No beach but a nice man made lagoon. We did a spot of shopping and I bought a new pair of running shoes to hopefully get me back into my fitness! Two days was plenty of time in Brisbane so we headed down to Surfers Pardise to get back to the beaches!
rainy day in brisbane

rainy day in brisbane


Our hostel in Surfers was little horrible but it had a swimming pool, a bbq and was 5 mins walk from the beach. Everything you need for Australia Day! We woke up fairly early and went to the beach to catch some rays. Pretty muh everyone in Australia cracks open there first beer early on in the morning but Em and I had had a fairly heavy last couple of days so waited til midday for our first cider. We went back to our hostel where it was all kicking off. The bbq was going and Triple J was on the radio playing 'The Hottest 100 song of the Last Year'. It was a great crowd in our hostel and we were there with the same guys we had been in Cairns with so it was heaps of fun. Emma and I didn't even bother heading to the bars and clubs as we were happy just staying at the hostel. The next day was a struggle though. It was a day for falling asleep on the beach which is exactly what we did.
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The next day we were off to meet my friend Bella from Melbourne. She was flying up to visit. We also had Sarah with us, a Canadian girl we had been hanging out with at the hostel. We went to meet Bella at the airport only to find she was suprising me by bringing Sam up too! Oh my God what a suprise! So happy to see them both. I used to spend pretty much every single day with them in Melbourne. We all worked together so it was so nice to be reunited! We made a last minute decision to all rent a car and drive down to Byron Bay. It was only an hour south so we were there in no time. Byron Bay was beautiful but very expensive. We went on a walk to a lighthouse with a stunning view out to sea, chilled out on the beach and barbequed! The next night we drove down to Nimbin through extremely windy roads. Nimbin is the hippiest little town I've ever been to! It has lots of hippy shops, a hippy museum and we stayed in a comfy little hippy hostel! We didnt have long there unfortunately as we had to go back up to Gold Coast to drop Sam and Bella off for their flight. On the way back up to Gold Coast we stopped off at a couple walks. One of the walks was 45 minutes round trip but Emma accidentally stood on an ant home and got bitten a couple of times on the bottom of her foot so had to limp for a short while. Then we went swimming in the waterfall and climbed around the rocks. Then we stopped off at another waterfall. As there hadn't been much rain here recently there was no water flowing so we could actually stand at the top of the fall and look down! It made us feel a bit queasy! A few hours later we were back at Gold Coast Airport saying bye to Bella and Sam. A short but fun couple of days. Sarah, Emma and I had the car for one more night so we parked it along the beach and slept in there. Early in the morning we drove to Dream World which is Australia's biggest theme park and had the day there! Lots of big and scary rollercoasters and a water park too. Still not as good as Thorpe Park in my opinion though! Haha! We dropped the car back off after that and Emma and I went our seperate ways. Emma is off to Melbourne to try and find a job and I'm hanging around the East Coast waiting for my parents to arrive! Yay! I think Sarah and I are going to head back up north to do Fraser Island.

Posted by amcara91 02:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Road Trip to Brisbane!

Emma and I bussed it down to Airlie Beach where we finally saw some sun! Us being British and sun deprived we obviously got sunburnt lying on the beach. No worries though a cold shower and some aloe vera sorted us out! We met up with my friend, Yaz, who I had travelled with in Japan and she was driving us down from Airlie Beach to Brisbane with some stop offs along the way. I'm not going to lie, this was a while ago and I'm struggling to remember the names of everywhere we stopped off at. The first place was between Airlie and Mackay. It was a waterfall that we swam in and jumped off rocks into the water. We saw lots of cookaburrys and lizards. Next stop was Mackay where we stayed at Yaz's house. We ate our weight in Mexican and Ice Cream and had an early night before heading down to Rockhampton. Not much happening in Roackhampton but stayed the night in a cheap motel and had an Indian.
underwater fun

underwater fun

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GOPR0946_1390370798046_high


Rising early to go and watch the sunrise at 5.24am. So beautiful and worth the early morning! We then droe down to Bundaberg where we had hoped to do a tour of the Rum Distillery but unfortunately it was closed so we moved on to Hervey Bay. Such a beautiful seaside town so obviously had to get a fish and chips. Haha we really did explore all cuisines on this road trip! We sat on the beach with a cider and watched to moon rise (a sunrise and moon rise all in one day!). We deliberated doing Fraser Island but it was a bit expensie and we were running out of time so headed on down to Noosa, an amazing surfing town! A splash in the sea and a quick sun bake (that's what the ozzys say) then we headed to Yaz's friends for the night. We were sat outside the house when the sky suddenly turned black with bats! It was so insane! Not small bats but big ones! Flying in sync for a good 10 minutes before they flew off somewhere else. No one knew why they did it apparently it never usually happens. There were thousands of them! We went out to a couple of bars to see what Noosa nightlife had to offer. It ended up being really good and we bumped into some people we hung out with in Cairns AND we bumped into someone Emma and I went to school with. What a coincidence!
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A slightly hungover morning before heading to The Glass House Mountains. Now, I really can't remember the name of the mountain we climbed but Christ what we did was even more crazier than bungee jumping! Yaz had told us that the mountain got quite steep nd rocky in parts but that it was a fairly easy climb. Bearing in mind Yaz is the youngest in her family and has 4 big brothers so she's fairly crazy! Emma and I thought no bother sounds fine! So we started off on a forest pathway thinking this is easy we can do this. We ignored a sign that stated the climb was for experienced climbers only. As we got higher the path turned rocky and as we looked up even higher I could see people in the distance who looked the wear crawling down the mountain on there hands and knees, facing out. When I mentioned this to Yaz she brushed it off saying that it was just easier to do it that way. Then we hit the rocky steep part. Just before the rocky steep part there was a flat bit where a guy was playing the guitar and Emma decided to stay with him while Yaz and I continued. I have never been so scared in my life. It was so steep and we had to do the whole use finger and toe tips to climb up. The problem was we had planned climbing up after the hottest part of the day but that meant the sun had been on the rock all afternoon and it was roasting! The sun was on our backs the whole time and we had to stop and rest in every shadey bit we could find. Yaz was worried we were going to get heat stroke I was 100% more worried about falling off the rock to my death. It got to the point where we were resting behind large rocks and spiders and ants crawled all over me but I wasn't even bothered! I just wanted to get to the top. Going up was scary but I didn't even want to think about going down! We powered through all the way to the top which took just over an hour. The view was unreal. I felt like I was on top of the world. We took some photos and rested for about 20mins and then headed back down. My legs were like jelly which did not help the situation. We bumped into a couple just before the rocky bit who had harnesses and rock climbing shoes on. Yaz and I were wearing converse and vans. Oh well, what goes up must come down! We went down slowly and carefully, cing the view pretty much the whole time. Every now and then turning around to the rock. When Emma was in sight I breathed a sigh of relief. It suddenly hit us that we had left Emma there with no water, no phone, no car keys and a stranger playing the guitar. Luckily she was fine if not slightly dehydrated. She had been speaking to the man who was called Dj. DJ told Emma about a short cut on the way down so we headed that way. However it was not a path and we found ourselves deep inside the forest getting whipped by branches and slipping down grassy verges. The sun was starting to set and we were getting pretty nervous. Just before we were about to head back up we came across a path. Thank God we hadn't turned around! We had to come to a decision, left or right. We chose right. Wrong answer! We walked for about 15 minutes before realising we weren't getting anywhere so turned around and ran! Path or no path we did not want to be in that forest when it was dark! Eveything looked fuzzy to me, like almost smokey and I thought it was because I wasn't wearing my glasses but when I mentioned it to the others they had noticed it as well. Weird. We passed a couple of signs saying the forest was renowned for having forest fires. Just to add to our list of worries! It was too late on in the day for a forest fire to start though. Finally we came to a look out which we had passed on the way up. Never been so happy before in my life! Ten minutes later we were back in the car and on our way to Claundrawhere Yaz's brother lives. Another free night of accomodation! A thai takeaway and a good night sleep. We were all so grateful to be in a house with comfy beds and a good shower that night!
a beach day in Noosa

a beach day in Noosa


The next day it was time for Em and I to head to Brisbane while Yaz set off for Sydney. On our way to the train station Yaz recieved a text saying that the mountain we had climbed up yesterday had a huge forest fire and all the climbers had to be rescued by helicopter. Whaaaaat?! How lucky we were not to have been up there! That would have explained the smokey haze the previous day, I guess! The fact that we'd split up on the mountain as well. It would have been so scary. Luckily eveyone who had been up there was rescued safe and sound. That was the end of our road tripping with Yaz! A brilliant tour guide.

Posted by amcara91 02:22 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Crazy Cairns

rain 30 °C

I met up with one of my best friends from home Emma, at the airport in Cairns. It was perfect timing really as her flight from Melbourne arrived a couple hours after mine. We headed to our hostel Gillighans. Just to paint the picture, Cairns is often compared to places like Ibiza and Magaluf and that is exactly what hit us when we arrived at our hostel. Heaps of sun burnt, drunk British people. Haha it wasn't actually that bad there we did have a great time. We got into our 8 bed mixed dorm to find one of the guys in there to be a party rep which meant we immediately got signed up onto a pub crawl. This ended up being great fun and we met a few people who took us on a road trip the next day to see the Josephine Falls. A nice waterfall that is usually really good to swim in. It had been raining loads though so the current was a bit too strong to swim in. A nice walk in the rainforest though and we saw heaps of spiders and lizards!
rainy day in Cairns

rainy day in Cairns


As it was the wet season it rained so much everyday bit it was a nice, warm tropical rain. While Emma and I were in Cairns we ended up having a few crazy nights out and going on lots of pub crawls. We can blame the party rep for that! After a few drinks we both decided it would be a good idea to go bungee jumping and signed ourselves up for that. On the morning of our bungee jump we suddenly realised that it had actually been an awful idea! There was no backing out now though. The rain was falling as we climbed what seemed like 5000 steps to our death. The higher we got the more I hated myself for signing up for it. Looking down from the top genuinely made me feel sick. It really was too late now. My harness was on and my toes were peeking  over the edge. The instructor said 'on the count of three you jump.. 1....2....3'  I hovered for a second then thought, 'Ahh just do it' and lept off. And I was freefalling through the air which was amazing! And the rope stretched and sprung back up at which point I was so grateful it hadn't snapped. Probably the craziest thing I have ever done but would absolutely do it again (sorry Mum). Emma also survived the jump and it was off to the pub to celebrate! We had such a great time in Cairns and made a really good group of friends it was sad to move on. Plenty more places to go to though!
Bumgy x2

Bumgy x2

Posted by amcara91 02:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Tokyo, New Years and the End of an Era

So we arrived back in Tokyo after a great couple of days snowboarding.  We had to change hostels from last time we were there as it was all booked out for New Years. Luckily the one we found was really cheap but the rooms were the size of a large cardboard box. It was insane! So small! My legs were scrunched up so all I could do was think of poor Will next door! We only had 2 nights there so it wasn't too bad then we were back to our old hostel. There were 4 other people from Hakuba all in Tokyo for New Years which was great. We went to one of their hostels on NYE and then all headed out together to Roppongi. It's probably the roughest part of Tokyo but great nightlife. We'd had a few drinks at the hostel so were fairly jolly. It was a brilliant atmosphere in Roppongi. Everyone was out on the streets chatting, partying and generally just having a good time. We went to a couple of bars and had the countdown in anice swanky one but found that we had the most fun out on the streets with everyone. NYE is the only night in Tokyo that the trains run all through the night so we made the most of that! The first of January 2014 was a bit of a stuggle especially due to the loss of my pretty brand new iPhone 5s.  I think it must have fallen out my bag and someone picked it up. Not to worry though at least I still have my tablet! Just going to have to get another cheap phone when I'm back in Australia! Just going to miss all the photos and the amazing camera! All the streets were packed on New Years Day as everyone heads to the temples for there first prayer. It was just crazy on one street in particuluar we could barely move. We made the mistake of organising a meeting point with our friends outside a temple. We did not find them!
the nye gang

the nye gang

new years day in sunny tokyo

new years day in sunny tokyo


 

We spent the next few days with two people from Hakuba, Yaz and Jared. Two more days in Tokyo seeing the sights we hadn't seen before, going up the Government building to see the beautiful views of Tokyo as the sun set. We met this old Japanese man who stopped travellers on the street, talked to them for a while and then took a group photo with them. He showed us his collection of photos! It was amazing! Then all 4 of us headed down to Fuji. In the winter months there isn't an awful lot going on in Fuji but it is a very picturesque town with some great walks. We couldn't climb Mount Fuji as it is too dangerous but we climbed a hill nearby and got a cracking view of it. We got a little lost and somehow ended up on a ery narrow path with a vertical drop next to us. We had to take it slow as it was very icy and snowy and none of us had proper walking shoes on. We saw the hoof prints of wild boars but un/fortunately didn't come across any. There were lots of slips and narrow misses but eventually we made it to the bus stop just as the sun was setting. A sleepy 1 hour bus journey back to the hostel and home made fajitas for dinner! We spent another day of hiking, this time to a beautiful frozen waterfall. Another treacherous path in the wintry conditions but we all made it out alive before having to sadly part ways with Jared and Yaz. A great few days with them!

 mt fuji

mt fuji

walk through the woods

walk through the woods

the frozen waterfall

the frozen waterfall

sun through the trees in fuji

sun through the trees in fuji

Next stop for Will and I was Kyoto! One overnight bus and we were there. We met a guy called Aki in Peru who was from Kyoto and we met up with him even though we had only spoken to him for 10 minutes in Peru! He was so friendly and took us out for dinner. We went to a tiny restaurant, hidden away down a dark alley which must have sat maximum 6 people. In the middle was one man doing all the cooking for everyone. I had one of the best meals I have had this whole trip there! It was ramen with chicken and so so delicious. I've been craving it ever since but don't think I'll ever be able to find it again. We then went out and met some of Aki's friends and they showed us some of there favourite bars. It was really cool to go around with the locals. One of the bars they took us to was completely off the beaten track, up a big staircase and had no electricity. It was all candlelit. Never would have found it without the locals! The next day was spent on bicycles doing some more temple sightseeing. We visited one temple that had been destroyed by the earth quake and tsunami and was being rebuilt.

 stepping stones in Kyoto

stepping stones in Kyoto

Osaka by Night

Osaka by Night

Another bus journey for our last stop in Japan to Osaka. I'm not going to lie by this time we were boh looking forward to heading back to Australia and think that maybe we had seen enough temples for a good long time. So we just chilled out, did some shopping and enjoyed the Japanese food. We enjoyed Japan so much more than we thought we would. I would definitley like to go back in spring to see the cherry blossum and climb Mount Fuji one day!

 

Afer 13 months of travelling together it was time for Will and I to say our goodbyes at Cairns airport where he flew on to Melbourne.

I've had such a great time with him and really couldn't have asked for a better travel buddy. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon. After doing The Great Ocean Road and a quick stop in Adelaide he is now in Perth and sounds like he's having a great time!
Osaka Airport

Osaka Airport

Posted by amcara91 20:06 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Christmas in Hakuba

We took the 4 hour bus from Tokyo to Hakuba and when we arrived it was snowing like crazy! So we had an early night and set our alarms for 7am to pick up our hire gear and head up the mountain for first lifts! The snow was unreal! I have never snowboarded in so much powder before. And the ski runs were a lot better than we had expected. Some people told us we were very lucky to have such a big dump at this time of year. Before we even came to Hakuba people had told us it wasn't going to be very good so we had such low expectations. Instead though it was amazing!! We spent a good 6 hours up there and were knackered by the time we got home. Riding in powder is so much more tiring our leg muscles were burning!
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This ski resort isn't like any European ski resorts Will and I have been to before. It's split up into lots of little towns and as the season hasn't really started yet it is so quiet! They have regular free shuttle busses to the slopes and it takes max 10 mins to get there. Lots of different mountain choices too.

We've been lucky with our hostel as there are loads of cool people who have stayed here over Christmas too. We spent Christmas Eve in a reggae bar which was different from the usual cosy English pub! Someone organised Secret Santa for early Christmas morning which we took part in. Then as a group all headed up the mountain so there were about 12 of us all together. That's the best way to do the mountain! It reminded us of when we were on seasons. We had burgers for our Christmas lunch, had a couple more runs down the mountain and then got the bus back for fireworks and buffalo wings and pasta for Christmas dinner! I'm not going to lie it really didn't feel like Christmas at all. I don't actually think we have listened to any Christmas songs! Maybe a couple here and there that they played on the chairlift but none of the tradition Fairytale of New York or Driving Home for Christmas! Some Japanese remixes! Haha! Still had such a great day though.
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90_CBDA4D3D2219AC6817242CA973EDD922.jpg IMG_0848.jpg 90_IMG_0807.jpg IMG_0831.jpg 90_CBDAF50F2219AC6817A827490E1365D8.jpg 90_CBDB621F2219AC68179A1C250576B5EB.jpg Boxing Day was just as fun. No one went up the mountain as everyone was slightly hungover so we made a huge Boxing Day breakfast with bacon and eggs and then built snowmen and had snowball fights! A lot of the people in this hostel are Australian and haven't experienced snow before. One girl had never built a snowman before! Couldn't believe it!
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We don't think we're going to make it to Niseko anymore even though we have booked flights. We've left it too late booking accommodation and there is none available over New Year so we reckon we might spend it in Tokyo with some friends we've made here. We don't want to risk getting to Niseko with all the hostels fully booked and have to either pay heaps or be homeless! We've had some great snowboarding here though so we're not too fussed and it means we get more time in Kyoto and Osaka!

Posted by amcara91 26.12.2013 00:30 Comments (0)

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