Pigs, bike rides and waterfalls – just another week exploring Brisbane

Our third week in Brisbane was a varied as the previous week, we wanted to make full use of still having the car and also wanted to do as many fun and exciting things as we could (…whilst not spending a tonne of money!)
Sunday – We went to Farm Animal Rescue in Dayboro, I’d volunteered at this farm for a month in January and I wanted to take Lucy to meet all the gorgeous animals that live there. You can read about my stay on the farm here. It was great to go back and see all the animals that I cared for and to see my favourite piggies again! (I love those guys!)
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Monday – We didn’t have plans but the weather was nice and we wanted to do something ‘outdoor-sy’. We did a bit of googling and decided to drive to Mount Cootha Nature Reserve and have a walk around. The sun was shining and it was lovely to walk in the forest, listening to the birds. We walked up to the Mount Cootha lookout and was treated to a glorious view of the city!
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Tuesday – The sun was shining again so we decided to head to the beach at Burleigh Heads, there was also a vegan cafe that we wanted to check out too! We got down there about midday, the beach there is beautiful so we headed there first. We then went to Serabar where I had the best acai bowl. We decided to leave the beach when the sun had gone down and the temperature dropped considerably!
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Wednesday – was pretty much a right off! We sunbathed in the garden, got attacked by ants and listened to our favourite podcast, S-Town. It’s by the same people who made Serial so if you liked that, give it a listen, it’s a weird story!
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Thursday – We had a great day on Thursday, we got the bus into the city and rented out bikes and rode around the city. You can rent bikes for a whole day for just $2! It’s the same principle at the Boris bikes in London, as long as you return them every 30mins you won’t get charged more than your $2 fee. We rode from Eagle St up to New Farm Park and back to South Bank, it was great to be cycling around on a lovely sunny day.
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Friday – we wanted another outdoors adventure day so we headed to Cedar Creek Falls which is an amazing waterfall. I’d been there on my first trip to Australia but hadn’t been back since. The views there are incredible and you know, who the hell doesn’t love a good waterfall?!
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There honestly isn’t anything better than travelling with your best bud! We had another great week full with lots on random FREE stuff! It just goes to show that you can do so many amazing things even when you’re on a budget.

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Exploring a deserted island, climbing a mountain and Koalas – what a week!

My brother Jake and his girlfriend were visiting the UK for a month which meant that me and Lucy had a car, which also meant we could explore on our own without taking the bus! (freedom!)
Monday – we kick started the week with a trip to Coochiemudlo Island . You can read my post all about the island here

Tuesday – I thought it would be a good idea to go to Surfers Paradise. I have been here a few times before on previous trips to Australia as it’s only about an hour from Jake’s house. I know people have mixed reviews about surfers, it’s very touristy and a bit tacky but as a tourist and someone who enjoys a bit of tack, I really like it! Plus the beach is gorgeous!
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Fun fact – two years ago Jake and I walked out of the top of this building, right out on the grid at the top. It’s called the Q1 Skypoint walk and it was amazing! This time me and Lucy just went up, had a drink and enjoyed the views from the top.
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We then headed to get some lunch, we stopped off at an amazing hotdog shop which sold vegan hotdogs, we each got one with all the trimmings! We then headed to the beach to catch the last bit of sun for the day.
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Wednesday – we were both up for doing something a bit different so we climbed a mountain! as you do! We climbed Mount Ngungun which is one of the Glass House Mountains, I have climbed it before and I knew Lucy would love it because the views from the top are incredible!

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After climbing the mountain we thought we better reward ourselves, you know for being healthy and all that, so we decided to go to a vegan dessert shop and stuff our faces with cake!
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Thursday – We decided to have a bit of a chilled day, we got up a little later, tidied the house, had coffee then headed to Daisy Hill Koala park which is about 20 minutes from Jakes house. This place is great, they have a few resident Koalas there but also rescue Koalas from surroundings areas that are injured or need relocating, this amazing place is also free!
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Friday – The weather was awful so we decided to have a cinema day. We both love going to the cinema and in Australia it’s so cheap, it’s amazing! We went and saw John wick 2 (which we both loved) we saw it the day of release, on a huge screen for under £4!
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As always we had a really good week, the great thing about being based in Brisbane is that there is so many different things you can do day to day which don’t break the bank or that you have to travel far to do! Week 2 post coming shortly…

Discovering Coochiemudlo Island…(yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either!)

Lucy and I were planning our week ahead when Lucy suggested going to Coochiemudlo Island…I had never heard of it. Turns out, not alot of people have heard of it, even people who live in Brisbane! We drove to Victoria Point and caught the ferry across to the island, the ferry trip took 5 minutes and only cost $9 for a return!
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When we arrived we could not believe that we were pretty much the only people there, there was the odd bloke fishing and we did see one dog walker but we were there the whole day and it felt like we had the island to ourselves!
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The island has a population of 700 and it was crazy to think that people actually lived on this island, it seemed so peaceful and tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, which is only 30 mins away!
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We put out our towels and laid on the beach all day, we read, listened to music and just relaxed and listened to the sound of the sea. It felt bizarre that we were the only people there, like we’d discovered a little hidden gem!
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The sun began to set and the sky turned a beautiful pastel pink colour, it was amazing to see it change as the sun went down. We walked along the beach and back to the ferry at about 5pm, by this time the sky looked like it was on fire and we were treated to the most magnificent sunset!
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I filmed our trip on my Gopro – you can watch the video below…

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It was crazy getting the ferry back to Brisbane, it pulled up and lots of people got off, they all lived on the island and had returned from work, lots of schoolkids got off too – imagine having to catch the ferry to school because you live on a little island!
Coochiemudlo was a great little gem and I’m so happy that we visited it, I can’t believe more people don’t know of it, it’s beautiful and well worth a visit!

Exploring Brisbane – Walking Tour and Science Museum

After another glorious Greyhound bus journey, this time 16 hours (yay!) we arrived in Brisbane and although I’d been living there for a few months before I met up with Lucy, I thought it would be good to learn more about the city so we decided to take a free walking tour…
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Honestly I can’t recommend these walking tours enough, obviously every one is different but it’s a great way to learn about a new city and a good way to get your bearings! After that we also decided to go to the Queensland Museum and check out the dinosaurs…
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After checking out the dinosaurs we went upstairs where there was an exhibition full of native wildlife taxidermy, as a tourist it was good to see those animals but as an animal lover it made me sad to see them too, I had very mixed feelings about the exhibition.
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There was also a ‘Discovery Centre’ upstairs in the museum that had taxidermy of snakes, spiders and insects, the centre also had a few live critters that you could see up close.
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Now this is a warning for any arachnophobs out there – the next photo is of a spider BUT she is so cute! She is a Wolf Spider and she has the cutest face, she lives at the Science Museum and you can watch her being fed and making her nest, the staff there are so passionate about the animals there and I spoke to a woman for ages about this spider, they put a male in there for her to breed with but…she ate him! Never the less, I think she’s really cute!
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The Queensland Museum is a really great place to visit, there is loads to do there, they also have ever changing exhibitions on there all the time. Another great day spent in the city and everything we did was FREE! Only cost us our bus fare into the city – honestly when you’re arriving in a new city seek out as much free stuff as you can, there is loads of stuff out there!

Sydney: Coogee to Bondi walk

We had been staying in Sydney for 3 days when we decided to do the coastal walk that runs from Bondi to Coogee (or Coogee to Bondi depending on which way round you do it!) We had spent alot of time in and round the city and fancied a change of scenery.

We were full of optimism and enthusiasm when we caught the bus to Coogee, the weather was lovely and it looked like the perfect day for a coastal stroll. When we actually arrived in Coogee however, this had all changed – it was windy and a storm was threatening to make an appearance on the horizon. Our choice of summer dresses and flip-flops were not a practical idea – although we did start out walk admiring this beautiful rainbow which was pretty great!
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We had heard mixed reports about how long the walk would take us, some people said 2 hours and one person said 6.5 hours so we didn’t really know what to expect! We walked along the coasts edge which was beautiful then, randomly, you walk through a grave yard!
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This place was incredible and I couldn’t belive my eyes. There were gravestones as far as the eye could see and to me, there was something really beautiful about it all. It was a very peaceful place.
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I could not believe that a huge graveyard would be so close to the coasts edge, it was unbelievable. I also found it very cute that all of the graves looked over the cliff and out onto the sea.
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The coastal walk was beautiful and the terrain would change with every corner that we took, sandy beach one minute, cliffs and rocks the next.
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It was an easy walk but we walked at quite a pace because we were scared the heavens would open at any minute!
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Luckily for us we didn’t get rained on and we made it to Bondi in 2 hours! It was great to see Bondi beach so empty because I’ve only ever been at the weekends before and you can’t move for people but this day the moody weather was putting everyone off! Below is a video that I shot on my GoPro of the walk…

I’ll end this post with the photos of this incredible pool at Bondi beach, look at it!! The pool is touching the edge of the sea, imagine starting your day off with a dip in there!
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I would definitely recommend this walk if you’re staying in Sydney, it’s nice to get out of the city and see some amazing sights, maybe even pack your cozzy and have a dip in the pool!

Stuck in a Natural Disaster Zone… thanks Cyclone Debbie!

Debbie… sounds like a nice name right? How about when you add the word Cyclone to the front of it?!…I had 6 days to kill before I was planning on meeting my best friend in Melbourne, all flights and hostels were booked and I was super excited! I thought I could cram a quick farm visit in before I jetted off, so I went to stay at Sugarshine Farm Sanctuary in New South Wales (you can read about this amazing place here)

I had been at the sanctuary for 3 days when it started raining…and continued for 24 hours solid. After checking Facebook we soon realised that places around us were flooding, badly. Lismore, the local town was seriously under water and I must admit it was scary to see those images and know the rising water was in the next town! Luckily for us we were safe on the farm, we are high up so didn’t get flooded. The poor animals were grumpy because they had to chill in the barn all day but they were safe…thank god.

We took a drive into Lismore the day after the rain started and we were shocked to see the state it was in. Cars underwater, home flooded, boats driving through the town, helicopters flying overhead, I could not believe my eyes. We drove to a look out and you could see the full extent of the flooding, as far as you can see there was water, it was unbelievable and just reminded me of scenes in a movie. We drove back to the farm thankful that it was untouched, we were safe and so we’re the animals. Many homes had to evacuate and leave their pets behind with the water level rising, I can’t imagine how tough a decision that would have been for some families.

The following day we drove back into Lismore to help with the clean up, some of the water had subsided and people were starting to assess the damage done to their properties. Seeing families throw their ruined possessions onto a huge pile they’ve made on the street was heartbreaking. It was awful driving past house after house, all doing the same thing. We spent the whole day helping out that day and it was rewarding to see the difference a few helping hands can make.

The following day we headed back into Lismore to help out some more. This time we headed to the local pet shop which is owned by an elderly woman. It was overwhelming when we first pulled up, there was mess everywhere! A huge pile of damaged goods outside and a shop that was covered in mud and water. We spent all day moving damaged stock, taking fixtures and fittings off the wall, moving fridges and freezers, pressure washing the floor and removing the mud.  The lady had managed to get the cats and birds to safety but sadly the fish tanks overflowed and washed away, it was the saddest things seeing all the empty tanks. It was a huge job but thankfully there were many people helping out. This is what struck me the most – people are great and wanna help each other.I was taken back by people’s kindness and generosity, watching everyone come together to help each other out was great to see and be a part of. People were going around donating tools and new wellies to people who were helping in the clean up. Others were going round with cars full of food that they’d prepared and were handing it out. There was even a lady and her neighbour who had cooked a huge batch of curry and were dishing it up and giving it out to the volunteers, this was so incredible to see! (and it was really yummy!)3ECD669300000578-4367028-An_aerial_view_of_floodwaters_engulfing_central_Lismore_New_Sout-a-21_1490958114892.jpgBeing flooded near Lismore meant I couldn’t catch my flight to meet my best friend in Melbourne and meant that my flights and hostels would have to be cancelled and at first I was a bit bummed BUT after helping with the clean up I was happy that it had happened. I was happy to have seen Lismore, luckily I had lunch in the town one day so I got to see it before the flood took over. It was devastating to see the damage that had happened to this place but so heartwarming to see the community come together and lend a hand to get families and businesses back on their feet. I left Lismore 3 days ago and was sad to go, it’s hard knowing that it’ll be a long time before the town is back on its feet again but I know the community spirit will get them through and help the town rebuild. It’s funny how times like these really bring people together, it was an emotional week but one I wouldn’t change, I’m so glad I was there to meet the wonderful people of Lismore and lend a hand. 

Where’s David Attenborough when you need him?!

During my recent visit to Ballina (which you can read about here) I was lucky enough to witness something really special. Now I’m a huge animal lover and nature fan so things like this excite me a lot. We were leisurely strolling along the beach when I spotted a sweet dog (there is always a dog that needs to be stroked) that was playing in the sea, obviously I went over to stroke the dog and noticed the dogs owner filming something in the sea. As I looked out to see what she was filming, suddenly my eyes focused on hundreds of tiny little soldier crabs scurrying along the shore!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
They were coming from the sea and then burrowing into the sand in front of us, it was incredible to see and seriously looked like something from Planet Earth! They were everywhere, as far as you can see. Tiny little blue robots scurrying across the sand.
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We were the only ones on the beach so it was incredible to just sit and watch the crabs do their thing, I had never seen anything like this before and it was so special to watch. Nature is the best!!
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Look at this little guy burrowing into the sand, he looks like something from a sci-fi film!
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I bloody love nature, being able to sit and watch little things like this is incredible and I love seeing new creaures that I’ve never seen before just going about their business.
Below is a video of the crabs being awesome…

I LOVE NATURE

Beautiful Ballina

During our time in Byron we would often catch the bus to different places that were near and our last stop was Ballina. Ballina is about an hour bus ride from Byron Bay and has great shops, cafes and an AMAZING beach (which was pretty deserted the day we went!)

Upon exiting the bus at Ballina it soon became clear that the town had an OAP vibe to it, we were pretty much the only three people on the bus that were under 60, there was even a huge mobility scooter shop…and after walking for miles along the coast that day I wish I had one to ride back on!
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It seems like every beach we visited during our stay in Byron was just a beautiful as the last, the sea is a beautiful turquoise colour and the sand is so light that it actually squeaks under your feet.
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We walked for miles and miles (…my Dad loves a walk) along this beach and the view hardly changes, just turquoise sea and white sand.
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Walking along the beach we met the odd dog walker (I swear the dogs are so chilled out and happy in Australia!) but that was it, we pretty much just had the beach to ourselves and it was lovely to just walk along taking in the views.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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It was great to visit Ballina for the day, to be honest we spent the majority of the day walking along the beach, we weren’t bothered about shopping we just to see the sights. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see the Ballina Big Prawn, which is, you guessed it, a massive fake prawn!

If you’re staying in Byron or near Ballina in NSW I would take the trip there, the beach is beautiful and it has a really chilled out atmosphere. If you’re after a beach like Byron’s but without the crowds Ballina is a great choice!

Broken Head Beach = Paradise

Living in Byron for 2 weeks means we’ve had our fair share of beach days, the beach at Byron is beautiful and I thought it couldn’t be topped until we discovered Broken Head beach which is about a 10 minute drive from Byron.
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The view was absolutely incredible, we walked along a path that was surrounded by trees and suddenly we’d get little glimpses of the view and it was amazing! The sea was so blue and beautiful.
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We walked down the hill to a little section of deserted beach and it was absolute paradise. Just us as a family down there, swimming in the sea, sunbathing, taking photos, climbing on the rocks, building rock towers and skimming stones in the sea. It was such a lovely relaxing day!
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The cliffs on the beach were so beautiful to look at, to see where the sea had carved out shapes in them and the different colours of rocks that were built up on top of each other were amazing. All the little muscles and snails were so cute too!
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This was one of my favourite days I’ve had since I’ve been away, it was so lovely to be surrounded by my family in a beautiful part of the world and this beach was one of the most amazing I’ve ever been too, I feel so lucky!
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Which other beaches are there in Australia that can’t be missed?!

Minyon Falls – a lovely, lovely waterfall.

When you travel around Australia you’re spoilt with waterfalls and mountains to visit and today we chose Minyon Falls which is about 20 minutes from where we’re staying in Byron Bay and let me tell ya, Minyon Falls is a beauty!
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The waterfall descends more than 100 metres but because there hasn’t been much rain recently there wasn’t that much water when we went but…it was beautiful none the less!
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The view was incredible and you see could see for miles from the top. When you looked at people on the ground they looked like little specs!
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When you see sights like this it’s easy to see why people fall in love with Australia, having this on your doorstep must be amazing!
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Any suggestions for other natural wonders that can’t be missed in Australia?!