Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef: The Best Way

Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef: The Best Way

  How many of you guys and gals reading this blog have got ‘scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef’ written on your bucket list? It was right at the top of mine, a piece of forlorn paper pinned to my bedroom mirror, getting older, sadder, and more neglected as the days ticked by. Fortunately, I had the perfect opportunity to slyly get myself up there, under the rouse of a birthday present for my boyfriend – probably the most self-indulgent present I will ever buy in my ENTIRE life. We’re based in Sydney, and we are both already divers, although that is definitely not a prerequisite of experiencing the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef through the lenses of a scuba diving mask. As he was actually doing his training to get up to Dive Master (ooOOOOoooooh), we were frequent customers of Abyss Scuba Diving down here (side note: a great dive shop if you’re down this way – try their seal dive!). Abyss have a few connections with dive shops and companies up in Cairns, and after a few conversations, I decided that the best option was to dive the Great Barrier Reef with Deep Sea Divers Den. Deep Sea Divers Den offer a variety of Great Barrier Reef scuba diving and snorkeling tours, and they all depart from the seafront in Cairns. If you’re short of time, the day trip is all well and good, but if you’re making the effort to go all the way out there, then you should really book a bed on OceanQuest, their liveaboard ship. Types of Trip We opted for...
The Best Desserts in Sydney

The Best Desserts in Sydney

I’ve heard people say that Sydney doesn’t have a food culture. I’ve heard people say that the food is boring and dull, and stolen from a mixture of other international cuisines. Well, I call BS, especially when it comes to finding the best desserts in Sydney. I’m one of those people who are extremely difficult to please when it comes to food. I’m fussy, and I always have been. When living in Thailand, I hated the food – SHOCK! HORROR! I know, I know, most people love the cheap and cheerful food in Thailand, but I spent a majority of my time there eating one meal a day and feeling sick. The constant combo of rice/noodles and the same veg just wasn’t for me. So, coming to Sydney where the food was fresh and simple, where you can have whatever kind of meal you fancy was such a relief for me. Put your hands in the air if you praise the gods of food for the Australian obsession with avocado! I particularly love dessert, and I’ve taken it upon myself to try as many delicious and affordable desserts in Sydney, to compile a list of the best desserts in Sydney, so you don’t have to (it was all for research, I promise). Animal Choux Buns from Doux Amour, Rosebery.           $7.40 each. These were definitely my favourite, so deserve to be at number 1, and are crowned as the best dessert in Sydney. Just look at these little guys! The buns were crunchy on the outside, and filled with a delicious flavoured cream. The owners were...
Things To Do in Cairns… Nothing!

Things To Do in Cairns… Nothing!

Cairns is a weird place. Coming from the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of Sydney, the dusty, low-rise and laid back town of Cairns was a culture shock. We were in the area for 10 days after six months of working, so I was pretty desperate to fill my days with fun adventures. This set me on a quest to find things to do in Cairns, but the result was fairly disappointing. I’ve broken down our trip into opinionated bite-sized chunks, to make it easier for you to navigate my emotions. We spent our first day wandering around the ‘CBD’, and we couldn’t help but notice there didn’t seem to be many people. I’d always heard that Cairns was really popular with backpackers, but there was nothing there except a few touristy and overpriced shops, and loads of bars. We were well and truly stumped on what to do in Cairns, and we managed to kill time that first day by frequenting as many dive shops as possible, before heading down to the seafront for a nice meal that night… but where was the beach?! Things To Do in Cairns: Food I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been spoilt by Sydney. Everybody bangs on about how it’s overpriced and there’s ‘no food culture’. Well, having now got a comparison, I call bulls**t. The ‘nice’ meal that we went out for was decidedly average, and cost as just as much as it would have done in Sydney for a much nicer meal. You’ll have great service throughout Cairns, as we did in every place we ate, but it’s such a shame that these...
Pai Secret Hot Springs: How to Find Them

Pai Secret Hot Springs: How to Find Them

In October 2015, my boyfriend took me on a birthday jaunt from Chiang Mai up to Pai, the delightful little hippy town in the mountains, surrounded by a fantastic landscape of waterfalls, canyons, and hot springs. It was totally amazing, mainly because for four blissful days, we were allowed to forget about bills, rent, and our unemployment, and pretend that we were travellers, like everybody else. On our third day, we decided that we wanted to visit the Pai hot springs to have a little chill-ax, however we found that there are two: the commonly known one, and Pai secret hot springs. TripAdvisor reviews show that Pai Hot Springs, the closest and easiest-to-find option, is  ridiculously overpriced for Thailand, at a whopping 300 baht per person, and full of tourists. We had heard through the grapevine that there was another option, Pai secret hot springs, that were a lot cheaper and quieter (they’re not actually ‘secret’, as pretty much everyone knows about them, but finding them is an adventure all in itself). A search on Google revealed two frustratingly contradictory instructions for finding them, so I’ve opted to write my own nice and simple set of instructions. The hot springs in question are actually called Sai Ngam hot springs, and will cost you 20 baht per person for entry, plus 20 baht for your scooter, that you will need to access this hidden gem.  Get on the 1095 road out of Pai, heading towards Mae Hong Son. It’s pretty hard to miss, it’s the massive main road. You’re going to drive along it for about 11km, it’s quite a nice road, with big bends and great scenery....
Visiting The Trophy of Augustus, La Turbie

Visiting The Trophy of Augustus, La Turbie

When you think of the south of France, you probably picture bronze tans, cocktails, and Champagne on the beach… And although I certainly wouldn’t be complaining if that were my holiday, it’s important to realise that this region has a totally rich Roman history. So between your sips of fizz, why not take a jaunt up to La Turbie and visit the Trophy of Augustus. This limestone white, ruined fortress sits in the hills above Monte Carlo, and can be spied by a keen eye from La Grande Chemaine overlooking the sparkling blue ocean, as it has been since the Roman times: it oooollllld. History of The Trophy of Augustus, La Turbie The 24-pillared monument was dedicated to Emperor Augustus by the People of Rome way back in 7-6 B.C. It was built to celebrate the fact that he was a total badass, and had finally shown the people of the Alps who was boss, subjugating them between 25 and 14 B.C. (you go, girl!). They chose the specific location at the Col de La Turbie, way up high on the Via Julia, because Augustus had really liked that spot, and had used it to chat to the fellas from Gaul. Over time, it’s been battered quite a lot by general human use and abuse. Fortunately, in 1905 a local scholar called Philippe Casimir was tasked with clearing the remains of the old boy. Rather than just chuck all the ‘rubble’ away, master architects Jean-Camille Formigé and his son Jules rebuilt what they could. Walking Around The Trophy of Augustus, La Turbie Firstly, the BIG news is that entry...
The Best Green Spaces in Sydney

The Best Green Spaces in Sydney

Well, I think that we can say that spring has officially sprung. I was absolutely roasting yesterday, and I finally broke out my shorts after months of bobble hats and fluffy coats. What else is better than relaxing in green spaces when the sun is out? The city is great and all, but sometimes you just need a bit of nature: a patch of grass to lie on, unobstructed clouds to gaze at, birds to listen to (as long as they’re not Ozzie magpies)… Well, I’m here to help you find your perfect spot from the best green spaces in Sydney. Green Space 1: Hyde Park The easiest and most convenient green space in Sydney to find, Hyde Park offers you a mixture of shady trees (as in no sun, not creepy), fountains, monuments, and grassy patches to veg out on. It’s pretty much in the CBD of the city, with the exits of Museum and St James’ stations leading into it. What’s convenient is the proximity to the city, so you can grab your lunch and a coffee to go and dine al fresco. That obviously can also be slightly inconvenient, as there is no hope of drowning out the sounds of the city.   In the evenings, you can spot the possums in the trees, although be careful of crazy little sugar gliders as one attacked my boyfriend when we were walking through there at night. Probably one of the funniest things that I’ve ever seen to date.   Ratings of Hyde Park green space in Sydney out of 10: Number of People: 4 Tranquility: 3 Freshness: 4 Traffic Sounds:...