A Quick Guide to Maui, Hawaii’s best Island

As someone with a passion for chasing waterfalls, Hawaii is somewhere I have always wanted to check out! So during a massively discounted airline sale around a year ago I booked my flights and then had plenty of time to prepare and plan for my trip, so of course I left this to last minute.

Below are recommendations from friends, fellow travellers and Maui locals that made my trip such a delight that I just needed to pass them onto you.

First things first, I recommend hiring a car for a trip to Maui, the island is quite hard to get around without one, especially if you are after that carefree and relaxing holiday vibe! It also makes it easier to decide on a whim where you will take your daily adventures!

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Magnetic Peak, Haleakala National Park

Things to See

  • The Road to Hana: You will need to leave early for the Road to Hana day trip. With 3 hours and 52 miles of winding roads, stunning waterfalls are at almost all the 617 curves of this road that lead to the most isolated town on Maui and in Hawaii. Leave plenty of time for photo stops, there will be many, and to try out some of the worlds best ice cream at Coco Glens along the way, and maybe the way back! Before you leave Maui, don’t forget to pick up your ‘I survived the road to Hana’ t-shirt, because you deserve it.
  • Red Sand Beach: Hidden away in the heart of Hana is the Red Sand Beach. A little tricky to locate and require good footwear, you will need to be careful when attempting to locate this place. If you do choose to go, I would recommend good footwear and a level of fitness.
  • Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach: Located in Wai’anapanapa National Park just before you arrive in Hana, the Black Sand Beach is stunning with the contrast of the black sand, deep blue water and greenery surrounds. This is the more touristy option of Hana’s beaches due to accessibility plus there are caves to explore, national park to walk through and of course the beach to swim in.
  • Magnetic Peak, Haleakala National Park: If nature and hiking is something that you enjoy, then hiking into the volcano to Magnetic Peak following sunrise is an experience of a lifetime. The views here had a smile on my face the whole time, even when I looked at the steep hill I had to climb back to my car. The great thing about this is you can make the hike as long or short as you would like, just make sure you have appropriate footwear and drinks, as there isn’t anywhere to fill up the water bottle in a volcano.
  • Lahaina Old Town: Lahaina Old Town is a great place to explore, whether for a spot of souvenir shopping, for dinner or just gelato dessert time. It’s even nicer first thing in the morning when not as many people are around to take some snap shots of the stunning town centre including a stop at the Lahaina Banyan Tree which is the largest tree in the state and the canopy takes over the whole square in which it’s located.
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View from Lahaina Old Town at sunset

Activities

  • Whale Watching with Ultimate Whale Watch: During the northern hemisphere winter, wales will head down to Hawaii (now the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary) to give birth and mate, making it prime whale watching season! The Ultimate Whale Watching crew have smaller boats which means a smaller group you are out on the water that allows for great photo opportunities and encounters with the whales.
  • Snorkling with turtles at Napili Bay: Pack your snorkel, you’re going to meet some turtles! Recommended by a local while at dinner, this turned out to be the best surprise of my trip. At Napili bay you can swim, sun bath and get up close to some local wildlife (just make sure you keep a little distant, these guys can be pretty heavy if they bump into you). If your accommodation doesn’t rent gear, make sure you pop into Water Works Sports and they’ll fit you out with some great gear!
  • Sunrise and a bike ride at Haleakala volcano: You will have to get up early for this one, but it will be worth it I promise. As the sun rises, you will be at the top of Haleakala overlooking the entire island of Maui, and on a clear day you may get views of neighbouring islands. Then after you grab all your insta worthy snaps you’ll cycle down the volcano, stunning!
  • Traditional Luau: There is nothing that says Hawaii quite like a Luau, and getting lei’d (insert wink face emoji)! Over a few hours you will experience traditional Hawaiian or Pacific food, music, dancing and entertainment – the perfect way to spend an evening on holiday.
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On top of the world at Haleakala Volcano

Places to Eat

  • Paia Fish Market: At Paia Fish market you will get the freshest Hawaiian fish of the day straight from the market, with your choice of market fresh fish will be cooked to your preference. Try the Ono, it means ‘delicious’.
  • Aloha Mixed Plate: Situated near the beach, this is the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day with a cocktail or two as the sun goes down, before tucking into some local dishes. Try the ALI’I Plate for the ultimate Hawaiian feast!
  • Coco Glen’s Ice Cream: If you do one thing on the Road to Hana, you must stop at Coco Glen’s Ice Cream to have a scoop or two of their incredible, award winning and totally delicious ice cream. Situated on a family run coconut farm, Coco Glen’s is made from coconut milk, so all you lactose’s can get stuck in! All the flavours are incredible, so you know you’ll be going back for thirds!!

 

Best Acai Bowls

Acai bowls are something that I just love, so going to Hawaii I knew I would be in for a treat, and boy did Maui deliver. To make sure that I got the most out of this tasting opportunity, I did try one per day, I mean, why not?!

  • Choice – Lahaina: Most definitely the best Acai bowl I had on my whole time on Maui, the guys at Choice take these seriously. With the perfect smoothie, granola and fruit proportions, ‘the o.g.’ is a definite menu winner!
  • Surf Ripper – Lahaina: A mom & pop owned acai stall by day and shaved ice stall by night, the guys that own this place are so lovely and up to chat about their product plus they deliver on the flavour. And once I heard their Acai bowls described as phat!, I had to sample the product.
  • Baya Bowls – Lahaina: Located in a parking lot on a side road, these guys could be hard to miss, but you definitely want to try a Baya bowl. I am almost drooling thinking about their incredible bowls.
  • Paia Bowls – Paia: Paia Bowls is located at the start of the Paia town centre, perfect to fill you up before a big day on the Road to Hana or a day of activities in the Hawaiian sun. While there you can take a stroll through the adorable town centre.

Best Poke Bowls

Poke Bowls are the latest Hawaiian dish to take the world by storm, this deconstructed sushi salad is so delicious and simple and a great cheap travel meal you can have on the go! Here are my local faves.

  • Kobe Japanese Steak House – Lahaina: At Kobe’s I recommend taking a seat up at the sushi bar, where you’ll see the chefs prepare the fresh sushi and poke bowls before your eyes. They are more than happy to talk about the produce and make recommendations.
  • Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquor – Kahului, Lahaina & Kihei (also Oahu locations): You wouldn’t have thought that this liquor store would sell incredible poke, but Tamura’s have probably the best poke I enjoyed on my trip and was voted by Hawaii’s Magazine Readers Choice Awards as the Best Place for Poke in 2015.
  • Foodland (All over Maui): Foodland store are in all the major Maui towns, so you can pick up some poke to take in the car between activities or to enjoy while soaking up some rays on the beach.

 

If you are heading to Hawaii, let me know what you are most looking forward to and if you’ve been, share any tips in the comments.

Tips for travelling with Friends

Throughout my early solo travel years, I struggled to find friends who had enough money to travel and wanted to embark on the same adventures that I did. So finally when it came to travelling with a group of my nearest and dearest friends, I had a couple of things to consider.

This was a great opportunity to spend being adventurous while exploring the world and creating memories to last with those I value most, but having heard many tales of ruined friendships and falling outs I knew I didn’t want this to happen to me, and I wouldn’t want it to happen to you either.

Which is why when travelling with friends, it does requires some compromise and transparency to ensure that you have a great time and arrive home with your friendship still in tact!

 

1. Be upfront with your finances

Before you even book a thing, it’s best to have a conversation about your holiday and travel expectations including budget, transportation and accommodation preferences. If you are expecting to stay in hostels to save money but you friend is planning 5* all the way, you might have different trips in mind.

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2. Set itinerary expectations

While you may not want to plot out minute by minute of your trip, at least discussing what you would want to do at each destination will set up expectations for the trip.  This way you could compromise on what you want to see before hitting the ground at your destination and not seeing those things you desperately want to.

 

3. Do that thing they suggest

Be mindful that you won’t necessarily want to see exactly the same things on your holiday. Your travel buddy may be super keen to go and see a museum that doesn’t really interest you, but when you really want to go on that third brewery tour they might want to call it a day. So you can either tag along to try a new experience, hell you might even enjoy yourself or you can do your own thing while they are doing what will make their holiday!

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4. You will get on each other’s nerves

Travel is tiring and frustrating, especially when you are in another country that possibly speaks another language. After a long hot day of walking and lining up in queues with hungry bellies you may get on each other’s nerves at some point. Just make sure you each take a break for a few moments by going for a walk or even spending part of a sightseeing day doing your own thang.

 

5. Checking In on Social Media

Some friends will travel and post every moment and others would prefer a limited presence. Make sure you are aware of your friends preferences and you check anything that might rub them up the wrong way before hitting the post button and tagging them across Twitter, Facebook, Insta and Snapchat.

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6. Create memories

Make sure you have a fun time and be adventurous with your friend. Create those incredible life changing memories from hiking to the top of a mountain and accidentally taking the long way round to eating that incredible French macaroon you saw on Instragram or even skinny dipping in the Mediterranean Sea.

 

7. Reflect on your day

Make that time once a day when you reflect on how awesome the day was. Even if there was conflict, tears or other travel woes, there is always something incredible in a travel day. This could be on your long train journey or while have a glass of wine at the end of the night.

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I’m still new to this travelling with friends situation so let me know your travel tips for travelling with friends.

Guide to London: Shoreditch

The East End of London has become famous for it’s soaps, cockney slang, the 2012 summer Olympics and even being the location of the Jack the Ripper murders. But in recent years it has been undergoing a gentrification that has made it one of the most popular places to visit and stay in London, or if you are so inclined, to move.

On my recent trip to London, I spent some time in my favourite part of London, Shoreditch in London’s East End.

As London’s burgeoning hipster and alternative community, where you will find street food markets, a cargo box shopping district, some of the best coffee & best curry in London. And it’s conveniently located right next to Liverpool Street Station a.k.a The City.

So here is a guide to my top things to do in Shoreditch and East End to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

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What to Eat & Drink

Brunch

As an Australian, I love brunch with good coffee. So no matter when in the world I am, I will fine the ultimate place to score a good brunch offering and incredible coffee. London has started to adopt a brunching culture, which I’m sure in influenced by the Australian invasion of the UK shores. Here are my top picks for brunch in Shoreditch, perfect to fuel you for a day of vintage and designer shopping.

  • The Attendant: If coffee is your thing then The Attendant is great for you. With everything from your standard cup of coffee to cold brew they have the caffeine to keep you on your feet all day or an afternoon pick me up. Plus, they don’t skimp on the brunch menu, I don’t remember a better avocado smash!
  • The Vintage Emporium & Tea Rooms: There is almost nothing more Brick Lane than the Vintage Emporium where you can shop for amazing vintage pieces while sipping tea and grabbing a bagel and watching the world go by outside.
  • Lantana Café: The origins of Lantana come from the land Downunder, set up in London by Australians and Kiwis who wanted to deliver great coffee and smashed avocados to Aussies living in London. Must have item, the Lantana Blowout with unlimited Bloody Mary’s, Prossecco or Mimosa for weekend brunch.
  • The Breakfast Club: Besides being named after a great 80’s cult classic, The Breakfast Club is one of the best places for a spot of brunch, if you can get to the front of their line. With both a weekend and weekday brunch menu, there is plenty of choice from breakfast burritos to fried chicken & waffles to your standard bacon and eggs!
  • Albion: This café, bakery and grocer all in one features all your favourite brunch and lunch favourites at superb quality. Located close to Box Park, this bright and delightful eatery will be a hit with everyone. Plus the coffee is pretty great!

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Cheap Eats

  • Poppies Fish & Chips: Traditional British fish & chips is a must try while in London. This traditionally authentic eat in & take-away restaurant is located in Spitalfields, and will have you dreaming for yesteryear as you served to you by waiters dressed in 1950’s attire…even if you were born after 1990.
  • Pump Street Food Markets: If you are looking for a filling, cheap eat for lunch or dinner then Pump Street Food Markets is your place. With a BYOB, which you can pick up a beverage of choice next door before deciding between Falafel, Turkish, Argentinean, Popcorn Chicken, Italian and many more.
  • Brick Lane Curry: It’s safe to say that Curry is pretty popular in the UK, especially in Brick Lane. Brick Lane is where you will be spoilt for your choice of curry and quality, so stop by and take your pick for the best curry in the UK.
  • MeatMission: If you are after something hearty or indulgent then MeatMission is your place. Serving Jack Daniels onion rings, cheesesteaks, Jagermeister ripple ice cream, buffalo wings and all the American diner favourites this place doesn’t disappoint or leave you wanting more.

 

Drinks

  • Be At One: Meeting up with friends for some low key drinks without losing the atmosphere, Be At One offers in spades. Here you can meet u with mates for a drink and as it gets later you can enjoy watching the bar staff and patrons get into the mood of the evening or get involved yourself!
  • All Star Lanes: Always a favourite, All Star Lanes offer a cute cocktail bar setting if that if your preference or you can step into a pair of bowling shoes and take on a friend in a game of 10 pin bowling!
  • Barrio East: The Latin attitude of Barrio East give this the perfect atmosphere for a drink at the end of the day or to hang with mates all evening! Plus, the Mexican Cantina themed food and drinks menu will have you salivating!
  • Bar Kick: Bar Kick has a casual vibe for that Friday night party vibe where you can get a cool drink to chill with mates and bring out your inner Joey & Chandler with a game of Fuseball.

 

Shopping

  • Beyond Retro: One of Brick Lane’s draw cards is the vintage on offer and Beyond Retro has this is spades. This underground of a warehouse room has vintage and second hand pieces from almost every decade and fashion trend that you can think of.

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  • Box Park: A series of storage containers converted into a series of boutique fashion & lifestyle stores and food stalls. Throughout the year they also host different series of music events from coffee sessions to busking gigs.

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  • The Laden Showroom: While Spitalfield’s market showcases lots of different fashion and goods, the Laden Showroom profiles up and coming designers! There is always well produced fashion to be found at great prices.

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  • Spitalfield Markets: This permanent market is always bustling, especially at weekends! It’s a great place to find a gorgeous London print as an alternate souvenir, a cute new outfit or gift for loved one back home. Plus, there is always some delicious cake stall to treat yourself with!

 

Things To Do

  • Jack the Ripper Tour: It took me a while to get around to taking this tour and now I recommend it to anyone going to London as a must do, especially for anyone still intrigued by this unsolved case. Pop your detective hat on and spend a few hours walking around the Whitechapel & Shoreditch area picking up clues!
  • Tower of London & Tower Bridge: While not located in Shoreditch, the Tower of London & Tower Bridge are both located a mere 30 mins stroll away. These iconic structures are a must visit to get that perfect tourist shot, and to take a squiz at the crown jewels to see what you could have access to if you were to marry Prince Harry.

 

Where To Stay

A stay in Shoreditch wouldn’t be authentic without giving Airbnb a try. Not only will, you in most cases, save a load on accommodation but you will be at the heart of the action as there aren’t too many hotels located right in Shoreditch. Airbnb offer many amazing accommodations from the current fad of warehouse style accommodation to penthouses, lofts to traditional London flats.

If you are staying further away and want to experience the nightlife in Shoreditch, the night tube does run on weekends from Liverpool Street on the Central line.

A Quick Guide to Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island, located in the Whitsundays off the coast of Queensland in Australia. This island is at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and the gateway to all the Whitsunday Islands, where days can be spent adventuring through the uninhabited islands above ground, getting up close to the exquisite coral reefs underwater or simply taking in the sunshine while sipping cocktails by the pool. If you plan on visiting the Great Barrier Reef or the Whitsunday Islands, here is a quick guide to Hamilton Island featuring the best attractions, what to eat, where to stay and what to do.

 

When To Go

The climate on Hamilton Island is a great all year round, with a tropical climate reaching a high temperature average of 30C in Summer and average low of 18C in winter. While the weather stays warm year long, the best time to visit would be from May til November where the temperature is more moderate while you should try to avoid both the wet season from December until February and school holidays.

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What To Eat & Drink

Drink: Wild Oats or Rosemount wine, Hamilton Island is currently owned by the Oatley family who are most famous for making their fortunes from their famous wineries, you will be able to find these wines at most restaurants on the Island. Alternatively, cocktails are a must on any visit to the island, starting with $10 All Day Cocktails at One Tree Hill followed by the Margarita of the day at Tako or taking in the uninterrupted views from the Bommie Deck.

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Eat: For such a small island there is a huge range of choice for incredible cuisine on the island, but the newest restaurant to open is one close to my heart, Tako. A Mexican-style eatery with a fusion of Japanese and Korean cuisines, this place has not only the flavourings that you expect from great Mexican, but a fresh twist. With guacamole and salsa paired with the cocktail of the day, any night will be off to a great start.

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Where To Stay

There are two main options on Hamilton Island, staying as a guest of the hotel resort or in privately owned apartments and holidays. If you are looking for the all inclusive holiday then the resort hotels will offer great deals inclusive of some activities on the island with a great location, adjacent to the main beach. But if you are looking for something a bit more freedom, then a holiday home is probably more your style, plus they are likely to come with free use of a Golf Buggy during your stay. While in Hamilton, I chose to stay at Shorelines 15, which offered great views over Henning and Whitsunday Island’s.

Beaches and Pools

The best places on Hamilton Island to take a dip or enjoy the sunset are not just the beaches, but also the resort pools. Here are the top places to take a dip and unwind.

Main Pool & Island Bar: is the island’s swim up bar, located next to Catseye Beach. A prefect place to catch some rays and grab some cocktails without even leaving the pool.

Catseye Beach: is the main beach of Hamilton Island and it’s where all the water activities take place, from stand-up paddle boarding to windsurfing, snorkelling and even a turtle discovery tour. Great for a day of activity with friends or family and relaxing on the beach.

Hideaway Bay: is a secluded bay located just a light 15 minute bush walk from the main road. Hideaway Bay will give you piece and quiet away from the crowds while being able to take in the views you might catch from Catseye Beach. Hideaway Bay is perfect for a little picnic or meditation spot.

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Getting around: Buggy’s

Hiring a Golf Buggy for your trip to Hamilton Island will not only save you time heading to different poolside or beach activities but they are so fun to drive! From the moment you arrive on the island, the speed of the Golf Buggy’s will automatically put you into holiday mode. Top tip: driving the buggy’s at night time around the island will help you spot some local wildlife including possums and wallabies!

 

Must Visit: One Tree Hill

If there is one place that you must visit on the island, then it’s One Tree Hill! With clear views all day and throughout sunset of the Whitsunday islands it’s a prefect vantage point to relax and unwind with cocktails. I could definitely not get sick of the views. Consider starting the day with coffee on the picnic tables, followed by cocktails at sunset!

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Must Do: Sunset Cruise on the Denison Star

Sunset and resort holidays go hand in hand, so this is not the only sunset activity I will recommend while staying on Hamilton. Boarding the Denison Star is a first class experience in both service and degustation dining, I recommend the Seafood Platter! As you set out, you will be treated to cocktails with incredible views of the sunset as you travel amongst the Whitsunday Islands. Later on, when it’s darker you will get a clear view of the constellations in the sky and may even spot some local sea life off the back of the boat.

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Day trip: Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach is often listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in not only Australia but the world. Located on Whitsunday Island, a national park, it takes a leisurely couple of hours to get to the beach where there is plenty to do on the pure white silica shores, from bushwalks throughout the uninhabited island’s to snorkelling amongst wildlife.

Check out more of what to expect on a day trip to Whitehaven Beach here.

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Top 10 Things to do on Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island is one of my favourite holiday destinations in Australia. Not only is it located right at the heart of the Whitsundays, home to some of the world’s most incredible wildlife and natural beauties but it’s also the perfect place to truly relax and get that holiday resort vibe close to home!

With the natural beauty of Whitsunday Island’s Whitehaven Beach, the Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef right on it’s doorstep this is the perfect destination to both both get a little adventure and relax from the grind of full time work!

Lucky for me, Hamilton Island is only a two-hour flight from my home, in Sydney, making it a great short break. The Island has a resort atmosphere that relaxes you as soon as you step of the plane and onto the tarmac and spot your first golf buggy, the preferred transport on the island.

But now you have your buggy, what is there to do during your stay? With so many options, here is my top list of things to do on Hamilton Island.

 

Exploring Whitehaven Beach

Consistently voted one of the most beautiful beaches, not only in Australia but around the world, Whitehaven beach is a must visit! With so many options to get out to Whitehaven Beach or Hill Inlet (which overlooks Whitehaven Beach) I chose a half day Sail & Swim Tour with On The Edge. With pure white sands and turquoise water, your beach experience at Whitehaven will most likely ruin you for other beaches.

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Unwind at Spa Wumurdaylin

What is a relaxing holiday without taking some time to yourself? With massages, facials and alternative therapies, the team at Spa Wumurdaylin will help you to relax into your holiday from when you book, through your treatment and afterwards. I enjoyed my first massage so much, that I couldn’t resist going back for another.

 

Sunset Cruise on the Denison Star

Sunset and resort holidays go hand in hand, so this is not the only sunset activity I will recommend while staying on Hamilton. Boarding the Denison Star is a first class experience in both service and degustation dining. As you set out, you will be treated to cocktails with incredible views of the sunset as you travel amongst the Whitsunday Islands. Later on, when it’s darker you will get a clear view of the constellations in the sky and may even spot some local sea life off the back of the boat.

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Bushwalk to Resort Lookout

Hamilton Island is quite densely populated, leaving half the island as bushland, making for some incredible bushwalks. If you are looking for a little adventure and exploration, then get your active wear and runners out as the Resort Lookout will get your blood pumping for some incredible views over the Marina.

 

All Day Cocktails at One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is the spot to go for cocktails at sunset with incredible views looking across the Whitsunday Islands. But, if you can’t wait til sunset, then One Tree Hill offers $10 cocktails all day long to relax and unwind throughout the afternoon.

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Yoga at Sunrise

As you can probably tell, I like to get a little active on holidays, especially if I am indulging in a lot of cocktails or delicious food! Yoga at sunrise with views across Catseye beach is the perfect way to connect with myself at the start of the day and relax before all the action packed days of sightseeing and adventure. Also, did I mention the views?!

 

Compete in the Buggy Rally

The Buggy Rally was probably created mostly for kids, but I’m a big kid, so of course I had to take part for the chance to win a free pizza! The Buggy Rally is a scavenger hunt that will take you around the island, to places that you probably don’t even know exist to figure out all the answers, a great way to get to know the island.

 

Get secluded at Hideaway Bay

Looking for a little piece and quiet from the resort crowd, then Hideaway Bay is a short walk walk away. In a 15 minute walk, you will be at your own secluded beach, perfect for a picnic and sunbathing lunch with those closest to you!

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Get active at Catseye Beach

Catseye Beach is the main beach of Hamilton Island and it’s where all the water activities take place, from stand-up paddle boarding to windsurfing, snorkelling and even a turtle discovery tour. Great for a day of activity with friends or family and relaxing on the beach.

 

Cocktails at the Island Bar

The Island Bar, is a swim up bar located in the Dolphin Pool. While relaxing all day poolside, or switching between Catseye Beach (only meters away) and the Dolphin Pool, the Island Bar is the perfect place to grab a relaxing daytime beverage, including my favourite a cocktail in a coconut!

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A Day at Whitehaven Beach

A couple of weeks ago, while I was taking a break in Hamilton Island, I took a day trip out the the majestical Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island.

Whitsunday Island is a national park and home to Whitehaven Beach which is often featured at the the top of lists for best beaches in Australia but also the world. This pure white pristine beach is made of a 98% silica sand which is perfect to visit at any time of year!

Here is  a little taste of what you can expect on a day trip to Whitehaven Beach.

Say hello in the comments and if you’ve been to the Whitsundays, let me know your favourite part!

 

 

A Beginners Guide To Earning Frequent Flyer Points – Everyday

Earning frequent flyer points is seen as something that you can only learn by travelling. Frequently.

But what if you aren’t a frequent traveller?

Does that mean that you will never earn enough points for that once in a lifetime business upgrade to the other side of the world?

The answer is no. There is more than one way to earn frequent flyer points (or miles).

In Part 1, I gave tips on how to make the most of earning frequent flyer points while on holiday. So in this second part I will run through some ways that you can earn frequent flyer points while at home and in some cases on things you are already spending your hard earned moolah on!

 

1. Shopping

Shopping, we all do it. Whether it’s for groceries, household items, clothing or technology, you are more than likely going to be able to earn points for your purchases. Many grocery store have loyalty programs linked to frequent flyers, so you can earn money just for doing your weekly shop, which means you are earning points for eating!

If you are an online shopper then you can also earn points from your favourite stores from ASOS, to Net-a-Porter, iTunes or even Ebay, by shopping through airline eStores that will take you to you preferred retailers to make your online purchases, they will then add your points onto your frequent flyer account.

2. Fuel

Fuel just keeps getting more and more expensive! So while you are filling up your car, you could be topping up your frequent flyer balance for your fuel and service stations purchases.

 

3. Getting into shape

Many frequent flyer programs have linked up with gyms to help you earn points with your gym membership, which means that even when you aren’t going to the gym that it will still be working for you in racking up frequent flyer points!

4. Web search

If you are like me, you will search for everything online. From holiday destinations to where to go to dinner or to figure out if you are hearing those song lyrics correctly. Well, you could be earning frequent flyer points for all the searches you make. I mean you are doing it anyway.

 

5. Eating Out

Most people will recommend saving as much money as you can while at home so that you can spend more on your travels, which can mean cutting back on meals out. But you also want to live your life and enjoy an incredible meal with friends. So start earning points each time that you dine out by booking through a frequent flyer partner website while also securing a dinner reservation.

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6. Checking out the latest Hollywood blockbusters

If there is one thing I love, it’s going to the movies to see the latest rom com (don’t tell anyone). But movies have gotten more and more expensive, which is why, for the amount of times I frequent the cinema that I want to be earning points. Plus, this could even save you money on the tickets with discounts through your frequent flyer program. Saving money + earning frequent flyer points = winning!

 

7. Banking, Loans, Investments & Credit Cards

Banking is something we all do and most of us have done since we had our first kids account. I have an everyday account, a credit card, I’ve just started investing and one day I will most likely have a loan. So considering this is part of something I use everyday, I am looking into the options with different banks and providers to make sure my money can work twice as hard!

8. Other Insurance – House, Pet & Car

Insurance is one of those necessities that is also really costly, but If you own a house, a car or own a pet, then you want to make sure you are fully covered in case anything goes wrong. But most of the time nothing does go wrong and you are still spending so much money, and now frequent flyer programs have joined up with insurance partners to help you rack up those points.

9. Utilities – Phone and Energy

Every single day, I am hooked up to my phone, like it’s a lifeline – which is so bad, I know! But with a data plan plus the phone repayments, and not to mention all the household bills, I can spend quite a lot of money. All money spent that could be earning me points to take me away from the everyday onto my next adventure! 


10. Real Estate

If you have been lucky enough to get on the property ladder, which here in my home town of Sydney is pretty tough, there is an opportunity to earn points. Some frequent flyer programs will give you points for listing, selling or purchasing property through their real estate partners!

 

11. Health Insurance

Making sure you are covered for your health is important to keeping fit and healthy and ultimately saving you money in the long term. But health insurance isn’t the cheapest, which is why some airlines have teamed up with health insurance brands and comparison websites to earn you points while keeping healthy.

 

Check out the first part of my frequent flyer series – A Beginners Guide to Earning Frequent Flyer Points – On Holiday.

Do you have any tricks to earning frequent flyer points? Let me know in the comments.

A Beginners Guide To Earning Frequent Flyer Points – On Holiday

What is the deal with frequent flyer points?

What are they?

How do they work?

Do you have to travel often to earn them?

These are all the questions I had about earning frequent flyer points or miles until very recently when I thought that it was time that I get on top of how it works.

Since figuring out how they work, I have become slightly obsessed with how I can earn them because flights aren’t the only to earn points! There are so many ways to earn points, some that you are not aware of but could get you earning points right away for things that you are doing in your every day life. So in this two-part guide, I am going to take you through some easy ways to earn frequent flyer points both on the road and while at home.

In this part, I’ll take you through understanding how to earn points for your holiday, both before you leave and while on holiday. Earning points on holiday is a no given, here are the big ticket items that you should definitely be earning points for:

1. Flights

Obviously, flights are the most obvious way to earn your frequent flyer miles, but unless you are travelling frequently, these will take some time to accrue to a decent number. Make sure you fly with the same airline or one within the same group, for example if you flew one leg on a Qantas flight and another on Finnair, because you will be able to accrue points from other flights on your main airlines frequent flyer program.

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2. Hotels

While booking your flights, you will most likely be directed to your airlines’ hotel partners, booking websites or if you are with Virgin America then you can earn points with Airbnb.

3. Travel Money

If your trip takes you overseas, then it’s more than likely that you will need different currencies where you are visiting. So most major airlines will be linked to a travel money program, if they don’t already have one themselves, for example Qantas has Qantas Cash or Virgin has Global Wallet. These programs make it much easier to access your money overseas hassle free whilst also earning frequent flyer points.

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4. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance… a must have when you travel! All airlines offer travel insurance, which you will notice when booking your flights. Airlines offer bonus points if you purchase their travel insurance, the higher tier you purchase, the more bonus points you will likely earn as well!

5. Car Hire & Taxi Bookings

If you are going somewhere you will need to hire a car, then check to see if the car hire company is affiliated with your airline. If so, you can claim points on you car hire, making the expense worth something! If you are in Australia and travel with Qantas, they also offer points to customers who book a taxi through the GoCatch app.

6. Duty Free

And finally, the best part about travel, well not really. But looking through the shops as you wait at the airport to leave on your holiday full of excitement and optimism and that perfume or brand new handbag is just calling your name! To earn points, you will need to do your duty free shopping while on the plane, which will limit your options, but if you are after the giant Toblerone, that you know you are going to get, then make sure you are earning points!

Make sure you subscribe, so that you will know when the second part of the guide is released. 

Let me know in the comments the ways that you earn frequent flyer points on holiday.

7 Train Journeys to add to your bucket list: Europe Edition

While plane travel will get you from A to B in a short amount of time, it can also be crazily hectic and stressful, from the expensive trip to the airport, the long lines at security not to mention dealing with everyone else on the plane and at the airport! When I started travelling by train, I found that not only did I get to see the incredible sights along the way, but it also formed a part of my holiday rather than just being my mode of transportation.

So I decide to put together a list of train journeys that will get you from one destination to another but will also take you back in time, to hard to reach places, show you incredible scenery or even take you somewhere magical.

This is the Europe edition…

 

1. Get to Paris on the Eurostar

Dreaming of traveling through Europe, I couldn’t wait until one day I would catch the Eurostar from London to Paris for a weekend getaway! A trip on the Eurostar is my favourite way to travel between London and the continent being hassle free, mush less stressful and makes me feel super classy. It’s the perfect commute and in just two and a half hours from the heart of London you could be eating croissants in the heart of Paris or dining on mussels in Brussels.

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2. Cross continents on the Trans Siberian Railway

The Trans Siberian Railway is your alternate route to the European continent from Asia, that will take you off the beaten track and is definitely an adventure to tell the grandkids about or at least brag to your mates on Instagram. If you take on the most popular route, leaving from Beijing, you will travel along the longest railway line in the world, through Mongolia then cross from far East Russia all the way to Moscow, stopping along the way at some of the world’s most iconic sights including the Gobi Desert, the Great Wall of China and Moscow’s Red Square.

3. Go somewhere magical on the Hogwarts Express

This adventure is one is for all the aspiring wizards out there! If you never received you entrance letter to Hogwarts, like me, then you no longer have to live a completely muggle lifestyle because you can fake your way to experience the magic by taking the Jacobite Steam Train through the Scottish countryside.

Most recognisable around the world for it’s role in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express, a train ride on the Jacobite Steam Train will transport you across the West Coast of Scotland where you will take in the exquisite scenery that J.K. Rowling describes in the Harry Potter novels. As you are transported by steam engine, you will be able to take in the incredible countryside featuring highlands, valleys, lochs, glens and most importantly a crossing of the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan viaduct – the most memorable imagery of the Hogwarts train journey from the Harry Potter films.

 

4. Glacier Express

Switzerland is more than just their chocolate and the picturesque snow capped mountains perfect for skiing! They also have watches, banks and fondue…. And the Glacier Express. The Glacier Express runs from Zermatt to Davos or St Moritz and will take you through deep gorges, enticing valleys, through tunnels, over hundreds of bridges and of course through those picturesque snow capped mountains. In just seven hours, you will see the most impressive sights of the Swiss Countryside as well as getting to your next destination on the other side of the country in style.

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5. Arctic Circle Express

Lapland and the Arctic Circle sound almost mythical to exist, even after you’ve made a trip there! All throughout the year the Arctic Circle and Lapland regions of Norway and Sweden contain absolutely stunning scenery from the mountains and fjords to the extreme daylight and night time. Travelling on the Arctic Circle Express into far north Lapland will take you well past the arctic circle where you will get to experience the culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Geirangerfjord!

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6. The Transylvanian Odyssey

If you want to see a different side of Europe, then the Transylvanian Odyssey will take you through the Transylvanian and Balkan regions. Boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express in Budapest, travelling through the Hungarian countryside making your way towards the Transylvanian region, where you will need to keep your cross and onions handy as you will stop at Sighisora the rumoured birthplace of Dracula and Brasov to visit Bran Castle, also know as Dracula’s castle! The Journey then continues through the countryside and cities of Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Croatia, Slovenia before finally arriving in Venice, Italy for a final gelato!

 

7. Step back in time aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Since recently completing a huge renovation back to it’s Art Deco origins, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express will transport you back in time to the golden age of travel, the 1920’s! Your time on board the Orient Express will prove that trains are more than just a means of transportation as you sip cocktails in the bar car in black tie or relax in your private room, you will make your way through Europe’s exquisite scenery, stopping at some of the continent’s major cities in complete luxury and style.

There isn’t only one way to experience the Orient Express as it can take you on a variety of routes throughout Europe, perhaps you are interested in the classic London to Venice route via Paris or a historical adventure, taking a similar route as the original 1883 inaugural journey donned in your best sequined flapper dress that will take you from Paris to Istanbul via Budapest and Bucharest. Now I just need to save up all my pennies!

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Which of these train journeys would you like to add to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments.

 

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10 Tips to Reduce Jet Lag

….Or avoid it completely.

In the lead up to your holiday you might be more excited than Lizzie McGuire heading to Rome, but then you land at your long planned holiday it hits, the jet lag! Knocking you out for several days of poor sleep and poor sightseeing, it’s no fun.

So to help you avoid the jet lag fatigue of long haul flights, today I will share with you some tips that will help you to overcome jet lag much quicker! With things that you can do before you even step onto the plane, what to do on your journey and then the best things to do when you arrive so that you can get on with enjoying your holiday!

 

Before You Leave

Book an overnight flight

Book a flight where you will travel later in the day, in particular overnight, not only can you head to the airport from work to make the most of your annual leave but you will also enjoy dinner at the right time and be ready to catch a few zzz’s.

 

Get Physical

If you can, get physical before you leave for the airport with a work out or a walk, this will help you sleep much better on the plane. If there is no time to fit in exercise, make sure you walk and keep active at the airport before you board.

 

Adjust to your new timezone

While you are waiting at your gate or once you have boarded, reset your watch and phone to time of your destination, this will start you get you mentally ready for the timezone you are travelling too. Consider using a tool such as Jet Lag Rooster to create a jet lag plan that will let you know when is ideal to sleep to adjust to your new timezone.

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During Your Journey

Drink lots of water

Being at altitude is no time for alcohol and caffeine, as these will dehydrate you and lead to a higher chance of jetlag upon arrival at your destination. Make sure you keep hydrated by bringing your own water bottle, otherwise you will quickly become the new BFF of the cabin crew. Make sure you also keep your water consumption up once you land.

 

Eat light meals and take snacks

Food served on airplanes can contribute to jet lag at the destination due to the high salt content. So if you can make sure you stick to light meals that are plant based and contain a protein and supplement with snack such as fruit and nuts. This will make all the difference when you arrive at your destination ready full of energy ready for adventure!

 

Move around the plane

Moving on planes is important to reduce cramping, deep vein thrombosis and to feel refreshed throughout the flight. When you aren’t sleeping, keep the blood circulating by getting up and walking around the plane and adding a couple of stretches in.

 

Be comfortable

For any long haul flight, you will want to be as comfortable as you can. Make sure you wear clothes comfortable enough to sleep in, take an eye mask, ear plugs and a good quality pair of noise cancelling headphones that will cut out all the background noise so you can rest when you need and enjoy a movie marathon. You will be here a long time and it’s best to be comfortable!

 

At Your Destination

Say Hello, Sunshine

When travelling longhaul you spend hours on the plane not to mention the time in the airport terminal before taking off or in transit. So making sure that you get fresh air and some sunshine as soon as you can will help you start to adjust to your new time zone.

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Check In & Freshen Up

Once you check in and drop off your bags, you are probably feeling a bit dank from the flight, so freshen up, take a shower and pop on a fresh shirt and you’ll feel nice and fresh to get out and start sightseeing. Only if desperately needed, take a 20 min disco nap to see you through!

 

Rest at local time

Try to adjust to your new time zone as soon as possible by completing your usual routine in local time. Make sure you eat dinner at the same time and go to bed after sundown as you usually would.

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What are your jet lag remedies? Let me know in the comments.