Cinema under the stars

I love going to the cinema and seeing a movie, but what I love more is curling up with a friend or loved one with a blanket, good food and a new movie to watch.  Bondi Open Air Cinema managed to combine all that and so much more! Yes all that and Bondi – wha could be better!

Next to the Bondi Pavilion, on a fenced off area of grass was Bondi Open Air Cinema.  Blow up seats, were the premium seats and an area of grass was for everyone else.  Most had picnic blankets, rugs, food, drinks ……… perfect!!

 

Earlier in the day Harriet and I had bought and prepared snacks to take with us and as the sun set on Bondi we had a lovely picnic.  After sun set and it was dark enough; the movie began.  Snuggled in blankets and hoodies we watched the movie and enjoyed the stars.

During the movie, I looked up at the sky and it was spectacular! So many shining stars in the sky, I wanted to take a photograph to capture how amazing the sky was, but my camera was jus not good enough so I had to lay back and just enjoy the moment instead. 😑

I love movies and I really enjoyed seeing one in a unique place. I will definitely look out for other open air cinemas in the future, but don’t think I can repeat my Bondi experience!

Back to Sydney 

An overnight bus from SPOT X and we arrived in. Sydney in the early hours of the morning.  I didn’t slept very well on the coach but not wanting to waste the day we planned a trip to Bondi beach.

It was lovely to be back in the city, it felt familiar and after visiting so many new and exciting places, it was lovely to be back somewhere that I recognised and felt I knew.

Too tired to do much, we spent the day chilling on the beautiful Bondi beach. It was lovely to just relax and not do much after such a busy few weeks. A quick food shop and we headed back to the hostel. As it was a Sunday we attended Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, a beautiful church with a good number of parishioners.

The next day was an admin day with time to explore of Sydney.  Visiting Hyde Park and the library of the State of New South Walse.  We also neede to visit a  current exchange because ………..

We are going to F I J I ! 🇫🇯

I am so excited; we are island hopping for 2 weeks around the islands of Fiji and I am so much looking forward to experiencing a different country and culture!!

That evening, back at the hostel, we packed a small bag between us, to take as hand luggage. We decided to treat ourselves to another trip to Bondi to visit the Open Air Cinema and I’ll tell you more about this in my next blog!

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The day before we flew to Fiji was Valentine’s Day,  As we had no plans, we decided to visit went to a friend for a Galantine’s Day celebration.  It was a lovely evening of food, wine, chocolate and good company. We put the world to rights and laughed a lot!  Our friend was also kind enough to store our suitcases; so we could travel to Fiji with only hand luggage.

All set and ready for Fiji and an early start the next morning.

Catching that wave

I have always wanted to surf, and to catch a wave in Australia is, I feel, is an absolute must! When I was younger, while on holiday in Cornwall, I hired a surfboard and had a go without any instruction; although I did manage to stand up, I wobbles all over the place and was only actually stood up for a very short amount of time.

Mojo Surf is a company that runs surf camps and academies in Bali, Indonesia, Byron Bay as well as at an undisclosed location called “SPOT X”.  It’s at “SPOT X” where we had our 2 day surf camp; a beginners’ camp which helped with the basics of paddling out, popping up and riding the wave.

Arriving the night before our camp started, we met our wonderful guide, Anna, who showed us to our room, gave us a tour of the camp and told us all we needed to know.  She was so happy, knowledgable and helpful; meeting us before and after our surf lessons and every time we saw her she checked in with us.  All the staff were so friendly and loved getting us all involved in the activities, which made for a great community vibe.

So the next morning, was our first surf lesson. It was a very early start as we were in the water for 8 o’clock.  Our instructors, Jack and Nick, took us through a quick theory lesson on waves, rips and safety, as well as a few hand signals should we need help whilst in the water. Then it was onto the beach to learn how to surf; on the sand we practised our paddling and pop up, as well as when to pop up and tips on staying on the board. And so into the water to have a go, I was so proud of myself when I stood up on my second attempt and once I had done it once, there was no stopping me! Although, I continued to fall off but I would say I was getting up on the board more than I was falling off!

SPOT X had had a few days of big waves due to a storm system out at sea. The waves remained really big and strong pulling us out to sea in the current so quickly. For this reason we only surfed in the shallow area, waist/chest deep depending on your height. Even so we were still catching some powerful waves.  Jack and Nick were great, patient and good at spotting little things that made a lot of difference to our technique.

After a couple of hours in the water, riding the waves, we walked back up the beach to camp to enjoy the rest of the day. Harriet and I chose to spend the afternoon on the beach topping up our tans, reading and blogging.  I love just lying on the beach and watching the world go by.  As we headed back for dinner we were stopped by one of the guys running activities, he invited us to a sand castle building competition, winner got a bag of goon.   There were 6 teams with the option to build either a sand castle or sand sculpture.  Harriet and I chose a dolphin sculpture. We didn’t win the competition but we had a blast building it.  I haven’t built sand castles in years and it took me back to family holidays on the Cornish coast.

Back at camp, it was dinner time and as we all queued up for our dinner the night staff introduced themselves, very loudly and with a lot of energy!  We spent the evening hanging out in the community area and getting to know all those sharing our surf lesson.

After a good night’s sleep, we were ready for Day 2 and our second surf lesson. With a later start of 10 o’clock, our instructors, Kate and Connor, gave us a refresher of how to pop up and showed us also how to turn. Back into the water and I managed to stand up on my first wave!!! I was thrilled 😁 Kate and Connor were great and gave some great tips. 2 hours later we emerged from the water exhausted but thrilled that we could now catch a wave. I have a way to go before I can call myself a “pro surfer” but I think I’m on my way 😉

The afternoon was hot! we passed the sunny hours relaxing in the shade and watching a game of volleyball.  Dinner and social time followed and not long after, as it was a Friday, the party started too with limbo and twister getting very competitive!

The final event of the evening was the “awkward dance” competition.  Although, Harriet and I didn’t take part it was so funny watching others making up extreme dancie moves, with the ultraviolet light making a great affect and atmosphere.  It was so much fun!

Unfortunately our Greyhound bus was at 10pm so we soon had to pack up early and leave the fun and partying of SPOT X.  I love that I got the chance to finally learn to surf and it is all down to the amazing staff and instructors at SPOT X. I can’t wait to try it again!

Byron Bay

Byron Bay was described to me as an old hippy town. As someone who would not describe herself in that way was I was  slightly cautious about visiting. However, I had also heard that the beach was really nice and there was a beautiful walk to the town’s lighthouse.

As we drove into Byron Bay, on the Greyhound bus, my first impression of the town was that it was very cute and the hostel we were staying at, Aquarius, was very beachy with an open reception, a cool bar and pool area and a roomy kitchen. Our room was a spacious dorm with 8 beds. Once we were settled in, we headed out to explore Byron Bay. 

Walking round Byron Bay, I was very surprised about the feel of the town because of the things I had heard I was expecting it to be dirty and grungy. It was nothing like that, like the hostel, Byron Bay was a bohemian style beach town with cute shops, boutiques and cafes on every street. I loved wandering into the shops and looking at all the things I couldn’t buy because it would never fit in my suitcase. We ended up at the beach lying on a grass verge watching the world go by. 

One of the reasons we had chosen the Aquarius hostel was they offered a free dinner every night which was great. It meant that we didn’t have to shop or cook while we were there and made our days a lot easier.  As we headed back for dinner we met a few of our dorm mates and enjoyed the evening entertainment; karaoke. It was fun to watch people let loose and sing their hearts out! I wasn’t brave enough to have a go but I though everyone who got up were great and some really got into it adding dance moves to their performance.

The next day we kept it simple and went to the beach. It was such a hot day we didn’t want to do much so lying out on the beach was perfect. When we got too hot we took a dip in the sea and ended up spending 6 hours at the beach! 

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After relaxing on the beach all day it, we took a content walk back to the hostel. We met up with a few our our dorm mates and took the 45 minute walk, with stunning views of the local bays, to the lighthouse. We got to the lighthouse just before sunset allowing us to see the beautiful colours of the sun as it dipped below the horizon.


While at the lighthouse, we walked a little further to the most easterly point of Australia. It was strange to think that looking out there was no more Australia only New Zealand. 

After seeing the sunset we walked back to the hostel in time for dinner. We then grabbed a drink and spent the evening in the bar chatting, playing cards and having a good time. When the bar closed we moved the games, drinks and fun to our dorm room. We had such a laugh playing a very fast game of speed, with 5 people it definitely got interesting. Harriet also taught one of our dorm mates, who had never heard of snap, how to play, he loved it and it got very tense towards the end!

The next morning we headed down for breakfast, we had put our cool bag with our food in the communal fridge, however, it wasn’t there. We spoke to reception and they asked us to check a second and a third time, but it was nowhere to be seen.

In the end the hostel manager explained that a new girl had cleaned the fridge and she may have moved things around. However, as we hadn’t managed to have breakfast as we didn’t have any food the manager took us to The Rocks Cafe next door and part of the hostel and told us to order what we wanted on them! 

We had an amazing breakfast, I had pancakes ozzzing with maple syrup and covered in a berry compote. Harriet had a fresh fruit salad, with granola and yogart. I also had a strawberry milkshake, I haven’t had a milkshake since before I started travelling. It was lovely! Harriet got a passionfruit smoothie. It was all delicious and we were so full we knew that we wouldn’t need lunch. 

We were also surprised when the hostel manager also gave us $20 compensation for the food we had lost. We were not expecting it but it was a really nice gesture, I find it’s little things that make a hostel and Aquarius got the little things right. 

I loved Byron Bay, I didn’t expect to but it’s cuteness and beach feel was my kind of style. If I get the chance I will definitely be returning and would recommend a visit if everyone is in the area. 

Surfers Paradise 

Surfers Paridise, where the skyscrapers meet the sea and the next stop on our East Coast adventure.  When we reached our hostel we couldn’t check in for a few hours so we relaxed in the communal area and got on with a few ‘admin jobs’.  When it came to checking in, we were given a nice surprise of a free upgrade! So instead of staying in an 8 bed dorm to a 4 person apartment complete with its own kitchen and balcony.  Even better, when we were shown the apartment we were the only ones staying there.  What a luxury!!

Once we were settled in the apartment, we made our way down to the beach.  It was a beautiful stretch of sand with skyscrapers towering over it.  As, we got there at about 3 o’clock it was amazingly hot and the water was so cool and refreshing. As the afternoon came to a close and the sun began to set, tall shadows from the skyscrapers covered the beach creating some much welcomed shade. Even in the shade however, we were warm and relaxed on the beach until about 6 o’clock; stopping off at the supermarket we picked up a few bits for a delicious meal back at the apartment.

It was lovely to cook in a fully equipped kitchen and sit at a dinning table for dinner, we felt truly spoilt and it made me think of all the things I take for granted, not just the basics of food, bed and a roof over your head but your own space and privacy.

After dinner we went out for cocktails, we expected to find Surfer Paradise to be busy, with the clubs and bars full of people drinking and having a good time.  We were surprised to find that it was not like that at all; we ended up in a very cute bar looking out onto the Main Street and watching the world go by.

The next day we had a chilled morning before checking out of the apartment and moving on to our next stop.  Surfers Paradise was a beautiful spot and the beach was amazing. I was expecting more of a livelier atmosphere however the city had a great vibe to it.

Brisbane 

After our amazing day at Australia Zoo, we jumped on the Greyhound bus to Brisbane arriving about 6pm.  After a short walk to the hostel, we were checked in and made dinner.  After dinner we did all our washing from the last few trips, we hadn’t had time to wash any of our clothes, it was lovely to have clean clothes after 2 weeks of constant travelling.  

The next day we were up and out the hostel, ready to explore Brisbane.  We wandered down to the river bank and crossed the bridge to South Bank. From there we took a leisurely walk along the river bank to Kangaroo Point.  As we walked we passed a really colourful Brisbane sign, it was against the Brisbane skyline which made for a really nice photo. 




A little further on, we came to the lagoon it was a beautiful spot and clearly a favourite for the locals as it was very busy which created a family friendly and relaxed atmosphere. There were lots of places to sit around and relax, something that caught my eye was a beautiful flower covered walkway.  It covered the length of the path that ran along the back of the lagoon it was really pretty.


 At the end of this floral tunnel we came across a small market, we had a wander and realised that they were all handmade crafts, some of them were exquisite and totally up our street.  My favourite was the foiled prints stall, the quotes, saying and images were all to cleverly designed and printed, Harriet and I could have brought several but unfortunately space in our suitcases is becoming limited.

Continuing our walk along the river and loved seeing the contrast of the skyscrapers of the city on one side of the river and green of the parks.  We finally reached Kangaroo Point and the view was great, the bridge was definitely incredible.  We then got the City Hopper Ferry back to North Quay, the City Hopper Ferry was a free ferry that ran up and down the river stopping at the main terminals.


Once back closer to the city, we headed on up to Queens Street well known for its shopping, on the way we found a square with loads of people sitting around with suitcases and clothes everywhere, going to investigate we discovered that it was a mini market where locals could sell their old clothes.  We wandered round and found some gorgeous things, I ended up buying a pair of Billabong striped shorts for only $3! BARGIN!! After perusing the clothes market we made it to Queens Street, it was lovely to window shop and enjoy the buzz of the city.

We returned to our hostel exhausted but happy with our day in Brisbane we enjoyed the walk we took and it gave us a great view of the city.

We’re going to the zoo

I love animals from house pets to wild animals. I have already cuddled a Koala and held a snake but I was eager to see other animals that Australia was famous for, particularly a crocodile.  So it was an easy decision to go to the Australia Zoo; home of the crocodile hunter!

As a Christmas present our Aunt, Uncle and cousins gave Harriet and I a gift voucher to spend on an experience day.  After looking through the options this was the one we chose and it was lovely going knowing that this was their Christmas present to us.

We left Noosa early morning and we were at the Australia Zoo by 9:30am.  We had all our suitcases with us as we were planning to move straight onto Brisbane that evening.  Australia Zoo had lockers that we thought we could use to store out bags but unfortunately our bags were too big for the lockers, we went to the gift shop and explained our predicament and they very kindly allowed us to store our suitcases in the back store cupboard.  


Now bag free we entered the zoo and began to enjoy the day. It was incredible to see all the different animals, within minutes of each other we saw koalas, giant tortoises, pythons, cassowarys, dingos, turtles and so many more!



At 12 o’clock we headed to the crocacium to watch the Wildlife Warrior Show.  At first we thought it would be a show with only the small animals but within minutes our expectations changed as birds flew around the crocacium, staff who worked with these animals told us about them and helped the animals show off.  They brought snakes and other birds through the audience, then the big birds came out, the hunters, one of the birds had a wing span of over 1.5 metres!! 



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Then the main event came out, Al the croc, who was an impressive 14ft long. Al was reluctant to say ‘hi’ so Dave who looks after him was stamping his feet both on the ground and in the water!  He explained that crocodiles use mainly vibrations to navigate where food may be and right now Dave was food.  Slowly but surly Al came out and in the water he did look as big as I was expecting.  Dave then brought Al out of the water with more stamping, it was only then that we saw Al’s full size and he was huge!!  Dave and Dan, another keeper, always worked in pairs with another team around the edge of the enclosure, they took every procaustion to ensure that everyone was safe, the main lesson was that crocodiles were unpredictable no matter how long you worked with them. 


After the Wildlife Worries Show, we continued to wander around the zoo; we headed to the kangaroo and wallaby enclosure where you could feed the kangaroos!!  We stopped off at the gift shops to get some “Roo Food” and went on over.  I loved it! The kangaroos were so gentle and were not spooked when we came close to feed them, with flat hands we inched closer and closer until they were eating right out of our hands! We also managed to get selfies with the kangaroos too which was awesome!

The Croc feeding show was next, the staff fed another of the crocodiles; we learnt more about them, their hunting patterns and how they breath, see, and hunt. Did you know that a crocodile can go for 12 months without eating!!!


We then moved on to see Harriet’s favourite animal, the tigers, unfortunately we missed the tiger show but they were still so playful with each other. It was lovely to see, it was also sad to fully understand the threat that these beautiful animals are under, many are hunted for their fur but also as pets, where they are maltreated. 


We finished the day seeing the camels, zebras, rhinos and giraffes we were lucky enough to arrive just as the keepers were feeling them, they came so close to the fence and even though they had ‘bambie’ legs their walk was majestic and strong. They loved the camera and I got loads of photos of them.


After all that, we had walked miles and were ready to head to our next destination, Brisbane, so we collected our suitcases and got the 5 o’clock Greyhound bus to Brisbane.

The Australia Zoo was incredible, the animals were something I hadn’t seen before and the care that their keepers showed toward the animals was beautiful.  If you ever get the chance to visit the Australia Zoo I would certainly recommend it,  it is a great day out and a chance to see some amazing animals!