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Travel Advice

Should You Do A Bungee Jump Or A Skydive?

August 20, 2016

Doing a bungee jump or a skydive are often right at the top of a backpacker’s bucket list. But more often than not, you can be a bit strapped for cash as a backpacker and you need to make difficult decisions on what to spend your money on. Personally I’d recommend doing a bungee and a skydive and living off noodles to make it happen but if you really have to choose then I’ve created some pros and cons to each to help you come to a decision.

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Price

In most locations, a skydive is going to be more expensive than a bungee. In Australia for example, a bungee will cost approximately $$$ but a skydive will set you back $$$. If you just want to experience one and only care about price then the bungee jump is the one for you!

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Time

By time I mean the amount of time you’re actually doing the bungee jump or skydive for. With a skydive, you’ll usually be in freefall for about a minute and then have a few minutes of floating down to the ground with the parachute open. On the other hand, the bungee will all be over in a matter of seconds. You jump, you fall, you bounce up and down a couple of times and then you’re either lowered to the ground or hoisted back up to the platform. So if you’re looking to get more value out of your hard earned money then you should definitely go for a skydive.

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Souvenirs

Souvenirs aren’t for everyone but I personally love them! The bungee that I did in Australia had a t-shirt included in the price but you had to pay for any extras such as photos or videos. Now the photo of you jumping off the edge is pretty cool but I couldn’t see much value in buying a 60 second video. In all honesty, how often are you going to watch that?

Now the skydives I’ve done in Australia had no freebies and you had to pay for everything. Again, you have the option to buy both photos and a video. Do NOT buy the photos if you’re planning on getting the video because you can take screenshots of the video when you play it on a laptop. Ta Da! Free photos! Having a video of your entire skydive is pretty cool but again, consider how often you’re going to watch it! If you’re low on money then souvenirs are probably not going to be an option but if you really want one then go for the skydive video.

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Fear Factor

The big difference in fear comes down to the fact that when you do a skydive, you’re attached to a trained instructor but when you do a bungee, you have to do the actual jumping bit on your own. Don’t get me wrong, both experiences give you a huge adrenalin rush but when you jump off that platform to do a bungee jump, you’re going against everything your body wants to do. Mt advice is to look straight ahead and jump as soon as the countdown reaches 0. Don’t be that person that takes about 4 countdowns before they can actually jump.

With a skydive, your instructor is the one who jumps out of the plane leaving you to enjoy the whole experience. Freefalling through the air doesn’t even feel like falling, you feel like you’re flying. It’s incredible.

Overall Experience

This is obviously down to personal opinion and you might feel completely different to me but I enjoyed the skydive so much more than the bungee jump. When I landed after my skydive I was on such a high that I wanted to get back in the plane and do it all over again. The views from a skydive are phenomenal and my instructor let me take control of the parachute for a bit which was cool.

I enjoyed the bungee but I wasn’t as fussed about doing one again in a hurry. I think that’s because it’s over so quickly. A skydive might cost more but it’s definitely worth the extra money. And if you buy the video, you get that exhilarating feeling all over again when you watch it back!

Have you done a bungee jump or a skydive? Do you agree with me?

 

Australia, Travel

Happy Australia Day!

January 26, 2016

I’ll let you in to a secret, I’ve never been in Australia for Australia Day. I’ve always arrived in the country just after! It doesn’t make me want to celebrate any less though. I love Australia and hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back there again. I hope all my friends Down Under have had a great day, I wish I was there to join you for a schooner or two!

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Australia, Travel

Diving the Great Barrier Reef with Deep Sea Divers Den

January 18, 2016

If you’re thinking of doing a dive on the Great Barrier Reef as part of your East Coast trip, you should definitely use Deep Sea Divers Den. Diving the Great Barrier reef was one of my favourite experiences in Australia and I have Deep Sea Divers Den to thank for that (and Stu for paying for the dive for my birthday present!).

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This was my first Scuba dive in open water and there probably isn’t a better place to do a dive than the beautiful barrier reef. All of the marine life looked amazing and we saw so many different creatures, from sharks to turtles to Nemo! Our dive instructor made us all feel completely comfortable. We were all 100% happy with our equipment and knew all the signals if we ever got into trouble below the surface.

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Luckily the reef itself was quite healthy where we were diving as I’ve heard some dive companies take you to parts of the reef which are unhealthy and dying. Deep Sea Divers Den help care for the reef to ensure visitors can enjoy it for years to come.

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After a 20 minute dive, we put on our snorkel equipment and got straight back in the water. The four of us are all strong swimmers and can hold our breath for quite a while so could manage to dive quite deep and explore the reef some more. There’s plenty of fish to see from the surface if you’re not happy doing this though.

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Deep Sea Divers Den also put on a fantastic lunch buffet – and that’s coming from 4 very hungry backpackers. There’s more than enough food to go around and it’s really tasty as well. All the swimming makes you really hungry!

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I know a lot of people worry about the price of doing a Scuba dive but it really is worth every dollar. You’ve got to think that you may not ever have the chance to visit the Great Barrier Reef again. You only live once after all! Just go for it!

Have you dived the Great Barrier Reef? What company did you use?

 

Australia, Travel

Wanderlust Wednesday – 28/10/15

October 28, 2015

If you want to get a different view of that famous Sydney skyline, head over to Dover Heights. This park is a fantastic spot to take in this beautiful city. It’s fairly near Bondi so really easy to get to and the walk up the hill is worth it! 

   
    
   

Australia, Travel

A Roadtrip to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest

October 4, 2015

Everyone knows about the standard backpacker things to do in Cairns. You stay at Gilligans, go out to Gilligans, sunbathe by Gilligans pool and do a dive at the Great Barrier Reef. This post is for the people that want a couple of nights off from all that. We hired a Jucy campervan and headed north of Cairns to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest.

Cape Tribulation

We hired a Jucy van before to do the Great Ocean Road so knew they were good and they didn’t let us down this time either!

The drive up to Cape Trib is so beautiful. I know that sounds like something your parents would say but it’s so true. Miles and miles of white beaches and rainforest make any drive easier.

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation is famous because it’s where the rainforest meets the sea. It’s a great long stretch of white sand and looks exactly how I imagine paradise to be. I’m not a fan of busy beachfronts, I’d much rather a beach look natural and secluded and that’s exactly what Cape Tribulation is. I could have stayed here forever.

Cape Tribulation

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We did eventually tear ourselves away to continue our trip but I never found a beach as nice as this in the rest of Australia.

The other half of our road trip was to the Daintree Rainforest. The Daintree is particularly famous for it’s waterfalls. The most well known one is Millaa Millaa Falls where the Herbal Essences advert was filmed. It’s best to visit the waterfalls after a long period of rain because the flow will be a lot of stronger. We went after a bit of a drought so the waterfalls weren’t very powerful but I thought they still looked good!

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We had great fun rock sliding and re-creating the Herbal Essences advert. As we had the Jucy van, we could set our own schedule as to where we wanted to be and how long we stayed. We often had waterfalls to ourselves which was really lucky! There’s a lot of tours that travel around Cape Trib or the rainforest that go there and back in one or two days which is fine if you’re on a tight time schedule but not so good for crowding issues!

The 5 days of this roadtrip were probably some of the best times of my travels. The freedom of the road, living in my bikini and flip flops and cooking out of the back of the campervan is everything I want in life. There is no place I would rather be!

Cape Tribulation

Australia, Travel

Wanderlust Wednesday – 30/09/15

September 30, 2015
Wanderlust Wednesday

How is it the last day of September?! Seriously, where is this year going? This time last year I was about to sail around the Whitsunday Islands on the crazy Atlantic Clipper so it’s only right that I share some pictures of that beautiful part of the world with you today.

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Have you visited the Whitsundays? What boat trip did you do?

Travel Advice

Australia – The Essentials

September 11, 2015

So you’ve booked your flight to Australia after months of planning and now you can’t wait to arrive and start the trip of a lifetime! Before you get too carried away though, there are a couple more things to think about before you get to the land down under. Nothing annoys me more than seeing companies charge you for this information. It’s all so easy to do yourself! If you have any questions on the information below just contact me here.

This information is for UK Citizens and may differ for all other nationalities.

Visa

The type of visa you need depends on how long you plan on being in Australia for and why you are visiting the country. There are student visas, tourist visas and business visas. The most popular for backpackers is the working holiday visa (417) where you can stay for up to 12 months and work to fund your stay. You can only work for any employer for up to 6 months but hopefully you’ll be travelling around this amazing country too much for this to ever be an issue! Check out the Australian government website for up to date information on visas including the cost and apply directly on the website.

Bank Account

If you’re going to staying in Australia for an extended amount of time, you’re going to need a bank account. Overseas charges can be huge and if you’re going to be working, you’ll have to get paid in to an Australian account. Stu and I used Commonwealth and set up our accounts so they were ready to use the day we landed in Melbourne. You can set up your account on the Commonwealth website and then arrange a meeting with bank manager to pick up your card when you arrive. If you wait until you get to Australia to set up an account, you’ll be waiting a few weeks for your bank card to arrive and then it will take a few days for your funds to transfer from your UK account to your Australian one. Commonwealth also have a great savings account so you can earn a decent amount of interest on any money in there!

Tax File Number (TFN)

Unfortunately, you will get taxed on any money you earn in Australia. The good news is that you can claim it back at the end of the financial year (June). Just think of it as an extra savings account, it’s a great feeling getting all that money back in one go. In order to get taxed the right amount you will need to give your employer your TFN. You can apply for this online and you’ll be sent your number in the post after a couple of weeks.

Mobile Phone

If you’re going to be using the same phone that you have at home you need to make sure that it’s unlocked so you can use an Australian sim card when you arrive. Your operator should have information on this on their website. O2 unlocked mine for free but EE charged Stu about £20 so check if you will be charged or not.

Like anywhere, Australia has a choice of networks for you to go with. Shop around for the best deal but I always found Optus to be the best for coverage and value.

Medicard

Goodbye beloved NHS, healthcare isn’t free in Australia! Fortunately there’s a handy little scheme called Medicare which can help you with any medical issues whilst you are in Oz. You apply for your card, visit a Medicentre and have a chat with the staff in there. You’ll need your passport and details of where you are staying and then you’re good to go!

So there you have it, some important essentials to think about if you’re heading to Australia for a year. Get those sorted as soon as possible and then you can do all the fun stuff like booking your East Coast Trip!

  

Lists, Travel Advice

How To Survive An Overnight Bus

August 15, 2015

I’ve been known to say that the worst part of travelling is the travelling part. Makes no sense I know. Don’t get me wrong, when you’re sat on the top of a boat as you pull in to one of Thai islands, you’re feeling pretty good and you forget about the journey once you step on to a golden beach. But to get to paradise you’ve sometimes got to survive some horrific overnight buses. Your bus may be in Thailand or Australia, be old or new but the fact of the matter is, you’ve still got to be on a bus for 12 hours. Just thinking about it brings back bad memories!

I’ve been on my fair share of overnight buses (one was 22 hours from Alice Springs to Darwin) and although it’s never going to that pleasant, there are ways of making journey a hell of a lot easier!

  1. Neck Cushion – A true lifesaver when trying to catch some sleep on a bus. Without a neck cushion, your choices are either leaning on a shaking window or dribbling on the shoulder on the person your sat next to. I have a fantastic neck cushion called the J Pillow which as well as supporting your neck, has an extra ‘arm’ to lean your head on – something I think normal neck cushions definitely lack! Here’s Kara from Heels In My Backpack giving her review on Youtube!
  2. Eye Mask – Not everyone wants to sleep on an overnight bus so take an eye mask to block out any lights people have on around you and to make it clear that you want some shut eye even if they don’t!
  3. Jumper/Scarf – The air-con on buses can be very temperamental in my opinion, they either seem to be freezing or uncomfortably hot. Take something warm just in case and I always find that having a big scarf over me makes me feel like I’m under a blanket and therefore more likely to fall asleep.
  4. Bug Spray – Overnight buses seem to be a haven for mosquitoes. I always find myself covered in bites the next day so make sure you give yourself a quick spray before you get on and cover up any exposed skin.
  5. Entertainment – 12 hours is a long time to be sat on a bus and you’re unlikely to be able to sleep for it all. Take your iPod and listen to some music,watch a film on your laptop or read a book. Anything to make the morning come around that little bit quicker. I find this a great time to catch up on my travel diary.
  6. Water and Snacks – You’ll feel better the next day if you keep yourself hydrated and fed. Most buses stop at service stations but the selection of food and drink can sometimes be limited or just plain weird if you’re in Asia so take something with you.
  7. Wet Wipes and Tootbrush/Toothpaste – You will be dying for a shower when you get off a bus so take these to have a quick freshen up before you get off and feel a little bit human again. That hostel shower will feel great!

I hope these tips help you survive your next overnight bus. They may not be your first choice of transport but they’re cheap and save you a nights accommodation. Don’t worry you’ll soon be at your next destination!

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This post How To Survive An Overnight Bus appeared first on Frankie Goes To…

Australia, Lifestyle, Lists

15 signs that you have been a backpacker in Australia.

February 1, 2015

1. You loved your East Coast trip but get annoyed when a stranger asks you too many questions about it.

2. You’ve tried all the different flavours of Coles own brand tuna. Sweet Chilli will always be the best!

3. You were confused the first time you walked into a shop and were asked, “How you going?”

4. Admit it, Bondi was a little disappointing.

5. The lack of hot lifeguards was equally disappointing. Is Bondi Rescue fake?!

6. You don’t actually have any Australian friends, in fact the majority of the time you stick to your own nationality. Oops.

7. You believed that Goon was made from fish eggs.

8. Part of you also believed the Drop Bear story. Backpackers are so gullible.

9. You took the obligatory kangaroo selfie.

10. The 88 days of slave labour farm work were actually one of the best parts of your trip.

11. You make decisions on restaurants, bars and hostels on whether they have free WiFi or not.

12. You always want the bottom bunk. Until the person above starts making the bed shake with a night time visitor.

13. You’ve become obsessed with avocados and will add them to almost every meal.

14. You’ve lived off $3 mince every night for a week.

15. The day you found out Dominoes was only $4.95 was probably the best day of your travels.

Asia, Indonesia, Travel

Bali – The Australian Magaluf?

January 3, 2015

To those living in Australia it won’t come as a surprise to see the Indonesian island of Bali described as a cheap party destination but to many people in the Northern Hemisphere, Bali is seen as a luxury honeymoon spot for newlyweds to enjoy their start to married life. If you are considering Bali as your next holiday and want to avoid drunk Australians then you need to pick carefully when deciding where to stay on the island.

The main area which has been developed to suit the Western clientèle is Kuta. Think Mcdonalds and other fast food outlets on every corner, chain stores such as Topshop, New Look and even Mark and Spencers and bars and restaurants serving every cuisine imaginable. Not exactly what you picture when you think of this island. If you don’t want to experience any Balinese culture and just want cheap food and alcohol then Kuta is perfect for you. This is where the Australian TV programme What really happens in Bali is based. The programme is fairly similar to the UK’s Magaluf Weekender and depicts young Aussies in a bad light. Kuta offers no culture apart from Bali souvenirs sold on the hundreds of market stalls. The place is crawling with teenagers on their first mates holiday and adults on family holidays still getting just as drunk.

A short taxi ride away from Kuta you have the slightly more upmarket resort of Seminyak. Seminyak is home to lots of little boutique shops. Some of these are owned by Indonesian designers so you feel a little better browsing these stores rather than the same shops you go in every weekend at home. The beaches are also much quieter than Kuta beach. You still get locals trying to sell you jewellery, fruit etc but as this happens all over Asia I think it is to be expected. In general, Seminyak is more expensive than Kuta for food and accommodation. The hotels which line the beach are incredible 5 star resorts so the whole area is suited for a certain class of person.

Have I put you off Bali yet? Have no fear, away from the rowdy party spots there are still places to visit in Bali which stay true to their culture.

The most popular of these is Ubud. This inland town is home to the famous monkey sanctuary and plenty of inspiring temples. The hotels seem to be more in keeping with Indonesian style and this gives you a better experience overall. You can definitely relax more in Ubud and take in the beautiful culture of the island. Take a visit to a temple or just watch the locals go about their daily lives. If you’re still desperate for a beach escape then try the nearby island Gili Trawangan. I loved it there and I’ll write a full blog post on this tiny paradise soon. This is what Bali is really about, not a cheap Bintang vest and an Arak cocktail.

What do you think? Have I judged Kuta unfairly or can you recommend anywhere else to visit in Bali?