After completing a skydive last April with my dad back in England, I was hooked.
So when I was given the chance to do another one in Australia of course I said yes, and quickly handed over my debit card without thinking too much about it.
So this morning I found myself at 14,000 feet above Airlie Beach, about to free fall out of an aeroplane with a stranger strapped to my back. And it was absolutely incredible.
The views were amazing - we jumped over the ocean and the Whitsunday islands, and landed in a field in Airlie Beach. I have to say that the views back at home didn't even compare, and the weather wasn't half as good (although I think my first jump will always be very special, especially as I did it at the same time as my dad).
I was filled with adrenaline afterwards, which made me both hungry and sleepy, so when we got back I ate pizza in bed and promptly fell asleep, before waking up at about 5.30pm. to be honest it was a pretty great day!
Tomorrow I am going sailing on a boat to the Whitsundays for a couple of days, so I don't think I will have WiFi to post on my blog. But expect lots of photos of beautiful beaches and turquoise ocean in a few days!
Saturday, 30 July 2016
We arrived in Airlie Beach just after 9am this morning and, after dropping our bags off at our hostel, we decided to have an explore of the town. We noticed that there was a market on next to the beach this morning so we had a wander around, and I bought a sarong and a toe ring, as well as some egg fried rice for lunch.
And then we came across the camels. On Airlie Beach, of all places. We were told that it would be $10 for a ride, and neither of us had ever ridden a camel before, so of course we had to have a go!
It was actually a lot scarier than I thought it would be - it felt really rocky and unsteady the whole way, and on my video I filmed we are just laughing the whole time. Our camel was called Big Red and he was actually really lovely and soft. They all seemed to like being fussed and had a really gentle nature.
The rest of the day was spent in the pool and napping. Airlie is a really nice beach town with lots of cool little shops and cafes. The area around the harbour is beautiful, and the weather is amazing.
We're doing a skydive in the morning (woop!) so I'm going to get an early night as we've got to be up at 6am. I hope you have a lovely Saturday!
Friday, 29 July 2016
I'm currently on a 16 hour bus journey from Noosa to Airlie Beach, which will get us in at about 9am tomorrow morning. This journey is really hitting home how big Australia actually is!
Today has been spent getting our nails done, eating, and hanging around the hostel in Noosa. There's an amazing bakery next to the IGA supermarket at Noosa Junction that I got a pastry from for breakfast, that I would definitely recommend if you are around this area. We went out last night and got in very late this morning, so have been napping all afternoon before we got onto the coach at 6pm.
Our next stop is Airlie Beach, where I am doing another skydive and visiting the Whitsundays from, so this will be a very exciting few days!
I don't quite understand these drink bottles that I find in all of the Australian supermarkets. They look like they should contain detergent like the bottles at home. They confuse me every time I see them.
Thursday, 28 July 2016
I've been a bit AWOL the last couple of days because I've been visiting Fraser Island, which did not have any phone signal, let alone any WiFi!
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and is situated just off the east coast of Australia. We were on a tag along tour, which meant that we had three 4x4 cars that we got to drive along the sand, which was so much fun. Very similar to on snow!
We spent three days on the islamd, seeing all of the different attractions. Fraser has quite a few fresh water lakes and streams that you can swim in, as you can't swim in the sea due to sharks.
The photographs above are of Lake McKenzie, a pure rainwater perched lake formed atop of layers of sand and dead vegetation amassed over thousand of years.
We did lots of swimming and sunbathing, and partying in the evenings (except last night when a nap turned into a 10 hour sleep...). I had such a great time and it was nice to be away from civilisation for a few days with some amazing people. We also saw lots of whales and dolphins, plus a dingo, which was a huge bonus.
We're off to Airlie Beach tomorrow, and are skydiving over the weekend which I am extremely excited for!
Monday, 25 July 2016
Today we have explored Noosa, and as you can see it's beautiful. We went for a walk through the national park and saw 2 huge lizards, and then chilled out on the beach.
Noosa is like a more upmarket Byron Bay, so is beautiful and laid-back but a little more chic. I would definitely recommend a visit here!
We're off to Fraser Island tomorrow so I'm hoping there will be WiFi to do my blog, but we'll find out!
Sunday, 24 July 2016
Homesickness is something that I've had to deal with a fair few times in the past, even when I've just been away at uni and only 2 hours from home. So being away for 8 weeks was always going to be difficult for me - and it's even worse if I ever feel down as all I want is a cuddle from my mum.
So here are a few of my tips on how to deal with homesickness:
1) Keep yourself busy
The best cure for an overactive mind? Keeping it busy. You are away from home for a reason, so make the most of it while you can. Go out and see as much as possible. Meet new people. Explore a new culture. There will be plenty you can do to keep your mind off home, even if it's just reading a good book.
2) Appreciate every experience
I guess this is similar to number 1, but make sure that you take everything in and appreciate everything you do. Don't waste the time you have away by wishing you were home.
3) Nothing lasts forever
You will presumably be at home again at some point in the future, so think of the celebrations you can have when you are back and all of the photos you can show people, plus the stories you will have to tell.
4) Take it one day at a time
Don't make your date of departure your focus. Appreciate each day and take it one day at a time, to fully immerse yourself into your time away.
5) Talk to your family as much as possible
With this fantastic thing called technology you can now see and speak to your loved ones as often as you like for free. It's almost like they're experiencing your time away with you!
6) Embrace the lifestyle
Wherever in the world you are, try and fit in and make the place feel like your own. The more comfortable you feel there, the less homesick you are likely to feel.
Saturday, 23 July 2016
I CUDDLED A KOALA TODAY!! AND A KANGAROO!
And I got to see a sleepy wombat and a Tasmanian devil. Today we went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which is just outside Brisbane, and as an animal lover, I think it has been one of my favourite days yet.
There were Australian animals everywhere, including a platypus, wallabies, kangaroos, crocodiles, turtles, Tasmanian devils, and parrots. And lots and lots of koalas - I must have seen about 50! We became a bit blasé about them after a while; "oh look there's another koala..."
I also got to cuddle one, which was the cutest thing ever - they are so soft! I have some photos that I will upload when I can.
Most of the koalas were asleep and they sleep in the most hilarious positions, precariously hanging off branches and stretching their limbs into strange contortions.
I just can't get over how adorable their faces are!
Anyway, I'm going out to watch the new Tarzan at the cinema tonight, so I better go. Someone near me has just taken their trainers off and they have obviously done a LOT of walking today because their feet stink so bad, so I also desperately want to move because of that...
Off to Noosa tomorrow!
Friday, 22 July 2016
We arrived in Brisbane about 2.30pm and then spent the afternoon wandering around the shops. Brisbane is nice but is a typical city, so I am already looking forward to moving onto Noosa on Sunday. I'm definitely not a city girl.
Tomorrow we are going to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which is just outside Brisbane, and I am extremely excited to cuddle a koala!
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Yesterday we got the bus to Byron Bay, and spent the afternoon walking to the lighthouse on the top of the cliffs.
Byron Bay is such a lovely place and has such a cool, laid-back surfer vibe. The town is a lot smaller than Sydney but has lots of quaint shops and restaurants to eat at, as well as the beach and water activities to take part in.
The lighthouse walk was stunning, and we got to see some whales and a wallaby!!! It was actually my birthday yesterday, and I think it will be one to remember because of that :)
Today we had a surfing lesson with Mojo surf company, and it was so much fun. I managed to stand up a couple of times before the end of the lesson before promptly falling off my board, but I really enjoyed catching a wave whilst lying down anyway! I think I swallowed half of my body weight in water and did not look attractive in a wetsuit, but I still had a really fun time and would definitely try it again.
I think I'd suit the chilled surfer lifestyle, but maybe without the surfing...
Monday, 18 July 2016
I'm going to do one big post on Sydney when I get home, but I thought I'd catch you up with what I've been doing the past couple of days.
Yesterday we went to the Blue Mountains, situated about 2 hours away from Sydney via train. We had a look around a town nearby called Leura, which was really pretty and had some cute shops. However we ended up eating lunch in a place called Bygone Beautys, which was basically a tea pot museum. It has to be one of the most random places I've ever visited, and the food was quite expensive, but it was an experience I'll never forget.
We then got the train to Katoomba, the town that is the gateway to the Blue Mountains. We had a good walk and it was so enjoyable as the sun was shining and the views were incredible.
After catching the train back to Sydney we grabbed some Thai food and went to watch Finding Dory. It was sooo good! Not as good as Finding Nemo but I still really enjoyed it, and it was amazing to watch it in Australia.
Today we decided that we would do some more sightseeing, so after breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks (amazing) we caught the bus to Bondi Beach.
Bondi has a much more laid-back feel to it than Sydney, and the beach was beautiful with really soft sand. We couldn't come to Sydney without visiting the famous Bondi Beach, and it definitely lived up to expectations!
Afterwards we decided to be even more touristy and caught the ferry from Sydney to Manly Beach. Manly is a lot smaller than Bondi, but it was lovely to sail on the ferry around the harbour and get a different view of the Opera House. We had a drink at the Wharf Bar in Manly and watched the sun set, before catching the ferry back to central Sydney.
Now we're just waiting for our Greyhound bus to Byron Bay, which I am really looking forward to!
Saturday, 16 July 2016
Today we decided that we would do a general day of exploring Sydney and sightseeing, so this morning we decided to go to The Rocks market. The Rocks is the oldest area of Sydney where the first settlers lived, and therefore has the most history to it. The market is open over the weekend and has a mixture of stalls selling homemade jewellery, clothes, homeware and food. It wasn't a typical tacky market - there were lots of things that I would have liked to buy, although I just settled on a necklace as I'm on a budget. You could get some great gifts from the market though.
We got some lunch from a market stall and then wandered up to Westfield, Sydney's main shopping centre.
In the afternoon we decided to go on a walking tour. This walking tour was free, although you are encouraged to give some money to the guide afterwards. It is much cheaper than a bus tour and you get to see far more sights, whilst getting a good feel for the city.
The free Sydney walking tours depart from outside the town hall at 10.30am and 2.30pm every day, and last around 2.5-3 hours overall.
Our guide, Lisa (who was amazing), led us all around Sydney and told us lots of information about each place, including the history of Australia, which was really interesting. Our stops included Angel Avenue (below), the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Hospital, Westfield, and of course the Opera House. Lisa even showed us where to get the best views of the Opera House from.
I would 100% recommend the free walking tour as I learnt such a lot and saw a lot more of Sydney than I could have covered by myself. We also discovered hidden secrets such as the underground shops and the best place to get great 360 degree views of Sydney.
Afterwards we went to Darling Harbour as there are free fireworks on there every Saturday evening. They aren't the best fireworks I've ever seen and didn't go on for that long, but they were worth a watch.
I feel exhausted now and my feet are in a lot of pain so I'm glad to be in bed. I am really loving my Australian adventure so far though!
Friday, 15 July 2016
I'm in Sydney!
It's so weird that I'm here - yesterday I was lying on a beach in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and today I'm staying in a buzzing city.
We got here about midday and spent the afternoon sorting out the next 3 weeks of our trip in Australia, before walking down to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The Opera House was much bigger than I expected and had some beautiful restaurants and cafes around it that we're going to explore over the weekend.
I'm excited to see more of Sydney tomorrow, but now I'm off to bed after a 4.30am start this morning!
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Tonight is our last night in Fiji and I am so, so sad. Fiji is like paradise, and the lifestyle is just as good - 'Fiji time' means that nothing is rushed and everyone is so relaxed. I have been to some incredible places that I will remember, and have met some amazing people that I'll hopefully keep in touch with for a long time.
Tomorrow we are flying to Sydney in Australia which I am really excited for, but it will be completely different to Fiji - and a lot colder!
We've just watched the sun setting from the beach and are currently sat together about to eat dinner.
Bula Fiji, hopefully see you again in the not-too-distant future!
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
I PASSED MY FINAL EXAMS!!!!
I found out last night and was so pleased - we all passed so celebrated until about 3am on the beach. I can't believe that I only have a year left at medical school, and then I will be a doctor! We don't really have exams in 5th year so these are our last university medical exams.
We are currently on an island called Beachcomber, which is situated about 45 minutes off Nadi by boat. It is known as the 'party island of Fiji' and is really fun - with turquoise sea and pale sand. There are lots of activities to do here, such as parasailing and jet skiing, but today has been spent sunbathing, swimming and playing volleyball.
I'm so happy!