Review: Bali Indonesia

Review: Bali Indonesia

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” (St. Augustine).  Bali was a great edition to my list of travel destinations for this year. Bali is only a six-hour flight from my home in Gold Coast, Australia. Although not a walk in the park flight, it is a whole lot better than trying to fly from back home in the United States and cheaper. That first step off the plane was hot, humid, and sticky. My roommates and I went in late September and the weather was not unbearable but quite tolerable. My suggestion in the future would be to visit Bali slightly earlier than this, such as in late August or early September for the best beach day weather.

Bali was a new step in life for me being my first visit to an Asian country. There were some challenges I faced my first time in this location which was to be expected. There was of course a language barrier. I know absolutely zero Balinese. I suggest before visiting you make an effort to learn some simple words such as yes, no, and thank you. They are always useful and just like any other nation, the Balinese people are delighted when even an attempt is made at communication. The next challenge was haggling, especially with taxi drivers. Everyone is attempting to rip you off when it comes to taxis. I suggest trying to only use Bluebird taxi service or prearranged drivers. It makes travel plans easier in the long run and you feel a lot safer too. The airport possessed the worst hagglers of all, and once you push past that part the rest is smooth sailing. On our trip we faced some natural problems, specifically Bali’s iconic Mount Agung. While we were in Bali, Mount Agung was on a high-level alert for eruption. Although my time ran smoothly, this did cause problems with locations I longed to visit and caused us to leave a day early out of fear of canceled or delayed flights due to ash concerns. The difficult thing about volcanoes is that there is no way to actually predict when an eruption is going to occur. Three weeks later I am writing this, and Mount Agung is still steaming with no eruption in sight.

Bali is one of the more touristy Asian countries. This is a good thing in my opinion for people having their first Asian country experience, making the experience a little less culturally shocking. Asia is so different than other parts of the world and Bali is a good transition in preparation to travel to less touristy places within the continent.

My suggestions on what to do and where to stay are as follow: We stayed at an Airbnb in the middle of Seminyak. Seminyak was a great location close to beaches and in the heart of the city. Airbnb’s are so cheap in Bali – we stayed at a lovely one called Villa Baci. The owner is Australian and she was more than accommodating. The place felt like a private, five-star resort that possessed its own pool, a kitchen, and three bedrooms with king beds. Get as many massages as you can! We often had them come to the villa at the end of the day which was lovely to do from home. These ranged in price from $10-20 which in my mind is unreal! Shop until you drop. There are so many unique things and places to shop for such a good price. Another warning I have is that some of us in the group did get sick. Bali belly is common, and although we do not know if that is what we had, we assume whatever bug we caught was from non-imported ice or non-filtered water. Do not hesitate to ask everywhere you eat about these issues or I promise you will regret it.

I think Bali was my favorite trip to date. It was the most fun due to the great people I was with, my best friends, and the Balinese are really such kind and compassionate people. They want your business, they want to help you, and they love learning about you and answering any of your questions. A week is plenty of time for people who are just wishing to shop, eat, and hit the beach resorts.  If you desire to do more you might want to extend for a little longer than a week since this country has so much to offer.

XX

Gabi

Review: Springbrook National Park

Review: Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park should be on your list of places to visit if you are in Queensland. It is a beautiful place to explore, with plenty of ground to cover and differing aspects of nature. I spent a day there roaming and hiking through its beautiful forests and I was not disappointed. We went in August so the temperature was perfect for hiking. Not too hot, not too cold with a nice breeze and sunlight peeking through the leaves and branches up above us. The trees were the most fascinating aspect to me. They were trees like I had never seen before and many were even hollowed out, making it where we could get inside them or stand in them. You could tell they were hundreds of years old if not more, which is always mind boggling to me, I always remember as a small child counting the rings on the inside of chopped down tree to figure out how old they were.  We hiked all around but my favorite was the hike to the bottom of the waterfall. It is not too difficult of a hike, and the water is something like I have never seen. The water was green, like moss. Against a black rock background. It reminded me of Hawaii a lot, which was fitting since I went with my good friend Veronica who is from Hawaii and my boyfriend.

The waterfall was not incredibly large but beautiful nonetheless. The water was FREEZING, at this time of year no one was getting in. It was even too cold to stand next to for a long period of time. We got some good pictures though before moving out of the way and off the very slippery rocks. There were plenty of trails and plenty of things to do in Springbrook. I enjoyed meandering through different pathways. It was not far from the Gold Coast where I live, so that was nice as well since I constantly find myself driving and flying all over the place to see all that I have to see.

I really liked these hikes and the location better than Mount Warning. It just was more versatile and I felt like I had more control over my pace and the difficultly level. All ages and skill levels can explore this park and even if you do not want to walk around or hike you can drive through many portions of the national forest. The drive up into the park was probably one of the most beautiful experiences. It reminded me of the Redwood Forest up in California. If you look close enough you can maybe even see some kangaroos!

XX

Gabi

 

Mount Warning Review: https://ranchbucket.blog/2017/08/01/mount-warning/

Things I Have Learned in Australia

Always say yes, whether that be to a new experience, a trip, an event, or a party, always say yes. Who knows when the opportunity will knock again and do you really want to miss that opportunity to go somewhere, see something, meet someone all just because you decided Netflix and your bed were the better option that day? Money comes and goes, experiences do not.

Be friendly, this should be a given, you never know who you are meeting but this is especially important when in a foreign country. Get to know the people of the area, and be genuine with them. Some of the best people I have met I would have never come across if I had not gone up and just introduced myself. Go for it. When you make friends with the locals you gain new opportunities and knowledge which is priceless. (Shout-out to my dear friend Travis and his endless help and knowledge about my Whit Sundays trip. Also, the countless rides back from the grocery store when I did not want to do that dreaded walk.)

Choose travel over the party. If given the chance to get away for the weekend to a new place compared to going to the latest club, this should be an easy call, choose travel. There are clubs and bars and parties in every place you will go in life, but there is not a new culture or scenery within your usual Thursday night club.

Don’t forget to let loose. You still need to let loose every now and then. Dance your little heart out at that club, get up and sing karaoke, run on the beach until you are out of breath. You need to have fun and let go of the travel agenda every so often or traveling becomes a chore or a race to see how much you can see, and let’s face it, races are no fun.

Always go to the beach. See every coastline, every ocean, every shore, it will calm your soul and bring you answers in your life you did not even know you were looking for.

People will make fun of you for being American. Take it lightly and do not get to worked up about it, laugh along with them even if it bothers you. No country is perfect and although they are poking fun at you, I am sure there is something you could tease them about with their country. Be the bigger person and let it go.

America is not the end all be all. The world does not revolve around you because you are an American. So do not act like it does. Prove the dang stereotype wrong and do not subject yourself to the cliché American tourist appearance.

Try the interesting food places, by which I mean the places that are not chain restaurants and not that Instagram brunch place you found on the discover page. The best thing I have eaten here in Australia is from a little Moroccan food stand. I am now known as a regular of at least once a week, and all I get is dang cheese fries and a hot dog. I have never been so satisfied. I can only suggest you do not do this in third world countries as a safety precaution.

You don’t miss home, you miss the people. I do not miss 100-degree weather, I do not miss the desert, I do not miss the American lifestyle or the grocery store I used to shop at. I miss my mom when I get sick or when I am not sure how long to cook the chicken for. I miss my dad when it is the middle of the day in my country and midnight back home and I want to ask him a philosophical question. I miss my boyfriend when I am looking at the prettiest sunsets in the world, or doing my next wild adventure and all I want is his hand to hold so he can feel the excitement radiating off my body. I miss my friends when I see them having fun back home without me, realizing no one elses life paused when I took off. You don’t miss where you come from you miss who you came from.

Love the opportunity and the life you have been given. If you are traveling, whether it close to home or far far away, remember you are fortunate, you are blessed, and never forget to appreciate that.

Review: Noosa National Park

Review: Noosa National Park

Review: Noosa National Park

The Fairy pools

Anyone who gets the chance to spend some time in Queensland should take a bit of time to venture up to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. I have done a review of Byron before, and I like to think these two go hand in hand. Although I enjoyed the shopping in Byron more, and Byron is a little more hippie and laid back, I would say Noosa is a more classic or upscale version of Byron Bay. I absolutely loved this quaint little beach town. Per usual, I have nothing but high regards for all the places I ate at. They had a plethora of places to eat with live music, which I am absolutely head over heels in love with. My favorite part of this weekend getaway though was the beach, the national park, and the fairy pools. The beaches were close to flawless and the national park was very unique. The park essentially took you on a bush walk throughout the head of the coastline. It was sand for the majority of the walk which made it kind of tricky to walk on after a while, but a good exercise none the less. If you go when it is quiet you can see koalas in their natural habitat which is incredible, and we even saw a gila monster. Drum roll please… my favorite part… the fairy pools! I felt like I was in a dream, first off let me say I have no idea why they are called fairy pools when in my opinion if we are talking about mythical creatures, these things are made for mermaids. The color of the water was unreal, crystal clear, and relatively warm. What I found to be the coolest part of the fairy pools was the ability to see all of the marine life within them. They were so colourful and alive. Little fish swam around everywhere, darting back and forth and sea urchins clung to the sides of the rocks; I even saw something that resembled a sea tarantula. These pools were not too hard to get to just a little climb and they were not unbearably crowded. We went early enough that we had an hour or so of them all to ourselves before our party was crashed by more tourists. We hung out there for quite a few hours; it was even an impeccable tanning spot.

IF I had to rate all of my adventures so far, there would have to be two different scales:

a beauty aspect/breathtaking…

Whit Sundays, Queensland

Noosa Sunshine Coast

Burleigh Heads

Mount Warning, New South Wales

Springbrook National Park

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Gold Coast, Queensland

 

Favorite trip/activity

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Australia Zoo

Whit Sundays Queensland

Burleigh Heads

Springbrook National Park

Noosa Sunshine Coast

Gold Coast Queensland

Mount Warning New South Wales

 

If y’all have any questions let me know and I’ll leave some links to different activities and national parks I have done below along with the link to my Byron Bay post!

Xx

Gabi

 

http://www.australiazoo.com.au/  (They do student discounts)

https://ranchbucket.blog/2017/07/10/review-of-byron-bay/

https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/burleigh-head/

https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/

http://www.mtwarningrainforestpark.com/the-experience

 

 

 

 

Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo

Anyone that knows me knows that I have a slight obsession with Steve Irwin. I grew up watching The Crocodile Hunter with my dad, and I think the words “I want Steve Irwin to be my dad,” have even escaped my lips at some younger, more desperate, points of my childhood. Like many people across the world, I was devastated by Irwin’s death and heartbroken for his two children and his wife. He was such a big part of my childhood and a monumental influencer on my outlook on nature and wildlife. He really fostered the respect I now have for wildlife today. I would never claim to be an activist per say, but I do feel like there are so many things to do on the forefront of our treatment as a society of animals. Animal testing for man-made products, the issues related to animal fur, and even the inhumane way we slaughter animals are all sectors in society that could use advancement. I am not vegan or vegetarian of any sorts, I love my meats, but I wish we were more humane about the way we get it than the horror movie styles we see in the typical slaughter house. One of my favorite things about Steve Irwin was his respect for the animals he dealt with and his understanding of how dangerous yet essential they can be and are to our environments.

Aside from that huge rant/tangent, being in Australia I could not pass up the opportunity to go to the Australia Zoo which was founded by the Irwin’s and the national zoo of Australia. To say the least, who knew a zoo could be one of the best days of my life. I 10/10 suggest visiting this zoo if you are ever in Australia. I am sure I enjoyed it a little more than the average human being because of the emotional connection behind it for me, but regardless it was so special to see a ton of new creatures that I had never seen in person before. This zoo is so different than any zoo I have ever been to in the states. I got to see a baby koala gripping to his mom, crocodiles, alligators, tasmanian devils (which are sooo weird), dingos (basically look like you average dogs), hundreds and hundreds of kangaroos, and I even got to see a baby wallaby in his mom’s pouch, fresh and new with no hair which was kind of bizarre. My absolute favorite animals are actually wombats. They are on the endangered list and there are only 115 still in existence that people know of. I had never seen one before that day and I can honestly say I fangirled over a wombat. I think seeing the wombats was a peak moment in my life.  Overall it was a superb day with good friends and a unique life experience that I get to take with me. Always a good time getting away for the day and exploring all that the world has to offer.

 

Xx

Gabi