Learning to relax on the picturesque Magnetic Island

Leaving my family in Ingham to continue my solo trip wasn’t easy. Even though these are relatives I hardly see, it felt safe and comforting to be with them. Luckily my next destination was the tranquil Magnetic Island, just a short ferry ride from Townsville, and the perfect location to transition from home comforts.

This post describes my very relaxed two nights on the island and the highlights of my stay. In general if I’m not doing something with a specific purpose in mind, I feel like I’m wasting time. This trip was good for me to chill, and remember the importance of resting mind and body.

Continue reading “Learning to relax on the picturesque Magnetic Island”

Be open to change

Beautiful and backpacker free: exploring Ingham

Exploring Ingham is when I came across the most beautiful waterfall and the most spectacular views I have seen in Australia so far. It is a sleepy town located between Mission Beach and Townsville. It is not a backpacker town, but there are some absolutely stunning places here and in the surrounding area. This post is about my time exploring Ingham and the most gorgeous waterfalls, wetlands and elusive island paradises.

Exploring ingham and the Tyto wetlands

Places not to miss in the town are the awesome Mercer Lane mosaics, right next to the highly recommended JK’s deli. This was a community project started by the owner of a motel. My uncle was heavily involved in the project as the owner of a tile business. There is a plaque in the lane thanking him and my aunt and giving a bit of their life history. So on a pole in Ingham you can find the name of a little English town! Apparently anyone travelling by could help place a couple of tiles. I think it is a great idea, and the mosaics depict ingham and the history of sugar cane.

Mercer Lane mosaics exploring Ingham
Just one of the Mercer Lane mosaics. A community project that depicts the sugar cane industry and its influence on Ingham today.

The Tyto wetlands are probably the centrepiece of your stay in Ingham. This is a restored area named after the elusive Tyto owl. It offers beautiful walks and boasts 240 bird species. Also, it is  home to two saltwater crocodiles. I was slightly freaked out by the massive warning signs at the entrance to the wetlands. I ran at top speed across the bridge at the first pond, and then felt slightly ridiculous. The visitor centre is very interesting and contains loads of information about the wetlands. In this area is also the library and local art gallery, and acts as a bit of a cultural centre.

The easily accessible entry to the Tyto wetlands. The walkway in the bottom left hand corner is supposed to represent the cane trains that carry the cane sugar from the farms to the mill.

Wallaman falls

Wallaman Falls is the largest single drop waterfall in Australia at 268m. It was hands down my favourite part of exploring Ingham’s surroundings. The car park and main viewing platform are at the top of the falls. If you want to reach the water, it’s a 2km steep hike plus 50m of clambering over rocks. There are warning signs everywhere depicting people falling and dying of heatstroke. If the signs don’t put you off though, it’s a great walk.

I don’t recommend wearing sandals, but the guy I walked down with was wearing flip-flops, so it’s not like I could complain. If you love being active and clambering over rocks this is so much fun. The rocks are slippery, so be careful. You need a rucksack to carry your water and phone in order to balance with both hands. Also be aware you are likely to get wet. When the wind changes direction the spray from the waterfall can feel like a shower. Thankfully this cools the air temperature and the hike itself is shaded by the forest so I never got too hot.

Wallaman Falls exploring Ingham
The spectacular Wallaman Falls

Hinchinbrook island

Just a short drive from Ingham and seen from the beach suburb of Lucinda, Hinchinbrook Island is the largest island on the Great Barrier Reef. It is also completely uninhabited. This rainforest covered island is so pristine only 40 people are allowed at one time. There is a spectacular 32 km hiking trail which offers campsites with toilet facilities and water refills. Apparently waiting lists for island access can extend several months, depending on group size.

Other options include exploring the outside coat of the island by kayak. Whether hiking or paddling, this is definitely one place on my bucket list. Hopefully it remains the undeveloped, undisturbed environment it is today.

Is it worth exploring Ingham?

I would say, definitely yes. Unfortunately, as a backpacker it is not so easy. There are a few motels but no hostels in town. I am very lucky that I am able to stay with family. The greyhound bus driver seemed relieved when he saw me with my uncle at the bus stop. Clearly he realised that Ingham is not really a backpacker town. It is a shame, because there are some beautiful places here.

Whilst the wetlands are dead in the centre of town, the Wallaman Falls can only be accessed by car. If you really don’t want to miss out, there are day tours that come here from Townsville, which is more backpacker friendly.

If you are lucky enough to have a car and roadtrip wherever you please, I really recommend taking the time and exploring Ingham.

Sunrise to stop you feeling lonely in Cairns

The most beautiful remedy to feeling lonely in Cairns

It’s funny how you can feel lonely in a such a beautiful place. You would think it ought to be impossible to feel down when you are surrounded by the incredible scenery and chill vibe of Cairns. I think I’ve found the perfect remedy though. Get up early and watch the sunrise.

In this post I am writing about what I’ve been up to in Cairns (North Queensland) and my first experience dealing with feeling overwhelmed and lonely while travelling.

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Bushwalking in Perth

Bushwalking in Perth National Parks

I’ve been bushwalking in Perth! I absolutely love walking and being in amongst nature and there are some stunning locations for this in Perth. In particular I have been to the National Parks of Yanchep and Serpentine.

I reckon that Yanchep is better for flatter, slightly easier walking, although both National Parks have significant hiking options. Yanchep also has a reserve for koalas, and is the first place I saw a kangaroo. So now I’ve seen all three ks: koalas, kangaroos and kookaburras! Continue reading “Bushwalking in Perth National Parks”

First hostel experience travelling Australia

I’m not too sure how I expected my first hostel experience to go. I don’t think I expected most people at Pirates Backpackers to have lived there for 3 to 6 months. This was slightly disconcerting because they were all good friends, and I was a newbie in Fremantle for two days.

My fears were totally unjustified because they turned out to be so lovely. The most important thing is to act confident. Even if you feel slightly awkward just pull up a chair and join in the conversation. No one is going to fetch you from your room. If you want to join in, it’s up to you.

A few tips for a good hostel experience

  • Say YES.

Someone asks if you want to go to the markets together? Say yes. Someone asks if they can come with you on a trip? Say yes. Someone asks if you want to join in watching a movie? Say yes.

  • Tell people where you are headed 

I was talking about how I wanted to visit Rockingham the next day. Before I knew it I was going on a mini road trip with a group of people who also wanted to come.

  • Be confident in yourself

I’m a very rare drinker and I don’t smoke. If someone offers you weed (which is quite likely), just politely decline (unless of course you want some). Act confident and no-one will question you.

  • Pull up a chair

Things are only awkward if you make them so. Even if everyone already knows each-other just rock up and join in. If you’re getting distinctly unfriendly vibes, don’t waste your time. Move on.

A bit of luck for a good hostel life

So I did all the right things. I acted confident when I didn’t always feel it. I joined in the evening chat, I was flexible with my plans and went with the flow. However I was also lucky. I don’t expect to always have a great hostel experience.

Have realistic expectations of your hostel and check online that it has the vibe you are after. 9 times out of 10 you will meet awesome people and have an amazing time. I strongly believe that positive attitudes attract positive experiences.

There was a moment when we were just back from the beach. We were driving with the windows down, singing absolute tune and on our way to watch the sunset. I couldn’t believe that the Australian experience I had dreamed of was coming true.

First hostel experience: trip to Pyron Point
Sometimes it’s a toss up. Your original plans alone or other equally incredible places with friends. I didn’t make Penguin Island but this is Point Peron in Rockingham.
Hostel experience: my first Australian sunset
The only thing better than an incredible sunset is having people to share it with

Even the most incredible experiences are better shared with friends. Hope this post eases any nerves about hostel life! x

Visiting Fremantle: a happy city with an awesome vibe

Ah Fremantle. This place is significant to me because it was the first time in Australia that I properly struck out on my own. I stayed two nights at Pirates Backpackers in Fremantle, met some awesome people, went on mini roadtrip and basically had the best time! Honestly there were moments visiting Fremantle when I just could not believe where I was. I was happy personified. Continue reading “Visiting Fremantle: a happy city with an awesome vibe”

Cycling Rottnest Island and meeting the quokkas

One of my favourite days in Australia so far. Cycling Rottnest Island was something I desperately wanted to do even back in England, and everyone here told me it was an absolute must do. I was not disappointed. This island is an incredibly popular tourist destination thanks in part to the quokka.

An incredibly cute creature, this furry marsupial was originally mistake for a large rat by the original European visitors. Hence the name Rottnest (translated from Dutch to Rat’s Nest). The popularity of the quokka selfie has helped boost tourism to this island and fund maintenance of their stunning home. Continue reading “Cycling Rottnest Island and meeting the quokkas”

Exploring central Perth and the beautiful King’s Park

Last week there was some proper storms going on here in Perth. However the weather came through for me and I was able to explore the stunning King’s Park botanical gardens. Very close to the City Centre, this a quick bus ride from Elizabeth Quay. It should be top of your bucket list for exploring central Perth!

Here’s how I spent my time exploring the park and the Northbridge suburb of central Perth: Continue reading “Exploring central Perth and the beautiful King’s Park”

Welcome to Perth: northern suburbs and the Swan Valley

So I’ve had my first three days in Australia! I’m living a rather unlikely life of luxury for a backpacker at the moment. I am staying at my aunt’s in a northern suburb of Perth. I have a double bed in my own room with a pool view and a private shower!!

I’ve been chauffeured about to some beautiful places already. So far I’ve made it to the Swan Valley, and explored some beautiful areas of beach and wetland outside of the City Centre. I hope you find this interesting/ of use if you’re planning to visit! Continue reading “Welcome to Perth: northern suburbs and the Swan Valley”