Your guide to Fraser Island!

Now this is an area everyone should be able to visit in their lifetime. Untouched paradise, barely any contact with other humans(yay during covid) an abundance of exploring to be done and animals, lots of animals. The Fraser coast can be travelled to from either Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach. Rainbow beach being closest to Brisbane is where we have left from both times I have been to FI. This trip takes roughly three hours to drive to Rainbow and the barge that takes you across may take 15-20 minutes. The barge is $130 return for a vehicle and runs all day long with no need to pre book. We got so lucky with the quietness of the island being that it was during the school term and unfortunately borders being closed in Australia at the time. Fraser Island itself is the largest sand island in the world(AMAZING) and it is 123K’s long- it is huge! It’s hard to imagine its length and size before seeing it with your own eyes!

DAY 1

When we arrived we set up camp in Dundeburra, which I’d highly recommend. It was great, there was plenty of space, communal fire pits which were needed during a QLD winter(we are soft), the campground also had toilets and $2 per use hot showers, did someone say LUXURY?! Dundeburra is quite a central part of the island also. Campsites are pre booked online and from memory roughly $6 p/p per night. This drive took possibly 1.5 hours to get to after driving off the barge. Our first night we put a beef brisket in my partners car oven(bougee) and ate that with some coleslaw and crusty rolls. A crowd fave. And no dishes to be done, woowoo. We sat around the fire with a few other campers with beverages in hand. The stars couldn’t have been brighter. It was lovely. We were chatting about the topics of conversation a few days later and both mentioned how funny it is that occupations etc are never the first questions asked when you meet people camping and out in nature. Its almost like it doesn’t matter, when really it… doesn’t. Theres no hierarchy or ‘status’, we’re all just outside, being. And talking about more important, interesting and meaningful topics than your line of work. It’s pretty amazing really. I love meeting people like this.

DAY 2

This was our driving day. And it was semi cloudy so a perfect day to be in the car. We drove for roughly 7.5 hours. She was bumpy. We saw a whole lot of the island though and especially alot of the rainforests inland. Fun fact: Fraser Island is the only place on this planet that rainforests grow on sand dunes, up to 200metres high! This day we checked out Kingsisher Bay resort, had a fish off of the jetty, a brew at the pub, had a dip in Lake Mackenzie, it was cool to see it so quiet. And finshed with a short stroll to Lake Wabby. This day we also visited Happy Valley Pub and Orchard Beach Pub. There are supplies at both of these locations for essentials, ice, coffee, cold beer etc.

When your tights match Lake Mackenzie

DAY 3

Day three was my favourite day. We drove up to Waddy Beach area and made a beautiful platter, drank cold drinks, whale watched along the cliff faces and listened to triple J while fishing. A highlight was discovering these amazing natural rock pools to take a dip in! It was the most perfect 25 degree sunny day.

DAY 4

We were planning to head home this day, but the weather and our surroundings were just too good. So we headed to the tip and most northerly part of the island, The Sandy Cape. I’d push for just about everyone to make it this far as it is jaw dropping and not so many cars get up here. There is a huge sand dune(there are too many to count on the island) that is an excellent platform for sunrise and set. We hiked the lighthouse walk which took roughly 1hour return and was totally worth it. The signs at the start suggest to take shoes, we didn’t listen to this very clear advice. Definitely take shoes. There are camping area’s at the cape so we decided to stay here for our last night. We were right on the beach. It was insane to wake up to. We actually caught fish this day so ended up making flathead, chips and salad for dinner- it was so tasty. We saw alot of dingoes this day, they are very intelligent and know exactly when you are making food, they’re just chilling, lurking. I don’t think there is a reason to be scared of them as such but rules need to be followed. Food needs to be in a secure place, and as all of the signs tell you; they’re never to be fed. They’re smart animals and they will find a way to hunt for their own meals. They can’t be relying on humans for food. I saw a fisherman catch something and a dingo just hung around, sat by his bait bucket. They’re switched on. I think just stand your ground and as long as food is kept out of their reach you have nothing to worry about.

Sunset solstace on the Sandy Cape dune

DAY 5

This day it was time to cruise home. So we headed just before lunch after having a walk around the Pinnicles and Eli Creek. This meant a shower at home and sleep in our own bed though, yay. The little things. Do Fraser Island, and go for a minimum of 4 nights, its incredible!

Our view waking on our last morning, paradise…

6 Things I’ve learned attempting plastic free July

Beach covered in plastic rubbish (Lap Sap Wan), New Territories, Hong Kong, China. Reference: matthewwilliams-ellis.com

1. ITS EVERYWHERE

This is something I did realise prior to the challenge but it has absolutely been engrained in me more so now. How’s the guilt walking into the supermarket and seeing more than half of the fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic(unnessecary) as well as hummus, biscuits, breads, frozen berries, PB, dried fruit, grains, pasta etc etc etc could literally go on forever.

2. Farmers markets are the way to go

This makes such big difference in a number of ways:

-Supporting local business’ which I am so for post Australian bushfires and mid pandemic. They deserve our dollar. Not these overseas multi million dollar companies

-Its better quality and I really do think better budget wise

-A whole lot less plastic, I still see a ridiculous amount of items such as mushrooms in a plastic bag with a plastic tie right next to a paper bag full of mushrooms? But generally I think there is less plastic. I’ve even asked stall holders if they’ll recycle the container/plastic bands if I buy the produce and they’ve been fine with it. Unsure if this is okay during covid but hoorah for less landfill.

3. So many people are unaware

I am 25 this year and i’d like to assume most people I associate myself with (20-35) have a pretty good understanding around single use plastics… definitely not the case. It’s really hard biting your lip/not overreacting because NONE OF US ARE PERFECT. But to see people still getting plastic straws with their drinks whilst out or using glad bags/cling wrap on a daily basis….. WOT πŸ™ these people unfortunately don’t know any better/ the repercussions this has and that’s OKAY. We all could do with more education on this topic but the more we work together and share the knowledge the better off we will be. “Its not about all of us being perfect, but all of us being imperfect” I love that quote. And that is where we will see change.

4. Cornstarch tooth brushes are the BOMB

Again like many other humans that are lucky enough to have the money to buy oral hygiene products I have been buying plastic toothbrushes for years. They say we go through 300 toothbrushes in our lifetime. That’s a whole lot of plastic sticks chilling on beautiful coastlines around the world. I’ve also read that plastic tooth brushes take 400 YEARS TO BREAKDOWN compared to cornstarch toothbrushes taking just 12 months! Bamboo are a good idea too but cornstarch seem to last longer, feel more sturdy and keep cleaner! Personal preference.

5. Let glass jars be your bestfriend

Glass jars are amazing! I’ve been using them for homemade coffee scrubs, pot plants, toothbrush holders, trail mix containers, iced coffee cups, bobby pin accumulators lol and to store all of my dry goods in the pantry! If you can ever purchase something eg: peanut butter in a glass jar over a plastic container- do it! So useful in the long run.

6. Every small difference counts

Pick up that chip packet that is making your left eye twitch or that mcdonalds cup(are they not everywhere?!) on your morning walk. If we all had the mentality ‘someone else can do it’ what would get done?! You’ll feel better for it, our streets will be looking more pristine and mama earth will thank you for it!

Lets all do our bit πŸ™‚

How to: backpack healthier

I used to think of holidays/trips/vacations as a time to ‘binge’ and ‘eat whatever I wanted’. But when you happen to be away for longer periods of time this gets very old, very quickly. I’m sure we can all agree that food and trying different cuisines is the best part of travel(and the reason a lot of us do!). But when we are making better food choices and not over consuming we do end up enjoying our time away to the fullest extent! Peace out to feeling lethargic when there is so much we want to see and do. Here are a few things I’ve learnt with more recent trips πŸ™‚

  • Eat something green everyday

Definitely not super hard to achieve, and pretty easy to add to one meal of your day- but this will help with the upkeep of essential vitamins and minerals. Have a juice or smoothie with some kind of melon/spinach in the morning or add a side of buk choy to your dinner. So beneficial for our digestive systems and hydration!

  • Stay hydrated

Easy to achieve but also easy to forget. I will admit its harder in countries with foreign water systems(the plastic hurts our hearts, I know) but hydration, skin health and not passing out due to heat exhaustion is important too. Where you can- refill the plastic bottles. And where you cant- purchase and do your best to recycle. I’d even aim for 4 litres of water a day whilst backpacking, so much walking and if you happen to be like me… the occasional cuppla lunchtime beers. Clear spirits with soda and beers are probably your best options if you are going to… over indulge.

  • Rethink over indulgence

I’m all about making the most of free breakfasts at hostels and love a good buffet splurge every now and then. But possibly limiting REALLY over indulging in these free meals to once/twice a week will help curb that calorie intake and getting into a bad routine at the start of the day. Because when we eat shit in the morning= we generally eat shit for the rest of the day. Opt for all of the beautiful fresh fruit on offer, yoghurt and vegetable stir fries/soups if you happen to be in Asia, yummm.

  • Take a pack

Suitcases are all too easy, and kind of inconvenient if your hopping on and off multiple types of transport. Taking a pack travelling means you’re constantly carrying a bit of weight and its keeping you strong. Plus you can put any important documents/extra money in the pocket against your back- ain’t no pick pocketer getting in there.

  • Don’t Uber

We generally have extra time on our hands while we are away(depending on the trip). Walk to and from, you’ll see more of the region you are visiting and more walking= more calories burned= extra room for a second lunch. Cheering.

Hike when you can, swim when you can, go to yoga when you can. Make it a priority to move everyday while being away! You’ll see more of the gorgeous area that you are visiting, it doesn’t cost a cent and your body will thank you for it!

This one time… in Guatemala

The only(known) hot waterfall in the world that flows into a body of cool water. This was incredible and needed after so many cold ‘suicide’ showers

A few years ago i flew to Guatemala city for a month with a mate I was living with in Canada. We basically had return flights booked and not much else. Was such a great way to do it as it was low season when we visited in October. Guatemala was a country I didn’t even know existed until we found cheap flights one day.

Guat’s had really good coffee, super friendly little(emphasis on both friendly and little lol) locals, it was so lush and green(reminded me of being back at home in the tropics!) and a VERY cheap country to travel. Wasn’t for the faint hearted though. It got hot. It is an extremely poor country. There wasn’t really a garbage system and go to transport options are basically busses(we had a 13 hr trip one day, never again). Wouldn’t change a thing though, such a memorable experience.

Blissing out after leaving the start of Canadian winter behind for black sand beaches and 30degree weather

My friend and I had previously done a bit of travel before this trip, but we weren’t oblivious to the fact that we were in what would most likely be considered a third world country. We were going to see some sh*t…

After being in town one day, we decided we’d attempt to walk back to our accommodation(a lot further than we had anticipated) and it started to get a little dark. A Toyota prado(boujee) pulled up beside us and offered us a lift, of course we said yes- it was a free ride with a stranger in a foreign country! Be crazy not to(wouldn’t recommend ppl). We get in and this local 50+ man is smiling but also shaking his head at the same time. We couldn’t really converse as not many locals knew English and we had minimal Spanish. Our driver started saying “arma, arma” which we knew was gun in Espanol… he literally ends up pulling this weapon from under his seat and waves it around. Our hearts sank… He could have killed us then and there. Turned out he was just warning us that it wasn’t a super safe area and lots of people were armed. Makes sense, it was Central America after all. He dropped us to our destination and we couldn’t stop thanking him and attempting to put Quetzal’s(local currency) in his console. He wasn’t having a bar of it and didn’t want a cent of our money. What a legend.

Eating the best homemade hummus and reading communal journal entries at a local cafΓ© in Lake Atitlan

After 478739 bus rides, we were sooooo over it. Probably myself more than my mate lol! We stopped at a hostel on the water for a cold brew. We ended up meeting an older bloke named Guy. Considering he 1) spoke English 2) was Canadian 3) had a bloody infectious personality- we ended up really getting along. He informed us he was headed to Belize in a few days via the water. Offered us two seats on a boat not a bus, we were in. Syd(mi amigo) and I didn’t actually end up telling our families what we’d decided just errrr… incase things went south. I texted my siblings and my parents a short and sweet ‘love you’ before we left the mainland as we didn’t have any service on the boat for four days. Not going to lie I was definitely nervous during the first night we had on the boat, and when I say boat it was basically a catamaran- it was bloody nice. We all had our own rooms and I made sure I locked mine. Turns out Guy was all too much fun. He’d had previous paying passengers(charged us maybe $200US, cheap) so he was super hospitable and quite the chef! We spent everyday playing music, tanning on the front nets, drinking beer and smoking joints. It was a damn wonderful time. A couple from Melbourne ended up joining us on the boat as well as a crazy Norwegian staff member/sidekick of Guy’s(shoutout Jules, Layla + Ruben) We all had a blast!

Guy is definitely yelling at us here for ‘steering wrong’ lol. Note that i apparently needed a pillow to sit on? Haha

After arriving in Belizean waters, we stopped at a very unofficial office in Ambergris Caye and handing our passports over. We got them back and headed to Caye Caulker, probably the coolest little island on earth. But that is a whole different story…

Looking back things could have gone either way, but spontaneity and taking soon to be friends up on offers like these definitely make(or break) your travels. It’s pretty crazy how much trust we can put into people we’ve briefly met, just go with your gut feeling I guess. Ended up that Guy our wild captain was in a boat accident later that year and unfortunately passed away. To think if we’d declined his proposal we wouldn’t have ended up spending a week with one of the most ridiculously insane people i’ll most likely ever come across. He was SO full of life, lived it right that’s for sure.

The whole crew. RIP mate.
Along with coffee, bananas and sugar are the main agricultural exported goods from Guatemala
Cleaning up a beach in the south west of Guatemala, El Paredon. I turned 22 this day.
All of the hammocks + corona’s

I would travel back to Guatemala 100% and cant wait to. I loved how unexpected and unpredictable the whole trip was. Made friends I’ve been lucky enough to see since, ate some really good + also really basic food, made me appreciate all of the small things we take for granted in our commonwealth countries, drank really cheap booze, picked up alot of Spanish along the way, got a good tan and most of all… HAD A BLOODY GOOD TIME!

How to: survive a long haul flight

Something I think we’ve all dreaded once or twice. There’s something fairly uncomfortable about being crammed into economy(which lets be real, its most of us- including myself holaaa) for 10+ hours. But unfortunately its something that needs to be done. And half a day flying is nothing compared to the months on the water our ancestors had to undergo to get from country to country… we really don’t have it that bad. But hopefully this blog will give you a few tips on how to make flying slightly more enjoyable.

  1. Decent headphones– I recently got gifted airpods for Christmas(so so lucky) and they are a game changer. They’re so comfortable to wear/fall asleep with and you need something to block out those crying babies(worst)
  2. Podcasts– are an actual godsend on long trips. I find they keep me entertained more than music but download as many podcasts/ playlists that you can before your flight! Don’t rely on the airline to provide you headphones or a screen to watch, a lot of the time they don’t provide what you thought would be provided. Podcasts I am loving are- Happy hour with Lucy and Nikki, Plantproof, KIC and Casefile true crime. They will keep you occupied without a doubt
  3. Baby wipes– not the most eco friendly whatsoever but to give your oily face a wipe over before you land or even use a few on your seat prior. Makes all of the difference having these babies on hand. Hygiene rules
  4. Your toothbrush– speaking of hygiene. Even if you can’t take toothpaste on with you- it’s something. No one like furry teeth. Helps you feel SO fresh and human
  5. Something warm– planes get cold. I always feel cold haha. So i’d be taking a light blanket in my carry on. Because no one should have to pay $20+ dollars for a rug on a plane. Such a rip off. Same goes for neck pillows at the airport. Be organised. Don’t waste your precious travel money
  6. Something to assist with some shut eye– I’ve taken sleeping pills on flights before but haven’t needed them luckily as I’ve realised I can sleep anywhere(hope this never changes ha) but even a valerian tablet/something stronger if you’re worried you wont catch any Z’s. I love taking peppermint or lavender oil on with me too. Even pack in some chamomile tea and ask for hot water. Or even *cough* an edible prior. Get comfy.
  7. Reading material– this is the perfect opportunity to finish a really good book or even grab a few magazines at the store before the airport(half the price). Reading is time consuming, calming and will hopefully put you to sleep
  8. Comfortable plane attire– wear trackpants and a comfy shirt. Or a maxi dress. People that wear jeans on planes cannot be trusted(my worst nightmare). Chuck your hair in a bun and sport a naked face. Get cosy
  9. Water– it sucks being that person that has to ask others to move so that you can go to the bathroom. But being dehydrated when you arrive in a foreign country in a totally different timezone is worse. Take a big bottle ’cause again most of the time airlines wont provide these or charge you an arm and a leg. I once got charged $3.50 for a cup of hot water, tf.

Do your research when it comes to layovers and airline options, and weigh up your time vs money situation. It would be the dream to fly business and not even blink at the price. But I personally cant justify paying 5+ the economy seat. I’d so much rather spend those extra dollars on accommodation, food and a few too many cheeky midday cocktails. I have heard along the grapevine that booking flights tend to be cheapest on Tuesdays at midnight, so maybe give that a go also… Not that many of us will be flying for a while! Man I hope airlines don’t cave and there continues to be competition held within airway companies. Fingers crossed. Things are looking up. All my love x