Chilling in Cairns

At the end of my internship my mother came to spend a little time with me in Australia. We decided to travel around Australia a bit ourselves before we went back home to the States.  One place I think everyone should have on their bucket list is the Great Barrier Reef.  I mean it’s incredible in every photo I’ve seen, and now since I am in Australia I know I have to make the trip up to Cairns to go see it.  So my mom picked me up from my lodging and off we went!

The flight was about 3 hours from Sydney to Cairns, which isn’t bad at all. Since I was there in the winter months the 80 degree weather in Cairns was a BIG difference from the 50-60 degree weather we had in Newcastle.  We spent our first day relaxing in the sun, getting to know the area we were staying in.  We were about a 20 minute walk from the Esplanade, which was so cool! So many restaurants and little places to stop and shop, and so many dogs!

I’m a lover of gardens and flowers so when I saw that there was a botanical gardens close by we had to go! Everything in the gardens were blooming and colorful, it just made you happy to be there.  There was also a greenhouse with butterflies everywhere, some that I had never even seen before! Even though it was a little bit too hot for me it was definitely worth the walk around. They even had their own rainforest and bamboo walk. Totally scenic for lots of photos.  We made it an early night because our boat for the Great Barrier Reef left pretty early in the morning.

I get sea sick very easily, so I had to wear a sea sickness patch that did work for me the most part of the trip.  The trip out to the reef was little over an hour on the boat, we snorkeled in two different locations and it had to have been one of the greatest things I’ve seen in my life! I mean so many colorful fish and coral, I even saw a reef shark! I even saw a little nemo in his home too. It was a great experience and if you ever are in Australia this has to be one of the top things that you do!

One other little trip my mom and I went on while in Cairns is taking a ride to Paronella Park.  The Park houses a so called ‘castle’ built by a man who had been poor his whole life, but had a dream to build himself a castle.  He worked hard, and was able to make his dream a reality.  The park is beautiful, even though some of it is in ruins from a hurricane. We were able to see the park in both day and night, which gave us a lot of different views. By the end of the night we were stargazing and even able to see the milky way! Absolutely incredible!

We also spent a lot of time admiring the trees and drinking beer, I mean we are on vacation right!? The food was excellent everywhere we went, and the outdoor seating couldn’t have gotten better. Cairns was a great experience, relaxing and tropical area.  There’s also so much more to do in the surrounding areas we didn’t even get the chance to see half of what is available. I will definitely be going back whenever I get the chance!

Cheers,

Hannah

Final Days in Newcastle

As the internship was crawling to an end, my anxiety began to take over.  ‘What do you mean it was already time to go home, I just got here!’ I was overwhelmed at the fact that time went so fast and I didn’t get to do everything that I wanted to complete.  The girls and I made the most of our final days, refusing to spending weeknights indoors, and

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going out and exploring the city.  We ate at amazing restaurants on the water, took paths we normally didn’t travel on, and just spent time appreciating where we are.  We found this place that had the most amazing Acai bowls, so much fruit and flavor packed into one little bowl I couldn’t even eat it all it was too good! If you’re in Newcastle and you get the chance, go find this little gem on Darby St. called the W.I.A store, not only do they have acai bowls but cute tee’s as well.  I made the promise to myself as well that I would get a tattoo while I was there. To me tattoo’s don’t need to have a deep meaning all the time, it may just be something you want on your body to express yourself.  The tattoo I got does have a meaning to me, yet I know it will be too hard to explain to so many people, so I’ll let them think what they want about it.

Our last days we were also able to attend a local rugby game for the Newcastle Knights.  Personally I was still a bit shaky on the understanding of the game, but it was still really awesome to be a part of the atmosphere.

Newcastle became my home for 2 months and I was so grateful to have experienced my time there with such amazing people.  I will be going back to visit very soon.  The city is wonderful, the beaches are beautiful, the people are so nice, and there is just so much to explore. I can’t wait to go back.

 

Cheers,

Hannah

Melbourne

The last trip with the three other girls I met while in Australia had to be a big one! We were leaving soon and wanted to make sure we could see as much as possible in such a small window of time.  We decided to take the short flight to Melbourne from Newcastle, it only ended up being an hour or so of a flight. We found a cheap hostel before hand, even though none of us are fond of them, and we were ready to explore the city.  Friday was a full day, we booked a tour that would show us around the Great Ocean Road.  It was pretty spectacular! We got to see koalas in the wild, hold parrots, see the 12 apostles, and see the beautiful sights as we drove along the Great Ocean Road. Before getting on the road itself we stopped at this Chocolate Factory, and let me say I felt like a kid, so overwhelmed with all the candies and chocolates to choose from, I couldn’t contain myself.

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A few of the 12 Apostles

The road is quite windy so if you get car sick, much like myself, I recommend taking something before hand! The story of the road is filled with lots of history, it was built to remember those soldiers from Australia who died in World War I.  The 12 Apostles are rock formations that come up from the ocean, which honestly I could have stayed and looked at them all day.  There are no longer 12 standing because of erosion and what not, but there is still a lot to see!

 

After a long day Friday, we spend Saturday just roaming around the city.  Of course we had to stop and have a photo shoot at the Brighton Beach Boxes, I mean how could you not! We also stopped at the famous Hoiser Lane to check out all the awesome street art.  I also tried to visit the Van Gogh exhibit at the Melbourne National Gallery, but sadly the line was incredibly long. My favourite thing that we did was check out the South Melbourne Market.  Being the foodie that I am I was so excited to see all these food stalls and the smell was just taking me to my happy place.  I couldn’t resist and get some fresh oysters as well as some gelato that was just out of this world!  The atmosphere was just amazing, if I could go back right now I totally would.

I was grateful to check off Melbourne with those lovely ladies. I had a wonderful time and it is definitely a city that I will be returning to!

Cheers,

Hannah

Surf’s Up

Bondi Beach is a very popular tourist destination, but the Sydney locals also love the area.  The beach is beautiful, there are also amazing restaurants lining the shore.  Through TEAN Abroad we were gifted a free surf lesson.  I have never surfed one day in my life.  I was so excited, but I was still a little scared.  I mean what if a wave just knocked me out, or what if I got stung by a Jellyfish (for the third time)?  I will be happy to report that none of those happened.  I mean I did get knocked by a few waves, but that’s unavoidable, and it was all part of the lesson! Waking up at 5am to take a 3 hour train into Sydney, squeezing into a drysuit, and carrying a surf board three times my size was all bit of a challenge.  However, the biggest challenge was trying to stand up on the surf board.  The instructors give you a mini-lession while on land, but let me tell you, it is not comparable to when you are in the water trying to actually catch a wave.  I fell more than a few times, and managed to stand up once, but for a first timer, I will take that as a victory.  After trying surfing for myself I totally understand why so many people take it up, it had to have been one of the most fun things I have ever done.  I mean who doesn’t want to just ride a wave, it feels like you’re just floating. Also be sure to check out one of the many restaurants in the surrounding area, trust me after surfing you will need a full meal!

Also you will get the chance to take photos where you look less like a model and more like you just got smacked by a wave. IMG_3231

If you have the chance, GO SURFING! Take a lesson, trust me you will love it!

Go find your adventure out there

Cheers,

Hannah

Newcastle is Sweet

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a massive sweet tooth! Just about everyday I’m craving something sweet to sink my teeth into. Now that I’m off in college & traveling abroad at the moment, I dabble in the occasional, sweets for breakfast, because I’m an adult now & I can have whatever I want, right?! I’m going to tell you about three of my favourite treats I’ve had in Newcastle so far!

Newcastle has definitely came in clutch with their various sweet treats around town. One of the first treats I’ve tried in town are donuts from a local bakery named Doughheads. First off, walking down the street I could smell the bakery from the top of the road! I wasn’t even initially planning on going in there but the smell was so captivating, I was like one of those cartoon characters floating towards that freshly baked pie on the windowsill.  I choose two donuts for takeaway, & it was one of the biggest challenges not to dig in right on the bus. I bought a Nutella stuffed donut as well as a peanut butter and pretzel donut for my roommate & I to share. The dough was so fluffy & light, & the toppings were just perfect! Just make sure you have a glass of milk ready to wash it down!

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Check out Doughheads website here!

The next stop is to a little cuban restaurant in Charlestown Square named Coco CubanoMy roommate & I were in need of a quick meal before we continued shopping. Something caught our eye, & we just couldn’t resist.  I know this isn’t quite a dessert, but it was totally a treat! We each ordered a Frose, or a frozen rose. Let me just say, it had to be one of the best drinks I’ve had, the alcohol wasn’t too overpowering & it had the perfect amount of sweetness, just get ready for a brain freeze here & there! 

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Check out Coco Cubano’s instagram here!

Last, but definetly not least is the ‘Freakshakes’ from The Depot.  The Depot is located on Darby Street in Newcastle.  They offer these crazy milkshakes, I mean they’re insane! Toppings piled high, you just can’t miss out on them. I suggest making this a meal in itself because you will be rather full after, & you might be thinking, “but Hannah, that’s just sugar”! Well you’re right, it is all sugar, but I never said I was a health blog, & this post isn’t about veggies.  I choose the cookies and cream freakshake, which included a cookie bowl with cookies and cream icecream ontop of the shake itself. While my friend choose the churros freakshake, which included many churros and tons of whipped cream ontop.

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Check out The Depots instagram here!

Also check out my roommate Molly’s instagram to see all of her photos of the sweet treats: @molly.mcqueary 

Hope you’re day is as sweet as all these treats!

Cheers,

Hannah

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Sydney Vivid 2017

Living in Newcastle you get a city setting without all the towering buildings and massive crowds.  Newcastle is also set around 3 beautiful beaches, and easy access to Sydney, just 3 hours by train.  I know 3 hours seems a bit extreme, but trust me with a good playlist it flies by!  This weekend the girls & I decided to travel to Sydney for the day to experience the last day of the Vivid light festival. Sydney takes part in the festival every year, which includes light installations all over the harbors.

With a couple of bumps in the road, we just made the 9:33am train into Sydney getting us there at noon, the perfect time! We enjoyed lunch on Darling Harbor, and decided to visit the aquarium.  If you know anything about me, it should be that I am in love with the ocean, the animals, reefs, just everything about it, so if there is an aquarium near by, you will totally see me there.IMG_3035

After the aquarium, we indulged in a few drinks, it was happy hour we couldn’t resist! Then we took on the lights. The Opera House was lit up with moving pictures of coral and all sorts of other things.  There were interactive installations, such as blowing on the dandelion will cause them to change colors. I could stare at the lights all night, however my stomach was getting the best of me.

I have a strong love for Indian food, but the other girls had never tried it before. I’m an IMG_3085adventurous eater & to be able to introduce others to food I love is one of my favorite things. We found a restaurant called ‘The Spice Rack” in Sydney.  I was very nervous to see what they thought, & they loved it! I had goat curry while my friend tried Chicken Tikka Masala for the first time, it had to be one of the best meals I’ve had!

 

 

try anything, enjoy whats around you

 

Weekend in New Zealand

Trying to fit everything you want to do into 8 weeks in a gorgeous country can be difficult to say the least.  For one weekend I thought I could visit Australia’s neighbor, New Zealand! When else am I going to get the chance to visit a country down under! So the other interns & I decided to take a weekend excursion to Christchurch, New Zealand. The second largest city in New Zealand has been going through a serious  resurgence after a 2011 earthquake destoryed buildings & even had some casualties. Despite the destruction that happened years ago, the city is still growing.

IMG_2761.JPGThe flight to Christchurch was memoriable, each of us was upgraded to a business class.  And you may be saying, “okay what’s the big deal”, but as a college student, whose never flown first class, & whose gotten a free upgrade, it’s a very big deal!  I got my own little pod, champagne, even breakfast with a table cloth! The flight there was amazing, so I had high hopes for the rest of the trip!

 

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The first night was spent resting, grabbing some pizza and getting acquainted with our city for the weekend.  Saturday we got up early to head over to the Christchurch Gondala.  The Gondala takes you up onto a mountain, which shows you extraordinary views of both Christchurch, and the moutains that surround the city. Though it was extremely windy and chilly up on the mountain, the views were just something that I couldn’t pass up. The rest of the day was spent exploring the city centre, checking out the Cathedral, that was boarded up because of the earthquake.  We also explored the restart mall, which are storage containers that were converted into shops. There were all these food trucks surrounding the area, each had such an inviting smell, but how do you expect me to pass up a burger! I got this lamb burger from The Burger Joint, which was incredible! It had all the right spices & I couldn’t pass up a lemonaide to wash it down.

Sunday was a jammed packed day! Starting with a tour of the Botanical Gardens.  Though it was winter time in New Zealand there were still flowers in bloom, which we couldn’t help and take photos with… lots of photos! Then onto punting on the Avon, which also went through the gardens giving us a different view.  It was nice to get out into the city, and talk to locals, just have a relaxing day.

The weekend went by fast, but I was happy to get back to Newcastle & sleep in my own bed again.  Christchurch, New Zealand is definietly a place I recommend to visit, I will totally be going back.

 

Onto the next adventure!

-Hannah