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  • Travel

    Rockies Premium Tour – Day 1

    30 September 2019
    My third full day in Canada started super early to meet the Discover Canada Tours group and tour bus at Canada Place. (Out of the 25+ people on the bus, over half a dozen were Australian. πŸ˜‚) Our guides were Joe and Matt. The tour I chose was the 5 days Rockies Premium Tour and so glad I did. The tour hit all the major spots of the Canadian Rockies that I wanted to see/visit plus a few I wasn’t even aware of!

    You’d never believe it but 12 hours on a bus? Actually a LOT more tiring than you’d think!

    Vancouver, BC to Revelstoke, BC

    I’m going to hit this with reasonably short and sharp bits because we did quite a few spots and saw a LOT heading up into the mountains. Plus the tour was (now) three months ago 😭 and my memory ain’t what it used to be! (Note to self: Please start writing place names down.)

    Hope, BC

    Not sure if this guy is meant to be a wizard or…?

    Our first stop mid-morning-ish was Hope, BC which is famous for being a main shooting location for the original “Rambo”. Hope is also making a name for itself in wood carving, with an incredible amount of wood carvings/statues all over town! Something worth seeing – some of the craftsmanship is truly remarkable. Particularly as they do them with chainsaws, not a chisel and hammer or whatever! 😳

    (Apologies for the blurriness in the wood carving photos – I was having trouble getting my camera to focus as the bus was going past)

    Autumn and winter in one

    We left Hope and hadn’t even hit the mountains when we had snow on the side of the road! Keeping in mind that this was the last day of September and technically still ‘summer driving’… πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

  • Travel

    Peak and Canyon

    My second full day in Canada I did a Landsea Tours day trip – the Peak & Canyon tour – to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. I soon discovered that the difference in temperature between sea level and up a mountain can be significant! A beautiful but chilly day on the mountain. (‘Chilly’ may be underselling it – it was FREEZING! When those winds get up – brrrr!)

    Capilano Suspension Bridge

    The bridge! Hang on!

    Our first stop was Capilano Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world. I can tell you with complete honesty that it felt like it too! Let’s just say that this stop is not for those with a fear of heights. Or swing bridges. With the amount of people on it, it had a tendency to feel like a bouncy castle masquerading as a bridge… πŸ˜…

  • Travel

    O Canada!

    Trip: 27 September – 13 October 2019

    Where to even begin with my Canadian travels? I was there for 16 *insert appropriately glowing adjective here* days and it was absolutely not long enough. I fell in love with this amazing country. (Yeah, I’ve said that about all my overseas trips – not sure if I just love travel or if I’m THAT good at picking awesome countries to visit… 😜)

    First glimpse of Vancouver from the air

    I left Brisbane on 27 September and, after a short layover in Auckland and a looong flight, arrived in Vancouver the same day. Timezones are CRAZY. It worked out to be about 22 hours travel, from the time I left Brisbane airport until the time I arrived in Vancouver. Thankfully, my jet lag was not as bad as expected, possibly because I could sleep comfortably on my AirNZ flight. Business class makes soooooo much difference! πŸ–€

    Tip: If at all possible, try and keep your travel dates flexible. I lucked out big time and snagged business class fares ON SALE! The tickets were only a few hundred $$$ more than premium economy fares through other airlines. Um, no brainer! I know it’s not always possible to be flexible but if you can manage it, it can be worth it.

    My trip consisted of:

    • a few days in Vancouver to myself
    • a 5-day tour with Discover Canada Tours (Vancouver to Rockies return, including Revelstoke, Banff + many other spots which made my photographer heart happy!)
    • about a week back in Vancouver, post-tour
    • two performances of the Rock the Rink tour, one in Abbotsford and one in Vancouver
    • my first NHL game! (Vancouver Canucks vs LA Kings)
    • day trips to Grouse Mountain, Victoria and Vancouver Island, and Whistler with Landsea Tours
    • whale watching!

    The trip was a LOT but so worth it. I don’t know when/if I’ll get back to Canada anytime soon so I was determined to try and do as much as I could in the time I was there (while keeping in mind that I was also solo travelling).

  • Travel

    A very (very VERY) belated update!

    My second last post before this one (hilariously) mentioned 2019 going by in a flash – blink and you miss it. Considering we are now in the last week of DECEMBER 😱 with only one post between then and now, I think it’s safe to say this year has been on fast-forward since the midpoint! 😬

    So what’s been happening since my Sydney travels? Holy dooly, SO MUCH. I’ll give the dot point version here and I WILL actually come back and do more in depth posts about my travels!

    • Mid-August saw me returning to Hervey Bay for a bit over a week. Had the most AMAZEBALLS time (using that completely unironically because OMG it was absolutely the BEST!) which included checking off a bucket list item of mine… swimming with humpback whales. There was a whole lotta 😍😍 going on, lemme tell you!
    • End of September brought about my first solo overseas trip – to CANADA! It was an incredible trip, awesome people, great food, unforgettable experiences… y’know, all the stuff you expect from such an amazing country. Lots more 😍 had here.
    • I was in Canada through until mid-October. I was no sooner back in Brisbane – literally 2 days! – then I was repacking my bag and off to Perth for 5 days! (I had actually organised Perth aaaages before Canada ever became a planned trip.) The west coast is beautiful and I had a lot more fun adventures.

    Which brings us to now. It has been a seriously busy year – I’ll probably do a tally at some point, of how many kilometres I travelled πŸ™ˆ – and I’m only now just starting to recover. End of year burnout is totally a thing.

    How has your year been? Have you done any travelling? Any special trips?

    PS A belated happy holidays! Can you believe we’re less than a week away from New Years? Yikes.

  • Travel,  Whale Watching

    Sydney highlights

    We’ve hit 3 weeks since my Sydney trip so I’m getting a wriggle on and finally posting about it!

    The first day was reasonably uneventful (other than a dropped phone and partially cracked screen πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ) so moving along…

    Whale watching

    Hornby Lighthouse, South Head

    Day 2 was my first day of whale watching in Sydney. I booked on the morning trip with Go Whale Watching, leaving from Darling Harbour. (I chose Go Whale Watching on recommendation from a few instagrammers.)

    One of the most random – but awesome! – parts of the trip was running into Peter and Jodie from Blue Dolphin Marine Tours! They were on the same whale watching tour, so we had an excellent chat on the way out of the harbour and as we were looking for whales. (I am SO looking forward to my trip with them in August! But I digress…)

    Tail up

    Getting out past the Sydney Heads is a LOT more bumpy than any boat ride I’ve had so far (with the possible exception of Tasmania), but once we were on the open water it was a lot easier to remain fairly steady on our feet.

    And I’ve gotta say… the view from outside the heads and looking back at Sydney and the coastline is magnificent! You can totally understand why Cook sailed straight past the Heads. With the way the land is, you’d never guess that there’s a MASSIVE harbour behind all those cliffs.