The Great Barrier Reef & More

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Hey everyone! This weeks post is dedicated to the wonderful place that I call home – AUSTRALIA. The countdown is officially on (5 weeks!) until I’m laying on a beach with my friends and family, eating cherry ripes and getting that much needed vitamin D back into my body. I have two weeks at home before returning to London, which doesn’t seem like a long enough visit to justify the twenty hour flight (I’m secretly praying for an upgrade) but I’ll be escaping part of the British winter, so no complaints here!

As a frequent traveller, I’m somewhat embarrassed when people ask me for tips on travelling Australia. I’m constantly asked where are the best places to eat? what are the best sites to see? And I mean, I have a few to recommend in Melbourne where I grew up, and then some from my years living and working in Sydney, but to be honest, I’ve seen more of Europe & America than I have of my own country.

When it comes to travel, I think a lot of people forget to experience the beauty of their own country, which is something I’m definitely guilty of. For example, I lived most of my life only a few hours drive from The Great Ocean Road and I’ve never even seen it! Something I’ll be correcting when I go back in November.

In the past, I’ve always felt that in order to get that true holiday experience, I had to go abroad rather than local. But the more I travel, the more I’ve developed a hunger to experience the beauties that are right there in my backyard. So with a page full of must visit places, there’s one I can confidently mark off. A magical place I did manage to visit a few years ago – The Great Barrier Reef.

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There’s no questioning that The Great Barrier Reef is one of those postcard picturesque destinations. Located off the coast of Queensland, it’s the largest coral reef in the world, and when I set my eyes on its breathtaking beauty, I was in absolute awe. To see nature like this, completely untouched by development, was truly amazing.

Over the years, I’ve participated in a lot of scenic activities, but a helicopter ride over heart reef and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef itself, still tops my list. Seeing the different coral formations and the incredible colours, it’s something I’ll never forget. And always my number one recommendation for those visiting Australia. I was lucky enough to have the helicopter experience as a birthday present, saving myself the $250 price tag, but looking back on it now, I’d absolutely pay for it myself if I had too. The flight duration was really quick, lasting approximately ten minutes, but every single minute was incredible and 100% worth it in my eyes.

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THE VIBE

There are a number of islands that make up the Whitsundays, all offering something different. So doing your research on each is key to picking the right ones for your travels. I spent a total of one week in this tropical paradise and I chose to stay at both Daydream and Hamilton Island.

DAYDREAM ISLAND

My first impression of Daydream island was that is was predominantly a family focused island. Lot’s of activities scheduled throughout the day like archery, mini golf, water sports and more. A child at heart, I did get excited to try my hand at archery, but when I ended up with nine year old beside me showing perfect aim, and my attempts at hitting the bulls eye were complete fails, I decided to stick to activities that required less accuracy – like laying by the pool.

The beach on the island was beautiful, however not the most ideal for sun baking due to the number of rocks. So joining the other guests I pulled up a lounge chair and spent my days reading and drinking cocktails. I’d say if you prefer the beach to the pool, or if you don’t have children, then maybe limit yourself to a day trip here, rather than a few nights stay.

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HAMILTON ISLAND

This island was the complete opposite to Daydream and my favourite out of the two. A mixture of beaches, boutique shopping, waterfront restaurants and vibrant nightlife. There’s definitely something for everyone here.

The fun thing about Hamilton Island is that nobody owns a car. You either take a bus to get around the island, or you do what the locals do and hire a golf cart. I opted for the bus, but next time I will definitely choose the golf cart. It looked like so much fun!

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WHITEHAVEN BEACH

Spending a day relaxing on Whitehaven Beach is a must for everyone visiting the Whitsundays. My toes sinking into the soft white sand (yes, it really is white!), walking along the shoreline, I was in paradise. Just be mindful though of the time of year you visit, because if you’re there during stinger season (jellyfish), venturing into the water will see you looking less like Baywatch and more like Mystique from X-Men (in a less attractive way) because you’ll have to wear a protective suit.

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