5 Of My Favourite Spots In Canggu

It’s easy to see why so many backpackers in Bali fall in love with Canggu. Consisting of just three main roads and surrounded by rice paddies, Canggu is a little hippie oasis nestled on the coast in Bali.  It’s filled with chilled beach bars and a seemingly endless choice of holistic style cafes and restaurants, each equally as good as the last.

After being in Australia for the last few months on my working holiday,  I was excited to fly to Bali to meet my friends from home for a five-week backpacking trip. We didn’t know much about Indonesia but we decided to choose Canggu as the starting point for our backpacking trip as we’d heard such great things about it.  I know so many backpackers get stuck in this little town, however, it was important for us to pack as much into our Indonesia trip as possible so we were just there for a few days in total.

If you too are planning a trip to Bali and have a few days to spend in Canggu, here are 5 places that you have to check out.

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Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot Temple is a must do when visiting Canggu. It’s a stunning ancient Hindu temple that’s built on a rock jutting out into the ocean and it really is one of the most spiritual and romantic places that I’ve visited.

The best way to get there is by local taxi or online taxi such as Go-Jek or Grab (which is cheaper). If you want to save the hassle, try negotiating a price with your driver so that they wait for you while you explore the temple and then drive you back. A reasonable price is around 100,000 an hour (around £5).

Crate Cafe

When it comes to good food, sticking out can be hard in a place like Canggu; Crate Cafe has got it nailed. Featuring an extensive breakfast and lunch menu with everything from brunch classics to buddha bowls on offer, Crate never disappoints. What’s more, the prices are considerably cheaper than other places in town and the cafe’s open space layout means it’s the ideal spot to get chatting to other travellers.

Matcha Cafe

Matcha cafe was another breakfast spot that I really loved in Canggu. It’s a really chilled spot to spend an hour or so and they serve some of the best smoothie bowls around.

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The Beach Parties

For such a chilled place, Canggu has a pretty crazy nightlife. There are loads of chilled beach bars to choose from but the most popular place to start the evening off is at Old Man’s Bar. It’s a nice place to watch the sunset earlier on and it gets packed later on into the night. After it closes, the party tends to spill out on to the beach until the early hours of the morning.

The Sunset from La Brisa

La Brisa was by far one of my favourite beach bars in Canggu. This beach bar has a fantastic vibe with unparalleled views of the ocean and a large selection of drinks and food to choose from. It’s the nicest place to spend a chilled day soaking up the sun and there is no minimum spend price so it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just be sure to make it until the sunset- it’s spectacular.

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Do you have any more questions about things to do in Canggu? Or questions about 20 something travel in Bali in general? Feel free to drop me a message here and remember to sign up via email to receive more travel tips.

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

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I know that the title of this blog post might sound a little bit cryptic but read on, I’ll explain what I’m talking about. After having spent the majority of the last couple of years travelling, one question that I get asked a lot is- ‘how do you plan your backpacking trips?’ Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t- at least not in the hostel booking, schedule planning kind of way anyway.

Here’s why I don’t plan my trips

I find planning boring

I know some people find that planning a trip is part of the fun- I hate it. Whether it’s booking accommodation, coming up with an itinerary or researching what to do in each place, I find it so tedious. In fact, sometimes researching a trip puts me off even going in the first place.

You can’t plan for the unexpected

Travelling is all about embracing the unexpected and you simply can’t plan for that. Who knows what hidden gems you’ll discover along the way, the people you’ll meet or the things that happen that are totally out of your control. Trying to stick to a rigid plan while backpacking is just going to cause you more hassle than it’s worth.

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It’s better to follow suggestions from people you meet

One of the best things about travelling is meeting people that are doing similar things to you. This is great because not only do you meet like-minded people but you also get to hear all of their recommendations first hand. This is how you really discover those hidden gems while travelling.

It ruins the adventure

Lastly, planning trips totally ruins the sense of adventure for me. The thrill of backpacking is that it’s a journey into the unknown. A routine is non-existent, each day brings endless possibilities and you really get the chance to live in the moment. That’s what travel is about for me.

Here’s what I do plan

I know that turning up in a new country with virtually nothing planned might seem really overwhelming but trust me, it’s the best way to do it. Having said that, there are a few things that I do organise or at least research before I go. Here’s what.

The first few nights accommodation

I think that it’s practical and sensible to book your accommodation for the first few nights before you arrive. This is because wandering around looking for accommodation when you’ve just got off a long flight isn’t a lot of fun. It’s usually easy to extend your stay in person in hostels so I wouldn’t advise booking more than three days accommodation in case you don’t like the place.

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

Looking at the weather

Before even booking your flights, I would advise to check out the weather. It’s easy to forget that ‘warm countries’ aren’t always warm and the last thing you want to do is book a trip in the middle of monsoon season or fly to a beach destination in the height of their winter.

The highlights

Once I pick a region or country to travel in, I’ll usually come up with a rough idea of some places that I want to visit. I like to do a little search before I go about some of the highlights in these places whether that’s beaches, cafes or hikes. Then I jot them down on a list for me to refer to when I’m away.

A Rough budget

I’m a naturally cautious spender so I don’t feel the need to stick to a strict budget or keep a note of all my spendings. Having said that, I do like to come up with a rough estimate of how much I’ll spend before I go. I do this by researching the average cost of accommodation, food, activities etc.  I then multiply this by the number of days I expect to be away, in order to make sure I have enough money for my trip.

Booking Flights 

Flights are the one thing that tend to get more expensive the later you book them so I tend to book the main ones as far advance as I can. By this, I mean booking any long-haul flights as well as any for countries that require proof of onward travel. (Some countries will not let you enter if you do not have a flight or a bus booked out of the country). Generally speaking, internal flights are ok to leave until the last minute to book.

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

Obviously travelling without a plan doesn’t work for everyone. I understand that if you have restraints like a lack of time, a strict budget or even if you’re travelling in a group then it can be tricky to travel fully spontaneously. Even so, I urge you when you can, leave whatever you can to fate- You never know what surprises are in store for you.

Are you a travel planner or a travel winger? Let me know. 

What You REALLY Need To Pack For A Working Holiday In Australia

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Packing for a trip is difficult but packing for an Australian Working Holiday is something else. You’ve got to cram enough clothes, cosmetics and gadgets into your bag for at least 12 months, not to mention the fact that you have to accommodate for the cold Australian winter, hot summer and possibly think about work clothes too: It’s no surprise that packing for a working holiday can be overwhelming.

When I told my friends that I was going to live for a year out of what I could fit into a backpack, some of them thought I was crazy.  Now months on, I can say that it’s been pretty easy and despite picking up a few items of clothing along the way, so far I’ve managed pretty well with what I came with.

If you too now face the struggle of packing for a working holiday in Australia, don’t stress- I’ve got you covered. Here’s my ultimate Australia working holiday packing list.

Clothes

The majority of space in my backpack was taken up with clothes but in all honesty, if you are going away for a year then you are going to need quite a few changes of outfits. I’m really happy with the number of clothes that I bought to Australia and apart from a couple of things to get me through the Melbourne winter (like a coat and jumper) I’ve just been wearing what I came with.

  • 2x long flowy trousers (suitable for hot and cold weather)
  • 1x jeans
  • 2x skirt (one good for evenings)
  • 2 x shorts
  • 2 x dress 
  • 1 x trainers
  • 1 x converse
  • 1 x flip flops and/or sandals (suitable for evenings)
  • 8 x basic short sleeve tops
  • 2 x evening tops
  • 2 x bikini
  • 2 x sweatshirts
  •  1 x set workout clothes (leggings, shorts, top, sports bra) 
  • 1 x lightweight waterproof jacket
  • 1 x tote bag, 1 x evening, small bag, 1 x day backpack (for hand luggage) 
  • underwear
  • pyjamas: shorts and top

Essentials

  • Passport
  • Insurance
  • Your Working Holiday Visa
  • Australian Money and debit/credit cards

Gadgets

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Kindle 
  • Australian adapter
  • Portable phone charger
  • Extension lead

Cosmetics

  • Hairbrush
  • Dry shampoo
  • Shampoo, conditioner
  • Face Wash
  • Toothbrush/ paste
  • Basic makeup and something special for evenings
  • Nail scissors
  • Mosquito repellent
  • prescription drugs

Travel Accessories

  • Wallet to keep documents organised
  • Money belt/ bumbag 
  • Passport cover
  • Travel socks
  • Padlock
  • Travel journal and pens 
  • Waterproof cover for backpack

Other things

  • 1 towel
  • 1 x sarong 
  • 1 flannel/ small towel
  • Cutlery set 
  • Small sewing kit
  • Small year diary (useful when working)
  • Tea and favourite snacks from home
  • A notebook

The things I am really glad I brought (and what I wish I’d packed)

  • My travel Journal- I kept my journal the entire time that I travelled the East Coast and I am so happy that I did. Now I have a record of my travels that I can keep for years to come.
  • Workout clothes- Personally, I couldn’t have survived a year without exercising so I’m really happy I brought my workout clothes with me on this trip. I think its a good idea to have a pair of workout shorts and leggings so that you’re prepared for the summer, winter and cold air con temperatures.
  • Kindle- My backpack used to be 50% full of books so having a Kindle has been a game changer. I can’t recommend the Kindle Paperwhite enough. It holds loads of books, has a low glare and I hardly ever have to charge it. The great thing about the Kindle is that it’s compact and you can even read it in the dark- great for hostel dorms. 
  • Laptop- My laptop is the one thing I use every single day and I can’t belive I almost didn’t bring it. As I was travelling in Australia and then later in Asia, I was worried about it getting damaged or stolen however so far, all of the hostels have had lockers and I couldn’t have done either of my internships or blogging without it. 
  • Evening tops- Going out in the evenings is Australia is somewhat dressy so having a couple of nice evening tops is essential. 

What I wish I’d packed

  • In hindsight, I wish I’d bought my hair straighter as it’s nice when I want to make more of an effort in the evenings
  • Sandals- I only came with flip flops so I ended up having to buy nice sandals that I could wear out in the evenings to bars and nice restaurants.
  • A deck of cards- A necessity for all trips- not really a big issue though as I was able to pick up a pack pretty easily
  • Warmer clothes- I didn’t anticipate that I’d stay in Australia for as long as I have therefore I wasn’t that well prepared for the winter in Melbourne. It hasn’t really been an issue as I was able to buy everything that  I needed but it’s just a heads up- Australia isn’t always hot.
  • A cheap phone- Seeing as I needed a phone for Australia and also Asia afterwards, I decided to buy a cheap brick phone that I could use for calls and texts with a local sim card. This wasn’t expensive to buy but if you have one at home it’s better to bring it and save the hassle.

Packing for a working holiday can be overwhelming but it’s important to remember that the fundamental things that you need are just the same as any other trip. A year is a long time and it’s just not possible to pack everything you need. However, the great thing about Australia is that you can buy everything there so as long as you have your passport, money and your working holiday visa, all of the other stuff is expendable.

Do you have any more questions about doing a Working Holiday in Australia? Feel free to drop me a message or check out my guide on what to do when you arrive.  guide on what to do when you arrive. 

 

El Salvador: Three Places To Add To Your Bucket List

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El Salvador is a country that doesn’t see much in the way of tourism, which is a shame considering how fantastic El Salvador is. Often overshadowed by Central America’s more popular countries like Guatemala and Costa Rica, tiny El Salvador is often missed out by travellers backpacking in the region. However, with its colonial towns, friendly locals and diverse scenery, El Salvador is a must visit destination in Central America in its own right. Here are three places that you won’t want to miss.

travel guide el salvador el tunco

travel guide el salvador el tunco

travel guide el salvador el tunco

El Tunco

A line of palm trees is that separates the sleepy streets of El Tunco’s town from the sandy beach. This quiet town is made up of just a couple of streets and is predominately a surfing town due to its great waves. The small amount of tourism that it gets means that the town has it’s fair few cafes, restaurants and hostels, however, it remains largely untouched. El Salvadoran’s are some of the friendliest people in Central America and I guarantee you you’ll feel right at home in this chilled beachside town. If you’ve never surfed before then you can give the sport a go at one of the surf schools or simply spend the day relaxing at the beach.

When it comes to eating, you have to try Pupusas: an El Salvadoran speciality. These hand-made flatbread are stuffed with anything from black beans to pork and cheese and are then baked on a hot grill.  They are then served with sides such as cabbage slaw and tomato relish that you can help yourself to from the table. The best place to get these is at local pupuserias: bustling eateries, packed with local families grabbing a quick dinner. Pupusas only cost a dollar each and are freshly made upon order so it’s best to start with one and take it from there. You have to stop by Tunco Bonita in El Tunco for the best pupusas around.

travel guide el salvador suchitoto

travel guide el salvador suchitoto

travel guide el salvador suchitoto

travel guide el salvador suchitoto
View from Cafe 1800

Suchitoto

Sleepy Suchitoto is a fascinating colonial town in El Salvador. The colourful Spanish architecture and winding cobblestone street in this town give Central America’s more famous destinations such as Antigua, Guatemala and Granada in Nicaragua, a run for their money.

The town really is a photographer’s paradise and with so many winding roads and hidden courtyards to explore, it really is a delight to walk around. While it is largely untouched, Suchitoto experiences a small amount of tourism, mainly due to tour groups so there are a few international style cafes where you can pick up a nice coffee and some brunch food.

One place you have to visit is  Cafe 1800. This stunning outdoors cafe has unbeatable views over the lake below and is honestly one of the most stunning places I have ever had my coffee fix.

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Tamanique and Jauaya Waterfalls

For a tiny country, El Salvador packs in a large number of stunning waterfalls. Some of the most impressive ones are the Tamanique waterfalls which you can easily do on a day trip from El Tunco.  The ones located just outside of the town Juayua also looked fantastic but sadly I didn’t get around to visiting these on my Central America tour. Alexandra has some amazing photos and waterfall suggestions for El Salvador in her blog though.

One of the most common questions that I get asked about my travels in Central America is, was it safe? While there are some problems with gangs and political demonstrations in the region, it generally felt very safe and I never felt uncomfortable throughout my one-month backpacking. If you are anxious then I would highly recommend doing Central America on a group tour, like I did with G Adventures. This was great because I got to travel with a fantastic group of people and we had the advantage of travelling with a tour guide who knew the area.

You can read my review of my Central America tour here. 

10 things I learnt from a Thai monk

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Chiang Mai is a popular base for activities in Northern Thailand amongst backpackers. With everything from zip lining, cooking classes, bamboo rafting and visiting elephants to choose from, me and my limited time frame were completely overwhelmed. In the end I opted for one of the lesser known things to do in Chiang Mai and in my opinion, one of the most interesting: a Thai monk chat.

What is a monk chat? 

Being a Buddhist country, monks aren’t hard to come across in Thailand but for many tourists, monks remain shrouded in secrecy. However from Monday to Friday tourists can visit the Buddhist university campus at the Wat Suan Don temple in Chiang Mai and talk in a one on one session, or quite literally, a monk chat.

The sessions are held with young monks and are a chance for you to learn about their way of life and their beliefs. In return it’s a way to learn about your own culture and a way in which to practice their English. Monk chats are free but it’s polite to make a small donation.

At first the experience was a little daunting. It wasn’t until I got into the temple that I thought, “what am I actually going to ask this monk?” Of course once I got in, the questions kept coming.

Here’s what I learnt from my Thai monk chat.

1.What do monks do most days? 

Every day starts early for a monk. They wake up at 4am each morning and then pray and walk through the town to receive offerings from the public. They have lessons and then give thanks for their food and eat lunch. They spend the afternoon reading and teaching and then go to bed early at nine.

2. How many rules do monks have to live by?

There are 227 rules that monks must follow.

3. Who can become a monk?

Most Buddhist Thai boys will be a monk for a short period of their life. If a person wants to become a monk much later in life, they generally will become a novice. A novice only had 10 rules.

4. Do you have a rest/ sacred day? 

There is no set special day in the week, as Sunday is for Christians. Rather their sacred days are determined by the moon for example, full moon, half-moon and quarter moon.

5. What do you eat?

What they eat is dependent on what they get given on their walks in the morning. Monks should accept all the food they are given, even if they do not like it. This food can be shared out amongst them back at the temple.

6. Do you eat meat?

One of the Buddhist rules is that they must not harm another living being. I asked, why do some monks eat meat? Apparently as long as they do not do or the see the killing themselves, it is ok.

7. Do you ever get free time?

Monks are allowed leisure activities in their free time however they must participate in the ‘right kind of activities’. They are allowed phones and social media to communicate but it should be used only for that. The monk I spoke to told me that he just likes to nap and listen to music in his spare time.

8. Are you allowed to travel?

Monks are allowed to travel but it must not just be for leisure, there must be some greater reason, for example to learn or to teach.

9. Why do people become monks?

He said there are many reasons why people choose to become Monks. One is they have strong sense of belief. Another is that the level of education they receive is much better in monk school than in general schools. He also said many boys choose to be monks after suffering a loss such as the death of a family member.

10. I asked, what buddhist values should I take with me today?

He said everyone should adopt some Buddhist values in their life. He said we should all focus on spreading health, happiness, kindness and compassion in our lives. If there is no happiness in your life than that is no life.

* I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below if you have any questions. I’m happy to help.

Feel free to check out the rest of my blog for more travel tales. I focus on 20 something travel and cafes around the world.  Alternatively browse my posts by destination.

A 20-Something’s Travel Guide To Australia’s East Coast

Featuredeast coast Australia 20 something travel guide

Australia’s East Coast 20-Something Travel Guide: Best Things to do and Hostel Suggestions

I know that a lot of bloggers have done Australia East Coast backpacking guides however I wanted to do this travel guide specifically aimed at 20 somethings. This blog post includes all of my top East Coast recommendations including most importantly, which hostels to actually stay in at each place. I’ve not included a time frame: how long it takes simply depends on how quickly you travel. You could probably do it all in a month however I did it in just under two.

There’s a lot to see on Australia’s East Coast so if possible I really wouldn’t rush it. I’ve been asked a lot of times about my highlights and while the obvious: Fraser Island, Whitsundays, Byron Bay etc were on there, it was actually the lesser known places, the outwardly ‘less exciting’ destinations that really stick out for me. I’ve included these places in the list below.

I predominately did the East Coast by Greyhound bus, taking a few road trips in between. I know a lot of people will say that there are cheaper bus companies out there other than Greyhound and it’s true, but I went for that option simply because it was the easiest to organise.

In hindsight, a lot of things surprised me about travelling down Australia’s East Coast. It surprised me how beautiful it was, and yet how certain stops reminded me so much of other places closer to home. It actually surprised me how much cheaper it was than I’d expected (if you’re interested in this I can do a specific budgeting post). The other thing that I found really nice about backpacking the East Coast was that I kept bumping into the same people time and time again because everyone’s pretty much doing the same thing (only north or south). This is so great if you are a solo traveller.

 So, are you sitting comfortably? Here’s my 20-something travel guide to Australia’s East Coast.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Cairns

Like most people, I started my East Coast travels in Cairns, at the top part of the East Coast. It made sense for me to start there and head downwards because I flew into Oz in October meaning that the upper part of the East Coast wasn’t too hot at that point and the lower part would be warm and sunny when I got there in December.

There’s not a heck of a lot to do in Cairns (apart from a night out at Woolshed maybe) however it’s great as a base to explore from so give yourself a few days there.

Things to do: 

The Great Barrier Reef

In terms of things to do I would recommend doing the Barrier Reef from Cairns as this is where most of the tours depart.

Waterfall Loop 

If you are able to you should also rent a car for a day, I would recommend doing this amazing self-drive waterfall and swimming hole loop. To do it drive south via the gillies highway, route 25 to Josephine Falls and then loop back on the A1 to Cairns. You’ll pass lots of waterfalls, swimming holes and lakes along the way. Alternatively, you visit them with an Uncle Brian’s tour if you can’t drive.

You can see my wild swimming recommendations here.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Cape Tribulation (Four-day road trip) 

(More info below)

Where to stay in Cairns

Hostel wise, I would recommend Mad Monkey Backpackers Village. It’s centrally located, chilled yet sociable with good wi-fi, free breakfast, a small bar and a pool.

If you really want to party then the obvious choice would be Gilligan’s hostel. This party hostel is infamous and its club is the biggest in town (and costs a lot of money to go in if you’re not a hostel guest).

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Cape tribulation camper van road trip

From Cairns we rented a Wicked camper van and took a four day, three-night road trip north to Cape Tribulation and back. This was without a doubt one of the highlights of my trip and something that I would really recommend doing if you can.

Cape Tribulation is the highest point of the Daintree rainforest, a stunning area full of jungle hikes, swimming holes and gorgeous, empty beaches. There are a couple of hostels that you can stay in at Cape Tribulation but I liked the way we did it, renting the van and parking up at camp sites over night, then dropping the van back in Cairns.

These are the main places that we stopped on our road trip:

Day 1:

Palm Cove

Captain Cook Highway

Port Douglas

We stayed overnight at Pandanus Tourist Park campsite

Day 2:

Mossman Gorge

Cow Bay

Crossed over river from lower Daintree

We Camped overnight at Noah Beach Free Camp Site (must pre-book permit online)

Day 3:

Emmagen Creek

Cape Tribulation beach

Wonga Beach Camping overnight

Day 4:

Crocodile Cruise on Daintree River

Drove Back to Cairns

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island was one of the most beautiful places that we went to in Australia. Located just off the coast from Townsville on the mainland, Magnetic boasts gorgeous beaches, hidden coves, wild koalas amongst other wildlife and scenic hikes.

It’s a really popular backpacking destination, partly because getting around on the island is so fun. The roads are pretty rundown in part and the only way to get around is by renting these 4×4 open top jeeps and driving right over the massive potholes.

You can read my 20 Something travel guide to Magnetic Island here.

Where to Stay:

There are only two hostels on Magnetic Island. I stayed at both and I couldn’t fault either one.

Base is the party hostel and is a stunning hostel located right on the beach. Be sure coincide your trip with the boozy bingo on Monday nights.

YHA is a quieter hostel that’s located in the jungle. it’s a lot more peaceful but it really showcases the beauty of the island. You can spot wild koalas in the hostel grounds and even feed them there at one of the ‘Breakfast with Koalas mornings’.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands 

Our next stop was Airlie Beach, the jumping off point for the Whitsundays. Because it’s the Whitsunday’s we are talking out- the postcard Australia pictures- It’s advisable to book your Whitsundays tour as far in advance as possible.  You could probably leave booking it until a few days before but I wouldn’t recommend just turning up unless you just wanted to do a day trip.

What I did and what most people do, was an overnight yacht trip. There are loads of boats to choose from but the most popular backpacker and more partyish boats are Avatar and the Clipper. I went on Hammer which was I enjoyed a lot thanks to the great crew, snorkelling opportunities, nice boat and good food. However, it wasn’t that sociable and in hindsight, I wish I’d picked one of the more popular ones.

Airlie Beach

Because almost every backpacker goes to the Whitsunday, Airlie is a real backpacker town and it’s actually a good place to stay for a few days. The lagoon area is really nice and it’s great for a night out.

Where to stayNomads

None of the hostels were much to shout about however we stayed at the two main ones:  Magnums and Nomads. Out of the two Nomads was a nicer and more sociable hostel.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

1770 (Agnes Water) 

Quiet Agnes Water or 1770, holds a special place in my heart. This little surf town is often missed but it was definitely one of my favourite places in the East Coast and it offers a nice little respite in between the full-on itineraries of the Whitsundays and Fraser Island trips.

Those backpackers who do come to 1770 come because of its surf lessons which are known to be the cheapest in Australia’s east coast. We did do the reef 2 beach surf school here on our first day which was great and then ended up staying here for almost a week after that. If you’re up for nothing more than days spent at the beach and evenings playing cards and having a few drinks then this is the place for you.

Where to stay: Cool Bananas Hostel

Cool Bananas hostel really made my trip to 1770. It was one of my favourite hostels in Australia, not because it was the fanciest or the liveliest but simply because it was the most chilled and homely. The staff were lovely and the outdoor common area was a great place to chill.  It was in walking distance to the beach and as a hostel, It attracted a more laid back type of backpacker.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Rainbow beach for Fraser Island 

Fraser Island tours depart from a few different towns including Rainbow Beach, Harvey Bay and Noosa.

We booked on Pippies tour which I would highly recommend. It’s one of the cheaper tours and includes self driving cars, camping on Fraser and the price includes everthing even food. We booked a three day, two night trip and this specific tour departed from Rainbow Beach.

There’s not a whole lot going on in Rainbow Beach as it’s just a stopping off point for Fraser so I wouldn’t recommend going if you don’t need to.

Where to stay: Pippies Guesthouse

We got a nights accommodation before and after our tour included in the price and stayed at Pippies Guesthouse which was quite nice.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Noosa

I loved Noosa. It’s a laid back and sophisticated coastal town: a little bit less touristy than Byron Bay. It’s great to chill for a few beach days, eat out and go shopping. One thing I really recommend doing is spending a day doing the coastal walk through the national park which is absolutely stunning!

Where to stay: Nomads

If you want a balance between chilling and partying then Nomads is the best place to stay. It has a large outdoor seating area and a bar and club that gets really busy in the evenings with travellers. It’s also only 10 minutes walking to the beach.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Brisbane

Brisbane lacks the wow factor of Sydney and Melbourne but it’s a nice city all the same. I don’t think you need loads of time here but a few days exploring the city, relaxing in the botanic gardens and chilling by the lagoon is a nice break.

We were really excited to get to Brisbane because it was our first city in a while and it felt nice to be back in civilisation in a place where we could go shopping and stock up on the thing that was running out of. It’s an easy enough city to get around and the city hopper ferries are free to travel on which is nice.

Where to stay: Bunk hostel

Bunk is probably the best and most popular backpacker hostel in Brisbane. It’s big and centrally located, offering some of the cleanest and comfiest (and incidentally cheapest) rooms that we had on our trip,  plus it has free breakfast. It’s always pretty quiet there in the day but it’s bar/club, Birdies is one of the most popular in the city so it gets quite busy later on in the evening.

Surfers Paradise (The Gold Coast) 

We’d had enough of nights out at this point that we didn’t feel the need to go to Surfers’, which is primarily known for its nightlife, however, this is generally the next stop for backpackers after Brisbane.

In hindsight, I wish I’d checked out the quieter surf towns of Coolangatta and Currumbin so I might go back to the Gold Coast if I have time. Let me know if you’ve been and how you found it in the comments below.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Byron Bay

Oh Byron- how I loved you. Yes, it’s touristy but it’s Byron: How can you not love it? For the few of you who have not heard of it, Byron Bay is a chilled Australian surf town that’s packed full of hippy style cafes, restaurants and bars with nothing much going on apart from surfing and beach parties.The only productive thing I did in a week here was do the Lighthouse walk (a must do for sunset).

Where to stay: Aquarius hostel

Aquarius is great. It’s just 10 minutes from the beach, it has a pool, great dorms with balconies, a fantastic bar and common room with loads of events going on each night, and the best thing: it has free dinner for guests every evening.

A 20-Something's Travel Guide To Australia's East Coast

Sydney

After Byron, it was time to get the overnight bus to Sydney- the end of our Greyhound bus pass. A lot of people are pretty divided on opinion as to whether they prefer Melbourne or Sydney, I liked both. I’ve found that while I feel that Melbourne’s more my kind of place, Sydney trumped when it came to its national parks, beaches and coastal walks. One thing I will say though is that Sydney feels a lot bigger and getting around is more complicated.

Things to do:

We were probably the most productive in our week in Sydney than we had been on our whole trip (or maybe it just felt like it after a week in Byron doing nothing). We stayed a week in the city and packed loads of different things into each day. These are some of my recommendations.

Darling Harbour to Circular Quay ferry

Bag a seat at the front of the ferry and take a trip from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay (The Opera House). This ferry goes right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and past the Opera House so it’s a great chance to get some good pics.

Coastal Walks

I love a good coastal walk and Sydney has some beautiful ones to choose from. Here are my favourites:

Coogee to Bondi Beach

This is really lovely and quite easy coastal walk that takes you past a few smaller beaches. I think it’s best to get the bus to Coggee and then end in Bondi where you can get food and maybe cool off in the Bondi icebergs Pool?

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Spit bridge to manly coastal walk

This walk was a lot of fun and it’s a lot less well-known than the Coogee to Bondi one. Take the bus to Spit and then follow the trail past beaches, over rocks and via aboriginal paintings to the beautiful beach of Manly. From there you can get the ferry back to the Opera House.

Blue Mountains

You can do the Blue Mountain national park as a day trip from Sydney and it’s something I would really recommend doing. The best way to get there is on train from Sydney central station. You can read my budget Blue Mountains travel guide here.

Other recommendations for Sydney:

Newtown

When it comes to eating out, Newtown was one of my favourite parts of town. It’s full of vegan/veggie places including Gelato Blue, an all vegan gelato place. There are also lots of really great inexpensive Asian restaurants.

Sydney Botanic Gardens

Sydney’s botanic gardens ar beautiful and also located right next to the Opera House so you can sunbathe with a view of Australia’s most iconic building.

Where to stay: Ady’s Place

None of the hostels in Sydney are amazing but Ady’s Place was the best one that we stayed in. It’s really close to Sydney’s main attractions such as the Opera House, Botanical Gardens and Kings Cross, it was sociable, had a roof top and free breakfast. If you’re planning on working in Sydney they also provide job-seeking help and work for accommodation opportunities in the hostel itself.

Well, that’s a wrap. I hope that this guide has helped give you some inspiration for your East Coast Travels: There really is no better a destination than Australia for a 20 something traveller.

Let me know in the comments below if you have anything else you would like me to write about or if you have any suggestions.  I’m currently working in Melbourne so take a look here to follow my current and future travel adventures in Australia and beyond.

 

 

 

 

A 20-Something’s Travel Guide to Noosa

travel guide Australia noosa 20 something

Think long and hard; What’s your favourite place that you’ve ever been to while travelling? Chances are it wasn’t a typical ‘bucket list’ destination or even somewhere that you’d particularly wanted to go before. It might be the dirtiest Asian city but for some reason you found yourself amongst the chaos, or it might be the smallest beachside town with nothing to do but the people you met there really made it special.

Great places aren’t just great because of what’s there: You might be in the most beautiful place in the world but for some reason you’re just not feeling it. That’s why one person might love a place and the next person hates it.  To put it in a nutshell, it all comes down to a place’s vibes at the time that you’re there and for me, there were no bad vibes in Noosa.

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

Where is Noosa?

Noosa is a small beachside town on Australia’s East Coast. It’s often referred to as Byron Bay’s classier sister so think, chilled bars, fancy restaurants, speciality cafes and bohemian style shops. What I really liked about the town was its natural beauty. The beaches are stunning and there’s a fantastic coastal walk and other walking trails that you can do so it’s the perfect balance of civilisation and escapism. I’m not going as far to say that it’s my favourite place that I’ve been to but it was a place that I really felt connected to, primarily because I went into holiday mode there so spending a few days walking, swimming and loosening my budget was a nice little break from just being a ‘backpacker’.

travel guide Australia noosa 20 something

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

Noosa National Park Coastal Walk 

There’s not really a lot to do in Noosa so I won’t write a whole, ‘things to do post’. But like I said, the coastal walk through the national park is fantastic and really worth doing: Don’t let the hot weather put you off. The walk is around 7k in length is paved most the way so it’s really easy to do in flip-flops. There are loads of lookouts and opportunities to stop along the way so bring your swimming stuff and some lunch and make a day out of it.

My highlights included Alexandra Bay which is a really lovely, long beach to chill on and also spotting wild dolphins swimming from one of the viewpoints. We had planned on going to the Fairy Pools too, which are little tidal pools that you can bathe in, but we somehow managed to walk past them and were too tired to turn around. Ce’est la vie.

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

 

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

Other suggestions for Noosa: 

Accommodation: We stayed in Nomads Hostel in Noosa. It was really good with a nice pool, bar/club and its only a 10 minute walk from the bus station and 10 minutes from the beach.

Veggie/vegan food: 

Grill’d: Grill’d do fantastic veggie/ vegan burgers with vegan cheese, mayo etc and it’s fairly cheap for food out.

Acai Brothers: I only stopped here for coffee but there grab and go acai bowls looked great for to take to the beach.

A taste of Spice: This restaurant didn’t look like much from its decor but it was such a hidden gem. It’s an Asian fusion restaurant serving takeaway and dine in food with really cheap prices. The veggie Pad Thai was one of the best I’ve had outside of Thailand.