A Scary Boat Ride and The Gili Islands

It’s a lovely morning in central Bali and we’re waiting on a busy street near a market for a lift. It’s only 7am and already it’s hot and humid. After a painstaking long wait and almost giving up hope of anything coming, suddenly we’re sat in a cramped van on our way to the east coast of Bali. The reason for the early start is to reach our next destination, the Gili Islands.


An hour later and once peeled from our sweaty seats we found ourselves in the chaotic port of Padang Bai. People and luggage were everywhere, and coming at us from all angles. Our passports were hurriedly checked and our rucksacks chucked onto a sorrowful looking trolley. We said to ourselves that no matter what we should follow those bags – the majority of our worldly possessions were in there after all.


We watched the bags be taken out onto a rickety old pier and tossed into the front of a boat. One of the guys apparently in charge signalled that we could jump on too and we were soon balanced on some suspect planks making our way on.


The next 2 hours we had a boat ride to remember. We had been told the route from Bali to the Gili Islands is well known to be rough and that was certainly correct. The ‘captain’ looked far too casual throughout, while monster waves battered the boat, rocking it uncontrollably at times. However the journey was worthwhile when we arrived into our home for the next week, Gili Air.


The island has a completely different feel to Bali itself. There are no motorised vehicles allowed, so pushbikes and horse are the main modes of transport, this simple fact really shapes the place. There are no roads, just sandy gravel tracks and it’s super quiet without the constant noise of scooter engines and horns. Pure bliss in our eyes. 


Our time on the island was completely loose, most days consisted of relaxing down the beach, taking a swim and then going for lunch. Drinking a coconut or searching for sea shells were regular activities. Catching a boat to the neighbouring island of Gili Meno was about as taxing as it got. 


Our accommodation was a small bamboo hut, which we fell in love with and found completely relaxing. It was like climbing into a treehouse each night. On top of this the locals were all so welcoming and we felt humbled to be in their presence. 


We really were lucky to experience the Gili Islands, a tropical paradise, not only in the way they look but also in the way they make you feel. Well worth the journey for sure.


 

6 Months on the Road

Exactly 6 months ago today we began our travels. It’s been an unbeliable journey of self discovery and getting to know each other more than ever before.

We celebrated by hiring a scooter and exploring the islands of Nusa Lembongan and the neighbouring Cennigan. 

It’s been an unbelievable experience so far and hard to put into words. But put it this way it’s been one of the best decisions ever. 

NZ Week 9 – 10: A family adventure and leaving NZ

Our final two weeks in New Zealand were spent with my family. It was quite surreal for us all to meet up after not seeing one another for six months, especially down under. 


The stories shared from each other’s adventures were amazing, and we spent many a late night talking. Some of the mishaps Mike and Beth had encountered were hilarious, particularly their experiences with massages in India. 


My Mum and Dad had also had a fantastic time exploring the South Island in NZ, it is certainly something they will never forget. 


I was super grateful to be with everyone for my birthday – it was the big 30 – one I will always remember, thank you to all of them.


We spent the two weeks in two locations – Hihi in Northland and Pukehina in the Bay of Plenty. 


For all of us it was the first time we had stopped and settled in the same location for a while. Days were spent walking, fishing and kayaking, as my dad said ‘it was magic’. 


This chapter of our travels also marked the end of New Zealand for us. The time here has been unforgettable. The landscape has offered the true impact, the vast scale of what has been before our eyes providing a real perspective on life. 


Much of our time was spent in amazement at the sometimes surreal and often breathtaking sights. We leave with a changed state of mind. 

NZ Week 8: The Coromandel 

Our final week together in Byron the van so we wanted to make it one to remember and headed to the Coromandel. 


It was a week filled with walking on white sandy beaches and collecting the most amazing seashells.


New Zealand felt so cold in comparison to Australia, so when I heard about Hot Water Beach with natural 65 degree springs it became a must do location. We headed down just before sunrise and at low tide in order to find the springs, you could see where they are because of the steam rising from the sand. 


We borrowed a spade from one of the locals and Edd dug away whilst I eagerly waited to get in and warm up. The water was so hot that we actually had to let the sea water in so that the pools were bearable. It was super amazing sat in the sand watching the sunrise through the steam, it was definitely worth getting up early for.


Cathedral Cove was another highlight, walking 45 minutes to a small beach and seeing the rugged archway that has formed in the cliff. Edd was in photography heaven, which was wonderful to see.


Staying in a campervan has been amazing, parking up in secluded spots by the beach and hearing the waves crash at night is something we will always remember. 

The van has been our home, shelter, bed, kitchen, security, transport, kitchen and most importantly dependable friend. I hope that this is the start of more campervan adventures to come.

NZ Week 7: Volcanoes, Snow and Surf

Our first true impression back in the north island – after a quick visit to Wellington – was the snow capped volcanoes! 


Driving towards these beasts was like nothing else we’ve experienced, quite bizarre knowing that one could go off at any moment too. 


There had been a fresh dump of snow the night before we arrived. Walking out into it was pretty strange in May, knowing that back home it was summertime and everyone was probably out barbequeing. 


After a crazy drive on the ‘Forgetten Highway’, with our fuel running eye-wateringly low, we arrived into Taranaki. 


This volcano was the most striking for us as the surrounding landscape is so low lying. Sleeping on the side of it felt truly weird. 


The next day it was time for a walk and we climbed up one of the surrounding mountains for a closer view of the volcano, it was awesome and huge! 


Next on our route was Raglan, a place I have wanted to visit ever since watching the Endless Summer. It turned out to be one of our favourite places in NZ, reminding us very much of Byron Bay, proper chilled. 


One of the crazy things about this area of the country is the black sand, it certainly gives the beaches a different feel. 


It was a super fulfilling week back on the North Island that’s for sure. 

Feeling Free

It’s the fourth morning of our adventure here in Australia and it’s amazing how different I’m feeling after only a short time. My mind feels free and my body relaxed. 

It has been tempting to rush out to see and do everything that is new, but with time on our side we can take it slow and enjoy. That’s an awesome thing to know. 

I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.