Brisbane, Australia

Absolutely loved Brisbane. Such a great little city.

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I was happy to meet a dorm roommie, Katrina from Denmark. She’s well traveled and speaks perfect English.  Lacey’s back was hurting so Katrina and I went out. We prepartied at Francisco’s (A Brazilian I met in Whit Sundays) house. Then we walked to the Valley where there are a ton of bars. It kinda had a San Diego gas lamp feel. We met some Kiwis and hung out with them. Next thing we realized was the dawn light was slowly peaking through the sky.

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Katrina and me

Instead of sleeping I decided to check out the art museums with Lacey. The Galley of Modern Art was a 10 minute walk from the Base Embassy hostel. I absolutely enjoyed it.

I really liked the white forest exhibit. It felt colder in the room because the trees looked like they were covered in snow. Walking through it felt like a Doctor Seuss movie set. 

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I loved this piece made of road signs. The reflective material really catches the eyes.

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There was a really good interactive exhibit where there are spiked clubs hanging from the ceiling and notes on the floor from patrons to those who have been lost or who are suffering.

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Another piece was sectioned off due to the explicit material. It was super disturbing and I was disgusted.  Why would someone paint a mural of child sexual abuse. The artist was trying to bring awareness.  This piece made me realized how much this kind of abuse can be swept under the rug because of the horrible dirty stigma. People don’t want to talk about it. The abused don’t want to come forward and others don’t want to hear it.

After this we went to the kids gallery. Lacey and I colored kangaroo masks and with a computer app put our face on a kangaroo poster.

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We're being silly

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We then went to the contemporary museum across the way.  Beautiful set up.

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I read that in the seventeenth century the Netherlands was a center of art production. Go dutch peeps! I wonder if a Disselkoen ever put down the plow and painted something. I would like to think so.

Here are some paintings I liked:

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Next day my lovely Katrina and Lacey left and I stayed to check out Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I met an Italian, Chilian and a Dutch person on the bus to the sanctuary.

Of course I had to hold a koala and take a picture. Mine was hungry and didn’t want to rest itself on me. Oh well.

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Koala Bear

Koalas are low metabolism animals and have a diet of eucalyptus tree leaves which have near to no nutrition. They sleep about 18-20 hours per day to be able to save energy on this diet. They only live to about 10 years on average, but the ones in the sanctuary lice longer due to the great care.

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Feeding the kangaroos was so much fun! They are so sweet.

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Mum and joey (baby kangaroo)

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There was an Emu too. I was a little scared of it because I was bit by a huge goose as a child. Lol

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Emu

We also got to feed domesticated Lorikeets. Watery oatmeal was their meal and it would splash all over you because they are messy eatters. All at once they flew away when they were all done. It scared me.

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There were also Tasmanian devils, wombats, platypuses, snakes, lizards, cockatoos, and tons of other birds.

My favorite animal has to be the cassowary. It was behind a gate because they can be quite dangerous. They are very territorial and if they feel threatened they can attack. Look at those colors and horn on the head!

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Noosa, Australia

Noosa was pretty but I was ready to get away from the beach.

Lacey and I did a 16 km hike from Sunshine Beach to the town. We went through the tea tree looking for sleepy koalas. We didn’t see any, but that’s OK.

Of course there were beautiful beaches.

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I’m really excited for Brisbane!

Hervey Bay/ Fraser Island, Australia

When I arrived to Hervey Bay my ankle was super stiff, I could barely walk since the sprain was super swollen. Thankfully the Fraser Roving Hostel shuttle was waiting for me. The driver gave me crutches right when we arrived. They really helped because I needed to get an ice pack and some breakfast. Man, it is such a great workout. My abs, arms, back, shoulders, legs were all getting worked as I hobbled along.

Australians would strike up a funny convo about the crutches and other backpackers just stared at me uncomfortably. It is as if they are thinking, “Damn, I’m glad that’s not me!” I smiled as much as possible yet there were times I wanted to yell, “WTH are you looking at, someone carry me, please!!” Haha jk!!

I postponed my 4wheeling trip on Fraser Island, because I wanted to wait and see if my ankle was really bad or not. I rested for 3 days and was finally able to walk with an ankle brace. I walked around Hervey Bay on the Esplanade.  The strong winds sent a bunch of white cockatoos flying out of control, which made them squawk like crazy. They were being a little dramatic. Then I walked by a tree full of huge fruit bats hanging upside down on the branches. I saw some kite surfers and wind boarders and further down the Esplanade was a bowl for skateboarding.

That night a possum came into the hostel and an Australian fed him almonds. They are much cuter and friendlier than the ones back at home.

Cooldingo Frasher Island Trip 3 days 2 nights

Fraser Island is a World Heritage Park and is the largest sand island in the world. It is incredible that forests were able to grow on sand. Being that the roads were all sand it was a bumpy ride throughout the island. Cooldingo was the tour company I picked. This has been my favorite thing I’ve done in Australia so far! My group was small and they were over booked in the hostel, so we all got upgraded with our own room at the Kingfisher Resort.

Day One
Hopped on the ferry to the island and met a British guy and girl (Lacey and Rob) who were also traveling alone. Our tour guide, Jess, picked us up and took us to Lake McKenzie. Normally this lake has crystal blue clear waters, but about a couple of months ago they received record breaking amounts of rain and the lake engulfed surrounding trees thus the green tint in the water.

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After that we headed to central station where we did a hike through the forest. There’s a creek where you can actually drink the water because the sand purifies it. Aboriginal women used to give birth in this creek and aboriginal men are not allowed to enter this creek to this day.

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Sip of water 😉

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Day Two
First we went to a ship wreck on the beach. The Maheno was a cruise liner ship which did the u shape route from Auckland to Sydney. It was used in WW1 in the battle of Gallipoli because it was so fast. Once it was retired they sold it to Japan and on route there was a freak Cyclone and the ship ended up on Frasers shore and it has been there since. A bomb hit it in WW2.

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Next we went to Indian Head to check out the beautiful view of the ocean and to see if we could spot some whales, turtles and sting rays.

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We did see tons of turtles a sting ray and whales way off in the distance.

Here’s our tour group 🙂

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Lacey, Federico, Joe squared (2 Canadian sisters with same nickname) Rob, me and two German peeps holding Jess

We then went to the Champagne pools.

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Then we went to freshwater Eli Creek to going tubing down it.

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Day Three
Stand up paddle boarding in the morning on Lake Garawongera then 45 minute hike to Lake Wabby, which has a sand dune right next to it. There are nibble fish in the water that will give you a natural pedicure. It tickled.

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Lake Garawongera

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Lake Wabby

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Cat fish in Lake Wabby

On the hike to Lake Wabby we spotted a Goanna, an Australian Monitor Lizard.

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Goanna

Then we headed back to Hervey Bay on the ferry.

The three of us all headed to Noosa on the greyhound bus which has WiFi!!

Airlie Beach/ Whitsundays, Australia

My first greyhound bus ride was a success. I made it to Airlie Beach at around 8pm. I didn’t see my hostel’s shuttle waiting, so I decided to get some exercise and walk. Nomads had comfortable beds and it was pretty clean. Bush turkeys were wondering around the camp sites. They are super ugly.

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Bush Turkey on the move

The next morning I sailed on the Camira Catamaran. We went around a lot of islands. Which were pretty, but I’ve seen better! A Welcoming Swallow perched right where I was sitting on the side of the boat. It was there for a good 3 minutes chirping at me. I felt like Snow White.

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Welcoming Swallow

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Sail view from net

We stopped at Whitehaven Beach, which has pure white silica sand; the softest I have ever felt.  None of the rocks are made of silica, so it suggested the currents brought the sand there over the past million years. The sand doesn’t retain heat, so you can walk barefoot all day long. 
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I was told not to go far because it was a long beach and who knows if I’d make it back in time. Rebellion struck and I took off running right after I went for a quick swim in my sweet stinger suit.

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Stinger suit to prevent stingers, Jelly fish the size of a thumbnail can send you to the hospital

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It was incredible all the sea life I got to see from the shore. At first I saw a huge school of snappers. They stopped me in my tracks because at first I thought it was something bigger.

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Snappers going after some other fish

I also saw a big sting ray. I tried to swim out to it, but it was fast and swam away.

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While I was in the water trying to swim after the ray, I saw a barracuda cruise on by. It was a little one, but it was quite large to see from the shore.

Sometimes my leg would sink in to mid calve when I would run. It was such a nice day on the beach.

After Whitehaven Beach we had a pretty good BBQ on the boat. Then we sailed to a snorkeling spot. There were tons of fish, I’ve never seen so many fish while snorkeling. I saw tons of parrot fish. I even saw an angel fish. I teamed up with a lovely French girl I had met on the boat. We stayed away from the crowd, so I think we saw the most!

With champagne in my hand once I got back on the boat, we headed back to Airlie Beach.

That night, I went out with some girls that were in my dorm, we pre-partied at another dorm. We had some Goon, a cheap box wine that’s popular among backpackers because it is the cheapest alcohol you can find. One of the girls was from Minniesoda and of course she was a sweet heart and super easy to talk to.

The next day I went to the book store and traded in my illegal copy of The Beach that I purchased in Malaysia. The lady still gave me $2 to exchange for it. I laid out by the lagoon and saw a bat ray jump out of the water. I was lucky to see it because it was for a split second. I went to eat with my friend Kyle that I met in Bali.

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A flubber

Worst part of that day was I sprained my ankle. I kicked a croc in the head too hard. No no, that’d be too cool of a story. I was rushing to catch my bus and I had my big backpack with wet flip flops on because I just took a quick shower.  Not smart I know. Anyways, a friend grabbed my arm as I was stepping down the steps and I turned in mid air to see who it was and I landed wrong and slipped a little.

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Waiting for my bus with a swollen ankle

Good part was I caught my bus to Hervey Bay and there was a shuttle available, so I didn’t have to walk.  In fact, they haven’t had a shuttle for months, but that night they had the first one in a long time.

Off to Hervey Bay to go check out Fraser Island. I can’t wait because everyone was telling me how much better it was compared to the Whitsundays. Hope my ankle heals quickly!!

Cairns, Australia part 2

After cold, rainy Perth, I decided to head back to Cairns on the east coast and get my endless summer back in order.

My hostel dorm had two sweeds that were super nice. The only thing is their bags smelled like poop and sweat.  Once they brought them in I tried not puking. Oh the joys of sharing a room with a couple of strangers. 

Last time I was in Cairns, I made friends with my diving guide, Casey. He’s Australian, yet sounds British. We went for a swim at a waterfall in the Wooroonooran National Park. On the way there and back we checked out the pyramid.

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1st level of the water fall

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Climbing up to jump

Casey had a birthday get together at a local hangout, the Green Ant Cantina, so I crashed it. Jk I was invited. They had street artist tagging out front and a really good DJ. It is a cool local hangout. We also got drinks during the day.

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Oh, forgot to mention Snoop Dogg was there. He was painted on the wall. Yeeeee!

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We also took a trip up to the Daintree Rainforest in Cape Tribulation. We stayed at the Cape Trib Beach House, which was located on the beach side. It was super nice and what made it even better they double booked our dorm beds so we got upgraded to the best room at the resort, which was super close to the beach.

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We went for a walk on the beach early in the morning. The beaches have a beautiful mangroves on the shores. At one area of the mangroves we spotted 3 baby reef sharks, little fish and a sting ray in super shallow water. I scared the sharks away when I whipped my head around forcing my ponytail to swing around. At least we got to see them while they were there.

Since we were in the rainforest we thought it be a good idea to go in a bush walk (hike). We chose Mt. Sorrow trail because it was near by and we read it had a great view. Now I understand why its called Mount Sorrow, because you are in a world of sorrow during and after. It is the gnarliest hike I’ve ever done. It knocks Laguna Beach’s top of the world hike off the charts.  Not only was steep the trail was loose and you had to use woody vines and trees to help you scale the mountain. At one point it was so steep there was a rope.

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I'm crying it was so gnarly

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Rope was very useful!

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Mushrooms

680 meters high (2,230 ft) revealed an excellent view.

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If I did it again, I’d do the following:
1. Bring more water
2. Wear pants and long sleeves
3. Prepare myself mentally
4. Go early in the morning when it is cooler.

I purchased a Greyhound mini traveler pass that will take me anywhere I want south down till Melbourne for the next 90 days. I can’t back track, so I will be full steam ahead. I planed my stops and found that I’ll save about $ 150 with the pass rather than purchasing individual tickets. Hopefully I will make more stops than anticipated to get more bang for my buck.

The train was another option, but it is too difficult to book your tickets and it takes longer than the bus.

Next stop is Airlie Beach, which is one of the gateways to the Whitsundays. I booked a day sailing trip with Camera to Whitehaven Beach the next day because the bus ride will be all day.

Yallingup, Dunsborough, Lancelin, Cervantes and Jurien Bay, Australia

Due to the weather we decided to head back up north and not to pursue  Permberton. 

Yallingup had beautiful beaches. From Yallingup we did the Cape to Cape hiking trail which is 135 km located in the Leewin-Naturaliste National Park. We didn’t do the whole thing because we weren’t prepared.

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Wild asparagus

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Super green and lush

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We stayed in Dunsborough after checking that yet again there was no surf. There was this fat dog that kept wanting to play fetch. Of course we humored her she needs exercise.

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Kick the ball, kick the ball!!


Then we decided to go up north past Perth to Cervantes to see the pinnacles. We were getting tired so we stopped off in Lancelin to stay the night. They had a nice kitchen where we made a really good meal.

In the morning, I went for a walk on the beach in Lancelin after the storm and there were all sorts of things washed up on shore. Check out these purple blue something’s:

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The pinnacles were probably the highlight of the trip. They are limestone formations from crushed up shell that were blown from local sand dunes. We were lucky to see some cockatoos.

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Cockatoo hanging out on a pinnacle


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Before heading back to Perth we checked out Jurien Bay as the clouds rolled in.
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Meelup and Margaret River, Western Australia

We headed south from Perth and our first stop was Meelup Beach. It was dusk when we arrived and this is where I saw my first wild kangaroo. There was first just one then 3 hopped across the road. I got super excited and unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to get them on camera.

This place was so beautiful. We realized we couldn’t camp here and the nearest campsite was about 30 minutes away and cost was $15 per person, which was not in our budget! We decided to stay at the end of a secluded road in the bush away from the tourist attractions. We made garlic onion  chicken and steamed potatoes and carrots. It was pretty good! The next morning we went to the beach to have breakfast.

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The morning after

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Australian Magpie

I think Dr. Seuss’s illustrations were inspired by Australia flora. Check out this weird pine cone:

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The next morning we woke early and headed south to Margarete River. On the way we made several stops. First we stopped at the Ngilgi Caves and walked around the hiking trails. There were beautiful wild spring flowers. I really loved the Calla Lilies

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Ant hill

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Wild Calla Lilies

Next stop: Yallingup. There are several beautiful beaches here. It was super windy and cold.

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Then we went to the Cullen winery and had a free wine tasting. there are several beautiful wineries on the way to Margarette River. We saw tons of fields with lambs, sheep’s and cows. I even saw a huge field of about 50 kangaroos.

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Our last stop was in Cowaramup Bay, which was super windy and it started pouring rain. Artur was checking out the waves at North and South Point. The waves were closing out and it was super choppy, so he decided not to go in.

Grace town was a quick stop. There’s a memorial to a surfer who died while surfing at this beach. People put shells here to commemorate him. Artur took the biggest shell, but I put it back once we realized it was a memorial. Our conscience was better after I did that.

We stayed at a Top Tourist Parks camp ground for $27. They have good amenities. At night we walked around a little bit and it was completely dead. Artur plans to live here because the surf is good. Lol. I would never be able to live in such a small quite town, but there are really beautiful beaches. There were tons of ring necks (also called 28s because some say their chirp sounds like they say 28, I don’t hear it) that looked kinda like parrots, that have a long green tail and a yellow ring around its neck.

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Ring Neck note-I got this pic from google

Next we stayed at Peverly Park in Peverly Beach. I had to take advantage of the sunny weather, so I went for a run on the Beach there all the way to the river and back. I went into the sand dunes as well. 

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River that goes into the ocean


Rain started up again. Man does it make the beach look so dramatic!

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Perth, Australia

Perth is where my endless summer came to a halt. When I arrived it was raining. I actually miss a little cold weather with some rain. My preparedness wasn’t as extensive as I’d like, but at least I took a beanie, two pairs of long warm socks and leggings from the Cairns Waterfront hostel’s “One man’s trash is another’s treasure” pile.

I came all the way from Cairns because I wanted to do a road trip with my Brazilian friend, Artur. I stayed with him and his cousins (Paula and Vinni) in Perth for 3 days. They were so sweet and made me a delicious Brazilian BBQ when I arrived. The rump streak, lamb and chorizo were excellent. We had a delicious potato salad and a Spinage cranberry almond salad. They were super hospitable and made it a point to make me included on all conversations by speaking English as much as possible. I wouldn’t mind listening to Portuguese conversations, but it was nice the effort they were making 😉

They drove me around to show me Perth. The ocean was very choppy due to the storm. The green water was accentuated by the grey sky. It was very pretty. We drove through a huge park in Perth.

Even though rain was in the forecast we decided to embark on our road trip with our hippie camper. $97/ day to rent this camper was the best price we could find for a good vehicle. It has a sink, fridge, microwave and gas stove.

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Artur

For the next 10 days, we’ll be traveling about 1000 miles from Perth south to Pemberton.

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Goodbye Perth!

Cairns, Australia

Hello culture shock! Compared to Southeast Asia everything is clean and orderly, there are street names with signs, people follow traffic signals and stop for pedestrians and prices are 10 times higher. Backpackers here take a little longer to warm up to conversations.  I miss the perfect balance of craziness and tranquility of Southeast Asia.

I arrived and caught a free shuttle to my hostel, Cairns Waterfront Backpackers, which is located right in front of the lagoon. The location is awesome and it costs $18 Australian dollars for a room of 4, free WiFi (which is hard to find), free dinner. It is a pretty good price!

I didn’t want to lay on the sand of the lagoon because there have been crocodile sightings. I’m not about to mess with a prehistoric animal.

You can swim in the lagoon, but you may encounter a crocodile in transit to the mangroves south of the lagoon. They likely won’t kill you because they’d have to drag you all the way back to the mangrove’s and they just don’t have energy because they are low metabolism animals. “ain’t no body’s got time fo that!” Sorry, that never gets old.

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I went for a run along the waterfront and it was nice. I did some lunges in a park. I wanted to explore more, but didn’t have time.

I booked diving that night with sea quest. We went out to Norman reef I saw a huge sting ray and tons of colorful coral. There are tons of little caves. I also got to play with a curious Napoleon fish. I put up my arm up and wiggled my fingers and he came straight to me and I rubbed him from his lips to the belly. He was super squishy.  I wonder what he would taste like.

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This was the first time I jumped out of a big boat, it is so much easier! It was also the first time I didn’t have problems with equalizing my ears. 

I got a little sea sick and I was freezing, so I skipped the last dive and laid out in the sun.

That night I sat on a bench and watched the huge fruit bats fly around. They are the highest fruit bats I’ve ever seen. I’m glad they eat fruit and not human blood

A drunk aboriginal sat by me and was hitting on me. Lol. He wanted to go get drinks together. When I said no he asked me for 2 dollars. I was getting annoyed so I got up and sat with some British girls.

There were 2 adorable sweet British girls that were staying in my dorm. We went to the Whoolshed for our free dinner. I wasn’t going to drink, but then I decided to since it was only 10 dollars for 5 drinks. We ended up staying there late. I won 150 dollars and a snorkel cruise in a contest I’ll have to come back to use it. Lol.
The next morning I made breakfast in the communal kitchen. I made breakfast and lunch the day before and it was the first time I have cooked in 4 months. I actually miss cooking. Especially with Happy, my old roommate! After that I packed up and met up with Casey, one of my guides from diving. We got gelato and he was nice enough to take me to the airport.

I was sad to leave because I didn’t have enough time to explore. Yet, I’m really excited for a mini road trip from Perth south to Pembertom with Artur.

Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

From Gili, I went back to Uluwatu 🙂 because it was Sunday and I wanted to go back to Singlefin and my land transport was included in the ticket price, so why not?

The next day I went back to the island hotel to stay in the hostel. I met 3 Americans, Sanda, a South African, and German and a Brit.  The group was rad. We all went to Canggu and most of us stayed with Sanda’s American friends who rented a villa with a really nice pool. We all went to Deus for dinner. This is a cool place where they have motorbikes, clothing and surfboards, oh and a half pipe for skating. My brother would love it here.

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Asanda had Two American friends, Daphne and Marcus, that were meeting her in Canggu which is in North Kuta and it is the fastest growing city with black sand beaches. A bunch of us went to stay with them in the Naree Villas. These Villas were awesome! There was a long pool right off the bottom porch. The girls and I went for a spa day then we all went out in Kuta to Eikon.

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Why not go back to Uluwatu for about a week? The waves were huge and my Brazilian friends were there. Artur went surfing while I laid out and we stayed for the sunset.

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Of course I went back to the Island in Legian. I can’t get enough of that place. The next day I stayed with Chase, Henry and Ali at their Villa in Canggu. I got the maid’s quarters which were not too shabby!

We did a 300 km scooter ride from Canggu to the Gitgit waterfall, which is north and almost on the other side of Bali. It was a beautiful ride with views of lush green rice fields.

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On the way there we stopped at a strawberry patch where a man had the cutest pet monkey I named Mufasa.

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We had a guide take us to the three waterfalls. Check out the huge web spider we saw on the way to the first waterfall it is way larger than the one I saw in Phong Na Ke, Vietnam.

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We all jumped into the twin waterfall. It was so refreshing. Then we all swung on a Tarzan rope.

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On the journey back we stopped off at the lake to mess around with the monkeys that were on the side of the road. These monkeys were definitely a lot different from the ones in Ubud and Uluwatu. They behaved themselves by keeping their distance and I didn’t see one try to steal any flip flops. (Haha Megs)

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Rain was whipping us in the face on the way home.

We went to Echo Beach and watched the dogs (stray and owned) run and play. Next thing I know, Chase is talking to a lady about a stray dog she needs to find a home. Boom. Chase adopted Gypsy,
cutest little pup.

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From Canggu, I headed to Kuta to get some warmer clothes for Australia. Then headed back to the Island Hotel to return my scooter and shower.

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My next move is to catch a flight to Cairns for some more sunshine and possibly some diving.