10 signs Australian Summer is here

The heat, the flies, the joy, the red skies (and skin) and Tim Tams for life. Australian Summer has arrived. If you’ve ever been in Australia during summertime, you’re very likely to relate to the 10 signs below…

1. Santa what are you doing here?!
Oh right, Christmas is in the middle of summer instead of during the cold, dark days. It feels so surreal seeing the first Christmas decorations appear in shops whilst you’re swapping your jeans and shoes for shorts and ‘thongs’ (the Australian word for flip-flops). Have you ever seen a Christmas tree at the beach?

2. Chocolate or chocolate milk?
When you’re craving Tim Tams and you discover that these delicious cookies turned into fluid, melted chocolate because you forgot to store them in the fridge… Oh well, I guess I’ll grab a spoon!

3. Air-con becomes your best friend
When it’s so hot outside you just don’t know what to do with yourself, and sitting in an air conditioned room is the only way you can get by. Yup, Australian summer is here!

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If you think: “ahh, a nice little breeze to cool off!” you better think twice.

4. The wind makes it worse
One day the temperature rose to 38 degrees and it was very windy that day. If you think: “ahh, a nice little breeze to cool off!” you better think twice. It is literally like someone is pointing a blow dryer straight at you. Aaah, make it stop!

5. Bug off, you filthy flies!
Flies. Flies everywhere. Their favorite spot? Your eyes! As soon as the days get hotter they make an appearance, zooming and annoying the shit out of you. At first you keep hysterically flapping your arms around to get rid of the little bastards, but after a while you give up and accept that if you want to be outside, you’ll always have a bunch of flies accompanying you.

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Damn you flies.

6. Red is totally your color!
No matter how many times you reapply, no matter the factor of the sunscreen and no matter the amount of time you spend in the sun: You. Will. Burn. I’m quite the sun addict myself but even I cannot stay in the Australian sun for too long. You literally feel its rays burning your skin. As soon as the lobster-like bodies start popping up you know it’s summertime.

7. Mmm, ice cream!
I love coconut ice cream. And pineapple. Oh, and lemon! And frozen yoghurt! If you’re after some refreshing ice cream during an Aussie summer, make sure you don’t get a cone but get a little cup instead. Otherwise it’s a battle between you and the heat, and you’re licking for life before the sun melts your scoop of ice away.

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8. Get in the car!
“AAAAHHH, sauna! Quick, turn on the air-con! No, no, that doesn’t help, I’m melting! Let’s open the window! Nooo, the blow dryer breeze again! Okay, air-con attempt number two. Water, I need water. Ok, that’s better… The air-con is starting to work… hallelujah!” Ever wondered why you see so many white cars in Australia?

9. A cold, refreshing shower
Aaaand think again. The water in the pipes has been warmed up by the sun, which gives you the delight of being soaked in hot water. You can let the shower run for a bit before you step under, but with all the bush fires around, water is precious…

10. Summer is really summer!
Coming from a fairly cold country like The Netherlands, where we only have a few ‘hot’ (over 25 degrees) days a year, I happily cope with the 9 struggles listed above. Australian summers are filled with sunny days, long nights and (if you’re careful) beautifully bronzed skins.

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How many of these points can you relate to, and what is a typical Australian summer -struggle for you? 🙂

Love,

Evelien

*Evelien is one of our guest bloggers who currently travels and lives in Australia. Follow her on Instagram (@eefexplores) or check out her website!

The Ultimate Australian Surf Roadtrip!

“There’s nothing that a good day of surf won’t cure” Willie Morris once said… And that’s why a surfer always lives in search of the perfect wave. 

I planned an Australian Surf Roadtrip (or surf roadie, how they call it here) along the East coast and discovered the sweetest spots! Wanna do the same!? These are my favourite spots to catch a wave, enjoy good food and experience those surfer vibes!

Hidden Australian Gems? Read about 12 lesser known spots in Australia.


Thinkin’ bout the waves

1. Crescent Head (NSW)

Surrounded by stunning nature…After a long ride (5 hrs) all the way from Byron we finally arrived in longboard heaven! My friend and I weren’t the smartest, as we flew from Sydney to Ballina to join the Byron Bay BLUESFEST(!), whereafter we started our camper van journey back to NSW to find some waves in Crescent Head. Normally I would suggest you to start driving up North from Sydney in order to pass Crescent Head first and then continue your way up to Noosa.

What else do you need besides your bikinis, a surfable board, wax, sunscreen?

Anyhow, most challenging here was probably our campsite in the middle of Hat Head National Park being totally back to basic without any lights at night and with barely any facilities, but hey?! Our plans for the rest of the day? Nothing really! As there’s not much more than the beach and two coffee spots Green Room Café & Two Tails Wagging that I totally fell in love with. We charged our energy levels (+ phones!) and read the oldest surf magazines ever! Life’s good….

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Surfboards at Crescent Head

Mandy's van on her surftrip
A van is the best transport for an Australian surf roadtrip

2. Lennox Head (NSW)

At the Southern end of Seven Miles Beach…Upcoming but still quite unknown by tourists. This cute little coastal village offers just about everything you need to relax, unwind and perfect for an Australian surf roadtrip! From Byron to Lennox its only a 20 min drive through breathtaking scenery. It’s a perfect spot to park your van at night, save money on expensive campsites in Byron and enjoy peaceful environments with the Australian locals.

3. Byron Bay (NSW)

Byron how did you put that spell on me!? I could absolutely write a book about you, but unfortunately I only have a couple more hours before I need to hand in this blogpost. It’s one of my favorite places on earth, I kept coming back and then always stayed longer than planned. Despite all of the shark warnings and my own fear, I never stopped surfing these clean and beautiful waters. From The Pass, which is so super crowded, to Wategos and The Wreck at Belongil..surf is so much fun! I need to mention Black Dog Surfing here for sure as they have always been supporting me with surfboard hire deals and great kindness!

Whites beach byron
Whites beach byron

Besides surfing we went on adventures…My friend and Byron Bay local Jessie Ehrenburg (check out her beach tipi’s here http://www.gingerandgilligan.com) showed me a secret route to get to amazing white sandy beaches such as “Whites Beach” hidden away from the crowds. For great foodies and coffee we couldn’t stop hanging out at the Bayleaf Café downtown or FOLK a little out of town. After amazing sunsets we mostly finished off our day with a Pacific Ale (Byron brewed beer) and a local band at either The Great Northern or Railway Friendly Bar. Good times guaranteed!

Bayleaf Byron Bay
Great coffee at Bayleaf

4. Coolangatta/Burleigh Heads (Gold Coast)

One of the Gold Coast’s favorite surf destinations must be Coolangatta. Other than the overrated Surfer’s Paradise, Coolangatta offers super chill vibes and great waves! The superbank (a 2km long sandbank) can be ridden all the way from Snapper Rocks towards Kirra Beach making it one of the longest waves in the world. Personally I loved surfing the Greenmount Point with its long stretched beach good for beginner surf (still some strong rips), but I also had great experiences at Kirra. A good hangout is the Quicksilver Boardriders store with a café, board hire and a barber shop right across the beach on Marine Parade. If you drive further down the coast you’ll end up in Burleigh Heads which is another coastal village with nice beaches, sweet surf, hiking trails and a lovely café called Burleigh Social with delicious juices and nutritious after surf foodies!

Gold coast surf roadtrip

5. Mooloolaba/Caloundra (Sunshine Coast)

How travel creates friends and friends create networks! (I wanna wipe away a little tear right now knowing that my friend is literally on the other side of the world and I miss her lots!) On the road, she introduced me to a lovely Australian couple that hosted us for a few nights down the Sunshine Coast. It wouldn’t have been Aussies if there weren’t any surfboards in the house, and gosh how new and fresh they were! Thus, man of the house took us into the waters of Caloundra at 6am and it was tough but absolutely thrilling! Best & beautiful beaches are: Currimundi, Dicky, Kings and Moffat.

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6. Noosa (Sunshine Coast)

Blessed with a beautiful array of nature, clear blue water and pristine beaches….we arrived at our final destination: Noosa! Behind all the beauty, Noosa has a prestige sort of flair with upper class tourism in which I find myself almost uncomfortable when walking out of the surf without make up and frizzy hair, thus I wouldn’t call it a chill surf town but once you walk up to the National Park and find these amazing hidden beaches you know that it’s all worth it! I remember that I sat on my longboard at Tea Trees (a right hand point break) while the sun was setting over the water No words even describe that magical moment and it made me realize again how lucky I was for being there! Another gem that we found was Belmondos Organic Market with Clandestino Coffee Roasters, a crazy cool roastery that is a must on your Noosa To-Do list!

Coffee Roasters Noosa
Clandestino Coffee Roasters

As moments fade away and memories last for ever, great friendships were made and an unforgettable journey states in our hearts. As road trips are the foundation of a surf culture, this has been a voyage of discovery that I can only pass on to you! Unfortunately ours lasted as little as 2,5 weeks but if only it could take a bit longer… Till next time!

Inspired? Watch the short film: North to Noosa here.

-X-

Mandy 

*Mandy is one of our guest travel bloggers that has lived in Australia for 1,5 years, she is now back in Amsterdam planning her next adventure! 

 

10 hotspots in Sydney you can’t miss out on!

Writing half of this blogpost out of the back of my campervan! I’m on a surf roadie down the Australian East Coast and I’m definitely challenging myself here! The places we go and the things that we do affect us in who we are and and who we become. I think it’s important to find yourself in places that inspire you and to surround yourself with positive people! I just love to start my day (preferably after a surf) with a good coffee and a nourishing breakfast followed by some yoga, a meet up with friends (if not working) and being in the outdoors. There’s no doubt – this is what Sydney is all about! Coffee lover and food addict as I am, discover my favorite coffee joints, eateries and hangouts below…they will make your day! These are 10 hotspots in Sydney you should know:

1. Porch & Parlour
A little gem in North Bondi just one street off the beach. A heaven of wholesome foodies, fresh juices, cruisy vibes and ab-so-lutely amazing coffee! Make sure to plan a little bit of time as they mostly cope with a waiting list of approx 30 min (can’t blame them and its worth the wait!) My all time favorite is the green breaky bowl! Oh and the sprouted bread with avocado is yum too! 17-18/110 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi. Website

Hotspots in Sydney. porch & parlour
Source: porch&parlour

2. Gertrude & Alice
Cute little bookstore with coffee place inside. I spend hours just reading books (trying to get wiser..) over great coffee and freshly baked muffins which makes it one of the best chillout hotspots in Sydney. 46 Hall Street, Bondi Beach. Website

hotspots in Sydney
Must visit!

3. Neighbourhood 
Well known by locals. One of my favorite dinner joints. The food is amazing and you’ll love the atmosphere too. Cool detail: Bondi radio station is based inside! Get the tuna ceviche and the lamb shoulder, you’ll be hooked… 143 Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach. Wesbite

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Healthy and tasty (source: Neighbourhood)

4. This is Yoga
Feel amazing after a sweaty yoga session at This is Yoga! I love the place because its small, personal and inspiring. Modern yoga keeps my ‘’zen’’ levels up and I can only advice everyone to give it a shot… 34 Burnie Street, Clovelly. Website

Hotspots in Sydney, This is Yoga
Source: This is Yoga

5. Three Blue Ducks
The Ducks is a different story…not only mentioning this one because they were my employers for a little while but also because its just best of both worlds. It all started with two surfers Chris and Sam that started to travel the world to find the best waves. During their trip they came along different business ideas and one day Sam just wanted to start his own little cafe/restaurant, sustainable, locally and fair, and so it began.. The food is outstanding with fresh produce every day. Better be there early because the waiting list can get long! 141-143 Macpherson Street, Bronte. Website

Photo by Top Dup.
Photo by Top Dup.

6. Coffee Tea & Me
This is one of the cutest places you will find! With its old school interieur, amazing Campos coffee and mouth watering bagels you simply can’t miss out. I love the toasted salmon & cream cheese one but the tuna is tasty too! 87c Macleay Street, Potts Point. Website

Hotspots in Sydney coffee Tea & me
Source: Mandy

“These are some of the best hotspots in Sydney”

7. Tamarama Beach
Tamara is your better option if you want to get away from the busy Bondi beach crowds. The surf is good, currents strong so swim between the flags! I like to find a spot near the rocks on the left side that gives you an even more secluded feel. Stay for a sunset because the pink sky makes it so incredibly beautiful! Funny fact: When Elke traveled through Australia she stayed alongside this beach for about 3 weeks and absolutely loved it!

Tamarama Marine Drive, Tamarama. Info

tamarama beach Sydney
Beautiful Tamarama beach

8. Bronte Rockpool
Favorite one out of all the rockpools… Early morning 6/7am! Get up there for sunrise and start your day fresh after a dive into the salty sea water. Even during the hottest times of the day hang around the poolside as it keeps you cool and you’ll have great views over the ocean. Bronte Road, Bronte. Map

Bronte rockpool
Perfect for cooling off. Photo from Mandy by Missy McArthur

9. The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds…yep another (big) gem in town! The suburb of Alexandria never attracted me as it’s more of an industrial area, until you discover this epic venue. Funny as it sounds I’m in love with the bathrooms! Its all build as being horse stables with saddles and all hanging there. So cool! Furthermore you’ll find a potting shed eatery, big coffee roastery, lots of flowers and dreamy outdoor areas to enjoy great tastes of food and beverages! They even have their own parrot, ducks, a pig and organic garden. 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria. Website

Hotspots in Sydney grounds of alexandria
Source: Mandy

10. Coogee Pavilion
Last but not least, the pavilion in Coogee never lets me down. Big venue with a fine dine restaurant, rooftop, bar area, barbershop(!) and pingpong tables. Great place for a date (how would I know haha)! Loving the vibe, interior, wine, pizza’s and basically everything. Good weekend hangouts, day or night!
169 Dolphin Street, Coogee. Website

hotspots in Sydney Coogee Pavilion
Source: Coogee Pavilion

Hope you’ll enjoy these hotspots in Sydney as much as I do! In the meantime…I’m gonna catch my flight to Bali. Stay tuned!

-X-  Mandy

*Mandy is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam who lives in Australia, living her dream! You can follow her on Instagram @littletravelbookofficial

More Australia? Check:

Planning your backpacking adventure through Australia’s Westcoast & Outback

It’s been 7 years since my backpacking adventure through Australia. I was 24 and I was ready for something new after 7 years in London. I needed to for fill my dream. Australia had been on my bucketlist forever and I wanted to do it alone. My, Myself and my backpack. Many of you who are reading this have been or still want to backpack through the land of kangaroos. And let me tell you; It’s the best thing you’ll ever do.

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Ready for my first backpacking adventure back in 2007

Before you go

First things first, you need to pick a date. When will you leave, and when will you return. If you are visiting Australia on a tourist visa, you can stay for a period of 3 months. If you want to stay longer, you need to get yourself a student or working visa which can last for 6 or up to 12 months. Get your visum hereAlso think about the period in which you want to go. I came to Australia during their summer months Nov-Jan but bare in mind it’s high season and it can get really busy along the East coast of Australia.

The Route

Ok, this might be something you need to thoroughly think about. Depending on how long you’ve got, and how much you want to see. If you have 3 months (apply for a tourist Visa) and you want to see everything, then I highly recommend you to take the following route:
Start in Perth (West coast) fly to » Alice Springs (Northern/middle territory) Take the Ghan Train to » Adelaide (South) and continue your way up to » Melbourne and eventually to » Sydney. From Sydney, you can explore the east coast all the way up to Cairns.


In this article though, I will tell you about the West coast and the Outback.

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Plan your route..or not. (picture taken at Alice Springs)

The Westcoast

Most backpackers will travel along the East coast of Australia but this is where you miss out! You should definitely visit the West coast of Australia.
Why? Because is so so beautiful. I flew to Perth which was only a 16 hours flight (compared to the 21 hours flight to Sydney!) Perth is a great starting point. It’s a clean, beautiful city with amazing surroundings and the nicest people. From Perth I traveled down to Dunsborough where I swam with wild dolphins. An experience that I will never forget. At the time it cost me 185 dollars and I did it with this tour.  Near Dunsborough is the infamous Margaret river, one of the best surf spots in the world. There have been a few great white shark attacks in this area so you need to be a bit of a daredevil if you want to go surfing out there.

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You only get sunsets like these alongside Australia’s west coast

Where to stay?

If you’re backpacking, you should definitely stay in hostels. You can’t compare Australia with Asia where you can easily get a room for only 6 euro’s per night. In Australia, a shared room will cost you around 25 Australian dollars (15 euro’s). It’s a good thing to get yourself a YHA card. With this card you can sleep in all the YHA’s in the world and it gives you a discount at YHA hostels. The card cost 25 Australian dollars for 1 year and you can get it here.

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One of the best hostels in West Australia. The YHA in Perth

The Outback

If you want to see the real Australia, you must visit the outback. (Northern Territory) Endless roads with red sand surrounding you.
I flew from Perth to Alice Springs and booked an organised 3 day tour called Mulgas Adventures. I got a great deal at the time but my fellow group members all paid different prices through different travel agencies so check this before you book. In a jeep with a small group of 6, we saw Uluru (Ayers Rock), The Olga’s and Kings Canyon. I was completely stunned by the beauty of this place. 

If you want to see the real Australia, you must visit the outback.

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There she is! Beautiful Uluru. 

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Walking around Uluru takes about 1,5 hours

On this tour, you are sleeping in an exclusive separate camp so you won’t have to share tents with hurdles of tourist. Instead, you sleep in a sleepingbag (zwags) in the dessert, prepare your own food and enjoy a shower with a view. (most camps don’t have showers so this was luxury!) Be prepared to live without wifi for the whole tour but let me tell you, you won’t even think about it!

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Looking at the stars in the outback, is the best you’ll ever see (source: Mulgas Adevntures)

What to bring to the outback?

Come prepared for this trip! There are a few essentials that will make your stay in the outback as pleasant as possible.
»Hiking boots
»Small backpack for day trips
»Camera
»Sunglasses
»Water bag (you need to drink up to 2 liters a day)
»Sunscreen
For more cool travel gadgets check here.

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Walking through the Olga’s was such an amazing experience

Love,

Elke