3 Days on Fraser Island: Beaches, Lakes, and Bumpy Rides

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No trip along the east coast of Australia would be complete without exploring the massively beautiful Fraser Island.  I had heard so much about this place before actually going, and I can now say that it definitely lives up to the hype. 

The island is just so wonderfully diverse, and it almost doesn’t even seem real if you try to explain it to someone.  At one moment you’d be walking through lush green rainforests, and then stumble onto a perfectly white sand beach with crystal clear water.  It’s pretty trippy.    

You’d then hop back onto the bus and bounce in your seat along windy sand roads that cut through the island, only to find yourself than driving along the beach as the waves splash below the tires. 

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, and a 2-3 day trip will leave your days jam packed with adventurous explorations.  There really is a lot to see on the island, and getting around the island can take quite a bit of time. 

If you want to explore Fraser Island on your own, it’s actually a pretty complicated task.  You need to have your own 4×4 vehicle and camping gear, and navigating your way through the island can be a bit tricky.  It’s common for cars to get stuck on these paths, and the idea of car troubles and having no reception scared the hell out of me.


So I’m extremely happy that I joined Cool Dingo Tours for their awesome 3 Day / 2 Night Fraser Island Trip.  It was a damn good time, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone traveling Australia!  It took out all the stress of visiting this unique island, and it was easily one of the best organized tours I’ve ever been on.   


Day 1 Highlights

Lake McKenzie

While this is up to debate, I would argue that Lake McKenzie is the island’s most beautiful lake (competing with over 200 for the title).  I was pretty excited to visit this place, as it is one of the few attractions on the island I had seen plenty of pictures of before arriving, and it was even more beautiful than I had imagined.

There’s just something so interesting about walking onto this pristine white sand beach located in the middle of a sand rainforest.  It’s also awesome the distinct color change that occurs when the depth of the lake changes suddenly.   It’s unlike any other lake I’ve ever seen before.

This was actually the only place we spotted the infamous “Dingo” on our entire tour as well.  From what I’ve been told, sightings of these wild animals have become quite rare, so it was a special treat for all of us on this tour.  There are “Dingo Safety” signs spread all over the island, which basically just tells you how to act if you encounter a dingo.  I was actually hoping to see one or two more throughout the tour, but I’ll be happy with my one Dingo puppy spotting.


Lake Basin & Rainforest Treks

After a relaxing morning swim at Lake McKenzie, and a tasty buffet lunch up at the picnic area (chicken & ham sandwiches, potatoes, and salad) — we made the short drive over to Lake Basin for a quick photo opportunity.  This lake might not have been as ideal for swimming, but it really was beautiful.  

The group then went on two different forest treks through Central Station, Pine Valley, and walked along side Wanggoolba Creek.  One of the best parts and crowd pleasers of these treks was that the water flowing in the creek is absolutely crystal clear, and you can even drink from it (which tasted amazing).

Filling up water bottles in the creek…


Sunset Beers

In my opinion, there is no better way to finish a day then to watch the sunset while knocking back a few beers.  The sunset was absolutely gorgeous, and definitely one of the best I have seen while in Australia.  Being an island on the east coast of Australia, watching the sunset on Fraser Island is one of the few places where it looks like the sun is setting over the horizon.

I was also having a damn good time taking heaps of photos!  What do you think?  Which one is your favorite?


Day 2 Highlights

Flight over Fraser Island

After a delicious buffet breakfast (which I may have overindulged and put myself into a slight morning food coma), our group loaded onto our 4WD Pink Cool Dingo Tour bus, and began our drive over to the eastern part of the island.  We were told that at some point during the day we would have the opportunity to take a quick scenic flight for those that were interested, and it just so happened that it was our first stop for the day….

Having just recently done helicopter and sea plane rides over the Great Barrier Reef & The Whitsundays, I knew that I couldn’t say no to getting back up in the air!

For only 80 AUD, you’d take off and land from the beach, and have a brief 10-15 minute in the air while taking pictures of Fraser Island.  Our group were extremely lucky, as we were granted an extra 10 minutes and were flying for nearly 25 whole minutes.  My pilot actually told us that he gave us the extra time because he really likes out tour guide Hayden, and likes to take good care of his tours.

Flying over Fraser Island will definitely give you an appreciation for how massive it is, and it really was epic to fly over all the various sand dunes, lakes, landscapes, and beaches.  Thanks to Air Fraser for a smooth and informative ride.


The Pinnacles

After getting back on solid ground, we made our way to the first scheduled stop for the day, the colored sand cliffs called the Pinnacles.  I actually spotted these from the plane, and was hoping that we would be making our way back to see them a bit closer up.


Champagne Pools

While it may be a bit difficult to pick a “favorite stop” along this tour, I will say that this is easily in my top three.  We were blessed with gorgeous weather, and the views of these naturally formed rock pools were simply stunning!  We stopped here for over an hour for some pre-lunch swimming, tanning, and relaxing.

The brief 10-minute walk from where we parked the bus to the Champagne pools was incredible as well, with views of the impressive beaches and coastline of Fraser Island.  There were so many great lookouts and vantage points.

We even spotted a few jumping dolphins, as well as one guy who was having himself a little surf.      

Can you see him…?


Beach Lunch

While the group would normally eat lunch up at Champagne Pool carpark, we decided to make the drive down the beach (in search of a breeze).  We unpacked our containers filled with chicken and vegetables, and prepared ourselves two big tortilla wraps.  Not a bad place for a meal, hey?


Indian Head Lookout

When our tour guide, Hayden, said that we needed to prepare for a “little hike” to the top of Indian Head, I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea because it must have been over 95 degrees (35 for your Celsius folk).  But the walk was quickly done, and we were rewarded with two stunning lookouts of beaches and the coastline.


SS Maheno Beach Shipwreck

The SS Maheno washed ashore on Fraser Island by a cyclone in 1935, and it now remains as a popular tourist attraction for people visiting the island.  We only stopped for a brief 10-15 minutes to take some photos, but was really cool to see.  There was a photo book that was passed around the bus while our tour guide explained in detail the history of the SS Maheno.

SS Maheno from above…


Eli Creek

Have you ever been to a water park and floated around in a “lazy river”…?  Well, that’s exactly what you’re going to do when you make it to Eli Creek.  This stop was awesome, and I honestly could have stayed for another couple hours just floating down the creek.  The water was a bit chilly, but actually felt amazing due to the fact it was blistering hot outside, and my skin was feeling a bit warm from some minor sunburns.

Cool Dingo Tours provided some inflatable tubes for the group to blow up, and carry down the walkway to the beginning of the creek.  You’d sit back, relax, and let the stream take you back to the beach.  It was a relaxing activity in a beautiful setting, and I know everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.  For those who didn’t manage to have an inflatable tube, you could just swim down the creek as well.  It really was an awesome feeling.  I even saw a few locals doing the same with beers in hand.  😉


Fraser Island Sunset Day 2

Being a travel-blogger, I’m obviously obsessed with getting the perfect sunset shot.  So when the opportunity arose to head back down to the beach to watch the sky change colors, I knew I couldn’t say no.

My favorite shot of the entire trip….


Day 3 Highlights

SUP Lake Birrabeen

Our group (which had basically been cut in half due to the 2 day / 1 night crew departing the night before), all met for breakfast and then boarded the bus to our first stop for the day — Lake Birrabeen.

The main activity here was just relaxing on the beach, soaking up the sun, and having some Stand Up Paddleboard fun.

The lake is truly beautiful, but the best part was that we had the whole lake to ourselves.  Compared to the crowded Lake Mackenzie, this was a much more relaxing stop.


Hammerstone Sandblow & Lake Wabby

The time had come the last stop on our tour…

Lake Wabby is definitely one of the most unique highlights on the islands, but you had to work a bit harder for the reward.  Our group walked the approximately 3KM trek through the rainforest, over the Hammerstone Sandblow, and then found ourselves at the very beautiful Lake Wabby!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this place before.  It felt like a strange oasis in the middle of desert (because of the sand), but then on the other side of the lake was just lush green rainforest.

Do you know understand what I mean that Fraser Island is trippy…?

Our group all eagerly stripped down to our bathing suits, and couldn’t wait to jump into this refreshing lake to escape the heat, and wash off all the sweat we had acquired along the 45 minute trek.

The water was great for swimming around, but the funniest part was all the tiny fish that would eat at your dead skin cells.  If you’ve ever seen a “fish spa”, that’s exactly what it felt like.  It was a little scary though, because ya know — everything in Australia wants to kill you, and the water did look prime for some man-eating monster.  Luckily, we all managed to leave Lake Wabby alive and well.


Fraser Island with Cool Dingo Tours

Overall — this trip was an absolute blast, and I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling the east coast of Australia.  Fraser Island is one of the most unique, beautiful, and interesting places you will ever visit, and Cool Dingo did a great job at showing us this little slice of paradise.

I’ve actually been a tour guide in Europe, and this trip just seemed to run perfectly.  You could tell that they’ve just got this figured out, because everything was very organized and well-planned.  The bus transportation was comfortable (yet bouncy), the food throughout the entire trip was delicious, and we had a really solid group of 32 awesome travelers and backpackers from around the world.    

I have to give a massive shout-out to our tour guide Hayden!  If you’re booking a tour with Cool Dingo Tours in the future, try and see if you could arrange the dates to be on his next tour.  He is an absolute legend, and knows so much about Fraser Island.  I know everyone on our group adored him!  THANKS HAYDEN!  


This was honestly a trip that I’ll never forget, and I think I took the pictures to prove it!  After the trip ended, it took me a couple days at the Hervey Bay YHA to go through all of them, delete the bad ones, and go on an editing rampage.

While my travels in Australia are coming to an end rather soon, I know that I’ll find myself back on Fraser Island again…

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Paradise Found: Sailing Through the Whitsunday Islands

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I remember the first time I saw a picture of Whitehaven beach…I thought like it looked too perfect for words.  I vowed to myself that I would make it there someday, and now that I finally have — I’m still in disbelief that it actually exists.

Like, seriously…?  WOW!  It really is the most picturesque beach I’ve ever seen…  

The perfectly soft white sand feels like heaven for your feet, and when you combine that with the the stunning shades of blue water, and the ideal swimming temperatures, it make Whitehaven the best beach I’ve ever been to.

 Stepping foot onto Whitehaven beach was something I had dreamed of for quite a long time, and it completely exceeded my expectations, but that was just one of many aspects of my one-day sailing through the Whitsunday Islands.


While most people embark on either a 1 / 2 Night Whitsundays Sailing Trip, my plans were actually changed last-minute to simply doing the full-day trip out to Whitehaven Beach & Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

So I joined Explore Whitsundays on their ship the “Southern Cross” for one of my favorite experiences I’ve had so far in Australia.


Morning Sailing to Whitsunday National Park

I got picked up at the YHA Airlie Beach at 7:45 A.M, and was shuttled down to Shute Harbour to board our vessel.  After a few important safety lessons and boat rules, we were ready to make the 90 minute journey to the entrance of the Whitsundays National Park.

Just from the very start of the day I knew that we were in for an amazing time out sailing.  We had amazing weather, a really great group of people from various countries (mainly Germany & England), and the staff on board The Southern Cross were tons of fun.  We’re bumping groovy tunes, chatting with new friends, soaking in the scenery, and taking turns steering the ship.


Hill Inlet Lookout

We made it to our first stop on the tour, and were shuttled via the smaller boat to Whitsunday Island.  It’s just a brief 5-10 minute walk through the island before we came through the clearing to one of the most spectacular views you will ever see.  We all took some photos, snapped our necessary selfies, and then started to lather up in sunscreen in preparation for what came next.


Whitehaven Beach

It really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

While I like to think I got some pretty epic photos of the place, I still feel like they don’t do it justice.  You really have to experience this place for yourself!  I was constantly thinking…”holy shit — this is amazing.”

One of my favorite parts was walking through the crystal clear water in between the sand pits and having small lemon sharks swim by my feet!  It felt like a dream.

The water was the absolute perfect temperature, and was ideal for swimming.  I tried not to stay in the water too long though, because I was riskily not wearing the recommended “Stinger Suit” to avoid the box jelly fish.  You have to remember, everything in Australia wants to kill you.  As a wise man once said, “every paradise has a dark side”, lol.

You know you’re doing something right in life when you’re relaxing on this beach… 🙂


Lunch Time & Sailing

After spending a bit over an hour on Whitehaven Beach, it was time to make our way back to the Southern Cross.  We were all starving, and to my surprise lunch was prepared and ready to be served.

Ever since my time sailing in Indonesia, I’ve been a little skeptical about meals on ships.  I was actually very happy with the meal provided though.


Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling

I’m not gonna lie — I had no idea the Great Barrier Reef stretched as far down the coast in Australia.  For some reason, I always just thought it was almost entirely along the north-east coast around Cairns.  Well that is definitely not the case, and I have recently learned that the Great Barrier Reef stretches as far down along the coast down to Bundaberg!

So after everyone on the boat was fed, we strapped on our snorkel masks and put on our fashionable stinger suits, and jumped for some underwater explorations.

We stopped at one snorkeling stop for about 40 minutes at this beautiful reef in the Whitsunday Islands.  It was really great snorkeling, and I might have even liked it a bit more than what I had experienced up in Cairns.

There weren’t as many fish as I had hoped for, but the colors of the reefs were stunning, and there was heaps of different areas to swim around and explore.


Sailing back to Airlie Beach

We had finished our snorkeling, and I had maxed out the memory card on my GoPro, so it was the perfect time to make our way back to Shute Habour.  I was give the chance to play some of my tunes, which was a stellar 4-hour mix from German deep-house duo Andhim, that to my surprise, people seemed to enjoy.

The whole group chatted and swapped various travel stories and tips, and I graciously passed around a box of Tim Tam’s that I had purchased for our day out on the boat.  When in Australia — you snack on Tim Tams! 

Overall — it was an absolute amazing day filled with wonderful people and beautiful scenery.  I’ll never forget the feeling of walking along Whitehaven Beach, and will definitely be encouraging everyone I know to experience it for themselves!


Thanks to the amazing staff at Explore Whitsundays for being so amazing.  They were the perfect mix between fun and professional, and showed us all an amazing time.


Have you been to the Whitsunday Islands before…?  If you haven’t, then definitely add it to the list!  It’s easily one of the best places I’ve ever been!

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The Best New Years Eve Music Festivals in Australia

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Bust out your fancy dress outfits, camping gear, and get your squad together — because New Years Eve is upon us, and there are some epic festivals in Australia to choose from!  

In my opinion, there is no better place to party than at a music festival.  The energy and atmosphere that’s created when you’re surrounded by friendly people, incredible music, and beautiful scenery is simply unbeatable.

When it comes to music festivals in Australia, there really is no shortage of quality events.  So since I’ve found myself in the country for another NYE, I decided to do some research and find out the best festivals in the country to celebrate the new year.  If you don’t have your new years eve plans sorted yet…definitely look into one of these awesome events!

These are my top 5 New Years Eve Music Festivals in Australia!


1 ) Lost Paradise (December 29-31)

Glenworth Valley, NSW (75 minutes outside Sydney)

LOST PARADISE WAS BORN OUT OF A LIFE-LONG DREAM TO BRING TOGETHER KINDRED SPIRITS FOR A GOOD OLD FASHIONED PARTY AMONGST NATURE…”

One of Sydney’s most popular music festivals is back for another 3 days of camping, music, food, art, and yoga.  The festival community you’ll find while at Lost Paradise is what makes this event so special, and from what I’ve heard it’s actually one of the best music festivals in Australia.  Every year they bring a top-notch line-up, and with artists like Flight Facilities, Fat Freddys Drop, Eats Everything, Kolsch — I know the 2016 event is going be absolutely amazing!

I’m personally attending and photographing this festival, and I can’t wait to experience it for myself!!

While tickets for this festival have been sold-out for a few weeks now, you might be able to snag a couple tickets on GumTree by asking people on the Facebook page.

WebsiteFacebook Event


2 ) Beyond The Valley (December 28 – January 1)

Lardner Park, Victoria (90 Minutes outside Melbourne)

WOW!  Just look at that line-up!!

“Beyond The Valley, now on the way to delivering it’s third successful annual event, is a distinctive, unique and most of all carefully curated music festival over the New Years’ Eve period.”

This 4-Day festival is guaranteed to be an experience you’ll never forget.  I personally think that Beyond The Valley has the best line-up of all the festivals on the list, and if I were down in Melbourne over NYE — this is where I would be…

My Top 10 Artists to see:  Guy Gerber, Hermitude, ZHU, Carl Craig, Eats Everything, Kolsh, What So Not, Claptone, Safia, and Skream.

VERY FEW TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE:

4-Day General Admission + Caming:  $420 + $14.70 Service Feee

3-Day General Admission + Camping: $380 + $13.30 Service Fee

New Years Eve Only Pass:  $189 + 6.62 Service Fee

BUY TICKETS


WebsiteFacebook Event


3 ) Fall Festival (Various Dates)

 Lorne, Victoria — Marion Bay, Tasmania — Bryon Bay, NSW — Fremantle WA 

“The Falls Music & Arts Festival has been at the forefront of the east coast Australian festival scene, defining the real different between a mere music festival and a true festival experience. Capturing the essence of the Australian summer spirit, Falls embraces diversity, sustainability and community within a contemporary music event like no other. Transcending the common festival model, taking the time to curate a sophisticated experience that properly respects and honors time, people and place.

Falls Festival is one of Australia’s longest running music festivals, and each edition they seem to manage to top the previous years.  The festival always provides incredible line-ups, massive stage productions, and a solid festival atmosphere.  What’s even better is they have four different events throughout the country, so they make is pretty easy to catch at least one of the events.

Tickets only Available for Marion Bay location

3-Day Festival Ticket (Camping Included):  $289 + Booking Fee

2-Day Festival Ticket (Camping Included): $249 + Booking Fee

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If you’re looking for tickets for the sold-out events, I’d recommend checking out GumTree or the Falls Festival Lorne or the Falls Festival Byron Bay events..


    WEBSITE | FACEBOOK PAGE


4 ) Origin NYE (December 31)

Claremont Showgrounds, PERTH

 “Since 2006, Origin has pulled together some of the top underground performers, DJ talent and house music for the biggest new year party in Australia! Celebrating Ten Years in 2016, Origin NYE returns to Claremont Showgrounds, in what is set to be the biggest year yet.”

For the all the Perth party people — there’s no better place to ring in the new year than at ORIGIN.  The line-up has got a little bit of everything, but seems to be a bit more Hip-Hop & Drum & Bass heavy, so this is event is going to be a pretty hectic party.

Final Release:  $179 

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 WEBSITE | FACEBOOK EVENT


5 ) CODE NYE (December 31)

The Greenwood Hotel, SYDNEY

When it comes to New Years Eve in Sydney, there really are just so many different venues to choose from.  I think it all really just depends on your preferred style of music / atmosphere you’re looking for.  With that being said, for all those underground house and techno fans — you’d be a fool to miss out on CODE NYE at the Greenwood Hotel.  The line-up is absolutely stacked for this one-night event, and I’m really bummed I’ll be missing out.

I’ve seen the headliners Guy Gerber, Mano Le Tough, and Umek before — and they’ll smash their sets.  With that being said, make sure to check out local Sydney favorites like Tristan Case, Robbie Lowe, and Ed Wells!  I’ve seen these guys crush it at events like Return to Rio + Yacht Social Club, and they always deliver top-notch sets..

This event is thrown by the same people who put on Electric Gardens, so you know it’s going to be a damn good time.  With 4 different rooms, and 30+ DJ’s — this is the place you want to be if you’re staying in the city for New Years Eve…

Second Release:  $85.00 + Booking Fee

BUY TICKETS


WEBSITE | FACEBOOK EVENT

This is the first year this event is happening, so I’ll just leave you with this incredible Guy Gerber Essential Mix from 2013.  FUEGO!!


So where will you be spending New Years Eve…?

I’ll be partying it up for 3-days at Lost Paradise, but I really wish I could attend every single one of these!  New Years Eve is defintiely one of the biggest festival times of the year, and Australia is ready to bring in 2017 with some epic events…

  If you’re coming to Lost Paradise, look out for me!  I’ll be wearing my signature Zebra Onesie & Cat In The Hat top during the majority of the festival, lol.

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Featured Image via Lost Paradise

Two Days on Magnetic Island: The Bungalow Bay Experience

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Magnetic Island was right at the top of my Australian bucket list, and it completely exceeded all my expectations.

I was only on the island for exactly 48 hours, but I can confidently say that I made every single minute count.  Magnetic Island is definitely a special destination, and I now fully understand why it’s one of the most popular stops for backpackers and travelers exploring the east coast of Australia.

I’m currently sitting on a Greyhound bus down to Airlie Beach, but all I’m thinking about is how incredible the past two days were on “Maggie Island”.  If I were on a Working Holiday Visa, I definitely would have taken up the offer to work at Bungalow Bay in exchange for accommodation and one meal / drink per day.  Alas, this is not the case, and I continue my travels in Australia, only with a plan to someday return to this beautiful idyllic paradise for further explorations.     

So what made these two days so amazing…?  Let me try and explain, and impress you with some pretty photos at the same time. 

The Bungalow Bay YHA — Magnetic Island

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The minute I stepped foot into the reception area at The Bungalow Bay, I already had an amazing feeling about the place.  This wasn’t just another comfortable YHA hostel to get a night’s sleep at — this was an all-encompassing Australian experience.  You would stroll by Koala & Kangaroo crossing signs to find your bungalow while the colorful birds were chirping from above.

The entire time you’re at the Bungalow Bay, you really feel one with the Australian wilderness.  You’d walk to the bathroom at midnight only to be greeted by friendly wallabies who are just out for their nighty bounce around the property.  If that doesn’t sound cool to you, than you defintiely have a problem.

I also found the hostel vibe really strong here.  The communal kitchen area was clean and organized, and the pool was absolutely beautiful.  Everyone seemed super happy as they walked around the hostel, which is expected though when you’re spending your days exploring paradise.


Canary Feeding

I arrived right around 4 P.M at Bungalow Bay, and was told that I couldn’t miss the daily canary bird feeding at 4:30 P.M.  So after dropping my bag off in my room, splashing some water on my face, and getting 20 minutes of camera charging time in — I was ready to go. 

These canaries are so colorful, friendly, and were flying all over the place.  I honestly didn’t even know this type of vibrant bird existed, so the was an extra bonus to my stay at Bungalow Bay.  🙂

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The Forts Walk During Sunset

This is one of the absolute must-do’s for anyone coming to Magnetic Island.  Not only is the walk relatively short and easy, but you’ll be rewarded wit stunning view points, and even spot a few Koala bears in the wild!  I’d also recommend doing it during sunset because it’ll be a lot less hot, and the views from up at the fort are unreal.  It was a cloudy night when I was up there so the sunset wasn’t all that special, but still an amazing time.       

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Renting a 4-Wheel Drive

At first when I got to Magnetic Island, my plan was to rent a scooter like I used to do all the time in South-East Asia, but I quickly learned that the only way you can properly explore the island is with a 4-Wheel Drive.   So I called the amazing family-owned and operated Isle Hire Rentals and organized to rent their only automatic 4-Wheel Drive van left. 

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My car was an absolute bad-ass, and it’s name was called “The Red Beast”.  If you’re going to Magnetic Island anytime soon, I’d highly recommend driving it.  When you’re driving on some of these roads, you’ll be really glad you’re in a massive car like this one.  

Trust me — you’ll need a 4 Wheel Drive car to get the full Magnetic Island experience. 


Exploring All The Bays

When you first look at a map of Magnetic Island, you might feel a bit overwhelmed about all the different areas there are to go.  Don’t stress.  It’s actually a pretty small island, and you can easily knock out all of the different bays during your visit.  If I could do it in just 48 hours, than I’m sure you can do it as well.  


Arthur Bay

Absolutely gorgeous look-out point, and from what I’ve heard is an excellent snorkeling spot as well.

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Radical Bay

The farthest bay and one of the more challenging to get to, but it’s beautiful.  I unfortunately only stayed on this bay for a total of 10 minutes, as my friend I was traveling with slipped and busted open her chin, so we had to make a quick little detour to the hospital!

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Alma Bay

Locataed right off the main road, this is a very quick, easy, and beautiful spot to relax for an afternoon.  There’s a park right before you hit the beach, and I saw people chilling out in the shade while enjoying a nice little picnic.

This is also where they do a lot of the scuba certification dives.  

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Horseshoe Bay

The biggest and largest bay with the most stuff going on.  There are a couple of restaurants and bars along the main street, beautiful trees on the beach, and an enclosure which makes it safe for swimming.  If you walk all the way to the right there are these big rocks you can climb and explore.  Tons of beautiful views of Horseshoe bay!

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George Bay

I didn’t really spend any time here, but this is where you need to go for the rock-wallaby feeding!

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Nelly Bay / Picnic Bay Look-Out

The staff at YHA told me about this amazing view-point that overlooks both Nelly & Picnic Bay, and it was absolutely worth it!  From the main road, it’s only a brief 10 minute walk up to this big rock.  Definitely a must!

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Balding Bay

THE NUDE BEACH

To get to this little nude bathing paradise, you’ll have a brief 20 minute walk from Horseshoe Bay, or about a 10-15 minute from Radical Bay.  It is probably the most beautiful bay on the island.  When I made my here there weren’t any naked people, but you might run into some naturists when you go.

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Feeding The Rock Wallabies

This was without a doubt one of my favorite things I did while on Magnetic Island.  I find wallabies to be the cutest little animals in the world, and I really just want one as a pet.  So when the staff at Bungalow Bay told me that I could just rock up to these rocks with a bag of food, and they’ll eat out of my hands — that became a top priority.  

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Westpoint for Sunset

There’s no better place to watch the sunset on the island than at Westpoint.  I’ve seen my fair share of beautiful sunsets in Australia, but I think this might have been the best so far. 

This is actually another reason why renting that 4-Wheel Drive Van from Isle Hire is an absolute must! 

You simply can’t get to Westpoint without a car that can handle extreme driving conditions.     

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The Koala Experience!

Last but certainly not least — a trip to Magnetic Island wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the incredible 2-Hour Koala / wildlife trip at The Bungalow Bay.

Complete with a turtle, baby crocodile, two cockatoo’s, various lizards, one snake, and of course — the cutest little Koala Bears. 

You obviously can’t leave Australia without the signature tourist shot…

There are 3 Daily Wildlife Presentations at 10:00 A.M, 12:00 P.M, and 2:30 P.M

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——-

If you couldn’t tell from my pictures, I really did have two of the most incredible days on Magnetic Island.  If I wasn’t on a bit of a tighter schedule for my travels along the east coast of Australia, I would have easily stayed for another couple weeks.  I don’t know when I’ll be going back, but I know it will happen someday. 

Thanks to everyone at Bungalow Bay YHA for such an amazing visit.

THANKS FOR READING ! ! ! 

Exploring The Great Barrier Reef: Incredible Day Of Sun, Snorkeling, and Scenery

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Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always dream of witnessing the beauty of the The Great Barrier Reef, and just two days ago that wish finally came true.  It’s obviously one of the biggest tourist attractions in Australia, and was one of the activities I was looking forward to the most on my current Australian adventure.

There are a ton of different options when it comes to exploring the Great Barrier Reef.  The main three that have tours going to often are Moore Reef, Fitzroy Island, and Green Island.  After doing some research, I decided that the best way for me to explore the GBR would be to join SunLovers Reef Cruises on their Full-Day Trip out to the Outer Moore Reef.

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I woke early in the morning, packed my bag, and made the short walk from YHA Cairns down to the harbour to get checked-in and board the ship.  The first thing that shocked me was how absolutely massive the SunLover vessel is.  Normally when I board these snorkeling day-trips around Asia, they are much smaller rigs, and rather uncomfortable.  This was definitely not the case this time, and the ship was large with plenty of space and never felt overcrowded (even with the huge amount of tourists onboard).


Heading to Cairns?  Get your Australian Visa here.


Fitzroy Island

After a brief safety demonstration, overview of the activities included on the tour, and rather comedic lesson on how to snorkel (for the first-timers), we arrived at the gorgeous Fitzroy Island.  I was only on the Moore Reef tour, but you could combine the two places into one full-day package which starts at an earlier time.

We might not have been able to get off the ship, but just from docking at Fitzroy you can tell it’s a beauty of a destination.  We stopped for a few minutes, picked up the passengers joining us on our adventure, and the continued our journey for about 45 more minutes to the SunLover Pontoon out the Outer Moore Reef.

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Buffet Lunch

Right around the time we docked at the Pontoon, lunch was served.  I had skipped breakfast, so I was pretty damn hungry, and I was pleasantly suprised with a delicious buffet meal.  Knowing myself, I tried to keep myself from eating too much to avoid feeling full while snorkeling, so I kept it to two plates, lol.

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Semi-Submarine

There were a few activities that are available for everyone to partake in while docked at the pontoon, but the only one I decided to join was the semi-submersible coral reef viewing boat.  I felt like the “glass-bottom boat” was a bit childish and wouldn’t be able too see too much, and at least the semi-submarine would get you down into the reef.

To be honest, it was a little anti-climatic, but it was only a brief 20 minutes out of the day, and I’m glad I did it.  Just being down in the sub was a cool feeling.  We did the reef just right outside the windows, but yeah — just wasn’t all that exciting if you’ve done a lot of snorkeling before.

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Snorkel Time

The moment I had been waiting for…

The time had come for me get up close and personal with the Great Barrier Reef.

I made my way down to the beautiful Pontoon with all the scuba & snorkel gear, picked up my gear, and was ready to go.

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The area of the Moore Reef that Sunlover Reef Cruises docks at is simply beautiful, and the area is marked with these white buoys for where to stay in.  It’s a pretty big area, and took me  a few different trips out to explore every area of it.

I was armed with my GoPro Hero 5, and was talking pictures and videos of everything I could.

The reef really was stunning, and out on the outskirts of the snorkeling area was the epic drop-off.  That’s where I found the best snorkeling to be, and was having an awesome time exploring this section of The Great Barrier Reef…

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Was it everything I hoped it would be…?

No.  I can’t say that it was…

I’ve already written about the best snorkeling I’ve ever witnessed, and I was simply expecting something of the same caliber.  Don’t get me wrong — the snorkeling at the Moore Reef was fantastic, but it can’t compare to what I’ve seen in Indonesia or Malaysia.  Maybe I just sound like a spoiled travel-blogger though, lol…

If this was someone’s first time ever snorkeling or witnessing marine bio-diversity, I’m sure they would be absolutely blown away!!

But the truth is that the Great Barrier Reef has been a bit damaged from the massive tourism over the years.

Should you still visit the Great Barrier Reef…?

ABSOLUTELY, YES!

This was by far my favorite day of my travels so far in Australia!  

The scenery above land while sailing out to the Moore Reef is gorgeous, and the snorkeling really is spectacular!

 

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Sailing back to Cairns

After a solid 4-hours at the Moore Reef, we began our sail back to Cairns.  Once again, we were treated with stunning views of the ocean and landscape.

I’ve learned that I really just love being on a ship.

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This really was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time, and I can officially say that I’ve experienced the Great Barrier Reef.  While I may have only snorkeled at one particular reef, it just gives me a reason to come back to Cairns and check out more of the other options

I’m really keen on finally getting scuba-certified and doing a 1-2 night live-aboard, because everyone has been telling me that it’s an amazing experience.

Special thanks to Sunlover Reef Cruises for hosting me for this incredible day!  The staff were all so incredibly helpful, the food was delicious, the equipment worked perfectly, and the ship was large and comfortable.  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!


Have you been to The Great Barrier Reef before…?  What was your experience like?  Let me know!

THANKS FOR READING

My Australian Adventures Awaits: East Coast Explorations

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The time has come for me to finally travel Australia!

When I moved to Sydney last year, I always had the plan to travel around the country for a year while I found work along the way (which is actually the purpose of the Working Holiday Visa).  The problem was that I simply fell in love with living in Sydney.  It became much more than just another travel destination on my 26 month global adventure, it became my 2nd home.

But when there were some major political issues about a proposed “backpacker tax”, and I was offered some exciting new travel opportunities — I decided to leave the country without getting the real Australian backpacker experience.

That all changes tomorrow!

I’m partnering up with the YHA Australia, so I’ll be staying at the nicest hostels in the country, and I’ve got myself a Hop-On / Hop-Off Bus pass with Greyhound.

I’ve always dreamed of traveling Australia, and I know this is going to be the trip of a lifetime.


So Where Am I Going…?

Let’s take a look…


SYDNEY //  November 9 – 19

Dates haven't been confirmed yet…but I'm stoked to share that I'm heading back to SYDNEY!

A post shared by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

There’s no place like home…

It’s been 5 months since I left Sydney…and I can’t wait to get back!  There’s so many people to catch up with and things to do that I never got the chance to when I was living here.

But one of the main reason I’m heading back to Australia now, is for one my favorite festivals I’ve ever attended — RETURN TO RIO.  It was hands down my favorite weekend I had while living in Sydney, and I couldn’t stand the idea of missing out.

So I’ll be making my way up to Wiseman’s Ferry with my best mates for 3-days of camping, dancing, and boozing.  It’s going to be quite the welcome party.  While I am still extremely exhausted after attending The Groove Cruise, I am always ready for another epic party.

The one-and-only CARL COX is headlining the festival, so I know we’re in for a solid weekend of music, costumes, and good vibes.  

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CAIRNS // November 20 – 23

Since I have a hop-on / hop-off bus pass, I realized the past way to travel the east coast was going to work my way down south.  So I booked a flight on Webjet, and will travel from Cairns – Sydney.   That way I can travel at my own pace, and when I get back to Sydney (or possibly all the way to Melbourne), I can then book a flight and head out to wherever I go next.

My time in Cairns is going to be so jam-packed with beautiful places:

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

Stunning view of #GreenIsland from above ? Have you been on a scenic heli flight? Photo by @tommii__x #exploreTNQ

A post shared by Tropical North Queensland (@tropicalnorthqueensland) on


DAINTREE RAIN FOREST


CAPE TRIBULATION DAY TRIP


Mission Beach // November 24-25

I’ve seen countless people post about Mission Beach before, and I’ve heard it’s definitely one of the top beaches in Australia.  It looks beautiful, and is also one of the top spots to skydive in country.  I think I’ll only be there for one night, but it’s a perfect spot in between Cairns and Townsville.

#missionbeach #missionbeachaustralia #straya #fnq #farnorthqueensland

A post shared by @ride_maine on


Magnetic Island // November 25-27

I’m heading over Magnetic Island for 2 nights to do some exploring.  I’ll be going to a Koala Sanctuary to finally cuddle a Koala, a full day of snorkeling, nature hikes, and staying at this amazing Bungalow Bay Koala Village.


Airlie Beach & Whitsundays // November 28-December 2

I’ve had a few friends live in Airlie beach during their times backpacking in Australia, and it seems like a great place to kick back, relax, and have a few beach days.  At this point I’ll have a ton of photo editing and writing to catch-up on, and am pretty sure I’ll be doing a bit of drinking and hanging with other backpackers.
Then I’m all set for a 2 day/1 night tour with food and meals on-board with Explore Whitsundays!  I remember the first time I saw a picture of Whitehaven beach, I swore to myself that would be one of the first places I visited when in Australia.  I’m so excited to get there myself.
Photo via: DanFlyingSolo

Photo via: DanFlyingSolo


Hervey Bay & Fraser Island // December 3-7

It’s a really long bus ride (around 10 hours) from Airlie Beach down to Hervey Bay, which is the jumping off point for my Fraser Island tour.  I really have no idea what there is to do there besides that, but I’m sure I’ll find something cool to explore.

Then I’m heading on a 3-day / 2 night tour with Fraser Explore Tours, and this might be what I’m looking forward to the most.  This trip is jam packed with beautiful beaches, gorgeous landscape, and 4WD adventures.  If you look at the trip highlights you’ll know what I mean!  Wow.  Can’t wait for this one.
Photo via: DanFlyingSolo

Photo via: DanFlyingSolo


Noosa & Sunshine Coast // December 8-11 ?

Now I haven’t researched this area at all — and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing here or seeing, so ANY help would be greatly appreciated.  But I just know it’s definitely one of the top places to see in Australia on the east coast.  From the pictures I have seen on Instagram, it looks like a pretty beautiful place.


Brisbane // December 12 – 13 ?

The Capital of Queensland and Australia’s 3rd most populous city is a must-visit during my east-coast adventures.  I’ve heard there is some decent nightlife, great restaurants, and some cool stuff to see.  I know some people have absolutely loved their time living and working in “Brissy”, but I’ve actually heard it can be quite dull.  I guess I’ll have to go and see for myself.


Gold Coast / /December 14-16 ?

Many years ago when I was backpacking in Cambodia, I met two of the coolest and nicest Australians.  I’ve stayed in touch with them through the years, but unfortunately I never made it up to the Gold Coast to visit them when I was living in Sydney.

So I’m stoked to get to reconnect with them, and visit the famous Surfer’s Paradise.  It’ll be nice and warm, so it’ll be prime time for some day explorations, surf sessions, and nightlife shenanigans.


Byron Bay // December 17-20 ?

Everyone loves Byron Bay!  Haven’t you heard?  This popular backpacker hub is apparently amazing, and there’s a few really cool music festivals here.  I know it’s kind of a hippy destination as well, so I’m looking forward to chilling out a bit.


But where to next…?

The main issue is CHRISTMAS & New Years Eve

I’d actually kind of prefer to get back to Sydney, and spend the holidays with my squad.

I’ve also toyed with the idea of flying back to California for Christmas, but that would mean cutting this Australia trip pretty short…

So I could continue my travels further south and check out Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, etc…but that would mean spending Christmas alone, or with travel friends (I know I’ll meet along the way, which would also be pretty cool)

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens…


If you have any Australian travel tips, specifically about these places…please let me know by shooting me an email or leaving a comment below!  All help is appreciated!

CHEERS MATES!

The Highlights of 26 Months Traveling & Living Around The World

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I’m currently 40,000 feet above earth flying from Brussels to Philadelphia.

I’m about three glasses of red wine deep, and it’s bringing out some serious emotions.

HOLY SHIT…I’M GOING HOME…

For those who haven’t been following along for that long, I haven’t been in America since June 2014.  That’s right — it’s been over 26 months since I’ve been stateside.  While that may not be too long for some travel blogging nomads I know – it’s a very long time for this guy.   

It’s pretty crazy for me to think about everything that has happened in the past couple years, and all the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with.  

Not to be too cliche — but the past two years of travel and living abroad have shaped me into the man I am today.  I’ve learned so much about the world, and what I want for my future.  

I’ve established goals, discovered new passions, and have realized that ambition is key to a successful life.  

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While my future plans are still somewhat up in the air –  I have a much more clear idea about the type of life I want to live.

As one of my favorite travel quote says:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.   – Mark Twain


I’ve pursed my dreams of traveling the world while I’m young….

I may not have a fancy car, a wardrobe full of designer clothes, or own any property…

But I’m filthy rich in life experience.


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So I’m going to utilize this flight to write down some of my most memorable travel highlights and achievements from the past 26 months of traveling, studying, working, and living abroad. 

I’m writing this post not only as a fun recap, but as a personal memoir to to reflect on these life-changing experiences.


To give you a general idea of where I’ve been, here’s the basic timeline:

June – August 2014 – Summer in Barcelona/ European Travels

September 2014-2015 – Full year backpacking around Asia

September 2015 – May 2016 – Life in Sydney

June 2016 – Singapore & Sri Lanka

July + August 2016 – Back to Europe / Balkans / Flight Home


So without further ado…let’s take a quick look and reminisce at the past couple years of my life…

#JONESAROUNDTHEWORLD


 Summertime in Barcelona

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Since I decided to complete my Master’s Degree online, it meant that I could choose to study anywhere in the world.  Well, when my backpacking trip to South America got cancelled, I immediately knew where I wanted to go.

On June 5th, 2014 — I flew on a one-way ticket to my favorite city in the world: Barcelona, Spain. 

This was the beginning of this epic 26 month adventure.  I spent 2.5 months in Barcelona, and had some of the craziest and most unforgettable moments of my life.  

Barcelona is known for it’s exceptional nightlife, so I was a tad bit worried about balancing my studies and my love for quality techno — but I managed to get straight A’s in my classes, and had the time of my life with some really awesome people. 

I’ve lived in Barcelona for two different summer seasons now (2012 & 2014), and I can confidently say it is the one of the best places in the world during this time of the year.  The amazing food, vibrant culture, and insane nightlife will always keep me coming back for more.

NOS VEMOS, BARCA


Sonus Music Festival

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After a very hectic “goodbye week” in Spain, I made my way over to Croatia to hit up one of the better music festivals I’ve ever attended.

SONUS exceeded all of my expectations.  The music was simply incomparable to any other festival I had experienced, the location on Pag island was stunning, and I spent the week with two of my best Dutch friends from Eindhoven (De Gekste!).    

Dank u wel Joost & Stijn.  Looking forward to our next reunion!    

Besides a lost iPhone and damaged liver – it was the perfect ending to my summer in Europe.


Launching This Website in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

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First off — I actually didn’t even really care to visit Sri Lanka.

The only reason I flew there was because I was maximizing my United Airlines miles I obtained through savvy “travel-hacking”.  But I’m so glad I did, because Sri Lanka has now become one of my favorite countries to travel through.

During this first trip to Sri Lanka, I spent about 10 full days in Arugam Bay, and it was the first time I truly felt like a long-term solo traveler.  I stayed at this place called The Beach Hut (an absolute must for anyone traveling to A-Bay), and this is where I launched Jones Around The World

I had been preparing to do so for awhile, and finally got around to it.  This was almost two years ago now, and I can’t believe how far this blog has come. 

I had no idea what I was doing when I started blogging, but starting this website marked the beginning of a completely separate journey. 


One Month Exploring Bali & The Gili Islands

Bali life is the good life. #potatohead #beachclub #seminyak #Indonesia

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I made it back to South-East Asia — and the first stop was Bali, Indonesia. 

This month was seriously awesome.  Not only did I get the chance to meet-up with some family, but I had such a blast exploring new parts of Bali and Gili Trawangan.  

It was also great that one of my friends that I met in Vietnam decided to fly all the way out from Hawaii to travel with me for a few weeks!  Shoutout to Elaine!   

From the moto explorations of Bali, the booze cruises and sunsets on Gili Trawangan, and the awesome fellow backpackers I had the pleasure of meeting — this month in Indonesia definitely had to be included in my travel highlights. 

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Becoming an Honorary Kuala Lumpur Expat

During my first trip to South-East Asia, I had the pleasure of meeting an extremely friendly Kiwi girl named Danielle, and older Aussie bloke named Hutchy.  I met them while backpacking in Langkawi, and I had no idea that meeting them would have such a drastic impact on my future. 

Because of these random travel friendships — I was able to see a completely different side of Kuala Lumpur, and I got the opportunity to become friends with a solid group of expats from all over the world. 

In the past two years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Kuala Lumpur, and while I may have never had a full-time job there, I do feel like I became an honorary expat. 

To my KL / Regalia crew — thanks for all the good times, the poker games, and the mojito nights.

Water & Lights show at KLCC

Water & Lights show at KLCC


Wonderfruit Music Festival

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I haven’t attended many music festivals in Asia, but I would defintely say that Wonderfruit is hands down one of the best parties you can find in the region. 

The vibe, the venue, the food, the people — everything was just perfect. 

Shoutout to Jesse & Scott for being absolute legends.  I’ll be seeing you lads out in Bangkok soon enough I’m sure!  

You can read my full Wonderfruit Review to get a better idea of what I experienced.


Christmas on Koh Tao

The idea of spending Christmas on a tropical island may sound a bit strange, but it was such an incredible experience.

The backpacking culture is very alive and vibrant on Koh Tao, and it was awesome to meet and party with some awesome people from all over the world, as well as be with one of my best friends Cathy on Christmas day!  If you ever get the chance to spend the holidays in Thailand, I would highly recommend it!

If I close my eyes, I can picture myself back there watching the sunset, with a beer in my hand and a santa hat on. 


NYE Full Moon Party & Jungle Rave Shenanigans on Koh Phangan

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Ohh, Koh Phangan – where do I even begin…?

I actually attended two different Full Moon Parties during my first trip to South-East Asia, so I definitely knew what I was getting myself into this time around. 

New Years Eve on Koh Phangan was absolutely mental, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing the NYE Full Moon Party – I am glad I experienced it for myself. 

This was one week full of neon colors, buckets of Thai whiskey, and dancing until the sun comes up with a global mix of friendly strangers.

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Purchasing My First DSLR 

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If you ask me now…when I really started being a travel blogger — I would tell you it was when I bought my first DSLR camera. 

niI spent a couple days researching the “best DSLR for beginners”, and the top result always seemed to come back to the Nikon D3300 

So I treated myself to an early birthday present — and shelled out close to $500 to purchase this bad boy.

I’ll be honest — I had no idea how to use this camera at first, but I knew that photography was something I wanted to get into, and did my best to learn how to use my new camera.

Looking back on my photos from my first few months of having it, I’m horrified about how truly awful I was.

Travel photography has become a passion of mine, and I’m looking forward to purchasing some advanced camera gear and improving my skills.  

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Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant cities in the entire world.

I found a $42 flight from KL – HK, and couldn’t wait to visit a new city during their biggest holiday of the year.  

It might have been ridiculously expensive week, but I think it was worth every penny.  The firework show was quite impressive, the Hong Kong Pub Crawl was a blast, and crossing off Hong Kong Disneyland (being from Anaheim) needed to be done.

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Backpacking The Philippines.  The best month of my life…? 

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I spent one month in the Philippines, and I have nothing but the fondest memories of those 30 days.  I really do think it’s the most beautiful country in South-East Asia, and the entire trip just went so perfectly. 

My Philippines Itinerary article is one of my most read blog posts, and it’s been amazing to help people plan their travels throughout the country.  I regularly receive comments, emails, and messages from people who are about to embark on a trip there, and I’m so glad that information that I have written has made a difference in their travels.

From the amazing island hopping experiences in Palawan, swimming with whale sharks in Cebu, and partying it up in Boracay – this was a month that I will never forget.

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Master’s Degree = Completed

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Most people thought I was crazy to travel the world while simultaneously studying for my Master’s Degree — but I realized is that all you need is a little bit of time management and responsibility, and handling the workload was completely possible.

After about 1.5 years — I finally finished my Master’s Degree in Business Management & Leadership.

I can’t even begin to explain how good of a feeling that was.  I submitted my final assignment in El Nido, Palawan — and celebrated by partying on a private island in the middle of this gorgeous archipelago. 

Don’t know how many other people can say they’ve experienced something like that before…


Loving Life in L-A-O-S

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When I think back on all of my travels through South-East Asia — Laos was easily the most surprising country of them all.

I have no idea why it took me so long to travel through Laos, but the experiences I had in this country were some of the most memorable.  

From relaxing on the 4000 Islands, waterfall explorations through the Bolaven Plateau, and the tubing madness in Vang Vieng — backpacking Laos was almost too much fun.

I also had the pleasure of traveling the country with two really amazing English girls!  Shoutout to Meg & Eliza for an incredible time!  Can’t wait to see you guys again sometime…


One Month in Chiang Mai & Songkran Water Festival

In the travel-blogging / digital nomad community, renting an apartment in Chiang Mai is extremely popular — and I wanted to experience what everyone else was talking about. 

So I found myself a nice studio apartment on AirBNB for $280 U.S.D for the month, and decided to slow down my travels a bit.  I had been on-the-go for quite awhile at this point, and was in desperate need of some rest & relaxation.

It started off with one of my all-time favorite travel experiences: SONGKRAN water festival.  This was just 3-days of epic madness running through the streets of Chiang Mai armed with a water gun.  Check out my Songkran Video below, to get a better understanding. 


Moto Ride from Chiang Mai – Pai

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While most people opt to take the $5 bus through the winding mountains of Northern Thailand, I knew renting a moto was going to be the best way to get to Pai.

Thanks to the power of Facebook, I met an awesome Aussie bloke to make this journey with, and even picked up a fellow backpacker on the road.  Shoutout to Damo & Ilona!  🙂

Everyone loves to talk about how amazing Pai is, and I finally understood what all the hype was about.  There’s tons of incredible things to do in Pai, the food is delicious (and cheap), and the nightlife is surprisingly hectic! 

It’s one of those destinations where you plan on staying two days, and end up staying two months.  I could easily see myself moving to Pai sometime in the future. 


The Paradise Lifestyle on Gili Trawangan

My favorite island in the world…

After a quick return visit to Bali with a friend from California, I decided that living on Gili Trawangan was something I desperately wanted to experience.

So I managed to land a job at the main party hostel on the island called Gili Backpackers.  This place is actually now called Gili Castle, as the island government made the decision to ban all hostels.  

I fell in love with the paradise lifestyle on Gili T.  I was constantly surrounded by wonderful people from around the world, going on epic booze cruises, and showing people around the nightlife hotspots. 

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My days were filled with swimming alongside turtles in perfectly blue waters, and my nights were filled with pub crawls and Joss shots. 

I even got a job offer to stay and work as a bar promoter as well as sell tickets for the booze cruise, but the time had come for me to leave.  I definitely wasn’t ready to go, but my time living on Gili Trawangan was absolutely perfect.  

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Sailing Through Komodo National Park

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This four day trip sailing from Lombok to Flores was easily one of my favorite things I’ve done in South-East Asia. 

The trip was jam-packed with idyllic islands, unbelievable snorkeling, and gorgeous sunsets.  I was also very lucky to share this experience with a stellar group of people from a dozen different countries.

If you ever get a chance to visit Indonesia — exploring Komodo National Park should be a top priority!

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Malaysian Island Adventures

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After returning back to Kuala Lumpur from an epic 2 months in Indonesia — it was time for me to actually explore more of Malaysia.

I spent almost two full months exploring the Perhentian Islands, Pulau Kapas, Tioman Island, and Langkawi.

This was when I truly fell in love with Malaysia.  I was constantly left stunned by it’s natural beauty, the delicious food, friendly culture, and budget travel options.  

I really do think Malaysia is the most underrated country in the South-East Asia.  

During this time was also when I decided to buy my Working Holiday Visa for Australia – probably the most influential decision of my life…

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Paradise…


California Visits

When two of my friends from high-school messaged me on Facebook asking to join me out in South-East Asia, I was so stoked to travel with them for a bit.

I spent two weeks with Rashad in Bali and the Gili Islands, and spent about one week with Gina in Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi.  It had been a long time since I had seen both of these awesome individuals, and we have some pretty epic travel stories together now.

Thanks for the visit guys.  We’ll definitely have to make traveling together a bigger priority!  I know that neither of you guys like long-haul flights, but I promise i’ll make it worth it.

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Moving to Australia & Getting Settled in Sydney

Cheers!

Cheers mate!

To be honest — my life was kind of a mess when I initially moved to Sydney.

I had been traveling for so long at this point, finances were running extremely low, and I was just a bit of a wreck.  I didn’t have any decent clothes, was nervous about finding work, and made this huge life decision to move to another country.

I tried not to let it show, but I was dealing with quite a bit of stress.  It really took me awhile to get settled in Sydney, but I think that’s normal for anyone who just spent over a  year backpacking around Asia.

If it weren’t for the generosity of my mate Ed, and the Ferguson family, who let me stay at their house for the first 5 weeks I was in Sydney — I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

I started making decent money, found an affordable house to live in, and finally felt settled in Sydney.  I paid off my debt, was able to save money by utilizing websites like OZCodes, and started to feel like I was getting my life together…

I was no longer a backpacking nomad.  I found a home.  While my plans to move back to Sydney have been unexpectedly postponed, I know I’ll find myself living there again in the near future.

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There’s no place like home…


Halloween Forest Raving

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Being American — Halloween is a pretty big deal to me.  

Fortunately, the Sydney squad all rallied together, and we made the journey to a secret location for one epic party called The Afterlife.  

It was the first music event I attended in Australia, and was also the start of a beautiful festival squad.  We were missing a few key members, but we definitely made up for it at future events.  

Read my full Afterlife Event Review for a better idea of what this experience was like.    

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My First Press Trip as a Travel Blogger — INDONESIA

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I had been blogging for a little bit over a year and hadn’t really made too much money or gotten anything in return for all my hard work…

This website was started purely for hobby purposes, but it’s been really cool to see Jones Around The World grow into something much bigger. 

This was an all-expenses paid trip to Bali, Lombok, and Komodo National Park.  The trip was hectic to say the least, but it was such a solid experience with a wonderful group of fellow travel bloggers.  

If you guys are reading this — thanks for an epic trip everyone!  Was a pleasure traveling with you, and looking forward to our next press trip together! 

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New Years Eve Celebrations in Sydney

Since it was my first New Years Eve in Sydney, I knew that I had to check out the legendary firework display over Sydney Harbour.

So I joined my friends Ellie & Kenny (who were visiting from KL), and cruised out to the park at Mrs. Macquaries Chair.  It was a long day of eating, drinking, and taking photos.

We were all a bit surprised they packed in so many people into this small area to watch the fireworks, and didn’t really provide any entertainment.  But I will say that the firework display was the best I have ever seen.

Field Day

There’s no better way to start the year off right then to hit up an outdoor music festival in downtown Sydney.

We got the whole squad, looking good in our tye dye, and had one epic day dancing to Golden Features, Boys Noize, and Disclosure.

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The House of Shifting Sands

Rent prices in Sydney can get pretty ridiculous at times, so when I was offered a room in a house in Randwick for only 180 per week — I quickly accepted.  When I initially moved in, I was actually only supposed to stay for 3-4 weeks, but the tenant who was supposed to take the room no longer could.

Living in this house was one of the best aspects of my life in Sydney.  It was affordable, it was comfortable, and the house had such an amazing vibe.

But the only way to describe this house is — Organized Chaos

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Why?  Well, because we had a total of 9 people living in that one house.  We had 7 people sleeping in rooms, and 2 extras who used the house but slept in a tent outside, and a car in the driveway.  While it may have been slightly inconvenient, messy, and chaotic at times — it worked for us.

Everyone in the house got along really well, and had a few really epic family parties.  🙂

It was called the “House of Shifting Sands”, because there are always people coming and going, and moving out / moving in.  I’m sad to share that this house is no longer being leased by old my roommates, but I was so glad I got to share that house with them all.

Special shoutout to Tim, Kylie, Niels, Aidan, Rene, Daphne, Jarrod, Giorgia, Ben, Alistair, and Dennis!


The Yacht Social Club

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“Sydney Harbour Is Our Playground”

When it comes to last-minute decisions I made while in Sydney, this might have been the absolute best one.  The location, the music, and the atmosphere is unlike any other party in city.

But that should be expected, right?

Yacht Party in Sydney Harbour?  Yeah…count me in.

Read my full review of The Yacht Social Club, and I guarantee you’ll be adding it to your bucket list.


Buy Tickets for the 2016 / 2017 Season


Joining the GoPro Family

When you grab the attention of a company as big as GoPro, you know you’re doing something right.  I was so stoked to receive the invitation to join the GoPro family.  Having just recently attended their Launch event for the Hero5 and GoPro Karma, I’m excited to continue to use their amazing products are produce some stellar content.  #BeAHero

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Return to Rio

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Looking back on my time living in Sydney, I would have to say that my weekend of camping and dancing at Return to Rio was hands down my favorite weekend in Australia.

Not only did I hear some of the best music I’ve ever heard (DIXON crushed it), but I met some of the coolest people there.  The atmosphere at Return to Rio is hard to explain…I guess you just have to experience it for yourself.

The next Return to Rio is happening in November 11-13, and I’m seriously contemplating flying all the way back to Sydney just so I don’t miss it.  It was THAT much fun.  I’ll be rocking my Zebra Onesie when I get back…

Read my full Return to Rio review to get a better understanding.


#TuneSquad at Groovin The Moo

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This was the last music festival I attended while living in Sydney, and it was definitely good fun.

While there were a lot of aspects of Groovin The Moo I didn’t really enjoy – our squad totally crushed it with our festival gear.

Amazing day of dancing with good friends to quality tunes.  Safia, Golden Features, and Alison Wonderland played incredible sets.

TUNESQUAD–ASSMEBLE


Love & Loss in Sydney

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When it comes to dating – traveling had always kind of inhibited any type of long-term relationship.  But since I was living and working full-time in Sydney, I was able to start seeing someone.  While this relationship had turned into something quite serious, it has recently ended in a rather unexpected, immature, and shocking fashion.  These things happen though, and I’ve learned the hard way that people aren’t always what they seem to be.

As the saying goes…

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

But sometimes I’m not too sure about that…


Sydney Going Away Party

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Was a bloody ripper mate…

I’ve always enjoyed throwing house parties, and my going away function in Sydney was one hell of a party.  It was great to get all my Sydney mates together in one place, and spend one final evening of debauchery with some of my favorite people in the world.

I hate goodbyes…but I’m already looking forward to my “welcome back” party.  🙂


Singapore in Style

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The first stop on my summer travels was the beautiful city / country of Singapore.

I had visited a couple times before, but this was the first Singapore visit with my DSLR — so I spent 3 whole days running around the city taking pictures of absolutely everything.

I gotta say– I think I got some pretty epic shots.

I was also hosted by the amazing Westin Singapore hotel during my stay, and lived it up in pure luxury.

Was the perfect beginning to my summer travels…

I also bought a new MacBook Pro at the Singapore Airport – which was desperately needed.

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June in Sri Lanka + #TBCAsia

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Sri Lanka was the first country I ever felt like a true “solo traveler”, and as previously mentioned, was where I launched Jones Around The World.

So when I got invited to be a hosted blogger for TBC Asia, I could not have been more stoked to return to where it all began.

I spent the entire month of June traveling around this stunning country, and I feel like I could have easily stayed another month or two.

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Read all about my Sri Lanka adventures:

Attending my first Travel Blogging Conference was definitely the highlight of this month though.  It was incredible to meet and travel with some awesome fellow bloggers!  I learned quite a bit, and left the country feeling inspired to achieve much more when it comes to this site.

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Photographing Paris

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Paris is a city I have visited on numerous occasions during my time working as a European travel guide, but I was excited to get back for a repeat visit to take photos of absolutely everything.

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and there’s a reason for that.  It really is a gorgeous place, and I had a solid 3-day stay running around the city.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best weather when I was there, but I still managed to get some cool shots.

I stayed at an amazing hostel called Les Piaules, and enjoyed a nightly glass of wine on the rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

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Balaton Sound

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If you haven’t already, make sure you check out my article on why I think Balaton Sound is the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

I only went because I knew I needed to get out to Eastern Europe, and found a flight to Budapest for 40 euro the day the festival began.  So I applied for the press accreditation (after the deadline has passed), and received the amazing news that my application had been approved.  This last-minute trip was slowly coming together.

The issue then was that I had no friends to go party with, and no where to stay – but thanks to the power of Facebook, I got lucky and found an open spot with some truly incredible people.  They welcomed me into their little rave family with open arms, and we had such a solid time partying it up at the beautiful Lake Balaton.

Shoutout to Baywatch Crew!

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Exploring Budapest + Belgrade

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After an intense week of partying at Balaton Sound, I was looking forward to a bit of relaxation — but there is little down-time in the life of a travel blogger.  I spent the week re-discovering my love for Budapest, and then taking a night-bus down to Serbia.

Budapest – It definitely is one of my favorite cities in the world.  There’s so much to explore, delicious food (and beer), and it’s very cheap.

Belgrade

 I wasn’t too happy about my time spent in Belgrade.  I had awful weather the entire time I was there (mid-July), and the city just felt a little bleehhhh.  I did find some delicious food, and learned a bit about the city – but I do think I need to head back to the city again.  I had heard so many great things about this city, and I’m not quite sure what I missed.

Apparently Belgrade has some of the best nightlife in the Balkans, but I was still detoxing from the epic bender that was Balaton Sound.

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Three Week Balkan Road Trip

I honestly don’t even know where to begin…

The Balkans has been a region I’ve been dying to travel through for years now, and this road trip completely exceeded all my expectations.

I joined forces with two other travel bloggers, the devilishly handsome Dan Flying Solo and the ridiciously fun Lili’s Travel Plans, and we hit the road traveling through Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece.

Randomly enough, I had actually never even met them before this trip.  I think we all took a gamble to embark on this three-week road trip with strangers met through the internet, but it ended up working out perfectly, and I couldn’t have asked for better company.

The entire trip was jam-packed with beautiful sights, friendly people, and scenic drives.  I fell in love with the Balkans, and can’t wait to explore more of the area in the future.  🙂


BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Beautiful bridges, winding roads, and stunning landscape were three of the highlights of this amazing country.  Road tripping through Sarajevo, Konjic, various lakes and viewpoints, and Mostar.  This country was constantly surprising me.

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MONTENEGRO

This was definitely the country I was looking forward to the most.

Before visiting Montenegro, I had only really heard about the Bay of Kotor though, so everything else we saw was an added bonus.

Durmitor National Park was hands down my favorite aspect of traveling through Montenegro.

We got our car sorted all thanks to AutoEurope  and was left speechless while we drove through and marveled at the natural mountainous beauty.

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ALBANIA

I’ll be honest – the main reason I was looking forward to traveling through Albania was because I had heard it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe.

Albania completely blew me away.

We spent around 9-10 days going through Albania.  The highlights were Lake Komani, Berat, and driving along the entire coast of the Albanian Riviera.

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CORFU, GREECE

We all made our way down to Corfu because the flights were so much cheaper leaving from Greece.  I wasn’t even planning on exploring the island, because I had been to Corfu a couple times before…but WOW.

Corfu is absolutely gorgeous.  It’s a pretty massive island, and me and Lili spent two full days driving around the island checking out the best beaches and view points.

Oh…and the food.  I could easily live off of Greek food for the rest of my life.

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Flying Back Home

Over 2 Years and 2 Months.

Total:  805 Days…

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That’s me overlooking my hometown of Yorba Linda

The time had finally come to make my way back to Southern-California (where I’m currently writing the end of this blog post).  I’ll admit that it felt a bit strange at first, but now I’m thoroughly enjoying my time catching up with friends and family, eating In-N-Out, and saving up money for whatever adventures come next.

I’ve got some really exciting options for the next year or two, so I guess I’m just currently waiting to see how a few opportunities work out.


So to wrap up this massive 5000+ word blog post, I just want to give a massive shoutout to everyone I had the pleasure of spending time with these past couple years abroad.  You’ve all had an impact on my life in one way or another, and I’ll never forget all the incredible adventures we’ve shared.

Traveling is truly about the people you meet while on the road, and I’ve been fortunate to forge friendships with some fantastic people from all over the world.

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Love you guys!


THANKS FOR READING!


Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

The Top 7 Things I’m Shocked I Didn’t Do While Living in Sydney

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I lived in Sydney for a total of 9 months, and it was hands down one of the best decisions of my entire life.  My time in Australia changed me so much, that I’ve decided that I want nothing more than to move back to Sydney on a more permanent basis. 

My 9 months in Sydney were jam packed with fun stuff such as:  adapting to the local language, the stunning Bondi – Coogee Coastal walk, and attending some of the best music festivals in Australia. 

Unfortunately, my time was cut short in Australia — and I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do in Sydney and the surrounding areas.  So let me discuss the top 7 things I never did.  I’ll be using this as my “to-do” list for when I get back to the land down under.  🙂 

1 )  The Blue Mountains

Hot damn.  They look so beautiful…

Epic indeed! The shot and the sentiment @david_wimble 🙂 #bluemtsaus #bluemountainsaustralia #govettsleap

A photo posted by Blue Mountains Australia (@bluemountainsaustralia) on


I know.  I know.  How could I live in Sydney, especially as a travel photographer, and not make the 2-hour drive out to the Blue Mountains.  I honestly don’t even have a valid excuse. 

My roommates in Australia were avid mountain climbers, canyoners, and kayakers.  They invited me countless times to join them in their outdoor adventures, and I always found some dumb reason not to tag along.

Well, when I get back — this will not be the case.   

2 )  The Figure 8 Pools

They just look so cool!


These stunning natural rock pools are about an hour drive outside of Sydney, and I never got the change to go. 

The main reason is that it’s basically impossible to get there without a car.  I did actually think about getting a Budget Car Rental during my last couple weeks, but I decided I would just save up for my return.

I’ve decided that when I get back to Sydney, I’ll definitely be renting a car and exploring these for myself.

Tip:  Make sure you plan ahead with the tide, because you can only visit these during low tide.  Also — be very careful.  These can get pretty dangerous at times. 


3 )  Explore the North Shores Beaches

No.  I’m not talking about Manly Beach.  I’ve obviously been there.  I’m not that dumb. 


But when I first arrived in Sydney, I stayed at my mate’s house all the way up in St. Ives. 

One of the first weekends I was there, we went to this epic beach called Curl Curl.  I remember thinking how amazingly beautiful it was, and that I wanted to spend an entire week exploring the beach up in Northern Sydney.

Well, once I landed myself a full-time job, and moved down to Coogee Beach — time really slipped away from me.

When I get back to Sydney though — I can’t wait to drive around and explore the North more. 


4 )  VIVID Sydney

Sydney is one of my favorite cities in the world to photograph, and VIVID is clearly the best time of the year to do it. 


But I made a horrible mistake.

I booked a flight out of Australia 2 days before VIVID started!  I should have done more diligent research about it, because I was absolutely gutted what moronic mistake I had made. 

5 )  Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

IMAGINE THE VIEWS!!


Yes.  It’s one of the most touristy things you can do while in Sydney, but I feel like it is something worth experiencing.  I’m not the biggest fan of heights, but I know it’s completely safe — and I’m keen to get some awesome photographs of the city from up there.   

6 )  Surfing

Manly Beach Australian Open of Surf


This one is totally my fault.  I lived close to the beaches, and had several opportunities to go surfing.

Why didn’t I go…?  Well, because I had never really been great at it.  I had tried a couple different times, but failed miserably.  Australia is known as a top surfing destination, and I didn’t want to be that rookie surfer out there stealing people’s waves and then not even getting up.

I will say this though, after my time in Sydney I traveled to Sri Lanka, and went surfing.  I absolutely loved it, and it’s got me keen to practice more when I get back to Australia. 


7 ) Taronga Zoo

I’m not a big fan of “zoos” in general, but I feel like the Taronga Zoo is a must experience for anyone living in Sydney. 

I mean c’mon, I lived in Australia for 9 months and never even got a selfie with a Kangaroo.  How does that happen? 

When I get back — that is my top priority.


Have you been to Sydney?  What’s your favorite part about visiting this amazing city?


Thanks for reading!  

Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

The Travelling Lifestyle & The Art of Saying Goodbye

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I’ve been living and working abroad since 2011.  

It all started when I got offered a position as a travel guide in Europe.

Every single weekend I was introduced to awesome groups of study abroad students.  You form friendships with them over the course of 72 hours, and then remain friends with them until the school semester ends, and then you’re forced to say goodbye.

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Sometimes you have one crazy weekend with a group, and never hang out with them again…

That is the life of a travel guide.  It was honestly two of the craziest and best years of my life.  It solidified my love of living abroad, learning new languages, and working in the travel industry.

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But I thinkt that’s when I really started getting good at saying goodbyes.  It’s a sad realization when you understand that it gets easier over time.  Of course it’s still a bit sad to say your farewells to the people you’ve been spending a lot of time with over the past few months, but I honestly think it got a lot easier emotionally.

In that regard, it actually mentally prepared me for my upcoming adventures of a long-term solo backpacker.

During my travels in Asia, I was constantly meeting great people.

These random strangers met at bus stations and hostel lobbies have turned into solid friendships.  I may not keep in touch with everyone as often as I’d like, but I have no doubt that whenever there is a reunion with my travel mates, it’ll be like no time has passed at all.  You guys know who you are…

You never know who you’re going to meet when you’re traveling, and there’s a small chance that they might change your life forever.

For example, at my very first Full Moon Party I met three Aussie dudes.  We drank, we partied, and we had an one ridiculously epic night.

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Did I know if I would even ever see them again?  No, I really didn’t.  Flash forward over two years later, and they are my some of my best mates in Australia.  I can confidently say that without having them in Sydney, I would have had a completely different Working Holiday Visa.

But when you’re a nomad like I was, it’s incredibly easy to make friends on the road.  I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with tons of different people.  Some people for just a couple days, some for weeks, and others for months.

But we’re all on our own separate journeys — and eventually travel paths must diverge.

We say our goodbyes, and move on.  We find ourselves alone again, only to check in to a new hostel, and start the process all over.

But what happens when you’re not ready to say goodbye?


This is exactly what I’m asking myself now.

If you’re following me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve definitely read something about how much I was loving my life in Sydney.

I was in Australia for nearly 9 months, and I really do have the best group of friends there.

“True life:  my squad is better than your squad.”

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To be completely honest, moving to Sydney was originally a means to an end.  I only moved to Australia because I was broke as hell, and knew that I could save up a decent amount of cash quick if I worked full-time.

But my whole world has been flipped upside down.  I’ve fallen in love.  I forgot what it was like to have a “home-base”.  To live a normal life.  To kick it with the same group of friends every weekend.  The anti-nomadic life.

Sydney wasn’t just another stop on a long-term backpacking trip — it has become my home.

I no longer was a backpacker — I became an expat.     


The past month has been quite emotional.  The government has gone back and forth too many times about the backpacker tax.  I even got interviewed about it for the Australian Financial Review.

The day after they announced the “backpacker tax”, I pretty much booked a flight out of the country, and began planning my travels.

Then — out of nowhere they’ve decided to put it on hold…and it’s confused the hell out of my mind.  I’ve got all these travel plans ahead, and it’s just too late to change everything…

The truth of the matter is:

I didn’t want to leave.  I can’t say goodbye this time.

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I’m actually finishing this post now while traveling through Sri Lanka for my first Travel Blogging Conference, and I’m really glad I decided to come.  I am stoked to start traveling again, but I’m also not ready to put Sydney in my rearview mirror.  I really do think I have a future in Sydney.

So I guess what I’m getting at is this — everything happens for a reason.  The government changes, travel plans, and quitting my job.  Everything will end up the way it’s meant to.  Sometimes you need to leave a place so you can reflect on how much it had an impact on you.

The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had in Sydney have been unforgettable and life-changing.  It’s made me realize that as much as I love traveling, I very much enjoy having a home-base — and I honestly could see myself settling down in Australia.  My days as a long-term traveler with one-way tickets and year long adventures might not be quite over, but I do know that I’m keen to move back to Sydney.

I might be hitting the road once again, but I’ll be making my way back to Australia in just a few short months .  If things that don’t work out, than I’ll figure it out from there.  But I’m a firm believer that if you want something strong enough, then you can make it happen.

Sydney — I’m coming back for you.  I’m coming home soon.

Special Thanks to everyone who made it to my Going Away Party! 

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THANKS FOR READING

Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

Groovin The Moo Festival Review #TuneSquad

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When I landed in Sydney, I had a goal to attend as many music festivals in Australia as possible.  Luckily for me, I found an amazing group of friends that have a similar passion for a quality party.

With it being one of my mate’s birthdays that weekend (Happy Bday Troy), and the legendary Groovin The Moo Festival — it felt like the perfect time for a weekend away in Canberra.

I remember writing about how Groovin The Moo was one of the top music events in April, and it definitely did not disappoint.

I’ll be honest, out of all the festivals I’ve been to in Australia — this might have been the one I was least excited for.  I was exhausted from working quite a lot, the line-up lacked any underground house and techno, and I’ve been trying to save money and festivals are expensive.

But I’m really glad I went, because Groovin The Moo definitely was a solid party.

Let’s discuss…

TuneSquad

Just like any aspect of travel, sharing an experience with a great group of people can make the biggest difference.  Over the past 8 months, I’ve met some amazing people here in Sydney.  Thanks to their quality organizational skills (shoutout to Cass), we all rocked up to the festival in style.  We were easily the largest squad of the festival, and repeatedly had people take photos of us.  I mean, look at us.  Hot damn, we look good.

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The Venue

In my opinion, Groovin The Moo was held at a pretty standard venue.  There was no “wow” factor about it, but it had green grass, a decent amount of room, and we were fortunate to  have beautiful weather!

There were a few times where I felt that it could have been a bit bigger though.

This was a Sold-Out event, and you could definitely tell.  There were people everywhere.  Almost too crowded at times.

The only thing that really bothered me was the bathroom locations which were pretty far away from everything.  It’s nice when you’re at a festival and can run away to take a piss and be back within a few minutes.

The Stages

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If you’re looking at the set-list, you’d see that there were 3 different stages.  The main stage could not be missed, as it was pretty massive.  What I found strange about it was that it was set-up in two-halves.  This was due to a lot of the bands needing their own equipment and to make artist transitions a bit smoother.  I had never seen a festival stage do that before, and I’m not sure how much I like it.  It was just a bit weird having the artist focused on one-side of the stage.  It wasn’t really a big deal, but definitely something I felt was a bit strange.

The second stage was where I found myself at the majority of the day.   This was also a pretty massive tented stage, and felt that the vibe was consistently on point.  Everyone was dancing, grooving, and raving all day.

Top 3 Sets

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Safia:  Rather early on in the day, SAFIA took stage and completely blew my mind.  My friends listen to Safia quite a bit, but I only realized that when I saw them play live.  I love their style, their vocals, and their deep and groovy tunes that blended so perfectly together.  

Golden Features:  I had seen them once before at Field Day, and I’ve been listening to their music every since.  These guys really know how to put on a show, and their track selection is fuego.

Alison Wonderland:  Australia’s favorite trap queen closed out the main stage in style, and played one of the best sets of the entire day.  I’m not going to lie, I was a little bummed to hear her play a Justin Bieber remix, c’mon, closing set doesn’t need that shit, but she quickly redeemed herself with banger after banger.

Read:  The JATW Playlist:  Top Ten Tracks of April 2014

The Downsides

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All Ages Event:  Maybe I’m getting old, but you could definitely tell that this was an all ages event.  The last music festival I went to was Return to Rio, and that had one of the best festival atmospheres I’ve ever experienced.  Everyone was a bit older, and knew their underground house music.  At times this festival felt like a massive 17-years old birthday party.  Okay, maybe an exaggeration.  But I’m 27 years old, and partying around everyone 10 years younger than me was a bit strange.

Within 20 minutes of entering the festival, I swear I saw 16-year old girls throwing up with their friends holding back their hair.  I’m sorry, but this isn’t a Prom afterparty.  Get it together people.  Learn how to party responsibly.

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Alcohol Zone:  At music festivals, you’ll most likely find me towards the back of the stage, in an area where there’s plenty of room to dance with a beer in my hand.  Unfortunately, because this was an all-ages event – you weren’t allowed to bring beer out of the 18+ zone.  It was a huge buzz kill.  Especially when I bought 4 beers for friends, and had plans to bring them back to the squad.

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Ending at 10:30 P.M:    

Maybe it’s from my years of partying until sunrise in Barcelona, or hitting up full-moon parties in Thailand, but ending a festival around 10:30 P.M is really sad.  I really don’t think a festival should ever end before midnight, but unfortunately it happens all to often at music festivals in Australia.

I also was pretty hungover from drinking on Saturday night, so having the festival starting at 11:00 A.M just felt heaps early.

Conclusion

The music was great, the weather was beautiful, and the overall festival organization was above average.  There were definitely a few aspects of the party which I think could have made the festival a bit better, but I would definitely recommend Groovin The Moo to friends.  It’s one of the last big festivals of the season, and I’m really glad I went.

Have to give a major shoutout to the TUNESQUAD.  We absolutely crushed it.  What a weekend.  Hoping we rock our jerseys to the next festival we all attend together!


THANKS FOR READING


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Top 5 Music Events in Sydney [April 2016]

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There’s never a dull moment when you’re living in Sydney.  Every weekend there’s heaps of different options of club events, parties, and festivals  .  It actually kind of sucks sometimes when it comes to my financial situation.  Every weekend I try to tell myself I won’t go out and party, but I can’t resist a quality event if there’s good music…

I honestly could have extended this to make it much longer, but there are other websites for that.  For all you Sydney party folk, these are the top 5 events you should be attending this April.


1 )   Distrikt *SASH* – Sunday, April 3

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After a wildly successful 5 year anniversary last weekend, SASH is throwing possibly an even bigger event this upcoming Sunday.  Combining the energy of Burning Man, Subsonic, and SASH — this is a Sunday party that will definitely be worth calling in sick on Monday.  If you haven’t been to a Sash Sunday Session before, then this is the perfect time to change that.

“In alignment with the spirit of one of our home-grown events, Subsonic have teamed up with S*A*S*H to play host to Ben Seagren, DJ Kramer and Paul Geddes under the DISTRIKT banner as the Australian summer begins to cool.
Whether you’re gearing up for it, reminiscing about it or want a taste of it the DISTRIKT stage is one of the most sought-after highlights at the infamous Burning Man event with a style, pizazz and sound truly their own.”

Music Inspiration — Ben Seagren Live @ Desert Hearts

 

2pm till 10pm / $15 all day on the door

Join the Facebook Event 


2 )  Civic Underground Saturdays

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If you’re keen for a solid party on Saturday night, than you can’t go wrong with heading over to Civic Underground.  They’ve got great events every weekend in April, but I’d definitely recommend April 2nd, April 9th, and April 30th.  Any chance to attend a Blueprint Entertainment event will be a night of non-stop quality tunes, and having just seen Murat Kilic & Robbie Lowe at Return to Rio, I know the event on the 9th is going to be incredible.

2/4 – Blueprint
9/4 – Trinity & Phil Smart
16/4 – Sessions
23/4 – We Love
30/4 – Blueprint

Music Inspiration – Uone Live at Rainbow Serpent

Robbie Lowe Colour Sessions Mix

 

Tickets:   https://goo.gl/PsDiSx  // Guest-List:   https://goo.gl/nazBfC

Join the Facebook Event


3 ) Grooving The Moo — Saturday / Sunday April 23 -24

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Okay…so not technically in Sydney…

One of the biggest touring festivals in Australia is coming up in April, and Sydney party folk have two solid options to choose from.  Neither of these are actually close to Sydney, but it’s definitely going to be an event well worth the drive.  With a line-up this stacked, you’re definitely in for an epic one-day festival!  I’ll be making an appearance at the Canberra event, and I can’t wait to see Golden Features, Alison Wonderland, Ratatat, and Odesza!

Music Inspiration – Golden Features Hidden City Mix

 

Purchase Tickets — $110

Join the Facebook Events


4 )  Carl Cox Presents Pure — Saturday, April 23

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For all the techno fans in Sydney — this event is a no-brainer.  Carl Cox & Joseph Capriati are two of my favorite DJ’s to see live.  Their skills behinds the decks are impeccable, their song selection is perfect, and they are definitely going to put on one hell of a show.  With tickets being so cheap (relatively speaking), this is an event that should not be missed .  I’ll already be in Canberra getting ready for GTM, but if I wasn’t — this is exactly where I would be spending my Saturday night.

Music Inspiration — Mixmag Live & Direct — Carl Cox

 

Purchase Tickets ( $80 First Release / $90 Second Release)

Join the Facebook Event


5 )  Godskitchen Presents “The Last Dance” — Saturday, April 30

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TRANCE FAMILY.  ASSEMBLE.

This is arguably the best trance line-up that has ever been brought to Sydney.  It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been to a quality trance festival, and I’m definitely thinking that Godskitchen is going to change that.  I’ve seen almost all of these DJ’s before, and they are all incredible.  Funny story, when I was naming my little travel blog, I was listening to heaps of trance at the time.  #TranceAroundTheWorld

Line-Up:

COSMIC GATE
ATB
SIMON PATTERSON
SUPER8 & TAB
JASON ROSS
SUSANA (live)
ARTY
MENNO DE JONG

Music Inspiration – Cosmic Gate Live at Dreamstate San Francisco

Purchase Tickets ( $167)  **SOLD OUT**

Join the Facebook Event (try and buy tickets there)


Venue Listings + More Events

Get Together w/ Robbie Lowe, U-Khan, & Tristan Case — April 1st @ The Jam Gallery

Zoo Project — Dave Seaman (April 2nd)

Chinese Laundry — Grillz, Alex Niggermann, Mija, Will Clarke, and more…

Pacha Sydney Events — Elk Road, Party Thieves, Purple Disco Machine, Sigala, U2 & Oski

Marquee Sydney Events — Marlo, Tigerlily, Stafford Brothers

Argyle Turns 9 – April 15-16


Going to be an amazing month for music!  My bank account is going to hate me…

See you on the dancefloors.

For more Sydney Party information check out:

Resident Advisor — The best nightlife events in Sydney.

House And Techno Sydney (H.A.T.S) — Nightlife events for electronic music


Share with your mates…

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Acquiring Back Some Style with Daniel Wellington

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One year ago I was living on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.  This was towards the end of a 14+ month trip throughout South-East Asia.

I was a backpacker.  I carried all my earthly possessions with me, and the majority of my clothes were stained and tattered.  If things ever got too bad, I would just buy a new singlet.

I wore board shorts on a daily basis.

There were a few months when I didn’t even own a pair of shoes.  Seriously.

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I fell completely into the backpacker spirit.  I was staying in 10-person dormitories to save money, eating  (delicious) street food, and saving money whenever I could to stay traveling as long as possible

I became an expert budget traveler, and was deep into the nomadic mentality.

I mean, look at this guy…see what I mean…?

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But if you have been following along for the past 8 months, you know that I temporarily gave up the nomadic life, and have found myself loving life in Sydney, Australia.

I was dreading getting a “real job”, working 40-hour weeks, and living in an expensive country.

My thought process of moving to Australia was simple:

“I’ll move to Sydney.  Work my ass off for a few months.  Then head over to Central / South America”

But then the unexpected happen.  I really enjoyed the change of pace, and adapted back to a Western society.  There was a bit of a culture shock, but I really started enjoying the “normal life” I had been avoiding.

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My only problem was that I was still dressing like a backpacker.

And Sydney is a really fashionable city.

At my most recent job, the dress code was just “business casual”.  I was happy because it meant I could wear jeans, but I quickly realized that people in the office were dressing to impress.  I realized…

It was time I look less like a vagabond, and find a sense of style again…

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Great time to head to the beach…


I started buying some decent clothes, dress shoes, and was feeling pretty confident with my style.

The one thing I was missing was a quality men’s watch to complete my new found swag.  After noticing a few of my friends sportin’ a Daniel Wellington, I knew I had to get one for myself.

Daniel Wellington…So hot right now… 

Where to next? (Photo via @gabano_officiel) #DanielWellington

A photo posted by Daniel Wellington (@danielwellington) on

So I joined forces with Daniel Wellington, and my watch is easily my favorite new item!  You’ll honestly never see me without wearing it.

My favorite aspect of Daniel Wellington, is that all of the straps are interchangeable.

Each morning I wake up, and I get to choose from 4 different watches to choose from.  If I’m keeping it casual, I stick to striped watches, and when I’m heading into work I’ll wear the black or brown depending on my outfit.

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Daniel Wellington Watches are minimalist, elegant, and so damn sexy.    

Take a look through their products & Instagram, and I guarantee you’ll understand what I’m talking about…

As an aspiring travel photographer, I absolutely love this photo.

You don't take a photograph, you make it. (Photo via @rubengutierrez_) #DanielWellington

A photo posted by Daniel Wellington (@danielwellington) on


Daniel Wellington is also having a massive special right now.  If you purchase any watch, you get an extra complimentary strap for free.

On top of that, if you use the discount code “JonesAroundTheWorld” and receive an extra 15% off.  I DO NOT receive  commission for using the discount code.  

  • Free Strap — $89 AUD
  • 15%  Discount —  $42 AUD

Total Savings $131 AUD

Offer ends June 13th.


How to Change Your Daniel Wellington Watch Strap


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I would never promote a product or service that I do not fully love, and I’m honestly just obsessed with my new watch.

I’ve come a long way from my care-free backpacker lifestyle, and I’m looking forward to continuing my fashionable side thanks to Daniel Wellington.


THANKS FOR READING

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