ANCHORED: Europe’s Ultimate Week Long Festival Cruise

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My summer plans just got a whole lot better. With the rise in popularity of throwing music festivals at sea, Unique Cruises announced their brand new 7-day nautical adventure called ANCHORED, and it looks almost too good to be true. From June 11th – June 18th, over 2,500 people will embark on the European vacation of a lifetime.

The 7 Best Music Festival Cruises To Experience Before You Die

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Attending a music festival on a cruise ship is definitely something you must experience at least once in your life.  However, I should warn you, that after you spend a few days raving at sea, the idea of going back to camping festivals might not sound too great.  It’s honestly the most comfortable way to enjoy a festival, because it’s also an incredible vacation.  The destinations are always beautiful, the cruise amenities are top-notch, and the sunrises / sunsets you’ll witness while onboard the ship will leave you speechless.  If you’re looking for the best cruise music festivals, I strongly suggest you add these to your festival bucket list.


1 ) Groove Cruise

When:  October 7-9, 2017 (Los Angeles) — January Dates TBS (Miami)

Departing:  (January) Miami, and (October) Los Angeles

Destination:  Various locations.  Bahamas, Grand Turk, Mexico, etc…

Website:  https://www.groovecruise.com/

Groove Cruise is the OG festival at sea, and will definitely be one of the best experiences your life!  I’ve now attended two different Groove Cruises, and it’s simply unlike any other festival I’ve ever attended.  Check out my articles on why Groove Cruise is the Ultimate Festival Vacation & Groove Cruise Miami:  96 Hours of Atmospheric Bliss to get a better understanding why.  There are two separate editions every year, so start planning now and join the loving #GCFAM !


2 ) HOLY SHIP

When:  Every January (2 Weekends)

Departing:  Port Canaveral, Florida  

Destination:  Various locations:  Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, etc.

Website:  http://www.holyship.com/

Having just successfully finished their 8th and 9th voyages, HOLY SHIP has made some major waves in the cruise festival scene.  Their line-ups are always stacked with an eclectic mix of bass / electro/ G-House artists, and the previous destinations they’ve sailed to are absolutely gorgeous.  The main reason I want to go on Holy Ship is to witness the legendary Destructo Sunrise Sermon Set!

Photo via Facebook

Party on the back of the boat! #SpiceH2O #HolyShip #ShipFam

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3 ) Shipsomnia

When:  June 14-18, 2017

Departing:  Barcelona, Spain

Destination:  Ibiza, Spain

Website:  http://www.shipsomnia.com/

Unoffficially nicknamed “Tomorrowland Of The Sea”, Shipsomnia is guaranteed to be a party you never forget.  It’s maiden voyage sailed from Singapore – Thailand, and was one of the best festivals in South-East Asia.  They are now preparing for it’s second edition leaving from Barcelona, and making it’s way to everyone’s favorite party island. This event is likely to sell-out rather quickly, so plan well in advance to ensure your spot on the “Tale of the Kraken”.


4 )  Inception At Sea

The world’s first ever floating spring break music festival!

When:  March 13-17, 2017  

Departing:  Miami, Florida

Destination:  CocoCay & Nassau, Bahamas

Website:  http://inceptioncruise.com/

“The second annual Inception at Sea Spring Break Cruise will be setting sail March 13-17, 2017 from Miami to multiple destinations in the Caribbean for a 4-night music festival experience, with 96+ straight hours of music and partying.”  I’m personally going on this festival in just a few weeks, and can’t wait to share my experience with everyone!

Photo via Website


5 ) Anchored By Unique Cruise

7 Days.  7 Events.  7 pool Parties.  2500 People!

When:  June 11-18, 2017  

Departing:  Rome, Italy   

Destination:  Santorini -> Mykonons -> Monte Carlo -> Cannes  

Website:  http://unique-cruise.com/

This week long voyage sounds almost too good to be true.  Sailing to four destinations, in three different countries, this will be a vacation of a lifetime  This is the first ever edition, so if you don’t have plans in mid-June, you should definitely check this out!  The line-up is looking amazing already, and I know this is going to be a full-week of nothing but groovy house and techno.

“A fresh and innovative cruise looking to combine some of the very best of the nightlife you would normally find in Ibiza along with all the glamour of yachting and cruising.  Our vision is to be an exclusive holiday choice for the influential and glamorous.”

Double tap if our line-up has got you buzzing to get #Anchored17 this year! Tag your shipmates!

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6 ) The Ark

When:  August 31 – September 3, 2017

Departing:  Barcelona, Spain

Destination:  Ibiza, Spain & Marseille, France

Website:  http://www.theark.cruises/en

ELROW ON A SHIP FOR FOUR DAYS!?  Is this real life…?  This cruise simply looks like it’s be the experience of a life.  Take a look browse through the website and check out all the incredible stages, trip packages, and information about the venue of “the Feedom Of the Seas“.  It honestly won’t take you much convincing to start planning your trip!

“Four days long the ship will cruise the Mediterranean Sea in a tropical setting making sure mankind would not only survive, but to be fruitful, joyful and most of all: for mankind to create. To create an atmosphere in which any animal would duplicate. To create an environment in which everybody is loved, accepted and musically connected. To create conversation where likeminded people share stories and discuss the strings of life.”


7 ) Mdrinity Cruise

The First 100% Underground Electronic Music Cruise

When: September 16-20, 2017

Departing:  Genova, Italy

Destination:  Barcelona -> Mallorca -> Ibiza  

Website:  http://www.mdrnty-cruise.com/

“Setting off from Genova, this wild 4-night Mediterranean voyage, with stopovers at Barcelona, Mallorca, and Ibiza, will soon be the exclusive settings for an unforgettable party experience!

Each of 5 stages, including the main dance floor which is located above deck, will have its own unique atmosphere and a befitting line-up to go with it, providing an insane 24h a day music offer!”

 


8)  It’s The Ship *BONUS*

When:  November (2017 Dates TBA)

Departing:  Singapore

Destination:  Langkawi, Malaysia

Website:  http://www.itstheship.com/

This is Asia’s largest festival at sea, and should absolutely be added to your travel / festival bucket list!  They’ve had two successful voyages in the past that both have had massive line-ups, and sailed to beautiful tropical destinations!  I spent almost two years traveling around South-East Asia, and one of my biggest regrets is not attending It’s The Ship!  While 2017 dates / information haven’t been released, you should definitely keep this in mind if you’re planning a trip out to South-East Asia!

Our Day 1 pictures from #ITSTHESHIP2016 are up on Facebook! Check it out shipmates! ⚓️ http://bit.ly/DAY1ITS

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Am I Missing Any Epic Cruise Festivals…?

LET ME KNOW!

THANKS FOR READING!!

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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…

THANKS FOR READING!!


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Groove Cruise Miami: 96 Hours of Atmospheric Bliss

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Alright…so it’s been two weeks since GC Miami, and I’m finally finding the time / energy to write about my experience.  The question is, where do I start…?

To even begin explaining how truly special the 4 days spent onboard the Carnival Victory is near impossible. I sit here mindlessly staring at my computer at a complete loss for words… So before you continue reading it is important you understand that nothing I write nor photo I upload will ever completely capture the magical atmosphere that came to life during Groove Cruise Miami.

So now that you have been adequately warned – I am going to try my absolute best to paint this picture for you and give you an understanding why…

These really were 96 of the best hours of my entire life

However, first things first, I want to give the biggest shout out to EVERYONE who attended Groove Cruise Miami 2017. I think we can unanimously agree that it will live to be an exceptional highlight in all of our lives, and even though I obviously couldn’t get the chance to meet everyone on board…we are all part of one giant family!


If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram for a while, you will most likely know that I was offered the opportunity to pop my Groove Cruise cherry in Cabo back in 2016.  That was an experience I will never forget, and it changed my life in multiple ways.  Not only was it one hell of a party, but I forged some strong connections with some of the most loving, incredible, and inspiring people I’ve ever come across, and I know that it was only the beginning…

Check out my article “11 Reasons Why Groove Cruise Is The Ultimate Festival Vacation“.


When I boarded my flight from Sydney to Miami, I was absolutely exhausted from the past 2.5 months of traveling around Australia.  While my life as a travel-blogger might look amazing on social-media…full-time travel takes a severe toll on your energy levels.  However, it goes without saying that when the opportunity came to hop-on Groove Cruise again, the only possible answer (as the Aussies would say) was “Fuckin Oath! YEAH!”.

I was no longer a Groove cruise virgin, so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into…

I was actually kind of nervous that it wouldn’t live up to my previous experience on Cabo though.  Have you ever had so much fun at one event, that you think that nothing will ever come close, or be able top it…?  Now, trust me when I say that in hindsight I have realized that thought process was severely illogical, because I’ve learned that Groove Cruise just gets better and better every year you go.

GC Miami 2017  exceeded my expectations in every single way, and these are my top highlights:  


1  )  The GC Fam Atmosphere

I remember reading a Facebook post from a GC Veteran explaining the mentality on Groove Cruise, and how (unlike many other events) “there are no “cool kids” or “losers” on this boat… just family.”  I have never heard truer words spoken. This universal sensation offers the perfect atmosphere for everyone to let their guard down, meet new people, and just enjoy the party.

Everyone I met while on GC Miami were nothing but unbelievably friendly, and I honestly never experienced a single negative vibe.  I would walk past people I had never met, and they would just come up, introduce themselves, and give me a hug without hesitation.

While this can be rather standard at music festivals, the connections you make on Groove Cruise surpass normal fleeting “festival friendships”.  This is a rather intimate event with only 2500 attendees, so the people you meet and party with on Day 1, you will inevitably keep running into around the ship.  This is especially true for all you after hours addicts and “We’re Never Going Home” squad – you know who you are!  If you don’t run into GC Miami MVP Bryan Lubliner at least once or twice a day…you’re doing it wrong!


What makes the GC Family so incredibly unique is that it’s a community that has blossomed over the past decade.  There are people who have been attending every year since Whet Travel began, and it really makes this festival stand knots apart from the other parties at sea.


With the average age of Groove Cruise attendees being around 32-33, it’s a much more mature and respectful crowd who embrace the “work hard, play hard” mentality…

“There’s doctors, and lawyers, and business executives”  *Cue Weeds Theme Song*…. and they are all on board for the same reasons: great music, amazing vibe, and to escape the real world for a few days in paradise.   

It’s difficult to explain, but walking around that cruise ship you just feel this energy that is unlike any other place in the world.  You can go ahead and tell our pal Walt I said this because I will shout it from the top of Magic Kingdom if I have to…

F**k Disneyland…Groove Cruise is the happiest place on earth!


2  ) Engagement & a Wedding

Love truly was in the air on the Carnival Victory.    

During Sam Feldt’s set on night 1, my good friend Joe had an important question he was dying to ask his beautiful girlfriend Melissa.  As he grabbed the microphone, got down on one knee, and proposed…the crowd anxiously waited for her reply:

“Yes! Abso-fucking-utely!”

Photo via Adam Hahn

I was stoked to be there to capture the moment they Skyped Melissa’s mother to share the happy news.  <3  If you didn’t get the chance to meet these two, keep an eye out for them on future Groove Cruises!  They are absolutely amazing, and spread nothing but love and good vibes to everyone around them.  I can’t wait to fly to Thailand for their wedding !!


Next — it was 6 A.M, and UMEK had just finished his monster techno set at the AFT Pool Deck.  I was snapping some photos of the sunrise, and someone came up to me and asked if I was going to go the wedding…?

I’ll admit I didn’t even know there was a wedding scheduled — so I quickly scurried over to the other side of the ship, and fortunately had arrived just in time to witness the magic!  It was a beautiful ceremony, of an even more beautiful couple.  Officiated by DJ Mimosa, and with a massive crowd of GC FAM, it was definitely a special moment onboard GC Miami.

  As the sun pushed up over the horizon, the confetti canons went off, and they shared their first kiss as husband & wife.

CONGRATULATIONS PAUL & NIKOL!!


3 ) Every Set at the AFT Pool Deck

While the hard-core trance fans may argue with me over this one, the best music on Groove Cruise was definitely heard at the after-hours parties at the back at the ship on the AFT Pool Deck.

Anthony AttallaLee Foss, Cocodrills, Chus + Ceballos, and Roger Sanchez had me completely in awe.  Real proper underground house and techno blasted from the speakers, and as as the sun slowly began to appear each morning, there were beautiful party people dressed in their elaborate costumes spread out on both levels of the AFT pool deck.

OH…and can I just take a moment to discuss how much of an absolute legend DASH BERLIN is!  One of the best aspects about Groove Cruise is being able to party with the DJ’s, but I never expected Dash to be such a rager, lol.  He was up with the rest of the after-hours animals and was getting after it.

Photo via Veranmiky

When you look ridiculous as fuck, but still need to take a picture with DASH BERLIN


4 )  #TranceFamily in the Theater

While I haven’t listened to too much trance in recent years, the trance line-up on Groove Cruise Miami was undeniably stacked!  With heavyweights like Markus Schulz, Andrew Rayel, Cosmic Gate, Jochen Miller, and of course Dash Berlin all playing sets in the theater, I knew I was going to hear nothing but the best from these trance legends.

As usual, I was completely correct, and every time I wandered into the largest indoor stage, I was pleasantly surprised with some hard-hitting yet emotional music.  I wasn’t a big fan of the set-up of the theatre because there were all these rows that inhibited any sort of dance floor, but the production and sound were truly epic.  THOSE LAZERS!!


5  )  Beautiful People in Crazy Costumes

Last but certainly not least – one of the best parts about attending Groove Cruise is that it is perhaps the most impressive costume party you will ever witness.  There were two different themes every day, and people seriously go above & beyond with their themed attire.  

(Since I flew all the way from Australia, I didn’t really have enough time to properly prepare for all the costumes, but I still did my best at looking festival ready)

IDENTITY

GREEK NIGHT

NEON

OLD SCHOOL RAVER

FLOWER POWER

Photo via Adam Hahn

HIPPIES VS HIPSTERS

Photo via Adam Hahn

BRIDES & CHIPPENDALES

Photo via Veranmiky

CARNIVAL VS. MARDI GRAS

Photo via Adam Hahn


Groove Cruise Miami really was the most insane ending to my recent 3-month adventure, and while it has quite literally taken me weeks to recover (which is why it took me this long to write this article), I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Check out my full Groove Cruise Miami Facebook Album for all of my pictures from the festival!


I swiped my V-card boarding the Groove Cruise Cabo…but Groove Cruise Miami turned me  into a life-long GC devotee. 

SEE YOU GUYS ON THE NEXT ONE!


GROOVE CRUISE L.A

October 6-9, 2017.

Tickets go on sale February 16th, and this event will sell-out!

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THANKS FOR READING!


FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD ON FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, TWITTER & ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT: — JONESATW

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!

THANKS FOR READING!  

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Travels, Festivals, & Photography: 2016 In Review

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We’re now two weeks into 2017, and I’m just finally posting my annual round-up article.

Sorry for the delay, but the past couple months I’ve been traveling, festivaling, and photographing Australia — and I’ve barely had any time to slow down and catch up on work.

2016 was a huge year of growth for me — both personally and career wise.

From beginning the year living in Sydney, traveling through Sri Lanka & Europe, spending a couple months back home in California, and finally exploring Australia — this year has definitely been full of adventures.

Countries Visited:  13

Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, France, Belgium, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, U.S.A       


Festivals Attended: 13

Field Day, Electric Gardens, Yacht Social Club, Return to Rio, Groovin The Moo, Voodoo Village, Balaton Sound, Brussels Summer Festival, CRSSD Festival, Dirtybird Campout, Groove Cruise, Return To Rio, and Lost Paradise

If you haven’t already, take a read through my Highlights of 26 Months of Travel post.  This goes into much more detail about the earlier months of 2016.

And if you want to stalk me a bit further, feel free to read my 2014 Annual Review & my 2015 year in Review


January – May  (Living in Sydney)

I started out the year finishing off my Working Holiday Visa in Australia, and to be honest — I wasn’t quite ready to leave Sydney.  As I discuss in my blog post about long-term travel and saying goodbye, this city has become much more than another stop in my nomadic life — it’s my second home.

The only reason I left the country was because of this “backpacker tax” that the Australian government decided they would enforce, which I even got interviewed about in the Australian Financial Review.  You can read that article here.  That was a really cool opportunity for me, and it opened up some doors for future travels (long story).


Everything happens for a reason though, because leaving Sydney ended up being a very important deciding factor for the rest of the year.  I had made enough money working full-time to fund my summer travels, and I was ready to hit the road again.


June in Sri Lanka + TBC Asia

This was my second trip to Sri Lanka, and was definitely one of the highlights of the year.


The main reason for it being so influential was it gave me the motivation to continue on with Jones Around The World.  

The truth is that travel-blogging takes a lot of damn time, and I had lost some of the original spark I had for this site.  I had a full-time job while in Sydney, and whenever I got home from work I just didn’t have the energy to write new content.

So attending TBC Asia and having the opportunity to network and travel with like-minded bloggers was exactly what I needed.  I learned quite a lot about the business side of blogging, and found some much needed inspiration.

Read all about my Sri Lanka adventures:

Beach life is the best. Especially when there is warm water, soft sand, and beautiful blue skies. I'm gonna miss these Sri Lankan beaches.

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


Two Months Traveling Europe (July-August)

At the beginning of June, I hit the 2-year mark of being away from California (the longest I have ever spent away from home).  I actually was meant to fly back to Los Angeles, and spend the summer in the States…but when I was selected to be apart of TBC Asia, that included a free-flight to Europe, so I couldn’t say no to that.

Where did I go?

Paris -> Brussels -> Budapest -> Balaton Sound (Music Festival) -> Belgrade -> Bosnia & Herzegovina -> Montenegro -> Albania -> Greece -> Brussels

These were two of the most-action packed months of travel.  I’ve already written extensively about how much I enjoyed Balaton Sound, but the real highlight had to be the Balkan road trip.

If you’re thinking of the best places to go in 2017, then I would strongly recommend visiting The Balkans in Eastern Europe!

I think I'm gonna move to the mountains in Montenegro, build a house, and adopt 12 dogs. Yeah…that sounds like a good plan.

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

Shoutout to Dan Flying Solo & Lili’s Travel Plans for an epic road-trip!  


UBERing, FESTIVALing, and EXPLORing CALIFORNIA (September – October)

First stop:  In-N-Out

I was back home in California for about 2.5 months, and they honestly flew by so quick.  I had one main goal:  save up as much money as possible.  I didn’t have time to get a “normal job” because of interviews, training, and putting in “two weeks notice” before embarking on my next travels — so I signed up to be an Uber & Lyft Driver in California.

I actually loved my time being a driver!

C-A-L-F-O-R-N-I-A Oh, how I've missed you….

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

I would honestly say that 95% of the people who got into my car were really great, and it was also a really fun way to tell people about my travels, and make some new friends!  Yes, I made friends with my passengers!

With Lyft — there was a $2,000 Sign-Up Bonus if you complete 500 Rides in the first 60 days, and I was completely committed to reaching that goal.

It was a lot of hours on the road, but I saved up enough money to buy a new iPhone, Nikon D750, 2 FX Lenses, and a Drone.

Mmerica. #California #PCH #RoadTrip PC- @danflyingsolo

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


I also had the opportunity to attend 3 incredible music festivals!  You can read the reviews of each of these by clicking the links:

CRSSD Music Festival

Dirtybird Campout

The Groove Cruise

When it comes to The Groove Cruise, this was honestly one of the best experiences of my entire life.  Not only was it one epic party, but it was when I discovered my passion for festival / event photography.

Check out my Groove Cruise Album on Facebook.  I think I got some pretty epic photos, and love that I was able to capture some beautiful moments on board that ship.

 I’m slowly starting to book some more work as a photographer, and can’t wait to improve my skills!


Finally Traveling Australia (November – December)

G’day Mate!  How ya going…?

If you’ve been reading my blog and following along on social-media for awhile, you probably already know that I was working my ass off my entire time while living in Sydney.  I moved to the country with basically zero money, and heaps of credit card debt.  Over the first few months in Sydney, I was able to pay off my debt, and slowly begin to build up my travel fund.  The plan was to travel the country during my working holiday visa, but I never got the chance.

So I emailed YHA Australia and asked if they’d be interested in partnering up and sponsoring me for Australia trip.

This was the first big sponsored trip I’ve done as a professional travel-blogger, and it really taught me a lot!

My trip along the east coast of Australia was truly incredible, and I’m completely in love with this country.  There really is so much to explore, and I met some really awesome people.

Read all about it:


What’s Next in 2017…?

If you asked me this a few months ago, I would have responded that I’d be moving to New Zealand…

"I don't know where I'm going from here…but I promise it won't be boring" — David Bowie

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

But now…I don’t think that’s happening just quite yet.

Since I’ve discovered that becoming an official festival / event photographer is something I want to pursue (as well as being a full-time travel blogger)…New Zealand just isn’t a place that is known for it’s mega festivals or vibrant nightlife scene.  So I’ve decided to put this idea on hold.

I’m planning on spending February – May in California.  I’ve been a traveling nomad for so long, and I’m ready to spend some time back in America.  I am hoping to do a couple mini trips to Colombia, Arizona, and maybe a couple countries in Central America.

During June & July, I’m hoping to fly over to Europe to check out a couple more different music festivals.  But we’ll see if that ends up happening, and if the USD is still relatively strong after Trump takes office, haha.

In August, I’m coming back to California, and will be trying to attend Burning Man.  I had tickets to go in 2016, but had to sell them due to being financially responsible.  I’m happy about that though, because in the past few months I’ve met a ton of inpsiring people that I’m planning on going with this year.

SYDNEY. One of the best cities in the world, especially for photography! Have you ever been?

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

September & October I have no plans, but in November I’m going to Mexico to shoot my first wedding!  Then I’m hoping in December I can return to Australia for another Christmas / New Years Eve festival?

With all that being said — my plans are constantly changing, and I highly doubt these plans will stay in tact.  I’m always open to new adventures and seizing opportunities when they arise. 


THANKS FOR READING!


FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD ON FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, TWITTER & ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT: — JONESATW

Lost Paradise: Truly A Hidden Wonderland

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While most tourists and travelers who flock to Sydney over New Years Eve come for the spectacular firework display over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House — I knew that the only place I wanted to welcome in the new year was at Lost Paradise.

This is THE festival I had been dying to attend ever since I started researching the best music festivals in Australia, and now that I’ve experienced it for myself, I’m actually still in awe about how incredible these 3 days were.

This was only the third year that Lost Paradise has been thrown, and it doubled it’s attendance numbers from 5,000 up to 10,000 tickets sold.  When most festivals would struggle with that level of rapid growth, Lost Paradise delivered a perfectly executed music festival experience complete with an amazing crowd, gorgeous venue, and carefully curated line-up.

Besides the overwhelming heat, and the rather long entrance queue into the festival — Lost Paradise was truly “your hidden wonderland”, and the perfect ending to 2016.


Welcome to Glenworth Valley

The entire time when I was walking around Lost Paradise, I kept thinking to myself — this venue could not be more perfect.  The picturesque valley lined with tall trees, the peaceful creeks for daytime swimming, and the large open fields that were easy to navigate were simply ideal.

On the outskirts of the all the campgrounds there were plenty of trees which provided much needed shade for people who didn’t want their tents to feel like saunas in the morning (especially for the camping rookies who didn’t bring a gazebo).


The Lost Disco Stage

For fans of underground house and techno, this stage was popping off all three days!  

The Funktion One sound system was heard loud and clear from all areas, there were four different stands to dance on and enjoy a view of the crowd, and the LED screen / lighting brought everything to that next level!

Whoever designed this stage must be a festival angel, because it really was beautiful…but more importantly had a vibrant cover which gave us protection from the relentless Australian sun.


Arcadia Stage

If you prefer your music with a bit more live-instruments, then you probably spent quite a bit of time here at the Arcadia Stage.  While I myself didn’t listen to many sets here, the stage had plenty of wide-open space, excellent sound, and incredibly talented musicians perform throughout the day and night.


Paradise Club

Nestled on top of a hill in the corner of the festival was this third and final stage of Lost Paradise.

As far as scenery and atmosphere goes, Paradise Club was uniquely awesome.  Complete with the DJ’s playing in a log-cabin, decorative spider webs, and colorful trees lit up at night — I fell in love with the vibe at this stage.

During the day you could escape the sun, relax in a hammock, and groove to some quality house music.

Paradise Club was also the only stage that played music until 3 A.M, so it was poppin’ off for all the late-night party people.


Completely Cashless

Lost Paradise is the first music festival in Australia I’ve attended that has implemented this amazing system!

This payment method has become increasingly popular in the past few years, and just about every festival in Europe I’ve been to has utilized this cashless system.  It makes everything so easy and simple, and waiting for drinks never took more than a few minutes.

You also never had to worry about losing your cash / wallet, because your money is attached to your festival wristband.

REFUND SYSTEM

Every purchase of a drink at Lost Paradise included a $1 can deposit, so if you returned the can to the recycle station they’d refund $1 per can.  To my surprise, everyone was still just finishing their beers and tossing them on the floor.

So the smart people at the festival were just walking around with a trash bag for an hour or two, collecting as many cans as they could find, and depositing a hefty drink balance onto their wristband.

If you left Lost Paradise with money remaining on on your wristband, check out this article on the Lost Paradise blog:

How To Get A Refund On Your Wristband 


Food & Drink

Located right in the middle of the festival is where you’ll find The Lost Village.

While the vendor lines did get bit a tad bit too long in the mornings / afternoon, the attendees of this festival were given quite a large selection to choose from.  A few of the popular vendors were the Turkish Gozleme, Cuban Cantina, and the delicious asian burrito known as a “Spurrito”.

Prices ranged at each vendor, but for a decent sized meal you should be prepared to pay between $13 – $21 dollars.

Lost Paradise does not allow you to bring in your own alcohol into the festival, and drinks will cost you between $9-13 dollars.


The Lost Feast

This long-table communal dining experience is something I would strongly recommend to everyone attending future events.  While I didn’t get to actually taste it for myself, I was there to photograph the Lost Feast on Saturday and everything looked / smelled incredible.

Complete with excellent music provided by a one-man band, delicious beer & wine, and a beautiful ambience — it’s well worth the $65 per-person cost.


 Yoga & Workshops

“IF MUSIC IS THE HEARTBEAT OF LOST PARADISE, THE YOGA, WORKSHOPS AND SERENITY OF SHAMBHALA IS THE SOUL.

A trip out to Lost Paradise wouldn’t be complete without making your way over to the Shambhala Fields for some yoga, relaxing massage, or listening to one of the thought-provoking speeches.  There are plenty of yoga sessions to join in on from 8:00 A.M – 8:00 P.M, all ranging in various styles and practices.

I was also there to listen to some of the “Lost Paradise: Rites of Passage Talk”, and it was really great!  It was something I’ve never seen at any other music festival, and you could really tell that Lost Paradise works really hard to make this an all-encompassing 3-day experience.


Top 8 Sets

I’m a big fan of underground electronic music, so I was pretty much just loving every artist at the Lost Disco (TRIANGLE) stage.  Yes, I did hear that acts like Sticky Fingers, Flight Facilities NYE set, and Gang of Youths all played incredible sets, I unfortunately did not witness them…


1 ) Tristan Case ->  2 ) Robbie Lowe  (Day 2:  15:30 – 18:30 A.M)

These two local Sydney legends played one after the other on Saturday, and every single track I heard was superb.  I’ve seen both these guys play at Return to Rio, and they absolutely slay it every time they hit the decks.  I actually didn’t even know they were on the line-up until a couple days before the festival!  So if you’re in Sydney and looking for a proper party, take a look at when they’re performing next.


3 ) Doorly ->  4 ) Eats Everything (Day 2:  22:30 – 2:00 A.M)

This was easily the best 3.5 hours of music I had heard during the festival.  It was my first time seeing both of these DJ’s play, and they completely crushed it!  The lighting was out of this world, the bass was loud, and the song selection was nothing but the best.  I was standing right behind Eats Everything while he impressively managed playing all-four CDJ’s to a massive crowd, and that was an experience I’ll never forget.


5 ) HEIDI -> 6) Kolsch ( Day 3 20:30 – 00:00)

The last four hours of music of 2016 were simply incredible.  I had seen Kolsch at a festival in the Netherlands back in 2013, and have been dying to see him again ever since.  Heidi warmed up the crowd extremely well, but Kolsch brought it home with an epic house and techno set.


7 ) Young Franco & 8) Set-Mo

Both of these acts might not have the world-wide recognition that they deserve, but they have grown absolutely massive down here in Australia.  Their sets were both fun, energetic, and played to massively supportive crowds who were dancing the entire time.  Kudos to these Aussie legends!


Lost Paradise TIPS


1 )  Arrive a Day Early

Lost Paradise gives it’s attendees the option to buy an “extra-day” ticket, and that allows you to arrive to the festival one-day early.  While it will set-you back around $50, I think it’s definitely worth it.

2 )  North Campground

This is the main reason I’d recommend buying the extra-day ticket, because it will allow you to camp in the north campground, which is right next to the festival!  I was actually in the south campground, and it wasn’t that far of a walk (but if I had a choice, I’d definitely choose the north).

3 ) Fancy Dress is Important

Australia festival people take fancy dress very seriously, and you have to dress up to be apart of the fun!  Just go all out!  Coordinate a costume / shirt design or something with your friends to become the ultimate festival squad.

4 ) Sun Protection + Staying Hydrated is Vital

This probably isn’t news to anyone who has attended a music festival before, but I have to reiterate how extremely hot and sunny it can get at Lost Paradise.  Protect yourself, party safe, and bring a reusable water bottle.

5 ) Bring Food to Save Money

You can bring in as much food as you want, so unless you want to spend $45 on food every day, then bring your own grub.  I would strongly recommend sampling some of the food items though, because it is pretty damn great.

6 )  Be a Festival Camping Pro

The most important things to bring are gazebos (multiple for shade), one table, folding chairs, portable music player, power chargers, water, gatorade, fruit, sleeping bag, tent, blow-up air mattress, and shade for your tent as well!

7 )  Bring a Spray Bottle

The (amazing) people I camped with brought a couple spray bottles, and I had no idea how much it would help to keep us cool during those hot festival days.

8 ) Collect Beer Cans for Recycling

I honestly can’t recommend this enough!  If you put in just a little bit of work, you won’t have to pay for a single drink while at Lost Paradise.  You will earn $1 per can collected…it’s so easy!

9 )  Leave No Trace

There are plenty of areas to leave your trash before leaving the festival, so be a respectful festival attendee and properly clean up your campsite before leaving.  It’s our duty to keep this venue beautiful!

10 )  Read The Lost Paradise Blog

Seriously.  It’s amazing.  The best posts are “The Lost Paradise Bible” which is filled with heaps of important information, and “The 10 Festival Camping Commandments“, which is just important common sense rules, tips, and guidelines for camping.


Lost Paradise completely exceeded all my expectations, and it’s probably the best organized and entertaining festival I’ve attended while traveling through Australia.

To conclude this festival review…I have to give a massive shout-out to everyone who attended this 2016  edition of Lost Paradise!   The crowd and energy at this festival was simply spectacular, and there wasn’t a bad vibe in all of Glenworth Valley.  I had so much fun running around and taking photos of everyone, and I’m looking forward to seeing you guys at another festival soon!

THANKS FOR HAVING ME LOST PARADISE!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR!


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& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

Top 10 Incredible Things To Do in Cairns

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Cairns, which is typically referred to as the “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef” is an absolute must-see destination in Australia.  I spent five full days exploring Cairns, and could have easily stayed another week or two.  When you walk along the city streets, you’ll see countless travel agents selling a variety of different trips and activities, but these are the top 10 things to do in Cairns.

1 ) Helicopter Ride over the Great Barrier Reef

When I was planning my trip to Cairns, a friend of mine told me that I had to do a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef.  Well, I took his advice and I had the most incredible experience.  You simply can’t appreciate the beauty and magnitude of this place until you’ve seen it from above.  I took a 30-minute scenic flight with Nautilis Aviation, and would highly recommend them.  If you can, try to snag the seat in the front!

2 )  Full-Day Scuba-Diving / Snorkeling Trips to the Great Barrier Reef

This is probably the single-most important thing to do while visiting Cairns.  You need to get out to one of the reefs and experience the beautiful coral, fish, and scenery.  You can read all about my experience snorkeling the Great-Barrier Reef, and go from there.  The main three reefs are Moore, Green Island, and Fitzroy Island.  I did the full-day trip to the outer reef of Moore Island with Sunlover Cruises and had an awesome day.  Great ship, friendly staff, and beautiful scenery!

3 )  Explore The Esplanade & City By Night

Cairns is not a very big city, but walking around at night is so much fun!  You can head down to the lagoon for a night swim, or just stroll past the massive trees that are lit up so perfect.  I personally think the lagoon is one of the most interesting parts about Cairns.  It almost looks like it’s a 5* Resort with a massive infinity pool, but it’s just the public pool for locals and tourists to enjoy.

4 )  Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail

A visit to the old town of Kuranda is a must while visiting Cairns.  You can either rent a car and drive up there yourself (which is a pretty great drive), or you can opt-in for the full-day trip with the scenic railway and round-trip skyrail pass.  These prices can add up to around $150, but the views really are amazing.  If you book it with a package, you could probably score a discount.  Make sure you also check out the little market in Kuranda, and take some photos of Barron Falls!

5 )  Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas

When it comes to scenic drives in Australia, I feel like the list would be never-ending.  With that being said, the drive from Cairns – Port Douglas is simply stunning, and it should not be missed!  The coastline is just so massive, and it reminded me of Hawaii.  You will truly understand the meaning behind the slogan, “Where The Rainforest Meets the Ocean”.

6 )  Mossman Grove

This rainforest is just a short 20-3o minute drive further north from Port Douglas, and it really is stunning!  While during my visit there it started raining within 5 minutes and forced us to leave a bit early, I really enjoyed the visit.  You have to park your car down in the lot, and then take a $10 shuttle bus up to the rainforest, but it’s definitely worth it!

7 )  The Cairns Botanical Gardens

This is free to enter, and absolutely awesome.  Beautiful trees, forest walks, and vibrant butterflies are a few things to expect during your visit.  You could easily spend a few hours here just getting lost in the nearby rainforests.

8 )  Fitzroy Island Relaxation

If you’ve got some spare time, then take the ferry over to Fitzroy Island for the day.  The beach is the perfect place to relax all day, watch the sunset (if you stay overnight), and so some snorkeling!

9 )  Barron Falls 

Located in Kuranda, this beautiful waterfall is massive and breathtaking.  It’s just a brief 10-minute walk from the carpark, and is a perfect photo opportunity that only takes about 30 minutes or less to experience.  When I visited the waterfall wasn’t flowing that heavt, but it was still worth the visit.

10 )  Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation

While it may be a bit further away from Cairns, a trip up to Cape Tribulation definitely needs to be discussed when it comes to top things to do in Cairns.  It’s one of the highlights of visiting the east coast of Australia, and you can’t miss out.

Dreaming of my next beach getaway. ? #beachvibes #beachlover #capetribulation

A photo posted by Kansas Girl Travels World (@kansasgirltravelsworld) on


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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

11 Reasons Why The Groove Cruise Is The Ultimate Festival Vacation

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It’s been one week since I got off The Groove Cruise, and I’ve have had a bit of time to reflect on what just happened.

I feel like I’ve said this quite often — about a lot of different experiences…but I think it needs to be said once more.

The Groove Cruise was by far the best music festival experience I have ever attended…

But to be fair — I don’t even think you can call it a music festival, because it’s just sooo much more than that.

It’s a Family.  It’s a Festival.  It’s a Cruise.  It’s a Vacation.

And it’s truly magical…

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I’ve been to my fair share of music festivals around the world, and nothing can even compare to what I just experienced.  

Normally after attending events, I review them and discuss things like the venue, the best sets, and various other aspects, but today my goal is to share with you what made this experience so unique and incredible!


1) The Groove Cruise Family #GCFam

I’ve honestly never felt a stronger community vibe…

I went on Groove Cruise completely alone, and I left that ship with countless new amazing friends.  By the end of Day 5 — there were no longer dance floors packed with strangers, but rather my various groups of “family members” spread throughout different areas of the stage.

Everyone was just extremely happy and positive all the time, and were sending their love in all directions.  

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There was something special in that ocean air that is unexplainable.  Awkward elevator silences were non existent, and you would never make eye contact with someone without greeting them with a smile.

Even if people didn’t know each other, we all understood that we were apart of this legendary experience together.

I’m getting goosebumps as I write this, because it’s just so damn true.  Anyone who was on Groove Cruise will agree with me, that the energy that we created together on the Norwegian Sun for those 5 days was something truly magical.  I’ll honestly never forget it.

I might have been a Groove Cruise virgin going into this, but now my cherry is popped and I am a loud and proud member of the #GCFam!

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2) Artist Interaction

You’re in the buffet line – creeping on Sunnery James while he gets an ice cream cone.  You’re walking to a different stage, glance to your left and there is Fedde Le Grand right next to you.  You timidly walk up to Orjan Nilsen and ask for a selfie, which he of course agrees to because he’s one of the friendliest DJ’s you’ll ever meet.

The artists are all about this experience, because they too can feel this special atmosphere just like everyone else.

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I actually heard that it’s in their contracts that the DJ’s have to be onboard (get it?) with the artist/guest interaction that occurs during Groove Cruise.  I mean unless the DJ’s just want to stay in their rooms the entire time, it’s pretty obvious that they are going to run into their fans in the hallways.

I had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing DJ’s.  These are artists that I’ve looked up to for years, and have seen play to stadiums of 20,000+ people — and here I am just hanging out with them.  Pretty dope, yeah?

Fedde Le Grand

Fedde Le Grand


3) Non-Stop Music

Let that sink in.  This is 5-straight days of non-stop music! 

However, this goes hand in hand with the biggest struggle of all – dealing with the F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out). Unfortunately, it’s simply impossible to catch every set you would like to see, no matter how hard you try.

The party was always pumping.  You wake up, fall out of bed, head to the buffet for some morning grub, and you can already see the Pool stage going off.  Grab yourself a piece of bread, a cuppa’joe, and then get after it!

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4) Themed Parties

I have to give major props to everyone who attended Groove Cruise Cabo, because you all showed ready to go with suitcases full of elaborate costumes and accessories!  I didn’t fully understand this before hand, but dressing up is half the fun of GC!


Check out my Groove Cruise Album on Facebook for more photos of everyone’s amazing costumeS!


Friday:   SHINE THE FUCK UP

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Saturday: Baby Blue & Pink Party ///  YOU CELEBRITY

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Sunday:  FUTURISTIC

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Monday:  HALLOWEEN ON THE HIGH SEAS
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Tuesday:  DEVIL & ANGEL /// ARABIAN NIGHTS

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Groove Cruise Miami Themes (January 23-27, 2017)

These sound incredible!  Wouldn’t mind being there to photograph everyone’s costumes!

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5) The Cruising Convenience

As much as I love camping festivals, nothing will ever beat the convenience of having your room just a short walk away.

Want to take a shit in the privacy of your own room?  Go for it.  

That tequila shot not sitting well and think you need a vomit?  Head back to your room.  

Need a quick little disco nap to recharge your batteries for the sunrise techno sessions?  That’s easy to do.

It honestly was so damn convenient being on a cruise ship, because you could always go back to your room and chill whenever necessary.  Better yet – when you decide you’re ready to emerge from your room the party was still poppin’ off just a few steps away somewhere around the ship.

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6) Cruise Activities & Amenities

Ever wanted to sit in a jacuzzi, sip on a cocktail (or five) on the side of the ship watching the sun set to some sick techno beats? You can do it!  Feel like a bit of competition? Go ahead and sneak away from the stage and show your sporting prowess with a quick game of basketball, ping-pong, or soccer.  Love a cheeky punt? Well you’re in luck – there was a full casino on board for the gambling addicts and card counters who just can’t resist that blackjack table.

I actually had never been on a cruise before!  So I was in awe of all these cruise amenities.

You see…?  Much more than a music festival.

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7) The 24/7 Buffet

You know what tastes amazing at 9:00 A.M when Mendo is finishing up his absolute monster set?

B-A-C-O-N

When it comes to parties that last for 5-days straight, remembering to eat is of the upmost importance.

Food = Calories = Energy

I absolutely loved the buffet on the ship, and I always found myself going back for seconds and thirds.

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Hey Mendo…want some bacon?


8) Incredible Organization

I have to give a massive shout-out to everyone at Whet Travel for organizing this event.  From a first timer’s point-of-view, everything went absolutely perfect!  I thought that every email we received with information prior to the event was really helpful, and while we were on board we were always kept up-to-date with the important changes to stages, set-times, and activities.

Oh, and a crowd favorite — every morning we were greeted with the incredible “GOOOD MORNING GROOVE CRUISE” by CEO & Founder Jason Beukema who would tell us what we had in store for the day.  I believe there are many of us who are still waiting for a recording of this to use as our alarms.

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9) The Destinations

For this year’s west coast edition, The Groove Cruise decided to make it’s way down to Cabo San Lucas, and it was a phenomenal choice!  I had never been to Cabo before, and let me tell you – it’s truly gorgeous.  I’ll admit that I actually missed out on a lot of day-time exploring due to catching up on sleep, but the city was lovely, and the nightclubs were awesome.

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ME CABO

This is where the pool party was held all day long, and this venue honestly could not have been more perfect.  With the massive pool, swim-up bar, and beachside location with the view of the cruiseship in the distance — everyone had a blast at ME Cabo.  The highlight of the night would definitely be Dubfire, because he absolutely destroyed that place.

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BREATHLESS

After ME Cabo ended, everyone made the short trek over to the afterparty at this beautiful venue called Breathless.  The music was on point, the atmosphere was quality, and everyone was looking sexy as hell in their various costumes.

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10) The Sunrises & Sunsets

There really is nothing better than watching the sunrise or set while you’re on a boat and listening to quality music.  I made it my mission to watch and photograph as many as I could, and I think I did a pretty damn good job!  I will never forget watching the sun come back while on the top of the cruise listening to Prok + Fitch play one of the best sets of the festival.  It was surreal.

My favorite Instagram photo of the first sunset!

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11) The Facebook Groups

Hands down one of my favorite aspects of joining the Groove Cruise Family, is being able to take part and interact with everyone before / after the trip.  It was really helpful before-hand because first timers could join the Groove Cruise Virgins group and ask all their questions about what to expect.

The best part though was after the festival because people write the most beautiful and heart-warming posts about their experiences on board.  You can really feel the love in this Facebook group. I’ve literally checked in on it everyday, and it’s all positive vibes.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their pictures, videos, memes, etc.  It’s helping me cope with my post holiday depression and separation anxiety!!  Easily my favorite group on Facebook now.  The GCFAM love is real.

Don't even try to join unless you were apart of the Groove Cruise Cabo Fam

Don’t even try to join unless you were apart of the #GCFAM

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The Aftermovie


THANK YOU GROOVE CRUISE!!

This was so much more than just another music festival…this was truly a life-changing vacation.

The people I had the pleasure of meeting during these 5-days will forever be apart of my life, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been initiated into this loving and accepting Groove Cruise Family!

If you’re reading this, I invite you to keep up with my travels around the world.  I’ve got some really exciting plans coming up in the next few months, and am pretty much always traveling and raving in different countries.  🙂

Follow along here:   

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Snapchat


Groove Cruise Miami

January 23-27, 2017

If you’re looking for one of the best parties and have some vacation time saved up, I would strongly recommend you fly out to Florida for Groove Cruise Miami!  I’m not sure where I’ll be in January (possibly Australia, New Zealand, or back in America), but I’m definitely trying to attend, because I know it’s going to be an another life-changing experience!  They will be on the largest cruise they’ve ever sailed, and are going to the gorgeous island of Grand Turk.

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Follow Groove Cruise:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Youtube


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!