The Great Ocean Road: A 2 Day Itinerary

We officially landed in Melbourne, Australia on the 18th October 2018! We threw ourselves into work as gardeners, pot washers and then front of house restaurant work doing up to 50 hours a week. With travel and adventure being at the forefront of our minds in the previous 6 months, we were keen to explore whenever we could. So the first time we had two days off together in a row and the weather forecast was in the 20s, we were off… to the Great Ocean Road! This route gives you the chance to see the famous 12 Apostles, native wildlife, mesmerising waterfalls and world class surf spots. We explored this route in 2 days but we would recommend 3-5 days if you have the time!

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The Great Ocean Road (formally named South Coast Road) is known as one of Australia’s most famous driving routes. Even the locals go on and on about how awesome it is. In 1918, the returning soldiers from the first world war began to make tracks. The work was needed by the soldiers and the road had great importance for coastal settlements that were only accessible by the sea and roughly made tracks. However, it took 14 years for the work to be complete, but we all know Aussies are pretty laid back! Nowadays, the drive unofficially starts in Torquay and then snakes along the coastline until you reach seaside town of Warrnambool.

From Melbourne city this is a 105km drive which should take you 1h45 but remember city traffic can effect this and the fastest route includes tolls. As we were living on the Mornington Peninsula, we utilised the Searoad Ferries from Sorrento to Queenscliff for $77 for the car (Hannah the Honda!) and two passengers. This took us 40 minutes and was a relaxing way to start the trip rather than hitting Monday morning Melbourne traffic. We were keen to make the most out of our two days off so headed across on the first ferry at 7am, properly a little early as our first stop was a beach at 8am, but oh well we were having fun!

Day 1

Torquay, a small seaside town to begin your journey on the Great Ocean Road. Here you will find surfing and lifestyle Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) stores if you would treat yourselves without spending the earth. After having a nosey round and a caffeine boost, we were ready to visit the world famous Bells Beach. This iconic surf spot is where the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition is held every year. So a pretty big deal in the surfing world!

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‘Have you ever… ever felt like this? Strange things are happening when your going round the twist!’ Remember that song! Never did I think that I would be standing next to the Lighthouse from a great Aussie children’s show that was a big hit in the UK. Thank you to Jackie for letting me know about Aireys Inlet and the Split Point Lighthouse, as I had missed this off our road trip plan! There are actually guided tours on the hour, every hour from 11am till 2pm but we arrived after one had just started. The Split Point Lighthouse, has also been recently featured on Masterchef (series 6) but I was more bothered about Round the Twist. We played the theme song, like complete nerds as we arrived here, then we were worn out by all the excitement that we had a little nap in the car! The caffeine hadn’t quite kicked in yet.

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If you don’t drive under the Great Ocean Road Sign within the first 30minutes, you’ve gone the wrong way or your a slow driver! This sign marks the official start of the Great Ocean Road, yayy! This arch was first erected 7 years after the completion of the road but has since been replaced twice due to bushfires. After pulling over in the car park, I happily jumped out to take a quick photo but then noticed the War Memorial neighbouring the arch. This acknowledges the challenges the ex-servicemen faced during the construction of the road. This isn’t the only sign you will see along this route. For the benefit of foreign visitors signs are everywhere reminding you what side of the road Australians drive on! Just for your knowledge, Australians drive on the LEFT… which is the right way!

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By this point we were ready for a lunch stop! So we took our jam-packed Esky (for non-Aussies this is a Cool Box) to the beach and set up a picnic on the sand. The sun was glorious and the beach was filled with youngsters loving the surf, but wetsuits were definitely needed as the waves in the Southern Ocean were a bit nippy that day! We may not have took a dip but we were heading for some epic waterfalls! We chose 2 of the 10 waterfalls that are within 10 minutes of Lorne to explore. The first being Erskine Falls, at an impressive drop of 30 metres. From the car park, take a steep walk down the steeps to two viewing platforms. Its a longggg way down but so worth it. If your brave you can get really close to the waterfall but mind your step its slippy. A lovely lady offered to take our picture, I think she may have regretted it when it took me forever to make my way up onto a big rock in front of the fall. Plus, it was a terrible photo so here’s Duncan and the epic fall!

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As time was of the essence, we chose Sheoak Falls as it was nearby and only a short walk from the car park, along a boardwalk to a beautiful opening. The 15 metre waterfall cascades into a deep pool and this can be watched in all its glory from a lovely seat. Here we met an Australian couple that were exploring their own land and were more than happy to chat to us about Australia’s Deadliest Animals… to their amazement the only thing that hurts in the UK is a bee sting!

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Before leaving Lorne, be sure to check out Teddys Lookout Point. For us, it was a fantastic view point of the Great Ocean Road snaking around the rugged landscape and splashing waves of the Southern Ocean. As I always say… have a mindful moment up there and then take a picture to remember it by!

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Our last stop of the day was our journey across to the coastal town of Apollo Bay and as I’m sure you can imagine we were rather tired by this point. However, we were determined to explore and took a wander along the beach (even though it was freezing and windy!) and then headed for the Pub… what better way to get to know a place ey! We stayed at the Apollo Bay Backpackers Lodge which was a tad rough around the edges to say the least. Our first choice was the Apollo Bay Eco YHA however, it was fully booked so get in their quick! Our master plan of cooking our tea went out the window so we headed for the local Chinese restaurant. With a 30min wait for a table, the mister thought it would be a good idea to take me on the scariest fairground ride for $20! With my eyes firmly closed I simply endured the experience while he was loving it! Needless to say after that, I didn’t eat much Chinese… but it tasted great the next day!

Day 1 Driving for 4h20, 238km

  • Melbourne to Torquay (105km and 1h45)
  • Queenscliff to Torquay (40km and 40m)
  • Torquay to Aireys Inlet (28km and 30m)
  • Aireys Inlet to GOR Sign (5km and 5m)
  • GOR Sign to Lorne (13km and 20m)
  • Lorne to Apollo Bay (47km and 1h)

Day 2

Bright eyed and bushy tailed we headed to the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures. Now… in my opinion this could be missed out of your plans as its a rather ordinary treetop walk. Enjoyable but not show stopping at $25 per person. However, the zip line tour looked pretty awesome but with a price tag of $120. Check out Groupon offers as I have seen it advertised on there before. Nonetheless, we wandered at an elevation of 30 metres and enjoyed the regions flora and fauna. The Spiral Tower was a highlight for me as you swayed along the walkway!

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*Note* Do not use Apple Maps to get there from Apollo Bay as you will end up on a dirt track the majority of the way!

Now for the cool s**t! Your first glimpse of the Twelve Apostles and my goodness you can get up close and personal! Gibson Steps you were my favourite stop on this trip! Walk, run or skip down the 86 carved steps onto a lush beach. Run through the water to as close as you dare to the 70metre high limestone stack that rises so proudly out of the sea. Take in the immensity! As you can see below I was pretty wired with caffeine and sugar at this point!

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A short distance down the road you will come across the Visitors Centre and Car Park for the Twelve Apostles. You won’t be able to miss it as it is swarmed with tourists… you being one of them. This is the most well know highlights of the Great Ocean Road. Now, you haven’t counted wrong, there are actually only 8 now as the rest have fallen since their discovery. The limestone towers are created by constant erosion from the mainland 20 million years ago. There are numerous viewing platforms to get the perfect Instagram shot… the lady we asked didn’t actually get any of the 12 apostles in the picture though haha! Pick your photographer wisely haha! If you are extending this trip over 3 days, stay until sunset for a real treat!

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Our unexpected last stop of the day was Loch Ard Gorge! The gorge is named after the Loch Ard clipper shipwreck in the 1800s. Here you will find picturesque rock formations that can be viewed on platforms on any of the three trail walks. We also headed down the steps to the bottom of the gorge where you will find a small beach. It was a hot day and we thought this was a great place to take a dip. This turned out to be the worst idea! As I sat with the camera lined to perfection for the mister to do his epic swan dive into the gorge, I suddenly realised he hadn’t gave me his glasses… ‘Nooooo’ It was too late! Duncan had dived it and immediately jumped out the water shouting ‘Did I have my glasses on!?’ I ditched our belongings and ran into the water instructing Duncan to simply swim at the bottom and find them. Not watching the waves, I suddenly got wiped out by the wave and was soaked from head to toe haha! It was a disaster… as Duncan is pretty much blind without his glasses and we were losing sunlight within an hour and all he had was his prescription sunglasses!

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So that was the end of that one… ringing Specsavers and all other local Optometrists for ‘Emergency Glasses’ whenever we had signal in a rush to beat the daylight home. Although, I was happy to drive, this didn’t seem like a valid option at the time!

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What did we miss? The next stop should have been the Bay of Islands for Sunset, Peterborough town for dinner before then completing the inland route back to Melbourne. The last Searoad ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento is at 6pm (7pm at peak times), so this may be an option to shorten your drive.

Day 2 Driving for 383km and 5h37

  • Apollo Bay to Otway Treetop (47km and 1h)
  • Otway Treetop to Gibson Steps (56km and 50min)
  • Gibson Steps to Twelve Apostles (1km and 2min)
  • Twelve Apostles to Loch Ard Gorge (5km and 5min)
  • Loch Ard Gorge to Bay of Islands (26km and 30min)
  • Bay of Islands to Peterborough (7km and 10min)
  • Peterborough inland route to Melbourne (241km and 3h)

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Our adventures are never without a story to tell at the end of them. We visited Specsavers the next day and found the exact same frames but there is a two week wait on glasses as all of New Zealand’s and Australia’s glasses are made in Melbourne. So, Duncan spent the next two weeks at work looking like a blind man to the all the customers in the restaurant, wearing his aviator blacked out sunglasses haha! His bank balance was a few hundred dollars lighter and it of course wasn’t covered on our travel insurance!

But was Great Ocean Road worth it? … Hell yeah!

Drive the Distance on the Great Ocean Road,
Chloe

 

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Feilding: Live like the Locals

While planning your Round the World trip of a lifetime, you will often have people say ‘I have a friend who lives in Auckland, or an Auntie near Wellington, or a father in Dunedin! Some people would say ‘That’s nice’, where we say ‘Do you think they would host us?’ Staying with locals is in our opinion the best way to imagine living in another part of the world. Learning about everyday life is a lovely change from visiting tourist attractions and sleeping in hostels. In hostels you will meet like minded travellers, swap ideas and share stories. Living with a local, you will learn more than you could ever think about your destination and how everyday life takes shape for them. I recommend being bold, ask the question and take opportunities as they pop up to live like the locals do.

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A good friend and work colleague, Annabel, put us in touch with her Auntie who was from the UK but set up a new life in New Zealand, 7 years after meeting the love of her life. Our host, Helen lived just outside of Feilding (above Wellington). ‘Friendly Feilding’ as it is known, has won the New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Town award 16 times! It is surrounded by farming districts and we had the pleasure of spending a long weekend there.

Although we were both brought up in Yorkshire, farm experience had never made it onto our resumes. With upcoming regional work in Australia, we were keen to get our hands dirty and learn something new! The task for the day was to move the sheep and newly born lambs from one paddock to another, for a taste of fresh grass. As much as we looked at the hand drawn map, planned the route and how we were going to position ourselves, we were completely confused. Helen reassured us that there was no rush and that it would all become clear. It was hilarious! It was all going so well until a couple of rebel sheep made a run for it! As we were herding them back to the gate, the majority of the sheep ran back into the field. ‘Lets start again’ we said. The second round, we had a lamb do a great escape through the fence, meaning its Mum went into flight mode, determined to get her new born back. Once quickly reunited, we managed to ‘hip-hop’ them the right way to their new change of scenery. We were rubbish but we got there in the end and it was lovely to see the sheep and lambs from the house.

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It felt good to help out around the property for the weekend with raking dead leaves and the Mister, mowing the lawn and as a team moving garden furniture around. It was all going well until Duncan thought he had broke the ride on lawnmower! After panicking, troubleshooting every option he could think of and even trying to tow it back to shelter… he then realised the cutting blade was down so of course the engine wouldn’t start!

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Since we arrived in New Zealand, we had been determined to see the rather unusual native Kiwi bird. This flightless bird is under threat of extinction as well as only appearing at night time. So in an effort to see the infamous Kiwi, we headed to the Wildbase Recovery National Wildlife Recovery Centre in Palmerston North. We were fortunate to have a tour with local farmers of the new facility prior to it opening. Although no animals (and no Kiwis!) had arrived yet, we saw the incredible potential for the recovery of animals through veterinary care and rehabilitations programmes. The Massey University Wildlife Specialists now provide world class care for native wildlife and release back into their natural environments. For me, Zoo’s haven’t got the same appeal as they once did. As we become more sensitive to wildlife and question confining animals to cages for our amusement, I feel wildlife conservations are a much better option. A happy medium between the two!

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Helen was on a mission to get our eyes in front of a Kiwi, which we were extremely grateful for. Our next stop was the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre in Masterton. For $20 entry, we had the pleasure of visiting an array of native animals and birds. We were so pleased to see a White Kiwi in it’s nocturnal house. Once we laid eyes on the rare native bird, we noticed how active she was in the day (which was her night). We were in time for the feeding of the Long Fin Eels, which the Mister bravely jumped at the chance to participate in! I thought the guide was joking at first, but when Duncan began to put overalls and wellies on, I soon realised he was going in! I watched from the viewing bridge over the stream as Duncan fed them from a giant spoon and even stroked them!

 

There was a fantastic loop walk around the park that reached a summit with serene views. It was then we noticed the sheer amount of possum traps. I didn’t realise that they were considered pests and are such a threat to their natural environment. They eat 20,000 tonnes of vegetation a night, and are multiplying by the second. The native birds, like the Kiwi, are competing for their food and they even eat their eggs.

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A great way to end the day, especially for the Mister, was to head to a local Brewery! In the little village of Mangatainoka, just outside of Palmerston North is the legendary Tui Brewery. The quirky HisTui Museum is worth a nosey before sitting in front of the fire with a beer, or in my case cider. You will find Tui beer everywhere in New Zealand so worth stopping by on your road through North Island.

I cannot end this blog without mentioning the absolute feasts we were gifted with every evening at Helens! In ultimate Mum mode, she made sure we were well fed with delicious meals. We truly felt at home and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and appreciated your reassurance on the next part of our travels, with regional work in Australia. Inviting us back into your home on the way back meant a lot to us and I will never forget the mattress you cut up for us to fit in our campervan! We hope to see you and Ross in Australia, New Zealand or the UK in the future and we can return the favour with a big Sunday Roast!

Go the Distance on the Farm,

Chloe

Rotorua: Why Visit the Smelliest Town in New Zealand

Kia Ora! You may have heard that Rotorua is a smelly town but don’t let this put you off. I remember getting off the coach journey and thinking ‘Duncan was that you!!’ but no the eggy smell is only due to the geothermal pools that give off sulphur.

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Rotorua, named after the towns lake, has so much to offer! After the 4 hour bus journey, we thought it would be a great idea to spend the afternoon relaxing in the Polynesian Spa. This is the best option for a spa experience on a budget. For only $40 NZ (£20) we spent our time in one of the four areas with 9 thermal pools with picturesque views across Lake Rotorua. The reflexology walk was not as relaxing as I had hoped. Although the picture here looks rather graceful, the experience was a lot of ‘Oooo’ ‘Ahhh’ and falling with no style! There are many options available from tacking a dip in the geothermal waters, enjoying mineral enriched muds or even a Maori massage with prices ranges from $20-$340. We left feeling completely revitalised and refreshed and ready to explore.

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Since arriving in Auckland (8 Things to Do in Auckland Blog) and learning a little about the Maori culture on the free walking tour, as well as seeing the march for the Maori Language Week, we were keen to visit a Maori village. With a name like Whakarewarewa, I knew this would be the right place to visit. This is a living and working village that has been open and at a cost of $45 NZ you can have a guided tour, see a cultural performance and explore any of the 3 nature trails. You will see the Maori meeting house, cemeteries, geysers, mud pools, hot springs and steam boxes used for cooking (‘hangi’). As you walk around this wonder of mother nature, you will get a free steam facial from the geysers (great for asthma too!). A particular highlight for me was the cultural performance that included a Haka dance. I have seen the warrior dance before in Rugby matches, but seeing this close up (and I mean close up!) was spine-tingling. Also, the cemeteries are above ground with people resting in tombs above land. This is because they cannot dig 6 feet down, in fact they could only go 3 feet before reaching geothermal activity. My cemetery obsession continues!

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It can be difficult to find free activities to do in New Zealand and you will find that the majority of Maori cultural experiences have a price tag. However, in Rotorua we found that the Redwood Forest nature trails can be accessed for free. We were tempted to do the canopy tour that was luminated by lanterns in the dark but due to time restrictions with the bus we opted for the free option. The Redwood trees are native to California and are extremely tall majestic towering trees. We didn’t go as far north to see the Redwoods on our Road Trip in California (blog coming soon), so this was a great experience for us. Of course, we misjudged how long the walk would take us so we literally ran for the bus! Duncan took a tumble and we had a ‘man-down’ with a scrapped knee! He handled it like a pro, but I think I over-reacted more when I realised how much blood there was after the mud was scraped away!

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You can also go for a pleasant wonder around Kuirau Park. You will find fenced areas within the park that are blowing off steam from the hot pools and geothermal land. Plus, there are free pools to safely dip your feet and legs in. Duncan was content with this version of a ‘spa experience’ as the actual Polynesian spa was too hot for him, bless! You can also take a walk along Lake Rotorua and see many black swans, but be sure not to feed them.

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I recommend spending two-three days in Rotorua to really appreciate all it has to offer. We stayed at Rock Solid Backpackers and treated ourselves to a private room as it was within our budget. The room are newly renovated clean and spacious with spacious communal areas. We took full advantage of the movie night and the free popcorn and hot chocolate was a bonus!

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Go the Distance in Rotorua,

Chloe

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8 Things to Do in Auckland

We flew into Auckland from Los Angeles, in mid-September (2018) and instantly noticed the fresh air of what seemed like home. Our flight times worked out that we were able to have a good nights sleep with minimal chance of jet lag. All we had to manage was staying awake from 6am (which was 10am LA time) to as late as possible… we made it to 9pm!

We dropped our bags at the Queen Street Backpackers Hostel and headed straight towards the water! This hostel was a perfect location in the Central Business District of Auckland, with clean rooms, large communal areas at cheap prices!

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Coast to Coast
So our first day was spent sleepily bumbling around Auckland City, beginning with the bay. We stumbled across the Coast to Coast walkway and eagerly began this route backwards from the ferry terminal (where you head over to Waiheke and Devonport). Admittedly, we didn’t get very far before finding a bench in the Lovers Park by the Duck Pond. We ended up having a snooze in the sun! For less tired travellers this is an epic 16km walk that is signposted with yellow Coast to Coast signs on lampposts along the route. Let us know in the comments how good the full walk is!

Sky Tower
In New Zealand we were fortunate to have friends, friends of friends and friends family members dotted throughout the country. Auckland was our first chance to meet up with our old school friend, Tom and his friend Shane. It was great having a local (Shane) to show you around as you really get to know the places you visit much better and often get to see the hidden spots. Our first stop was the world renowned Sky Tower. Our budgets and nerves only stretched to going in the elevator up 186 metres to the viewing platform. Of all the viewing platforms we have been on this was the most impressive with 360 views of Auckland as well as looking down through the glass floor. If your lucky you may see someone do a free fall down the side of the tower and there are options to do a sky walk.

Mount Eden
Our local tour guide Shane, took us on a walk up to the top of Mount Eden for sunset. This is known as Maori sacred land and you can walk around a crater formed on the top of the mountain. We wondered why there were so many people sitting facing away from the sunset, it seemed a little daft to us. So we sat in the ‘best’ position for the sunset but then realised it was most properly the windiest place to sit… but so worth it. The sky lit up with orange, yellow and purple tones, a great way to end the day.

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Island Hop
Waiheke Island is a ‘must-do’ in my humble opinion. It allows you to escape the city life on a remote island full of vineyards and nature walks. We woke up early to catch the ferry across to complete a hike before our friends arrived. Note: The ferry takes between 20-40mins and costs $38 for a return fare. The ferry website highlights all the walking trails but be sure to check which ones are open at the tourist information on arrival. We obviously didn’t do this and had a few mishaps. The walk was meant to cover Church Bay, Omerau Beach and Little Omerau in 2h30. However, we only got as far as Church Bay! Due to earthquake damage and minor flooding the walkway was flooded meaning to continue to walk the track we had to get rather wet! With my wet jeans and feet we crossed the bay to find that the rest of the track was closed due to the cliff faces being too dangerous from earthquake damage. So we got wet again and retraced our steps to meet our friends at the winery. I’m sure you will agree that the views are incredible, especially at Church Bay so we were happy with our efforts.

Fancy a nights stay on Waiheke? Click here for hotels on Booking.com

IMG_3479.jpgWineries
The wineries on Waiheke Island are top-notch and surrounded by pure beauty. You can sip your wine in the gardens, sit on a picnic blanket and enjoy stunning food. To remain in budget we shared a vegetarian pizza! We visited Cable Bay and experienced the wine tasting at Mud Rock winery too. The standard wine tasting included 4 tastings of white and rose wine for only $10 NZ (£5). At Mud Rock, we had incredible views for sunset that definitely ended the day on a high.

 

Food Markets
One way to nurse a wine hangover is to visit one of the many food markets in Auckland. In our short time there we visited the Night Food Festival that moves around Auckland and the French Market. At the markets you will find food from all around the world, handmade crafts and tasty smoothies!

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Local Parks
While exploring Auckland city, take advantage of there many green spaces. Albert Park was our favourite place to relax and it felt rather British with a statue of Queen Victoria in the centre. I also loved the typing error on this statue – can you spot it?

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Hint Hint: Bottom Line… ^

Free Walking Tour
I often mention the free walking tours, mainly because they are so awesome! If a city or town has a FWT we will be there as it is a great way to orientate yourself, learn some history and best use of your time. The tour in Auckland with Louise is in our Top 10 walking tours, and we have done a lot! Join her or her colleagues at the Ferry terminal at 10am for a 2hr cultural tour.

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Go the Distance in Auckland,

Chloe

4 months travelling in South America: Our Route

Many people have asked ‘Why South America?’ and ‘Why start there?’. We knew that it wasn’t the norm to start a Round the World trip in Rio de Janeiro but we did and we loved it! Throwing ourselves in the deep end was the Misters idea, we don’t know Spanish, no-one else we know has been there, so lets go there! I knew that if I could make it through South America with minimal anxiety then the rest would be a breeze. We not only made it, we loved every second of this diverse continent.

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So I ask you… Why not South America? Here is our route with a brief summary on each town or city we visited. You will see any blog I have written on South America featured on this blog too for more in-depth information.

Brazil

Rio de Janeiro:
We split this into two stays, one in Copacabana and one in Santa Theresa/Lapa. You can enjoy your time sunbathing on Copacabana and Ipanema beach before visiting the Seleron Steps in Lapa. Don’t forget to tick off one of the wonders of the world: Christ the Redeemer.

Click for 5 Things to Do in Rio De Janeiro or our Review of Rio Forest Hostel blog

Ilha Grande:
Perfect island get away for the weekend. Known as the safest place in Brazil. Hike across to the world famous Lopes Mendes beach and enjoy the walking trails on your doorstep up to some incredible waterfalls.

Click for A Weekend in Paradise: Ilha Grande blog

Paraty:
The quaint town of Paraty is not to be missed! Try and visit on a Monday to enjoy Samba in the centre with all the local community at 8pm.

Sao Paulo
A mega city known for its incredible street art at Batman Alley (Beco du Batman). Take to the heights of a skyscraper building to see Sao Paulo in all it’s glory.

Curitiba
A colder and quieter town to escape the hustle and bustle of Brazil. The German Woods are a must visit to explore the Hansel and Gretel trail and reach the gingerbread and candy house at the top!

Foz du Iguacu
The place to base yourself for easy access to the Iguacu Falls (Brazilian Side) and Iguazu Falls (Argentinian Side). You can tick off One of the Natural Wonders of the World from your list.

Click for Best of Both Sides: Iguacu Falls blog

Porto Alegre
A great stop to relax and explore the town and local parks before crossing the border to Uruguay. We stayed longer than anticipated due to the fuel strike but Solar 63 Hostel was a great place to relax.

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Uruguay

Punta del Este
A sleepy ghost town in low season but I’m sure this place will come alive in high season. Be sure to visit the Hand in the Sand (Los Manos). If you want a tourist free picture, visit at sunrise or in low season!

Click for Punta Del Este: To do and To Stay Blog

Cabo Polonio
The town with no roads, no vehicles, no water pipes or electricity… that’s Cabo Polonio. It does however have a complete charm about the place with rancho hostels, beaches, lighthouse, solar power and an array of animals including the sea lions!

Click for Cabo Polonio: A Rustic Coastal Village

Montevideo
Home to half of Uruguay’s population. This is a big city to explore so I recommend renting a bike and taking to the Rambla to explore this city. Be sure to visit the Montevideo sign that we thought would be multi-coloured but it was just white haha!

Colonia del Sacramento
A sleepy town with boutiques, lighthouse and cobbled streets lined with sycamore trees. From here you can take the ferry across to Buenos Aires.

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Argentina

Buenos Aires
The city was rebuilt over 100 years ago and is super easy to navigate. The city is split between the historical centre where you will find the Pink Palace, Congress and the Obelisk and La Boca where you will find the colourful shacks in La Caminito.

Rosario
For an interesting experience head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art for Rosario. As we were full of cold and Rosario was pretty cold we didn’t hang around here much.

Cordoba
This city is truly beautiful with a hipster vibe going on with all the university students around. Feel the love at the amoCBA sign that means I Love Cordoba!

Alta Gracia
Great for a day trip to see Che Guevera’s childhood home. We visited the day after Che’s 90th birthday and bumped into his old childhood friend who happened to be visiting that day! The museum is free and has an English booklet to guide you round.

Mendoza
Wine and Dine for a day by experiencing the free wine tasting tours available in most wineries in Mendoza. There are also many treks up to view points of the Andes but just be sure not to get arrested for entering a private neighbourhood!

Click for Exploring Mendoza: To do and To Stay

San Juan
For a glimpse into the Triassic Period you can head over to Valle de la Luna on a 2 day road trip to see dinosaur remains, clay formations and literally feel like you are walking on the moon in Ischigualasto Provincial Park. There is also a different Valle de la Luna in San Pedro if you want to save this till later.

Click for Adventures to Valle de la Luna blog

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Chile

Click to find out about our experiences of Crossing the Border to Chile

Santiago
Head up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal which is the second highest peak in Santiago for views across Santiago. Don’t be too disappointed if it is cloudy from the top, this is the high levels of pollution and tends to always be like that.

Valparaiso 
A day trip from Santiago to Valparaiso is well worth it to see the bohemian brightly coloured houses, the rickety elevators (ascensores) the port and the famous ‘We are not Hippies, we are Happies’ sign.

Copiapo
A quick stop through the town that was put on the map due to the trapped miners in 2010. There is now a museum that is open Thursday-Sunday that is guided by one of the trapped miners. This sounded really interesting but we unfortunately arrived on a Monday!

Antofagasta
Another quick stop going up North. A port side town that doesn’t have much going on but it is worth walking to Plaza Colon to see The Torre Reloj, a small replica of Londons Big Ben with the Chilean and British flags intertwined on the tiles.

San Pedro de Atacama
Visit the driest desert in the world and explore local ruins and hike up to incredible viewing points. The No.1 recommendation from us is to go Stargazing here! This was one of our top experiences in South America. This is where you can book and begin your Uyuni 3 Day Salt Flat Tour.

Click for San Pedro de Atacama: Driest Desert in the World blog.

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Bolivia

Uyuni
Your 3 day tour will take you to Lagunas, Geysers, Hot Springs, to see Flamingos and eventually to the Uyuni Salt Flats. You will have so much fun bouncing around the Jeep with a group of likeminded travellers. The Salt Flats are the best place to take your creative perspective shots that will definitely be Instagram worthy. You only need one night in Uyuni itself to freshen up and get a good nights sleep before heading on.

Click for Uyuni Salt Flats: What to Expect blog.

Potosi
Not for wimps or woosies! This was the tag line for the Working Mines Tour in Cerro Rico Mountain. We were very grateful that after two hours in the mine we lived to tell the tale. Health and Safety regulations do not apply here but well worth a visit. We booked through our hostel Koala Den (Koala Tours).

Sucre
We loved Sucre! Known as the ‘White City’ as every building is white. At every turn you will find beautiful parks and plazas. It truly is a delight to wander around with an ice cream!

La Paz
This place is crazy but you feel like you are in true Bolivia. For an opportunity to learn about the cultural beliefs of the Indigenous people, their fashion sense and all about San Pedro prison be sure to do the Red Cap Walking Tour. For those who enjoy an adrenaline rush; be sure to check out the Death Road Mountain Biking experiences. We booked through Barracuda and had an incredible experience!

Click here for Highway to Hell: Death Road, Bolivia blog

Copacabana
A beautiful sea side town on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in South America. Climb up Cerro Calvaio for the best views in town.

Isle de Sol
Take a boat over to Isle de Sol for the day. Be aware that currently it is only safe to visit the South of the island due to an ongoing conflict with the north.

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Peru

Puno

A port side city at high altitude! From here you can visit over 100 floating islands in Lake Titicaca where the Uros indigenous people live.

Lima

Visit the capital of Peru to see the ultra modern mega city. We mainly explored the Miraflores and Barranco districts.

Peru on a Shoestring Tour

From here we began our two week Peru tour with G-Adventures. We visited Nazca and discovered the Nazca Lines at a height! In a small plane we flew over large ancient geoglyphs that featured simples lines, geometric shapes and animals.

In the Arequipa Region we explored the Colca Canyon that is the best place to spot the Condors.

Then our finale of South America, Machu Picchu! 4 days of trekking the Inca Trail to reach this incredible wonder of the world.

Click here for Need to Know: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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So I ask you again… Why not South America? We learnt so much about the various cultures and so much about ourselves during this 4 months. What better way to start a Round the World Trip.

Go the Distance in South America,

Chloe

Need to Know: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The pinnacle of our South America travels lead up to the New Wonder of the World – Machu Picchu. A 4 day trek, following in the footsteps of Inca Kings, was a great way to say goodbye to Peru. The Inca Trail is known as the most popular route because the 4 days of trekking leads you directly to Machu Picchu. On the way you will explore ancient settlements, Incan ruins and come up close with nature.

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The History
The Inca Trail was used as a route of pilgrimage by the Kings (Incas) in the 15th century. This ‘royal road’ was only for religious and ceremonial purposes, making this an extremely spiritual place for those who walk in their footsteps today. Along the route, the Incas would conduct rituals to honour the mountains, the river and the earth. Machu Picchu was re-discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham and work continues to excavate and study the site.

The Logistics
In the run up to the trek I was bamboozled with the logistics! Do I need to carry all my belongings with me? If not, where do I leave my rucksack? How much do I carry? What’s the right footwear… the list could go on. Luckily, we had Manuel from G-Adventures to sort us all out!

You are given a duffel bag to put the clothing you would like to take with you, your sleeping bag and air mattress. The grand total is 6kg in your duffel bag. The sleeping bag and air mattress can be hired from G-adventures with a weight of 1kg each. We decided to just hire the sleeping bag so we had 5kg each for clothing and additional snacks. Worth noting that the tents do come with a roll mat already but the air filled one would give you extra comfort. The duffel bag is carried by the porters and you can carry your own small rucksack with all the necessities for a hike. The rest of your belongings are locked away with everyone elses in the hotel and you return to the same hotel at the end of your hike. Makes sense?

Inca Trail Start

Footwear was even debated within our team and it is honestly so difficult to say what is the best. I wore my Asolo Mountaineering hiking boots and didn’t regret it. They provided ankle support, they had great grip, were waterproof but naturally are heavier than trainers. We were fortunate with the weather throughout the hike with it only raining on an evening. A few of the team did slip in trainers walking down the many steps you will encounter, so if you prefer a lightweight shoe maybe go for trail running shoes.

The porters are absolute legends! Quite honestly, I feel it would be impossible to do the hike without their support. Between them they carry your tent, duffel bags and food for the whole trip. In 2002, Peruvian Government introduced Porters Laws meaning that the porters now have a minimum wage of 43 soles (approx. £7.50). Also, they can now only carry a maximum weight of 20kg on the Inca Trail. This is why you are limited to 6kg duffel bags to respect these new much needed laws that avoids overloading the porters.

The Journey
Day 1 was approximately 5 hours of trekking beginning at the floor of the Sacred Valley. You will explore ancient Incan sites along the way. It was incredible to see how forward thinking the Inca’s were with how they built their homes, stone paths and stored food for up to 20 years! The first day you stuck together as a group for the impressive explanations from your guide.

Inca ruins 1

Day 2 of the trek fell on my 26th birthday which was the most perfect day! Even though we were trekking for 11 hours, I knew I wouldn’t moan one bit as it was my Birthday after all. We were woken by porters with hot water bowls and ‘Happy Birthday’ was sang to me and even a gift snuck in the rucksack. This day we were able to walk at our own speed which for me meant steady and for the mister meant speedy. However, I had my new found friend Emmy by my side the whole day. Considering we were walking at altitude, we never stopped talking all day! ! We climbed up to the highest point of 4215 metres to Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmiwanusca in Quechua language).  This naturally occurring high point, when seen from the valley below resembles a woman’s body. I must admit hearing Duncan and Nathan shouting our names, waving and dancing, gave us the motivation to get ourselves to the top – the most rewarding moment of the hike! After endless up hill, we headed down the never ending downhill steps to the tunes of Take That and Spice Girls!

Dead womans pass

After a well deserved feast that evening, I was greeted by the chef with an epic Birthday Cake to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ from the team. This had been organised, without my knowledge, the first day of the Peru on a Shoestring tour, by Manuel! I still have no idea how they managed to steam a birthday cake in the middle of nowhere… but it was delicious and a perfect end to the day!

Day 3 leads to Choquequirao known as the Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu. This other lost city, that is believed to have been created around the same time as Machu Picchu, is actually bigger and more tranquil due to less people. Only 30% of this site has actually been restored. The views of the mountains, the detail in the ruins and the terraces are simply awe-inspiring. You can feel the excitement building, as you get closer and closer to the end goal!

Inca ruins 3

Day 4 is an early one, waking at 3am in order to be the first group at the checkpoint that opens at 5.30am. With a small breakfast making me feel more like a human, we set off with sore feet, aching legs and knees. At the Sun Gate you get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu, a surreal moment that made most people a little emotional. What we had been trekking for was around the corner! Be aware that as you enter Machu Picchu there will be many people who have arrived on a bus… now as frustrated you could get by this, don’t let it ruin your experience. There is plenty of room for everyone and your stinky clothes, red faces and smelly feet will keep them away!

Side note: Before setting off on our round the world trip, my nephew expressed an interest in all the places we were going. We would sit on Google Images and search for pictures of Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu etc. He spotted a picture of Machu Picchu with a Llama and was transfixed by it and said I had to take the same picture! You never guess who wanted to join us in our postcard picture… take a look for yourself!

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At Machu Picchu you have a guided tour and nearly 4 hours to explore in total! It was magical, surreal, awe-inspiring and even spiritual. Considering how many people are within the grounds, it is a tranquil and serene experience. You can take your time and really soak up your surroundings, breathe in fresh mountain air and reflect on your past three days trekking.

Booking in Advance
If this sounds like something you would love to do, be aware that you need to book approximately 6 months in advance. Due to Peruvian law, there is now a limit on how many people can walk the Inca Trail a day. There is a total of 500 people allowed, with 300 of them being the porters and 200 hikers. We booked through STA Travel with G-Adventures on the Peru on a Shoestring Tour. With G-Adventures you can be reassured in the knowledge that the tour guide will be knowledgeable, funny and patient. The food will be divine and the tents and equipment will stand up to the elements.

Read my Planning: Peru on a Shoestring Tour here.

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I would like to dedicate this blog to our new found friends, Emmy and Nathan who had the most romantic engagement I have witnessed at Machu Picchu! It was a pleasure to be a part of your special moment, and we wish you a lifetime of happiness!

 

Go the Distance in Peru,

Chloe

Uyuni Salt Flats: What to Expect

You may think that your not really a tour kind of person. We definitely thought that too! However, for some activities the only and best way to do them is through an organised tour. The Salar de Uyuni Salt Flat Tour is an opportunity to spend 3 days in the desert with like-minded people experiencing altitude, geysers, lagunas, rock formations and of course the salt flats, as a group!

CHLOE GOES THE DISTANCE (1)

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We were approaching from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and we used the tour as a way to cross the border into Bolivia. It is extremely difficult to decide on a company, mainly because San Pedro is tourist central, with every other shop front promoting their tour. Essentially, they are all the same but differ in the safety of their drivers, standard of the Jeep, how much English is spoken by the driver/tour guide, and the quality of the food cooked. We made friends with a couple in Santiago who’s itinerary was similar to ours put ahead of us by a few weeks. They kept in touch with us and recommended the company they went with as they ticked all the right boxes and they had a stress-free time with them. This company was Cruz Andina and their positive TripAdvisor reviews reflect how great they are. Thank you Alexandra and Mark for your recommendation!

Lagunas
Learn many of the Spanish colours when visiting the Blanca, Verde, Colorada and Negra Lagunas! The two that stand out in my mind are the white and green lagunas. Laguna Blanca is a salt lake that was frozen over enough to walk across. It was all going so well until we heard a ‘crack’ while posing for a group photo! Laguna Verde contains many different minerals (including arsenic) that combined together make the salt lake green!

Uyuni Salt Flats Laguna Verde

Geysers
The Geiser Sol de Manana (Morning Sun Geyser Basin) has volcanic activity, sulphur springs, mud and steam pools. The pressurised steam can be as high as 50 metres in the morning! A memory that sticks in my mind, is a new found friend, doing the best ‘fart’ picture I have seen next to the geysers! My kind of instagram worthy picture, for sure!

Uyuni Salt Flats Geysers

Hot Springs
Time to strip off and relax in the Thermal Water at Polques Aguas Termales. A word of caution, as relaxing as the hot springs are, hot water at altitude can cause dizziness. We stayed in for 20 minutes and I was light headed when we got out and had to sit down for a while. Your lunch will be waiting for you after the springs so head over there and down some coca-cola and you will feel human again!

Caution 2: The changing rooms are renowned for petty thieves and your tour guide/driver should warn you about this. Keep all valuables in the Jeep and just leave minimal clothing in the changing room. We stayed in view of the changing rooms and had no issues but we heard of people engagement rings, watches and even Down Jackets going missing.

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Rocks
At Desierto Salvadr Dali (Dali Rock Desert) and Valle de Rocas (Rock Valley) you will have the opportunity to go rock climbing in places properly not safe to climb! Definitely worth seeing the boys climb onto a camel like rock! My favourite was climbing up into the rock holes within the walls. Climbing down was not as much fun haha!

Uyuni Salt Flat Rocks

Wildlife
This was our first opportunity to get up close and personal with llamas and flamingos. A new friend was determined to get a llama selfie and then I found myself wanting to do the exact same! I didn’t achieve this goal until we got to Peru! We arrived at Laguna Colorada just in time to see the flamingos as the sun was setting. They were walking towards the remaining sunlight away from land as we arrived.

Uyuni Salt Flat Flamingoes

Uyuni Salt Flats
Be prepared for super cold temperatures when you wake at 5am to see sun rise on the Uyuni Salt Flats. This is the big finale on your final day of the tour and it didn’t disappoint. We arrived on a dry day – so no reflective shots were possible. However, the endless white landscapes of salt where there formally was a lake, makes for incredible perspective shots. We had great fun lining up on a cigarette and being smoked, being snorted like cocaine, being eaten off a spoon, standing on walking boot string, to name a few. It was great to help our new friends get the perfect shot for their wedding invites … we hope they made the cut!

Uyuni Salt Flat Heart 2

Isla Inca Huasi
After you are worn out from an early rise and playing on the Salt Flats you must reserve some energy for Isla Inca Huasi, the island full of Cactus. The walk around this island is quite steep especially at altitude so I definitely was puffing away at the top!

fullsizeoutput_1479ats Cactus Island

Train Cemetery
You will end your trip in Uyuni with the train cemetery. I feel that if we weren’t so tired we would have appreciated this a little more. The World Cup game was on too, so we rushed through, took some pictures for the memories, said our goodbyes and headed to the pub with our new friends. I recommend using your stay in Uyuni to get a good nights sleep, a warm shower and organise yourself for the next leg of your journey. We appreciated having a place to dump our bags, explore the small town of Uyuni and get on our way the next day. No more than one night is needed in Uyuni. However, you may find the cutest children that you just want to take home with you.

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Altitude Sickness
Definitely worth a mention on this blog post! My best advice is to be prepared and take preventative measures but in all honesty you never know if your going to be the unlucky one who gets altitude sickness. The side effects of altitude include; shortness of breath, heart palpitations, headaches, migraines, nausea and vomiting. For me, I experienced heart palpitations when simply laying in bed for a good few hours. I’m glad I read about the symptoms prior as I may have interpreted this as a panic attack. All the other symptoms were experienced throughout the group. Every morning, we drank Coco herbal tea which appeared to help. Avoid drinking at night as you won’t sleep. Some people had coco leaves to chew, which is the done thing but I really disliked the taste. Take a medical kit with you that includes painkillers and altitude sickness tablets.

Other Options
There are options to do the tour we have done in reverse; from Uyuni to San Pedro and an option to add a 4th day to return to San Pedro from Uyuni. Now you can of course do a Day Trip to the Salt Flats and be back to your hostel all snuggly and warm at the end of the day. This of course is a cheaper option, but in my opinion the sights we saw along the way to the Salt Flats were actually more impressive. I feel this is a good option if your only travelling in Bolivia with no intention to cross to Chile, or your strapped for cash.

Go the Distance to Bolivia,

Chloe

Highway to Hell: Death Road, Bolivia

Looking for an adrenaline thrilled experience while in Bolivia, then look no further, Death Road may be for you!

Now, I have never been fearful of heights, I have skydived for charity and love a good rollercoaster but this pushed me well out of my comfort zone! Reflecting on the experience, I think the fact there are no harnesses and the fact you are responsible for your own safety, is the reason I was so nervous!

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We started the day with breakfast at Little Italy and met fellow thrill seekers who were also a tad nervous. We had a detailed safety briefing and were given time to get used to our new 2 wheeled friends. As tradition goes we splashed 96% alcohol on the bike and the ground as an offering the mother earth (Pachamama). I asked mother earth to keep us all safe and even took a swig of the alcohol for ultimate effect.

death road alcohol

We were let loose single file down windy, fast, but smooth-ish roads as our first test of our mountain biking skills. The group was full of confident and speedy bikers but I held my own (well my brakes) and took it steady! The leader did sympathise with the fact that little people do feel the wind more. I appreciated the sentiment!

death road first par

Then it was time to tackle Death Road itself! I haven’t been this nervous in a long time… I was actually silent in the minivan thinking of excuses to get out of it. The Death Road itself is actually called Yungas Road and it was built in the 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan war prisoners. Nowadays, this 56 km road has been dubbed the ‘worlds most dangerous road’. Each year this road claims the lives of 300 motorists and 20 cyclists on average. You see cross markings from where vehicles have fallen and believe me you see a lot of these along the track.

death road biking crosses

The Old Road is the only road in Bolivia where people drive on the left hand side. This is so they are actually closer to the edge so they can judge how close they are! Cyclists have to follow this rule too… great for the Brits until you realise how steep the drop is!
Our adventure started in the clouds at 4700 metres . The winds helped us fly down to 1100 meters, but my motto was ‘Slow and steady wins the race’. However, I always arrived last at every check point! I was kind of glad about this as I really needed to concentrate on not killing myself so being alone with the elements suited me. I also didn’t want to live up to Duncan’s new nickname for me … ‘Calamity Chloe’.

death road bolivia

Although I escaped with no injuries just 20 insect bites (random!), other fellow bikers slipped off their bikes and one even flew over the handle bars! This was actually caught on the go-pro but will be put in the safe hands of his friends haha!

Now Death Road definitely doesn’t need to be anymore nerve-wrecking than it is, so please choose a reputable company so you can feel safe! There are over 300 companies offering Death Road tours with only a handful of them being legit companies. The gold standard is Gravity with pristine bikes and additional perks such as a relax at a cabin and visit to an animal refuge. Barracuda Biking (who we picked) use the year old Gravity bikes and are a cheaper but just as safe option with a private pool to reward you at the end.

death road team photo

Thank you to Barracuda Biking for your patience, kindness and motivating words throughout the day. All pictures featured on this blog were taken by Barracuda and sent across within 2 days… how great is that! We both still wear our free t-shirt to remind us of our adrenaline filled day!

Be sure to check out their 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor!

Go the distance on Death Road,

Chloe

Crossing the Border to Chile

From reading blogs about the Chile Border we were rather nervous about this journey. Our initial worries were about their strict policies which in all honesty make sense. Chile is very isolated from the rest of South America due to the Andes therefore, they are less prone to diseases from elsewhere. They want to keep Chile safe, hence the strict regulations.

On our coach, we received the guidance on what you cannot bring into Chile. The main rules are no fresh products, no dairy, no meat. Basically if it was in an unopened package this was okay. We debated beforehand whether we could take our opened packets of herbs and spices but we saw on the list that this was not allowed. A good idea is to donate your herbs and spices to the ‘free food’ at the hostel. Sharing is Caring after all.

Crossing the Border to Chile

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First Attempt
The second difficulty is actually getting across the border. In low season and winter months the road can often be closed due to snow. You can check whether the border is open on this website. However, if you are the first bus across in the morning, you may be the first coach to find out its closed! This is what happened to us. 3 hours in we had to turn back around. Luckily the CATA buses are like taking a business class flight with TV’s with many films and music to listen to.


If this does happen to you and you have to return to Mendoza, you are entitled to a full refund. Make sure you keep your initial receipt and ticket as proof and then they will refund you without issues, from the stand you initially bought the ticket from. At the time when the border was closed, the next day there was a strike going on, the next day England were playing, so three days later we set off for the second time.

Second Attempt
The views are incredible along the route, so be sure to take a day time coach and stay awake to appreciate the views. We decided to sit on the other side of the coach to take in different views seen as we had seen the first 3 hours of the journey already. On the CATA buses the seats on the right hand side (when sat down) are singles so I sat behind the mister. The right hand side honestly did have the better views, if you don’t mind being separated from your buddy for a while.

Mendoza to Santiago (2)

The border was an experience! Firstly, you all exit the bus and quickly dispose of any left overs from your pack up. You line up for your passports to be checked by border control. At this point you will be sniffed by sniffer dogs who do a very thorough job! This unnerved me a little at the time but it was fine. Then you cross the road to another building. This is where your main luggage is being checked through the conveyer belt off the coach and put back on at the other end.



It was at this point, a couple had tried to ‘smuggle’ (can’t think of a better word haha!) approximately 10 gigantic blocks of cheese into Chile. Now even before getting on the coach we were aware the big no no was taking cheese across the border. We heard about locals trying to bring across produce and that it would usually hold up the whole process. That definitely was the case for us too. While they were debating about cheese, we were stood in 3 lines while guards and dogs walked up and down. You can imagine what I thought this scene reminded me of!

Next up, our hand luggage went through the scanner before we quickly jumped back on the bus. The irony is, the bus driver then gives you lunch of cheese and ham sandwich for lunch!

Go in the Distance in Chile,

Chloe

Cabo Polonio: The Rustic Coastal Village

We all have those days where nothing seems to go right. Well our trip to Cabo Polonio definitely started off on the wrong foot. Duncan thought he was all well prepared by getting enough cash out for our visit to the town with no electricity. That was great, until I went and spent a bunch of pesos on the hostel stay in Punta del Este.

At that point, we thought we didn’t have much to worry about because surely San Carlos would have an ATM. They had banks but no ATMs. Poor Duncan ran around the town like a mad man while I manned the bags wondering where he had disappeared too! In his mad rush, we realised later that he must have dropped my bank card! Duncan was convinced he had given it to me, so I endured the strip search until he realised he didn’t give it me!

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Cabo Polonio cannot be accessed by cars or buses so the two options are walk for 2 hours or get the sand buggy. I was dreading the 2 hour walk we may of had to do with our 80L of luggage but fortunately the sand buggy was a return ticket and we had enough money! The sand buggy was an experience to say the least. I can imagine that on a summers day this would be quite a fun ride but in the wet and windy weather, I wasn’t too happy! We were concerned about our luggage and electrical.

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As we arrived at our hostel we saw a big group of lads outside with the hostess inside clearly not letting them in. We had no idea what was going on but she once we told her our names she happily let us in. Turns out the lads wanted to stay in the popular colourful roofed hostel but didn’t have a reservation. Our frowns quickly turned upside down when we were offered a cup of coffee in front of a stove fire, in the cosiest place I have ever stayed. We had a wonderful one night stay at Viejo Lobo Hostel. Our highlight was cooking an epic soup for all guests that evening.

Viejo Lobo Hostel

Basic but Beautiful sums up Cabo Polonio. It is a rustic coastal village hat sits on the tip of a peninsula to the Atlantic Ocean. In 2009, the region was declared a National Park under the protection of Uruguay’s SNAP program.

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There are no roads, no vehicles, no electricity or pipelines in Cabo Polonio. It does however have a complete charm about the place with rancho hostels, beaches, lighthouse, solar power and an array of animals.

Lighthouse Cabo Polonia

The main reason we headed to Cabo Polonio was to see the sea lions! The next day we completed our mission when we found them just around the corner from our hostel. This in all honesty wasn’t too difficult as you definitely hear them before you see them. Plus, Cabo has the largest sea lion colony in the whole of South America.

Sea lions cabo polonia

We visited Cabo Polonio after Punta del Este an returned there for one more night before heading onwards to the Capital, Montevideo. I highly recommend adding Cabo Polonio to your itinerary for a one of a kind experience.

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Go the Distance in Cabo,

Chloe