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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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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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?

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

Punta Del Este: To Do and To Stay

Punta Del Este is known as South Americas most glamourous resort with its A-List celebrity beaches and yacht harbour.

Often people go on a day trip from Montevideo as it is only 2 hours away. However, I feel Punta Del Este deserves a 2 night stay.

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As we stepped off the overnight bus at 6am (after a surprisingly good nights sleep) we immediately saw the prestigious ‘Hand in the Sand’ in the distance! This was the perfect opportunity to see sunrise and get some ‘tourist-free’ pictures! Also known as La Mano, the hand is on Brava Beach, which is also known for its strong surf.

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This is the first place we noticed we arrived in low season. It felt like a ghost town but that’s not always a bad thing. Yes in the day it was quiet, but we got some fantastic pictures and after 4pm the beaches became alive with locals until sunset and beyond.
That day we not only saw the sunrise but also the sunset… it was a long but rewarding day! We visited the Lighthouse, the Catholic Church (Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria), Brava Beach, Emir Beach as well as a walk to the yacht harbour where we saw our first glimpse of the Sea-Lions!

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Where we Stayed

We spent two evenings at Trip Hostel and then we were kindly invited to Del Barcito Hostel. They kindly hosted us in a private bedroom with a private bathroom. I have to say this is the comfiest nights sleep I have had all month. A proper mattress that doesn’t make you feel like a cripple the next day… bonus points! After a day of rain, we definitely were in need of a hot shower and Del Barcito have HOT showers! It sounds daft but little things please travellers, like hooks and shelves. It makes our lives so much easier and Del Barcito have thought of everything for you.

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Del Barcito Hostel is a restored barn and has accommodation in two wings; the private rooms and the dorms. The hostel offers fantastic communal areas such as; a cinema room, two cosy seating areas and games area in the communal kitchen space. There is ample space to have some time to yourself, watch a film or have a ‘friendly’ game of table tennis! This was Duncan’s favourite thing about the hostel. I didn’t realise he loved ping-pong so much but apparently ‘who doesn’t like a game of ping-pong?’ It’s a good question haha!

The kitchen offers everything you need to make a proper meal. There were ample pots, pans and utensils. We made a lemon chicken, rice and vegetable dish, using many more pans than we usually would and it was divine! In the morning, they served bread, ham, cheese with jams and my favourite, Dolce de Leite. We were also made a banana smoothie, this was a first for us and we really appreciated the effort the staff made.

Throughout the hostel you will see beautiful art work in keeping with the street art we have previously seen around South America. This adds to the ambience of the property. The staff speak good English and were more than happy for us to join them with some popcorn and a film. As we mentioned, it was quiet due to low season but I can imagine this place comes alive in high season!

Del Barcito Hostel offers dorm rooms from 50 BR and private rooms from 149 BR (price may vary in high season). To book your stay Click Here!

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Go the Distance in Punta Del Este,

Chloe.

Iguacu Falls: The Best of Both Sides

Stunning. Breath-taking. Jaw-dropping. Awe-inspiring. Just a few words that came out of our mouths on the 2 days we spent exploring the Iguacu and Iguazu Falls.

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The Falls split the border between Brazil and Argentina and this is why there are a fair few spellings. From what I have figured out it’s Iguacu for the Brazilian side and Iguazu for the Argentinian side. Iguacu actually means ‘Big Waters’ and that’s a pretty good description! They were voted to be in the top 7 Natural Wonders of the World in 2011 and they definitely deserve it.

Brazilian Side
As we were staying in Foz Du Iguacu we took an adventure to the Brazilian side first. I must admit the Iguacu National Park is pretty impressive. We were approached on arrival by a lady who spoke fantastic English, we were given two maps (one in English) and given full explanation of what was on offer. You can do extra activities at a cost such as a boat ride, bird watching and safaris but we opted for good old walking (and the included bus to begin). For general entrance to the park it cost 63 BR each (approx £15) and locals do get a cheaper rate.

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You begin with the bus ride to the third bus stop, the first two stops are for paid tours. You then can follow the trail through the forest, stopping at each viewing point along the way. This leads you up close to the most famous of the waterfalls, the Devil’s Throat. We saw people changing into their ponchos, so I followed suit and jumped into mine, that was a gift in my survival kit! This came in handy as I ended up carrying both bags underneath it while Duncan quickly snapped pictures in the waterproof case we had.

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Once you are soaked and feel like you have had a mindful moment taking in the enormity of the falls, you can go up the elevator to the higher viewing point. Or, you can walk this, which we enjoyed doing. Here you will find a restaurant, snack bars, souvenir shops and even more coaties!

Be warned the coaties (we called them Racoons) are everywhere and want your food. There are so many signs explaining not to feed or pet them, yet people think they know best. We did see them steal a pastie from an unsuspecting woman so they do have an evil side!



This is another fantastic viewing point of the falls, a little higher up! There isn’t as much walking as we anticipated on the Brazilian side so we were tempted to do the whole trail again in reverse. In the end, we caught the bus back and spent some time sunbathing!

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Argentinian Side
Well this was an experience to say the least and I think I am still confused about how an earth we even got to the Iguazu National Park. We were told you needed Argentinian Peso’s for the buses, this wasn’t the case for us as they were happy to accept Brazilian Reals. The bus got us to the Border where everyone has to get off, go through border control and jump back on the same bus the other side. I was rudely told ‘one person, one passport’ when we approached together!

So, I didn’t initially remember the passports, we had set off and thank goodness Duncan said ‘you do have the passports don’t you!?’. After a quick turn around, we were back on track. So remember the passports, it’s pretty important.
Then we were approached by the bus driver and asked if we wanted to share a taxi to the National Park with another couple. This was translated to English by this couple. So for a saving of 5 BR we went with the flow and accepted the offer (while inside bricking it that this could be a big mistake!). Luckily, we arrived safe and sound for 35 BR. We believe this was a quicker and slightly cheaper option. Our advice is to just stay on the bus to the station and get another one paying the extra 20 BR each to get to the Iguazu National Park, Cataratas.

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The entrance fee is 600 ARG PESOS each (approx £18) and there is a cheaper rate for the locals. This side offers many more trail walks and circuits to see many more falls from different angles. We jumped on the train (included in entrance), then walked across bridge like infrastructure, up to the Argentinian side of the Devils Throat. We were speechless! As we stood at the balcony we took in the immensity of the falls, the sound of the water and the height we were at… just incredible! We could even see where were stood on the previous day.

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Then we completed the Upper and Lower Circuits both offer wide panoramic views of the Iguazu Falls for differing heights. We didn’t get wet throughout the whole day, so the ponchos weren’t necessary for this side. These routes were the red and blue routes, worthwhile doing both in our opinion.

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At the time of visiting, the San Martins Island was closed. You are able to take the green trail back rather than the train again. This was an enjoyable walk to end our day at the falls.

I recommend doing the two days in this order with the Brazilian side first and then the Argentinian. This is because I wouldn’t want you to be underwhelmed by the Brazil side after Argentina. Our time just got better and better which I loved.

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Where we Stayed: Atalaia Adventure Hostel for 72 BR pn

Pros: Cheap private double room, great kitchen, TV in room, lovely to sit by the pool in the day time and great location for getting to the Falls

Cons: Expensive laundry costs, super basic breakfast with no fruit.

Search for hostels and hotels in Foz du Iguacu on Booking.com

Go the Distance at Iguazu Falls,

Chloe

How to Save for Round the World Travel

Saving has never been my strong suit, mainly because I have always thought I don’t earn enough to even save and my spare money usually got spent on gifts for other people! So when we made the decision we were going travelling and we plucked the £10,000 each figure out the air… we had something to aim for. This meant serious cut backs and I hope to explain in some kind of organised way how we cut back and made more money in the run up to our Round the World Trip.

How to Save for RTW Travel (2)

Firstly, I would start with figuring out what big items you can sell. You’re not going to need your car while you are travelling the world. It’s best to work out how much a similar car, with similar mileage and condition is selling for on AutoTrader for a good estimate. Minus this chunk of money off your total and you will know what you have left to find (£7500 in my case).

Minimise your outgoings

What’s your housing situation? If you are in rented accommodation, could you downsize or move back home with your parents? This is what I did and honestly, without my mum and dad hosting me rent free I don’t think this would have been possible. Actually, they deserve a big shout, I love you both to pieces! If you have a mortgage and spare rooms, why not rent out a room for an addition £250-£300 a month that can go into your savings.  This could also be a source of income to top up your funds while you are travelling too.

Take a good look at your bank account. What outgoings do you have? I stopped paying the gym especially as I didn’t go anyway and moved to home workouts – good old Joe Wicks helped me out! I realised I was paying insurance for random items I didn’t own anymore, so cancelled them too.

beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship

The weekly food shop can cost a crazy amount and this is something we really cut back on. We wrote out the food shopping list for the exact meals we wanted to cook (using up whatever was in the cupboards first). We did not deviate from this list and really shopped around for the best buy. Aldi and Lidl are often the cheapest, but Home Bargains fresh food section had even better buys. We even tried going to the Butchers and a Green Grocers and although the quality was better and less plastic packaging, it was still more expensive. We are both meat lovers but it can be expensive, so we have found more veggie and vegan recipes to minimise the cost. Swapping chicken breasts for chicken thighs is also a good saving too.

Socialising! Nights out became nights in. For some this might be a struggle but when you have such a big goal to aim for and you know what amazing adventures lie ahead, missing a piss-up in town your not really too bothered about. We still went to big occasions, like weddings and christenings but I drove and didn’t drink and spent less than usual on gifts. Our friends were more than understanding and we had great nights in with board games and a bottle of wine!

The Maths

So you know you have say £7500 left to find and you have minimised your outgoings. Do some simple maths and divide your total by how many months you have before you leave… say 12 months. You then know what you have to put away each month (in this example £625). Now you have minimised your outgoings, work out each month what your essential payments are (direct debits, fuel, food) and minus that from your income. Be realistic and set aside money for any occasions that month and try to get the £625 covered from your wages. For some people this might not be possible so you can top up the savings with what you sell that month and extra earnings (see below!)

spend what is left after saving

Sell, Sell, Sell

You can’t take everything and the kitchen sink with you. You have a backpack and that’s all so it’s time for a major clear out. I have sold all my house furniture to friends or on Gumtree. I have sold all the clothes I’m not taking with me on eBay (apart from a small box of favourite clothes!). Our families and friends have also given us items they were going to throw away or give to charity shops for us to sell too! Although it is time consuming and some things may sell for a measly 99p, every penny really does count. A month before we go, anything that had struggled to sell online we will put on a car boot!

‘I need a dollar, dollar, dollar is all I need’

Time to get your thinking cap on, and brainstorm ideas about how to make more money! Do you have any hidden talents? Are you really creative? Are you a budding entrepreneur? For me I taught myself how to make Handmade Soy Wax Candles and upcycled any jar I could find. I set up a little Facebook group with all my local friends and sold to them. I was honest about where the funds were going and people were more than happy to support us. I have known people do a ‘charity’ event, sell their artwork, upcycle and sell items… what could you do?

Re-occurring income

As I mentioned with the renting out your home, having a reoccurring income while you’re away will really help if your savings just don’t go as far as you intended. I have begun this blog and I am gradually learning ways to monetise it for additional income (happy to hear any tips!). I’m also fortunate to have a social marketing business that can be built while I travel the world (just need WiFi which may be a struggle at times!). It is important to have multiple income streams set up prior to leaving home. These will give you flexibility, more choices and help sustain you for longer than the year, if you so wish!

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£10,000 sounds like a lot but by breaking it down, keeping track every month and being super committed to the cause, what may seem impossible can become possible.

Go the Distance,

Chloe.