Life after travelling

So after returning to Australia after my month away in New Zealand, I decided to venture back to the UK.

I quickly realised that I was very much ready to start adulting and get a job, find a house, get another cat etc. 

So after 3 flights, 2 days in Singapore and 24 hours of being wide awake, I landed back at Heathrow to start my life.

It was gonna be great, I was gonna start singing and ballet again, get fit, do some yoga, get a temp job until I found a career. Well, 2 months and a bit later here I am, typing this, and I haven’t achieved my list. My cup quickly went from being entirely full to half empty. 

The euphoria I got from being home was amazing, I’m not gonna lie. I enjoyed sleeping in my king sized bed, I loved being with my family and seeing all my friends, of course jet lag was a bitch and I couldn’t stay awake past 7pm. 

But reality soon came to pass. My friends work, my family work and not everyone is around 24/7. 

I also soon realised that being at home wasn’t entirely comfortable. I was missing my Australia life. I felt out of place, like I didn’t belong. It’s been hard to readjust, moving back in with my parents. Having cats instead of a dog. 

Everything had and has changed.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

But now, I can’t see myself returning to Australia in the next few years. I travelled to grow as a person, which I did. But Jess in Australia can’t be the same person as Jess in England. My life has now begun, and I have to think with a sensible head on, as opposed to the let’s book this last minute flight to here, person I was. The past month out of work has allowed me to find myself again. I’ve changed since I’ve been back, I feel it. I’m not the person I was last year, let alone last month, and that’s a good thing.

I’ve been to countless interviews since the minute I got home, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve looked at jobs i didn’t even know existed. 

And not gonna lie, I’ve been loving the rain and the storms and the typical British summer we’ve been having! 
Sometimes, you just need to take a break and find out who you are and what will a make you happy. And I think that without doing my time in Australia, or even this period at home, that I would be the same lost person I was when I left University. 

Quick collab: Food #2 100% Melbourne

There are so many good places to eat, that I just had to write another quick food collab!

If you’re ever in Melbourne CBD, check out Bowery to Williamsberg. It’s sells sandwiches/bagels, among a few other thing like brownies and a few hot dishes. Located down Oliver Ln just off Flinders St. And it’s amazing! And I know this because it gets extremely busy with business people around lunch time! I forgot to take a photo of my sarny, but Reuben all the way! It also sells milkshakes, which I’m dying to get! 

Another great place is birds of a feather in Newport (20 mins west of Melbourne CBD). The day we went for lunch, one of the specials included brioche French toast, with rocky road ice cream. What could be better?! There’s also stuff for GF and DF people, like myself. I had the corn fritters which was an excellent choice, super yummy and filling. The whole menu is just mouth watering, so give it a go!

If you find yourself looking for a quick coffee spot, head to Degraves Street. It’s got a tonne of cute little places! There’s an epic doughnut shop called Doughnut Time, which serves some exotic looking doughnuts and it’s always busy so it must be fabulous!  There’s also a super cute cupcake shop, as well as a tonne of places that serve food. My go to place is Degraves Espresso, where you can get a decent cup of coffee or juice, and a quick bite as well. There’s seating indoors as well as undercover seating in the street (with heaters for those chilly days).

The other day I met up with a friend at the Queen Vic market, and was hank marvin (‘starving’ for those who don’t know Cockney rhyming slang). I was ready to opt for a greasy spoon, but he has a more refined taste. We walked past Fancy Hank’s BBQ joint and he was sold. And I must say, excellent call because the food was totally amazing! I had a fancy sanga, and the only describing word I can think of is mouth watering. I think there was brisket in it, and pickles and onions and pickles and onions on the side. There was cheese in it, but I opted out of that. Seriously, go there for a bite! You won’t be disappointed! And it’s so reasonably priced! 

Jess xx

My top 5 things to do in New Zealand 

My trip round New Zealand was only 27 days long, and while I missed out on Milford Sound, Tongariro Crossing and Lake Tekapo (all things I wish I had had time to do), I also did a bunch of fantastic stuff!

So here’s my top 5:

1) Going to The Moari village of Whakarewarewa

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Rotorua offers a couple of Maori experiences so to say. Maori culture is one of the things I really wanted to learn about whilst in New Zealand , so Whether you’re watching a Haka being performed, watching wood carving, or eating food, learning about the Maori culture is amazing and so fascinating. Whakarewarewa is a living Maori village, so getting to walk around where people live and seeing what they do in their everyday lives was pretty wicked. 

2) Snout track hike in Picton

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Picton very quickly became one of my favourite places to visit, and one of the main reasons is because of this hike!

It was the most beautiful day when we did this hike! You can literally see for miles the further up you go. It’s so peaceful as well just looking over the sound, definately give it a whorl! 

3) Christchurch

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I love love love Christchurch as a whole. It’s got museums and art galleries and great eateries. Even though a lot of the city is still being rebuilt after the earthquake in 2011,  the people of Christchurch are optimistic about what lies ahead. New building, new shopping centres, they look forward to the future of the city and I love the idea of that!

Christchurch had such a homely feel to me, so I definately look forward to heading back there in a few years.

4) Lake Wanaka

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Lake Wanaka was literally one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen ever in my life! Close your eyes and imagine this for a second. The lake was almost still, and crystal clear on a clear day. Beautiful blue sky with the occasional fluffy white cloud with the mountains in the background. A light Autumn chill in the air, with the sun beating down. The tress changing colour from green to yellow. The Wanaka tree looking so green against the surroundings. Sound amazing, yeah? 

5) Greymouth

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Many people were surprised when I said I was stopping in Greymouth, and advised me not to go there because there’s nothing to do. The thing is, I’m very good at making nothing into something, so I was pretty much busy everyday when I was there. There’s some super gorgeous hikes to do which gives the most amazing views of the town. Plus, it’s right by the sea! What’s better than taking a picnic down the beach, and just sitting and reading a good book?

Thanks for reading,

Jess xx

Last stop in Queenstown

So I had 3 days in Queenstown. As I’m not one for super adrenaline stuff, I gave the bungy jump and the canyon swing a miss. 

First thing I decided to do was to explore the city, and what better way to do that, than a free walking tour. I love these, as you’re given the tour by a local, and they show you all the best places!

The first place to see in the Queenstown Gardens, and take a little walk along Lake Wakatipu, which I must say is beautiful!

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There’s also an ice rink in the gardens, which is so awesome!

I didn’t head to Fergburger, as my wheat intolerance was super bad while I was there so instead I opted for a more dietary friendly Mexican at Sombreros Mexican Cantina. I had the corn fritters, which were great!

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I have also discovered Rehab. It’s a place on Camp Street and it’s does smoothies and hot food including soups. And it was amazing!

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I popped in one night as I was craving something sweet, and landed with a berried alive smoothie instead, which my body was very thankful for! And the chicken pomodoro soup is amazing, definately great for a crisp autumn day.

Definately check out Ericks fish and chips, they have fish and chips annnddddd deep fried kiwis- whaaaattt?!

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The kiwis were so amazing, that I had to go back and get a second!

Queenstown is so much fun, and will definately offer loads for everyone!

Jess xx

That Wanaka Tree (and the town Wanaka)

Wanaka is beautiful. There’s no other way to describe it.

I arrived in the evening onto Ardmore Street, which was alive with people as it is the main drag in the town. Tonnes of restaurants and eateries along there.

The next morning was crisp and sunny, just like a perfect autumn day should be. So, I decided this was the perfect time to go and see Lake Wanaka and get a couple of great shots of the mountains. Literally, I couldn’t have photoshopped it, it was that beautiful. My photos don’t even do it justice!

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I got a nice one of the Wanaka tree, which a lot of people take a photo of. But come on, how could you not, it’s so pretty! 

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I had been recommended to go and hike up Roys peak, but I only had a short amount of time so I was going to opt for a quick hike up Mount Iron. But with the weather being so beautiful, and the lake so picturesque, I thought reading by the lake would be better. 

I had also heard about cinema paradiso. Which is obvs a cinema but it has sofas and it has a couple of cars you can sit in to watch a movie.

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And a few cinema seats at the back. Anyway, I went to watch Kung Fu Panda 3 and it was awesome! They have an interval as well, and they freshly bake cookies so they’re ready for people to buy during intermission. Like amazing!

Go and see the movie, and go to Cinema Paradiso!

I can’t rave about Wanaka enough. I totally wish I had stayed here longer!

Jess xx

The town at the bottom of a glacier, to Franz Josef!

Our drive to Franz Josef Glacier was so pretty. We stopped to take a few photos of the Waikato River, which was so blue!

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Apparently when it rains the river gets less blue, I’m so glad it hadn’t been raining over the west coast. 

Franz Josef is the smallest town ever. You can literally walk from one end of the main road to the other in under 5 minutes. 

I was meant to do the Ice Explorer trip onto the glacier, but it had been cancelled due to on coming weather. So instead I decided to hike to the glacier so that I would still get to see it. That’s when it started to rain. And then fog descended. 

So I only managed to get one good shot of the glacier, as by the time I got there you couldn’t see it.

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As you can tell, I look like a drowned rat.

The next day was literally the sunniest of days, so why didn’t I hike that day instead? Oh well! One of the ladies in my room did the Ice Explorer and said it was amazing, and shed definately recommend it. Her photos were amazing and you walked through tunnel of ice and stuff and it looked pretty cool.

Instead I chose to have a down day, and just look round the town. There are hot pools in town that you can relax in (located next to the glacier guides). I recommend taking all jewellery off, as the minerals can tarnish them.

There’s also a little wildlife sanctuary which has a kiwi bird in it, which is pretty cool. The prices for these places can be a bit high, so check out bookme on the Internet for discounted activities.

Jess xx

Greymouth, pronounced grey mouth

The tranzalpine train arrived in Greymouth around 13:30, and it was a glorious day! When I say glorious day, it was sunny, but cold. 

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First thing I did was walk to my hostel which was Noah’s Ark backpackers which was literally the cutest hostel ever! 

Greymouth is a very small town. According to wiki it has a population of almost 10,000 people! Even though it’s small, I still seemed to fill up my 2 and a half days there. 

There’s a wonderful viewpoint to walk  by the beach which is where loads of ships wrecked, so there’s a memorial and a bit of information on it.

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It’s a very pleasant walk to the beach either via the roads or the walking track which takes you closer to the water.

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On one of the mornings, I attempted to find a hike. So I walked up the road and came to a very very very steep hill and started to climb. It took me higher and higher and offered some amazing views!

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But after seeing that the hill just continued up, I decided that I was not up for that and headed back down. 

The town doesn’t have a lot of shops, but I must admit, I really enjoyed visiting just for the views. Its a very relaxing place, and it’s definately worth a stop on your trail! 

Jess x

Tranzalpine train: from Christchurch to Greymouth 

Got up real early for my 6:55am pick up from the YHA in Christchurch to head to the train station to take the Tranzalpine train! 

I was so excited! Like jumping about excited! 

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So I dumped my bag in the luggage carriage and headed to my seat. I was very lucky and got 2 seats to myself so I got a window seat, nice.

At 8:15am we were off.

Unfortunately, the day was super drizzly in the morning so it was pretty hard to see anything in the beginning. You’re provided with headphones, as there’s a commentary the whole way about the mountains and the surrounding land, the history and its purpose.

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By the time we hit the mountains, the rain had dried up and it was a beautiful blue sky, with a few low clouds around the mountain peaks. 

We stopped in Arthur’s pass, which is the middle of 3 passes in the mountains, this was to get a quick snap and to let off some passengers who were doing a day excursion.

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10 minutes and we were back on the way to Greymouth. 

(There is a cafe carriage in the trains, serves muffins, cookies, sandwiches, wraps, drink etc. And it’s all very yummy! Especially the banana and chocolate muffin!)

We passed old towns which had a population of 40ish people, and even a town with a population of 1 (how very lonely).

We continued on our journey, and the weather dramatically improved. The river was flowing so blue, and the mountains were so green!

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It was just so spectacular! We passed Lake Brunner which was just so beautiful. 

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I don’t know what else to say, apart from this journey just shows you how beautiful nature actually is.

The one thing is was expecting was snow on the mountain tops. But I guess it was just the wrong season.

Go do this journey. It’s expensive, but it’s so amazing. And it’s a nice way to get from east to west coast! 

Jess x

I <3 Christchurch

I stayed in Christchurch for 2 nights. People warned me that there wasn’t a lot in Christchurch, as there had been an earthquake in 2011 and a lot of the buildings had been torn down. People said they wouldn’t spend time there because it would be too sad.

 Not gonna lie, some parts of the city are just rubble. I was there on a Sunday and there was no building work being done in an area, and it looked a bit like an abandoned town. 

Saying that though, I really enjoyed being in Christchurch. 

I arrived and stayed at the YHA Rolleson House and it was great! The girls in my room were awesome, one girls living in Melbourne as well! 

We headed out that evening to The Villas, which is a little restaurant that does really good muffins. We arrived there quite late a night, so of course, no muffins left. But there was a dessert menu and we happily shared a good pud and talked politics.

The next day I got up early to explore the city and started off with a walk round the botanical gardens, which is a must see. The flowers were so beautiful, and there’s a rose garden

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which I sat down in and listened to the morning birds sing (bare in mind this was about 7am) so no one around which was great.

From there I meandered my way past the boat sheds, down to the Cardboard Cathedral. As it was a Sunday I didn’t venture in. It was a very beautiful church, with a very high pitched ceiling. I noticed that the sides of the building literally were shipping containers. 

Next I headed to 185 empty seats. It said on the map that it was a pop up/art piece I think. It represents the people that lost their lives during the earthquake and serves as a rememberance memorial. Each chair represented a different person. You were also invited to sit in a chair that spoke to you. It was very moving, but I do recommend you check it out. 

That end of the city is still quite empty, lots of flat land, old dis-used buildings, the skeleton of new buildings. Walking around, really does put into perspective how bad Christchurch was actually hit. But things are beginning to make their way back.

There’s the RE:Start mall, which is such a wicked idea. It’s a little shopping area made out of shipping containers!

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They’ve got souvenirs there, clothes, and the best bit, the food! I got THE BEST frankfurter from Fitz’s wieners!

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All the sausages come in a baguette rolls, plus onions and/saurkraut for free, so it only came to $6! Obvs plus free sauce too.

Canterbury museum is amazing! It’s got a tonne of things to offer for all ages and interests. I spent hours in there, and this is coming from a girl who’s been to every museum in every place I’ve been to. I can hear you saying ‘but surely you must have read everything now?’ No is the answer! It has the best exhibit on Antarctic explorations with the actually vehicles they used! 

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A few things to note: theres a wood carving gallery on Worcester Blvd, as well a lady a few doors down from that who sells her art work on a lawn. Oh also check out the Cathedral, it’s half fallen down but it hasn’t been knocked down. It’s a very beautiful building, even just from the outside. 

I spoke to a few locals from Christchurch and asked them what it was like to live there. One guy said, it’s nice because with all the rebuilding, you have something to look forward to in the next few years. 

I really enjoyed Christchurch, it had such a homely feel about it. I really can’t explain it, but everything about the city intrigued me. I must go back!

Jess x

A day stop in Kaikoura

Kaikoura took just over 2 hours to get to, and it was a beautiful journey driving through hills and along the coast. 
Kaikoura is also very beautiful, lots of mountains with low lying clouds. It’s all very picturesque.

The first thing I did once I checked into Dusky Lodge (it’s a BBH) is walk to the viewpoint past the peninsular. There is a population of New Zealand fur seals down there, keep an eye out when spotting them because they’re brown and they look like rocks!

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It’s a very pleasant walk along the peninsular. I tried to spot whales and dolphins whilst walking, but unfortunately no luck! 
The town is very cute, offering quite a few clothes shops as well as souvenir shops. There’s also a cute little gallery that sells some really nice jewellery and crockery.
It’s definately noticeable as I travel further south, that the weather is getting a little colder and a little more miserable. Let’s hope the pouring rain holds off. 

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Jess x