What to do at Beachcomber Island

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE TWENTY…

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5210.
BEACHCOMBER ISLAND – FIJI

DCIM101GOPROGOPR5357.

Get there via boat from Port Denarau – Nadi. Approx 30-40 minutes.
Tip: When leaving the island go back to PORT DENARAU by external boat company. DO NOT book transfer from the Island itself for return. This choice resulted in us pushed further away to their sister resort on the mainland without any warning, delaying our trip to hotel by two hours.
NUMBER ONE:
Happy hours!

IMG_9139
Beachcomber is known as the “party island” of Fiji. This equals many many happy hours! And indeed you need them. (Drinks are PRICEY!)
A half price cocktail a day keeps the doctor away. Seriously.
Watch the sunset, listen to the interesting selection of tunes played all day long in the bar and let yourself laze about on “Fiji Time” (Slow paced lifestyle!)
TIPS:
**PINA COLADA NEVER FAILS
**BAILEYS /KAHLUA COMBO NEVER FAILS
**Ask the friendly bartender what the daily special is. They’re always were willing to advise.
PRICE:
Approx $10 AUD

NUMBER TWO:
Kayak to Treasure Island

DCIM101GOPROGOPR5360.
Thoroughly enjoyed this experience from Beachcomber. Was nice to go and see another Island and what it had to offer. You can stop for lunch or return for the daily Beachcomber buffet.
TIPS
**Make sure you write your name down if you want to kayak over at a specific time as numbers are limited. (Especially for tandem)
** Treasure is quite close BUT it’s a little bit of a workout to get across for those without upper body strength. I relied a little on my partner or it may have taken me all day. No stress though, get there in Fiji time! And don’t worry, if you are tired and need to stop there are no waves so just sit still and stare down through the crystal clear water and spot some fishies!

NUMBER THREE:
Learn the Bula dance

IMG_9147
BULA – Hello in Fijian.

It is the happiest greeting I have ever experienced holidaying. (So far!)
Beachcomber have different nightly parties and activities and one of them is to learn the Bula dance. It is basically a Fijian “Nutbush/Macarena”.
Heaps of fun. Laughs all round .
TIPS
**Don’t be afraid to be the first one to get up and dance! People WILL participate .
**BE ENTHUSIASTIC!

NUMBER FOUR:
Say hi to the resident turtles!

IMG_9250
Beachcomber has a special pool dedicated to the rehab of little turtles until they are ready for release. Walk all the way through the hostel section of the island to find their little haven!
TIPS
**Go outside of the scheduled “tour” time as day trippers will be pushing to get their viewing and you won’t have much time to observe.

NUMBER FIVE:
Walk around the entire Island.

IMG_8488
Beachcomber is a very small island and you can walk around and see the entire thing within 20 minutes at the most. It is a great way to see the surrounds !
TIPS
**Bring some water , kiosk shop was never open when we visited.
NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF:
Jump aboard the daily snorkel trip.

DCIM100GOPROG0435279.
Snorkelling is the number one activity off the beach of Fijian islands. Beachcomber is a little rough just off shore as it isn’t as protected as some of the others, so getting on the daily boat trip is the best on offer.
Trips run twice daily and the tour guides will take you to their favourite spot and you WILL see plenty of large fish!
Boat is glass bottomed for those who aren’t willing to swim in open waters.
TIPS
**B Y O SNORKEL IF YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough. The snorkels on Beachcomber were VERY outdated and filled with holes/scratches, broken breathing pipes .. YOU NAME IT.
** Do not accept to “feed the fish” bread while snorkelling if you are afraid. The fish know and they will charge at you for the bread! They are harmless.

What to do at Mana Island

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE NINETEEN

ALL ABOUT…

MANA ISLAND – FIJI

IMG_8636

DCIM100GOPROG0204759.

Get there via: Nadi International Airport, followed by a ferry or private boat transfer. Alternatively you can do what we did and get a 10 minute small plane. (Pacific Island Air or Turtle Airways)

VLOG: Coming soon

 

NUMBER ONE:

Snorkel off North Beach

IMG_8768

Mana Island is a large and entertaining island from the Mamanuca group of Fijian islands. Both the North and South beach offer great snorkelling just metres from the edge.

We were lucky enough to see a variety of beauty including nemo, starfish, clams, stunning coral , sea cucumber and a sea snake! (Don’t get too close to those)

TIPS

*North beach tide gets VERY low. You cannot snorkel at low tide due to the fact people could damage the coral. Plan when you’d like to go out in advance to avoid disappointment.

*South beach is a lot rougher then the North side, but there is still plenty to be seen there as a second resort if you miss out on the right tide for the North.

*Monitor where you are consistently as it is easy for the current to drag you if you are not experienced.

PRICE:

Free for guests of the resort.

WEBSITE:

Marine Activities

NUMBER TWO:

Get your one year diving ticket- and proceed to dive with the sharks!

IMG_9421

IMG_9418

SHARK FEEDING! One of the most amazing experiences offered from Mana.

I was a first time diver and our instructor Joe was fantastic. Once you complete the intro dive , you can then go on to do the shark feed and ‘supermarket’ reef dive.

(Called supermarket due to all the hundreds of amazing fish there!)

Upon arrival to Supermarket Reef you wait in the coral as the instructors go out and begin feeding black/white and grey tip reef sharks.

TIPS:

*Stay calm! These sharks are not harmful to humans. Sizes do range from small to large, but even if they swim over your head at super speed you will be fine if you relax.

PRICE:

Prices vary dependent on whether you are an experienced diver or need to do the original course. Approx FJD 200 (and up)  (Much more affordable then Australia!)

WEBSITE:

http://www.aquatrekdiving.com/

 

NUMBER THREE:

Spend a day relaxing at Cloud 9

IMG_8812

DCIM100GOPROGOPR4837.

Cloud 9 is a unique floating bar in the middle of the clearest water you couldn’t even imagine.

The price includes a fresh (and delicious!) pizza and to make up the rest of your voucher you can get cocktails or drink of your choice.

Jump off the edge of the bar at the top to really add a different dimension to the day.

TIPS

*Snorkel equipment here was not the greatest. Test your mask out before going to the reef.

*Try to do snorkelling when you first arrive, as we found afternoons in Fiji the current was rougher/wind picked up.

*Get a day bed if one is available. As it is only a small pontoon having one really makes a difference to the experience. They don’t cost any more, it’s just the luck of who is the quickest to snag one.

*The tour is a little cheaper from the backpackers hotel a short walk from the main Mana island resort.

PRICE:

FJD 70 + 50 for food voucher from Ratu Kinis Backpackers. Mana Island Resort the cost is approx FJD 199.

WEBSITE:

http://www.cloud9.com.fj/

 

NUMBER FOUR: 

Walk to the lookout and watch the sunset

IMG_8969

IMG_8985

The lookout is only approximately a 10 minute walk . As you head up the hill you will see the little hut waiting for you to relax and watch the sun go down.

It has a spectacular view of the entire island. We wish we had gone up during the middle of the day or early morning to see the colours then. You won’t regret a visit.

TIPS:

*Bring up a drink or snacks to have a  mini picnic

WEBSITE/PRICE : N/A

NUMBER FIVE:

Wine and fine dine the nights away

IMG_8597

IMG_8867

 

South Beach restaurant is the finer more unique dining option at Mana. We had great meals there, although some of the dishes lacked a significant amount of sauce to get through the meat without it being dry.

Kura- is a healthier/veg asian fusion restaurant outdoors only , which we found to be good but very overpriced for what you get.

Ratu Kinis- the backpackers. Mana resort itself does everything possible to stop guests going here. They even have a deterring sign on the beach and say “they cant take responsibility for anything happening if you go here”. It is completely fine. Families , couples and young kids alike all loved it. The food is fantastic, people are friendly and above all it is the cheapest option on the island.

TIPS
*South Beach: The indian pancakes

*Kura: The Laksa

*Ratu Kinis: Traditional Kokoda

PRICE:

With wine approx $100 FJD

WEBSITE:

Restaurants

 

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF:

Watch a traditional Fijian dance show

IMG_8880

On certain nights there is a dance and fire show at either Mana main resort or Ratu Kinis.

Take note of the event noticeboards every day to find out which day they are on.

TIPS

*Don’t stand too close to the fire show if you see it at Ratu Kinis 😉

WEBSITE/PRICE: N/A

What to do in Melbourne

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE EIGHTEEN

ALL ABOUT…

MELBOURNE CBD – VICTORIA- AUSTRALIA

IMG_3219 (2)

RAM1

 

RAM2

Get there via Tullamarine or Avalon airports.

 

VLOG:

NUMBER ONE:

Have a drink at Go Go bar whilst waiting for a Chin Chin feed me feast.

RAMS188

Above: Go Go Bar

IMG_7557IMG_7558IMG_7559

1235283_10151848107231011_1541659163_n

Chin Chin has to be one the most fantastic places I’ve tried in Melbourne. (I’ve been to Melbourne countless times!) Melbourne is known for its great food and cultured atmosphere and Chin Chin really captures the legacy.

They offer fresh, tasty and unique dishes leaving you wanting more and more and more!

That’s why i suggest to get the FEED ME. They dish up a random selection of smaller portions and many courses based on your dietary needs.

Go on an empty stomach, as you may not make it to the desert section 😉

Go Go is part of Chin Chin, downstairs. (Accessible via the laneway next door, or straight downstairs from the initial restaurant entry). Why do i say to go ? The cocktails are SPECTACULAR. There is no better way to start or end the feast. And i mean FEAST. If by chance you do not want to feast, Go Go also does a small delish menu of bar snacks.

TIPS:

**Go in OFF PEAK times. You will have to wait no matter what during lunch or dinner any day of the week. (Sometimes i’m talking hour or more waits) Weekends, you may not ever get a table. We’ve been turned away plenty of times.

**Try the SALMON WRAPPED IN BANANA LEAF (red curry) . AMAZING . So good that we have made it at home plenty of times . (Yes, we own the cookbook)

**They are big on the chilli. Which we adore. So warn those that may be weaker in your clan to definitely mention an aversion to the delicious firey delight that is scuds .

**If you love artwork, check out the walls in Go Go as they are sometimes selling local artists pieces!

WEBSITE:

http://www.chinchinrestaurant.com.au/#

PRICE:

Upwards of $20 a person depending on hunger and selections.

 

NUMBER TWO:

Coffee hop through the laneways!

15242_10151310516976011_793650284_n

Why is this such a highly rated Melbourne task? Because they knock every other state out of the park with their cool and hidden cafes!

Most importantly, i don’t know why , but their coffee is better than Sydney by a mile. It’s been proven by many!

TIPS:

** Get lost, just walk around . Best way to explore the city because nothing is huddled together. It could seem like a very quiet street and you turn a corner and are in culture central!

** Google maps yourself to Degraves street. Don’t question it , just do it.

For your pretty eyes  :

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=degraves+st&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiilbzVyrDKAhVnMaYKHWvJCvIQ_AUICCgC&biw=911&bih=445&dpr=1.5

WEBSITE:

BEST LANEWAY CAFES:

The Best Laneway Cafes in Melbourne

LANEWAYS:

http://www.traveller.com.au/six-of-the-best-melbourne-laneways-12wkbf

PRICE:

Priceless, minus that stunning caffeinated beverage in your hand.

 

NUMBER THREE:

Score some unique fashion pieces.

RAMS18

Pic above: Whole outfit from MELBOURNE!

Everybody who researches Australia knows that the only place to find something out of the ordinary is Melbourne . I am not the most savvy shopper , so in my visits i literally just wander around until i see a store i have never heard of before. And that is what i suggest you do!

TIPS:

** Again, FIND LANEWAYS! Main city malls won’t offer anything unique or locally made.

WEBSITE:

http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/top-ten-places-to-shop-in-melbourne

PRICE:

Whatever won’t break your bank

 

NUMBER FOUR:

Have fish and chips at St. Kilda beach

IMG_7548

St Kilda is a calm , relaxing flat beach.  (In Melbourne, to get to the beaches with surf you have to drive 1 hr + )

It really is great for an afternoon in the sunshine or perhaps a walk over to Luna Park .

I had some of the best dumplings in my life just down the road, and the fish and chips place right next to the pier definitely goes down a treat.

Catch a tram there from the CBD and spend an afternoon basking in the sunlight or sneaking a seagull a chip.

WEBSITE:

http://stkildamelbourne.com.au/

PRICE:

Free

 

NUMBER FIVE:

Support live music at Cherry Bar!

IMG_9630

Cherry bar is the super cool long standing live music venue in AC/DC lane. One room offers bands and old school djs, the other has a jukebox so you can pick that track you’ve been dying to hear all night.

Melbourne really have a big focus on live music and local acts, so it is a great place to get a taste of what it’s like to witness huge Aussie acts where they start out.

TIPS

** Check their facebook page for regular updates on what themed night it may be at the time, or who is on.

WEBSITE:

http://cherrybar.com.au/

PRICE:

Cheap cover for bands, or free after they are done.

 

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF:

Immerse your senses in the sushi fusion that is Gaijin Japanese.

GAIJINFORAMS

Gaijin: Foreigner

And I’m happy to be one if i get to eat all my foreign meals at this place! I miss Gaijin very much and i am so happy to have discovered it randomly on one of my visits. It is at the very end of a not so popular street and would often go overlooked.

They offer a FANTASTIC and i stand by this statement: CANNOT BE BEATEN Japanese fusion. I honestly have not found any sushi done in this way and this high quality anywhere to date.

TIPS:

** Book ahead of time … VIA TEXT MESSAGE. Yes you will get a confirmation to your phone! Love this feature.

**Request one of the window tables

** CRISPY SPICY SALMON SPECIAL

WEBSITE:

http://www.gaijinmelbourne.com/Gaijin_Melbourne/GAIJIN.html

PRICE:

Upwards of $15

 

 

 

 

What to do in Kuta

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE SEVENTEEN.

ALL ABOUT…

KUTA/LEGIAN – BALI – INDONESIA

DCIM100GOPROG0123928.

Vlog:

NUMBER ONE: 

Watch the sunset at Legian Beach

rams11rams111rams1111

Normally this wouldn’t be the top of a list . I’m sure we have all seen some incredible sunsets, yes? BUT!  The two places they have stood out dramatically for me were Legian beach and the middle of the bush in Africa.

Legian/Kuta/Seminyak are all part of the same super long beach so you will see it from any of those spots. (We just stayed in Legian , hence spending our few sunsets here!)

The beach itself isn’t the most beautiful, it really is the sunsets that drew me here. Sheltered from the road and crazy level of mopeds, it surprisingly was a great place to relax the afternoon away.

TIPS:

*Crowds actually gather and flock here to take pictures of how beautiful the cloud formations are along the huge open endless ocean. If you want to be in the best prime “viewing” spot, arrive before the scheduled sunset time.

*Bring some sundowners with you! Cocktails/ Beer/Wine are perfectly ok to have in Bali on the beach.

 

Price:

Free

Website:

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g608487-d379154-Reviews-Legian_Beach-Legian_Bali.html

NUMBER TWO:

Try some Mie Goreng. (Or Nasi Goreng!.. or BOTH!)

rams1

To Indonesians this is fast food. It is a damn tasty McDonald’s equivalent!!

Normally after a few drinks everyone will run to Maccas for a snack. In Bali not a day went past without a good ole goreng. Traditionally it comes with satay sticks and a runny egg, but not all places do this.

TIPS:

** Ask for the runny egg!! SUNNY SIDE UP PLEASE!!!!!!!!

Price:

Approx $1 in convenience / supermarket stores, but anything up to $10 in restaurants.

NUMBER THREE:

Take a day trip to Lembongan Island

RAMS12

RAMS238729879

RAMS29

Lembongan Island is one of the easiest and most convenient day  trips to take from Kuta/Legian. It is very popular for snorkelling (with apparently some of the best dive spots in the world!)

12317640_1729866980580677_905015830_n

We opted for a “beach club” cruise with Bali Hai cruises.

I personally would not recommend Bali Hai cruises (or the “beach club/ reef cruise”) as it was a complete tourist trap. We have researched plenty of incredible spots on Lembongan and my partner had previously visited before to a different area and it was apparently so much better. The particular spot the tour took us was just full of rocks and you pretty much were trapped in a hotel with its not so fantastic facilities. (The image above was the plunge pool we snuck over to without the rest of the group knowing . It was a part of the nearby resort where we spent time at the day spa instead of the drop off zone)

Do not miss out on visiting though! If you can hire a moped and go around on your own it will be a great day out.

TIPS:

**Stop in to see the seaweed farm. It is one of the locals most lucrative sources of income .

RAMS11298

**Do thorough research, don’t listen to glossy expensive brochures.

**Find the cliff you can jump off and the tiny iconic bridge.

Price: 

Tours- Approx $100-150 AUD

Boat over without tour- Approx $30- 50 AUD

Moped Hire-Approx $5 pp

Website:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali/nusa-lembongan

 

NUMBER FOUR:

Sing Karaoke at Espresso Bar

rams218448rams129487214987

(Photos above are from the bar, looking outwards in to the street, if you need to find it!)

Espresso bar is small, but was packed every night we went.

They happily let everyone contribute to song choice with their live band, and they allow you to sing karaoke (with the band) if you so desire.

Website: 

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g297697-d3546037-Reviews-Espresso_Bar-Kuta_Bali.html

NUMBER FIVE: 

Pamper yourself!

DCIM100GOPROG0294079.

Bali has so many affordable day spa options, so why not treat yourself?

Packages that would cost you $500 in Australia can set you back a mere $70 in Kuta.

TIPS

**Avoid street vendors hassling you to come in for that massage costing $5. It is not worth it, they are not trained professionals and frankly you will spend one hour of your life uncomfortable, sweaty and in pain.

**Hotel spas will always be the best bet in main busy tourist areas like Kuta.They are pricey compared to the street versions though.We stopped in at the Rama Spa (Kuta Seaview Hotel) and ended up returning a second time for their current special which was a deluxe 2 hour treatment. So professional and left feeling unquestionably rejuvenated ! 

**You don’t necessarily need to pay up to $70 , anywhere between $30-40 AUD you will still have a professional masseur.

Website: 

http://www.ramabeachhotel.com/spa/

 

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF.

Hire out a pool villa.

IMG_6301

DCIM100GOPROG0013914.

In Kuta there really isn’t anywhere to get a beachside hotel with a view of the ocean. The ocean is blocked by a wall ( to stop traffic noise etc) and many of the nicer properties are back in winding streets.

I was adamant on finding a villa, and it is really affordable to live like a king! Give a go for even a few days on your trip, you won’t regret it.

TIPS

**Seminyak is known for it’s villas. It is very hard to find some in Kuta/Legian. As a matter of fact i think i found about 5 in total. Filter your searches on tripadvisor / expedia/ booking.com etc to “villa” to make life easier!

 

 

What to do in Southern Africa

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE SIXTEEN.

ALL ABOUT…

SOUTHERN AFRICA

2

e1

g2

Get there: O. R. Tambo International Airport

VLOG (With lots of extra video compared to my normal blogs! Extended footage- rare sightings!)

 

NUMBER ONE: 

Take a small plane ride in to the Okavango Delta

1

 

The Okavango is an incredibly picturesque and wildlife filled place. It was ultimately our favourite part of the Southern Africa experience. You can take many different half day trips, and during the hottest part of the day , sit back and relax in your room or in the shade under a tree. Activities include sunrise and sunset game drives, bush walks, sundowners (in the middle of the bush!!) hot air ballooning ,boat trips and mokoro (mekoro) rides.

33

44

55

DCIM100GOPROG0073440.

To get there: Fly from Maun international airport on a 6 seater and you will not regret it for a second. I was of course very skeptical at the start due to my fear of smaller planes (and it being in the middle of nowhere in Africa) but within seconds of take off all my worries had gone out the window.

Just look at the shots you can get as you go 45 minutes away from civilization!

2.jpg

PICS

*Keep your eyes peeled for animal sightings in the air!! I could make  out some Zebra and Giraffe ! (Depends also on whether or not you take a scenic flight or a flight leaving you in the delta, as i hear the scenic you see many more animals. We opted to stay in there for a few days)

TIPS:

*Decide in advance what season you would like to go. It hadn’t rained yet when we attended, but the wet season is also a prime time for spotting animals.

*Give GLAMPING a go! I have linked the camp we stayed at below. It is a whole new world. Amazing food, incredible guides that are so knowledgeable and ready to answer any question. Also, check out the view from the bathroom!!!  We had an elephant visit us one night- A METRE FROM OUR DOOR! (In this situation please be very still and quiet or he will let out a warning call!!- do not try to take pics!)

IMG_4648.JPG

IMG_4659.JPG

IMG_4650.JPG

PICS

WEBSITE:

http://www.majorblueair.com/bots.html

Flight carrier- very experienced pilots don’t worry!

http://kadizoracamp.com/accommodation/

The place that we glamped at !

PRICE:

Check with provider at the time. Watch out for specials!

NUMBER TWO:

Risk your life on the edge of the Devils Pool.

DCIM100GOPROG0683704.

 

DCIM100GOPROG0683718.

IMG_5313

DCIM100GOPROG0763850.

The Devils Pool. So damn exhilarating.

Let me help you picture it. Victoria falls. One of the seven wonders of the world .

You are laying on the edge of it. You even will look over to see the bottom as water rushes past.

Get there: Cross the border from the Zimbabwe side in to Zambia and then jump on a boat tour.

TIPS

*Many a life has been claimed here so DO LISTEN TO THE GUIDE. EXERCISE CAUTION AT ALL TIMES. Do not get cocky!!

*Go on a sunny day, makes for better rainbow shots 😉

*Do not go if you aren’t a strong swimmer. You need to get across the pool on your own and be able to get back in a current.

*Do not go if you are afraid of a few scratches / scrapes. I cut myself a few times on rocks because you really don’t know what is down there. A few fish had a nibble on me too 😉

WEBSITE:

http://www.shearwatervictoriafalls.com/activities/livingstone-island-tour-aka-devils-pool-zambi/

PRICE:

We went with shearwater, but there are many providers. Our whole tour including transfers over the border cost $135 AUD and we received a really nice high tea.

NUMBER THREE

Cruise through Chobe National Park (Kasane- Northern Botswana) on a sunset cruise.

1smallram

2smallram

3

4

6

Incredible view of all creatures great and small from the boat.

We went on a tour that allowed you to bring your own drinks and snacks on board (they don’t offer any) and we were fine with that! You are free to move around the boat and take photos. This was one of the safaris we did that definitely had some of the most incredible animal encounters.

Elephants galore reside here! We were lucky enough to see many babies and also got within a couple of metres to deadly hippos outside the water!

Doing it from afternoon to dusk also meant we got some stunning shots of those unique Africa sunsets.

TIPS:

*TAKE A HAT! DO NOT FORGET!!!! I love the heat but even for me this was pretty intense at this time of the day as the boat does not offer much cover. It appears to, but trust me , only a few lucky ones chose the right seats that did not end up with sun on them.

*BYO food and alcohol! (But really don’t forget water!!)

*Have your camera out and ready straight away. Within seconds of entering the park we started to see wildlife.

*DO NOT DO THE MORNING SAFARI DRIVE. TOURIST TRAP.

They take you around in a circle and hope you are satisfied seeing the few elephants you saw on the cruise. We also had a very unhelpful and rude guide who clearly just expects to get a lot of tips to do nothing from unsuspecting tourists. We only knew the difference due to going on so many drives with really caring , knowledgeable guides.

WEBSITE/PRICE:

Various

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g297318-d2343595-Reviews-Chobe_River_Boat_Cruises-Kasane_North_West_District.html

http://chobenationalpark.co.za/

 

NUMBER FOUR:

Visit Moholoholo rehabilitation centre.

11

IMG_4406

3

4

5

114

This rehab centre in the Greater Kruger region is non for profit and didn’t want too much promotion. I made sure we researched heavily in to places that did not breed animals for human entertainment.

Basically, animals that cannot be nursed to health or ever released in to the wild because they will be killed, reside here. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and was very against humans hand raising animals for their own enjoyment.

Most the animals we interacted with had been poisoned or thrown off farm land for killing cattle, etc. The large cats they had there (leopard, cheetah, lion) were all bred in captivity and then basically thrown out. If they were to be released they would be instant prey and be killed. They keep them to educate humans on how NOT to let this happen anymore.

There was one aspect i didn’t appreciate , and that was the fact some of the enclosures could be larger. But i am sure that if they have the space and funding in the future this would become a priority.

TIPS:
*The tour moves fast, make sure you don’t put that camera away!

*FEED THE VULTURE!!!!!!!! Volunteer instantly ! So so cool. (But heavy for those who don’t prepare themselves properly!

*Didn’t really like posing with the cheetah that they make tourists do straight away. Felt like one of those Thailand tiger shots. The cheetah was happy though and definitely not drugged. Do it if you wish, but i do not think it was  a satisfying  experience.

WEBSITE:

http://www.moholoholo.co.za/wildlife-Rehabilitation-centre.htm

PRICE:

130 South African Rand

NUMBER FIVE:

Off-road Safari in the Greater Kruger area

131

123132

I stand by this statement. After all the different safaris we went on, the smaller safaris are better. Private game reserves give you the option to go off road and have your guides track animals as they move. We saw some gorgeous lions roaming this way and even some cubs!

I did see a lot at Kruger National Park. I would still recommend a visit if you don’t have much time ( it is definitely the better option to get in and see animals fast) BUT! It is all done on a normal road, not as much adventure and excitement. (Like being in the middle of nowhere is)

TIPS:

* Tours from TREMISANA lodge are fantastic! Guides are so friendly and willing to go the extra mile.

*I would not recommend  Tshukudu game lodge. We had a VERY inexperienced guide who got us lost and we saw barely anything. Also think they have started feeding cheetahs and rhino so they hang around the outside of the camp. Just a guess, but i think by doing this they secure peoples happiness in the game drive early and guests can never go away saying they saw nothing. They also de-horn to protect the rhinos, but the horns are sold to ??????? We didn’t get too much info on that.

WEBSITE/PRICE:

VARIOUS depending on your taste:

http://www.tremisana.com/

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF: 

Stay in a treehouse!

1

2

3

Wake up to the sounds of animals that could be just underneath you having a drink from the river.  So cool.

TIPS

*It is RUSTIC. You will not be in luxury. Bugs and (maybe lets say some monkeys , rats and snakes) can get in. DO . LISTEN. TO . THE . RECEPTION when they say to leave all food there. We learnt the hard way.

*BRING WARM CLOTHES. DO NOT IGNORE THE WARNINGS. One of my biggest mistakes was to not bring the right clothes. It does get cold in the months they state on the website.

*BUG SPRAY! ! !

*Be cautious. It is a definite real hardcore bush adventure. You could end up with a snake say.. in your shower . A black mamba to be exact. BUT it is the REAL AFRICA.

WEBSITE:

http://www.marcscamp.com/

PRICE:

Dependent on room choice.

 

What to do in Sydney

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE FIFTEEN.

ALL ABOUT…

SYDNEY- NSW- AUSTRALIA

RAM

yyy

2014-11-05 19.36.36-1

IMG_9465

Get there via Syd Kingsford Smith Airport

VLOG:

NUMBER ONE:

Pose with the iconic Sydney Harbour bridge from Milsons Point!

rm

ramasd

f

Milsons point is a spectacular spot to view the Sydney Harbour Bridge from. It is a simple train or ferry ride over from the main area of the CBD.

You can also check out Luna Park while you are there! Free to walk in and have a look around , or to take a silly selfie with the big mouth 😉

I’d go at a time you can get a little of the afternoon and the start of the night in.

Afterwards, finish off with some dinner by the water, or a couple of drinks at the bar.

TIPS

** Can get a little breezy by the water. Bring a light jacket.

** There is a cool little asian tapas place less than a 10 minute walk away if you want to see more of the neighbourhood. It is called “Street Market”

** Luna park offer 2x ride tickets for those who don’t want to get amongst all the vintage childrens activities. The ferris wheel is a fantastic way to see the city at a slow pace but i still absolutely adore giving the old school rollercoaster a try. Trust me adults, it is still as fun as it always was 😉

** Give bridge climb a go! I haven’t actually gotten around to doing it myself, but i would highly recommend a dusk trip up on a clear night. (Recommendation from close friends!)

Website:

https://www.lunaparksydney.com/

http://www.bridgeclimb.com.au

Price:

Free, unless you’d like to climb.

NUMBER TWO:

Visit the royal national park!

np 1

ram24

rams1509u

ramss

One of the beautiful day trips to do in the Sydney region is to head over to the royal national park.

There are quite a few stunning and secluded (dependent on the day you go) beaches/ lagoons to explore and enjoy a picnic lunch at.

TIPS

** On weekends leave very early. Carparks can fill up and you wouldn’t want to drive in and have that nasty sign staring you down.

** Bring mosquito repellent . Just in case .

** Definitely pack food. Majority of these areas don’t even have phone reception let alone a restaurant.

WEBSITE:

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/royal-national-park

PRICE:

National parks entry fee in busy times.

NUMBER THREE: 

Catch the ferry over to Manly

98y

rams12

rams

rams23124124

In doing so , you get to see the north side. You won’t pull in at the surf beach , so this gives you a chance to see the marina area and surrounds also.

TIPS

** Just follow the corso all the way to get the best sights in!

** Head over to hugos or bavarian bier cafe for a sundowner before you leave. Such a spectacular view.

** Watch out for the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE when you leave and return! 🙂

WEBSITE:

http://www.manly.nsw.gov.au/attractions/beaches/

PRICE:

Dependent on the ferry type you choose. Always check at the counter whether or not you want the normal ferry (30min) , fast ferry, or an actual tour boat.

NUMBER FOUR:

Play pinball at Frankies.

ram111

Ok maybe you wouldn’t just play pinball.

Frankies is one of my favourite places to go in Sydney. Always lively ANY day of the week until all hours. They have freshly squeezed apple and orange juice to accompany your choice of liquor

TIPS:

** Live music is from Sun-Thurs. Tuesday is karaoke with the live band 😉 Always a fun time.

** TRY THE PIZZA. Ok pizza is the only option, but it is worth it. Do not miss out! Can be ordered at any hour 😉

Website:

frankiespizzabytheslice.com

Price:

Always amazingly free.

NUMBER FIVE:

Have a lazy day and feast at Darling Harbour or in Chinatown.

8y89

It is so very easy to access this area of Sydney. Catch the light rail to Pyrmont Bay or Capitol Square and simply stroll. There is an abundance of restaurants , live performers and activities to do for the young and older alike.

TIPS

** Enjoy a cocktail at Darling Harbour and then move in to Chinatown for food. There is a huge difference in price, but definitely not quality. There are so many cuisines on offer within a few blocks of each other.

** Don’t forget to stroll all the way down to Cockle Bay. Really nice spot to see what Sydney is all about  .

WEBSITE:

http://www.darlingharbour.com/

http://sydney-chinatown.info/

PRICE:

Free

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF. 

Walk from Bondi to Bronte

IMG_2262

You can’t come to Sydney without seeing some more beach. This is the most popular trail for locals and tourists. You get to wind around the coast with only the most picturesque of facades.

TIPS:

** If you are a tourist, go during the week. Will give you more space to really enjoy as the area itself becomes quite crowded regardless.

WEBSITE:

http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/recreation/beaches_and_coast/bondi_to_bronte_coastal_walk

PRICE:

Free

What to do in Cairns

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE FOURTEEN.

ALL ABOUT…. CAIRNS- NORTH QLD- AUSTRALIA !

rams1 rams2 rams3

Get there: Road trip if travelling through QLD OR you can fly to Cairns Int. Airport.

VLOG :

NUMBER ONE:

Visit the Esplanade

rams4 rams5 rams6 rams7

The Esplanade is one of the main tourist attractions within Cairns itself. Walk down the boardwalk and take in the views or simply sit down and watch the world go by. You can walk all the way to the marina, where you can see the main tourist boats pull in and out (or jump on a trip to the reef yourself!!)

The surrounds are full of vibrant restaurants, bars and shops. You can easily waste a day here.

TIPS:

** The weather in the tropics is very temperamental so if its looking gloomy, it may come down and rain for a bit. Pack an umbrella if it is overcast, or even a light jacket (if you go during winter months)

WEBSITE:

http://tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au/

PRICE:

Free

NUMBER TWO:

Laze around in the lagoon.

DCIM100GOPROG0080446.

rams9 rams10

You cannot swim in the ocean here (due to the stingers, potential crocs etc :P)  but the smart people of the North Qld Govt. have made up for it with a fantastic man made crystal clear lagoon.

On the weekends there are live cover bands playing during the day, the climate is always spectacular and you have the choice of soft sand or grass to plant yourself for a sunny afternoon.

TIPS:

** Get there early if you are fussy about getting a certain “spot”. It is tourist / backpacker city here, and it can tend to be crowded even on a week day.

WEBSITE:
http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/esplanade/facilities/lagoon

PRICE:

Free

NUMBER THREE:

Have some cocktails at Salthouse.

rams11 rams12

Salthouse is a super cool bar right near the marina. Delish cocktails. I didn’t try the food , but the ambiance of the place was fantastic . There was a mix of a dj and a live band, also parts with just background music for the more chilled out type .

Inside they have great mood lighting and even a mini pool throughout.

TIPS:

** Bar lines can be a hit and miss here. I would recommend getting a drink from inside and bringing it out, as the outside bar had really slow staff for double the line the inside did.

WEBSITE:
http://www.salthouse.com.au/

PRICE:

Upwards of $10

NUMBER FOUR:

PUB CRAWL.

rams14

You wouldn’t come to somewhere like Cairns to not go out and sample the nightlife. It attracts a very young visitor base, except for those coming solely for the reef trips.

(Which i do recommend! But when i attended Cairns itself i didn’t go, so i am leaving it out of this blog. I have previously spoken of reef tours here: https://ramstopfiveandahalf.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/what-to-do-at-airlie-beach-whitsundays-australia/ )

TIPS:

**PJs – Fantastic cliche Irish pub fun. We went on a Sat night and they had a really good cover band. Ended on some Wolfmother which in my opinion you could NEVER go wrong with!

**Gilligans – The number one backpacker bar attraction. Mix of music dependant on what day  / time you arrive. Check their facebook for more info as they regularly update. There is a deck with pool views, or inside bars with different “theme” nights.

WEBSITE:

https://www.gilligans.com.au/

http://www.pjobriens.com.au/cairns/

PRICE:

Dependent on how much a drinker you are.

NUMBER FIVE:

Hire a car and do a scenic drive to Mission Beach.

rams51095 rams10291309 ramsa185u

From Cairns you are in such a good position to go for a drive and see rural Aus.

We woke up at the crack of dawn to head out on an adventure.

Originally we planned to leave the car at Mission Beach and jump on a boat over to Dunk Island ( and camp for the night). Unfortunately the weather did not permit 😦 White caps everywhere on a normally calm area.

Instead we found that Mission Beach itself is stunning!! It is so long , filled with palms , coconuts and soft sand. We almost had the beach to ourselves and it wasn’t a bad way at all to spend the day. (You can still see Dunk from the mainland too!)

YOU CAN SWIM HERE!!

TIPS:

**Go to the bar right next to the beach. Go there late (past 11pm) and you will see it magically come to life. All the backpackers finish work and are looking for a place to let their hair down. (On a Monday night, the only thing open was here , but there are not too many more options in town at all anyway) . There is a Jukebox and normal pub style games. BUT. My favourite part was the fact you just go up to the fridge, get out whatever drink you want and take it to the counter for payment. ALL DRINKS ARE $5 !!!!!

** On that cheap $5 note, i wouldn’t say you get the best value for money at the Asian Tapas place next door. “The Sand Bar” .

No BYO (for a country town is insane!) and they charge a $10 bottle (we knew the brand) for almost $50. DO NOT GET THEIR MASSAMAN CURRY. Biggest disappointment ever. I did like the rest of the food though. Great (locally grown i’m sure) green paw paw.

They are good up-sellers (beware!) . Will tell you “food doesn’t come with veg etc” so you order a separate plate that you don’t need .

WEBSITE:

http://www.missionbeachtourism.com/

https://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/locations/cairns/

PRICE:

Car hire can be cheap for one day. But if you plan an over-nighter, it will be upwards of $70. Costs to stay at the backpackers are between $20-70. We opted for the place across the road that have cabins, for which a last minute booking as we walked in cost $85.

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF:

Josephine Falls

rams203198713

rams181498 rams912982417

I am 99% sure tours do day trips out here, but we used the hire car on the way back from Mission Beach.

Pretty waterfall, you can swim in the bottom pool only. (Top is too dangerous).

There is a small rainforest walk (that you think will go forever) but once you reach the fork in the road there isn’t far to go.

TIPS

**If you don’t like swimming in cold water, this may not be for you. Good photo op. that is all.

**For those that don’t mind the water, you can slide off the rocks! We didn’t give it a go (cold – water – a – phobs) but i am sure it would be great fun in the summer season.

**Surprisingly, NO MOZZIES were around! Maybe it’s a winter thing. Either way , bring some spray in case as my last waterfall experience previous to this was an infestation.

**Try to go after some heavy rain. I hear it is better. We visited after a night filled with torrential downpours.

WEBSITE:

http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/wooroonooran-josephine-falls/

PRICE:
FREE , but there will be car hire, or bus payment.

What to do in Jindabyne

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE THIRTEEN.

ALL ABOUT.. JINDABYNE , NSW – AUS

(In the WINTERTIME!)

From Sydney, Jindy is approx 5-6 hrs in the car pending traffic.

11954599_10153490066316011_2812062337448447652_n

IMG_1896

VLOG:

NUMBER ONE:

Snowboard/ Ski at THREDBO

IMG_1858

IMG_1874

IMG_1792

In our opinion Thredbo was the best so far out of the mountains we have tried in Aus. I think each person has different views on the type of runs/terrain they like though so i won’t knock down the others. (Although Mt. Buller is very underwhelming!)

It is only a short half an hour drive from Jindabyne. A lot of people opt to stay in Jindy due to the accommodation being half the price. (Still expensive last minute though! And sells quick!)

TIPS:

**Beware, the car park will FILL UP! You do not want to be catching busses up to the mountain it is SO annoying. Especially on a blizzarding day, when you are dying to pee.

Drag that hangover body out of bed and get in the car earlier. It saves the effort.

**Buy passes online. You’ll save money. I was lazy and then found how much everything really does add up.

** Don’t expect spectacular food . BUT . The food cart’s double-banga-sanga looked so good i am still regretting not giving it a try.

WEBSITE:

https://www.thredbo.com.au/

PRICE:

Upwards of $100

NUMBER TWO:

Dine at Cocina Mexican Grill & Cantina

ramssss2434

I normally wouldn’t be one to plug a restaurant as basic as mexican, but for this small country town , this is the best offering around.

The place was packed every single night , and with good reason.

Owner was very friendly, went around to every table to check on food despite the busy crowds and was smiling consistently  . The location is also fabulous, across from the lake and a few steps from the main pub.

My favourite part of the whole place though, was the ambiance and cover music in the background. MEXICAN COVER SONGS!!! Hear popular tunes, done the mexican way!

TIPS:

**Try the Ahi Tuna Sliders

 ( Delicious won ton chips topped with diced ahi tuna, guacamole, chipotle mayonnaise, fresh coriander, sesame seeds and lime juice )
SO . DAMN. GOOD! Was the best thing of the whole meal.

WEBSITE:

http://cocina.net.au/

PRICE:

Upwards of $30 for two people

NUMBER THREE

Laze by Lake Jindabyne

ramsy

ramsmf

rams25

Whatever time of the day. Whatever the weather. It really was a relaxing beautiful spot.

We were lucky to stay at the Lake Jindabyne Hotel with a water view room, but it is free for the public to go out and spend time there regardless of being a guest. (Although i’d recommend the accomodation in a heart beat compared to the rest.  Basic but relaxing and comfortable! Best location!)

TIPS:

** Bring some BBQ stuff, as there is a nice undercover area (As seen in pics) for you to have a picnic.

WEBSITE/PRICE:

http://www.lakejindabynehotel.com.au/

If staying, upwards of $109 per night.

NUMBER FOUR

Perisher!

1

3

2

You have to see it if you are going in Winter. Can’t just try the one mountain.

Snow sports available just like Thredbo, or you could go just for the views and the magnificent alpine peacefulness.

TIPS:

** Hire equipment in town, or on approach to Jindy. Much more affordable if you do not own your gear.

WEBSITE/PRICE:

http://www.perisher.com.au/

NUMBER FIVE

See some live music!

4

There are two main options to get out and about in the snow season. Most people start their night at the Lake Jindabyne Hotel. They have the cliche fun pub games (pool , video etc) and when we were there, a guy was covering pretty old school stuff. (Which we adore)

To finish, everyone goes to the Banjo Patterson Inn. It is literally in the complex across the road. (Remember earlier when i was talking about the convenient location of lake jindy!) They have a variety of music playing. Pretty large venue.

TIPS

** Check out the facebook page for Banjo’s before attending. They update regularly and it will help you to know if what you want to see is actually happening or not.

** Don’t be surprised if what you want to see isn’t exactly as it seems. If it isn’t busy or towards the end of the season, half the bar may be closed super early.

PRICE:

Free entry!

WEBSITE:

http://www.banjopatersoninn.com.au/

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF

Gaze at the stars.

11064772_10153505311796011_2493743705456729352_n

I honestly have had some of the best experiences being shocked at how clear the sky is in the country. Shooting stars!!! Honestly you don’t get skies like that in the city 😉

TIPS

** You can’t take a photo. Don’t try , it doesn’t work unless you are a pro.

WEBSITE/PRICE

FREE

!!!!!!

What to do in Mykonos Greece

RAMS TOP 5.5 EPISODE TWELVE.

ALL ABOUT..

Mykonos , Greece.

rams1

rams2

rams4

 

VLOG:

NUMBER ONE:

Dance until dawn.

rams6

rams3

rams5

rams7

Many a young traveller knows that Mykonos = party town.

TIPS:

** Head to TROPICANA during the afternoon. This is where you get the best of everything. Sea, sun, cocktails and hilarious dancing .

** For all other nightlife, you will perhaps need a little nap as most clubs will not even OPEN until Midnight.

WEBSITE:

http://www.clubbersguide-mykonos.com/clubs.html

PRICE:

Most nightclubs will charge a cover or have tickets. The beach bars are free to attend.

 

NUMBER TWO:

Wander the cobblestone streets.

rams12

rams11

rams14

rams551

Blue and white buildings grace the eye catching alleyways. It is a step away from the norm in all the right ways.

Accidentally stumble in to shops you never would’ve imagined to be there, or perhaps meet the local giant pelicans.

TIPS:

**Its very windy in Mykonos. Take a light jacket and if you have long hair, tied back is a must!

** Wear comfy shoes! Lots of steep hills to climb when exploring.

WEBSITE/PRICE: N/A

NUMBER THREE

Dream the days away under your own personal hut.

rams2322

rams214

rams31509

Perfect party recovery!

TIPS

** You need to pay a certain amount of Euro for a spot on the beach. It is worth it though to have somewhere to sit because there is no sand , only rock.

** Having some shade is also always a positive. Roasting all day isn’t for everyone.

PRICE:

Upwards of 16 EURO

NUMBER FOUR

Try OUZO.

rams13

Ouzo is a traditional Greek alcohol.  You can’t go to Greece without giving it a few sips at least 😉

TIPS:

**Not for the faint hearted. It is VERY potent.

** Greeks don’t tend to believe you should mix this with anything. After my taste test, i would say a mixer would be wise. BUT you must try it straight first .

WEBSITE:
http://greekfood.about.com/od/mezethesdrinks/a/Ouzo.htm

NUMBER FIVE

Visit the iconic windmills.

ramRS

I did mention earlier that Mykonos is an incredibly windy place. There are an abundance of historic windmills that can be seen from many places in the town. Why not go right up to the source and tick off sight seeing before the daily cocktail.

TIPS:

** Tends to gain a lot of attention. If you want a photo of just you and a windmill… lets face it .. it probably won’t happen.

PRICE:

Free.

NUMBER FIVE AND A HALF 

Eat Souvlaki by the harbour.

RAMS21415

RAM1

RAMS241

The harbour area beside the main shops is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many cute little stalls and restaurants along the water. You can’t miss a lengthy lunch watching the world go by.

TIPS:

** Look for what is busy. I found it to be a great indicator of worthy food.