Oooh Thailand. This is the main place where I figured I would get Taken but I'm still alive! (And haven't been sold to an Asian prostitution ring!)

Thailand was amazing. Some of the most beautiful, perfect beaches I have ever been to. We arrived at our $25 hotel and since Nate is the one that made all the reservations, I was relatively terrified to see our hotel, expecting a filthy hostel with bathrooms I wouldn't go anywhere near and dirty sheets. Simpletel Hotel at Karon Beach in Phuket was the BEST deal EVER. Super clean, very basic and overall just simple - hence the name. Karon Beach was exactly what I wanted in terms of where I wanted to be in the touristy island of Phuket. Our hotel was 2-3 blocks from the beach and the streets were lined with vendors, shops, restaurants and bars.
We decided to take two separate boat trips to see the other islands. The first day we were off to the famous James Bond Island at Phang Nga Bay. The tour company we went through - Rattanachol Canoeing - was AWESOME! The friendliest staff, amazing tour, great food, on time - pretty much just perfect. We went to a bunch of different islands and lagoons including Hong Island, Panak Island, Khao Ping Kan, Panyee Island and James Bond Island. We went to pristine beaches, saw amazing lagoons and had lunch at a restaurant on this floating village. It's a large Muslim community where about 1000 people live - all on the water. They generate their own power and everything, although it looked a little sketch. 
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James Bond Island
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Floating Village
We also did canoeing at Talu Island which was unexpectedly fascinating. We canoed through massive caves and tiny caves where we had to lay down in our canoes completely to get through. Our guide was awesome (and was selling hash to other canoe guides during our tour) and showed us the best spots around the lagoons. The water is only a few meters deep and during low tide, is only mud. The salt water eats away at all the limestone lagoons so it creates all the crazy caves and formations.

The last stop of the tour were the Ice Cream Caves. We docked the boat and walked into the cave and were greeted by hundreds of creepy, screeching bats. The limestone cave had crazy looking formations from water dripping into it, creating ginormous ice cream looking statues.
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Ice Cream Caves
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Canoeing at Talu Island
Pretty much a perfect day. Gorgeous beaches and amazing limestone islands. James Bond Island was actually pretty small, but is famous for being in the movie and so it was pretty crowded. There were caves right next to it that were pretty cool also. There was a section where a huge wall of limestone tipped over and fell onto the cave next to it, so it's perfectly diagonal against it. Obviously pictures would do it better justice, but still won't even compare to how beautiful everything was in real life. 
So if you ever come to Thailand and do a trip to Phang-Nga Bay, DEFINITELY go through Rattanchol Canoeing. I don't think they have a website but all the tour shops have their pamphlets. They did an amazing job and were the most genuinely nice people. They went out of their way to make sure we were having a good time, always offered to take pictures for us and continuously gave us amazing facts about what we were seeing.

The next day we toured the Phi Phi Islands (pronounced pee-pee islands). This tour wasn't the most amazing but it was still fun seeing more islands. Most of the tour, we were only viewing the islands from the speed boat but it was still spectacular, regardless. The sea sickness tablets I took unfortunately made me very drowsy (when they say just take 1, don't take 2) so I slept a lot of the boat ride. Whoops. But I still got to enjoy some snorkeling, swimming and good sight seeing. Maya Beach was one of the main destinations we were after and was probably the most beautiful beach I've seen yet. However, the hundreds of tourists kinda ruined it. Not that it wasn't still amazing, but it's hard to really enjoy and absorb how gorgeous it is when there are a hundred people crowding the sand. Which was the softest, whitest sand I've ever seen, by the way. 
These two tours were quite similar, except for the fact that the Phang-Nga Bay tour was waaaay better. Basically, if you had to choose, obviously choose this one. You pretty much see everything you would see during the Phi Phi Islands tour. 

The rest of our Phuket time was spent walking around the town, laying on the beach (& letting off floating lanterns for Alex<3) and going to the bars. Our last night we saw some awesome fire throwers where Nate ended up in a chair while he did his fire-throwing-ness around him to eventually light a cigarette in his mouth. Yes, homeboy spun his fire chains around Nate's face close enough for him to light his cigarette on the fire. I was obviously terrified, although Nate claims it "wasn't scary" (liar). 
The next day we were off to Bangkok. We only had one full day here and I HAD to go to the Tiger Temple and Floating Market. Easily the worst tour group I've ever been on (we arranged it through "Pick Me Easy" tours or something - www.pickmeeasy.com). Horrible from the extremely late pickup due to a car accident, leading to everything else running late which meant less time at each place and the worst, rudest tour guide I've ever met that didn't communicate to us at all. But other than the actual tour & guides, the places we went to were great.

Our first stop was at the Damnern Saduak floating market. Probably a much better concept than it actually was, but still pretty cool. We floated down in a canoe and realized this meant we were actually trapped at each place our canoe driver stopped at so we couldn't as easily get away from the crazy vendors trying to sell us ugly bracelets. And then there was the heat. I felt like I was about to have a heat stroke when we were caught in a boat traffic jam and didn't move for 10 minutes. However, this all was nothing an ice cold beer couldn't easily fix so we were happy campers. It was a fun experience but I wouldn't pay more than the 150 BAHT (aka $5) it cost.
Afterwards we went to the Bridge Over the River Kwai. We had no idea what it was about until a fellow tourist explained: the bridge was built by Asian laborers and was designed to bring WWII POWs to Burma to the death camps. The Japanese designed it and thousands of British people, Aussies and other Allied POWs died during the project. They also made a novel & a movie about it.
The rest of the night we enjoyed our AMAZING hotel room - Oriental Residence. Easily the nicest hotel I've EVER stayed at. We were exhausted from all the touring and I'm a sucker for room service, so we mostly relaxed. Until deciding at midnight that we were in Bangkok so we HAD to go out. Not the craziest city I've ever been to, but still fun. We weren't dressed for clubs but we went to a ton of different bars - like the little bus bars they had on the side of the road that opened up to a bar and had stools on the side - and drank til 4am. We try not to be old and boring every now and then.

Thailand definitely treated us well. I even was getting used to the millions of HUGE cockroaches everywhere. Well, maybe just getting a little less scared of them. 

We'll be back Thailand! 
 
Our first stop of our South East Asia trip landed us in Bali, Indonesia! We arrived at our BEAUTIFUL villa in Seminyak and immediately jumped in the pool - coming from the freezing New Zealand weather to hot, humid tropics was quite the drastic change. We spent the day walking around Seminyak where there were tons of shopping and restaurants. Food is ridiculously cheap in Bali so we treated ourselves to fine dining restaurants almost every night (ex: a salmon dish that would probably cost at least $35 in Melbourne cost $7 here). Salons are also ridiculously cheap so we spent that night getting 1 hour full body massages at $8 each + a mani pedi (which would be my nightly routine if I lived here!)
We went white water rafting on the Telaga Waja River the next morning and rafted through luscious, green rice terraces and jungles down a class 4 river. The river was super shallow so we actually just spent most of the time crashing into the walls of the river and trying to get unstuck between boulders, which was still super fun. We went off one waterfall that was about 10 feet tall which was relatively exciting but it was def the best $25 ever spent! (This tour included transportation to and from the river 2 hours away, lunch, and all the gear. Love how cheap this place is).
The next day was spent surfing and relaxing at Kuta Beach. I tried to catch some of the bigger waves with Nate and suffered a few minor injuries in result. But I'm perfectly happy with surfing the baby waves:). The surf here was pretty good and the water was crazy warm. Definitely no need for a wet suit or even a towel since the sun immediately dries you off.
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One of the DOZENS of Balinese women trying to sell us everything from bracelets to massages.
We hired a driver the next morning to drive us around to villages and the rice terraces. You can haggle almost anything so we got the price down to $40 total for a private driver all day to bring us wherever we wanted. 

We stopped at Batubalan Temple and he guided us around and told us about their traditions. Then we went to Mas Village to see their famous wood carving shops. Everything is hand carved and it was amazing to see how much detail goes into everything. 
After buying some souvenirs, we went to the Tegalalong Rice Terraces which were beautiful. We stopped at the Monkey Forest on the way back home and after paying the 50 cent entry fee, were greeted by dozens and dozens of monkeys just hanging out everywhere. We bought bananas and those smart little buggers were instantly after us. We had to hide them in Nate's pockets and they still would climb on his leg and try to grab them out. If we sat down and held the banana up, they would climb on our heads and grab the banana out of our hands. We did that a few times until the monkeys started fighting over the bananas pretty much on top of us, which was pretty terrifying. 
I definitely want to come back to this country. (Minus the mosquitos that literally ate me alive) The people are super nice and friendly. It's not too touristy to where it's obnoxious. Kuta beach was really nice. It's a really fun beach town with a lot of markets and pubs, although the vendors are absolutely relentless. We got swarmed on the beach for a solid 15 minutes and were surrounded by people trying to sell us bracelets, henna tattoos, hats, shirts and a million other things.

Overall, a great start to our trip:)
 
Election time. The time when my Facebook newsfeed is full of everyone's opinions, people saying they don't want to see everyone's opinions & of course the many pretentious posts about people thinking they're better than everybody else because they may know a little bit more about what's going on. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about getting educated, especially about things that affect us all directly on a daily basis. But no, I don't really want to read your arrogant posts about you saying everyone else is an idiot for not having your same views.

But hey, I guess I'd rather have my newsfeed full of opinionated people that are at least watching the news every now and then (although unfortunately that probably includes Fox News half the time) than people going on about ridiculously idiotic reality tv shows like The Bachelor. Yes, political (& definitely sports) talk/rants > reality tv gossip BY FAR (funny how a person usually will fall under only one of those categories).

People always go on about how they "wish they could filter their newsfeed" or how they're sick of people blowing up their Facebook about a certain sports game and so on and so forth. Why don't you just get off Facebook maybe? Obviously I am one of the millions that are unable and unwilling to delete my Facebook, but I am also not bitching about how much I hate it. Perhaps I am right now, I suppose, but at least it's not on Facebook exactly? The reason I like blogging is that people have more of a choice whether or not they want to read what I have to say. Granted, we all have always had this choice but Mark Zuckerburg somehow convinced us otherwise. But you know what I mean. It's not deliberately in everyone's faces.

So my actual intention of this post - before I started ranting about how annoying people are - is to say that we are all actually very blessed to be able to have different opinions. We are lucky to be living in a country where we are able to contribute to the laws that are passed and the people who ultimately represent us. A lot of people think that the electoral college is stupid and that it doesn't give us a real vote or that there's no point in voting because it won't make a difference. But if everyone thought that way, then it would make a HUGE difference. Not all of us live in Ohio, but there IS more to voting than just voting for president. (And imagine what a nightmare it would be if every democrat in California decided that their vote didn't matter.)

We will all never agree on everything, especially on who we think is fit to be president, but that's the beauty of our country - that we're perfectly entitled and have a right to our opinions.

I've been traveling around Southeast Asia and have never felt so blessed to be an American. You don't realize how lucky you are until you're walking around third world countries and see the mass amounts of poverty. Until you see dozens of families sleeping in the dirt with infants cradled in their arms. And then you go back to your hotel room when it starts pouring down rain and you have no idea how that family manages storms like that on a regular basis without shelter.

In America a lot of people won't give money to homeless people mainly because they'll probably just spend it on booze. Some people say that they put themselves there because of drinking or drugs. Don't get me wrong, I usually have the same opinions. But I've never seen poverty like the Philippines. Where you know that they didn't choose the life they have. There wasn't a choice - that's just life.

We are all so lucky to live in a country where we have so many rights and freedoms. A country that fights to keep the poverty level and unemployment rate down. It might seem silly to compare The United Stated to third world countries, but the point is that we're lucky. That's all. People in a lot of these countries know nothing about the kind of freedom we are privileged to have.

So I try to consider that more before I open my mouth and argue about a stupid "NObama" post. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, no matter how idiotic or ignorantly they may display it. At least they have an opinion.
 
6 days, 3 people, 1 camper van. This living situation definitely took some getting used to but it ended up working out quite well.

After exploring the North Island earlier this year, I knew I had to come back to see the South Island since everyone kept telling me it was 10 times as beautiful. 6 days spent there has officially convinced me to want to move there for at least a year, or however long I can handle the cold. Every bit of this country is incredible, from the snow capped mountains, to the rolling green hills to the black sanded beaches. We spent hours upon hours driving (from Christchurch all the way north up to Abel Tasman Park and then all the way south to the Fiordlands) and every bit of the drive had amazing scenery. I didn't feel like any time was wasted driving so much because the road trip in itself was a beautiful journey.

After leaving Christchurch the day after arriving, we picked up our camper van and were off to Nelson. And we = boyfriend, his mom and I. Our camper van was super cozy and had everything we needed - a little kitchen, bathroom (with shower!) and 2 beds (Britz Campervans - very reasonably priced too). I wasn't so keen on the whole bathroom idea and never actually used it except to shower. Yes, I prefer to pee in a bush (slash the side of the road in the middle of the night) than use a trailer toilet.

We stopped in Nelson and wandered around the town and ended up coming across a parade for their Annual Arts Festival. We were soon off to Abel Tasman National Park and went on a hike the next morning. There's a TON of different hikes at Abel Tasman with the longest taking 3 days. Our 7 hour, 22km hike took us through a jungle-like trek with small waterfalls, streams and a beautiful view of the ocean.
The rest of the day and part of the next was spent driving to the glaciers. We stopped at Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier to do a short hike at each to view the glaciers. They're ridiculously large but the open hikes only let you within 200-500 meters so it was kinda hard to grasp how big they were. A pamphlet I got showed the Eiffel Tower in comparison and it was TINY compared to the glaciers.
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Franz Josef Glacier
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Fox Glacier
We got back on the road and headed south to Milford Sound, which is part of the Fiordlands. This place is definitely on my top most beautiful places I've ever been to in my life. The Fiordlands are ridiculously large mountains jutting out straight from the ocean. They were formed by glacier activity over 100,000 years ago, which created the super steep cliffs. The tallest is around 1690 meters, which is about a mile tall. The tallest waterfall is 180 meters - three times as tall as Niagra Falls! (pictured below) When it rains, there are thousands of waterfalls coming off all of the mountains but there are only a few permanent ones. 
We did a kayak tour through the fiords and learned all kinds of cool stuff about them. They all have crazy forests growing sideways off the cliffs off virtually no soil. The roots go into the cracks of the granite and grow enormous forests where animals such as penguins live. It's part of the ocean so it's mostly salt water but there's a layer of freshwater on top coming from the mountains. It accumulates a lot of dirt and plants on its way down and so it creates a dark layer of water which then tricks the marine life into thinking they're much deeper underwater than they are. So Milford Sound has a lot of really cool coral and fish as shallow as 10 meters that's usually over a hundred meters deep. 
This kayak trip was by far my most favorite part of the trip and easily one of the coolest things I've ever done. It's amazing how enormous the mountains are and how steep the cliffs are right out of the ocean. You can barely grasp how ginormous they are because the largest mountains are a bit further away and so they seem close but it would literally take hours to kayak to because it's such a massive area. Our guides asked us how far away we thought the tallest waterfall was from where we were when we were in the middle of the fiords. What we thought was maybe 2 or 3 kilometers ended up being 9 kilometers away, showing us how much our size perception was off because of how enormous the mountains were.

After the fiords, we headed to Queenstown for dinner. This was the most quaint little city surrounded by snow capped mountains.

Definitely wouldn't mind living in this beautiful country. There's so many things to do and amazing things to see. What's better than a country that has beaches and mountains and everything in between? I love New Zealand :)
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our campervan!
 
Nathaniel and I have only hit two out of eleven-ish destinations so far and already have a list of DO's & DON'Ts for flying. 

*When airlines say a MAXIMUM of 10 kilos, they actually mean 10 kilos. Not an extra 7 that we tried to carry on. If you're as unlucky as us, they'll weigh your carry-ons and they WILL make you get rid of the extra weight. We ran into this problem when flying Tiger Airways from Melbs to Gold Coast (our very first flight ha). We "got rid" of our extra weight and proceeded to the terminal with multiple shirts/jumpers on & loaded pockets. Do what ya gotta do. 

*What we learned from this mishap was to obviously pack lighter, and if you get caught in a situation like this, wear as much of the weight as possible. Hey, if 250 pound people can fly, then I should be allowed to wear half the wardrobe I brought.
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I made this chart for the carry-on requirements for the airlines we're using
*We had this supposedly brilliant plan to sleep at airports when we have an early flight the next day. Because who wants to pay $100+ for a hotel you're barely utilizing. So check out of your hotel, drop your stuff off at the airport & store it in a locker and bam! You have the entire day to do what you want, a place to keep your stuff and a (possibly uncomfortable) place to sleep without any accommodation costs!

*What you should make sure before this brilliant plan kicks you in the ass: is the airport open all night, enabling me to sleep indoors? At Gold Coast, the answer is NO. As in, we slept on the beach, again wearing multiple layers of clothes. Of course, if you also have a whiny boyfriend complaining about his legs going numb at 130am, you will not do much sleeping on the beach and will instead wait outside the airport until they open at 4am

*When flying budget airlines, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. So we booked all of our flights well in advance and got great deals. We paid about $65 a person to fly from Bali to Phuket via AirAsia. Unfortunately, flying budget airlines means they can change or cancel your flight and not do a damn thing to help you figure out what you should do about it. So goodbye $65 direct flight and hellooo $200 flight with a layover, causing us to lose half a day. And no, AirAsia (nor either of our travel insurances) did not pay the difference or give any kind of compensation whatsoever. They didn't even refund us so we're instead, having to dispute the charge via our credit card. 

*Budget airlines might cancel the entire service of flights from one city to another, like they did with AirAsia. Sometimes they'll just move your flight up 3.5 hours and completely mess up your schedule and cause you to miss the tour bus that you were planning on taking in the Philippines. Again, airlines like Tiger Airways, will NOT do anything to help you - such as changing to a different flight or giving you a refund. 

*If at all possible, fly more legitimate airlines. Unless you're bargain (aka broke) travelers like us and need to get the cheap flights. If you're like us, then my advice is to be very flexible with flights because they can always change. As in, don't book too many transfer flights where missing one where cause you to miss the other. Also, maybe spend more time in each place you're visiting to ensure you have sufficient time there in case situations like these happen. 

Summary of Dos & Don'ts:

*Don't check luggage - this will save you literally HUNDREDS of dollars
*Pack as light as possible! Weigh your carry-ons before you go to the airport. They don't always check but it's better to be safe than sorry!
*Sleep at airports when possible if you want to save money but always make sure they're going to be open. A lot of smaller airports will not stay open all night for domestic flyers (most airports will for all international flights). 
*Be flexible if you're shitty budget airline decides to screw you over. 
*Read your travel insurance coverage carefully. They may or may not help you get money back from cancelled/delayed flights. May as well try to make a claim regardless.
*Make an adventure out of every mishap because they'll never stop anyway and they make for good stories later:)

Now we're off to New Zealand, hopefully we don't hit any more bumps along the road!
 
Sorry, this page has moved. 
Click HERE to be redirected to "Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef" on my new site, First For Everything.
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Nate holding a giant sea cucumber!
 
After packing up our lives in Melbourne, we were off to our first stop of our 5 week holiday.

The 2 hour flight landed us in the beautiful, warm weather of Gold Coast. Our first stop was buying "Go Cards" at the airport, which are public transport cards that give you about a 20-30% discount off the regular rate (buying tickets up front on the buses) because we are excellent researchers and bargain travelers:) This made our 45 minute ride to Surfer's Paradise (where our hotel was) only $4.35, saving us a $75 cab.

We checked into our room at Vibe Hotel, which was a bit more than we wanted to budget at $120/night but it was worth it to be so close to the beach, shops & bars. And it also didn't hurt that it was a pretty nice hotel as well.

A two minute walk took us to the strip where everything was. We relaxed on the beach and got food before going out. There are always promoters out everywhere selling tickets to "Club Crawls", so we figured it would be a good way to check out all the nightlife.

The Club Crawl was worth the $25 we paid each, getting us admission to 5 "clubs" (which were more just fancy, small bars), a drink at each and food. Pretty sure I was the oldest one there (besides Nate) but it was still a good time, even though they slightly resembled frat parties.

Day two in Gold Coast was rainy the entire day so it consisted of a lot of relaxing, card playing (we're avid Rummy-players) and going to the bars again.

The next day was probably one of the best of my life because I finallyyyyy got to fulfill my dream of holding a koala!! We went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary which was easily the best zoo I've ever been to in my life. We started with the "Koala Cuddling" and paid $45 to get three pics with Yani, the three year old koala girl. She was extremely friendly and surprisingly not heavy at all. She's not the smallest thing in the world and you would just expect them to be heavy but she was actually super light. The trainer let us pet her and hold her for a bit and we got some good pics with her. I've heard their fur is very coarse but she was really soft! This experience definitely solidified my goal of having a pet koala eventually. And I'm being completely serious.

After that, we did the Green Challenge. This was a fun little ropes course that they had set up in the middle of this rainforest setting. They unfortunately had the harder adult course shut down because it was too windy but the kids course was entertaining as well.

They have a huge area with about 40-50 kangas just hanging out where you can go in and feed them. They sell "roo food" for $2 so all the kangas come and surround you to eat. They also had a Lorikeet feeding and would give you a plate of milk and so the birds would come swoop down and sit on you and drink.

Overall, best zoo ever! And Gold Coast was a great and relaxing start to our trip:)
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Me & Yani:)
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View from our room!
 
Sorry, this page has moved.
Click HERE for "Teaching English Abroad: Step 2" at my new site, First For Everything.
 
One look at my iPhone weather app and I knew that this rare occasion of beautiful weather MUST be spent outdoors. The boyfriend’s mother is also visiting so this doubled as an excuse to make the trip to Phillip Island for the first time since moving to Melbourne.
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Located about 140km south of Melbourne, Phillip Island is a popular tourist destination, most notably known for the “Penguin Parade”. This unique experience allows visitors to watch the famous “Little Penguins” (AKA the smallest species of penguins standing at 33cm tall and the only penguins native to Australia) waddle ashore from the ocean, dart across the beach and wander into their burrow homes.

Photography/filming was strictly prohibited at the Penguin Parade but this is a short clip of the Little Penguins eating at the Melbourne Zoo!
We, of course, had to plan this trip out to fit our spontaneity, budget and time limitations. Spontaneity equaled expensive accommodation because of last minute planning, which didn’t agree with our budget. Work commitments also didn’t allow us to stay longer than one night but any kind of public transportation would take hours. Solution? Rental car! Goodbye $250 accommodation for ONE night and 32038413-hour-long public transportation and helloooo $47 rental car! (Thank you Europcar Rentals!) This would allow us to drive there and back in one day at 2 hours each way.

Since the Penguin Parade is shortly after sunset (the Little Penguins have to wait for it to get dark to make it more difficult for predators to catch them), we started our day off hiking Cape Woolamai. This 3 hour (including time for photo opps plus appreciation of natural phenomenon’s), 5.5km hike brought us to a spectacular view of Phillip Island and The Pinnacles (bottom, left photo), as well as to the highest point on Cape Woolamai. For people that love hiking, this was definitely worthwhile, although not very challenging. If you’re in for a good walk and a breathtaking view of natural rock formations, then this is a must. If you’re looking for a difficult and dangerous adventure, then well, I heard you can climb these crazy steep rocks. 
After dinner, we headed for the Penguin Parade. We debated getting the “Penguin Plus” seats, which seated you in the very front, but were perfectly happy with our general admission tickets which allowed us a good view to watch our adorable little blue friends scurry across the sand in groups of about 20-25 and up towards their homes. The Boardwalk, or walkways back up to the main building, was the best part. We got as close as possible to the little guys in their natural environment, saw them interact, sit on their eggs and heard a little too much of their “mating” sounds (September is apparently mating season).

We also got to learn “heaps” about Little Penguins. While out at sea, they eat HALF of their body weight every day. During incubation periods, the male and female take turns sitting on the eggs (usually 1 or 2) and switch off every 3-4 days. Since they eat so much (imagine eating 50+ pounds of pizza every day…yummm), they are able to hang out for those few days while their spouse swims about. This conservation center also overturned the myth that penguins mate for life. They actually have a 17% divorce rate and often find new hubbys/wives every year due to divorce & mortality rate.

Tips?

Get there at least an hour early to get good seats! This was probably the main advantage of the Penguin Plus tickets – they were lead to the front right before sunset to avoid sitting in the cold for an hour/hour & a half. But the difference of tickets: GA=$22 // PP=$44
 - One thing that might make a difference for you is the fact that they are a not-for-profit organization so all proceeds go to the penguins:)

Do NOT bring food – I witnessed one of the dozens of crazy, ravenous sea gulls land on my boyfriend’s head and steal pizza out of his mouth. Seriously. This was the LEAST I have ever enjoyed eating pizza, having to guard it from hovering, fearless birds. They strictly prohibit photography inside/on the beach and as much as I wanted to photograph the penguins, capturing the moment where a bird steals my boyfriend’s pizza definitely takes the cake.
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End of our hike:)
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I was desperately wishing there was one underneath our car.. (no luck)
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Watching the surfer's at Woolamai Beach
 
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One of the my absolute favorite parts of Melbourne that I can NOT get enough of is the street art. Graffiti has such a negative connotation - unless you live in Melbourne where it is a widely accepted form of expression and one of the most popular and creative forms of art. I realized today how precious this type of art is when I walked down one of the most notorious graffiti laneways, Hosier Lane. This street is across from the Atrium entrance of Federation Square and has some of the city's best street art. 

The last time I was here was a few months ago. As I walked down the alley way, it was like it was the first time I had ever seen it - and then I realized that's because essentially, it was the first time ever seeing it. Most street art gets painted over eventually - which makes sense since it's public domain. As tragic and senseless as this concept of painting over & defacing art seemed at first, I began to realize that it was all part of this urban culture. It makes the street art of Melbourne that much more exquisite - that it is ever changing. You can essentially never walk down the same laneway twice because there is always different artwork to see. It makes the city a permanent [not-so-blank] canvas that artists can continue to create amazing things out of.

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Hosier Lane 19 March 2012
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Hosier Lane 21 September 2012
Had I known at the time that I had already photographed this laneway, I would have attempted to get the same exact angle/shot so I could compare. There's always next time:)

Some of my Favorite Street Art I've Come Across:

CBD Laneways

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This laneways is opposite of David Jones
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Hosier Lane - Mar 2012
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Hosier Lane - Sept 2012
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The Atrium from Hosier Lane
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Flinders Lane
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Centre Place

Random/Unknown Places

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If only I knew what bar this was taken at...
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Bike trail along the river between Bridge Rd and Victoria Victoria St

Brunswick Street Laneways

Chapel Street Laneways