Some of these experiences or moments are “big” and others are seemingly “small”, but looking back at 2014 these are the most special ones that made it such an exciting year.
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef
If it wasn’t bad enough that for 21 years I’d lived in Queensland yet never visited our most important icon, I also spent one of those years working for the state tourism department. In the publicity team. Encouraging people to visit said icon.
In 2014, I finally made it to the Great Barrier Reef. I went with my best friend to the Whitsundays, Townsville & Cairns and visited the Great Barrier Reef on a day trip to the drop dead gorgeous Green Island. We snorkeled right off the beach and we saw a huge array of beautiful, tropical fish– and I discovered that I loved snorkeling!
This came as a bit of a surprise, as I like the beach and splashing around in the ocean but I’ve never considered myself much of a swimmer (by Australian standards).
Yet another reason why I love to travel is that it is always giving you the opportunity to try new things and learn more about yourself.
Relaxing on Australia’s best beach
The Whitsundays is arguably Australia’s most idyllic group of islands and Whitehaven Beach is the uncontested crown jewel of the Whitsundays and recognized as the best beach in Australia.
The beach owes its dazzling white sand to silica, which is not a local rock, but has been washed onto the beach over millions of years.
I took a day trip to Whitehaven with Cruise Whitsundays, and while I would have liked to do the walk up to Hill Inlet, which I didn’t realize wasn’t allowed on this particular tour, finally setting foot on this glorious beach was a real highlight of the year. We spent two hours here, and as the island only hosts day-visitors, we had plenty of space to sprawl out on the sand and completely relax.
New Years Fireworks in Melbourne
I rang in the new year on an apartment balcony in Melbourne with my boyfriend. He was doing a two-month internship and I visited him for a week over New Years.
The streets were surprisingly empty and hardly any restaurants were open. We weren’t keen to battle the crowds at the major areas for seeing the fireworks, so we decided to watch the fireworks from the apartment. We figured we should be able to see the fireworks in Docklands from our balcony…even if only in the distance.
To our surprise (and delight!) the rooftop of the building next door was part of the city’s fireworks show! We had front row seats to the show. We didn’t have to join a crowd and we could toast the new year with champagne, which you can’t do on the street. Win, win, win!
By the way – he got the job, and we’re moving to Melbourne in January 2015!
Driving Waterfall Way
Waterfall Way is the most scenic drive in the state of New South Wales and is easily accessible for Queenslanders hopping over the border for the weekend. We visited four waterfalls, each spectacular in their own way, which divided my family as to which was the best – everyone had their own personal favourite.
I was really excited to do a road trip and explore the beautiful New England region of NSW, which I can hardly believe has been right under my nose all this time. It’s an unsung hero of New South Wales – I’ve had feedback from readers from NSW and Queensland who can’t believe it’s so beautiful, or accessible, either!
Snorkelling in Vanuatu
I was so excited to get to use my passport in 2014, thanks to a last-minute South Pacific cruise with my good friend Stef, and her family. I love travelling through Australia, but there is nothing like travelling outside of your own country.
Our final destination was Port Vila, Vanuatu, where we went snorkeling. While I was very freaked out at first by the number of fish surrounding me when I got in the water, once I regained my cool (and dignity) I loved it!
Snorkeling in Vanuatu was totally different to snorkeling off Green Island because I was able to see lots of beautiful, out-of-this-world coral from the semi-submersible part of the boat. Unfortunately, I don’t have an underwater camera so I couldn’t capture them, but the fish were stunning – my favourite was the fuschia fish covered in a black leopard print.