Trip: 27 September – 13 October 2019
Where to even begin with my Canadian travels? I was there for 16 *insert appropriately glowing adjective here* days and it was absolutely not long enough. I fell in love with this amazing country. (Yeah, I’ve said that about all my overseas trips – not sure if I just love travel or if I’m THAT good at picking awesome countries to visit… 😜)
I left Brisbane on 27 September and, after a short layover in Auckland and a looong flight, arrived in Vancouver the same day. Timezones are CRAZY. It worked out to be about 22 hours travel, from the time I left Brisbane airport until the time I arrived in Vancouver. Thankfully, my jet lag was not as bad as expected, possibly because I could sleep comfortably on my AirNZ flight. Business class makes soooooo much difference! 🖤
Tip: If at all possible, try and keep your travel dates flexible. I lucked out big time and snagged business class fares ON SALE! The tickets were only a few hundred $$$ more than premium economy fares through other airlines. Um, no brainer! I know it’s not always possible to be flexible but if you can manage it, it can be worth it.
My trip consisted of:
- a few days in Vancouver to myself
- a 5-day tour with Discover Canada Tours (Vancouver to Rockies return, including Revelstoke, Banff + many other spots which made my photographer heart happy!)
- about a week back in Vancouver, post-tour
- two performances of the Rock the Rink tour, one in Abbotsford and one in Vancouver
- my first NHL game! (Vancouver Canucks vs LA Kings)
- day trips to Grouse Mountain, Victoria and Vancouver Island, and Whistler with Landsea Tours
- whale watching!
The trip was a LOT but so worth it. I don’t know when/if I’ll get back to Canada anytime soon so I was determined to try and do as much as I could in the time I was there (while keeping in mind that I was also solo travelling).
My second last post before this one (hilariously) mentioned 2019 going by in a flash – blink and you miss it. Considering we are now in the last week of DECEMBER 😱 with only one post between then and now, I think it’s safe to say this year has been on fast-forward since the midpoint! 😬
So what’s been happening since my Sydney travels? Holy dooly, SO MUCH. I’ll give the dot point version here and I WILL actually come back and do more in depth posts about my travels!
- Mid-August saw me returning to Hervey Bay for a bit over a week. Had the most AMAZEBALLS time (using that completely unironically because OMG it was absolutely the BEST!) which included checking off a bucket list item of mine… swimming with humpback whales. There was a whole lotta 😍😍 going on, lemme tell you!
- End of September brought about my first solo overseas trip – to CANADA! It was an incredible trip, awesome people, great food, unforgettable experiences… y’know, all the stuff you expect from such an amazing country. Lots more 😍 had here.
- I was in Canada through until mid-October. I was no sooner back in Brisbane – literally 2 days! – then I was repacking my bag and off to Perth for 5 days! (I had actually organised Perth aaaages before Canada ever became a planned trip.) The west coast is beautiful and I had a lot more fun adventures.
Which brings us to now. It has been a seriously busy year – I’ll probably do a tally at some point, of how many kilometres I travelled 🙈 – and I’m only now just starting to recover. End of year burnout is totally a thing.
How has your year been? Have you done any travelling? Any special trips?
PS A belated happy holidays! Can you believe we’re less than a week away from New Years? Yikes.
We’ve hit 3 weeks since my Sydney trip so I’m getting a wriggle on and finally posting about it!
The first day was reasonably uneventful (other than a dropped phone and partially cracked screen 🤦🏻♀️) so moving along…
Day 2 was my first day of whale watching in Sydney. I booked on the morning trip with Go Whale Watching, leaving from Darling Harbour. (I chose Go Whale Watching on recommendation from a few instagrammers.)
One of the most random – but awesome! – parts of the trip was running into Peter and Jodie from Blue Dolphin Marine Tours! They were on the same whale watching tour, so we had an excellent chat on the way out of the harbour and as we were looking for whales. (I am SO looking forward to my trip with them in August! But I digress…)
Getting out past the Sydney Heads is a LOT more bumpy than any boat ride I’ve had so far (with the possible exception of Tasmania), but once we were on the open water it was a lot easier to remain fairly steady on our feet.
And I’ve gotta say… the view from outside the heads and looking back at Sydney and the coastline is magnificent! You can totally understand why Cook sailed straight past the Heads. With the way the land is, you’d never guess that there’s a MASSIVE harbour behind all those cliffs.
Wow, where on earth is 2019 disappearing to? I swear it really is a year of ‘blink and you miss it’. After my last couple of posts (posted from Sydney) I got back home and promptly came down with the Head Cold From Hell. 😷 (Yes, it deserves capitalisation…) I basically quarantined myself at home so I didn’t infect any of my coworkers. What a great welcome back from leave! (Not.)
Anyway, I’m finally on the road to recovery and it hit me today… it’s just over 6 weeks until I’m headed to Hervey Bay for whale watching!! I was 😁 at the thought but also 😬 because guess who hadn’t booked a single freaking thing for her trip? 🤦🏻♀️ Yes, that would be this doofus.
Thankfully I have now started to get organised and booked my accommodation (through AirBNB) plus a couple of whale watch tours. I’ll be to be in Hervey Bay for 6 days/5 nights and with limited time I’m having to be choosy about what I can and can’t do. I really really REALLY want to do at least one whale swim though, so I’m being preferential to providers that provide that or who I know are really good tour operators.
Still making final decisions but it looks like I’ll be going with:
- Blue Dolphin Marine Tours (possibly twice! I’ve been out with Blue Dolphin before and it was a brilliant trip!)
- Hervey Bay Whale Watch
- Tasman Venture
- Pacific Whale Foundation
- aaand possibly also Hervey Bay Dive Centre.
And while all this is going on, I’m still trying to nail down my Canada itinerary for late September-mid October! 😱
I love travel but the planning really does my head in sometimes. 😅
Hello from sunny (but chilly! 🥶) Sydney! I flew in this morning and am coming to the end of my first day. Wanted to share a couple of tips that made my day a whoooole lot easier.
Frequent flyer = YES
So my (early) morning started by heading straight to the Brisbane Virgin Australia Lounge for a (complimentary!) hot breakfast while I waited for my flight. (When I got upgraded to Velocity Frequent Flyer Silver status, the first thing I did was take advantage of the waived membership fee for the VA Lounge. Added to the fact that I could use my Velocity points to PAY for 1 years’ membership… essentially ‘free’ Lounge access for a year! Huzzah!) Score 1 for me.
TIP #1: Join a frequent flyer program. They’re usually free and you can get some great perks from them. I do most of my flying with Virgin Australia and the Velocity program has been excellent. I can definitely recommend it.
Once I landed in Sydney (where it was a decidedly nippy 9 degrees Celcius!) I took myself over to the Hertz desk to pick up my hire car.