Road Trip Our Journey – Part 2

The next day we drove from Narooma onto the next town, Batemans Bay and found a YHA caravan site which we managed to book for a few days. A small anonymous donation to the ‘Help your child abroad’ foundation helped us out massively. What we were able to book was a tiny caravan in the YHA which was advertised as a ‘private room’. To be honest we were just happy to be inside again. We spent a few days there, blogging and showering in hot water and downloading more Netflix.

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While we were there Olly re-downloaded the Couch Surfer App and began to look for our next place to stay. We found a local guy called Brad who was willing to take us in for a few days. We wanted to stay with locals for a few reasons. One was to save money and the other was to get more information about the areas we were in. The towns we were stopping in along this road trip I have either never heard of, or knew nothing about so locals information was crucial to use exploring.

View from Brads House - Road Trip Our Journey - Part 2

We went to Brads house and immediately we were made to feel right at home. He introduced us to his 3 children and showed us to our room. A DOUBLE BED, INDOORS! Clearly we were appreciating the small things in life once again. We attempted to go and buy some food for dinner but Brad was having none of it, he insisted that he would cook us dinner and it was delicious. Brad also made his own rum which is my favourite drink of all time, was this heaven? Unlimited STRONG rum! We chilled in the living room, chatting to him and his kids, watching TV which was really nice. We looked at each other and realised how nice it was to just sit in front of the TV chatting to people. We haven’t done this in months and it just felt so nice and homely. We were instantly overwhelmed with Brad opening his home up to us and making us feel this comfortable after only a few hours.

Batemans Bay

The next day we headed out to a beach Brad had told us about called Pebbly Beach which had lots of friendly kangaroos. When we got there, there were none. Kangaroos are normally spotted at dawn and dusk so we decided to go for a walk as we had a few hours until they might appear. We checked our maps and saw a route along the coast line and headed straight for it.

 Road Trip Our Journey - Part 2

This is the last time I am letting Olly plan the whole day as he didn’t tell me the hike was about 3 hours long. Well, it was meant to take an hour and a half but we stopped to take photos, explored off the beaten track ect. As we were in the trees we couldn’t really see the weather but we either kept getting cold at the edge of the cliffs and then freezing closer to the beaches. We made it to Snake Beach which was lovely but the weather started to take a turn for the worst. It started to rain so we tried to run back to the entrance but the track wasn’t as perfect as we had liked and kept slipping over. We were so focused on getting back to the car and we were so tired we forgot all about the kangaroos and jumped back into the car to head back to Brads house.

Road Trip  Our Journey Part 2. Milly running through the bush!

That evening Brad cooked us dinner again which was beautiful, and we chatted all night long about growing up in Australia and just realising the differences between our childhood and his. After a few Rums we headed to bed as I was tipsy as hell. Not drinking anything for a while really does take its toll on your tolerance for alcohol.

Lake Tabourie- Road Trip Our Journey - Part 2

We said goodbye to Brad and headed onto Lake Tabourie caravan park. This accommodation seemed too good to be true. It started off at $22 a night for us to camp and then reduced everyday we stayed. In the end we were paying $7 a day to stay here. This place was huge! It had lots of camping kitchens and stoves, it had mini golf, tennis courts, swimming pool and backed onto the beach. This place seemed like heaven! We had some time to kill so we planned to stay here for a few days, making the most of our surrounding.

Date night!

The first day we sat in the outdoor kitchen, which had a TV, cooking our dinner over the stove and downloading Netflix. This was still pretty cold but they did have inside toilets and hot showers so we weren’t complaining. Most nights we spent in the car, in bed watching Netflix, trying to stay warm!

Lake Tabourie caravan park.

The next few days we worked out, running around the whole campsite, we explored the beach at sunset and managed to get some great photos, we also played some mini golf for our date night. It wasn’t until our 4th day here we realised we had been walking past a room we didn’t even take notice of. Olly had a look in and he found an indoor kitchen filled with an oven, kettles, tv, toasters, etc. We felt like the biggest idiots ever as we had been freezing our arses off for days! This made life a lot easier especially making dinner. After copious about of Tea and biscuits in the evenings we were a lot more comfortable getting into bed slightly warmer.

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The day we were leaving Lake Tabourie the funniest thing happened to me and Olly so far of our travels. We somehow managed to adopt hundreds of children that didn’t understand boundaries,  the children being rainbow lorikeets. They landing on my head and arms thinking I had food due to dropping crumbs of bread on the floor. They then started to fight one another while they were on my arm! A photo says a 1000 words… this one definitely does!

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Jervis Bay was our next location. Olly had once again struck gold and hooked us up with another Couch Surfer near Basin View in Jervis Bay. Tom was our host who was a 29 year old teacher who had once travelled him self in Europe. We arrived at his place and again were blown away with his hospitality. He invited us that night to the pub with his friends to watch the State Of Origins Game, which we knew nothing about. I am sure our 100 questions about the game didn’t help his evening but they were all very nice explaining the rules to us! Tom and his friends gave us some great places to check out over the next few days.

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The next day we woke up early and headed out, exploring every place they had told us about. We walked for a few hours when we arrived at Gosangs Tunnel. Tom had told us that we needed to go here as we could get some cool photos but had never been himself. We arrived and realised we had to crawl through a small tunnel which had naturally been carved out through the rock. If I could see what was on the other side I wouldn’t have done this, as when we got to the other side it was a sheer drop into the sea. Extremely dangerous but seriously worth it! The view was amazing and we even managed to get the drone up to capture this amazing place we had stumbled upon.

Gosangs Tunnel

The light was quickly fading so we headed back to the car which was still a fair walk. Tom had also recommended we checked out Hyams Beach due to it being the whitest sand in the world. We jumped back in the car and headed around to the other side of the bay which was a good 45 minute drive. We had also been told by Toms friend that the houses along the beach front are to die for too it being a very affluent area. We arrived just before sunset and grabbed a coffee from the small cafe on the beach front. Coffee in one hand and cameras in the other we took the short walk along the beach and we can confirm, It defiantly is the whitest sand we have ever seen!

Hyams Beach

We headed back to Toms place and made ourselves at home by making spaghetti carbonara whilst he was out at a boxing class. Tom returned home a few hours later and we spent the rest of the evening chatting and watching videos of him on his local radio station. We forgot to mention Tom is in a band and a great guitarist and singer. We said good night and had an early night due to getting up early the next day for our next adventure.

Wilsons beach

Couch Surfing is something we 100% would recommend. It is so warming to know there are nice people out there willing to help you out especially when your half a world a way from home. It’s an extremely nice feeling, especially to feel at home in someone else house after months of hostels. Not only was this experience welcoming, it gave us lots of things to do and places to explore which we would not have known about. Going to a strangers house can be scary and dangerous, but if there is more than 1 of you then please consider it! We had never done it before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was so much fun and interesting. If that isn’t what travelling is about, trying something new and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone then I don’t know what is!

Jervis Bay - Road Trip Our Journey - Part 2

Our next drive is onto Canberra to get the car sorted and back to the Snowy Mountains to start our jobs in a private members Chalet! It can’t get much colder than camping in the car, can it?

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Road Trip Our Journey – Part 1

Couple goals, Tartha NSW Australia, Road trip - our journey

We started our road trip leaving Jindabyne and heading towards the coast for a NSW mini road trip, our first stop was Bega! We originally were calling it Beggar but we soon learnt it is pronounced Bee-ga. We drove from the Snowy Mountains and straight through the flattest land we have ever seen. We came to a mountain we had to drive through and stopped off at this beautiful look-out at the top, the views were amazing. This lookout was a memorial to a bus driver who drove this route for 26 years who passed away while shovelling snow off his front garden.

Olly, Fred Piper Memorial NSW Australia, Road trip - our journey

As we now had 3 weeks until we can head back to the mountains to start work, we have to be very careful with money. We were hoping to find some cash in hand work along the road trip but as its winter, not many places were looking to hire people. This meant saving as much as we could but still enjoying our time on the road.

We researched places to stay and found the cheapest place, which was in a caravan park in the town of Bega. This little town had a lot to offer us in things to see and do. We drove around to Tathra and explored the beaches there. The best thing about travelling with Olly is we both love photography, so a day exploring taking photos and drinking coffee is enough for us. Not to mention it only costs us $8 for the whole day. We walked around exploring all the lookouts we could find, driving through the national parks and walking through amazing forests.

NSW Australia, Road trip - our journey

 

 NSW Australia, Road trip - our journey

We spent a few days in Bega and found a local McDonalds to plan the next part of our road trip. Taking into consideration us not earning anything while being on the road, we tried to cut costs as much as possible. The biggest outgoing for us was accommodation so we decided to head to Kmart to buy a blow up mattress. Sleeping in our beaten up wagon was always in the back of our minds, we were just expecting it to be a lot later in the year, when it wasn’t winter. We bought all kinds of camping gear and Olly was very excited, me on the other hand, not to much!

 NSW Australia, Road trip - our journey

 

We left Bega and headed to Biamanga national park close by which we could camp in for free. Camping laws are very complex and annoying at times but we found a spot with no one around, looking out over the sea. We got to our camping spot only to find out its illegal to burn wood from the park with the threat of a $3000 fine if caught. We had literally just unpacked and blown up the bed in the back of the car, so I offered to stay put while Olly drove half an hour away to buy some wood. While Olly was doing this I sat on the beach, in the freezing cold, watching Netflix and a baby wallaby came to join me. He followed me from the beach back to the camp and pretty much spent the whole time with us.

NSW Australia, Road trip - our journey

This spot was beautiful but as it was right on the beach it was extremely windy! Olly returned and we got a fire going and attempted to cook dinner on an open fire. This was the first test, to see if we could do this for the next few weeks. This night was by far the coldest I have ever experienced in my life. It was so cold I nearly cried at how much I was hating it. This first night camping taught us a lot. We knew for the next night it would be better to have everything ready such as thermals, cooking equipment and portable chargers. The next morning when we woke up we herd someone on the beach shout ‘whales’. We opened the boot and jumped out taking the drone with us. The whales were so far out but we sent the drone out anyway and it was worth it. The pictures and videos we got of this family of whales made the whole night worth it.

Family of Whales in Australia - Road trip Our journey

Our next night camping proved to be 100000% better. We drove to Mystery bay and this camp site was huge. We drove right to the top of the camp site which was like a peninsula with huge cliffs at the end. The site was guarded from the wind due to the amount of trees. We found a huge log to sit on which was already so much more comfortable than sitting on the damp ground the night before. We set up our camp, making a stove and organising our bed and belongings before it got dark. We also spent an hour gathering wood to keep the fire going. As I have never camped before I had no idea how much upkeep a fire needs! It really takes all your energy to keep warm! This night was so much better and we bought marshmallows and chocolate to have round the fire and then we wrapped up warm in our sleeping bags and got into bed and watched a film on my IPad, perfect!

 

Day three of our road trip we headed north along the coast to the beautiful town of Narooma. Although this site was quite exposed as it was basically on the beach, it was a small sacrifice for everything else that came with it. Not only was it the cheapest campsite we could find, but it came with fire pits, changing rooms, toilets inside and warm showers! This small aspect of your life you take for granted, such as being able to pee indoors, or actually have a fresh water shower. It really makes you appreciate everything a lot more. We explored Narooma taking photos along the way. We even managed to spot some Seals along the harbour wall.

Australia Rock, Narooma Australia - Road trip Our journey
Australia Rock, Narooma Australia
Bar Rock Lookout, Narooma Australia - Road trip Our journey
Bar Rock Lookout, Narooma Australia
Bar Rock Lookout, Narooma Australia - Road trip Our journey
Bar Rock Lookout, Narooma

We were saving money and having fun which was what we wanted to do on this road trip. Sleeping in our car which did I forget to mention didn’t have a roof lining due to the previous owners ripping it, again something you take for granted. Due to this lack of linking the orange foam insulation is exposed. This mean every time you climb in or out of the car and sit up to much you are greeted with a hair full of itchy foam. Additionally being freezing every night and having to buy food that we could easily cook over a fire was taking its toll. We treated our selves to fish and chips which we ate in front of our fire. It was so worth it and so nice not to have to spend hours making dinner.

Camping in Australia - Road trip Our journey

Stay tunned for Part 2 !

 

Camping in Australia - Road trip Our journey

All the gear, yet no idea!

 

A question we always get asked on Instagram or our blog is,

“How did you get that shot” or “ What drone or camera are you using and where can I buy it from at the best price”

So this post will be a comprehensive guide on all the kit we use, from our main camera all the way down to the filters and spare batteries.

But first a quick introduction to my (Olly) knowledge of cameras and how to take pictures and videos. 

About 6 months ago my knowledge of cameras finished at my iPhone. I had no idea about how light dramatically effects your camera, shutter speeds or exposure. But thanks to a handy website called YouTube and a lot of hours binge watching some of the best photographers and videographers, I slowly started to gain a basic knowledge of how a camera works. 

Luckily I have an amazing girlfriend who happened to study photography at university. So putting my new basically knowledge together with what she knows we ended up with the unexploredfootsteps Instagram page. 

Fast forward those 6 months and we are getting all our kits ready for our next travel adventure. Below is all the gear we use and a link to where to find it at the best price.

 

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So let’s start with the BAG we are carrying all this equipment around in.

Manfrotto Bumblebee 220L light camera backpack

(click on the photo for the best price)

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This bag comes with some of the best protection for your camera gear that’s on the market. With 3D shock absorbing foam and a structural reinforced board you can be sure you equipment won’t be getting damaged anytime soon. We have literally climbed up a waterfall and bashed it around doing so and nothing was damaged or wet.

There are a number of compartments on this bag, one designed for your laptop and charger. The main front compartment for your camera, lenses and drone. Then a number of outer pockets for documents headphones and a water bottle. All this is then neatly wrapped up in a lightweight rain cover allowing you to continue shooting whatever the weather.

We easily manage to fit ALL our camera equipment including our drone within this bag and still have a little room for extras. Additionally it is small enough to take on the plane for your hand luggage. 

Cameras

Main camera – Panasonic G80 with kit lens 12-60mm

(click on the photo for the best price)

g80_mkit_slant_k_lcdThis camera with the kit lens is great for a beginner who is looking to practise and develop their camera skills. With a flip out screen which allows you to see what you’re shooting at any angle and a water-resistant body, which allows you to shoot some of the best waterfalls in the world. If video is more your thing then this camera can shoot up to 60fps at 1080p for that smooth slow motion or 30fps at 4K. This camera as a package with the kit lens is a total steal. If you were to buy them separate you are looking at a few extra hundred pounds, together it is a great bargain, even if you sold the lens on its own after.

Second Lens – Panasonic 25mm/1.7 ASPH

(click on the photo for the best price)

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If you are on a budget then this lens is another great purchase. At a lower aperture than the kit lens it allows your camera to shoot better in low light and also get those beautiful portrait shots with the blurred back ground. 

GoPro- Hero 6

(click on the photo for the best price)

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GoPro’s are a must if you want to get those underwater shots. Not only that they are so versatile that you can throw them around to an extent and they won’t break, which is great for travelling. They are super small and can shoot in all different formats. You can also buy a number of accessory kits so you can strap your GoPro to basically anywhere you like. We would recommend this GoPro due to the incredible colours and stability this camera offers. The comparison of quality, colours and stability to the models that came before it are amazing. Check out YouTube videos comparing the 5 to the 6.

Spare batteries

(click on the photo for the best price)

51tcbFTMcAL._SX355_The last thing you want is to be out in the middle of nowhere getting some amazing shots and BOOM your batteries dead. We always travel with another two spare batteries for all our equipment so we never miss a shot. Now you can get the Panasonic branded ones which are expensive. Or just get the aftermarket ones which do the exact same job just as well at a fraction of the price.  GoPro Hero 6

SD cards

(click on the photo for the best price)

f70fc355-4971-4183-a23b-3c3b1a510408_1.30bcc702b96cff8ed18ac7d389d9b42eJust like the batteries you don’t want to be running out of space once you get a little carried away taking so many shots. I would highly recommend spending a little extra money and buying cards with a quicker write speed especially  if you are going to be shooting videos in 4K or taking lots of images in quick succession. Again like our batteries we always have lots of spare cards and they are easy to lose and corrupt.

ND Filters

(click on the photo for the best price)

Hoya_A77VDY_77mm_Variable_Density_Filter_857429This is a must if you are going to be out taking pictures in the middle of the day or in bright light. Essentially the filter is a pair of sunglasses for your camera. Even though it is a small piece of kit it will dramatically improve your images. There are two ways to buy filters, you can either buy a filter for every size lens you own which will quickly start costing you a small fortune ,or the more cost-effective way is work out the size of your biggest lens and buy the filter in this size then purchase some step up rings which are very cheap and will allow the filter to fit all your lens sizes. I would recommend a variable filter this allows you to change the strength of the filter depending on the light conditions.

Tripod/ Gorilla Pod

(click on the photo for the best price)GPod_Hybrid_ExplodedView_SQAlthough we don’t currently use a large tripod we are finding ourselves in more situations where having one would make our lives so much easier. It would allow us to place the camera in some crazy locations and positions and being able to capture the unique shots. The only downside is they are a lot bigger to carry around, therefore we only use the gorilla pod which is still great as it allows your to attach the camera to pretty much anywhere, although it isn’t as stable.

Now let’s talk about DRONES!

This is probably the number one question we get asked.

DJI Mavic Pro

(click on the photo for the best price)0012457_dji-mavic-pro-official-by-dji-msiaThis drone is incredible. If you are someone looking to buy their first drone, or starting to get into photography and are planning on travelling this is the drone for you. Although DJI have made the SPARK and the AIR the Mavic still has some big advantages over the other two smaller models. Being slightly bigger than the other two means the battery is bigger, which means a longer flight time. Not only that it means you can fly the Mavic higher and further. The other advantage of having a slightly bigger drone is that it will handle better in the high winds. This gives you a better chance of getting those perfect focused shots. Your final choice will predominatly come down to how much room you have in your bag and how much weight you want to carry. All three drones are great but for someone looking for a slightly high spec of drone the Mavic is the one.

If you really want to up your photography game then you can always upgrade from the Mavic and get your hands on the DJI PHANTOM 4 Pro. This come will a longer flight time and a huge upgrade on the camera quality. 

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Again just like our cameras we always have spare Batteries and Micro SD Cards. The drones take micro SD cards so unfortunately you can’t switch them from your camera. For the best prices on drone battery’s and micro SD card check the link below.

DJI_Mavic_Filters_PolarPro_Cinema_Shutter_ND_Filter_1024x1024(click on the photo for the best price)

ND filtersfor your drone is also a huge MUST. High up in the sky it is bright and I mean very bright. Luckily the lens on the drone is all one size so you can easily buy a pack of filters in a number of strength and are easily interchangeable depending on the weather and location.

Editing

Apple 15” MacBook Pro

(click on the photo for the best price)

macbook-pro-2017-13-in-refurbished_00This is really down to personal preference as to which sort of laptop you use to edit your images and videos. We both love Apple Macs and believe they are by far the easiest devices to use when it comes to picture and video editing. It helps we both have iPhones so everything nicely syncs together. The only thing you really need to be aware of is the amount of RAM your device has. The more RAM your laptop has the quicker it will perform the tasks. This is especially important when editing videos as low RAM will lead to major lagging.

Iphone 8 Plus

Mobile phones have come along way since your first Nokia playing snake. This also includes the cameras and the software built inside allowing you to take all sorts of videos and photo’s. Our phones are one of our go to cameras when we haven’t got our big camera bag on us or we need something quick on hand to capture the moment. Getting a device with a large storage is also a must, even with the iCloud you will still fill this bad boy up quickly.

IPad Mini

With both of us tapping away trying to edit and writing blog posts having two devices is very handy. The iPad is perfect for people who are planning to travel and don’t want to spend the money on a laptop or worry about taking such an expensive item away with them. We mainly use ours for watching movies but I have actually written this whole post on our iPad mini. 

Headphones

(click on the photo for the best price)

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Now you can stick to your standard apple headphone/earpods which get pretty uncomfortable after length of time. This is why you need a nice comfy pair preferably wireless with noise cancelling to drone out the screaming babies on the plane or just send you to sleep at night. There are so many different types and brands so i cant give a detailed review. But these are the ones i use and they are extremely comfortable and are not stupidly expensive.

A handy top tip to save money on music whilst you are travelling is to take advantage of the big company’s offers such as Amazon. They regularly promote free trials for a month or two of their music streaming and downloading service. Sign up and then feel free to cancel your free trial at any point and listen to a months worth of free music. You can just change your email address and sign up again or just find a new offer.

Below is a link to an amazing offer Amazon are giving away. Use the link to sign up free now

         Portable Battery Charger

(click on the photo for the best price)

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There are lots of types of portable chargers. I would recommend getting a larger bank which gives you multiple charges throughout the day.

Hard Drive

(click on the photo for the best price)resizeThis is how you will be storing all of you work and it is very important to have more than one!! You hear horror stories of people who backup all their hard work to one hard drive, and then a moment later it slips out of your hand or some how becomes corrupt and you have lost everything. This is another plus with using a Mac, all our work is saved to the iCloud along with two hard drives. Again its better to get a larger storage size rather than run out of space.

Adobe Suite

The software we use to edit all our images and videos is the Adobe suite package, this included Lightroom and Premier Pro. We both have used YouTube again in order to learn how to use this software and then add our own style.

El Nido – Our Journey

El Nido Text - Our Journey

My favourite place in the world is El Nido and I am finally back! As soon as we get closer to somewhere I recognised I instantly am in awe of how much El Nido has changed. I was thinking maybe my minds playing tricks on me and I don’t remember as much as I used to. We arrive at the hotel and I want to go and explore to see if I am right and again I am shocked how much everything has changed. There are so many more hotels, restaurants and generally more western looking shops. I was only here a year and a half ago, how could it of changed this much in that time?!

El Nido  - Our Journey

That evening we met up with Sasha and Simon and headed to the Outpost hostel for some food and drinks and to book our trip for the next day. This place is amazing, brand new, great food and cheap trips! I was beginning to think that change was a good thing for El Nido. Unfortunately the next day it rained all day and we postponed our island hopping trip but as we had a private boat we didn’t loose any money. We spent the day in bed, watching films and updating the blog and doing ‘Life admin’. 

 

Island hopping day!! First stop was to the Big Lagoon, which our boat literally drove in and drove out as it was very busy. We then went to Shimizu Island for some snorkelling but the current was so strong I thought I was going to drown!

El Nido  - Our Journey

Our highlight of the day was the secret  lagoon, we arrived here later than we expected and we were the only ones here. Me and Olly became the dream team and kayaked though the cave to reach it. We stopped paddling and just floated around, amazed at how clear the water was and how blue it was. It was amazing!!!

El Nido  - Our Journey

 

We kayaked over to a secluded beach and of course a photo shoot broke out. This boat trip was amazing and I was reminded why I loved this beautiful place so much. 

El Nido - Our Journey

The next day I demanded a beach day to top up the tan, we headed to Las Cabanas beach which was the closest one to El Nido and spent the day chilling and swimming and not really doing much. As the sun was setting we headed to Beach bar to grab a bean bag and a few drinks and this is where we met Ali, Mo and Patricia. These guys had a drone and drone wars took place which was cute to watch as Olly and Mo were teaching each other about their drones. I didn’t care too much as I found two puppies and instantly my day was made.

 

We figured out that we were all on the same ferry to Coron together and planned to see them there. The ferry was a 5 hour fast boat at 7:45 am which I wasn’t too happy about but once we got on board it actually wasn’t bad. I couldn’t even feel the fact I was on boat and passed out while Olly took photos of me 🙃

El Nido  - Our Journey

El Nido is so beautiful, but I can already see how it will slowly lose some of this beauty. The amount of tourists they put on boat trips, the amount of new hotels going up and the amount of money things are costing, not to mention they now have a functioning airport. It’s loosing it’s untouched feel already and it is 100% due to how much the Philippines has blown up on social media and bloggers promoting it. This place is still as popular as ever, the hotels are still booked up weeks in advance and it’s still people’s number one place to see here in the Philippines. Not all of it is bad, every restaurant is adamant on not using plastic straws and reducing their waste. This can only mean good things and hopefully the government won’t have to close it like they have Boracay.  

El Nido  - Our Journey

 

Coron is the last island we are visiting before we head back to Manila to catch our flight to Sydney. We tried to look for flights to Siargao as Olly really wanted to go surfing here, but Boracay has closed and everything has sky rocketed in price. Coron is also another island neither of us have visited. I enjoy going to new places much more as I don’t have any expectations or anything to compare it too. So far every place we have moved on too has seemed to top the last place. Hopefully Coron doesn’t disappoint and tops what El Nido has to offer. 

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Port Barton – Our Journey

We have landed in Puerto Princesa!! This is our third week in the Philippines and this was only our second flight, which I am very impressed by. Last year I did 9 flights within 2 weeks in the Philippines to get around as there are so many islands to visit. We arrived at the airport and boy has it changed since I have last been here, I didn’t recognise anything! We found a tour company who would take us to Port Barton in a van with a few other people. We got to the van and there were already 12 people squished inside, plus bags. I get the seat near the front and push Olly into the back where the bags go, not enough room for a human. I was already in a bad mood as I wanted to sit next to Olly for this 3 hour drive and the journey is not pleasant. I knew this drive was bad but I clearly had chosen to forget how bad it was. About half an hour in Olly shouts for me and I turn around and he’s saying he needs to get out, I turn back around as I was thinking he’s joking but then he shouts to me again ‘Milly I need to get out’. As soon as I saw his face I knew he wasn’t joking. I signalled to the driver to pull over and call us a private car. Olly gets travel sickness anyway but being cramped in the back with no way of seeing where we are going, no air con, 13 other people and bad roads- It was a recipe for disaster. As soon as we pull over another couple get out and ask if we can split the private car with them as they didn’t feel well either. It’s situations like this I don’t care how much money things are, as long as Olly felt OK that was my main concern. We all jumped in another car, just the four of us and we all fell asleep within half an hour. 

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I had herd Port Barton was a beautiful fishing village which broke up the journey to El Nido. I also herd there wasn’t much here but I didn’t really think too much in to it. If I have learnt anything from being in the Philippines, it is to not expect anything. We arrived at our accommodation which were 3 rooms in the middle of nowhere. We are told that there is only electricity from 5:30 till midnight and that goes for the whole town, so if we want to sleep, make sure we fall asleep before midnight so we don’t notice the fan going off. HAHA..THIS..IS..GREAT. This is also the first time I haven’t even looked at what Olly is booking and he’s booked us here for 4 nights. Our first evening we took a stroll into the main street and got something to eat but we were pretty tired so we headed back to make the most of the fan. I have said to Olly on this trip, I need to get back into the backpacker head space and I need to not be such a princess but this place has me waking up sitting straight up and screaming. I am either screaming because there is a millipede on me or a mango from the tree outside and has fallen and hit our tin roof which makes it sound like someone has fallen through the ceiling in the bathroom. Yes I did make Olly check if there was someone in the bathroom on the first night and no I do not feel stupid.

Our second day in Port Barton was much better. We had arranged with the couple we have travelled here with, Sasha and Simon, that we would rent a private boat and do an island hopping tour. We all met on the beach and jumped on our boat and headed to the first snorkel spot. The water was so clear!! Oh my goodness it was incredible! As I am the biggest wimp known to man I still make Olly hold my hand, just incase I see a shark and he pointed out all the clown fish! I have always wanted to see a bright orange clown fish and I finally saw an adult one!! It was amazing!

We headed off to German Island which was just out of this world, we saw the biggest turtle which literally turned and posed for me and I reckon it was bigger than Olly is tall. As we were on a private tour we asked our driver to take us to the spots where the tourists weren’t. WOW did he pull through! He took us to his friends island who let us visit and there was no one there. The crew started to cook our lunch which was fish and veg whilst we took photos. Naturally Olly’s drone caught the attention of the locals and some kids ran over to come and play with us.

An afternoon of more snorkelling and swimming was just what we needed and we dropped Sasha and Simon back off at their accommodation. On the way back to our place we stopped at the sandbar to take some drone shots while there was no one around. At this point me and Olly had drank some beers and were tired. Olly starts to land the drone and shouts ‘ catch it’ to which I panicked. ‘What do you mean catch it! No I DONT want to’. He ignore this and keeps telling me to catch it so I put my hand up. Right as I am about to grab it he shouts ‘ turn it over’….WHAT! Its so strong I cant turn it over, its naturally trying to take off again and me being an idiot start to bring my other hand up to help bring it down. This was a bad idea and my fingers met the drone blades while they were full power, I didn’t even feel a thing. I brought my hand down and was so worried I broke the drone I didn’t even look at my hand, I handed the drone to Olly and turned around. At this point my driver has run over shouting and 4 of his friends are also running over. I looked down and see my whole hand covered in blood dripping on the sand. I couldn’t even see what had happened and I was still trying to see if the drone was OK. The Filipino’s brought a first aid kit over and kept trying to get me to sit down but I was insisting I was fine. At that point I got extremely dizzy and had to squat down as I didn’t want to sit in the sand. I turn to look at my hand and I still cant feel any thing but I can see a lot of blood. They wrap me all up and we get back on the boat. It isn’t until we are right about to dock I burst into tears as suddenly the adrenaline wares off and all I can feel is so much pain in my fingers. I am crying my eyes out and all I can do is hold my hand up to stop the bleeding. Olly tries to do anything he can to calm me down which involved chips and a milkshake and him telling me to breathe. The pain was unbearable and all I could think was, what an idiot I was. Why did I bring my other hand up!! I hurt two fingers but as I haven’t had an injury in years I just freaked out and I wouldn’t even let Olly clean them as it hurt so much. 

Worth this shot though !

The next day called for some much needed rest and a lazy day on the beach, which is exactly what I have been after. I just had to slice my fingers open to get it! We topped up our tans, drank on the beach and chilled. We managed to explore more of Port Barton by just walking around. We didn’t want to get a moped as this was the time we set to relax and not do much!

Not having wifi for a few days was really nice and refreshing. I know how lucky I am anyway to have Olly in my life but these few days put it all into perspective for me. He lets me watch Drag Race, he calms me down when theres a bug on me, he investigates the mango intruder and he mends me when I am ill. I am so lucky to have him in my life. Not only are we 99% of the time on the same page, but he is all I need to make me happy or cheer me up in what ever situation and its times like this which make you really appreciate this and makes me want to hold on to him even tighter than I do.

 

Next stop El Nido

Bohol – The Travel Guide

Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 00.08.14Getting to Bohol

To get to Bohol you can get the ferry from Cebu or Dumaguete. In Dumaguete we advise you to go around the corner to this place to buy your ocean jet ticket ( the left red started dot). No queue, no drama!

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It costs about 700-800 pesos per person but you are in a aircon seating areas with set seats and a movie. To us it’s worth it!

The ferry from Bohol back to Cebu cost us 500 peso per person, 150 peso for a bag, 20 peso terminal fee.

The ticket office is just outside of the port and looks like this

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Accommodation

Tagbilaran is the area where most backpackers stay.

Backpacker – Henry’s Hostel For a basic double bed private room for 2 nights being £32 (2400 peso) that’s £8 each a night. Not too bad.

Henry's hostel, Bohol

Budget  Bohol Sunside resort– £27 a night for a studio. £14 per person

Bohol Sunside Resort, Bohol

Luxury– Henann Resort– this is £££ a night but if you walk round to the beach side, they let you drink in the bar and if they aren’t looking, jump in the pool!

Henaan Resort, Bohol

Places to Eat

Shaka – Best veggie food in the area!

Outback – the Nachos were to die for

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Always take cash on trips for extras/lunch/water

Day trips from Tagbilaran 700 peso – includes dolphin watching, snorkelling on Balicasag Island pictured below ( gear included ) turtle watching, sandbar called Virgin island.

Butterfly sanctuary

Firefly watching- on a boat or kayak

Loboc  river tour – lunch and tribe dancing

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Balicasag Island

 

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Chocolate Hills 
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Tarsier sanctuary
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Loboc River Tour 

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For Travel tips on things to do in Bohol, other than the Chocolate Hills..and everything else mentioned on this page click here!

Bohol – Our Journey

We have arrived in Bohol!!!! So excited to be back as I have only been here for a day trip with my sister. So me and Olly have heard very very mixed reviews about Bohol since we started travelling around the Philippines. Most people say the chocolate Hills are overrated and Bohol has turned into a little Boracay ( little Ibiza) and isn’t a nice place. We took all of these opinions with a pinch of salt and headed there anyways. We booked accommodation in Tagbilaran which is where most of the backpackers are and most of the trips start from. As soon as we got off the ferry we realised this wasn’t like anywhere we had been before. We are not sure if it’s because Boracay is shutting this week or the simple fact that this is more touristy.. but the people are horrible here! Taxi drivers charging ridiculous prices and ignoring us if we won’t pay. They are just out to rip you off and it feels like Thailand. Anyway we get to our hostel and the owner is a really nice German guy who tells us all we need to know about trips and starts to get us drunk Lol , so we head into town to sort out a tour for the next day and grab some dinner.

We saw on another blog there was a really good vegan restaurant… Olly normally orders the veggie option anyway as he is fussy with meat, more fussy than I am with food in general. So me trying to be a good understanding girlfriend says “ sure let’s try it”.. but in the back of my mind I’m thinking it’s only half 7, there’s still time to get food after we are done here haha. But we had probably the most filling dinner we’ve had while being away. Olly had a Diwali festival inspired curried potato rosti filled with cauliflower, cashews, peas, tomato and sweet pickles slipped with kerelan papaya chutney and I had a sweet potato, garlic, mushroom, mango and spinach burger.  I was so hesitant for trying it but he said “ I’ll pay for it if you please try it”.. didn’t have to tell me twice haha. I really struggle with not letting him know how I feel, I can’t lie to him so he was watching my face to see my reaction and I have to say it wasn’t bad.

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Every time we go on a ferry I say to Olly “ I just want to see a dolphin” so when we were looking at what trips to do, he pointed to the dolphin watching trip!!!! Of course I was so bloody excited. We had an early start of course we got on the boat at 6:30am. We headed out to a remote island just off shore to do some snorkelling and on the way we saw a pod of dolphins!!! It was really cool but I was kinda disappointed that there were about 15 boats doing the same trip as us, chasing them. Didn’t feel too natural but we literally saw them and drove off, our boat driver didn’t chase them which was good.

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We got to Balicasag island and got into smaller boats where they took 4 of us out at a time. They took us over the protected reef ( very happy there is protected reefs still) and to the cliff edge where we saw the most amazing coral! We saw hundreds of fish, clown fish, purple fish and all amazing shapes and colours of coral. This is definitely the best I’ve ever seen! We got back on the boat and they took us 5 minutes around the corner to a stronger current where we saw lots and lots of turtles !!! This was becoming the best day yet with the amount of wildlife we had seen.

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We then went to the Virgin island which is a huge sandbar in the middle of the sea, pretty cool but as always, over crowded. We jumped back on the big boat and Olly being the amazing boyfriend he is, he let me fall asleep on the boat while he chatted away to the locals and I was extremely burnt when I woke up.

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To ease the pain we found the perfect spot on the beach and got very drunk watching the sunset. Meeting two English girls who we got talking to and went for dinner with was a really nice end to this amazing day!

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We then travelled to a different part of Bohol the next day, called Guindulman, next to Anda beach. We stayed in an amazing hotel called Guindulman Bay tourist Inn with an English owner and his Filipino wife and son. He was like an old English gangster with so many stories and she was probably the smartest person I have ever met and their son was a little Filipino geeza who loved the ladies. They made us feel so welcomed and the food!!! Oh my goodness the food was out of this world. Me and Olly had to get used to eating 3 huge meals again because we had to take this opportunity while it lasted! We spent hours talking to them and they were so helpful with everything around this area. We spent a day going to waterfalls that were empty, running around rice terraces getting spooked by Carabao’s ( like a water buffalo). It was amazing! We also took the moped and explored around and we got a flat tyre. With this area not being used to westerners , no one spoke English but we managed to figure out that the shop to fix it was 1km away.. with us not wanting to push this heavy bike in the heat, a local who looked about 15 pushed it for us 🤣 weak white people!

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Our next adventure takes us back to Cebu for a day, so we can catch our flight to Puerto Princesa and move onto Port Barton!!!