One of my ultimate highlights of my trip to Queensland was snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. It wasn’t something that I ever thought I’d have the opportunity to experience and I nearly squealed with delight when I found out that it was on our itinerary.
Janneke and I were booked onto a morning Reef Sprinter tour. Our captain Steve was funny, entertaining and the perfect tour guide. The jet sprinter was super fast and it took just 15 minutes to zip from Port Douglas harbour to the Low Isles.
Being one of the wonders of the world and a world heritage site, it’s very restricted in terms of where you can actually snorkel and only a few select tour companies are allowed to pull up in this particular area. This not only protects the delicate environment but means that the area wasn’t overrun with people. In fact there were just 12 others on our boat.
Whenever I travel I always prefer to stay in an apartment or house rather than a hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I love a boutique hotel as much as the next person but you really get a lot more for your money when you go self-catering.
After saying goodbye to the Gold Coast, Gala, Shauna and I hopped on a plane with Celeste from Tourism and Events Queensland, our photographer Janneke Storm and headed up to Cairns. We’d had such an amazing time so far that we weren’t sure how anything was going to top it – oh how wrong we were!
After a short flight we landed in tropical North Queensland and took a car up the coastal road to Port Douglas. As we’d had such a non-stop trip so far I really hadn’t had any time to do any research on where we were staying so needless to say I got the shock of my life when we pulled up here.
We were hosted by Executive Retreats (this is the house we stayed in) who specialise in luxury accommodation in Port Douglas and the surrounding areas. If you’re considering Australia for a honeymoon destination, then you need to put it on your must-visit list. No question.
Not only is it as close to paradise as you can possibly get, but all my favourite activities happened while we were here – snorkelling on the great barrier reef (which I’ll be writing about next week), a sunset boat ride and jungle surfing in the Daintree Rainforest!
Shauna and I shared the master bedroom (it was too good for one of us to have it on our own). The en suite bathroom alone was bigger than my living room at home!
When we launched our 2013 Blogcademy world tour last March, we were blown away by how quickly the tickets started to sell, but no city was as fast as Melbourne. Within only a few days the class had sold out and so we made the executive decision to extend our trip down under and add a second date to the mix – and I’m so glad we did, Melbourne was one of my favourite cities to teach in all year!
The classes were held at the beautiful Lightdrop Studios. Alex and Bernice who own it were a dream to work with and made our time with them stress-free, nothing was too much trouble. And when, a few days before the class, we were contacted by ABC News wanting to interview us (you can watch it online here!) Bernice, a trained make up artist, even offered to do our faces – what a babe!
“Everything you’ve ever read about The Blogcademy is true. It does change your life. You do walk away feeling overwhelmed with excitement and inspiration. It is totally fucking fabulous. Gala, Kat and Shauna are just as magical as you think they are. And they have the capability and drive to match the exceedingly gorgeous sparkle that seems to trail behind them wherever they go.” MJ Valentine
The next adventure on our whistle-stop tour of Queensland was Surfers Paradise. After a quick drive from Dreamworld with our Tourism and Events guide for the day, Jess, we arrived ready for a surf lesson and bike tour!
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to surfing. Although I love the water I’m not the most athletic of people and the thought of hurling myself into some rather giant and scary looking waves filled me a little with dread.
You can’t really tell from this photo, but that’s a grin that says “OMG are we actually really doing this?!”
The beach was glorious, with the Gold Coast skyline just behind it. As Shauna lounged in the sun, Gala and I headed over to meet our surf teacher, Patrick from Cheyne Horan School of Surf.
Patrick didn’t seem to sense our trepidation (or if he did he definitely ignored it!) and he dived right in to the lesson. He also clearly had much more faith in our abilities than we did because after the briefest of introductions he told us to head out into the waves and give it a go. ARGH!
I glanced at Gala nervously and could sense her thinking the exact same thing as I was “Oh crap, are we actually really doing this?”
With winter just beginning to rear its ugly head over the Northern Hemisphere I was pleased as punch to be heading to the other side of the planet to teach our final four Blogcademy classes of the year, our first of which took place in sunny Brisbane.
Australia welcomed us with open arms and as soon as we landed we were told that we’d been featured in Sunday Style magazine which is distributed all over the country. With temperatures in Queensland topping out at 32 degrees some days that was a doubly warm welcome!
Our first class was held at Bleeding Heart Gallery, right in the middle of Brisbane’s CBD (central business district). The high ceilings and all-white walls were right up our alley.
Put simply, the workshop was a game changer for me and it cannot be summed up in one post! I learnt so much; not just about blogging but about myself and where I truly see myself going with regards to my creative pursuits: it wasn’t just a two-day workshop on blogging but a weekend of empowerment. Laura – The Cup Thief
When the initial email from Celeste at Tourism and Events Queensland came into The Blogcademy inbox asking us if we’d consider an all-expenses paid trip to Queensland I nearly deleted it, assuming it must be spam. I mean, this kind of opportunity doesn’t exactly come knocking on your door everyday. After verifying that Celeste wasn’t, in fact, just playing a rather cruel prank, we started to plan our epic adventure down under!
Skip forward eight months or so and we were finally there. Celeste and her team had pulled out all the stops and scheduled an action packed five days for us including koala cuddles, surf lessons, boutique hotels and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef! I’m so excited to share some of my highlights with you guys over the next few weeks. This new Honeymoon Travel Guide feature of mine is working out quite nicely don’t you think?
Queensland isn’t somewhere I’d ever really considered visiting before, but after this trip I can say with the utmost sincerity that I will be going back, only next time I’m bringing Gareth with me – this tropical paradise is just made for lovers!