Hamilton Island, Day One

This is my 6th trip back to the Whitsundays – I adore Hamilton Island!

This area of the world is just breathtaking – flying in is gorgeous.

My two tour guides, Liz & Shara met me at the airport with our golf buggy to start exploring. They’re friends of my cousin, Melissa who was at work.

After a quick change (into a bikini of course) we went for a spin around the island. And by spin, I mean crawl – the golf buggy really doesn’t go that fast.

We stopped for a cocktail at One Tree Hill lookout then headed to the beach to chill int he sun and swim before picking up Melissa a few hours later.

We had dinner at my fave place, Coca Chu. Delicious food!! My fave is the lobster wrapped in betel leaf.

I love being back on the island, it’s such a relaxing place. It was meant to storm the entire time but now the forecast isn’t looking too bad!

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Harajuku Gyoza on a Wednesday

Wednesday. I would never have driven if I had predicted how the evening would fold out!

I love Harajuku Gyoza. It’s loud. It’s Japanesy. People are excited. The dumplings rock. So do the sides. And the beer. It’s easy to find in Fortitude Valley. Happy days.

My fave part of the restaurant though is the yelling when people order their sake. It is absolutely hilarious and soooo much fun.

Lisa, Beck and I headed there on one of our semi-regular catch ups. We ordered all the dumplings… like everything on the menu and some! I also had the cucumber & miso salad and we shared the eggplant and pork belly – I can’t fault anything!

I asked for a Kirin beer – Lisa thought I had ordered a cider and was appalled to find she had ordered a beer. All the more for me though! We decided she would drive my car home and I would drink her beer. Win, win.

The guys across from us ordered sake and we fell into complete hysterics at the faces they made – one guy in particular was horrified. So we decided to order some. It’s way too fun not to join in! A guy from the horrified face table joined us and accused us of not drinking all our sake. He quickly took great offence to us enquiring whether he was a Kiwi. While we were bickering his friend sent us over 3 more sake shots for his amusement. I was pretty much done by that stage but with some encouragement we all picked up our glasses and threw them back. Our ‘lovely’ friend departed but not before commenting that we were all ‘beautiful ladies as long as we kept our mouths shut’ which had us dissolve into absolute fits of laughter.

Great night!

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Happy Holidays

I’m running a bit behind with updates for my holidays!

I had the absolute best time in New Zealand for Christmas and New Years.

I spent the first five days at home in Feilding with my family and the cows. Christmas was a quiet affair until the evening when the neighbours joined and we got rowdy. Boxing Day we headed to the annual Palmerston North races which quickly escalated to a group of friends and I heading out for the night.

We rented an amazing house in Pauanui on the Coromandel Coast, where we have spent many holidays, for the next week. While Daniel (brother) flew out to Fiji to party it up on Beachcomber Island, my best mate Kim, my brother Luke’s mate Ben, myself, Luke and my parents headed north. We were met there by my Dad’s brother and his family and our family friends, the Davies and their family, including my beautiful Goddaughter. 16 of us in total!

When we are in Pauanui, life really revolves around only a few things: naps, champagne, the beach and food. Probably four of my favourite things!

The house was on a private airstrip with a hangar underneath and a balcony built for taking it all in. We watched the planes and helicopters flying all day long. The beach was only a few minutes walk away as was the tiny shopping centre.

We attempted fishing with no luck, not even a bite BUT! I did do the big walk up Mt Pauanui successfully on the morning of New Year’s Eve! It was tough towards the end but well worth the views.

I had such a good time that I actually balled my eyes out when I left. It’s pretty unusual for me to get upset when I fly out but I just didn’t want to leave. Lucky I got back and had a party that night and started work the day after so I had little time to dwell on anything!

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Hamilton Island – booked!

I couldn’t decide what to do for Australia Day this year but after a quick chat to my cousin, Melissa who lives on Hamilton Island, my mind was made up.

I’ve been to Hamilton Island every year for the past 6 except for last year so it’s well time I got back.

This time I plan to do all of the hikes/ walks I can and get in some snorkelling and fishing.

Can’t wait!

Any suggestions for things to do or places to eat on Hamilton Island?

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Home for the holidays

I flew home on Christmas Eve this year. It’s late but I have limited leave due to being not far into a new job. A casual $750 bought me a one way flight to Palmerston North via Christchurch (where I sit writing this) from Brisbane.

I can’t wait to see my family and be on the farm.

I had originally decided to go to Singapore or New Caledonia for NYE but after a few friends pulled out I decided to stay in NZ.

Luckily we (my family) had the idea to rent a house in Pauanui for NYE to meet my Aunt, Uncle, cousins, family friends, their kids (who are my age) and their kids, one of which is my goddaughter. My best mate Kim is coming and my old flatmate Kim & her friend will be joining us for NYE, I can’t freaking wait. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend NYE than by the beach with some of my favourite people!

I fly back to the Gold Coast on the 3rd from Auckland, arriving at 6pm. Lisa sprung her birthday party on me that night so I’m straight back to Brisbane to party the night away with her – lucky she’s a bloody good mate and she dropped me at the airport at 5am this morning!

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Birthday 2014 reflections

Upon my birthday I often contemplate how my last year has been. And quite a year it has been!

I spent my last birthday in New York before returning to Vancouver (where I was living) for Christmas and NYE. I then tripped around the states for 7 weeks before fleetingly stopping back in Vancouver to pack my bags, have a farewell party and hit the plane back to NZ within 24 hours.

I then tripped around the North Island, the South Island and had a quick visit in Brisbane. After deciding I couldn’t have the lifestyle I was after in Wellington after 3 months I headed to Melbourne.

Melbourne was a whirlwind of parting for fun and partying for work. I met a bunch of great people and cut out some others that weren’t doing it for me. I lasted there 3 months too.

Job hunting for a perm role turned out more difficult than it first seemed. I was picky and didn’t want to fall into just anything. I’m absolutely positive I made the right choice to hold out for what I wanted and to take the role that I did.

So amongst the partying I accidentally applied for a role in Brisbane. Turned out I loved it. One interview and I wanted that job! Lucky for me, a few weeks later I was offered it.

I immediately flew back to NZ for a quick holiday to see the fam & farm before starting over in Brisbane at the end of September. I had to pack and leave 4 days later. They lost my luggage in the move from VIC to QLD – it came through eventually and was a fantastic excuse to update my wardrobe.

I moved in with some great friends (Tay & Patty) and met Huck, their border collie puppy who won me over in a second. He’s the real reason I moved in – sorry guys!

The last three months flew by in my new role as Digital PR & Communications Manager at Wiley. I feel so privileged and grateful to be part of such an amazing team. I’ve never worked anywhere with a culture like Wiley before and it is certainly one to admire.

I was thinking I hadn’t done that much this year (I mainly think in terms of travel & haven’t been overseas since April) but I’ve really done and achieved a bunch!

Will be interesting to see what the next year will hold.

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Ham Party!

Everyone loves a Christmas ham, and lucky for me, my work (Wiley) gifted each employee a ham and bottle of wine for Christmas. They really are generous employers.

I only had a few days to eat the ham before I flew out to NZ for Christmas so I decided to have a ham party!

I decorated the yard, invited a bunch of my close friends and had the Christmas music (much to everyone’s disgust) blaring. Starting with cheese boards, homemade hummus by the legendary Kim and my fave guac by the lovely Lisa we had drinks outside while the ham cooked inside.

I glazed the ham with pineapple and brown sugar (thanks mum for the recipe) and I must say it turned out pretty well! Served with an Asian slaw in buns and beef sausages for those who didn’t eat pork, (cough Daran & Lisa) everyone was pretty full by the time I bought out dessert hush consisted of fruit kebabs and watermelon.

We had a fantastic time, so much so that two of the boys crashed (isn’t Mates Motel a great ad campaign by the govt?!) for the night and two out of the four carloads that drove needed to get a ride with the others!

We had lots of fun, partied from 3-midnight and consumed much of the ham – happy days!!

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Norman Hotel, Woolloongabba

Amongst the throws of cricket fans, we sat down for a work lunch across the road at the Norman Hotel.

I followed suit with a midi eye rare steak with mushroom sauce. It was perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. Accompanied by a jacket potato with smoked bacon pieces (nom nom), a fresh bread roll and a garden salad. Can’t forget the jug of XXXX beer. I really am becoming a QLDer again!

Five hours later and I’m still full – didn’t even finish 3/4s of the plate!

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Cowch, South Brisbane

After having a great old time at Olè, Kim and I decided it would be a great idea to have dessert.

Cowch is really funky. There’s udders hangin’ around everywhere and their marketing is fun and witty.

We were seated outside after exploring the goodies inside. Damn are there some goodies! There’s ice creams which you can choose toppings for, pastries and sweets galore.

I went with a salted caramel tart and a side of strawberry beer sorbet. Yep strawberry beer. Ahhhmmazziinggg!
They even bought me over extra salt to curb my cravings.
Kim’s sticky date was bloody good too.

All round happiness!*

*We had drunk a bottle of red and were pretty merry already…

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