This blog was a scheduled post as we are currently on vacation in Italy. Find out more about our plans in Venice and Rome here, here or here. You’ll get the full update when I’m home. Today, however, is a very special day…
Its exactly one year since we departed for our epic honeymoon. I have eluded to our honeymoon in many posts in the past, posting tit-bits (haha tits..), travel fails and photos from many of ours stops but i have yet to post a blog on what happened, where we went, and what we thought of it.
This won’t be too in depth, more of a brief gloss over; i’ll save the juicy full on posts for another time.
We knew we wanted to do Australia for our honeymoon and make some stops to see some family members whilst down under. We would, ideally have a stopover on the way and were torn between Asia or the UAE. We also wanted a beach break after trekking around Australia and were open to ideas for this part.
We met up with a travel consultant at a wedding show and kept in regular email contract. The kind lady built us up a plan after several consultations. She built up a list of possible flights and even picked a selection of 2-3 hotels for each location we wanted to stay at. Our route had been decided.
LONDON > DUBAI (3 nights) > SYDNEY (3 nights) > CAIRNS (drive to Port Douglas) (4 nights) > BRISBANE (3 nights) > FIJI (7 nights).
We were rather naughty from this point on. We gathered the plans drawn up by our travel consultant and took these to the high street competitors to see if anybody could better the deal. We did feel terrible that somebody had put in hard work to draw up our plans, however we managed to save over £300 by playing travel agencies off against each other on the same high street in our town. We ended up travelling with the Flight Cente and felt more comfortable knowing there was a recognised big brand behind our bookings; a team who would be there to help should anything go wrong. Of course we gave our original consultant an opportunity to lower her prices- but she couldn’t manage to better our new deal. Wedding’s are an expensive, cut throat industry and although we felt bad for ditching our initial agent, you’ve got to save money where you can; every dollar helps. And I’m sure the commission she makes on top is plentiful- plus she had the opportunity to do this on her own time in the comfort of her own home. Alas, we are still very naughty people. Of course, all this was forgotten by the time we made our first stop in…
In Dubai we stayed at the beautiful Sofitel on the Palm. It was super hot in Dubai at this time of year (…September, its a one year anniversary blog, duh!) with humidity reaching extreme levels. Stepping off of the airplane, onto our junior suite balcony or in and out of cars would result in instantly steamed up windows or glasses. During our time in Dubai we relaxed by the pool, visited the massive Dubai Mall, scaled the world’s largest sky scrapper in the Burj Khalifa and enjoyed a stunning afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab. I would recommend Dubai for the pure opulence and wow factor; that being said I think once was probably enough. It wouldn’t be high up on my places to visit for a summer holiday as its just too hot and perhaps too expensive (a cola by the pool was easily £5+). It was a great start to our honeymoon though and I would definitely encourage a stop over if heading to further flung destinations…
see also: Blog: High Tea at the Burj Al Arab
Sydney was a beautiful introduction to life down-under. We both absolutely loved this waterfront city in every way possible. Our main highlight here was a full day trip to the Blue Mountains which included entrance to a wildlife park (kangaroos and koalas galore). We also hoped over to Manly beach on the ferry, enjoyed an afternoon out at Sydney Opera House and had plenty of travel fails along the way. We were so immersed in the culture out here that by our third day we had both, genuinely, adopted slight Australian twangs to our normally very-English accents. Sydney easily made it up to the top of places I would love to one day live. Just the cleanliness, the people, the fresh air, the ability to escape into regions like the Blue Mountains, the wildlife, the food…. there was just so much that blew us away – plus we had many laughs and jokes along the way.
See also: Blog: Travel Fail: Sydney Opera House
Well if ever we thought we could live in Sydney, we could certainly retire in Port Douglas. This sleepy, coastal town is situated in the North East of Australia and about an hours drive from Cairns passing by absolutely stunning scenery. This little town is so cute and quaint, based largely around a local community of small shops, family-run hotels and a port. The port is a great jumping point to go explore the nearby Great Barrier Reef and that is exactly what we did. A beautiful, peaceful option when compared to the more lively, student-come-traveler, louder vibes of nearby Cairns. We also took advantage of our car-hire and drove north towards Cape Tribulation- another stunning nature spot. I have never been anywhere as picturesque as this corner of the world- simply beautiful.
see also: Blog: Driving Australia’s East Coast
This was perhaps the wildcard of our plans. It is not somewhere we would have ever planned to visit but for family. We have cousins based in Melbourne who advised us to just do our own plans and they would come to visit us- as it happens we have one cousin in Brisbane and her mother from Melbourne came to meet us there which was a lovely surprise! Another Melbourne cousin had to cancel last minute plans to meet us in Sydney but no worries… it just gives us another reason to go back!! 🙂 Our time in Brisbane was mainly made up with family times (with even more cousins popping down from the Gold Coast) and we had an excellent tour guide and local in my cousin Clare. Brisbane had quite a trendy, hipster vibe from what we saw; this would lead to a fun and comfortable lifestyle but there is not all too much to tempt us back as visitors. The river was beautiful and the town always seems to have a lot happening, which seems like a big plus for its residents.
What to say about Fiji? I think i could write an entire blog of Fiji, let alone a post, let alone a paragraph! (Fiji government/tourist board feel free to drop me a line). This was the relaxation part of our trip and boy was it well deserved after taking 5 flights in 2 weeks, on top of still recovering from our wedding. Fiji was all about chilling out and taking advantages of the facilities at our Hilton resort on Denarau Island. Denarau Island is seperated from mainland Fiji only by a small, man made lake and it houses some of the finer, more luxury hotels of the country. That being said, I think ours was at the lower end of the tier- though spectacular all the same. For a while we were torn between staying on the mainland (or Denarau) vs staying on an Island. In the end we opted to be closer to the mainland so we could enjoy excursions, meet locals and venture further into the heart of Fiji rather than being confined to a resort. The people in Fiji are absolutely fantastic and some of the happiest people on the planet- and living the island life it’s not hard to see why. I’m sure I’ll be writing more on Fiji very soon… in fact I’ve one blog post lined up already- watch this space! It may be a year later but that’s because whilst out there I learned about a little thing called Fiji-time…
Thanks for staying tuned to the end and make sure you come back to hear more in-depth stories from our times abroad; starting with Venice and Rome as soon as we return from our anniversary! Woop!
Where did you venture to on your Honeymoon? Or do you have honeymoon plans in the pipeline? Whats the best multi-stop trip that you’ve been on yourself? I can’t wait to hear your stories in the comment section below, who knows, perhaps you could inspire our next trip…
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