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The Mantra Portsea Hotel Review

On our recent winter getaway to Port Douglas we stayed at the Mantra Portsea. Located just three blocks from Macrossan Street, the main strip of shops, and one block from the famous Four Mile Beach, you definitely don't need a car to get around if you're staying here. With all types of rooms available, from small studio style hotel rooms to two apartments, the resort really caters for everybody.

For our stay we booked a one bedroom studio, so that we had just a little more room. Our main reason for doing this was that we wanted a balcony to relax on, which is offered for all studio and apartment rooms. We had a great view of the lap pool, and the lovely tropical greenery outside our balcony. The room was big and spacious and also included a kitchenette and all the appliances we could need! Keep in mind, the rooms at the Mantra PortSea are self-contained, which means they are not serviced daily. You can swap towels at reception for clean ones as often as you like, and for bookings of 8 nights or more apartments will be serviced on the 4th night.

The hotel includes a gymnasium, three swimming pools, pool bar, spa, sauna/steam room, tennis court, BBQ and outdoor dining areas, undercover parking, and a day spa. Bikes are available for rent so you can cycle around the town which I thought was a great idea. The only downside we found was that wifi wasn't free and was actually quit expensive. We purchased a three day wifi pack for $25, if you're an international traveller and don't have an Australian simcard this is really the only option unfortunately.

We had a really great stay at the Mantra PortSea. The location was super convenient and made getting around really easy. Breakfast was included with our booking, so we were able to start the day off with a big meal making it easy to get straight out and explore! With easy beach access and parking it was the perfect place for us to stay.

Prices start from $183 per night. Check out the hotel website here for more information.

Mantra Portsea
76 Davidson Street
Port Douglas, QLD

Kuranda - The Village In The Rainforest

Our last day in Tropical North Queensland was a little cooler and rainier than the other days so we thought we would spend it exploring around Cairns, before we had to get on a flight back to Melbourne. We decided to jump onboard the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and experience the rainforest from the sky this time, instead of the road. 

My Ever Growing Bucket List

My bucket list is forever growing. With every destination I hear about, every picture that inspires me on Instagram and every e-mail from travel affiliated sites and companies, I continue to add to and grow my bucket list. There are places on it now that I didn't know about 6 months ago, and I'm sure in 6 months there will be places on it that I don't know about now! Here's my bucket list as of July, 2015. Check out the link at the top of my blog called Bucket List for an every growing and updating version of the list! 

Watch a sunset at Ayres Rock, Uluru
Swim with a sea turtle in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Road trip down the East Coast of Australia
Explore Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory 
Hop on board the Camel Train on Cable Beach, Broome
Kayak in Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory 
Drive down the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles, Victoria
Visit Australia Zoo, Queensland
Hit the waves at Bondi Beach, Sydney
Road trip through The Kimberley's and Northern Australia
View Melbourne from the Eureka Skydeck, Victoria
Take the ferry from Darling Harbour to Manly, Sydney
Experience the Great Barrier Reef from a Seaplane, Whitsundays, Queensland
Sleep under the stars on the beach, Queensland
Explore Kings Canyon, Northern Territory
Road trip to Cape York, the Top of Australia
Swim in the waterfall pools of Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory 
Hike through the Blue Mountains, New South Wales
Cuddle with a Koala
Swim with whale sharks in Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia 
4WD across the sand dunes of Stockton Beach, New South Wales
Watch the sunset from the Mornington Peninsula Hotsprings, Victoria
View the Aurora Australis, Tasmania
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge, New South Wales 
Visit all the Gold Coast theme parks, Queensland 
Search for crocodiles in Darwin, Northern Territory 
Experience sea turtle hatching season, Heron Island, Queensland
Explore every state in Australia

Stay amongst the Maasai Mara people, Kenya
Witness the Serengeti Migration, Tanzania
Sleep amongst the wildlife in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Feel the spray of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Get great photos of the complete Big 5
Relax on Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Search for gorillas in Uganda 
Swim in the Devil's Pool, Zambia
Visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa
Explore the souks of Marrakesh, Morocco
Safari through Chobe National Park, Botswana
Climb Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Visit Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya 
Spot a baby lion on a safari
Volunteer with a conservation program for big cats or elephants 
Take a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River and spot hippos, Zimbabwe 

Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Paris *
Experience the beautiful white and blue town of Santorini, Greece
Take a sunset gondola ride in Venice, Italy
Try and make a guard smile at Buckingham Palace, London, England *
Witness a hot air balloon sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey
Swim in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Travel through the five towns of Cinque Terre, Italy
Relax on Comino, Malta *
Swim in the waterfall of Krka National Park, Croatia 
Run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain
See the Northern Lights, Norway
Sunbathe on a pebble beach in Nice, French Riviera
Meet a reindeer, Finland
Add a lock to the Love Lock Bridge in Paris, France 
Catch the train between two different countries 
Eat gelato in Italy *
Sail around the islands of Croatia 
Experience the ANZAC Day dawn service in Gallipoli, Turkey 
Visit the Colosseum in Rome, Italy *
Drink a beer at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany 
Check out the Red Light District in Amsterdam, Holland 
Spend a night sleeping in a castle, England 
Make a wish and throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy *
Dance all night at a beach club in Ibiza, Spain 
Explore the Louvre Art Museum in Paris, France *
Go skinny dipping in Corfu, Greece 
Visit St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
Catch an iconic double decker bus to see London, England *
Stand at the Top of Europe, Switzerland 

The Americas
North America 
Bike ride down the Santa Monica boardwalk, LA
Helicopter over the Grand Canyon, Nevada
Walk up the Stairway to Heaven, Hawaii
View Manhattan from the Top of the Rock, New York City
Be an audience member for a TV show, Los Angeles
Explore White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Be able to say 'I'm in Miami, bitch!', Florida
Visit the Museum of Natural History, New York City
Drink a butter beer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Florida
Find a bear in Yellowstone National Park
Set foot on every island of Hawaii
Airboat across the Everglades, Florida
Sip cocktails in Waikiki, Hawaii
Shop on 5th Avenue and lunch in SoHo, New York City
Celebrity spot at Coachella music festival, Palm Springs
Any kind of cross country road trip across USA
Take a picture with Minnie Mouse in Disneyland, LA
Visit the 9/11 Memorial, New York City
Road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles
Stroll down the San Antonio River Walk, Texas 
Attend an NBA game
Take the perfect photo in Antelope Canyon, Arizona
View Polar Bears in their natural environment in Churchill, Canada
Visit Niagra Falls from both countries, USA & Canada
Central America 
Visit the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, Mexico
Explore where the ruins meet the sea, Tulum, Mexico
See the colour of Mexico City, Mexico
Swim in the beautiful Ik Kil Cenote, Mexico
South America
Canopy walk through The Amazon, Peru 
Trek to Machu Picchu, Peru 
Dress up and dance at the Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dinner at the Underground Restaurant, The Maldives
Explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan
Have a drink at Rock Bar, Seminyak, Bali
Experience the Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island, Maldives 
Cruise around the Phi Phi islands of Thailand
Float around Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Take a night cruise around Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong 
Visit Mount Fuji, Japan
Launch a lantern at Loy Krathong, Chiang Mai
Shop at the Bangkok Floating Markets, Thailand 
Feed the orangutans in Borneo, Malaysia
Tour the temples and gardens of Kyoto, Japan
Participate in a health retreat in Bali, Indonesia
Experience the glittering lights of the Supertrees, Singapore
Board a Ngong Ping cable car to Lantau Island, Hong Kong 
Visit the Big Budda, Phuket, Thailand

The South Pacific 
Stay in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Island hop around the 330 islands of Fiji
Kayak around Milford Sound, New Zealand
Explore Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
Learn to snowboard in Queenstown, New Zealand
Snorkel the crystal clear waters of Tahiti
Swim in To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
Take a cruise of the South Pacific Islands

Middle East 
Dune bash in a Mercedes Benz, Dubai, UAE
Shop up a storm at The Dubai Mall, UAE
Visit The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

The Caribbean
Run with pigs in Staniel Cay, The Bahamas  
Swim with stingrays in Antigua
Explore waterfalls and islands around Jamaica

Be in two countries at the same time [Zimbabwe & Zambia]
Fly in a private plane
Fly first class 
Set foot on every continent
[AustraliaAfricaAsiaNorth America, Europe*, South America, Antarctica]
Learn a foreign language
Head off on a road trip with no plans 
Throw a dart at a map and travel to wherever it lands

* I visited Europe with my family when I was 13, 
so whilst I have had this experience before I definitely need to do it again

I would love to hear about your ultimate travel destinations! Comment below with some of your bucket list suggestions!

Road Tripping to Cape Tribulation

We had a spare day while we were in Port Douglas and thought that we would take a road trip to Cape Tribulation for something to do. We like road tripping and especially enjoy exploring new places, so we thought why not make the most of our time in North Queensland and really explore the area! Despite the warm temperature, it was still quite overcast and cloudy for most of the day. It was winter after all, even if the temperature was around 28 degrees. 

Low Isles & The Great Barrier Reef

After two trips to Hawaii and countless tours around Oahu looking for turtles, can you believe that I found one happily swimming off the shores of my own country. If you're on a crazy turtle mission like I have been I will say this - the Great Barrier Reef is the place to be. 

While we were in Port Douglas we hopped on a cruise to the Low Isles. We were both keen to go snorkelling in the reef, having both visited when we were younger with our families but not for many years. We booked a sailing cruise with Sailaway which would take us snorkelling on the reef just off Low Isles. Despite cloud in both the morning and afternoon, not that surprising considering it was June and winter in Australia, we were lucky enough that for the few hours we were actually in the water and on Low Isles the sun decided to come out and give us some really beautiful weather. It was perfect timing as well! Exactly when we needed it! 

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Hartley's was completely unexpected. It wasn't something we knew about, were excited about or had planned for, but it ended up being such a fantastic afternoon. Thom had noticed a sign for it on Captain Cook Highway the night before as we drove from Cairns Airport to our hotel in Port Douglas and we decided to check it out as a spurr of the moment activity. In my opinion these are the best kinds of adventures! 

Mossman Gorge

Amongst the Daintree Rainforest we found this piece of paradise, Mossman Gorge. Home to the Kuku Yalanji Indigenous People and a significant part of the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge is part of the oldest, continuously surviving rainforest on Earth. From Indigenous culture to flora and fauna, there is so much to learn and see in the Gorge, and it's such a beautiful place to epxlore! 

The following is taken from the Mossman Gorge website"The Kuku Yalanji People are the Indigenous inhabitants of the land and have a history dating back 50,000 years to the earliest human occupation of Australia. They are the true rainforest people, living in complete harmony with their environment. It is part of them and they are pat of it. The Kuku Yalanji culture is built around a deep respect for nature and an intimate knowledge of its cycles. Their knowledge has been passed down through the generations - with the members of the community having learned all they know from their elders, parts, grandparents, uncles and aunties." 

There are lots of options when deciding how to experience the Gorge. All options start at the Mossman Gorge Centre, where there is lots of parking available for self-drivers. The first option is to take part in a Dreamtime Gorge Walk. Conducted by local Indigenous people, the walk takes visitors on a journey along private, gentle tracks, visiting special places and culturally significant sites, past traditional bark shelters and over meandering cool rainforest streams. The second option is to catch the shuttle bus from the Mossman Gorge Centre to the heart of the Gorge. For the tiny price of $8.90 for a return trip, the bus drives you the 4km into the rainforest. Buses leave from both locations every 10 to 15 minutes, very convenient! This way you are able to experience the Gorge at your pace, and take your time exploring everything this beautiful part of the rainforest has to offer. The third option is to walk from the Centre to the Gorge. Whilst this is obviously the cheapest option as there is no cost involved, it's important to note that there's no footpath on the way up to the Gorge, making the walk along the winding road a little dangerous. 


8 Things To Do In Port Douglas

Port Douglas is a wonderful alternative to Cairn's more hectic tourist scene. Only about an hour drive from Cairns airport, the beautiful beach town is a great place to base yourself if you're planning to explore Tropical North Queensland. Within easy distance of the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and Cairns, there's more to explore than you could imagine! 

Preparing For Natural Disasters in the US

Living in Melbourne I am lucky enough to be pretty safe from most, if not all natural disasters. With the exception of bush fires in extreme heat, I don't live in a location that is threatened by tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes regularly in the way other people are. 


7 Ways To Stay Healthy While Travelling

Sticking to your diet can be particularly difficult while travelling. Not only are you in a new place, where foods you regularly like to eat and even grocery stores might not be easily accessible, but there's always the temptation of new exciting foods, traditional deserts and on the go snacks. Sometimes it might seem like it's impossible not to give in to all your temptations and cravings and indulge on everything this new country has to offer. But it can be done! Next time you're travelling, try out these tips to avoid crashing into an unhealthy cycle. 

1. Plan your days

Think about what you're going to be doing throughout the day, and what sort of food options might be available. For example, if you're visiting a theme park you know straight up there are hardly ever healthy options to purchase! If this is the case it might be a good idea to see if you can take some snacks or your own meals to get you through the day. 

2. Take your own food where possible 

We all remember how dorky and embarrassing it was when our mums used to pack the family lunches when you went out for the day. The bottled water and healthy sandwiches were so unappealing as a kid when compared to the fizzy drinks and fried food that was available for purchase. Now I understand. Not only does taking your own food prevent binging on unhealthy food just because you're hungry, but it also saves a lot of money. I mean $10 for a soggy theme park burger? No thank you. 

3. Stock up on fresh fruit and produce from the grocery store 

Trust me, I understand that this can be difficult to do in many countries. However, if you have the option I recommend stocking up on as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can from a local grocery store. Always having a hotel mini bar full of healthy options allows you to to quickly grab something as you're running out the door. Some great easy options include almonds, carrot sticks, strawberries and blueberries. Pre-packaged salads also work a treat as meal options to take with you of day trips. 

4. Drink as much water as you can 

No matter whether you're travelling or at home, it always benefits you to drink as much water as you can. Your digestive system will thank you for it, your skin will thank you for it, even your hair and nails will thank you for it. It is especially important to always keep water handy if you're in a hot or tropical environment or doing physical activity all day. You don't want to be at risk of dehydration or heatstroke! 

5. Stick to your regular portions 

Of course it's exciting to try new foods while you're travelling, but try to stick to your normal diet routine as much as possible. For example, if you normally eat six small/snack type meals throughout the day try and continue to do this while you're travelling. Overeating, especially with types of food your body isn't used to, can often result in bloating and digestion discomfort. When you're trying new foods and cuisines for the first time, try and keep the portions as similar to your regular meals as possible. 

6. Research the area 

Take the time to research healthy/organic cafes and restaurants around the area you're visiting. Google, Trip Advisor and Yelp can often be your best friend while you're travelling, whether it's for activities, lookouts or great places to experience, so you may as well use it to help you find great healthy eating options as well! Finding menus that also include options you like will only enhance your dining experience. 

7. Try not to drink more alcohol than normal

No matter how much we try to ignore it, we're all aware of how bad the effects of alcohol are on our bodies. As well as that, do you really want to spend the whole next day after a big night hung over and just trying to stop the world from spinning when you could be out exploring. I'm definitely not saying not to drink, I especially love trying tropical cocktails in new locations, but maybe try to stop before you start feeling sick and bloated, and drink as much water as you can before you go to sleep. Your body will thank you for it in the morning! 

Let's be honest though, how awesome are Mickey Waffles! Image found on Pinterest

The Best of Hollywood & LA

The home of the rich and famous, LA is the ultimate place to celebrity spot and try and live like the famous do. The home to all the restaurants and cafes that gossip magazines regularly 'spot celebrities' as well as where many, many TV shows and movies are filmed, there really isn't more talent or fame in one single place anywhere else in the world! Here are some of my top ideas on how to spend your time in Hollywood and Los Angeles. 

The World Famous San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is known as one of the best in the world. Located in Balboa Park, it is 100 acres in size and well known for it's lush, naturalistic habitat and unique animal encounters. With a massive variety of animals to see and countless animals experiences you can take part in, they really haven't missed out anything. We road tripped down to San Diego from LA for the day to visit the famous Zoo. I had heard such great things about it and I am a sucker for any kind of animal experience, so I couldn't wait to get there! 

Loews Hollywood Hotel Review

I can't speak highly enough about Loews Hollywood Hotel. It's honestly one of the most modern, luxurious and spacious hotels I have ever stayed in. We booked a Standard King room for our time in LA and it was just perfect. It looked exactly like the image above, with a massive king bed and widescreen TV, free wifi for the duration of our stay and a fantastic view of the Hollywood sign from our window! It was perfectly located, right off the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in the centre of Hollywood Boulevard, making getting around on foot extremely easy.