Cruising Holidays: Pro’s & Con’s

After all of these years, I refuse to be a travel-snob. I get no satisfaction in entering some tireless debate about whether 5✩ or backpacking is ‘real’ travel. Hostels v. hotels. Taxis or the local bus, so on and so forth. Travel is an incredibly personal experience, I just don’t think it is fair to compare your preferred travel with others.

What I do support and encourage however, is sharing knowledge! Let’s foster a community where we share what we know and support everyone in their own chosen method of travel, yeah? Great!

My first cruise was on 2010, I was excited because my brother had just turned 18 and we wanted to go on a trip together. So a couple of friends and my brother booked a 7-night cruise to the South Pacific. It was a great escape during the winter but here is why it was not so great:

sharing a quad room with four adults, none of whom are in a relationship with one another, gets…cramped.

having a quad room down in the bowels of the ship and not checking whether or not anyone gets sea-sick, can be problematic.

↑ being stuck on a boat without an escape and having the same places to drink / party every afternoon / night.

↑ Four people having the inability to decide what they do / do not want to do.

↑ having your room down on the party-level of the ship and not partying = sleep can be tricky.

Basically my clearest memory of my first cruise, was feeling like I was in a washing machine when we hit high swell and feeling rather violated (personally and financially) when I paid nearly $200 to cop a needle in the backside to stop my sea-sickness.

In 2016 my fiancé and I headed out on a new cruise and boy, it could not have been any more different to the first one! We had a balcony room on the beautiful Pacific Aria. We were on deck 10, near the coffee shops. We had pre-paid most of our activities and had scored a complimentary drinks package. We spent seven nights cruising up / down the beautiful Queensland coast. We visited Hamilton Island (a place close to both of our hearts), and Cairns. The cruise was amazing, the staff excellent and the experience itself turned me into a total cruise convert!

My top five reasons as to why I love cruising:

  • Everything can be pre-paid. Including sail-away inclusions. Want champagne and strawberries for your sail away party? You can have it.
  • The day of the Bain Marie’s where you self-serve eating areas are gone. Instead you line up and have pleasant and good-safety aware people serve you. There is nothing more repugnant than watching someone stand at the Thai beef salad / prawn salad area and pick all of the meat out, leave the place in a mess and sneeze all over the uncovered food. So for me, I think ta wonderful that P&O have changed the way they serve food.
  • Activities for days! Unless you are completely ignorant, you are able to fill your days with a variety of activities. Sure Bingo isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it for a bit of fun. If you aren’t playing yourself, get to the area early and watch the bingo die-shards go in for the kill! It’s amazing!
  • Tricia and game shows are also great. They also show movies up at the top deck with the pool.
  • You don’t need to pack and unpack at are such destination! You just grab what you need for the day and take off! Its amazing going to sleep somewhere out in the ocean, being gently rocked to sleep and waking up against the incredible backdrop which is Cairns!
  • If you’re after an adventure packed holiday, then a week at sea on an all-expenses paid cruise may not be for you. However if you need a break and you want to board a boat, unpack your stuff and then have everything organised and paid for ahead of time, then I cannot recommend a cruise highly enough for you.

Some tips:

  • Your travel insurance may not automatically cover cruises. Double check the fine print and know that there is cruise-specific travel insurance out there.
  • Drinks packages are worth it, if you are planning or drinking more than three or so beverages a day. Keep in mind they are normally capped at $12 or $15. If you purchase a drink above this amount, the total cost will go against your account. Keep that in mind.
  • The water package is worth it. Buy your six bottles, keep them in your room and I guarantee you will value it.
  • Tea and coffee from the barista is worth it.
  • Tip your stewards. We tend to go with around $5 a day for the cabin stewards and leave a rounded tip at the end of the trip. Don’t pinch your pennies.
  • Be friendly! Talk to your stewards. Get to know them. Know that anyone serving you spends up to eight months on these boats. Away from their friends and families. Kindness is free. Don’t be ignorant. I spent a good half hour shaming a guest on our last cruise, whose stance was “they don’t mind being away from home, it’s a great privilege to work on these boats”. Okay. Ignorant much?
  • The restaurants on board, aside from usually one or two are included in your fare! Try them at least once. Your out of pocket is usually drinks and a tip. Want a date night with table service? Give it a go. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Have fun! Relax! Sleep in. Enjoy it and go with the relaxed vibe there is. Things take a little longer. Remember the other people on the ship also paid to be there. So just avoid unnecessary aggression and if the line is too long where you are, then move on to the next!

P&O have a sale at the moment and seeing as you can book and pay off your holiday years in advance, you really have nothing to lose!

To check out their current offers click here. They currently have $1 deposit sales with free room upgrades. We have been on four of them and quite honestly, I cannot wait for the next one!

I have never bought a cruise holiday when it wasn’t on sale or didn’t have some amazing additional perks thrown in (on-board credit, drinks package, dinner credit etc.,). The beauty of this is they are on sale all the time!

Here are a few links to get you started!

P&O Cruises

Travel Insurance Saver

Trip.com

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

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Alternative Activities to do in beautiful Auckland!

Lying in the South Pacific Ocean and as the first place in the world to greet the new day, is New Zealand.  Affectionately known as the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland was chosen in 2014 as one of the Top World cities and with an incredible history, stunning scenery and a culturally diversity to her, it isn’t hard to see why!

Auckland (Tāmaki-makau-rau), is the largest urban area in New Zealand and whilst it is an essential port for any traveller visiting New Zealand, this vibrantly modern and elegant city is a melting pot of culture and truly has something to offer for all walks of life, visiting timeframes, travel-styles and budgets.

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© Flickr – Chris M. The very beautiful Mt Eden

If you’re feeling adventurous, head on up to Maungawhau, or Mt Eden as it is known. It is the highest of Auckland’s volcanos and has an absolutely magical view of the inner-city. Climb that mountain with nothing less than enthusiasm and make sure your outfit is #gramready!

You could spend hours (days?) planning how to eat and drink your way from Kumeu to Waiheke Island, but if you are after some CBD-local treats then I have some choices for you which are sure to delight your tastebuds!

© Giapo, New Zealand – amazing edible creations!

When you are in Auckland and your sweet cravings are tantalisingly present, a recommendation guaranteed to delight your taste-buds and eyes is Giapo, located on Gore St in the CBD. An explosion of creative & delicious delight, Giapo has had its praises deservedly praised and has a menu for all! Remember the first time you dipped your Macca’s chips into your soft-serve and the brain explosion of sweet + savoury? Well, the amazing team at Giapo has their incredible Hot Chips in a Cone, sure to delight anyone who tries it! The kiwi favourite Hokey Pokey gets its own spin, and the #instafamous The Colossal Squid is a thing of beauty. Only New Zealand organic milk and fresh produce is used and the ice cream is made from scratch every day! The team at Giapo has also opened their kitchen for kitchen tours and they are loved throughout Auckland and New Zealand and for good reason!

You’ve heard of the Auckland Sky Needle, and possibly the Skywalk but have you heard of the Skyjump?! What’s slightly more ridiculous than being up a 192m tall tower? Jumping off of it by wire at 85km per hour, that’s what! The best part? You are completely responsible for jumping (hurling?) yourself off of it. If it makes you feel better, just remember that falling that distance at that speed should only take around 11 seconds.

You can organise a day trip out to the Goat Island Marine Reserve and can kayak in clear kayaks, imaging being able to watch the fish underneath your kayak?! Glass Bottom Boat Tours have one and two hour hires, safety equipment is provided at no extra cost and you can explore Goat Island’s rocky edges, view the kelp and seaweed forests, fish and other marine life, all just below the water’s surface.

clear boat

Pic © Abigail Kathleen (Trip Advisor, 2017)

If you’re looking to experience the city in a way you have never seen it before and hear authentic and spooky stories of Auckland’s sordid history, then a lantern lit ghost tour of her historical streets filled with murders, hauntings and other ghoulish business may be for you. Auckland Ghost Tours are sure to delight you with their dark history of the city.

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© Escape Rooms Auckland

Sure wine tours are fun, but have you ever tried to beat the clock to escape a themed room while solving puzzles along the way?! Escape Masters brought the first escape room to New Zealand and Auckland CBD (Queen Street) offers up several different themed escapes (haunted, bank-heist, alien, etc. bar mafia). If the idea of escaping a horror themed haunted motel doesn’t get your blood pumping then you’re a stronger person than I!

© BodyFX, Street Art Murals Auckland, 2017

If you have ever thought about reliving your obsession with Buffy, Angel (I am a painfully basic 90’s girl, it is true), True Blood, The Walking Dead or Z Nation – then you should visit BodyFX and take part in a professional makeup course in Auckland. The Principle Artist and Director of BodyFX, Yolanda has over twenty years experience and offers a wide range of courses for everyone. Perhaps a creative makeover before your ghost tour?!

Miss Moonshine’s in Ponsoby cheekily refers to their offerings as ‘grilliant food’ and with their slow cooking, wood smoking, rubs and distinctive smoke favours – she certainly caters to every BBQ fan. I know that their eggplant with refried beans and mac and cheese are on my wish-list for my next visit!

You may not have an Auckland holiday planned anytime soon, but if you find yourself having a stopover in Auckland soon, I hope you enjoyed this list of alternative activities to take part in during your visit and that you too experience the wonder which Auckland has on offer!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! It is my greatest pleasure to share with you my own personal experiences, adventures and places I have researched for upcoming trips! 

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow #OURSEQld on Instagram click here – Our SE Qld

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Dear Captain Planet Generation…we are failing

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Captain Planet….if you grew up in the 90’s you would remember him and the Planeteers (Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi & Ma-Ti anybody?). These guys were the reason six year old me understood environmental disasters & devastating destruction long before I ever learnt it in school! We were the generation they were after, they were talking to us – we were going to be the ones to turn it all around.

Except…Did you know that since 1993, we have lost an area of ‘unspoilt’ places twice the size of Alaska? Or that humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years?

With ecosystems being lost there is no ability to reverse the damage and although there is still approximately 30m sq. km of wilderness across the globe, that only equates to 23% of the world’s land mass. In saying that a large portion of this is Australia’s deserts and western woodlands.

For those of us in Australia, our environmental movement really hit its peak in the eighties and the Australian Labor Party began capitalising on national conservation and soil conservation.

We are incredibly fortunate in that Australia has over 6000 Landcare and Coastcare groups nationwide. We are respectful of climate change, sustainability, animal protection and of course environmental care as a whole.

As we continue to experience the effects of the damage we have caused to our beautiful planet, a sustainable economy is more important than ever. We need to live within our means and try to use natural assets rather than depleting them and work to bring pollution to a level that our environment can actually handle, rather than damage it beyond repair.

Sadly, Australia is surprisingly one of the lease sustainable countries in the world. The AEGN confirmed that we as a nation have an ecological footprint which is 2.8 times the work average & our carbon emissions are four times the world average.

So how do we, as Generation Y try to give back to the environment which is home? How do we respect and care for all of the beautiful places which has given us land, rain, clean water, incredible ecosystems, animals, fresh air and healthy oceans (AEGN, 2018)?

Our oceans have the highest marine biodiversity in the world and our native plants and animals are found only here, in Australia. Along without carbon footprint and carbon emissions we have the highest rate of animal extinction and our extreme and dangerous weather events are increasing each year. Whilst there is natural attrition, we humans are responsible for almost all of the damage.

The AEGN is working hard to provide marine sanctuaries, to stop large-scale land clearing, to set up wind and solar farms and provide education around climate change, to protect biodiversity and restore land and to advocate for the proper use and protection of our fresh water supplies. We rely on grants and groups to get this done. So how can you help? Well, have a look at the following tips which I either follow or will begin following and see how you go. I would also love to hear what you do, let’s be the generation Captain Planet thought we would be and step up to the challenge of protecting Earth for the next generation.

  • Walk & bike to local destinations, rather than taking your car
  • Use a refillable water bottle and avoid buying/using plastic water bottles. Did you know that there are 370 million bottles going to waste every year & that these will take over 400 years to break down (ProAcqua, 2014). Australia’s use of bottled water generates 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year!
  • Dry your clothes using a clothes-horse or clothesline instead of using your dryer (these bad boys are one of the biggest energy-sucking appliances in your home).
  • Use a keep-cup for your coffee (it is estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s 2.7 million paper cups thrown out every day! (University of Melbourne, 2018).
  • Use reusable bags when you do your groceries (Greenpeace found that Australians use over 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags annually) (Greenpeace, 2017).
  • Use cold water for your washing machine
  • Unplug your electronics at night to stop them using electricity
  • Use digital documents and avoid print-outs
  • RECYCLE, recycle, recycle (the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste per year and much of this is avoidable!) (Greenpeace, 2014).
  • Buy products with the Energy Rating which is high, this is a mandatory scheme for most appliances and the higher the star-rating the better the appliance (Australian Government, 2013).
  • Adopt a water conservation strategy (fix your taps, use a water-saving shower head, keep your tap water in a bottle in the fridge, use your washing machine when you have a full load and on cold, install a water tank, don’t overwater your lawn etc.,) (Nature Australia, 2018).

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow OURSEQld on Instagram click here – Our SE Qld

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Christchurch, New Zealand

There is nothing more beautiful in this world, than making lifelong friends under the most peculiar circumstances. You wouldn’t really think that meeting someone from another country whilst travelling in a group of early twenties misfits, drinking your way across Europe, could result in a nearly decade-long friendship! I am incredibly fortunate to have the friends I have, the travel stories I have collected and the opportunity and ability to head overseas purely for a catch-up!

Jemma and I met in London in 2009 and we have since travelled the world together, in 2011 we were travelling across the states and we met Natalie and now the three of us frequently try to catch up with each other. We take turns between Queensland (me), New South Wales (Nats) and New Zealand (Jemma). When we met we were all early to mid-twenties and single, so we were used to making up our own rules and heading off to wherever, whenever we could. Fast forward and we all have long-term partners and thankfully, they all get along and we as a group of six, pretty unique personalities, also all get along. Honestly, I had heard that things all work out the older you get I wasn’t really convinced. Yet here I am, 32 and with some of the most amazing social groups I could have ever hoped for. 16-year-old me would be cheering to know that the drama does stop one day and you can have an incredibly functional and rewarding friend group!

Last year we had an amazing weekend down in the Hunter Valley and the year before that everyone came to Brisbane for our Wedding, so luckily it was New Zealand’s turn! Nats and I had visited Jemma in NZ a couple of times before, but never with the guys – so this was a lot of fun! Both Nats and Tanner and G and I flew into Christchurch from Sydney and the Gold Coast within a couple of hours of each other. Jem and Alex were both working on Friday so we had time to sleep in and then a few hours to walk around Christchurch – which is such a beautiful city – I just love it there :).

To truly get our ‘tourist-on’ as Nats declared, we decided we would book on the Christchurch Tram tour – which was a really fun little activity. It is as touristy as you would expect and to be fair you could definitely just walk around at no cost, but it’s always fun to get out and about and support the local economy you are in! Our tram driver was really lovely although there was a bit of an awkward moment when the description of the traffic 2011 earthquakes which killed 185 people was described as ‘..a really, really, it was…um, a really low point’. Let’s all just agree that in order to keep tourists comfortable, we shouldn’t downplay the terrible tragedy which Christchurch endured and continues to endure today.

It was time to head back home, pack our bags and get ready to head off on our Purau overnight stay! Christchurch is such an amazing city and more than that, it is a survivor – both she and her people are brave, resilient and friendly beyond comprehension. Even those with little would give you the shirt from their back if you asked. I am sad I was not able to experience Christchurch before the catastrophic damage from the earthquake occurred, but I am very thankful that I have been able to return three times in the past six years and see the gradual improvement and rebuilding. Christchurch has a long way to go and the destruction and loss is raw and evident – don’t let this stop you from visiting this beautiful city, she has a lot to offer.

To learn more about this beautiful city, try the following link.

Christchurch Tram info.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

x C x

 

 

A Celebration of Women – International Women’s Day

 

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), and it is celebrated on 8 March every year commemorating the movement for women’s rights. First observed on 28 February in New York the year 1909, it was confirmed at the 1910 International Women’s Conference that 8 March would become an ‘International Women’s Day’.

Each year there is a different UN theme, this year it is The Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives. IWD is an official holiday in several parts of the world, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, China, Russia and Turkmenistan. Countries such as Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Chile celebrate the day, although it is not a public holiday.

team-motivation-teamwork-together-53958.jpegThis years campaign is heavily focussed on #PressforProgress – on global activism for equality for women – heavily fuelled by movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp (amongst others). The world is aiming for gender parity and shockingly, the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings suggest that gender parity is over 200 years away!

#PressforProgress is a call for us all to motivate and unite each other, our friends and colleagues, our communities to act, think and be gender inclusive For more – read here.

There is no denying that the last year has been tumultuous in terms of the struggle for women’s rights. You only need to observe the inauguration of Donald Trump, the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the rise of #MeToo & #TimesUp campaigns to understand the significance of this years IWD.

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A little snapshot of the IWD which I have found really interesting is below:

  • In 1010, Clara Zetkin became the first person to table to idea of an International Women’s Day
  • Later in 1910, 100 women from 17 different countries gathered to formally establish IWD and in 1011 when this occurred, more than a million people rallied in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland for women’s voting rights
  • It was officially declared by the UN in 1975.

So why do we need to keep celebrating it now? Surely women’s rights have improved? Could this really be as prevalent as it was 108 years ago? The answer is yes. We continuously need to mark this event because although huge progress has been made, much more needs to be done.

pexels-photo-567633.jpegThe income of female workers worldwide is predicted to continue lagging behind males for another 70 years and it has also been suggested that the gender pay gap will not fully close until 2186.

One in three girls in the developing world is married off before her 18th birthday and more than 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation. Two thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female and only 7.8% countries in the world have a female head of government.

For me, being a feminist means respect and an aim for equality – at the core of it it is the struggle to end oppression. I am fortunate enough to live where I do, be in an equal and loving relationship and hold both a Degree and a well-paying job. In 10 countries, women are legally bound to obey their husbands and only 76 countries have legislation that directly targets domestic violence; with just 57 of them including sexual abuse.

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This year I have donated to the UN Women National Commission of Australia – Link is here.

  • $48 you can help provide food for a woman living in a shelter for a month.
  • $98 can deliver a young woman’s leadership program.
  • $156 can ensure women have access to legal services.
  • $456 can provide financial and literacy and business training for three women to create sustainable enterprises.
  • $873 can support a safe hour to protect women from domestic violence.

IMG_8750This International Women’s Day, let’s continue to empower each other and work together to ensure women are safe from violence and have choice and opportunity.

Happy International Women’s Day!What do you wish you could change for women in today’s world? I would like to see everyone in this world have access to mental health care.

Some of the beautiful ladies in my life, at my Hen’s Night ❤❤❤.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

x C x

Romance at the Onsen Hot Pools, Queenstown

IMG_0653Honeymoon’s are a tricky thing, how romantic do you go? Do you lay on the sap? Do you hole up somewhere with nothing but food and wine, cuddles and kisses? Do you try to be super active – climbing mountains, jumping out of planes etc.,? OR – do you just play it by ear? We did a little bit of both. I even went completely out of my comfort zone and booked a couples ticket to the Onsen Hot Pools. This seems like an amazing choice for most couples, romantic hot pools, steam, swimming, bubbling jets, sunset etc.,

Unless you hate baths. I think baths are just people soup pots. You sort of just soak in your own…weird hot water. What do you do? Just sit? Let your hands and toes get wrinkly? I don’t know. It’s not for me. I get hot and faint-y pretty easily. I also get bored, I also need to take a shower after a bath. I know it seems like I am whinging about something pretty small – I am. To be honest, in the past four years I have been in a still body of water twice. Once in the bath at our Honeymoon Air BnB and once at the Onsen Hot Pools. Both ended in crying tears and ugly laughing from the both of us!

fullsizeoutput_421bThe Onsen Hot Pools are located within a boutique spa with private cedar-lined hot pools overlooking the Shotover River – which is absolutely gorgeous! They are completely private and there is a change area and shower near the hot tubs. You have the ability to lift the retractable picture windows so you can look out of the Shotover River.

We had private transport to/from Queenstown as part of our ticket, which was wonderful. We ordered the ‘Onsen by Lantern Light’ which is available in the pools from sunset and the rooms are set up so beautifully with candle-lights around the room.

IMG_0606We also purchased the ‘Tandeki’ (Japanese word meaning indulgence) and it included towels, Gibbston Valley wines, chocolates and ice creams. This really made it extra romantic!

Sitting in the pools, overlooking the Shotover River was really nice, the temperature of the pools would be really nice for anyone who enjoys baths/spas but I ended up standing half-in, half-out because I can’t handle the heat ha-ha. At one point I was overwhelmed by the heat (I’m soft, what can I say) and I became faint and G hit the emergency cold-water button (designed to top up the pool and level the temperature of the water), but I happened to be sanding directly in front of it and copped a face full of streaming cold water – cue mass hilarity and laughter all around.

Look, it is a romantic place to be but I can’t say we had a romantic time due to heat sensitivity, human-bath awareness and the shot of water to the face. It is a beautiful place to visit and I highly recommend it if you are into romantic spa baths, actually it does not even need to be romantic because you can book up to three people in any one pool. Unless I have completely misinterpreted the purpose of that ;).

IMG_0644The price for two adults with the Tandeki package and the Queenstown pick-up cost us around $100 AUD, which I think was really worth it!

Onsen Hot Pools

Queenstown New Zealand Website

Enjoy!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

x C x

A love for travel <3

One of the most amazing things to occur after you have been planning and saving for a trip after many months/years is when you arrive at your destination. You are no longer glued to that photo somebody else took and which you downloaded or screen-shotted many moons ago. You are there. Finally.

And you know what? Nothing is more beautiful than that moment. I say this a lot, but honestly the most breathtaking moment I have ever had whilst travelling was when I was in South America and I saw Machu Picchu. Anyone who knows me, will vouch for the fact that I am rarely without words, but Peru…Peru silenced me. I had planned the trip for almost two years with my girlfriend Jemma and to finally be there was just amazing.

The first time I knew I wanted to explore the world, I was not quite six years old. I had the most vivid dream. I was exploring waterfalls and caves with my Dad, I think we were in Africa or Asia (or whatever combination my brain had concocted at such a young age). When I was telling Dad about our adventure and he told me I had just been dreaming, I actually thought he was having me on. How could I have dreamt something so detailed? Also, how was I going to deal with the disappointment that I had not been there?

I became obsessed. I WAS going to travel the world. One day. When I was six we went on our first overseas family holiday, to Bali. I have really lovely memories of this trip. Catching the plane with my family, coming across people who neither spoke English or Anindilyakwa, as was spoken on Groote Eylandt where we lived. It was one of the most exciting weeks of my little life – so many beautiful things to see and smell and taste, people to meet. Amazing!

I came home with braids in my heart, a hundred new stories to tell the kids at school and a burning desire to travel. Being a mining brat, I had the ability to see a fair bit of the top end and east coast of Australia, because we typically moved every two years for Dad’s job. I used to pour over and harbour any travel articles I could get a hold of and I wished for a subscription to the National Geographic magazine for years and years.

Then puberty happened. High school. Jobs. Wagging School to go to the beach. Parties. The usual. Sure enough, by the time I was 17 I had planned my next big adventure, I was going to live in London and work in a pub, like nearly every third or fourth Aussie at the time. I went to uni instead.

Then I dreamed of teaching English in Japan, which then changed to working in a ski field in Canada, then back to possibly landing a job in the UK. Then I changed jobs, changed degrees and decided to travel on leave instead.

I must have planned three or four big trips which never came to fruition. I always had friends with the best of intentions, but when it came down to the crunch, they just were not willing to part with ever spare dollar to save it for a holiday. My friends didn’t want to wear the same clothes all year, miss out on parties and dye their own hair. Which was completely fine, my dreams didn’t need to be my friends dreams!

Eventually at 23 I decided to bite the bullet and just go away on my own. I had my sights set on South America. My Mum gave me a firm and resounding “NO” to her 23 year old daughter running off overseas on her own. So instead, at the pleading of Mum/Friends/Employer, I booked myself onto an arranged Contiki tour instead.

This would turn out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, I met some amazing people, experienced the high of travel I had been seeking and knew that every sacrifice I had made in the past was worth it :).

I am pretty sure I would have had Dad over my shoulder (who had since passed), carrying me along my journey – remembering the five year old who animatedly “remembered” an international adventure all those years ago xx

When did you know you had fallen in love with travel?

x C x

Our 2018 European Adventure

Hello everyone!

First of all, a massive thank you to you all for your continued support and interest in my page. This page was started many years ago, as a form of a travel diary. A place to share my past adventures and connect with other like-minded bloggers.

In October of last year, I decided to start a separate instagram page Courtney Gaye Travels. This was my little space to share photographs and moments from my past travels. I am really pleased with the way it has gone. I have connected with some amazing people, found some incredible accounts and have had the amazing opportunity to find this incredible community of people with whom I have been able to seek inspiration from.

IMG_9206At the moment my page mostly shares older posts and photographs, however I am hoping this will continue to develop and to grow. I love sharing and connecting with others.

I am a proud Brisbane girl, I have lived here for over half my life and I cannot see myself living anywhere else. I was married on my beloved Brisbane River in 2016, work in the Brisbane CBD and try to spend as much time as possible exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer.

My Husband and I met when we were both away for a weekend, we took our first overseas trip together in 2014 and became engaged in New York City. We spent the first six months of our relationship findings pictures of places we wanted to explore and sending them to each other, slowly but surely building our bucket list.

This year we will be ticking off quite a few of these bucket list destinations, during our European adventure. I have decided that I would really like to share these adventures with everyone.

I hope to hear from you on this platform, or through instagram and even via email. I have a facebook page as well, if that is more to your liking. Either way, I am here to connect with people and I am so excited to see your journeys and learn from each and every one of you.

Thank you for your follow, see you out there :).

Courtney Gaye

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TSS Earnslaw, Lake Wakatipo & Walter Peak Dinner, Queenstown

When we were researching our honeymoon activities, we stumbled across a cruise on a vintage steamship and dinner over at Walter peak High Country Farm. We knew instantly we had to participate in this activity.

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The TSS Earnslaw is a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer and is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Central Otago, spending her days in the waters of Lake Wakatipu. It is actually the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. Named after Mount Earnslaw, this ship was known as the Lady of the Lake; until 1968 where she was almost scrapped. Thankfully she was rescued and taken for a makeup in 1984 and in 2012 celebrated her centenary.

 

When we boarded TSS Earnslaw for our 90 minute cruise across Lake Wakatipu and the bar was open, and the weather was beautiful and we were feeling particularly loved-up because we were on a steamboat (!!!) and it was our honeymoon! How can you be anything but over-the-moon excited?! There was a gorgeous engine room you are able to see from inside the ship and there is also a series of historical photos available to view.

IMG_2670Lake Wakatipu has a sense of magic to it, its name comes from the original Māori word Whakatipu wai-māori and is 80km in length. At New Zealand’s longest lake it is also the third largest in the country. It’s sea level plunges to a maximum depth of 380metres and it is surrounded by absolutely beautiful mountains. The Remarkables mountain range lies along the south-eastern edge. You may have seen Lake Wakatipu as the Scottish Loch Ness in The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and was the backdrop for several scenes in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

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Walter Peak is a mountain located near Queensland and the TSS Earnslaw steamship takes you across the very beautiful Lake Wakatipu to the Walter Peak Country Farm. This Colonel Homestead is absolutely gorgeous, as the ship arrives you see the beautiful gardens, we were arriving on sunset and the view back across the Lake and towards Queenstown was so phenomenal.

The dining experience was also excellent, I am absolutely daydreaming about the food as I am writing this. We had a gourmet bbq dinner, the spread was amazing and it really highlights the New Zealand and local produce. There was also an amazing selection of desserts, cheeses, tea and coffee and a huge selection of drinks which you were able to purchase. You have assigned seating, we really liked having a table just for the two of us.

 

IMG_2678You then have time to explore the gardens, check out the shop or the art gallery before your journey back along the lake towards Queenstown. I went into a mild food coma and rested on G for the journey back across the lake. It was definitely one of my favourite nights in New Zealand. I would highly recommend it – it provides you with an amazing view and perspective of the lake as well. At one point we ended up with a very excited group of tourists who thought we had gotten engaged on the boat, we were celebrating our honeymoon though, so we took the congratulations and rolled with it!

You can book your Walter Peak Farm trip through Real Journeys:

https://www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/experiences/tours/walter-peak-farm-tours/

IMG_2690We purchased our Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Dinner with the TSS Earnslaw Cruise for $260NZD ($235 Aussie). It’s not overly cheap but it is three hours on a historic boat with access to a bar and a visit to one of the most beautiful little homesteads, the food is great and it is a really nice date-night out. We saw many couples, families, people with their Mum’s and large groups over there and honestly everyone appeared to be having a really nice time!

You can’t beat good food, good wine, a lake view, pretty gardens and twilight! Plus – have you ever seen a steam boat this beautiful?!

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