As 2017 is quickly drawing to an end, it’s the perfect time to reflect on highlights and favourite memories created from this year’s travels.
I had an amazing year full of different experiences, learning about new cultures, trying new food, making new friends, being more independent, working hard and having fun at the same time.
2017 brought me to eight different countries including Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and New Zealand.
Let’s take it back to the beginning.
In January, Gareth and I’s time in the Gold Coast had sadly come to an end and we travelled over a few days down Australia’s East Coast on a road trip to our next home for the year in Canberra.
A stop at the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour along the way
The National War Museum, Canberra
In January, February, March and April I visited Sydney, the first two times for concerts (Puscifer and Guns N’ Roses), one for a weekend getaway to see Aladdin at the theatre and another time with my mum who came to visit over the Easter break.
Luna Park, Sydney
The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in the background
Overseas, I ventured off in May on an epic four-month adventure in Southeast Asia, most of it solo. I had some great opportunities working with various hotels and tour companies throughout my time away.
I began in Bali with my friends where we had a super fun week and I then went on to visit the largest city in Southeast Asia which was a whole new experience for me.
My best friends and I in Ubud
The view from my Airbnb in Jakarta
I was so excited to next fly to Thailand where I spent a wonderful month there. It had been 4.5 years since I had last been and I enjoyed so much revisiting Bangkok’s beautiful temples and making new friends there.
Wat Pho, Bangkok
My biggest highlights of my time in Thailand include the islands Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi and right up north in Chiang Rai.
The picture of paradise: Phi Phi Island
Snorkeling on a Maya Bay tour
The White Temple, Chiang Rai
Singha Beer Park, Chiang Rai
In July Gareth flew over to meet me in Vietnam and we stayed in our very first overwater bungalow! #TravelGoals. I especially loved wandering through the quaint ancient town of Hoi An.
Da Nang Cathedral pre-meeting up with Gareth
Vedana Lagoon, Phu Loc
Exploring the imperial city Hue
Beautiful lanterns of Hoi An
After exploring central Vietnam I was off solo again to Cambodia for the first time. Seeing Angkor Wat and the surrounding ancient temples was such a dream come true!
I visited a floating village and local school and learned about the devasting history centred in Phnom Penh.
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
I bounced over to beautiful Laos where I worked with my final hotel and started staying at hostels where I met some amazing people who I continued to travel with.
River tubing in Vang Vieng
The beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall
I finally flew to the country I was the most excited to visit: Myanmar. I only had two weeks there and I did an epic whirlwind tour starting in Yangon. I instantly loved it for how different it was from the other countries and how extremely friendly the locals were. I had my first spotlight moment where locals were lining up to take photos with me (because of my blonde hair I’m assuming!).
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
Like Laos, I bused from place to place, visiting Inle Lake, Bagan and Mandalay. Sunrises, sunsets, e-bikes and boat tours. I met some more wonderful new travel buddies and really enjoyed soaking up Burmese culture.
Traditional fisherman on Inle Lake
Sunrise over the temples in Bagan
Sunrise at U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay
When my time in Myanmar had come to an end in August I flew back to Bangkok to meet my mum. She was there for personal reasons and I was her support person, so I got to spend another three weeks in Thailand (yay). It was her first time to Asia so I enjoyed showing her the beautiful palace and temples, the crazy shopping malls, fun food places and beautiful skyline views.
Wat Arun, Bangkok
Unicorn Cafe, Bangkok
Sunset cocktails with a view
We also visited the beach town Hua Hin for a few nights before heading home in September.
In October I went to Melbourne to work with a company on a Great Ocean Road tour. Seeing The Twelve Apostles was another big bucket list tick for me!
The Twelve Apostles, Victoria
Awesome street art graffiti in Melbourne
In the last months of living in the capital city of Australia, I worked with a couple of local tour companies and Gareth and I made the most of our time there. We went to multiple live sports matches, many events on, visited nature parks, museums, even Canberra’s Space Station which is part of Nasa’s Deep Space Network. (I’ll be writing up a best things to do in Canberra post in the new year).
On a wine tour in the Canberra region
Koala spotting at Tidbinbilla Nature Park
Feeding friendly locals on a weekend getaway in Merimbula, NSW
On December 13th our three years in Australia had come to an end and we moved back to New Zealand. Our first stop was in Wellington where I loved visiting my old favourite spots around the city and catching up with my friends.
The Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street, Wellington
We just spent a lovely Christmas in Greytown which I wrote about in more detail on my secondary blog thegeekyrockchick.com and we are now currently residing in the Manawatu region.
There we have my 2017 travel highlights in a nutshell! It was my first year as a ‘proper’ travel blogger and I loved every moment! I’m so grateful to be able to travel and for the opportunities helping towards building my dream career.
I still have a long way to go and I’m excited to see what 2018 has in store for me, beginning with my first ever trip to the United States and Canada!
I also made a highlights video on YouTube if you would like to watch my year of travels:
Thanks so much to everyone who is following along on my journey, through social media and here on my blog. You all mean the world to me and thank you all for your support.
I hope you have a fantastic and safe New Years. I will be sharing my 2018 travel goals in my next post, hope to see you there!