My Topdeck Experience

It almost seems to be a rite of passage in Australia heading off on either a Contiki or Topdeck trip. There are a staggering number of young people who have been on them or are heading off on one. There is a lot of debate on which one is better if you look on online forums. At this stage I have never been on a Contiki (so I can’t compare them) however I am heading off on one next year. Last year (2015) I headed off overseas for the very first time at 26 with two of my close friends. We went on the Summer Fun and Sailing Trip at the very end of June which was 27 days in length. Here are some of my thoughts about the experience.



It was all planned out and I didn’t have to worry about anything but getting to the bus on time. This was a major plus for me because I was working in a stressful job and had very little time or experience to plan my holiday. I never would have been able to see as much of Europe if I had planned this on my own. Yes there were a couple of times I wished we had more time in a certain place Florence, Italy was one example. However I also saw and discovered many places that I would have never gone on my own.  The feeling of pulling into a new place and being awestruck was pretty exciting.


Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Yes most trips will be fast paced. This didn’t bother me on the trip. The sheer amount of places I visited was astounding and there was also a fair bit of time on the bus spent travelling between places. The sailing in Greece was an excellent remedy for this fast paced trip. It gave everyone time to relax, swim, sunbathe and eat delicious Greek food! I would highly recommend sailing to everyone it was a definite highlight of the trip!

The included meals are actually good! I was pretty dubious about food included on the trip however thankfully I was proven wrong. It was all really well set up and all of the food was a really high quality. It was often something that was local to the country we were in and very delicious.



I found it really fun to travel with a group of young people. I am a really quiet person and not the most outgoing so I was a bit worried how I would find it. I actually made some great friends and had some amazing times which were made better by the people on my tour.

Did everyone want to party all the time? Yes and no. Yes there definitely was a lot of partying involved in the trip but there was no pressure to be involved. There were plenty of nights when it was just a few people going out and plenty of nights where we all did. I found it really easy to have a mix of party nights and quieter nights.


Dubrovnik, Croatia

Would I recommend it to others? Yes I definitely would! I had a great time overall and I felt safe the whole time. I would have really struggled in the non-English speaking countries if I had been by myself. I am planning a trip which will include a Contiki trip in the middle of next year so stay tuned. If you have any other questions about my trip feel free to contact me or leave a message!


Budgeting for Travel

I have some big travel plans coming up later this year and hopefully next year. Saving enough money to achieve everything you want to do is always hard. In order to prepare for my trips away I have decided to keep a budget in order to track my spending and saving. I found a good free template “budget planner” here.

There are also many apps that will allow you to track your spending on the go.

Tracking your spending helps to make you aware of where you are actually spending your money. Hopefully this will allow you to identify areas you may be able to cut back and think more before you make a purchase.

When first starting my budget I did the think “OMG what have I gotten myself into” haha. There was quite a bit of money that I had forgotten I was paying for subscriptions and memberships. Some of these I was able to get rid of and save myself some money.

I am planning on visiting England and Scotland later this year so stay tuned as I will have plenty of adventure to share!

Adelaide Show 2016

Well I am finally back, it has been a busy and exciting three weeks! I have been preparing for the Adelaide Show for the last couple of months. If you have read some of my previous blogs you will know that I have my own cattle stud and am very passionate about my cows. It was such a long build up to the show it felt like it all passed in a blur. There is no time like show time!


Clipping in preparation for the Royal Adelaide Show 2016 

I only had one entry of my own (a cow with a calf at foot) but also worked for another breeder. All up I helped look after, prepare and exhibit nine cattle and two calves including my own. We certainly had our work cut out for us. The cattle come in four days before judging day. This gives them time to settle in and get used to their surroundings. Sometimes cattle can get an upset stomach if too much of their routine is changed to quickly. The cattle all settled in well and quite quickly. Then it was all preparation for show day.


Jiranda Copper K19 waiting for her ribbon

Show day dawned quickly and early this year much to my horror. My cow and calf unit came a respectable third in their class. The rest of our cattle picked up a number of placings in their classes. The next evening I entered my calf in the calf classic which is where all the calves compete as individuals. My calf placed second in her class which was exciting.


Jiranda Copper K19 after being awarded her ribbon

A few days later after most of the stud cattle had gone home the steers came in. I had a steer prepared by a high school. Every year breeders donate their steers to high schools around South Australia. This provides an educational experience for the students who feed and break in (halter train) these animals. It teaches them about the beef industry and hopefully inspires them to become in the future. The animals are judged on hoof (alive at the show) and then on the hook (after slaughter at an abattoir). The competition provides a very real experience of the industry and food chain. The school I donated my steer to did an excellent job preparing him for the show. He came second on hoof in his class and fifth on the hook. The hook class was very competitive as there were 64 entries in it. So I was pretty happy with the result.


Exhibiting other cattle in a group class

Overall I had a great time and will be out in the paddock looking at potential show calves for next year!!


Grand Parade at the Royal Adelaide Show after a long day of judging


London In 4 Days (Day 4)

Final day in London (sad face) was spent exploring Regent Park. The parks here in summer are so beautiful and carefully maintained. It was nice to just wander around for a while after the punishing pace of the last few days. I found the gardens just beautiful and took loads of photos (inspiration for when I got home).


Regent Garden

We then headed off towards Lords Cricket Ground where we had a tour booked for later in the day. We had lunch in the restaurant next door which was really nice. Then we were off to our tour. I am not really a cricket fan or interested in it at all. However the others I was travelling with were really excited to go to Lords. We managed to go on a day where the tour could access the whole grounds as there were no events on. It was a really well run tour. The guide made it interesting for everyone and had loads of stories to tell about the cricketers. While I am not really into cricket I did really enjoy this tour. The benefit of travelling with others is experiencing things you wouldn’t normally do.


Lords Cricket Ground

London was a blast and is still my favourite place I have ever visited. I loved the gardens and the oldness of all the buildings. The history was super impressive. I am so glad I visited and I am sure I will be back again. Until next time London.


Queen Elizabeth Gate, Hyde Park


London In 4 Days (Day 3)

Day three in London was a bit slower paced than the first two days. We spent the morning having breakfast in Hyde Park at the Lido Bar and Café on a beautiful sunny morning! It was a lovely way to start the day. We also saw the Diana Memorial water feature. We headed back towards Buckingham Palace to make a few purchases (I love London hoodie anyone?) in the Royal Giftshop (who knew I could get so excited about the monarchy).

Then we were pounding the pavement (my poor feet) onto Oxford Street and the many shops that call it home. There were loads of cool shops and I could have spent hours looking in them all. I would seriously recommend checking out the Disney Store it had great displays and the store was fun to browse. The Nike store was massive! It had like four floors and a DJ you could even design your own shoes! If you’re into sportswear I would definitely recommend checking it out!


Inside the Disney Store

Heading to the train station was next in order to get out to (eek) Warner Bros. Studio Tour The Making of Harry Potter. I am a massive fan of the books and movies so I was super excited to get there. I booked a couple of months in advance in order to go! One you arrive at Watford Junction Station a bus from Harry Potter World will pick you up and take you there. We paid to have an audio tour again which was well worth it. There were heaps of sets, props and costumes to check out. You can try out a butterbeer in the café, ride a broomstick and more! We spent a few hours here checking it all out and I was glad I came. I loved every minute of it! There is also a shop at the end (of course) where you can buy loads of souvenirs to take home with you.


Warner Bros. Studio Tour


Warner Bros. Studio Tour


London In 4 Days (Day 2)

The itinerary for day two was just as busy as day one. We were all up early due to a bit of jetlag and after breakfast at our hotel we were raring to go! We caught the Big Bus London again which dropped us off near St Pauls Cathedral. The church was impressive we had to pay to get in as it was not included in the London Pass. Again we did an audio tour which was quite enjoyable. We also climbed to the top of the cathedral which gave great views of London. It was a pretty steep ascent in some places and quite cramped however I managed it easily. The we were onto Westminster Abbey which I loved. What I liked the most was the history I knew about and it was almost surreal to see. I was engrossed in reading about Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth. I had learnt about them trough the many docos and movies that have been made about that time. To actually see their resting places was something else. (Again) we did an audio tour (they are seriously everywhere) which provided extra info. I could have spent longer here the history really captivated me and it was a wonderful place to see.


Next on the list was the London Eye, we again pre booked tickets (express tickets with a max wait time of 15mins). It was crazy busy and if I went again I probably wouldn’t bother doing it again. The views were awesome but you can get high up views elsewhere. The line was massive and we did get on slightly quicker but still would have waited a good 15mins to get on. It was good but I visited other places in London I preferred more.


London Eye

After a baguette near the River Thames we were ready to see the London Tower. This was a pretty cool experience it was a massive place (also very busy this time of year) with a load of history. It was interesting to see a castle as it would have been so long ago. Obviously people were a lot shorter then! It was a great few hours spent there and I was also excited to see the Crown Jewels. The line looked massive when we lined up but we were up front in about 15mins which wasn’t too bad. When we finally got to them (there are a lot of other displays you have to wind your way through first) it was really interesting.

After the London Tower we were able to catch a boat cruise (included in London Pass) back up the River Thames (which we promptly dropped our Big Bus tickets into) to where we could catch the big bus back. On the way back we also stopped by London’s biggest sports store Lillywhites (Yay!!) for a few supplies. I picked up a few good buys.


London In 4 Days (Day 1)

Last year I travelled through Europe which was an awesome experience. The very first time I had ever been overseas I jetted into Heathrow Airport and the adventure began! It was full of unplanned adventures, problems with itinerary’s and awesome people. I spent about four days in London and jammed in as much as I possibly could I was so excited. I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling of being overseas for the first time and being so overwhelmed on that first day. I didn’t know where to look next! I travelled with two friends from home which was great, it is nice to have off siders when you’re unsure of your surroundings. I arrived at 6am in the morning and my day basically started from there! I stayed at the Mandalay Picton House Hotel for the whole time I was in London. It was basic accommodation but was very clean and the family who run the hotel are extremely friendly and helpful! I would definitely stay there again.

I chose to book tickets on one of the hop on, hop off tourist buses that you will see all around London. I chose to book my tickets before getting to London and picked the Big Bus London Company. Basically when looking at the reviews they had the most regular buses and most stops, they were slightly more expensive than some of their competition but I thought it was worth it. They were even helpful when we lost our tickets in the River Thames on the last day. It was great to be able to sit on the bus, listen to information and see the sights. We also purchased London Pass tickets which allowed us to get straight into most of the attractions we saw. If your planning on doing lots of sightseeing this can work out to be pretty good value.

Our first stop was Kensington Palace and Gardens. I found walking through the palace very informative. I didn’t join any of the tours but found there was enough information to read through. There was also a display of fashion through the ages which featured outfits from a number of members from the Royal Family. It was so much fun looking back at some of these impressive pieces of fashion. I loved the sunken garden just outside Kensington Palace it was beautiful! Trafalgar Square was nice but being cleaned after a concert so there were lots of trucks and high pressure hoses. I still managed to get a few photos though.


Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace

Buckingham Palace was next on the list. It was a pretty massive sight, we didn’t bother sticking around to see the changing of the guard. Instead we took the opportunity to see the Royal Mews while there was less of a crowd. I thought the Royal Mews was well worth a visit there was lots of info provided (headphones for audio tour) and I found it quite interesting. We then decided to visit The Queens Gallery basically just because we were walking past! I like a bit of art so I enjoyed the experience. Seeing as we had our London Passes we could go straight in.


Royal Mews

Our last main stop for the day was (of course) Harrods. By this stage I have to say I was becoming slightly delirious. It was fun to check out but super busy, I really loved the food display areas they were pretty cool. I didn’t actually buy anything here but I did enjoy checking it out.

Dinner was in a cool pub called The Swan where I had the classic fish, chips and peas. It was nice but just a pub meal. The Swan had a pretty cool vibe and was pretty central in London. It was a hectic day but exciting!


Quick Jaunt to Port Lincoln

Hello I am just back from a short time in Port Lincoln. It is always nice to visit the beach even if it is just for a short time. Port Lincoln is a known for its seafood and is a definite feature of the town. I only had a really short time to check it out. I did manage to find some lovely places to eat, shop and see the town. I was able to squeeze in a visit to The Old Mill and Winters Hill Lookouts. It is always great to get a big view of the place you are visiting.


The Old Mill Lookout, Port Lincoln

I had two delicious breakfasts at Rouge & Rascal which overlooks the jetty at Port Lincoln. It had a really cool funky relaxed feeling. I had a stack of pancakes with chocolate, strawberries and almonds. It was delicious but huge I couldn’t finish it all. I also had some of their freshly squeezed pineapple and orange juice. I would have literally come just for the juice. The next morning I tried out the croissants with cheese, ham and tomato which did not disappoint and of course. Extremely friendly staff made the meal a very enjoyable experience.


Pancake Stack with chocolate, strawberries and almonds


Croissant with ham, cheese and tomatoe 

I also literally stumbled upon two great little shops. The first was called The Bayroom a beautiful homewares shop they you would need to spend all day in to see everything they had for sale. I walked away with a gorgeous photo frame and pillow. The second shop was just next door and was called Ruby & Kate and was a quaint shop that sold quilting supplies. You could buy gorgeous packs of material and patterns to make quilts and many other projects. It made me wish I lived closer and could take the quilting classes they offered!

The Eyre Peninsula is a lovely place to visit and I only saw a small bit of it. I will definitely have to come back another time when I have more time there is so much to explore.


Cracking Kangaroo Island

Strap on your skates everyone this week I’m taking you back to my time on the spectacular Kangaroo Island (KI). I have spent quite a lot of time on KI and quickly found my favorite places on the island. It is an island jam packed with native Australian wildlife, picturesque coastlines and great food.  You can get to KI either by ferry or plane.  When catching the ferry you either have to drive to catch the coach (Sealink runs them from Adelaide) to Cape Jervis which is just over 1.5 hours from Adelaide. The only other option is to fly, at the moment the only airline flying to KI is Rex Airlines. It is only a 20min flight out of Adelaide. However when landing in KI you kind of land in the middle of nowhere. There are no taxis on KI so you must organize transport from the very small airport to your accommodation. I have traveled numerous times on both the plane and the ferry and liked both of them. The ferry is fun to catch (the drive to Cape Jervis has beautiful scenery) and allows you to take your car over with you. However the plane is quicker although you will need to organize transport once on the island. If it’s a clear day the views from the plane can be really awesome.


KI is South Australia’s first free settlement. It does have a rich history with settlement, agriculture, shipwrecks, lighthouses and bees! KI is especially famous for its Ligurian Bees so make sure you taste some honey while you’re there! I don’t particularly like honey but as far as I could tell it was pretty good ha ha. My favourite part of the island was the wildlife, it is so plentiful there you can barely go anywhere without running into some sort of animal. One of the best things about the island is that all of the businesses are local and support the people who call KI home. When your visiting remember that you are supporting many locals that depend on tourism!


Coastline along Kangaroo Island

Flinders Chase National Park was one of my favourite places on the island. The coastline is incredible with a number of different views in the same place. The Remarkable Rocks are a must, I had so much fun walking around them and taking photos! I have now been to them a number of times and they never get old. Then there is admirals Arch which is pretty cool to see but the best part is the seal colony. There are literally hundreds of seals down there. I could have sat and watched them for hours. If you’re desperate to see a seal this is the place to go. The seals you will find here are New Zealand Fur Seals if you want to see Sea Lions which are much rarer the place to go is Seal Bay Conservation Park. You can walk on the boardwalk to see the seals from a distance or pay to go on a guided short walk on the beach. This allows you to get up closer to the Sea Lions.


Flinders Chase National Park

Kangaroo Island Spirits or KIS. Yes just Yes! I am not a big drinker of spirits but this was still a favourite on the island! It is only about 10 mins from Kingscote and well worth a visit. They produce their own gin, vodka and liqueurs, make sure you try KIS Honey and Walnut Liqueur it is delish! They will let you taste their products and give loads of info on how they source ingredients and make their products. They are also full of recipe ideas of how to use their products in ways that taste fabulous!


Flinders Chase National Park

The Pelican Man is found every evening at 5pm near the Kingscote Jetty no matter the weather. See huge numbers of pelicans fly in daily for a feed. A great chance to get up close and personal with the wildlife. $5 for adults and $3 for kidlets. He has a wealth of information stored in his head so if you have a question make sure you ask!

Dudley Winery is literally a cellar door on a clifftop. Located about 15mins out of Penneshaw you can have some wine, buy some wine and eat some beautiful food! The view is just awesome, you can sit back and watch the mainland of Australia. Have a practice of your golf swing if you feel like and see if you can get a hole in one.

Bailey Dudley Winery

Views from Dudley Winery

The Andermel Marron Farm kind of obviously farms and serves marron. They have a high standard of food. I actually had a steak which was delicious I’m not that into shellfish. However all the other people I went with had marron and loved it. It is also really interesting to see marron of all different ages near the restaurant in a display. It shows all the stages of growth and how small they start off.

Raffa Stokes Bay

Raffa Enjoying Stokes Bay

Go for a drive down the North Coast Road visit the spectacular beaches where you may not even see another person. Stop in at Stokes Bay and make sure you walk through the tunnel and discover a spectacular beach. You may even see dolphins down there. While you are there have lunch at The Rockpool Café it serves locally caught fish from the area. Often the fish were caught that morning. It is only open seasonally so make sure you check before you head down. Along North Coast Road visit the many beaches although most can only be accessed via dirt roads.

North Coast Road

Views from North Coast Road

Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures was the absolute highlight of my trip to KI. I got to SWIM WITH WILD DOLPHINS and it was awesome! The tours are run by a local guy who has a wealth of knowledge about the local area. The tours are environmentally friendly, they don’t feed the dolphins and they have a boat which is safe for the dolphins. The dolphins all surf and jump in the wake of the boat, seeing them jump out of the water was really exciting. They stop the boat in a really protected area where you can often touch the bottom (so calm down if you’re not a great swimmer). There were literally 70 – 90 dolphins in the area so you see heaps of them! I don’t have any very good photos from when I went as I got to excited and forgot all about photographing them and jumped in and swam! If I get the chance I will definitely do this again!


Dolphins on Kangaroo Island Marine Tours

Fine Art Kangaroo Island is also well worth a look. A collection of art from different local artists often inspired by their local environment. The local artists work in a variety of different mediums from jewelry, pottery and paintings. It is a very professional shop with a focus on quality art. My favourite artists who regularly feature in the shop are Mark Capon and Jenny Clapson. There work is amazing!


4 Weeks Until Adelaide Show

OMG only 4 weeks the Adelaide Show is getting closer! I am starting to stress about making sure my cow and calf will be ready. At least the weather has been good all weekend, lately we have had near constant rain and storms. I spent Saturday working with another breeders cattle who I will help out down at the show. They are all coming along well and are on track which is good because it is going to be a large team. They currently have five bulls, three heifers and two cows with calves at foot going. Sunday I spent working with my cattle (trying not to neglect them).


The cow (Copper) is taking it well (as she should). She attended 4 shows throughout last year so she has plenty of experience. I have pretty much just been able to chuck a halter on her and lead her out of the paddock. However the calf (little copper) is having a bit harder time. This is all a first for her and she needs to get used to it. She was a bit better today than last week. Still not up to leading but is slowly getting used to the halter and being tied up. I have a lot to organise for the Adelaide Show in the next couple of weeks.


Today I went through the showbox (a box full of cattle showing gear e.g. grooming products, lead ropes and brushes) to see what we already had and what we still needed. Of course everything was a bit of mess left from last year. I found a few products that we need to top up for this year’s Adelaide Show. Trying to be organised so it is not a total rush at the very end.