(5 Months Too Late)…Our Time in Fiji & Singapore

Is it acceptable to write my Fiji and Singapore travelling post over 5 months after we visited? Not sure. But as our final two destinations on our 4 month trip…. I couldn’t not write this post. Luckily, I did make a few notes in true Romy form, so hopefully you will still get a flavour of the places despite it being yonks ago that we were there. 

Starting with Fiji, we flew there from Auckland (see my last North Island blog post if you’re remotely interested in what we did before) and arrived at night. Unfortunately, this meant that we didn’t see much of the journey to the hotel, but, once we arrived, we weren’t disappointed. Firstly, we had a lovely welcome at the airport- from shell necklaces to an acoustic guitar playing a little song. Once we arrived at our hotel, Outrigger, we were shown to our gorgeous little bungalow, complete with a straw roof, a ceiling mural, Fiji water (of course) and…. torrential rain. Overall, we had pretty good weather, but there were a few showers and it was hot, just a bit stormy at times. Considering we had been pretty non-stop up until arriving in Fiji, we decided to use it as time to not really do a great deal…and so I don’t have masses of recommendations. However, I will say that the people were delightfully friendly and warm, the scenery was beautifully green, the sea was a gorgeous turquoise colour, plus we had really great food. I know that isn’t remotely helpful in terms of knowing whether to visit, so I thought I would just share some of our photos. 

After Fiji, we headed to our final destination, Singapore. We loved it here. Despite our clothes changing colour every day with the amount we were sweating (yum), it really is an amazing place. For a city, it was surprising how much greenery there was. We were told that for any trees or greenery removed by construction for example, it would have to be replaced elsewhere which I thought was great. Some recs:

  • Hop on Hop off- as always, a brilliant way to see the sights and to get around. It actually wasn’t super expensive either. Chinatown, Little India, Clarke Quay and so many other destinations. We did the night tour with them as well which was really brilliant and took us to see the Gardens by the Bay light show- which would have been a nightmare to get to were we not on the tour, because the crowds are huuuuuge.
  • Gardens by the Bay- really spectacular and futuristic. We went at night and in the day and although seeing them sparkling and lit up at night probably was our favourite, it was actually pretty cool to see them in the day too. 
  • The Flower Dome & The Cloud Dome- both in Gardens by the Bay but they deserve their own bullet point. In 2 huge domes were the most amazing exhibitions, beautiful flowers, dramatic waterfalls and a spiral walkway all the way to the top. I love greenery and plants anyway, so considering how baking hot it was outside, a giant indoor greenhouse (with air con) was welcomed. 
  • Marina Bay Sands- we really enjoyed walking round the mall here and the hotel itself really was beautiful- particularly from the outside, with bright pink flowers lining the balconies all the way to the (extremely high) top. The bar on the roof had such a great view of Singapore despite it being completely packed- and I got a free prosecco, so that’s a win.
  • Botanic Gardens- wow. First of all, they are massive. Secondly, the gift shop does amazing tea. Thirdly, the BEAUTY. Every corner was just immaculately groomed, lusciously green, with an array of wonderful flowers spread through the entire gardens. I especially loved the National Orchid Garden- I must have taken 100 different close up orchid pictures for my phone wallpaper. 
  • Universal Studios- just a bit of fun but we did enjoy it. Terrible food there actually, but the rides were fun and it was a change from schlepping round the city…. We schlepped around a theme park instead. (I love that word.)
  • Hawker Food Centres- famous in Singapore. One note I forgot to make was the name of my favourite one, however they are scattered all over Singapore, so I’d definitely make the effort to go and grab some street food if you visit. 
  • Common Man Coffee Roasters- we actually went here for breakfast every morning we were there for their marmite mushrooms alone- don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. What a beautiful invention.
Trying a fruit at the market called a durian- it tastes like mushy garlic and you have to wear GLOVES to try it- nuff said.

There were definitely other great places we ate and other places we visited, so I have to say, my notes have let me down slightly, but 5 months on, I hope this has still given you a little glimpse into both Fiji and Singapore.

After Singapore, we made our way home with 4 suitcases (I know, I know) and landed in Birmingham after 4 months of travelling. It was an absolutely wonderful trip, from the deserts of Dubai right at the start, to the orchids of Singapore at the very end, I will never, ever forget this adventure.

Romy and Sam go Motorhoming : Sydney to Cairns

After our wonderful week in Sydney, we picked up Mabel the Maui Motorhome (have you noticed we like to name our cars…. I say we, I mean me) and set off on our East Coast adventure for 22 days. We were beyond excited when we went to pick it up and couldn’t believe how big it was! We felt like we were in ‘We’re the Millers’ – minus the drug smuggling. It wasn’t quite RV size but for people who had never driven a motorhome before, Mabel was a big girl! We made ourselves at home pretty quickly and set off on a crazy 3 weeks of beaches, comfort zone crushing, new friends, sunsets, tattoos, fly bites, spectacular views and campsite cooking. 

OUR ROUTE: 

Sydney > Anna Bay > Coffs Harbour > Byron Bay > Miami/ Surfers Paradise > Brisbane > Noosa > Hervey Bay/ Fraser Island > Rockhampton > Airlie Beach/ The Whitsundays > Townsville/ Magnetic Island > Mission Beach > Cairns 

I won’t go into detail about every single thing we did and how we spent every moment *hears everyone heave a sigh of relief*, but I will share our highlights, top tips and favourite campsites. 

(SOME OF OUR) HIGHLIGHTS: 

* Our first night. Climbing up onto the sand dunes behind our campsite in Anna Bay and experiencing one of the best sunsets we have ever seen. The rapidly changing colours, the rainbow on one side, the immaculate sand. Massive wow factor. 
* The town of Byron Bay. We loved the little coffee shops, bars and boutiques, along with the gorgeous beach. It all had a great feel. Also Sam surfed here again and loved it just as much as before.
* Miami… an unexpected gem. We decided to stay here instead of directly in Surfers Paradise, but it was a short taxi ride away and Miami was lovely and peaceful. There was the most epic pink sky both nights we stayed there too. We also loved the buzzy atmosphere in Surfers Paradise and although the beach was busy, we felt totally relaxed.
* Getting tattoos in Brisbane. Just so much fun…..Despite the tattoo shop being called ‘The Stab Shack’ and there being a python in the corner, we loved the whole experience. There was another girl having a huuuge chest piece done at the same time as us,  not even flinching and I was asking a million questions about the aftercare and pain etc. (typical me) for our tiny tattoos that literally took minutes to do – I am so hard core.
* Koalas, kangaroos, dolphins…… the wildlife everywhere is just something else.
* The Noosa Everglades. Woweeee. So beautiful. We rented our own boat and went first thing in the morning. The water was a sparkling mirror, so peaceful and it was actually quite romantic (sorry vom). The previous day, we hired kayaks and attempted to do a 6 hr open sea trip and nearly got stuck (hilarious looking back, but paddling against the wind and going nowhere for a good 2 hours was a smidge frustrating). 
* Lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island. Totally clear, going into turquoise and then a deep navy colour. Also 100% rainwater. Paired with the whitest sand… it was ideal. 

* Our last-minute motorhome break in Airlie Beach. We were worried about a thunder storm (that we ended up missing) and so booked an apartment for a few days so we could explore the Whitsundays without worrying about Mabel. It was actually a lovely break as it had…..A WASHING MACHINE!!! I know, I could barely contain my excitement either. Other than our lovely apartment, we had the best time in Airlie Beach. We did an amazing jet ski tour, seeing dolphins and stopping for a delicious brunch spread at Paradise Cove. During this trip we had the pleasure of witnessing another person on the tour having an impromptu nude photo shoot…. no I’m not joking. The next day, we did a snorkelling Whitsunday islands tour ending at Whitehaven Beach. Truly special and Sam was a complete hero as it was totally out of my comfort zone. Overall so much fun, so much beauty and so many new experiences. 

* The Barbie-mobile on Magnetic Island. We rented a tiny mini jeep (I thought it looked like a bigger version of a doll’s car I used to play with) and drove around the whole island. We pulled over for a torrential rain storm, eating cookies and sitting under a tarpaulin on the side of the road until it stopped. 
* Evenings with a glass of wine (or a camomile tea), playing Pass the Pigs and chatting at the campsite about everything we had seen and were still to see. 
* Finding scones with clotted cream & jam in Cairns ….You can take the girl out of England…. Oh and seeing crocodiles in the Daintree Rainforest. 
* Turning all the lights off in the evenings as they made you feel like you’re in an operating theatre….. and lighting our bergamot candle. It actually made it feel so cosy. 
* Singing in the car and snack pitstops. Sam always came back with about 5 drinks because ‘they were on offer’. 

 

TOP TIPS:

* Buy a candle (see above). It made the motorhome feel lovely and cosy at night and made it smell nice too!
* Flip flops in the shower. The camping showers we encountered were actually all clean and completely fine. But still. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…..hygiene. ( And other people’s hair on the floor- no thanks).
* Book your campsites a couple of days in advance if they’re in really popular areas or in a particularly good location. Eg. Byron Bay. 
* Most tours don’t need to be booked too far in advance, especially somewhere like Airlie Beach as there are SO many adventure shops that will pretty much always have some availability. We booked ours 1 day in advance.
* Buy a collapsible clothes dryer/line. It made doing washing soooo much easier as we had somewhere to let our clothes dry outside the motorhome. 
* Camping apps that are pretty good: Maui, Campermate, Maps.Me
* Share the driving. This might be an obvious one, but it is nice to take turns as then one person isn’t completely wiped out after a long drive. 
* Stay at least 2 nights in places you’re really interested in. Maybe more. We felt even 2 nights felt rushed sometimes, so try to set off early on longer drives as then you still have some of the day left once you arrive at your campsite. 
* Keep the motorhome clean. Now I’m not going all Marie Kondo on you, but it seriously makes it more pleasant to be in if there isn’t a whole sandpit in there when you’re trying to climb into bed. 
* Try as best as you can to go to a campsite that is as close as possible to the area you’re exploring. They are sometimes a little more expensive, but it means that you don’t feel miles out from everything and you can walk out and leave your motorhome plugged in and awning set up rather than having to pack everything up and drive a while to get to where you want to go. 
* Ask for a camping spot reasonably close to the loo block. No one wants to walk too far in the dark with bats flying over your head. Even though we had our own loo in the camper, as you can imagine it’s much more pleasant to use a real one!
* Have your own jobs. I did all the booking & organising and most of the cleaning in the camper. Sam did all the outside stuff, the setting up and techy things, and quite a bit of the cooking, although we did share that. It was nice to get into the flow of it and know what both of us would do before we could settle down for the evening!
* Double check your campervan draws before you leave the depot. It sounds totally ridiculous, but virtually every time we went round a sharp-ish corner, some of our draws flew out as they were loose, risking china plates flying all over the motorhome!! This did happen a few times as well! Funny but only until something breaks….

 

FAVE CAMPSITES: 

* Reflections Clarkes Beach Holiday Park- Byron Bay. Great great great location. Right on the beach. Short walk into town. Lovely facilities. 
* Ocean Beach Tourist Park- Miami. Such a peaceful, small campground. Again, really lovely facilities. Again, right on the most gorgeous beach. Perfect morning coffee spot right next door. And the sweetest woman who you can rent clothes pegs/lines from if you do some washing.
* Habitat Noosa- Noosa. Really amazing. We were surprised they had a spot. You can rent kayaks and boats etc. and make you own way to the Noosa Everglades. Opposite our camping spot there was a forest, home to a huge group of kangaroos. They relaxed (and fought) on the grass each evening as the sun went down and it was completely wonderful to watch. They also had a little restaurant on site which was cool. 
* The Palms- Hervey Bay. The people here were SO NICE. They were super helpful when we wanted to book a Fraser Island tour and even came to help us set up the motorhome in our spot. Small campsite but worth a visit. 

 As I write this post, I think how much fun we had…working it all out together, getting it wrong, getting it right, getting cabin fever, getting on each other’s nerves at times, loving the cosy bed cabin, playing music, sitting in the sun on camping chairs, laughing A LOT and Sam always being the one to empty the loo without moaning at all and never letting me do it no matter how many times I said I didn’t mind.

Thank you so much for reading xx