Coffs Harbour, Australia

Coffs harbour is about 500 km north of Sydney. It’s also about the halfway point between Sydney and Byron bay so it’s a stop for a lot of backpackers.

For sure one of the main attractions in Coffs Harbour is the Coffs Harbour Jetty. Hear you can jump off into the sea. I never got the nerve to jump off the very top but jumped from the lower platform. cfjetty.jpg

If you take a walk on the jetty you can often see dolphins and sea turtles. If your looking for some good food I highly recommend Mini Pancakes at the jetty. Just be warned you may start going there for breakfast everyday once you’ve tried them!

Another thing to do is the Big Banana. I stayed at Aussietel Backpackers and did a rainforest tour that had a stop there. Here you can sample and buy different banana products. Also there is ice skating and water attractions there.

mebigbanana2.jpg

 

I stayed at Aussitel Backpackers and the great thing is they have lots of organized activities that allow you to meet other travellers. Some free and some for a very small price. I did the rainforest tour and got to see Coffs Harbour from a lookout. Free paddle boards and kayaks are also available.

coffslookout.jpg

I would recommend Coffs Harbour if you’re looking for a coastal town with nice beaches and lots of nature to explore.

 

Port Macquarie, Australia

Port Macquarie is a nice small little town about 300 kms north of Sydney.

pm1.jpg

Now if you’re looking for a place to party this isn’t likely the place for you. However if you want to spend time in a nice little town and take a break from the bigger backpacker centres it’s a nice little place to spend one or two nights in.

In town you’ll see lots of little nice little cafes and shops to explore.

In the centre of town there is a wharf where often you’ll see people fishing from one side. From the other side you can can leap into the water on hot day.

pm2

 

 

 

 

If jumping off a wharf is not your thing than go a little further and check out town beach. On your way there though be sure to take a little time to look at the painted rocks.

pm4

Port Macquarie is nice little stopover town with friendly locals if you’re looking for a break from the bigger backpacker places.

 

 

3 Tips for Visiting Toronto

The Big Smoke, Hogtown, The Six. Being the fourth largest city in North America Toronto welcomes visitors from around the world. Here a some tips for a great trip to Toronto.

Leave The Car Parked 

Toronto is not an easy city to drive in. Parking is limited and expensive and roads can get extremely congested. Despite what many locals may say Toronto has a decent public transit system (Although I don’t think there is any city that doesn’t complain about their public transit.)

Toronto has a network of subway busses and streetcars known as the TTC. As well if you are staying downtown many places you’ll want to go will be easily walkable.

 

streetcar
TTC Streetcar

Skip the Chain Restaurants   

Canada’s progressive immigration policy means people from all over the world now call Toronto home. This means you can find so much great food Toronto for almost any taste and budget. Be it a cheap eat in Chinatown or a steakhouse in Yorkville. From fast food to vegetarian and from gluten-free to little coffee shops and bakeries there is so much food to try in Toronto.

Spring and Fall are Great Times to Visit

Toronto is a place that can get -30C in January and +35C in July. Summer also mean schools are out so accommodation is more expensive and attractions are more crowded. My favourite times for exploring Toronto are mid to late May and mid to late September.

That being said you can have a good time no matter when you come to Toronto. Embrace the winter, bundle up, and take a beautiful winter walk though High Park. If it gets too hot jump into one of Toronto’s many free outdoor swimming pools.

cherryblossom.jpg
Cherry Blossoms in High Park

 

Wether you’re into theatre, sports, music, or shopping Toronto has something for everyone.

Useful Links

Google Maps– Shows you how to get to where you want by walking. public transit and car.

Citypass Toronto– One Price gives you access to a bunch of attractions.

BlogTO– Gives tons of information on events going on in Toronto

 

Europe Travel Tips

I’ve been too Europe twice so far.  Both times I did a little on my own as well as tours with Topdeck. Now obliviously Europe is a big place with a lot of different countries but I feel like these general tips should help out.

Cary a bit of Cash With You 

Being from Canada almost everywhere takes cards. I can even by a small coffee of $2 and pay with my debit card. In Europe though a lot of places still prefer cash. Also it’s good to have some small notes with you as some places don’t really like big ones. The problem I had was ATMs would give you big ones. My advice is to go to a supermarket and just get something small to break it up.

Restaurant Service may be Different from What You’re Used to 

In Canada if you 4 friends go out to dinner it’s normally no problem getting 4 separate bills. We are also used to free refills or soft drinks, big bottles of ketchup on the table, and plum or tartar sauce coming with our meals. In much of Europe bills won’t be split and you will get one per table. This is also a reason it’s good to cary a little cash with you. It’s rare to get soft drink refills and what you do get may be smaller than you’re used to.  Often things like sauces may cost extra.

panini
Lunch at a Cafe in Sapin

 

Learn a little of the Local Language  

Especially in most major cities people will speak English. However learning basic phrases such as hello, please, thank-you and excuse me can go a long way.

paris
Bonjour Paris 

Research How to Stay Safe Each Place you are Going  

Europe is quite safe. That being said there are scams and pick pockets in a lot of the major cities. Mostly use common sense. Research scams in the cities you are going to before hand. Keep your wallet in your front pocket. Don’t leave your purse of phone on a table at a cafe or restaurant. When going somewhere at night walk with a friend or take a cab.

Europe is an amazing place with so much diversity in culture, language and food. From the rich history to amazing beaches to great food it’s a place you just have to explore.

Exploring Barcelona- Photo Essay

I recently did a tour of Spain, Portugal and Morocco. It was amazing and had a chance to explore Barcelona before and after my tour.

barcelona2
So Many Cool Buildings Everywhere Here.
church2
The Sagrada Familia. Still Being Built. 
beach3
Beautiful Beaches

morebeach

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0816.JPG
Trying out the Gopro Underwater. Not all that Interesting I Know
lookingouttosea.jpg
Looking Out To Sea
panini
Spain Sure Knows how to do Food
catstaure
Just Like this Random Cat Statue I Found
pigoens
Pigeons are Everywhere in this City.

What to Take on a Spring/Summer Ontario Road Trip

Spring and summer in Ontario means warm weather and exploring this huge province. Here a some things you may want to bring with you.

Comfortable shoes 

With so many trails to see, hills to climb and parks to get lost in you will want to make sure that your feet are comfortable.  You’re bound to find some a place to some hiking in pretty much any Ontario town or city.

path (1 of 1)
Kismen Trail in North Bay, Ontario
lbranchpath
Trail along the Lake Ontario in Toronto, Ontario

Insect Repellent

Ontario’s lakes, trails and foresters attract many visitors each year. Also really liking these areas are black flies and mosquitoes. If you are doing any hiking or camping good bug spray is a must.

9218330219_d25edeb87c_o (1)
The Infamous Shadfly in North Bay, Ontario

Swimsuit 

Contrary to what you might think about Canada our summers actually get quite hot. The great thing is Ontario has so much water to enjoy. You never know when are going to want to stop off a splash around at a beach or cannonball into to some of the most amazing fresh water. Whats better than a picnic on the shore followed by racing your friends into the water.

lakesomcoe (1 of 1)
Lake Simcoe In Barrie Ontario 
magnetwanriver (1 of 1)
Magetawan River, Magnetawan, Ontario
ramlake (1 of 1)
Lake Ramsay, Sudbury, Ontario

Camera 

With so amazing views don’t be surprised if you’re making a lot of photo stops. From trails and hill, to rivers and lake, to amazing birds and wildlife there is always something to capture here.

robin (1 of 1)

squirellsnack2 (1 of 1)
Squirrel on Heritage River Walk, Burk’s Falls, Ontario

Sense of Adventure 

Well this is true for travelling anywhere. But on an Ontario road trip trade that chain coffee shop for a local bakery of cafe. Venture into a small town you’ve never heard of and explore a craft store or flea market. Ditch the fast food you can get anywhere and get the best poutine in some little highway chip stand.