Why You Should Become an Organ Donor & How to Do It

Back background with a girl holding a neon red heart

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the funeral of a colleague’s daughter. She died at just 21 years of age. Just like that. At her funeral I discovered that her wish upon dying was to donate her organs.

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Red Centre Bucket List: Climb Mt Gillen

The view of the ranges as they continue west from the summit of Mt Gillen.

When it comes to Alice Springs, one of the most iconic geological features is Mt Gillen, the Western peak of the MacDonnell Ranges. This mountain range provides the backdrop for the town Alice Springs, and never ceases to amaze me by providing the most perfect silhouette for sunsets or storms that roll in from the North West.

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My Favourite Photos of the Red Centre

Views of Mt Sonder from Section 10 of the Larapinta Trail

The Red Centre is the heart of Australia. It is also my home. And while I sometimes feel confined by the small town I live in, I cannot deny the feeling that sweeps through my body whenever I fly back into the Alice and look at the ranges that streak across the desert. I love this place and feel a deep spiritual spiritual connection. Today, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite photos of this special place. You might be surprised by what photos I have and haven’t chosen to include, but just know each of these photos tells a story for me.

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That Time I Survived a Hot Air Balloon Accident

Views of the horizon from a hot air balloon over the alley of the Kings. A Yellow and green hot air balloon is off in the distance to the right.

Strap yourself in, this is a long one.

My alarm blared loudly at me. It was 4am and I needed to drag myself out of bed so I could go hot air ballooning over the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. This had been something that previously only dreamed of. I’ve been hot air ballooning once before, so I could imagine what it was going to be like. In my mind we were going to climb into the giant basket and slowly drift up into the air before floating over the desert waves of sand. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go according to plan.

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Things I Learnt on My First Cruise

The deck of a P&O cruise ship

I went on a cruise when I was half way through my teaching degree. For me it was a bit of a celebration that I was half way there, and while I had a good time there were a number of things that I discovered that I’ve always thought would be useful information for people out there new to cruising. So, without further ado, I present to you my list of hints and tips on how to survive and enjoy your first cruising experience.

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Best Bucket List Experiences in Egypt

I fell in in love with Egypt as a child and it has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, before I even knew what a bucket list was. My all time favourite film is The Mummy, and trust me, I already know it’s terrible so please hold back your judgment. There is just something so intriguing, exciting and mysterious about ancient Egyptian temples; and it just blows my mind that so much history has just been swallowed by the sands of time and forgotten. 

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Take a 6 Week Yoga Course

Some of the items I found in my goodie bag - tea, candles, incense, yoga fact book, yoga timetable.

Straight up, I’m not a yogi. I’m actually so far from a yogi I might as well be a stiff board. The thing is though, I actually wish I was. I always see these fabulous instagram photos of lean, flexible girls with complete balance in their lives and I’m kinda jealous. I wish I was even just a little flexible and possessed even 1 tenth of their co-ordination. 

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Best Bucket List Experiences in New Zealand

Classic tourist photo in New Zealand

I can honestly say that New Zealand is absolutely the bucket list capital of the world! It has everything there. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are an adrenaline junkie or if you just want to step out of your comfort zone, New Zealand is definitely the the place to do it. 

After finishing my first year as a real teacher (yay!) I decided to celebrate with a holiday to New Zealand. I chose to do this with Contiki, mostly because I was going on my own and I didn’t really want to have to put too much effort in to planning my days. Looking back, I am so glad that I did this because I got to make loads of new life long friends, and my new friends encouraged me to try new things.
So with out further ado, I present to you best bucket list things to do, and check off, in New Zealand.

Zorbing

Zorbing in Rotorua
Where: Rotorua Canopy Tours, Rotorua
Cost: $50 NZ
I will confess to being a little nervous to do this. Nothing like the prospect of flying over a rain forest canopy 30+ metres in the air by a piece of string to get the nerves up. OK, so it’s not a piece of string that’s holding you up, it’s a little more complex than that. Still, I was a little nervous, but by the end of it I was going hands-free, backwards and upside down. 
Not only was this an adventure, but the scenery was beautiful and it was for a good cause.  You can read my post on this Here. 

White Water Rafting

white water rafting New Zealand
Where: River Rats, Rotorua
Cost: $105 NZ
White water rafting…in a thermal river…over a 7 metre waterfall, what more could you want? 
I had such a great time doing this with the ladies, and the guys who run it are great. Don’t worry if you’ve never been before, they will more than prepare you and teach you all of the tricks. Besides surviving going over the 7 metre waterfall, the highest waterfall that can commerically be rafted, the highlight was when we got out of the boat and clung to the sides while we went over some small rapids, it’s was so much fun. A bonus highlight for me was also NOT falling out of the boat, even though there may, or may not, have been a few close calls. 

Skydiving

Sky Diving over Lake Taupo New Zealand
Where: Taupo Tandem Skydiving, Lake Taupo
Cost: $279 – $359 NZ plus extra for photo and video packages
Surely you didn’t think this wasn’t going to make the list. This was So. Much. Fun! I was definitely a little nervous about jumping out of a plan  but I’m so glad that I did it, especially since it has been on my bucket list for so long. 
I chose to do the 15,000ft jump since there wasn’t that great a saving to be made in comparison to the 12,00ft jump. I also chose this package because I was told that if it is your first time, you need those couple of extra seconds of free fall so your brain can process what’s happening. While I was a little sceptical and thought they were just telling me this to convince me to go with the more expensive package, they weren’t lying. In the video of my jump, for most of the duration of my free fall I just look stunned, it was only later that I started to look more alive! While there are a few skydiving options available throughout New Zealand, the scenery over Lake Taupo (pronounced toe-paw) was breath taking. 
This was definitely a highlight of my whole trip so I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can read all about this experience here.   

Horseback Riding

Sitting on a horse on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand

Where: Walter Peak Farm, Queenstown
Cost: $133 

This was my first time riding a horse, and I probably couldn’t have picked a better company to go with. Our guide was really friendly and totally cool with dealing with my nerves. The horse ride was only 40 minutes long, but it follows a beautify cruise along Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw, known as “The Lady of the Lake.” It was an easy ride and perfect for beginners.

Leaning out over the bridge while zip lining

Zip Lining

Where: Canopy Tours, Rotorua
Cost: $149
This was my first time riding a zip line and it was awesome! I won’t lie, initially the thought (and experience) of stepping off a ledge to fly through the air with only a harness to hold me scared me silly, but it turned out to be great fun…especially when I rode the zip line UPSIDE DOWN! Our guides were absolutely amazing and full of so much information about the rain forest and how they have worked hard over the years to protect it from possums which are an introduced species. I also thought this was a great activity to prepare me for sky diving since it awakened the adrenaline junkie in me.
You can read about my experience here.

Bungee Jumping

Where: Various locations around Queenstown
Cost: $195 – $275 depending on which bungee you do
Unfortunately I didn’t get to do this even though I had signed up on account on being down and completely out of it with the Contiki Cold. Sadly, I could only watch others do this and hear about how fun it was. In Queenstown there are a number of bungee options available. I had personally wanted to do the Kawarau Bridge bungee because you had the option of doing a water touch. 
Until next time, this item remains uncompleted on my bucket list. 
Franz Josef Heli Ice Climb – just be warned this is very weather dependent and you will be devastated (like me) if you set your heart on it

12 Photos to Inspire Your Visit to Port Arthur

Looking down at the penitentiary

Port Arthur is a significant location in Australian history.

First, it is the best preserved convict site in Australia and is World Heritage Listed. 

Second, it was the site of the 1996 massacre where 35 people were killed and 23 were injured. 

It is a very interesting place to visit. As a convict settlement, it started as a timbre yard before it became a prison for those convicts who committed further crimes upon arriving in Australia. Some of the stories are heart breaking, and on a wet, cloudy, miserable day it develops a sad and painful atmosphere. On a bright, sunny day that feeling disappears, and the contrast of colours is mesmerizing.  Read More

Party up in an Ice Bar

Ice bar chandelier

During my short stay in Queenstown I had the opportunity to stop by Below Zero ice bar for a quick drink (or two). I can now say with all authority that visiting an ice bar is the coolest thing ever.

Ice bar chandelier

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