2016 was an amazing year for me. I travelled across four Australian states, spent two weeks in Bali, visited my family after a long time and met some top notch people, one of which ended up becoming my new travel buddy and boyfriend. Here are my favourite ten moments of 2016- in no particular order.
1. Sydney at New Year
This could be a 2015 highlight too! Ringing in the New Year watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbour with my best friend was fabulous. Despite having fallen asleep for a while at 10pm on the piece of grass we’d taken over after a few too many ciders, I was wide awake to see in the New Year. It was one huge Australian thing ticked off my bucket list!
2. Meeting Tim in Mildura
Just a few days into January, I had to leave my friend who I’d spent the past six months travelling with to complete the farm work required for my second year Australian working visa. I left on an overnight bus from Melbourne to Mildura and found myself in the most horrendously grimy and overcrowded working hostel.
Luckily the people made up for the mice in my room and I stayed. A few weeks later, after far too much goon (cheap Australian wine in a bag) I got talking to a guy who happened to be from Sheffield too. In fact, he lived round the corner from me while I was living in Sheffield and we’d never met before. It’s a crazy small world, folks!
We ended up working on the same farm, him driving tractors and me quality checking hundreds of boxes of grapes a day. And the rest is history!
3. Scootering around Ubud (until I crashed.)
Yes, I’m that backpacker. Despite having never driven anything motorised before (I lived in a city with great public transport, okay!) I thought I’d be fine giving it a go in Bali. In my defence, the roads were quiet and we thought it was a simple loop around a lake, but turned into a busy, narrow, winding road full of lorries out of nowhere! Before the luckily minor incident, scootering around beautiful Ubud was one of the top highlights of that trip, and the year as a whole.
4. Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour
After leaving Mildura and the vineyards behind, Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road was mine and Tim’s first bit of travelling together. Neither of us have a driving licence, so we had to take a tour but we chose well! It was three days taking in the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians with a brilliant and knowledgable tour guide called Matt. The scenery was spectacular, the group was friendly and overall it was the perfect way to kick off our travels.
5. Eau De Vie, Melbourne
Possibly the most expensive- and inebriated- date night we’ve ever had! Eau De Vie is a hidden speakeasy in central Melbourne that Tim took me to as a surprise. I’ve never had so many amazing cocktails in one night and choosing from the huge menu was a challenge. Watching the mixologists behind the bar making these creations (one of mine included dry ice!) was possibly my favourite evening in Melbourne.
6. Champagne Limo Ride Around Perth
I made some great friends through work in Perth and was invited out on one of their birthdays. After champagne in her high rise apartment, we all piled into a stretch limo to do a loop of Perth. The views across the river to the CBD were incredible. By the time we made it to the club (VIP section! With tequila!) I was pretty boozed up and my dancing was 100% embarrassing Dad-in-heels. That just made it way more fun, actually.
7. Partying on Gili T
I’m so glad we spent five days on this gorgeous island while I was in Bali. We stayed in a bungalow and lazed around the pool or on one of the many stunning beaches before hitting the party strip at night for beer pong, live music and watching the sunset, cocktail in hand. Take me back!
8. Mountain Biking in Boranup Forest
It’s hard to choose a favourite moment from the weekend Tim and I spent in Margaret River before we decided to move here. I originally wanted to book a cycling winery tour but when that wasn’t available the company Dirty Detours suggested a morning mountain bike tour of the Boranup Forest. I was a bit tipsy when I emailed them back to agree but I’m incredibly glad I did. Even though I’m a total beginner, I managed all the trails we tried and even a few (mini) jumps!
9. Visiting my family in the UK
After eighteen months away from my family, the homesickness hit me strong and after sharing a bottle of gin and watching What We Did On Our Holiday (have you seen that? Such a great film) Tim booked me a return flight to visit. I spent three weeks eating good food, catching up with everyone and it was exactly what I needed to be excited for travel again.
10. Having a proper dinner on Christmas Day
My 2015 Christmas Day in Australia was mostly spent in a Byron Bay hostel avoiding a huge thunderstorm so I was trying not to get my hopes up for 2016! Luckily, Tim and I both had the day off and we had the perfect day. Tim made a huge pork belly roast, our friends came round for food and the rest of the day was spent digesting while watching James Bond films, drinking wine and eating far too much chocolate. It almost felt like we were back in the UK!