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Malta – Gozo

I spent a few relaxing days here just before the madness that is Christmas!

malta GozoGozoGozo, an island situated north of mainland Malta, is one of the most romantic, rustic settings in the Mediterranean, with its dramatic coastlines, sandy beaches, winding roads and sleepy villages nestling on top of hills.

This idyllic island is slower and more peaceful than the main island and preserves all the natural beauty and charm you would expect from this part of the world as well as offering plenty of activities to enjoy; diving in the clear warm waters, taking boat trips and relaxing on the beaches. Tours around Gozo itself, Comino, with its famous Blue Lagoon and Malta, by land, boat or helicopter are also available.

An interesting fact: Gozo, which is only nine miles long by four miles wide, has about 45 different churches on the island!

Canada: Vancouver and Whistler

Vancouver CanadaWhistler

Vancouver was fantastic! It was one of the most memorable cities I have been to. I must say if the rest of Canada is this great then I have to go back to Canada!

Lots of sightseeing and interesting places to visit in this city and a great nightlife!

Vancouver Island is beautiful!

I took a bus and headed up to Whistler where I got some snowboarding lessons! I had 2 and the instructor told me I was natural! Think he just wanted rid of me lol. Anyway went up to the top and away I went. A few bruises but not as many as I first anticipated. After a great day boarding, a great nights craic was had in the village!

Its official Snowboarding is now one of my favourite sports! I am dying to go again. Although I will be hard pressed to find somewhere as exciting and beautiful as Whistler! I will be glued to the Olympics when they are held here.

NZ pics

Franz Josef

Franz Josef

New Zealand Rotorua

New Zealand Rotorua

Part 3 New Zealand Adventure

The New Zealand Adventure

New Zealand is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited! Definitely going back some time soon for a longer stay!

Day 1.
Travel Day: Auckland to Hahei Beach (The Coromandel)

I arrived every late into the City so only managed a few beers in this party town and then a quick tour the next day. Got some really cool photos form Mount Eden (an extinct volcano). We then headed south towards Waikato and across the Coromansel Peninsuila. On our way to Hahei we stopped in the old town of Thames and took in the beautiful bay views at Tairua trig station. In Hahei we did a 2 hour walk to see the magnificent cathedral Cove, some of us went sea kayaking. We also walked through limestone caves and cliffs to one of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches. Then we headed to Hot water Beach where we dug holes in the sand which fill with warm water that comes from the natural geothermal springs underground. Spent most of the day lazing in these natural spas.

Day 2.
Travel Day: Hahei to Raglan.

We headed back over the Coromandel Ranges and down into Waikato. We Pass Hmilton NZ’s 4th largest city on our way to raglan – surfers paradise. Spent most of that day sun bathing and watching the surfers and learning to surf. I spent 2 nights in Karori Lodge in the bush as it so, so chilled out.

Day 4.
Travel Day: Raglan to Maketu.

Waitomo is famous for all its caves, many of which are lit naturally by Glowworms. I went on a Spellbound Glowworm and caves tour which was brilliant. There were so many other things to do here such as black water rafting on rubber tyres through the caves and abseiling into the caves from a 100ft drop! We took the scenic route over the Arapuni Dam to Rotorua. We stopped en-route to go zorbbing!! It was so much fun. Basically 3 of us climbed into a rubber ball (filled with water) inside a giant hamster ball. We then stand up and try to run down hill…No chance of standing! We fall all over the place as we roll down the hill! It was brilliant!
We then headed across to Maketu for our unique and very special stopover at our cultural retreat. We stayed with local Maori, prepare a traditional ‘Hangi’ meal and learn about Maori traditions in their purpose-built Marae.

Day 5.Travel Day: Maketu to Taupo.

We drove to Rotorua and it stank as do most geothermal areas.
We went to visit Whakarewarewa for a specially developed walk through a historic Maori village and geothermal area. If you have seen my photos you will see how amazed I was! We then head south to Taupo and its great lake (the world’s largest crater lake), via Huka Falls. In Taupo I did my sky dive agh!

Day 6.Travel Day: Taupo to National Park.

We drove around Lake Taupo and stopped to explore the volcanic (floating) rock before heading to the active volcanoes of ‘Tongariro National Park’. It was here that Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings was filmed and It was here that I did what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks – the ‘Tongariro Crossing’. It was may I add one of the most gruelling! It is supposed to take 8 hours but I finished in 6 – no wonder it near killed me! I was so proud of myself. It was worth it just to see the fantastic views across the volcanic plateau (complete with steaming craters).

Travel Day 7: National Park to Wellington.

We drove to Wellington via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. We stopped for gumboot (Welly) throwing in Taihape, I was crap! Had a great night out in Wellington, will def go back again!

Day 8.Travel Day: Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman).

I got the ferry across to South Island today. Driving through Picton we went through the famous Marlborough vineyard area. We stopped at the coastal town of Nelson and Motuek on our way to our night stop of Marahau on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Parkn – which I also walked around for hours! Loved the farm so much we stayed another night!

Day 10.Travel Day: Marahau (Abel Tasman) to West Coast Cultural Stop.

We headed south through the Buller Gorge to the ‘Wild’ West Coast which stretches for over 400 kilometres. For the next night we stay in a historic hotel in Barrytown near Punakaiki, one of the most beautiful spots along the coast. Barrytown is not a town, a mere 3 houses and a pub which we all got dressed up and drunk in! We stopped on the way for the Westport seal colony and to explore the awesome Pancake rocks and their mighty blowholes.

Day 11.
Travel Day: Barrytown to Franz Josef.

Some of the gang went bone carving while I was nursing my hangover! We drove into the heart of the West Coast, where time almost stands still. We stop in Hokitika to look at the greenstone factory…really wish I had bought some as really expensive everywhere else! We then headed to Franz Josef, a town squashed between the Tasman Sea and the mighty Franz Josef Glacier, the head of which can be seen from the town itself. We stay at a lodge in the middle of the rainforest tonight. We went on an excellent bush hike up to the glacier face. I also took a helicopter scenic flight and got up onto the fox glacier and Franz glacier. Look at my pics as I can’t describe how they took my breath away!

Day 12.
Travel Day: Franz Josef to Makarora.

We head to Lake Matheson for some amazing upside down scenery viewing and then travel through to the mountainous Haast pass where we did a number of walks.

Day 13.
Travel Day: Makarora to Queenstown.

On our way to Queenstown we pass by the beautiful lakes Wanaka and Hawea and stop briefly in the town of Wanaka for a look around before heading to Queenstown. Just before Queenstown we stopped off at the famous A.J. Hackett bungee site, in the Kawarau gorge where some mad people on the bus threw themselves off a bridge (bungee attached!) Had 3 mad nights in Queenstown! Oh and had the Freg Burger…massive and delicious! Spent a day on the beach and a day going on long walks and up the mountain!

Day 17.
Travel Day: Queenstown to Tuatapere.

I totally enjoyed one of the most scenically amazing drives yet on our way to Milford Sound. We travelled around Lake Wakatipu, passing staggering waterfalls, and a magnificent descent from the Homer Tunnel 3,000 feet to Milford Sound at sea level. At Milford, I took a boat trip to travel deeper into the Sound. That afternoon we headed out of the Sound and up to Lake Te Anau.

Day 18.
Travel Day: Tuatapere to Invercargill and Stewart Island.

This morning I took the ferry from Bluff to visit New Zealand’s third major island ‘Stewart Island’. There is so much wildlife here its unbelievable – hence more long walks! We stay in a cute little cottages on the island and caught the first ferry back in the morning.

Day 19.
Travel Day: Stewart lsland to Dunedin.

Today we explored the deep south. We head along the southern coast to the remote Catlin’s wilderness area. Here we took in the petrified forest, heaps of wildlife including seals, sea lions, albatross with 6 foot wingspan and penguins. We cruised through this rugged area towards the Scottish town of Dunedin. I went on the famous Speights Brewery Tour and sat on santa’s lap during a tour of the cadbury’s chocolate factory! Another session to taste the local beer 🙂

Travel Day 20: Dunedin to Christchurch

I took this long public bus journey today as I am running out of time.

Day day 21:Travel Day: Christchurch to Kaikoura.

Early start again! Headed up the coast – a great scenic drive to Kaikoura. I went whale, seal and Dolphin watching…wow!!!

Day 22: Kaikoura to Christchurch

Another public bus dive back to the lovely Christchurch. Lots of sight seeing before I head ‘home’ to Australia in the Morning! Can’t believe my big NZ adventure is almost over!

Going Down Under

MBrisbane – March – June 2007

Arrived in Australia at the start of March 2008. Stayed in Brisbane for a week. Did some sightseeing and exploring…and got lost walking around in circles for hours!! Stayed in Surfers Paradise for a few days – My first Australian beach experience. It’s really pretty here and the ocean is amazing. Just heading up to Byron Bay for a week and thenI go back to Brisbane for Paddy’s day!

For all of you wondering where I am now, I’m still in Brisbane! I love it here! Even though its winter the weather is nice – warmer than most other places. I have met some great people here and having great craic! Working in a pub saving some cash for a few months before making my way up the coast to Cairns. When I eventually move on I’ll let you know! xxx 🙂

East Coast June-July 2007

Well I finally left Brisbane! After 4 months I decided I’d better get back to being a backpacker before my time runs out!

I’m spending the next few weeks making my way up the east coast. The only problem is at the moment its pouring rain and cold! However I’m travelling with 2 girls that I lived with in Brisbane and having so much fun it would be impossible to dampen my spirits!

We spent a few days in Noosa and Rainbow beach, which were both beautiful – even in the rain! We even had tea with the life guard on Rainbow beach! Haha

Tomorrow I leave to spend 3 days on Fraser Island – Fraser is one of those places on every backpackers list of things to do. And rightly so. As the largest sand island in the world and the only place on the planet where rainforest grows on sand it is on the world heritage list. Over 120 kilometres long and 30 kilometres across at its widest point, Fraser Island is a unique natural environment that I can’t wait to explore!
I’ll be camping and driving around in a 4-wheel drive, checking out the beautiful lakes, beaches and forests.

After Fraser I will hit Hervey Bay for a few days. It is considered one of the best places in the world to view Hump Back fingers crossed!

After a 12 hour bus journey I will eventually end up in Airlie Beach, Gateway to the Whitsundays Islands on the great Barrier Reef, where I am told I will be guaranteed a good time and lots of Partying. Then we will sail around the magnificent archipelago for a few more days…ah bliss

I’ll probably make a few more stops on my way up to the tropical city of Cairns, backpacker heaven I’m told!

Anyway I’ll fill you all in as I move along and ill keep posting pics as well!. xxx :)

Darwin July 2007

Well I had one brilliant time going up the east coast! I eventually made it to Cairns where I spent 2 weeks soaking up the sun and the beer! I also Spent a day snorkelling out on the Great Barrier reef which was amazing! I loved the crocs at Cairns tropical zoo! We hired a car and spent the day in and around cape Trib and I took a tour to Port Douglas which was beautiful!

Now I am in Darwin N.T – real Australia. It’s so hot and so beautiful! It’s also so historical and culturally wonderful! It’s great to see so many Aboriginals. I tried to learn more about their culture and their art! Can’t believe I wasn’t actually going to come here, glad I did!

Perth Aug 2007 had a ball in Perth! First I stayed with some friends in Freo (Fremantle) who showed me around and then I stayed in the crazy Underground hostel in Northbridge which was nearly all Irish, mad craic! Caught up with come travel buddies. Between beers I also found some time to go sight seeing! Didn’t get to stay as long as a wanted here, running out of cash- fast! I’ll def be back tho!

Sydney Aug 2007 – Nov 2007 I finally arrived! A little earlier than I had planned but my good Aussie mate lives here and I wanted to catch up with her. She so nicely put me up in her posh apartment until I found somewhere to lay my head. Yesterday I found somewhere to call home for the next few months. It’s nothing special, just a room in a backpacker house in County Bondi. A bit more expensive than I had anticipated but the only place I could find that I didn’t have to share with 2 – 4 people! Thank goodness no more hostels for a while!

On the job front I’m very happy. I got a bar job in PJ O’ Brien’s Irish Pub. I must say it’s one of the first jobs that I actually look forward to going into! It’s a great place with a wonderful atmosphere and staff! And not forgetting the Tayto crisps, club orange and good Guinness! I have met so many people already that I know from home and that I have met along my travels.

Melbourne Dec 2007

Hey everyone!
Today was my last day in Melbourne City. Been here a week and have done all the sight seeing stuff, not forgetting the Neighbours night where I met DR Karl Kennedy…I know how sad am I! I’ll put the pics up soon. I’m spending Christmas in the sticks with my friend Melissa and her family. Really looking forward to seeing rural Melbourne and going on some road trips! I’ll be in Sydney again for New Year’s Eve! 🙂

Xmas 2007 and New Year 2008

I had an brilliant Christmas in Melbourne which included a road trip on the Great Ocean Road and a unforgettable New year’s eve overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney! I’m so sad to be leaving Australia – I wish I could stay here forever!!!

Photos Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand

thailand-058vietnamAnkor-Wat Cambodia

One of my travel articles on Australia (Published: Herald AM 21st October 2008)

Australia – a world of opportunity and adventure

Collette Devlin discovers that once you start to travel you will never want to stop, in fact you if you are lucky enough you may end up living in a country you have always dreamed about.

I have officially caught the travel bug! I recently returned from a year of travelling the world, yet I still feel like I have so much more to see. In my experience there is something wonderfully liberating about being an independent globe-trotter; facing the many challenges that come your way, learning about new cultures and somehow becoming fearless and trying things that you would never do at home -Skydiving out of planes to name but one!

I can say without a doubt (most backpackers will agree) that Australia was the most amazing place I travelled around. Over 13 thousand Irish people go to Australia on a working holiday visa each year and it is now possible to gain an extra year on a working visa or even migrate to this wonderful country.

The Australian government will grant you a second year-long visa if you spend three months fruit-picking or working in construction in certain regions, within your first year in the country. Australia is also experiencing its greatest skill shortage ever, so there are plenty of jobs in hospitality, construction, sales, administration and finance up for grabs and plenty of specialised recruitment agencies who will help you secure these jobs as well as guiding you through migration process.

The low-down on down under

Australia may be the world’s smallest continent but it is the sixth-largest country covering an area of 7.7 million square kilometres that comprises of six states and two territories; Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the population of the country now stands at 21,458,164 – relatively small for a country of its size. Approximately 65 percent of the population live in the capital cities with the remainder living mainly in coastal areas or in medium to small rural towns. Although the climate varies from tropical (monsoonal) in the north to cool temperate in Tasmania, the majority of the country is hot and dry.

Australia also boasts a strong economy that is fuelled by vigorous business and consumer confidence and high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products, particularly in mining states. So far Australia’s emphasis on reforms, low inflation, a housing market boom, and growing ties with China have been key factors behind the economy’s 16 solid years of expansion.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Canberra is the capital of Australia, where the national government is located. Situated between Sydney and Melbourne it houses some of Australia’s most treasured monuments. These include; the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia and Canberra’s newest attraction, the National Museum of Australia. This state is sometimes referred to as the bush capital because of the vast amount of bush land that extend right into the city.

New South Wales (NSW)

New South Wales is the oldest and most populous state. Located in the south-east of the country it is home to Sydney – the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Some of the most famous sites in the country can be found here such as; the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour bridge. The State also has many accessible, sparkling beaches stretching from north to south – Bondi and Byron Bay are perhaps the most popular destinations for surfing.

Surrounding Sydney there is an array of national parks, forests and World Heritage sites such as the Blue Mountains. There are plenty of activities in the NSW region, each offering visitors the chance to experience astonishing natural beauty as well the leisure activities.

Queensland (QSLD)

Queensland, also known as the sunshine state, is most popular for its pristine beaches, tropical islands, lush rainforests, vibrant cities and the outback.

Brisbane is the trendy urban capital of this state. Australia’s third largest and fastest growing city is an exciting place to live. With close proximity to the Sunshine and the Gold Coast, many features and tourist attractions and a reputation for arts and entertainment you will never be short of things to do.

Queensland’s Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and the only place on the planet where rainforest grows on sand and the Whitsundays is a top holiday destination with spectacular white coastline and tropical islands off the Great Barrier Reef.

The Tropical North of Queensland is a place combining the natural wonders of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, rainforests and the outback. Cairns is a vibrant city with so many remarkable natural attractions and activities at its doorstep.

Victoria (VIC)

Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria is a lively and cosmopolitan city of style and sophistication. With chic boutiques, buzzing cafés and bars, immaculate gardens and festivals and popular sporting events there is plenty to see and do. Victoria also boasts many natural attractions and is home to some of the world’s favourite vineyards. The Great Ocean Road, with its scenic coastline, is another unforgettable icon of regional Victoria.

Southern Australia (SA)

South Australia offers unforgettable adventures, close encounters with nature, exciting events and outback landscapes. Adelaide is the elegant, easy-living capital, where you will feel right at home. This very down –to-earth city is less than an hour to some 200 cellar doors in Barossa, Coonawarra and the Clare Valley. From Adelaide city you can travel 20minutes to swim with dolphins, journey into the outback to see Flinders Ranges or head south to Kangaroo Island.


Separated from mainland Tasmania is a green island of wild, mountainous and beautiful landscapes, with friendly, welcoming people and a temperate climate – like Ireland. More than 40 percent of this island is covered with national parks and reserves and is protected as a World heritage area.

Western Australia

The sheer size of Western Australia beckons visitors, with its southern coast line and amazing marine life and the white sand beaches and warm, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and the Golden Outback that has red earth as far as the eye can see.

Perth is the capital of Australia’s western gateway. The city has a relaxed feel about it, surrounded by the Swan River and Kings Park. Outside the city lie quaint historic towns such as Freemantle and world class vineyards in the South West region.

Northern Territory

The sparsely settled Northern Territory spans more than 1.4 million square kilometres from the centre to the northerly coast of Australia.

Darwin is the capital of the tropical north. It has such a varied climate that the Aboriginal people recognise six seasons in the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. The Red Centre with its desert sand, rainbow coloured rock formations and golden tinted chasms is a number one visitor attraction. The historical centre is also home to one of Australia’s most natural icons – Uluru – also known as Ayers Rock. Southwest of the Uluru lies Alice Springs, the heart of central Australia and is perhaps the most famous outback town.

Where to next?

Once you catch the travel bug it never seems to leave. Even though I have been home a year and a half now, I still don’t feel settled. Life is just so mundane. Nothing beats the excitement of ‘where to next’ or making plans for a trip. I think it is finally time for another trip…so the burning question is – where to next???

More photos to come!

Check out my gallery to see some of the amazing places I have been..