I forgot to put this blog in before my Tauranga one! I got too excited with my weekend away hehe.
So on my way home to NZ, I had a 12 hour stopover in Taipei which I had kind of not realised I had booked. I was debating whether to go into the city or not as it is an hour drive and I was a little worried about transferring money and whether I would get back in time before my flight that night. You never know if there is an accident or something and I would of rather stayed in the airport than miss my plane home!
But I didn’t have to worry about a thing!
I arrived in Taipei a little later than expected but still plenty of time, I made my way through to my transfer gate and I asked about leaving the airport. The guy was really blase and said it was fine to leave the airport and then showed me a poster for a transfer tour. It is a FREE tour for anyone who has a stopover of 7 hours or more – I was set! The tour started about an hour after I got through customs so I had time to grab some lunch and put my carry-on luggage in a locker. I was really impressed with Taipei. It is soooo efficient! I got through customs in no time at all, no visa required to enter the country. The tour goes twice a day and takes half a day. The tour started at 2pm and we arrived back at about 6pm so plenty of time before my flight at 11.30pm.
It was super easy, you go to the desk in the arrival hall and ask to sign up for the tour, they take your passport details and as long as the list isn’t full your in with a grin =) The tour guide shows up and takes us to a shuttle bus. We get taken into Taipei and he speaks along the way telling us history and general information, pointing out sights as we go. Once in the city we make a couple of stops at Longshan Temple and a memorial hall. We get a view from the outside of the Taipei 101 Building (a viewing tour), and before we know it, we are heading back to the airport. I would highly recommend taking this tour if you ever have a stopover. I didn’t have to worry about a thing, you get shuttled around so no worry of language barrier or getting lost and you get a glimpse of another city on your way home.
Let me know below if you have encountered similar tours at other airports as it is a great way to kill time and see a new country!
Until next time x
Last weekend me and my friend set off for Tauranga which is just over an hours drive from Hamilton. We saw there had been an accident earlier in the day but thought we’d be okay….2 1/2 hours later and we finally made it!
Tauranga is the 5th biggest city in New Zealand and about 10/15 minute drive from there is Mount Maunganui, a beach town. We were going to Tauranga as One Love Festival (reggae festival) was on and found a backpackers walking distance from the venue. We stayed at Loft 109 Backpackers which was in a good location but I wouldn’t stay there again. The owner didn’t seem to be a fan of actually having guests and wanted everyone out of the common area. I have stayed at a lot of hostels and the common area is normally a place of complete chill, drinking, cooking until whenever. Not here. So if you need a place to stay and don’t plan on spending any time there it would be fine. Also I think I got eaten alive overnight as there was no aircon so we had to have the window open, not been a pleasant few days wanting to scratch the skin off my arms and legs!
One Love Festival itself was great! It had a really chill environment, the toilet and drink lines were pretty much non-existent. Great weekend with great music! While pre-drinking we saw a local riding around on a horse…the sites you see!
Both mornings we had breakfast at The Med Cafe. It was so yummy! We got blueberry pancakes both days and it was super filling which is what we were after since we would be spending half the day drinking and in the sun. The staff were really friendly and the other options on the menu looked good as well.
Sunday morning we took a stroll down to Memorial Park – there was a gypsy fair on so we had a walk through there then sat under a tree to take in the view!
Monday morning we left the hostel and went to Mount Maunganui, this is my favourite beach! And first time being here since I’ve been back!
I love the feel there, it is always busy and has such a relaxed feeling about it. We went to Dixie Browns for breakfast and I got just a standard poached eggs on toast. We walked across the road and dipped our toes in the water, it was a little chilly so we got in the car and pulled into the Hot Pools. Awesome way to sweat out the alcohol and relax our bodies after insect bites and overindulging. The hot pools are right at the bottom of the mountain, there is a couple of large pools, one hotter than the other, a couple of jacuzzis and a kids paddling pool area. So something for everyone! Just remember to stay hydrated as I may have caused myself to feel a little sick that afternoon…
Until next time x
While I was in London, I wanted to make sure that I explored as much of the UK as I did outside of it. I went on a lot of day trips and weekend getaways. The people were always really friendly and I loved seeing all the gorgeous old English houses, and what the small and large sized towns had to offer. I have narrowed down the top 5 places I think you should check out if you are ever in the UK or you live in the UK and haven’t ventured around your own country.
In no particular order (its hard to choose!)
- OxfordWhere to start! The buildings are gorgeous! I really liked Oxford, there is just college after college that is stunning. If your a Harry Potter fan, there were a few places that are from the films. I just loved walking around the streets and wishing I got to go to one of the colleges as a student.
- BathBath was another stunner! If you like culture then this is the place for you. Jane Austen spent a few years here and it is one of the few places where the city is a World Heritage Site. The city’s website has downloadable walking tours which were really great and easy to use. It has a spa where you can get some relaxation where you can rest your feet after a long day of walking the streets.Definitely check it out and save your pennies to treat yourself to the spa!
- BroadstairsNot the biggest of places but if you want to go to a chill place where you can just relax on the beach for the day – then this is the place for you! It was so peaceful, and fun for all ages. If you got sick of sitting on the beach you can make your way up the coast to all the other little bays nearby before heading back for some fish and chips on the beach =)
- Isle of WightAfter a train ride to either Southampton or Portsmouth, catch the ferry across to the Isle of Wight. It is a very small island, and as you can see in the pictures it has beautiful buildings. It is not big at all and has one little strip of shops but if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of London then this is a relaxing getaway for the weekend, and if your really organised – take a bike as there are paths to get around.
- BrightonBrighton is not far from London, and is the perfect getaway if you still want quite a busy city but with the beach feel. So many winding streets to get lost in shops or eat and drink your way around the city. So many good options so make sure your wallets are full! Then relax on the beach when you have had enough of the crowds and want to cool off with a swim.
To see more on these cities check out my full posts on each one.
Until next time x