Went swimming in Australia’s ancient lava tubes

Went swimming in Australia’s ancient lava tubes

We didn’t get the chance to walk through the Undara Lava Tubes, we got to swim through them instead.

The Undara Lava Tube system is Australia’s longest, and one of the oldest Lava Tubes in the world. More than 50 caves have been found in the park, and it is thought the lava flowed at a temperature of around 1200 ยฐC. It is also believes the tubes were formed when rivers of lava confined to a valley, crusted over and formed a roof.

What we didn’t know, was that the lava tubes can flood every few times in the year (if that). And, what was even more awesome, was that they don’t cancel the tour when this happens, they actually tell you to swim through the tubes. Of course, the tubes do go miles deep, so you pretty much balance yourself on the railing of the walk way under the water (which you would normally be walking on when it’s not flooded), and you sort of do a walk/wade through the water, until the only light you see is glowing from the walkway path under the water. After walk/wading for at least thirty minutes, you turn back to see a small dot of natural light, which is the entrance you came in, and you realise you are pretty deep in the tubes.

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Looking back out over the entrance of the Lava Tube
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Swimming in clear waters of the lava tubes

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Our window of light gets smaller and smaller – sorry it’s a tad blurry, but the only shot I took.

The water itself is fresh water, not rain water. And every few times a year it rises up from the ground (not from the sky), and is some of the freshest water around; and full of calcium too. However, as you are in a deep dark caves, there are of course a lot of cave bats dwelling on the ceiling in sombre silence, un-be-known to the unsuspecting traveller, so they poo in the water – a lot. the tour guide/ranger makes it very clear that even though the water is fresh – do not drink it. Roger that.

Here are some shots I took under the water…. this is the railing we walked along for balance through the water – sorry they are blurry, it was difficult to focus the camera when you can’t put your head under the water.

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It was by sheer luck we had our simmers with us, and that the Lava Tubes were flooded. So happy it turned out this way though, as it made for a spectacular adventure. If you decide to go, I do recommend you go when it floods, as the experience is like none other and way more interesting than just walking through a deep dark cave. I can’t tell you what dates they flood, so definitely give them a call to find out. It’s a fair drive from Cairns though, or any other eastern coastal town for that matter – so definitely book yourself some accommodation.

There is accommodation at the Lava Tubes, which is a renovated vintage train. The train is pretty cool to stay in, so I would definitely recommend it – and there is also a restaurant on site, which cooks up some super delicious foods.

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Balcony views from the renovated train we stayed in.

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Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas Everyone

As it’s Christmas and there is probably next to nobody online right now, I’m keeping things real simple today.

So, why did I bother blogging then? Well, I really just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas, wherever you are. Whether your with friends or family. Alone or in company, freezing from the snow, or boiling from the heat – My thoughts are with everyone during this very festive time.. share the love today and wish everyone you pass a very merry Christmas.

Here are some of my favourite Christmas shots, from when I was in Ireland:

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My Very First White Christmas

My Very First White Christmas

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of celebrating a white Christmas.

For those of us living on the south of the planet, Christmas normally means hot summer days, even hotter nights and plenty of ice cold drinks, surrounded by blue skies and plenty of sunshine. I know I know, for those of you living in the north of the planet, you probably think that sounds like heaven. But you always want, what you don’t have right? And a white Christmas is pretty much the dream of many people, who live here in the south. I mean I can’t speak for everyone of course, but I know a lot of Aussies who plan all year to save and travel to the north for Christmas, just to experience once in their life, what it would be like to have a traditional white Christmas.

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I finally got my chance, when I holidayed in the UK with my partner and we spend the month of December travelling through the north – as far up as Inverness in Scotland. It was amazing, the entire Scottish Highlands was covered in snow. And mountain villages had decorated their trees with lights in the snow – everything was glowing, and hot cocoa was a thing. A real refreshing change from laying half naked on the bed, sipping ice cold drinks, whilst the air conditioning is blowing full gale at you to keep away the 30 degree heat.

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From big cities to small towns, the Christmas spirit was well and truly alive as we drove around the UK, and I dragged my partner to pretty much every single Christmas festival I could fine. From Manchester to Edinburgh, I ate mince pies, whilst sipping on mulled wine, and polished every meal off with a cup of hot cocoa. If you have never experienced a white Christmas, I recommend you try and do it, at least one time in your life. It really is a truly magical experience.

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How to Celebrate the Christmas Vibe in Sydney

How to Celebrate the Christmas Vibe in Sydney

Seeing as Christmas is right around the corner, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite things to do during the festive season, here in Sydney.

Whether you have a bit of money to splurge on some exciting Christmas adventures, or you’re on a tight budget; like many of us are around the silly season, Sydney has really stepped it up the last few years and now provide some really great things to do to cater for anyone’s budget and interests.

Here are my picks:

Santa Spectacular: Now Open

Located at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, this is a great way to spend the day and night with friends and family – particularly if you’re looking for things to do with the kids. There are some really great rides, a bowlful of festive activities; like The Winter Wonderland, Christmas Cookie decorating and Ice-Skating.. I do recommend if you’re going, to go early though – like as soon as the gates open. Especially if you want to go ice-skating. As the day leads on, the ice tends to start melting and get very wet – making it very slippery and dangerous for skating.

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City Decorations: On Now

This is great for those of you on a budget, as you don’t need to spend any money to look at all the beautiful festive decorations around town. Reduce your stress and catch the train into the CBD. I recommend you start by getting off at Town Hall and then work your way through the QVB, then cross over George Street and make your way into Pitt Street Mall. Make sure you take some time to wander through The Strand Arcade and Westfields too, as they are some really lovely decorations this time of year. There are plenty of places to eat here too, so you can power up before making your way to Martin Place for the Giant Sydney Christmas Tree.

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St Mary’s Cathedral: On Now

Again, this is the perfect solution for someone on a budget, and best viewed at night. Every year St Mary’s Cathedral puts on an amazing Christmas themed light show, which is projected across the front facade of the church. It’s a pretty spectacular sight to see, especially when sharing the experience with hundreds of other people, and listening to all the oohs and ahhs LOL. If you’re planning on heading to the CBD to explore the street of lovely decorations, I definitely recommend you go from lunch on-wards to start your exploring. That way you can grab an early dinner before heading off to the Cathedral for a wonderous light show as the sun fades, before heading home.

St Mary's Cathedral Christmas light show

Christmas Wonderland: Starts 16th December 2017

Tickets are selling pretty quick for the Santa Spectacular, so if you miss out, then the Christmas Wonderland is the next best thing. It’s very similar to Santa Spectacular, but is located in Homebush instead. Plenty of fun Christmas themed activities for both kids and adults, including an ice-rink for skating, a winter wonderland (which we all love here in Australia – right?), and of course rides, food – pretty much your typical festival. Again, if you have kids, this is a great activity to take them to. And to get the benefits of the ice-rink (much like the Santa Spectacular) go when the gates are open and ice-skate first thing before it heats up from all the extra bodies – who tend to rock up just before lunch time.

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This blog has not been sponsored by any of the brands – just sharing my fave Christmas things to do.

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I Secretly Took Photos Inside of Tutankhamun’s Tomb

I Secretly Took Photos Inside of Tutankhamun’s Tomb

I decided to break the rules and took my camera inside Tutankhamun’s Tomb to take photos.

Following on from last weeks blog, about my journey on a Donkey through the Egyptian Desert to seek out The Valley of The Kings – I wanted to also share with you a little story about the Valley, along with some amazing photos I took whilst there.

Okay, I am going to be real honest here – you are not allowed to take photos inside The Valley of The Kings. Sp, before someone takes you through your chosen tombs (you can pick up to three to explore), they advise you to pack everything away, to prevent the temptation of taking any photos.

Of course, all rules are meant to be broken – right? LOL.

So, I broke them, and I was good at it. Please don’t think I wasn’t respecting this magical and ancient site. I made sure not to have my flash on, to prevent the flash from damaging the well-preserved hieroglyphs within each tomb. I had to be real careful though, as the Egyptians do take their job very seriously here, at The Valley of The Kings. Someone (not from our group) did get caught and was asked to remove the images straight away – there was a lot of scary arguing to go with it.

I’ll be honest with you, I did not travel for over 24hours from Sydney to Cairo and then a further 12 hours to Luxor – just to walk through The Valley of The Kings and not take any photos. Sorry, not happening. I was already disappointed that we were not permitted to take any photos inside The Great Pyramids of Giza – I was not going to let that happen again.

No regrets – I am so happy I was able to take away such a memorable moment in time, not just in my mind and heart, but I now had evidence of the experience. Below are the images I took from inside Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Some of the images are a little crooked, and probably not as clear I would have hoped – but hey, when you’re breaking all the rules and trying not to get caught – the quality of the image was the last thing on my mind LOL.

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