In Croatia: Top 8 things to do in Split

The next stop on the trip was Split, the bus from Plitvice to Split goes back to Zadar so it does take a long time but there was great scenery and an ok journey.

I enjoyed Split, coming from Zadar it felt a lot more touristy, there are a lot of people in stalls and booths with boat trips and day trips to the islands and I was even approached by two British people asking if I wanted to go on their pub crawl (my idea of hell). The architecture is once again beautiful and there are some fun things to do in the Old Town and everything is an easy walk away.

Things to do in Split:

  1. Walk up the Bell Tower of St. Domnius. It costs €2 to go up. My favourite thing by far. I’ve read reviews and people said can be scary, there is a great breeze closer to the top, the stairs are sometimes more difficult than others, it is narrow, it’s a pretty open staircase so you can see how far down. But if you are like me and like heights than you’ll be fine and it will be a lot of fun!
  2. Diocletian’s Palace, there is a really great square where you can sit and have a drink. In the evening time there is music which is really nice to experience. I also went into the basement halls which are quite interesting.
  3. Have a drink by the Riva. Although there are lots of stalls by the seafront you can ignore them and look out to sea and relax.
  4. Walk all around the small streets. The beautiful architecture and pretty squares are a really nice thing to do when scouting for a place to eat.
  5. Go to the beach. Beautiful waters and great coves means for a great swim in the sea.
  6. Rub bishop Gregory of Nin’s toe. It’s an 8m tall statue and it’s said it can bring you good luck.
  7. Walk up Marjan Hill.
  8. Get a picture with the Gladiators, just because.

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This is the view of Marjan Hill. A really great hike to do if you want to feel a bit more active. PhoebeGill150617049-2

There are beautiful mountains all around Croatia, this is north of Diocletian’s Palace. You can see the walls of Old Town and this is where the big statue of Gregory of Nin. PhoebeGill150617108-4

The marina is right next to the bus station and the railway line. Just past all of this is the beaches and coves that are a great place to swim.

PhoebeGill150617080-3I found these were the best things to do in Split, I was there for three days, I don’t really drink and I don’t like to go out so I don’t have any idea about that side of the city. I think it’s a really nice point to stop on the Dalmatian coast.

Happy Travels!

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In Croatia: Plitvice National Park in June

Plitvice National Park has been on my bucket list for a long long time and as happy as I was to see it there was something that was quite disappointing about the whole thing. I hate coming away from a trip and feeling like I have to go back right away. After my day in Plitvice, I am not finished at all. Also I will never go back in June or Summer ever again.

I got the bus from Zadar to Plitvice, buses are really convenient to get around but the morning I was to leave, my bus was late, about an hour late so that was quite annoying, I also sat in something sticky which is just nasty. Always bring travel wipes with you!

PhoebeGill150615276-1I got to the park at about 12:30 which is pretty late if you want to get the park done in a day, which was the only time I could spend there.  I paid 110 kuna (€14.50) to get into the park which is very good value for money. I also got a big map that cost 20 kuna (€2.60) I started at entrance 2, and waited in line to get across the lake to the park itself. The lake is absolutely beautiful. You can hire boats that you can row by yourself and go off and explore, I will be doing that next time.   PhoebeGill150615477-2If you are looking at a map the of the park and are at entrance 2 you will see on the left that there are three loops around the lakes, I only did the lowest loop. I am annoyed I only saw that because I am sure that the rest of the upper lakes are beautiful.
PhoebeGill150615062-3Walking around the park was really nice but also a little unnerving. Massive groups of tourists would clump together and make you feel like you were going to fall into the water. These aren’t the biggest walkways and there are no banisters on the boardwalks also so take note. 

PhoebeGill150615148-4The waterfalls are absolutely beautiful! There are unfortunately no inlets to take pictures so there is always a bit of a pile up if you want to stop. It also makes the experience feel a bit rushed, like you can’t stop because then you are holding up a lot of people. PhoebeGill150615462-5 There are beautiful dragonflies all over the park, such beautiful, beautiful creatures. There are also lots of fish in the lakes and the water is so clear that you can see them really clearly.
PhoebeGill150615379-6 The right side of the map has ‘The Big Waterfall’. I did this route later in the evening when most of the big big tour groups are gone. I took the big boat across the lake from port 2 to port 3 to walk to the big waterfall. I was still following route K but it was closed off on this side which meant I needed to find an alternative route. This part of the park was a lot quieter. Although I didn’t have any pressure from people it was now almost closing time in the park.
PhoebeGill150615466-7The water is just absolutely amazing! It’s a shame you can’t go for a swim or touch it but to preserve it’s beauty is important and shouldn’t be messed with. PhoebeGill150615283-9When I got to the big waterfall it was worth it. I sat down tried to drown out all the selfie sticks and other people and enjoyed my time. It is utterly stunning!

Tips:

  1. Go early or later. If you are going in June this is your best bet to have a little more comfort walking around the park.
  2. Have a nice time but don’t loose all sense of courtesy. Don’t run past people, don’t walk two or three a breast, don’t be rude. It’s very simple.
  3. Use the boats and buses. They are a fantastic way to get around the park and break up a lot of walking.
  4. Stay at the Plitvice Hotel at entrance 2. Great basic hotel and you get breakfast included.
  5. Don’t touch the water or mess with any flora or fauna in the park.

*Note: I know my shots look empty but that is because I am an expert in taking people out of my shots, it was extremely busy!

I wish I listened to my gut and took an extra day here. I think two days is the perfect amount for a visit in Summer. I will be going back, I am already thinking of how I can go back and see more of Croatia and this park. I would definitely recommend going to see this beautiful park but I don’t recommend you go in Summer, this was just the start of the season and if you don’t like crowds it isn’t the time to go, I couldn’t handle it. Despite all this the park is beautiful and I can’t wait to go back. Have you been to Plitvice? What time of year did you go at? 

Happy Travels!

In Sydney: Taronga Zoo

It was Christmas day 2008 and we woke up in a hotel room and it felt really damn weird. The sun had finally decided to show up and was scorching. My family were wondering what we would do on Christmas day away from home so I chimed in, I wanted to go to Taronga Zoo. I like zoos, I know the stuff people have against them and I understand but I still love learning about animals.
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The ferry trip over was fun, when we docked we could see the sky safari. I love cable cars, any opportunity to go on one I will take it! The ride is included in the ticket price.PhoebeGill081224125-2

Inside the entrance are the Koalas. They sleep a lot. There are opportunities to hold them for a small fee. I do hear they smell though. PhoebeGill081225310-3

There are lots of creatures in the park, when you are on the walkways don’t forget to look over the fence because thats where I saw this beautiful crane! PhoebeGill081225319-4

It’s is an amazing zoo for interactions. There are 5 animals you can visit and experience, each for an extra fee. There is a really cool (free) Kangaroo and Wallaby walk through where you are just wandering with these adorable (yet terrifying) marsupials. Wallabies were just there at my feet, I wanted to pet them but I didn’t, which I regret. PhoebeGill081225349-5

There are some amazing birds around the zoo. Definitely keep your eyes peeled, I spotted this amazing Purple Crowned Pigeon.  PhoebeGill081225372-6 More free things in the zoo are the zoo talks and demonstrations. I went to the bird show, the arena area looks over to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, really really nice. There were birds of pray and other exotic birds. The show is only 15 minutes long but it was really engaging and interesting.
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Although the zoo is quite expensive, it’s about €20 for an adult but there is loads to see and experience. I would definitely go back because there is so much more to see! Have you been to Taronga? Let me know your experience!

Happy Travels!

In Wicklow: Bray Head

I like to start my hikes very early in the morning. Especially in Summer when it is hot and sunny out. I got up at 5:30am to catch the sunrise. As I have mentioned on my facebook I am trying to see more beautiful things during my day. That morning was particularly stunning at 6am, no one is around and it was really peaceful. PhoebeGill150501037

Bray Head is clearly seen from a lot of angles, it’s a hill that is surrounded by amazing cliffs and has some great walks for you to do! There is the Bray to Greystones walk which I have never actually completed and there is the Bray Head Loop.PhoebeGill150501126The path leading up to the top can be both rocky and paved. I always opt for the more uneven, steep path because it’s more fun. There are gorgeous trees and tiny streams that I like hopping over and around. PhoebeGill150501001You can keep going once you reach the top but the last time I did that a fog descended and I went off track and I got a little lost so I recommend you stay on the path and if fog comes down just turn back. PhoebeGill150501046The views from the top are beautiful you can see beautiful hills, all of Bray town and the gorgeous bay. I like sitting at the top under the cross and just taking it all in. PhoebeGill150501099PhoebeGill150501012I recommend you bring proper foot wear as there is a lot of uneven surfaces as you go up, it can also get steep so just be carful of twisting your ankle. It doesn’t take long at all to get to the cross so you don’t need to bring food and water but if it is a hot sunny day then water is a good idea.

This location is a great spot for some exercise and beautiful views. I definitely recommend you stop off here as you start your trip into Wicklow.

Happy Travels!

In Wicklow: My Happy Place

cover imageI don’t know what it is but when I am out driving, to clear my head, to get away from everything, I end up here. Possibly because of it’s beauty, maybe the breeze from the valley blows away the cobwebs or maybe because I have really happy memories attached to this place. Whatever it is it is a definite must see if you are travelling around Wicklow. cold

If you are travelling in Winter it will be very cold, do you see my face? I thought my fingers were going to fall off. Bring all of your layers! You will need them. Something I really recommend if you are freezing is to go for a walk, the Ballinastoe walk right by Lough Tay is the perfect walk to do if you need to get the feeling back in your body. PhoebeGill150227073

This walk is great for a tourist because of the boardwalk, if you are afraid of getting lost, don’t worry the path will guide you. It protects the landscape because it is such a travelled route. Bring some ankle support because the boards can get uneven in places and you don’t want to twist your ankle.

PhoebeGill150227043 The boardwalk goes all the way up to the base of the mountain, and because there has been so many visitors they have carved out the path in the mountain so it is very easy to follow. Untitled-1The main attraction is Lough Tay, this beautiful lake can be seen all along the road so there are many places to view it. Stopping off at any of them will give you the most amazing pictures! This area is amazing at all times of the year so whenever you are visiting you are sure to experience the best of the area.
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I love this area, it’s not far from South Dublin at all, it’s really accessible, lots of space to park your car and a great place to explore and get some great images! Have you been to this area? 

Happy Travels!

In Sterling: Sterling Castle

In Sterling: Sterling Castle

Sterling Castle is a great way to get the history of Sterling, I recommend you definitely take the free guided tour that starts every hour from 10 am, which we were just in time for! We had the tour guide Frank a lovely man who has the thickest accent I have ever heard! Its a great tour and a really informative way to learn about sterling and the castle.

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The view from here is incredible you can see the whole of Sterling and it’s so beautiful and green!

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Statue of Robert the Bruce.

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The castle rooms are covered in unicorns! Which I love because it’s so majestic and mystical!

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Sorry for the lack of building shots, wasn’t thinking about this being a blog post. But they are gorgeous both on the inside and out. All of the rooms are decorated in tapestries, gold detail and of course unicorns! I really urge you to go here it’s really beautiful!

Happy Travels!