Sunday sunset – Banbridge

This sunset was taken last week at my parents home in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. Although we didn’t see the sun actually set, I loved the colours of the sky as it was setting. I especially like the way the buildings become a silhouette against the skyline.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. This is now almost three weeks for us being home in Northern Ireland. Where does the time go??

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V23

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another Doors of WordPress. This week I thought I would show case some more doors from Sydney, as it has now been two weeks since we left and it is never far from my mind.

1 – Woollahra
2 – Woollahra
3 – Paddington
4 – Bondi Junction
5 – Paddington

I think my favourite is number five. I love the colours, the panelling and the design on the windows. Do you have a favourite this week?

Ps. I have started compressing my photos and have seen a huge difference in my storage already. Thank you everyone for your help and advice.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

A map at the entrance of this amazing park.

This park is located in South Belfast and is a good walk from where I am staying at the moment. I have been here a couple of times and have always known it was famous for its many flowers and in particular its rose gardens. However, this was the first time I actually followed the map and purposefully looked for the attractions listed, such as the walled garden and Japanese garden. I also was not aware that there is a cafe here too, that was a welcome bonus. I will leave the official link for this park here so you can read a little history about this place and how it ended up being available to the public. https://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/things-to-do/parks-and-open-spaces/a-z-parks/sir-thomas-and-lady-dixon-park

I hope you enjoy reading about this wonderful park and please let me know if you have ever visited yourself.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V22

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of Doors of WordPress. I have been in Northern Ireland for just over one week now and have managed to spot a copious amount of doors. To be honest, I was nervous leaving Sydney and not seeing any more amazing doors, however, I am pleased to say, Northern Ireland has a fantastic array of doors that I am very much looking forward to showcasing. Have a look below and let me know if you have a favourite door or if you have been to any of the locations.

1 – Banbridge
2 – Hillsborough
3 – Belfast City Centre
4 – Banbridge
5 – Belfast City Centre

Thanks for checking out my doors again this week. Have a great day everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bali 🍃

After our New Zealand holiday, we had another trip up our sleeves before heading home to Northern Ireland. Initially we were planning on Tasmania, however, New Zealand was freezing and Tasmania would be freezing too at this time of year. So we decided to cancel Tasmania and head somewhere hot. Bali had never really been on my agenda but it’s pretty close to Australia and a popular tourist destination. After some research online and speaking with friends, we settled on two locations to try, simply to break up the trip and have two different experiences. We opted for Ubud for the scenery and peacefulness, contrasting with Seminyak for the beaches and tourist vibe.

This was to be a relaxing holiday, lying by the pool and absorbing some much needed vitamin D. Normally I really dislike these types of holidays but I was fine on this occasion as we had just travelled quite a bit and packed up our whole life. Rest and relaxation was most definitely welcomed.

Arriving into Bali was a lengthy process with four different queues needing to be passed. Covid screening, obtaining and paying for your visa ($100 AU), immigration and declarations. I’m not going to lie, this was tough going after a long flight from Australia and we arrived late at night. By the time we passed immigration etc it was 12pm. Luckily we had pre booked a taxi and he was very kind to wait for us as we had another one hour drive to our hotel in Ubud. I felt so bad for the driver but he reassured me that this is the norm.

UBUD

Element Bali Ubud – this was our hotel in Ubud for 4 nights and to be honest, it was the highlight of the holiday. We are absolutely amazed by this hotel and how fantastic it was. The staff were unbelievably friendly and accommodating, everything was so clean, the food drinks were delicious, the location to town was pretty good and we loved the amenities. We used the spa, the gym and the pool and were so pleased with them all. I would definitely recommend staying here if you ever come to Ubud. You can check it out here for yourselves.

Things to see in Ubud : We hired a taxi to take us around the key sites of interest that we had been researching. The Monkey Temple is a huge tourist attraction but we don’t really have a love for monkeys so we avoided that one.

1 – Seeing the rice fields. This was great to see how the farmers work the fields and grow their best prized crop.

2 – Tirta Empul Temple. A very busy temple for locals and tourists alike. This was built around a bubbling spring and is a fascinating place to see Hindu devotees purifying themselves by ways of ritual bathing.

3 – Sampling the Luwak coffee. This coffee is famous for its unusual methods of creation. The Luwak animal is a cat like creature that feeds on Luwak coffee beans (among other things). When they excrete the beans, the outer shell is removed to expose the inner bean, which in turn is used to make coffee. Seen as a delicacy, this was an honour to taste, alongside some really different and unusual tea and coffee varieties, such as avocado coffee and lemongrass tea.

4 – Saraswati Temple. This just looked amazing online so we really wanted to visit. It can be found in the heart of Ubud centre and was built to honour Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning.

5 – Dinner at Chora. I found this restaurant on Instagram (the benefits of social media) and thought it looked interesting. It was fab! Great healthy food with a Mediterranean influence, fantastic service and a truly serene experience.

SEMINYAK

Aloft Bali Seminyak – We loved this hotel and it had such a great location. It’s a good distance from the town but you are in a quieter location and very close to the beaches. We would walk 5 minutes to the beach and then walk along for about 30 minutes to reach Seminyak town. The rooftop pool and bar was lovely with stunning ocean views, the hotel served up some great food and drinks, plus the staff again were so, so friendly here.

To be honest we didn’t do many tourist things here in Seminyak and we were happy just to relax. Also, I did have a case of Bali belly during the trip (a common occurrence here for Westerners with sensitive stomachs), I think from the water, so I was out of action for a couple of days with pretty bad stomach cramps. However, I can show you a few places that we enjoyed eating in when I felt better, asides from the hotel where the food was really delicious.

1 – Shelter Restaurant. Shelter is a contemporary Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant located in the central part of beautiful Pererenan. The food was absolutely stunning and the service was exceptional. There was a great tropical vibe and the musical really set the scene, even the bathrooms were impressive. This was our favourite place to eat from the whole trip (maybe as it was also my birthday).

2 – Da Maria. This was a fantastic Italian restaurant actually on the same street as our hotel. It’s great when you can walk to the venue and we had heard great things about this place. Food was lovely and there is a real buzz in this place.

3 – Potato Head Bali Beach Club. This is a really cool place if you want to come and chill out for the day. We loved the food here also and it was just a short walk from our hotel via the beach before you get to Seminyak Village.

One thing you do have to do in Seminyak is watch the sunset from the beach. You can be anywhere on the beach but we found the sunset to be popular near our hotel. The actual beach is called Pantai Batu Belig. People come to just sit on the beach and take it all in, it actually reminded me of Ibiza sunsets.

That’s a wrap on my Bali trip. It’s a beautiful place with the most gorgeous people. This was a great trip for rest and relaxation before heading home to Northern Ireland. Follow my journey home and I aim to highlight the numerous places NI has to offer.

Thanks for taking a look at this Bali blog post and have a great week everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Seminyak V2

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope you’re all having a good weekend whatever you’re doing. We are adjusting to life at home and catching up with family and friends. Today’s sunset picture was taken last week on our last evening in Bali. We were sitting at the rooftop bar at our hotel and we were fortunate to be able to witness this sunset. I love the colour of the sky and the way it contrasts with the dark and moody looking cloud coverage.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Spiral Ginger

Happy Friday everyone. My flower of the day was taken in Bali. I was amazed to spot this as I have never seen anything like it before. It is a species of costus and is native to Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Enjoy your weekend everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V21

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my latest edition of Doors of WordPress. This week I want to show you some doors that I discovered last week on my holiday in Bali. I will also be completing my Bali blog and hopefully have that up in a few days. I arrived in Northern Ireland three days ago and am enjoying catching up with family and becoming acquainted to the local area but I will continue to blog whenever I have free time.

1 – Element Hotel Ubud
2 – Ubud city centre
3 – Taman Ayun Temple
4 – Saraswati Temple Ubud
5 – Kerobokan Kelod

You may or may not know but Bali is a Hindu island that is part of Indonesia which is predominantly Muslim. Therefore, you can see many, many temples in Bali where the people can practice Hinduism. I really admire the temples and their architecture, some of them are absolutely stunning with such intrinsic detail. Do you have a favourite door this week?

I hope you are all keeping well.

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – TRANSITION

Two things spring to mind when I see this prompt. Firstly, the image says Week of August 8 which makes me think the monthly word prompt is now weekly!? I asked WordPress about this and they stated that they are trialling more frequent word prompts. Fair enough and I think it’s a good idea, especially if you are maybe struggling to think of a blog topic.

Secondly the word prompt featured is transition which jumps out at me as I feel this is personally very appropriate at this time. I am making a huge life transition in the coming days. As many of you know already, I have been travelling a lot over the past few weeks and next week I will be heading to Northern Ireland after three years of not being able to visit home. I have packed up all my belongings and moving across the world to finally reunite with my family and friends. Whether I stay there or return to Australia remains to be seen but for now I will be concentrating on catching up with loved ones and reacquainting myself with life in Northern Ireland.

I will be keeping you all updated and sharing plenty more on my blog as the next chapter of my life commences, hopefully showcasing the best places see in Northern Ireland, Ireland and even Europe. I would like to say thank you all for your continued support and for creating such an amazing blogging environment here on WordPress.

Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Auckland

After Hobbiton, we drove for a couple of hours to reach our final destination of Auckland. We were here primarily to catch up with a good friend who lives here but also we were keen to see and experience what this city has to offer. I will highlight the places we managed to visit while in Auckland for three days.

1 – Cheltenham Beach

2 – Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve

3 – Takapuna Beach Path.

4 – Wine tasting at The Hunting Lodge.

5 – Sunset at Muriwai Beach.

6 – Auckland Museum.

7 – Ponsonby.

There you have it! Our New Zealand trip has come to an end. What an amazing trip and so fortunate to have finally been able to visit after being in lockdown on and off for two years. I hope you enjoyed the journey and photographs from this truly epic country with the absolute friendliest of people. It’s a trip I will not forget in a hurry. Thank you all for showing an interest in my posts over the past couple of weeks, it really means a lot.

All the best,

Wayne ✌🏽

Rotorua 🌋

This was the perfect spot for us to stop and rest during our drive from Wellington to Auckland. As well as being a great location to stop, we had really wanted to visit here for a couple of reasons.

This area was created thousands of years ago by volcanic activity and sits at the southern end of Lake Rotorua, also formed from a volcanic explosion. Although the volcano hasn’t erupted since, there remains a lot of geothermal occurrences daily, which in turn creates geysers, hot springs and hot mud pools.

We really wanted to try the hot springs as well as seeing and learning about the traditional Māori people. In Rotorua you can find a living Māori village, there the people have been living for more than 700 years. You can have a tour of the village and witness how the people live.

Rotorua itself is a quaint little town with plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars. You will see many Māori people here which is really lovely to see. Another thing to note with this place is that it has a strong sulphur smell (think eggs) from the geysers which can be quite overwhelming if you’re not used to it but I’m so glad we were able to experience it.

Such an amazing place and we thanked the tour guide for an awesome opportunity to see how the Māori people continue to live to this day and aim to keep their traditions alive in the 21st century.

I hope you enjoyed a little insight to Rotorua. This is a definite pit stop if ever travelling from Wellington to Auckland. We made one more stop on our way to Auckland, can any of you guess where it was? I am really excited to show you all later this week.

Take care and thanks for your continued support.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Ubud

Watching the sunset from our hotel in Ubud during the week. The glass walkway was stunning and really adds to the image. We couldn’t really see below as it was dark but the sunset was truly magical. This hotel Element Bali Ubud was out of this world and I will write more about that in my future Bali blog 🍃.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Wellington highlights!

We had flown to Wellington from Christchurch and thank goodness we were able to. The weather had been bad for weeks with heavy downpours. Many flights had been cancelled but fortunately for us, our flight made it across the water to the North Island. It was exciting to depart the South Island and have new experiences of the north. We also really wanted to see Wellington as it is the capital of New Zealand. We stayed here only for one night and would then hire a car and drive up the island to our final destination of Auckland.

As we were only here for one day, I will show you my highlights of the city and what we were able to squeeze in. We really enjoyed Wellington and we were extremely blessed to have good weather (mostly).

1 – Staying in the QT Wellington. This hotel chain is one of my favourites. We have stayed in three others before so we kind of knew what to expect. They’re a little more pricey but we thought if we’re only here for one day, why not treat ourselves to a nice hotel. This one in Wellington I think has been the best QT so far. Extremely quirky and we loved the art throughout the building. I would totally recommend staying here if you visit Wellington.

2 – Take a walk along Lambton Harbour. This is situated just beside the museum and it’s beautiful just to walk along the water front. This eventually leads onto Wellington Harbour.

3 – Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This museum was on our doorstep so we had to check it out. Such a great place to learn about NZ and for us the highlight was the Gallipoli: The Scale of our War exhibition. You can find more information here. This unique exhibition tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The people are recreated as larger than life models, really bringing it home what these people went through. An extraordinary exhibition and extremely moving.

4 – Wellington Cable Car. You can find this in the city centre and takes you to a great height up a mountain to see great panoramic views of Wellington. You can also see the Botanical Gardens there too that are really worth a visit.

5 – Take a walk through the city centre. There’s lots of character in this city, funky shops and great pieces of street art.

6 – Dinner at Mr Go’s. This Asian fusion restaurant is really quirky and serves delicious small plates perfect for sharing. There is such a good vibe here.

Thanks for taking a look at my Wellington blog and I hope you are inspired to maybe visit or even just enjoyed looking at some photographs of this amazing city. We would then head towards Auckland and make a couple of stops on the way. Next stop where we were staying is Rotorua, blog coming very soon 😊.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Aphrodite’s Phalaenopsis

Happy Friday everyone. This flower was seen in the garden here at our hotel in Bali where we are vacationing for a few days before heading back to Ireland. I will continue to work on my New Zealand blogs over the coming days and hopefully share my Bali experience also 😊.

Aphrodite’s Phalaenopsis

“Aphrodite’s phalaenopsis is an orchid hailing from Taiwan and the Philippines. It is an epiphyte, which are sometimes called ‘air plants’ because they grow on trees or other objects, and get all the nutrients they need from debris that drops from the air onto those hosts. The delicate yet striking appearance of this flower has inspired the alternative common name of Goddess of Fertility” (Picture This, 2022).

Have a great weekend everyone and take care.

Wayne ✌🏽

MILFORD SOUND

We took a day trip here from Queenstown. It is the one place everyone asked about whether we would be visiting or not when in Queenstown. I’m really glad that we did take the trip here, even if it was a long day. We booked a coach trip (you can do this at the tourist information office in town) and it lasted the whole day. It’s more than 12 hours to drive there, take a boat tour through Milford Sound and then the drive back. It’s a big day but really worth seeing, especially if you may never return here again.

Miford Sound is a fiord, carved by glaciers during the ice ages. It really is captivating and I don’t think I have ever seen anywhere quite like it. The scenery is out of this world, no matter what the weather and if you’re lucky you may be able to spot some dolphins, seals and penguins that call this place home. We were fortunate to have seen seals sunbathing and dolphins that followed our boat back into the dock.

Even the journey to Milford Sound is spectacular and we were able to make a few pit stops to take some photographs. I will show you a couple of our stops and then show you some snaps of the magnificent Milford Sound.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post and I hope it inspired you to maybe visit for yourself one day.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V19

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors. This week’s edition follows on from last week’s doors in New Zealand. I have some more to show case from this amazing country and next week I have some extra special doors to show you as it will be my twentieth edition of Doors of WordPress! Let me know if you have a favourite door this week 😊.

1 – Arrowtown
2 – Arrowtown
3 – Rotorua
4 – Auckland
5 – Christchurch

Thanks for taking a look and stay tuned for next week’s special edition!!

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

ARROWTOWN

This place was a no brainer for me. It’s in close proximity to Queenstown and I had heard that this town was extremely quaint and full of character. Winner winner chicken dinner! We took the number 2 bus and were there 45 minutes later, however, if you travel by car it’s only about 20 minutes.

This church was the first building we had seen on arrival to Arrowtown. I love its craftsmanship.

I didn’t know much about the history of the town but that’s ok as they have a museum to provide you with some interesting information. I was already aware that Arrowtown was a good mining town and home to many European and Chinese immigrants who had settled to make their fortune.

Many of the architecture remains intact and the buildings are beautiful to look at. The whole street is very photogenic and there is a stunning river and walkway alongside, which is where the gold had been found many years ago.

Our last stop was for lunch at The Fork & Tap.

Thanks for reading guys and I hope I have been able to show you the beauty of Arrowtown. Please let me know if anyone has ever been there.

Wayne ✌🏽

QUEENSTOWN

When you say to people you are travelling to New Zealand, they will pretty much always ask “Are you going to Queenstown?”. I didn’t really understand why but now that I have travelled there, I totally get it. This place was the highlight of NZ for us. The scenery is just out of this world and made even more special as we were here in winter. The snow peaked mountains were absolutely stunning and you just can’t quite take it all in.

The flight into Queenstown is breathtaking and you won’t be able to peel your eyes away from the window.
As soon as you arrive at the airport you will be blown away by the epic scenery and become lost in the magic of Queenstown.

We caught the number one bus from the airport into Queenstown which takes about 10 – 15 minutes. It’s a very easy ride and luckily for us it stopped just before the town at our hotel, The Ramada. We loved our stay here, great proximity to the town, beautiful scenery all around, very friendly staff, lovely hotel and the breakfast was open until 11.30 and you simply pay for what you order (this was a real novelty for us as you usually pay a hefty amount for a buffet breakfast and they often close early in other places I have been).

For us, Queenstown was all about the scenery and using it as a base to see other places close by. We took the number two bus to the quaint little Arrowtown. We also took a coach trip to Milford Sound. I will post a little blog about these two places after this but these were the two places we most wanted to see. The scenery itself in Queenstown is beautiful and it’s really lovely just taking a stroll through the town and having a look at all the shops, restaurants and bars. There is a lovely walkway that passed the back of our hotel to the town that takes you along the side of Lake Wakatipu. It was beautiful and can also take you to the town via Queenstown Gardens.

Views from the back of the Ramada. We took the walk into the town. It takes about 30 minutes and the views are out of this world.
Lake Wakatipu
The town is very picturesque.

A few people have been asking about food recommendations so I thought I would run through a quick list for you :

Joe’s Garage – perfect for breakfast

Stratosfare – this is the restaurant on top of the huge mountain. Take the gondola up to the top for spectacular views of Queenstown. It’s a buffet dinner with plenty to choose from.

Surreal Bar & Restaurant – nice pub grub and home cooking. All the staff appeared to be Irish too 😊.

Flame (need to book) – we actually couldn’t go here as it was fully booked. My advice would be to book ahead ( for most restaurants actually, as they get pretty busy and there are very few staff here at the moment due to the pandemic).

Bombay Palace – perfect little spot for some Indian food. We loved it.

Boardwalk – PIER Restaurant – this is just at the pier (funny enough). Beautiful views to watch the world go by and they have heat lamps for dining al fresco.

Seafood chowder and a glass of rosé 😋

Paddy Gaddy – Southeast Asian – the food here was stunning. It’s an Asian fusion type restaurant with a real vibe.

Margos Mexican – another one you would need to book. This looked awesome but there was no space the night that we tried. Definitely looks worth a visit if you like Mexican food.

The Pig and Whistle – we loved this place for drinks, either sitting inside or out.

The Speight’s Ale House – lovely quaint little pub with the best toasty fire.

That’s my lot for Queenstown. Such an amazing place that you have to see for yourself. We only had 4 days here but that was actually perfect for us as we weren’t skiing or participating in any winter sports (not our cup of tea). Should that be your thing, you will love this place even more!

Thanks for reading and I will have a couple of blog posts for Arrowtown and Milford Sound coming.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Muriwai Beach

Stunning sunset on the black sand beach at Muriwai, Auckland 🌅

I hope you’re all having the best weekend. My blog posts will be up for NZ over the next few days all being well 😊.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress – V18

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors. This week’s edition comes from New Zealand. I’m still on my travels but I want to show case some doors from my travels that I have seen so far. Let me know if you have a favourite 😊.

1 – Christchurch
2 – Queenstown
3 – Arrowtown
4 – Christchurch
5 – Queenstown

I have seen some lovely doors here in NZ, although sadly not many residential doors. Let me know if you have a favourite and I will be sure to keep an eye for more doors on my travels.

I hope you’re all having a great week.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Queenstown

Tonight’s sunset from Stratosfare, the skyline gondola restaurant in Queenstown 🌅. You can see the colour change on the mountain tops and the reflecting water.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Take care and peace out from New Zealand.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Silk Tassel

Silk Tassel Bush is a flowering evergreen shrub and its flowers look like long silk tassels (hence the name). Seen here in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Have a great Friday everyone. We’re loving Queenstown and can’t wait to share some blog posts soon.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

CHRISTCHURCH

First stop on our New Zealand trip was Christchurch. We stayed here for two nights before moving on to Queenstown.

I hadn’t heard too many positive things about Christchurch sadly, therefore I had no expectations. I know it had been hit by a pretty big earthquake a few years ago and there had been a couple of mass shooting incidents a couple of years ago that were pretty bad. However, we wanted to see this city for ourselves and it’s a good gateway to the south of the South Island.

Christchurch is situated in the South Island. You can disregard all those flags, these were some of my points of interest for our trip.

I am really glad we decided to stay in Christchurch as it is an amazing city with lots of culture, art, has a vibrant hospitality scene and the warmest and friendliest people. It does have a sense of still recovering from its recent troubles and it was pretty quiet here, perhaps as it’s winter also but we really enjoyed our short time here. There was plenty to see and discover and I’m sure we only managed to scratch the surface.

Of course we managed to find a great Irish pub, The Little Fiddle ☘️

If you have the chance to travel to New Zealand, be sure to check out Christchurch too. It’s a beautiful city with lots of heart and character.

Thanks for taking a look at my post. Next post will be from Queenstown 🙌🏼.

Wayne ✌🏽

Travelling with Air New Zealand

I thought I would write a little blog post about our experience with Air NZ, flying from Sydney to Christchurch. The flight itself was delayed by half an hour but the pilot managed to make up the time in the air, meaning the flight was only approximately 2.5 hours and we arrived ahead of schedule.

I had never flown with this airline before so I had no expectations. I have flown with many different airlines over the years and have had both good and bad experiences, which makes me think that could also be a good blog post to write about. I’m sure we all have some amazing or terrifying stories to tell from flying.

Anyway, I am pleased to report that Air NZ was pretty amazing. How and why was this?

1 – Customer service. This was exceptional with the cabin crew being all from NZ. They were extremely friendly and I had the impression that they were being very genuine and sincere. I think that’s the NZ way, everyone I have met here so far in Christchurch has been super friendly.

2 – Complimentary tea or coffee. Being a short flight, I wasn’t expecting anything free. I knew we could purchase food and drinks but it was a nice touch to have been offered something with compliments.

3 – Free WiFi. Amazing to have this free and it was for the whole trip. Also good to note that they offered unlimited data. I have never seen this before. Normally you might have free data that is just enough to send one email so this was a novelty. The WiFi was also really good quality.

4 – USB port. This is really handy to charge your phone, especially if using the WiFi. I love that we can do this. I hate using my phone (even for games to pass the time) and having little to no battery on arrival.

5 – Free Rapid Antigen Tests. I wasn’t aware that we had to carry out a RAT on arrival but the process was made very easy. They provide you with four RATs for you to take with you. At your hotel you can conduct the test yourself and upload the results to a website they provide. I suppose they are really relying on you to be honest with this and report being positive of covid if you are unfortunate to be so. You carry out a test on Day 0 and again on Day 5. Thankfully we were negative!

Ps. Just a little reminder. It’s always good to carry a pen with you onboard. I normally do but forgot this time and had to borrow one. You will need this for completing your arrival card.

All in all, a very smooth and enjoyable flight, made all the better with the friendly cabin crew. A great service from Air NZ.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V17

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors in Sydney. I am currently sitting at the airport in Christchurch so thought I would use my time to show case some more of my saved doors. I look forward to showing some doors from my New Zealand travels soon, all depending on whether I can find some, here’s hoping.

Take a look below and let me know if you have a favourite.

1 – Bexley
2 – Kogerah
3 – Double Bay
4 – Paddington
5 – Kogerah (I just like the train doors here and the fact you can see my shadow).

My absolute favourite door has to be number three. I really like the door and the window design but it’s the steps up to the door and the surrounding greenery that make this door stand out for me. I also love how the autumn leaves add some colour and character to the doorway. What is your favourite this week?

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday thoughts 💭 – Travel time

Today is the day! We head on our travels before heading home. I will finally have some travel experiences to share again. As a travel blogger primarily, this makes me very happy.

We will be heading to New Zealand today all being well, first stop Christchurch. I say all being well as you just don’t know what is around the corner, especially in these covid times. Even before entering NZ there is so much documentation needed, for example, obtaining a travel pass, an electronic travel authority, your covid vaccination dates and proof of the vaccines. Thankfully, no covid swabs or rapid antigen tests are needed.

I hope to keep you updated throughout the trip and I will be keen to read other blogs when in the air or on the road.

Have a great day everyone and see you in New Zealand.

Wayne ✌🏽

Northern Ireland VS Australia

Having looked at the pros and cons for Australia in my previous post, let me take you through my pros and cons for living in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Pros :

Family & friends. My absolute number one reason for moving home is seeing my family and friends and making more memories. Covid has given me a new appreciation for spending time with loved ones, especially as we haven’t seen them in person for over three years.

The Scenery. Northern Ireland is very green and scenic. It has lots to offer in terms of sightseeing, for example, the north coast. Also I plan to visit more of Ireland as a whole and explore what is on my own doorstep.

Europe. Northern Ireland may have left Europe (unwillingly) but we are still situated in the European continent. This means we can travel pretty much anywhere in Europe quickly and relatively cheaply, as opposed to when living in Australia. It really is amazing to have Europe in your back yard and I plan to take advantage and make the most of travelling to places in Europe in the future.

No natural disasters. Yes the weather in Northern Ireland can be horrendous, being wet and cold almost all of the year but at least we don’t suffer the extremities such as fires, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes etc.

The NHS. Yes the National Health Service has its fair share of problems but it is still a free health service (I know we pay through our taxes) and a pretty good one, most of the time, especially in Northern Ireland. To receive free health care for everyone is fantastic and I actually really loved working for the NHS.

The Craic. In our country, this term means fun and good times. It can also mean sense of humour. People in Northern Ireland are great fun and have the best craic. They are also very friendly and hospitable people.

The bright nights. In Northern Ireland it can stay bright until 11pm at night in the summer months. I took this for granted until I moved to Australia, where it never stays light past 6 or 7pm.

Northern Ireland Cons :

The Weather. Unfortunately this has to be top of my list. The weather is pretty horrendous in Northern Ireland for a really long part of the year. From end of September until about April, it will be really cold with good chances of rain, sleet, snow and hail. They even had snow in June this year! We do have the odd good day now and again. Unfortunately we do have the most beautiful scenery but it is all weather dependent.

Spides & Millbags. Yes most of the people in Northern Ireland are extremely friendly but we do have a minority of people known as spides and millbags. These are people who can be described as being small minded, brash, loud, still argue about religion, never leave Northern Ireland and have the worst dress sense. I, for one, do not miss these people. I’m sure every country has their fair share of people like this but in Northern Ireland, they’re a breed of their own. Most of the time you can avoid them but now and again they will leave their homes and make an appearance into your safe little world.

Religion. Northern Ireland, sadly is still stuck in the past with regards to religion. You have Protestants and Catholics (both a Christian religion 🤷🏼‍♂️) still arguing about Northern Ireland and whether it should belong to Ireland or belong to the United Kingdom. I actually think it’s not even about religion anymore but more about territory. Thankfully, these people are in the minority and I don’t personally know many people who still think like this but they do still exist in Northern Ireland. Thanks to immigration these people are being diluted and the country is moving forward, albeit at a snails pace.

The dark mornings and nights. Just like the cold and wet weather, Northern Ireland is also pretty dark for a lot of the year. You will go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. This is pretty grim to be honest. Due to this, many things do not open early, for example, it’s nearly impossible to obtain a coffee before 9am. I think I will struggle with this since living in Bondi where you can grab a coffee as early as 5.30 am.

The Government. I don’t like talking about politics so I will just say that our government is pretty basic. They argue with each other and when one party can’t agree with another party, they just stop working altogether. They actually still get paid even though the government stops working. They take whatever rules they want from the UK and if they don’t like them, they will change them to suit their own religious agenda and beliefs.

Even writing about religion and the government in Northern Ireland makes me cranky. On the whole, Northern Ireland is a great country with lots of character and interesting people. I love being from Northern Ireland as I can have dual nationality, meaning we can carry an Irish and British passport. Northern Ireland is a unique country with lots of potential. We are really upping our game in terms of attractions, bars, restaurants, hotels and even media (think Game of Thrones). I honestly hope you all have the opportunity to visit Northern Ireland one day.

Thanks for reading my part two blog post on the pros and cons of both Australia and Northern Ireland. Do you agree or disagree with any of my points? Have you ever been to these countries or want to visit in the future?

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Australia VS Northern Ireland

As I plan to move back home to Northern Ireland (at least for a few months) I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on both countries and delve into the pros and cons of living in each country. I had been thinking of these a lot over the past few months when trying to make a decision about where to live. As an expat, these are things we think about, pretty much on a daily basis, as sad as that sounds. In this post I will look at the pros and cons of Australia and in my next blog post I will look at Northern Ireland.

Australia Pros :

The weather. It’s pretty much warm for most of the year. Winter here can be cold enough but only lasts for about three months give or take.

The lifestyle. It’s very chilled out here in Australia, especially in Sydney where I live by the water. The sunshine makes people happy, the coastal walks, dining outdoors, exercising etc. I think just being outdoors is so good for our mental health and well-being.

The opportunities. Australia is the land of opportunity. There is plenty of work available here and you can process quickly. Even the fact I have been teaching here has been a huge opportunity that I wouldn’t have been given back home.

The money. The fact is, I earn a lot more as a nurse here than I ever will back home. That can be said for many jobs here. Yes the expense of living is much higher here but you can still manage to save money here and live a really fulfilling life.

The health system. It is amazing here, with a mixture of public and private, it works really well. I feel so fortunate to be in a country with such a fantastic health system, unlike America where it costs a fortune and many people can’t afford or the NHS that is really struggling and has been for many years now.

The activities. There is always something to do, especially in Sydney. There are an abundance of bars and restaurants, plenty of bush, beach and ocean walks, lots of experiences, seeing the sights and famous landmarks etc etc, I could go on forever here.

The sheer size of Australia. There is also so much to see and do all over Australia, therefore, you don’t really ever need to leave Australia if you want to see somewhere new. I don’t think I realised how big Australia actually is until I lived here for some time. It is unbelievably huge with each state completely different from the next and offering so much that really is a feast for anyone living here.

Australia Cons :

The weather. As much as I love the weather here, it can also be a negative for Australia, especially the past three years. The bush fires are becoming more aggressive, wiping out so much land and killing millions of animal species. 2019 was horrific, so I dread to think how the next bush fires will be. Then we have the other extreme, flooding. The last two years we have had the La Niña weather event, bringing catastrophic amounts of rainfall. This is also predicted to last well into next year. The only silver lining with the rain is that it prevents the bush fires. I feel also with global warming, that the weather here, sadly, will be seeing more and more extremes of weather disasters.

The distance. Personally, this is my biggest issue. It never used to bother me before covid. I always felt that if I needed to be home, I could always hop on a flight and be home within 24 hours. However, since being in lockdown, we haven’t been home in over three years. We suddenly feel very far from home. We are literally at the other side of the word. With lockdowns, it appeared to the outside world that Australia was very much cut off from everywhere else in the world. Family and friends are very important to me and if I can’t see them, that’s a big problem.

In conclusion, you can see I have many more pros than cons. I absolutely love Australia and its people. It is a magnificent country with lots to do and great opportunities but I don’t have my family here. I feel extremely far away and for that reason, I will be going home for a few months to see how it goes.

Keep an eye on my next blog post where I will write about the pros and cons of Northern Ireland. Thanks for reading everyone and have a pleasant day.

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – PLAY

July’s monthly word prompt seems pretty apt for me this month. I have just wrapped up work in both of my jobs and moved out of my apartment. From today, I am work free and no more moving furniture. Hallelujah and time to play.

Today we listened to a little jazz band with lunch in Homestead at Centennial Park. I had never been here before in the whole five years I have been coming to this park. Isn’t it amazing to discover new things right on your doorstep.
Mulled wine, the perfect winter warmer 🤗
Rounded off with some peppermint tea. Loved it.

Have a great weekend folks.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V16

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors in Sydney. Luckily I still have quite a few to share before I move back to Ireland. Have a look below and let me know if you have a favourite this week.

1 – Paddington
2 – Edgecliff
3 – Paddington
4 – Darlinghurst
5 – Waverley

This is a tough one for me this week but I think number 4 just pipped at the post. I love the red door with its doorknob and letterbox but I also love the whole setting with the window to the side. The plants and flowers really add to the quaint and homely aesthetic. What do you think? I also love numbers 2 and 3, the former for its vibrant colour and the latter for its unique appearance of blending into the wall and the little step.

Please let me know and thanks again for reading.

Wayne ✌🏽

Five years of blogging!

Wow! Another milestone hit this week for me. I have been blogging for five years now and I really feel like I have come full circle.

I started blogging when I arrived in Australia five years ago. I wanted to document my travels and the plan was initially to share my travels with those from home in Ireland. However, I soon found that when I was blogging about places in Sydney, local Sydney people were taking an interest and learning from my travel experiences. This was fantastic and really gave me a boost to keep sharing the places I had been visiting.

Now after five years, I will be heading back home to Ireland. My blog has come full circle and I now really look forward to taking my blog back home and sharing travel experiences from Ireland and Europe. We have a lot to offer in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where I will be living. I hope you continue to follow my journey and see what the other side of the world has to offer.

It hasn’t been an easy decision to move back home after five years but again I have covid to thank for that. Suddenly we feel so far away from home here in Australia. Previously I always thought I could be home within a couple of days, however, it has now been over three years since I have been home. I miss my family and friends and feel I have to take this opportunity to return home and see what the future has in store for me there. That’s not to say I will never be back to Australia. It’s not a good bye but rather a “See you later”.

I will be doing a little travelling soon before I reach home with my partner so stay tuned and hopefully I will have some really interesting places to show you on my blog.

Thank you everyone again for following my journey and I hope to keep you further entertained in the next chapter of my life.

Wayne ✌🏽

Two Hundredth Post!

This week I hit a HUGE milestone for me. I cannot believe I have made it to 200 posts. I have to admit, my blogging journey was a slow burner but it has really ramped up in the past year. I actually have covid to thank for that.

Initially I was blogging about my travels, so I was only blogging once a month or every few months. When covid hit, we could no longer travel and I suddenly realised I had nothing to blog about. I had to have a think and revamp my ideology of what blogging means to me.

Covid opened my eyes in terms of blogging. Although I wasn’t travelling any more, I realised there was so much more that I could blog about. I have a lot to say and I really wanted to make an effort connecting with other bloggers. I started to blog about things that were happening in my life and also began participating in blogging prompts. When I took part in Bloganuary, my desire to blog and connect with others grew tenfold. I loved having something to write about and share more of my personality. I met so many other bloggers and loved the connection you could make with complete strangers. I soon started to participate in other blogging prompts and still do to this day. I have many bloggers here to thank for that.

I would like to share with you a few bloggers that continue to inspire and encourage my blogging journey 😊 –

https://renardsworld.wordpress.com

https://ceenphotography.com

https://hughsviewsandnews.com

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.wordpress.com

https://nofacilities.com

https://fivedotoh.com

https://lifesfinewhine.ca

https://beetleypete.com

The people you meet here in the blogosphere are amazing. You realise you share many of the same experiences and beliefs and appreciate so much that there IS a space for you in the blogging world. You also have the opportunity to meet others from different backgrounds and cultures and can learn a huge amount, therefore, growing as a person of the world.

I just want to say thank you to my followers and to those I follow and inspire me every day. This honestly is such a great space and I really look forward to growing, learning and sharing more of what life has in store for me.

All the best wishes,

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – OPEN

June’s monthly word prompt makes me think of an event I attended a couple of nights ago at the OPENing of the new Hijinx Hotel. This is not a hotel to stay overnight in, rather each room of the hotel has a challenge room where you have to partake in different activities with your friends.

Invited guests on the opening night had a red carpet entrance and were able to see first hand what the Hijinx Hotel has to offer. You can see some of my pictures below to get a feel of what is in store when you visit this funky hotel. We had an absolute ball at this event, made even more enjoyable by the fact that we are now learning to live with covid and returning to a new kind of normality. It was unbelievably refreshing to be out socialising again, meeting new people and experiencing new things to do in Sydney.

Amazing to dress up and feel a real buzz!
The paparazzi warming their bottoms. They were hilarious yet extremely professional 😉 staying in character for the entire evening.

There you have it. My fun night at the Hijinx Hotel and the opening night just so happened to coincide with my WordPress monthly word prompt 🙌🏼. I hope you also have the chance to partake in this month’s word challenge. I previously found it difficult to find the prompt but if you follow WordPress on Twitter, they will announce the monthly prompts there. Also, be sure to check out this amazing new venue if and when you happen to be in Sydney.

Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Pride Month 🏳️‍🌈

I read the most amazing, open and honest blog post this morning and wanted to share it with you all, especially, as for many people around the world, pride is being celebrated this month. We should be proud of who we were born to be and educate others who are still ignorant to what it’s like to be a gay person.

It’s LGBTQ Pride Month. I was struggling with what to write about that has not already been done, and better, by smarter, more talented people than …

Pride: A Powerful Reminder.

Thanks for reading guys and have a lovely day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V10 🎉🎉

Welcome to my tenth edition of Doors Of WordPress. I love creating these posts and it has really fuelled my love of doors even further.

When I started these posts featuring doors, I had no idea that doors were so popular on WordPress. I soon found other like minded bloggers posting about doors in a feature called Thursday Doors. Perhaps that’s why I love to post my doors on a Thursday. If you want to check out other doors and join a community of door lovers, feel free to check out the amazing No Facilities by host Dan.

Please see below my doors for this week along with their locations and my reasons for liking them.

1 – Woollahra

This door reminds me of Dracula or does anyone else remember Count Duckula?
2 – Paddington

You can’t beat a red door, am I right?
3 – Paddington

I know technically you can’t see the door but I love the external door and everything about the setting, the colour, the style, the plants etc.
4 – Double Bay

I love this door and the fact that the house looks like it is part of the tree, almost like a secret house. The door has wooden panels on it, presumably to make it blend in with the tree and create a natural aesthetic.
5 – Randwick

I love the simplicity of these doors and the colour but for me it’s the floral wreath that makes it pop! Perfect for a gelato shop.

I saved a few of these purposely for my tenth edition and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Please let me know if you have a favourite.

Have a great day and take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Share your World 31/05/22

First of all, was anyone a little excited when they awoke to find the WordPress app looking a lot different?! The black background with the rainbow W really jumped out at me and jolted me from my groggy state. I was curious to see what it was all about. When opening the app, the screen said there was a new block editor feature. Ok, yes that’s great but why the dramatic change in appearance? I mean, I like it, a lot but what does it mean?? Is it temporary? I can’t see anything on Google so if you hear or see anything be sure to let me know 😊

Version 19.9

Melanie’s questions this week from her Share your World segment are as follows:

Has anyone ever tried to scam you?

Not recently but when I was 16 years old I had a customer tried to scam me on more than one occasion. I was working my first job at a supermarket and I loved it. I worked on the checkouts putting through people’s groceries. One day, a woman gave me a fake £20 bank note. I didn’t realise and I was pulled into the manager’s office and reprimanded. The second time it happened again. The same lady came to me and this time I suspected the note looked dodgy but I freaked out and accepted it. I was so worried about getting in trouble that I replaced the fake note with one of mine (£20 was a lot of money for a 16 year old). It happened to me a third time and I had no idea this time, how could I have been so stupid and not realised AGAIN?! I was in so much trouble with my manager that I was so scared to go back to work on the checkouts. I had some training in identifying fake notes but I had lost all confidence at this stage and just didn’t want to let anyone down again. The fourth time 🙈! I knew who the woman was and my managers put me to the test. I was used as bait. When the woman came to my checkout and handed me the fake note, I knew this time. I nodded to my manager and she was questioned by them and the police. I felt bad for her that she maybe had to use fake notes but at the same time, I was angry that she kept picking me as she obviously thought I was an easy target. However, little did she know that I nearly lost my first job and I was traumatised from that experience in future retail jobs. I did learn a valuable lesson though. I certainly knew how to spot fake notes and I had the confidence to speak up about it. Luckily for me and future companies 😉, it never happened again.

What’s the best thing about parties?

Meeting new people. I love talking to others and having interesting conversations.

Do you listen to people’s advice if you didn’t ask for it?

Yes I do if it’s valid and it comes from good place.

Why is it impossible to spell funeral without fun?

Good question. Maybe funerals are meant to be fun, I mean as a way of celebration for the person’s life or maybe it’s just a coincidence as it comes from the Latin word funus (which still has fun in it!).


GRATITUDE SECTION

How was last week for you?

I had a very busy 6 day working week. I just kept my head down and got on with it but it was all good. I can’t complain 😊.

Thanks for reading everyone. Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Bexley

Bexley, NSW

Although we cannot see the sun actually setting, I love how we can see the sky change colour at this time of day. This was taken five minutes ago, waiting for my train home from Bexley. I had a lovely time catching up with friends and old work colleagues today and even managed to drink soda water for the whole duration (no alcohol 😜). As an Irishman this has to be told with pride as it doesn’t happen too often. I think people were actually in disbelief 🫢.

I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday, if possible.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V9

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my latest edition of Doors of WordPress. I am further showcasing doors from my neighbourhood in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. They were all spotted on my daily walks 👣 . I hope you enjoy looking and please let me know if you have a favourite.

1 – Darlinghurst
2 – Waverley (two for the price of one here)
3 – Bronte
4 – Paddington
5 – Paddington

I think number five is my personal favourite. I used to find it really strange that doors here in the eastern suburbs have an exterior security door. I thought maybe the areas were unsafe and prone to burglaries. However, I have noticed that this is a very common practice here and most doors will have this external door. It must be simply a security thing, so you can leave your front door open for air but have the security of the exterior door 🤷🏼‍♂️.

Thanks for taking a look at my doors!

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Share your World 24/5/22

Melanie’s questions from her Share your World this week are:

If You Could Be Best Friends With A Celebrity, Who Would It Be?

I would have to choose Chris Hemsworth or Zac Efron, simply so they could help me with my gym training 😜.

What is, or should be, the main purpose of law?

To keep everyone safe and to have order in the world.

Do You Care About Reviews?

Yes I do to a certain extent. I often look at reviews for hotels or a product before I purchase. However, it’s good to go with a majority vote as some reviews can be over the top. Especially with hotel reviews, some people complain about the silliest things 🙊.

Is the ‘mind’ different to the ‘brain’? If so, in what ways?

I would say yes. They are interchangeable, however, for me, the brain is the biological aspect whereas, the mind is the psychological aspect. They depend on each other to coexist (if that makes sense).

GRATITUDE SECTION

Overall how sunny is your nature?

I’m a pretty happy and upbeat person I think. I like to make others feel happy too 😊

Have a great Tuesday guys!

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress – Game Of Thrones Edition

I was inspired by Suzette B’s Blog some time ago when she showcased one of the Game Of Thrones doors in her blog post. It was a fascinating read and it made me think back to when I had also seen one of these doors. So as part of Dan’s Thursday Doors, I thought I would show case the Game of Thrones door that I have seen.

First of all, a recap of what these doors are all about. If you have watched Game of Thrones and were an avid fan, you might be aware of some of the filming locations. Many scenes were filmed in Northern Ireland, much to my delight and the delight of most people living there. A prominent scene was filmed at a location called The Dark Hedges in Co. Antrim and has since become a huge tourist attraction. It is basically a road lined with beech trees but the trees are magnificent in their stature and appearance, creating a very moody and suspenseful location to wander through.

The Dark Hedges – 2015
We came back the next day to see the trees with blue skies

Over the years, sadly many of the trees have fallen. They have been subject to storms and the ever increasing presence of tourists coming to the site. Tourism Northern Ireland and HBO found a way to keep the fallen trees alive (in spirit at least) and make good use of them. They were upcycled to create ten wooden doors, with each one depicting a scene from the Game of Thrones series and scattered throughout different locations in Northern Ireland. If you want to see their locations, you can find information here. This is where I found out that mine was number six in the Game of Thrones doors series.

I had heard about these doors when I was last in Northern Ireland, three years ago. My parents had known that there was one nearby in Ballintoy, in a pub called the Fullerton Arms. We headed there for a pint and a nosey and we were delighted to spot the Game of Thrones door, created with such finesse from the fallen beech trees. The pub also had a shrine to Game of Thrones with other memorabilia, a themed dining room and even its very own throne!

Game of Thrones Door #6 at Fullerton Arms
Amazing carvings and such intricate detail. This one show cases House Targaryen 🐉

I absolutely cannot wait to see all of these doors when I head back to Northern Ireland soon. Once I have seen them all, I will create a new post to show case them all.

Thanks so much for reading.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Sydney airport

An epic sunset at Sydney airport at the beginning of the year. We just arrived back from our trip to Uluru. I have a feeling I will be seeing this airport a lot in the coming months as my travel plans ramp up! 😉

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend. Enjoy your Sunday everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – China Rose

Happy Friday everyone. Please see below my flower of the day. Todays offering is a China Rose.

China Rose – native to south-west China

This rose is significant for it’s ability to bloom almost every month of the year and therefore, it represents longevity. I like this idea of living a long life, through thick and thin.

Take care all and have a lovely weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑