Jervis Bay is the perfect weekend trip from Sydney. It’s far enough away to feel like you’re in a new place, but short enough of a drive to make it an easy weekend getaway. This is how I spent a weekend in Jervis Bay.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is all about:

  • insanely gorgeous beaches
  • loads of australian wildlife
  • lots of hiking and beautiful nature trails

Michael and I live in South Sydney, & it’s an easy drive further South. We got up early on a Saturday, grabbed takeaway coffees (in our keep cups of course!), and hit the road.

We drove for a little less than an hour before stopping at a viewpoint in Shoal Harbour. This is a great stop off point for some fresh air and a bathroom. The viewpoint isn’t bad either!

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

When we arrived in Jervis Bay, it was still too early to check in to our airbnb, so we headed straight to the attraction that made me want to go to Jervis Bay in the first place – the beautiful Hyams Beach. This beach holds the Guinness World Record for Whitest Sand Beach in the world. It is absolutely beautiful, and wasn’t too crowded when we headed down at the end of September.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After a stroll along the beach, we hopped back into the car to grab some lunch. I was dying to try out Pilgrims, a vegetarian eatery with loads of vegan options. They are most known for their veggie burgers, and anyone who knows me knows that veggie burgers are my second favorite food.

Pilgrims Jervis Bay

Pilgrims is located in Huskisson in a nondescript little building – you’d have to be looking for it to find it. Though it’s a little hidden, it was still bustling with locals and tourists. The vibe is casual and chill. We grabbed a table, some menus, and a bottle of water with some cups, and picked out what we’d each have. We were pretty hungry from the long drive (and a tiny brekky), so we ordered a feast.

Pilrgrims Jervis Bay

Pilrgrims Jervis Bay

I ordered the Millenium burger (mine was the massive one with sprouts), and Michael ordered a vegetarian burger and a toastie. As soon as our food arrived, we dug in, and finished eating in record time – we were so hungry! The burgers were amazing and very filling – I’d highly recommend a stop here.

Next, we drove to our airbnb and checked in. How cute is it!

(Get $25 off your first stay with airbnb!)

After unpacking and freshening up, we picked out a few beach spots on google maps and set out for an adventure. I’ve since realized, google maps isn’t the best place to search for beaches. We stopped at a few places, but they didn’t even come close to Hyams Beach. We were mainly searching for some Australian wildlife, but so far hadn’t seen any.

While driving back toward our airbnb, we decided to pull in to a Holiday Park (aka a campsite for my Americans) and parked the van so we could take a short stroll to their beach. We had to register as visitors to enter, and while writing down our details, I asked the owner about kangaroos. He told us that there are tons of kangaroos living at the holiday park – and because there are tourists year round, the kangaroos are completely used to people, and are actually friendly with humans.

This weekend, dreams came true.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

Next, we headed into town for a look around Huskisson. We watched the sunset from the Husky Pub, and then went for an Indian food dinner before calling it an early night.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

The next day, we had a little lie in before a big day of beach touring. We checked out of our airbnb and had a relaxed brekky at Hyams Beach Store & Cafe. It’s a super cute place with great coffee and lots of locals reading the Sunday paper (it filled up right after taking this photo, promise).

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After a big breakfast, we took the van out to our first stop of the day: Cave Beach. We saw even more kangaroos in the parking lot before taking the short walk to the beach.

Cave Beach is named after – you guessed it – the caves on the beach. There are a few, and they are big enough to walk into. We even saw a bat in one of them!

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After a short time at Cave Beach, we got back into the van for our next stop: the Hole in The Wall.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After the Hole in the Wall, we started heading North back to Sydney. But before ending our weekend away, we made one more stop at Honeymoon Bay.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay has so many little gems, I’d highly recommend a trip from Sydney!

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I love city life – public transportation, the abundance of different styles of food, and the high energy vibes – it’s all good in my book. Still, sometimes it’s amazing to take a break from the city and escape for the day. This weekend, Michael and I hopped in the van and headed an hour south of Sydney to Wollongong. This little beach town is full of restaurants, shops, and a long stretch of yellow, sandy beach. This is what we did with a day in Wollongong. This is Day Trips from Sydney: Wollongong.

Day Trips from Sydney: Wollongong

The road to Wollongong is as scenic as the city itself. We took the Grand Pacific Drive – a bit longer of a drive, but 10x more beautiful. The Grand Pacific Drive goes along the beach, with opportunities to stop at ocean rock pools, adorable beaches, and the beautiful Sea Cliff Bridge.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

We stopped at a few photogenic places on the way to Wollongong. Sea Cliff Bridge, Bald Hill Lookout, and the Coalcliff rock pools are all places I’d recommend.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Bald Hill Lookout

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Coalcliff Rocks

Once you make it to Wollongong, explore the lighthouses along the beach, take a dip in the ocean, or grab a bevvie at the Illawara Brewing Co.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

craft beers at Illawara Brewing Co

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

There are loads of places to eat in Wollongong. Some of the most recommended are Diggies, Lee & Me, Lower East Cafe, and Pepe’s on the Beach. We opted to stop at Scarborough Hotel, which is on the way back to Sydney, and offers endless ocean views from the top of a cliff.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

A day in Wollongong is a great way to escape the busy city of Sydney. I’ll definitely be back to explore some more!

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Though I usually have a big smoothie for brekky, sometimes it’s a bit too cold for an icy drink first thing in the morning. When the temperatures outside drop, I like to cook up a big warm bowl of comforting oats for breakfast! I love the versatility of oats – there are so many different ways you can make them. Today, I decided to have a warm, chocolate banana oatmeal bowl.

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

 

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

This is my first recipe of Plastic Free July – in this recipe, no plastic packaging was used.

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

This recipe turned out even better than I expected – it’s so delicious! The flavors of the healthy supplements like flax meal and chia seeds are hidden underneath the overtones of rich chocolate and banana. Though it seems that this chocolatey bowl would be too good to be good for you, I healthified it in the following ways:

  • Cacao: this is the unprocessed, raw version of chocolate. It has no sugar in it, but has a deep chocolatey taste. Cacao has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries, it’s a good source of iron, it’s full of magnesium, and is a natural mood elevator
  • Flax meal: flax is full of heart-healthy omega-3’s, and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Flax has insoluble and soluble fiber, which will kick start your digestive system and keep your guts clean!
  • Chia seeds: A great source of fiber, chia seeds are a fabulous plant-based source of protein, iron, anti-oxidants, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Chia seeds are great for the skin, and they’ll boost your metabolism.

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

I’m not sure we could make a healthier bowl of oats if we tried. So let’s get into the recipe!

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Ingredients

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp flax meal
  • One heaping tsp cacao
  • 1 banana
  • Maple syrup, to taste

Directions

Cook the oats according to package directions. I cook mine with water, but if you usually use milk, sub in your favorite plant based milk. When the oats have absorbed most of the water and are nearly completely cooked, stir in the flax, chia seeds, and cacao. Stir until fully mixed, and then pour into your bowl.

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

Slice your banana and place it on top of the oats. Top with maple syrup to taste.

Viola! Let me know in the comments if you are going to try this out.

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It’s July and in the world of sustainability, that’s an important month. Plastic Free July is a thing, and I’m so excited to participate this year.

Plastic Free July: Why I Am Participating

One of the reasons I was so excited to move to Australia after 2.5 years of full time travel was to be able to nest, build a home, and decrease my carbon footprint even further. I’ve seen the effects of plastic on our planet and I don’t want to contribute further.

Plastic Free July

plastic covered beaches in Vietnam

While traveling, I knew that going vegan, using public transportation, avoiding plastic bags whenever possible, and carrying a reusable water bottle are ways that I was helping the environment. But I wanted to do more.

Lifestyle changes that I’m so looking forward to while settling down include: starting a herb garden; shopping bulk; devoting time to finding the best natural and eco-friendly skin, makeup & hair products; and increasing my health by having more control over what I am able to make.

Plastic Free July

plastic water bottle floating in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

When I moved to Australia, one of the first items on my agenda was to visit a naturopath and take a saliva test for my hormones. After getting my results back, I saw that I had high levels of estradiol in my body. This could be due to so many things. My naturopath gave me a ton of lifestyle factors that could be affecting this, but one that really stuck out to me was using plastic. I had no idea that the chemicals used to make plastic could actually be disrupting my hormones!

This is one of the biggest reasons I am so excited to participate in Plastic Free July. I really look forward to spending a month figuring out ways to avoid using plastic. Not only will this help balance out my hormones, but it makes such a difference to the planet!

Plastic Free July

ingredients for my Chocolate Banana Oats – from the bulk store

The Effects of Plastic on Our Planet

Did you know that all of the plastic that has ever been created is still on this Earth? Plastic takes 500-1000 years to break down. That means that it will live on this Earth for at least 5 times our lifespan, maybe even 10. And that’s not even the worst part. Plastic doesn’t ever decompose – it just breaks into tiny pieces of microplastic, which leeches into our oceans and affects the marine life. If you’d like to know more about this, I’d highly recommend watching the documentary A Plastic Ocean, available on Netflix.

The manufacturing of plastic, as well as it’s destruction, pollutes the air, waters, and land of our Earth, while affecting our bodies and the lives of other animals on the planet. Now seems like a great time to try out a month of no plastic.

What do you say, want to join me?

Plastic Free July: How To Prepare

To prepare for Plastic Free July, I took inventory of my garbage bin. I looked at what I was throwing away, and started to look for alternatives. I found a bulk store just a couple of train stops away and made a few simple swaps.

Plastic Free July

Here are the main changes I am making:

  • Switch out conventional skin care for simple, natural products from my kitchen
  • When my hair products run out, try package-free shampoo & conditioner bars
  • Make my own cold cream face wash
  • Swap out grocery items typically packed in plastic for items not packaged in plastic, examples:
    • Buying bunches of kale instead of plastic bags of spinach
    • Swapping plastic-packaged frozen berries for acai powder from the bulk store
    • Bringing my jars to the bulk store to stock up on oats, lentils, and cacao
    • Getting gluten-free pasta from the bulk store instead of the supermarket
    • Using acai powder from the bulk store in smoothies instead of plastic-bagged frozen berries
  • Look for package-free versions of things I currently use
  • Shop the farmers market before the grocery store

Some resources that helped me out were:

Instagrammers doing amazing work in this field:

During this month, look forward to:

Healthy recipes using bulk-store ingredients

Plastic-free and eco-friendly tips I learn along the way

A new section on the website devoted to sustainability

 

Sign up below if you want to try Plastic Free July as well (or just get semi-monthly emails about sustainability).

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After two and a half years of full time travel, I’ve made a very exciting decision – to create a base in Sydney, Australia! This is an exciting adventure for me and it means that Michael and I will be able to settle down into our own place, and create a permanent base to travel from. In this post, I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions I’ve gotten since deciding to make the move.

Moving To Australia After 2.5 Years of Full Time Travel

Moving to Australia

The Visa

How are you permanently moving to Australia? What type of visa are you on?

I’ve previously done the working holiday visa in Australia – that’s how I met Michael! I am now in the process of applying for a De Facto Partner Visa, subclass 820. This is a very long and complicated process. I came into Sydney on a tourist visa to start the application process with Michael & find a lawyer to work with on the Partner Visa.

Moving to Sydney Australia

What is the “Partner Visa”? Do you need to be married to get this visa?

The partner visa that I am applying for is called a De Facto partner visa. To apply for this visa, you must be in a monogamous relationship with an Australian citizen or eligible permanent resident and have been living together for the past 12 months, minimum. You’ll need information proving that your relationship is legit.

For this visa, it is not required to be married, but it is the most complicated partner visa to apply for (mainly because you aren’t married – the government wants to make sure that your relationship is legitimate and you are fully committed to each other).

In general the visa process is much simpler if you are married, as you’d apply for a different visa which is much less complicated.

Moving to Australia

Are you and Michael going to get married? Why don’t you get married to simplify your visa process?

I get this question a lot. Michael and I have been together for a year and a half, and we are in a very committed relationship. Of course we plan to stay together for the long term. We’ve travelled the world together, and now we are building a home together in Sydney. So why don’t we just get married?

After a lot of talking, we decided that although we do plan to be together long term, we don’t want to get married just to get a visa. We want a marriage to be on our terms, not just to simplify the visa process.

How does the visa process work?

In recent years, partnership visa applications in Australia have skyrocketed. The country currently grants 50,000 partnership visas each year (this includes all partnership visas – not only De Facto visas, but also visas to partners who are married).

Because I am applying for the partnership visa while I’m in the country, I’ll be able to stay in the country while my visa is decided. This is the main reason I entered the country on a tourist visa before applying for the partner visa.

Moving to Australia

The immigration office needs time to process my visa application after lodging it. Once my De Facto Partner Visa application is lodged, I’ll be automatically transferred to a Bridging Visa. A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows me to stay in the country and work here while my Temporary Partner Visa is processed. On the bridging visa, I have work rights and can also apply for Medicare (yay health care!).

The Temporary Partner Visa is granted within roughly 18-24 months of lodging my application. Yes, this means I’ll be waiting about two years to get my Temporary Partner Visa. The temporary visa is granted first, and I will continue to have the right to work in Australia.

The Temporary Partner Visa is a two year visa. Once the two years are up, Michael and I will submit more paperwork to the government showing that we are still together and happy. We will need to submit bills and proof that we are still living together and still in a committed relationship. The government will then process a Permanent Partner Visa.

Moving to Australia

After the Permanent Partnership Visa is granted, and once I’ve lived in Australia for four years, I’ll be able to apply for Permanent Residency.

The entire stream of visas goes as follows:

Tourist Visa –> Bridging Visa –> Temporary Partner Visa –> Permanent Partner Visa –> Permanent Resident

What is Permanent Residency? Will you still be a US citizen?

Permanent residency means that I will be able to continue living in Australia without continuing to apply for visas. I can be a permanent resident of Australia without becoming a citizen, or I can choose to apply for citizenship if I’d like to.

Moving to Australia

Australia currently allows dual citizenship. This means that you can be a citizen of Australia and another country. The United States also allows for dual citizenship. This means that I can be a citizen of both Australia and the US, if I choose to. There is a lot of research involved in this process that I have yet to do before deciding what I’d like to do.

What I’m Doing in Sydney

What will you be doing in Sydney?

I came into Sydney on a tourist visa. This means I can’t legally work in the country until that expires and my bridging visa kicks in. Until then, I’ve been working on this website, I’ve created a Minimalism Series for Youtube, and I’m revamping my ebook. When I’m legally allowed to work, I’ll be looking for a position in an industry I am passionate about. I’m currently looking into the travel industry and the coffee industry.

Moving to Sydney Australia

Will you still travel?

Of course! Travel is a huge part of my life, and a huge part of who I am. Travel is so important to me. It forces me out of my comfort zone, allows me to grow, and learn more about other cultures and other parts of the world. I am so excited that I am able to settle down in a country other than my home country, so I can properly explore more of Australia when I’m not traveling internationally.

Moving to Sydney Australia

Want to know more about moving to Australia?

Check out my other posts on Australia:

Do you have questions?

I’ll be doing a more in-depth post about the visa process, stay tuned! If you have other questions related to Australia or moving abroad, let me know in the comments below.

 

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