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Let’s be honest, there’s only so many buses, planes and trains you can cope with on your travels. The freedom of being master of your own ship or rather own steering wheel is beyond tempting. The good news is that car rental companies need your help. Yay. Freebie (or as near as) relocation cars and campervans are up for grabs.

WHY DO CAR RENTAL COMPANIES NEED YOUR HELP?

They need your help, and this is especially the case in peak season although opportunities are there for low season too, to move cars from one part of the country to the other. This could be due to one way rentals or very popular rental locations needing more vehicles on site.

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

There is no catch, you can get free or from $1 a day vehicles.  A set number of days are however given to get from A to B.

I had 6 days to get a Merc Maui campervan (complete with loo and shower – oh yeah) from Cairns to Sydney. So it’s not a frantic race to get from A to B watching the sights and the friends you want to catch up with whizz by.

Subject to availability and for an additional charge you can extend the number of days.

THERE MUST BE SOMETHING TO PAY SURELY?

Well a free tank of fuel is generally included so you would need to pay for any additional fuel however with the free tank it does mean that you can return it empty. Do check the terms and conditions though relevant to your rental.

WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?

Generally speaking the $1 rate does include some form of insurance but will have excess charges of around $2000 – $4000. You would need to double check the terms and conditions. However for an additional charge you can remove these excesses.

For my relocation in Australia with Jucy I paid $19 a day to reduce the excess to zero. An example of Jucy’s excess reduction info for OZ can be found here

IS ANYTHING ELSE INCLUDED?

It depends on the route.

For example in New Zealand if your journey is from the North Island to the South Island or vice versa, you might find that a vehicle ticket is included for the Interislander ferry. Sometimes for campervans you might have a kitchen kit or a free camping table and chairs.

Interislander ferry Picton North Island NZ

IS THE MILEAGE RESTRICTED?

Many offer unlimited mileage but if there is a restriction on the number of miles/km that should be clearly shown.

HOW OLD DO YOU NEED TO BE?

Occasionally there might be a minimum age restriction for example 21 years.

CAN I PUT IN A REQUEST FOR WHERE AND WHEN I WANT TO GO?

Aah alas no. However unless you are going somewhere remote you should be able to find yourself a deal to most tourist locations.

Availability is anywhere from a month to a day or two before but the earlier you can check and sleuth about the better.

SIGN ME UP! WHERE DO I GO TO FIND RELOCATION VEHICLES?

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Europe offer relocations.

Some rental companies to check out:

Transfercar have free relocations in OZ and NZ.

Jucy have relocations from $1 a day in OZ and NZ.

Apollo also from $1 a day. Click here for USA, OZ and NZ.

Imoova bring together a number of relocation rental companies in OZ, NZ, USA, Canada and Europe.

Have you nabbed a relocation vehicle before? If so where from and to and what did you think? Do share and let us know in the comments.

Looking for a community of like-minded solo travellers? Come on in and join our free community at WE GO SOLO. Pop your travel trips in and join in or get the conversation going. Not only eats and drinks, meet up for day trips or road trips too. Find out more.

The post Relocation. Relocation. Relocation. How to drive around for next to nothing. appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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It’s no secret that the wonder that is New Zealand is one of my favourite places in the world. Let me introduce you to Akaroa and why I think you really should add it to your ‘to do’. Oh and about that day trip … the assumption is you are in NZ at the time!

GETTING THERE

On the North Island, 75 km southeast of Christchurch (scenic route is around a 1.5hr drive), located on the Bank Peninsula, you will find the stunning township of Akaroa. The pretty colonial architecture a reminder and reflection of its French and British settlement history.

A heads up that the road coming in is steep and windy but it is so worth it especially for the views. A tip would be to take the road signposted ‘tourist route’. This takes you across the top ridge and you get spectacular views of the whole bay. Oh and we found ourselves driving above the clouds too!

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DOLPHINS. DID SOMEONE SAY DOLPHINS?

The harbour in Akaroa, which by the way is part of an extinct volcano crater, is the only place you can find rare Hector’s dolphins. These are also the smallest dolphins in the world growing to a maximum of 1.5m.

It was no surprise then that my kiwi mate Sheree and I opted for the Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise. Operated by Black Cat Cruises with commentary and highlights of sightings of Hector’s dolphins, seals and perhaps a penguin or two.

After a hazy rainy start the sun had come out and we set off for our 2 hour cruise aboard the very comfortable catamaran which had lots of outdoor space for viewing. Oh and covered space too if the weather wasn’t being kind. We had no such problems.

It wasn’t long before we spotted a few Hector’s dolphins and then a few more. And more. There must have been about twenty or so in the pod. To say we were excited is an understatement. I fess up that I might have squealed like a wee piglet too. Especially as the pod swam, jumped and raced with our vessel for ages.

Before too long even our Skipper Hamish, was squealing – ok ok perhaps not like a wee piglet but he was definitely excited. Why? Because amongst the pod was a much bigger different colour dolphin. A Common dolphin.

Check out the pod in action (and perhaps a squeal or two) here. Despite its name, the Common dolphin variety is very rare in these waters. In fact the skipper Hamish,  hadn’t seen one in his 10 years of working in the harbour. It even made news headlines.

And we also caught sight of seals basking on the rocks along with a penguin peeking out of the water. So if you do come to Akaroa do check out Black Cat Cruises. They also offer swimming with dolphins, the Diamond Harbour ferry and Quail Island adventures too.

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

When it comes to eats, there’s plenty to choose from with just a few of a great selection mentioned here. If fish and chips are your thing head on over to Murphy’s On The Corner which has a fanfare for the best fish and chips. They also have Murphy’s Seafood Stall on the main wharf by the water.

For superb mouth watering local cuisine with a view check out Ma Maison. Outdoor dining – don’t worry there’s also an open fire for when the temperature drops – and those views? Uninterrupted of Daly’s Wharf and Akaroa Harbour. Bliss.

photo courtesy of Ma Maison Akaroa

For baked goodies and drinks, head on over to the Giant’s House and the Artist’s Palate cafe. The Giant’s House was the first bank manager’s house built in 1880. As well as lots of original features, the artist, Josie Martin, has created a unique experience with terraced gardens, sculptures and mosaics.

So there you have a suggested day trip in the stunning Akaroa. Go do! Have you been? If so what do you think? Do share and let us know in the comments.

Looking for a community of like-minded solo travellers? Come on in and join our free community at WE GO SOLO. Pop your travel trips in and join in or get the conversation going. Not only eats and drinks, meet up for day trips or road trips too. Find out more.

The post Take a day trip to Akaroa, New Zealand appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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When's The Best Time To Travel? - YouTube

So when is the best time to travel? Now, it sounds like a really silly question, but aside from when you’ve got the money in your bank account and you can get the time off work, there are a few other things that I would throw into the pot.

WEATHER … DID SOMEONE SAY WEATHER?

One of them being that I did actually know somebody who was really, really happy that they had got an amazing fare to go to South Africa. The trouble was it was going in July. They thought they were going to go there, bask in the sun, have an amazing time in the sunshine wandering around the vineyards and checking out the V&A Waterfront.

Actually, July is winter time in South Africa. So it was a very, very different experience. It comes under a different hemisphere. You’ve got the Northern Hemisphere, everything north of the Equator – Europe, America, Canada, China to name but a few.

Then you’ve got the Southern Hemisphere, everything south of the Equator. So just a few to throw in to the mix are South Africa, most of South America, and Australia and New Zealand. Now, the reason that this is important is because it’s a switch. It’s the total opposite. For the Northern Hemisphere, summer time would be June, July, August. For the Southern Hemisphere, summer time is December, January, February.

Now, it might well be that it’s not even the country you’re traveling from and going to. It could be that the country that you’re in is so vast. So for the likes of Australia, where you’ve got different states and territories, they have got different climates as well.

You might be basking in sun in Sydney and then you head up to Kakadu and it’s monsoon season. Now, that’s not going to be a real biggie if you’re in Australia and you’re travelling for a while. You can just reroute and go there when it’s a better climate for you. You might love monsoon season for all I know. So then yeah, go for it!

But if you are planning a trip, it’s in a more concise amount of time and you are booking things in; do bear that in mind. Also in Thailand, generally July and August are going to be very wet (officially rainy season is from mid May thru to October). India also experiences monsoons as well say the Caribbean. So just a few things to take into account. There are a couple of websites you can look at. There’s worldatlas.com, which shows you the split of the hemispheres. Another site which is really good is worldweatheronline.com. Pop in the destination that you’re going to and it brings up the weather for all different times of the year.

SALE SALE SALE

Now, the other thing that I would say is that if there is a sale on, it might not necessarily be the best time to travel, but it’s certainly the best time to buy a fare. For me personally, I tend to go with the airline direct. I find I get some great fares there. Register with the airlines to get their newsletters, so you’ll be notified when the sales go on and you can get first dibs.

Also, there are companies like Trailfinders and Flight Centre who offer excellent  competitive fares. The main thing is to shop around to get the best deal.

FOR WANT OF QUOTING MARVIN GAYE … WHAT’S GOING ON?

I would have a look, if you’re in the U.K, at the foreign office website for the country that you are intending to visit. You’ll also get a heads up on any unrest as well. Not that I’m wanting to scare you, but if there are things that are going on that you need to be aware of, they should be highlighted there.

You can also have a look on the tourist board site for the countries that you wish to visit.  Don’t forget also the likes of the Lonely Planet, Foder and Rough Guides, just a few to put out there.

Have a check with them, there might be some big festival or event going on that you’re not aware of and you’ve only got your first few nights booked. I was in Bryon Bay recently and there were a fair few disappointed people. Why? They didn’t realise that there was a big surf festival at the weekend so they were unable to extend their accommodation.

The final place to look, I would say, would be on forums. See what other travellers are saying. The Lonely Planet has Thorn Tree and Trip Advisor is worth a mention well.

So these are my suggestions. What you do when you go into planning mode for your travels? Do comment and let us know!

Looking for a community of like-minded solo travellers? Come on in and join our free community at WE GO SOLO. Pop your travel trips in and join in or get the conversation going. Not only eats and drinks, meet up for day trips or road trips too. Find out more.

The post When’s the best time to travel? appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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solo travel as an introvert - YouTube

So let’s look at travelling solo if you’re shy and an introvert. Now, people assume that to go off traveling on your own you need to be super confident, life and soul, all singing and dancing. That’s so not the case. You get people who are obviously outgoing and they are the life and soul of the party. However you also get people who are shy and introverted, and you can have just as great a time traveling alone.

PREPARATION

What I would say is if you are shy and an introvert is first of all be prepared. Before you go off travelling, make sure that you have your Kindle or your electronic device, all loaded up with your favorite books and things you’ve been meaning to read. If you like the feel of a paperback, and who doesn’t, then make sure you some room in your luggage to squeeze in a few paperbacks. You always find people along the way that you could swap books with and some places have shops where you can actually go and sell/exchange your books as well.

I would also download movies, get music on your MP3 player, and grab podcasts, so you’re all set up. Especially if you have been surrounded by people and it’s all getting a bit much and you just want to chill out, listen to music or have something great to read or watch. Definitely that would be my first thing to do.

WHAT ABOUT A GROUP TOUR?

Now the second thing I would say is look at what kind of tour you want to do. If you haven’t travelled solo before, maybe a group tour is a good place to start. Before you book check the size of the group and the accommodation. On some tours you have to share and others you can get a room to yourself, generally for an additional supplement.

There are budget rooms or depending on the tour operator you can have a choice of more luxurious rooms.  You’ve got Flash Pack, for the 30 to 49 range, if you’re worried about the age range in the group. I’ve also had friends who have gone with the adventure type travel companies, like Exodus, Intrepid, Explore, depending on the destinations and what type of tour you want to go on.

Now another thing to take into account is if you’ve got a passion. If you really love photography or you’re really into painting or opera. You’ll be surprised, there’s so many tours that incorporate this kind of thing as well. There are cooking tours and all sorts of things. That’s maybe another route that you can go down.

ACCOMMODATION

If you think to yourself  “Actually, a group tour really isn’t my thing. I really like to do my own thing.”, then let’s look at accommodation. It all depends on your budget and what kind of things you like.

You can start off in a hostel. Lots of people travel and stay in hostels, myself included. From personal experience if you stay in YHA’s,  you tend to have more of a wide age range. Anything from 19 up to about 70, which I would say is a really fabulous mix. That’s probably a strange thing to say but travel isn’t an age thing, it’s more of a mindset. You don’t need to stay in dorms, you can have a room to yourself. If you did want to stay a dorm though then look for the smaller dorms, for example four bed male, or four bed female. You have a choice of single sex or mixed.

Hotels, yes, but you might get a bit lonely being in a hotel. But it depends on how you mix it up. Maybe add some day trips as well, and that’s another way that you’ll be dipping in and out and meeting people. There’s also a hostel group called Generator that  are more design led hostels that are in Europe. Another suggestion would be looking at Air B&B or a similar organization where you have the option of either renting a room in the host’s house, or getting a place to yourself. For the former, you have the option of insider local knowledge and the potential of some socializing. But on any of these options I would look at the reviews. See what other people have said. You can always contact the host beforehand and have a chat with them. Then you can decide whether or not it’s for you.

ALONE TIME

If you’re traveling on your own then being introvert and shy in a lot of ways can be a great thing. Why? You will have alone time, and you actually really like your alone time. You’re more than happy to take yourself off to the cinema and watch a great movie. Take yourself down to the beach or a park to read a book. Please don’t feel that it’s a real no-no and that if you’re shy and an introvert solo travel is something that you couldn’t possible do.

I’m hoping I’ve given you a few ideas here. Maybe you’ll then give it a chance and have a go and get yourself out there. Now, other things that you can do are see what’s going on in the area itself. There are normally local meetup groups. Of course, do come and join our free community at wegosolo.world. Plot your trips on there and let the community know where you’re going to be. You can chat together and connect as a group or one on one.

If you’re into fitness, have a look and see if there’s any running groups where you’re going to be. You can just join them the day for a run and combine that as well. And a walking tour too, so that you’re just kind of dipping in and dipping out. You don’t have to be full on all the time. And if you do also decide to do a day tour everything is all organised for you. You have got company on the trip and you’ve got the safety of getting to and from your destination. You can also generally do your own thing as well when you arrive. Some places you can hire a driver for the day so you can go off and explore on your own personalised tour.

If you are a solo traveler who is shy and introvert, do leave a note in the comments on how you travel solo yourself! Also do drop by, say hi and join our free community at wegosolo.world.

The post Solo travel if you’re shy and an introvert. appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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What do you mean, it’s too early to be talking about New Year’s Eve?!  Nope. Not if celebrating in Sydney Harbour is on your ‘must do’ bucket list it’s not. You want to grab yourself a great fare, sort your accommodation and maybe rekindle your friendships with your long lost Aussie mates or family.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

GETTING THERE

Sale. Did someone say sale? Even if you intend to travel peak season you can still get a great deal especially if you book early. Check out flight deals with Qantas and Cathay Pacific.

Emirates are also currently offering fares from £679 to Sydney for travel between 03 April – 05 December.

Trailfinders and Flight Centre also have great fares and fare guarantees.

WHAT DISPLAY DO YOU WANT TO WATCH?

Is it just the main firework display at midnight or would you like to also see the family firework display at 9pm aka 21.00hrs too?

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO WATCH FROM?

Do you want to view the fireworks from terra firma land or bobbing along on the water?

LAND

Land options could be a viewing spot within the Sydney Harbourside Parks. A heads up that alcohol is not allowed so your bubbles would need to be of the non intoxicating variety. Pirrama Park, Pyrmont however does offer drinks to purchase. Likewise with inner city vantage points BYO is not allowed. There’s also the Royal Botanic Gardens (ticketed event), Darling Harbour, Manly Cove and Watsons Bay to name but a few. All non BYO. Have a look at this article from the Sydney Morning Herald but also keep an eye out for 2018 updates.

Sydney New Year’s Eve also has its own website too. You can pop your details in so that you can be notified when 2018 info is available.

Sydney Opera House terraces.

If you want to get glammed up and also enjoy an opera, (the interval of which is timed to include the 9.00pm fireworks), the Sydney Opera House is the place for you. Post opera, there are a few outdoor viewing areas, but be aware that spaces are limited and not guaranteed. To take the stress out of trying to nab and elbow your way into a space opt for the purchase of midnight party tickets too.

ON THE WATER

Right let’s look at the 3 B’s. Boats. Budget. BYO.

Boats range from catamarans, yachts, cruise ships and ferries with all budgets catered for from fine dining to BYO. If you’re really going for it there are also private charters. For a range of options check out Captain Cook Cruises. From five course cruise ship dining with drinks and champagne at midnight $1499 to the BYO experience of a Rocket ferry $499. Departures are from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour.

Manly ferries also offer BYO New Year’s Eve cruises starting from $225 with departure points from both Manly and Darling Harbour.

One more thing to add to your checklist is where your boat will be based during the fireworks. Are you in a prime location? Are you also in the exclusion zone, which is as close as possible to the Harbour Bridge fireworks and taking part in the Harbour of Light Parade? Oh and don’t forget to check out what are the viewing decks are like.

HOW DID IT GO FOR US?

I fess up I wasn’t solo on New Year’s Eve. Sporadic contact with another friend, plus will we/won’t we get tickets, circa 2002 meant my first Sydney Harbour attempt was a no go.  On the plus side that year I recall singing a song or two at a fabulous house party in Noosa. Karaoke. Aussies. Alcohol. Great times and no regrets there.

Fast forward seeing out 2017 and Sydney Harbour was well and truly back on the map, this time with my lovely mate Ann.

As we weren’t a couple, the fine dining, gazing lovingly didn’t seem appropriate. BYO was the order of the day. Arms bulging and bags brimming with alcohol and food we set off down the hill to Manly Wharf.  To make the most of the experience we opted for the 7.00pm departure on Ocean Rider one of the Manly ferries. This also meant we saw both the family and midnight fireworks. Oh and we were in the exclusion zone and part of the Harbour of Light Parade too.

Just getting into our position (near Fort Denison) was a magical experience. Lots and I mean lots of boats heading out onto the water. Passing the tugs pulling along the huge platforms of fireworks that would form part of the on water display. The chatter, laughter, expectation and excitement that was in the air …

Synopsis. The oohs and aah’s increased as we went from family to the crescendo and extravaganza of the midnight fireworks. We proudly sported our florescent glasses, courtesy of tucking into a glow stick ‘do it yourself’ kit from a lovely family from Brighton. The drinks bag was empty at the end of the night. The food bag was still brimming aside from a pack of Doritos we had consumed. Note to oneself to just pack a few bags of Doritos next time. The party shoes remained in the bag, the flip flops aka thongs winning on comfort. 8 tonnes of fireworks, pulsating music and 100,000 pyrotechnic effects had fulfilled the dream. Go do!

Add New Year’s Eve Sydney to your bucket list. As for this year, Ann is off to the Galapagos Islands and as for me who knows what adventure awaits …

Looking for a community of like-minded solo travellers? Come on in and join our free community at WE GO SOLO. Pop your travel trips in and join in or get the conversation going. Not only eats and drinks, meet up for day trips or road trips too. Find out more.

The post New Year’s Eve in Sydney Harbour appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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When you think of Perth, the city and capital of Western Australia, beaches don’t naturally spring to mind. And hey don’t get me wrong I love a bit of city exploring but I also really enjoy just kicking back at the beach. Lucky for me and you, if you feel the same, you don’t have to stray too far. So in answer to ‘are there any beaches near Perth?’ here’s a couple of my favourites.

COTTESLOE BEACH

If I jump off again will I be in trouble? she eagerly asked. Before he had a chance to reply she leapt in with the next question. Is he hot too?! Welcome to girl versus lifeguard exchange along the rock groyne at Cottesloe Beach.

A white sandy 1.5km beach with the striking and iconic Indiana centre stage and staring in many a travellers photographs. Originally The Indiana Tea House, a 1910 ice-cream parlour, the restaurant offers uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. The building also houses Indifish. Situated downstairs and offering seaside takeaways such as fish and chips and ice-cream open in the summer season and for special events.

The ocean is clear and I mean crystal clear. I’m on the rock groyne too which juts out 100m across the Mudurup Rocks and marks the southern boundary. It’s hot. Laser beam hot.

Slip. Slop. Slap. That’s the original Cancer Council Australia super successful campaign from the early 80’s.

Slip on a shirt. Slop on some suntan lotion. Slap on a hat. This has since been extended to include Seek. Slide. Not so catchy I grant you. Seek shade. Slide on wraparound sunglasses.

Shade can be found under the trees and also if it’s a windy day there are grassy banks overlooking the beach that you can plonk yourself on. Nothing worse then ending up like a sand statue as the wind whips the sand onto your suntan lotion eh?

Some beach dwellers come prepared with their own wee tents to provide some shade and respite from the sun too.

On the event front, March sees the annual Sculpture By The Sea.  Now in it’s 14th year, with over 70 local and international artists transforming the beach to create a sculpture park overlooking the Indian Ocean. Yay.

Want to have a peek at Cottesloe Beach? Check out our vlog here.

HOW TO GET THERE

Jump on a Freemantle line train from Perth and around 30 minutes later you will find yourself in Cottesloe. Depending on the heat, you can jump on a bus for 2 minutes or take a 15 minute stroll down to the beach. If you have wheels then it’s only a 15 minute journey for you. Woohoo.

SCARBOROUGH BEACH

Another white sandy beach sharing the clear turquoise blue Indian ocean is Scarborough Beach.

Recently having had a major injection of dollars, $26 million to be precise with more to follow, for an outdoor pool complex which overlooks the beach. Scarborough Beach Pool had its grand opening in January.

Opt for either the 50 metre 8 lane pool or the 25 metre 4 lane pool, both of which are geothermally heated to 27 degrees or so. Oh and let’s not forget the leisure pool, splash pool, 200 seater grandstand and eating facilities too.

The eco-friendly design offsets around 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. No doubt contributing to the first ever a six-star green rating in Western Australia.

Outside of the complex seek shade from the trees above the beach or at the fabulous ampi-theatre. Yep that’s it in the blog header. *swoon*

Want to have a peek at Scarborough Beach? Check out our vlog here.

HOW TO GET THERE

Scarborough Beach is 13km from Cottesloe Beach. From Perth you can either get a couple of buses or jump on a Joondalup Line train and then catch a bus from Stirling. Journey time is around 30 minutes. To drive you’re looking at under 20 minutes.

Whichever beach you choose in Australia do heed the Slip. Slop. Slap. Seek. Slide. mantra. The sun is laser beam hot and sun and skin care are taken very seriously. So much so that the Australian Government offer free 6 monthly skin cancer checks for residents. You have been warned – avoid midday sun, not enough slop and the lobster look.

So there you have it. My favourite Perth city beaches. Let me know what you think and shout out your favourites too!

Looking for a community of like-minded solo travellers? Come on in and join our free community at WE GO SOLO. Pop your travel trips in and join in or get the conversation going. Not only eats and drinks, meet up for day trips or road trips too. Find out more.

The post Are there any beaches near Perth? Oh yes! appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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An update on Busselton following my part one vlog post.

So as I mentioned previously Busselton is situated on the south west tip of Western Australia. It does have it’s own airport which is currently being upgraded with $69.73 million investment. Once completed the airport will be capable of handling flights from interstate and international flights to destinations including Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Denpasar.

By car it’s around 2.5 hrs from Perth or you can jump on a train from Perth to Bunbury, also 2.5 hrs. Then you would need to hop on a bus for around 40 mins but it’s worth it!

If you missed the first vlog/blog post check it out here

The post Busselton – a snippet of the jetty and beach part two appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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A wee peek at Busselton, on the south west tip of Western Australia.

Home of the largest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, whale watching (yes please) and a lovely beach front vibe. On the accommodation front, check out the fabulous award winning Observatory Guest House run by Mike and Lorraine.  Super central and close to the beach. Yay.

Head here between August – November if Humpback whale watching is your thing with September I’m told, being the peak time.

Key annual events include:

Enjoy. I thought Busselton was fabulous!

P.S. this Busselton post is a vlog incase it’s not playing on your mobile device.

The post Busselton – a snippet of the jetty and beach part one appeared first on WE GO SOLO.

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