Yanchep National Park – Lancelin – The Pinnacles Desert – Burns Beach

The third day tour that I joined had combination of Wheatbelt and Perth region. Lancelin and The Pinnacles Desert are both part of Wheatbelt while Yanchep National Park and Burns Beach are both part of Perth.

Though the tour seems to had uncertainty at the start of the day, but it ends well, because my wished in every travel that I made is to maximize my time in Perth, I really don’t like wasting time, for not seeing and for not being in a new place. For this tour, I had seen additional spectacular places to discover in Western Australia. I only see these places in photos before, but the tour helped me to achieved my dream to make it come true. My main objective for the tour was to visit The Pinnacles Desert, but reaching Yanchep National Park and Lancelin made the tour more fulfilling and appealing.

Here’s the complete itinerary of the third day tour that I had while I was in Perth.

Yanchep National Park

This is one of the oldest national park in Western Australia state. The park is just more than 50 kms from the city. Though public transportation are available but it requires transfer and more expensive if will compare to driving directly or joining a tour that includes the park. Wildflowers can be enjoyed inside the park when visiting during its blooming season. Some animals can be seen as well such as koalas and western-grey kangaroos. The park also boasted three caves and one of it is Crystal Caves where it features lots of beautiful different formations of stalactites, stalagmites, shawls and flowstones. It is worth to spend sometime in the park. The full story of my visit in Yanchep National Park was described here.

Koalas Board Walk

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Western-grey Kangaroos

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Crystal Cave

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Wildflowers

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Loch McNess (Yanchep Lake)

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Lancelin

It is a small town that we had a chance to visit (which I felt glad that we did) for lunch. We had lunch in a restaurant near the jetty and lovely shore. Because the town has beautiful and fascinating beach and coast, I cannot stop myself to be amazed and appreciate its amazing turquoise water that surrounds the waterfront.

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Towards Lancelin Jetty

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Lancelin and Edwards Islands Nature Reserve

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At Lancelin Jetty looking towards Lancelin

Ocean Drive

After leaving Lancelin, we took Ocean Drive highway to reach The Pinnacles Desert and the scenery along the road were already panoramic in a beautiful day. Along this highway, some of the white sand dunes are visible from a distance.

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The Pinnacles Desert (Nambung National Park)

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One of the main reason why I booked the tour was because of The Pinnacles. The said desert has thousands limestones astray in the desert. When I reached the desert, just being there, standing in the middle felt like I was in another world like being in another planet. The Pinnacles for me is a kind of surroundings that is so unique. This kind of natural settings made me think that the world is indeed so amazing. During the visit, our tour guide Patricia and the other Singaporean guest walked a bit in the middle of the desert. While walking within the desert, I found out that guests and visitors has the options to drive around it since the limestones formation are spread within 190 hectares inside Nambung National Park.

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The Pinnacles was said to be formed underground 500,000 years ago and only exposed 6000 years ago, then covered again due to shifting sands and only exposed again few hundred years ago.

For other scientist, they believe that the story of Pinnacles beings off shore, where shell fragments breakdown to from fine-grained sand rich in calcium-carbonate (lime).

As the water’s edge, beach sands accumulate as a mixture of shell-based sands from the ocean floor and quartz sands carried by the rivers from the hinterlands. Blown by strong winds, the beach sands form extensive dunes along much of the coastline.

By : Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre

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A unique shape (like a monstrous) limestone

Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre

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Emu scat with quandong seeds

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Quandong seeds and necklace (Santalum acuminatum)

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Bobtail skink (Tiliqua rugosa) and Tick (Ixodes australiensis spp)

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limestone

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Some information display inside Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre

Burns Beach

Before ending the day tour, we stopped to witness sunset in Burns Beach as a plan. The beach is just almost 35 kms from Perth. But when we reached the beach, the sky was gloomy and clouds covers the sunset, therefore we were unable to see the full colors of the sunset. But even we haven’t enjoyed sunset, I appreciated the stopover because it gave me a chance to see Burns Beach for a short period of time which additional adventure of the tour.

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Before our tour guide dropped-off us in our accommodation, I was very thankful because Patricia drove us a bit in Hillarys Boat Harbour to gave me a chance to see it before I embark myself in my last tour the next day which will start at the said harbour. Until then.

Notes :
1. Plan to visit Yanchep National Park? Check here. How about Lancelin? Here’s their official site. A tour in Pinnacles Desert? Go here. And Burns Beach? Visit here.
2. Location : Yanchep WA 6035, Australia
Pinnacles Dr, Cervantes WA 6511, Australia
Jetty, Lancelin WA, Australia
Burns Beach, WA 6038, Australia
3. Directions to Yanchep National Park :
Transportation :
a. Join Day Tours from Perth or
b. Drive towards Yanchep WA 6035, Australia or
c. Take train (Joondalup Line) from Perth Underground Station, then get off at
Butler Station and take taxi to Yanchep National Park or
d. Take train (Joondalup Line) from Perth Underground Station, then transfer
to Butler Station and take bus to Marmion Avenue After Revolution Avenue,
and take taxi to Yanchep National Park
Official Website : Yanchep National Park
4. Directions to Lancelin :
Transportation :
a. Join Day Tours from Perth or
b. Drive towards Lancelin WA 6044, Australia or
c. Take bus from Wellington Street Forrest Place (in Perth) and drop-off at
Lancelin YHA or
d. Take train (Joondalup Line) from Perth Underground Station, then transfer                 to Jundaloop Station and take bus to Geraldton, and drop-off at Vins Wy
Lancelin or
e. Take Integrity Bus to Broome and get off at Lancelin YHA
Official Website : Lancelin
5. Directions to Pinnacles Dessert
Transportation :
a. Join Day Tours from Perth or
b. Drive towards Pinnacles Dr, Cervantes WA 6511, Australia or
c. Take bus from Wellington St Forrest Place R10 / Y14 (in Perth) then transfer
to Cervantes Post Office to take taxi and drop-off at The Pinnacles Desert or
d. Take bus from Wellington St Forrest Place R10 / Y14 (in Perth) then transfer
at Vins Wy Lancelin and take taxi to The Pinnacles Desert
Official Website : The Pinnacles Desert
6. Directions to Burns Beach
Transportation :
a. Join Day Tours from Perth or
b. Drive towards Burns Beach, WA, Australia or
c. Take train (Joondalup Line) from Perth Underground Station, then transfer
to Butler Station and take bus to Burns Beach and get off at
Burns Beach Rd After Kontari Lnk and walk to Burns Beach
e. Official Website : Burns Beach, Joondalup City

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Stopover at Sandalford Winery

Given a chance to join tours across Australia, though sometimes its part of commercializing the product of a specific business, one thing that I enjoy is a chance to visit wineries. I enjoy it because of vineyard scenery, a beautiful nature by itself. Of course the establishments tries to advertise their wines through collaboration to travel or tour companies but still, what it offers is allowing visitors to appreciate not only their wine products but their vineyards.

I had been in a couple of wineries but even that is the case, I still love and enjoy it. Seeing the green grapevines perfectly inline is indeed a lovely sight to see. Seeing it from a distance is amazing.

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The next stopover that we did was in Sandalford in Margaret River Region. The said winery has another farm to be found at Swan Valley. Tasting wines is one way to introduce the product to people, but the tasting does not happened in just any places exclusively in their wineries.

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Sandalford was one of the heritage wineries that I visited because of its history. Their first winery was born in Swan Valley in 1840, then they were able to survived two world wars and expanded their industry in Margaret River in 1970.

Notes :
1. Plan to visit Sandalford (Margaret River) ? Please check latest information here :
2. Location : 777 Metricup Rd, Wilyabrup WA 6280, Australia
3. Directions to Sandalford (Margaret River) :
a. Join Day Tours from Perth or
b. Driving to Wilyabrup
Official Website : Sandalford

Travel Diary 101 : Going to Perth

Two days adventure in Broome was over. Though I missed the adventures that I was eager to see and experience, I was still able to maximize my time in the said remote town in Australia. Because of short period of time, even I wanted to stay, I have to move on and go to my next destination which is Perth where I spent my last 4 days in the country.

My flight was in the morning of Oct 12, 2016, Wednesday and before that day, I was able to book my airport transport to Broome International Airport via Broome Taxi which also offers airport shuttle service and at that time of my travel cost me $7 AUD. I was one of the first passenger that was picked-up by the shuttle. Then, the shuttle picked-up few more passengers before we drove straight to airport which not really far from the town proper. In the shuttle, I met again some of the senior folks came from Brisbane that I had been with when I joined Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour.  They were also flying to Perth, the same flight that I will take.

We arrived at the Broome International Airport, a small, simple but effectively working airport. When I entered the departure terminal, there were just handy people to be seen in the area since at that time, there were just two flights scheduled that morning. The assurance given to me by Broome Taxi that I booked seems to be right as the given picked-up time was really enough for my flight. Broome International Airport was not similar to other busy airports where you are required to allocate so much time before the flight to make sure it will not be missed. I felt relaxed after I checked-in my baggage and for just a couple of minutes of waiting time, we were on our way to the tarmac where our plane was parked and where we will board the plane.

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My flight from Broome to Perth was more than 2.5 hours through Qantas. And since my assigned seat was at the window side, I got a chance to view the desert of Western Australia from the top that looks like it was endless because of its enormity which made flight enjoyable with a great sight.

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Perth

I arrived before lunch time at Perth Domestic Terminal 4. And when I disembarked the terminal, I looked for the shuttle bus that goes straight to the city which serve by Transperth. I got off the bus at Adelaide Tce After Bennett St Station which just few minutes walk towards Pan Pacific Perth Hotel where I stayed while in the city.

At Pan Pacific Perth Hotel, one thing that I admired though I knew that hotels and most of the accommodations has check-in time, I arrived at the hotel just past noon, which a bit early for their check-in time, but their officer cheerfully assisted me in my check-in since there is room ready for me. They do not advised me to wait but instead allowed me to check-in at earlier time. When everything were set, I went to my assigned room. I was very happy because my room has great scenery, a partial city view and Swan River view.

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At Pan Pacific Hotel

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Swan River

On my first day in Perth, I immediately started my adventure exploring the city and its nearby tourist destinations that I can reach.

Until then.

 

 

 

Travel Diary 101 : Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure

While living in Australia for more than 1.5 years, most of the cities and places that I visited are located in the eastern side and southern part of the country. I also got a chance to visit even the middle part of Australia. What does this mean? It means that I never got a chance to be at the northern part and western part of this huge continent country. Therefore, before my visa ended last February 2017, I planned for my last adventure in Down Under last October 2016. The said adventure was not like the first part of my tour. The suppose to be Kakadu National Park day tour became Litchfield National Park day tour. The whole story of what happened in the first part of my adventure were explained in my post here and here. The second part of my adventure started from Darwin at Northern Territory and ended at Broome in Western Australia.

After my tour in Litchfield National Park, the bus tour dropped me off near my hotel accommodation (The Cavenagh Hotel) that I booked for 1-night since the next day was the start of my 4WD Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure in 9 Days. In my travel and adventures, the tour was the longest multiple day tours that I experienced. The tour company also offers longer  days such as 21 Days that will end in Perth, but unfortunately, I cannot afford to be in 21 Days straight travel even I wanted to as I have other personal matters to attend even I was in vacation.

From the hotel, I picked-up my Telstra sim card that I reserved even before I arrived in my accommodation, then setup my phone. I had my dinner at the hotel and tried the steak that it was offering since The Cavenagh Hotel is famous for their steak. I had a great dinner that time inside my room since a lot of people were outside having dinner while drinking on Friday night. It was a typical Aussie ambiance in a pub restaurant. Before I slept that night, I prepared my stuff and my luggage so it will be easy for my early morning checkout.

Here are the 9 Days 4WD Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure itinerary that we had:

Day 1: Darwin to Katherine Region

From Darwin, the group drove towards Nitmiluk National Park in Northern Territory to enjoy Edith Falls and Katherine Gorge.

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Edith Falls and Upper Pool

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Nitmiluk National Park with Katherine River at Baruwei Lookout

Related Travel Post(s) :
Nitmiluk National Park : Sandstone Country Full of Stunning Gorges

Day 2: Victoria River, Judbarra National Park and Lake Argyle

The first stop of the group was a quick look of Victoria River along Victoria Highway. Next, the group had trekking adventure in Judbarra or Gregory National Park which still located in Northern Territory. Here we enjoyed fascinating scenery of the valley and the thousand years of aboriginal drawings and paintings created in rocks, boulders and escarpments.

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“The Vic” or Victoria River

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Trekking Escarpment Walls of Judbarra

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At Judbarra (Gregory) National Park

Related Travel Post(s) :
Judbarra (Gregory) National Park – “One of the Most Prolific Sites in Australia”

Then, we drove to cross the border of Northern Territory and Western Australia where we experienced to adjust time as the two states has different timezone. The second adventure of the group for the day were cruising some part of the 700 square kilometre man-made spectacular Lake Argyle and swimming.

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Sunset at Lake Argyle

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At Lake Argyle

Related Travel Post(s) :
Lake Argyle – Where People, Birds, Fishes, Wallabies and Freshies Meet

Day 3: Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle Ranges)

The following adventure we did after we drove towards Purnululu National Park, were quick viewing of Osmond Range from the ground and trekking Echidna Chasm. We also had a sunset viewing at lookout ridge to witness sunset towards some part of Osmond Range and Escarpment Walls of Bungle Bungle Range.

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Osmond Range

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Echidna Chasm

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Sunset with Escarpment Walls (West of Bungle Bungle Range and Osmond Range)

Related Travel Post(s) :
Purnululu National Park – A Park With One of the Most Striking Geological Landmarks in Western Australia

Day 4: The Bungle Bungle and El Questro Station

Since we camped within Purnululu National Park, we trekked “The Bungle Bungles”. The walked includes “The Domes” and “Cathedral Gorge” Walk. After we left Purnululu National Park, we passed Warmun (Turkey Creek) and Durack Range. We took the famous Gibb River Road to continue adventuring Kimberley. Our first stop along Gibb River Road was El Questro. We arrived at El Questro Station before it gets dark that day.

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A Walk in Purnululu Range from Picaninny

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The Domes

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Cathedral Gorge

Related Travel Post(s) :
The Bungle Bungles – One of the Most Spectacular Landmarks in the World

Day 5: El Questro Station and Zebedee Springs (plus Champagne Springs Trail)

The following day was spent in a relaxing bath time in Zebedee Springs. When we returned to El Questro Station, we played around and swam in Pentecost River just beside the group’s camping site inside the station. In the afternoon, I joined few people from the group to walk along Champagne Springs Trail.

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Zebedee Springs

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At Champagne Springs Trail  (unofficial itinerary)

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Thousand Year Old Boab Tree along Champagne Springs Trail

Related Travel Post(s) :
El Questro Station and Surround

Day 6: El Questro Wilderness Park, Gibb River Road and Manning Creek

After leaving El Questro Station that day, we went straight to El Questro Wilderness Park which can be found within Cockburn Range. We trekked towards the waterhole of Emma Gorge and had great time  in the water. It was the same day where we spent longest hours driving in Gibb River Road for the day. We passed Pentecost River which cross each other with Gibb River Road, we enjoyed the scenic view of Cockburn Range from a distance and we took lunch in one of the resting point that located along Gibb River Road. Then, we had been in the same road for hours until we reached Manning Gorge Campsite just near Manning Creek before sunset.

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Emma Gorge

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Cockburn Range

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At Manning Creek

Related Travel Post(s) :
Emma Gorge and Cockburn Range – El Questro Wilderness

Day 7: Manning Gorge

The day’s adventure was focused only in Manning Gorge, as we trekked hours towards and from the gorge and swimming on its waterhole.  Then, a relaxing time again in Manning Creek before ending the day.

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Manning Gorge

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Near at Manning Gorge Campsite

Related Travel Post(s) :
Manning Gorge – A Picturesque Gorge In Gibb River Road

Day 8 : Bell Gorge and Windjana Gorge

A busy time for the group as we visited two gorges in one day which both includes easy to medium walk towards the beautiful gorges. A great time spent in a picturesque Bell Gorge. A great experience in Windjana Gorge to witness sunset, freshwater crocodiles in Lennard River and thousand  fruit-bats flying away from the gorge for feeding time in one seating.

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Bell Gorge

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Windjana Gorge

Related Travel Post(s) :
Bell Gorge and Windjana Gorge – Two More Amazing Gorges in Kimberley

Day 9: Tunnel Creek National Park, Derby and Broome

Before heading to Broome, we had our last adventure in Tunnel Creek National Park in the morning where we explored a historical and ancient cave where the Tunnel Creek flows through it. We had lunch near Derby Wharf, stopped in Prison Boab Tree, Willare Bridge Roadhouse and Willare Bridge before hitting the road again to reached Broome. When we reached Broome, it was the end of the 9 Days Overland Adventure  from Darwin to Broome.

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Tunnel Creek Cave

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Derby

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Prison Boab Tree

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At Willare Bridge, Fitzroy River

Related Travel Post(s) :
Tunnel Creek National Park, Derby and Broome

It’s the end of my adventure tour with the group and the beginning of my solo trip and tour of the rest of my stay in Western Australia.

Until then.

Travel Diary 101 : Kakadu Missed, Litchfield Take Over

I planned my adventure in northern and western part of Australia before my visa expired last February 2017. I returned to Australia after 1.5 years and had my last travel in the said country. After having a free tour in Singapore last September 29, 2016 as my worthwhile layover which described in my post entitled Free Transit Tour in Singapore , when  I was on my way to Australia I thought everything that I planned as my adventures will be happening until something went off on that day. I arrived in Darwin, the capital city of Northern Territory on September 30, 2016 few minutes earlier than its scheduled arrival time of 5:25 AM in the morning. The plane was not full of passengers, it was not the same of my previous flight to Sydney nor my previous flight to Melbourne. From the time that I disembarked the plane until I retrieved my luggage, I kept looking in my watch because I need to catch-up my tour around 6:20 AM in Darwin Transit Centre.

It still dark when I left the airport past quarter to 6 AM in the morning and I felt at ease while inside the taxi as I thought that I will be able to catch my tour. The cab driver dropped me off in bus terminal in the city. I asked the driver if its Darwin Transit Centre and he said it was. So I got off the taxi and waited a bit. I looked around and I felt there was something off in the terminal where I was at that time. I knew that I was in bus terminal but there were no people around. Time was passing, I felt uncomfortable and suspicious. I had a feeling at that time that I was in a wrong place. Since I don’t have internet in my phone yet as I just arrived in the city less than an hour ago, I was not able to verify if I was in the right pick-up point based on the GPS of my phone.

I was alone in the terminal and I waited, hoping that it was the right one, but the time of pick-up point was approaching and it’s almost 6:20 AM. And when I saw two Asian women, I approached them and I asked them if the bus terminal is Darwin Transit Centre but they responded to me that they were not sure as they were new in the place too. There was a tourist vehicle stopped near where I was standing, a guy got off the vehicle and he looked liked a tourist guide because of what he was wearing and I approached him and asked him if the terminal was Darwin Transit Centre and he responded to me that it’s not and its few minutes drive from where we were. I felt desperate because I knew that I will be left behind by the tour that I booked since I was not at pick-up point yet. The man who I asked offered me to dropped off at Darwin Transit Centre. An old man approached us and he asked which place I was looking for and I said to him the same place I responded to the first guy. They seem to know each other and the second man instructed the first guy to dropped me off in Darwin Transit Centre. I learned from them that the terminal I was dropped off was Darwin Bus Interchange Terminal, at that time, I thought that the cab confused it with Darwin Transit Center terminal. I also learned that I need to walk at least 10-15 minutes to reach the transit center.

At that time, I was sad because of what happened of my first day adventure after I returned to Australia. After the conversation with two men that I barely knew, I trusted them and accepted the help offered of the first man who I talked to. I hopped into the front seat of his vehicle and my luggage inside the car. On the way, we talked a bit and we conversed how the cab driver didn’t even knew or familiar with Darwin Transit Centre where in fact the said terminal is tourist affiliated center. We drove few minutes, then we reached the said location and I was very thankful to the man who helped me. After I got-off the car, I looked around and I saw the tour company office that includes in my email from Viator. I went inside and I asked about the tour that I suppose to join though the pick-up time has already passed, it’s almost 6:45 AM at that time. They told me that the bus already left which did not surprised me at all. They asked my name and they mentioned that they were actually looking for me. They received some of my updates in the email about my pick-up location. I explained to them what happened. They talked to me and told me that they don’t reimburse payment of any tour. They asked me if I was available the next day and I told them that I was not. My only option that will be a bit fair for me was to join their another day tour. I asked what are available options. The tour that I booked was higher than what they were offering me and the famous one but at that time I didn’t have a choice but to choose a tour that I can still join to maximize my first day in Northern Territory. The tour that I chose to avoid ruining my day was Litchfield National Park Day Tour.

Until then.

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Travel Diary 101 : On My Way to Guam

I experienced a bit of traffic on my way to Manila International Airport Terminal 3 around 12:30 AM of Sunday morning but after struggling for 30 minutes of slow movement in specific part of Aguinaldo Highway, the overall travel was smooth and I was thankful for it.

I arrived at the airport around 1:30AM, I found lots of passenger in the terminal, probably thinking the same thing I was thinking, many people trying to avoid travel rush for the Holy Week which is a major holiday in the country as it is used to have long holiday aside from Christmas.

I checked the information in the monitor screen that I passed on my way to travel tax desks. After I saw the check-in counter information, I queued and paid my travel tax and walked towards the entrance of my check-in counter. Because of too many people, I fall in line in the queue thinking that it was the same line to enter the check-in counter for my flight. That decision was based from my past flights in that airline. The said airline tends to make one line for all their flights regardless of your destination and time of your flight. I didn’t notice if there was sign that separates Guam flights to the rest of their flights.

I got nervous because the queue for check-in was crazy, it even passed the whole counter area. But I had some doubts because I have this impression that US flights will not have that many passengers compared with other flights. I went to the entrance of the counters and I asked the airline crew for check-in counter of Guam flight. The crew confirmed my suspicion that queue for Guam is different. I wasn’t able to see the sign immediately because it was partially obstructed by people queuing near the entrance. I felt relieved and was glad that it’s at the opposite side. I showed my printed flight itinerary to the crew and she allowed me to go inside the counter area and queued along with few other passengers. I queued for few minutes and it was my turn to check-in, the process was finished without a hitch. Since it was still early, I spent hours waiting at the boarding gate.

Then boarding time came and I followed other passengers to board the plane. Inside the plane, I was sitting in window seat and alone in 3 seat row at left side of the plane and there was another passenger at the right side window seat, same with me alone at his row. The flight in overall was smooth except for sometime that I felt a turbulence outside the plane. I napped from time to time since I didn’t have enough sleep before my flight. I woke up and saw my meal has already been served.

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After more than 4 hours flight, we arrived at the island which is a USA territory not really far from my country at the right most side in the Pacific Ocean. After disembarking the plane, I walked straight to immigration and queued the visitors lane. My lane was slow since it’s only one officer assisting us at first. When all USA residents passed immigration, visitors lanes moves faster as other immigration officer helped out until I reached my time to face one of them. I had my face captured, my finger print recorded and after few questions, I passed the immigration without glitch.

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First thing to learn when I went outside the airport was the transportation was not immediately available as most likely other passengers went out before me took all those waiting cab outside. I walked to the taxi kiosk’s counter near the entrance/exit of the airport but it was closed. I tried to enable my data roaming and started browsing but nothing happens like no internet in my phone. It’s good thing that they have some employees in the ground and someone asked me if I need a cab and I responded in agreement.

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I waited only few minutes, the cab arrived and I jumped into it. I was very thankful that he was a Filipino and we talked at bit on the way to my hotel. The fare was $18. We arrived in the hotel that I booked around past lunch time. I asked the hotel clerk if I can check-in at the time that I arrived but the hotel clerk said it will be at 2 PM. I asked the hotel if the pocket WiFi that I rented in Guam has arrived in the hotel and I was glad that it was already there. After I received the pocket WiFi, I used it to browse where can I go while in Guam. So technically I was browsing internet at the hotel lobby while waiting for my time to check-in.

After I checked-in to my room. I stayed there to prepare my adventure plan in the island for the next coming days. I decided to rest since I haven’t had enough sleep the night of my travel. I had my dinner to fill me in and down to bed with my first day in Guam.

Until then.

Travel Diary 101 : Flight Bound to Taiwan

Today is my flight bound to Taipei I decided to work from home to avoid too much traffic from the city since its Friday and to give me a chance to prepare my stuff as I am avoiding to miss anything in my backpack. While I am packing, I’m still working, monitoring all incoming emails from time to time. I am lucky as not much work for me today since it’s just few days after New Year, most people at work has still hangover from recent major holidays. It is a quiet day for my work life which is great.

I left home 5 hours before my scheduled flight. I traveled at least 1.5 hours from home to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, to Terminal 3 to be exact. I withdrawn few cash to pay for my travel tax. There are self check-in kiosk available at the front of Air Asia counter, which is my airline for my travel. I felt at ease at first since I don’t have luggage to checked-in. After checked-in at the kiosk, I got my boarding pass from the machine, but when I checked the boarding pass printed, I saw that there is travel document verification mark on it and instructing to go to document verification counter. I inquired in one counter of Air Asia about it, I was advised the travel document verification is the same as checked-in counters. This means the self checked-in I did earlier in their kiosk is useless because I have to queue in the long line too. I wondered why they put those self checked-in kiosk, when they cannot provide a counter that only checks travel documents. It’s one of the disappointments that I experienced today.

I queued more than 1.5 hours just for travel document verification. When its my turn, I only spent around 5 to 10 mins. I was advised for the gate for my flight and instructed that the next step is immigration. If there was separate counters for verification check, the 1.5 hours may have been spent to other things than queuing and waiting, but that is reality of life when dealing with budget airlines.

I went to the immigration gate and passed easily without questions. Then, I passed the last scanner and I walked straight to the gate for my flight. One hour to go before my flight and I thought all will be good and then, as we approached the time of the flight schedule, there was announcement that the plane is being serviced and therefore the flight will be delayed for at least 40 minutes. Like other passenger, I can’t do much about it but to wait.

Next announcement was past quarter of 11 PM that night and they mentioned that we will be boarding soon. Then after few minutes, boarding the plane has been started. The plane took off past 12 AM in the morning. Estimated time to arrive Taipei was almost 3 AM, 2 hours delayed than scheduled time.

The usual experience inside the plane happened, the flight crew checks everything, demonstrated safety procedures and evacuation process during emergency. Then, the plane took off, after we were stabilized in the air, the crew started to do their chores, since I booked my flight with food, they served the food to the people who ordered it prior to the flight. I know that we cannot expect too much quality of the service in a budget airlines, because customer service comes with a price nowadays. That’s why I have to order my food together with my booking so that I can take advantage of serving the food at the earliest. Ordering food on the spot while inside the plane, can be daunting, as most of the time, your order will take sometime and if unlucky, the food you wanted to order is not available anymore.

My food served at the earliest and I ate and finished early, while the other crew still serving the other passengers. Because the flight was not too long, I just closed my eyes and took a nap. When I woke-up, the crew announced to prepare for landing to Taoyuan International Airport and I knew that in a matter of few minutes, I will be in Taipei,  Taiwan, new city and new country for me. Until then

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Written this diary last January 6-7, 2017.
Updated, June 8, 2017