Location: Old Helensburgh Tunnel, Helensburgh 

Built in the 1880’s, this abandoned train tunnel is located on the outskirts of Sydney, in the Sutherland.

Walking down the railway tracks towards the tunnel, you can see how overgrown the entrance is, with ferns covering the brick work. Super eerie but really cool.

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If you walk down the tunnel far enough you can see a few glow worms light up like blue fairy lights scattered across the walls. We hung out here for about two hours, just exploring..

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Remember not to shine your torch towards them and stay silent to see their full potential. We put our camera on long exposure and created different effects with the brightness from our phone screen.

Unfortunately you can’t walk to the end of the tunnel as it is flooded, but there are rumours there is an abandoned steam train that has been there since it closed.

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Everything you need to know: 

  • Free entry
  • The carpark is literally a 100 metre walk from the entrance of both tunnels.
  • It does get pretty muddy, so bring old shoes or gumboots.
  • A torch if you are keen to explore the tunnels

LocationOld Helensburgh Tunnel, Helensburgh

Helensburgh map

Location: Zig Zag Railway

AHHH so many South East Asian Vibes!
Can you believe this is only two hours drive from Sydney?!
I honestly thought I was in Sri Lanka when I was exploring this place.

The drive to get here is probably one of my favourite drives of all times. Through the Blue Mountains, down Bells Line Road you get glimpses of sheer sandstone cliffs on your left. It’s definitely a sight to see. I would recommend you pull the car over, sneak through the trees and just admire them for a while.

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Lithgow

There is a town 5 minutes further drive from this spot. Here is where you will find a Woolworths, petrol station, McDonalds etc.

If your feeling adventurous, check out the bottom of the railway line at ****. You will see the view of the arched bridges from the bottom of the mountain looking up and they are just as incredible as the top view. Although be careful as the bottom railway track is an actual train line. A train comes through here every few hours. We couldn’t find an easy way to get to the top from the bottom line, apart from driving around.

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The Real Entrance

We drove along bells line until we found a fire trail on the side of the road. Be careful turning into here as it is on a crest and is difficult to see on coming traffic so slow down.  The sandy fire trail is the last kilometre of your journey, you can drive along here if your car is suitable for it, otherwise just park on the side of the road at the entrance and walk.

The last 200 metres is walking through a few shrubs, annoying I know but this is the reason this place is so secluded.. know one knows about it.. You will descend down a slope and emerge at the beginning of the arched bridge on the top line rail.

We hung out here for about 3 hours watching the sun slowly set over the mountain range.

Everything you need to know: 

  • 2 hours from Sydney
  • Approx. 100km west of Sydney city.
  • Please expect you might get a few scratches on your lower ankles from walking through the shrubs.

Getting There: 

Map to zig zag railway

  • Drive west for approx 2 hours through Bells Line Road and over the Blue Mountains
  • Once you reach this address (Zig Zag Railway), take caution when turning right into the entrance of the fire trail
  • Either drive along fire trail (if car is suitable) or park at the entrance and walk the fire trail for about 1 km.
  • Once you reach this little curve in the track (as seen on the map), turn right
  • Start walking through ankle high shrubs, down a hill always veering in a slight right direction
  • You will reach the start on the arched bridge

 

Background Info: 

The Zig Zag railway was permanently closed back in 2013 due to bushfires.

They say they are due to be reopening back in 2019 which means you will be able to follow the bush walking tracks without it being prohibited, although when I went there was no sign of construction work.

 

Sintra

For a small entrance fee, you have access to this incredible palace overlooking as far as the eye can see. With fairy gardens everywhere you wander, it’s easy to get lost for hours. This 27 metre deep well is known as the initiation well where boys climbed down, walked through the tunnels and became a man as they walked out the other side.

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Agueda

I was so lucky to have visited Agueda during their Art Festival. Throughout July, the small town comes to life with colour and streets are filled with hundred of umbrellas floating in the sky.

To get here, you will need to catch an hour train ride from Aveiro.

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Porto

The city is famous for its wine and they did not disappoint. The hostel I stayed in, Porto Wine Hostel had their own wine tasting experience where you taste and learn about white, pink, ruby, tawny and 10 years tawny.

Location: South side of Porto Bridge

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Nazare

If youv’e seen the Nazare Wave on instagram or pinterest you’ll understand the reason I spent 7 hours on a bus from Porto to get here.

I actually just laughed when I got here, because it was the complete opposite to what I was expecting. Calm day, no waves and a hot summers day. I guess that’s the beauty of travel, you never know what to really expect when you visit a place. So i made the most of it with an ice cream and refreshing swim.

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Sao Miguel Island, Azores

The untouched beauty of this island is so unbelievable. I am surprised that Sao Miguel is not more popular than it is. With a combination of Hawaii, British Columbia and New Zealand.

Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel is an hours flight off the Portugese Coast.

Location: Boca Do Inferno Viewpoint, Sete Cididas

Walking around the edge of Sete Cidades until returning to our Airbnb in Bretanha.

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Lagos

Sandstone cliffs contrasting with the crystal blue ocean, Lagos has some of the most incredible view points. Also known for its partying and surfing, Lagos offers festivals, endless beach days and some of the best night clubs in Portugal, throughout the Summer months.

Location: Ponta Di Piedade Lookout

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Benagil

Along the south coast of Portugal you will find Benagil Caves. You can look from above but the only way to get inside is to hire a kayak and paddle around or take a boat tour and hope they allow you jump out of the boat and explore. Make sure to get there early before the tourists flood in and book accommodation in advance as Benagil is such a small town and there’s not a whole lot to do besides exploring this cave.

Location: Benagil Caves, Benagil 

 

Three Aussies tearing it up in Albania

..So I didn’t even know Albania was a country until a week before I flew into the capital. One of my Aussie girls called me up and said “Bec we’re going on a road trip!” haha, so what’s the best thing to do before heading to place you know nothing about? Read blogs.

After reading how amazing it was, how incredibly nice everyone is there, and just falling in love with the crystal clear waters, I feel like I may have put a little too much trust into the place.

(skip next section if your just looking for the Albanian Hotspots)

haha so I rock up to the airport at 11:30-midnight and have no idea what the currency is, how to get to the city, and the transport had already stopped for the night. So I’m trying to take out cash from the ATM and the currency doesn’t add up, the ATM tells me to take out 1000 and then they are trying to charge me 750?! I end up being the last person in the airport along with a guy talking to the security guard. So I asked if they could help..

He’s in his 40’s, bald, has a huge, solid build and does professional boxing for a living. He didn’t speak much English and just says “I will take you to Tirana city” in a harsh German accent. He takes my bag to the car and opens the door for me to hop in. By this time two other huge guys hop in the car next to me.

Yes, I realise I am actually an idiot and this night will be the end for me. So I grab out my google maps, showing them to make sure we are going the right way. We get to about 5 minutes out of the city and they all turn to me and say in their German accents “We are just going to take a detour to the hospital to visit our friend”…

…Well, fuck. We turn down this bumpy side street full of pot holes and a few flickery street lamps and then down into this dark alley way. All I could think of was I had the bare essentials on me, deciding on a moment that I could make a run for it otherwise I am a gonna! We turned down darker alleyway and then turned… into the hospital, the men went in, came out five minutes later, drove me to my hostel, dropped my bags at the front door and said “it was lovely to meet you”.

Well Albania, you definitely made a first impression.

Tirana – Sky City

Free entry
Sky City captures the entire view of Tirana city. The best thing to do is relax and enjoy a cocktail as the sun sets behind the mountains.

Berat

We found a castle to climb up to and we laid out a picnic blanket and watched the sun set behind the mountains.

We stayed here for two nights. We had the chance to drive inland and explore a bit more of the countryside.

The drive to dhermi was incredible.

Dhërmi

Situated between Croatia and Greece, you are guaranteed to see some of the best sunsets of your life.

Sea Turtle Camping

THIS PLACE ACTUALLY HAS TURTLES!! okay, well they’re tortoises. But they are so bloody cute and with 100 metre walk to the beach, what else could you want.

Gjipe Beach

The picture says it all. With the entire beach to ourselves.
Tip: Make sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds.

Jala

The Blue Eye

Butrint National Park

For a small fee of €5, you have the chance to explore the ancient Roman Ruins dating all the way back to the Iron Age. Part of the Unesco World Heritage Site, Butrint offers archaeological ruins of amphitheatres, castles and insights into what life was like living in that period.