A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: jacqjesse

Welcome to our travel blog!

getting excited to go!

Welcome to our blog!

The travelers!

The travelers!

We are getting ready to leave Toronto.... and it's a mixed bag of emotions! While we are excited to travel for the next 6 months, it also means having to say good-bye to many great friends. When we return from our travels, we'll be living in Calgary. We'd love visitors - whether its for stampede, skiing/snowboarding in Banff, etc!

We're going to use this blog to keep everyone updated on what we are doing! Please feel free to check back from time to time or even subscribe if you'd like to see all of our updates!

Posted by jacqjesse 19:09 Archived in Canada Tagged welcome pre-travel Comments (1)

Itinerary!

wondering where we are heading?

What's to come? So far, here is the plan!

CANADA:
We'll be leaving Toronto and heading to Calgary on October 26
Vancouver: November 1 - November 3

AUSTRALIA:
Sydney: November 3 - 15th (well techincally starting November 5, due to the length of the flight and time zones!)
Cairns to Byron Bay: November 15th - November 30th
Melbourne: November 30 - December 19

Fiji: December 19 - January 2

NEW ZEALAND:
Auckland: January 2 - 21
Christchurch: January 21 - 24
Queenstown: January 24 - February 4

HONG KONG: February 4 - February 11
MALAYSIA: February 11 - February 15
JAPAN: February 15 - March 1

Haiwaii: March 1 - April 16

Stay tuned!!

Posted by jacqjesse 19:13 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

The adventure begins in Vancouver!

Hotel Teng is a must stay!

semi-overcast 11 °C

We left Calgary on Monday, November 1 for Vancouver! We arrived around 11:30 am to some cloudy weather, but we can't complain as it had been raining cats and dogs that morning!

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Our mission: to find our way to Jen's apartment, AKA Hotel Teng. After taking a bus in the wrong direction (which we realized after talking to a friendly crazy woman) we finally arrived at our destination. Jen was in class at the time we arrived and her sister and roomate, Flora, was at work, so sneakily, Jen devised a plan to hide a house key and fob in a carved pumpkin outside the side door of her apartment. Worried that some punk kid would smash the pumpkin, Jen even checked on the pumpkin between her classes!

We walked up to the apartment and walked around to the side door to find the secret pumpkin, still intact! Jesse felt like a secret agent, glancing around in both directions before carefully opening the lid to find the key and a note inside a plastic bag (and in case you are wondering, no, the pumpkin did not self-destruct!)

Inside Hotel Teng, Jen left us a cute welcome note! It included instructions on how to make ourselves at home - which we totally did, as soon Jesse was plugged into the wireless internet and Jacq laid down on the couch for a quick snooze!

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A few minutes later, Flora, came home as lucky for us, she got the afternoon off and she was our amazing tour guide for the afternoon! Jesse, Jacq and Flora headed off to Granville Island for lunch. With so many options to choose from, we decided to share clam chowder pot pie soup and some perogies and borsht! We had just enough room to have pumpkin macaroons for dessert!

Granville Island

Granville Island


We checked out a few shops, including an interesting broom shop (yes, broom shop! For any Harry Potter fans, there’s also a section of “racing brooms”)

Racing Brooms

Racing Brooms

Then Jen came to meet up with us! We headed to the Granville Island Bewery to sample a few beers!

Beer tasting at Granville Island Brewery

Beer tasting at Granville Island Brewery

We then decided to take a walk around the sea wall through Olympic village, through Chinatown, and Gastown and one sketchy area that we walked through quickly!

Vancouver city sky

Vancouver city sky

Now famished, we jumped in a cab towards the hotel that Jen and Andy were staying at, so that we could meet up with them for dinner. We decided on Don Guacamoles... mmm Mexican food! Soon we headed back to hotel Teng’s , with our dessert (cheap Halloween candy!)

The next morning we slept in and woke up to find that Flora had printed out a map with directions to Stanley Park and bike rental places for us! Jesse made breakfast (eggs, bacon and toast!) and soon we were off to Stanley Park. We were supposed to meet Jen and Andy there for 2 pm, but didn’t get there until about 2:30 pm. On this trip we decided not to take cell phones – which now makes us wonder – how the heck do people plan things without cell phones! Needleless to say, we missed each other completely, but we still all had a great time walking around the park and then renting bicycles and cycling around the park. Here are a few highlights!

Jesse

Jesse

Jesse at Stanley Park

Jesse at Stanley Park

Jacq at Stanley Park

Jacq at Stanley Park

After our bike tour, we met up with Larry for coffee, which he probably needed more than us, after working a 30 hour shift on his med school rotation!) Then we all headed back to Hotel Teng and made plans for dinner that night – sushi of course! The crew (Jesse, Jacq, Jen, Flora, Larry & Dianna and Jen & Andy) went to Zipang and it was delicious! After dinner, we decided to head to Earls for dessert, which really turned into drinks for most of us – and specifically the “Bro-llini” (the manly version of the bellini, as it was 2 oz and came in a scotch glass rather than a fruity martini!) This was also the time, where Jesse showed everyone the piece of his tooth or filling which broke off (it was a weakened tooth, which had a filling for a number of years, which also happened to have a piece break off months earlier when we went to Panama for a week).

When we got back to Jen’s place, we had a couple of laptops googgling dentist’s offices that might take Jesse early the next morning to fix the tooth before our flight out the next day. We had a list of options and a game plan, in which Jesse had to get up at 7 am and start calling those that were open. After calling several offices, he finally found one that would take him at 10:30 am. We hoped that it would take an hour or less, so that we’d still be able to get to the airport on time. Thankfully, it was quick and we were out of there around 11:30 am and we arrived at the airport just after 12 for our 2:20 pm flight to Hong Kong (13 hours), where we’d take another flight getting us to Sydney, Australia (9 hours)!

We had an amazing time in Vancouver! Thanks again Jen and Flora for our stay at the "Hotel Teng!"

Hotel Teng owners and amazing tour operators!

Hotel Teng owners and amazing tour operators!

More pictures can be found in our Photo Gallery!

Posted by jacqjesse 04:27 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

Sydney, Australia

"Are you guys gettin' excited?"

sunny 27 °C

We survived the 12 and ½ hour flight to Hong Kong. We were in the first row of a new segment of the 747 airplane, which meant we had lots of leg room! But then we realized there was an unruly passenger sitting across the aisle from us. Yep, a two year old boy that started screaming and didn’t look like he was ever going to stop! We looked at each other and thought, “oh dear this is going to be a long flight!” However, soon enough he quieted down and was somewhat behaved for the rest of the flight!

We landed in Hong Kong just after 7 pm local time (which felt like 3 am for us!) Of course, as soon as we got off the plane, Jesse saw a friend he knew from Calgary, Jeremy Yeon. Yes, not surprisingly Jesse knows someone everywhere we go, including Hong Kong!

We had 2 hours until our next leg to Sydney, in which most of us took a bit of a snooze or did some stretching/yoga in the airport.

Jen and Andy sleeping on the floor at the airport

Jen and Andy sleeping on the floor at the airport

Sleepy at the Hong Kong airport

Sleepy at the Hong Kong airport

A little after 9 pm local time, we boarded the flight for Sydney, Australia. We are to arrive at 9 am in Sydney, so our game plan is to sleep as much as possible on the flight. All set with our neck pillows and eye masks we try to get some sleep. At about 6:30 am local time we can’t sleep anymore so we watch the movie “the Hangover” which seems even funnier on lack of sleep! Soon the sun is rising over the Australian coastline and we are landing in Sydney!

View of the coastline from the air

View of the coastline from the air

Sunrise in Australia

Sunrise in Australia

Sydney from the air

Sydney from the air

Jacq is suffering from a bit of a headcold, so after landing she can’t hear a thing! Going through customs and when asked if we have any food, etc, she would look with a blank stare and asking loudly, “PARDON ME?” Jesse had to be her ears until they finally became unplugged hours later!

After grabbing our luggage, we grab a cab to Star City Apartments. Jesse goes to jump in the front seat and just before he jumps in – he realizes he’s going in on the wrong side! Jesse forgot that the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car!

Soon we are at the apartment in Star City where we meet up with the rest of the Schultz fam (Mom, Dad, Jaime and Addison and Sydney).

The apartment has a great view of darling harbour and we spent the first day exploring the attractions in the area including the Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World.

Koala's at Wildlife World

Koala's at Wildlife World

Kangeroos

Kangeroos

Jesse and a great white

Jesse and a great white

Over the next few days we spent our time exploring all the City has to offer (we’ve been doing so much all of the days seem to blur together!) We’ve found there are a lot of cool markets here including Paddy’s and the Market by the Rocks. We also did some shopping and checked out the casino.

Shopping at Paddy's Market

Shopping at Paddy's Market

Hanging out at Darling Harbour

Hanging out at Darling Harbour

On Sunday we hopped on the Ferry and made a day trip up to an area along the coast called Manly which has one of the area’s nicest beaches. We also went to “Oceanworld” while we were there, as we got a pass so we could go there for free. Good thing because our nick name for the place is “ghetto world” (it’s got nothing on the Sydney Aquarium).

Relaxing at Manly Beach

Relaxing at Manly Beach

On Monday we went whale watching in the morning and spotted a pod of humpback whales and a group of curious dolphins that swam up to our boat. The whole experience was pretty intense, however we would not recommend it for those with a weak stomach (There were a few guys puking towards the end.)

In the afternoon, we hit up the Sydney Fish Market!! There was so much fresh seafood there, Jesse had a hard time leaving and deciding what to get. In the end we picked up 2 dozen freshly shucked oysters, a half kilo of fresh tiger prawns and a couple bottles of white for dinner. Jen, Andy, Jacq and Jesse cooked dinner and it was amazing! We decided to name our restaurant for the evening “Fishie Bizness” and we are still looking for payment! (aka the $1 billion bill we left for our guests! lol)

Oysters from the Sydney Fish Market

Oysters from the Sydney Fish Market

Sydney Fish Market

Sydney Fish Market

Yesterday we walked around the Royal Botanical Gardens and then went up the Sydney Tower for some great views of the city. Later that evening we went out to dinner at a delicious Thai restaurant and then Jen, Andy, Jacq and Jesse went out for a few drinks. All day Jesse had been practising his Australia accent and by now he had the lines “sorry guys” and “are you guys getting excited?” down pat. The only thing is he keeps saying them over... and over... and over! Later that night we went back to the casino and were asked how old we were, he responded “26” with his new accent! Inside the casino, we went to conquer “Big Red” – a slot machine with a kangaroo on it. However, it was the other way around as we lost $15 rather quickly.... so we decided to call it a night!

We have 4 days left in Sydney before we head out for our trip down the Gold coast. Today we are going to Bondi Beach. We plan to go to the Rocks Market and Museum of Contemporary Art on Friday ... and we’ll see what else we’ll stumble upon in our last few days in Sydney!

Posted by jacqjesse 16:02 Archived in Australia Comments (5)

First week down the eastern coast....

Cairns to Rockhampton

overcast 25 °C

CAIRNS

We left Sydney on November 14 and arrived at Cairns, a quaint town with many backpackers as it’s one of the jumping off points to go snorkel/dive the Great Barrier Reef. We flew into a bit of rain, but excitedly stared out the airplane window at the lush tropical scenery, including large hills and mountains in the distance.

Flying into Cairns

Flying into Cairns

When we arrived at the hostel, we found out that Andy as well as the driver from the hostel, German who was from Germany (yes, that’s not a typo, he was German the German! ) – they both came to look for us at the airport! They soon returned and all was well. We stayed at a place called dreamtime, a cute and very clean place with really nice people. Later that night, after we got settled into our room, we headed to a Mexican place down the road for a drink and all you can eat nachos for $10. That fit our budget nicely!

The next morning our Greyhound bus left at noon, so we walked around Cairns and found a cute breakfast place called “Calypso” – for $13 we got freshly squeezed orange juice, a flat white (similar to a latte but has a bit less milk and no foam – we are quite addicted to them, coffee is amazing here!) It also came with eggs, bacon, sausage and toast. It was delicious!

Breaky in Cairns

Breaky in Cairns

Jacq and a flat white!

Jacq and a flat white!

We took a walk around the town, on the boardwalk and by the Cairns lagoon (basically a swimming pool near the Ocean). It was a beautiful day, around 30 degrees and was quite humid. UV index was extreme!

Cairns Lagoon

Cairns Lagoon

Jesse in the Cairns Lagoon

Jesse in the Cairns Lagoon

After our walk, we boarded the bus for a 7 hour drive to Townsville, our take off point to Magnetic Island...

MAGNETIC ISLAND

We spent two nights on Magnetic Island (an hour ferry ride from the mainland city of Townsville). There we stayed at a hostel called Bungalow Bay, where our accommodations were actually small huts situated within a tropical and eco friendly resort. On the Island, we explored the local eateries including a delicious Mexican restaurant called Noodies. We also spent some time soaking up the rays on the beach in Horseshoe Bay.

One of the major highlights of Magnetics island was doing the hike up The Forts – a former military stronghold during WWII. The Fort now serves as a spectacular look out point of the entire island and one of the few places where visitors have the opportunity to observe and spot Koalas in the wild! On our way to the Forts, we ran into some locals who gave us a few tips on Koala spotting. Since Koalas sleep close to 20 hours a day, they don’t move very much. Consequently, when someone spots a koala up in the trees, they will often make an arrow sign out of sticks to point others in the right direction. We were a bit sceptical at first, but after our first, second and third koala sightings courtesy of the arrows, we were convinced! Other animal sightings on the island included the wallabies (they look like miniature kangaroos).

The Forts Hike

The Forts Hike

Arrows pointing to the Koalas

Arrows pointing to the Koalas

Koalas!

Koalas!

View from the top of the Forts - Horseshoe Bay

View from the top of the Forts - Horseshoe Bay

The four amigos on the Fort Hike

The four amigos on the Fort Hike

On our final night on the Island, we went to the bar at our hostel to participate in trivia night (although we didn’t win, we learned a lot of new useless trivial such as the fact that apparently netball is a serious sport over here) and had a few jugs of beer (not quite as large as our pitchers back home – 1 jug = about 2 and ½ pints). When we got back to the mainland, we also learned that Townsville has absolutely no restaurants that open before noon. After an annoying 30 minute walk in several different directions, we gave up and returned to the bus station only to realize there was a cafe in the bus station!

AIRLIE BEACH AND THE WHITSUNDAYS

After a relatively hot and sunny first few days on the east coast, we ran into our first patch of rain at Airlie Beach. To kick things off we checked into our hostel – Beaches Backpackers. Located on the main strip, it was definitely the place to party but also the dodgiest hostel we stayed in so far. On our second day we got ready to embark on our 2 night sailing adventure through the Whitsundays (a chain of 74 islands that run along the eastern coast of Australia and offer some of the nicest beaches as well as scuba and snorkel locations along the great barrier reef).

View of the Whistundays - Nara's inlet

View of the Whistundays - Nara's inlet

As we checked in for our sailing trip it began raining and then in began pouring, and then rain just seemed to come from every direction and soaked us to the bone. Along with 22 other, equally drenched passengers, we waited on the dock for our catamaran, Tongarra, to pick us up. The deckhand, Pinky showed up in a full stinger suit and a snorkel attached to his head and basically said in his quintessential Australian accent – “Welcome aboard Tongarra everyone, the weather for the next few days is shit!”

Then he proceeded to recommend that we all load up on extra “beverages” and that this trip would still be awesome as long as we kept a good attitude and make the most of it. We certainly we did! Everyone on our boat was in their 20’s and we soon made a whole bunch of new friends. We learned many new drinking games, got our first taste of Ozzy rap music, and slept outside underneath the stars (who were up there somewhere underneath those clouds and all that rain).

The Tongara Crew

The Tongara Crew

In between, we also did some amazing snorkelling along the great barrier reef where we saw crazy colour fish, turtles, reef sharks and colour coral.

Fishie Business in the Whitsundays

Fishie Business in the Whitsundays

Here fishie fishie

Here fishie fishie

We went to gorgeous White Haven beach where the sand is pure white and 99% silica – we looked pretty sweet on the beach in our stinger suits.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Looking sweet in the Stinger Suits

Looking sweet in the Stinger Suits

On our second night we saw one of the most gorgeous sunsets.

Suset in the Whitsundays

Suset in the Whitsundays

The food was home cooked every day and night by Pinky and our skip Eddie and was delicious!

Skip Eddie and Jesse

Skip Eddie and Jesse

Map of our travels through the Whitsundays

Map of our travels through the Whitsundays

We had an amazing time – but after 2 nights on a boat, with lack of sleep and wet clothes, we were ready for a hot shower and a nap! Feeling recharged we later met up with many of the people who were on our boat that evening for drinks. Round two of staying at the Beaches Backpackers was much better! The next morning we boarded the Greyhound, heading to Rockhampton for the night. Beef capital of Oz, here we come!!

Posted by jacqjesse 03:26 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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