Flickr image by FarbenfroheWunderwelt
2016 was an incredible year of travel for me. I traveled through Central America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. With so many new experiences and memories, I can’t imagine how 2017 will top it. My 2017 travel plans are still a bit up in the air at the moment as my heart and bank account are drawing me in different directions, but I have some tentative plans.
My Australian Working Holiday Visa expires at the beginning of April, so I have my last weeks in Australia planned, but after that, I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend some time traveling around South East Asia and hopefully New Zealand. And then, back to Maine and the “real world!”
My Tentative 2017 Travel Plans
February and March – Australia
I’ll finish up working at the horse farm around mid-month. I wish I could stay longer since I enjoy the work and the money is good. Unfortunately, my visa expires at the beginning of April, and that means I have to leave the country. I was hoping I might be able to work until the end of my visa and then come back after a few weeks in New Zealand on a tourist visa, but I guess too many people do that and work illegally so I might get denied. Those people have to ruin it for the rest of us, huh?!
My last seven or so weeks will be spent traveling up the East Coast with Loka Travel. Loka is a flexible hop-on-hop-off guided small group bus tour. I’ll start in Sydney and end in Cairns in five weeks. Loka offers several special stops that are unique to them, like a stop at Barrington Tops National Park, Surf Spot X, and an Aboriginal camping experience. I have heard nothing but great things about them, so I’m excited about this trip.
Flickr image by Richard Rydge
Key stops along the East Coast include:
- Bryon Bay to scuba dive Julien Rocks and do some yoga by the famed lighthouse
- Brisbane to explore this lively riverside city
- Camp and 4WD Fraser Island
- Sail and snorkel the stunning Whitsundays
- Dive the best wreck dive in the world – SS Yongala
- Dive the Great Barrier Reef on a 3-day liveaboard
- Go waterfall chasing in the Atherton Tablelands
After the East Coast, I’m heading straight to Tasmania. Several people who have been to Maine have told me that Hobart and Tasmania are very similar to Maine. I can’t wait to explore this little island that is jam-packed with spectacular landscapes and wildlife. I had a fantastic time with Jump Tours in Kakadu National Park, so I plan to do their Best of Tasmania Tour.
Flickr image by Angela Thomas
After Tassie, I’ll head back to Sydney. I’d like to spend a couple of days down in Berry on the horse farm to say my goodbyes. I’ll miss Tonia, Greg, the horses, and the dogs. They have been my adopted Aussie family, so I’ll be sad to leave. But, I’ll come soon! There is so much more to see in Australia.
If I feel like putting on my big girl panties and overcome my fear of heights, I might also try skydiving or the BridgeClimb in Sydney at some point along my travels. We’ll see!
April – New Zealand
I have to leave Australia by April 3rd at the latest. I’m a little unsure of my plans at the moment. I’m debating between heading to New Zealand to travel the North Island for a couple of weeks before going to South East Asia or heading directly to Bali. My trip to New Zealand depends on how much I can bank in my both my Australian and American bank accounts before I leave Oz.
Flickr image by Francisco Anzola
If I head New Zealand (it could be at the end of my trip around Asia, too), I plan to do the Northern Round Up bus pass with the Kiwi Experience. I have friends in both Auckland and Wellington, so it’d be good to grab a pint and catch up with them and perhaps have a couch to crash on too! I want to see the hot water beaches, go river tubing through the famous glowworm caves in Waitomo, and relax in the natural hot springs in Taupo after a long day of trekking. With the current exchange rate, it’s an excellent time to travel to New Zealand.
From New Zealand, I’ll head over to South East Asia. SEA is one of the most popular backpacker destinations. From what I’ve heard, it tends to attract the younger backpackers compared to Central America so I figured now is a good time to go before I get too old. Although, you’re never too old to travel to anyway. I just can’t handle too many drunk 19-year-old Aussies in my hostels ruining my sleep.
April, May and June – South East Asia
I’d like to spend between eight and ten weeks backpacking around SEA. The two destinations that I know I will explore is Indonesia and Thailand. I’m planning my travels around scuba diving. I might be a little obsessed. And broke afterward!
I want to spend 7-10 days in Bali. Seven of those days will be devoted to doing a DIY yoga retreat in Ubud. I don’t have the $1000+ USD to spend on a fancy yoga retreat, so I plan to do something similar to what Ashley Abroad did in 2014. I’ll rent a room in a guest house and purchase a couple of yoga passes at the local yoga studios.
Flickr image by Yann Pinczon du Sel
After a week of Yoga, it’s time for some diving. I’ll spend a few days diving around Bali in hopes of finally seeing the mystical manta rays that I missed out on in Fiji. From there it’s off for island hopping through the Gilis to Lombok. From Lombok, things get a bit fuzzy here, but I know I want to see the Komodo dragons and probably dive.
After Indonesia, I’ll explore more of SEA. Depending on flights, I’ll head either to Singapore for a few days or to Kuala Lumpur. Singapore is an expensive city, but it’s one that I want to visit for a few days. I’m hoping to score a decent hotel with some of my reward points. A close friend worked as an expat in Singapore for a year, so I’ll be sure to pick his brain for recommendations.
Thailand is the other country that I would like to spend a good chunk of time visiting. I’ll spend about five days in chaotic Bangkok before heading down to the islands for some diving. I plan to do a multi-day liveaboard in the Similan Islands, which is supposed to be some of the best diving in the world!
I want to head north afterward to Chiang Mai to explore some temples and visit the elephants at one of the eco-friendly elephant sanctuaries. Depending on time and money, I might head to Laos and Vietnam next, but I’m not sure. My travel plans are very up in the air and open. It depends if I spend all my money on scuba diving!
Flickr image by Davidlohr Bueso
I will most likely flight home from Hong Kong where I can use my airline miles to pay for my trip back to Maine. If that is the case, I’ll spend a few days exploring the city.
June – Maine
I’ll return to Maine at the end of May or sometime in June. I have a lot I want to do on my Maine bucket list, but first, I must find a job! The return to the 9-5 life will certainly be a change, but, at this point in my life, it’s a welcomed change. I will still continue to freelance write and travel, but I need to hunker down to pay off my remaining student loan balance. Plus, I’ll be working on a Portland travel guide ebook so I have tons of research to do!
Flickr image by Liz
Since my 2017 travel plans are so up in the air at the moment, I’d love to hear your advice, especially about South East Asia. Where should I go? What should I not miss?
Leave your comments and advice below for my 2017 travel plans!