Top Travel Experiences of 2016

Gosh. How is 2016 over already? It’s been a pretty mental year for me, travelling to 9 countries, taking 16 flights and all whilst holding down a full-time job! I’m pretty happy with that.

I thought I’d jump on that reflective end-of-the-year blogger train and just run down my top 10 travel experiences of 2016. Because I’m a basic blogger, what can I say.

1) My solo trip to Iceland.

It was a tough one, but I think my favourite trip of the year has to be Iceland. WOW Air sent me off on a solo trip back in April and it was SO GOOD to explore such a diverse and unusual country. My highlights were for sure the Blue Lagoon and horse riding the cute Icelandic ponies, but it was also great to get back to solo travel and do exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.

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Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Sun Voyager, Reykjavik

Eldhestar Horse Farm, Iceland

2) Real Gap Experience’s Bali Beaches tour.

I finally ticked Bali off my hitlist this year. I had always regretted not including Indonesia on my Southeast Asia backpacking trip a few years back so I was glad I was able to visit in 2016. It didn’t disappoint and one of my fave things was going on Real Gap Experience’s Bali Beaches tour. Not only did I get to do some of the things on my Bali bucketlist (like the rice terraces and Monkey Forest) but I also got to experience awesomeness I hadn’t even thought about, like cycling around Gili T, going to a coffee plantation and having lunch overlooking Mount Batur. What a dream.

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Gili T sunset

Rice terraces, Ubud

Monkey Forest, Ubud

3) Campervan Road Trip along the Great Ocean Road.

My recent return to Oz was an absolute whirlwind and I still have so much to tell you guys about it. But my campervan trip along the Great Ocean Road in a JUCY camper was definitely one of the highlights. There’s something about overland travel, it just feels like freedom to me. And the Great Ocean Road had some really beautiful scenery, gorgeous beaches and crazy coastal roads!

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Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

Port Fairy, VIC

JUCY Crib campervan

4) Quality Mother Daughter time on my Surprise Trip to Geneva.

Not only did I experience the equal parts excitement and anxiety involved in a Surprise Trip, where you don’t know the destination until you’re at the airport, but I got to do it all with my mum. It was such a lovely experience to get to travel with her and Geneva itself was definitely a destination I had never thought of visiting. That cheese fondue though…

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Geneva, Switzerland

Lake Geneva

Cheese fondue in Geneva, Switzerland

5) Seeing Noal Gallagher at Festival No. 6.

Festival No. 6 was a mixed bag to be honest. It was amazing to be at a festival in such a cool setting – the magical Portmeirion village. And the floating dancefloor was awesome. But it also had it’s drawbacks, including the god-awful weather and car park situation. But no matter what, seeing Noel Gallagher sing Oasis songs was a bucketlist goal and actually made me quite emotional, I loved every second of it.

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Noel Gallagher

Floating dance floor at Festival No. 6

Portmeirion, Wales

6) Exploring Amsterdam with my pals.

My first trip of 2016 was to Amsterdam back in February but it feels like a lifetime ago. We went for Josh’s birthday with two of our pals and had a great time, renting an amazing Airbnb apartment, exploring the beautiful city and eating everything in sight pretty much. Oh and the Heineken Experience was SO much better than I thought it would be!

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Amsterdam

Poffertjes pancakes in Amsterdam

Heineken Experience, Amsterdam

7) A City Break to Prague.

I actually won my trip to Prague in a competition with IceLolly.com believe it or not! I had a fab weekend walking around the Old Town, visiting the John Lennon Wall and exploring the Petrin Park. Oh and of course discovering the sugary goodness that is Trdelnik. It’s actually inspired me to do more weekends away in 2017. You don’t always need a week to discover a new city after all.

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John Lennon wall, Prague

Pastel houses, Prague

Trdelnik, Prague

8) Being Re-Acquainted with Sydney.

It’s weird going back to somewhere you used to live. FACT. But I actually really enjoyed going back to Sydney and doing all of the tourist attractions I never got around to at the weekends because I was too hungover from frequenting backpacker bars on a Friday night… This time I managed to see the Blue Mountains, Taronga Zoo and the Sydney Tower. But I’ll get around to those blog posts in January!

WATCH THIS SPACE.

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Gordon's Bay, Sydney

Blue Mountains, Sydney

9) Northumberland + Hadrian’s Wall.

This doesn’t sound like a particularly exciting trip, but our weekend away in Northumberland this year really opened my eyes to how much there is to explore in my own country. We drove through the gorge countryside, stayed at a lovely B&B, went stargazing at the observatory and explored Hadrian’s Wall. I realise this makes me sound like I’m 50 but guys, it was real nice. More UK adventures in 2017 I think…

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Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall

Stargazing at Battlesteads Observatory

10) Singapore in 24 Hours.

I like making the most of layovers so when we stopped in Singapore on the way back from Bali I made sure we really saw the city. We had dinner overlooking the river, walked through the Garden By The Bay to see the amazing Supertree Grove, had an authentic Singapore Sling and stayed in a supercool pod hostel. I’ll definitely be doing more stopovers in future trips, they’re great for getting a flavour of a destination.

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Singapore Supertrees

Singapore skyline

There you have it, my top travel experiences of 2016. It may not have been a great year for the world in general, but it was a good one for travel! Here’s to a year of adventure in 2017!

What have been your favourite travel moments of 2016?

Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!

Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road

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