Water shoes. These are needed when you are walking from the boat towards most locations on the boat tours
Money. On some of the day tours, money is needed to access one of the islands on Tour C and on Tour A, there were kayaks to use to paddle into the Big Lagoon for 250 pesos for us both. Which you don’t have to use but we wanted to kayak into the big lagoon rather than swim.
Rash vest. when snorkelling it’s so hard not to burn so we highly recommend Water proof, sea safety suncream and a rash vest.
Towel. They offer small towels but they don’t dry easily on the boat so we’d recommend taking one of your own and having both for the day.
Warm clothes and rain jacket. After a day on the boat, we found it got a bit rainy (we are here in rainy season) and cold, so having a dry shirt or jumper is ideal to have.
Water in a flask or reusable bottle. No plastic is allowed on the boats (which is amazing) so just make sure you have your reusable bottle to fill up on the day.
Motion Sickness tablets. Just incase! I didn’t need to take mine on these day tours but there is always a chance of it being a bit rocky! So always be prepared if you do tend to get motion sickness.
Snorkel and Mask. Dependant on you: but if you have your own snorkel, mask and flippers then I’d recommend bringing them along with you! It’s fine to borrow them, however we found it’s unlikely you’ll find some that fit.
Hope that helps a little before any day tours you may venture on!! Have the best time!!
Hope you’re all well! So so excited to share this post with you all!! Was one of the best expedition tours we’ve done whilst being away and was such an incredible four days!! If you don’t know what Big Dream Boat Man is, they are an Expedition company in Coron in the Philippines, that join like-minded travellers together to experience Island Life and adventure like no other in the Philippines. As a company they take you on a 3 night, 4 day tour of the beautiful islands surrounding Coron (soon from Coron to El Nido, El Nido to Coron), where you get to experience the islands without any other day tours/groups of people being there.
You see all the day tour spots, without tourists just the small group of you (max 14 on a tour) and the crew. They also do Private Expeditions if your in a group. Was by far the best tour I’ve ever done! As a company they also are fully Eco friendly, they work on constantly helping improve their surrounding environments, by doing organised beach clear ups, cleaning rubbish everyday of their tours, and recycling.
Also before I get into everything we got up to on this one in a life time trip, I’ve been giving a 10% off code if you use “INDIA10”.
The tour itself came to £500.00 pounds each (without the discount), but is honestly worth every single penny. The price includes transport after the trip to your accommodation, accommodation for the three nights, all food, snacks and drinks. Snorkels, flippers, paddle boards and kayaks and all the island visits with barely anyone around! Experiencing these beautiful islands and locations with only ourselves, the crew and 6 other members of our group was so incredible. Some of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen.
With Big Dream Boat Man, the Itinerary can change dependent on the weather/ timings of the tides/ whether other tours will be at the locations, as BDBM always aim to let you explore these beautiful places when there’s no one else around. You always get to see the same places, it just depends on the order you do them in as that might vary. So this is just the order we did the tour in and what we experienced.
We met the BDBM crew at Luis Bay restaurant by Coron port and by 11.30am we were heading out onto the boat. On the boat trips, your big bags are stored below the boat which you are given the choice to access in the evenings at the stay island locations if need be. However, we opted to having two tote bags as our day bags which we filled with everything we would need for the four days, which was a lot less hassle and meant our laptops/hard drives were safe in our big cases below.
To start our trip we headed to the beautiful Kayangan Lake, which took about 1.5 hours to get there. Kayangan Lake, was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and the pictures don’t ever show the extent of its beauty. I was in awe, and felt so lucky we got to see this place with only 9 of us there. We stayed there for 1.5, swam a lot and sat and admired the view.
Around 2.30pm, we moved on from Kayangan Lake we had a delicious lunch on board the boat as we headed towards a ship wreck, where we swam and snorkelled above and around it. It was so cool, to see a shipwreck so up close and the amount of fish we saw was incredible!
After this around 4pm we headed towards our first stay of the trip, Pass Island. This little island was so gorgeous, white sands, big palm trees and just us and a few other locals that lived there. We spent the evening getting settled into our cute little double bed huts, watching a beautiful sunset on top of Pass Island before a yummy dinner and evening of sharing the stories with our group. Was so inspiring hearing about the crews lives and their love for exploring these islands and meeting and bonding with the six others on our tour was so lovely. Then we all headed to bed, before an exciting day two.
We all woke up and had a delicious breakfast around 7am, pancakes, rice, eggs, fruit, and milo (our new favourite chocolatey drink)! We left Pass Island around 8am and headed to Black Island. The Granite rocks are black surrounding the island, hence the name! It was the prettiest beach ever, dark green palm trees and the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Here there is a ship wreck that is so close to the surface you are able to swim around and see all the fishes and creatures that inhabit it. Black Island also has some huge caves that you can explore, however me and Kirsty last minute decided against this as we forgot our Deet and I’ve never seen so many mozzies in one place! Pretty glad we did, as the others got eaten alive! So just make sure you bring your deet with you onto Black Island if you go!
After a few hours on Black Island, we headed off to Dibutonay Island for another insane lunch. It ended up thundering and lighting here, so we sat for a while whilst the crew collected fire wood from the island for our evening bonfire. After the storm cleared, we headed to Maltatyok Island where we went snorkelling for a while. The reef was beautiful and I saw my first ever sting ray!!
We then headed to our second night accommodation, on North Cay Island. Here we stayed in little cabins, with the biggest king size bed! was so comfy! We settled in a bit before heading up to another sunset spot, and watched the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen so far on my trip. The sky turned the most incredible shades of red and pink. Then we sat and had dinner together, before having a bonfire and watched the stars. On these islands the stars are like no where else I’ve ever seen, you can see the outline of the Milky Way and me and Kirsty saw three shooting stars!!! Island life really is the best life.
Another yummy 7am breakfast to start the day, on day three before we left at 8am to the beautiful Coral garden. Here the boat dropped us off and we snorkelled for around 40 minutes and got to experience the most extraordinary reef ever. Also if your worried about the 40 minute swim, I should mention the crew took floats for anyone that needed support and you have the option to wear lifejackets, or jump on a paddle board if you get tired. However it goes so quick and you are snorkelling so it really doesn’t feel like 40 minutes, and it’s worth the view! it was amazing. The 40 minute snorkel leads you to another shipwreck the Lusong Shipwreck. Here you get to experience the biggest shipwreck, and our tour guide Joy (an experience free diver) even filmed a bit of footage for us through the shipwreck, which will be on my youtube video coming soon!
After experience the Lusong Shipwreck, we headed towards a salt water & fresh water hot spring- one of the only salt and fresh water hot springs in the world! We got a paddle board here, due to the jellyfish and arrived at the most stunning spot. The salt water and fresh water mix make the water divide so it’s super hot like a bath in some areas and freezing in other spots! Was such a cool experience.
We then headed to Culion island, which is a former leprosarium and although leprosy on the island-town was abolished in the 1980s, it was only declared free of leprosy in 2006. We visited here and explored the history of the island, and our guides explained how still so many people are in fear of visiting these stunning island due to the association with leprosy so to help support the development of the island they are raising awareness by sharing the stories and history of this island. It has so much to offer and it was lovely being able to visit and experience this place.
After this we headed to our last evening accommodation, detouring past a sand bar. When we got there there was a few other tour boats around so our guide Joy, took us too a secret beach. It was just the 8 of us and crew and the beach was incredible! There were no footprints but our own, with the bluest water and white sand. Was Stunning! We then visited the Sand Bar for about half an hour before heading to Banana Island just in time for sunset. The rooms had a double bed and single bed, and cute coloured sheets and mozzie net, in a high ground cabin. For our last evening, the lovely guides came and joined us for dinner and we all sat round a huge table and shared more stories before an early night as we were all shattered from the exciting day.
For our last half day, we had a 7am wake up call to head to the beautiful Twin Lagoon so we could experience it before any of the other day tours arrived there. We had breakfast on the boat, and had the loveliest boat ride towards the lagoon, I even saw a shark! The Twin lagoon was absolutely incredible. So so beautiful and here the water, like the hot springs, is a mix of salt water and fresh water so you experience the same super hot and super cold water mix whilst swimming in its crystal clear waters. We stayed here for a while swimming and taking in, its beauty.
After this we drove past Vivian Beach, due to high tide we couldn’t access the beach we got to see it’s cute little huts, white sands and admire it from afar. Then we headed back to Coron Habour, and arrived back at around 11am.
Never have I experience such an amazing trip, filled with the loveliest people, and beautiful experiences. I loved every minute and being able to experience these places with no other tourists was a dream come true.
The crew on this trip were so lovely and we miss them already! We loved how uplifting, inspiring and fun they kept the four days. We are already planning on coming back one day for the Coron to El Nido tour!
I’ve had a few further questions about what to bring on trip so I’ve included these below just in case you do decide to go on this epic adventure! and If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me! My video will be out soon!!
What do you need to bring:
-Rash Vest/ T-shirt to swim in to stop you from burning whilst snorkelling as this is inevitable whilst in the water for hours.
-Toiletries, toothpaste and whatever else you may need!
-An extension lead. All the islands had electricity between 6pm-6am in the morning, but had limited access to plugs so depending on how many of you there are, we found our extension lead super helpful when charging multiple things.
-Camera and Go Pro (if you have one) you spend a lot of this trip in the beautiful clear waters, so if you want to capture these experience in the water then a waterproof camera or go pro is perfect!
-Dry Bag. From the boat you go to a lot of islands so just in case you want to take your phone/camera to the islands with you then I’d recommend getting a dry bag. The guides do take a kayak over with the dry bags in to some of the islands too so you don’t have to swim with them, just ideal to have to prevent any belongings from getting soaked.
-Water shoes. Water shoes are needed for when you are swimming or walking towards any of the islands.
-Snacks. Although the boat offers drinks all day and occasional snacks such as fried banana. I found with the amount of exploring and swimming we were doing that I’d get super hungry, so I’d recommend bringing little snackey bits and bobs to keep you going throughout the day.
Hope you’re all well and having a lovely July so far. I feel like I need to apologise for the late upload of this post, I just was soaking in Bali life after Australia and needed to make sure I included absolutely everything you need to know about van life and travelling beautiful Australia in a van!
During mine and Kirstys trip we spent majority of our time in three different styles of vans, living our best van life. It’s was quite a daunting thing travelling to the other side of the world , especially with the thought of living the whole 7 weeks in a van! But I can confirm it was the best 7 weeks of my life, and there’s no other way I would have spent it. Having a home on wheels was the best decision we made. Each van we had on our adventures we instantly became attached too and we miss it already. Im going to include everything from where to start, costs, what’s it like and tips and tricks below to living van life and experiencing it all in amazing Australia. Of course this is my experience, but hopefully it gives an insight into van life and whether it might be for you…
How to get started- Where to Hire and what to prepare for:
Where to begin!! Myself and Kirsty lived in three different styled vans throughout the 6 weeks of our adventures and had the amazing help of Ratpack Travel and their incredible services. If you want a hassle free start to planning your van life adventures then they are your go to!! They are owned and operated by Sammy who is also a backpacker, the RatPack team can help you book tours, experiences and transport and offer so much advice when it comes to seeing Australia and New Zealand. Once they find the most affordable and best rated option they then apply a discount making it at least 10% cheaper than actually booking direct! I honestly couldn’t recommend them enough!
Ratpack helped us organise all our vans in all our different locations, and as they have a good relationship with all the camper van and car rental companies, a 10% discount off the price is always guaranteed when booking with them; which is ideal when it comes to saving too as Australia can be pricey! They compare all the different vans available and their prices for you and let you know the best options, it basically makes booking a van super easy, cheap and stress free!!! If you’ve already booked your flights to Oz / NZ and have dates hit up the link below and they can make a price comparison for you:
Not only that but they offered us so much advice when it came to exploring Australia and booking our experiences, such as The Whitsundays tour, Fraser Island and our Sky diving Experience in Airlie Beach. Sammy from RatPack was the biggest help and has experience so much of Australia so hearing all his tips and tricks was so ideal. They also have a WhatsApp Support chat, which is so handy when your on the road and in need of any advice. There page also offers so much inspiration for planning and general advice, so if you do fancy checking them out: CLICK HERE!. If you have any further questions about Ratpack Travel then please feel free to comment or send me a message over on instagram or message them on WhatsApp +61450381801 to get your planning started!! (CLICK HERE TO WHATSAPP THEM)
Van life costs…so this does depend on what style of Van you go for, where you drop off the van and lots of different factors which you can tailor when you plan with RatPack Travel! However, I will leave all our costs below so you can get an idea of what we had and experience.
There are a few things that will impact the cost of your van, such as pick up and drop off points– if you drop off your van somewhere else this is an extra cost. How many of you there are/how many beds you have or whether you have a hi-top van or two seater. Milage- dependant on your trip plan, of course the cost of petrol will be more.
1st van Hire: We picked up our first van, a Camperman Van hi-top 4 bed van, in the Gold Coast for 18 days and drop her off in Airlie Beach ($250 more for dropping off in another location). For Insurance we had everything covered expect roof, windscreen or tyre this was $400.00 in total. Then the total cost of van one came to $1296, plus $500 refundable deposit. (To be noted: This was through Ratpack travel and was a Camperman Van.)
2nd Van Hire: Our second van, a Apollo Hippie Drifter (small two seater) we had for 9 days and picked up and dropped off in Melbourne. For Insurance we had full cover including windscreen and tyres, and a total of $330. Then the total cost van to $535.18, plus $100 refundable deposit. (To be noted: This was through Ratpack travel and was a Apollo Hippie Drifted Van.)
3rd Van Hire: Our last, and most boujii van of them all was for 11 days, in a hi-top four bed with Autobarn Van Company. We picked her up and dropped her off in Perth. For insurance we got full cover for $360, and this was a total cost of $900. (To be noted: This was through Ratpack travel and was a Autobarn Van)
Fuel Prices: On average around $70 dollars lasted us around a four hour drive.
Camping Prices: There are different options for camping, and there is always the option to free camp. however, every few days the van does need to be plugged into electricity but using the WikiCamps app, camping sites are super easy to find! Myself and Kirsty only did powered campsites, as we needed power to charge most evenings for work. For campsites for two people on a powered site we paid between $33-$45 a night. This includes your power, water, shower and toilets and a camp kitchen. We opted to using the camp kitchen due to limited space in the Van.
Things you need to know: Tips and Tricks
Choos the style of your van to suit you: In mine and Kirsty experience, as we both had hi-top vans (4 person max) and smaller seated van (2 person max). We would personally never go back to a low top van, after experiencing both I think having a hi-top is just a lot more hassle free! Especially when your living with another person/people, the space is needed! Also if you decide on free camping, a hi-top is again more hassle free when it comes to cooking in the van and being able to move around. We also personally wouldn’t have more than four people in a van, there was three of us in a hi-top big Apollo Van and it was still such a tight squeeze! Although it was manageable, I think four would have been quite intense!
WIKICAMPS: This app is now your go-to!! It’s a fiver on the App Store, but so worth it! The app shows you campsites (powered/paid or free) across the whole of Australia. On our travels, we used this daily to help find the campsites, see their facilities, read reviews and see photographs. It allowed us to be very flexible
Fuel: Always check how far your next drive is and make sure your tank is full!!! During our adventures in Western Australia, we had an experience driving towards Point Anns through the national park where we really thought we weren’t going to make it back due to petrol…it was a Sunday, in the middle of nowhere and we just made it back to the only petrol station around for miles!!
Bring an Extension lead: Ideal for travelling anywhere around the world, but vans usually have only one or two plugs so this just allows you to charge multiple things at once which is ideal!
Kangaroos and animals: In Australia, it’s important to really watch out for wildlife and animals, especially at dusk or in the early morning. Kangaroos can jump out without looking, and there can sometimes be road kill in the middle of the roads which can get in the way!
Travel in summer: Travelling Australia in winter was still amazing, but do it in summer if you can!!! It was hard to stay warm.
Buy Tupperware and meal prep: Top tip when your on the go and trying to save in Australia! Meal prep! We found making meals in advance meant we had more freedom in the day to eat on the go, whilst exploring and saved us money!
Have a day bag: whether you have a rucksack or suitcase, it’s hard to have space when there’s two or more of you in a van. Myself and Kirsty found having day bags with our essentials in such as toiletries/ underwear and outfits in meant everything was hassle free and easier to move around and get ready in the mornings. Also saving the time from having to open up and try rummage through your big bags!
Plan your route before the day: To help save time and allow you to know where the nearest petrol stations are and campsite, I recommend planning a night before or day before if your doing any long drives. Petrol stations can be far from one another, so its good to know where you can stop along the way!
What the Van comes with: All our vans came with bedding, tea towels and pots and bans and cutlery also. Some of them sometimes came with washing up liquid but some of them didn’t! So once you get the van all you really need is food, washing up liquid and tea!
EMBRACE AND ENJOY it: Van life is amazing! Of course, it takes some getting used to but you adjust to taking things in turns with the people your living with, moving around and getting things in and out. And you get in a rhythm of the lifestyle pretty quick! I personally think Van life is the best and only way to experience Australia! Being in control of your adventures, how long you stay in places and where you stay and explore is amazing- there’s no time limit and you are in full control of how you spend your time. It’s also like your own little home on wheels. I found it so nice being settled in each van and felt sad saying goodbye to each one. So embrace it and enjoy every second!
I hope this may answer some of your questions or helps with any interests you may have towards van life and exploring Australia. It was some of the best few weeks of my life, and I’d do it all again if I could! I’ll be posting my Australia round up post shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for that as that will talk more about my overall experiences and if you fancy watching my Van life videos too: CLICK HERE!
If there’s any more questions you have then please feel free to message me or comment below, happy to answer the best I can!
Thought I’d share my go to makeup products with you all! And all the products I use to create a dreamy summer makeup look!
I’ve added a list of my favourite products below, as I’ve tired so many different products over the years and these are my go to’s right now. They are also with me whilst I’ve been travelling and I can’t recommend them enough! Also If you fancy watching my summer makeup look video instead the link is here: https://youtu.be/SAV5JcDJyZ8
Starting below, with sharing the suncream I use on my face and my go to highlighter products for the skin! I always use a few different highlighter creams on my whole face after my cream routine to add a natural glowy look to the skin and when I’m on holiday I only ever wear these on my skin, instead of foundation and they work wonders!
Bobbi Brown Corrector : https://rstyle.me/+p3BCYxeCxrFmKUu_8IHrVw (most incredible corrector!!!)
When I’m away I love creating more of a glow/bronzed look to my face and find the Bobbi Brown Concealer Stick in a warmer shade than my normal skin tone, is great for contouring the face and adding that slight bronzed look.
My go to bronzer products, have tired so many over the years and these are so incredible. Perfect for that warm bronzed glow and Beached “Rays For Days” & the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick are amazing for adding that summer glowy look to any makeup creation!
I always stick to my go to blushers, that I love to also use as eyeshadow from time to time if I’ve forgotten my eyeshadow palettes! All such gorgeous colours, and if you prefer a non shimmer or shimmer blusher NARS has you covered!
Eyebrows have also been a challenge of mine, I have a lot of gaps in my brows so have always struggled creating my dream brow, so after a lot of trail and error and watching a lot of youtube tutorials, I came across the below! In my opinion they are the best four brow products I have come across so far!! I use Nude By Nature Dip Brow and Hour Glass Dip Brow when I’m looking for a more relaxed bushy brow with colour and definition. And then use Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow, when I’m looking to create a more precise brow, and always finish with the clear brow gel to hold them in place!
The only eyeshadow Palettes I own right now and I can’t get enough of them all!! I love creating a pink eyeshadow look and Revolution Reloaded Palette is my go to for everyday looks as I wear this most days! The others I tend to wear to create more dramatic looks or evening looks. All so pigmented and such vibrant beautiful colours. Pictures below of some of the looks I’ve created with these palettes.
If you have any questions about any of the products feel free to let me know, these are some of my favourites right now and I swear by them. The perfect products to create those holiday glowy looks, everyday looks or evening looks and all super affordable products!