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Wild Spin of the Web {7}

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Lokal Hotel, Philadelphia. Photo credit: This Is The Place I Was Telling You About

GUIDE/ STAY – This Is The Place I Was Telling You About 

I have been quietly obsessing over this website and Insta account of late. They are two (very handsome) Texans, R’el Dade and Marcus Lloyd living in New York City, where they visit and document all the best places to eat, drink and stay. Of course I particularly fancy the posts about travel and hotels, including Lokal Hotel in Philadelphia (pictured above). Creates some serious FOMO and draws you like a magnet towards New York and surrounds. If you’re heading to the area, let this site be your compass.

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Photo Credit: Fogo Island Inn

STAY – Fogo Island Inn, Canada

I was told about this hotel recently from Fathom co-founder Jeralyn Gerba when she came on my show in Bondi. We were talking about off-the-beaten-track but AMAZING destinations and hotels – I was singing the praises of Fjaerland in Norway and then Jeralyn mentioned this little gem Fogo Island Inn. I’d never even heard of Fogo Island, despite having been to nearby Newfoundland. I wrote it down in my iPhone notes, but only just recently took a look. Wowsers! I absolutely love that someone had the vision to create a hotel so unique (and cool!) in this oh-so-remote locale.

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Moore Street General in Austinmer. Photo Credit: Nikki To for The Design Files

TRAVEL – Austinmer and Thirroul

After a pretty expensive (but amazing) wedding in Kiama last year – and our UK wedding party coming up in September, we’ve been a little cash strapped. As such, I’m constantly on the lookout for places for short getaways close to home, so I loved this little feature in The Design Files Austinmer and Thirroul with Domonique Brammah – think it’s time to take a little trip down to those parts. And I love the look of the retro Thirroul Beach Motel!

KPunkka

Photo Credit: Konsta Punkka, Instagram

MEET – Konsta Punkka

Konsta Punkka is a Finnish self-confessed “squirrel whisperer” and taker of insanely beautiful nature photos. I probably don’t even need to tell you about his animal portraits as you have likely already seen some, given he has over 1 million instagram followers. I’m consistently in awe of his patience, his obvious love for the subjects of his images and his technical photography skill. If you don’t yet, you should follow him.

India

Photo Credit: Saurabh Suryan / Lokesh Dang

VISIT – Feast India Company, Uttar Pradesh, India

India has a new Wes Anderson-inspired restaurant and who cares what they are cooking up, I want to go! The design, by Renesa Architecture Design Interiors Studio is all flamingo pink with black and white stripes all over the joint. Check out this AWOL article for more.

While we’re on the topic, have you seen Anderson’s newest film Isle of Dogs? SO GOOD!

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

The Garden Isle: Kauai, Hawaii

The most spectacular green-ridged peaks, lazy ocean-side walks, canyons, food trucks and palm trees everywhere you gaze: Kauai is proper paradise. By law, no building can be higher than the highest coconut tree, which means you see lush vegetation and sky wherever you look – gaining it the name of the Garden Isle, which is apt my friends, very apt.

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We stayed on the south end of the island at Koa Kea Resort near Poipu Beach, so all of the exploring mentioned below began by driving north, usually through Old Koloa Town.

Old Koloa Town

When heading through the South (or exiting to explore North as we commonly were), it’s worth a stop off at Old Koloa Town, even if just for the coffee – seriously the best we found on the island! This is an old sugar plantation town from the 1830s, and the best way to arrive is through Malahui Road where you’ll drive beneath a luscious green Tree Tunnel.

But back to the coffee – Aloha Roastery sits in the Waikomo courtyard just behind the shops on Koloa Road. It’s serving up some creamy cups of goodness, with blends from the likes of Honduras and Colombia. The guys that work here have the friendly, casual Hawaiian hipster vibe down to a fine art.

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Warehouse 3540 – Kalaheo

A further five or six minute cruise north west along Koloa Road and you will come across a creative space designed for pop-ups and workshops called Warehouse 3540. Our real reason for visiting was for the famous Fresh Shave shaved ice, but more on that on that below…

Salt + Sea Kauai was my fave outlet here and I bought a lime green Human Revolution Clothing kaftan (scroll down further for picture of me in this little wonder – with a pineapple above my head!), which is probs my favourite purchase on the trip! Just outside the warehouse, was the real spark in the wheel of this place – The Fresh Shave!

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The Fresh Shave

Kauai loves a good food truck, and one of the stars of them all is The Fresh Shave! This is proper hand-spun (on a laborious, but very cool vintage wheel) shave ice. And you can’t help but love their branding that pays homage to both the humble mustache (with names like The Lip Luggage and The Handle Bar) and Outcast song (‘So fresh | So Clean | So Delicious’). I ordered up The Chevron of coconut and lime topped with coconut chia seed cream and Phil got The Caterpillar which is orange and ‘creamsicle’. We took shade under the umbrella at a mint-coloured bench to (narrowly) avoid immediate melt –  the Hawaiian sun was haaawt! So this was the perfect cool down pit-stop.

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Waimea Canyon

This jagged marvel is otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and for good reason – it’s 3,000 feet cliffs shooting up from deep valleys make it quite a wonder. The most notable physical difference is the weathered red rock among sliding green vegetation. The contrast is so vivid, especially as the clouds move, casting shadows across the chasm below. We saw helicopters like little specks, without perspective they appeared as the flies of the valley, and we were to do that very trip – see our Kauai by Helicopter post here.

Undoubtedly the biggest tourist spot on the island, the lookouts at Waimea Canyon were busy, but when you are looking out at an expanse of earth like you see here, it’s easy to still feel a peaceful calm. Well, except when some death-wish folk scramble down the side of the cliff for an Insta worthy shot (holy shit people! It ain’t worth your life!).

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MORE HAWAII articles you might like…

Kauai from the Skies: A Hawaii Helicopter Tour

STAY: Koa Kea Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii Cool: Surfjack Hotel, Waikiki

Hanapepe

Regular readers of the site will know that I love all things literary (try these book recommendations or this post about the book town in the fjords of Norway as examples), so you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that I took a detour to the colonial town of Hanapepe to visit Kauai’s only (but very amazing) bookstore Talk Story.

Talk Story Bookstore Kauai Best Bookstores United States

We discovered that Hanapepe (which means ‘Crushed Bay’ in Hawaiian – probably because of landslides in the area) is worth a visit even if (God forbid!) they didn’t have this beloved bookstore. It was a happening place from WWI to the 1950s when G.I.s and sailors were stationed there for training.

We visited Little Fish Coffee (an outpost of which was also in Poipu – see below) and gems like Japanese Grandma Cafe (which was sadly closed the day we went) and the attached Blu Umi – a local art and design store. We bought one of my fave souvenirs from the trip here – a wooden Aloha sign made by the owner Keiko’s son Jake Napier (check out his stuff at Venice Woods).

Kauai Hawaii Little Fish Cafe HanapepeKoke’e State Park

My main motivation for heading to Kauai (in spite of Hawaii being a very cliched honeymoon destination), was to glimpse and walk the Napali Coast – those jagged green wonders along the coast (nature goals!). Unfortunately our first full day in Kauai had mega rain, so it wasn’t really safe to hike along these quite dangerous trails post-downpour, so we opted to instead drive around to the best views we could find. Introducing the stunning Kalalau Lookout…

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I just can’t quite get over this view, so here you go again!

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The Road North

We took to the road with Hanalei Bay up north as our end destination. On the way up, we stopped off at the awesome little cafe Java Kai, which is connected to one of my fave Kauai boutiques Shipwrecked, and sits out the front of the Kauai Juice Co. So, basically, well worth the stop! We both had gluten free felafel wraps and I couldn’t resist a Blue Hawaiian smoothie of blueberries, banana, coco milk and pineapple juice. Phil also bought this ace heavy Java Kai mug.

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Kauai Hawaii Java Kai Kapaa

Hanalei Bay

This is where Phil gets all shaka on your arse…and he has good reason to bring out Hawaii’s famous hand signal – this was our fave town on the island, and the one we will stay in next time we’re in Kauai (don’t get me wrong, we loved Koa Kea too where we stayed, but this neighbourhood is definitely more our vibe).

Kauai Hawaii Hanalei Bay Aloha Juice Bar

We soaked up the stunning views from Hanalei Bay Pier, spent a while debating whether we would buy a Ukelele (we didn’t this time, but next visit…) at the temple of slack key and beautiful wood that is Hanalei Strings and wandered through boutiques like the Barn 808 which is owned by local music legend Donavon Frankenreiter.

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Poipu Area

And finally, a little on the area that we stayed in – Poipu Beach. The beaches here are pretty, but a tad small and busy with families, so given it was our honeymoon, we tended to stick more by the pool when we were back by Koa Kea Resort. There was also an outdoor rock spa, so y’know, was hard to go too far.

We did venture out for food though, and there was a handy little shopping village not too far away. Phil basically lost his vegetarian sh*! over the Puka Dog – which is famed and even Anthony Bourdain is a fan. The veggie dog here was the best I’ve ever had, so was happy to indulge Phil with a couple of visits *wink*. I also had some really delicious Japanese at Rock n’ Roll Sushi and there were lots of cute Hawaiian gifts and home wares at Sand People.

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A short stroll from the hotel was Brennecke’s Beach Broiler – an American coastal diner that we LOVED, so we returned a couple of times. They served delicious seafood (and plenty of veggie options for Phil), not to mention Kona beer and some tasty cocktails. American football was always playing on the few screens in the venue, but in a good way, not a husband-won’t-pay-attention-to-anything-but-the-sport way! Well, at least not my husband, I can’t vouch for yours!

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I mentioned Little Fish cafe in Hanapepe, but there was also one at Poipu which we visited a couple of times…perfect for the acai bowl and coffee fix!

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Oh, and Kauai is also about sugarcane, hibiscus and pineapples. I almost stayed with Phil to pursue a life as a pineapple farmer’s wife…it suits him, no?!

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Kauai

I hope you also like my other Hawaii posts:

Kauai from the Skies: A Hawaii Helicopter Tour

STAY: Koa Kea Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii Cool: Surfjack Hotel, Waikiki

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

STAY: Koa Kea Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

Choosing to stay on Kauai was easy.

Choosing somewhere to stay on Kauai was hard.

There are the Marriotts, Hyatts, Sheratons of the world which I wasn’t that interested by, and then I was very tempted by The Palmwood, but given it was our honeymoon, we actually wanted to sip cocktails by the pool if we so chose to, so the B&B vibe was less what we were going for. The pick of the bunch seemed the St Regis Princeville which is on the North Shore (which we discovered was our fave part of the island), but holy shit dude it be expensive! So, we opted for the Koa Kea Hotel and Resort which is a resort, but a slightly smaller resort and pretty perfect for what we were after.

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Situated on the south of Kauai, the Hawaiian island known as the Garden Isle – which is the luscious green paradise that this implies (check out this post on our helicopter ride over the island to see just how green) – Koa Kea sits next to Poipu Beach. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and the beach and the swimming pool at the hotel were teeming with little kids. We love kids, but perhaps not so much as companions on our honeymoon. Thankfully the following day there were not many around at all. As a general rule, Koa Kea was really quiet, with gorgeous sunsets, nice cocktails, great service and delicious food in the restaurant and for room service.  Oh, and they upgraded us and gave us a bottle of wine for congratulations 😉

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Kauai Hawaii Poipu Beach koa kea best hotels

Speaking of room service, on day two, it poured rain all day. The garden isle has to get its green vibe from somewhere. Worried? Us? Not in the slightest. As anyone who gets married will tell you, it’s amazing, but pretty frickin’ exhausting, so taking a day to rest and sleep and do nothing in the days following the big day is essential. So the rain Gods of Hawaii gave us just that perfect day. And thanks to great room service at Koa Kea, we pretty much had no reason to leave the room at all!

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In addition to boss brekkies at the hotel restaurant Red Salt (my fave was the Eggs Benedict with pancetta hash and chive hollandaise – Phil was all about the continental), we also loved dining at the nearby Brennecke’s Beach Broiler, with an American coastal sports bar vibe, and Little Fish cafe across the road (loooved their acai bowls). But more on that in the full Kauai post coming soon!

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With a car to explore the island (the friendly hotel staff helped us set that up at reception) and plenty to see on the outrageously beautiful Kauai (can’t wait to tell you all about it, but see our fly over tour here), we loved coming back to Koa Kea after a day of adventuring to kick back by the pool edge, watch the palm-fringed sunsets, a cheeky cocktail in hand.

Hawaii Honeymoon Bliss.

 

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

 

Wild Five: Best Summer Reads (By Women)

Get these delicious literary treats in front of your eyeballs! Whether you’re enjoying summer in Sydney, are having a coastal adventure elsewhere, live in one of those places like Mexico or California which never have a proper winter, or are bunkered down in the chilly months wanting some armchair escapism this is for you. OK, not all these books are set in summer, but they are great for holiday reading, and even better, they are all written by wonderful women who are masters of their writerly craft.

Best Summer Reads by Women stack

This isn’t intended as a lengthy book review column as there are plenty of great sites for book reviews (I recommend The Millions, The New Yorker and The Guardian for starters), more just a pointer towards some of the books I have adored of late. I have always had a strong passion for reading though, and started my career in the book industry (and still work on book-related things here and there). I worked in bookstores and was a bookstore manager at 23 (at the airport of course, and travel took me away from this job at regular intervals), and went on to be a buyer, section manager and then eventually into publishing where I worked as a book publicist for four years. It was my job to get the books into the media and organise and go on book tours. It was pretty ace. I still work with clients on bookish jobs from time to time and don’t plan to change that ever. Last year I decided to focus my energy on new books and especially ones written by women, who don’t get enough recognition in this industry.

I hope you love these books as much as I did! And be sure to leave some of your own book recommendations in the comments below!

Hot Milk

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Set in the small coastal town of Almería in Southern Spain, amidst the hot desert sand and jellyfish-filled ocean, Hot Milk follows Sophie and her mother Rose as they visit the famed Dr Gomez and his assistant Nurse Sunshine in the hope of uncovering the mystery of Rose’s ailing health. This hard-to-put-down novel has a hilarious undertone of sly humour, an enigmatic cast of characters, and a vividly painted landscape that will ensure that even if you can’t make it to the beach this summer, Hot Milk will take you there. It’s a cracker.

Little+Fires+Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

When I travel I always seek out bookstores and libraries, and on my recent honeymoon to Hawaii, we visited the coolest little independent bookstore called Talk Story in Kauai (pictured below – that’s me with this very book in the bag). Of course I had to support this little gem of a place, so bought a hardback edition (Americans love their hardbacks!) of Little Fires Everywhere. This intriguing tale weaves and unfolds the stories of the Richardson family of Shaker Heights and the artist Mia who inhabits their rental house with her daughter Pearl. Celeste Ng has a subtle and masterful way of storytelling that I admire so much. I really felt for these characters and the situations they found themselves in and the book really propels you towards the conclusion. You crave answers to ‘who lit the fires?’ and ‘do you blame them?’. It explores themes of life on the move versus a stable suburban existence, race and privilege, motherhood and heaps more. I can’t wait to read further works by Ng, starting with her debut Everything I Never Told You.

Talk Story Bookstore Kauai Best Bookstores United States

You may also like the Wild Spin post Wild Words: A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros.

The Mothers

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Another one to thank Sydney Writers’ Festival for. American writer Brit Bennett did the Opening Address at the festival alongside literary great George Saunders, and to say she held her own is an understatement. In addition to being compulsively readable, The Mothers explores big themes such as abortion and friendship betrayals, and her characters are easy to relate to, and hard to forget. So much talent for a writer so young. I can’t wait to see what does next.

The Power

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Just the premise alone will be enough to have you picking up this book: suddenly young women get the power to electric shock in a harmful way through the very touch of their fingers, making them become the more powerful of the sexes. The way this ripples throughout the world is fascinating to explore. We follow multiple characters who experience this phenomenon in differing ways, and it opens up a Pandora’s Box of what ifs.

This One Summer

This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

This was my first ever graphic novel and I’m not sure if I just picked a very amazing one, or if graphic novels are amazing and I need to weave them into my reading life more often. OK, so my husband is an illustrator and this was his book, so I can’t take credit for the selection of this great work, I really just picked it off our shelf. Mariko and Jillian Tamako are Canadian cousins. Jillian weaves the illustration magic and Mariko writes the touching dialogue. Mariko was at Sydney Writers’ Festival last year, which is where Phil got the book.

Best Summer Reads by Women This One Summer Tamaki

Which books would you recommend for summer reading? Or do you have any other fave books written by women I should read? Let me know in the comments below. And I’ll be sharing a Wild Five: Autumn Reads post in the coming months.

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

Wild Spin of the Web {6}

Stunning global hotel openings, Moroccan dreams, a beatnik institution, a West Aus detour and surfing in the arctic. This is Wild Spin of the Web {6}.

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Photo Credit: Christophe Michel

TASTE – the Last Great Beatnik Cafe

San Francisco is a literary lovers dream. What – me? Literary lover? Totally. I’ve visited a lot of the sites here, the Beat Museum, City Lights Books, the house that Armistead Maupin set Barbary Lane on in his Tales of the City Series, Jack Kerouac’s house, Vesuvio Cafe and I even took a saunter past the wonderful Cafe Trieste, featured in this article on Messy Nessy, a blog worth your time if you like travel and curiosities. It was a joy to read about more of the history behind this beatnik institution, and indeed behind the literary scene of San Francisco.

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Photo Credit: Atelier Dore

STAY – l’Hôtel El Fenn

This is basically all my Moroccan hotel dreams coming true. The photography by Garance Dore on Atelier Dore is just as beautiful as the destination she depicts. I really need to get to Morocco soon. But in the meantime, I’ll just fantasise about it using pics and places like these as inspo.

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Photo credit: COMO Uma Canggu, Bali

STAY – Hottest hotel openings of 2018

Readers of this blog would know, I’m a sucker for a hot hotel. Take for example Hotel Hotel, The Slow, Fjaerland Fjordstove, The Atlantic, Miss Clara or Ace Hotel to name a few (there are more!). So, adding to the ever-growing must-go list is now a few beauties from Conde Nast Traveller’s list of the best 18 new openings set for this year. I want to go to there.

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Photo credit: We Are Explorers

VISIT – Rottnest Island, Western Australia

This magical little island of quokkas and brown snakes off the coast on Western Australia is worthy a detour when you’re out west. Pay little attention to the brown snake part and more about the quokkas, which are adorable fuzzy marsupials that are found in oinly  select few places off the coast of WA. I camped here a number of years ago. We pitched our tent and slept peacefully, but when we woke in the morning, we law a long trail in the sandy ground going exactly around the circumference of our tent. At first, we were sure it was a brown snake (deadly mind you), only at closer inspection realised it had two small dots at either side of the trail, which were the tracks of little feet – it was a quokka. But I absolutely loved exploring the little beaches of crystal water and few people. Get the lowdown at one of my fave Australian outdoor sites We Are Explorers, who rightly call it a paradise.

 

Under An Arctic Sky – Chris Burkard

Whether it’s his mindblowing photography or his cutting-edge surf films, I’m a big fan of Californian creative Chris Burkard. It’s why I interviewed him for my Bondi Beach radio show Wanderlust a couple of years ago and why I keep an eye on his newest projects. Some of my absolutely favourite shots of his are the photos he took in northern Norway, with a surfer wielding waves before a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. His newest film has seen him taking to the icy waters again – this time on an arctic surfing mission.

 

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

Sydney Weekend Getaway: Ettalong

Determined to explore more of Sydney and surrounds by water, we escaped the city for the Central Coast by ferry from Palm Beach. A rather beautiful way to spend a sunny summer birthday weekend.

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First stop was The Boathouse at Palm Beach, but as is typical, we didn’t really leave enough time, so just had a little squizz, found non-metered parking (outside The Boathouse Home), and walked over the hill and down to the ferry wharf, knowing we would dine as soon as we docked on the other side.

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The ferry trip only takes around 25 minutes from Palm Beach Wharf and is done through FantaSea Cruising. You can get your ticket on board. We were blessed with a stunning day so the water passage of this trip was just one big tempting swim land. Sitting inside was never considered. We sat on the back lower deck and jumped up often to hang over the rails and watch as the ferry went past bush-covered land and little inlets. It felt miles away from Sydney.

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It was sizzlingly hot when we docked at Ettalong, but thankfully it was a short stroll to our first destination – our beachside lunch spot The Box on the Water, which was one of my motivators for visiting the area. A ferry trip to the Central Coast where we could have a birthday lunch overlooking the sea? Sure thing.

TASTE – The Box on the Water

We were unsure whether we would just visit the attached kiosk (the menu looked fab) or dine at the restaurant (Phil is a vego so there wasn’t too much choice in the restaurant), but after arriving it was obvious would be dining it. The rustic kiosk is tucked up behind the restaurant and looked nothing special compared to the al fresco gem that was The Box on the Water. Without a booking, we tried to weasel our way into a waterfront seat, but one row back was fine. As I mentioned, it was my birthday, so we ordered a couple of Aperol spritzes for while we perused la menu. The restaurant was all wood and windows (mostly open) with floating ferns. The view beyond was boats, pale blue water and bush across the way.

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Sydney best ferry trips palm beach ettalong box on the water shroom

I’m not sure how long I looked over the menu, but it didn’t matter because I spied fish and chips being taken to another table and that was that. The menu was seafood rich, with alternate mains of Angus fillet steak (Bois Boudran, crispy potato, Café de Paris beurre), jerk chicken (sweet potato crisps, coconut rice and beans, mango salsa) and duck breast (five spice reduction, radish and Asian greens). Phil went with the (very delicious, but petit for a main) roast field mushroom (balsamic glazed, cashew ‘cheese’, orange quinoa and cashew dukkah).

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Dessert was a real stand-out. The Eton Mess with blood orange sorbet, meringue and orange sherbet was sweet powdery deliciousness. Best to share. And given we had recently made our first successful semi fredo and love salted caramel like every other human, we had to try the Popcorn Semi Fredo with salted caramel, popcorn and coco nibs and needless to say I still adore salted caramel. It was thick and sticky and can get stuck in my teeth anytime.

We took a little intermission from food, went for a swim and a relax on the beach and then went and checked into our Airbnb place in Woy Woy. The cute little granny flat we stayed in was nice, but we suggest staying right by the beach as we were a little far out and had to keep getting cabs. The Mantra in town is the obvious choice, but being January it was completely booked out when we went.

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TASTE – Bar Toto

I want this place to exist on my block. The Bar Toto trattoria and bar on Ocean View Road ticked a few boxes for us: it was right next to Cinema Paradiso where we were to see a film later, it had Italian food (Phil is nuts for it) and it had a great cocktail list (with sours!) made by a guy made it into the top 100 cocktails list. It has outdoor seating, a narrow, intimate front bar and a larger, dimly lit lounge out the back.

For a (birthday) cocktail I chose the wonderful Jerry’s Coco Rumba because it featured my fave 1800 tequila, Solermo, lime and coconut cream 9and a pretty as pie flower on top!) and Phil had a Barrel Aged Negroni.

The pizzas are sold by the ‘slice’ (about a quarter pizza) and the Caprino with pancetta, goats cheese, basil and tomato base was a stand-out, but they were all really yum.

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We ducked down to the beach to watch the sunset quickly before the film started and we’re glad we did as it was peaceful and serene, the warm pinks painted across the sky and water.

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TASTE – Coast 175

On Sunday morning we made tracks for a cafe that I had spied from Bar Toto the evening before, Coast 175. It was on the opposite block on Ocean View Road. And I have to say, it was a winning choice for breakfast – and I may have had my best ever hollandaise here (or it may have just been exactly what I was craving at the time – it was special either way)! Ever the one with a sweet tooth at breakfast, Phil ordered the lemon french toast. Don’t tell him I’m ever the one who’s glad he orders sweet breakfasts, because this is one of those examples of when I get to share in the berries and sweet bread of a yummy dish.

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The coffee here was great, the interiors were fresh (I loved the yellow striped awnings) and it had a little fruit market in the front (or pineapples in the window – also a nice touch). So get thee to Ocean 175 when you’re in Ettalong. If there’s a better brekky spot I want to hear of it.

To walk off our full bellies, we went to the ‘weekend market’ in the same complex as the cinema, just over the road. It’s really a collection of permanent art, craft and clothes shops (definitely most of them weresn’t to my taste, but I managed to buy a cute scarf at one store for $5). After a quick spin it was back down to the beach to while away some time before our ferry back to Palm Beach. The sand at the wharf end of Ettalong beach is partly shaded and better for swimming than the middle, where the sand just below the water is covered in thick vegetation. We lay down in the shelter of a tree and read our books. A little flock of ducks paid us and every other beachgoer a visit, searching for food quite confidently, until they were intimidated by little kids who ran too close.

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When the ferry came I was left wishing we had a few more days to chillax in Ettalong or surrounds. Across the bay at Wagstaff looked beautiful as well, so that may be the next Central Coast adventure. But Ettalong was a lovely birthday weekend. The ferry trip back to Palm Beach made me wide-eyed about they beauty of Sydney and surrounds. After all these years of exploring there are still outrageously beautiful spots to discover. The wider central coast, I’m coming to get you…

Our homeward journey back into Sydney was via a little look-see at the Boathouse Home store (so many cute floral and nautical things!) and The Newport for lunch.

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Sydney best ferry trips palm beach ettalong 3

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

 

 

 

Hawaii Cool: Surfjack Hotel, Waikiki

Aloha bitches! What if I told you there’s a renovated hipster hotel in Waikiki with 1960s surfer vibes, a killer restaurant by one of the hot names in the Hawaii food scene, and that it’s reasonably priced – oh, and just a couple of blocks from the beach?!

Nobody told me any of that, but when trawling online through all the hotels available in Honolulu, I was left feeling pretty uninspired. It was all flashy chain hotels (apart from the glorious Royal Hawaiian Hotel in which we were to spend our first night) or places that looked like they lacked character, especially for the hefty price tags. So to not only discover this relatively new and stylin’ hotel The Surfjack, but discover that it had the name of one of my favourite songs emblazoned on the bottom of the swimming pool, it was definitely a no brainer for me.

Surfjack Waikiki Honolulu Best Hotels lobby

We arrived here for the last few days of our honeymoon, just fresh from 5 nights in Kauai. Having only spent one night in Honolulu on the way into Hawaii (at the aforementioned Royal Hawaiian – or ‘Pink Palace’ as it is affectionately known), we were eager to spend a few more days exploring Waikiki. But then we arrived at The Surfjack and I started to doubt whether we would step foot outside of the hotel, like, ever again.

The bright pop of colours in the surfer retro lobby was enough to make my pulse quicken. It’s situated right next to the ‘swim club’ (yup, the Wish You Were Here pool space) on one side and one of the most adorbs little shops and coffee stops Olive and Oliver (more on that later) on the other. And just in case we were questioning whether or not this place was going to ace the hipster hotel olympics, there was also a pop up design market featuring stylish sunglasses and clothes tucked up behind the pool. The guy (I’m ashamed I don’t remember his name) who checked us in was so super friendly and helpful that we felt welcome as soon as we stepped into the premises.

I was super eager to see the room. And it didn’t disappoint…

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There were so many little touches that made the rooms oh so satisfying. Firstly, the interior design was a seamless extension of the hotel share spaces. The surfer vibe continued with a blue and yellow print headboard, wooden panelling and furniture, illustrated prints on the walls by local artists and a spread of surf/skate culture mags. There was also some complimentary gourmet popcorn and macadamia and coconut cookies, as well as Momo toiletries in the bathroom.

Surfjack

TASTE – Mahini & Sun’s

Back down next to the swimming pool – which really is the central feature that the hotel spins around – is the restaurant Mahini & Sun’s. It’s the fourth restaurant of Hawaiian-born chef Ed Kenney. We also dined at his other restaurant in Kaimuki (another neighbourhood of Honolulu) Mud, Hen, Water – but more on that in another post (coming soon!). I ordered the ‘Sun Bowl’ and a pineapple mint ‘Shaka Tea’, which Phil hated, but I really liked. It was fine, because Phil was more than happy with his local beer from Maui Brewing Co.

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Want to know one of the best things I did in Hawaii? Take a helicopter trip over Kauai! Waterfalls, the dramatic cliffs of the Napali Coast – it’s Jurassic Park country – check it out in my post Kauai from the Skies: A Hawaii Helicopter Tour.

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Brekky at Mahini & Sun’s is great too – a delicious granola and yoghurt (with dragon fruit!) was enjoyed by the pool (Phil had malted waffles which were insane as well) and we also ate in on our last morning and my mild hangover was grateful for the Eggs Sammie! Each morning we had to order our coffees from next door at Olive & Oliver, just because it had been the best coffee we’d had in Hawaii so far, so if you’re on to a good thing…

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KIT – Olive & Oliver

The retail and coffee store attached to the Surfjack felt like it was curated just for me. I wanted to buy almost everything in there, whether it was a Scotch & Soda bag, a cookbook, Surfjack t-shirt or piece of jewellery. What I did buy though, is an Olive & Oliver pink enamel cup covered in pineapples THAT I LOVE and use all the time back home in Sydney.

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I thought when we first checked in that the pool area would be swarming with super fashionable people the whole time we were there. That we could swim, but surely not get one of the shaded reclining chairs, which were all taken for the fist little sunny bit when we arrived. It wasn’t the case at all! On our first full day at the hotel, the sun was out, as were we, chilling by the pool, reading and ordering refreshments from Mahini & Sun’s. Why leave?! So we didn’t. At least not until late in the day.  A bit like our experience at The Slow in Canggu, Bali, there was incredible tunes playing by the pool all day, so expect to Shazam a lot. It definitely gave me some extra tracks to play on my Wanderlust show on Bondi Beach Radio when I returned!

But one of the good things about Surfjack is its close proximity to the beach and main shopping strips of Waikiki. We ducked out to dine at Bill’s, visit the Maui Brewing Co, detour to Kaimuki for Ed Kenney’s other restaurant Mud, Hen, Water, do a little shopping, and sip on some sunset Mai Tais at the Royal Hawaiian – it’s all within easy reach. You should definitely stay there on your next trip to Hawaii!

STAY: The Surfjack, 412 Lewers Street, Honolulu

Surfjack Waikiki Honolulu Best Hotels pool

Love cool hotels? Check out these guys:

The Slow in Canggu, Bali

The Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

Fjaerland Fjordstove Hotel, Norway

Miss Clara, Stockholm, Sweden

The Atlantic, Byron Bay, Australia

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Surfjack

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!