All posts filed under: Travel

Exploring new destinations

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. 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 …

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. 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 …

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. 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. 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. It was sizzlingly …

Helicopter tour Hawaii Kauai Sunshine napali coast jagged cliffs

Kauai from the Skies – a Hawaii Helicopter Tour

The sweet icing on our Hawaiian honeymoon adventure was flying above the waterfalls, canyons and jagged cliffs of Kauai. Putting aside my slightly claustrophobic tendencies to strap into a wee little flying craft and soar over this luscious, ‘Garden Isle’ was proof that some of the best things in life come from taking your fear by the short and curlies. Despite said apprehension, I had originally wanted to take a helicopter trip with the doors off (for best photos of o’course!), but as is often my fly-by-seat (soz about that) way, they were all booked out when. So we reserved first class tickets (means you sit up front with the pilot) at Sunshine Helicopters instead. Leaving it a little late had its benefits though, as Kauai is the green isle for a reason – it rains here a lot and flights were cancelled on our first couple of days on the island. Despite a mild bit of spitting on the windscreen at one point, we had clear skies and low wind, allowing us to reach …

Norway Fjord Fjaerland Scandinavia Book Town Glacier

Fjærland – Norway’s Book Town Deep in the Fjords

Often the most magical places are a little tricky to reach. But if you make that extra connection, wind a little deeper into lesser-known terrain, the rewards can be significant: the feeling of discovery, a comforting dose of tranquility, and in the case of Fjærland, more books and pine trees that people – and the people are mighty nice. Fjærland is a village in the Norwegian fjords, and this particular fjord is called the Sognefjord. It can be reached by two ferries from Bergen (or a long bus from Oslo, which was our onward journey – there is a big, modern info centre down at Bergen Harbour which will point you there and sell tickets). This charming town is a drawcard for two reasons – one is that it is the gateway to the vast Jostedalsbreen glacier – the largest glacier in continental Europe that spans a staggering 487 square kilometers! The arm that people come to see is called Bøyabreen. The other, which had my heart aflutter and was my main purpose for the …

Bali Island Paradise: Nusa Lembongan

Oh, to while away more long mornings over coffee and books at The Deck on Nusa Lembongan, watching over the pale, shallow water to the mist-covered hint of a volcano beyond. An island in the south eastern waters of Bali, Nusa Lembongan is developing quickly, but is far from developed. You can find both comforts and potholes and much in between on this small isle of chilled out paradise. STAY: We checked in to Tigerlily’s, one of the more beautiful bungalow-style hotels on the island, that wraps around an inviting pool and has an on-site restaurant serving delicious Indonesian specialties, with western faves available too. More on that in a post coming soon. Breakfast Time: The Deck After checking in and getting ourselves acquainted with the pool-side swing seats (back for you later *wink), we head straight for one of the island drawcards, The Deck. First glance at this cafe and bar, perched overlooking Jungutbatu beach, revealed one of the signifying features of Lembongan – the old mixed with the new. The Deck is a …

A Short Guide to Stockholm, Sweden

My family is from Stockholm on my mother’s side. Her grandfather’s family, who emigrated to Sydney, had a home that sat below the Captain Cook’s Bridge on the George’s River that they called ‘Stockholm’ in memory of their place of birth. He was a maker of Swedish furniture until a boating accident devastatingly crushed one of his arms. His two brothers went off and married the family maids, much to the chagrin of the rest of the family. If I could transport back in time, I would love to be around in this house and see how these stories of my family all played out. To see how much of the Swedish culture was woven into their everyday lives. Did they break for fika? Did they speak a mix of English and Swedish and did the brothers whisper Jag älskar dig to the maids while they worked? Was there some pieces of furniture made by my great great grandfather that really should be in my lounge room right now? Probably, but I’m not sure I’ll …