All posts filed under: Travel

Exploring new destinations

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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 …

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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 …

Chasing the Twelve Apostles, Victoria

Freewheeling through the evergreen patchwork of Victorian countryside, a Samoan chief (with a kiwi accent) steering the ride, this day trip down to the Great Ocean Road’s Apostles (once there were Twelve), was worth the long day journey to this gloriously  eroded stretch of coast. Heading Southwest out of Melbourne, we took an early pit stop in Geelong, a bay city of just over 170,000 people around an hour from Melbourne city. One of my (and probably yours too) skills is to be able to seek out places to eat/stay/shop/visit in a place at short notice. Which brings us to breakfast at Freckleduck (I didn’t say I’m skilled at seeking out well-named places!). And holy shitballs will you take a look at that ricotta, seed and maple covered, mascarpone (how do you hide a small horse?)-topped hotcake pile of deliciousness!? The coffee was great too. This was a very good omen for the day ahead. For this trip, I was reuniting with my ‘ol buddy Phil (not my fiance Phil, this Phil) who moved to …

Cornwall Summer (Part 2): St Ives, Newquay and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen

ST IVES We arrived in St Ives on an overcast afternoon, checked in to a Victorian terrace with an ocean view, and wandered down through the cobblestone lanes to the sea. The harbour was pale in colour, with small, bobbing boats and seagulls circling above. I took a liking to the place immediately. This is where Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse took inspiration from, when she would peer out at Godrevy Island from her holiday lodgings at Talland House. There is something about St Ives that draws your eyes out towards the sea. I’d love to know more about it’s history. Walking down by the wharf you’ll find The Sloop Inn, a whitewash historical fisherman’s pub dating back to “circa 1312”, with low, wooden ceilings in the bottom floor bar and popular seating outside. St Ives is also a town populated by, and attractive to, artists. The Tate St Ives (which was closed when we were there, but has since re-opened), is a draw card, as is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture …

Cornwall Summer (Part 1): St Mawes, Penzance and the Minack Theatre

I’ve wanted to go to Cornwall for a long time, but as I approached, I realised I knew so little about what to expect. I didn’t know there would be cliffside theatres with sharks basking in aquamarine water below, or that there would be wildflowers in abundance, pirate bays and bars, accents with an endearing drawl at their strongest, modern hotels opposite centuries old buildings where seafarers have been raising tankards of ale for centuries. All this I didn’t really know. Our introduction was via St Mawes, where to arrive at the coast we found ourselves driving down one of the steepest and surely narrowest streets I’ve ever driven on (in a manual – eeeee!), so by the time we parked I was frantically looking for an alternate exit route, gulping at the thought of terrifying(ly embarrassing) hill starts. When I took a few deep breaths and looked around, I saw an endearing seaside village, where every building was white-washed, only the roofs differed in colour, and only a little. Two hotels draw a sophisticated …