Great Barrier Reef: Heron Island

DSCN1422Remember when I visited Australia, got halfway through posting photos, then disappeared for awhile all distracted by my full time job working retail over the holidays?  It’s time to get caught up.  Over the next few weeks, every Friday I’ll be sharing the rest of my travel photos from the epic Australian journey.

Heron Island is actually quite difficult to describe.  It’s one of those surreal Discovery Channel beauty type of places that just saying “It was so beautiful” doesn’t even scratch the surface of how I really felt.  The skies are the purest blue of blues and the ocean looks as if a turquoise diamond has melted over the reefs.  This island is located on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef so the coral is mostly browns and neutrals with a few great pops of color.  The bright colorful coral is more North where the water is warmer.

One of the fantastically fun things about Heron Island in particular is that during low tide, you can walk a good mile from shore and only be up to thigh deep water.  It’s such a remarkably unique way to visit the reef!  We were able to spot tons of sea life just during these walks alone.  Bright blue starfish, neon lipped clams, sea cucumbers everywhere, and we were even lucky enough to spot a sea turtle both times we did a reef walk.  You’re literally in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, surrounded by wildlife.  From birds to sharks, you’ll have some form of wildlife in sight at all times.

This Island is known for its sea turtle activity.  While we visited in October, the sea turtles were in mating season.  We witnessed quite a bit of sea turtle love and saw evidence of the females coming to shore for a little rest.  Apparently, the males practically drown the females while, you know, getting busy so the ladies need a break.  A sea turtle cigarette so to speak.  At other times during the year, visitors can witness the entire sea turtle life cycle.  I would have died to see the baby turtles!  Next time, I suppose.DSCN1494DSCN1579DSCN1470DSCN1407DSCN1545DSCN1359DSCN1534DSCN1502DSCN1454DSCN1393DSCN1375DSCN1361DSCN1726DSCN1356DSCN1605DSCN1432

 

Fun fact: Heron Island was named after these birds above but they’re actually Egrets!

To plan your visit to Heron Island, click here.

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I Got To Feed A Buffalo – Olympic Game Farm

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For all the years I’ve been heading to Washington to visit family, I can’t believe I (the super duper animal lover) was the  only one in my family not to visit the Olympic Game Farm.  Not only is there a pretty incredible variety of animals in this little park, you can feed them while driving your car through it!  Hello!  This is a Chelsea dream come true!  Have you ever gotten to feed a Yak?  Or a buffalo?  How about a BABY buffalo?!  I knew I was in for a treat when the attendant tells you to “just keep moving” when you get to the Elk/Buffalo enclosure.  And let me tell you, those Elk are just as tall as our Suburban!

I had the pleasure of going in the Spring after all sorts of babies had been born.  I mean, come on!  All baby animals are just plain cute.  A lot of these animals are rescued from bad situations which makes me extra happy to see them roaming this beautiful place.  Many of the bears are retired from show business and will sit back and give you a little wave for their treat too.  Talk about cuteness overload!  If only we could hug them…

For more information on this super fun game farm, head on over to their website here.  My only recommendation is… get a car wash soon after.  Hehehe.

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DSC_0143 Hungry Deer!

I've never had a deer so happy to see me!

I’ve never had a deer so happy to see me!

Bear Yoga

Bear Yoga

Baby llama sleeping in the grass

Baby llama sleeping in the grass

Hungry buffalo!!  I couldn't believe they walked right up to our cars!

Hungry buffalo!! I couldn’t believe they walked right up to our car!

Uh oh.  There's a yak in the road...

Uh oh. There’s a yak in the road…

Hungry yak!  Look at those teeth!  He has a bit of an underbite going on there...

Hungry yak! Look at those teeth! He has a bit of an underbite going on there…

Isn't this the sweetest face?!

Isn’t this the sweetest face?!

This guy trotted after us as we drove away!

This guy trotted after us as we drove away!

Uh oh.  Another yak on the road...

Uh oh. Another yak on the road…

Home on the range.  Not a bad place to be living.

Home on the range. Not a bad place to be living.

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One Of My Favorite Places

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Whenever I go to Washington to visit family, I always hope to go to Lake Crescent Lodge.  It just has some of the most incredible views!  It’s my favorite place to grab a glass of wine and sit in the sunroom or out on an adirondack chair to watch the sunset over the mountains.  There’s some great hiking around the Lodge too but we didn’t get to do that this time.  When we do, I promise to share those images too!  If you’re looking for a nice beautiful place to take in the gorgeous Washington nature, I highly recommend visiting Lake Crescent Lodge.

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Chicago Recap: My Favorite Pics

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Even though I was only there for a long weekend, I fell in love with Chicago.  I spent most of my time in the River North area (where I did my styling) and Lincoln Park.  For you San Diegans, the way Chicago is split up reminds me a lot of how San Diego has these little neighborhoods with their own vibe.  Each neighborhood is unique and only if you spend some real time there do you truly learn them.  I’ve included a picture of a map our friends had to show each section.

We totally lucked out weather-wise while we were there as well.  It snowed and got into the single digit temperatures but that famous Chicago wind was apparently on vacation.  I’m sure our long walks exploring Lincoln Park wouldn’t have been as much fun if the wind was following us.  All in all, we loved every second of our stay and we will be back!

P.S. – Lou Malnati’s Chicago-style pizza was epically delicious.  I’m talking so good you’ll eat yourself sick good.  I got the famous special with house made sausage on top.  To die for!  I’m drooling just thinking about it…

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This map gives you an idea of where all the little neighborhoods are located

 

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A typical street in Lincoln Park

 

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The ice coming out of the rain gutter was so cool to me! It’s like it just froze instantly!

 

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I’m so jealous of our friend’s office view…

 

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Got to love a girl who can rock ruby red heels (Oz Park)

 

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The face of pure joy. I loved playing in the snow! Could you tell?

 

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Clam Digging in Washington

Clamming

That’s right, my friends.  I went digging for clams in Washington.  Over our Thanksgiving trip, Tyler’s family suggested a camping adventure to Pacific Beach to dig for razor clams.  I’m game to try anything once but got a little freaked out after looking at the weather report.  It kept warning of an “Arctic Invasion” (“Killer Snowflakes!”  My mom exclaimed) and the thought of battling almost freezing temperatures with high winds and rain while clomping through the wave edge looking for razor clam holes was not as appealing as I originally thought.  We totally lucked out though.  When the tide was low, the weather broke and we had an absolutely great time.  I was shocked how fun it really was!  That was until we got to the cleaning the clams part…  I’ll spare you the details.

P.S. – I wore this look when I went to get my clamming license at Sportman’s Warehouse.  I don’t think they believed me that I was actually going to use it…

 

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Clamming9 Clamming11 Clamming8 Clamming4 Clamming5 Sunset

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Hawaiian Sunset Montage

Sunrise in Oahu

As a finale to my Hawaiian adventure, I’ve compiled all the beautiful sunset/sunrise shots from throughout the trip.  I never really did get used to the time change so I was up by 6 am and usually passed out embarrassingly early every day.  I actually liked it because I got to see both the sunset and sunrise!  I’m everything a morning person is not so I can’t remember the last time I saw a sunrise!  I have to say… I kind of like them!!

Thanks for following me on my Hawaiian Adventure!  We have a few other trips in the works and I can’t wait to share more details with you when everything gets nailed down.  Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@WanderingHeels) for all the details!

Sunset in Hawaii

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Ocean sunetHawaiian SkySunrise over a mountainSunset at the KahalaSunset at the north shore

 

#TBT: Bondi Beach, Australia

Bondi Beach Back Shot

I’m one of those annoying people that always has her camera on her and is the paparazzi of the group shouting “Smile!” every few minutes.  In the end, I’m always happy I did when I look back at the photos of our trip.  I can’t believe it’s been almost 4 years since I visited Australia with my two besties!!  Time flies!  Today I’m reminiscing on a portion of our epic adventure: Bondi Beach.  We only visited here for the afternoon but for some reason, it was such an amazing day that it sticks out in my mind as a highlight of the 3 week trip.  Here’s just a sampling of photos from our day at Bondi Beach.

 

Bondi Boardriders Graffiti Bondi BeachWalk at BondiThe girls at bondi BeachOcean

Wandering In Heels

I had long hair then and I just let it go wild for beach days!

 

There is a long stretch of graffiti for fallen surfers

There is a long stretch of graffiti for fallen surfers

 

sunset at bondi beach

Sunset at Bondi Beach

 

 

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