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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Hunter Valley: Australian Wine Country

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Australian Wine Country, how I love thee.  For this portion of our epic road trip from Brisbane to Sydney, we stopped off in Hunter Valley for a bit of wine tasting.  And, WOW!  This place is absolutely beautiful!  It’s such an experience!  And for everyone reading this in the US, Yellowtail is not the best Australian wineries have to offer.  We happened to meet a winemaker while waiting for our helicopter in Fiji and he said he was so embarrassed that Yellowtail was the one to pave the way for Australian wine imports.  And it’s so true!  I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy tasting because I didn’t think I liked Australian wine!  Man, was I ever wrong!  If it wouldn’t have cost us roughly a million dollars to send wine home, we would have gone a little crazy with our wine purchases.

The scenery was just stunning too.  We had a picnic in the paddock by our Bed and Breakfast to watch the sunset and were just blown away with the beauty of this place.  See for yourself!

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Green Flash Concert Series – Marc Broussard

DSCN0143 To say I’m in love with Marc Broussard would be a gross understatement.  I’ve been attending his Southern California concerts religiously since I saw him open for Gavin DeGraw back in the day.  His Louisiana swagger and rusty voice makes me weak in the knees!  I was so happy to hear some of his oldie-but-goodies for a little trip down memory lane.  The location at the Birch Aquarium was outstanding!  Simply the most beautiful location that I’ve ever attended a concert.  Just the view alone makes me want to go to the rest of the Green Flash Concert Series.  DSCN0199DSCN0203DSCN0191DSCN0184DSCN0224stilettos

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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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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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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Resort Review: The Kahala Resort

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I don’t even know where to start with The Kahala Resort.  It’s so luxurious and amazing!  Coming here was a total surprise from my honey for our 4 year so as we walked in, I was floored.  Not to mention my eyes welled up with excitement when I saw the dolphins (see my last post for pictures of the happiest girl in the world and her dolphin pal).

We might be the luckiest people to have gotten an upgrade to the 9th floor with views of the ocean and the dolphin lagoon.  We were able to sit on the balcony, enjoy our celebratory mimosas, and watch the dolphins play frisbee with their trainers.  The Kahala is also a hugely popular place for weddings and we saw at least 3 happening daily.

The resort is a place for relaxation and since cabanas come with the room, we spent many hours soaking up some rays, eating lunch in the sand, and snorkeling the reef that starts just feet from the shore.  You can paddle board, kayak, and do yoga classes on a paddle board as well but we decided to be lazy so swimming and snorkeling were our activities of choice.

The Kahala is also home to Aracino, one of the best Italian restaurants we’ve ever been to.  We had the 5 course meal with wine pairing and could hardly believe how delicious everything was.  The service was amazing as well and they were able to answer all Tyler’s questions about the meal (he’s an aspiring chef so there were many questions!).  If you’re on Oahu, I highly recommend coming here for dinner.  It’s one of the top 3 meals I’ve ever had so this is an absolute must-visit in my book.

Overall, The Kahala has everything a relaxing Hawaiian resort should have.  I did not want to go home at all after staying here.  I mean, life is good but there’s just something about a vacation that makes everything even rosier.  5 stars Kahala… 5 stars…

You would have found me in this position often

You would have found me in this position often

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

Super excited about the view for our balcony

Super excited about the view for our balcony

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

The view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

Sunset in Oahu

Sunset on the balcony

Sunrise in Oahu

Sunrise on the balcony

Swimming Pool at the Kahala

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

There's a gorgeous wall of orchids that leeds down to the beach

There’s a gorgeous wall of orchids on the way down to the beach