We recently flew to Seattle to celebrate a very exciting graduation for my man’s sister. She graduated from Commercial Dive school! How crazy cool is that?! For the big event, I went classic chic with a knee length skirt and sweater. It was a little colder than I thought it would be so ended up wearing this faux leather jacket basically the whole day. I got a gross bug bite on the side of my toe that was really bothered by my Charlotte Olympia kitty shoes I was planning to wear so I wore my sandals all day. Even in the rain! I guess I am a California girl so we can get away with things like that… *wink wink*
After visiting the gorgeous oceans of The Great Barrier Reef we headed onto the next leg of our journey: Australia’s famed Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are a really unique phenomenon. I’m not just talking about the blue hue the mountains get from the water droplets in the atmosphere either. After only an hour and a half car ride from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, we ended up in the beautiful Eucalyptus-filled forest teeming with wildlife. We even had cockatoos come begging for seeds on the balcony of our B & B. We stayed at the Valley of the Waters Bed & Breakfast and were simply blown away. It is situated right up against the forest (I took the pic above from our balcony) and only 2 doors down from the nature reserve center which is the start of the famous nature walks.
There are tons of different hiking options, from slow and easy to full day treks. You can even visit Scenic World to take in the beauty of the Blue Mountains without having to hike at all! Just make sure you’re prepared with lots of water! It got HOT while we were out there. Overall it’s an absolutely beautiful National Park that will make you feel like you’re a million miles from the big city.
After arriving on Heron Island by seaplane, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and immediately went for a walk around the island. It’s such a tiny place you could easily do it in 20 minutes at a brisk pace. It was amazing to see absolutely no other signs of land from any point. Just in that short walk, we encountered sting rays, sharks, a couple sea turtles, and lots and lots of birds. If you’re afraid of birds even a little bit, this island would be your nightmare. The ocean views were just breathtaking! We spent a lot of time with our toes in the sand. Actually, it’s not even the type of sand we are used to on the beach! Heron Island is a coral cay. So that means the island is formed by tiny bits of crushed coral. Such an unique experience!
The next step of our adventure was to visit The Great Barrier Reef. Visiting here better be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s an amazing surreal experience. It’s absolutely incredible how up close and personal you can get with the wildlife. For example, we got up to watch the sun rise one morning to witness a little sea turtle love and saw tracks where the ladies had come to shore for a nap. Just a flat out cool experience.
I highly recommend trying to take a helicopter or seaplane out to wherever your stay takes you for another perspective of The Great Barrier Reef. As we were flying over we saw sharks, stingrays, schools of fish, and lots of sea turtles. Pretty much everything I wanted to see! The seaplane experience was really awesome too. Landing and taking off on the ocean was crazy! I’m so happy we did that. Stay tuned Wednesday for more on my Great Barrier Reef adventure.
If I have ever dreamed of paradise, this is definitely it. The Tokoriki Island Resort & Spa was hands down the most luxurious and overwhelmingly fantastic place I have ever visited. I mean, I cried while we were leaving! That has to mean something wonderful! As I sit here writing this, I literally can’t think of a single thing I would change about our time at Tokoriki.
The resort is located on Tokoriki Island, which is part of the Mamanuca group of the Fijian Islands. It was a quick helicopter ride over from Nadi (the main international airport where most people fly into). You are greeted with the Bula Song and escorted to your own private bungalow. Everyone has their own bungalow at Tokoriki Resort. The rooms were so welcoming and comfortable! If we were there longer, there would have been a lot of naps involved. We wanted to take in all we could in our short stay (3 days) so we were up and out for sunrise and took part in everything we could. One of my favorite features was the outside shower! I know it sounds silly but it’s just so beautiful in Fiji, you won’t want to spend one minute inside! Don’t worry, nobody can see you!
As an adults only resort, there’s something just extra special about being able float in the quiet that a no kids resort can offer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not overly quiet and stuffy, just a tad on the more peaceful side. You can also go a little wild if you’re feeling adventurous! They offer daily trips out to visit an authentic Fijian village, snorkeling adventures (both free and longer paid trips), and you can even be dropped off for a private island lunch! Truly, this resort is what romance was meant to look like.
Now I’m not really a huge “Let’s Get A Massage” person but something about this place made us both want to give it a try. Not to mention the prices are totally reasonable! Well, we had one of the most romantic moments ever at the Tokoriki Spa! They offer a couples massage for an ultra romantic spa experience. It was absolutely incredible! You bathe in a beautiful outside tub full of hibiscus flowers while sipping a glass of champagne. That is followed by a luxurious side-by-side massage. We were surprised how much we absolutely loved our experience at the spa. It was the perfect way to jump into vacation mode!
TIP: If you plan on having any alcohol on your stay, it’s a good idea to pick up what you’d like at the duty free shop in Nadi. Trust me, you’ll save a lot of money and it’s no problem to transport to the resort.
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!
After we left beautiful Fiji for our Australian Adventure, we embarked on a road trip from Byron Bay down to Sydney. We made several stops along the way and I will start to share those amazing places with you over a series of posts. One of our first destinations was to visit the Dorrigo National Park. The Skywalk is an absolute must-visit!! You literally walk out on a pier OVER the rainforest! It’s incredibly high up! I kept telling Tyler, “Don’t drop the camera!” because that thing would have exploded from a drop like that! The views are simply mind blowing. It feels like you can see to the other side of Australia!
From the visitor’s center, we did a hike (well more like a nice walk since the trail is really well maintained) down to Crystal Shower Falls. It has a bridge to view the falls and a trail down to walk behind it. It feels so weird to be behind a waterfall! It is a really beautiful National Park and definitely worth the windy drive. Plan a lunch or dinner in Bellingen on your way there. It’s a small town I was really surprised how much I enjoyed visiting! Keep your eyes peeled at night when their famous Flying Foxes take over the sky!