Last Day in Sydney

DSCN2223It has been so fun going through all of our photos from our stay in Australia.  I can’t believe we packed so much in!  On our last day in Sydney, we walked and explored what felt like every inch.  The Royal Botanic Gardens were really gorgeous!  I could see why so many people were there (tourists and locals alike) just relaxing on the grass.  We hunted for hours in the gardens looking for the humongous fruit bats I had seen during my last visit years ago.  No luck.  Sad!  We did get a kick out of watching the eels in the main pond though.  It was just too weird to see these long serpent creatures patrolling the edges!  So long Australia.  Until next time, I’ll be missing you.

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Hiking Australia’s Blue Mountains

DSCN1890After 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.

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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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Sunrise Over Tokoriki

DSCN0560The sunrise from the top of Tokoriki Island was hands down one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever experienced.  The orangey-pink skies were some of my favorite colors hovering over my newest favorite place.  It’s really hard to describe the beauty.  The way up there was quite a steep hike and at 5:15 am, it’s somehow even more difficult.  I almost passed up the opportunity to see this for a little extra snooze time but I’m so happy I peeled myself out of bed!  It was just the most stunning and romantic experience!

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Fiji: A View From Above

imageVisiting Fiji has always been a travel dream of mine.  I’m so excited to be able to check that one off the bucket list!  There are many ways to get from the main airport in Nadi to any of the outlying islands.  We chose helicopter because it seemed like the quickest and most fun option.  We were so lucky to be riding with another family that needed to be dropped off first at a separate island.  We felt like to got the full island tour!!

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Up In The Air

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Man, I am so not a fan of flying.  I love travel, experiencing new places and cultures, and sampling my way through new foods but I just don’t like the act of travel.  So I distract myself by taking pictures, reading magazines, and catching up on shows like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos that I’ve downloaded.  These pics are from my last flight to Washington for a bit of crabbing and 4th of July festivities.

 

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Tank: J.Crew, Skirt: Splendid, Sandals: Stuart Weitzman

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