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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Dorrigo National Park

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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!

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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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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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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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‘Tis The Season Holiday Shopping Event

I loved all these great Kiehl's gift sets!

For as long as I’ve been in San Diego, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit The University Club, a members-only club at the Symphony Towers in downtown.  So when the invitation came along for me to attend their ‘Tis The Season Shopping event, I jumped at it!  We got to sip champagne and browse vendor booths from Fashion Valley Mall.  The view of downtown from the club is beautiful.  I was there after dark but I would imagine it’s a stunning place for sunset cocktails.  It was a perfect way to get my holiday spirit sparked and get some gift ideas.  I was particularly tempted by some gorgeous Chanel sunglasses but refrained.  Can’t let the champagne do my spending!  😉

 

These boots can be worn as booties or just trap on a top piece to wear them as knee high boots!  Genius!

These boots can convert from booties to knee highs! Genius!

Ugg stand

Being silly at the Ugg booth

Being silly at the Ugg booth

How do you like my new 'do?

How do you like my new ‘do?

The view from The University Club is spectacular!

The view from The University Club is spectacular!

The top pair are the ones I'm lusting over.  There are little pearls on the top!!

The top pair are the ones I’m lusting over. There are little pearls on the top!!

I'm still swooning over these Chanel sunglasses...

I’m still swooning over these Chanel sunglasses…

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