This trip is a campaign in conjunction with Go Mighty, Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand. The concept was for us to choose things on our life lists that we’d always wanted to do and then we would go to Australia and make them happen, read about it here on Go Mighty!
I don’t even know where to start with this post so I guess I’ll start off with this: Australia is amazing.
We returned home two weeks ago and all the experiences from our 10 days there have been swirling around in my head. We had a really great trip and feel super lucky we got to go. We started out at San Francisco where Paul and I took an Air New Zealand flight to Sydney. Flying Air New Zealand was a treat. During one meal Paul leaned over to me in disbelief and said, “this is the first time I’ve ever eaten airline food and it tasted good.” The plane was new and state of the art. It had a huge catalogue of tv and movies and plugs for your phone and laptop. I have never flown on an airline this nice before. When I mentioned to people in Australia we had flown with Air New Zealand everyone commented that it was their favorite airline. Apparently its a thing. The long flight was surprisingly easy, that might be because I can sleep just about anywhere but it felt quicker than a trip to Europe because of the distance and time of day.
We arrived in Sydney first and after checking into the fancy Langham Hotel and wasted no time to go shopping in Surrey Hills. We knew there were other activities planned so we decided to go exploring while we had a chance. I stopped in at Gorman and wanted to buy everything there, I’ll definitely be ordering from them online. Then we went to some thrift stores and walked all the way down Crown Street stopping into all the boutiques. We finished off the day with some ice cream at Messina Gelato.
The next morning we were jet lagged and woke up really early so we took advantage and jumped in a taxi that took us all the way to the Gap to watch the sunrise. The Gap are these gorgeous cliffs that look over the Pacific ocean. That morning was one of my favorite things we did. After a little hike around we seven we saw a Kookaburra! We took a bus back into town (the ferry wasn’t running that early) and had breakfast at Bills which several people had told us about. We loved it. After breakfast we headed over to The Society Inc. to meet with Sibella Court for shopping and lunch in Balmoral. (I tell the whole store over here on Go Mighty.) It was really fun. Afterwards we checked out some of the fancy shops in Woollahra before meeting up with Maybelle Imasa for dinner at Mr. Wong.
The next day after breakfast we stopped by Bourke Street Bakery before heading toward the beach. We did the famous Bronte to Bondi walk which lived up to the hype. I just have to say that the beaches in Australia are ridiculously beautiful. The sand is white and fine and the water beautiful. (I wrote about it right here on Go Mighty.) Sydney has such a great beach culture while still balancing it out with a cosmopolitan city. We hung out at Bondi for a while and then grabbed a taxi back to the Sydney Opera House for a tour. It was really impressive (Read about the experience here.) Afterwards we grabbed lunch and then wandered over to downtown to explore some shops before crashing early.
The next morning we woke up and took a Ferry over to Manly beach. We loved being out on the harbor and being able to see everything from a different point of view. Afterwards we made it over to Rose Bay where we took a Seaplane ride (see here, it was amazing.) We went up to the northern beaches and ate lunch at Jonah’s. It was a really cool experience. We stopped by the Mud store because I really wanted to see it in person, I even got a few pieces to start a collection. It was about 3pm and we knew it was our last few hours in Sydney. We both agreed we wanted more beach time so we headed back to Bondi for a few more hours in the sun.
Saturday morning we headed to the airport for a quick flight to Melbourne. We arrived at our hotel called The Cullen. It was an art series hotel that was beautiful and modern. I had heard a lot about the shops and artists in Melbourne so I was excited to check them out. (See my post on Go Mighty about it here.) After shopping we had a beautiful evening at a rooftop bar called Naked for Satan. It was really fun just hanging out overlooking the city.
The next morning we got up early to go Hot Air Ballooning over Melbourne. I loved it! We got back and spent some time preparing for the party the next day at West Elm (I’ll talk about this in another post.) We fit in a trip to the famous Chapel Street Bazaar (it was like a giant antique store) and another afternoon in Fitzroy with Amy before we bid farewell to Australia and caught our Air New Zealand flight back to San Francisco.
Years ago, when Paul and I met, we made a list of places we wanted to travel to. Number 2 on that list was Australia. (The first was France, and we ended up moving there.) I had started noticing all the amazing designers and brands coming out of Australia and I realized there was something cool going on down there and I wanted to see more of it. So I was over the moon when my friends at Go Mighty said that they were putting together a really cool project with Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand. I feel super lucky to be going with 10 other bloggers to Australia where we are going to check some things off our life lists and share our experiences over at Go Mighty.
I’ve never been to Australia and have just started to do some research. Do you have any places you recommend in Sydney and Melbourne? Especially great places to eat and places to shop. When I travel I like to go to party supply shops and office supply shops, sometimes the practical stuff is the prettiest without even trying. Also, my 15 year old self is very interested in making out with Jim from The Man from Snowy River. How do we make that life list goal happen?
A huge thanks to Tourism Australia, Air New Zealand and Go Mighty for making this adventure possible. If a trip Down Under is a dream you’ve had, please be sure to check out the Tourism Australia site for all sorts of information about Australia; in addition, Tourism Australia, Air New Zealand and Go Mighty are running two additional campaigns to help make your dream come true in 2014: the first, Fill-A-Plane, where you can sign up to be one of 322 people to get a special discount on air travel for folks who take the pledge to travel to Australia next year; the second, “Win a Wild Card ticket to Australia,” for a chance to win a trip to Australia, by simply becoming a member of Go Mighty and adding your wildest Australia-based dreams. You can check out all the details here.
Photo of Bondi Beach by Mark Allen
This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai.
Last weekend we had an epic trip to Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I wanted to share some of our pictures today. If you’ve never heard of it is this really special canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation where there are the most amazing sets of waterfalls with beautiful crystal blue water. It is a green and lush oasis in the middle of a hot and dry desert. It is one of the places where it actually lives up to the amazing pictures you see. I have been before but not since I was a teenager and I couldn’t remember a lot of the logistics for getting down there. Originally we had planned to go for a longer time and bring our kids but at the last minute we opted for a shorter trip and left the kids home with a babysitter. I’m glad we did only because I’ll be able to plan the trip where we bring kids a little better. The most amazing thing about Havasupai is… (click through for full post.)
San Francisco has so many really great urban hikes around the city. I’ve lived here almost 10 years and I’m still discovering ones I’ve never been to. Brita asked me to put together my favorite hikes in the city and test out their new water bottles, I was happy to. The Brita Water bottle has a filter in the bottle, which comes in super handy when you are stuck with a less-than-ideal water source. San Francisco is my favorite place in the world and even if you are visiting I recommend mixing one of these little hikes in with all the regular tourist sites. They all take less than an hour and have great sweeping views.
1. Historic Trail. This trail is great because it makes me feel like I’m not smack dab in the middle of a city. It goes through a really nice wilderness area and ends up near Sutro Tower. The trailhead starts at Stanyan and 17th and is just a set of wooden stairs tucked in between two houses on the street.
See more after the jump.
We scored a hard-to-get reservation to Havasupai next week. If you haven’t heard of it, Havasupai Falls are these huge beautiful sets of waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on an Indian Reservation. We used to go in high school and college a lot and it is amazing. You go for 4 or 5 days, camp, hike, swim in the clear blue pools and go cliff jumping. It is like a little hidden oasis in the middle of the hot desert. The only catch is it is a little tricky to get there. You can backpack the 12 miles in (the start point is a five hour drive from Las Vegas or Phoenix) or they have a helicopter service that flies in and out every few days. Once you get there the campgrounds are really affordable but you usually have to call in February to book them. We miraculously got some last month after a someone else cancelled theirs. I’ve been planning my packing list which includes a swimsuit and sunscreen (That’s all I need, right?) Here are some of the items I’ve been browsing from Target. I can’t wait to jump into those crystal blue pools! Have you ever been to Havasupai?
Havasupai Photo by Bryan Brazil