We’re going to China! Last month I was looking up airfare to random cities (like you do) and found tickets to China that were the same price as tickets to Hawaii. Paul’s brother and his family are living outside Shanghai and we’ve been looking for an excuse to go for a while now. We bought the tickets on the spot and now I’m planning a trip (with kids!) to China. If you’ve been I would love recommendations on places to go and what parts of the country to visit. I love remote and beautiful places (even if you have to travel a little farther off the beaten path.) Any suggestions appreciated!
Hawaii is one of my favorite places to vacation. My first time was about five years ago when Paul attended a photography workshop there. To be honest, I had avoided going there before that because in my mind I thought it was going to be touristy and boring (compared to an international trip.) As we explored all the remote parts of the islands I soon realized how wrong I was. It felt exotic like an international trip and there was so many new things to discover but my cell phone still worked! We still had all the conveniences of America like everyone speaking English and not having to exchange money. Now we try to go once a year since we usually find amazing deals out of San Francisco. The pictures below are from one of my favorite experiences. After a long morning hike we went to Waimea Bay in the afternoon to lay on the beach and go swimming. I saw a bunch of people cliff jumping and decided to go. I climbed up to the top of the rock and looked around and the sun was setting and the crystal blue water was down below and the air felt warm. It was perfect! After I jumped I swam out a little in the water and realized I was swimming with a bunch of sea turtles! It was magical and one of those experiences I will never forget.
Brought to you by The Hawaiian Islands.
Photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day
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.)