HOW TO: Coachella for over 30’s

Never been to Coachella before and worried that they don’t admit access to anyone over age 25? Are you plagued with crippling doubts that you aren’t tanned enough or won’t be allowed entry due to unwillingness to glitter and publicly display the parts of your anatomy generally covered by clothing or at very least swimwear?

These are valid concerns. However, never fear. You can do this, and more importantly, you absolutely should!!! Here are a couple of tips to help.

First thing: tickets!

Standard tickets sell out about 15 seconds after they go on sale. But never fear- this doesn’t need to stop you! There is a way! If you want to camp and buy standard entry tickets you can keep an eye on the threads on the Coachella Valley Music Travel website for info. If you’re buying a hotel package, your tickets are included so you’re all set!

To camp, or to camp at the Hilton?

A lot of the articles I read when I was planning our trip had a lot of commentary suggesting that if you don’t camp at Coachella, you are skipping a rite of passage, or even cheating to a certain extent. I do get that perspective (it is really great to experience a festival that way), however I think if aren’t based in the US and potentially attending Coachella at all is a once in a lifetime kind of a thing, you should probably get extra credit for being there at all…well that was my logic anyway.

For us, travelling internationally to get there and having serious valuables with us, camping just wasn’t an option, so we did the next closest thing and shared a room at the Hilton Palm Springs.

I would highly recommend it (the Hilton I mean, although room sharing was pretty fun too!).  With all that dust, a high pressure shower is a very valuable asset. Also, the desert heat means pool access is a major plus! The pool party at the Hilton was also great, and had some really handy freebies (for example people that would braid and glitter your hair). Having said that, I’m sure any of the hotels would be great as a home base to freshen up.

Getting to Palm Springs

Head out the day before to avoid all of the traffic drama. I can highly recommend renting a car and spending a night before Coachella kicks off either around Joshua Tree National Park area or in Palm Springs itself, it is great to have a home base the night before to not feel rushed on the first day of Coachella.

Joshua Tree is a really beautiful place to visit, with lots of art, vintage stores, beautiful hikes in the national parks and importantly, excellent local bars worth checking out! There are some great air bnb options in the Joshua Tree area, and the Palm Springs/Indio area has plenty of hotels also.

The hotels only let you check in at 4pm, by which time you probably want to be in the gates on Day 1. So having a place in the morning to actually get ready properly means that even if you are switching hotel as long as you have what you need at the top of your bag for when you roll into the hotel after Coachella day 1, you are sorted. Screwing around and getting ready in a public hotel restroom or out the side of your rental car seems like it would be painful.

Plan your strategy for seeing as many acts as you can

Seeing as the lineup is out, you’ll already know who you really want to see. One of the best tips I saw was to put people in categories to help you prioritise, because you’re probably going to have a clash somewhere across the 3 days where 2 acts you want to see will be on at the same time.

TIP: It gets HOT in the sun (think 40 degrees celsius) and you could be standing in it for quite a while!

Just leaving this here, because, well, Beychella. Clearly I was too busy having the time of my life to nail photography in this moment, my bad.

A couple of other tips……

*Book a locker as early as possible, it’s worth it to have a stash of stuff on site (sunscreen, warm clothes for when the temperature drops inexplicably at night to below 10 degrees Celsius etc)

*Have a bag with you that won’t interfere with dancing but that will still be secure (think bumbag, backpack or crossbody bag) for emergency supplies of water & Hydralyte, sunscreen, snacks, money, etc.

*The Coachella app – download it asap, it will keep you updated and has helpful info for planning your schedule

*Don’t rely on having phone reception. Make plans to meet friends at specific times and places. And have a backup. Maybe 2.

*Clothes. Whatever you decide to wear, just make sure it’s comfortable to walk 20 kilometres in and dance for 10 hours, because both of those are likely. Coachella is definitely an anything goes environment, so embrace it! It’s not a judgement zone so dress to have fun, be comfortable and of course dance

*Get the shuttle pass. Basically, pay for anything that means you don’t have to use your brain. You’ve been working for long enough to afford it. Hand over your money. Just do it. If you’re booking a hotel package this will be included anyway.

*Recovery Day – Don’t be crazy. Extend your stay in Palm Springs (or wherever you decide to stay) for a day to a) dodge the crowd leaving town b) not have to check out when your body will be feeling like you have run seven marathons c) actually get to enjoy the area!

A couple of articles I found really helpful are below (and a shoutout to their authors for the tips!):

50 pro tips

Coachella Field Guide

Travel Grom’s Coachella tips & tricks

And this thread in particular on the Coachella forum had so much information to make the list making nerd inside me very very happy!!

We came, We Coachella’d, We conquered!


Why Mexico is the new black

Hearing about Mexico a lot lately? Seeing posts about Tulum all over Instagram and wondering a) how the hell you pronounce it and b) how can a place look so perfect? Can’t figure out why all of a sudden Mexico is where everyone seems to have either just returned from or planning to go?

If you are looking for a fresh destination with plenty of opportunities to explore, and just as many options to kick back and relax, you would be unwise to overlook Mexico as a consideration.

There are so many reasons that Mexico is the new black, and here are a few of them to get you seriously ready to book your flight.


These incredible sinkholes are probably the most pure and perfect water holes you are likely to see. There are (probably) hundreds of them across this area of Mexico, and many are available for tourists to visit for a swim, There are many famous cenotes throughout Quintana Roo, and many lesser known ones. I was lucky to swim, paddle and snorkel in quite a few of them!

Ik Kil – lots of people go here as it is close to Chichen Itza (see below) but it is stunning to see and has a great jumping platform.

Ik Kil

Ik Kil Cenote

Casa Cenote was a tip from a local, and I am really glad we checked it out! It even has it’s own resident crocodile (which, as an Aussie, I felt quite alarmed about, although I was assured it is harmless due to it’s relative youth and will be relocated once it is a threat).

Kantun-Chi – This Ecopark has 5 cenotes, each of which are all different, as well as an underground river cave which is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Absolutely stunning!


This town is about 2 hours south of Cancun, and is a magical combination of high end hippy vibes, ancient Mayan culture and ruins, and some of the most incredible culinary options in stunning locations. We spent a day here, with margaritas and tacos on the beach watching the kite surfers, and I was very sad we didn’t have a full week to enjoy it.


There are 3 islands that should be on your radar if you are travelling to Quintana Roo region. Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel are all incredibly beautiful, and all great options to stay a few days at.

Cozumel is where a lot of cruise ships stop off (check out my post on that topic), and has plenty of activities to do. It is the biggest island but having said that, you can easily get around it in a day with a few beach and bar visits scattered in between.

Isla Mujeres (pictured below), just a short hop on a ferry from Cancun, is a cacophony of colour and energy, an easy day trip from the main land for a quick visit.

Isla Holbox is about 2 hours drive plus a boat trip from Playa Del Carmen, or less from Cancun, and is the more relaxed and less touristy of the islands – ideal for really disconnecting. And, bonus, they have flamingos! I didn’t make it to this island, but all the more reason to head back there ASAP.


For those interested in the cultural history, the ancient ruins in Mexico are a dream. One of the 7 wonders of the world is Chichen Itza, about 2 hours drive from Playa Del Carmen. But the history of Mexico is always evident with ruins scattered throughout the region. My personal favourite was the beachside ruins in Tulum, absolutely breathtaking.



Nachos. Tacos. Burritos. Margaritas. Beer and cocktails so cheap you will go home blatantly offended at the prices you are used to paying. But so tasty you will be swinging between wanting to cry with happiness, wanting to move to Mexico, and feeling genuinely perplexed as to why people outside of Mexico can just never really pull off Mexican food this well. I have yet to make chicken tacos taste half as good (why?! It’s just corn chips and like 5 other ingredients! What magic beans are they using?!).

Side Note: Safety

A lot of people ask me about the safety issues in Mexico. I have never ever felt unsafe in Mexico at all. Having said that, I recommend researching the area you are travelling to in order to feel really comfortable. We spent a week driving around Quintana Roo, and having a few tricks up our sleeve and reading safety tips helped us feel really prepared and in control from a safety perspective (insert some links). As always, plan and travel smart.

Whilst this post focuses on theQuintana Roo area (so, flying into Cancun), the west side of Mexico is equally as beautiful, with Cabo San Lucas being another incredible destination to check out.

So, if you are still reading this and haven’t already started looking up flight costs, well, what are you waiting for?!

TRAVEL: Planning a 4+ week holiday

There are different schools of thought on the ideal vacation length. But depressingly, the average American vacation is just 4 days. Some research says 8 days is a good number, others 10 days. My personal opinion is that I need a minimum of 3 weeks on a vacation.

Here’s why:

  • it takes a week to unwind all your work related stress, and thinking about work, obsessing about work, and shaking your compulsion to check your email every 12 seconds as a reflex
  • The week before you go back to work your brain is subconsciously back into work mode
  • Therefore you need 3 weeks off to get just 1 week of actual switched off proper relaxation vacation time

We often go on longer trips, on average 4-5 weeks, but our longest has been a touch over 6 weeks. This kind of trip presents a few unusual challenges, particularly if you are crossing climate zones.

Why go longer?

Particularly if you live somewhere fairly isolated (i.e. Australia) getting to where you want to go is a massive effort in itself. Think about approximately 20 hours of commuting (minimum) just to North America, and then there is the associated jet lag. So I figure hey, if you’re going to all of that effort you might as well get as much bang for your buck as you can!

Taking a longer holiday gives you the opportunity to see more places, and ultimately tick more off your bucket list (although this does need to be balanced with not feeling like you are packing and unpacking every couple of days which gets annoying).

Itinerary tips

After doing a few of these longer trips, my partner and I have come up with a few approaches that help us maximise our holidays, both from a relaxation and adventure perspective. I think of this as the ‘big rocks, small rocks, pebbles’ approach (which is actually a productivity/time management approach designed by Steven Covey that applies equally well to holiday planning!).

Big Rocks

I don’t mean a literal big rock (although I am sure there are many worth seeing!). What I mean by this is to pick your ‘must do’ places, and decide how long you want to spend in each of those spots. These are your ‘big rocks’. For example, you might have skiing in Park City, Utah as a ‘must do’, and then visit Las Vegas because it is conveniently located and you have the time to spare in between your next ‘big rock’ (so Las Vegas becomes the ‘small rock’ or ‘pebble’). The overnight in LA on the way out of the country is the grain of sand that sits between the cracks of the big rocks and the pebbles, but they have their place!

Some of the great travel experiences I have had have been the pebble pieces of holidays. A boat trip in Turkey, and the cruise we took around the Caribbean are two of my favourites that come to mind – both were kind of ‘fillers’ in our trip and we had pretty low expectations of them, so when they turned out to be fantastic it made our holiday even more amazing than we had expected! Both of these are lifetime memories for me, and to think they were a happy accident because we wanted to do something close by. For me, this is the reason not to sit in one place for weeks on end in a holiday, because your next favourite place might be just around the corner.

Having said that, for big trips like this I would suggest a 5 day minimum in each location. Unless it is a ‘grain of sand’ aka a layover and you really just need it as a bed for the night in transit, moving around too often means you don’t get to experience and enjoy the local culture. It is a fine line to walk but 5 days in one place is usually a good length of time. We have done 3 nights in each place on a really jam packed trip, but as amazing as the places you are in, sometimes having a day of rest and not feeling like you should be sightseeing or exploring is nice. However if you are booking a busy trip, a tip that we have used is planning a couple of points in the trip where you stay in a nice hotel for 2 nights and DON’T MOVE! Unless it’s to go to the pool bar…. which is what we did for the last 2 nights of a massive trip on the go, we parked ourselves in a hotel in the Greek Island of Kos. Didn’t see the island at all in that trip, just the hotel, because we needed the break! (#firstworldproblems…..)

Packing for different climates

“How the firetruck do you pack for a 6 week holiday across multiple climates??!!!!!” I hear you ask. Well, the answer can be simple enough if there are 2 of you travelling and you are happy sharing luggage.

For our long haul trips across summer and snow, we tend to pack one summer bag and one winter bag. That way we only need to have one ‘active bag’ no matter where we are, and the other can be stored somewhere out of the way. Of course there are some items that need to be used in all climates (i.e. toiletries) so you just make sure you have allowed for that in your packing. Packing for the snow has it’s own set of challenges – so I suggest you check out my guest blog on Wood & Luxe on that very topic.

Example itineraries:

A couple of examples of itineraries we have done from Australia are below, all between 4-6 weeks and most involving skiing/snowboarding:

  • Paris/Stockholm/Italian Alps/French Alps/Geneva (winter)
  • Barcelona/Pisa/Cinque Terre/Rome/Amalfi Coast/Turkey/Greek Islands (summer)
  • New York/Florida/Caribbean/New Orleans/Vail/Utah (winter/summer combo)

And our next itinerary is this one, which I am VERY excited about!:

  • Lake Tahoe/Park City/Las Vegas (NYE)/ Panama/San Blas Islands/Quintana Roo, MX

Planning a holiday is a bit like playing Tetris, and I personally love planning a trip as it makes the holiday anticipation even better!

If you have any itinerary questions, drop me a line!

Here’s why you need to know about Nusa Lembongan!

Bali? All over it. Seminyak, Ubud, Kuta, Uluwatu, check, check, check. But wait….

This is the island in Bali you may never have heard of, but let me warn you, once you go, the only thing you can think about is planning your next trip back.


Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan is the place where you can find all the beauty and serenity of Bali, without the crowds  and busy-ness of the more popular tourist areas. With plenty of adventure options for those wanting to explore, and plenty of relaxation options for those wanting to relax, there is truly something for everyone here.


What to do:

Nusa Lembongan has stunning beaches, incredible snorkelling and some beautiful vantage points just a quick scooter ride from anywhere on the island. Scooters can be rented from about $7AUD per day and are easily available. This is a great way to see the island and get around at your own pace. It is worth noting that a lot of the resorts and high end restaurants also offer a pick up service – drink driving on a scooter doesn’t end well!



For those really looking to get the adrenalin racing, cliff jumping at Mahana point is hard to beat. For a very cheap entry (about $1AUD) you can choose the high or low jumping point, and there is a ladder to swim around and climb up to back up to the top for your next jump!

For the ultimate nature experience, swimming with Manta Rays was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Their curiosity and serenity is simply breathtaking.

These beautiful creatures engage with you on their own terms, as the boat takes you to an area near a cleaning station, and you are free to jump out of the boat with your snorkelling gear on. From then, it is usually just a matter of time before you encounter a curious Manta who will swim past gracefully to check you out! Many people find this idea scary or intimidating, however the rays are very gentle and swim quite slowly, and not one time did I feel any fear at all.

We hired a boat from about $60 AUD off the beach, and for 4 adults and 2 kids, we got 3 hours of snorkelling and swimming with Mantas. Not $60 per person – $60 total!!! Tip: the tides can be strong so flippers are advised, although your boat driver will follow the group as the tide moves.

Food & Drink:

It’s very hard to go past The Deck, at Batu Karang resort.


The Deck, Nusa Lembongan

For breakfast, lunch, and sunset drinks, I just had to keep coming back here. The great thing is there are fresh and healthy options as well as things that will satisfy those looking for a treat. Topped off by great coffee, this place is the full package.

At the right time of year the Sunday sessions crank with DJs brought over from the mainland to get the party going.

There are a huge range of Balinese warungs around the island for cheap local food. A highly recommended spot with a great view across to Nusa Ceningan is Warung Putu, with a traditional range of food options, and it is very wallet friendly at about $1-2 AUD per meal!

There are plenty of bars with beautiful views, no doubt! You will be absolutely spoiled for choice. But for something just a little different, check out The Howff, which is an underground Scotch bar on the water, with no external signage, and is the best kind of secret to find out about. With snacks available to complement their quite incredible cocktail list, you will be happy you stopped by to check out this bar that is very far from the Bali norm.

Where to stay:

For luxury, you can’t go past Batu Karang Lembongan – quite seriously, this resort is heaven. With various room types available, all with their own certain charm to make to make you fall in love. The massage packages here are lovely, whilst not the cheapest on the island they were really wonderful.

Having stayed here a couple of times, the challenge is deciding my favourite room highlight – having an outdoor bath in the Superior 1 bedroom villa – or drinks on the balcony from the Villa Mt Agung at sunset? Take me back….


For mid range, check out the newly opened Playgrounds Wave Lodge. With a view that equals that of the luxury resorts on the island, and overlooking several incredible surf breaks (including the famous ‘Playgrounds’ break for which the lodge is named, this 6 room boutique hotel is designed for a quick surf check from your clean and convenient hotel. With a great deck restaurant (The Thai Pantry) with an obviously Thai influence for lunch and dinner menus and a Western breakfast. With rooftop yoga specials as part of the offering, this is the perfect place for couples or families to stay!!!

For budget accommodation, check out Le Pirate over the bridge on Nusa Ceningan. They have small but adorable rooms (aka Beach Boxes), with hammocks out the front, a cute pool area and a restaurant with lots of options.

Getting there

Nusa Lembongan is a great place for couples or families to visit. A quick 30 minute fast boat trip from Sanur beach on the mainland (I use Rocky Fast Cruise) for $50USD return trip, these boats are fine for kids, although I suggest wearing clothes you don’t mind getting wet, because you are wading in the shallow water to get in and out of the boat.

I hope these tips have motivated you to check out this slice of heaven! Enjoy!!


Review: A Royal Caribbean cruise

Although having travelled extensively, going on cruises haven’t previously been my ‘Go To’ method of exploring an area, mostly because I like to really experience a culture hands on and for me that includes waking up in it, walking around it all day, and eating and breathing whatever local area I am in to really get a good feel for it.

Recently, myself and my partner had an itinerary gap of about a week in a 3 week trip. We had very clear requirements of weeks 2 and 3 (attend a wedding in New York City and then coastline drive from San Francisco back to LA before flying home from there).

However, Week 1 was a bit of a loose end for us. So we were workshopping a whole variety of ideas. We wanted to do a sailing trip or a kitesurfing trip (learning to sail is one of our current projects) but sadly, the winds were low at that time of year. We threw around Miami as an option, but having been there recently and it being a very similar place to our home town, it didn’t seem too logical. We had pretty much ticked off the mainland places we wanted to in South West USA, so were heavily focused on water based options. We considered the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Virgin Islands… but we didn’t want to lose massive amounts of time in transit either. This was probably the first time that we didn’t have a really clear place that we wanted to go, and so we decided to have a look at the options Royal Caribbean Cruises had to offer.

We decided to use it as an opportunity to check out a few places that hadn’t been on our radar to visit, as a bit of a test and learn experience. So we could drop in for the day, have a look around and work out if it is an area we would want to go back to for a longer time.

I had previously considered cruises a bit sterile, somewhat limited in terms of the genuine opportunity they give to feel the culture of where you are going due to the industry that is set up around them. I remember being on the Isle of Capri and having a boat load of cruise guests descend upon the island. Quaint streets filled with locals turned into the loud cacophony of tourists working out how much they could fit in before their 4pm boarding time. I shudder at the memory.

I remember wondering at the time how genuinely are you really seeing a place when 2000 of the people in it have just got off the same boat as you? And when there are a 100 local vendors in your face as soon as you step off the boat? So this was the question that I was looking to answer, and to understand what impact that did have on our experience of a place. When I visit somewhere, making a genuine contribution to the local economy in a manner as sustainable as I can manage is important to me and I wanted to test if this was achievable as well.

We chose the 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise departing from Orlando, with ports at Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico and George Town, Grand Cayman. None of those locations had been on my radar to visit, and at each location we had the day to explore. We had options to pre-organise day trips at each location (referred to as Royal Caribbean Shore Excursions), you could get off the boat and organise your own DIY adventure, or you could remain on the boat.

Our adventures in port included swimming with stingrays & snorkelling in Grand Cayman (arranged via Royal Caribbean), hiring a jeep in Cozumel and doing our own road trip, going on a dune buggy adventure in Puerto Costo Maya (organised in port), and renting a scooter in Roatan where we went on an adventure to see local towns and communities, and did some snorkelling at a local beach and ate fresh seafood while drinking rum punch.

Each of these were really great and particularly the ones where we went our own way we are able to get a bit more of the local flavour, and we had a much stronger sense of the local vibe doing things this way. Doing 2 arranged trips and 2 of our own gave us a nice blend of all of the options. We did particularly enjoy when we were driving ourselves around to be able to pull in and stop anywhere we felt like – the downside to this was taking it easy on the local beers! And there is something to be said for not really having to think too much on a holiday which is where the arranged trips can come in handy also.

Overall, we would happily take a Royal Caribbean cruise again. I think it is great for people who may not have particular places they want to see but just want to visit new places, great for big groups travelling together, and is very genuinely something that people of all ages can make work for them.

Highlights of a cruise:

•Great way to get a taste test of a place – do you enjoy it enough to go back?

•Variety of food options. Seriously, there was a lot of food. Plenty of options and great quality (especially considering the number of people they are cooking for)!

•Plenty of entertainment for the big kids (bars, gyms, rock climbing, FlowRider stand up surfing, nighttime shows, nightclubs, on deck dance parties).

•Entertainment for the actual kids (organised activities, movies, ice skating, etc, depending on your ship). To be clear, we weren’t travelling with kids so I didn’t pay this element a lot of attention but I could see that the kids around us were having a pretty great time!

•A real variety of non sporting/physical options on board – both free and paid. Everything from poker to cocktail making, shopping to trivia, there was absolutely something for everyone.

•Hotel on a ship – the convenience of waking up in a new location without having to pack and unpack was a huge bonus! To be able to look out your window in the morning and be pulling up to a new destination was pretty great.

The Not So Great parts:

•Sea sickness – ocean sailing is not for everyone. If you suffer from this or think you may, pack some sea sickness tablets.

•By the end of the week you tend to see the same people everywhere…. and they may not be the people you want to see!

•There is no getting around the fact that a large cruise ship is going to have thousands of other people on it, which, naturally has it’s drawbacks. The workaround here is all in the scheduling. Work out the things you want to do the most, and get there early enough to make sure you don’t miss it.


Two beautiful ladies docked together – Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas & Liberty of the Seas

4 Aussie Weekend Getaway ideas you may not have considered yet…

When I am planning a weekend getaway with my very favourite person, there are a few things that I always look for. Active options are a big requirement, but we also like to have plenty of opportunities to relax.… And we are lucky in Australia to have so many great options. The Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sunshine Coast, and Hamilton Island are all favourites for a lot of people. But we have so many other lesser known spots that are also worth a visit. So I have put together a couple of our favourite weekend spots to visit with the perfect mix of romantic setting, but with plenty of scope for adventure to go with it!

Fraser Island

We visited Fraser Island for a weekend last year, and were absolutely blown away. It had always been one of those places that international visitors seemed to talk about but no one I really knew had been there, or if they had, didn’t seem to say much about it. But when we got there, wow.

For our first visit to the island, we opted to stay at Kingfisher Bay resort, which is the only resort/hotel on the island. The Seabelle Restaurant is a must do here – think indigenous bush tucker cuisine. Absolutely incredible, my mouth is watering just remembering how happy my tastebuds were that night. There are also cabin and camping options on the other side of the island but for our first trip we wanted to keep things simple. The hotel is based right on the beach, and watching the sunset at the aptly named Sunset Bar at the jetty is another must do. Truly magic!

We chose to take the Beauty Spots 4WD tour  of the island which gave us a really good overview of the island, and got to see a lot of the absolutely stunning scenery without needing to do the hard driving ourselves. A great way to get a taste for the sights of Fraser Island, but it is definitely a bumpy trip!! Eli Creek was one of my favourites. Such a sweet peaceful little spot and if you go right upstream you feel like you never have to go back to the real world….

An added option at 75 Mile Beach (and worth every cent!!!) is the Air Fraser Island scenic  flight. It was such an incredible way to see the island and we were lucky enough to see a whale from the air. The planes are quite small which means that every one has a window seat and is getting an amazing view at all times.


  • Depending on where you are coming from, it may need 2 flights (connecting via Brisbane into Hervey Bay (which may mean it may be more of a long weekend…not necessarily a bad thing). Most people get across the island via ferry from River heads.
  • Depending of the time of the year, you may need to watch out for dingos. Apparently, if you stay facing them, you will be ok. But if you show them your butt, they will eat it like toast. And your butt will be sore.
  • Apart from that….nothing….unless you are a terrible person that hates nature and the wondrous beauty of the world 🙂

Kakadu, NT

This one was a happy accident for us. On the back of a Darwin work trip, we decided to see what the NT had to offer. And boy, were we happy that we did. We had 2 days only so this was a super quick trip for us. I flew in at about 11pm on a Friday night, we stayed atOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA an airport motel and got going first thing Saturday morning. We knew what we wanted to check out and had a drive plan to get there, and only tweaked this based on some local advice. FYI, the invaluable advice was to visit Maguk Gorge instead of the more popular and well known options. This place was heaven and we did not regret it! If you are after an adventure that is (literally) off the beaten track, and an amazing adventure that few people (even us Aussies) will actually do in their lifetime. For more info, check out my guest post over at Wood & Luxe 48 Hours in Kakadu for all the details.



  • Yellow River cruise. We did this at sunrise (pictured above). There are no words. This is not an optional tour. if you come to Kakadu and do not see this area, you have not really been to Kakadu.
  • Maguk Gorge
  • Ubirr rock – a great spot to visit at sunset if you can manage it
  • The Spectacular Jumping Crocodile river tour (fairly self explanatory! Further info at



  • Get ready to drop some dollars…. when a pad thai costs $25 you know shit is getting real. The reality is that this place is remote. So therefore it costs money to get resources there, and as the end consumer you will end up paying this price. Which, i should add, I consider for the most part to be worth it (although TBH the pad thai was only ok. Side note, it definitely feels odd to be in an outback restaurant in Kakadu where the only menu options are Thai. What, no kangaroo?) But in general, NT is not the cheapest place.
  • You need to be prepared to hit the road. Too see the good stuff, you need to be happy driving. We rented a sweet FJ cruiser so we were all set and had an epic time – so much so that i wanted to take it home (this seems to be a common issue for me when renting large 4WD vehicles).
  • A lot of roads can only be accessed by 4WD. So if you are self driving, keep this in mind.
  • Consider Litchfield National Park if you aren’t keen to venture quite that far. By all accounts it is amazing.


Picture this…a stunning hinterland view cottage. Local markets, cute towns everywhere, beautiful hikes everywhere. See them, or stay in your cute house and don’t see anything else. Heaven either way.

There is something mystical and magical about this area. It is ethereal somehow, particularly in winter where you see the fog rise up through the rolling hills and somehow feel like you are in a fake land that isn’t really part of this world but somehow is only an hour or so outside of Brisbane.


  • If going for option B (to stay in for the weekend), plan ahead visit a supermarket first as you would be unlikely to be in walking distance from a store unless you are right in town


I consider this a NSW version of Maleny, although being seaside makes the scenery quite different. A quieter pace than some the options above, but still enough to give you options if you feel like exploring the area.

KiamaI have included a few of my favourite things about the area in my previous post about Kiama so check it out if you haven’t already.


  • Crooked River Winery – a truly spectacular view with beautiful food and wine to enjoy it with!
  • Kiama Blowhole and the surrounding walks


  • Approximately a 2 hour drive south of Sydney

Enjoy! And as always, feel free to contact me for any questions you might have!

Product Review: DriPro Waterproof iPhone 6 case

Sometimes you come across one of those rare products that you are just so relieved to have in your life. I was lucky enough to have this experience recently with the DriPro iPhone 6 waterproof case.

I was given a DriPro iPhone 6 Waterproof case for Christmas (thanks Mum), and wow, talk about the gift that keeps on giving. We were about to embark on a self sailing catamaran trip around the Whitsunday Islands, so the thought behind the gift was that it would be handy for the boat, being around the water, etc for when it got wet.

And it undoubtedly was. Being waterproof up to 10 metres, that was absolutely a huge benefit. But there were 2 very pleasant surprises for me that I hadn’t expected that made this product an absolute winner. Maybe my expectations were fairly low, but all I was really needing from the DriPro case was protection from the water. I didn’t realise the other awesome positives about the case.

First pleasant surprise was the sand & wind protection. As demonstrated in the below photos, the day we were at Whitehaven Beach was incredibly windy. Perfect for us, because my partner is a kite surfer (which needs a reasonably strong wind). As any kite surfer or partner of a kite surfer, the wind is pretty much a pain for all other things while on the beach. For example, getting gritty sand in your iPhone nooks and crannies (that never ever ever seems to come out) while you are getting your sunscreen out of your bag is business as  usual. Likewise, trying to set a towel down flat on the beach, only to either get blown all over the place or ends up covered in sand anyway (again, demonstrated in the below photos!). But with all this wind created chaos, and silica sand literally EVERYWHERE in every piece of everything we brought to the beach, the one place the silica sand did not breach, happily, was the DriPro case. Leaving my iPhone happily sand free!



As you can see, some SERIOUS sand action going on here.







The second thing I really wasn’t expecting from this product was how decent the photo quality would be through the case. In my mind, any pictures I took on the iPhone with the wind whipping at me were likely to be garbage anyway, but actually once we got back to dry land (well, our boat, at least), I was really happy with the photos, even through the plastic case (example below).



Another benefit was that we could take it anywhere. We trekked for an hour in steamy humid tropical QLD conditions – I would estimate 35 degrees Celsius by 7am kind of weather. And when we got to the top, the trek was worth it!! To be honest, the below photo was taken out of the case. But it does demonstrate that it was a decent hike up that mountain, and if I didn’t have the phone in the Dri Pro, it would have been all sweaty and feral in a pocket somewhere, or tucked into workout gear collecting germs (ew). Instead, I used the velcro arm band and strapped it on for the walk. Happy Days!!


Anyway, this isn’t a sponsored post. I just like to share things that work for me on my adventures, and this one definitely did. I should also throw a mention to Queensland Yacht Charters for the catamaran that got us to the incredibly windy Whitehaven Beach to put this product to the test!! (Also, sadly, not sponsored, haha).

We go on as many kite surfing holidays as we can, and this bad boy will be coming with us on all future adventures! Thanks DriPro!!


A day out in #NYC for under $50

New York has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities to spend time in. And it absolutely can be. But on my last visit, I set a challenge to survive New York for a day at minimal cost. And actually, it was a really fun day! Here is a snapshot of how the day went and my tips on what to wear and take with you.

To kick start the day, coffee and a bagel are required (because, New York). Head to your nearest deli (and there plenty of these in NYC to choose from). With a variety of options, breakfast is doable for between $5-10 depending on your appetite and if you drink coffee. While you are at this deli, buy a large bottle of water and grab something you can take with you for lunch (and a piece of fruit or healthy snack to keep you going). Snacks, water and a sandwich should set you back $12-15.

After you are all set from the deli, it’s time to get going! The best way to really take in New York’s amazing variety of sights, sounds and smells is on foot, so get walking. Where are you walking? Towards Central Park! Depending on where you are staying, this could take quite a while. For me, it was about 20 or so blocks. I walked at a very leisurely pace, stopping whenever I felt like it to check out anything that took my fancy.


Despite it’s expensive reputation, there are plenty of free things in NYC to admire that don’t cost a cent. A couple of my favourite suggested detours (again, depending on the direction you are coming fromlove) would be Grand Central Station (to re-enact the opening scene of Gossip Girl, of course), and the LOVE sculpture on the corner of 6th ave & 55th st.

Once you make it to Central Park, you can head to one of the NYC Citi Bikes stations and get set up for a full day bike hire for just $12. The catch is you can use the bikes for 30 minutes at a time. (Another option if you don’t like the idea of walking all the way to Central Park is hiring a Citi Bike closer to your accommodation and riding to the park instead of walking).This works really well for checking out Central Park because it is such a large area that walking around the whole thing would really take a long time. So if you have a bit of a plan of the parts of the park you want to check out, you just ride your Citi Bike to the nearest bike station, and then park it and have a walk around. When you are ready to check out the next spot, you head back to the bike station and grab another bike.

There are so many stunning spots to set yourself up for an impromptu picnic lunch, and by now you will have well and truly earned it! And if you have really planned ahead, having a bottle of wine and some plastic cups would add the extra touch! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now the day is yours to explore Central Park on your bike at a leisurely pace, taking your time wherever you like. There is no schedule here and you have nowhere to be apart from exactly where you are, enjoying this magnificent piece of nature in the middle of this magnificent city. There are often free events on in the park which you may enjoy also. For movie & TV buffs, there are free walking tours available to show you the sights from famous movies and TV shows such as the Central Park Movie and TV Tour which can be done as a self guided tour.

Once you have had your fill of Central Park, either ride or walk on down to Times Square. Whilst plenty of money can be spent here, it is one of the best places in the world for people watching, which is totally free! For dinner, you can find a slice of pizza or something similar for about $5 to enjoy as you take in all the bright lights.

What to wear: Something that you are comfortable walking and bike riding in. Weather dependent, but on warmer days this may be comfortable shorts and a tank top, and in cooler weather perhaps jeans, a shirt, and a jacket if needed. In the middle of winter you will need to layer up and definitely take a scarf and gloves! Flat shoes only for this day trip – no heels will survive ladies!

What you will need: Water, a hat, sunscreen, and your wallet.

Over all, this day can be done for about $40-50. A major benefit is all of the activity, which is great for working off some of those calories you may have picked up on holiday food on the rest of the trip 😉 but more importantly is such a pleasant way to take in the sights of this beautiful city.



The Ultimate Los Angeles Jet Lag Guide

So, you have a stopover in LA. You want to do simg_0163omething with it but you know will probably feel like a sack of trash after a long flight. How do you maximise your time while being kind to your exhausted, jet lagged body?

Consider renting a car

There are actually some great things in fairly close proximity of the airport (Venice Beach or Long Beach, for example). So if you are renting a car, you can actually see a couple of things straight up before you even check into your accommodation. LA is a really big city, and while it does have public transport and Uber options, as well as hop on hop off and tourist buses, to maximise your stopover it is really convenient to be able to go where you want, exactly when you want.

Pick the right accommodation (for you):

Your hotel needs to be chosen very strategically. It is easy to fall into a few traps in LA with hotels.

Trap #1 Picking the cheapest accommodation available

Ordinarily I am all for bargain hunting, don’t get me wrong. But LA is huge. If you end up staying in a cheap hotel that is close to nothing good you are actually going to chew up your hotel savings in Uber fares very quickly. So my tip here is to figure out what area you want to stay in, and then choose the cheapest accommodation in that area (if that is what you are inclined to do).

Trap #2 Not researching your hotel location 

As I have mentioned, LA is massive. It isn’t necessarily quick to get from one area to another, which is why staying in a really strategic location is important. I have highlighted a couple of key areas that i like to stay in.


The beach areas are absolutely gorgeous and with palm trees abound the quintessential LA scenery you are expecting will not disappoint. A really quirky and cool area with super hip Abbott Kinney area  as well as the Venice Canals close by there is so much to enjoy. Very quick trip to the airport as well!

Hollywood/West Hollywood

This area has lots of action and plenty to see!!! A great area of LA if you want to check out all the hot spots of the Sunset strip and Hollywood – and there are plenty of them.

This trip, I stayed at The Mondrian, West Hollywood. This is a beautiful hotel with the famous SkyBar overlooking the pool as well as the LA landscape. Definitely a hotel to be seen at, The Mondrian is on Sunset Blvd and really close to the areas that I wanted to spend time at, even within walking distance to some places (half a mile from the famous Chateaux Marmont, right across the road from The Comedy Store, and close to BodybySimone LA and Soul Cycle options as well). Important for me, it was a quick drive to Runyon Canyon, which I knew was a must do for me this trip.

Beverley Hills/Century City area

This area is good if you are planning to really hit the shops on Rodeo Drive and the wider Beverley Hills area, and perhaps are planning to visit Westfield Century City. You can get out to the beach areas fairly directly but getting to Down Town LA may pose a few more traffic and logistical challenges.

For a previous trip I have stayed at the Intercontinental Century City which is definitely a landmark hotel in the area. Due to its proximity to Fox Studios and some pretty famous Talent agencies, it definitely was  a hotel where you felt like you have a very high chance of walking past super famous directors and stars at any given moment. Also close to a Hop on Hop off bus stop (which we were using for that trip) so it worked for us. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily stay there again as I prefer other suburbs, it definitely had it’s benefits including a complimentary car service to Rodeo Drive!

Down Town LA (DTLA)

This area hasn’t previously been a favourite for tourists although it is coming up a bit more with cafes and bars popping up in the area. Really this area is prime for Dodgers Stadium and people needing to be close to Staples Center for concerts and events!


One of the best ways to get your body back on track after a nasty flight is getting your blood pumping!!! There are plenty of ways to do this in LA while multi tasking and sightseeing!!

My personal favourite ways to get in a workout in LA:

  • Hire a beach cruiser at Venice Beach and ride up to Santa Monica and back! Not necessarily Tour de France terrain but the views are beautiful and the locals are entertaining!
  • Hike Runyon Canyon – with a few loop options to make it as hard or easy as you like, the views on this hike are breath taking, including the Hollywood sign and overlooking LA out to the sea.



Sleeping aids

Note: I am not a doctor or in any way authorised to give advice on this!! However I have travelled A LOT. And melatonin is available over the counter in LA. Which I have found really helpful! As a relatively natural option as opposed to checmicals that don’t occur naturally in your body, I find this to really help getting me to sleep in the local time zone.