Melbourne Weekend

We had booked a weekend in Melbourne to watch the Australian Open looong before we knew about this New York business. It ended up falling on Alec’s last weekend in Australia, so it seemed to be a good way to see him out with a bang.

Sweltering in the tennis. Don’t be fooled, the clothes are for sun protection. It was boiling.

We also spent a day wandering around St Kilda and the CBD, just hanging out.

St Kilda boardwalk.

Luna Park!

The Victoria Art Gallery. Thumper!

We had such a lovely weekend – the perfect way (bar a weekend at the beach!) to spend our last weekend together for a while. Next time we meet, it will be in New York, baby!
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Welcome Summer!

Sydney is suddenly tropical. Stinking hot days, followed by days of non-stop rain.

I can’t wait till Christmas this year. After last year’s insanity of planning a wedding, this year is looking calm and relaxed by comparison.

Yayyyy summer!

Family outing at Manly

BFFs at Balmain

Poser





Hawaii Honeymoon: Oahu

Last stop – Oahu and shopping. Honolulu reminds me of the Gold Coast, so I like to get on and off the island pretty quickly. I’m sure there are beautiful areas on this island too, but it’s just so built up that I’m not overly keen to explore it. We spent a very short period here – two nights and one full day. Just enough to shop till I maxed my credit card out.

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

Honeymoon splurge gift.

Me and the Duke, we’re old mates.

Waikiki sends us off in true Hawaiian style on our last morning.

Aloha Hawaii!

Hawaii Honeymoon: Kauai Part 4, Kalalau Trail

Kauai is a small island. You can drive from one side to the other (on the one main road they have on the island) in an hour.

We took a drive along to the end of the highway, along the Coconut Coast and North Shore, stopping along the way at anything looking interesting. It was a gray, rainy day, but fortunately the sun came out sporadically enough that it was still a great day for our hike at the end of the road.

The USA is famous for their fruit pies – and we happened upon a little cafe in Princeville that sold slices of blueberry pies that made Alec exclaim in happiness – much to the amusement of the waitress who had never seen anyone so happy to buy pie before.

One very happy camper.
Princeville is in the shadow of mountains, which makes for a very dramatic landscape.

Just your average, run-of-the-mill location …
A short drive past Princeville we came to Ha’ena Beach Park, where we saw this amazing view…

Across the road from the park is the Manini-holo dry cave, one of several sea caves located in the area. The cave, which is about 300 yards deep, used to be much larger but the 1957 tsunami partially filled it with sand.

It doesn’t look so big …

Amazingly huge. The roof and walls have beautiful colours and details.

A little further down the road is the Waikanaloa Wet Cave.

We decided on a hike, despite the bad weather. We’d heard great things about the Kalalau Trail, which starts at Ke’e Beach and leads to Hanakapiai Beach. You can continue the walk further, but the mud from the rain made it a really difficult hike so we just walked the 3.2km to the beach and back again.

View along the hike.

Muddy!

Our final destination comes into view.

Alone on Hanakapiai Beach.

Alec has no idea this is the last photograph in which his 3rd pair of Oakleys will appear. Shortly afterwards, Alec took his shirt off, dropping his sunnies into the stream.

The beach is only accessible via the walking track, making for a peaceful destination.
Navigating back over the steam out of paradise.

Hawaii Honeymoon: Kauai Part 1

For a change of pace we spent our second week on Kauai. We stayed in a boutique hotel on the beach in Poipu. We had a gorgeous view from the window and it was amazing falling asleep and waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Lovely decor.

Not a bad view!

Just another perfect day in Hawaii!

At the hotel pool bar with the first of many cocktails.

Staying on the beach allowed for many walks in different lights. Thanks for being such a good model Alec 🙂

Sand bar on the beach in the dying light.
I was hoping to spot a rare Hawaiian monk seal on our visit, but since they’re classed as critically endangered (only around 1500 left in total, 150 of which are on the main Hawaiian islands), so we were stunned to see a seal on the beach right outside our hotel on our first night. The next morning we went for a walk along walk along the beach, and saw a second one. Two days in a row, what amazing luck. The seals had hauled themselves out on to the sand and lay there for hours having a snooze. Local life guards set up barricades around them to keep people away.

Ignoring the paparazzi.
We stayed in an area where we saw amazing sunsets every night, right outside our room.

We also stayed right on a beach with great snorkeling. The water was crystal clear, so we had perfect visibility. There was a surprising amount of fish as well – in amazing colours. The fish were really relaxed about us snorkeling all around them, letting us get really close.

How’s the serenity?

Doesn’t get much better than this.

Monk seal spotting #2.
We hadn’t realised Kauai was famous for … chickens. That’s right. There are wild feral chickens running all over the island. You literally can’t take a step without tripping over a chicken. They are thought to be a cross between the chickens the Polynesians brought across many years ago, and the more recent fighting chickens, making them a very hearty breed. I’ve never seen such healthy, happy chickens, so island life clearly suits them well.

No, I’m not your dinner …

Hawaii Honeymoon: Maui Part 3, Under The Sea

People who get sea sick should NOT get on boats. It’s as simple as that. Yet, I always find myself on a boat when I go to Hawaii. This time I was enticed by the idea to visit the Molokini Crater off the coast of Maui.

The crater, rising out of the ocean.

Wearing a wetsuit top as the water was pretty cold still.

Lanai island in the background.

In the water, the ocean life was pretty average – I’ve definitely seen better variety and numbers in other places, such as on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It was still enjoyable though, even with the sea sickness!

The next stop was “Turtle Town”, an area off the coast of Maui with a large population of turtles. I think I saw about five different giant turtles. Seeing them swimming towards us through the clear sea was amazing – gentle giants of the ocean.

Here they come!

Bye for now!

Back on land, we received a tip from a local photographer on a place to spot more turtles, a beach called Black Rock. We swam a few meters off shore, and, sure enough, there were more turtles!

Black Rock – another gorgeous beach.

This guy ate a lot of sea grass. Or fungus. Or whatever it is they eat.

Lookout on the way back to our hotel.

Last night in Maui.

Valentine’s Day

I don’t usually care much for Valentine’s Day, but falling on Saturday this year provided the opportunity for me and Alec to spend some quality time together.

We started in Bondi, hoping to go to the bagel store Glick’s. However, Glick’s is closed during the day on Saturdays, so we wandered up the road to this quirky cafe instead for a huge brekkie.

Three Steps Cafe, Bondi. Home of the all-day breakfast as well as a host of other treats.

Extensive menu, including about 20 types of breakfasts.

Very quirky interior. Loved the Greek people serving us – they were so friendly and fast!

No menus at the table – instead the menu was printed on huge posters on the walls.


My vegetarian breakfast – including hot chocolate – was a bargain at $9.90.

Alec manfully tackles his giant breakfast.

This was all I could eat!


We then drove down to Bondi Beach even though it was cold and wet. Turned out to be a great idea, as the weather kept all the tourists away – score! I’ve never seen the beach so empty.

Unrecognisable without the hoards of tourists.


Stormy weather made for a moodier beach scene.



Since outdoors was not looking positive for the day, we set off for the Museum of Sydney to see an exhibition called Tails of the City – the story of pets in Sydney. I’ve never been to the museum before – I didn’t even know where it was! It’s a nice little museum on the site of the first Australian parliament house.

On the travelator at the Domain car park.


A trip to that part of town isn’t complete without stopping at the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place. I always get the same thing – the chocolate milkshake – so opted for the ice chocolate instead ($7). It was exactly the same as the milkshake though, which would have disappointing if I didn’t love the shake so much 🙂

Yuuuuum!

Alec and his ice coffee. Sluuuurp!

We shared the Passion dessert – it was fruity and perfect! ($12)

Alec pulling faces. He enjoyed himself, I swear!

Booty from the cafe – the loose Lindt balls were free because we spent over $30. Score!! We selected flavours we hadn’t tried before like raspberry, peanut butter and cookies and cream.


Three Steps Cafe,
113 Bondi Road,
Bondi

Lindt Cafe
53 Martin Place
(Cnr Phillip Street), Sydney
tel (02) 8257 1600