One of the best experiences I've ever had was a doors-off helicopter flight over the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

Sunset at the Lake

A little while ago, I took a drive out to a lake about two hours away from Brisbane. It was a gorgeous evening and it was loads of fun to play around with my camera in a different setting to normal. I did slip over on the wet rocks at one point and went down like a tonne of bricks (forever graceful as a swan) but it was all worth it. I will definitely make my way back to Lake Moogerah for another sunset picnic some time!

Published Article | My Amalfi Coast Article on AWOL

My first article for the awesome travel publication AWOL can be found here! It's all about the best things to get up to on the gorgeous sunny Amalfi Coast, Italy. Go check it out! And make sure you follow AWOL/sign up for the newsletter, they always deliver some serious travel inspiration.

Getaway Guide | Day Trip to Mt Barney

So my partner and I got a very rare day off together, and decided to head out to Mt Barney, about an hour and forty five minutes from Brisbane. I had grand plans of getting up super early so we could get there in time to see the sunrise, but we were hanging out with friends the night before and didn't get to bed early enough, oops. When I was setting my alarm for 3am and realised that would only give us a few hours sleep I thought no freaking way, and set it for 6am instead.

Our one day off together happened to have patchy rain forecast, and during our first stop for all important coffee, I had to run through the rain trying not to slip over or spill the coffee everywhere, and I was pretty proud that I didn't. Despite the rain it was a fairly warm day, and we have had such a dry summer, so I wasn't complaining one bit.

The drive to Mt Barney winds through green rural areas with rolling hills dotted with cows and endless fences stretching into the distance. The sun came out for a while during the drive, and we even saw a thin rainbow arching directly over the road ahead of us. I took the opportunity to jump out of the car and lie in the middle of the road and get a photo, of course!

Mt Barney National Park has a number of different walking trails of varying difficulty, and I hadn't decided which one to do before we arrived. But I had packed our towels and swimmers because I knew that despite the rain I wanted to take the opportunity to jump in a swimming hole.

When we got to the national park, we drove around on the bumpy dirt roads for a little while, with me excitedly announcing "Stop!" every hundred meters or so, and jumping out to take photos.

Patches of light rain came and went but the clouds stayed overhead for most of the day, and I was actually really glad it wasn't one of the really hot days we've had recently.

We decided to walk the trail to the Lower Portals. I read about a lovely swimming hole at the end of the walk, which sounded perfect.

The walk was a little longer than I thought for some reason - 7.4km return. Make sure you have a big breakfast (I didn't eat much of my toasted sandwich at the cafe we stopped at, because there was an ant in my melted cheese... halfway through the walk I regretted not having something more substantial!) and pack your own lunch at home as we didn't find much food in Rathdowney to take with us, but more on that later.

The walk has some nice varied terrain; tracks through long grass, shady bushland, some rocky hills, and a few little creek crossings to get your feet wet along the way too.

The trail eventually leads you to the edge of the creek, where two big boulders stand in front of you - but this isn't the end. Duck under the rock, and climb up through the hole between the two boulders, to get to the clearing and gorgeous swimming hole. There is plenty of space for a few different groups to have their own little picnics without being in each others way.

Relax and have a little packed lunch picnic at the swimming hole. All we could find in the tiny shop in Rathdowney to take with us was some chips and Arnotts Scotch Fingers. It was definitely not what I felt like after a mediocre breakfast and bush walk. A couple nearby had these really delicious looking homemade sandwiches and I was super jelly, why had we not thought of that? Have a refreshing dip in the icy cold water - it took us about 15 minutes to work up the courage to go in deeper than our ankles, and about 2 minutes to get out and grab our towels, but I felt so much cooler afterwards.

I'd really like to go back to Mt Barney to try some of the other walking trails, and I'd love to actually climb the mountain itself and camp overnight at the top. Next time I'd definitely like to make the effort to get there early enough for sunrise too.

Photo Diary | Santorini

When we stepped off the bus and into the town of Oia, Santorini, I was instantly captivated and couldn't do anything but gape wide eyed at the beauty around me. A couple of months earlier, I would never have thought I'd be visiting Santorini, but as soon as I saw Oia, I fell in love. It exceeded all my expectations instantly.

Our time in Santorini was too short, but we spent the days drinking local wine, eating everything, kayaking on the shimmering cobalt blue sea, patting friendly cats, wandering the streets and alleyways, watching the glorious world famous sunsets, and of course, stopping to take a great many photos along the way. I'd say we spent our time wisely.

Getaway Guide | Byron Bay

DO | Minyon Falls walk, Lighthouse Trail
SEE | Captain Cook Lookout, Byron Bay Lighthouse

I was looking for a spur of the moment little getaway destination. My criteria was simple: it had to be somewhere near the sea, close to hiking trails, with great food, and a relaxed atmosphere. Byron Bay came to mind and I realised I hadn't been there in about 10 years. Byron has changed a lot in the last few decades and I wondered if it’s not a bit over hyped these days. I often hear older generations say it's been ruined since the good ol' days. But I decided to give it a shot anyway and when we got there, despite how touristy it is, I still felt that chilled vibe and hints of its former hippie charm. And I could tell right away it's foodie heaven.

We went down for a two day break, arriving mid-morning, and the first thing we wanted to do was walk the Lighthouse Trail. I suggest starting from Watego Beach like we did, because you don’t have to pay for parking there - other car parks along the trail have pay and display parking available. The walk is easy, only a couple of hours (including quite a bit of time spent waiting for the perfect crashing-wave photos) and is very well signed. Along the way we spotted two different pods of dolphins which were beautiful! There are a few great look-outs, including the most easterly point of mainland Australia. I did enjoy staring out at the Pacific Ocean and thinking to myself “If I went directly East from here, the next land I’d hit is Chile.” The lighthouse itself has fantastic views, but the real treat was watching the hang-gliders launch from the nearby cliff, and hover like giant seagulls before slowly gliding down to the beach below. As you continue down the walk from the lighthouse, you pass the actual platform that the hang-gliders start from. I know hang-gliding isn't exactly extreme, but from someone with a slight fear of heights, those guys have some guts.

The walk is a loop, and heading back to Watego’s from the Lighthouse you follow a pleasant shady, sandy bush track downhill. The few beaches you pass at the end of the trail are all beautiful and a swim is well-deserved even if the walk isn't that strenuous. And even though the walk isn't that long or difficult I definitely recommend sunscreen, water, a hat etc. if you don't want to collapse in a sweaty sunburnt heap on Watego's by the end.

After our walk we stopped in at Top Shop to devour a fish burger and steak sandwich, and a couple of fresh cold pressed juices. Absolutely delicious! It has a lovely laid back atmosphere and great menu, and I'm glad it got recommended to us.

After a lazy afternoon involving champagne, we decided to go with another recommendation and decided on Miss Margarita for dinner. We had to wait a few minutes for a table, which was not a problem, and when we sat down we had a couple of margaritas (what else?) which came out quickly. Food was a little bit slow, but understandable as the place was packed, and the wait staff were pretty friendly. The food was super tasty. My chipotle chicken burrito was slightly dry, but was rescued by the fact it was served with guac and sour cream, and Tristan’s snapper naked burrito with pineapple and mango was delicious. Big portion sizes, too! After our late lunch and sushi entree, we struggled to finish it.

The next morning we started the day right with a visit to Bayleaf CafĂ©. It was hands down the best breakfast we’ve had in ages. I had the dukkah poached eggs with heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, sourdough, greens, a drizzle of honey, and chardonnay vinegar. Tristan had a slow cooked wagyu tail, with a delicious sauce, sourdough, two fried eggs, mushrooms and radish. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now. Our juices and coffees were spot on too, and the cafe has a great relaxed vibe. We sat directly in front of the kitchen's pass, so we watched every meal get put together, and the teamwork and calm atmosphere of the kitchen was so great to watch. And seeing everyone's meal made me want to order everything on the menu of course.

After breakfast we took a quick stop at the Captain Cook Lookout which we’d skipped the day before on the Lighthouse Trail. It’s a rocky outcrop just off the beach with a lookout on top, and from there we spotted a few types of pretty sea birds, and a turtle close to the rocks. I'm sure you could do some good whale spotting from here too.

We then headed inland for about 45 minutes to Nightcap National Park and decided to do the Minyon Falls walk. We chose the longer trail which starts right at the top of the gorgeous Minyon Falls, where there is an amazing lookout that juts out over a sheer drop to the gorge below. There’s a comforting sign that reads “DANGER: 100 metre fall over cliff”. Beginning the walk, you wind your way along the sunny clifftop for a while, and then begin a zigzagging decent into the lush palm-laden rain forest below. Moss covered fallen trees and boulders line the walk, and it’s a welcome escape from the heat of the ridge above. After crossing the creek of the waterfall itself, there is a short section where you clamber over boulders and up to the waterfall and its pool, which is perfect for swimming. There's a loop walk that leads to a separate car park, but we decided to go back the way we'd come to avoid walking back along the road to our car. The ascent back up was definitely a leg workout to say the least! We were lucky to have a cool breeze on our way back, because it was hot. I couldn't resist a sneaky look over the edge of the falls on our way back. Did I mention my fear of heights?