Summer in Byron Bay

Byron Bay

I’ve just started settling back into work after spending the Christmas break relaxing in Byron Bay and Melbourne with Ryan and our friends Mark and Mon. Traveling with a group is always more fun! Here’s a peek into our Summer break full of aperol, trips to the beach and snoozes.

ByronBay AirBnB

Byron Bay Accommodation

Mark and Mon picked us up from the airport after a horrible red-eye flight from Perth and drove us to our stunning home for the week. Our AirBnB house did not disappoint… with this view of the ocean from the comfort of our couch, how could we go wrong? A dip in the ocean helped relieve our jetlag, followed by a walk along the beach to Treehouse on Belongil for a much needed coffee fix.

Byron Bay AirBnB

Byron Bay Treehouse Cafe

The evenings were filled with cheese platters and aperol spritz. I still love my little instax camera which somehow manages to perfectly capture the vibe.

Byron Bay Aperol and Beach

Belongil Beach, Byron Bay

Mark and Mon Byron Bay

Our first lunch was at Three Blue Ducks on The Farm, where we feasted on all the vegetarian dishes on the menu. After lunch we walked around the farm, playing in the sunflowers, cracking macadamias and saying hello to the furry cows.

Sunflowers, Byron Bay, The Farm Macadamia cracking, The Farm, Byron Bay The Farm, Byron Bay

The Farm

I loved exploring the cute shops and cafes in the Byron town centre. Nikau Store, a botanical and clay emporium, was a highlight – I’m kind of glad Perth doesn’t have a store like that otherwise I’d be pretty broke.

Byron Bay Surf Shop, Byron Bay

Liberty Trading Co was filled with very pretty homewares and jewelery.Liberty Trading Co, Byron Bay

Nikau Store, Byron Bay

Combi, Byron Bay Combi, Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Having hired a rental car, we were easily able to explore the Hinterlands. We walked down the main street of Bangalow admiring the cute antique stores and modern art spaces, ate a delicious lunch at DOMA Japanese, followed by a refreshing iced coffee at Moonshine Coffee Roasters in Federal and felt extremely scared of heights at the Minyon Falls lookout.

View over Byron Bay

Bangalow, Byron Bay

DOMA Japanese, Federal, Byron Bay

Moonshine Coffee, Federal, Byron Bay

Minyon Falls, Byron Bay

Bangalow, Byron Bay

A favourite spot of mine was Newrybar Merchants – an enormous cottage house turned collective/shop filled with the nicest selection of homewares, jewelery and ceramics I’ve seen! We had a drink opposite at Harvest and soaked in the holiday vibe.

Newrybar Merchants, Byron Bay

Newrybar Merchants, Byron Bay

Newrybar Merchants, Byron Bay

We ate fish and chips on the beach for dinner while we watched dolphins and surfers enjoy the ocean. It was also my first time seeing the crazy looking brush turkeys, who seemed pretty happy to wander around hoping for a chip to drop.

Byron Bay Surfer

Byron Bay Beach

The next morning we woke fairly early (thank goodness my jet-lag had finally started to ease!) to hike up to the lighthouse before the sun made everything too unbearable. We were treated to the most exquisite views along the track and it felt really special to be in Byron Bay.

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Byron truly has a magical feel about it and I’m so happy I was able to experience it with such top friends. Is it too early to start planning the next trip?

Belongil Beach

 

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Four nights in London

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London from the air

Wow, hi London. Flying over London gave me the same excited chills as seeing New York from above. Can you see the London bridge in the pic above? Ryan and I only had a few nights in London, which was sort of a blessing in disguise given that the Australian currency conversion meant we chewed through money faster than we were hoping! Luckily I had planned to be in London over the weekend, which meant we could explore all the famous markets and see how vibrant the city really is.

London

Our Airbnb was located on Brick Lane and a stones-throw from Shoreditch which was a perfect location for exploring and had easy access to the tube and bus. After finally checking into our apartment (we ended up a bit lost on the tube, whoops) we wandered around the neighborhood, checking out the amazing street art and old buildings, followed by a coffee and obligatory photo in the photobooth at the Ace Hotel. Our Airbnb host suggested checking out BOXPARK for food and drinks and it did not disappoint. After filling our jet-lagged bellies with a big meal and beer, we walked to Callooh Callay, an Alice in Wonderland themed bar, for cocktails and good times with an old friend from Perth.

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Eager to get as many hours out of the day as possible, we woke early and walked to Allpress for our coffee fix before catching the bus to Tate Modern for ‘The World Goes Pop’ exhibition. London11 London12 London13 London14

We had the full London experience when we got caught in a massive downpour walking down South Bank! The rain cleared the crowd for The London Eye, so we grabbed a ticket and jumped on for the most terrifying ferris-wheel ride that existed. I forget how high those things go and I wish we just grabbed a drink at a rooftop bar instead. London15 London16

London Eye

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Lunch was at Ottolenghi’s NOPI restaurant, where we ordered a vegetarian feast to share. There was no bland risotto in sight. Even though we were pretty full, Sketch was pretty close by and I convinced myself that I could fit in some scones and tea. The decor at Sketch was incredible… and look at the bathroom selfie below!

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That evening we wandered around Regent Street in London in search of a new suitcase for Ryan (which had burst open on it’s way over from Iceland!) and a pair of boots for me. We picked up the cheapest case we could find ($300 thank you, London) and I splurged on the greatest pair of boots from Clarke’s. London25

The next day was spent traipsing through famous markets, eating custard filled donuts and looking at pastel-coloured terraces in Notting Hill. The Portobello Road Market was as vibrant as expected, filled with antiques, delicious food, street-performers and wonderful architecture.

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We caught the tube over to the Borough Market where we sampled as much as we could fit into our bellies. It was here where Ryan and I realised it was best to try lots of different food, rather than one full meal. We ate dumplings, raclette (!!!), cheeses, biscuits, oysters and drank Pimms to wash it all down. London37 London38 London39 London40 London41 London42

I had read that there was an amazing installation at Covent Garden, so we walked over to take a look, before enjoying a coffee from Monmouth and day dreaming in Orla Kiely around the corner. You can read more about the installation here. London43 London44 London45 London46 London47 London48

It was a bit of a trek to get to and from our Airbnb on Brick Lane (I didn’t realise how huge London is) so we decided to enjoy the sunshine and rest our feet in Green Park, before heading to the West End to see Matilda the Musical. I’m exhausted just thinking about how long that day was!  London49 London50

I was most excited about visiting the Columbia Road Flower Markets. I could only dream of Perth having such an array of fresh flowers available – peonies! hydrangeas! Even though I couldn’t purchase anything, it was so nice to take in the atmosphere and people watch.

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I couldn’t leave London without a visit to the V&A Museum, which was so inspiring and grand. There were a few contemporary art installations around for the London Design Festival which really made it a special visit. Afterwards, we walked to the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park to see this colourful installation. I also saw white swans for the first time! That evening we caught up with old friends for drinks and had dinner at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant – a fitting way to end a whirlwind couple of days.

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Iceland Part 2

Iceland Part 2

Ryan and I woke up in our silent Guesthouse Drangshlíð excited to start the next day of adventures. After having our quick and filling Icelandic breakfast (hello cheese), we rushed out the door to our first stop, Reynisfjara – to admire the incredible black sand beach in the small village of Vik. On a normal day, you can’t get better than a Perth beach, but the stunning volcanic sand really was one-of-a-kind.

Black sand beach Iceland

Black sand beach Iceland

Black sand beach Iceland

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I had pre-booked a Sólheimajökull glacier walk through Icelandic Tours before we left Perth. We were pretty unprepared, only having Nike shoes and jeans, so we were lucky (and grateful!) that the company provided us with proper boots and water proof pants! We hiked across glaciers for three hours while our guide kept us safe and told us interesting facts – like the black in the picture below is actually volcanic ash from the huge volcano eruption in 2010.

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The most amazing sight, am I right?GlacierWalk4

Practically starved from stomping on the ice for three hours, we tracked down some food. Finding a place to eat is pretty difficult in this area, so you you take what you can get. Luckily, we stumbled upon THE cutest little fish and chip food truck which totally saved us from getting into the hangry zone. With mountains behind us and the sound of ginormous Skógafoss waterfall in the distance, we ate our fish and chips before heading to our next adventure.

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Even though Ryan and I were absolutely knackered from our glacier hike, we jumped in the car and drove out to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. We didn’t know what to expect and after driving off-road for a good half hour without anyone in sight, I was starting to get a bit worried! We finally arrived, jumped out of the car and… well… we were left speechless at the how beautiful the gorge was.

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Couldn’t help but take a photo of the public bathroom which fits so beautifully into the landscape.

Bathroom

After admiring the canyon, we drove to Kirkjugólf, also known as ‘The Church Floor’ which is an 80m expanse of hexagonal basalt slab stones. We were surrounded by Icelandic rams and could hear a waterfall in the distance. This day couldn’t get any better.

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Kirkjugólf

Hexagons

Rams

NationalPark

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NationalPark2

Before heading back to our guesthouse, we made one last stop at Dwarf Crags Dverghamrar, a beautiful location filled with tall columns of basalt.

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The sun was hanging low in the sky for our drive home through moss-covered lava fields. That night we were lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis dance in the sky. It was almost like watching someone painting the air with watercolour and then have it fade away. I fell asleep, absolutely shattered, watching the Northern Lights do their magic through the window of the hostel at the end of our bed. 

road trip

Every morning we were greeted by the cutest little Icelandic puppy who gave us cuddles outside our guesthouse.

PuppyatGuesthouse

Heading back to Reykjavik we stopped at the enormous waterfall, Seljalandsfoss. Despite ending up drenched from the spray, it was really exciting to walk behind and hear the roar of the water.

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Seljalandsfoss

A dip in the Secret Lagoon was too tempting to pass up. The water was so warm and almost felt thick on the skin.

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We ended up a little bit lost and drove around for almost an hour trying to find somewhere for lunch, followed by getting lost again getting back to our accommodation in Reykjavik. We finally arrived back at Snorri’s Guesthouse, freshened up and then made a beeline to Solfar, the Sun Voyager sculpture at sunset followed by local beer, dinner and live music at the very hygge Kex Hostel.

SunVoyager

We had one last day in Iceland before heading to London and I had pre-purchased tickets to the Blue Lagoon for just after lunch, so the morning was spent exploring the stinky Gunnuhvar and Seltún Geothermal areas. We stopped on the side of a quiet road to take a closer look at the moss-covered lava which lines the roads for huge expanses.

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GeothermalSteam

The Blue Lagoon was the last stop of our Iceland adventure. We had lunch in the cafe overlooking this view (!!) before getting changed into our bathers and slipping into the warm, silky water for a few hours.

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The final night in Reykjavik was spent wandering around the town, searching for street art (the faces by Guido van Helten were a highlight) and grabbing a hotdog from the famous streetside store, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur which Ryan rated (and went back for seconds). Our time was up, I definitely wasn’t ready to leave, but London’s scones were calling us over.

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Could Reykjavik be any cuter?

ReykjavikTown7Reykjavik Street

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