Bucket List – Hawaii

The flights are booked! Less than 100 days to go. I am off to Hawaii in April. Hawaii has definitely been much more on my radar in the last three or so years as a ‘Bucket List’ destination. I’ve been lusting over people’s holiday posts for a while now and seeing too many Hawaiian themed pins on Pinterest.  I had a stopover at Honolulu back into 2013 and all I saw of Hawaii was a few beaches out the window as the plane landed,  as well as the inside of the airport.

I’ll only be going for nine days and we are still in the process of deciding which islands to go to… clearly we can’t go to all of them!  It just means I’ll have to go back for a second trip at some point :)  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the volcano on Big Island,  some of the most amazing waterfalls and beaches in the world, as well as trying some Hawaiian treats like the pineapple whip.

And now the fun starts,  The Planning!  One of my favourite parts of organising holidays is researching, bookmarking and booking accommodation and activities and making lists of possible things to do – with pictures  and links.  I then send this to my significant other for review….  And await his approval ! So on that note,  I’m off to visit Pinterest again!

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We plan on hiring a car and road tripping to all the scenic sites.

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Have been reading about some great tours that take you to all the best lava spots.

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 Love the look of this lagoon in Ohahu… will need some relaxing time.

Any  comments or recommendations are welcome! Especially for Ohahu and the Big Island.

Nine More Things To Do In: San Francisco

After my first visit to San Francisco, I wrote a post of nine things to do in the centre of the city. That was a trip for 3 days, with a friend and with no car. Four years later I returned for 2 days, with my partner and a car. This lead to having a different experience of the city (and one where he got to choose the majority of sites). So here is nine more things to do in San Francisco!

1. Comic Museum – When your fiancé is an an Artist, holidays revolve around exhibitions. The Cartoon Art Museum in downtown SF is small, but interesting if you are into that sort of thing. Pretty rad gift shop too. UPDATE – The museum has closed (Sept 2015) and is searching for a new home, read about it here.

2. Walt Disney – The Walt Disney Family Museum is much bigger than I expected, so it is worth visiting for the price ($20 Adults) and it was really interesting. Of course The Artist could have spent all day there…

3. Crissy Field – A reserve / park along the waterfront of the Presidio area. Great for a drive, ride or walk, head right to the end to get great Golden Gate views.

4. Coit Tower – A great place to get 360 degree views of the city on top of Telegraph Hill.  And it’s only $6 entry.

5. Lands End – Past the presidio on the edge of the Pacific Ocean is Lands End, a national recreation area with great views and hikes. Great for views of the GG from the other side.

6. Legion of Honour – ‘The Legion of Honor museum displays a collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art in an exquisite Beaux-Arts building in an unforgettable setting overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge’.  We didn’t get time to go in the museum unfortunately, but it is still a spectacular building to see from the front.

7. Lombard St – Having a car meant we could drive down the famous street, but it is so popular that there are people everywhere, making it a bit less special.

8. Small Gardens – All over the city are little parks, gardens, slides, steps and interesting nooks and crannies to explore! We found a few accidentally (like Fay Park in the photo above), but some you need some expert know how to seek them out  (next time I hope!)

9. Sutro Baths – These ruins are located at Lands End, north end of Ocean Beach. See them from above at Cliff House or walk down and explore.

Travel Momento… Prague Jewellery

When backpacking in Eastern Europe for 5 weeks, souvenir shopping was limited. Besides some practical goodies (a new towel to replace the one I had lost), some new summer dresses to wear in the 40 degree heat, the rest of my souvenirs were jewellery.

On the Charles Bridge in Prague we checked out the various stalls selling gifts and homemade wares. I love picking up pieces of jewellery that I haven’t seen anywhere else. This handmade set of earrings and necklace were perfect, in slate colours and olive green stones, with a hint of bronze. I think the set was about 40 euros (which was quite a bit on my backpacker budget at the time!)

The young fellow selling the jewellery was selling the items on behalf of his father who creates the pieces. A strong whiff of weed drifted down the bridge, despite being a Sunday full of tourists and policemen. We asked the young guy about the weed smell, which he proudly admitted was his and showed us his joint. Enough said.

Mt Victoria Lookout, Wellington New Zealand

Above Wellington city (New Zealand’s small but friendly capital) lies Mt Victoria. In such a hilly region it isn’t noticeable as a towering mountain or distinguishable landmark, mostly overrun with roads and houses.

You can easily drive to the top and see panoramic views from ‘Mt Vic’, its Māori name is Tangi Te Keo. We had a lovely sunny day with great views out to the Pacific Ocean and the Cook Strait.

There are a few interesting statues and monuments atop the  hill as well as several lookout vantage points. I had driven my two cousins and my Nana to the top after lunch on Wellington harbour.

It’s an easy place to visit right from the centre of Wellington or enroute to or from the airport. I can’t believe I had been to Wellington three times before and never known to drive to the top.

That’ s why Nanas know best!

Travel Essentials… Hats

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I’ve never been a really big fan of hats. Well I love hats but I don’t actually think I look that good in them. I usually don’t pack them for holidays, truth be told. But then I end up buying them all over the place and carrying them on all my trips, so now I have a collection that is always growing.

Transporting hats is always the biggest issue. Most travel experts advise wearing them on your transiting days so you don’t squash them in your luggage. Easier said than done. Hats aren’t much fun on a long haul flight (well except for a beanie maybe) so where do you end up putting it on the plane? Anywhere is bound to get squashed I’ve found.

Some hats I’ve managed to keep in relatively good shape by packing it with things in and around it in my luggage, such as the cowboy hat bought in Mexico, see photo below. I also brought home a sombrero in the luggage – clearly fitting in 2 big hats is some sort of packing feat.

For summer holidays with sunbaking, hiking in hot weather and walking around in the sunshine all day a hat is a must. If you are worried about wrecking a hat buy something cheap (either at home or abroad) that you won’t mind losing or wrecking, the white fedora hat below was only $5.00.