A weekend guide to Orange, NSW

Looking for a peaceful and relaxing town to visit filled with good food and wine in NSW? Than Orange is the perfect spot. It is fast becoming one of Australia’s best wine regions, with 80 vineyards, 30+ cellar doors and 50 cafes and restaurants to choose from. Whether you visit in the peak of winter and spend your time by a fire or in Autumn to see the colourful tree foliage, there is plenty to do year-round in Orange. Here is how I spent my time in Orange on a rainy, winter 3-day adventure.

Unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 meant that all of our great plans for 2020 were turned upside down and we spent a lot of time in lockdown, in isolation or unable to even leave the state. While this was upsetting, once lockdown restrictions eased, it meant that I was able to explore more of my own backyard than I normally would; as I usually opt to travel abroad rather than to travel around rural NSW or Australia. There is always a positive, even in crappy situations and this was a circumstance I felt grateful for, despite everything else that happened in 2020!

Drink

As mentioned above, there are so many wineries in Orange to choose from. We visited Ross Hill Winery, which has been around since 1994 and is family-run. The wines are not available at any big supermarket bottle shop, and you can taste the hard work, passion and dedication that goes into each wine. We received detailed explanations about each wine and learnt a lot during our tasting. We also visited Philip Shaw Winery, another family-run vineyard with a beautiful building to taste the wines in. We had our wine tastings on a Monday, which meant they were less crowded adding to the peaceful experience.

Next time I visit Orange I want to go to Heifer Station Wines – they have a petting zoo onsite with lots of animals including pigs, goats and an alpaca.

Eat

Whilst in Orange I recommend checking out the Groundstone Cafe for breakfast, Sweet Sour Salt and Zona which were recommended by a friend who grew up in Orange, Lolli Redini if you want to splurge on a nice dinner, the Agrestic Grocer for gourmet treats such as cheese, jams and wine and for a good Aussie pub meal try Union Bank, Parkview Hotel or The Greenhouse.

Shop

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of cute boutique stores in Orange. My absolute favourite store was The Sonic, which had two stores within it; Jumbled and Nimrods. The store boasted beautiful clothes, rugs, artwork, books and house hold knick-knacks. The Hawkes general store was a shop and cafe in one, and The White Place was another lovely store; both filled with perfect gifts to buy for someone else.

Do

The seasons are more extreme in Orange compared to Sydney, meaning it gets colder in winter and hotter in summer. We visited Orange in the winter; having to drive through snow to get to our accommodation! We arrived to a very rainy and very cold Orange and took advantage of the fire place.

It had been a busy year with work, and working from home since March meant it was hard to truly shut off. We wanted to spend the few days relaxing, forgetting about work and enjoying our accommodation. So our time was spent cuddling by the fire, wine tasting at a couple of vineyards and exploring the township of Orange.

A couple of other things that were on our to-do list that we didn’t get to this time around where checking out the views at Pinnacle Lookout, Verandah Cave and Mount Canobolas, and perusing the few stores in Milthorpe which is a small township just outside Orange. We also plan to visit Orange again one day in the spring time and have a picnic at the Botanic Garden.

Accommodation

My boyfriend totally spoiled me for my birthday and booked the beautiful Dragonfly Cottages for two nights. I love the aesthetic of the minimal tiny homes amongst nature and this was by far one of the nicest places I have ever stayed. The place was surrounded by the most stunning views of Australian gum trees and sprawling green fields, and watching the blue sky turn to pink and orange at sunset from the lounge with the fire going was a moment I’ll never forget.

The bed felt like I was sleeping in a giant cloud, and the surrounding space was so peacefully quit I had the best sleep I’d had all year. The place was beautifully built and decorated, with huge windows to see the view from every direction. One of our favourite parts was visiting the alpacas and sheep at the owners’ property next door! It was such a special, relaxing and peaceful stay; and it was truly everything we had wanted and I definitely recommend staying here if you’re after a special experience.

Tips

We opted to visit Orange on Sunday and leave on Tuesday, as we had wanted a couple days off work and hoped that visiting outside the weekend it would be less crowded. Unfortunately, we didn’t realise until after we’d booked and taken time off work that majority of the cafes and restaurants are shut on Monday and Tuesdays in Orange! This didn’t matter that much to us, as we’d wanted to spend a lot of time in our accommodation to make the most of it anyway, but if you’re wanting to explore the culinary cuisine in Orange I would opt to visit Wednesday-Sunday.

Everything in Milthorpe was shut on a Tuesday, including the shops! It was like a ghost town when we visited. The same suggestion to visit on a Wednesday-Sunday applies here too.

Book in your winery visits ahead of time! We saw quite a few people being turned away because they didn’t have a booking; and we visited the wineries on a Monday which didn’t even seem that busy. We booked ours a month or so in advance and the timing between the two wineries worked out perfectly.

Tulum Travel Guide: 2 days in Mexico’s Most Stylish Beach Getaway

Tulum’s pristine coastline located on 1,000-year-old Mayan ruins, complete with crystal-clear cenotes, hotels that emulate treehouses, contemporary restaurants, and bohemian boutique shops has made this once sleepy beach town completely erupt.

The perfect Tulum itinerary includes swimming in the ocean, exploring ancient Mayan ruins and a refreshing dip in a beautiful cenote, topped off with a margarita and fresh tacos at sunset.

Day 1:

The main street of Tulum is lined with beach clubs, which is where everyone spends their day; carefully dividing their time between swimming in the ocean and taking dips in the pool. While it’s great to have options on where to spend your day, it can be overwhelming to pick the right one. These beach clubs are part of hotel accommodations, so if you’re not spending the day at your hotel you’ll need to pay a fee to relax on a lounge chair at most places; with prices varying depending on the star of the hotel/club.

My friend and I opted to spend our day at Be Tulum. It had the Tulum “vibe” I wanted to experience, albeit quite expensive for what you get. We paid $60USD ($84AUD) for access to the lounge chairs and lunch. I couldn’t go all the way to Tulum and not have the ~authentic~ experience…

After begrudgingly pulling ourselves away from Be Tulum to see what else Tulum had on offer, we stumbled across some beautiful boutique stores. If creamy linens, stylish bikinis and beautiful hand-crafted jewellery and trinkets pique your interest, then you’ll love perusing the shops here.

Some notable mentions include;

  • Caravana Tulum
  • Calo
  • Arte Sano
  • Lolita Lolita
  • The Jungle Stores

We watched the sunset whilst eating delicious pizza on the beach at Posada Margherita.

Day 2:

The second day in Tulum was spent swimming in Cenote Azul. We went early in the morning to beat the crowds and it felt like we were swimming in our own green oasis. The water was so clear we could see the fish swimming around us! The entry fee was 120 pesos ($8AUD). There are closer cenotes to Tulum town centre, but this cenote is a great option if you’re driving back to Cancun Airport and want to break up your drive from Tulum, or just aren’t ready to admit the holiday is almost over!

We spent the afternoon reading books in the hammocks at our hotel. Then enjoyed an amazing, Mexican meal at GITANO Tulum for dinner; opting for the Mushroom Camote for the main meal. It is a must to have an accompanying beverage whilst here; there is a whole cocktail menu dedicated to the Mexican spirit- Mezcal. We then topped off the night in the best possible way, treating ourselves to an ice-cream from Campanella Cremerie.

Best cenotes and beaches to visit

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to visit all the beautiful cenotes and beaches I had wanted to whilst in Tulum. Here’s a few I had on my list and hope to visit one day:

  • Cenote Ik Kil
  • Gran Cenote
  • Cenote Dos Ojos
  • Cenote Caracol
  • Playa Parasio
  • Playa Ruinas
  • Xel-Ha Park
  • Akumal Beach (where you can snorkel with turtles)

Whilst in Tulum a lot of people visit the Tulum Ruins. We chose not to due to time restraints and visited Chichén Itzá instead. However, I would recommend getting to at least one ancient ruin whilst in Mexico and the Tulum Ruins look like a great option if you have enough time.

Necessities to pack

  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat + sunglasses
  • Swimming costumes
  • Beach coverups
  • Insulated water bottle that will keep filtered water cool at the beach
  • A couple of nicer night-time outfits if you plan on going to dinners (Tulum is quite an upmarket dining experience)

Where to stay

Majority of the hotels and activities in Tulum are located along the beach road, so this is where you’ll want to stay.

If you want the ultimate high-end experience and money is no object, book Be Tulum or Nômade. For the authentic Tulum treehouse experience stay at Hotel Origen Tulum. For more affordable options, consider NEST or Amansala.

Best time to visit

Tulum’s rainiest months are June, September, and October. October-December is generally the best time to visit, as hurricane season has ended and the weather is warm but not unbearably hot. I visited in November and it was very hot- I could not imagine it any warmer! January through to March is the busiest period for tourists, as well as the hottest weather, so I would avoid this time if you’re not a fan of heat or crowds.

Getting around in Tulum

It’s about a 25-minute drive from Tulum town to the centre of the beach area, and 1.5 hours drive from Cancun airport to Tulum.

If you’re staying in the heart of Tulum, you shouldn’t need a car during your stay. A lot of tourists choose to bike around the town as their mode of transport; I couldn’t figure out if it was just for fun, it was good for the planet or was a great way to off-set all of the tacos they’d been eating!

There are also plenty of taxis around should you need to get somewhere a bike or your legs can’t get you. We had a car to get us to and from Cancun airport.

Final Thoughts on Tulum

I feel it’s important to note that Tulum is an expensive town to visit- far exceeding the cost of any other Mexican city I visited! If the idea of having to pay to sit on a beach is not your vibe then maybe Tulum is not the right destination for you.

I also couldn’t help but shake the feeling that whilst Tulum is beautiful and relaxing, Instagram has over-hyped the destination which took away from the authenticity of the place. I enjoyed my time here, but I also felt that I could have had a very similar experience by flying 1-hour to Byron Bay in the north of Australia’s New South Wales instead of flying 20 hours to Mexico…

My final opinion is that I enjoyed my time in Tulum and I was glad I went to suss out what all the hype was about, but I definitely won’t be rushing back and I loved every other Mexican city I visited so much more!

Mexico City Travel Guide

I’m going to start this post off by admitting that Mexico had never been particularly high on my long travel bucket list. Growing up in a southern suburb of Sydney, Australia meant there weren’t any Mexicans near me, resulting in a non-existent exposure to Latin culture. My disinterest in visiting this  country only grew further the older I got, with the media portraying Mexico as an extremely dangerous and drug-fuelled country to visit.

However, if you were considering visiting this country you will be glad to know that I am here to contest this theory. With every city I visited in Mexico, I was greeted with warm, smiling faces, an incredibly vibrant aura, a delicious and interesting cuisine and most importantly, I felt safe. So, if you’re wondering whether or not to visit, I hope after reading this post, you jump on and book your flights!

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As of 2018, 21.3 million people live in the Mexican capital; making it one of the largest metropolis in the world! I barely even touched the surface of all that CDMX has to offer during my visit. I am a person who loves art, architecture, fashion and food so these are the things I hunt out in any city that I travel to.

Here’s what I got up to in my four days in Mexico City:

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Day 1:

  • Free walking tour through freetour.com.During the walking tour, you will walk through the most important streets of the Centro Histórico. These include the Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana, Templo Mayor and Palacio de Bellas Artes.
    • When I first arrive in a new city, the first thing I like to do is go on a walking tour to help me get my bearings of the city and to learn about the history of the city.
  • Ate dinner at Los Loosers. This was a trendy restaurant serving vegan Mexican cuisine in Roma Condesa.
    • Try a dish with Mole sauce for an authentic Mexican experience.

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Day 2:

  • Breakfast at Tetetlan in Pedregal. The building of this restaurant was originally the horse stables of a home designed by Mexico’s most influential architect, Luis Barragán. The space was restored by the art collector living next door, who transformed it into a multi-purpose building. It serves as a cafe with shade-grown local coffee, a restaurant with creative Meso-American dishes, a showroom for local designers, a yoga studio and a listening library. The design space is truly breathtaking with glass floors that look onto local purple-black volcanic rock.
    • Be sure to try the dish with cactus and cheese.
  • Visited the markets at Bazar Sabadl in San Angel and Coyoacán. The markets are filled with works from artists, ceramicists, jewellers and painters who have come to display and sell their art. These markets are quite fancy compared to a local Mexican market.
    • Taste test Esquites from a street vendor.

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Day 3:

  • Brunch at Cicatriz in Juarez.
  • Anthropology Museum: a national museum located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Chapultepec Park. It provides a great historical background to the Indigenous inhabitants of Mexico and how the country became the Mexico we know today. There are hundreds of fascinating artefacts and relics in the museum.
    • Give yourself 3-4 hours here.
    • It is free for Mexicans, but tourists must pay 64 MXN (approx. $5AUD)
  • Frida Karlo Museum: a historic house museum dedicated to the life and work of the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. This museum was a fascinating insight into the painful life of Kahlo, showcasing her trials and tribulations through her art. The museum is located in the Colonia del Carmen neighbourhood of Coyoacán.
    • You can only visit the museum in allotted times, to ensure it doesn’t get too crowded. I recommend booking ahead of time, so you don’t waste precious travel time standing outside the museum.
    • You can opt for a guided tour, which is available in Spanish or English at 700 MXN ($55AUD)
    • You can visit and stroll through at your own leisure for 230 MXN ($19AUD)
  • Dinner at Brassi in Polanco. Enjoy a good bottle of wine, listen to live jazz, and savour every mouthful over great dinner conversation. A great way to end any day!

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Day 4:

  • Brunch at Dosis. Get the avo toast. Costing 42MXN ($3AUD).
  • Churreria el Moro for the most delicious churros.
  • Avenue Reforma
    • This is where you can find the Alebrijes. The Alebrijes are mythical creatures that have elements from different animals such as dragon bodies, bat wings, wolf teeth and dog eyes. Colourfully painted, they were originally made with papier mache but nowadays they are wood carved. Although these distinctive cultural artefacts are often assumed to represent a long-established tradition of Mexican folk art, they only began to appear in the 1940s. They come alive in the city during Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).
  • Shopping: Mexico City is one cool city and you’d be a damn fool not to set aside some time to check out the shops!
    • Casa Bosques for a trendy book store
    • Tuza for boutique shopping and crafty candles
    • Goodbye Folk for amazing vintage finds

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Travel tips:

  • I would recommend a minimum of four days in the capital. It is a truly bustling city with many museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops! Plus you will need time for a walking tour and to wander around on your own.
  • Most of the museums are closed on Mondays- so check ahead of time when planning your itinerary!
  • Go to the Sears across the road from Palacio de Bellas Artes, and go upstairs to the cafe for great views.
  • Wifi is useful and cheap. You can purchase a SIM card at most convenience stores.
  • Be sure to taste Jamaica tea! It is made from Hibiscus flowers and is extremely tasty.

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Safety in Mexico City:

I found that visiting Mexico City was just like visiting any other major city. Sure, there are areas to stay away from and I wouldn’t gallivant around solo at night, but those are precautions I always take regardless of the destination.

Be smart, don’t flash expensive electronics/jewellery, and be extra aware/cautious at night (especially if travelling alone) or if taking public transport. You will be fine! Just stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Dodgy things can happen anywhere, it is up to us as travellers to trust our gut and be diligent in where we choose to visit.

How to get around Mexico City:

I chose not to take any public transport as an added measure of precaution and opted to use Uber as it was cheap. An Uber would cost anywhere between $3-10 to get across town, depending on how far you wanted to go from destination to destination.

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When to visit Mexico City:

In all honesty, there’s no bad time to visit Mexico City. The weather is fairly consistent year-round, with a mild temperature around 24-27 degrees celsius.

Summer (May through September) does experience more rain with frequent downpours and winter (November through February/March) can be slightly colder with frequent downpours as well.

I visited in November and wore jeans and a t-shirt every day. It rained every late-afternoon, and I would wear a denim jacket or knit jumper out at night.

 

 

 

The Best things to do in New York City

To know “The City” like a local might be the greatest badge of honour for travellers. However, I am pre-warning you now that you won’t be able to cover all the museums and galleries, eat at every restaurant or $1 pizza slice joint, or walk every neighbourhood in one visit. But that’s the good news- it gives you a reason to keep coming back!

What to do:

Now that you’ve booked your trip to New York City, you need to decide what you want to see and do to make the most of your time. New York City offers visitors endless options of things to do, there is no chance to get bored during your stay. Experience the best things to do in NYC with this guide to essential sights, eats, drinks, culture and nightlife.

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1- Central Park

Central Park is the heart and soul of New York City. It is a place of peace in an otherwise loud, crowded and hectic city. Enter via 72nd Street in Central Park West and head towards Strawberry Fields, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain and Loeb Boathouse. Allow 3-4 hours here.

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2- Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock is an observatory on top of the Rockefeller Center. I prefer this view over the Empire State because I want to see the iconic building, not be in it. It is best to book your ticket online to beat the long lines. Allow 1-3 hours here.

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3- The High Line

The High Line is a public park built in 2009 on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The High Line is a funky space filled with restaurants, art and design stores, and is a beautiful way to see the city’s architecture. Allow 2-3 hours here.

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4- Soho

Soho is my favourite area to walk around in NYC. It is filled with beautiful cast-iron-facades, cobblestone streets, designer boutiques and high-end art galleries; making it a very trendy area and top shopping destination. Let yourself get lost amongst the streets and fall in love with the beautiful architecture, cafes, stores and vibe. If you love to shop, allow yourself 2-4 hours here.

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5- Guggenheim

The Guggenheim is a beautiful art museum located in the Upper East Side. The Guggenheim is an architect-lovers dream! When the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened in 1959, critics were unimpressed with the building, likening it to a washing machine. Today it has become one of New York City’s most beloved architectural icons. Allow 2-4 hours to peruse the art and the outside of the building.

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6- 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a memorial and museum commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 people. This attack attempted to tear apart  and destroy a city and a country, but the result of watching the opposite of that happen is truly inspiring. It is a must-visit when in this city, as the attacks completely altered the way the city and the country is today. It is a somber, meaningful place for remembrance and reflecting. Allow 2-4 hours.

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7- Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village has a heart and soul of its own. It is a hub of jazz clubs, off-broadway shows, restaurants, and home to NYU. Fan of rock and roll music? Make sure to visit Cafe Wha?; the spirit of rock & roll, where Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan used to jam. Spend hours walking around the streets, there’s a lot of special gems to be found in this neighbourhood. Next time I visit, I’m staying here! Allow 1-3 hours.

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8- Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is inside Greenwich Village but I thought it deserved a special mention. Grab a slice of pizza, sit on a bench with a good book or people watch for hours as there is always something happening in the park. Allow 30 mins-3 hours.

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9- MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1929. It was recently renovated, expanding their galleries making it a truly beautiful and special experience. It is an awe-inspiring art gallery with some of the greatest artworks by the greatest artists in the world: including several pieces by Picasso, Monte, Kahlo, Warhol, Cézanne and Chagall to name a few! It is open 10am-9pm and you can purchase your ticket online beforehand. Allow 3-5 hours. 

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10- The Vessel

The Vessel is a structure and visitor attraction built as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. I stumbled upon this as I was walking The High Line. It is a spiral staircase meant to be climbed; offering wonderful views of NYC from a new perspective. Allow 1-2 hours.

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11- Little Italy

Little Italy was once home to the immigrants who settled there from Sicily and Naples in the 1880s. For years it was a thriving area filled with Italian restaurants, bakeries and shops. Nowadays, the Italian presence has shrunk down to the blocks surrounding Mulberry Street. There is a deep, dark and interesting history within these streets- I suggest finding a free walking tour that includes this area! Allow 1 hour.

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12- Financial District

The area home to Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange and Trinity Church may still be dubbed the Financial District but it is no longer what it used to be. Whilst here on a walking tour, I found out that the New York Stock Exchange barely exchanges any stocks there anymore and is actually used as a department store. The New York City we knew, is no longer. Alas, it was still nice to walk the streets and imagine what life would have been like here in the 1920s! Allow 1 hour.

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13- New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is the second-largest public library in the United States and the third-largest in the world! It is located in a beautiful building with breathtaking decor and ceiling art. Even if you aren’t interested in reading or books, it is worth taking a look inside. Allow 30 mins-2 hours.

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14- St Patrick’s Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Patrick is a Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in the centre of the city. It has become a quintessential part of NYC; you can often spot a bride and groom snapping their wedding picture in front of the iconic church! Allow 30 mins to look inside. If you are religious you can attend a mass or confession.

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15- Times Square

Times Square is a billboard-littered hell that has very little to do with the rest of the city. Nobody hangs around outside the M&M store, and nobody buys anything from the souvenir stores. Locals pass through as quickly as possible on their way to a Broadway show, and I suggest you do the same. See it once and then get out of there! Allow minus 1 hour.

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16- Rooftop bars

New York is flooded with trendy rooftop bars. I visited the popular 230 Fifth, located in Manhattan, which boasted amazing views, especially at sunset. I wish I could have visited more!

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17- Oculus

The Oculus represents the most integrated network of underground pedestrian connections in New York City. It serves as the centre of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. It is an amazing piece of modern architecture, bringing a new life to a place of destruction and sadness.

18- Broadway Show

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Broadway shows are practically synonymous with New York City! It is inspiring how important the arts and theatre are to this city and it is important to support that so it never changes. If you are worried about the steep prices for theatre tickets, keep checking online for sales, and there are ways to win free tickets on the day from special ticket booths around the city.

Where to eat:

19- Pizza by the slice from Little Italy

This is not to be confused with Little Italy as a neighbourhood but Little Italy as a dingy hole-in-the-wall pizza slice joint on Amsterdam Street between 70th and 71st- as shown to me by a New York City local. Don’t miss it!

20- Bell, Book & Candle

If your eyes aren’t peeled you might miss this gorgeous bar and restaurant located in the West Village. The menu is made from local, organic and sustainable procurement, mostly from the vegetables on the rooftop- my kind of place!

21- Levain Bakery

Levain Bakery opened in 1995 and there are now multiple storefronts all over the city. If you pass one, go in!

22- Miznon

Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani brought Miznon to the U.S. after the pita sandwich spot was considered one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv. I can attest that this place will not disappoint!

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Where to shop:

23- Reformation

Reformation is a beautiful clothing store that celebrates women’s bodies while ensuring the clothes are made sustainably and ethically. It is my favourite store ever and is located in Soho. Stop by during your visit if you’re into the eco but stylish life.

24- Everlane

Everlane is another eco-brand. They partner with ethical factories all around the world to make their clothes. They are a great go-to for staple items in your wardrobe.

25- The Real Real

The RealReal, Inc. is an online and shop marketplace for high-end vintage goods. They sell clothing, fine jewellery, watches, fine art and home decor. This place was practically an art gallery. I didn’t buy anything, but it was fun to look around.

26- MoMA Design Store

This is part of MoMA. I love looking at any art gallery store, but especially this one. It is filled with creative, quirky gifts, books you need and gadgets you definitely don’t need but want anyway. Make sure to have a peruse!

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There you have it! My must-dos of what to see, do and eat when you come to New York. Now, of course, I barely even scraped the surface on my list. There were many more art galleries, museums, restaurants, cafes and shops I wanted to check out but unfortunately, there isn’t enough time in the world to see everything in New York- but I’m going to try!

 

 

 

Everything you need to know about Tasmania’s Bay of Fires

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Bay of Fires is a truly beautiful part of the world. Located on Tasmania’s north-east coast, expect to be greeted with iridescent blue water, white sandy beaches and huge, granite rocks splashed with orange lichen. The juxtaposition between the blue and orange is a magnificent sight to see.

The area is well known for its bird watching and beach activities such as snorkelling and diving, with scenic reefs, corals, and varied sea life. Whilst driving along the roads keep a look out for native Australian animals such as kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons (a real marsupial, found only in Tasmania).

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Getting here:

To get to this picturesque destination, we drove to Eddystone Point Lighthouse from Launceston airport. It was a 2.5-hour drive, with a large part of it on a dirt road. Luckily, there were barely any other cars on the road, which is what you can largely expect during your whole trip around Tassie.

Allow for a few hours to wander up and down the coastline here, taking in the beautiful scenery. You never know what you’ll find; we spotted a wobbegong (carpet shark) in the shallow waters!

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Binalong Bay:

From Bay of Fires, we needed to make our way to Coles Bay. We stopped off at Binalong Bay, a small coastal town situated at the southern end of the Bay of Fires, just in time to watch the sunset over the ocean. There isn’t much here, but it made for a peaceful stopover on a multi-hour drive.

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10 Quintessential Melbourne Experiences

Melbourne is a hip, vibrant city filled with great culture and delicious food. The city centre is always bustling, and the inner-city neighbourhoods are complete with their own unique charm.

Melbourne has earned its reputation as Australia’s “coolest” city through its many laneways filled with quirky street art, roaring music scene and delicious dining options for all budgets. It’s also regularly been voted the world’s most liveable city, and for good reason!

So, what are the “must-do’s” when visiting this city?

1. Visit Flinders Street Station and Federation Square

The main entrance to Flinders Street Station is a cultural symbol of Melbourne. You will spot this on every tourist brochure or postcard in Melbourne. The building was first opened in 1910 and is listed on the Victorian heritage register.

Across the road from the station is Federation Square. This is another Melbourne icon, most notable during the Australian Open when thousands of people gather to watch the  tennis matches on the television. Once you’re at the Square, make sure to visit the Australian Centre of the Moving Image.

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2. Go bar hopping

Melbourne has an endless supply of bars to visit, eat and get drunk at. Make the most of your afternoon by bar hopping from bar to bar. My favourite suburb to bar hop in is Fitzroy- home to Naked for Satan, The Everleigh, Bar Liberty and Bad Frankie to name a few. (The amazing view of Melbourne’s cityscape was taken from Naked for Satan).

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3. Brunch until you can’t brunch anymore

There’s nothing quite like a brunch queue on a Sunday morning in Melbourne. Picture this, you’re hungover, you’re tired, all you want is some avo toast and a coffee. You’re waiting in line for over 20 minutes, wondering if it will ever be your turn or if you will perish in Melbourne before you even get to eat at one of the famous brunch spots, but then your name is called! Your food is brought, and everything is right in the world once more.

Some of the places I’d happily line up for whilst experiencing the above scenario include: Bentwood and Faraday’s Cage in Fitzroy, Fourth Chapter in Prahran, Top Paddock in Richmond and Higher Ground in the CBD.

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4. Check out the amazing street art

Melbourne is very well-known for its incredible street art. The city council actually designated certain areas that allow street artists to do their thing. Due to this, the art is always changing around the city. The most famous spot to see street art is on Hosier Lane. However, I stumbled across a lot of street art whilst wandering around Fitzroy.

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6. Visit a market

There are market stalls being held every weekend in Melbourne. If you’re a lover of unique trinkets, fresh produce and supporting local artists then a visit to a market would be the perfect way to spend a morning. A quick Google search will let you know what markets will be on that weekend. I visited Rose Street Market in Fitzroy, which is open every weekend. It’s an indoor and outdoor market filled with handmade goods, complete with a diner and rooftop bar.

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7. Admire art at a gallery

Melbourne has so many amazing art galleries to peruse. It is home to Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria, plus an array of smaller galleries such as Niagara Galleries, Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings or Centre for Contemporary Photography. Make sure you visit at least one gallery whilst here! In my personal opinion, Aboriginal art is some of the most beautiful so make sure you go to a gallery that has some on display for a full Australian art experience.

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8. Get sporty at the MCG

One of the most important things to know about Melbourne is that it is a sports-obsessed city. The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or as the locals call it “The G”, is Melbourne’s largest sports stadium. The stadium is home to the Melbourne Cricket Club, but also hosts AFL games, and international soccer and rugby games.

To top off your Melbourne experience try to catch a game of cricket or AFL to truly experience Melbourne’s passion for sport.

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9. Stroll (or row) along the Yarra River

The Yarra River is the city’s main water feature, situated in the heart of the city. Take a stroll along the Yarra and look back at the beautiful city skyline. I’ve been told that a very “Melbourne thing to do” is to kayak along the Yarra River, so if you’re after a fun, unique activity whilst in Melbourne this could be it.

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10. Wander through laneways

One of my favourite things to do in any city is to aimlessly wander through the many laneways and streets, and get lost in the architecture around me. This strongly applies to when I am in Melbourne, as it is a wonderful to way to see what the city has to offer. You’ll find plenty to see, do, buy and eat, and gain a new appreciation of Melbourne.

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