A Guide to Visiting Kangaroo Island, South Australia

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Located off the coast of South Australia is one of the nation’s best-kept secrets; Kangaroo Island. Aptly named, the island is a wildlife lover’s dream. Sure, there are kangaroos… but you’ll also experience a range of rare wildlife viewings in abundance: wombats, echidnas, and the country’s third largest sea lion colony (with their very own protected beach, mind you!) If I haven’t quite convinced you yet, here’s how Kangaroo Island stole my heart!

Southern_Ocean_Lodge A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust

Check In: Southern Ocean Lodge

If there’s just one wildlife lodge you should visit in your lifetime, make it Southern Ocean Lodge. This all-inclusive lodge doesn’t come cheap, but it does involve an experience of a lifetime. Guests are picked up from the airport on arrival and treated to every luxury throughout their stay: three meals a day with an open bar, daily guided tours to various points of interest around the island and a complete oasis tucked neatly away down a guest-access-only driveway on the Southern coast of the island.

A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust

Must visit Photo stops

With so much to see and do on the island, you will need at least a few days to explore. With just two nights on the island, we hit the ground running with a hybrid rental car and our camera in hand!

A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust

Flinders Chase National Park

Our first point of call was all the way on the other side of the island, but after seeing photos of the stunning coastline we decided our short amount of time on the island should be spent here on the West Coast. Whilst inside the National Park be sure to stop at the Remarkable Rocks, Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse, Admiral’s Arch, and of course spot the sea lions lazing in the sun!

A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust

Seal Bay Conservation Park

Wildlife lovers beware – you’re about to fall head over heels for these guys! Seal Bay Conservation Park is just as it sounds – a safe haven for sea lions and the second largest population in Australia of the endangered species. We spent at least an hour here commentating the leisurely life of a sea lion – too cute!

Willoughby 

Over on the eastern end of Dudley Peninsula you will find one of Kangaroo Island’s best spots to watch the sun set – complete with its own lighthouse and extremely scenic views!

Emu Bay

Just a short drive away from Kingscote (the largest town on Kangaroo Island and the point of entry to the island), you will find Emu Bay on the North of the island. If you find yourself arriving on Kangaroo Island in the morning and are looking for an immediate pit stop, this is one not to be missed!
A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust

Eats & Drinks

Of the short time we spent on Kangaroo Island, I’d say about half of that time was spent eating. With so much fresh local produce on offer there’s every excuse to indulge!

Dining inside an Enchanted Fig Tree

Yup, you read correctly! As quirky as it sounds, one of our best experiences on the island and hands down our best dining experience, was inside the Enchanted Fig Tree, indulging in a 10-course meal.

Kangaroo Island Spirits

Although we didn’t get a chance to visit the distillery, many locals on the island were eager to rave about Kangaroo Island Spirits and in particular their gin offerings! Should you get time this is a great pit stop to taste the local gin, which is highly regarded across South Australia.

A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust A Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island | World of Wanderlust

World of Wanderlust visited South Australia with the South Australian Tourism Commission. All opinions, recommendations and photos are my own!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

English Country Kitchen Inspiration (so pretty it hurts!)

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After 6 months of begging my boyfriend to join me in a kitchen makeover extravaganza, he has finally (and I still don’t know how it finally happened) agreed to come on board. With the excitement of creating a new space in our home totally overwhelming me (you know you’re an adult when), I’ve been scouring the interwebs for English Country Home Inspiration. Here are the ideas and inspiration I’m running with when going in to planning mode this week and having the plans drawn up!

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Open Shelving

For our kitchen makeover we’re going for a simple design & neutral approach. As we live in the countryside we want to keep our makeover true to the location of our house and keep it simple. Floorboards will be replacing our ancient tiles that look as if they belong in an old Italian villa’s powder room, ha! We will also be ripping out the kitchen in its entirety, removing a wall and opening up our kitchen/dining space to be conjoined.

Open shelving has really caught my eye as being a great way to make a kitchen look more interesting beyond cupboards and provide some depth to the space.

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Gold Accents

If I can somehow swing my boyfriend to see the beauty in brassware, I would love to feature some gold accents in our new kitchen. This splash of gold provides a more vintage feel to a kitchen it gives it that added point of difference.

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Wooden floors

As our house is carpeted throughout (great in the winter time), I really wanted to take the opportunity of a rome renovation to add some floorboards to our house. Particularly in practical spaces like kitchen/dining where you spend so much time, I believe it is important to consider what will work best for you. Our current tiles are extremely cold in the winter time, so I’m hoping the switch to wooden floors will be a little more cozy for our house.

Butler’s Pantry

Talk about the ultimate indulgence! Although I’m getting a little sidetracked here (our current budget and space does not allow for a walk-in pantry), I couldn’t resist sharing this photo with you! Organisation is on point.

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Neutral Tones

As our current kitchen is a dark and uninviting space, we’re really hoping to shift the gears by knocking out the wall that separates our kitchen and dining room, resulting in more light in the joint room and more space to enjoy hosted dinner parties. Another important thing for me is to keep a neutral colour palette, but not to get so carried away that you omit giving the space depth and character. I believe this is possible by sticking to a neutral palette, yet focusing on different tones and materials like these white wall tiles matched with the dark oak open shelving.

Fresh Blooms

Another key focus of mine this year is to spend more time in our garden to create an oasis in the warmer months. Although this takes time, we’re lucky enough to live in a much older house that already had some pretty well established gardens before we arrived (though sadly after years of neglect, I’ve got my work cut out for me!)

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Glass Jars and Organisation Overload

Anyone who knows me or who has read my blog for a while now will know first hand that I am completely over organised (you name it, I’ve written a list for it!) I love the look of these glass jars filled with candy, granola or cooking ingredients to bring something new to the pantry.

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Topiary & Splashes of colour

Another obsession of mine is to include topiary in every room of my house – there’s just nothing more classically English! I had never thought of putting plants in my kitchen but I love the way this brings a burst of colour to an otherwise neutral room.

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Feature Lighting

Last but not least – feature lighting! I love the way two or three simple hanging lights provide such a feature in English country home kitchens. I’ve been using Australian interior design sites like Temple and Webster to search for hidden treasures, but I do so wish sites like Anthropologie had affordable shipping rates to Australia!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Going Offline for a Month & How I Handled Blogger Burnout

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I struggled to choose a title for this post and without a title, I didn’t really know where my writing would take me. But I guess the beauty in this will be an upfront recollection of where I’ve been the past month and why I believe taking a break prevents you from breaking.

Blogging and “being a blogger” has been a pretty weird ride over the past few years.

After starting my blog in December 2012, I have spent more than four years sharing the ins and outs of my life day-to-day through social media and my blog. I have travelled to 6 continents and 60 or 70-something countries (I lost count long ago) and have been incredibly fortunate to see and experience so much of the world. I owe this all to blogging and the wild ride it has taken me on.

But the truth is that life changes and with it, you change.

As a firm believer in change being a good thing – a constant challenge, a shift of gears, a chance to start anew… I’ve spent the last month grappling with what this change means for me, my blog and future endeavours.

Blogger Burnout | Home in Tasmania Blogger Burnout | Home in Tasmania Blogger Burnout | Home in Tasmania

Its Okay to Take a Break

Here is where I’ve been hiding out – at home on the farm. Bliss, no?

For those of you who don’t know – I come from the island of Tasmania in Australia. It’s a hidden gem for those who come to discover it and a perfectly-positioned postcard just waiting to happen every which way you turn. It is often unbelievable to me that such a beautiful place exists, let alone a place I can say I grew up in and will spend the rest of my days enjoying (and probably still pinching myself over!)

After four years of wanting to escape the place I grew up and explore the “rest of the world”, I can now say with certainty and belief in my own words that I have grown a strong love and appreciation for Tasmania.

Since meeting my partner 2 years and 2 months ago on the dance floor of my sister’s wedding, I have slowly been spending more and more time at home and as such, spending less and less time on airplanes and in airports.

But that’s not to say that every day has been less of an adventure.

Charlie's Dessert House Launceston

Charlie's Dessert House Launceston

Pursuing Other Passions

Since choosing to split my time between home life and “blog life (living out of a suitcase)”, I have rediscovered my love for the simple things. Things like cooking, cleaning, even getting excited to put a load of washing on and have the house sparkling top to bottom.

Through this time I began to spend more and more time in the kitchen baking (those with a sweet tooth will know sugar is an obligatory food group, I won’t have any of this sugar-free business!) As a result of this, I opened a bakery in my home town. It has been one of the craziest, most challenging and certainly most exciting things I have ever done.

Aside from business pursuits, I have also made more time for other things I adore: gardening, interior decorating, entertaining and generally feeling like I have two feet planted on the ground – a feeling I missed so much after living out of a suitcase for four years.

The truth about blogging

Blogging is Changing & So Am I

Another challenge I have faced internally (a lot, lately) is the changing nature of blogging and social media. At the beginning of this I felt like an outsider looking in and lately I’ve began to feel caught inside this world of “living online”. The online stuff I love includes Pinterest, writing general nonsense on Twitter and sharing secret places around the world on Instagram.

The online stuff I don’t love so much is the oversharing, the constant pressure to be more exciting in order to be a better business and quite frankly, the over staging of photos (remember when you just ate your food before taking a photo of it!?)

Don’t get me wrong – it would be ironic and hypocritical of me to say that I hate the interwebs in any way – I love how integrated and interconnected we have all become. But I do feel as if this year I would like to have a different relationship with the interwebs and my approach to it.

The past month you may have noticed I haven’t uploaded a single photo on Instagram – a pretty big shift from my 2-3 uploads per day. Quite honestly, I was tired of uploading because I felt like I had to upload something to be interesting. 

You may have noticed in the past month I have also gone from sharing 5-7 blog posts per week to a dismal 1 or 2 every few weeks. Truth? I have been too busy living in the real world to live online this past month.

And truth? It has been awesome.

Where to now?

Wherever the wind takes me.

In 2017 I plan to have more authentic adventures – skipping the oversupply of hosted trips and blogger perks for the old school DIY trips with my film camera and paper maps to lead the way. I still plan on sharing my adventures and keeping the fire alive, but doing so on my own terms and for the right reasons – because I just love to explore.

This year I also plan to share more of my other interests – DIY projects, interior decorating in my home, adventures in the kitchen and so on, and so forth. I’m welcoming change and I hope you will too. None of us were ever meant to be one-dimensional so don’t be afraid to pursue multiple passions and keep embracing what makes you feel alive.

See you soon.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The Best of Prague: A Prague Walking Guide

Medieval, magical and inviting… Prague is one of Europe’s most memorable cities that continues to awe me time after time, even after a handful of visits. The allure of the Charles Bridge on an icy morning in January, the beauty of a sunset in the warm summer nights and even the city covered in a thick layer of snow that brings your fingers to freeze through thick woolen gloves – there has been no time in Prague that I haven’t felt completely embraced by this intriguing city. And yet while Prague may look like a small town riddled with tales to span centuries, the city of Prague is sprawling with many different neighborhoods offering their own unique flair. Here’s how to discover the best of Prague in a self guided Prague walking guide.

Prague_Walking_Tour

Know Before you Go: Prague for First Timers

If this is your first visit to Prague you have likely seen the postcard views, intriguing architecture, and perhaps fallen victim to the eery allure of the Charles Bridge on a winter’s morning. Each season brings a new feeling to the city of Prague, but in all honesty there is no bad time of year to visit. The first time I visited Prague was in a thick layer of knee-high snow in 2012, followed by a spring visit a couple of years later. The last time I found myself in Prague was at the end of Autumn and beginning of winter, but even an in-between season visit brought the magic of Prague I have come to know and love. It is without hesitation that I say the best way to see Prague is on foot, so be sure to pack some comfy shoes, a bottle of water, some cash for the endless amount of pitstops you are about to endure and get ready to see Prague!

Route walking time: 1 hour, 20 minutes without stops

Distance: 5.9 kilometres

1. Vrtba Garden

Although an unlikely and often unheard of point to commence your walking tour of Prague, Vrtba Garden is the perfect positioning to begin exploring the Prague’s lesser quarter. Built between 1715 & 1720, the garden was constructed in traditional baroque Italian style, with perfectly trimmed hedges in symmetrical formation. Not only is this a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle outside of the entrance, Vrtba Garden also offers magnificent views of the surrounding landscape, making it the perfect positioning to commence your walking tour of Prague. This is one of Prague’s few “lesser known” attractions that any visitor will tell you you cannot miss, so be sure to make the most of this insider tip and allow yourself a good hour here in the serenity!

What: Jardin vrtbovská

Where: Karmelitská 373/25, 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana, Czechia

2. St. Nicholas Church

From the Vrtba Gardens, take a left toward St. Nicholas Church, a short 350 metre walk away. This church serves as a central point in the lesser quarter of Prague, where you can see the livelihood of this neighbourhood at every turn. Step inside to marvel at the baroque architecture of this church, which replaced a 13th century gothic church that was also dedicated to Saint Nicholas.

What: Baroque Church in Lesser Prague

Where: Malostranské nám., 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana, Czechia

3. Prague Castle

From the Church of Saint Nicholas, get ready to begin your upwards climb towards Prague Castle. Be sure not to miss Pražská čokoláda (Prgaue Chocolate), located at the base of the stairs and famous for their chocolate covered almonds (with free samples!) Be sure to allow at least an hour or more to explore the Prague Castle complex, as there is much to see once inside. This is also one of the most confusing castles to visit in Europe (if you ask me), with no clear indication of where to head next, so be sure to consider a hosted guide or at the very least an audio guide if you wish to make the most of your visit. The 9th Century Castle attracts many visitors each year, all vying for their photo of the straight-faced guards placed at the entrance to the castle. Be sure to drop by Golden Lane for a look at some artisanal shops, before heading onwards to St. Vitus Cathedral.

What: 9th Century Castle

Where: 119 08 Prague 1, Czechia

4. St. Vitus Cathedral

Located next to Prague Castle you will find St. Vitus Cathedral, home to the Archbishop of Prague. The history of this Roman Catholic church is almost as old as Prague itself, so be sure to step inside for a step back in time.

What: Gothic Cathedral

Where: III. nádvoří 48/2, 119 01 Praha 1, Czechia

5. Lennon Wall

Heading back down-hill, be sure to stop by the Lennon Wall before stepping foot on Prague’s most photographed attraction: The Charles Bridge. Just before you cross the bridge toward the Old Town of Prague, you will find this graffiti wall inspired by John Lennon, complete with song lyrics and peace signs, which was created in the 1980’s.

What: Lenon-inspired graffiti wall

Where: Velkopřevorské náměstí, 100 00 Praha 1, Czechia

6. Charles Bridge

Onwards to the Old Town, you absolutely cannot miss the chance to walk across the Charles Bridge: the reason many visitors choose to visit Prague! This historic bridge crosses the Vltava River and is hands down the biggest highlight of the city. Although overcrowded on a good day, the best way to see the bridge is once in the morning, once during the day, and once in the evening. The bridge boasts 16 arches and is lined with a total of 30 Baroque statues and figurines.

What: Historic Bridge named after King Charles IV

Where: Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia

7. Josefov

Completely surrounded by the Old Town, Josefov is a time warp neighbourhood previously known as the Jewish ghetto. As one of my favourite neighbourhoods to wander in Prague, today you will find an abundance of antiques stores, clock stores, postcards and souvenirs. One of the must see places in Josefov is the Hebrew clock on top of the Old Town Hall – located underneath the regular clock and running backwards.

What: Former Jewish ghetto

Where: Josefov (neighbourhood)

8. Old Town Square

As the historic centre of Prague, one absolutely cannot miss a visit (or a few visits!) to the Old Town Square of Prague. The various architectural styles are evident in one 360 turn, with an abundance of village life and attractions to visit within a short distance of one another. The best way to experience the Old Town is to wander through the many alleyways and boutiques without a plan or direction.

What: Historic Square in the Old Town

Where: Staroměstské nám., 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia

9. Prague Astronomical Clock

Whilst in the Old Town be sure to wander over towards the large crowds to get a glimpse of the Astronomical Clock – full of legends and mystery.

What: Medieval Astronomical Clock

Where: Staroměstské nám. 1, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia

10. Wenceslas Square

After a complete history lesson of the oldest parts of Prague, head towards Wenceslas Square in “New Town” for a look at real Prague or more accurately, where you’ll find locals in one of the busiest shopping areas in the city. It is here where you will find many international brands and designers.

What: Main shopping area

Where: New Town, 110 00 Prague 1, Czechia

11. Prague National Theatre

Onwards toward the Vltava River, make your way to the Prague National Theatre. Along the way you will pass by Cafe Louvre – one of the gorgeous time-warp cafes I would recommend a pitstop at for a coffee or hot chocolate. Another great cafe stop is right by the National Theatre, named Cafe Slavia, one of the oldest cafes in Prague where a pianist plays in the evenings, coat check is a must and smoking inside is still fashionable.

What: National Theatre to enjoy Opera & Ballet

Where: Národní 2, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia

12. Vltava River

Walking along the Vltava River, this is undeniably one of my favourite strolls in all of Central Europe! Along the way you can marvel at the architecture to your left, whilst taking in the gorgeous views of the Vltava River on your right.

What: Longest river in the Czech Republic

13. Fred & Ginger’s Dancing House

Finally, end your walking tour of Prague at the must-see-to-be-believed Fred & Ginger “Dancing House”. Although out of the way, it is here where you will see the sprawling size of the city of Prague, view of the old trams as they pass by and take in the views of the Vltava River.

What: Architectural marvel

Where: Jiráskovo nám. 1981/6, 120 00 Praha 2-Nové Město, Czechia

Over to you! What were your highlights from Prague!?

 

A Guide to Visiting Moorea

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Arriving in Mo’orea

After landing in Tahiti, we made our way by plane over to Mo’orea – just a short 7 minute flight or alternatively 30 minutes by ferry (and much cheaper as I learned on the return!) From the ferry terminal or airport you can catch a taxi to your accommodation.

With limited hotels and guesthouses available on the island, I would strongly recommend booking in advance to secure your accommodation. We checked in to the Sofitel Mo’orea which was beautiful if you’re after beach bungalows or overwater bungalows.

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Discovering Local Way of Life

On the first day arriving in Mo’orea, I was already claiming to everyone that it was my favourite island in Tahiti – based purely on the warmth of the people and the laid back atmosphere (or what I would call the “real” Tahiti I was in search of!) Everyone we met was so eager to share their culture with us and I before we knew it we were weaving baskets, making flower crowns, dancing (Tahiti style!) and feeling more and more welcome the more we travelled around.

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

On-Island Activities

There’s another reason I loved Mo’orea quite a bit more than other islands, which you might have already guessed from the heading is because of all the activities! As someone who likes to take it easy when looking around (rather than hopping from one attraction to the next), I really enjoyed our day quad-biking through the mountains without anywhere to be or a time slot to fit in to. Unfortunately we were also planning to go horseback riding in the mountains, however with crazy storms that grounded all flights for two days, it is little wonder that we were not able to do so!

One thing I would have liked more time to do is to venture off on hikes around the island (there are heaps on offer!) Unfortunately the rain delayed our arrival to the island and made our time here really limited, so if I could make one last suggestion it would be to definitely book at least a week to discover Mo’orea!

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

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With thanks to Tahiti Tourism for making my visit to Tahiti possible and so memorable!

 

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

 

A Guide to Bora Bora, Tahiti!

Somewhere that has long been on my bucket list, I finally got the chance to escape to paradise this week by visiting Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Now some of my reality-tv-show loving readers will known this of course as one of the Kardashian holiday destinations (myself included – I do love a good reality show binge), but for most of you Bora Bora is one of the few idyllic locations around the world home to the iconic water bungalows. Below you’ll find all this and more in my complete guide to Bora Bora, Tahiti!

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Chasing Waterfalls in Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Arriving in Bora Bora

After spending a couple of nights on the main island of Tahiti (a great way to catch up on jetlag if you’re arriving from the Europe), I hopped on a quick 45 minute flight to Bora Bora. Upon landing I was (not so) warmly welcomed by rain and lots of it, but the idea of stepping off a plane and straight on to a boat to my resort was too lovely to let a little storm get in the way of my happiness.

On the subject of weather, I would highly recommend you visiting Tahiti in January as rain is almost a guarantee (there wasn’t a day it didn’t rain on my trip and most days we didn’t see sunshine). Bad weather patterns aside, Bora Bora is too beautiful not to still enjoy – especially for honeymooners and couples looking for an island escape.

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Check In: Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

The hotel boat transported us from the airport straight to check-in, where I happily snagged the keys for my overwater bungalow. The images speak for themselves and despite the miserable weather, it was a beautiful few days in paradise (despite the in-room cock roaches you might have read about on twitter!!!)

Prices are sky high in Bora Bora and although this resort is rated as four stars, you’ll need to save your pennies before coming here. Once at the resort be sure to keep in mind that all of your food and activities are an additional cost and will soon blow your budget if you’re anything like me and can’t say no to dessert at every meal.

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Resort Activities

Around the resort there were plenty of activities to keep one busy: jet skis for rent, stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking… you name it. In a way this reminded me of the Maldives and the endless activities my boyfriend and I got up to there, however with the storms continually rolling in, much of my time was spent indoors or running through the rain from one eatery to another (when you have no options left, food is always a good idea).

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Around Bora Bora

One thing I would strongly suggest you do when visiting Bora Bora is to escape your resort. Although it is easy to stay in one place and eat your favourites off the menu three times a day, I promise you there is so much more to discover when you venture in to “town”.

My absolute favourite experience of my entire stay was at Villa Mahana – a new addition to my list of favourite restaurants around the globe. Not only was this a lovely dining experience with a gastronomic menu, but it also gave me the chance to try local Polynesian foods with a modern, French twist. Safe to say I left nothing on my plate(s) that night.

Another great restaurant I escaped to was Lagoon by Jean Georges, found at the St Regis hotel in Bora Bora. This dinner was a little more fancy (requiring more of a dress code) and delicious as well.

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Getting There

I flew to Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia. While this did involve a transit in Auckland, it was a pretty seamless flight path and if you live in one of the major cities (unlike me from Tasmania!), then you will reach Tahiti within the same day you begin flying.

Beyond Bora Bora

Although it is tempting to arrive in Bora Bora and beach yourself at one resort, I would strongly recommend you venture beyond this island to explore other parts of Tahiti. Personally my favourite island was Moorea, full of dramatic scenery and less outside influence. You can read about my guide to the top islands to visit in Tahiti here.

Special thanks to Tahiti Tourisme for making my visit possible and going above and beyond to provide an incredible experience for my first time in Tahiti! I’ll be back!

 

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

 

Island Hopping in Tahiti: The best islands to visit in Tahiti

Tahiti is to me a place so exotic that I never would have imagined I would step foot on the iconic black sand beaches. Made up of many islands, I soon discovered that the best way to experience Tahiti is to see and do as much as you can on your visit, as each island has its own unique offerings. To help you plan your own visit (which I highly recommend you do, this place is incredible), here’s a guide to the best islands to visit in Tahiti… you’re welcome!

Chasing Waterfalls in Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

First stop: Tahiti

International flights in to Tahiti arrive at Faa’a International Airport, a short drive from the main city of Papeete (pronounced: Papy – et – tay). As all of the flights land here first, I would suggest taking a short one or two night stopover to enjoy what the main island of Tahiti has to offer.

Arriving on a late flight from New Zealand, my first point of call was to check-in, sleep, and awake refreshed for a full day of adventuring by 4WD, way up in the mountains in search of waterfalls. I took this tour with Iaorana Tahiti Expeditions, which included local guides, a full day of sightseeing, lunch and discovering hidden waterfalls (something I would not have been able to do on my own!)

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Moorea

From Tahiti, the islands are plentiful and many travellers choose different combinations based on their personal interests, as I soon found that each island has its own attitude and way of life. My absolute favourite island of the trip was Moorea, just a 7 minute flight from Tahiti or a 30 minute ferry ride. While the ferry ride was much cheaper, you will need to factor in the price of a taxi to the terminal (thus I would recommend flying if you do not stay overnight in Tahiti; ferry if you do stay overnight in Tahiti, as you’ll need a taxi regardless of the transportation you choose).

This island is best for outdoor adventures, dramatic landscapes and authentic local culture (by which I mean there is much less build up/outside influence on this island). As soon as you approach Moorea by land or sea, you will immediately notice the shift in the way of life here. Unlike the accommodation areas of Tahiti, Moorea offers a much more laid back way of life… evident mostly in what you will soon come to learn as “island time”.

My favourite day in Moorea was filled with adventure – driving up in to the mountains and to pineapple farms on ATV’s (we call them four-wheelers in Australia). On this day we were meant to go horse-riding which would have also been really fun, but due to torrential rain we had limited options by way of activities. If you enjoy hikes I would strongly recommend spending at least a week here, as there is so much of this island to discover on foot – I definitely feel as if I only scratched the surface!

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Bora Bora

Many travellers coming to Tahiti only intend to visit Bora Bora, known for its’ overwater bungalows and luxury resorts. While Bora Bora is beautiful (crystal blue waters, incredible cuisine, loads of reefs to discover), it is still just one “side” to Tahiti. Whilst in Bora Bora we spent much of our time enjoying resort activities, however many of our options were significantly limited with torrential rains again during our entire stay (for which reason I would never suggest you visit in January!!!)

There are a number of luxury hotels in Bora Bora so you won’t struggle for choice. For a more local experience, we checked in to the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, which offers a very Polynesian experience, although certain aspects were a real let down (the day time food was anything but local and cockroaches in the bungalows were a bit of a downer!) Alternative options are International brands such as the Four Seasons Bora Bora or St Regis Bora Bora… depending on your taste (and how badly you despise creepy crawlies!)

Chasing Waterfalls in Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Rangiroa

While there are still many more choices of islands to visit in French Polynesia (The Marquesas, Society Islands, Huahine to name a few), the last island I will mention in terms of top experiences is one that I myself missed out on, but having heard such great things from a group of friends who travelled there, I feel as if it cannot go without mention! This island is also packed with adventure like Moorea and is notoriously good for diving. Thus if you are someone who likes more of an active vacation, then this would be the perfect island to add to your trifecta (Moorea, Bora Bora, Rangiroa) of islands to visit away from the main island of Tahiti.

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

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Getting there

I flew to Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia. While this did involve a transit in Auckland, it was a pretty seamless flight path and if you live in one of the major cities (unlike me from Tasmania!), then you will reach Tahiti within the same day you begin flying.

When to Go

As mentioned throughout this post, my visit to Tahiti was during rainy season in January. If you find yourself on a budget then you can certainly save some dollars by visiting at this time, however I would highly advise against it if you have sunshine and outdoor activities on your mind! While the whole trip was still amazing, continuous rain certainly put a dampener (pun intended) on the trip and reduced selection of activities. May-October is winter in Tahiti, meaning that with a tropical climate this is the best time to go!

Thanks to Tahiti Tourism for making my visit to Tahiti possible and so memorable!

 

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

 

French Hot Chocolate Recipe

There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to recreate & share with you guys since my first visit to Paris solo, some five years ago. It was the middle of winter when I landed at Charles de Gaulle, stepped off a red-eye flight from Hong Kong and hit the ground running. The 13-hour flight time should have left me weary, but my love of Paris and all things French fuelled the adrenaline in me to hit the ground running for my few days in the city of light.On my first day in Paris I stopped at Angelina Tea House, a pastry-lovers dream ideally located on Rue de Rivoli. If I’m to be completely honest it wasn’t the sweets that lured me in, but the ice-cold air outside the drove me to seek refuge in the beaming ray of light that has become one of the world’s most renowned tea houses.

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I vaguely recalled reading in a guidebook that the chocolat chaud was an experience in itself. A rich, thick, and quite notably overpowering concoction of melted chocolate, served with whipped cream on the side to sweeten your brew.

Boy oh boy, was the first taste a moment I will never forget.

French Hot Chocolate Recipe

Since that visit I have had the pleasure of  visiting Paris countless times, each time returning to the very same location to order myself another chocolat chaud. In more recent times I have also opened a dessert house, which prompted me to seek out the recipe and recreate it for my store.

And yep, you guessed it, I’m going to share that recipe with you right here, right now!

French Hot Chocolate Recipe

Author: Brooke Saward

Recipe type: Dessert

Cuisine: French

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 2

  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1/ 2cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 220 grams high quality chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
  • whipped cream, to serve
  1. Place the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Stir until small bubbles form on the outside of the pot (do not boil).
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate.
  4. Return to low-medium heat to melt chocolate completely.
  5. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream.

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The secret to recreating a typical “French” hot chocolate is to use high quality chocolate with a high cocoa % (more than 70%). For the shop we import Belgian chocolate which creates a really creamy, beautiful flavour that can’t be matched with store bought chocolate. If you have a local speciality store be sure to keep an eye out for Belgian chocolate as it is by far the superior chocolate to make this delicious treat as best as it can be!

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How to Make the Most of 2017!

Every year I like to wipe the slate clean and start again with new goals and an adjusted focus. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a New Year’s Resolution (besides, I’m about 12 days too late for that), however I do believe it is important to pause, reflect, and rebuild our goals – what better time to do that than the beginning of a new year? I truly believe all of us have more than one passion point in life, so this year I’m taking the time to put some of my projects aside to give rise to new ones + reinvigorate old passions I haven’t focused on for a while.So if you’re with me, here are 5 steps to make the most of 2017!

Identify your area of focus

The best way to identify where your current passion lies is to pin point what you have been spending most of your energy on over the past year or so. For me, that almost always spreads across a few fields of interests… and that’s okay too!

For the past few years I have been doing a lot of travelling and suffice it to say that in 2017 this will not be changing. For me, this is my greatest passion and the one thing that intrigues me most. Different places, cultures, foods, languages… you name it. Thus my biggest area of focus has been travel for the past few years and if I’m honest with myself about what makes me happiest, travel is still the answer.

But don’t be afraid to choose other passion points and pursue them too. Last year I opened a dessert shop in my hometown (which functions by itself with a full time pastry chef, full time manager and full team of minions), but this year I’d like to spend more time honing in on why I began the shop: my love of pastry. This year I’d like to spend more time refining my skills in the kitchen and continually learning from it.

This year I’d also like to focus on writing. I don’t know exactly what about or in which style, but I do have a burning desire to move abroad for an amount of time (Paris? New York?) and write about my experience.

Define your goals

The job is only half done if you identify what you would like to focus on without identifying how you will ensure you are successful in that area. After you have identified what you will focus on this year, take some time to refine your approach. For me:

Travel – visit new places as much as possible (if returning to an old place, try something drastically new).

In the kitchen – try new dishes and learn new skills. Plus learn loads of French along the way!

Writing – write something of substance that connects with people.

Quotes to Inspire you | World of Wanderlust

Create a positive mantra

All you need is a few words – printed out or written on a piece of paper and stuck up somewhere in your bedroom or office. For me the mantra is always the same: “be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

World of Wanderlust Book - How I published a book

Make a bucket list

As a blogger I’m sure it doesn’t surprise any of you that I’m a lists kinda girl. A list for the supermarket, a list for my jobs for the days, lists and lists and lists of my favourite places… you name it, I’ve listed it. Here’s my “bucket list” for this year (which, as you’ll see, could do with a little refining…)

Go somewhere new (more like a few places!)

Learn a new language (I’m still struggling through French + Russian)

Live in a foreign city for at least 6 weeks (Paris or New York)

Learn new pastry skills (French pastries eat your heart out)

Grow a garden (underway)

Try more outdoor sports (and stop being a computer geek/vampire)

Write (I don’t care what about)

Check-in with yourself regularly

With your passions identified, goals set and a check-list ready to put in to action, don’t forget to take time to yourself, for yourself, to look back at how you are progressing. Ups and downs aside, so long as you continue to put one foot in front of the other, you will eventually move forward in the right direction. Own it!

The 20 Most Breathtaking Places to Visit in Europe

 

I dunno about you guys but for me, there’s something exciting about a new year of adventures… the endless possibilities of where I might end up, who I’ll meet along the way and what will come of another year globetrotting. Because I’m absolutely certain I am European in another lifetime (aside from eating dinner after 8:00pm – ever), I’ve put together a comprehensive list of 20 places that will absolutely take your breath away Europe. These are the “bucket list” cities and towns, the “once in a lifetime” experiences and for sure, they’re all honeymoon approved. So here they are… the most breathtaking places to visit in Europe!

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1. Positano, Italy

We’ll start with an obvious choice and a place I have been harping on about since the first time I laid eyes on it; Positano, a coastal town on the idyllic Amalfi Coast in Italy. Positano is nestled in the cliffside of the jaw-dropping Amalfi coast, far enough away that you’ll find it an effort to reach but close enough to make the area a whole trip in itself. Surrounding Positano you have the Isle of Capri, nearby Sorrento (which I’d also highly recommend), Ravello and Amalfi itself. Each of these towns deserve a couple of days attention, but suffice it to say Positano is the one that will take your heart hook, line and sinker.

Read more: Where to Honeymoon in Italy

Read more: The Amalfi Coast Map & Towns to Visit

2. Bruges, Belgium

Its no secret that I adore Belgium and still believe it is one of the most underrated, overlooked countries to visit in Western Europe. Before travelling to Belgium for the first time I was warned it would be “boring”, “expensive” and “not worth my while”. Wrong, wrong, wrong again. Belgium is full of quaint little charming cities/towns and that is most evident in the city of Bruges.

Read more: 5 Things you Must do in Bruges

3. Lake Como, Italy

If it is good enough for Clooney, it has sure got my interest.  Lake Como in the Northern lakes region of Italy feels like a world away from reality. Small towns, ferry transport, impressive villas and incredible regional cuisine are just the beginning. If ever you feel like you just want to “get away from it all”, here is your opportunity to pass the days lakeside, surrounded by colourful blooms and even more colourful locals.

Read more: 10 Lakes in Europe you Must Visit

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4. Bosnia & Herzegovina

As a whole the country of Bosnia & Herzegovina is often overlooked. While many travellers pass by to visit Mostar on a day trip from nearby Dubrovnik (in Croatia), I can say with absolute certainty that this country deserves much more than a day trip. A few years ago I spent a week with a local family in Blagaj, a small town outside of Mostar. Sure, it was Mostar that first caught my attention but after road tripping around the small country in the Balkan Peninsula, I realised that the beauty lie far beyond the scenery. The hospitality, food, culture and overload of friendship is what made this country so worth visiting. Do yourself a favour and stay a while.

Read more: 10 Reasons to Visit Bosnia & Herzegovina

5. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov takes centre stage as the Czech Republic’s most charming town and certainly one of Europe’s all-time most loved small town destinations. In the summer time this little town, a short bus ride from Prague, is bursting with travellers from all corners of the globe. However the story is much different in winter when the crowds are long gone, snow often lands on the town and creates a magical winter getaway. Regardless of the season, this town is so charming that it will without a doubt take your breath away.

Read more: The 20 Most Charming Places you Must Visit in Europe!

6. The Cotswolds, England

The Cotswolds were on my bucket list for so long that when I actually got there, I felt like I knew the places already. The area itself is in rural England and named after the collection of small towns and estates, built mostly with distinctive local yellow limestone. The area is best enjoyed over a week of road tripping from town to town through the summer, so be sure to plan on staying a while!

Read more: Visiting the Cotswolds, England

Finland | World of Wanderlust Finland | World of Wanderlust

7. Oulanka National Park, Finland

Years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Finland, which had long been on my radar thanks to inspiration from the Chronicles of Narnia and my undying desire to find a place so magical in real life. I found just that in Oulanka National Park in the early winter, covered in a layer of snow and slippery ice (I learnt the hard way!) If you are more of an outdoors traveller and looking to go off the grid, Lapland is the perfect setting to do so and a great introduction to typical Finnish culture when you begin to venture more North.

Read more: These photos prove Finland should be your next travel destination!

Read more: Visiting a Reindeer Park in Finland!

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

8. Colmar, France

When you think of picture-perfect towns in Europe, Colmar is often one of the first to come to mind. Located on the Eastern border of France to Germany, Colmar has a unique blend of Franco-German architecture, culture and culinary delights. Whilst here be sure to hire a bike and hit the open road – you will find you have endless vineyards and bike trails at your disposal.

Read more: 14 Fairy tale Towns in Europe you Must Visit

9. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

As far as fairytales go, visiting the one and only “Disney castle” in real life is about as fantastically pinch-yourself as moments come. Europe is full of beautifully restored castles and many of those can be found in Germany. Check out these fairytale castles to visit in Germany if you’re looking to tick a handful off your bucket list!

Read more: The Best Castles to Visit in Europe

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10. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is by far one of my all time favourite cities in Europe and has been for the past five years of periodical visits. Although relatively “discovered” nowadays (thanks to a huge influx of expats and tourism boost), I still think Budapest is somewhat underrated. This city has it all – a fascinating history, incredible architecture to rival the likes of Paris, beautiful stately interiors and some of the friendliest locals you will find in a capital city. Believe me when I say this city will steal your heart.

Read more: 20 Places you Must Visit in Budapest

Read more: The Central Europe Trifecta: Visiting Prague, Vienna & Budapest

11. Road Trip in Ireland

Starting from Dublin, I made my way to the West Coast of Ireland by rental car on my first ever visit to the country and have not stopped singing its’ praises ever since. Ireland is everything you imagined it would be – green, rainy, full of charming locals (who, yes, love the pub!) and so much more. One of the best things I have ever done is take a solo road trip through Ireland and suffice it to say it was one of the most jaw-dropping places I have seen in Europe, particularly when reaching the wild, rugged West Coast.

Read more: 8 Places you Must Visit in Ireland

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12. The Algarve, Portugal

I don’t think I ever made it a secret that Portugal’s Algarve is one of my favourite “vacation” destinations in Europe. Somehow the South of Portugal has kept all of its charm in the past couple of decades of globalization and despite being a hot spot for tourists, it still has a strong influx of Portuguese holidaymakers that make it feel like a more authentic coastal getaway (as opposed to say, the likes of Ibiza?) So if you find yourself looking for a summer vacay in Europe I would highly recommend Portugal and its prize possession: The Algarve.

Read more: 8 Places you Must Visit in Portugal

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13. Annecy, France

After visiting Annecy with my boyfriend last year we both became convinced that there is perhaps no other city or town in Europe quite as charming, picturesque and absolutely breath-taking. This city is full of charm at every turn and to put the icing on the cake, is surrounded by water and water activities every which way you look (hell-o peddle boating!)

Read more: 14 Fairy tale towns in Europe you Must Visit

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14. Brasov, Romania

If you’re a sucker (like me) for the “off-the-beaten-path” description of a place, you will fall head over heels for this small city at the centre of Transylvania, Romania. The town of Brasov is one of my must visit places in Romania thanks to its proximity to the charming towns and castles nearby, all giving first-timers to Romania an insight into just how beautiful this country is.

Read more: Four Days in Transylvania

Read more: Visiting Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania

15. Scottish Highlands

There’s one trip I would love to live over and over again and that’s my short time in the Scottish Highlands. For some reason (unbeknownst to me), I am obsessed with the culture of Scotland. The traditions, intriguing food and endless history immediately had me wrapped up in a time warp. Plus, you can ride on the Hogwarts Express. YES, you read correct. The real Hogwarts Express.

Read more: 10 Places you Must Visit in Scotland

16. St Petersburg, Russia

Everyone knows I’m obsessed with St Petersburg (or at least, everyone who has been reading World of Wanderlust for any decent amount of time). Following my obsession with Russian History, I booked a trip to Russia to see everything I studied first hand. I’ve got to say The Hermitage Museum is handsdown the most impressive building I have ever stepped foor it, let alone the myriad of collections that line the endless hallways (you could spend weeks in that place and still not see it all). Peterhof was another highlight, particularly in the summertime as the weather allows for a walk through Peter the Great’s mischevious gardens (with “trick” fountains – what a cool guy). If ever there were a city that deserves more recognition as a “must visit” city in Europe, this is it. St Petersburg is up there with Paris and London for me, as one of the all time greats (and Peter would be oh so agreeable).

Read more: St Petersburg Bucket list

Read more: Moscow Bucket list

17. Stockholm, Sweden

I never thought that I would visit Stockholm after hearing from friends about how expensive it is to visit. “Beautiful, but expensive” they would all say in a similar fashion. Then one day when my mum booked a trip to visit me whilst I was living in Berlin, I decided to take her to this very city (splitting the costs) and because ABBA are her all-time life obssession. This city surprised me with its old world charm and yes, the expense was still a rude shock (!!) But all in all I would never take those few days back for anything – this city is a true gem of Scandinavia.

Read more: Top 10 Things to do in Stockholm

18. Lake Bled, Slovenia

I read about Lake Bled for years before ever thinking I would visit. It has often been described as the most romantic lake in Europe and to that I would have to agree – picturesque, quiet, serene. If you find yourself travelling with a loved one through central Europe, Lake Bled is a must visit.

19. Skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland

Being a beginner skiier at best, I never imaged I would find myself on the slopes of Zermatt – known to be one of Europe’s most impressive ski slopes that crosses from the Swiss Alps in to the Italian Alps. Yup, its that big! But when I did make my way to Zermatt last year with my boyfriend, I was determined to give it a crack and improve my skills (or lack thereof), simultaneously exploring some of the most beautiful surrounds in Switzerland. This trip quite literally took my breath away (as in I ran out of breath, fell over more times than I could count and very nearly camped the night on the mountain to avoid any more bruises) and I would say for any skiiers or ski enthusiasts, this is a must visit location.

Read more: The 10 Best Cities & Towns in Switzerland 

20. Road Trip in Wales

When I told my Brittish friends I would be road tripping from England through to the South of Wales to explore the coastline, they all asked me one thing: “why?” To them Wales was so completely off their radar that it might as well have been on another continent all together but for me, the isolation was precisely what I was after. It turns out Wales had a similar effect on me as did Ireland – complete and total calmness. I urge you to rent a car, hit the open road and venture off without care or regard for where you end up.