TRAVELS WITH NINA

is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.

FIJI: ISLAND ESCAPE

FIJI: ISLAND ESCAPE

  Most of the time when I’m on travel assignments, it really is bloody hard work. Itineraries are packed to bursting, I’m constantly jotting down notes and taking photos and videos while simultaneously trying to get a deeper understanding of the destination, there are meetings with managers and publicists, there are late nights and there are very early mornings. Last […]

BOMBAY BLOOM

BOMBAY BLOOM

Many of the details of our journeys can, over time, get washed together. The colours run, and it all becomes a bit of a blur. But there are certain travel moments – perhaps the most visceral of them, that strike a chord emotionally – that stick with us.  My morning at Mumbai’s Dadar flower market was one […]

SKY NEWS: HOKKAIDO, JAPAN

SKY NEWS: HOKKAIDO, JAPAN

It’s Japan, but not as you know it. The most northerly of Japan’s four main islands, Hokkaido is the country’s wild last frontier, a place that’s famed for its untouched wilderness and abundant natural beauty. The elegant red-crowned cranes, the ice fishermen drawing catch from Furen frozen lake, the snow-shoeing along Ochiishi Cape and through the Narnia-like forests […]

RIGHT PLACE, WRONG TIME

RIGHT PLACE, WRONG TIME

  “A danger of travel is that we see things at the wrong time, before we have had a chance to build up the necessary receptivity and when new information is therefore useless and fugitive as necklace beads without a connection chain.”   I’ve been reflecting on this quote this past week, perhaps my biggest […]

PARIS JE T’AIME: VIDEO

PARIS JE T’AIME: VIDEO

  “Being a Parisian is not about being born in Paris. It is about being reborn there.” This quote (attributed to French actor Sacha Guitry) launched the opening of the Paris cultural season at the stunning Palais Garnier a fortnight ago. And it’s absolutely true that there are few places on earth where you feel as inspired, and awakened creatively, as […]

TAKING IT SLOW IN PARIS

TAKING IT SLOW IN PARIS

I find taking it slow when I travel really hard. I’m usually the kind of traveller who, in an effort to make sure I’m maximising my time in a foreign destination, tries to fit in everything it has to offer – every activity, every sight, every restaurant – before the sun has set on day […]

HOKKAIDO: JAPAN’S LAST FRONTIER

HOKKAIDO: JAPAN’S LAST FRONTIER

Oh Hokkaido, were you even real? It’s a question I’ve found myself asking on repeat this week, as I’ve been writing up my feature on my Walk Japan journey to the most northerly of Japan’s four main islands. Surely these moments were too magical to have been anything but a dream? Watching dozens of endangered red-crowned cranes – which I’d […]

SKY NEWS: ATACAMA DESERT

SKY NEWS: ATACAMA DESERT

  You know those annoying people who come back from a trip and won’t stop going on about it every chance they get? Yeah, well, I am that person. Particularly when it comes to Chile’s Atacama Desert, which hasn’t been off my mind since I returned from my Chimu Adventures trip there three months ago. Thank goodness, […]

CHILE’S ATACAMA WITH THE VISTA

CHILE’S ATACAMA WITH THE VISTA

When the gorgeous Julia from The Vista, aka the sexiest gypset travel site going around, asked me to contribute to their ‘real travel’ section, I knew immediately which destination I’d talk about. With its dreamy pink-hued rock formations and otherworldly vistas, Chile’s Atacama Desert was the only choice. I hope you enjoy this little desert escapade, and for more […]

CHILE’S WILD MAIPO CANYON

CHILE’S WILD MAIPO CANYON

Southern California has its Santa Ana; northern Africa has its Sirocco. Here, in central Chile’s Maipo canyon, we have the Raco. A freight-train of a wind that pushes off your hat, messes up your hair, completely befuddles you and makes the sound on your videos go all funny. But we’ll forgive the Raco, because Maipo […]

MAKING TRAVEL A PRACTICE

MAKING TRAVEL A PRACTICE

  This week, the idea of making travel sacred has been on my mind, as I’ve been slowly making my way through Phil Cousineau’s The Art of Pilgrimage. I’ve been contemplating how we transform each journey into one that actually means something, and how important bringing an element of the divine into each trip is. […]

GETTING WILD IN PERU’S SACRED VALLEY

GETTING WILD IN PERU’S SACRED VALLEY

The biggest travel treat of all is, hands down, seeing the places that most people miss. Not having to elbow other sightseers, or wait in lines, or spend the whole time wishing you’d timed it better so you didn’t have to deal with crowds. So when I heard that Peru’s Sacred Valley is skipped by most […]

GLAMPING AT BARRINGTON TOPS

GLAMPING AT BARRINGTON TOPS

There’s something about the Aussie bush that’s so soothing to the soul. It could be the whispering gums. The calls of the bush birds. The “hot gold hush of noon,” as Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar so aptly describes. Whatever it is, it calls to you. A couple of weeks back, my husband Pete and I […]

HIKING PERU’S AUSANGATE TRAIL

HIKING PERU’S AUSANGATE TRAIL

  “Pilgrimage is ordeal. By definition any journey is physically difficult, but pilgrimage is also spiritually challenging. It demands that we follow our spiritual compass and put the soles of our shoes to the soul of the world. It means getting back in touch with our earth, our roots, ourselves.” I love this definition of Phil […]

TRAVELLING ALONE

TRAVELLING ALONE

I’ve written about my love for solo travel on here before. About how I’ve journeyed everywhere from Russia to India, Zambia to Morocco, Chile to Peru, without anyone standing by my side. I honestly believe that the best travel companion you can have is yourself, and that solo travel is liberating, rewarding and totally empowering. We should all […]

OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK IN OZ

OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK IN OZ

Growing up in Sydney, most of my Australian adventures were confined to roaming up and down the east coast of NSW. It wasn’t really until I went overseas for the first time at age 16, when people asked me what my country was like and I found I couldn’t answer them properly, that I realised how much more […]

CHILE’S ATACAMA DESERT

CHILE’S ATACAMA DESERT

Welcome to Chile’s Atacama Desert. The driest desert in the world, peppered with volcanoes, high-altitude salt flats, hot springs, spluttering geysers, exotic wildlife and ancient adobe villages. A place that snuck a part of my soul and never gave it back. Here, I hiked through craggy Death Valley under the milky light of the supermoon, then […]

LIFE ALONG THE MEKONG: CAMBODIA

LIFE ALONG THE MEKONG: CAMBODIA

Oh Cambodia. You have been on my mind ever since I left your lush shores. Haunting me with your rustic beauty, deeply sad history, and relentlessly smiling faces. I’ve been writing a lot about Cambodia this week, and my story about Chhlong, a gorgeous Cambodian colonial riverside town, was published in Traveller over the weekend. So it makes perfect […]

LIFE ALONG THE MEKONG: VIETNAM

LIFE ALONG THE MEKONG: VIETNAM

There was a time when I used to think that the world was far too big, and our time on this earth far too short, to visit any destination twice. But having done it a few times now, I think it can sometimes be the best part of travel. The second time around you get to travel deeper. […]

NEW ZEALAND’S MAGICAL SOUTH ISLAND

NEW ZEALAND’S MAGICAL SOUTH ISLAND

New Zealand’s South Island is a Turangawaewae for me, a Maori word meaning ‘place to stand’, a corner of the globe where you feel especially empowered or connected. I have a few Turangawaewae – India being right at the top of the list – but the South Island? Well, it was a place where I felt my body […]

ANTARCTIC DREAMING

ANTARCTIC DREAMING

Antarctica has been in my dreams for a long time now. I can’t imagine feeling a greater sense of wonder for the world, a greater sense of reverence for the mysteries of the elements, anywhere more than there. So when I was invited to attend the Australian Antarctic Festival in Hobart, Tasmania (known as “the […]

CHITWAN SAFARI, NEPAL

CHITWAN SAFARI, NEPAL

After the buzz and bustle of Kathmandu, where we began our Nepalese wanderings with Crooked Compass, Chitwan National Park was the perfect place to rest our weary souls and get filled up again for the next leg of our adventures. We checked into the Barahi Jungle Lodge, a chic bush resort and our base for the next […]

NEPALESE MONASTERY STAY

NEPALESE MONASTERY STAY

Buddhism has played a big part of my life for many years now, ever since I started studying at the Sydney Buddhist Centre six years ago, where I immediately connected with the ideas of impermanence, of non-attachment and of mindfulness. The teachings have brought so much peace to my daily life, and some of my most memorable adventures […]

AT HOME IN NEPAL

AT HOME IN NEPAL

Most travellers pass through Panauti in a day, rushing through it on their way towards Pokhara for one gruelling trek or another. But, since Crooked Compass was taking us on a journey to prove that there was more to Nepal than trekking and to really sink into the cultural side of Nepal, we spent two […]

NEPAL’S KATHMANDU VALLEY

NEPAL’S KATHMANDU VALLEY

I’m so damn grateful that the medium of video exists. There are just certain things that, when you’re travelling, are impossible to share via the written word.  Without video, I don’t think I could have conveyed to you guys the scope of how Kathmandu has been affected by last year’s earthquake. How the nightly aarti, where […]

A WRINKLE IN TIME IN KAKADU

A WRINKLE IN TIME IN KAKADU

I was meant to be learning to paint. Instead, I got a lesson in time. Sitting there on the floor of Kakadu’s Crocodile Hotel, mini canvas in one hand and handmade reed brush in the other, I was trying to recreate the intricate x-ray paintings we’d been seeing etched into the sandstone walls of Kakadu’s art sites over […]

24 HOURS IN JAKARTA

24 HOURS IN JAKARTA

Jakarta wasn’t at all how I expected it to be. I mean sure, the Indonesian megalopolis (try saying that three times fast) was crowded, traffic-choked and frantic. But in amongst the madness (which I’m always rather fond of anyway) I discovered a beating cultural heart that really surprised me. Here’s how I spent 24 fabulous hours in the Indonesian […]

JAIPUR EN ROSE

JAIPUR EN ROSE

Bundled up in alpaca blankets and woollen socks this week during the height of Australia’s winter, I’ve found myself returning again and again to my Jaipur album. These images, of a trip that feels like only a dream to me now, have been the visual equivalent of standing by a crackling fire. Jaipur became India’s Pink City in 1853, […]

THE ART OF SOLO TRAVEL

THE ART OF SOLO TRAVEL

I love to travel alone. I’ve journeyed everywhere from Russia to India, Zambia to Morocco, without anyone standing by my side. And I’ve relished every minute of it. People often ask how I fare all on my lonesome out in the big bad world. When I tell them how much I love it, I get some strange looks. But […]

SILENCE IN RISHIKESH

SILENCE IN RISHIKESH

This week I’ve been transported back to Rishikesh in northern India, while writing a story for Traveller about my Phool Chatti ashram experience. It’s been real, taking a flight of fancy back to the motherland. But what I’ve been trying to figure out is: what did I actually learn there by the banks of the […]

KAKADU: SKY NEWS

KAKADU: SKY NEWS

Last week I had a quick chat with SKY News about my recent assignment to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. If you’ve got five minutes, you can listen to me gab on about seeing crocodiles, glamping, swimming in water holes, viewing ancient Aboriginal rock art, cruising Yellow Water Billabong… and stumble over […]

PENANG, MALAYSIA VIDEO

PENANG, MALAYSIA VIDEO

I try never to have regrets when I travel. I keep in mind that things happen for a reason (even shitty things), that I should try to enjoy the scenery on a detour, that the best-laid plans… But try as I might, I can’t help but always regret not having more time in a place. Call me greedy, […]

LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA VIDEO

LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA VIDEO

I only got back from Malaysia a few days ago but I just couldn’t wait to share this little video I made about Langkawi, the jewel of the 104-island archipelago off Malaysia’s northwestern coast, with you guys. I was absolutely blown away by its jungle-clad mountains, mangrove forests and pristine beaches, that have earnt Langkawi Southeast […]

BILPIN AND RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

BILPIN AND RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

So earlier this week my man and I spent three magical days in a treehouse in the Wollemi Wilderness area of Bilpin. We were there to celebrate the fact that somehow, miraculously, we’ve been happily married for five years. From the moment we arrived we were blown away (quite literally; we arrived in the middle of that insane […]

KAKADU VIDEO

KAKADU VIDEO

Welcome to Kakadu, a land of delirious extremes. Extreme heat, dry creeks and bushfires in the dry season. Extreme storms and miles of flooded country in the wet season. Extreme amounts of wildlife, including nearly one-fifth of Australia’s mammals, 120 species of reptiles and 300 kinds of birds. Extreme pink-hued sunsets across the wild escarpments, […]

PUSHKAR VIDEO: INDIA’S HOLY CITY

PUSHKAR VIDEO: INDIA’S HOLY CITY

Oh Pushkar, you had me at namaste. I mean, where else in the world will you meet people with names like Bird and Fern, who when asked where they’re from respond with, “originally the UK, but I’m a nomad now,” or more simply, “Planet Love”? Where else will you find 400 temples squished into a […]

JAIPUR: INDIA’S PINK CITY

JAIPUR: INDIA’S PINK CITY

Jaipur, the gateway to Rajasthan and India’s pink city. It gives me a warm glow just thinking about it. About those early morning wanderings through the ancient forts and palaces, and through the narrow alleyways of the colourful bazaars. There, I watched women preparing for Gangaur festival, when married woman pray to the goddess Parvati for a long, healthy […]

MISSION TO MUMBAI: VIDEO

MISSION TO MUMBAI: VIDEO

Oh Mumbai, how I’d missed you. It had been two years since I’d seen you, and my heart was aching for you. I’d missed your chaotic overcrowded streets, your beaten up black and yellow taxis, your holy cows. I’d missed your Bollywood fever, your vibrant markets, your grimy gothic buildings. I’d even missed your smell: a mix of […]

TRAVEL & ETHICAL FASHION WITH SUNDAY TRACKER

TRAVEL & ETHICAL FASHION WITH SUNDAY TRACKER

EVER HAVE ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS WHERE YOU LOOK AT YOUR CLOSET AND SUDDENLY FEEL KIND OF DISGUSTED WITH YOURSELF? WITH THE FACT THAT YOU’VE ACCUMULATED SO MUCH STUFF, AND THAT YOU’RE NOT EVEN SURE HOW 90 PERCENT OF IT ENDED UP IN YOUR CLOSET? WELL, SISTERS JULIA HUGHES AND MIRIAM GRUNDY HAD ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS, AND INSTEAD […]

FIVE THINGS TO DO IN RABAT

FIVE THINGS TO DO IN RABAT

Last week I wrote a story about Rabat for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveller lift-out, about how it’s the Canberra of Morocco – as in a political capital that’s not as boring as everyone thinks, and that’s having a bit of a renaissance. As an add on to the story I wrote a breakout about five other […]

MOSCOW MOMENT: SKY NEWS

MOSCOW MOMENT: SKY NEWS

Sometimes, when you’re on live television, you look like you’re about to sneeze and internally combust all at the same time, when really you’re just trying to articulate your deep love for a city. For an example of said moment, check out my latest SKY News Business destination segment, in which I wax lyrical about Moscow […]

ROAD TRIP: SAN FRAN TO LA

ROAD TRIP: SAN FRAN TO LA

Three days in gritty San Francisco, one in glitzy LA. A whirlwind trip filled with fantastic food and wine, epic vintage shopping and exploring – with the two dreamy destinations connected by one of the most stunning coastal drives in the world, Highway One. Here, a little taste of the adventure.   I travelled courtesy of Qantas […]

LOCAL’S GUIDE TO VANCOUVER

LOCAL’S GUIDE TO VANCOUVER

WHEN JULIA KHAN ANSELMO WAS LAID OFF FROM HER JOB, SHE USED THE OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE THE LIFE SHE HAD ALWAYS DREAMED OF.  ENTER FEISTY FEAST, HER CULINARY GATHERING DEDICATED TO UNITING AND EMPOWERING WOMEN.  THROUGH FEISTY FEAST, JULIA BRINGS WOMEN TOGETHER OVER MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION, A BEAUTIFULLY STYLED ATMOSPHERE, DELICIOUS CUISINE AND INSPIRING SPEAKERS.  HERE, I CHAT TO HER ABOUT […]

SAN FRAN VINTAGE VIDEO

SAN FRAN VINTAGE VIDEO

The birthplace of America’s counter-culture movement, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district is where it’s at for some of the world’s best vintage shopping. I combed the streets of this vintage mecca, where Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead once lived, shopping up a storm and meeting some incredible characters along the way. I hope you guys enjoy! And I’d […]

THE WORLD OF A NAT GEO PRODUCER

THE WORLD OF A NAT GEO PRODUCER

TAHRIA SHEATHER IS THE REAL DEAL.  A 29-YEAR-OLD AUSTRALIAN WHO WANDERS THE GLOBE IN SEARCH OF UNIQUE STORIES ABOUT THE NATURAL WORLD IN HER JOB AS PRODUCER FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, SHE’S PASSIONATE, ENGAGED AND CONNECTED IN A WAY THAT ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE MADE A SERIOUS EFFORT TO GET TO KNOW OUR INCREDIBLE PLANET ARE.  HERE, I GET THE CHANCE […]

ST PETERSBURG MOMENTS

ST PETERSBURG MOMENTS

Ah St Petersburg, you temptress of a destination. The Russian Tsar Peter the Great sure knew what he was doing when he took a collection of swampy marshes and built you, the European city of his dreams and what was to become Russia’s grand imperial capital, right over the top of them. You’re a city […]

CLOUD TALK

CLOUD TALK

For as long as he can remember my good buddy, LA-based photographer Trevor King, has been a cloud hunter, chasing the transient formations across the globe with his lens pointed towards the heavens. Inspired by the sense of nostalgia nimbus clouds can inspire, he tries to reignite in us that childhood experience of lying on the grass, […]

NOMADIC LESSONS: MONGOLIA

NOMADIC LESSONS: MONGOLIA

Mongolia was, for me, what Pico Iyer refers to as a “secret home”. A place you spend your whole life dreaming about, and that you finally recognise once you see. As soon as we drove out into that wild, open steppe, I felt my soul settle, my breath slow, my heart open. And when we […]

BOLIVIAN ADVENTURE

BOLIVIAN ADVENTURE

BOLIVIA IS A COUNTRY THAT HAS ALWAYS FASCINATED ME. EVERYONE I KNOW WHO HAS BEEN THERE HAS EITHER LOVED IT OR HATED IT – EITHER SAID IT WAS THE SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRY YOU HAD TO AVOID, OR THE ONE YOU SIMPLY COULD NOT MISS. SO WHEN MY DEAR FRIEND EMICA PENKLIS – AN AVID ADVENTURER, NATUROPATH […]

AMOUR IN PARIS

AMOUR IN PARIS

One night in Paris with my love. Just one, before he flew off to the other side of the world. I wouldn’t see him again for a month. Where we’d spend our one night needed no discussion. Hotel Amour, that sexy designer nook in hip South Pigalle inspired by Japanese love hotels and filled with ridiculously good-looking BoBo’s (bourgeoise bohemians), was the obvious choice. […]

VIDEO: RATUA PRIVATE ISLAND, VANUATU

VIDEO: RATUA PRIVATE ISLAND, VANUATU

Ratua Private Island started working its magic on us even before we arrived on its shores. Late at night we jumped on a speedboat from the mainland at Espiritu Santo, and as we shot across the glassy black waters, phosphorescence sparked out beside us like glittering confetti. In the morning we woke with the sun in our 200-year-old Javanese bungalow, one of […]

INSIDER’S GUIDE TO KENYA

INSIDER’S GUIDE TO KENYA

EVER DREAM OF PACKING YOUR BAGS, MOVING TO AFRICA AND SAVING THE WORLD? WELL AUSTRALIAN DAVINIA COGAN DID JUST THAT, LIVING IN AFRICA FOR THREE YEARS, THE LAST 18 MONTHS OF WHICH SHE LIVED IN NAIROBI, KENYA. THERE SHE WORKED AS AN ADVISOR FOR THE NON-PROFIT GVEP INTERNATIONAL, WHICH WORKS WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES TO INCREASE ACCESS TO […]

ESCAPE TO ESSAOUIRA

ESCAPE TO ESSAOUIRA

There are certain places in the world that just wrap their arms around you as soon as you arrive; that whisper sweet nothings in your ear like “come here sweetheart,” “stay with me darling,” and “never leave my side.” The Moroccan coastal town of Essaouira was one of those places for me. In fact I still feel his (because […]

GLAMPING IN MOROCCO: SCARABEO CAMP

GLAMPING IN MOROCCO: SCARABEO CAMP

Glamping in Morocco had been a dream of mine for years, so I never imagined the actual experience would live up to the Arabian Nights visions I had whirling around my head. Yet the impeccably styled Scarabeo Camp surpassed every one, and as an added bonus was just a 45-minute drive from Marrakech, making the desert glamping experience possible for travellers like […]

SIRINCE, LAND OF PLENTY

SIRINCE, LAND OF PLENTY

First, a quick Turkish language lesson. “Merhaba” means hello. “Nasilsin” means how are you. “Sirince” means pleasant. And it is. So much so, in fact, that the original Greek settlers initially called this bucolic corner of western Turkey “Çirkince,” meaning ugly, just to keep visitors away lest they discover how beautiful it really was and try to steal […]

TRAVEL INSPO: BOOKS, FILMS, MUSIC

TRAVEL INSPO: BOOKS, FILMS, MUSIC

I wanted to share a little outtake from my recent interview with DISfunktion Magazine. A few things to watch, read, listen to and indulge in if you want to get inspired to have some outrageous adventures. Enjoy. And please share your recent travel inspirations with me below, I’m always searching for more!   What’s your favourite book? At the moment it’s […]

VIDEO: SHOPPING THE MARRAKECH SOUKS

VIDEO: SHOPPING THE MARRAKECH SOUKS

Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel independently whenever I can. But there are certain times when a helping hand is not only appreciated, but downright necessary. My arrival in Marrakech was one of those times. The “amazing maze” of alleyways – as my hilariously entertaining and highly knowledgable guide Abdullah from Moroccan tour company By Prior […]

ROCKING THE KASBAH IN MOROCCO’S ATLAS MOUNTAINS

ROCKING THE KASBAH IN MOROCCO’S ATLAS MOUNTAINS

The torrential rain started to pour down just minutes before we arrived at Kasbah Tamadot. The name of Richard Branson’s luxury Atlas Mountains retreat, our lovely By Prior Arrangement driver Mouhssine told us as we pulled up at the entrance, means ‘soft breeze’ in the local Berber language. A fact we could only laugh at as […]

TURKISH SECRETS

TURKISH SECRETS

Lean in. I want to tell you something. I’ll whisper it in your ear so no one else can hear. The Datça Peninsula is Turkey’s best-kept secret. But shhh, don’t tell a soul, because we need to keep it that way. *** Pete, my parents-in-law and I rolled into this dreamy slice of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast on a sunshiny […]

ISTANBUL’S B-SIDE

ISTANBUL’S B-SIDE

This wasn’t my first visit to Istanbul, Turkey’s colourful, chaotic capital that so deliciously mixes East and West, Europe and Asia. I had travelled its tea-soaked soils nine years earlier, and had spent a glorious three days spinning through sultanahmet’s (the old town’s) usual suspects – the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Basilica Cistern, Topkapi […]

AMSTERDAM, JUST AS IT SHOULD BE

AMSTERDAM, JUST AS IT SHOULD BE

Before I left for Amsterdam, I threw a “favourite things to do in Amsterdam?” out into the Facebook void. I didn’t intend it to be a loaded question, but man did I get some LOLs in response. Because, let’s face it, getting high and having sexi times are what this iconic “good time city” is most […]

CAPPADOCIA: AS ABOVE, SO BELOW

CAPPADOCIA: AS ABOVE, SO BELOW

The fairy chimneys of Cappadocia rose out of the desert landscape like hard, dry sandcastles on a barren beach; a stone mirage appearing as we drove into the heart of Anatolia. We gasped at the sheer number of them, at the feeling of being simultaneously swallowed up by the desert and surrounded by thousands of […]

Australia: Ten Things I Love About You

Australia: Ten Things I Love About You

I’ve been away from Australia for six weeks now, and I’m finding myself pining already for my island home. Which is funny, since I don’t usually miss Australia at all when I’m gone. For the longest time I could stay away for months on end and not care if I ever came back or not. […]

MISSION TO MOSCOW

MISSION TO MOSCOW

With a week on my hands between Mongolia and Turkey, I decided that rather than spend 50 hours jetting back to and fro Australia, I’d go to Russia. I’d been wanting to go for years. My grandma on my dad’s side was Russian so I’d always wanted to explore that part of my heritage. And besides, […]

Photography lessons from Mongolia


Photography lessons from Mongolia


I am a terrible photographer. At least I was before I went to Mongolia, but I didn’t realise it until I got there. It was pretty shocking, this revelation. I mean I’d never considered myself any Steve McCurry, but I’d received my fair share of Facebook likes and nice comments about my travel snaps (mainly from family […]

JOURNEY ACROSS MONGOLIA

JOURNEY ACROSS MONGOLIA

This tale begins three years ago, at work on a day when I was doing what I did best back then: pretending I knew what one of my colleagues was talking about when in fact I had no clue. Said colleague was describing a fishing trip he’d just returned from in Mongolia. All I knew about […]

TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO ETHIOPIA

TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO ETHIOPIA

ETHIOPIA, WITH ITS ANCIENT HAND-CARVED CHURCHES, OTHERWORLDLY MOUNTAINSCAPES AND COLOURFUL ETHIO-JAZZ SCENE, HAS FILLED MY DAYDREAMS FOR YEARS. RECENTLY, I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO SPEAK WITH JAKARTA-BASED AUSTRALIAN JOURNALIST NICK PERRY, WHO SHARED TALES OF HIS RECENT JOURNEY TO THIS LARGELY UNDISCOVERED DESTINATION. Nick, thank you so much for chatting to me about your incredible Ethiopian adventure. This isn’t […]

AROUND THE WORLD IN SEVEN SONGS

AROUND THE WORLD IN SEVEN SONGS

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when it comes to travel, planning a journey can be almost as much fun as the journey itself. This is the time when your imagination runs wild, when the possibilities seem limitless, and when you spend every spare second getting into the zone of your next wanderings. For me, sinking into the vibe […]

TAO OF TRAVEL

TAO OF TRAVEL

This week I released the hand-crafted TAO OF TRAVEL bangles, created in collaboration with my legendary friend Brock Fitzgerald. But you might not really know what I mean by TAO OF TRAVEL. Essentially, it means travelling mindfully, as a way to discover more about yourself and the world. It means engaging in slow travel, having no set agenda […]

24 Hours in Bingin

24 Hours in Bingin

First, a disclaimer. 24 hours is not – I repeat NOT – enough time to spend in Bingin, a cliffside beach town on Bali’s south coast and one of the best surf breaks on the island. 24 days would be more appropriate. But if, like me, you only have one measly day to spare in this tropical idyll, here’s how […]

FIVE REASONS TO VISIT LOMBOK

FIVE REASONS TO VISIT LOMBOK

It’s official: Bali’s got nothing on Lombok. The beaches in Lombok, the jewel in the crown of the 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara archipelago, are cleaner and less crowded. The roads are better and have barely any traffic on them – in fact the main traffic you’ll have to contend with is the […]

ULUWATU SURF VILLAS BALI: REVIEW

ULUWATU SURF VILLAS BALI: REVIEW

When a friend invites you to their wedding in an exotic land, you say yes. You don’t think about it, you just get on that plane and wipe that credit card debt from your memory and GO. At least that’s what we did last month, when our dear friends Jesse and Trevor from Oliver Grand got hitched […]

GILI MENO, JUST FOR ONE DAY

GILI MENO, JUST FOR ONE DAY

We only spent half a day on Gili Meno. Just a flash, really. A squiggle between the lines of our Indonesian adventure. But while it was one hell of a tease, it was definitely better than nothing. Especially when that one day involved snorkelling through crystal-clear waters, feasting at seaside restaurants, lounging at shell-encrusted beach bars and being pulled around in horse-drawn […]

SERAYA ISLAND, FLORES: HOTEL REVIEW

SERAYA ISLAND, FLORES: HOTEL REVIEW

Flying into Flores, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands off the east coast of Java, Indonesia, I did something I never do. I took one of those cheesy photos out the plane window. I couldn’t help it. The islands dotted off the coast of Flores are breathtaking. One in particular I couldn’t stop staring at; a perfect […]

HANGING TEN IN BALI

HANGING TEN IN BALI

Sometimes, you just need to #treatyoself. To a little you time. To some meditation. To some yoga. To some salt water healing. After my uber-luxurious but hectic trip to Thailand, where I was constantly on the move and drinking waaay too much, I was in need of some serious self-love. And so, I booked myself in to Salti […]

PHUKET: IN THE LAP OF LUXURY

PHUKET: IN THE LAP OF LUXURY

Phuket, you have blown my mind. I arrived fearing badly behaved bogans and trashy nightclubs, but all I experienced in my (admittedly short) five days on your shores was luxury beyond my wildest imagination, lush wildlife and hidden bays, rich culture and food so good my tastebuds are still vibrating. It may have helped that I stayed at possibly […]

AUSTRALIA’S TOP END

AUSTRALIA’S TOP END

NEDA VANOVAC, NORTHERN TERRITORY CORRESPONDENT FOR AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS, TALKS TO ME ABOUT LIFE IN AUSTRALIA’S ‘TOP END’. SHE HAS LIVED AND TRAVELLED HERE AMONGST INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, STUNNING NATIONAL PARKS AND FEROCIOUS CROCS FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS.   Neda, hello! When we started chatting about having you on the site, you mentioned to me that you campaigned […]

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

ECUADOR’S GALAPAGOS ISLANDS HAVE ALWAYS CONJURED IMAGES IN MY MIND OF STARK LAVA FORMATIONS, TURQUOISE BAYS, TEEMING WILDLIFE AND A FRAGILE, UNIQUE ECOSYSTEM THAT ALLOWS A COMMUNION WITH NATURE UNLIKE ANYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH. HERE, I SPEAK TO DAN TOOMEY, AVID EXPLORER AND THE MAN BEHIND DIGITAL MEDIA AGENCY STYLE HOUSE CREATIVE, ABOUT HIS RECENT […]

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: TRAVELOSOPHY

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: TRAVELOSOPHY

“On the road again Just can’t wait to get on the road again…“ Sorry, getting a bit carried away with Willie Nelson there. It was the great man’s birthday yesterday so I guess I’m allowed. But yes I’m heading off again next week, first to Thailand to review the stunning Sri Panwa resort in Phuket, then to […]

JOURNEY TO IRAN

JOURNEY TO IRAN

RACHEL GLASBY, CO-OWNER OF GLOBAL HOMEWARES AND ACCESSORY STORE THE SILK ROAD, TALKS TO ME ABOUT EXPLORING THE DUSTY INCENSE-INFUSED BAZAARS, MOSAIC-DECORATED MOSQUES AND INTOXICATING ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE OF IRAN, WITH HER HUSBAND AND TWO-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER. Before you left for Iran, you mentioned to me that you felt the western media portrays Iran in such a […]

SEVEN DAYS IN LADAKH

SEVEN DAYS IN LADAKH

We all have one of those places. One of those places you think of and your heart hurts a little because you love it so much. Well, Ladakh is that place for me. Tucked away in the Himalayas in the far north-west of India between Kashmir and the Chinese border, the “land of high passes” was […]

BEST OF SRI LANKA

BEST OF SRI LANKA

An old friend contacted me earlier this week asking for advice on where to go and what to see in Sri Lanka. In replying to her, my love for this gorgeous country – the victim of a recently ended 20-year civil war and the 2004 tsunami – was rekindled, and I realized I had a […]

LESSONS FROM INDIA: TRAVELOSOPHY

LESSONS FROM INDIA: TRAVELOSOPHY

Last night I lay in bed listening to an Australian Writers’ Centre podcast in which memoirist Patti Miller was interviewed about her latest book, Ransacking Paris. The book’s about the year she spent living in France’s city of lights a decade ago, so she was talking about how important perspective is in figuring out how our travels and life experiences […]

BURGUNDY BLISS

BURGUNDY BLISS

It’s time we talked about Burgundy. That bucolic bubble tucked into a fold of eastern France, where some of the world’s best wines are created, that’s just a two-hour train trip from Paris. My husband Pete and I arrived there during harvest time, “le vendage” as the French call it, which takes place from late August to early October […]

24 HOURS IN MUMBAI

24 HOURS IN MUMBAI

Welcome to Mumbai. A city where everything – the crowds, the traffic, the noise, the smells – is dialed up to 11… then bumped up another notch just for the heck of it. A chaotic, colourful, often confronting corner of the globe crammed with 20 million people; the home of Bollywood and India’s City of […]

TREKKING IN NEPAL

TREKKING IN NEPAL

Trekking through the Himalayas is one of those bucket list trips, right? Up there with seeing the Northern Lights, visiting the Galapagos Islands and walking the Great Wall of China? Well it can be. If you’re prepared, that is. And if you’re not? Hmm. As I discovered on a recent four-day trek in Nepal to […]

2015 TRAVEL WISH LIST

2015 TRAVEL WISH LIST

It’s been a deliciously quiet couple of months spent celebrating the festive season with family and friends, camping at magical Little Beach, moving into our new house in the country, and getting as much salt water healing as possible. After a year spent buzzing around the globe, some nourishing home time has been exactly what the […]

HOW AN ‘AWAY MARRIAGE’ WORKS

HOW AN ‘AWAY MARRIAGE’ WORKS

So this travel writing thing. How does it work when you’re in a relationship? How does it work when you’re married? This is something I get asked about. A lot. Many other travel writers I meet are single – in fact a good chunk don’t have permanent homes – in order to free themselves up to […]

2014 TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS

2014 TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS

Its been a big year. After relocating from India, I went back to my full-time job as staff travel writer at the Sydney Morning Herald. I slogged it out on four titles at once, left said job, turned 30, and starting pimping my arse out as a freelancer. All the while, I battled an army […]

SKY NEWS, ZAMBIA: INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS, ZAMBIA: INTERVIEW

Check out my latest appearance on the SKY Business News destinations segment – in which I wax lyrical about my Bench International luxury safari to Zambia in Africa, and discuss that viral video we created of Hercules the baby lion getting attacked by a pack of lionesses – HERE   READ ABOUT FIVE LUXE ZAMBIAN SAFARI CAMPS HERE SEE MY ZAMBIA […]

FIVE HOT ZAMBIAN CAMPS

FIVE HOT ZAMBIAN CAMPS

The votes are in*, the people have spoken, the word is out. Zambia, that little nugget of a land-locked African nation, is where it’s at for the sophisticated, off-the-beaten-track safari experience. Just ask Jonathan Scott**, one of my dear friends, who travels there regularly for the abundant and diverse wildlife. Or, ask the random lady […]

LOST LUGGAGE LESSONS: TRAVELOSOPHY

LOST LUGGAGE LESSONS: TRAVELOSOPHY

So a couple of weeks ago I went to Zambia on safari with luxury safari company Bench International. I was excited about the wildlife I’d see, the luxe glamps I’d stay in, the people I’d meet. But most of all, I was excited about packing my bags. Animal print and khaki are two of my favourite things […]

HERCULES THE ELEPHANT

HERCULES THE ELEPHANT

Published in 5000 newspapers, magazines and websites across the globe including New York Post, Huffington Post, Daily Mail UK, news.com and National Geographic, and aired on TV in over 80 countries. Our video of the little elephant that could We never thought Hercules would survive. The seven-year-old juvenile elephant, who I watched get attacked by 14 ravenous lionesses just […]

ANTIBES ON A BUDGET

ANTIBES ON A BUDGET

ANTIBES, COTE d’AZUR: 5 WAYS TO PIMP IT ON A BUDGET Ahh, the Cote d’Azur. The land of chic seaside towns, fine food and even finer wine, and more millionaires than you can throw a yacht at. The playground of the rich, famous and tanned, that’s just the place to private jet to when you’ve […]

HONG KONG HIGH

HONG KONG HIGH

I’m not usually a massive fan of travelling to big cities; I’m more of a nature kinda gal. But Hong Kong, surrounded as it is by lush green mountains just begging for you to grab your crampons and get up on them, with a vibrant harbour on one side and the South China Sea on the […]

SAFARI STATE OF MIND

SAFARI STATE OF MIND

Our six-week honeymoon to the east coast of Africa was over three years ago now. But, like any epic journey, this one is imprinted in my soul and I’ve never quite managed to shake the desire to get back to those wild plains. I was leafing through my journal from the trip yesterday and found a time-logged safari […]

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

I’m often being asked what my travel must-haves are, the essentials I don’t leave home without. Ok, that’s a lie. People never ask me. But people do often ask me why, when I travel so often, I haven’t mastered the art of the light pack. Why don’t I simply throw an LBD, a pashmina and a pair of kitten heels in […]

BOMBAY BAR LINE BABES

BOMBAY BAR LINE BABES

Five young Indian girls in bejeweled saris stand awkwardly at the wall of the Bombay bar. The men at the tiny tables opposite just sit there staring, beers and stacks of ten rupee notes in front of them. There’s tinny Bollywood music playing and a couple of the girls occasionally lip-sync along. Mostly, they just giggle amongst themselves, sometimes lifting their kohl-rimmed […]

PNG VOLCANO HIKE

PNG VOLCANO HIKE

So here I am, frozen halfway up Tavurvur Volcano in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. The Beast had looked so small from the shore. So easy to climb. I’d be up the top in fifteen minutes, I’d told myself. No need to take water, no need to wear sunscreen, pfft! Alas, half an hour after I’d started trudging through […]

TRAVEL APPS ON SKY NEWS

TRAVEL APPS ON SKY NEWS

Once every couple of months this year I’ve been appearing on SKY Business News for a segment about travel apps. SKY got in contact with me because they’d been reading the app column I write in Traveller’s upfront Check-In section about which apps are hot and how they work. I’ve done a fair bit of […]

ADELAIDE’S MCLAREN VALE WINE REGION

ADELAIDE’S MCLAREN VALE WINE REGION

We’re surrounded. By vines, that is. Being in the heart of South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region, it’s probably to be expected, but The Vineyard Retreat has us truly ensconced. In a region where stalwarts reign and new offerings rarely emerge, the reopening of the retreat following extensive refurbishment in January has been causing a […]

SLUMCAT MILLIONAIRE: INDIA

SLUMCAT MILLIONAIRE: INDIA

It was a dark and stormy night. The city was Mumbai, the time 1am. My husband and I had been out with friends, and as they dropped us back to our seaside apartment in Colaba (where we lived for nine months) we’d invited them to step out of the idling taxi to catch a glimpse of […]