TRAVELS WITH NINA

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

NEPALESE SAFARI: LUXURY TRAVEL MAGAZINE

NEPALESE SAFARI: LUXURY TRAVEL MAGAZINE

Her thick, bristled trunk bends backwards like a charmed snake, hesitating only a moment before emptying an arc of cool water over my body. It’s rather a strong spurt, and my thighs instantly grip a little tighter around the gentle giant’s torso, before her trunk swings back down to gather his next load. I’ve had […]

Phool Chatti Ashram, Rishikesh, India: SMH Traveller

Phool Chatti Ashram, Rishikesh, India: SMH Traveller

I do not arrive at Phool Chatti Ashram in Rishikesh, northern India, in a Zen state. No, I arrive in the yoga capital of the world, this magnet for spiritual seekers where the Beatles famously found enlightenment in the ’60s, in floods of tears. I’d taken an 18-hour overnight bus here, you see. It was […]

Australia’s Best Island Getaways: MASTERCARD

Australia’s Best Island Getaways: MASTERCARD

Craving an escape from the madding crowd? Here are some of the best remote and luxurious Australian islands, including Lord Howe Island and Hayman Island, to make you feel like you’re a million miles away.   Lord Howe Step onto World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island and you’ll immediately feel marooned, in the best possible way. […]

SHIMLA, INDIA: SMH TRAVELLER

SHIMLA, INDIA: SMH TRAVELLER

There are certain moments as a solo traveller when you feel very, very solo. As I sit here, squished between two canoodling couples in an outdoor whirlpool at Wildflower Hall in the Indian Himalayas, I realise this is one of them. One couple, the young, newly-married Indian one, has a fondness for sitting in each […]

MONGOLIA’S ORKHON VALLEY: YAHOO7 TRAVEL

MONGOLIA’S ORKHON VALLEY: YAHOO7 TRAVEL

Arriving at our encampment in the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia’s southern Gobi desert, the first thing we’re told by the father of the family is that we have to construct our own ger, the Mongolian equivalent of a yurt. At first we think he’s joking, but no. In this part of the world, where close […]

Surf and Yoga Retreat, Bali: YAHOO7 TRAVEL

Surf and Yoga Retreat, Bali: YAHOO7 TRAVEL

There are moments in life when you look around and realise, it’s time to treat yourself. When those countless all-nighters at the office start to stack up. When you’ve drunk one too many vodkas one too many Friday nights in a row. Or when you realise a small part of yourself silently slipped out the […]

Ratua Private Island, Vanuatu: SMH TRAVELLER

Ratua Private Island, Vanuatu: SMH TRAVELLER

As the speedboat hurtles across the inky black waters, phosphorescence flicking out beside us like bits of shimmering stardust, my husband Pete grabs my hand. I can’t see his face, but his gesture tells me he’s thinking exactly what I am: that we’ve made the right decision to come here to Vanuatu, that whipping through […]

BLUE MOUNTAINS: MASTERCARD

BLUE MOUNTAINS: MASTERCARD

For historic accommodation, fine food and even finer wine, inspirational nature walks, and decadent spa experiences, head straight to Australia’s Blue Mountains. Visitors have been lured to these stunning mountains (which are not actually blue, but look that way from afar because of the eucalyptus oil haze rising above them) since Victorian times. Just 90 […]

BALI YOGA RETREAT: SMH TRAVELLER

BALI YOGA RETREAT: SMH TRAVELLER

I cannot do this. I am standing on the sand at Jimbaran Bay in south Bali, with rain sifting down around me and a gigantic pink surfboard at my feet, staring at the waves. I definitely cannot do this. A grainy memory starts to play in my mind: 15-year-old me, standing on the sand at […]

MEDITATION RETREAT PUNE, INDIA: SMH TRAVELLER

MEDITATION RETREAT PUNE, INDIA: SMH TRAVELLER

The man in the maroon robe is talking to himself. Not that anyone’s taking much notice. Maybe they’re all too busy watching the girl in the maroon robe whirling around underneath that tree, face tilted to the sky, laughing hysterically. Or maybe, after a few days spent in the Osho International Meditation Resort, this kind […]

TAROT TOUR OF SOUTH INDIA: SMH TRAVELLER

TAROT TOUR OF SOUTH INDIA: SMH TRAVELLER

I’d never really fancied myself a tarot card kind of girl. Sure, I’ve been known to wear the odd cape and I practise yoga regularly, but tarot? Mysterious predictions of the future based on flimsy pieces of cardboard with kooky drawings on them? It just seemed a little too … airy-fairy, for me. At least […]

UBUD RETREAT, BALI: SMH TRAVELLER

UBUD RETREAT, BALI: SMH TRAVELLER

I’m a chronic multitasker. A restless sleeper. A compulsive mental to-do list compiler. A neurotic over-analyser. Put simply: my head is an exhausting place to be. People have often told me meditation could help me shush things up top, and I have tried it a couple of times. There was that session a girlfriend convinced […]