Australia

Finding the Balance when Planning Honeymoon Travel

When we first started planning our honeymoon, I had big plans for what I wanted to do! Obviously I love to travel and explore, but I also wanted to make sure we left plenty of time for resting and relaxation. My best two tips for finding the balance when planning your honeymoon are: Don't over plan, but don't under plan.

Don't Over Plan:

After your wedding, you are going to be TIRED. Add up months of stress, planning and making decisions, with an all night dance party, followed by a long flight across the world. YOU WILL BE TIRED. Don't over plan and wear yourself out. Plan a day for rest when you arrive and an additional time for relaxation. I know there are some people who like to have every second planed and some people who know they just want to sit in a beach chair and never move. I respect both of those people and urge the first type to take a break. On our honeymoon to Australia we spent a few days in Hamilton Island, which was the perfect place for relaxation. We also took the first night we arrived to rest so we wouldn't over do it.

Don't Under Plan: 

I know I just said not to over plan, but you also don't want to UNDER plan. You are, after all, on a trip of a lifetime with your significant other. You should do a few things! For me, I planned a few activities and made a few dinner reservations. I wasn't going to go all the way to Australia and not spend some time in the Great Barrier Reef! It's also important to me that we don't get stuck eating at a diner each night. With a few activities planned and some great dinners on the horizon, we had a bunch of things to look forward to on our honeymoon!

Planning your honeymoon can be tricky, but if you plan just the right amount of time, you are sure to have the perfect trip!

What to do in the Blue Mountains of Australia

One of my favorite experiences in Australia was visiting the Blue Mountains. I love to explore outdoor activities and spend time outside during my vacations. We took a car from Sydney to the Blue Mountains and spent the entire day exploring. Our first stop was straight to the Three Sisters, which is the iconic site to see while you are there. Seeing the legendary Three Sisters was fantastic and one of the highlights of the trip. After spending some time there we took a two mile hike around the park. There are a ton of hikes to pick from: easy, medium, hard and all of the info on them (including what you can see) is available on their website. We had packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed it along one of the many picnic areas that were available.

We ended our hike at the Scenic World Railway and took the world's steepest railway down to the bottom of the mountain. It was really cool to see the views from that steep of an incline.

After a full day in the Blue Mountains we were ready to head back to Sydney. I highly recommend checking this out during your next stop in Australia.

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge

Even though it isn't everyones cup of tea, sometimes I love to do touristy activities while traveling. Sometimes activities are popular for a reason and that is exactly how I felt about climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge! We signed up for the Bridge Climb Express (which is still over 2 hours long) and accelerates your experience up the bridge. They offer dawn, sunset and nighttime climbs, but we opted for a regular mid-morning climb. Once you arrive they get you all suited up and ready to climb. Keep in mind that you absolutely can not be drunk and they will make you take a breathalyzer test if they suspect you are drunk. We had two individuals kicked off of our tour because they were apparently drunk (it was like 10am, so I just find that impressive). Obviously safety is their number one concern when you are climbing a huge bridge.

They give you an ear piece so you can hear your guide and up the bridge you go! The actual climb is pretty easy, but it is a little bit scary. The views at the top are incredible though!

Even though this is a pricey and touristy activity, I would do it again if I ever found myself in Sydney!

Eight hours in Byron Bay Australia

When Adam and I were in Brisbane, we decided to take a drive down the Gold Coast and spend the day in Byron Bay. Byron Bay is an awesome little surfer's town with some great tourist attractions.

We rented a car in Brisbane and I spent the entire ride fearing for my life as my husband drove on the wrong side of the road. Our first stop was exactly one hour outside of Brisbane in Surfer's Paradise. Surfer's Paradise is known as one of the most beautiful beaches, and hence the name, is very popular for surfers. We parked the car and headed down to the beach for about an hour. We were there in Winter so it wasn't exactly swimming weather, but it was warm and we enjoyed exploring the beach.

After that we were on our way to Byron Bay. About another 45 minutes later we parked the car.

Once we were in Byron Bay we spent the next hour or so exploring the shops. This is very much a surfer's town and there were a lot of cool, local spots to buy things. We also walked out to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, a nice little tourist attraction not far from the city center.

At this point it was about lunchtime so we headed to O-Sushi, a local restaurant with a train of sushi. This place was so awesome and the sushi was very fresh and delicious. I highly recommend eating here if you are in Byron Bay.

After lunch we did what any normal tourist did, we suited up for a surf lesson in Byron Bay.

In case you were wondering, it was very windy and very cold (hence the squinting picture). Our surf instructor looked a lot like Zack Galifianakis and had a very relaxed demeanor. Even with the wind, we were both able to get up multiple times on the surf board. It was a hugely fun experience. Even though I probably won't ever surf again, it was great to say that I surfed in one of the greatest surfing beaches in the world.

After just eight short hours in Byron Bay, we were ready to head back to Brisbane. I thought the drive down the Gold Coast and the stop in Byron Bay were just fantastic. If you find yourself in Byron Bay, kick back, relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

How to pick a honeymoon destination

When Adam and I got engaged three years ago, I was most excited to plan our honeymoon (that shouldn't surprise you!). But, all of the wedding planning and constant decision making had me sort of exhausted from making anymore decisions. I used some pretty strict criteria to decide where we should go to limit planning and decision making. Here are the three main things I thought about: 1. You should go far! I knew that this was one of the few times when I could get two full weeks off work without anyone questioning the length of my trip. We also live really close to Mexico and the Caribbean, so I wanted to make sure went somewhere that wasn't just an hour or two plane flight away.

2. Go somewhere that is relatively easy to plan. This was really, really important to me. I was DYING to go to Africa, but I knew that I couldn't organize the trip, meals, packing, shots, etc in the amount of time I had to plan everything. We picked Australia because it was a) english speaking b) required no special visas, packing or shots and c) had a direct flight from Texas.

3. Pick somewhere with a mix of relaxation, culture and adventure. This is really a personal preference, but I didn't want to spend an entire two weeks on the beach. I did want to relax, enjoy city life and also do a few adventurous activities. There are a bunch of great destinations that offer all of these and I highly recommend mixing it up a little.

Based on that criteria I had narrowed it down to Australia and Hawaii. We ended up picking Australia because we had both been to Hawaii. It was absolutely amazing and the perfect honeymoon spot (I'll write more later about our time in Sydney, Hamilton Island and Brisbane).

What are your favorite honeymoon destinations? What criteria did you use to pick a spot?

Holding a Koala in Brisbane Australia

Before I went to Australia I was dying to hold a Koala. Most people tried to talk me out of it (I'm not sure why!), but we went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane and it was fantastic. Not only can you hold Koalas...

But you can also interact with kangaroos, wallabies and a tasmanian devil.

This is a one-stop shop for experiencing Australian wildlife and it is much more enjoyable than a zoo. If you find yourself in Brisbane Australia, this is a must do!

Must Visit: Hamilton Island in Australia

When Adam and I visited Australia for our honeymoon a few years ago we KNEW that we wanted at least part of the trip to include relaxation. We are usually more adventurous travelers, but after the stress of planning a wedding we thought it would be wise to just RELAX. A few people recommended we try Beach Club on Hamilton Island, which would allow us to visit the Great Barrier Reef at the same time.

The island is a little strange in that everything seems to be owned by the same group of people and you are very limited by what is available on the island, BUT it is an absolutely magical place to relax and enjoy the ocean.

Highlights include:

- The Beach Club Hotel- Amazing service, ocean views from every room, dinner on the beach, lovely, lovely time.

- Scuba in The Great Barrier Reef- Because obviously.

- The Spa- Because we were already in pure heavenly magic and why stop there.

I would highly recommend Hamilton Island if you are traveling through Australia and looking for a nice, relaxing destination.