Cart 0

Blog — "Australia"

Byron on My Mind

Heidi Shenk "travel" Australia

Some days in Baltimore are hotter than others in June, and this week has certainly been a testament to that. It's only a tip of the iceberg reminder of what July and August will bring. On days like this, I'd love nothing more than to be transported back to a moment of dipping my skin and hair into the salty South Pacific in Byron Bay, Australia.

In all of my travels, some places leave a mark on my heart more than others. These are the sorts of places that literally make me cry, because of their beauty and because I know I'll eventually have to leave, not knowing when or if I'll ever return. Byron is one of those places.

On my last visit back in September, we watched humpback whales spout and cruise around the point below the lighthouse, made friends with two water dragons, enjoyed sunsets, celebrated my 30th birthday with mud cake and champaign, woke up to views of ocean waves carving out the rocky coast, drank beer with the locals, and daydreamed about what it would be like to live there.

Byron Bay 3.jpg Byron Bay 5.jpg Byron Bay 6.jpg Byron Bay 10.jpg Byron Bay 7.jpg Byron Bay 8.jpg Byron Bay 9.jpg

On days that I wish to go back, I let the photos take me there just for a while. And I remember Andrew's words as we took off from Sydney to head home to the States. "When we come back... not if, but when."

Read more →

Cockatoo Island

Heidi Shenk "Australia" "travel"

When I last wrote about our trip to Australia, I left off with some beautiful photos from Bondi. The following day, we spent some time strolling throughout Sydney. We took the metro into the city and went exploring. In the afternoon, we decided to take a ferry out to Cockatoo Island. Cockatoo Island is located in Sydney Harbor and has a history as both a convict prison as well as being an old shipyard in which they drafted plans and built ships. The entire island's history was incredibly interesting to learn about and the remnants of the buildings left for some pretty fantastic photo opportunities.

After our day at Cockatoo Island, we headed back to Sydney for some record store shopping so that I could snag a few records that I can't get in the US. We took the metro back to our apartment, took a nap (we were ridiculously tired and the jet lag was catching up big time!), and then got ready for dinner. We headed to Manly, again by ferry, where we had a delicious meal and beer, of course, at a local microbrewery called 4 Pines. The next morning we would leave to fly into a totally different part of the country for a new adventure.

Read more →


Heidi Shenk "Australia" "travel"

It's taken me quite a while to get through all of our photos from Australia. Setting aside time just to sort through them all is hard to do, and then once I have the time, choosing the ones that I like the most becomes quite the chore! On our first full day in Sydney, we took a ferry to Watson's Bay for some lunch and then took the bus to Bondi. (You know you want to click that link. I was only singing this song in my head the whole way there...)

Bondi is home to one of the most popular city beaches and was a place I often went to just to relax and chill out. When we arrived, it was cloudy, which made me a bit sad. However, as we stayed for a little while, the sun came out and the weather warmed and we were able to enjoy a beer while watching all of the surfers take on the waves.

Our first full day in Sydney was busy as we took in the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Sydney Opera House before heading to Bondi, but we knew we were short on time for our entire trip. There was no better way to get over our jetlag than to just jump right in with all of the adventures.

Up next, I'll share some photos from our second day before we headed out to the red center.

Read more →

Sydney Opera House

Heidi Shenk "architecture" "Australia" "travel"

We continued our first day in Sydney by making our way along Farm Cove and on to the Sydney Opera House. Andrew was in architect heaven. He walked amongst the sails scoping out all of the little details-- the materials used, the way seams in the building came together, that sort of thing. Even if the Opera House is that cliche tourist attraction that you MUST see, I have found that it never gets tiring to look at. It is an architectural beauty.

After a couple weeks of adventure elsewhere in Australia, we made our way back to Sydney for one more day. Our last night there, we took a night walk after dinner to take a few spectacular night shots. Day and night, this structure is impressive and paired with the Harbour Bridge, the two are a true icon of the city.

While the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge are those natural icons we often think of when the name Australia comes to conversation, there are also plenty of other amazing things happening in this city. I'll be sure to share a few more photos from our time in Sydney before I move on to the red desert.

Read more →

Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens

Heidi Shenk "Australia" "travel"

After our vacation, it has taken me a while to get back on my feet again in my shop. Catching up on emails, ordering supplies that I let get really low before we left, and just getting into the general swing of things again has taken me about a week. Yesterday, I was determined to start the week off right and I finally feel like I'm sort of back on my normal schedule. Slowly, but surely, I've also been making my way through all of our photos from vacation.

We left Baltimore on a Tuesday afternoon, flew to Dallas-Fort Worth, and then took off for Sydney around 10pm that Tuesday night. From there, a 15 hour flight ensued as we made our way to Sydney, finally arriving at 8:30am on Thursday. Missing a day is the strangest sensation. You feel like you've missed out on something at your final destination, but realize that you've missed nothing back home. You sort of feel like shouting across the Pacific, "Take that suckers! You still have to do Wednesday, and Thursday is a pretty damn good day!"

In Sydney, we rented a gorgeous apartment in Potts Point that had huge picture windows overlooking the Sydney skyline. After dropping off our bags and taking much needed showers, we managed to keep ourselves awake by stumbling through the neighborhood to explore, pick up some groceries for the next few days, grabbing a beer at a local pub, and organizing a plan for the next day.

On a side note, if anyone is planning on visiting Sydney anytime soon, I'll gladly give you the information for this gorgeous apartment. It was perfect! ;)

After a good night of sleep, we spent the day doing the normal touristy things that one should do, I suppose. We hopped a metro with the early morning commuters and then walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens. When I lived in Australia, I often took the train up to Sydney to spend time in the gardens enjoying the beautiful, lush flora while I would read and study for my classes. It's a beautiful haven that almost makes you forget you're in the city until you glimpse up at the skyline.

We enjoyed the rose garden first, made our way through the native tropical plants, and on to see the succulents before finally arriving along Farm Cove for a glimpse of the Opera House. And the white cockatoos! I'd missed the white cockatoos sitting, flying, squawking about everywhere!

These gardens are certainly beautiful and were a peaceful way for us to start our first early morning (thank you jetlag) in Sydney. Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with more photos from Sydney!

Read more →