Updates + Favorite Things

By Kate Riley May 27, 2015

Midweek greetings everyone! Today’s post is a little bit of everything, a smorgasbord of what’s happening in my life and favorite things since I have no projects or spaces to share this week. Let’s start with home improvement. My aunt will be moving into the Las Vegas house in July, she’s my mom’s best friend and sold her house in southern California so she will be living there while searching for a house to purchase, she may stay as little as three or as long as six months which is totally fine with me, I could use a break from the back and forth trips.

Before she arrives, I’m under pressure to finish the kitchen and bathroom that are halfway done. On my latest trip the countertops were installed hooray! I’m so very excited about the Caesarstone quartz countertops and the faucets are in too (not shown). Next up is backsplash tile and lighting for both spaces and appliances in the kitchen, it all must be completed by the 4th of July so I’ll be spending a few weeks out there in June to make sure it all happens. Much to do!

caesarstone countertops in kitchen

master vanity top

I also styled an outdoor room for hayneedle – the space will be featured on their blog in June, I’ll share the link when it goes live, here’s a little peek.

outdoor pillows

On the topic of fitness, I’m started making it a priority in my life last summer and it’s the new normal for me which is a great place to be mentally and physically, especially since I was far more sedentary before. I work out almost every day by setting aside one hour for activity and always mix it up to avoid boredom. When people ask me what I’m training for my response is always “for life!” although I’m talking with some friends about training for a Tough Mudder next year.

I’m in pretty good shape, stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. Matt bought me a new bike for Mother’s Day, I take relaxing rides around town once or twice a week. I lift weights at the gym at least twice a week for stronger legs, chest, arms, and back with weights, kettle bells, and medicine balls. I mentioned before I also take fitness kickboxing classes, those are my favorite. I’ve found there’s nothing like beating the hell out of a punching bag to make you feel great. I also find myself watching more action movies with tough chicks that kick butt. Coincidence? I think not.

fitness kickboxing

The sweat a ton and it really tightens my core, the class gives me that feel good euphoria that comes from an intense workout. I never thought I’d get to a place where I actually crave that feeling but it’s happened. I also started taking bikram yoga once a week if I can squeeze it into my schedule, it’s more challenging due to the heat but the stretching poses feel amazing. A note of encouragement: whatever it is that gets you moving and makes you feel good, do it. Your body will thank you with results.

We all know how hard it is to find a great pair of jeans that fit right. Last year I discovered that the White House Black Market petite jeans fit me best, but then I discovered jeggings, yes jeggings, for women and the clouds parted. What’s better than the stretch of a yoga pant but look of jeans, I ask you? My favorite are the American Eagle brand and I have them in dark wash and black and wear them so much I may need an intervention.

celebrity dresses

For skin care and  toupee hair, I’ve been using more oils on my face lately, they’re moisturizing and help fight those pesky fine lines. Whatever Helen Mirren is using, I’ll have what she’s having. Meanwhile, the three I rotate are Josie Maran Argan Oil Light (nighttime), and oil for women wigsOle Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil (daytime), and Suki Nourishing Facial Oil (anytime).*


My two favorite daytime moisturizers are Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation and Mario Badescu Cellufirm Moisturizer. At night the anti-aging battle continues with the facial oils and Mario’s Peptide Renewal Cream. I recently invested in a Clarisonic Cleanser tool and it’s soooo great for deep cleaning and exfoliation. *affiliate links!

skin care

On the topic of travel, we have no big family vacation plans for the summer other than two separate weeks in Las Vegas in June. I’m taking a trip to NYC with my sister in September, she lives in Salt Lake City so I don’t get to see her very often but we made a pact to take a trip together every two years and just love Manhattan. We had the best time on our last trip. I’ve seen all the touristy stuff, I’m more interested in hidden neighborhood gems and the best of Brooklyn. Suggestions?

We are officially booked for our three week trip to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia in November. I’m SO EXCITED to be journeying to these countries. 4 nights in Fiji, 6 nights in New Zealand (South Island), and 12 nights in Australia. Thank you so much for all of your amazing suggestions on where to go, what to see, what to eat. In Australia, we will spend time in Brisbane/Gold Coast and Sydney, but we’re torn whether to go south to Melbourne for a city experience or north to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef, but we’re leaning toward Cairns. Thoughts?


I haven’t traveled internationally by plane in ten years so I welcome any travel tips you have for navigating airports and cities on that side of the planet. Any tips you can share on long flights over the Pacific to foreign countries with kids? And how do we stay alive while driving on the opposite side of the road because this looks very strange to me.

Cascade wedding veil

That will be an adventure.

What’s the latest with you? Discovered a great beauty product or pair of jeans lately? Enjoying a new fitness routine? Traveling anywhere interesting this summer?


  1. So much to see in South Island, NZ. I moved down to Christchurch from Auckland 5 years ago and love the variety of things to see and do! And so easy to see and do everything by car :) Driving on the left is not so bad after the first day – I struggled the first day when I visited the states.

  2. Your upcoming trips sound great. I have a couple of suggestions. Broooklyn – Grimaldi’s pizza is an institution not to be missed. Expect a line and a wait but so worth it. Save room for a cannoli.

    Australia – Melbourne was a great city too but cold since it was winter when we went (June). The Great Ocean Road was very scenic. Also in the north we went a bit further than Cairns to Port Douglas. Very cute little town with some excellent restaurants.


  3. OK – I drove through Ireland once and it was not that easy. They had round-a-bouts and going through that the wrong direction seemed a bit like vertigo… I kept paring the car too close on the left and I took off the rim of the rental car. My advice is to go slowly and buy the car rental insurance!!!
    Ms. Winston =^..^=

  4. I love these personal catch-up type posts! i’ve been thinking of kickboxing lately too, it’s been tough getting back into a normal workout schedule with a baby, but I’m determined!

  5. I noticed in a photo of yourself that you posted recently that you looked very fit. I was going to comment, but got distracted by the doorbell. I like your philosophy that you are training for life.

    I am a big fan of Jose Marin oils. I use the light oil, the oil cleanser and sunscreen. My skin has never looked better. I love that is has very few ingredients. No chemicals! :-)

  6. Ixnay to the GBR in November-Box Jellies will close the beaches ( those very toxic jellyfish hit the beaches Nov-March ish.)

    I’ve lived in Melbourne-it’s awesome. Like NYC but with a Euro flair. Driving on the “wrong” side takes getting used to-I’d UBER or LYFT it personally. I never had to drive there b/c there’s pretty good mass transit as well.

    Oz is a magical place. In SYD make sure you take the ferry to the Opera House and check out Manly Beach. ALL the food in that city is amazing.

    Try and take in a Footy Game-Aussie Rules Football is practically a religion; you need to have a VB beer and a pie( meat pie) with sauce( ketchup-don’t ask lol) at whatever game you catch ( The MCG is the place to see a live game in MEL).

    You’ll barely scratch the surface with all the things to do/see on your trip-just enjoy the Aussie mateship that abounds in the most fun island continent around!

  7. While you are in NYC, eat at Jack the Horse in Brooklyn Heights. I lived there for a decade and it’s the best. Then you can take in the twilight view of Manhattan from the promenade or Dumbo or walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. The new(ish) Brooklyn Bridge Park is worth a visit too. Oh, and you’d enjoy the antique stores on Atlantic Avenue.

  8. Kate – good job on the fitness and inspiration. My husband and I spent a month in Australia in the mid 80’s; a week each in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. From each we explored out of the cities. If I had a chance to go back I would spend all my time in Cairns/Great Barrier Reef and Melbourne. In Cairns we took a large boat out to the reef for a day and spent it snorkeling and diving. It’a a must and so is a trip or a stay to Green Island. I loved Melbourne because it was still so English (not so sure if it still is). We rented a car and drove out the Great Ocean Road, lawn bowled, went to the open Market and went to the horse races. So fun to see all the ladies in their hats. I remember because I had a tank and shorts on HA! Sydney is very city, very commercialized. It’s fun to take the ferry over to the beach and the Taranga Zoo is awesome. In Brisbane we took a boat down the river and went to a Kangaroo habitat where we fed them. Can you tell I had fun. I still have a vivid memory of it. We both wrote in a journal every day of the trip and it’s still fun to read this many years later. I hope you have a wonderful time! -renee

  9. Dear Kate,
    Just returned from two weeks in Italy. Before I left I purchased packing cubes . I bought mine from Marshall’s but you can purchase them from Amazon. I rolled my clothes and used one cube for tops,one for pants,one for unmentionables. They were awesome ,keeps suitcase organized and you just remove what you need for the day. Especially great when changing locations often. Might be great for your trip !

  10. I live in Melbourne and while I think it is a wonderful place to visit I would actually go to Cairns (actually I would go to Port Douglas which is 1 hours drive north of Cairns. Cairns is not that great as a city). But if you love the coffee shopping, theater scene then Melbourne is the place to go.

  11. I’m so jealous of your Fiji/Australia/NZ trip – that sounds AMAZING! Definitely on my wish list of places to see. Your workouts sound great, and I know I feel “off” when if I have to miss one. I have been doing crossfit-esque workouts and love them. They make me feel strong and powerful!

  12. Your trip sounds amazing! Best thing I ever did when I backpacked across Europe was invest in some packing cubes. It sounds crazy but they are so dang useful! It keeps everything together and you don’t have to repack everything when you pull out an outfit. Enjoy your vacation!

  13. Your trip sounds like a blast. The South Pacific is on my bucket list of places I want to see before I die. Pilcro from anthropologie are my fav jeans and come up high enough to hide my little muffin top. Md Jolie metamorphosis is my fav skin care regimen (maskcara.com recommends it too).

  14. We’re Australians who have been living in the US for 12 years. We just came back from Fiji (when we go, we stay on Denarau Island, and take day cruises out to the islands from the nearby marina via South Sea Cruises). I’m from Brisbane and while in Brisbane, you MUST go to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, to cuddle a koala and feed kangaroos. My husband is from Melbourne, and it’s a great city, but if you have to decide between Melbourne and Cairns, please do Cairns. You won’t regret it! Amazing beaches, and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef cannot be missed. Have fun!

  15. As an Aussie, a little info with regards to choosing between Cairns or Melbourne – Cairns is more of an entry point to the far north (it’s where the airport is) and like others I recommend not staying there but heading bit further north to Port Douglas. It’s a lovely small town, closer to the Daintree rainforest, crocodiles and other exotic widlife! That said, November is not the optimal time of year to go North, as it’s really really humid, you can’t swim due to the stingers, it’s also mosquito season (be very careful to apply repellent as they spread Ross River fever which you don’t want to get). If you really want to see the reef, you can still access it a little bit further south, like from Airlie Beach for example, though do note it’s quite expensive to get to the actual reef from the mainland. That said Melb is a big city which you will have experienced in Sydney, though it has a different vibe, still a big city.

    Whatever you do I’m sure you will have a great time!

  16. Hi Kate
    Do please come to Melbourne – I may be biased cos I live here, but it’s a fantastic, cosmopolitan very European feeling city which offers amazing food, culture and the arts, great shopping, beautiful parks and gardens and trams! There won’t be any chance to see an AFL (our football) game in Australia in November, BUT you could catch a day of cricket at our iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground instead (and a tour of the ‘G’ is a must for any visitor).

  17. Good on ya! (As they would say Down Under…) Tough Mudders are a lot of fun, and I’d highly recommend one! My only advice is that most people focus on the strength needed for the obstacles, and ignore how loooong they are (usually 10-12 miles). You can always walk instead of run, but there’s no skipping the distance altogether (unlike the obstacles, any of which you could skip if you really wanted/needed to). Just my two cents because I’ve seen huge strong guys struggling on the course because they didn’t do enough cardio training :) Sounds like you’re doing a big variety of stuff though, that’s awesome!

  18. As as Aussie who grew up near Cairns and lived in Brisbane, Stdney and now Byron Bay. Also visited Melbourne many times….

    I would go to Port Douglas or Palm Cove north of Cairns and see the reef and Rainforest. I actually think you could miss Brisbsne… Egghh hope no one from Brisbane is reading this or alternatively go further up the coast to Noosa or south to Byron Bay (my favourite little bohemian town in Australia).

    Sydney is a amazing city on the beach with a beautiful harbour. I just wouldn’t stay right in the heart of the city.

  19. A few Australia tips from a former Sydneysider…
    Don’t miss Sticky – an amazing rock candy store (not the rock candy you’re thinking, but gorgeous murano glass style candy)…grab gelato from gelatissimo and take a ferry ride through the harbor…the Opera house tour is totally worth it, and you can usually see different groups rehearsing….and the Bondi Coogee walk (or Coogee to Bondi as we liked to do) is spectacular enough to impress a Californian ;)

    Also a second vote for Melbourne – the weather will be much nicer in November, and the Great Ocean Road is amazing.

  20. Hi Kate….I hope you have a great time in Brooklyn! If you love cheesecake, you definitely have to try Juniors. They are a fixture of Downtown Brooklyn. Many years ago, they had a fire and the people outside were yelling “save the cheesecake!” to the firefighters. It’s sooooo good!

  21. Try Lucky Brand legging jeans. They are the only brand I have found with a higher rise, which is great for anyone over 18 years old.

  22. I love the color of the bottom cabinets. Do you have the name of the color? I tried looking through your site to see if I could find it but had no luck. Thank you in advance! :)

  23. Loving these comments! Buy Melatonin to help with jetlag – easy to find, over the counter. As far as driving on the other side of the road, the driver just needs to remember to be next to the center line, and all will be fine :)

  24. Dear Kate,

    You know when you have one of those perfect days in your life? As if the stars have aligned and you feel so very connected to the earth? I’ve had those in various parts of the world (always when engaging with nature) but EVERY TIME we go to Agincourt Reef (part of the Great Barrier Reef) I get that feeling.

    Quiksilver does the huge catamaran out to their base on the reef. The ride out is a couple of hours and then they tie up to a massive raft. We’ve found the Agincourt trip the best by far of their various reef trips. You can snorkel, scuba, or view the reef from the glass bottomed boat. All equipment is available onboard. Just bring your towels! And the smorgasbord lunch is of very good quality. So personally, I would recommend doing the Cairns leg of the journey, then the 35 mile drive from there to Port Douglas, which is where you catch the Quiksilver.

    And another attraction 20 minutes before you reach Port Douglas is Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. It’s a smallish operation which makes it WONDERFUL….you don’t get exhausted walking around acres and acres of displays. You really get up close to the crocs and there aren’t massive crowds making it difficult to hear the guides. The lagoon boat ride will get your attention. They feed the crocs which spring up out of the water. Shocking the first time! You can also pay a small amount to feed some small crocs/caymans from a bridge – they tie a chicken head to a string on the end of a pole and the crocs will snap it up.

    The guides are very knowledgeable and the kids will learn a lot. There is also a very easy walking circuit and there are various Australian birds and animals dotted around. This was so much more pleasant to us than the large zoo north of Brisbane. I don’t want to name names but it’s just not the same since Steve Irwin died.

    If you are going to stay in Port Douglas, Four Mile Beach is gorgeous for ocean swimming and walks. It’s got many hotels in a variety of price ranges.

  25. Make a stop over in Jersey City on your trip to NYC!! We just moved here a year ago and the area of Hamilton Park is fantastic :) I think you’ll appreciate the brownstones, the gorgeous flowers that infiltrate front porches, and the tiny little stores off Newark and Grove st. It’s a wonderful walkable area. We’ve got the Kitchen Cousins from HGTV really building up the scene with fabulous restos like Talde. There’s a new wonderful Italian sandwich and biscotti shop called Prato you should also check out. There’s a homestore known for its antiques and amazing finds called Beekman Lane. You can’t go wrong wasting a day here that will cost you much less than the West Village (but by all means, go walk around the West Village!). Here’s a great (albeit old) rundown that Design Sponge did in 2013, but is still relevant today. One place they are missing that food network will be running a special on in a few months: Torico’s icecream. Please don’t leave Jersey City without a cone! Enjoy! http://www.designsponge.com/2013/10/jersey-city-guide.html

  26. So jealous you are going to the South Pacific. I went in 2000 and loved it. South Island NZ was sooo beautiful. I was there in winter but would still recommend the train over the Alps trip from Christ Chruch..very Lord of the Rings territory. I also bused down to Queenstown from Ch Ch which was spectacular both the journey and destination. Queenstown is the adventure capital where bungy jumping was started so if that is your thing go for it. Too scary for me, I went tandem sky diving which was awesom floating above such a beautiful terrain. If time permits the trip south to the fjords was also terrific. Don’t worry about the driving, as one person said driver in the middle of the road not the ditch and you are good to go, since I live in the Caribbean I have the opposite issue driving in the US but same rule applies. ps watch out for sheep. I can’t advise re Oz – summers can be hot and not sure I like the sound of those mosquitoes however cities with kids can be tricky. Loved Sydney lots to do, laid back and easy enough to walk around the core. Get out on the water if you can! The drive along the Great Ocean Road was also lovely. Don’t forget NZ and Oz have great wines to revive you after a long day on the road! Enjoy!

  27. I am not in ANY way affiliated with Paula’s Choice, other than as a long-time, satisfied customer, but highly recommend her products! She has a variety of lines for every skin concern, perfect packaging, excellent customer service. She’s the gal who critiqued every line imaginable for years (and still does) before creating her own products. Check out “Beautypedia,” for great reviews on the products you are spending money on for the real breakdown. (Also, PC has great sales and the items come to your door!) Worth a look. Your exercise regimen is daunting, though I envy you. I can’t urge other young(er) women to get with some program. I gave mine up totally, and have become sedentary and a bit frail as a result…2 things I never thought I’d be! No weight gain, though, which shows that exercise is not really for weight loss!
    Your trip will be one of a lifetime…how in the world do you manage all this??

  28. So jealous of your upcoming trip! I am currently week two of my European trip. I heartily agree to packing cubes. I also suggest one of those huge zip bags for dirty clothes. You can squeeze the air out and keep clean clothes smelling fresh. I also use Ole Henricksen oil, truth serum, and sheer transformation. I haven’t found the oil in travel size, so I reused a travel size for truth serum. Other containers I’ve tried have leaked or were larger than I needed. Bon voyage!

  29. I don’t have any advice on awesome places to visit but two words of advice. Compression socks! I went on a trip to China with 16 hours total flying. My legs were swollen for a week both coming and going. I won’t go on another long trip without them! Your trip sounds ah-ma-zing!!!

  30. Hello, Kate:
    Can you share what color is on the lower cabinets? Did you paint them, or are they available in that light blue from the manufacturer? TIA!

  31. For the long flight: Drink, drink, drink–water! The most helpful thing you can do.
    Take as few clothes as possible. Visit Manley–the little beach town across the bay from Sydney. View the night sky from the Glass Mountains up north and visit the Moololaba acquarium. Eat prawns and brown bread by the beach. Don’t pass up all the veggie farms along the coast up to Brisbane. Loved my time there and want to go back. The plane trip? Not so bad going there–took two weeks to recover coming back.

  32. About driving on the other side of the road, I did it in Thailand and recommend: practice turns in lighter traffic, have a good copilot in the passenger seat (but not one with a tendency to yell!), get plenty of rest because it’s mentally taxing, and because it takes extra mental effort and vigilance, I found I couldn’t really talk much or listen to music – I just needed to focus my mind on the driving.

  33. And re: long flights over the Pacific — a great book you just cannot put down helps make the time fly while flying!

  34. Hi Kate! I live in Brisbane and am excited to hear that you are coming to Australia. I laughed when I saw your comment about navigating the airports. Our little Aussie Airports are like little easy going strolls compared to most international airports, we’re a large country geographically speaking but very small by population so there is not a lot of chaos and bustle unlike our overseas counterparts. The Great Barrier Reef will be entering stinger season as someone helpfully pointed out, not that it means you can’t visit during that time (they have special suits) but typically Aussies would only visit between August and November but that’s because we’re a bit spoiled and only choose to travel there during the premium times. The problem is that you will never have enough time to see everything during this visit so probably channel your inner Australian and focus on eating, drinking, laughing and taking it easy. A few days at the beach to re-charge before you head off to see the sights and pat a koala or two.

  35. Ooh! You must have a burger with gruyere cheese at Dumont in Williamsburg Brooklyn (take the L train to the Lorimer Street stop). You would never know the place is anything special from the outside but it has this beautiful hidden garden out back and this intimate dining room at the front. The BEST!

  36. Always enjoy your blog. Love the updates on the Las Vegas house. Your upcoming trip sounds fab! Im starting my vacay tonight, (stay at home type) and after designing the kids’ school yearbook – yep always wait til last minute ( only 4 days)m I plan on attempting to make some barn doors! Recently bought this great beach house and always loved the idea of turning a space that wasnt used much (ie, formal dining room) into a bedroom and that’s exactly what I’m doing! But I need doors and the space is uber tight… Gonna check our local home recycle store (“Restore” in Santa Rosa) as they have lots of great doors, but last time I checked didnt have matching style in size I need, so starting to think a trip to the lumber store is gonna be the trick! Your blog is quite the inspiration… really enjoy! Thx!

  37. I live in Adelaide, Australia. Have been to Cairns (Port Douglas) and Melbourne many times. Definitely go North. I would go to Palm Cove and Port Douglas over Cairns. You are getting the city experience in Sydney – don’t need to go to Melbourne. The Great Barrier Reef is beautiful – you can’t miss that. Stay in Port Douglas, not Cairns.

  38. Kate,

    If you can you ABSOLUTELY need to take pictures of the Aurora Australis while in new Zealand. There is a tracker that will let you know if you will be visiting during prime aurora time. You can use the space weather prediction center (government website) to determine if you will be able to see it. I heard back in March New Zealand had the most spectacular pink lights, light up the sky! I am jealous!!!

  39. I don’t think it’s been mentioned: the best part of our NZ trip was the flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound, then a boat ride around the sound with a return flight. Beautiful, relaxing and unforgettable. We loved Cairns and snorkeling the GBR when we went last Christmas. Do NOT fly the local airlines between cities in Aus; they are notorious for losing luggage, and lost ours. The worst part was the lack of accountability and information in order to retreive it.

  40. Definitely Cairns (and not really Cairns, go to Port Douglas!) I see other people suggested it…we honeymooned in Sydney and Port Douglas. Toured the Daintree Rainforest, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef…you’ll LOVE it.

  41. Wow, you seem pretty busy. That trip sounds amazing, three places I have never been but would love to visit. Good on you for making exercise your norm. I’m in a bit of a rut re. The exercise at the moment but badly need to get into something! Running used to be my thing, hopefully will get back into it soon.

  42. I haven’t been to Melbourne but did an Australia trip in 2008 and went to Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Ayers Rock Resort/Sails in the Desert. We flew SFO to Sydney so we stayed in Sydney at both the beginning and end of our vacation. It was the best trip! Although I agree with the previous posters about maybe not actually staying in Cairns. If I did it again I might stay somewhere else. We did the Quicksilver catamaran tour to Agincourt Reef and really liked Port Douglas. We went in September, and they did have suits to rent that supposedly would protect from a sting but we didn’t run into any jellyfish. I don’t know that we would go to Brisbane again, but we were there for just a short time and also used it as a jumping off point to go into Beerwah and Australia Zoo, which we loved.

    Also, I don’t know what airline you’re flying but Qantas left my husband’s bag in SF. It wouldn’t have been a big issue except for the length of the flight and at the time, Qantas had limited flights from SFO to Sydney. We left SFO Monday night (arrived Wednesday morning, Australia time) and didnt get his bag until Friday night (the next flight had left SFO on Wednesday). Luckily we were in Sydney and were able to walk to a mall and buy him clothes and toiletries. We learned our lesson and now bring a few changes of clothes in our carryon bags (which smarter people probably do even without something like that happening)!

  43. Hi Kate,

    I’m a long time reader, but this is my first time commenting on your blog! I’m a lawyer in Sydney and was SO EXCITED to hear that you and your family are coming for a visit.

    As for choosing between Cairns (I personally would go to Port Douglas) and Melbourne, I’d say Cairns – hands down! Although Melbourne is great (I think most Sydney-siders long to live in Melbourne), it is another city and if you’re already travelling to Sydney and Brisbane you will probably find it’s a similar(ish) experience.

    As some other commenters have helpfully pointed out, it’s stinger season up north in November but Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef will be a completely different experience to your other stops in Australia. My one tip would be to make sure you stay somewhere with a lovely pool because you won’t be able to swim at the beach with the box jellyfish around. You can still go out to the Great Barrier Reef though – they have special suits for that and it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

  44. We did New Zealand and Australia almost two years ago and I would go back in a heart beat! If you do go up to Cairns, don’t stay in Cairns…go to Port Douglas. Most of the excursions in that area (rainforest, GBR, etc) leave out of Port Douglas. So save yourself from being in a car more than you have to. Also, we didn’t like Cairns—we were growled at by the local Aborigines and the town seem kind of dingy. We went in the middle of October, for reference.

    If you get the chance to fly with Air New Zealand—do it! It was the BEST flight experiences we have ever had. The flight attendants walk around with bottles of wine with your dinner meal (for the overnight international flight) and are so nice.

    I wrote about my trip here if you felt like checking out any of the posts: http://www.megansmoments.com/30-before-30-1-go-to-australia-and-new-zealand-done/

  45. Oh, and don’t forget to pronounce the cities like a local! Tip on how to not make you stand out as a tourists

    Cairns – pronounced “Cans”
    Melbourne – pronounced “Mel-bun”

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