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Local Travel Guide: Long Beach, CA featured on SwellBlog | Just the Essentials with SWELL’s Event Photographer, Stephanie.

Get her look from Swell.com: Sol Sana Storm Cut Out Boot | Swell Anchor Stripe Maxi Skirt

Australia Style and Travel Guide….
After three weeks of roos, rainbows, and Snapper Rocks,  I packed up my (now slightly heavier for some reason) carry-on bag and headed back to San Diego. In case you missed it, here are some style and travel highlights from my 3 weeks in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. Where to go, what to do, and what to wear…(click on the photos above and below for complete blog posts and to shop the looks)

HIGHLIGHTS- TOP THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY:
What to do?
Sydney has some great areas to explore. Stroll, shop and sip around, Circular Quay, the Rocks, and Bondi, then take a ferry to Manly Beach.

Where to eat?
- Pure: an organic and wholefoods deli with outstanding fresh salads, raw desserts and juices.
- Pony Lounge. It’s a small plates restaurant in the Rocks (the oldest part of the city).
- North Bondi Italian (a must)
-
Mojo’s on Campbell Parade (Spanish/a lil’ bit of Basque)
- Anchor Bar

Where to shop?
Take the ferry over to Manly Beach. There are countless numbers of small, boutique shops and surf shops to explore. One of my favorites…
- The Shop Next Door: A fun place to froth-out on some retro boards and clothing.


HIGHLIGHTS- TOP THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE:
What to do?
- In Melbourne: Eat, drink and stroll around the Yarra. Stick to the smaller side streets for good shopping.
- Around: if you have a car, which you should, take the drive along the Great Ocean Road. Read about it HERE
- Lawn Bowling! You’ll find clubs in every town. Find out when they have an open day, then go. Read about it HERE
- Pet a kangaroo. The nice kind.

Where to eat/drink?
- Chin Chin: South East Asian-inspired)
- Little Creatures: brewery)
- The Crown Casino (The Atlantic): fancy smancy seafood + oyster bar)
- Ponyfish Island: a bar in the center of the Yarra
- Chuji: Izakayu-style Japanese
- Di Bella Roasting Warehouse: best coffee you’ll ever have


HIGHLIGHTS- TOP THINGS TO DO ON THE GOLD COAST:
What to do? If you have a car, you should spend some time…
- In Coolangatta- Some of the country’s best surf breaks are in Coolangatta. More in where to eat/drink in Coolangatta HERE
- In Yamba- more world-class surfing. More on Yamba HERE
- In Byron Bay- you’ll find some great shops and places to eat here. If I had teh chance, I would have spent several days in Byron. More on Byron Bay HERE
- Time Traveling in Coolangatta
- Driving up to the Sunshine Coast
- On Fraser Island- drive a few hours on the beach, then hop on a ferry, then drive some more on the largest sand island in the World! The highlight is a lake made of pure raindrops. More on Fraser Island HERE

Thanks for following my Aussie adventures!
- Nicki
* About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE


Click to see WHAT I PACKED

Australia Travel Guide: Bondi with Elliot from Stab Mag.

Back in Sydney! This time I ventured to the other end of the harbor, wearing this retro tunic from Gypsy Junkies. Not wanting to end up in Bondi at a backpackers with a $12 Tooheys New in hand, I enlisted the expertise of a local. Here’s what Elliot Struck (editor of Australia’s Stab Mag) had to offer up on the subject of “hipster haunts” in Sydeny’s Bondi Beach…
* Where (not to) stay?
Elliot: Swiss Grand is, in fact, not so grand. The place is flooded with backpackers, of course.
My notes: The term “luxury”, when used as an apartment adjective, is used very loosely.
* Where to eat/drink?
Elliot: North Bondi Italian. It’s right down there on the beach, at the north end of the bay. The man who opened it, named Maurice Terzini, has also just opened a new place called Neild Avenue which is really, very awesome. They’re two musts.
Notes: Get there early, make a reservation, or just be okay with waiting. The view is amazing, and the carpaccio is even better.
If you’re shooting for Tapas, I’d recommend Mojo’s on Campbell Parade (Spanish/a lil’ bit of Basque). Or, the Flying Squirrel on Bondi Road (if you eat seafood, the handmade Dory and prawn ravioli is straight-up divine).
If you want a little weird, Canadian comfort food, go to the Stuffed Beaver (just down from Squirrel). Big-ass dawgs, poutine, burgers, frickles (deep fried dill pickles, yipe!).
There’s also the Anchor Bar, a new place on Campbell Parade, which does a pretty mean fish taco (by Aus standards). Good mexican/cocktails etc there in general, actually.
Side note: get the coconut barramundi.


After scouring the streets, and asking the same questions about the good eats / drinks to every passerby, Elliot was pretty spot on with the list. If you’re only in for a night, I’d hit up North Bondi Italian for sunset, then head to the Anchor bar for a rum cocktail of some sort, and finish up with a nightcap at Bondi Hardware- the former hardware store-turned bar.

Thanks Elliot for the fun ideas and for introducing me to the word ‘frickles.’

* About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE

Australia Style & Travel Guide: Rainbow!
It’s my last day on the Gold Coast. To send me off, the sun finally broke through the rain, and this rainbow popped up over the bay to try and hold me back. It almost worked too. Lucky it wasn’t a double rainbow! After the skipping competition ended, it was back to the beach for a last sand-castle-off and some frolicking in the waves.

Pictured: Billabong Romper

* About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE

Australia Style & Travel Guide: Saturday at Snapper Rocks.

Ah….It’s the weekend. The swell is starting to build and there’s a break in the rain…beach time! I took my sunny yellow BB Dakota sweater and headed for Snapper, then finished the afternoon off with a schooner at the beach club. This is what every Saturday aspires to be.

* About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE

Dancing in the (Coolangatta) streets! Just having a little Saturday celebration in my new Indah Dress. I paired this one with some teal accessories for a little bit of color.

More details on where to go out in Coolangatta coming soon…

* About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE

Australia Travel & Style Guide: Fraser Island.

Pictured: SWELL maxi skirt (worn as dress)
After hours of driving on the beach, through rainforest, onto ferries, across rivers, then beach on the beach, and through more forests, you’ll find yourself at Lake Makenzie, on Fraser Island. That is, assuming you times the tides right and didn’t get bogged. Then, after sharing a few high fives for now getting stuck in the sand, you’ll get one look at that maverick that is Lake McKenzie and you’ll realize what all the fuss was about. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. The lake is pure raindrops, with soft white sand and no rivers flowing in to muck it up. Probably the work of some magical ninja koalas that feed on fairy dust and rainbows. But it isn’t all lollipops and Tooheys..watch out for the the dingos! I mean REALLY watch because you’re more likely to see a bathed backpacker than you are a  dingo. Bonus - just before you get on the ferry, you’ll drive by Double Island Point- one of the longest right breaks you’ll ever see.
To find out what you’ll be doing on Fraser Island, follow the choose your own adventure below…

Step 1: Do you have a 4WD?
Yes- proceed to step 2
No- Turn back now. Your car won’t make it, and taking a tour bus means showing up to this beautiful place with 50 other tourists.

Step 2: Did you remember food/beer?
Yes- right on.
No- What’s wrong with you? Turn back. Unless that money is burning a hole in your pocket.

Step 3: Did you bring sunscreen?
Yes- proceed to the lake! That’s it. Swim around, then drink your beer and eat your food.
No- proceed to lake, follow instructions above, subtract one beer for amateur planning, add one bottle of aloe.

Next stop…back to the Gold Coast!

About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE

Australia Style & Travel Guide: Lorax Trees
These Lorax-looking trees are more plentiful in Oz than the “yeah mate!”s, so it seemed only fitting that I pair it with an equally wild print combo. A plus- I’ve been told bold prints ward off Drop Bears.
Pictured: Swell Tank, Swell body con skirt, Frye boots

About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE

Time Traveling!
Several roo hops were made over this line that separates Queensland from New South Wales. The line goes right through the city, so Coolangattans can jump ahead or back in time an hour willy nilly. Fun stuff.

What I Wore:
Spare Fringe Top
Undrest One-Piece

About the author: Nicki is the voice inside your…SWELL emails & social networks. See more from her Australia Style & Travel Guide HERE