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I spent two days on the Big Island with arguably the best natural wonders in Hawaii. My first destination was Hilo where I travelled to the Rainbow Falls park and visited the rainforest alongside mystical waterfalls, unlike any I have ever seen before. This was a perfect tourist destination for snapping nature photographs.

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The next stop was to the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park which included a viewing of the crater. An interesting activity was walking through a lava tube, followed by a walk through a park where natural steam vapours escaped through vents in the ground. I also visited the national park museum which provided stunning views over the volcanic landscape.

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Next stop was to the beautiful Hilo Orchid Farm, brimming with flourishing orchids on display. I’ve never seen so many pretty orchid flowers. I also journeyed to the Mauna Loa macadamia nuts company factory which was interesting and satisfying with macadamia ice-cream being a highlight.

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On the second day, I travelled to Kona where I tasted the famous Kona coffee and spent the day snorkelling in the tropical waters. I later strolled through the cute stalls of the Kona Farmers’ and Crafts Markets which are open from Wednesday to Sunday. The markets, situated adjacent to the local church, were amazing with a large variety of locally-grown produce including tropical fruits and vegetables, flowers, hand-made arts and crafts (featuring Hawaiian musical instruments), and of course Kona coffee.

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Before I departed the town, I admired the local street art and watched the sun set magically over this paradise.

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Photographs by © MCTL

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My first encounter with Hawaii was experienced on O’ahu’s North Shore, an absolutely beautiful region with chilled beach and tropical vibes. Turtle Bay Resort located in Kahuku provided comfortable accommodation, delicious dining and cultural activities, as well as a stunning locale to swim at secluded beaches and to view magical sunsets. Walks around the resort and its beaches, as well as reading in the sun on an ocean-view balcony contributed to a sense of freedom and relaxation in this tropical paradise.

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En route to the Haleiwa market village, I even spotted a turtle on a small beach which was idyllic. Full of souvenir shops, surfboards, local art, cafes, and food trucks, I drank and ate a coconut and couldn’t believe how sweet and delicious it tasted.

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An organised trip to the Polynesian Cultural Centre involved sipping on more coconut water, watching a canoe dancing pageant representing the nations of the Polynesian Islands, and exploring the centre’s activities with a canoe tour ride and 4D film. Of course one must dine like a traditional Hawaiian at a luau, complete with wearing delicate leis, and eating a meal of roast pig with tropical buffet selections which enhanced the entire experience. To conclude the day, there was an amazing performance with Hawaiian hula and an impressive fire dancing performance.

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Another highlight at O’ahu was watching the final of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters. It was fantastic watching the competition on the beach and being close to numerous international surf competitors which strode past me on their way to the surf. It was surprising how exciting the final was, including the round in which Gabriel Medina won the surfing world title. Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach catered for the crowds with local food trucks. I particularly embraced tropical fruits with the help of tasty acai bowls, smoothies and papaya boats. Overall, the atmosphere was electric and I felt a part of the rich Hawaiian beach culture.

Dining by the beach watching sunsets and a last morning swim in the tropical waters of Turtle Bay Resort transitioned into a new experience – boarding a cruise. Checking in at the ship pier in Honolulu and setting sail that evening was the beginning of another fantastic adventure. Stay tuned for more travel posts that explore the Hawaiian islands.

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Photographs by © MCTL

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Twelve-hundred photographs, various souvenirs and a full suitcase later, I returned to Sydney relaxed, tanned and pumped for the new year. Hawaii was the most perfect, beautiful and amazing end to 2014. Soaking sun-rays from Oceania in the land where palm trees sway and coconuts are abundantly edible, fulfilled my holiday dreams of paradise.

For 6 days I relaxed on the fabled North Shore of Oʻahu Island in Honolulu County, where I stayed at Turtle Bay Resort. Here, the palm trees rocked powerfully from trade winds, and sunsets gleamed from my magical ocean-room view. Highlights included a car-trip to the market village of Haleiwa, a bus-ride to the Polynesian Culture Centre for a traditional luau, and attending the final of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters. These experiences provided the perfect balance between the rich Hawaiian culture, the chilled vibes of the North Shore and the resort-lifestyle, more laid-back than in Australia. The Hawaiian locals were also very welcoming to share their heritage and personal stories.

I spent the next week cruising on the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America where I was able to be valuably immersed in exploring more of the Hawaiian islands including Maui, Hawaiʻi, and Kauaʻi. Day trips on the islands featured excursions to the Waimea Canyon, Haleakala Crater, Wailea beach, Rainbow Falls, Kona farmer’s markets, and Fern Grotto, just to name a few.

Before returning to Sydney, I spent a few days soaking up the relaxed vibes in Waikiki. Impressed by the shopping, acai bowls, breathtaking beaches and mountain coastline, Waikiki confirmed my wish to travel back to Hawaii sooner rather than later.

For some people change is insignificant, but after this long-earned break I learnt that travel and exploration of foreign places forms a great deal of one’s identity. Most importantly, one’s environment is vital in influencing style and outlook. Even the archetypal Hawaiian print became a staple item during my Hawaiian interlude. Above all, my love for this beautiful paradise has only just begun.

To embrace my Hawaiian dreams, listen to my new Spotify playlist. I hope you enjoy the following travel diary posts.

Mahalo and Aloha xxx

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Photographs by © MCTL

A B C D E F G H I J K L

Asos high neck sleeveless top (orange), New Look tailored culottes, Asos leather biker jacket (similar)Karen Walker anytime sunglasses (tan glitter) (similar), Zu Shoes patent leather heels (similar), Asos leather black belt (similar)Zandra Rhodes clutch (similar), Asos mini cross body bagBill Skinner emperor coin ring (similar), Asos gold rings (similar), Asos gold rings (similar)Vintage gold cuff bracelet (similar)Rimmel kate spring lipstick (20)Eyeko brow gelEyeko skinny liquid eyeliner (black)Eyeko fat brush mascaraChanel No. 5 eau de parfum

In times of uncertainty there are two things that remain constant: I adore French love ballads with 60s drum beats (refer to Spotify playlist), and street art. Alongside my ‘nouvelle liberté’, I have a new camera, a new outfit and haircut. My obsession with culottes and Karen Walker sunglasses has also reached a whole new level I never knew existed, and the energy of the city stimulates my imagination and desire for innovation. The colours, the textures, the lines. When combined together the unique creative expression of graffiti art aligns with my minimalist style. With graphic design and vibrant contours, fashion meets art in graffiti. This incredible contrast highlights my innate creativity and passion for aesthetics. Hidden in secret lanes in Sydney, street art inspires fashion. For me, street chic is smart, edgy and individualistic which complements the idiosyncratic, colourful nature of street culture. Grab your camera and wear a striking pair of sunglasses. You’re ready to embrace street smart. If you wish, hit play on my new Spotify playlist. Enjoy. Follow @sydneyandstreet on InstagramTwitterBloglovin’TumblrPinterest, and Spotify.

Photographs by © MCTL