Saturday 14 July 2018

TRAVEL: It's time to plan our megamoon!

Image from The Blonde Abroad

I've been sulking since we got back from our minimoon in Italy, because it was so wonderful that I wanted a new holiday pretty much immediately. But we haven't been able to squeeze in anything - even a weekend somewhere - and after feeling disappointed, I realised I needed to man the eff up because our megamoon is coming up at the end of next month.

Did you know, by the way, that if you have a minimoon and a longer honeymoon, the longer honeymoon is a megamoon? It's an excellent word, and I plan to use it a LOT.

I've talked on here before about our plans for our megamoon, but now I'm at the point where I actually get to PLAN it. And you guys know I love a plan! I'm ordering packing cubes and eyeing new suitcases (I really want this purple Samsonite one from Spartoo) and spending my lunch hours googling for inspiration.

And, as is tradition, I'm popping down some of my planning here, because hopefully it will help someone else planning a similar route... and if nothing else, it'll be handy for me to refer back to.

Image from Nomadic Matt

We're starting in Australia, for my sister-in-law's wedding. We'll be in Sydney for a few days, before heading up the coast to Byron Bay before hopping on a coach to Brisbane and spending an afternoon there. Then at the end of the week, we're jumping on a plane to LA.

I don't have a full on list of places I want to eat at YET, although pretty much everything on this list sounds good. I've also heard the breakfast at the Grounds of Alexandria is good, so I have that in mind for when we land at 5am... urgh. And as the in-laws live in Manly, we might have to try out Hugos, which is meant to be an awesome pizza place. I've heard tell that the doughnuts are good in that part of the world, and I also need to check out Icebergs, because Nigella recommended it.

Plus I want to do a boat tour around the harbour, visit Taronga Zoo (I NEED TO SEE KOALAS) and I quite like the idea of a trip to the Blue Mountains, whilst also being frightened of wildlife and aware that we don't have THAT much time in Sydney.

Image from Where's Mollie

We're not in Byron Bay long, and we'll be doing weddingy stuff for most of it, but I'm hoping we can get in a trip to the beach at some point (although I'm not going in the water, because of my ridiculous shark phobia which is much less irrational in Australia than in the UK). I'm also eyeing Harvest, which is close to where we're staying.

Then we literally have an afternoon in Brisbane, but I'd quite like to try out this Simpsons themed restaurant! Or if not, maybe we'll get a Sunday roast at Brewhouse if we're missing home by then. Oooor maybe we'll get something much lighter, as we'll be about to get on a 14 hour flight that night. Who can say?

Image from Two Wandering Soles

Then onto LA! We're not staying in LA for longer than we have to - I've been before and wasn't much of a fan - so we'll be flying straight to Vegas. We're hopefully going to stay at the Venetian because it looks utterly ridiculous. It has its own gondola.

In Vegas, I'm eyeing Milk Bar and I need another visit to In-n-Out (I went years ago in LA and remember nothing about it). Plus Bouchon is part of our hotel and meant to be incredible, so a visit there is on the agenda. I do want to try some of the chainy places too though - I've never been to Taco Bell, and Matt has his heart set on IHOP.

I also really want to do day trips to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley<\,/a>, and maybe the Neon Boneyard.

Then we're going to start our road trip! Our first stop is Yosemite, and while we can't afford the Majestic Hotel, we might be able to stay at Yosemite Valley Lodge or if not, one of the cabins. Which do look fun - even though you have to watch out for bears!

Image from Cyn Eats

We're also hoping to stay in Napa for a couple of nights, because your girl wants wiiiine. I'm looking for a spa hotel so we can properly relax while we're there, and a vineyard tour is a must. I'm still researching, but the Golden Haven Spa and Resort looks good.

Then from Napa, it's onto San Francisco. I've been squirrelling away loads of eating recommendations like Boudin Bakery, The Stinking Rose, Mr Holmes Bakehouse, M.Y. China, Tartine Bakery, Il Casaro pizzeria, Farm Table, Zuni Cafe, b.patisserie, Sam Wo, Southpaw BBQ and ABV cocktails. And we'll do some exploring too, I'm sure. But the food is my priority, obvs.

Theeeen after a few days in SF, we'll start the drive back to LA along the coast. This is a part that I haven't planned much for yet - but we're planning stops in Carmel, Monterey, Cambria and Santa Barbara. Then we'll have an afternoon in LA before flying home. And that's three weeks! By far the longest holiday I've ever had, but I'm so excited about it.

And now you guys come in! If you've been to any of these places, hit me up with recommendations of things to eat (obvs), do and stay. There's a lot to see!

Image from Kevin and Amanda

None of the images in this blog post are mine - I've borrowed them from various amazing travel blogs around the internet with credit. If one of them is yours, and you'd like me to take it down, just give me a shout and I will do so.


  1. You are going to love this, we did San Fran to LA for our honeymoon and drove down the coast.
    San Fran - visit Alcatraz (book before you go) Pier 39, Painted Ladies, Mr Holmes is amazing, tram ride!
    Carmel - have a wander around the fairy houses
    Monterey - hired bikes and cycle 7 mile drive, it’s gorgeous all the way round or you can drive it, visit the cannery, the sea life centre
    Cambria - not much there but we stopped in The fog Catcher inn and it was lovely, really quiet. Also visit Hurst Castle which is up the road, very different.
    Santa Barbara was my favourite, we chilled on the beach, ate breakfast at The Andersen’s for amazing Danish pastry. It is really chilled and we loved it there!

    You’re going to love it, we had the best 2weeks! I have more recommendations on my instagram @_sarahmcswift_

    1. Thank you Sarah - I have a little Instagram bookmarks folder for this so I'll go through yours and save your recommendations! These are amazing tips, thank you so much. Might not take you up on the cycling (I am so not a bike person) but driving sounds good! Eee can't wait!

  2. You must go to bluebottle coffee when you're in San Francisco. One of the best I've ever had. Also had an amazing breakfast bruchetta or something which was so good! Also you HAVE to visit the cheesecake factory and sit out the outside veranda. John and I had lunch there and they do a HUGE food menu like is delicious and we obviously couldn't leave without trying the cheesecake so we took it away with us and it was so good! We also took a cab to IKEs place sandwich bar coz it was recommended by Man V Food. We felt a little mad as it was out of the main area - it's one of those places that looks a bit run down but the sandwiches are huge and proper American! Apparently they're also in LA.
    As for LA we also tried the Ivy which was good and far more relaxed than we expected (also saw Michael bubble while we were there) and the village idiot is also worth a try for dinner! Menu is quite hipster!
    I've heard that the aquarium in Mantaray is not to be missed (we didn't have enough time to see it sadly) and also you MUST do 17-mile drive on route 1 near Monterey/Carmel - rustic beachy type place that you drive around. I think it's a protected area so they charge like ten dollars to drive it but its definitely worth it. You can get out and walk around and it's a great scenic spot! Enjoy!

    1. Ah yes, I think the Ivy was actually suggested by John originally! Will add all this to the list. We were googling routes last night and getting very excited!

  3. I can give you so many Sydney recommendations as I've just got back from my trip.
    If you have time do some (or all) of the Bondi to Coogee walk. It's such a gorgeous piece of coastline. Highly recommend breakfast/brunch at Gertrude & Alice Cafe Bookstore in Bondi too. Plus there's lots of lovely shops to wander through.
    The blue mountains are amazing but I think a train from Sydney takes about 3 hours, which is a bit crazy. Taronga Zoo is excellent, you take a boat there so that could tick off the harbour cruise piece of your trip.
    It's always worth having a wander through The Rocks, as again there's so cute shops and good lunch places.
    Also we found an excellent Air BnB if you're looking for somewhere to stay. It's on the corner of Kent and King Street.
    Oh and there's an excellent secret gin bar in Sydney called The Barber Shop. You literally walk through a working barber shop to get to the bar.
    Phew! Think that's everything. Happy planning!

    1. I want to do literally everything you've mentioned - I've already texted the husband about the gin bar, he'll love that! Thank you so much :) We have accommodation already (staying in a hotel as it's easier with weird flight times) but love the sound of the Bondi to Coogee walk, and that's a great tip about the Blue Mountains - may leave those!

  4. Ooooh! So Jel!
    Ok - so in Highway 1 there are MANY amazing things to do/see/eat.
    Monterey Aquarium - totally worth a visit
    Whale/Dolphin spotting off a boat in Monterey is AMAZING - we saw blue whales and LOADS of dolphins.
    Pizmo Beach Cafe for awesome clam chowder and nearby there’s a place called Minarch Grove where there’s a tonne of butterflies, quite weird but walk through the woods and there’s another amazing beach.
    San Fran - Alcatraz, walk Golden Gate, find an authentic Chinese in China Town (go where the Chinese go).
    Margaritas in Carmel whilst trying to spot Clint Eastwood.
    Stop in San Simeon to watch the elephant seals on the beach - they’re massive and noisy and really interesting.
    Moonstone Bay - beautiful romantic sunsets and sea lions!!! What more could a girl want (there’s also a hotel with an ok bar/restaurant!)
    Hope this helps!


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