Wildlife, Wallabies and Wine Instagrammed in Hunter Valley

IMG_2462Gregg and I opt not to celebrate the commercialized Valentine's Day, because, well, if I must say it...I love my husband 365 days out of the year, not on just one day out of the year; I know he feels the same. I think it is ridiculous to pay a premium price for flowers, chocolate, gifts, and the stress of not being able to secure a table at the trendiest restaurant where one will pay a prix fixe menu cost. Unless it is your first year of dating, there really isn't a need to celebrate. This year was no different. Except, we were in Australia!

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We decided to take a wine tour of Hunter Valley. Surprisingly, the only date that was available for the week and that coordinated will with our plans was February 14th with Kangarrific Hunter Valley Wine Tour.

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The tour looked and sounded fun. The tour started off with a special morning tea with friendly wildlife and wallabies at a wildlife sanctuary outside of Sydney. From there we made our way to Hunter Valley, the oldest and prettiest wine country in Australia. We got a chance to taste wonderful wines, indulgence in locally made chocolate, fudge, wine, cheese, gelato, olive oil and beer!

It's not only a wine tour, but a wildlife, chocolate, cheese, wine and beer tour! Try not only some amazing wines at small picturesque boutique wineries, but visit a chocolate factory, taste some local cheeses and visit a brewery. Our morning tea with kangaroos, koalas and other native animals is a very special experience too.

Here is a taste of Hunter Valley, instagrammed:

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xxo, valerie

Are you on instagram? Follow @valeriefidan and tag your awesome travel photos with #ramblist!

Instagramming Two Weeks in Sydney in 20 Photos

Known as the Harbour City, Sydney is on the largest, the oldest and one of the most cosmopolitan city in Australia. Like San Francisco,  Sydney has earned an enviable reputation as one of the world's most beautiful and liveable cities. The city is home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet. Two weeks in Sydney were just the right amount of time to enjoy the city sites. Much of our stay revolved around checking out the famous sights (you know, the touristy things), going off the beaten path (the not-so-touristy things), strolling Bondi, ferry rides to Manly and North Sydney, noshing on gelato from Gelato Messina in Surry Hills; and getting lost to genuinely discover the Harbour City in a non-tourist way. We even ate our way like Bourdain, ate Mexican Food (Yes, Mexican...as in cuisine south of the border from California. Shocked? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely!); and walked our way all around town. (Sydney is a very walkable city)

Where we stayed: Our first few nights we stayed in a hotel in near Kings Cross. We quickly learned to not trust the guidebook, based on this recommendation. Not to mention the cost of internet (or lack of). We quickly switched gears and found a lovely room-share via Airbnb in Surry Hills; Surry hills reminded us much of San Francisco's Mission-meets-Marina district in terms of the vibe, the coffee culture and foodies. The last leg of our stay here we also opted for a room share via Airbnb in the charming suburb of Redfern near Surry Hills. The place where we stayed was a penthouse with stunning views of the Sydney city scape, close to virtually everything. Our hosts at both locations made our stay feel as if we were at home.

Insider Tip: If you are planning a trip to Australia , DO keep in mind that this is a VERY costly city. Whatever your budget is, double it! Even Londoners were complaining about how darn expensive Sydney is.

This trip seems like it was long ago, and it was difficult to select 20 photos. Two weeks in Sydney, Instagrammed in 20 photos

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Flying into Sydney

xxo, valerie

Are you on instagram? Follow @valeriefidan and tag your awesome travel photos with #ramblist!