Old Lahaina Luau – Maui, Hawaii

Set in the heart of Maui, the Old Lahaina Luau takes pride in showcasing  traditional Hawaiian culture. The tradition originated in the 1800’s, where King Kamehameha II removed religious laws that prevented men and women from eating together. When the ladies and lads finally came together, the first luaus were created. Isn’t that how all great parties start?  The Old Lahaina Luau is one of the oldest and respected in Hawaii. Yes, it’s a super touristy concept. No doubt, you will encounter droves of tourists in Hawaiian shirts snapping photos.   Nevertheless, the experience is highly enjoyable and remains a quintessential must. The Luau is the best in Maui, recognised for showcasing cultural integrity, romantic ambiance and riveting entertainment. 

The evening kicks off with a cocktail on arrival and a  lei – a garland of violet flowers presented to guests, as a symbol of welcome and affection. Tiki torches set alight the sprawling property, as pastel coloured hues paint the winter sky. The atmosphere is buzzing with live entertainment, as tourists participate in instrument demonstrations, buy wooden souvenirs and play games with the hunky staff. The star of the evening is the Kalua Pua’a, where pork is roasted in a beachside Imu – a Hawaiian underground oven. A deep pit is dug into the soil, where a whole pig  roasts slowly, acquiring a deep smoky flavour. Preceding the luau, the pig is unveiled as the soil and palm leaves are removed to reveal perfectly moist pork, served later in the buffet.

Kalua Pua’a – Roasted in underground oven

Choose from traditional mats where guests are seated cross-legged on cushions, whilst dining on low communal tables (these are closest to the stage) or standard tables. Included in the experience, are bottomless cocktails (these words fill me with joy) and a buffet of traditional Hawaiian cuisine. The term ‘Luau’ is a term for a Hawaiian party or feast, and boy… will you feast. Thinking back to Vegas buffets, the experience is chaotic and nausea inducing. The Old Lahaina Luau is surprisingly civilised, where tables take turns to fill-up on Ahi poke, Lomi-Lomi salmon and melt-in-your mouth Kalua Pork. Admire the full spread of Laulau wrapped in Lu’au leaf, Mahi Mahi fish falling off the bone, traditional Taro Poi and fresh island crab salad. Enjoy all of this glugging down tropical inspired cocktails. Our favourite is the Lava Flow, an icy blend of pureed banana, cream of coconut and pineapple juice, emerging from the red ‘lava’ of strawberries and coconut rum. Dessert is a platter of assorted island desserts: Passion Fruit Cake, Upcountry Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Hawaiian Chocolate Chili Pepper Brownie, and Haupia. Go for seconds, thirds, whatever you can stomach.

Hawaiian Poke

Passion Fruit Cake, Upcountry Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Hawaiian Chocolate Chili Pepper Brownie, and Haupia.

Lava Flow Cocktail

Once you’ve formed an impressive food belly, it’s time to enjoy the entertainment. The Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance, accompanied by chant or song, preserving the stories, history and traditions of Hawaiian culture. Inspired by stories passed down from generation to generation, the tales evoke ancient Hawaiian mythology – tales of goddesses, gods and romance. The dancers are immensely talented, the women – graceful and beautiful in elaborate costumes, the movement most pronounced in the circling of hips and the gentle sway of slender arms. The men – strong and powerful, with six packs pulsating against the rhythm of the beat. The experience goes beyond a simple dinner and show, the dancers are captivating, the tales poignant and haunting , the experience authentically Hawaiian.The Old Lahaina Luau is more than a tourist trap. It’s a tribute to the traditions and culture of the Hawaiian people. You simply cannot visit Hawaii without experiencing at least one luau.  Maholo, for an amazing evening!

Lava Hike – Big Island of Hawaii

A Lava hike is the best way for adventurous hikers to see lava up close. By up close, I mean ‘poke-with-a-stick’ up close.  In an exhilarating experience, where 1300° C viscous lava, flows by your feet, the strenuous hike is worth the effort. Before we proceed onto describing the experience, it’s important to understand the sanctity of the land, water and volcanoes to the Hawaiian people. Pele, is Hawaii’s goddess of fire and volcanoes. A poignant mythological figure that is both creator and destroyer. She represents the destructive beauty of nature.

Whilst lava can be highly destructive, the resulting mineral-rich soil, has created the lush greenery of the Big Island. Historically, five volcanoes created the Big Island and eruptions continue to this day. Ahiuu Hawaii hold guided lava tours for keen adventure seekers.


Departing Town: Hilo
Distance: 6 miles/ 9.5km (Round trip)
Time: 5 – 6 hours+ (variable depending on Mud levels & group size)
Difficulty: Challenging
Cost: $195 USD

Lava Hike – Through the forest

Departing from the town of Hilo, the adventure begins with a hike through the rainforest.  A rainforest hike sounds deceptively magical, in fact, it was incredibly challenging. The distance itself is manageable, but the terrain is unstable, slippery and muddy. If you have a princess in your group or anyone that has an aversion to dirt- it would be best to re-consider. Don’t even bother trying to avoid the mud – it’s impossible and will slow the group down. The hike is a constant up-and-down, trekking on tree roots and trawling through mud.  Vertically challenged hikers (aka the shorties), be ready for mud puddles that are shin deep. You’ll need to get dirty to get through the forest fast. Remember you’re hear to see REAL LAVA, where else in the world can you do this?! Think positive thoughts, when you’re feeling tired, dirty and just slipped for the 5th time. 100% worth the effort! This portion of the hike will take approx. 2- 2.5 hours.

Lava Hike – Finding Lava

Once you’ve conquered the forest, the guide will lead you onto the black fields. Millions of years of cooling Pahoehoe lava have formed expansive lava fields. Rain hitting the surface creates evaporating steam – leading to a tranquil, but eery setting. Depending on the direction of lava flow, it may take up to an hour for your guide to spot flowing lava. At this point, I was starting to get nervous, perhaps a clumsy person walking on lava isn’t a  great idea…?

An hour passes and  EUREKA – a stunning red glow is spotted in the distance. Unsurmountable levels of excitement reaches its peak. Out come the SLRs, the poking sticks and childlike enthusiasm.

The Lava 

The Lava hike will take you to observe Pahoehoe lava, characterised by a smooth, ropy surface. The lava builds up in vents across lava fields, before the pressure forces it onto the surface. The slow-moving nature of the lava, makes Pahoehoe ideal for observing. We spent approximately 1.5 hours poking, prodding and taking happy snaps. I’m speechless at this point, all I can manage is ‘ THIS IS SOOOOOO COOL!’. My only regret is not bringing some marshmallows or a fried egg to cook on the lava.

Many ask if this experience is safe? If a baby can out crawl Pahoehoe, rest assured that it is. The emanating heat is unbearably close, but never fear you can easily step away.  It’s highly unlikely that hikers will fall into a vent or step on lava itself.

The return journey is the most difficult part. You’ve seen the star of the show. Alas, once more we must trek through mud and grime. Upon reflection, the strenuous hike was worth every bruise and mud-stained finger nail. The experience is exhilarating and a unique way to observe the mighty power of nature. It’s no wonder the Hawaiians respect Pele, the creator and destroyer of the Big Island. Sure, you can take a helicopter ride, but – no doubt this is the BEST way to see lava.

Tips & Things to bring 

  • Long socks/Long sleeve pants (protects feet from sharp volcano shards from entering your shoes)
  • 2L of water per person
  • Strong hiking shoes (your shoes will get FILTHY,  refrain from bringing the Yeezys or anything $$$ )
  • Long sleeve shirt (mosquitos)
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Vehicle required to drive to the Volcano National Park

From fire to ice, check out our Glacier Hike in New Zealand!

Lava Flow Tour – Ahiu Hawaii

Fun with silhouettes – Canon Powershot

Sure, SLR cameras produce amazing photos but they are far too heavy and clunky for the occasional photographer.  A simple point-and-shoot can produce equally stunning photos and the Canon Powershot is perfect for photography noobs such as myself. Here is a sample of a few photographs I took from a recent USA / Singapore trip. Not bad for a digital camera : )

Location : Sutro sea baths ( San Francisco)

House of Hoi An – Taste of Central Vietnam

Enter Ms Vy’s House of Hoi An for a taste of Central Vietnam. Is it a blink and you’ll miss it hole-in-the-wall? Definitely not. At night, the psychedelic glow, lights up Windsor. The vibrant mural of a river scene, with glowing lanterns, lures diners inside. On a freezing winter’s night, it radiates warmth. Don’t make me go back outside!

Ms Vy is the Jamie Oliver of Vietnam – with three restaurants, a cooking school and books to her name. A venture to the southside of Melbourne, further expands the Taste of Vietnam empire. Hoi An  is part of Central Vietnam – the former port city is a cultural melting point. The trade of spices and other commodities, shapes the food of the region, making it spicier than its Northern and Southern counterparts. Being half Vietnamese, the food I’ve grown up with heralds from Southern Vietnam (Saigon specifically – where my parents were born).  Banh Xeo, beef pho, Vietnamese curry – is the food you typically associate with the cuisine. I’d thought I had tried every Vietnamese dish, but House of Hoi An has a few surprises. 

Starters commence with crispy fried wontons, topped with a fresh crab salad. Next, Banh Uot Thit Nuong, a dish that Dad throws together at home with his own variation. You might’ve noticed that the Vietnamese love rolling things – either in veggies, vermicelli or in this case rice paper. Fragrant BBQ pork cooked on skewers, is served on a wooden board with your ‘rolling’ accompaniments. Both dishes are banging.

Onto the heavier mains – this is where the spice of the region shines through. The stuffed squid is a signature for House of Hoi An. I was particularly keen , as this was a Vietnamese dish that I’ve never encountered. The squid is  juicy and ‘stuffed’ with minced pork. On its own, the peppery notes can be overpowering. This one is for sharing. The sauteed prawns are presented in a coconut. Lift off the lid to reveal the aroma of coconut and plump prawns, sauteed in a curry sauce.  Again, the saltiness can be  a tad overpowering. Dessert was a major thumbs up. Frozen banana is smothered in coconut three-ways, in a refreshing palate cleanser.

House of Hoi An goes beyond standard spring rolls and bowls of pho. It introduces Melbournians to Central Vietnamese cuisine – a lesser known region of Vietnam known for spice and heat.

Fox Glacier Heli Hike

There aren’t many places in the world that remain untouched. Sure, NYC skyscrapers can make you break out into ‘Empire State of Mind’. Remnants of the ancient past speak of humanities achievements – the good and the ugly. But mother nature, nothing beats the power of mother nature. The pristine beauty of glacial carved valleys, the grandeur of majestic snow-capped mountains, all jaw-droppingly beautiful. It’s why the South Island of New Zealand is one of my favourite places in the world. Yes, I’m a little bit biased being a Lord of the Rings fan, but it’s so much more than merry Gandalf and the hobbits. If pristine untouched beauty is what you’re after, visiting New Zealand’s glaciers is the ultimate dream come true.  Without further ado, let me introduce you to Fox Glacier.


Fox Glacier is located within Westland National Park, a region abundant with high mountains and glaciers. With global warming and natural advancement, Fox glacier is quickly subsiding at a rate of 1 metre a year. It may not seem much, but the terminal face of the glacier has pretty much collapsed. Parts of the glacier that were accessible in the past, are no longer safe. Franz Josef Glacier is also nearby for a similar experience, but Fox Glacier has less crowds due to its inaccessibility.

Seeing the Glacier

There are two options to see the glacier.

  1. Lower Ice fall hike – The first option is to take a hike to the lower icefall, alongside the temperature rainforest and fox river. To be honest, the lower icefall is rather sludgy and dirty and a disappointing viewpoint of Fox Glacier.
  2. Heli-hike – For a truly spectacular viewing of Fox Glacier, I recommend taking a Heli-hike onto the upper icefall. This was my favourite experience in New Zealand, and who doesn’t like a helicopter ride? Experienced guides with their manly pick axes, will take small groups at a time to the upper icefall, where the ice is pristine and brilliantly blue.

Cost:  $399 NZD

The cost is steep, but it is a once in a lifetime experience. I would rank this as one the best things I’ve ever done! If you can’t part with your wallet while travelling, you might as well not travel at all!

The Heli- Hike

We joined the friendly folks at Fox Glacier Guiding for a professionally guided hike. The tour starts off doing the obligatory weigh-ins and disclaimers. You will be provided with sturdy boots, thick socks and a backpack. A mini-van will then take you to the helicopter base and you’re ready for an amazing adventure! Your pilot will fly over the lower and upper icefalls, providing a unique vantage point like no other. In groups of four, you will slowly disembark the helicopter and you will be promptly provided with crampons i.e ice cleats tied around your boots, that allow you to walk on the ice. You didn’t think you would be walking on a glacier with normal boots did you ;)?[/vc_column_text]

Your experienced guide will carve out a safe route for you to walk on. Just follow the leader and I mean FOLLOW the leader. Never, ever walk away from the group. Ice can be exceptionally deceiving, the strength and integrity often unknown. In terms of length – the hike lasts for approximately 4-5 hours at a relaxed pace, nothing too strenuous.

Now for the really fun part! Your guide will walk you through incredible ice cave formations, showing you towering pinnacles of ice and deep ice crevasses. The opportunity to walk through an ice cave is a rare and exciting experience. The pristine blue of the ice caves is beyond captivating. Sections of the ice caves are claustrophobically narrow, with mini-streams of melted glacial water underneath. At times, you will find yourself squeezing between narrow walls, sliding your derriere against the ice to fit through. Be sure to pack waterproof clothing!

The sign of human presence is kept minimal on Fox Glacier. Guides have planted ropes here and there to help hikers conquer the icy terrain. Pick axes have also been used to carve temporary ‘stairs’. This allows hikers to climb down into big crevasses, to view mini-glacial waterfalls and streams. Feel free to capture the water in your bottle, you will never taste water as pure or clean.

After 4 hours of exploration, the helicopter will take you back to base. Grasp the fact, that you have been standing on a moving surface, formed through millions of years of geological movement, kinda mind blowing isn’t it? The guys at Fox Glacier Guiding, know how to create a memorable experience. Book this tour, I promise you no regrets.

Final Tips

  • Bring sunglasses. On a sunny day, the reflection of the sun’s rays against the white, can be glaringly distracting.
  • Wear waterproof clothing. Definitely no denim.
  • Wear warm clothing, but not too much. In summer, it can get quite hot.
  • Bring a water bottle, to drink some of that glacial water.
  • Bring your camera for stunning shots. These were taken with a crappy Digital camera, imagine what you could do with an SLR.
  • Follow your guide like a hawk.
  • Have an amazing time!!

10 Reasons To Date A Girl Who Loves To Travel

Have you ever met or dated a charming gal who thrives on adventures and travel? Whether you are a casual traveler or an experienced backpacking superstar, dating a girl who loves to travel can be a blissfully sweet and intrinsically romantic ride that you will surely cherish for years to come. From having interesting and meaningful chats to experiencing a ton of breathtaking outdoor escapes, there are plenty of perks in dating a girl who enjoys traveling. As a matter of fact, she can still leave a positive mark in your life, even if your relationship doesn’t work out.

Honestly, I’m no expert, when it comes to dating and love, but I must say having her around could be one of the best things that will ever happen in your life. With her adventurous spirit, unique charm and positive outlook, she’s truly a one-of-a-kind girl who can enthrall you in a lot of different ways.

She’s intelligent and witty

There are no dull moments whenever she’s around you. Whether she is sharing stories of her awe-inspiring treks across the Asia Pacific or urging you to go on a scenic trip in Tuscany, she will always finda way to amuse and enthrall you. What’s more, she has an irresistible charisma and wit to make your conversations more engaging and fun.

Girls who thrive on traveling are usually inquisitive, curious and intelligent. After all, traveling the world is an incredible way to learn more about history, geography, different cultures and even politics. With passion and the enthusiasm, she can talk to you for hours about her epic adventure and trips overseas.

Life is fun and exciting with her

When your life starts to head towards the mundane, she’ll come with a great getaway that will bring some excitement and bliss into your life. She is going to open her travel planner, plan your trip, and have your flights and budget sorted out. Afterwards, she’ll take you to a place where you have never been to, and help you discover a bunch of new things that can spice up your life.

She’s also a kind of girl who can easily recognize every opportunity for fun and adventure. She’s always willing to try something unusual and new with you, whether at home or on a foreign destination. As far as I’m concerned, a girl who loves to travel has a sense of adventure that’s essentially limitless, meaning you will never get bored whenever you’re with her.

She is not materialistic

You won’t have to buy her an iPhone or a piece of glittering jewelry, to make her happy or impress her. She’s an unpretentious girl who enjoys the simple treats and pleasures in life. While other girls go nuts over the latest gadgets and fashion trends, she finds joy in gazing at magnificent landscapes, glorious sunsets, and historic sites as well as meeting local folks.

She is open-minded

With her as your dating partner, you can be as crazy and weird as you want to be. Furthermore, she won’t judge you for all the not-so usual things that you want to do. She has immersed herself into many cultures, which means she’s open-minded. Instead of looking at other people and places as weird, she simply views them as something different.

She’s adaptable

Tons of wrong turns, bad street food, untidy restrooms, missed flights and delays have helped transform her into a strong and adaptable person. Trust me, she is unlike most drama queens in your high school, and she’s literally and metaphorically ready for any bumps and roadblocks along the way. With tons of travel experiences under belt, she can definitely adapt to any situation life throws at her.

Excellent money management skills

Having problems managing your finances? I suggest that you try to get an honest and helpful piece of advice from a girl who loves traveling. She may not be as rich as Taylor Swift or Beyonce, but she is quite prolific in money management. Years of traveling have taught her how to spend money wisely, and how to extend her budget as far as she can. Plus, she can find handful of ways to generate funds when she’s on the road.

Your family and friends will like her

Have you ever bumped into traveler or a backpacker who’s unfriendly and shy? With years of experience on the road talking to foreign strangers, a girl who loves to travel has the ability and confidence to make friends with any person anywhere and in any situation. She has excellent social skills, and she won’t have a tough time befriending your best friend or sister.

She’ll leave a lasting positive mark in your life

She’s a kind of woman who can change your world for better. She’s will make your life a lot more exciting, and help you become a well-rounded person. In addition, she will introduce you to a plethora of new ideas and theories that will make you a little wiser.

She has an adventurous soul

Are you into thrills and adrenaline-pumping adventures? If your answer is a big and resounding “yes”, then make sure to date a girl who loves to travel. As with most travelers, she’s a type of person who’s always up for blast, and rarely says no to new and fun experiences, making her the perfect candidate for a guy who’s looking for a gleeful and adventurous partner.

Want to go on a skydiving adventure in Dubai? Planning on going on a whitewater rafting trip along Colorado River? For me, she’s an adventurous partner who wants to try everything that is listed on your bucket list.

She will push you out of your comfort zone

A girl who loves to travel will take you to exotic places that are way beyond your comfort zone. Likewise, she will do her darn best to make your trips extra challenging and adventurous. And guess what? Every challenge that she brings will not only enhance your life, but it will also let your discover our beautiful world from a different perspective. And did I mention that stepping outside your comfort zone will add a dose of fun and excitement in your life?

A Taste of America in Melbourne

United States of America. Land of the free. Home of the deep fried twinky. In recent times, Melbournians have been captivated by the flavours of the South, with a host of new American influenced eateries pulling crowds across the city. Admittedly, it isn’t the most healthiest of cuisines with deep fried chicken waffles and artery clogging burgers making frequent appearances. But as Paula Dean would say ” I don’t want to spend my life not having good food going into my pie hole.” My pie hole couldn’t agree more (in moderation).

The following is a selection of Americana food tried recently in Melbourne:

1. Nieuw Amsterdam

If Southern food could wear a top-hat and proclaim ‘Toodle-oo’, Nieuw Amsterdam would be it’s fancy cousin. Hidden away in Hardware Street, is a modern interpretation of traditional american cuisine. Clam chowders arrive deconstructed, and waffles are decked out with pate, terrine and crispy chicken skin. The Pitt Grill will satisfy the meat lovers, where meat is smoked in a barbecue ‘pit’ . A tad different from the ol’ barbie, but equally as delicious.

The standout dish was the Clam Chowder. The mixture of thickly cut bacon, potatoes and fresh clams enveloped in a thick clam stock was creamy and indulgent. Prices were also reasonable, paying only $35/head for a content belly. The winner of best casual diner definitely deserves its crown.

2. Miss Katie’s Crab Shack 

Moving further down south, into the weeping willows of Louisiana, where cuisine is strongly influenced by Cajun and Creole flavours. Miss Katie’s Crab Shack is inspired by this segment of Southern cuisine. The crustacean inspired decor signals heavily that crab is the signature dish. With a humorously large bib and mallet, I smashed my way through the signature crab boil. Australian blue swimmer crabs, sourced directly from Queen Victoria Market, are seasoned generously with Old Bay crab seasoning and boiled in a mixture of spices and aromatics. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the smoked kranski and buttery corn cobs more than the crab itself. The mushy texture and lack of firmness was indicative of a lack of freshness. Quite a shame, considering the seasoning and garlic butter was quite good. With a convenient location across from QVM, Miss Katie’s is worth a visit, but with a slogan of ‘Darn Good Crabs’, I expected better quality at $25 a hit.

*Note: Miss Katie’s will be moving to the Rochester Castle Hotel in Fitzroy

3. Bowery to Williamsburg

Moving to the skylines and dirty streets of New York, an inspiration for restaurateurs and fashionistas alike.  Bowery to Williamsburg pays homage to New York style sandwiches, piled high with thick slices of pastrami, juicy sauerkraut and slathers of melted cheese. All sandwiches come served with a handful of pretzels, an unnecessary pickle and a choice of sides – from creamy mac & cheese to healthier alternatives such as tabbouleh. Lunchtime is a busy affair with a constant flow of hungry office workers, but don’t feel limited by the sandwiches, as other gluttonous brunch options also exist at this cobblestone diner.

The Reuben w/ Tabbouleh


When you decide to visit Thailand for the first time, it is important to understand what a great adventure you are about to start. But, to really experience and take in all that this magnificent country has to offer, it is important that you get prepared well before you set out on your journey. Make sure that you make a list of things to see and experience in order to have the most fun in Thailand.

Maya Bay

The Maya Bay, situated on the island Phi Phi Lee, is a stunning bay with amazing white sand and pristine clear waters. The area is rich with wonders so you need to make sure to spend a few days to really explore what the bay has to offer as Plankton tour or overnight Sleep Aboard tour.

The Temple of Heaven and Earth

If you really want to see and experience Thai culture, it is important that you make time for Wat Rong Khun of Chiang Rai. A marvelous temple that is defying temple clichés, and which looks amazing by the dazzling sunshine. A truly spiritual and cultural experience you should not miss.

Amazing Islands – Koh Samui and Koh Lipe

Koh Samui, a gorgeous island, has many white sandy beaches which you should place on your must see list, otherwise you are going to miss out on some of the most fantastic sceneries of Thailand. Remember that there are many activities you can do here as well. Whether you enjoy kayaking and snorkeling or if you feel more adventurous you can explore natural beauty of this island and its temples.

Koh Lipe is the most Southern island in Thailand and part of the Adang Archipelago. This Archipelago belongs to Tarutao National Marine Park, a nature reserve established in 1974. Koh Lipe is famous for its crystal clear water and abundant marine life. Diving in Koh Lipe is incredible experience which you shouldn’t miss.

Festival of Lights – Loy Khratong

Make sure that you have time to visit the Loy Khratong, a beautiful event where you light paper structures and set them to either float down the river, or to float upwards into the sky. The idea is that you have a prayer that you set free, and it might just come true.

Floating Markets

You need to make time to check out the amazing floating markets of Bangkok as well. It is a unique market system made up of boats where you can buy almost anything you might need. Be sure to take the guided market tours so that you can see the many mysteries of the floating markets.

Authentic Thai Food

Be aware when you want to eat something in Thailand as their cuisine is quite spicy and it might be too much to handle at once. It is better to take it slow and to try Thai food for beginners in the start, but gradually you will be able to explore some of the treats as well. Be sure to try out Tom Ka, a delicious coconut soup, and follow it with a hearty meal of Pad Thai, an amazing mix of rice noodle, spices and local fish or shrimps.

Nicole is passionate about travelling and healthy living. She always seeks new adventures and she loves to share her experiences. She is the editor at HighStyleLife and the contributor to Territory Of Fashion Magazine.