Australia

Esperance

November 9, 2020

PhotographyBobby Bense | Helen Janneson Bense

EditingHelen Janneson Bense

Location – Kepa Kurl/Esperance, Western Australia

Where to stayWave Rock (half way point between Perth and Esperance | West Beach | Blue Haven

Outfit Details

Dresses – Indigo Maxi | Serene Maxi | Salsa Leora Maxi | Top/Skirt set (similar)

Jackets – custom art by Deadly Denim X Cungelella | Unreal Fur (Faux) jacket (similar)

Swim – One piece

Bag – Miomojo Giorgia Bucket Bag (vegan, cruelty free, sustainably made from apple skin) Can also be used as a backpack

Picnic rug – The Throw Down Traveller Throw

As we set off on this unfamiliar journey, to this pristine, remote part of WA we’ve longed to visit, our hearts yearned for the wild, for the joy that comes with deeply connecting with nature. It’s a connection we all need to thrive and survive in this world. Being in nature is where we come home to ourselves, our very existence intertwined. It was a reminder of how we must treasure and protect our wild places and it’s vital biodiversity.

Our first stop on our road trip was Wave Rock. In the middle of what felt like nowhere is this 2700 million year old, 15 metre high, wave shaped granite rock. Viewing this ancient and sacred place at sunset was breathtaking, with colour and light dancing upon the wave. Wave Rock known as Katter Kich by the Indigenous Ballardong People is known as a keniny (dancing) ground. Nearby are a collection of 450 ancient rock paintings telling the story of a local Aboriginal legend at Mulka’s Cave.

We stayed in a lovely, simple cottage right by Wave Rock surrounded by wildflowers and the most amazing natural salt water pool. It was so perfect after a long drive to float and soak up the natural salty goodness.

After a wonderful nights sleep we rose with the sun and made our way to Esperance. This coastal town is known as Kepa Kurl to the Noongar People. Kepa means wave and Kurl means boomerang; “where the wave lies like a boomerang”. I spent hours watching the waves here and noticed incredible patterns and shapes that are so unique to this part of the world. The landscape even shows climate change since the days of the Ice Age. It’s quite a spectacular and majestic sight as you drive along this coastline. You’ll be struck with the vivid crystal clear turquoise blue of the waters. It surely is the clearest water I’ve ever seen, and that includes the Maldives!

Esperance really is a nature lovers paradise. If you love the beach, ocean, surfing, wildflowers, wildlife and hiking it’s your place! I’ve put together a list here of must visit beaches as we spent every waking hour exploring. We stayed in the most amazing Airbnb overlooking West Beach. We could hear the waves from here and watch the sunrise and set from every window. We even had a bedroom ocean view! This is a great beach for surfing, swimming and whale watching. Even though the water was pretty cold when we visited we still enjoyed swimming in the protected lagoon with our wetsuits on. In summer I’m certain you won’t need a wetsuit.

First and number one beach stop is Lucky Bay and Hellfire Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park. Lucky Bay is known as one of the best beaches in the world and it has very friendly wild kangaroos visit the beach daily. The sand really is so white it could blind you, and the water so turquoise and clear. The biggest attraction here is of course the kangaroos. My experience here brought mixed feelings about this. While it’s so cute to see them, some of the tourists hovering, grabbing and touching the kangaroos was distressing to see. My children stayed completely away in protest out of respect for the kangaroos, choosing not to have a photographic memory, but instead to enjoy seeing them and allowing them to move about in peace. If you find some patience and allow them to move freely they will come and investigate you, generally searching for food. It’s absolutely vital for the sake of their health and wellbeing you do not ever feed them. Luckily we didn’t see any of this happening while we were there. As far as timing to see them I think it’s just up to luck and patience. I read a lot of conflicting information and many other friends shared their experiences. Every single one was different. We arrived at Lucky bay around 8am for a beach day of kayaking, exploring and hoping we’d see some kangaroos. It was around 2pm when a couple ventured onto the shores, focused mostly around the pop up food truck.

Besides the kangaroos, this spot is absolutely stunning to walk around the rocks, take a kayak out to explore the bay and laze on the beautiful white sand. Close by is Hellfire bay which has the most incredible blue waters. I watched the waves for an hour while my family when on a bouldering expedition. It’s a nice quiet beach with picnic tables in the shade to enjoy lunch.

West of Esperance, and just minutes from our Airbnb was Blue Haven beach. This beach is very calm, protected, so blue, and perfect for dolphin spotting, swimming and stand up paddle boarding. You just need to be able to get your board up and down those stairs. It’s a mission, but definitely possible. And worth it once you’re out in that beautiful water.

From here it’s so fun to beach hop. You’ve got Twilight beach which is so fun for some rock jumping into the pristine waters. Make sure to take a drive further along this coast to 10 and 11 mile beach. 11 mile beach was one of our favourite spots with a huge lagoon on either side of the stair entrance. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset from. Another amazing spot for sunset is the Rotary Lookout overlooking West Beach. A beautiful spot for exploring the wildflowers during Spring. Bring a picnic rug and soak up those expansive views.

We still have many spots to visit. Next time we’d love to hike Frenchman’s Peak in Cape Le Grand National Park. When tours are up and running again we’d like to take a scenic flight to Middle Island and see the Pink Lake from above. We are yet to explore more of 10 mile beach, Wharton beach and Wylie Bay. Sadly a local surfer was lost at Wylie as we were on our way there. Out of respect we stayed clear of this area. It was a tragic loss for the town and his family.

If you’ve been to Esperance and have any other must see spots please leave them in the comments! It’s a true natural, wild wonder of our world and I hope it always stays that way.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

Retreat at Smiths

October 3, 2020

PhotographyBobby Bense & Helen Janneson Bense

EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSmiths Beach Resort | Yallingup | Castle Rock – Western Australia

Bare & Wilde Love & Light Wellness Retreat – Email HERE to find out about the next one

Outfits – Rihanna Maxi Dress | Salsa Leora Dress |Matching Hi Lo Skirt + Swimwear |Embroidered Paradise Dress | Seaside Long Dress

Picnic Setup – Namastay Tipi Picnics | Plant Based Food by Valerie Gamer and Jessica Lowe | Vegan platter Lamonts

A retreat at Smiths Beach was an idea that instantly felt right. Having spent so much time at this beach and this immaculate resort, it’s become a home away from home. It’s tranquillity and back to nature environment is something I’ve really needed this year, like so many of us.

The retreat was above and beyond everything we needed. We feasted, we shared, and we connected, with ourselves, with nature and one another. There is something so powerful about women sharing. When we create safe spaces, free of judgement, and find the courage to share, we instantly give permission for others to share. We begin a circle of hearing one another with compassion and empathy. The healing power of sharing in this way is immeasurable and incredibly profound. I always walk away from these experiences feeling empowered by the bonds of sisterhood, and awakened to my own inner courage to face my fears and step into discomfort. What I always discover is that on the other side of discomfort is absolute peace and joy. I’m learning how to make friends with my uncomfortable feelings, allowing and embracing my anxieties and fears. I loved being able to facilitate a safe sharing space and look forward to doing this more within our community.

Our days were filled with retreat activities from beach walks, meditation, aromatherapy, plant based cooking, abstract art, feasting, hiking, yoga, creative conversations, sharing sunsets and sound healing with the amazing Julian Silburn. Julian’s healing magic is something I hope everyone gets to experience. He truly is a modern day shaman.

I am so grateful to our amazing, talented chefs; Valerie and Jessica who created plant based deliciousness for us all, and shared their inspirational journeys. We enjoyed the most beautiful array of wholesome, real, soul foods, all presented so beautifully. It was nourishing and healing on all levels.

During our wonderful retreat we stayed in the amazing 3-bed ocean view villa with breathtaking ocean views overlooking the pool. Each evening I’d watch the sunset from the comfort of my villa, enjoy a long luxurious bath, sip on delicious tea by the fire, and melt into a deep sleep in the most peaceful bed. Smiths Beach Resort really is the perfect place for retreat and relaxation.

After the retreat my family and I stayed on for a few more days to explore some local spots. We hiked the Cape to Cape trail once again, though this time we had an entirely new experience. We encountered a colourful array of wildflowers, a very friendly echidna and a bobtail lizard. The trail hugs the coastline and all paths lead to turquoise water. We always stop at our favourite lagoon, the Aquarium, for a snorkel and to enjoy the views. All you need are good walking shoes, lots of water, some nutrient dense snacks, wetsuit, towel, warm clothes, snorkel gear and first aid is always important whenever you travel remote. And don’t forget your camera because there are so many spots to take photos along the walk and when you arrive at the beach.

Another amazing spot we enjoyed was Castle Rock in Dunsborough, a 20 minute drive from Smiths Beach Resort. The weather was in our favour this day. Calm seas, crystal clear water, and sunshine made for the perfect combination for some stand up paddle boarding. While I paddled and looked for whales, my family enjoyed climbing all the giant boulders. They are all really into bouldering, something they do multiple times per week at home, so this was such a happy spot for us all. And while I didn’t see any whales, the views, the warmth, and the family connection were all filling me with so much gratitude for this day.

In between sunsets, hikes, supping and climbing, were all the quieter moments; moments of connection like preparing food together as a family, playing cards by the fireplace, sharing jokes, and braiding each others hair. It was so wonderful to enjoy this slow time together in the luxurious ambience of Smiths Beach Resort.

I’m filled with the deepest gratitude as always to the wonderful Smiths Beach Resort for hosting us. It’s always a phenomenal experience staying with you and we love you! Thank you to the amazing Amy from Bare and Wilde for organising and holding space for such a smooth, healing, empowering and relaxing retreat. My heart is overflowing with love. Sending a huge wave of love vibes out to you all :)

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

Ningaloo

August 5, 2020

PhotographyBobby Bense

EditingHelen Janneson Bense

Where to stay – we found this perfect Airbnb called Surfside Getaway. It was a good halfway stop from Perth to Coral Bay to break up the long drive. A comfortable and immaculately clean stay on the beach with incredible sunset views. We’ll be checking out Ningaloo Bay Villas on our next trip.

LocationNingaloo Reef | Kalbarri | Hutt Lagoon – Western Australia

Please supportProtect Ningaloo

Outfit details – Spell Portobello Road Dress | Swim (similar)

Firstly today as I share this post, my heart is heavy for my fellow Victorians. For my family. For my friends. For the community. They have already been through so much with the bushfires and this second wave of Covid is just heartbreaking. I’m with you guys every day sending love. I know this will pass and how strong you all are.

It’s difficult to share the beauty and freedom we have here in WA, while all of this is happening here in our country, and around the world. Life does feel somewhat normal for us in our WA bubble, yet we know this could change in an instant. We’re not taking anything for granted and making the most of our freedom to explore nature and connect with one another. I’ve come to realise that Covid won’t be over for anyone until it’s over for everyone. We’re all in this together. And right now we need to stay well together and support one another.

I also think we all need a little hope right now, to see that it will get better and we will all get back to exploring the beauty of this world once again. Or simply being able to hug our loved ones again or get back to work to make a living and support our families. It is times like these I’ve never been more aware of my privilege in life. I know many are struggling to keep their business afloat, find enough food, a warm bed, or a safe space. If you are in a position to help, please find ways to share the love and help support others that are suffering right now. If you’re not doing ok, please reach out for help.

It was about a month ago now we decided to escape the cold and head north on a 13 hour road trip to our favourite snorkelling spot in Australia. It had been zero Covid cases for awhile here and the intrastate borders had just opened up. It was the first real venture out from our local bubble. We stayed walking distance to the ocean in Coral bay, where you can snorkel right from the beach. Ningaloo is a world heritage listed site and has the largest fringing reef in the world and an abundance of sea life; tropical fish, dolphins, turtles, rays, sharks, whales, dugongs, and the majestic whale sharks. We spent our days salty and sun drenched from sunrise to sunset in the water, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling. We brought along our own sup and kayak even though you can hire them by the hour from the beach. It allowed us to paddle anywhere anytime, and sunrise is the best time to go out.

To make this trip easier for me as a mum, I meticulously meal planned 10 days worth of incredible plant based cuisine. We brought a huge ice fridge with frozen meals and fresh produce. We ate likes kings and queens and it worked out so well I’ll definitely do that again. The kids were so happy playing in the ocean with us every day. It helps they are 14 and 11 and like doing the same things as us. We stayed at the Ningaloo Reef Resort and I’m not sure I would recommend this spot for everyone. Though it is perfectly located so close to the beach/reef, it is in dire need of refurbishment and our experience was very noisy. If you’re a light sleeper and need a lot of privacy it might not be the best option. Even our children couldn’t sleep well due to noisy neighbours. We’ve already booked Ningaloo again for next year and we’re going to try the Ningaloo bayside villas this time. Will keep you posted on how they are.

We learnt a lot about this beautiful place while we were there; how the Traditional Owners‘ cultural knowledge is crucial to maintaining the land. The Traditional Owners are the Yinigudura, the West Thalanyji People, who have lived sustainably on this land for over 30000 years. Evidence dating back 32000 years show their sophistication and specialised use of the resources of this coast. The Yinigudura name Ningaloo means ‘deep water’ or ‘promontory.’ When we holiday on this beautiful land we must respect, preserve and protect the natural environment and honour the history and culture of this sacred place.

Ningaloo is an untouched paradise that supports a lot of small businesses and sustainable tourism and we want to keep it that way. Protect Ningaloo work hard to stay on top of gas and oil companies and the government who have been trying to industrialise this area. This poses a huge risk to the entire Ningaloo area, the coral reefs, the marine life and to small businesses that rely on tourism and have already struggled due to Covid. Drilling anywhere around the reef would mean deafening underwater sounds to the marine life. The risk of an oil spill or rig blowout would damage this delicate ecosystem. Recently there has been has been yet another threat – Subsea 7 an international company wanting to build gas pipelines through the Exmouth Gulf, in a sanctuary area for dugongs, and where humpback whales nurse their calves. This is a vital area for nurseries and foraging grounds and why the World Heritage committee recommended Exmouth Gulf be included in the Ningaloo World Heritage area. There is a strong ecological link between the Ningaloo reef and the Gulf. To show your support and learn more please head HERE. A simple email to the WA government using the template form will take only a few minutes but will go a long way to help. Thank you as always for your support, caring for our environment, and protecting pristine places like this so we can enjoy them for future generations to come.

During our road trip we also stopped at a couple of places that I would definitely include on your adventure; Hutt Lagoon and Kalbarri. There are so many more spots too so check out my previous post ‘A Land Before Time‘ for a more in depth road trip journey of the Coral Coast. Hutt Lagoon is the pink lake you’ve probably seen all over instagram. The colours are always slightly different shades of pink each time we visit. The pink colour of the lake is caused by the presence of a beta carotene rich algae called Dunaliella salina. Close by to this beautiful pink lake is the town of Kalbarri. It is my favourite road trip stop because I always see whales here in July when we visit. The best viewing spot is the Natural Bridge. We watched 2 humpback calves splashing about for around 20 minutes so close to the cliffs. It was absolutely majestic! The entire coast is mesmerising with its red cliffs and turquoise water. Blue Holes is a great snorkelling spot and Murchison river gorge is ideal for hiking, kayaking and exploration. Nature’s window is a beautiful walk with incredible views.

After spending 10 days connecting with nature I realised the more time I spend in nature, the harder it is to return to city life. There is such a basic human need to get back to our natural state. Every cell in my body yearns for it. The healing gifts we receive when we spend time outdoors are immeasurable. The parts of me that need healing receive all the nourishment they need. In a time when our feelings of safety are more challenged than ever, when restrictions are in place to both protect us, yet also prevent us from experiencing nature, it is so crucial for self care and awareness. When you can and it’s safe to do so (masked up, social distancing depending on your location restrictions), take whatever small moments in nature you can get. Breathe it all in, know you are safe, and our world will heal. We will heal together when we care for one another and work together with compassion for all.

With love and gratitude, Helen x

Copyright images and text Helen Janneson Bense 2020

Looking for Rainbows

April 15, 2020

PhotographyBobby Bense

Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSmiths Beach Resort

Outfit details

ClothingTiare Hawaii Brooklyn Dress | Spell Organic Ruched Skirt + Wild Love Robe | Astars Soiree Wide Leg Pants

Swim – Camilla Lunar Gazing one piece

Jewelry Spell Wild Love Gold Locket Necklace

Beach Picnic Setup and Styling Meekohontas | Vegan Grazing + CakesThe Art of Grazing + Simply Rawjus | Dried Flower installationsLush Petals Co

It’s been over a month since our family trip to Smiths Beach resort and wow how things have changed. In such uncertain times, I’ve found peace in knowing what is most important to me and being forever grateful for that. I’ve been focused on my day to day, being present with my family, while looking forward with a positive mindset, remembering there is always a rainbow after the storm.

Even though it was awhile ago now I wanted to share a little about our wonderful and much needed stay at the magnificent Smiths Beach resort. It’s safe to say we have picked favourites when it comes to traveling in the Margaret river region. Smiths stands out for location and luxury. It’s centrally located for the the surfer and the mermaid, the foodie and the wine connoisseur, the adventurer and those seeking retreat. The resort is just a stones throw from the most spectacular turquoise beach that carries it’s own special magic.

Located in Yallingup, Smiths is our family’s favourite place to stay. This was our fourth visit in just a few years and I can’t imagine it would be our last. Under a 3 hour drive from Perth, it’s the ideal getaway. It’s secluded, yet so close to all the wineries, breweries, restaurants and local art; you can pick and choose your culinary and artisan experiences. Or spend your day surfing, snorkelling or supping in these pristine waters. And end it with a sunset picnic on the beach and watch the sky turn all shades of the rainbow.

This trip in particular was so needed for our family. We started this year with tragedy as we watched helplessly as my parents home town was ravaged by bushfire and my parents lives were at risk. It was weeks of stress and worry that we didn’t even realise was taking a toll on our health. Soon after our daughter, Jade, became very ill and it’s been months of no sleep, doctor and hospital visits, and heart ache. She’s thankfully on the mend now but her road to recovery will take some time and she is still very vulnerable, particularly her lungs. Now as Covid-19 spreads through our world it’s more important than ever for us to focus on family, health and home. These changing and uncertain times have everyone on edge and the loss of lives and livelihoods around the world has been heartbreaking.

One thing I’ve realised is there is no right way for any of us to be feeling right now. We are experiencing a collective trauma. And it’s HUGE! It’s ok not to feel ok. You are allowed to feel sad, anxious, scared, depressed and you’re allowed to feel positive and be productive and motivated. Whatever your way of managing this situation is, it’s ok. We are not alone. We are all in this together. And everyones struggles matter and deserve empathy. Please reach out and ask for help if you are struggling.

Emotionally I’ve had to draw upon many tools to manage my anxiety. One of the most important steps has been identifying and embracing my emotions as they arise. I’m giving myself time and compassion to feel. I’m being easy on myself, observing and letting go of my inner judgements. I’ve witnessed my own past personal traumas surrounding “feeling unsafe” triggered once more. I’ve been practising mindfulness each day to stay in the present. I’m easing my mind accepting ‘what is’ rather than entering into a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios that generate more anxiety and fear. I’m finding gratitude for all that I have, rather than what I don’t.

Right now we can show our gratitude for those risking their lives to save ours by staying home, socially distancing and practicing proper hygiene. I feel incredibly blessed to have a safe home, to be in ISO with my family, to have my health, nutritious food, and to have found solace in creating art and music. We have health care warriors risking their lives every single day so we can be safe. There are homeless people, those who have lost everything, their livelihood, their purpose, their loved ones. Those who suffer violence in their home and have no safe space. This is a serious tragedy. One we are all a part of. Our main collective task right now is to STAY HOME and it’s ok if that is all we can do. Many will struggle deeply with the loss of life our world is experiencing. Not everyone will be able to turn their stay at home experience into a positive or productive one. Be easy, be kind, and be loving to your self during this time. Let go of the inner judgements. If all you can do is stay home, please know that is enough. If you can, try and focus on a few simple joys each day. Some ideas might be implementing a daily self care routine, playing dress ups and board games, music and dancing, painting and cooking, taking a neighbourhood nature walk (if allowed) and listening to bird song, looking at the clouds form shapes and the twinkling, starry night sky. Our family started a new tradition of picnics on the lawn where we say 3 things we are grateful for each day, which inevitably opened the discussion for more gratitude and those 3 things quickly turned into 20.

In the meantime let’s also remember the small businesses that are struggling, and try and support them where we can. Order from small businesses online and order produce from your local green grocer. Many are doing deliveries during this time and need our support. And when this has passed let’s book that trip and visit all the places we’ve dreamt of during ISO. I know Smiths beach will always be top of our list along with visiting my parents. Where in the world are you dreaming of when this is over?

For now take great CARE, stay WELL, and so much LOVE,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

I left my ♡ in SA

February 21, 2020

PhotographyBobby Bense & Helen Janneson Bense

Editing/Styling/Creative Direction/ModelHelen Janneson Bense

LocationsSouth AustraliaPort Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula Tanonga Eco Lodge, Line and Label, Greenly Beach, Mikkira Station, Almonta Beach, Tumby Bay, Port Lincoln Hotel, Memory Cove, Seawall Apartments, Glenelg Beach, Moseley Beach Club, L’Anse Tumby Bay Cafe, Rogue & Rascal, Del Giorno’s

Please note that all drone imagery at Memory Cove and Almonta Beach was obtained with permission by the Department for Environment and Water.

Outfit Details

Dresses – Arnhem Island Sun Dress + Maxi Dress (Similar) | Tiare Hawaii Brooklyn Dress + Eyelet Hollie Dress| ASTARS Swing Cami + Soiree Wide Leg Pants | ASTARS Capitola Embroidered Skirt + Capitola Off Shoulder Top

Swim – Camilla Lace Front V Neck One piece

It was a journey into the unknown. Into the wild, raw and beautiful South Australian wilderness. We literally had no idea of what was in store. That we would be feasting on some of the freshest locally grown produce crafted by culinary experts. That we would be so deeply immersed in nature, connecting with the land and wildlife. That the coastal views and multitude of turquoise rock pools would completely take our breath away. And that all of this would be ours to enjoy with barely another soul in sight.

Our journey to Eyre Peninsula began in Adelaide. From here it’s a short under 1 hour flight to Port Lincoln. A great place for food and some local shopping, situated right on the beautiful Boston Bay. We stayed at the Tanonga Eco Lodge, 20 minutes from Port Lincoln. It’s a sustainably built lodge that sits high upon the ridge overlooking the ocean. I loved waking up here to the sound of birds and the golden glow of the sunrise each morning. Also the perfect spot to end a long day of exploring as the sunset sky creates a 360 degree panorama for you to feast upon each night. It had all the luxuries one could want, in a modern light filled space, that won’t cost the earth. Just some of the inspired sustainable design elements include an in ground slab for thermal mass, double glazing with attention to window orientation and size, a stand alone power supply primarily from solar energy, rainwater, organic worm treatment for all waste water, along with locally sourced produce. Tanonga was such a great base of comfort, luxury and some the best sleep I’ve had in awhile.

Day 1 – On our day of arrival we headed to Tumby bay for lunch at L’Anse Tumby cafe, a super cute French inspired cafe and worth a visit. We explored all the street art, including the incredible Silo art you’ll find just as you turn off to Tumby Bay. We settled in at Tangonga and then off for more incredible plant based cuisine. We found everyone so accommodating about our food preferences and it was super easy to travel through this region. Dinner was on the waters edge in Port Lincoln at Del Giorno’s and it was so delicious with such wonderful, welcoming service.

Day 2 – Swimming with Sea Lions with Adventure bay Charters. Hands down the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I can’t recommend this enough. From the moment you arrive to the beautiful turquoise cove you can see these adorable sea puppies swimming excitedly towards the boat to greet you and play. They are such social creatures and absolutely loved swimming with us. I’ve never felt such a deep connection like this. And they are so cute! On the boat trip back to Port Lincoln we stopped offshore at Memory Cove to take in the pure pristine wilderness. We learnt about how endangered these beautiful beings are and that we must be aware of our part to play in their decline. If you choose to eat seafood, please ensure it is sustainably caught. Fishing nets are the biggest contributor to plastic pollution in the ocean and cause countless deaths of marine life each year, including dolphins, whales and turtles too.

After our adventure packed morning we enjoyed a delicious plant based lunch at Rogue and Rascal and then decided to take the wild and long 4WD journey down to Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area in Lincoln National Park. This incredible blue lagoon is about a 4 hour 4WD round trip from Port Lincoln. You’ll need to a key from the Visitor Centre to enter as they only allow 15 vehicles in per day. You’ll need to pack all your essentials too – water, sunscreen, food, first aid etc. as there are no facilities once you’re there. Just pure wilderness. You’ll see so many emus and kangaroos on your drive in. And many rare species that find a safe refuge here including Rosenberg’s goanna, echidnas, western whipbird, malleefowl and hooded plover. And if you’re lucky you’ll see the endangered white bellied sea eagle, which is the second largest bird of prey in Australia. We were able to spot one from our earlier boat trip with Adventure Bay Charters. Just look for the white belly.

Day 3 – We had a little sleep in after our mammoth first day and headed to explore Greenly beach. We had a lot organised for the day, but we honestly got so caught up exploring this one stretch of coastline which is just pure magic! We found a beautiful turquoise rock pool filled with starfish and decided to enjoy lunch here and soak up some sunshine. It was great to adopt a slower pace today and really breathe in the beauty of our surrounds. If you would like exact map details to help you locate this rockpool pictured in this post, please send me an email or comment on this post.

We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at Sarin’s at the Port Lincoln Hotel. They have the most amazing set up and sunset view with twinkling lights and all the ambience you could envision. They created a bespoke plant based menu for us and it was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long time. I was completely overstuffed by the end because it was just so good I couldn’t stop myself from eating more. I highly recommend this spot for dinner while you’re traveling through this region.

Day 4 – We started our day with an incredible sunrise at Tanonga and our staple avo on toast and a cup of tea. A beautiful day of exploring lay ahead and we were all a buzz with excitement. First up we ventured out with eco-accredited tour Xplore Eyre to Coffin Bay national park. Our first stop was Almonta beach, stopping along the way to say hello to the many emus and kangaroos that you will see in this region. Again we were so shocked to have this entire beach to ourselves. There were breathtaking cliffs and pure white sand beach for as far as the eye can see. And we were lucky enough to be greeted by a pod of dolphins swimming in these beautiful turquoise waters.

Next up we headed to Mikkira Station, home to a wild koala colony. Never have I ever seen koalas in the wild like this. I must have seen a koala in almost every tree. It was cuteness overload. We checked out the historical Mikkira homestead, set up a little picnic and enjoyed some healthy fresh treats amongst the gum trees and koalas. This protected haven is private property, so you will require a permit from the visitor centre to visit, or you can book a private tour via Xplore Eyre.

To end this incredible day we went to Line and Label for dinner. We had no idea what we were in for. And what a treat! And what a way to end our time on the Eyre peninsula. It’s a stunning venue built amongst the Peter Tinkle vineyards. You’re surrounded by organic gardens filled with vital foods used in all their dishes. I don’t think I’ve ever been welcomed so beautifully to any restaurant like this before. I felt like family, like I was at home, in this immaculately designed restaurant. All the design details reflect consideration, to ensure a welcoming, comfortable experience. And the food, well I can’t say enough great things about the food. They created an incredible plant based menu for us. 5 courses of pure deliciousness. I’ve never felt so spoilt in my life! Line and Label is more than a culinary experience. It’s a place to enjoy an entire afternoon or evening amongst the vineyards, watch the sunset, listen to music, enjoy the delightful ambience and decor, and explore the gardens. It’s an absolute must visit for the Eyre Peninsula.

Day 5 – Time to say goodbye to our wilderness and head back to Adelaide. Honestly there is still so much more to do here. Check out Talia caves, Whaler’s way and many more rock pool locations along this magnificent coast. We decided to save this for our next trip ;)

Straight off the plane we headed to the historical beachfront Seawall Apartments in Glenelg. Probably one of my favourites places to stay in Adelaide due to the close proximity to the beach, main shopping, beach club and cafes. We stayed in the gorgeous Beach house, which has maintained it’s beautiful historic charm in the design details, with modern, fresh beach themed decor. We absolutely loved this spot and would definitely book this for future family holidays to Adelaide.

First stop was Moseley Beach Club for some family fun in the sun and lunch. This is the most unique beach club located right on the sand by the jetty, just metres from the water. It’s super laid back with daybeds and beanbags and the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail. We had an awesome, super fresh, plant based meal here of tofu, rice and veg, salad and sweet potato fries. Perfect seaside food :) From here you can ride the giant ferris wheel, walk down the Glenelg jetty, the kids can enjoy the massive play space, and you can shop your heart out along Jetty road.

After enjoying a magical sunset right in front of our beach house at Seawall we ventured into town for a unique dining experience at Parwana. A bustling local spot of home cooked style Afghan food. We enjoyed some dhal and chickpea curry and some of their homemade soda. We were thoroughly stuffed and ready for a good nights sleep at beautiful Seawall. Though with all the fun and action of Glenelg we decided on a night time walk to watch some live music at the jetty. You are guaranteed there is always so much going on here.

Day 6 – Starting the day fresh with acai bowls at Bomdia. This is our second time to Adelaide and we love this cute spot. It’s just off Jetty road, walking distance from Seawall. Next stop Henley beach for a lazy beach day with the family, throwing the football, swimming and long beach walks.

We ended this beautiful day with a huge spread at Secrets by the Sea. Traditionally a seafood restaurant they created a plant based feast for us all. Everything was so beautifully presented with a fabulous sunset view from this stunning historic building.

It’s safe to say I left my heart in South Australia. What a trip! I highly recommend it. If you have more time I could suggest a million more things to do! Honestly there is so much! But hopefully this is a good start to help you plan your own adventure.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

Our Wild Winter Escape

August 13, 2019

PhotographyBobby Bense

Editing/StylingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSmiths Beach Resort | Margeret River |Augusta (Whale watching) | Parry Beach BreaksLand’s End | Valley of the Giants | Williams Bay NP

Outfit Details

Clothing – Milanja Escape Maxi Dress + Escape Ivory Lace Dress| Tysa Designs Wrap Skirt (Wildflower) + Wrap Skirt (Brazil) + Wanderlust Dress (Côte d’Azur)| Tolani Super Silk Turquoise Scarf (worn as a warp top) | Unreal Fur De La Cream Faux Fur Jacket (Similar) | Spell Kimba scarf | Camilla One piece (Similar)

Jewelry – Ananda Soul Wise, Wild + Free Ring | Angel Whispers Necklace | Shakti Bodhichitta Amulet | Chakra Balancing Necklace | Gold Charm Necklace | Mantra Necklace

Home – Sea Tribe Hyams Cushions + Hyams Throw

This year our family decided to do something a little different over the school holidays than our usual tropical escape. We headed down south of Western Australia to experience the wet, wild, wintery wilderness, or so we thought. Our days were filled with sunshine exploring the pristine beaches and even braving the invigorating, cold water of the Indian Ocean. Our nights were spent cosy by the fire, rugged up watching the starry night sky. It was the perfect family adventure to celebrate Bobby’s birthday week.

This was out third visit to Smiths Beach resort and it definitely won’t be our last. It’s our favourite place to stay in Margaret River. It’s close to everything we love to visit – Indijup Natural Spa, The Aquarium (natural lagoon), Hamelin Bay (sting rays), Whale watching in Augusta, the surf, the food and those incredible pastel sunsets that are hands down the best at Smiths Beach.

We loved the light, open space and view from our 4 bed beach house. It was so dreamy waking up to the sounds of crashing waves each day. Not to mention soaking in the beautiful bath tub each evening and melting into their luxurious bed each night. We enjoyed so many culinary delights including the most delicious vegan offerings from Lamonts. They provided us with the best vegan tapas platter we’ve ever had. They even made Bobby a vegan birthday cake which was just incredible! If you head to Smiths Beach you must stop by for the yummiest all day breakfast at Lamonts.

One the highlights of this trip was spending a day with Whale Watch amongst the gentle giants of the ocean. The northern Humback whale migration is happening right now and we had a front row seat to witness all the magic. We were lucky enough to enjoy the VIP Captains Lounge experience and it was wonderful to hear first hand information from the crew about all their whale encounters. This is a beautiful family owned and run business that truly understand the whales, sharing their insights and research along the way. We were so inspired by their stories and their passion for the whales. If you choose to go whale watching in WA then definitely go out with Whale Watch.

From Margaret River we ventured further south to Denmark. We wanted to get closer to the ancient trees and the rugged coast that reminds us a little of California. For Bobby’s birthday week it felt appropriate to find a little reminder of home.

We stayed at the beautiful Parry Beach Breaks in one of their luxurious beach houses called Land’s End. The sweeping views over Parry Beach along with the sounds of nature and kangaroos hopping about made it the most ideal spot to completely unwind. And unwind we did. We completely unplugged and switched off from work, emails, wifi and deeply immersed ourselves in nature. Our family had so much fun, from swimming at Greens Pool, to walking in the treetops amongst the old growth forest, bouldering at Elephant rocks, slow cooking meals together, and quiet moments by the fire. We spent these few days connecting with one another, having deep conversations about the universe, and laughing so much we cried.

There are moments in nature that leave a mark on you forever. And this was one of them. We were all cosy by the fire, playing cards, whilst keeping an eye on the stormy sky. The sun rays began filtering through the clouds, everything was glistening, and it looked like a rainbow would appear at any moment. I decided to get changed into a colourful outfit in preparation, just in case a rainbow did appear and we could take some beautiful photos to share. As I was getting ready I was singing a little rainbow song I made up, willing and hoping one would come. The kids were of course laughing at me. I felt like a little kid, so full of joy and anticipation. I had no idea if a rainbow would actually appear. Moments later we watched the most beautiful rainbow we’ve ever seen form right in front of us. We could see both magical golden ends of the rainbow. We made wishes and danced in the euphoric exhilaration of this moment. To our disbelief and absolute delight a second one appeared. A double rainbow! It was so unbelievably magical. We were all stunned. We were all in awe. What a special moment this was. And I was so happy we could all fully enjoy this and capture this beauty to share with you.

I’m always looking at life through a magical lens. And putting myself out there in nature, anticipating, searching, exploring. It reminds me we are all connected. We are all made of the same star stuff. We are all ONE. You never know what you’re going to discover. We love leaving our comfort zone to seek these priceless treasures, these moments that build bonds and family memories we will cherish forever.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

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