Western Australia

Broome Time

June 12, 2019

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationBali Hai Resort and Spa | Gantheaume Point | Eco Beach | Roebuck bay – Broome

Outfit Details

Sky Narbery Dress| Brooklyn Grange Dress | Spell Seashell Skirt |Spell Maisie Scarf

Swimwear – Posy one piece | Salvador Summer one piece | Blue Batik one piece (similar)

We may have been in the same time zone as Perth just over 2000km away but time definitely moves differently in Broome. It’s smoother, calmer, more relaxed and I can see why a lot people make the move up there.

Our trip was well over due. We have talked about visiting for so long and somehow never quite made it happen. I’m so happy we finally did and I’m already planning the next one. If you’re like me, and have been thinking about it forever, do it! Book it now! It’s the perfect time to visit now until October, the whales will be visiting soon too.

We stayed at the relaxing Bali Hai Resort and Spa. This was such a great choice for us as we needed a quiet and serene space to rest each day after so many outdoor adventures. The smell of frangipanis mixed with the trickling sounds of the water fountains made it the most tranquil oasis. We loved swimming and lazing by the salt water pool which was so refreshing after our dusty desert adventures. The highlight of our stay was definitely the couples massage experience at their well appointed day spa.

Our first day we headed out with Broome Whale watching on their solar powered vessel for the Snubfin Dolphin eco tour. Little did we realise we were going to see a whole lot more than just dolphins. We had some of the closest encounters ever with dugongs, who are known to be quite shy. This is actually the only tour company in Broome accredited with a Dugong interaction license, so if you want to see them, definitely book with these guys. We also saw so many beautiful turtles and multiple pods of dolphins, both bottlenose and snubfin dolphins, who only reside here in Roebuck bay. This is truly a one of a kind experience you can’t have anywhere else in the world.

What we loved about this tour was the level of knowledge and environmental awareness shared; touching on our individual social responsibility to protect our oceans through sustainable practices. We were so impressed to see these guys ditch all single use plastics and to learn they are completely carbon neutral through their biodiversity carbon offset scheme. They support local community with school programs, and they rescue and support rehabilitation of sea turtles. What’s not to love!

Day two we headed off on another full day of ocean explorations. This time we set sail aboard Karma IV, a 70 ft catamaran, ready to explore the pristine and remote Eco beach.

What a rewarding experience it was to feast our eyes upon this beach. It’s about 130km south of Broome and the most relaxing way to visit is definitely via the seas. This beach has an eco resort that has been built upon environmentally sustainable practices, with a choice of solar powered tents or villas, all with a pristine ocean view.

There are hammocks, kayaks and paddles boards waiting for you on the beach, and that Broome time feeling that makes you forget that time even exists. After a beautiful lunch at the resort, we set sail once again into the sunset back to Broome. It was so beautiful relaxing on the trampolines, feeling the ocean beneath us swaying us back and forth. The crew really took care of us and the food was next level. We loved that they catered to our dietary needs with high quality, delicious food :)

Day three we realised we didn’t even know what day it was anymore or how many days we had been in Broome. This was our spa day and couples massage. We also spent quite a bit of time in between taking photos and catching up on work while the kids enjoyed some pool time at Bali Hai.

Our next few days were spent exploring Cable beach and Gantheaume point. We visited Gantheaume point multiple times even in the same day. Broome is ruled by the tides and they change so much each day. At low tide you can see the dinosaur footprints that are 130 million years old. It’s actually such an amazing spot! At high tide you can jump off the rocks into the crystal blue water and search for rock pools that start to fill up. It’s a magical place that I would gladly revisit and spend many days exploring. The kids loved climbing the rocks and it felt pretty easy and safe for them, while still providing a challenge.

What really hit home on this trip was our need to take better care of our oceans and our planet. I’ve been making my own changes over the past few years but I wanted to share some tips here. My hope is to raise awareness and help others who may not realise how easy it is. Every little bit helps and it all adds up. We owe it to future generations along with our planet to take better care.

Here are just a handful of simple things you can do right now –

  • Say no to single use plastics – plastic bags (carry your own reusable bags, plastic straws (you can buy your own metal straws), bottled water (you can buy a reusable water bottle), plastic wrap (there are so many alternatives that are reusable and cheaper in the long run), takeaway coffee/tea (invest in a keep cup).
  • Eat plants – animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Fishing nets are also one of biggest plastic contributors to the ocean that trap dolphins, sea lions and seabirds.
  • Walk, ride, take public transport, ride share, carbon offset your travel
  • Partake in local tree planting in your community
  • Eat local and seasonal produce. It’s better for your health and farmers markets are so fun too! Just take a cute market basket to carry your produce home. The transport, energy and packaging it takes to bring produce from the other side of the world makes no sense.
  • Shop at bulk stores with your own containers to limit plastic use. You can fill up on shampoo, body wash, olive oil and your nuts and grains as well.

There is of course so much more we can all do, though this is a good starting point. I’d love for you guys to share your tips here too!

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

Smiths Beach

September 12, 2018



PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSmiths beach resort | Indijup | Yallingup – Western Australia

To do – Book a bespoke trip with Experience Smith | Picnic + Surf Gallery at Aravina Estate | Snorkel at the Aquarium | Day trip to Injidup Natural Spa

EatLamonts at Smiths Beach | Aravina Estate | Wise Wines | Acai Bowls at Yallingup beach | Wild and Woods cafe | Eagle Bay Olives

Outfit details

Clothing Imperial lace miniAnastasia Lace Skirt | Lace scarf (worn as wrap top)

SwimwearSalvador summer one piece | Halter neck one piece

JewelryGalaxy charms bangle | Orbit necklace | Gold Stone Ring

HatsRiviera cap | Summer Love Boater

Accessories – Round Bali bag | Azul sandals | Luxe Banana Palm Floatie

We had the lovely pleasure of spending a few incredible days down at Smiths Beach earlier this year and it is by far one of our favourite WA beaches. We fell in love with Smiths Beach resort which was perfectly located just a few hours drive from Perth and is hands down the best place we have stayed in this region. It’s luxurious, peaceful and located right on this amazing beach. It’s a fantastic surf spot and has some of my favourite wineries just minutes away. It also has some of best sunsets I’ve seen all year! The sky lights up in the most beautiful candy coloured shades of pink and purple, and the ocean sparkles like turquoise diamonds.

Our family stayed in the 3 bedroom villa which was simply stunning. So luxuriously appointed, neutral and light, with beautiful Indian ocean views. I loved starting each day cosy in my robe, a cup of tea in hand, watching the surf. We had everything we needed right there, and when we felt like eating out, Lamonts was just a few steps away and served up one delicious feast for our family. After each salty ocean adventure we enjoyed the beautiful sparkling pool and soaked all our worries away in the villa’s amazing bathtub.

We packed in a few days of adventure and fun while we were here and headed out with Mr Chauffeurs and Experience Smith. We started our day on route to the Aquarium, a super secret lagoon spot that I’ll probably never be able to find again. We were lucky to have our guide show us the way for our gourmet picnic and snorkel. We were so grateful for the help as it’s about a 20 minute walk down the cliff with all your gear. Once we arrived it was complete magic. The snorkelling was phenomenal and the entire lagoon is protected from the ocean, so no need to be worried about sharks here. It has the most gentle current that you can float along with, and it’s filled with vibrant marine life.  Our kids loved it and we all felt so safe snorkelling for hours.

After a wonderful snorkel and picnic we headed to Aravina Estate. I had no idea what heaven we were in store for here. The most picturesque winery on the lake’s edge with blooming gardens in all shades of the rainbow. They served up the most delicious feast. Vegan for me of course and catered for so wonderfully. We stayed to share some champagne by the lake, and relax in the peaceful vibes of this place.

The biggest highlight of this trip was our visit to Injidup Natural Spa. An absolute natural wonder of the world here. Nature has basically carved out an ocean spa equipped with multiple massaging waterfalls as each wave crashes over the rocks and spills into the lagoon. It can get pretty wild during high tide and wild weather so definitely be mindful visiting this spot. On a calm, hot summer’s day it’s pure magic.

Each day we ended up on the beach, tuning into the magical Smith’s beach sunset. When I think of my busy year, it was here on the beach each day that left me feeling the most relaxed I have felt. It’s a truly special place that I can’t quite put into words. You will just have to visit and experience it for yourself.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

A Land Before Time

August 17, 2018


PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationsShark Bay | Dirk Hartog Island | Carnarvon | Ningaloo Reef – Coral Bay | Cape Range National Park – Exmouth | Karijini National park  | Monkey Mia | Francois Peron National Park

Getting Around/Accommodation – Apollo

ToursDirk Hartog Island | Ningaloo Reef Dive | Monkey Mia Marine Life Cruise | Francois Peron Nature Safari | Blowholes Helicopter Tour

Outfit Details 

Dresses – Adele Dress | Ready for it Dress | Taylor Gown | Hollie Dress |  Virginia top | Frances Skirt | Joplin Jacket | Forever Me dress

Top/Pants/Skirts – Resort Culottes | Free Spirit top | Embroidered lace skirt | Poupette St. Barth Mini Skirt (Similar)

Swimwear – Cori Top | Cori Bottoms | Salvador Summer one piece | Nala Wrap Skirt | Hung up on you one piece | Ostuni Halterneck one piece

Footwear – Raye Emily Sandal | Gold flip flops

Accesssories – Je T’aime Hat | Ettika Drop Lariat | Gold Charm AnkletRiviera cap | Instax SQ6 Camera | Fairy lights

Banana Palm Pool Float | Hawaii Mens bracelet

Moroccan Cushions | Pouf | | Blanket | Rugs | Sandy Cream Cushion | Zara Cushion

“Nature is inherently healing. You simply need to immerse yourself in it”

Exploring the north west of WA was like traveling back through time. We learnt about the history of the land, the people who came before, the natural changes that took place to create this majestic landscape. It was within this ancient billion year old land that I felt the beginning of a healing transformation. This is one of the many wonderful gifts of travel. It opens your eyes, your mind, your heart. It allows you to breathe in new life and ignites the fire and passion within. As I lay upon these warm rocks, and swam in the deep blue, I could feel my connection to everything. I was reminded of what’s most important in life…love, compassion, kindness, connection and presence.

This trip was beyond anything I have experienced. And I highly recommend it to those who crave the open road. Western Australia has so much to offer and is honestly one of the most beautiful places to explore by road. And if you want to do it comfortably like we did, then make sure you check out Apollo Campers. We traveled in the Euro Deluxe motor home and it was such a great way to cover a lot of miles in a short time, and still immerse yourself in each place…AND do it in style. It was ultra spacious for our family of 4 that we were able to bring a few home comforts along for the ride. Each night we cooked delicious vegan meals inside our motorhome, made pancakes and smoothies in our thermomix, and feasted with our fellow campers.

First up on the trek was the Shark bay World Heritage area. We took an amazing day trip to Dirk Hartog Island with Shark Bay Dive. A day filled with so many highlights – the blowholes at full steam, home made scones at the homestead, mind blowing ocean views, humpback whales breaching right by our boat. They actually swam around us for what felt like an eternity! It was the closest I’ve ever been to whales, and I felt like I could almost touch them. It was the most magical experience of our lives. The kids especially couldn’t stop squealing and smiling.

Next we ventured further north to Wooramel River Retreat. A wonderful outback station stay where you’ll get some of the best night time views of the stars. They also have artesian bore baths naturally filled with magnesium to relax and restore. It was such a treat after driving for long stretches to soak in these warm baths. A short drive later we arrived in Carnarvon and camped out at Wintersun caravan park for a few days so we could explore the food trail, helicopter to the Blowholes and watch brilliant sunsets over the ocean. One balmy evening I saw the sky light up, and within a few seconds I gathered the family, packed up the camper, and off we set to watch the sunset. We pulled up at Pelican point on Babbage island and it was one of the best sunset spots right on the beach. We watched the sky change from golden to pastel pink to deep purple from the comfort of our motor home while the salty ocean air filled our lungs :) We finished our stay here with a must do Helicopter trip along the coast. We lucked out with perfect still conditions so Bobby decided to take the door off his side! It was definitely a bucket list adventure for him :) We saw dolphins, whales and turtles along the entire coast. Seeing these gentle beings swimming within the glassy turquoise pristine waters reminded me how important it is to take care of our beautiful oceans.

Our next stop was much further north. Driving into the night we came across so much wildlife on the road. Dingos, kangaroos, emus, and even sheep! We finally reached Exmouth and couldn’t wait to wake up and explore Cape Range National Park. We headed off early to avoid the school holiday crowds and enjoyed a lovely beach day at Sandy bay. The water was like diamonds, glistening and clear. It reminded me of the Maldives. Our time here was so short as we just couldn’t wait to get to Karijini National park. We had built up our expectations of this place. Everyone we spoke to said you must go, it’s amazing. And it truly was! It exceeded our expectations and we are still dreaming of going back. We camped just on the outskirts of the national park in Tom Price so we could power up the motorhome. We fell in love with Fortescue falls and Fern pool, which is an easy place to travel with the kids. And a great place to picnic and lay on the 2.5 billion year old rocks. This is where I felt totally transformed. As I dove into the freezing cold waters it was like a rebirth process. Somehow everything I had been holding onto, all those fears and limitations were released. I never felt more free than in this moment. This will always be my happy place, holding an anchor for these memories.

After driving and exploring for a couple of weeks we were ready to stay put in one place. Next up was Coral Bay and we spent 6 amazing nights here. And to our surprise some of our really good friends were also camping nearby which made this part of our trip so special. The kids all happily played and us adults had some time to relax and play too. Each day we snorkelled, we supped, we swam, we kayaked, we cooked together and enjoyed sunset cocktails with our tribe. We barely looked at our phones. We forgot what day it was and we were ruled by the sun rising and setting, attuned to nature :) It reminded me of my childhood camping trips, which always brought so much joy to my days.

The Ningaloo reef which stretches along Coral bay and Exmouth is one very special place. It’s worth spending more time here to explore all the incredible snorkelling spots. On Bobby’s birthday we celebrated and spent an entire day with Ningaloo reef and dive in the ocean and it was magic. We saw whales, dolphins, turtles and we swam with a manta ray! It was my first time and it was incredible! They are the most graceful and majestic beings.

Our trek continued south, slowly but surely we made our way back home. Some of the most spectacular moments of our trip happened in these last few days. Our time at Monkey Mia was particularly amazing thanks to the family of dolphins who visited each day. The dolphin experience is such a unique aspect of this area. We watched them hydroplaning (a term I never even knew existed) trying to catch fish along the shore. They were almost on top of us, yet so graceful and fast as they chased the fish. Later we took a catamaran out with Perfect Nature Cruises to experience the marine life up close and personal. It was insane! And I highly recommend this tour. It’s affordable and fun for the whole family. We saw dolphins, turtles and a dugong in the clearest and calmest water I think I’m ever seen. On the way back the kids had a blast in the boom net as the ocean created a spa experience for them! Each evening we sat by the beach enjoying the sunset reflections in the super still waters. This made for the most relaxing stand up paddle boarding experience of my life. There was no wind, just pastel skies and dolphins swimming all around me. I’m not sure there is any experience on this planet that will top this now.

Our final day we took the best 4WD tour to Francois Peron national park. The contrast between the turquoise water and red cliffs was unbelievable and truly magnificent. We ventured along the cliffs, watching the marine life below spotting dugongs, sting rays, sharks, turtles and dolphins. The waters here are filled with life! And they are so clear you can see everything! After a beautiful lunch overlooking the ocean, some 4WDing along the beach, kangaroo spotting, we ended the most perfect day soaking in the artesian bore bath at the homestead. It was one of our favourite days of our trip. The whole family was happy, our explorer hearts filled with joy.

On our journey back home we stopped at some of our favourite places. Kalbarri national park is such a beautiful part of WA and still so close to Perth. At the natural bridge you can spend hours watching whales. We spotted one within a few minutes of arriving and it was hard to leave. I could have stayed there all day :) Nature has always surprised me, though our stop at Pink Lake in Port Gregory was mind blowing. I couldn’t believe how pink the lake was. The colour is caused by an algae rich in beta carotene and it can actually change from deep crimson red all the way through to lilac. During our visit it was super candy pink and the water was absolutely so still. We were lucky enough to enjoy this spot for about half an hour before a huge storm rolled in ever so quickly. We packed up and hit the road all the way back home.

This trip, the memories, the lessons, the connections, have all changed me. Being immersed in nature in this way has a profound healing effect. It forces you to connect, to remember who you are, to feel alive!

If you’re ever in need of a reboot, a jump start, a push out of your comfort zone, then take this trip. Head into nature, connect with the earth, explore the wondrous mysteries of the world. Fill your soul and your heart with the magic. Put yourself in front of the beauty each and every single day until you remember this same beauty is also you.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

Wadjemup/Rottnest Island

March 31, 2017

IMG_1109 IMG_9431 IMG_1111IMG_1053 IMG_1067 IMG_9671IMG_9715 IMG_1047 IMG_1074IMG_1126 IMG_1124 IMG_1073IMG_1075

Photography Bobby Bense | Helen Janneson Bense

Model/Creative DirectionHelen Janneson Bense

LocationRottnest Island, Western Australia

Where to stayRottnest Island Accommodations

Getting thereRottnest Fast Ferries

Getting aroundAdams Coachlines

Great FoodGeordie’s Cafe + Art Gallery

Great FunJust4Fun Aqua Park

Island Adventure Boat toursRottnest Express

Outfit Details

One pieces – Alena | Sittana | Handers Hold | Singing Wells | Baja

Lace Kimono | Lace Dress

Anse Bikini Top + Bottoms

Towels – Eberlanzia | Gypset

Hat | Sunglasses | Aviators

Jewelry – Bodychain | Choker | Rings

This summer I’ve looked no further than my very own home town of Perth, and it’s easy travel destinations, for that beautiful turquoise inspiration and those endless summer vibes. Just a hop, skip and ferry ride away is the idyllic island known as Wadjemup/Rottnest. With some of the most breathtaking landscape I’ve ever seen, it’s home to the adorable Quokka, the cutest and friendliest marsupial you’ll ever meet. It’s the island of a thousand stories, told through the geographical history and formation of unique salt lakes and limestone coral reefs.

I highly recommend taking some time out for a visit to the museum to learn all about tragic history of the Aboriginal penal settlement, the military involvement in world war 1 and 2, and the early Aboriginal origins when Wadjemup/Rottnest was actually part of the mainland. This history is heartbreaking, though I do feel it’s important to hear, acknowledge and respect the true history and traditional owners of the land, especially when we go there to enjoy all that it has to offer us.

We stayed on the beach in North Thomson Bay, which was so quiet and serene, yet still close enough to walk or ride into the main strip. Here you’ll find everything you need – island information, general store, pharmacy, bakery and shopping. We started our days with a hearty breakfast sitting on our balcony overlooking the ocean. With our beach essentials all packed, we were on our bikes and round the island we rode, stopping at one glorious beach after the next. And with no cars allowed it’s such a wonderful and safe place for kids. And when their little legs get tired, or for the mamas with prams, there’s a hop on, hop off coach that will circumnavigate the entire island. My favourite spots were definitely Salmon bay and The Basin for snorkelling and swimming. Parakeet bay is always good fun with the whitest of white sand dunes and fantastic ocean views. Or try stand up paddle boarding at Just4Fun Aqua park. While the kids played on the floating bouncy toys I got my work out done and had so much fun at the same time. Make sure you stop off for breakfast or lunch at Geordie Bay for some of the most delicious and hearty, healthy food going around. As someone who has food intolerances and eats a largely plant based diet it was perfect for our family, although I brought my supplements from tophealthjournal.com/ to eat more healthy.  Finish your perfect day in paradise watching the sunset at Fay’s Bay for those magical pastel unicorn skies.

Rottnest is such a quiet and peaceful haven, and it slows you down without you even realising it. All that fresh salty air, white sand and turquoise water will bring vitality and bounce back into your step. It’s invigorating, rejuvenating and relaxing all in one. We loved it so much and can’t wait to go back!

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2021

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