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The Polka Dot Travel Lounge – Tracey from Overland Travel Adventures

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Polka Dot Travel Lounge


Ms Herringbone


We’re hopping over the Indian Ocean today, and are so happy to welcome Tracey from Overland Travel Adventures (OTA) to the Polka Dot Travel Lounge. Based in Kenya, Tracey and her partner Francis started their own business running tours in East Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, offering  trips where you can experience the local culture, stay in villages, and engage with community development organisations as well as view the amazing wildlife and spectacular natural scenery in this amazing region.

Tracey shares her hot tips and favourite locations with us today!

What is your favourite region?

Mount Kenya and the Laikipia Plateau are Kenya’s untapped wilderness.  The scenery is beautiful as Mt Kenya juts dramatically into the clouds.  In five days one can hike to the peak and back, but it’s just as good to view it from below. The Laikipia Plateau is covered in private conservancies providing huge swathes of land for wildlife to roam safely. These conservancies are not as well-known as Kenya’s main national parks, so you can enjoy the isolation, and the animals are much more comfortable by not having large numbers of vehicles chasing them. Accommodation in this region is also special, with plenty of private ranch houses and unique eco-lodges. The access can be challenging, with most guests flying into many of the conservancies. Because of this, you do not have to battle the crowds to have a really fantastic experience.


Top Resort Recommendation?

Diani Beach, south of Mombasa, has many resorts all along the crisp white beach. Water sports such as diving, snorkelling and kite surfing are available at most of the resorts and they all have swimming pools to lounge by with a cheeky cocktail. Galu Beach Resort offers private villas where you can hire your own cook to prepare meals during your stay.

Lake Baringo (9)

Suggestions for great honeymoon activities?

Whether on honeymoon or not, coming to Kenya and not experiencing one of the country’s 65 national parks/reserves would be a tragedy, not to mention very difficult! The Maasai Mara is Kenya’s premier wildlife destination with the highest density of big cats in the world. There are many exclusive camps and lodges inside the park to make a perfect safari honeymoon.

But don’t neglect some of the lesser known parks as well.  Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya has a much different environment to the southern parks as well as some different species of animals only found there. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, in the Laikipia region, has a chimpanzee sanctuary, the only one in Kenya.

Lake Baringo is a paradise for bird-watchers and an early morning cruise is a beautifully serene start to the day. In the middle of the lake is an island on which there is a comfortable, little-visited lodge. This is definitely an “off the beaten track” experience.

Sunset cruises on the coast are the epitome of honeymoon experiences and Kenya does not disappoint in this regard. Traditional wooden sailing boats known as dhows ply the length of the Kenyan coast, used for both fishing and tourism. A glass of wine on a sailboat watching the sun set is the perfect way to end the day. Tamarind Restaurant in Mombasa is located on a boat as well if you want the full dining experience at sea.


The ideal location for a proposal?

The magic of Kenya is that anything can be orchestrated anywhere with surprisingly little notice. And the choices are endless:

  • By the Mara River, site of the famous Wildebeest Migration
  • The viewing platform in Kakamega Forest, Kenya’s last remaining patch of equatorial rainforest
  • One of the islands off Kenya’s coast
  • Maji Moto Eco-Camp, amongst the traditional life of a Maasai village

Best kept secret honeymoon location?

Shela Beach on Lamu Island is one of Kenya’s best-kept secrets and there is a lovely secluded resort perfect for a private beach honeymoon. Lamu lies a few hundred kilometres north of Mombasa, but it’s best to fly as the road is rather rough.  Setting foot on the island is a step back in time. Traditional Swahili life continues as it has for hundreds of years. Initially established as a trading port for Portuguese and Arabs in past centuries, the architecture is a marvel and with no cars allowed on the island, walking in the town is a dream. While women sell fruits and other produce in the central square, men mend their fishing boats and nets by the shore. Shela is only a few kilometres north of the town, making it an easy walk to experience the Swahili culture of Lamu, but still having a secluded haven to relax and enjoy your honeymoon.

Alternatively, on the other side of the country is Lake Victoria with Mfangano Island. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and crosses three countries: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Mfangano Island is accessed via Kisumu, the capital of western Kenya. Given the popularity of the ocean coast and the game parks, Lake Victoria is often skipped over on most tourists’ itineraries, making the islands a perfect secret getaway

We have loved travelling the plains of Africa with Tracey today, and if you want more information on Overland Travel Adventures, or the ideal places to visit on your honeymoon, head to their website!

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Erin and Lyle’s Gorgeous Destination Fiji Wedding

by | Honeymoons, Inspired Destination Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Location South Pacific


Polka Dot Bride

 Erin & Lyle

Nothing sounds better than escaping right now to a tropical island for a wedding- so it’s the most wonderful time to show off this gorgeous Destination Fiji wedding captured by Jonathan Ong.

Erin tells the beautiful story of how they came to be. “We were childhood friends, met at the tender age of 10 and 13 (I’m the younger of the two), we mixed with the same group of friends and saw each other almost every weekend. We were both born and raised in Fiji and our families were very close growing up. The families were always going somewhere together – camping, on boat trips, sailing regattas, surfing comps. He was one of my first crushes. We both liked each other but never pursued the idea of dating since he was my brother’s best friend.

He was the first person I ever kissed in a game of spin the bottle and the first person I ever slow danced with on a dare. I left Fiji to finish high school in New Zealand and he enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy coincidentally in the same intake as my brother. We always kept in contact and would see each other when we went home to Fiji to visit family. The Navy posted him to Western Australia and I moved to Brisbane to live near my sisters and start a degree at Uni. I hadn’t seen him in two years then he, his identical twin brother, my brother and a friend decided to come spend New Year’s with me and my sisters in Brisbane, due to the recent coup in Fiji and given their military status they weren’t allowed to fly back home.

At 19 years old, I was no longer my brother’s little sister and he was no longer a skinny young boy but a tall handsome man. We realised there was a spark still between us and that’s when the love affair began. After almost four years of dating we had our first child, Kelaela who was flower girl at our wedding and we are expecting our second daughter in November this year. ”

Erin chose a gown by Lisa Gowing while her bridesmaids wore tangerine coloured gowns from Shieke.

“We almost lost the wedding rings – that was heart failure central. As we left the room to make our way to start to walk down the aisle, my older sister was holding the shell with the wedding bands in it. She was just about to say I think we need to put these bands in the box because the shell is too smooth then she dropped her camera and went to catch it but flung her hand that was holding the rings and they flew over the side into the bush. Lucky we had our warrior escorts with us – they jumped over into the bush and managed to find the rings – I have no idea how!”

The couple held their wedding and all of the festivities at Volivoli Beach Resort. Erin explaining, “All of our guests stayed at Volivoli Beach Resort and arrived a couple of days/week before the wedding to relax in the sunshine before the wedding. We filled the whole resort and the overspill went into the two neighbouring resorts. It was so easy and relaxed because we got ready in the rooms, walked to the beach for the ceremony and had the reception in a marquee by the beach. No one had to rush home and we had a courtesy bus for those staying in the neighbouring resorts (driven by an uncle so it was on standby at all hours).”

The wedding was all about family and friends, Erin remarking, “It was a family affair from the start. Anyone who could help decorate, lift, cook, style or look after children was recruited. Lyle and I both have big extended Islander families and everyone was more than willing and happy to help make our day special.

My daughter (Kelaela), my niece and two nephews were the flower girls and page boys. Lyle’s twin brother was his best man, the rest of his groomsmen were his younger brother, my brother (who is his best friend) and a friend who Lyle was best man at his wedding. My maid of honour was my best friend who I have known since we were 12, my other bridesmaids were my cousin and two other best friends (who I’ve also known since I was 12). My bridesmaids – we all met in an island dance group at age 12 and have been friends ever since.”

Erin walked down the aisle to “Somewhere over the rainbow (the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version) played and sung by a group of three local boys on guitar and ukulele. I had both my mum and dad walk me down the aisle and was led halfway down the aisle by Fijian warriors (supplied by the resort). ”

Erin remarks, “We loved including all the little touches that made it not just another beach wedding in Fiji but a wedding that weaved in both my husband and I’s Fijian culture, the woven Fijian fans and shells we gave to guests, the hand woven baskets the flower girls carried, the warriors walking me down the aisle, the band playing Fijian and reggae music, the celebrant getting the names and words wrong, everyone getting up and doing the tui boto (like a massive conga line but Fijian style) all throughout the night, the traditional Fijian food – the list goes on.”

Malelili Flowers created the floral arrangements for the day, Erin remembering, “He is an old Fijian man based in Nadi who services all the resorts and all of his staff are from his village.”

“I ordered giant round coloured confetti (about 5cm) to be thrown as we walked down the aisle – it looked amazing in all the photos because the circles were so huge!”

Of their photographer, Erin says,  “I first saw his work when he photographed the wedding of a close family friend and it was love at first sight. He was the person I wanted to document my day because I felt he captured everyone’s character and emotions perfectly – all his shots highlighted the natural beauty and that’s what I wanted.”

There were a few handmade colourful touches, says Erin,  “I made a few of the signs to put up around the place. ‘You Are the Peanut to my butter…’ , Photo booth sign and ‘Eat Drink and Be Married’, the cards/wishing well suitcase and a good friend drew our Wedding Guest Book fingerprint tree which we later framed. Everyone had fun putting their finger print on the guest book finger print tree – one uncle had a bit too much fun and decided to draw a boat (not sure where he was going with that). It makes for a funny story now because everyone asks about the boat when they see it.”

Guests enjoyed a traditional Fijian feast, Erin remarking, ” The food was buffet style food you would find any typical Fijian craves – basically Lyle and I’s favourite things to eat – kokoda (traditional Fijian dish of raw fish marinated in lemon juice then served in coconut milk), lovo fish, lovo chicken, lovo pork, lovo dalo (Lovo is a traditional Fijian earth oven, food is cooked by hot stones under the ground for hours) and Fijian Indian chicken, lamb and vegetable curries with roti and chutney.”

Of the speeches, Erin recalls,  “The speeches were pretty funny – the best man told the story of him catching Lyle and I making out on the couch before anyone knew we were dating – that was embarrassing but very entertaining. My father in-law was a little bit tipsy and in his marriage advice part of his speech, started comparing marriage to coastal erosion – we’re still not sure where he was going with that (he’s a marine geo physicist).”

” We had a massive white chocolate rainbow cake with cream cheese icing made my by cousins as well as little white chocolate cupcakes with frangipani flowers. The bridal party entrance into the wedding reception was great because all the individual personalities came through – all the entertainers and jokers were in their element.”

Of their first dance, Erin remembers “We danced to ‘Baby I Love Your Ways’ (the reggae version) It was the song we played on repeat when we first started dating and the song that comforted us when Lyle had to travel with the navy. Then half way through our slow dance the music changed and we broke out into a Fijian Meke/Samoan Siva and our bridal party joined in.”

” Everyone danced and danced until day break the next morning. There were many many dance offs. We had a sand dance floor so everyone was either bare foot or in flip flops.”

Friend of the couple and freelance videographer Scott Gibson captured this film of the day.


Congratulations on your marriage Erin and Lyle! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you to Jonathan Ong for sharing today’s wedding with us!

Photographer: Jonathan Ong / Cinematographer: Scott Gibson / Bride’s Dress: Lisa Gowing / Bride’s Shoes: Nine West / Bride’s Jewelry: Lovisa / Groom’s Attire: Industrie White Shirt and Nautica trousers from Myer / Groomsmen Attire: Industrie Pale Blue shirts and Nautica trousers from Myer / Bridesmaid Dresses: Shieke / Bridesmaid Shoes: Diana Ferrari / Bridesmaid Accessories: Lovisa / Hairstylist: Bride's Mother / Makeup Artist: Bridesmaid / Flowers: Malelili Flowers / Hire: Party & Event Hire Fiji / Invitations & Stationery: Kathleen Beddoes (Bride's Cousin) / Venue: Volivoli Beach Resort / Ceremony Officiant: Rakiraki District Officer / Ceremony Musicians: Kulture Band (Tolu Acoustic Trio) / Band: Kulture Band (Fatty & The Pancakes) / DJ: DJ Skitz / Favors: Jacks of Fiji / Cake Baker: Bride's Cousins

Koh Samui and Singapore Honeymoon

by | Honeymoons, Location Asia, My Honeymoon



Hubby and I spent a fair bit of time considering our options for our honeymoon. After all, such a holiday is very well deserved after all the planning and stress of a wedding! We wanted to spend our time equally between relaxing and ‘doing things’. Hubby gets bored if there is too much lazing around and fair enough too. And we also wanted something that would be budget friendly, particularly with flights. Luckily, Perth is pretty close to South East Asia so flights are usually pretty well priced. We decided on 6 nights in Koh Samui, Thailand for a beach break and a 3 night Singapore honeymoon for shopping and indulgence.

Koh Samui is a beautiful island off the coast of Thailand. It is surrounded by gorgeous beaches and has lots of things to do and see. We spent equal amounts of time relaxing by the beach and exploring the island (and surrounding islands) for day trips. We didn’t find the shopping particularly good in Chaweng Beach (where we stayed). It was very similar to Bali, cheap knock-offs and the prices were not great. However, I was saving all my shopping energy for Singapore! We both love Thai food and we had a great time choosing different restaurants to eat at each night and rating the meals. We also took a Thai Cooking class with SITCA (Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts). It was an afternoon course where we learned 3 different traditional Thai dishes. It was amazing, there was heaps of food (probably too much!) and we got to take a recipe book home so we could try it in our own kitchen.

We took two day trips during our stay. One to Koh Anthong Marine Park where we tried kayaking and one to Koh Tao where we spent the day snorkeling the coral reefs. Both day trips were well worth it and provided some great experiences.  One of the highlights of our stay in Samui was definitely the “dinner on the water” organised by our hotel. We had a 7 course dinner at sunset which took place on a candlelit pavilion on the warm, shallow water in front of our hotel. It was incredible to be waited on by staff that waded out to our pavilion with our meals and drinks and watch the paper lanterns being released on the beach by tourists as the night progressed. The tide came in by the time our dinner was over so we were taken back to the beach by canoe! Quite a funny and memorable moment! We loved Koh Samui and the vibe is very relaxed. If we stayed again, we would probably try one of the areas on the other side of the island (like Boput) which are slightly quieter and less touristy.

Chaweng Beach

My new husband and I had never been to Singapore before and it was an amazing place to explore. We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands hotel which is one of Singapore’s newest and most iconic hotels. It is made up of 3 towers with a top level connecting them all on level  57 by an infinity edge pool and “The Club” bar and restaurant. It kind of looks like a boat on top of 3 buildings! The hotel is almost a city in itself, with a shopping mall, casino and Metro (train) station all attached. We were very lucky to be upgraded to a suite, which meant we got a huge room on the quieter side of the hotel. We also had access to The Club which meant breakfast on Level 57 every morning (those views!) and complimentary canapés and drinks for two hours between 5- 7pm each evening.

Let’s just say we made the most of that because we didn’t need dinner two of the nights we stayed there! We shopped up an absolute storm on Orchard Road. I’m lucky hubby does love to shop (when he’s in the mood!) and we had a great day exploring all the shops from the high-end Gucci and Prada to the cheaper Zara, H&M and Abercrombie & Fitch that we could actually afford! We also checked out the Gardens by the Bay which is attached to Marina Bay Sands. The gardens are huge indoor ecosystems with skywalks, waterfalls and rare plants and flowers. Something we have definitely never seen before. One of the things that is so good about Singapore is how easy and cheap it is to get around. The Metro train system is clean, very easy to navigate and very cheap. We used it to go everywhere and it was impossible to get lost! On our last day, our flight was not until late in the evening so we checked out of the hotel and took a day trip to Sentosa Island. It was easy to get there via the Metro and then on the cable car across to the island. We spent the day at Universal Studios. It was pretty good, however I suspect it is slightly more fun for kids or if you’re really into theme parks. It was good to pass the time at least!

A tip, definitely mention you are on your honeymoon! And take a photocopy of your ceremonial marriage certificate if you can. We loved the extra treatment we got for being honeymooners. From the hotel upgrade, to the best tables at restaurants and a free drink here and there, it pays to mention it!

Overall, we had a wonderful 9 day honeymoon. It was great to spend our first days together as husband and wife exploring different cultures and creating new experiences together.

Ms Gingham says: This looks like a great mix of relaxing and getting out and about! I love the Marina Bay Sands hotel… luxurious and right in the heart of everything.

Melissa says: “I am newly married to my high school sweetheart of over 11 years. I loved every moment of the wedding planning process and I am loving being a ‘wifey’.”

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