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When trying to conjure up images of the best place for sun, relaxation and romance it’s hard to go past Thailand. With that in mind, the decision for Peter and myself to go to Phuket for our 10 day honeymoon was a relatively easy one. Deciding which resort to stay in however, was a little more difficult. There were so many choices of beautiful romantic looking resorts with breathtaking views, incredible looking restaurants and rooms ranging from cosy to decadent that it took us a little while to finally settle on our resort destination, The Mövenpick Resort and Spa at Karon Beach.

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We hoped we’d chosen the right resort and the night we turned up, we knew we had. Despite our long day traveling from Hobart (Tasmania) to Phuket we were so excited to arrive and were greeted at the resort by the beautiful Thai staff who gave us warm tea and flower bracelets and showed us to our ‘plunge pool villa’ room.

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We walked in to see the bed decorated with rose petals in the shape of a heart and a tropical fruit platter placed delicately next to the bed. The deep spa bath was also dusted with rose petals and there were robes laid out for us in the bathroom. So many lovely touches made us feel we were truly on our honeymoon.

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The next day we got up to explore the resort and its surroundings. The beach is located within a five minute walking distance, although you have to get there early to reserve a spot, and there’s a fee to use the deck chairs.

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Although the beach was beautiful and we enjoyed taking a dip in the turquoise water, it was extremely crowded and we found the pool at the resort to be a more relaxing and chilled atmosphere. We were particularly happy when we saw a swim up bar! We spent the first couple of days of our honeymoon relaxing, reading, swimming and chatting and it was an amazing feeling to unwind after what was a very busy time leading up to the wedding.

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We decided that although tempting to not leave the resort, we had to get out there to see some more of this amazing country so we booked in a few day trips, including seeing the wonderful rescue gibbons at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, with the concierge at the resort.

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The most romantic of these day trips was a snorkeling trip out to Phi Phi Islands. We met up with the group early in the morning and after some safety chats and some ‘don’t worry there are no sharks around there’ pep talks (addressed mainly to me…) we took off by speed boat to the first of the islands. We stopped at a bay with water so clear it was sparkling and dove into the salty sea for a quick dip.

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Peter and I were clearly the honeymooners as we clung to each other and blissfully bobbed around the beautiful waters. We were then taken to Maya Beach where ‘The Beach’ was filmed and we swam and snorkelled our way around the island. The fish were of course beautiful and in abundance so it took a while to get used to them swimming and brushing up around our legs. We visited a total of four islands that day, each more gorgeous than the next.

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We were lucky enough to have Valentines Day on our honeymoon, and the resort put on a very special night. There were around 20 tables situated around a large open area, and every table was decorated beautifully. On arrival we were given a glass of Moët, and I was given a long stemmed red rose and a red heart balloon – sitting outside on a warm evening listening to the live band, it really was the epitome of romance for us honeymooners. We were served a decadent seven course meal including sorbet served in ice sculptures. It was one of the most memorable moments of our honeymoon.

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We fit in a lot during our time at Mövenpick, including visiting the resort’s spa where we were treated to a wonderful couple’s massage including a body scrub and spa bath soak.

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In terms of honeymoon romance, Phuket is a pretty perfect destination with a mix of beauty, relaxation and plenty of fun day trips. We plan on heading back there for an anniversary to relive all our wonderful memories….

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Ms Polka Dot says: What a beautiful place Phuket is – yes, we always knew it – but to swim in that beautiful water and watch that gorgeous sunset – pure bliss! Thank you Claudia and Peter for sharing your honeymoon story with us.

Photography by Claudia and Peter

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Luke and I wanted a honeymoon to remember filled with excitement and adventure and stories to last a life time. We didn’t want to go to a normal honeymoon destination, so after a month or two looking at travel books we decided on Botswana, the Okavango Delta. We have both always wanted to go on a Safari in Africa. We thought we would end our honeymoon in Mauritius for one week to relax and sit by the pool and drink cocktails.

I found an African company called And Beyond. Their website looked amazing and we immediately fell in love with the idea. As I booked this trip myself, I found the service in South Africa amazing. Very helpful and easy to book yourself. We first flew to Johannesburg for a night and stayed in a hotel only 10-15 minutes from the Airport called Metcourt (in a complex called Emperor’s Palace, filled with restaurants, bars and a casino). A safe place to walk around at night. But still be on alert, as people are allowed to walk around with guns in certain areas).

The next day we caught ‘a not so safe plane’ to Maun, Botswana. (Maun is a very safe place, I rather walk around Maun, than Northbridge in Perth).  From here we caught a light aircraft (with many missing bolts in the wings) to our first lodge Nxabega (Okavango Tented Camp).

One of our light aircrafts – note the missing bolts in the wing. Very scary!

A driver picked us up from the ‘airport’ and drove us 45 minutes to our first lodge. We came across many animals on this ride, and we also had lunch while watching hippo’s in the Delta. We had our own private ‘tent’. Stunning, and beautiful.

Our lodge at Nxabega

The lovely people at Nxabega who looked after us

The pool at Nxabega was broken due to a fallen tree. The manager Grant suggest we swim in the Okavango Delta in an area called ‘Hippo Highway’. This is where the hippos cross every night. We swam and drank champagne while listening to baboons in a nearby tree, and also listening to hippo’s a couple of hundred metres down the stream. A beautiful experience!

We had our own decking which looked out into the Delta. It’s a open lodge area, so animals, e.g. elephants, hippo’s walk past your front door. We went on many game rides, mokoro (canoe) and motor boats through the Delta, every day.

Our first game ride. 5 minutes into our drive, we came across a family of giraffes

Every night  we had a night game ride. As the sun sets, we watch this spectacle while drinking wine and beers

The smallest plane we catch in Botswana –  3 seater

After a few days here, we caught another light aircraft to our next lodge in the Delta, Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge. Once again, the most amazing lodge I’ve ever seen! A massive private look out in front of our lodge were we heard the sounds of many different animals – very scary at night. We armed ourselves with our camera tripod stand. Very funny when we think about it!

Our lodge at Sandibe

Our private deck at Sandibe

Pool at Sandibe

Fishing for Tiger Fish in the Delta on a motor boat.

While on the motor boat, we came across an angry elephant, which chased us down the canal.

Night drive, following lions after a kill

Cheetah, keeping a look out

A baby impala 1-2 days old

Mother lion with her babies

Enjoying a cup of tea while watching hippo’s

Mokoro ride – looking for hippo’s and elephants

Lions just in front of our car

Our 4WD

Vultures in a tree. We learned this meant there was a kill nearby

We came across elephants, lions (with cubs), cheetahs, leopards, hippo’s, impala, the list goes on and on. The Okavango Delta is a beautiful place, and the lodges we stayed in were stunning. The people were amazing, and the food and drinks were stunning. We were fed up to 5 times a day, and endless drinks any time of the day. We also had traditional African song and dance at night while we enjoyed our dinner.

Both lodges surprised us with a bottle of champagne and candles when we arrived home after dinner. It was a beautiful surprise!

We then flew back to Johannesberg for a night, after which we flew to Mauritius and stayed at Sugar Beach Resort. A beautiful resort, with two big pools, 3 restaurants and located on a beach. They also make the best cocktails. When staying here, you have the option of paying for an all inclusive package (all meals and drinks (including wine/cocktails) included). I would strongly suggest this package.It might sound expensive at first, but at least you don’t have to worry about money on your honeymoon and you can order and drink what you like.
We booked a private driver (around $50AUD for 6 hours).
A beautiful and relaxing country.

Pool at Sugar Beach Resort – Mauritius

Sunset at Sugar Beach Resort

Free sailing boats to hire as part of our package at Sugar Beach Resort

Casela Park – Mauritius

Cheetah at Casela Park.

Walk with the lions

Luke and I still pinch ourselves that we did such an amazing holiday. I don’t think we could ever have an experience like it again. Very happy we decided to go to Africa for our honeymoon.

My amazing husband was the photographer on this trip. He took some amazing photos!

Ms Polka Dot says: What an exciting adventure a honeymoon to the Okavango Delta is! And with a bit of luxury thrown in to soothe you after a day of seeing the wild and wonderful – bliss!  Thank you to Luke and Alicia for sharing your honeymoon trip with us.

We’re so super excited today that a resort we shot is being included in the Academy Award goodie bags as a gift to huge celebrities such as Nicole Kidman!

Dean and I  have been lucky enough to visit Huvafen Fushi to photograph the island five times, to create a stunning library of images the island can use in it’s advertising and PR.  We took over models on two occasions and styled a number of different scenes around the island, to give people who are viewing the photos, a feeling of what it would be like to really be there.

I can certainly see why celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, who are used to living in luxury, would love to come here!

In a nut shell, here are a few gorgeous touches I loved about our time on the island:

– The Day Spa is underwater so you can watch the fish and swim by while getting a manicure!

– Every room on the island has its own personal plunge pool with fibre optic lights in the base of the pool, which make the pool twinkle like stars at night

– You and your husband can enjoy special “destination dining” in secluded parts of the island, including sitting at your table ankle deep in ankle deep in the infinity pool, or with your own personal chef on a deserted sand bar island!

– Inside the deluxe Ocean Pavilion they have a pool that starts inside your lounge room and then extends out over the deck and ocean. So you can literally swim out of your room and over the ocean.

– You can enjoy a degustation meal with accompanying wine (the only time I have ever tried Grange Hermitage in my life!) underneath the island in their wine cellar which is stocked floor to ceiling with wine and champagne from all over the world.

– Every night when you go to bed, there was a personalised note left on your pillow, hoping that you enjoyed you day!

Ms Polka Dot says: What an exciting day for Inlighten Photography! Huvafen Fushi was featured as part of the Academy Award gift bags! The  nominees and award winners all received an all inclusive getaway to Huvafen Fushi Which means celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Annette Benning, Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams and Colin Firth will all be taking some time out in the near future at this luxury resort!

Set within it’s own lagoon, I’d never want to leave with that crystal blue view and the amazing facilities available-  Oversized King Beds, Frette 300 Thread Count Linens, Plasma Screen and Bose Surround Sound System with DVD Player and butler service are available in every room, of which there are 43. Rooms over water, amongst the gardens, on boats and with private plunge pools leading right into the living areas.

Amazing activities including some of the best snorkeling around, glass bottom boats and kayaks, PADI dive school,  dhoni fishing and sailing, fishing wind surfing, fun tubes, motorised and non motorised island sports and  and the resort facilities? Second to none with a fully stocked library-lounge, Yoga pavilion, over water gymnasium, outdoor saltwater flotation pool , fibre optic lit infinity pool, under water day spa. There’s a range of restaurants, (including a lively bar and underground cellar) or you can opt for private, destination dining or an isolated beach or the deck of your villa.

It’s no wonder Inlighten Photography found it so easy to photograph the island five times!

Photos by Inlighten Photography