Hanna Axelsson and Ashleigh Powell know a fair bit about globetrotting.
Founders of the Australian travel and lifestyle brand Axel & Ash, the women wanted to provide inspiration and motivation to live life to the fullest with their collection of chic travel journals, "Swept away by Wanderlust" and "My Bucket List".
The Huffington Post Australia chatted to Axelsson and Powell about their top spots around the world that have made it into their journals.
Favourite casual restaurant
Nepenthe, Big Sur, California.
"Located on a cliff top in the middle of the beautiful Big Sur drive in California, it is the most magical experience sitting on the outdoor patio in front of the fireplace sipping Californian wine. Anything goes here -- I love the mix of people, travellers passing through, friends catching up, birthday celebrations and even romantic couple weekend getaways. There is just something very special in the air," Axelsson said.
Casoni, Darlinghurst, Sydney.
"A little Italian restaurant/bar tucked off Oxford St in Darlinghurst. There is so much I love about this place -- the adorable white exterior, the funky chilled vibe you get when you walk in the door and of course the food is absolutely delicious. The pumpkin and ricotta ravioli is my favourite! I love meeting my friends here to kick back and relax," Powell said.
Favourite fine dining
Buddakan, Meatpacking District, NYC.
"The very place where Big & Carrie from Sex in the City had their engagement party! From the funky cocktail lounge when you first enter to it’s grand chandeliers and long table in the centre of the converted warehouse space… I fell in love with this place when I first walked in. It has a really cool urban feel, with delicious Asian fusion dishes. It is my favourite way to start a night out in New York City," Powell said.
"After a great night at Buddakan last night I double that!" Axelsson said.
Favourite brunch spot
Porch and Parlour, Bondi Beach.
"This place has nailed the rustic beach vibe and their brekkie salad is to die for. With Bondi on its doorstep you’ll often find me hanging here working away on my laptop during the week until the salty air tempts me to take a dip in the ocean," Axelsson said.
Cafe Gratitude, San Francisco and L.A.
"With a focus on producing 100 percent organic plant-based food, the most unique thing about Café Gratitude is the way in which you order. Instead of saying "Can I have a..." all the dishes have been renamed so you request an "I am Adventurous, I am Abundant or I am Bright". It’s such a sweet way of reminding you to think positively and be grateful. Oh and they have the most delicious raw cakes," Powell said.
Best fresh food markets
Byron Farmers' Market, Byron Bay.
"Surrounded by rolling green hills and the sparkling ocean, everything feels so fresh in Byron Bay. It’s a dreamy mix of fresh, local, healthy, sustainable smoothies, nuts, juices, sprouted breads, meats and raw treats," Axelsson said.
Rue Montorgueil Food Market, Paris.
"On my first visit to Paris my friend and I stumbled the Rue Montorgueil food markets. It was the first time I tasted real raspberries, absolutely mouth watering bursting with flavor. Croissants, cheese, bread sticks, olives, and strawberries - I was in heaven - everything is so fresh and made with so much love and passion!" Powell said.
Best outdoor activity
Roller skating in California.
"Usually I’d say swim in the ocean, but having just enjoyed roller-skating down the boardwalks in California again I must say that’s it! It made me so nostalgic about summer days in the 90’s -- skating to the beach with my friends. I fell in love again with the endless flat boardwalks -- something you don't get in Bondi. I’ve just added "roller skate from Malibu to San Diego" to my bucket List and can’t wait to make it happen," Axelsson said.
Hiking in the South of France.
"I love the ocean and feel so revitalised every time I dive in, -- it has this amazing therapeutic way of washing all the stresses of the world away. When I am not by the water, I love hiking. One of the longest and best hikes I have ever done was The Camino to Santiago De Compostela. I did the trek over one month from the Pyrenees in the South of France all the way across Spain to the tip of the ocean, ending in Finisterra. I walked 960km over 30 days. It was so beautiful and one of the best adventures I have ever had," Powell said.
Best hidden secret
Tuk Tuk driving in Thailand.
"This is an oldie but a goodie. If you ever find yourself out of pocket in Thailand, partner up with a tuktuk driver and earn some $! The drivers get paid for every shop they drive you to and after getting offered a deal of splitting 50/50 from a crazy driver we ended up getting taken to endless places around Bangkok pretending to shop all day -- truly an experience!" Axelsson said.
Cinque Terra, Italy.
"Cinque Terra is the most beautiful and unique place I have visited in Italy. Five small fishing towns scatter the alps and Mediterranean, each with the most picturesque views of the coast of Italy. Walking through each town, there are colourful houses perched on the cliff sides, beaches and amazing hidden spots everywhere," Powell said.
Best tourist activity
Hiking in Hawaii.
"That’s a hard one. I'd suggest Hiking all the amazing waterfalls in Hawaii. There are so many of them - I did the beautiful Na Pali coast barefoot, feeling the mud and fresh fallen guavas with my feet -- was just magic," Axelsson said.
A Hop On, Hop Off bus.
"It’s my way to capture the cities blueprint and hear the history behind it all, before I begin exploring. It is a great way to get your bearings on a new city whilst learning as much as you can. The bus allows me to watch the city from above and take it all in. Then I can decide the favourite areas I want to return back to," Powell said.
Best shopping spot
Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, L.A
"Being Swedish, I love coming home to shop and never fail to fill my suitcase with Swedish fashion staples from the streets of Stockholm. But right now I’m just in love with Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, L.A. A long stretch of trendy Indie retailers with the most beautiful and creative shop fronts, it's also surrounded by some amazing hip restaurants. I could stay there for days, a real pleasure for the eye -- pain for the wallet though," Axelsson said.
Bleecker Street, Manhattan, NYC.
"Finding items that aren’t everywhere is my favourite thing to do. There are so many cool and funky independent designers on this street. You will find such awesome items to take back with you," Powell said.
Best late night bar hang
The bars of New Orleans.
"The streets of New Orleans are filled with soulful music pouring out from the bars. Head into any of them and dance, listen and laugh with the most talented musicians," Axelsson said.
Trafalgar’s Sky Bar, London.
"I love any rooftop bar with a view and the Trafalgar’s Sky Bar does not disappoint. I was absolutely mesmerized by the iconic views of London as I sat drinking cocktails -- the views are truly magical," Powell said.
Best hotel you recommend to friends
Andaz, West Hollywood, L.A.
"Love the concept behind the Andaz hotels and the West Hollywood hotel has a fun vibe and fabulous roof top pool, perfect for relaxed morning before hitting town. I love a city hotel that makes you feel like you are on a beach holiday -- and then you get to hit the streets," Axelsson said.
W Retreat & Spa, Bali.
"I love the creative design and modern art splashed across the hotel -- it really caters for the modern traveller. From its selection of amazing restaurants, private apartments, spas, bars, the beautiful beach and breathtaking sunsets -- it's the perfect place to holiday in style," Powell said.
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