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Travel Diary

East Coast of Australia

The Sea pulls me towards it no matter what the season.

The playful nature of frolicking in the sunshine, the soulful change in mood at dusk, I never tire of watching and absorbing its natural rhythm and power.

For my new collection I wanted to explore the primitive pull towards the water which we all feel and hold within us.

My intention when photographing a landscape is to always capture the spirit or essence of the place. I never want to capture the obvious, I’m more interested in the details that add up to a mood and exploring what I’m seeing within the frame. I always want my work to evoke an emotion.

This collection is about the serene feeling – the letting go – surrendering and being submersed in the power of the water.

I explored three distinct moods – the adventurous nature of islands, the coastline from Noosa to Byron Bay and the seaside beaches and coves of Australia’s biggest city.

This is a travel diary of notes, documenting my journey while on the road. It’s my story of discovery and curiosity – inspired by the simple pleasure of being immersed in the sea.


Diary Note – October 23rd, 2016

I’ve just arrived on Hamilton Island after being on location in Canberra. The heat and the humidity ‘smack bang’ hits you in the face the moment you step off the plane. The harsh light and the iconic palm trees signal ‘island time’ to me. It’s unmistakably tropical and the northern warmth always feels so familiar.

I’m heading to Whitehaven Beach to shoot for a day on this trip. Accessible only by boat (or in my case – helicopter!!!), it’s a 7 km stretch of brilliant white sand and clear blue water along Whitsunday Island. It’s like no other place on earth.


Diary Note – October 28th, 2016

I’ve arrived home from 3 days shooting on location on Hamilton Island. It was such an exhilarating shoot – lots of aerial work and me hanging out of a helicopter with the door taken off.

I’ve been working for weeks months? without a break – I’m really craving some downtime from my self inflicted crazy pace and to swim in the sea. Like a baptism of sorts, just to be submerged and calm.

I’ve thrown together my camera gear, towels and my togs in a bag, plus a few things for husband Timothy O, who is flying home from a work trip from New York –  I’m about to pick him up from the airport, then hightail it to North Stradbroke Island for a few days to recharge / plus shoot a Country Style story – love that mag.

Diary Note – October 29th, 2016

North Stradbroke Island is a sandy island with one side of sheltered calm waters and the opposite side a surf beach with rocky seacliffs and gorges.

We drove straight from the airport to the car ferry. You have to surrender yourself for an hour – you naturally start transitioning into the slow pace of island time. The old world travel of a ferry is one of the things I love about accessing this island.

I can’t get enough of the fibro beach shacks here, they hold so much charm and sense of timelessness. There is a surf club with incredible views over the gorge and out to the empty horizon; a couple of fresh fish shops selling the local catch and a sprinkling of just the necessities –  not much else, perfect. X


Diary Note – February 23rd, 2017

I’ve just returned from an editorial job in the Barossa Valley and the weather is absolutely perfect along the east coast. Timothy O and I are meeting up in Byron Bay today for the annual surf festival – a yearly pilgrimage we try to not miss. We had a race to see who would arrive in time! I lost.

We’ve booked an AirBnB at Wategos, just north west of Cape Byron and nestled under the lighthouse. Can.. not… wait…. About to jump in Margot, my old 68′ Merc and head down the highway/ left lane slow mode, in the late afternoon heat – Margot smells very pretty right now after just launching my travel fragrances!!!

Diary Note – February 23rd, 2017 / Wategos

I woke up at dawn to the sound of waves thumping out the front. I know, right? Seriously. The air feels lighter and cooler here, a happy reprieve from the intense heat just over the border in Queensland.

At day break, I went out onto the timber balcony and I could see dive spot Julian Rocks through the tips of the pandanas,  such unspoilt paradise, right there on the horizon. I grabbed my cameras and beelined straight to the beach. So much beauty all around.

I really love this shot of the surfers just waiting from the shoreline at Wategos Beach.

It was hypnotising to watch them in their pursuit of sheer hedonism. I love seeing how they become one with the landscape.

Wategos is known for its perfect slow longboard wave and mellow vibe.

What I love about this image is the open body language of the longboard rider. Such trust in his relationship with the sea – almost as though he is indigenous to the sea itself.


Diary Note – January 25th, 2017

I’m writing this at the airport – I finished up my job on location in Margaret River last night, have quickly dashed home to switch suitcases and pick up Timothy O and now we’re back at the airport.

We’re en route to spend the Australia Day long weekend down in Sydney. Haven’t been to Sydney for proper pleasure in such a long time – am really looking forward to it, to live like a local for a few days. X

SYDNEY / Bronte Beach

Diary Note – January 26th, 2017

We’ve rented an Airbnb above the Bronte fish and chip shop at the front. When I lived in Sydney years ago I would come to Bronte and always adored those art deco flats above the shops. Reminiscent of such a golden era of sunshine and seaside play.

As soon as we arrived we threw on our togs and hit the Bronte Baths. I always find sea baths so magical, I just love them. Plus, we don’t have them in Queensland, so they are extra special!

Above right: Diver Photographic Print.

I really don’t remember Sydney being this spectacular, maybe it’s changed – ha, or maybe I have. Think it’s the latter! TO and I had so much fun. When the weather turns it on and that turquoise water turns it up, it’s impossible to not have a ‘moment’ of a holiday!

I literally felt we were living in some sort of iconic beach life book of another era. The elegance of swimmers and their repetitious laps, the playful frolics of children in the aqua water and a certain sense of salty community that only the beach knows how to provide. I really couldn’t be happier right now x


Diary Note – April 5th, 2017

I’ve just put the finishing touches on my new print collection. I’m uploading the images into the online shop – getting everything ready for the launch on Friday.

The days before a new print release are so exciting and very emotional – it’s humbling to think of where my new photographic prints will end up in homes around the world, resonating with others who feel the sea within them like me.

East Coast Playlist

I spent so much time in the car while capturing this collection. Music was my constant companion. It’s vital to keeping my energy up while I’m away on location and spending long hours driving. Music has that power to remind you of family & friends, sentimental times and special memories.

This playlist is inspired by the freedom of long road trips and the destination we arrive at.

If you want to be the first to know when the new prints are in the shop click here to sign up to my newsletter. Thanks for reading! K x


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2 Comments to “East Coast of Australia”

  1. Greetings Kara,

    So glad I found your site, your images are so very lovely… I will be visiting Brisbane in May 2019 and your images of the Cape Byron and Whitehaven Beach reminded me that I do not need the iconic photos of Australia.

    Since my first travel to Australia will be in the East, I should stay and explore the beauty of this side of Australia. I was getting nervous that I would not be able to find the same kind of beauty in the East as there is in the West or North or South…. silly I know, as one who loves landscape photography, I should know that there is beauty everywhere…. just need to stop and be present to it…

    Would you have any other recommendations along the Brisbane area for landscape/travel photography? From your website I do not see that you do photography guiding but would you ever consider doing one?

    Really, just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for sharing your lovely photographic work!

    Kindest regards,
    Martha Villada

    • Hi Martha – so great to hear from you. Its different beauty – the west is remote and pristine, though the east offers more of a sense of costal community. Still beautiful and pristine, just different. I would always recommend Stradbroke Island – just off Brisbane – Im working on a Travel Diary / Insiders Guide to this shortly. When are you travelling to Australia? Kara x

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