Mount Buller & The Apline National Park

Over the Easter weekend Matt and I wanted to get a little mountain air and embrace our inner explorers. We stopped in at Anaconda for the most basic supplies, mustered up four days’ worth of vegetarian sustenance and drove several hours out of Melbourne up into the mountains.

I love cities, but I love walking more.  After a while trudging through day to day life both of us tend to crave a bit of outdoor silence. Mount Buller, out of the peak season, is ideal.

We opted to free camp and forgo the luxury of running water to save a few pennies and stayed at Sheepyard Flats.

Being Easter and unbeknown to us non-locals, the place was heaving, but mostly everyone minds their own business and boy do the Aussies know how to camp! Hammocks, barbecues, dogs, generators and fairy lights gave the campground a cheerful festival feeling. Although be warned to ”two wheel drive appropriate” road you read about on Parks Victoria actually means; can just about get down there if you go twenty kilometres an hour. If you’re travelling through and are hiring a vehicle, a four wheel drive would be preferable.

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Nestled amongst the trees and next to a river, this place is a photographers paradise in the morning light, and the stars are incredible at night. Plus it’s only about an hour’s drive to the summit of Mount Buller, twenty one kilometres away once you’re onto the main road. From December to the end of April it’s free to get onto the mountain. Walkers and mountain bikers have the place to themselves, free of the hoards with chains on their tyres making the most of the snow during ski season; when the place really comes alive.

Over two full days we walked the Nature track to the summit of Mount Buller, adding a cheeky extra ridge walk, and made it to the summit of Mount Stirling via the Corn Hill track.

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The Corn Hill track was without doubt one of the best walks we’ve had in a long time and my personal highlight of the weekend. At a reasonable pace we completed the return journey in five hours but there are some very steep accents so be warned, a decent fitness level is required for this one. Due to the difficulty levels however we had huge stretches of the hike to ourselves and near the summit of Mount Stirling the silence was indescribably perfect. Just what we needed to go back to the city feeling revived and refreshed, if not more than a little sad to be leaving so soon.

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We stayed one night in Lake Eildon, which was beautiful, but due to a nightmare of spending hours trying to find the campsite it ended up purely acting as a stop over point on our way home. I’d love to go back during the spring and give it the exploration it deserves, on land and in the water. We did manage this one cheeky shot from a viewpoint on the road though…

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If you have a little time to go hiking and explore outside of Melbourne in Victoria, the road a little less travelled to the Alpine National Park is perfect to feel like you’ve got back to the wilderness and reset your energy levels. It really does deserve a spot on your camping list.

Farm Life – Regional Work, Australia

14906827_10210690787963514_6243179903826846921_nThis is kind of a long one so get yourself a drink and settle in.

A lot of people dread the thought of spending several months doing manual labour on an isolated farm. It may be that you just aren’t a country person. It may be that you aren’t a very active person, or are used to the comfort of an air conditioned office and a comfortable chair that gives you constant postural support…but if you want to spend a second year living, working and traveling around Australia, you have to do it.

With this in mind, my intention is to impart the wisdom we gained during our regional work journey at Mansell Farms via the top ten ways to make the most of your eighty eight days without constantly clicking your heels like Dorothy.

Continue reading “Farm Life – Regional Work, Australia”

The Prodigal Son Returns…

Everyone, after an extended absence I am returning to my beloved See Morley!

This year has been a long and tumultuous one but there have been many adventures along the way.

To complete our required regional work; eighty eight days of farming work, in order to be granted our second year working holiday visa, M and I spent over four months citrus packing up near the Murray River in Colignan, Victoria with the most minimal internet signal I have ever experienced to date – whilst living in a blocked up blue camper van, we fondly dubbed as ”Birtha”.

In July, before the Birtha chronicles,  I visited my mum and stepdad in Pretoria, South Africa for a fortnight. This included an emergency night in a rural town B&B after being locked out of a game park due to GPS difficulties, and the most glorious night in a Kwa Zulu Natal game lodge I will reveal to you over coming weeks.

Most recently however, one of my very best friends flew over from London to Melbourne on her own travels, and joined M and I on a long weekend adventure, winding backwards along the infamous Great Ocean Road.

Combine this with day to day working to keep us in clothes and food, and a more extended private writing project, and I have unforgivably neglected my little blog.

But with a short trip to Tasmania looming in the New Year, and having made a decision to commit more fully to travel writing, I am back with a vengeance and determined to catch you all up on our adventurous 2016 to date.

I will be committing to a minimal bi weekly update, in order to balance my other project, so stay tuned for pictures and stories galore.

 

Free Music

I mentioned to you in my Valentines day post that M and I aren’t really so into Valentines day. So this year we grabbed a colleague of his and headed to the beach for a free music festival. All the roads were blocked off and pedestrians were let loose to play, replacing the normally almost constant flow of traffic.

We headed out in the afternoon after a lazy start of documentaries, tea and lie ins. Venturing to our local watering hole to get things rolling. There were salsa bands with hoards of people dancing in front of them, food carts, amusement park rides,  and (terrible) rap music on the main stage by the sea. You’re not allowed drinks in the main stage viewing area either. So after all of two opening bars we sacked that in for the bar next door, queuing for an age to get in, but rewarded with rum and ginger beer slushies and a great reggae band. Everyone cleared the way for dancing and got into the weekend spirit.

After one too many slushies and slobbering over the bowls of chicken wings going past, our tummies rumbled loudly enough that we headed back out into the throng of the main street for takeaway schniztel and drinks into the night.

A brilliant day out and one I won’t forget in a while.

How did you spend your valentines day readers?! Did you get spoilt?

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Watermelon Rum Coolers

These are just a little something I whipped up whilst I had some watermelon in the fridge that needed eating a few Fridays ago.

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Deliciously simple, the amount of watermelon above is enough for one very tipsy pirate or could stretch to quick sundowners for two.

Start off by chopping up your cold melon and shoving it all in a blender.20160206_201854

Then get your hands on whatever type of flavoured rum tickles your pickle. I opted for the below as I was feeling summery.

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I’ll leave how much you add up to you – make it as strong as you dare! I added in several generous double measures to make a batch for myself to  leave in the fridge and go back to at a later date.

Add a small handful of fresh mint and blitz the nuts out of it.

Now this is where you can see the efforts of my ”experimenting”…

The mixtures ends up looking something like this…

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At this stage if you have one, I would advise to add some ice and put it through a cocktail strainer into your glass. It tastes deelishusss.  Very light but packed with flavour.

I unfortunately, do not yet own a cocktails strainer… So what came out was rather, ermmm, foamy. But as you can see, she’s still a looker!

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Add some fresh mint and extra ice if you’re serving to others or just feeling fancy. If like me you don’t own a strainer, scoop the top foam off with a spoon and slurp through a straw straight from the jar  you were saving for later. Well you can’t rely on pirates to behave themselves on a Friday after all!

 

Valentines Day Gift Ideas

I should probably start off by saying I’m not the biggest lover of Valentines Day. M and I’s anniversary (of the day we met) is very shortly after and so we frankly end up skipping it and go all out for ‘our’ date instead. I’m also not wildly materialistic, apart from loving a clothes shopping splurge; I’d much rather save up and splash out for trips and experiences.

That being said, I know not everyone is that way inclined, and so thought I’d share my favourite seasonal picks with all of you and share the link love so you can click away a fortnight in advance, rather than going for the rubbish ”leftover flowers” look at the following to win V day…

Continue reading “Valentines Day Gift Ideas”

Hungoevr Mexican Breafkast Wrap

Like most girls, I love presents. Two of my best mates (who consequently live together) sent me a joint package for Christmas and my Birthday that came combined, very late (thank you Australia post).

One of the gifts C got me was actually what I got Vitamin E for Christmas, The Hungoevr Cookbook. Combined with that, armed with (most of the) ingredients I needed and DELICIOUS Newby teas. 2016_0114EBAY0043Emma got this for me and I’m officially a convert – I thought I’d whip up yet another satisfying breakfast. I know I’m overloading you with breakfast posts at the moment, especially vegetarian ones, but you’re going to want to check this one out. Just have a look at this….

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This was purely a recipe I thought looked delicious, but how you’re supposed to use the book is by using several basic questions to identify which type of hangover you have out of several possibilities, and how best to feed yourself better again. The book even advises on suggested accompanying drinks and activities to make your day as recouperative as possible.

I made this slightly off recipe based on what I had in the cupboard. To serve two people you’re going to need:

A tin of chopped tomatoes

A tin of beans of your choice

One red onion

Garlic, fresh red chilli, fresh parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper

Two tortilla wraps

Two eggs

To get started chop your onion, garlic,  and parsley and fry them in a glug of olive oil.

 

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Add your beans and tomatoes once your garlic is browned and your onions are going translucent.

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I’m a fire lover, so at this stage I had one chopped red chilli with seeds, but if you’re not so keen use jarred jalapenos, or add your chilli de-seeded with the onion, herbs and garlic.

Add salt and pepper to taste, letting the tomatoes reduce and bubble up a little.

Now get your wraps out ready…

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And put your egg on to fry (I only have one here because I made it just for me). I find the trick to great fried eggs is quite a lot of olive oil and then fry it up on a low heat, to keep the eggs from going ”frilly”.

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Once your egg is cooked turn the heat off of your bean mixture, and scoop onto a warm tortilla. Add some grated cheese of your choice (cheddar for me).

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Carefully fold your wrap up and place your fried egg on top.

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Et voila! I have found the actually recipe page in the book for reference. You know you’re going to want to buy this!

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Now dig in! Flippin’ brilliant.

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Biking along the Coast from St Kilda

One Sunday M and I dusted off our bikes and took them for a little spin. Well a roughly 30 mile spin actually. Along the front of St Kilda is a long and winding cycle track that runs right next to the coast and takes you all the way down the Peninsula should your little heart desire it. We cycled all the way down past Black Rock, towards Mordiallic until the weather seared at 36 Celsius and beat me fair and square (when we left it was mid 20s with a gentle breeze – always look at the forecast).

We took a packed lunch and explored the coast line, munching sandwiches, stopping for iced tea and chips and dunking in the sea when the heat got too much. Sandringham beach was particularly beautiful and I definitely plan on returning. You can hire bikes in Melbourne, much like the London Boris bikes and I would recommend spending a day exploring the coast line if you have a day to spare. The views speak for themselves…and I am very keen to set off again. Once the weather has cooled off a bit mind!

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New Years Healthy Breakfasts

The beginning of a new year means getting back on the health horse. I know there are some people who never really got off of it but let’s be honest here, they’re certainly in the minority.

In aid of that, now January is pelting on ahead I thought I’d share with you two very tasty breakfasts that are delicious and satisfying, but leave you with the nutritional punch and enough protein to keep you nice and full until lunch time creeps around.

I won’t lecture you on the benefits of breakfast, but if you do one thing for your health ALL day, make sure you get a decent healthy breakfast. DO NOT SKIP IT. EVER. It gets your digestive system moving and increases your metabolism for the entire day, helping you process everything else you plan on eating that day. Digestion issues and lack of water massively contribute towards weight gain, so don’t take the advice lightly my friends.

Number one is more of an actual recipe, so I’ll crack on with that first. If you are from Australia or you have a health nut friend/family member in your life then you will have heard of Chia Seed Pudding. Chia seeds are packed with omega 3, are a great healthy source of protein and carbs, and with the right recipe can taste uhhmazing, like you’re eating sweet rice pudding for breakfast. Pudding for breakfast I hear you cry? You definitely want to get on board.

To make your own version you’re going to need:

1/6 of a mug of black or white chia seeds, whichever you can get your mits on.

1 mug of soy milk or your choice of nut milk.

Two heaped tbsp. of coconut yoghurt (greek yoghurt also works really well)

Two smaller tbsp. of honey (or maple syrup for vegans) if you’ve sworn off sugar, add a tsp of vanilla extract

One big handful of frozen fruit of your choice

One large jar (Mason jars are best, but I don’t have the time or funds for such things, a big clean pasta sauce jar will do nicely. Recycling at it’s finest)

Start by pouring out your chia seeds…

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^ You can tell it’s going to be epic from Matt’s mug face (sorry Matt).

Then add your mug of soy milk. If you use soy make sure to always buy organic. I choose this one:

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Then add your coconut yoghurt, this is made from coconut milk, so keeps my version diary free. Save the planet one meal at a time and all that. The only one I could get my mits on in Aus is the one by nudie in Woolies.

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At this stage your mixture should be looking something like this:

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Never fear! I promise it’s really tasty. Now add your honey…

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And stirrrr like your life depends on it! This is very important to make sure the honey and chia seeds are evenly distributed and you don’t end up with a watery clumpy mess on your hands. I usually spend about 5 minutes really whisking away at it. Once this is done grab your frozen fruit (my favourite is summer berries) and pile into the mixture until you can’t fit anymore in when the lid is shut.

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Screw the lid on tight and leave either for an hour or overnight for breakfast ready the next day. It’s so beautifully simple. I usually eat half a jar for breakfast with either some fresh juice or a banana along side my tea and water in the morning and feel satisfied until early afternoon. They last up to three days without dairy, two days with before they lose their lustre. Just mix the fruit in with the rest of the pudding and eat up!

If, however, you wanted something hot in the cold weather up North, I have just the ticket for you.

Fry up some mushrooms and asparagus in a pan with some garlic, and put in your tub/on your plate. Top with a fried egg and half an avocado. Crumble over some feta cheese, dried red chillies and a dusting of pepper and your done. It takes all of about 10/15 minutes to prepare and is well worth the time and effort. If you can’t squeeze that in during the week, treat yourself at the weekend. It will cure the most stubborn of hangovers, gives you a big dose of veg and healthy fats… and no meat in sight.

Happy breakfasting everyone!