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.

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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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First Locking Eyes on St Kilda and a Weekend Playlist

On a rather average but hot day in Melbourne with nothing to do, we decided to stretch our legs a little.

It seems that nobody does much walking around here, unlike me and my fella. We wanted to get a feel of the place and the actual distance between us and the coast, with the whole day ahead of us. So we put on our comfiest shoes and started the trudge out of town.

We actually ended up walking to Port Melbourne and then along the coast all the way to St Kilda. On our way to Port Melbourne we were asking friendly locals the best way to get there to which several people answered, head back that way and pop on a tram, baffled when we explained, no thanks just point us in the right direction.

We wound through parks and eventually spotted the Southern Ocean for the first time when we got to Port Melbourne itself… 2015_1027EBAY0006

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We then walked for what seemed like A WHILE until we finally arrived at St Kilda West/St Kilda, two hours after we had left our hotel in the CBD…They sky scrapers looking teeny tiny from where we now were…

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We headed up to the pier to get some better snaps and check out a food spot for future reference (which I regret to say we still haven’t tried, but it’s sadly closed in the evening).

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As you can see it clouded over a lot by the afternoon!

The weather here I must say has lived up to it’s reputation. We’ve literally had it reach 36 Celsius and blistering sunshine on a Tuesday and go back down to 15, cloudy and rainy by Wednesday. But the sun appears to be pushing it’s way through and we’re hopeful the summer seems to have finally thought about beginning to arrive.

In aide of that I’ll leave you with a couple of songs for the weekend that should hopefully bring you some sunshine whatever the weather!

  1. Hozier – Jackie and Wilson
  2. Walk Off The Earth – Summer Vibe
  3. Lana Del Rey – High By The Beach
  4. Brandon and Leah – Life Happens (watch the video too!)
  5. OMI – Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)

Happy weekend everyone – happy adventuring.

The Craziest Roundabout in Europe

So as my stepdad and Mum are leaving Paris in a few months to head back down to South Africa, my stepdad said he didn’t want to leave without driving around the most mental roundabout in Europe. The Arc de Triomphe roundabout. *cue Bach ominous music*

I thought this was a fantastic idea and very quickly agreed we had to do it. So not long after the big breakfast I mentioned in my last post on the Saturday, we buckled up, dog and all, for what was going to prove to be one of the most fun and exciting driving experiences of my life! I’m getting bouncy just repeating it to you! So here goes…Nana’s even got dressed up for the occasion look…

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After a few quick snaps we set off. To promptly get stuck in a little French traffic.

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It thankfully got moving pretty sharpish, so we could start admiring the Big Lady in all her glory from afar..2015_1008EBAY0059

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Le Weekend, Paris

Bonjour everyone!

My last visit to Paris in a while was a rather special one and I’ve got a lengthy post planned for tomorrow where my stepdad and I ticked something unusual off the bucket list. So for today I’m going to give you the food and all the rest in between, and dedicate a special post to our unusual French activity. So you’ll have to come back you eager beavers!

It all kicked off after a late night of drinks with a glorious breakfast. Made by one of my favourite chefs, Ma herself. She always does an impressive spread.

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G’day! Australia General Updates

G’day from down under! We have successfully arrived in Melbourne.

Needless to say I’ve had a few weeks off, which I have to say I’ve really missed and I’m definitely sorry about. As it’s been a little while, instead of doing detailed daily posts, I thought I’d do one big fat general update on what we’ve been up to in between the boring knitty gritty stuff like looking for apartments, jobs, beds, tax numbers etc… Because I wouldn’t want to read about that, not being funny.

Frankly the stuff in between has been pretty awesome, and I believe one of us may have used to term ”besotted” to describe how we already feel about our new home. She’s rather a looker…

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But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Tintern Abbey, Wales

When Matt and I left Ireland (see related posts here, here, here and here!) we drove back via Wales. Yes, I know this post’s overdue, but it took me a while to get my mitts on the few photos we had.

Wales has always been particularly special to M as his grandmother’s Welsh and lived there for many years whilst he was growing up.

He spent many a summer enjoying their farm house in the countryside, and vividly remembers dragging his granddad back time and again to Tintern Abbey, near where they lived in the Wye Valley (both of us have a soft spot for castles and heritage sites, which I thought was a rather brilliant added extra when we got together).

He had recently gone past the Abbey on a driving tour late at night, when it was deserted and surrounded by a mystical fog.

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