The Adelaide Adventures: What to See When You Only Have 48 Hours in Adelaide

Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Sometimes I wonder how time just seems to slip away! I had been doing so well with my writing and then BAM! I spend a weekend away, get slapped with a little writer's block, and next thing I know I haven't written anything in over a week. Please tell me I'm not the only person to feel there aren't enough hours in a day and that this year has just flown right by. I'm hoping that with my upcoming trip to Asia in a few weeks that I'll be able to get back on top of my writing.

Anyway, I recently went on my first trip to South Australia. As stated in a previous post (Dragon Heads, Koala Cuddles, and Sick Days), I had been planning to go to South Australia to actually hold a koala. This is what sparked the initial plan to visit Adelaide. We planned the perfect weekend to visit because it was the Port Adelaide vs. Adelaide 'Showdown'! Holding cute, cuddly koalas and footy! Is there anything more Australian?

Camel is not impressed with my lack of time...

Adelaide reminded me a lot of Reno in the sense that it's a "big" little town. As the capital of South Australia (side note: why is it South Australia? There's Western Australia and Northern Territory so why South instead of Southern?), one would expect it to be comparable to Melbourne or Sydney. However, Adelaide was very quaint! Much like towns in the south, most shops weren't open on Sunday, and everything seemed to close early. 

Maybe a Pelican dancing in the spotlight?

Gorge Wildlife Park
This is where we went to hold the koalas. It's about 30 minutes outside the CBD but totally worth it! There is a zoo within the city of Adelaide. If you hold a zoo membership in Melbourne, you're able to use this in Adelaide as well. However, I do believe there is an extra cost to hold the koalas. At the Gorge Wildlife Park, it is only $15 to enter with NO ADDITIONAL COST to hold the koalas! Not only are you able to hold the koalas, but there are also quite a few other animals that you're able to interact with included in the price of admission. Although it was a smaller wildlife park, I must say this is my favourite I've seen in Australia thus far!

Port Adelaide & Semaphore
Maybe it was because we went to Port during the winter, but it seemed pretty much like a ghost town. HOWEVER, do not let this deter you from visiting. The city was actually kind of cool, although almost everything was closed except the pubs. Be sure to keep a close eye on the water, and you're sure to see a dolphin or two! From Port, make the short trip down to Semaphore. Palais Hotel is a perfect place to catch a sports game or grab a quick bite to eat before watching the sunset over the ocean. 

LOOK! A dolphin!
Adelaide Night Life
Anyone who is everyone is out on Hindley Street on a Saturday night. Just past Rundle Mall, both sides of the street is lined with pubs, bars, and clubs. If you're unsatisfied with one venue just walk a couple of steps and try the next! Hindley Street has various locations to grab a bite to eat before partying the night away. We ate at the Black Bull Hotel. Honestly, the food was pretty good for pub food! The hotel also doubled as a nightclub. Once we finished eating, we just walked upstairs to hit the dance floor! Looking for a place where you won't hear "Doof Doof Doof" ringing in your ears for the next day and a half? Try one of the laneways. Peel Street had some pretty impressive bars that weren't too crowded and had a great atmosphere!

Adelaide vs. Port Adelaide 'Showdown.'
Two local teams always lead to a fantastic rivalry! After the death of Adelaide's Head Coach Phil Walsh, I was afraid the match would be quite a sombre event. Before the game, both Adelaide and Port Adelaide fans came together and marched from Rundle Mall to the Adelaide Oval to honour the late coach. The stadium was absolutely packed with fans (the largest attendance ever in the stadium). The game was one of the better I've ever seen! Both teams were playing to win, and it was friggin awesome! I didn't even care that Adelaide won and totally screwed my tips for the week (so close to a perfect close!).
Adelaide goal!!
Although Adelaide is no Melbourne, it is still a great place to visit! Definitely planning to go back to Adelaide in the future and explore more of South Australia. If you've ever visited South Australia or Adelaide (or have heard of some excellent places to see there), let me know so I can be sure to add them to the list and write about them in my next Adelaide Adventure! 

Until next time...
Stay Curious!


What It's Like to Celebrate the 4th of July in Another Country

Thursday, 16 July 2015

It's a triumphant display of spirited, star-spangled, passionate, summertime, All-American honourfest! Beware travellers to our great nation as it will look like a Crayola factory exploded red, white, and blue over every citizen in this beautiful country. It's a site to behold! Firework displays light up the skies at night entertaining all the families and drunkies alike. 

During the day, you'd be hard fought to find a playlist that didn't include some sort of song referencing America, BBQ food so delicious just thinking about it makes your mouth water, pool parties, beach going, and all types of people getting star-spangled schmammered enjoying their freedom ('Murica!). At the very least, its a day to relax with friends and family (and if you're lucky, get the day off!). It's the holiday of all the summer holidays! 

Fireworks and the American flag

But what happens when you find yourself in another country on this holiday? It isn't like Christmas or New Years. NOBODY outside of the U.S. celebrates the 4th (Does England have a sad memorial day for when they lost the colonies?). So what do you do? Prance around in an American flag t-shirt, drinking overpriced PBR and screaming "America! F*** YEA!!"? Chances are, you'd probably get smacked relatively quickly. Celebrating your culture isn't a crime, but people let's remember to be respectful of whatever country you're in. 

In Australia, its the dead of winter. Heaps of fun right? WRONG! You can't exactly prance around in a bikini, having a BBQ, in like 5 Celsius weather. So what do you do when you want to celebrate a day you've gone your whole life celebrating? IMPROVISE!! 

At first, I didn't really want to do anything for the 4th. Not because I didn't feel like I needed to celebrate my home country but mainly because I worked a lot during the week and was way too lazy to cook and party on the 4th. But naturally, my 'Murica kicked in and heck yes I wanted to celebrate my countries freedom! I thought we might be able to still BBQ, but unfortunately, it started raining, so it ended up just an inside gathering.
Happy 4th of July

What does one eat celebrating the 4th in another country? This one can be quite hard. I'm sure if I had actually put more than an 18-hour effort into the party, I could have rounded up all the tasty fixings typically prepared at my 4th shindigs. Luckily, there are a lot of similarities between Aussie and American foods. We ended up making Juicy Lucy Burgers (my special award-winning recipe), hot dogs, ranch (from scratch as the bottles are crap here), and Kool-Aid! All the beverages of the adult variety were American as well. I almost cried buying a 6 pack of Coors Light at the Bottle-O from AUD 20... I could buy a slab for that back home. 

Outside of the fact that I was in another country, there wasn't a massive difference in the celebration. Most years I spent with friends just enjoying life. That's exactly what was done on that day! Puppy got heaps of attention, I got to cook (LOVE IT!), and we got to hang out with good friends. It was very similar to Australia ('Straya) Day just minus the sun and warmth! 
$5 Bottomless Brunch Champagne = Freedom

On a random side note, I was a little nervous about going out that night. We did wear red, white, and blue but nothing too flashy. Most people thought I was Canadian until they realised it was July 4th and then quickly understood I was American. It actually wasn't scary at all. I was mildly shocked as a lot of people wanted to talk to us (we even got some drinks bought for us! Score 1 for America!). Overall, fantastic 4th of July!

Have you ever celebrated the 4th away from the US? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below! 

And until next time...
Stay Curious!


Great Ocean Road Adventures: Bay of Islands, 12 Apostles, & Cape Otway Lighthouse

Sunday, 12 July 2015
There is so much to explore along the Great Ocean Road that it can sometimes be overwhelming as to where to start. I wouldn't recommend trying to see everything in one day. It's impossible, you're going to rush, and you're going to miss out on a lot. One could probably spend a good week exploring the Great Ocean Road and still not be able to fully appreciate it. 

Luckily, I live in Melbourne which is almost a stone's throw away from the Great Ocean Road. There's no need to rush a trip! Depending on where along the Great Ocean Road your visit, it is roughly an hour and a half to 3 1/2 hours away from Melbourne. But where do you begin? 

My most recent trip along the Great Ocean Road was not my first. I've gone roughly a dozen times as Bell's Beach and Torquay Surf Beach are some of my favourite beaches to go surfing at. I absolutely love exploring here. Every time I visit (even if it's a place I've seen before), I'm always experiencing new things. A friend suggested taking a day trip to see the Bay of Islands, so we jumped in the car and drove to the far end of the Great Ocean Road.

Bay of Islands
First, a word of caution. Do NOT type Bay of Islands Coastal Park into Google Maps on your phone. If it's not trying to send you to New Zealand, the directions will end up taking you down this long dirt road that leads to nowhere. Although you will get a fabulous view of the ocean, you will have no view of the Bay of Islands. The road is filled with crazy potholes so if you have a little car (such as myself) do yourself a favour and just turn around! I have a feeling the locals are used to people getting lost down this road as we got a few smiles and chuckles driving back. 

Definitely not the right spot
You're better off just getting directions to Peterborough and following the signs. I'm euphoric we didn't give up after our 'slight' detour. I thought the 12 Apostles were impressive, but the Bay of Islands blows them out of the water. It's so breathtakingly beautiful! Plus you don't have to deal with the busloads of tourists. It's a bit quieter which makes the experience that much more incredible. 

Bay of Islands
There are two different lookout points: The Bay of Islands and The Bay of Martyrs. Both provide spectacular views of the amazing scenery. At the Bay of Martyrs, you're also allowed beach access (ocean tide permitting). Sadly, the beach access was closed when I visited, but I still got some fantastic views!

Bay of Martyrs

12 Apostles and Gibson Steps
Just a short drive south from the Bay of Islands is the 12 Apostles and Gibson Steps. Like the Bay of Islands, the 12 Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks created by erosion from the ocean. Not all 12 apostles currently stand. I believe only 4 are left standing. When visiting, be prepared for heaps and heaps of people. Even during the winter, there are always busloads of people. 

12 Apostles on a misty day
If you want a truly spectacular view of just how large these limestone stacks are, take a walk from the car park to Gibson Steps. It's about a 20-minute walk to get to the steps but well worth it! Make sure you're there during low tide as the steps close during high tide. Prepare to feel incredibly small as you walk along the beach admiring these natural beauties!

Gibson Steps

Cape Otway Lighthouse
After finishing up at 12 Apostles, we hopped back into the car and drove down to Cape Otway Lighthouse. From the 12 Apostles, it is about an hour and a half drive. There are other points of interest along the way, but we decided not to stop. Mainly, we wanted to see koalas in the wild. Guess what?! We found some!! After pulling the car over to the side of the road to see what people were pointing at, we found a whole heap of koalas sitting in a tree.

Koala in the Wild
It's a koala!
After our success with the koalas, we made our way to the lighthouse. I was under the impression that the lighthouse was free. However, there is a small fee for entry. Normally it is $12, but as we got there quite late, we received a bit of a discount (thank you to whoever was working that day!). 

At first, I found it strange that there was a fee to enter but quickly changed my outlook when I saw how much there was to do upon entry. Not only do you get to go inside the lighthouse but there is a cafe, different living quarters to explore, information about Aboriginal culture, and character actors that make the experience way more fun! 

Old Lighthouse house

Old Lighthouses

Lighthouses in Australia

Sometimes I wish there were more hours in a day or that I didn't have to work. I could visit the Great Ocean Road all the time and never tire of it. For a day trip, I highly recommend stopping at these three locations. I took this trip during the winter, but during the summer months, one can easily see these sites and finish the day up in Apollo Bay. Have you ever been down the Great Ocean Road? What are your favourite sites? Let me know in the comments below 

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

Looking for other adventures around Melbourne?


Making Friends As An Adult

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Soooo... I realise most of my posts revolve around awesome stuff in Australia and around the world, but I've also wanted to use this platform as a way to express what I've learned about myself while living overseas. One of the biggest realisations: I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS!! 

Let's make more friends by pinning this article!

Seriously, as an adult, it's difficult to make friends. You're no longer confined to a classroom of peers or in multiple after-school activities. When I first moved here, I thought to myself, "I know a few people, so I'll have no problem making friends." Here's the problem, most of my friends were holiday friends, not close friends I had known for a majority of my life. Sure, there's the occasional get-together, but when it comes down to that close-knit group of friends I had in the states, it's just not the same. 

So no one told you life was gonna be this way (clap, clap, clap, clap)

I work in a very isolating profession. I pretty much only interact 1:1 with kiddos under the age of 8 (oh yeah, my best mate still picks his nose). Most people can make friends at work, but that just isn't an option for me. Also, I have horrible social anxiety. If you don't know me, I'm insanely shy. Unless I'm comfortable around someone else in the group, chances are I won't talk much. After I'm comfortable, good luck shutting me up! So really...How does one make friends as an adult?

Get Over the Fear of Rejection

Just like most things in life, sometimes you're going to fail at making friends. I'm not saying every time you go out you're going to make new enemies and eventually be so lonely that you turn into a super-villain and try to wipe out Gotham City. There are just going to be people you just don't click with. It happens. So just be bold! Walk up to someone with no fear and say, "Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number so call me because I'm new to town and we should totally explore together and become BFFs!" Worse they'll say no and have Call Me Maybe stuck in their head for the rest of the night. Which comes to my next point...

Put Effort into Your Social Life

Have you ever been in the "talking" phase of budding new romance and then it just started to fizzle? Was it possibly because neither party was putting enough effort into it? The same goes for your social life. To make friends, you have to continuously put yourself out there. Meeting someone once is not always going to turn into a best friend/soul mate that you could never live without. Like romantic relationship...hell like fracking everything in life... new friendships need some attention. You need to be open and vulnerable and, of course, you have to BE YOURSELF! Keep up with it, and eventually, friendships will start to blossom. 

Hit the nail on the head there Bill

Hobbies, Hobbies, & More Hobbies

What better way to make friends then by finding people that share similar interests with you. Do you love hiking? Dancing around like you're Queen-B herself? What about underwater basket weaving? Chances are, other people in the city share your similar interest! Hobbies are a great way to meet people who share similar interests. Be bold! Sign up for that wine and painting class, a book club, walking group, or whatever else might interest you! 

There are quite a few apps that allow you to make friends. In Melbourne, I've found this was the best. At first, I was really hesitant to join this site. I swear everyone tells you about the horrors of the internet and how you should never do something alone...blah blah blah. Well when you live solo in a new city, you kind of have to do things alone. I gave this site a chance when I first moved to San Diego. After a few weeks of talking myself into going to an event, I actually had a bunch of fun! When I moved to Melbourne, I was definitely less hesitant to find some groups. You're able to select groups based on things you're interested in. It's brilliant! And after going once, you soon find out that there are plenty of other people in the same boat as you! 

The Cycle of Friends

Not all friendships are created equal, not all friendships last, and not all friendships are constant. Sadly, this is just a fact of life. Know that this cycle happens, and hopefully, you won't be so down on yourself. The positive to this cycle: it opens up the doors to meet plenty of new people and expand your horizons. 

The biggest thing I've realised is that you really need to PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! It's scary and mildly terrifying especially when you're in a city where you know absolutely no one. But guess what you're not alone! The more I've put on my big girl panties, faced my fears and attempted to make friends, the more I've truly begun to appreciate and enjoy the awesome city I live in! So here's to making friends in a new city or new friends all over the world! 

And until next time...
Shout out to all my friends back home!
Stay Curious!


Adventures in the Dandenongs: Sherbrooke Forest

Tuesday, 7 July 2015
When I first starting googling different waterfalls in Victoria, I found the closest one to me was in the Dandenong's. Let's be honest, when I saw it was located in Sherbrooke Forest, Robin Hood instantly popped into my head. Prancing through the forest, potentially having run-in's with men (who spontaneously burst into song and dance) in tights, and finding Sherbrooke Falls seems like a pretty solid way to spend a day! Like pretty much everything in the Dandenong Ranges, Sherbrooke Forest did not disappoint!

It's super easy to get to the start of the trail. Parking in the Sherbrooke Forest Carpark is the most convenient access to the hike. There are a few other carparks in the area that lead to the path, but it may take you a little longer. Make sure you look up Sherbrooke Forest Carpark in google, not Sherbrooke Falls. Googling Sherbrooke Falls in your phone will take you to the Dandenong Ranges National Park (Have fun at 1,000 Steps!). From there, just follow the trail!

Start to the trail
There's some fantastic scenery on the walk towards the falls. The trail isn't too long. Should only take about 30 mins to walk to the falls. I haven't been during the summer, but I would guess it gets incredibly hot! Fall and winter are pretty much the perfect time to go on these hikes. The Ranges aren't swarmed with heaps of people, and it's nice and cool for your walk! 

Even on misty days, it's beautiful!
You feel so small among the massive trees.

The Sherbrooke Forest trail is relatively short, but there are quite a few other trails that connect to this one at one point or another. If you find you haven't satisfied your hiking thirst, jump on one of the other trails. There's plenty to explore in the Dandenong Ranges. 

Even the trees have eyes.
Very colourful mushrooms on a tree
There's a bridge that gives you a glimpse of the falls. From there, the brave take the trail less travelled to get a closer look at the falls. Trust me...its worth it! You may have to sneak under a railing, but life is sometimes better off the beaten path. 
The calm before the falls
Just breathtaking!
Told you its worth it!
All this is just a 45-minute drive from the city! How could you not want to take advantage of this! It's a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Some fresh air, lovely scenery, and even a little bit of exercise...where's the downside? 

Have you been hiking in Sherbrooke Forest? Let me know what you thought about it in the comments below! If not, what has been your favourite hike? 

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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Adopting a Puppy: The Good, the bad, the Adorable!

Sunday, 5 July 2015
Recently my time has been entirely consumed by the newest member of the family: Archer. Archer is the cutest 5-month-old Border Collie cross you could ever meet. I haven't had a pet in quite a while and definitely missed it. 

The past week has been spent giving the little guy heaps of attention and training him. I must say, it's been a while since I've trained an animal, but Archer is one smart cookie (Can anyone tell I'm a wee bit proud of my puppy?)

Hello World! I'm Archer!
Needless to say, this little man has been consuming my time. He's been going on heaps of walks and learning to walk on a lead. Still working on little Archer's attention when he interacts with other dogs but luckily, he's super friendly! Unfortunately, he hasn't quite figured out his name, so his recall doesn't exist. It's a little scary, so he hasn't been off-lead unless he's at the dog park. 

I like to bark and attack the ocean.
The only problem with the new pup, he likes to chase cars... Still working on that one... If you have any advice or tips on how to break this behaviour, please leave them in the comments below!

With most of his training, he's caught on super quick! He's only had a few accidents in the house, but we're going to blame those on mum and her not sticking to the schedule. Like most Border Collies, Archer struggles with anxiety. Finding ways to keep him active and engaged when no one is home has been interesting. 

One of the most helpful ways to keep this little one distract is feeding him out of puzzle toys. What used to be a few minute feed has now lengthened to a few hours. Longer time focused on getting to his food means less time for the possible destruction of the back yard. 

Don't worry mum, I'll protect you!
I promise I will get back to writing soon! I'm sure this little guy will make an appearance in the future as well. Heck, he can go on heaps of adventures with me! Do you have a pet? Write about them below to share stories about your furbaby! 

And until next time...
Sleepy puppy
Stay curious!