Mount Macedon

Friday, 29 January 2016
Sundays are meant to relax, have a barbie with your mates, or adventures with your puppy dog! I love exploring the different areas of Victoria but I often feel quite guilty leaving my pup home alone when I have the day off. Being the owner of a border collie cross, it is important that my little guy gets enough exercise to be a tired pup because a tired puppy is a good puppy. As I love exploring, I thought it would be great to take Archer along on the adventures. Only downside, not everywhere in Victoria allow dogs even when they're on a lead. Luckily, Parks Victoria has a list of all parks dogs are allowed. I had wanted to visit Mount Macedon for a while and decided this would be the first adventure with Archer.


Sanatorium Lake
We started the adventure walking to Sanatorium Lake. Sanatorium Lake is a man-made lake that is apparently famous for the incredible reflections on the water. I'm going to have the take the internet's word for this one. When we visited, whilst the lake is quite impressive, appeared quite dirty so I did not get to experience the reflections as vividly described on other blogs and pages. Along the Sanatorium Lake, there is a trail that will take you all the way up to the Memorial Cross at the top of Mount Macedon. I probably should have taken this trail but alas, I will have to save it for another trip because I was feeling a little lazy. I wanted to make sure we had enough time to see everything!
The Memorial Cross at the top of Mt Macedon
After the walk along the Lake, we went up to the Memorial Cross atop Mount Macedon. All of the Mount Macedon Ranges are supposed to be dog-friendly however, the looks I was getting from people when they saw Archer made me feel like I was doing something illegal. He's a friendly pup so maybe they weren't expecting him to casually lick their hands as he walked past. Once we made it to the top, the view from the Memorial Cross was just breathtaking. It reminded me a lot of the Mount Soledad Cross in La Jolla, Ca. After grabbing some breathtaking shots, we decided to opt out of the hike down to Camel's Hump and instead drive.
One of the breathtaking views from Mount Macedon
Oh, the joys of taking your dog on adventures with you. I never realise how out of shape I am until I'm hiking up a steep incline, trying to keep my breathing steady, and Archer is running circles around me wondering what is taking me so long. The "walk" up to the hump is actually quite steep. I was struggling for a little bit until I saw an elderly couple marching on up like it wasn't a big deal and quickly got my act together. The view was just beautiful. I'm quite thankful I didn't let Archer off the lead like a few of the other dogs we saw. We ended up walking up to an area where we found a bloke rock climbing. Archer was clearly concerned for the man and kept whinging. I would have been worried that he would have tried to save him had he been off the lead (I have such a caring dog). 
Beautiful view from Camel's Hump
After exploring the Camel's Hump, we headed over to Hanging Rocks. When we got there, the place didn't appear to be too dog friendly. I decided that it was probably time we head home. I will definitely need to take another trip back to Mount Macedon just to see the Hanging Rocks. From what I've read, it sounds quite similar to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz but with more rocks!

If you've ever been to Mount Macedon, what was your favourite place? Let me know in the comments below! 


Until next time...
Stay curious!


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Adventures in Hong Kong

Wednesday, 27 January 2016
I was very excited to be travelling back to Hong Kong for the second time this year. Back in California, I frequently overlooked doing certain activities because I thought I would always have the opportunity to go. Things such as hiking to the Hollywood sign... I've never done that! That seems to be an iconic thing to do in LA. I mean everyone talks about going to LA and hiking to the Hollywood sign. I did not want this to be the case with Hong Kong. Although most of this trip to Hong Kong was spent finalising my paperwork to get back into Australia, I was able to appreciate some of what Hong Kong has to offer.



Exploring Hong Kong
As per usual, I did a lot of walking around the Elements building in Kowloon. During the summer months, the park near the Elements buildings puts on free events for locals. When we went to the event, there was a skateboarding competition as well as heaps of booths that had clothes, food, and crafts.

Free Happenings Event in Kowloon
Every night, there is a choreographed light and music show on the ICC building and the buildings that make up the Hong Kong skyline. The ICC building lights up at 7:45 and 9:00. Shortly followed by A Symphony of Lights at 8:00. A Symphony of Lights holds the record for "World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" by the Guinness World Records. There are various radio stations or telephone numbers that allow access to the music in a variety of languages.

ICC building


Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Hong Kong is also home to Hong Kong Disney. For those who may not know, I am a Disney fanatic! With all the outside stressors really starting to take a toll, Disneyland was the perfect place to relax and put me in a happy place. In case you're wondering, not all Disney parks are created equally. Each has its own unique identity that helps make each Disney experience different and memorable.

All "Disneyed" out

One of the biggest noticeable differences was that Hong Kong Disney is much smaller than Disneyland and DisneyWorld. With how busy it was, the smaller park worked to our advantage. I would have been really disappointed if I couldn't go on all the rides. I was really looking forward to going on the Haunted Mansion but this ride did not exist. Instead, Mystic Manor was the Haunted Mansions counterpart. This ride is located in Mystic Point (also not a land in the American Disney's). It was actually pretty freaking cool. I even jumped a few times. 

Really Goofy? 
Another awesome ride was the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Cars. We went on it a few times because it was so much fun! I was also super impressed with the Toy Story Land. Like other Disney parks, you become completely engulfed in the land you're in. It really was the perfect way to spend the day!

You're never too old to have an imaginary tea party with Alice!

Food
Anytime we go to Hong Kong a majority of the trip tends to revolve around eating. Don't get me wrong I LOVE food! But having food allergies (pork, fish), I sometimes worry what's in the food I'm about to consume. The other devo part about having pork as a food allergy is that I miss out on the amazing dumplings in HK. Why are there not beef dumplings? WHY???
Mmmmm....peking duck!
One of the biggest things I've missed about America is Sunday Brunch. Oh Hong Kong, you did not disappoint when it came to Sunday Brunch. We had one of the most amazing brunches I've had in a really long time. Not only was the food incredible, the view of the city was amazing! Unlike some of the brunches in the states, there were not little kids running around and screaming. It was extremely pleasant.

Scary baby head pot
I know there is still heaps for me to do in Hong Kong. Hopefully, I will be able to return to Hong Kong to explore some more. Going to the top of the peek on a clear day is definitely at the top of my list. 

Have any suggestions of what to see in Hong Kong? Let me know in the comments below! If you're curious as to what I did on my first trip to Hong Kong be sure to read: Gong Hey Fat Choy.


Until next time...
Stay curious!

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Weekend Getaway to Sydney Day 2

Friday, 22 January 2016
Things I learned whilst in Sydney: the weather here can be just as bipolar as the weather in Melbourne. My Sunday adventure was meant to be spent in the sun walking along the coast from Coogee Beach to the iconic Bondi Beach. The weather had other plans for me. The first part of the morning was spent raining and overcast. But that wasn't going to stop me. I took the short-ish Uber ride from Potts Point to Coogee Beach to start the walk. 

When I got to Coogee Beach, there was a market of some sort going on so I took a little time to check it out and grab some food. The market had live music, heaps of different foods, and craft vendors. I'm pretty sure I was supposed to pay to go in but I didn't figure this out until the end. There was a very little rope around the outside of the event that didn't exactly scream "Don't cross". After eating some butter chicken from one of the vendors, I was ready to start my hike to Boni. 
Right at the start
The Coogee Baths
The Coogee Baths were a little bit somber. At the archway leading down to the baths, there is a memorial for all those who died in the Bali Bombings. I was trying to figure out why the memorial was erected there, but I haven't really been able to find anything. From what I've read, there are quite a few memorial items for those who died in the Bali Bombings around Coogee Beach. 

Walking down to the baths, I decided to try my luck at photographing the water making it look glassy. I definitely failed at this but quickly turned my attention to a couple of crabs crawling along the rocks. This whole post could end up with images from the walk. Instead of overloading this post, I will post heaps to my Instagram for your enjoyment.
Splash!
Probably frowned upon to take pictures of a cemetery but its just so beautiful
There were so many amazing places along the walk to stop and just take in the natural beauty. Overall the walk took me maybe 2ish hours to get to Bondi. Honestly, I could be wrong as my memory isn't always the greatest. One of the strangest things I found in Sydney is that there are heaps of public pools right next to the ocean. It seems really odd to me. Why put in a pool when you have the ocean right there?
Bondi Iceberg Swimming Pool
The rest of the day was spent enjoying a nice lunch in Bondi before heading back to the apartment to pack. Catching one of the last flights out of Sydney was probably the greatest idea I had because it gave me so much time to explore. Curious about what I saw on day 1? Click here!

Have you ever been to Sydney? What were some of your favourite places to see?

Until next time...
Stay curious!


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Weekend Getaway to Sydney

Sunday, 17 January 2016
Am I the only one who experiences a crap ton of writer's block? Not in the normal sense that I literally don't know what to write about, but just that I have so many things I want to share that I have no idea where to even start. This tends to lead to me falling behind in my writing, feeling guilty I haven't written anything and then prolonging my motivation to actually write. If you do experience writer's block...how do you overcome it?

Back in September, I took a trip to Sydney for the weekend. This trip was spent mainly solo exploring all that Sydney has to offer. Who says that exploring alone needs to be taboo or a scary thing? I had an incredible time getting to know the city so many Melbournians despise.  





I got in super late which didn't leave much for the first night. Opting for Airbnb (which was an enjoyable experience), I avoided the hustle and bustle of staying in a hotel in the CBD or the craziness that can come from staying in a hostel. I was staying in Potts Point which actually was a pretty decent place to stay. The next morning I got a super early start to my adventure. I walked down along by the naval base before entering the Royal Botanic Gardens. Like every tourist ever, I wanted to see the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The walk took about 30 minutes even with me frequently stopping to take photos.

This was actually taken from the Harbour Bridge, not the Gardens
That day I clearly had lost my marbles as I decided to walk everywhere. After taking a few, very touristy shots of the Sydney Opera House from the Gardens I thought, "You know what? I'm going to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge...alone". 

For those of you who might not know this about me, I have a somewhat irrational fear of going over a bridge. The fear isn't as great when I'm walking because I feel like I have a bit more control but when I'm driving...It's pretty bad (I blame one of my firefighter ex-boyfriends for this fear). Before walking all the way to the bridge, I stopped for some lunch at one of the many outdoor cafes located by the Opera House. From memory, I want to say it was $15 for a pint of beer and a burger from the joint I stopped at. By Australian standards, this is pretty cheap. 

From there I continued my walk to the bridge. I ended up stumbling upon a charming outdoor market located close to the bridge. I spent some time here and ended up buying a cute little present for my dog (because who doesn't buy their dogs gifts when they go away for the weekend?).

I finally made it to the bridge. For the first few meters, I actually didn't have any issues. Once I reached the middle of the bridge though, I started having a little wave of panic roll over me. I was on the bridge, alone, slightly paralysed with fear when it hit me. I needed to put my big girl pants on and get over it. I was on the middle of the bridge. I couldn't stay there forever and let fear consume me. So I continued walking until I reached the end. I walked a little bit farther to Sydney's Luna Park. Not gonna lie, I enjoyed Luna Park. I took a bit of a rest before walking back over the bridge.
Isn't this just an amazing view?
The walk back through the gardens during sunset proved to provide some awesome pictures. That night was spent eating some amazing Italian food near Kings Cross. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant because it was really good! I capped off the night watching the Chelsea game at a bar before returning home for the adventures that awaited the following day. 

Find out how to make the most of 48 hours in Sydney by clicking here



Until next time...
Stay curious!

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Adventures in the Dandenong's: Olinda Falls

Thursday, 14 January 2016

My best friend on the entire planet recently came to visit which means I had time for heaps of adventures! I wanted to try to give her the best picture of what Melbourne had to offer (but also not repeat the same touristy crap I've shown other friends). Luckily she has a great sense of adventure and wanted to check out some of the waterfalls in Melbourne. The state of Victoria has heaps of breathtaking waterfalls which made narrowing it down a little complicated. We decided to go to Olinda Falls, allowing us the opportunity to stop elsewhere in the Dandenong Ranges. 
Getting ready to start the hike!
If you don't hike very often, Olinda Falls is a relatively easy hike to go on. There are two main view platforms: the upper falls and the lower falls. The upper falls is about a 350 m walk from the carpark. There really isn't an incline on this path so its a nice relaxing walk to see the top part of the falls. The upper view is definitely more of cascade than a falls but this does not take away from any of the beauty. 
The upper falls
The lower falls is an additional 140 m down stream. This path is quite steep. I was actually a bit surprised. I have unusually long legs and even I struggle to walk up and down the "steps" leading to the lower falls. My partner had no issues what so ever, so maybe I'm just not that coordinated. Once you're at the lower viewing platform, you're given a pretty spectacular view of the falls. 
Lower Falls. Next time I'll bring a tripod
The walk to and from the falls is breath taking. You're surrounded by massive ferns and gumtrees. Looking up, you feel quite small in comparison to the trees. 
The trees are so tall!
As this hike is relatively short, you can walk to and from the falls in about 30 minutes. There are other hikes to take if you're up to exploring. If you get to the Ranges early enough, you would easily allow ample time to explore other areas. We took advantage of our time and went to explore the William Ricketts Sanctuary after completing our hike to the falls.

Until next time...
Stay Curious!

Want to learn more about the Dandenong Ranges? Click HERE!

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