Adventure, baby!


Easter 2009 – Great Ocean Road, Day 2

Today we planned a day of nature. We drove the long way to Otway Fly, a walk through the national park that includes a boardwalk through the trees. There were lots of people there unfortunately, which ruined the ambiance somewhat, but it was still a majestic walk through the treetops, looking at some amazingly tall trees and huge ferns.

Our next stop was Triplet Falls, a bush walk that wound past three waterfalls.
We had hoped to visit another waterfall after this, and drove there quickly as the sun was starting to sink in the sky. We figured we had about 30 mins until the sun set, so dashed through the bush trying to find the waterfall before the sun completely set and we were left in the dark in the bush. It was a little like being in a movie where the main characters do something completely stupid, like run into the bush at sunset with no phones, torches or supplies and then get eaten by rodents of unusual size … after about 15 minutes of running through the bush and still not finding the waterfall, we admitted defeat and quickly returned to the car – just in time to get back to the road before dark completely fell.
Dinner was at one of Apollo Bay’s most highly recommended venues, Buff’s Bistro, an Italian / contemporary Australian little place that was booked out solid the whole time we were there. The food was delish, the staff friendly and the wine they served was local and matched well to the meals. Yum!

Easter 2009 – Great Ocean Road, Day 1

For our first Easter weekend for just the two of us, we decided to drive the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. We flew down to Avalon Airport after work on Thursday night and spent Good Friday checking out Geelong (what’s with the weird peg people?) and then driving along the coast.

We had a quick stop at Torquay, then drove on to Bells Beach, where the Rip Curl Surf Pro was being held. We stopped off for a while and watched the grommet competition that was being run at the time. Next stop was Anglesea for lunch and a play on the beach, followed by a stop off at Airley Inlet lighthouse, which was used in the TV series “Round The Twist”.

It was then a windy drive to out evening accommodation in Apollo Bay. The road hugs the coast line so the whole drive is amazingly picturesque. Somewhere along one of the endless stretches of road we saw a few people had pulled their cars over and we standing around pointing their cameras into the bush. Being the stickybeak I am and always after a good photo, I pulled over also, and found that they were photographing koalas in the wild – right by the side of the road!

The koalas were sooo cute. Sleepy, grumpy little people. and they were really close to is – so close I could have reached our and given one a little pat if I didn’t think it might have gouged my eyes out for waking it from its eucalyptus-induced coma.

We spent tonight and the following night at a cute little BnB called Captain’s On The Bay – highly recommend.

Oh hai! Don’t disturb my nomming!

Canberra – Day 2

It’s off to the National Art Gallery to see the Degas exhibition. It was definitely worth the long drive down! We joined a tour group and learned a great many things about my favourite artist.

Following the art gallery we took a walk around the Old Parliament House Gardens and had a look at the hundreds of roses that are planted there.

A visit to our nation’s capital isn’t complete without a trip to Parliament House. We had a quick look around, walked over the top, and stopped for lunch. We hadn’t intended to stop there at all, but I’m glad we did as I found it really interesting.

Last stop in the Berra before our journey home was at Koko Black, a chocolate cafe recommended to me by a work friend. It’s a Melbourne company and has yet to open in Sydney. I was a bit of a glutton and ordered way too much, but I wanted to try a few things.

I wasn’t disappointed that’s for sure! The ice chocolate I had was amazing and filled with two different types of ice-cream. Alec’s ice coffee was also great, and the ice-cream martini we shared was absolutely fantastic.


I can’t remember the full name of this, but it was a delicious caramel ice-cream made on the premises with coconut and chocolate and possibly something else.

Gone in 60 seconds!

Lots more chocolate!

After Koko Black we slowly drove back to Sydney … after an immensely enjoyable Canberra mini-break.

Canberra – Day 1

Alec and I drove down to Canberra to check out the Degas exhibition for the Australia Day long weekend.

It’s a loooong drive from Chatswood, so we drove to Warwick Farm Friday after work, and then set out this morning so we didn’t have to rush.

We arrived in the Berra around lunch time and went straight to the Australian War Memorial.

I found the war memorial very interesting – there was so much to see however, we ran out of time. A highlight was watching the lone Scot piper playing a lament at the tomb of the unknown soldier – very moving.

After a solemn afternoon we had dinner and raced to Telstra tower to catch the sunset. We were a little late and only caught the last light of the day, but it was still a great view.

Off To Newcastle!

Jan’s birthday called us back north to “Poo-castle”, as Alec likes to call it, so we went on a road trip that was adventure plus, but relaxation zero!

On the way up we discovered this amazing French patisserie at Lindfield, directly across from the station on the Pacific Highway. We were were driving north when we passed it, and decided to turn around to go back for cake, we didn’t think about how difficult it is to do such a basic maneuver on the Pacific Highway. It took us about 20 minutes to get back to the store – so note to anyone going here and overshooting the store, just park the car and walk back, no matter how far it is!

Window filled with goodies.

Cakes! I want them all …

Front counter filled with tasty things.

Close-up of the tarts we ate for breakfast.

This rabbit cookie was so tasty! Buttery without being overly buttery like shortbread. It was perfect to go with a milky tea or hot chocolate.

It was storming in Newcastle, so we stayed in most of the day, and head out to the centre of town for dinner. We didn’t book a table anywhere – BIG MISTAKE! Every single restaurant was packed, and the one we wanted to go to was booked out for the night.

Strolling back down the street we passed this little Thai place. It also looked busy, but being in the mood for Thai (or at least, I was!), we gave it a go. Even though this place too was completely packed out, they squeezed us in.

Benjamas Thai Restaurant

Alec and the birthday girl.

A whole page of vegetarian options – yay!

Cute table setting.

Busy, busy, busy!

Vege spring rolls. Light and delicious!

My vege pad see ew – amazing! The best Thai I have had in a long time.

Beef pad see ew for the carnivores.

Thai fried rice.

Satisfied and ready for cake!

We bought a mango cake from the patisserie as well – thick slices of mango layered over cream and sponge cake. OMG so delicious.

Layer of cream and mango in the middle too!

Christophe’s Patisserie Francaise
364 Pacific Hwy
Lindfield, NSW
(02) 9416 3883

Benjamas Thai
100 Darby St
Cooks Hill, NSW
(02) 4926 1229

Lindeman Island Day 4 – Aquatics

Our last day on the tropical island. I hadn’t even had a swim yet so the order of the day was water play.

After asking around we found out that there was some snorkeling to be done off the pier at low tide, so we filled in the morning with other water activities.

Canoeing around the island. We wanted to paddle to the island in the distance but were only allowed to go in a certain area. Staff members on speedboats were at the ready to stop any wanders trying to step foot in the island. That’s one of the annoying things about Club Med, so many rules!

Giving my waterproof camera case a workout.

In the pool practicing for netball. Shot!

Snorkeling time!

The view back from the pier of the resort.

Under water. It was very cloudy with very poof visibility. I got freaked out by not being able to see anything and had to swim back to shore. I’m such a wimp!

The forbidden island.

We spent the afternoon reading and chilling out, then head off to the eighth hole on the golf course to watch the sunset.

The most beautifully situated golf course in the world?

Romance was in the air.

Nothing to do but watch the sun going down over tropical islands. Ahhh bliss.

Alec participates in a game where the object was to hit the ball close to the hole in the far distance. Nice swing Alec!

Bye island holiday!

Lindeman Island Day 3 – Relaxing

With no obligations today, we were free to relaaaax.

The view from our window.

I thought it would be a great idea for another bush walk – this time up to the top of the mountain on the island to admire the amazing view. It was about a 9km round trip, so it was a decent effort at exercise on another super steamy day.

Well worth the trek for the view.

Cooling down.

And chilling out.

Little fellow who hitched a ride on Alec’s arm.

Drinking cocktails in the bar after our arduous climb.

A dip after lunch for further cooling.

Very conveniently located bar.

The peering statue that reminded Alec of me.

The foreshore of the resort.

Lindeman Island Day 2 – The Wedding

The day started hot and humid, so we decided to go on a bush walk through the national park lands to see Coconut Beach. When we asked staff for directions, they looked at us with some puzzlement … which we later realised to be because they were wondering why we would want to trek though the bush on a day so humid most people didn’t leave the pool?!

The walk was beautiful. Extremely hot though, so we were sweating profusely after about five minutes of walking.

Cute bird – we saw them all over the island. They had cute little tail feathers that flicked up and down when they ran.

Lake with water lilies.

Finally, Coconut Beach!

Woo hoo!

Ahem …

It looks a lot more overcast here than it actually was.

Our walk was a bit longer than expected and we indulged a little too much at lunch – making us almost miss the wedding. A stressful half hour ensued where we washed sea salt out of our hair, threw on clothes, and ran up several hills in our party clothes to make the ceremony. We were on time, but were sweating a lot! On the plus side, if gave me a chance to try out my strategy with my new silver slingbacks that refuse to stay on. I bought some ribbon and tied them around the shoe – and they stayed on like a dream, even running – uphill!

The ceremony. Candice looking radiant with her new husband, Matt.


In front of the golf course following the ceremony, in a fit of romance.

After the 2pm ceremony there was a gap of three hours before the reception, so we went back to the room, showered again to remove the sweat, and relaxed. If felt much better getting dressed again in the cool early evening with plenty of time to spare.

The reception set up – all white candles and lace. Very pretty and elegant.

Cute little cupcakes.

Entry of the bridal couple.

Alec looking happy and relaxed.

Dessert tasting platter.

Us with Kat, one of Candice’s oldest friends, and Sarla, a friend from ACP.

No explanation needed. I can’t help myself.

Alec wonders why it took so long for the flash to go off.

Happy happy day!

Lindeman Island. Day 1 – The Journey

My dear friend Candice decided to get married on Lindeman Island in the Whitsundays, Queensland.

Candice and I have been friends for almost eight years. We met in a Latin hip-hop class at the beginning of 2001 and have been close ever since. When the call came in that Candice was getting married, on a tropical island, at first we thought it would be way out of our price range. Luckily, Candice’s family managed to get us amazing deals to stay, so we were able to go to the wedding.

Bye Sydney!

Hello tropical islands!

We had a stop over on Hamilton Island for a few hours before our ferry left for Lindeman. Not much to do when you’re just stopping over, so we had some ice-cream and vegged.

Hamilton marina


Happy day! Love going on holidays.

Sun setting as we leave the bay.

Purty! Bye Hamilton.

On Lindeman, dressed for our first night out – the group dinner before the wedding the next day. Alec looked very handsome.

Father’s Day in Newcastle

The sun came out and we made the long drive to Newcastle to see Alec’s dad on Father’s Day.

We stopped at a little cafe on Darby Street called Anacapri – it was completely packed, always a good sign.

Open windows, nice airy feel.


Alec ponders his meal choices.

Roasted vegetable salad with rocket, balsamic, fried fetta and pine nuts. The fried fetta was a brilliant addition.

I had a vegetarian breakfast – scrambled free-range eggs with fetta and spinich, corn fritter, grilled tomatoes and thick toast. Delicious and filling.

The outside area leading to the courtyard, where we sat.

Alec’s fish and wedges.

Exit time!

After eating we head on down to Nobby’s for a walk in the lovely weather. I loved this area that was a dog beach – so many happy little dogs all in one area, it really made my day.

We also saw a pod of dolphins in the harbour. An odd choice of venue for dolphins, but it was amazing to see them there.

Stelth shot of an Afgan Hound – with a close hair cut. I’ve never seen one of these as a pet before.


Crazy wind makes my hair go nuts.

Alec and his dad – Happy Father’s Day!