Tag Archives: travel

Hunter Valley adventures: Part 2

I have always thought of myself as a bit of a city girl.  I feel like I thrive in a big city and love the convenience and excitement that you feel when walking down a busy street.  But something about waking up in our cottage that was in the middle of nowhere, leisurely starting the day with no where really to be and jumping on our pushbikes to ride down the empty streets made me realise that I also really love the countryside.

Our second day in the Hunter began with a visit to Peppertree as the first winery of the day, and the boys encouraged us to take a ‘shortcut’ that involved riding our bikes across a field, throwing them over a barbed wire fence and then scaling the fence.  Of course they thought it was a great adventure, and we continued on our scenic ride, stopping for impromptu photo shoots and admiring the beautiful flowers that seemed to flourish everywhere that we went.

Peppertree Winery is set on the most beautiful estate surrounded by a lush garden and of course plenty of grape vines.

After making our way through the tasting menu and stocking up on a few wines, we headed to another winery that came highly recommended, Audrey Wilkinson.

The vineyard at Audrey Wilkinson is so picturesque. From the cellar door you can gaze out at the rolling hills covered in grapevines, and the tasting area was filled with light, made all the more enjoyable by the friendly and down to earth staff who were just keen for a good time.

We had a good laugh when a sign was whipped out to tell our friends that ‘pashing at the bar is not allowed’ resulting in some serious embarrassment for the couple in question.

We were surprised by some of the wines and took a liking to the sparkling muscato and a dessert semillion, but ended up leaving with a bottle of port.  After all the wine we were in desperate need of some food, so headed to a Thai restaurant for a spicy curry and an Asahi (yes, we were drinking beer in Hunter Valley, but we knew there was more wine to be had later on).

We headed home for a quick relax (stopping for a quick photo shoot on the way) and to get our matching shirts in time for the Crowded House concert.

A couple of wines outside our cabin and we headed towards Hope Estate winery on foot.  Unfortunately our dSLRs were not allowed in despite their lack of video capabilities (yet I was allowed to take my point and shoot in, which records video, and they said it was for ‘copyright reasons’… go figure!), so we don’t have many pictures from the concert, but we enjoyed gourmet picnic hampers and glasses of wine while listening to Kate Miller-Heidke and enjoying the last of the sunshine, before Crowded House began… right on sunset.

I have been to so many concerts and festivals that I cannot count, and have experienced some magical moments, but Crowded House really was up there with the best.  Their voices and musical talents were mind-blowing and we danced the night away under the stars, with glasses of wine in hand.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

When the night closed out with ‘Better be home soon’ and fireworks erupted over the vineyard, we stumbled through the dark fields back to our cottage, to consume another bottle of wine and start our bonfire.

The boys were struggling a bit trying to light huge logs just using a bit of cardboard from an old pizza box, so we gathered some dry small sticks and showed them how it is done.

Wow… that turned out bigger than expected… get me out of here!

We partied on into the wee hours of the morning at the local pub, reeking of bonfire, drinking very strong cocktails and dancing like no one was watching.  Needless to say, the next day was a little rough, and missing one shoe we headed back to Sydney.  We have a sneaking suspicion that the shoe may have been consumed in a late night bonfire session that involved the boys throwing on every flammable item in sight… but they won’t admit to it.

Rounding out a fabulous weekend, we flew home to Brisbane and tucked up in bed, dreaming of wine and Crowded House.

Photos from: my camera & taken by Kris

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Hunter Valley adventures: Part 1

If you follow me on twitter you will probably know that we had a fantastic weekend away in Hunter Valley about two weeks ago, yet I am only just getting around to blogging about it.  I have so many photos and stories to share from our fun-filled trip, hope you enjoy them!
After an early start on Friday morning to get to the airport in time for our 5:30am flight, we were a little concerned to hear our names broadcast over the loudspeaker, blasting out in Brisbane airport.

 

We tentatively approached the counter at our gate, hoping not to hear bad news, and were pleasantly surprised to be asked if we would like to be moved into the exit row.  Yes please!  Extra leg room!  Of course, it is always a little nerve wracking to be given responsibility for the safety of the entire aircraft, but with Kris on the window seat, I knew that we were in good hands.

 

The flight was surprisingly fast since I always seem to forget how quick it is to get to Sydney.  Flying with friends is so much fun, we chatted, giggled and generally annoyed the other passengers with our silly antics.  We thoroughly amused ourselves by watching Jerry Springer (Typical Jerry style, a girl was fighting her sister’s lesbian lover) and interpreting the safety diagrams far too literally.

 

The plan to fly a small plane out to Hunter Valley was quickly abandoned when the weather just wasn’t cooperating, thick rain clouds and strong winds just don’t mesh well with a small aircraft.  So a road trip it was, and we headed out towards Hunter with Crowded House blaring on the stereo.

We checked into a cute little cottage that felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, yet was in walking distance to a number of wineries and restaurants.

Since everything was so close, we had a romantic idea of riding bikes between wineries, so rented probably the shoddiest bikes I have ever seen, and in between the chain falling off and struggling with flat tyres and uncomfortable seats we had a good laugh and managed to burn off some calories before our first taste of wine.

Our tastings started at the famous Tempus Two, which was thankfully not busy at all, so we made our way through the sampling menu before deciding on a Pinot Gris.

Of course the Smelly Cheese shop next door was a must-visit, and we spent a little while in the fromagerie, cooling down after our bike ride, and making the very difficult decision about which of the wonderful cheeses to choose for our picnic.

We also visited Brokenwood Wines for another tasting, and came away with a Sangiovese, reminiscent of our winery tour in Tuscany.


After a grueling bike ride searching for another cheese shop that we aren’t sure even existed, we headed back to Tempus Two to make the most of their lush green lawn, with our smelly cheeses, olives and wine we had a fun-filled picnic, getting a little carried away checking into facebook places to make sure everyone who was still at work on a Friday afternoon knew what they were missing out on.

A low key yet delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant led onto the local cocktail bar, The Goldfish, but our early start left us without any desire to party on further than our first cocktail, so we tucked up in our little cottage and called it a day.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Crowded House concert…

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Lighthouse Love

Anyone who has heard of Byron will be aware of the iconic lighthouse, situated on the most easterly point of Australia.  Of course, a visit to Byron is not complete without at least one visit to the lighthouse, and you all know that Kris and I are keen for any photo opportunity.  Consider yourself pre-warned that this is a very image heavy, touristy post.

Waking up to a beautiful and sunny (yet windy) day, we decided it would be perfect for a hike to the lighthouse, and set off in our inappropriate footwear on a 3 hour journey.

It was a beautiful stroll along the ocean front, and we contemplated life, enjoyed the sunshine and laughed and joked, until we reached the more strenuous parts of the walk.

I picked up this dress and scarf at a little op shop in West End, and thought they were the perfect cover up for my new Minkpink swimmers.

Though, again, I’m not sure that this outfit was entirely appropriate for the massive hike.  After about 1000 stairs, we finally reached the lighthouse and stopped for a breather and to rest our weary feet, and of course to take some photos, and looked out at the ocean trying to spot whales.  Despite the hoards of tourists it really is such a peaceful and romantic spot!

As it was the middle of the day, the light wasn’t ideal for photos so we planned to come back for a romantic picnic at sunset, equipped with nice cheeses, salads and a bottle of Chandon (as we visited the winery on our first Valentine’s day together).  It was a perfect afternoon spent basking in the sun, chasing turkeys away from our picnic and taking photos.

As the sun set and the winds picked up it was freezing, yet we still thought it would be a great idea to come back at sunrise and make the most of the morning light.

It was SO difficult to wake up, but when we finally dragged ourselves from bed and snapped some stunning photos, despite feeling like an ice cube due to the Antarctic winds that cut right through our clothes.

After waiting what felt like hours, we were finally greeted by the morning sun.  It really was spectacular, it has been so long since I have watched the sun rise.

Thankfully we had a warm bed to return to before we actually got up to start a day spent eating good food, wandering around the markets, having a romantic dinner and partying with the backpackers.

When Monday came I really wasn’t ready to leave Byron, but placated myself with some op shopping.  Can’t wait to share my finds with you all.  Ok… you will be pleased to know that’s the end of our Byron photos!

Photos of me taken by: Kris

Photos from: my camera


Wearing:

Swimmers – Minkpink

Dress – Op shop

Scarf – Op shop

Sunnies – Suitcase rummage

Shoes – from Bali

Bag – ebay

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Byron Bed and Breakfast

The first thing I do when I check into accommodation is to grab the folder of information and make myself comfortable, reading up on what the place has to offer.  It didn’t matter that I have been to Byron Bay plenty of times, there is always something new to discover with each visit.

Our weekend was spent in the most perfect little B&B in the centre of Byron, Byron Bathers, and I cannot rave enough about the place.

Situated on a quiet little back street, Bathers is comprised of three double rooms and is really suited to a romantic weekend away, so it was perfect for us to celebrate our three year anniversary.  It was just a short stroll to restaurants and the beach and the people who run the place are so friendly, but also non-intrusive, leaving us to enjoy our holiday in peace.

Waking up to a fresh brewed coffee and a tray of breakfast waiting in the fridge was such a treat, and left us ready for all the fun and relaxation of our extended long weekend.

They must have read my mind as the greek yoghurt with passionfruit and the fresh banana muffin were exactly what I wanted to wake up to.

Finished off with a wonderful fruit platter… Oh I wish I could move in permanently!

Sorry for the quick post but I still have so much to share from Byron, and also just got my book order from Amazon and really want to get back to reading ‘If You Have to Cry, Go Outside’.

Photos from: my camera

Photo of me taken by: Kris

Wearing:

Trousers – Vintage

Midriff top – Minkpink

Belt – Vintage

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Click Click

We are back to reality after a fabulous long weekend away, and although I am glad to be back in my own bed, I kinda wish I could run away and live in a B&B in Byron forever.

Still feeling exhausted after an early wakeup call for sunrise photos yesterday, but it was well worth it so I can’t wait to go through and edit my photos.

I loved this piece of graff we found on our way to the Byron markets, so of course, in my usual fashion I wanted to share it with you.

Photos from: my camera

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Two veggos in Sydney

An essential for any holiday is good food.  A little research online is usually all it takes to pinpoint some decent places to eat, yet the research becomes even more important while looking for ‘veggo-friendly’ places, to avoid wandering around hungry looking at menus all day.

I know you are probably sick of reading about our Sydney adventure, but I just have to dedicate a whole post to food, and photos of course.

We ate at so many great places in Sydney, and my ‘to-eat’ list for breakfast places in Surrey Hills comprised about 10 cafes (a little excessive for 5 days I know).

I highly recommend all of the following:

fouratefive

Kawa cafe

Lumiere

Two Good Eggs

How cute is two good eggs, I wish it was our local coffee shop/brekky place.

All had outstanding coffee (take note Brisbane) and fantastic breakfast choices (and fouratefive even has Adriano Zumbo pastries in the window).

Dinners were a different story, as I had very few on our ‘to-eat’ list and we mainly relied on recommendations from friends.

One little place that was a ‘must-eat’ was Yulli’s.  You would literally walk straight past this place if you weren’t looking for it, and the sign is tiny, yet when we went on a Wednesday night it was packed out.

All of the food is vegetarian (though it is not marketed like a typical veggo place) and the beer list is phenomenal, and we sampled a number of different ones while making the difficult decision of what to eat, and savouring the first night of our holiday.  To top it off the owner is super friendly and stopped for a chat, laughing to see us return a few days later.

The salt and pepper tofu came highly recommended and was delicious.

The salad that goes along with it was so crunchy and full of flavour, it took over as the stand out of the dish.  We loved it so much that we ordered it again when we came back a second time (and I examined the salad closely to see if I can reproduce it at home).

We also went for the mini burrito plate that was perfect for sharing.  By this stage I was filled up on beer, but Kris continued and ordered the Massaman curry pie, of course I did the typical girlfriend thing and stole some off his plate – and I was glad I did because it was SO good!  I actually made a massaman curry tonight, and am so excited for the left overs in – you guessed it- a pie!

A bit of cheesecake and mulled wine topped the night off and we wandered home overflowing with excitement about the week to come.  Sydney certainly exceeded our expectations food-wise, with other notable meals at:

Il Baretto – sensational Italian food, well worth it if you have to wait for a seat (and make sure you order dessert!)

and

Devonshire Thai – cheap and tasty, everything that Thai should be (plus the drinks are super cheap)

And don’t forget the Adriano Zumbo pastries (do I look excited? haha)

I’ll leave you with some touristy shots from Bondi on the most windy day ever.

Food photos and those of Kris: from my camera

Photos of me: taken by Kris

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Stunt pilots

As you may have gathered from the iphone pic and my frenzied tweets, on our first day in Sydney our friend took us flying.

We had planned a scenic flight over the harbour, but with the strong winds and terrible conditions we were unable to use the ‘sight-seeing’ plane, so a quick change of plans had us heading to the aerobatic club.

At the mention of aerobatics I got a little nervous, but was excited at the same time, as I’m sure you can tell by the following picture.

As it was only a 2 seater plane, Kris was up first, and the boys returned beaming with excitement and gushing about how awesome their free-fall spin was.

Thankfully Yatesy decided against trying that one with me in the plane, though we did a few cool tricks that flew items all over the plane and kept us laughing the whole time.

It wasn’t until we had completed a few rolls, maneuvers and double loop the loops and were heading back to the airport that I realised my motion sickness might be a problem.  I literally cannot watch movies like Blair Witch Project or any kind of first person video game (I turned green when we watched Cloverfield, walked out and got our money back).  Thankfully we made it back to ground without me spewing in the plane, though it took me most of the drive back to actually feel normal again.

Unfortunately there is no way to get our video from facebook onto this blog, but trust me when I tell you it made me dizzy just watching it. Great fun though!

Photos of me: taken by Kris

Photos of Kris: from my camera

Wearing:

Jeans,  Lee

Blouse, vintage from the Valley laneway markets

Jacket, H&M

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