I like to book trips so far in advance that even the nine-month notice period of a wedding invitation wasn’t enough to curb an overlap. We had booked a glamping experience on the south coast of NSW for three nights (Monday to Thursday) and had initially planned to drive down from Sydney over the weekend, stopping in with friends and family along the way. The wedding was on Sunday…in Geelong. So, we kept our accommodation and started the drive on Thursday…
Thursday: Sydney -> Canberra
Friday: Canberra -> Paynesville
Saturday: Paynesville -> Geelong
Monday: Geelong -> Tanja Lagoon Camp
Tuesday: Tanja Lagoon Camp
Wednesday: Tanja Lagoon Camp
Thursday: Tanja Lagoon Camp -> Sydney
While it’s no secret that I love a road trip, this was a particularly wonderful one. Apart from the thrill of spending the night with a wonderful friend (Paynesville), having the privilege of witnessing one of my dearest friends tie the knot (Geelong) and getting to spend my best friend’s Birthday with her in one of the most beautiful locations (Tanja Lagoon Camp), we got to drive some of the most stunning landscapes in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria.
Turning off the Hume Highway to Queanbeyan in the gorgeous glow of golden hour; making our way down a deserted Monaro Highway early in the morning; weaving through the country with sprawling fields of golden canola; winding up the coast with turquoise waves crashing on pristine white sand. Just perfect.
Golden hour down this tree-lined stretch of road.
Rainbow lorikeets in Paynesville.
I lost count of how many birds flew in.
Canola fields under gorgeous skies.
Perfect metaphor for a wedding day.
First sunset at Tanja Lagoon.
Tinnies by the lake.
Kayaks by the lake.
Birthday hike to the beautiful and deserted Middle Beach.
Last sunset at Tanja Lagoon Camp.
Reflections at Tanja Lagoon.
Reflections at Tanja Lagoon.
Sunrise at Tanja Lagoon.
I’ve been to Brisbane a few times over the last decade or so but I’ve never actually spent time in South Bank, an area to the south of the CBD and river. While I’m not sold on the “beach”, I loved the rest of the public space: walkway along the river; playground; archway draped with bougainvillea; and a swimming pool which boasts excellent views of the city. With only 42 hours in the Queensland capital, I made the most of the gorgeous weather and racked up a few different effects on the DSLR.
Looking back to South Bank from Victoria Bridge.
The Wheel of Brisbane.
The Wheel of Brisbane by night.
The archway draped in bougainvillea.
Sunrise silhouettes from South Bank.
Flowers on the banks of Brisbane River.
The pool with the best view of Brisbane city.
Cheers, South Bank!
Every now and then, I’ll tag along with one of my friends who likes exploring areas of Sydney (and beyond) that have randomly popped up in one of her social feeds. We never know if the effort is going to be worthwhile but, at the very least, the adventure will make for a great story.
One Saturday, she picked me up at 5am and didn’t drop me home until 7pm. Everything in between was soaking up the south coast of NSW, including sunrise, beaches, hikes, cliffs, rocks, ocean, waterfalls, and sunset, as well as some of the most beautiful roads and scenery:
– Sea Cliff Bridge
– Port Kembla beach
– Nellie’s Glen
– Kiama Blowhole
We hugged the coast, we went inland; we saw the ocean stretch on for miles, we saw trees stretch up for metres; we saw the ocean creating salty spray and crashing waves on the rocks, we saw freshwater winding its way through the forest and cascading down in beautiful waterfalls; we saw the sunrise out of the ocean, we saw the sunset behind the mountains.
It’s hard to believe that just 60-90 minutes out of Sydney lies such varied and stunning scenery. From the beautiful engineering feat of the Sea Cliff Bridge to the gorgeous colours from a sunset at Bombo quarry, this was a gorgeous day. Who says you can’t wanderlust after your own backyard?
Sunrise behind the Sea Cliff Bridge.
Sunrise in front of the Sea Cliff Bridge.
Beautiful, lush vegetation in the forest.
“The sea was angry that day, my friends.”
Contemplating thinking about thinking.
Last rays of sunlight on the cliff and spray.
Silhouettes against sunset.
Dusk overlooking the ocean.
Despite my parents meeting in the Navy and having an affinity with the open water, my sea legs have let me down on two ocean-bound occasions. The first was when said parents encouraged my brother and me to join them as they sailed their yacht from Rose Bay to Kogarah Bay. We both spent all the time beyond the heads unceremoniously sick over the side while I’m sure our kin questioned their paternity. The second was when my best friend and I finally made it to the Great Barrier Reef but the water was so choppy that the majority of us lost our breakfasts before we even arrived.
That’s all very well and good, but what does that have to do with cruising? Please understand my full dilemma when one of my best friends proposed the idea of a short cruise for her 40th Birthday. There’s no way I would have turned her down (partly due to friendship, partly due to the explorer within, partly due to FOMO) but the idea of being trapped on a ship at sea for three nights with my track record was not an ideal scenario.
I am happy to report that I made it! I was not ill (or even really queasy) and it was a wonderful weekend away. All the assurance I had been given in regards to the size of the ship making it a mostly smooth ride were on point. In fact, I’d highly recommend it for something different and am glad to have crossed “cruise” off my experience list. Would I do it again? Probably not, unless it was another short one (at a bargain price) or the destination called for it (eg. Antarctica). I think more than four nights would get pretty repetitive (mostly in terms of activities and food) and I’d rather save time at sea by taking a flight.
That said, I had a great time. Sailing out of Sydney Harbour on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon was a wonderful way to kick off the getaway. And it’s pretty great to spend a weekend watching ocean sunrises and sunsets; being mesmerised by the ocean without land in sight; trying lots of different types of food (in casual or more formal settings); and I am always up for a round of bingo or trivia.
Cruising out of Sydney Harbour and past the city.
Exictement levels as we approach Sydney Harbour Bridge are through the roof.
Seeing the rising moon as we pass underneath The Coathanger.
Waving to the bridge climbers as they begin their sunset ascent.
Honestly, a cruise out of Sydney is worth it just for the sunset departure.
Beautiful skies silhouette Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Fairy floss clouds basking in ambient light.
Cityscapes and silhouettes.
Hornby Lighthouse at the South Head entrance to Sydney Harbour.
Forced perspective brings Sydney Tower right up to Hornby Lighthouse.
Hornby Lighthouse in the foreground, Sydney Football Stadium in the background.
One last glimpse of the city and the sunset sky as we sail into darkness.
First sunrise at sea.
Beautiful colours and textures in the ocean.
Salt Grill lunch for the Birthday Girl. DELICIOUS.
Possibly the most spectacular ocean sunset I have ever seen.
Clear skies at sea make for a beautiful moon.
Second sunrise at sea was marred by clouds.
Sydney city at dawn.
Third and final sunrise onboard as we pull into Sydney Harbour.
I love starting my day with the dawn. Even on the chilliest of mornings, the promise of golden hour can usually rouse me from my warm bed and down to the beach or the park (or the balcony, if I’m feeling particularly lazy) to bask in some beautiful early morning rays before continuing on with my day.
The approach of winter solstice means my chance of seeing the sun actually rise becomes almost impossible on weekdays and means a tiny respite (sleep-in) on weekends. Still, there’s no denying it’s a gorgeous time of day:
The event which prompted one of the biggest trips I have ever done was a wedding between two of my best and closest friends who moved to London at the beginning of the year. As one of their bridesmaids, I got to be present for the whole wonderful day, which began in Cambridge, a place to which I’d never been. Wandering the streets for photos before the ceremony was such a lovely way to be introduced to this beautiful little city.
Last December saw me on my third visit to New York City and it amazes me that I can have a completely different experience each time I’m there – even in the same places!
On my first trip, we stayed in the heart of Times Square and it was overwhelming. Perfect introduction to the city that never sleeps, especially since we pulled out all the tourist stops (Rockefeller Centre, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Broadway, helicopter ride, etc.) but I wouldn’t do it again.
The second time, we rented an apartment in Spanish Harlem and pretended badly to be like ‘real’ New Yorkers by catching the subway, shopping for groceries at the local market, and going to see a Rangers game.
I have always wanted to be in Manhattan for Christmas (and, let’s be honest, as someone who was brought up in Australia, I was also hoping for my first White Christmas) so being surrounded by one of the most incredible cities in the world at such a magical time of year was amazing in its own right.
But we took full advantage of the time of year and checked off all the quintessential tacky Christmas in New York items; Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, Bryant Park Christmas Markets, Christmas Lunch at the Central Park Boathouse, Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree, Macy’s windows…
While we didn’t get a white Christmas, we did get beautifully crisp, sunny days on which to check out Central Park, The High Line, Grand Central, and the awesome NYC streets and scenes. It will be a hard holiday season to top.