MORE MOUNTAINS // Mount Buller, Australia

I am back to catch up on my last outstanding collection of photos, as this time next week Chris and I are going to be in Oman! We can hardly contain our excitement – every time we come home from work at the moment our greeting is usually along the lines of “X days left” or “holy %$& I am ready for a holiday”. So close, yet so far.

These photos are from a hike on our second day in Mount Buller. We were treated to picture perfect weather, to make up for our disastrous hike in the rain the day before.

We took on the 16km return hike from Mount Buller to Mount Stirling, via Cornmill and Howqua Hut. The tracks were easy enough to hike along, being predominately 4WD and fire tracks, but what we missed in technicality was made up for in ascent – it was a long, arduous climb up from Howqua to Mount Stirling!

At least the views 100% made up for it. We had unobstructed 360 degree views of the surrounding alpine region and it was pure magic.

Looking back across to Mount Buller resort – and realising that we had to walk all the way back!

We didn’t encounter many other hikers on our walk, however we were overtaken by a couple of trail runners, who apparently ran up Mount Stirling like it was nothing.

Photo out takes – this is real life! Obviously Chris is still working on his “instragram husband” game and I am just very uncoordinated.

Having been to Mount Buller and Mount Buffalo in recent months I am truly inspired to see more of the Alpine region. I should probably visit in winter and see what all this skiing business is about (or so my brother keeps telling me), but I would love to hike up Mount Feathertop and Mount Bogong as part of my 52 hike challenge. If you have done these hikes, do you have any hot tips?

In the mean time, I am off to pack my bags and dust off my passport – I will be back with a truly ridiculous amount of photos from our travels soon!

– Reanna

Advertisements

PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE // Mount Buller, Australia

Tonight I am sitting at home, and taking in solace in the fact that it is now a mere two weeks before Chris and I jump on a plane for our three week holiday around the Gulf and the Caucasus. The Lonely Planet guide I bought for Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan arrived yesterday and it was a struggle to put it down and leave for work this morning!

Two weeks until holidays also means two weeks to catch up on all the other photos I have from various adventures, so I can clear out my camera for the two million photos I plan on taking whilst we are away. These photos are somehow already a month old – does anybody else feel like 2018 is just flying by?

A few weekends back we spent a brief (well, briefer then we had originally planned!) weekend away in the Alpine region at Mount Buller. Known for its ski village, it is also a beautiful area to explore in Summer. Not that Chris or I had been in winter to have anything to compare it with.

We free camped about half an hour away from the village, but spent most of out time hiking around the mountain. On the Saturday afternoon we managed to squeeze in a hike up to the summit of Mount Buller whilst watching some ominously looking clouds roll towards us.

The hike was fairly short and sharp, but provided us with some stunning views of the surrounding region. How small the world is!

Clearly I am still failing at the whole ‘posing’ thing.

Perhaps I will just stick to sneaky photos of Chris from behind!

I had originally planned that we might extend our hike with a detour to Little Mount Buller, but a) we couldn’t find the trail head, and b) the heavens opened up and we were absolutely drenched within five minutes. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we had remembered our rain coats (in the car, of course!) or I hadn’t been carrying my camera (I really need to invest in a good case for it).

After half running half limping back to the car in the rain we dried off as best we could, only for the rain to let up and the sky clear. Not wanting to waste our time on the mountain, I dragged us around the village for another small walk. How could we not, with these views?

The stupidity of our unpreparedness for the weather was not lost on us, so I had to laugh and snap the above picture of our clothes drying out at the camp site. All I could think of was my brother, who works in the outdoor education sector, repeating “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”.

We learned our lesson!

– Reanna

HIKE DIARIES, EPISODE #474 // Sugarloaf Reservoir, Australia

I am totally joking with the title of this post – I am just making fun at myself for my current constant stream of hike related posts at the moment!

Whilst it probably doesn’t make for exhilarating content, all these hiking posts are a current representation of what I have been getting up to in my spare time. The rest of my life is a revolving door of work, coffee, and sleeping, which is far less exciting content!

These photos are form hike 4 out of 52, the 15km circuit around Sugarloaf Reservoir. I had relatively low expectations for this hike, but it ended up being an enjoyable and varied hike that was long, but not challenging.

It was only an hour’s drive from Melbourne, and offers some decent views of the Yarra Valley and the reservoir itself, which supplies water to Melbourne. We didn’t encounter any other people on the hike, only people picnicking at the various car parks. Oh, and one snake!

As you can probably tell, I am not a natural in front of the camera. What do I do with my arms?! Do I smile? Should I pose, or look over my shoulder?!?!?! My awkwardness combined with Chris’ eye rolling behind the camera makes for a hilarious attempt at a nice photo!

Seeking shade under a tree, and reaching the point of exhaustion that is further exacerbated by realising you are only halfway around the lake. Whoops!

Whilst not the most picturesque hike, it was enjoyable and easily accessible from Melbourne. The looming grey clouds in all my photos don’t do much to help the ambience, either!

If you have any good hiking recommendations in Victoria, I would love to hear!

– Reanna

FRUIT & FORESTS // Brisbane Ranges National Park, Australia

Well, once again I return with another hiking related post! Now that I am doing the 52 Hike Challenge there may be a common theme of hiking. It has only been a few weeks but already I am thoroughly enjoying the process of trying to find a new hike every week and seeing so much more of the areas surrounding Melbourne.

Last weekend I chose the Brisbane Ranges National Park for a hike. But before we hit the trails, we made a quick detour for some fruit picking!

Somehow the idea of us going berry picking had been floating around my head for a few weeks, so when Chris suggested we find a place on our way to the Brisbane Ranges it took me all of 0.5 of a second to agree. The Brisbane Ranges are only an hour west of Melbourne, and are located near the town of Bacchus Marsh, which is apparently known for fruit and berry farms. We went to Naturipe and were able to pick strawberries, peaches and nectarines, and we may or may not have eaten our body weight in strawberries in the process.

From Bacchus Marsh it was off the freeway towards the national park. We did the Ted Errey Nature Circuit, an 8km loop I had heard wonderful things about and it definitely lived up to the hype.

Apart from a few short, steep hills the walk was easy enough, and was broken up regularly by fantastic viewing points. To think that this is only an hour from the CBD!

You can hardly tell, but in the above photos you can see the You Yangs (the range on the left), and Port Philip Bay.

I am trying to get over my shyness towards being in photos, and take more that include either myself or Chris (or, god forbid, both of us). As you can probably tell I am terribly awkward at posing and Chris is reluctant to accept the role of #Instagramhusband, but I am persevering nevertheless! It is nice to be able to look back at some pictures and see that we were actually there.

Given the proximity of the Brisbane Ranges to the city, I will definitely be back for some more hiking! It is fantastic to have such an amazing, diverse forest so close to the city.

Three hikes down, and 49 more to go!

– Reanna

LAST MINUTES PLANS // Bells Beach, Australia

Okay, I swear this isn’t intentionally becoming a hiking blog… it just so happens to be a few posts in quick succession! More exciting adventures will come soon (maybe).

But in all seriousness, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting outside more this year and hiking is such a fantastic way to spend the day and explore more of your own backyard. Chris and I have seen so much more of Victoria this year through day hikes and camping, and I am looking forward to getting outside even more this summer. With extra sunscreen, of course.

A few weekends back I joined a group hike with some lovely women down along Bells Beach, at the start of the famed Great Ocean Road. All the photos are from my phone, and the weather was constantly changing, so apologies for the poorer quality! Maybe one day I should consider taking a photography class!

I recently joined a facebook group for local Melbourne women who organise semi-regular hikes. The group is relatively new, but has gained immense popularity, and as a consequence I had been unable to join any hikes due to capped numbers. On a Friday morning one of the leaders announced a last minute plan to hike a circuit around Bells Beach, and before I could consider it too deeply I jumped at the opportunity. For an introvert like me who tends to anxiously mull over decision making, joining a hike with a group of women I had never met with 24 hours notice felt like quite the achievement, and it was definitely worth it.

It ended up being a small group of six who joined the hike. Despite the grey looking weather and attempts at rain, we took to the beach and followed the cliffs to Point Addis, where we stopped for a snack before following the trail inland. The hiking notes for the trail are here.

The weather eventually cleared, and despite my pre-planning and packing sunscreen, I did not apply any due to the overcast skies and ended up extremely sunburnt on my return home. Alas, when will I learn.

It was great being able to chat freely to a group of women I would never normally have met. I am useless at making small talk (see above: introvert who tends to anxiously mull over decision making everything), but ended up having some laughs and sharing stories.

This last minutes decision has inspired me to challenge myself more to go outside my comfort zone, plus continue hiking as often as I can get out of the city! I am sure many more will be on my horizon in the coming months.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful festive period, if you celebrate Christmas. My food coma is slowly but surely subsiding!

– Reanna

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER HIKE // Cape Schanck, Australia

Summer has finally begun in Australia, though the weather changes so frequently in Melbourne it can seem as though we are heading back to Winter at any moment. At least it keeps us on our toes (‘always carry an umbrella’ – Melbourne proverb) and breaks up the hot days.

A few weeks back Chris and I took advantage of some of the warmer weather and went down to the Mornington Peninsula to do the Bushranger Bay to Cape Schanck hike. It isn’t an area we have explored much, but given its proximity to Melbourne it makes for a perfect day trip.

We followed the directions for the hike from the Trailhiking web page. I don’t know where this website has been all my life, but it has fantastic reviews of hikes around Australia, with detailed trail notes and additional information.

We started at the Bushranger Bay carpark and followed the trail towards to coast for a couple of kilometres, before continuing along past the turn off to Bushranger Bay itself and following a track along the coastline. I had no idea what to expect from the hike, but the views were absolutely stunning, particularly the contrast between the bright blue water and the dark cliffs.

After another five kilmetres we reached Cape Schanck. Neither of us knew anything about the area, but turns out that Cape Schanck is quite the tourist attraction. The carpark near the lighthouse was filled with cars, and the trail down to the tip of the Cape was crowded at times.

We followed the boardwalk as far as it went, then clambered over rocks to Pulpit Rock, the pointed formation in the above photo. I was surprised that we were allowed (and even encouraged!) to climb the rocks and venture out towards to water, as often this is discouraged due to the danger of slipping or a rogue wave.

The views back along the coastline were pretty bloody great as well.

After a bit more exploring around the rocks we found this perfectly still pool, which was quickly disturbed by another hiker jumping in for a swim.

Eventually we turned around and followed the same track back to Bushrangers Bay. The entire hike, including walking out to Pulpit Rock, was about 13km and took us around 3 hours. Apart from a few small hills it was fairly easy going, and there were toilets and a cafe to grab more water at Cape Schanck.

I think it is safe to say I was completely blown away by this hike as I had no expectations, and we were treated to amazing weather and fantastic views! Cape Schanck itself was beautiful, and easily accessible by car for those who don’t want the extra 10km hike from Bushrangers Bay.

– Reanna

ONE LAST WALK // Launceston, Australia

At last, these Tasmania pictures come to an end! And with a back log of other adventures to come.

These final snaps are from our half day in Launceston before we flew back home to Melbourne. Launceston itself was far smaller (and admittedly, far more underwhelming) then we imagined, so we went out for more hiking and nature.

Cataract Gorge is a river gorge located in the middle of Launceston, and was easily accessible as we were still in our hire car. It was hard to believe that we were still in the middle of the city! We took a hike along the river, before looping back to the gardens and chairlift.

The gorge seemed to be a popular place for locals to hike and run! We were definitely feeling incredibly unfit after a few days of wine, cheese and bread.

A chairlift runs over the gorge, providing what I am sure would be amazing views. However, the chairlift looked at least 100 years old and very rickety, so we steered clear and stayed on the ground.

A random friend we encountered on our walk!

The walk along the gorge was a lovely way to end our whirlwind road trip around Tasmania. Five days felt like just enough time to get a feel for the island state, but we definitely could have extended it to a week. We saw such diverse landscapes, went on some amazing hikes, and encountered all types of weather.

We will be back, Tassie!

– Reanna