THE EDGE OF WINTER // Bright, Australia

It is a Saturday morning as I sit here putting together this post, and all these mountain photos are inspiring me to go outside for a hike this afternoon. Whether or not I will actually get around to jumping into the car and heading out of the city is another story, but at least the idea is there!

This photo dump is from the Sunday of our weekend trip to Bright. The town is known for being a nearby base to the Alpine region and a number of snow fields, with one of the closest being Mount Buffalo National Park. After packing up our campsite and tracking down some coffee, we hit the road for the slow, windy drive up to the mountain.

We had planned to drive all the way up to the Horn Carpark, but found that the road was blocked off at Cresta Valley Carpark due to snow. I had not expected there to be so much snow around, considering Winter had ended the month before. We weren’t complaining though, as snow is still a novelty for us Australians.

From the Cresta Valley Carpark, we followed the road a couple of kilometres up to the Horn Carpark, which offered some amazing views.

From the carpark, it was another 1.5km return hike to the Horn itself. There had been snow across the road, so we were feeling a bit unsure about how hard the hike to the top would be. Added to this, a fellow hiker seemed to think he was hiking Mount Everest and stopped to put metal crampons on his boots. Nevertheless, we persevered.

Despite our fears, the hike up was actually surprisingly quick and easy, with minimal snow on the trail. We had a bit of a laugh for the over ambition of the other hiker, but quickly returned our focus to the most amazing 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape. A-ma-zing.

It was such a clear day, so we were treated to some pretty spectacular views above valleys and mountains below.

We could make some neighbouring mountains, such as Mount Bogong, peaking out from the distant clouds.

The hike back down was even easier, though looking back at the Horn (which you can see in the photo below) made our legs hurt.

We drove back down the mountain, stopping at the historic Mount Buffalo Chalet. The Chalet is currently unoccupied, with rumours of it being redeveloped floating around. It would be a spectacular location to stay, so I hope that it is redeveloped in a thoughtful way that respects the surrounding national park.

The Chalet is located next to what I can only imagine is the spectacular Gorge Day Visit Area – we couldn’t completely appreciate it as it was covered in clouds! Whilst nowhere near as bad as the fog we experienced in the Blue Mountains earlier this year, the clouds did unfortunately block out the amazing views. I am glad we made it up the mountain early to see some views from the Horn!

We still took the 3km Gorge Circuit Walk and were able to see some amazing waterfalls and a few brief glimpses of the valley below.

On the drive back down we stopped briefly one final time, when I spotted this amazing lookout. You could see the snow capped mountains of the Alpine region off in the distance – it was simply breathtaking!

I feel like we only touched the surface of the amazing Alpine region, and we are already planning to come back in the Summer for more explorations. There is a campground only open during the warmer months on Mount Buffalo that we are hoping to check out. If you have done any good day hikes around the area, please let me know! I would love to get some ideas for Summer.

– Reanna

 

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AWAY IN THE MOUNTAINS // Bright, Australia

Life has been pretty flat out around here, with work all week, and every weekend becoming filled with getaways, family gatherings, and generally just being away from home. Sunday night always rolls around in a frantic run around the house, as we try to catch up on cooking, washing, and getting everything ready for another week. As much as I love spending my weekends away, today we are blessed with a quiet weekend at home. And now I can finally catch up on photos from a few weeks back!

In our home state of Victoria, we have not one, but two public holidays based around sporting events. Personally, I could not care less about either of the sporting events, but I do love a public holiday, particularly when it lines up with a weekend. Once Chris and I realised that the AFL Grand Final public holiday was coming up, we booked a campsite in Bright. Located at the base of Mount Buffalo National Park, the town is a popular holiday destination for exploring the Alpine region – but neither of us had ever been!

Bright is a three and a half hour drive from Melbourne, so we ended up arriving in time for lunch and an afternoon of exploring. After setting up camp, I decided an afternoon stroll would be nice, so I took us up to Huggins Lookout. Turns out our ‘stroll’ ended up being a short, but steep, hike which we were 100% unprepared for. We were sweating profusely in our jeans and jackets by the time we arrived at the top, but the views over the town were spectacular.

A few snaps of our camp site. We stayed at Bright Holiday Park, which was located a short walk from the town centre, and had peaceful campsites along the creek. As we booked an unpowered campsite, we managed to score a secluded spot away from everyone else.

On the Saturday, we were up early and set off on a walk around town. A popular walk in the town is the Canyon Walk that follows the river alongside both banks. It was 3kms return, and took us under an hour.

The walk was beautiful, and easy to follow on a path with minimal obstacles or hills (thankfully, as once again we were wearing jeans!). However, we did come across a number of families attempting the walk with prams – not recommended!

Okay, so I took way more photos on the Canyon Walk then I realised – whoops!

After some more town explorations and some coffee, we hit the Murray to Mountain Rail Trail with our bikes. The trail is sealed, and follows the main road out of Bright, heading all the way Wangaratta. We followed it for around 12kms to the other side of the nearby village of Porepunka, stopping at Feathertop Winery for some tastings.

It started to rain as we got back on our bikes to our second stop, Ringer Reef Winery. But as soon as we arrived, the sky cleared and we were treated to the amazing view below!

Eventually we made our way back to Bright, stopping for lunch in Porepunka. We attempted to watch some of the AFL Grand Final at Bright Brewery, but eventually gave up in favour of sitting around the fire at our campsite.

I had heard so many positive things about Bright, so it was great to finally visit! In the winter time it is a popular base for visiting the surrounding snow fields, so perhaps we will be back next year… not that either of us can ski!

– Reanna

NOT WORK // Coongulla, Australia

I was meant to be in Alice Springs this weekend, cheering along my brother and father at a mountain bike race. But, a few things didn’t go to plan, so the trip unfortunately had to be cancelled this year. That didn’t stop my family from signing up for another local bike race, and I decided to tag along anyway. Anything for a long weekend away from the office, right?

My dad booked an Airbnb for the weekend in Coongulla, a eerily empty little settlement on the banks of Lake Glenmaggie in Gippsland. I say empty, as the area was filled with ramshackle holiday and weekend houses that were largely unoccupied while we were there! Lake Glanmaggie is a popular location for the summer months, but given it was pouring rain on the Friday we were there, it was no one in sight!

I ventured down to the lake on Friday when it stopped raining for five minutes to take a few snaps. Thankfully, the Airbnb we had booked had a fire place, so we spend most of the day curled up on the couch reading and chatting.

Saturday morning turned out to be perfect weather, for both the bike race and for some further lake explorations on my behalf.

The lake is a water catchment for the surrounding area, having been dammed many years ago in the 1920s. However, the water seemed like it has been much higher in decades past.

The embankment was quite rocky, and beautiful. It is pretty amazing what nature can create.

As you can probably tell, I still have no idea what I am doing with my new DSLR camera.

The bike race was a few kilometres away from the lake at Blores Hill. I spent most of the day by the race track, but was able to grab a lift in a ‘spectator shuttle’ (AKA a 4WD troop carrier driven by a volunteer) up to the highest point of the race. It made for some great views, as well as being able to watch some of the more difficult parts of the bike race.

Even just looking at the bike trails made me feel like such an incompetent cyclist!

My weekends for the coming months appear to have suddenly filled up with quite a few weekends away, so I am excited for more adventures away from the city! Not all of them are long weekends, but it is still always great to get away from the grind of Melbourne and get outdoors (or try to, when it isn’t raining!).

Next weekend is another long weekend – Chris and I are off to Byron Bay! I have only briefly stopped there once when I was much younger, so I am keen to explore the area and enjoy some (hopefully) warmer weather.

– Reanna

ESCAPISM // Woodend, Australia

Life has been a strange mixture of highs and lows lately. Some days are wonderful, and I feel so appreciative for so many things, whereas other days were horrible, highlighting the fragility of life. The bad days were beginning to wear me down, so after a spontaneous dinner date last week Chris and I booked an even more spontaneous weekend getaway.

Overall, we only spent around 24 hours away from the city, but it was enough to recharge and relax. We booked an accommodation package at Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend, which included dinner and breakfast. Woodend is only an hour from Melbourne, so it was a perfect distance for our short trip.

The weather on Saturday afternoon was fantastic, so on a whim (again!) we packed up our bikes and took them with us to Woodend in order to cycle out to some nearby wineries. This seemed like a good idea in theory, as the distances didn’t seem far on paper, but half of the roads were unsealed! Nevertheless, we were able to make it easily enough to our first stop, Mount Macedon Winery. This was recommended to me by a work colleague, and it did not disappoint. We just had to hide our crappy bikes from all the bunch of professional weekend cyclists who were also there!

Our next destination was Hanging Rock Winery, which due to my poor planning, ended up being another awful dirt road! We were exhausted by the time we arrived at the cellar door, which was surprisingly busy. After consulting with the owner (and trying some wine) we coordinated booking a taxi to pick us up from the winery, leaving our bikes tied to the gate for the night. This worked out well, as it meant we could buy some bottles of wine!

The winery had some great views of Hanging Rock, which you can see closer up in the photo below (which is taken the following morning when we were collecting our bikes – the weather was far bleaker!).

After a cosy evening at the Brewhouse bar, and a delicious breakfast (eggs, falafel, and beer bread – who would have thought of such a delicious combination?!), we headed up to the famed Hanging Rock.

Hanging Rock is a popular attraction for Melbournians, being only an hour from the city. The walk to the top of rocky mountain/formation/mameleon is only around 2kms returned, and well sealed, so it is super accessible.

We detoured from the path along the way to seek out views and clamber through the rocks.

Hanging Rock is most well known for the novel, and movie, Picnic at Hanging Rock. Shamefully, as is the case with most classic movies or novels, I have never seen or read it, but am aware of the mystery it puts around the place!

Looking over these photos now, it seems I may have gone slightly overboard! I guess I am still a bit click happy whilst trying to learn a bit more about my camera.

I thought the above tree branch looked like a piece of art, or like ripples in water.

The ‘Hanging Rock’ itself can be seen in the above photo – possibly the most underwhelming part of the mountain!

On our way down we were treated to some fluffy, native friends.

After another quick walk around the base of the mountain, we were back in our car and off home to Melbourne. Despite being a short trip, it didn’t feel rushed. Rather, it was a perfect amount of time to disconnect and have a little adventure, but without sucking up our whole weekend and leaving us stressed on Sunday night before the work week ahead.

I am excited for the warmer weather, even though it is probably months away, so we can make more weekend getaways for camping again. Winter will end eventually, right?

– Reanna

RESTLESS // Organ Pipes National Park, Australia

Tonight is one of those wonderful those wonderful nights when you knock off work knowing you have an exciting few days ahead – and even more so tonight as I am heading on my first holiday since starting full time work! Although we are only venturing overseas for ten days, the novelty of getting paid whilst I relax on a beach somewhere has not worn off on me yet.

Working full time these past six months has also motivated me to indulge in far more ‘treat yourself moments’, and last week such a mindset blew out into my spontaneous purchasing of a DSLR camera. Sure, I had been dreaming about the prospect of owning a half decent camera one day. But for some reason two weeks before going on holidays seemed like the perfect time to blow my savings.

However, I have approximately zero idea how to operate such a camera, so in an effort to learn I announced a spontaneous trip on the weekend to Organ Pipes National Park on the weekend. We had been here a few years ago, and I remembered it as being a beautiful piece of nature a stones throw from the city – it was about a half an hour drive from our place in South Melbourne.

The park itself is a small valley nestled beside a busy freeway and underneath one of the flight paths for Melbourne airport. However silence ensues once you descend into the small valley of the park. A small 1km track runs around the valley floor, taking you past three main features, all of which arose from volcanic activity in the area many a millennia ago.

The main feature, surprising enough, are the ‘organ pipes’. The pipes are hexagonal basalt columns, that have formed over thousands and thousands of year as the creek at the base has slowly worn away at the basalt lava.

The ‘Rosette Rock’ is a spectacular formation, with a similar history. I won’t attempt to pretend I know anything about volcanic rock formations here, because I really have no clue!

The final stop was the ‘Tessellated Pavement’, again of similar origins. Chris is obviously in deep thought about the construction of volcanic baltic rock formations. Or merely enjoying the serenity…

Climbing out of the valley after our small circuit of the park had me feeling like I had merely walked around the block. But on the other hand, the simple act of being outside and stretching my legs in the outdoors provided as much to me as going for a 10km hike. Sometimes, being outside is all you need.

And with that, I am signing off the technological world (well, not really, I love instagram too much) for our ten day holiday!

– Reanna

THESE ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES // Bendigo, Australia

Groovin’ the Moo – a day of excellent music, food vans, questionable fashion sense, and all around good times. But posting these measly few photos from a couple of weekends ago has spontaneously gotten me thinking of far deeper themes then a carefree day at a music festival!

The fact that Chris and I were able to have a weekend away (albeit, camping in a caravan park with numerous other festival goers) to attend such a festival is one of those memories that makes me so appreciative of where my life is at right now. Chris and I both work full time in respectable jobs that we managed to get straight out of university. We live in an adorable cottage in a wonderful city. In three weeks we are going off overseas for a short holiday, and we have so many wonderful memories from other trips. Our families are supportive. I feel really quite content.

I am fully aware of our privilege within society, and I am truly appreciative and grateful for all the support and opportunities I have had. I have been working on expressing my gratitude more, and writing it down seems to make it more solid – even if it is on the internet on my little blog!

So apologies for the random *feelings* contrasted with photos of a music festival.

But exciting news – Chris and I are off to Singapore and Indonesia in two weeks for a short trip AND I just bought myself a new camera. Expect an overload of photos after the trip. Stay tuned!

– Reanna

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE // Melbourne, Australia

Despite living in Melbourne for well over four years now, I still find myself playing tourist on a regular basis. Sure, Chris might roll his eyes when I stop to take photos of something novel in the city, but it is refreshing to see the place where you live through a new light.

Last weekend we ventured down to the strange, yet beautiful, Docklands precinct, to indulge in a dinner cruise. We received a voucher for Christmas, and we were 99% sure we were the only Melbourne locals on the boat.

The dinner and drinks on the cruise were as expected, but the highlight was definitely seeing Melbourne from the water – something we had never done before. The boat left Docklands and went under both the Bolte and West Gate Bridge, before emerging into Port Phillip Bay and heading towards St Kilda.

The views from the Bay were absolutely stunning, even the clouds that were hanging overhead didn’t impact the beauty of it.

Not featured – the dance floor directly behind our table.

Turns out my phone takes a pretty average night time photo – you will just have to imagine how wonderful the city looked at night.

One of the unexpectedly interesting parts of the cruise was going through the sea ports. There were a few container ships pulled up, and they are just as big in person as you would imagine.

Melbourne, I love you.

– Reanna