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

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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

NOSTALGIA 101 // Cape Otway, Australia

About five years ago, around Valentines Day, Chris and I packed up Chris’ 20-odd year old Saab convertible and drove from Leongatha to the Great Ocean Road. I think this was our first proper holiday together (other than the odd night in Melbourne or a family holiday), and it was full of so many fun and spontaneous memories. Every night we picked a random town and decided to stay there, hoping a cabin or room would be available. We put the roof down on the car every time we drove, even though we were stopping every 10 minutes to look at a beach or explore a walking track.

They seem like such distant memories now, and we always laugh when we think back to how young, innocent and naive we were as 18 year olds.

Driving along the Great Ocean Road from Torquay to Cape Otway the other weekend had us reminiscing about the trip once again. It really is such a spectacular part of Australia, let alone the world.

I was lucky enough to have Chris driving during this section of the road, and subsequently spent most of my time trying to capture photos of the landscape. Not easy when you are a terrible photographer in a car on a winding road!

Inspired by our original trip all those years ago, we booked into Bimbi Park, a caravan park on Cape Otway that we stayed at on a whim last time. The park seemed to have updated slightly in the previous five years (a mini golf course?), but it definitely still looked exactly as we remembered it.

One of our absolute favourite memories from our first trip down the Great Ocean Road was staying at this caravan park on Cape Otway and befriending the resident dog, Jak. Having nothing to do (Cape Otway is about half an hour from any towns), we innocently began to follow the dog along a track leading out of the caravan park. We had no idea where we were going, but Jak the dog continued to lead us along to track for half an hour or so, and eventually we arrived at the most amazing beach, which was empty as far as we could see. From memory, we played fetch with Jak for awhile and eventually followed the dog back to the caravan park. It was such a random, beautiful adventure and we always bring it up when talk about the trip.

Since we had returned to the same caravan park, Chris and I were determined to find the same beach. Sadly, there was no sign of Jak, but we eventually managed to find the track and found that it now included some modern looking signs (turns out the beach has a name – Station Beach).

The beach was just as amazing and empty as we remembered. This time we came prepared with a picnic dinner, and spent a few hours relishing having this stunning corner of the world to ourselves.

The next morning was far less eventful, featuring a short hike to the Cape Otway light station. Again, we found ourselves alone.

The walk also included a somewhat creepy detour to a small graveyard, mostly featuring the final resting place of the young children of former lighthouse keepers.

As amazing as it would have been to keep driving down the Great Ocean Road, we packed up our car again and hit the road back the Melbourne.

I cannot recommend the Great Ocean Road enough as a roadtrip to have from Melbourne. There is so much to see and do, and is the perfect weekend getaway. I’m sure there will be further trips there on our horizon!

– Reanna

SALT WATER // Torquay, Australia

I can’t quite come to grips with the fact that it will be Easter next week, and it is somehow April already. How has this year flown by so fast already? It feels like it was only the other day that I was finishing university and settling into full time work, but the days are flying by. Working full time certainly seems to make time slip through my fingers, with weekends being treasured and passing by all too fast.

A couple of weekends ago Chris and I packed up our little car Friday morning and hit the road as soon as the work week ended, driving out West towards the famed Great Ocean Road. My brother recently moved to Torquay, so we took that as an excuse to hit up this beautiful part of the country.

We pitched a tent at the Torquay Caravan Park, and found our campsite literally metres from the main surf beach. Chris took it upon himself to take an evening swim, whilst I kept warm and dry on the sand.

We spent our night hanging out at Blackman’s Brewery, a decent establishment we stumbled upon within 30 seconds of walking down the street. The next morning we were up early, and walked along the Esplanade.

It was a cloudy weekend, but the sun did occasionally come out. No complaints from this easily sunburnt gal.

For coffee, we checked out Cup of Love Coffee, a cute little shipping container set up nestled next to the brewery from the night before.

Chris insisted on another swim before we packed up camp – so the above photos are from the main surf beach again, but in the morning light.

We met up with my brother and checked out his new share house, before hitting up the beach at nearby Jan Juc. The boys somehow managed to convince me to join them for a dip (I am mildly terrified of the ocean, among other things), so I splashed pathetically in the shallows for awhile. Nevermind the 12 year old girls smashing out a surf comp right next to us!

I admittedly haven’t spent much time down along this area of the coast, despite its proximity to Melbourne. Having my brother living in Torquay will certainly be an incentive to head down this way a bit more frequently! Not to mention it is near the beginning of the fantastic Great Ocean Road, which we ventured down later that day… but that is enough beach photos for one post!

– Reanna