CHASING THE SUN // Byron Bay, Australia

With grey clouds overhead and rain threatening to let loose at any moment today in Melbourne, going through my photos from Byron Bay is reminding that Spring is finally here and sunshine is surely on my horizon.

Last weekend Chris and I packed out bags and knocked off work a few hours early on Friday afternoon to jet away to Byron Bay. We have been planning this trip for months, as we had been invited to a friends wedding in nearby Lismore. We flew directly from Melbourne to Ballina, a town around half an hour south of Byron Bay, which took under two hour. It was probably the worst flight of my life (flight anxiety + missed approach = a hot mess), so by the time we finally arrived at our Airbnb that night I crawled immediately into bed.

Chris and I had both been religiously checking the weather forecast for Byron Bay all week, counting down the days until sunshine blessed our pale Melbourne skins. The forecast looked cloudy and wet, however, when we woke up on Saturday morning we were treated to glorious sunshine! After coffee, we set off to Cape Byron.

The walk around Cape Byron is only around 3-4kms, so we decided we would be fine in jeans and sandals. As it turns out, every Byron local seemed to be out for their morning walk/run in their active wear, so we looked like unprepared tourists!

Eventually the walk comes to the Easternmost point of mainland Australia (the Easternmost point actually being on Norfolk Island). The sea and the sky were both so blue and clear!

Winter is actually a popular time for whale watching in the area, but we were totally not expecting to see any. After standing at the point for about 30 seconds, Chris pointed out a splash in the water. Surely enough, a few seconds later the grey blob appeared, splashing around some more. A whale! It was so truly magical and unexpected, and so quick that I was unable to capture the moment on my camera.

Yes, I forgot to pack sunscreen and ended up burnt by the end of the day!

Alright, I realise now I may have taken an excessive amount of photos along this walk. Everything was just so picture perfect!

The hike itself was relatively easy, with a few hills and steps. I would probably wear runners or boots if I was to do it again, though! Birkenstocks didn’t quite cut it…

Afterwards, we drove into the town and looked around the shops, before wandering down to the main beach. So many people were out surfing, sunbaking, and enjoying the sunshine. Unheard for winter in Melbourne!

In the afternoon we wandered down to Tallows Beach. We were actually staying in a suburb just south of Byron Bay called Suffolk Park, which was a 15 minute walk from the beach and featured some cute coffee shops and a popular bakery.

Of course, Chris decided it was warm enough for a swim! I stayed dry and took even more photos.

We spent the evening exploring a couple of local breweries, which were both disappointing. At least Byron had Uber!

The following morning resulted in more beach time, as we explored more of Tallows Beach.

This is a quick snap of the neighbourhood, Suffolk Park, we were staying in. It was quiet and picturesque, and a five minute drive from Byron Bay.

Don’t worry, there are even more sunny photos to come!

– Reanna

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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

BEACH BOXES & NIGHT NOODLES // Melbourne, Australia

Exams are done! Freedom is here! Well, freedom in the sense that I no longer have an impending sense of needing to study instead of just relaxing and reading a book/watch tv/play xbox/do anything. Last Thursday I finished my final exam of my Bachelor of Arts, which is all a bit weird to come to terms. However I will probably be at university still next year, so it isn’t completely insane.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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No exams means time to wander and do exciting things on our days off work. Yesterday I thought checking out Brighton Beach could be fun. The forecast was 30+ degrees, and we had never been to this iconic beach. Despite the weather it was actually somewhat overcast and windy when we arrived!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We walked along the beach and I took a million photos of the beach boxes, as did all the other tourists along the beach. I am sorry, they are just so pretty. The Space Invaders one was probably my favourite.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We decided to try our hand at sun baking, and to our luck the sun finally came out! Unfortunately it didn’t quite warm up enough for a swim, but we had a paddle around in the shallows. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Not even sorry for all these photos.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We continued on down the beach until we hit Brighton Beach train station, before heading back to our car. As far as beaches go, Brighton was nothing special. However it was fairly quite, making it somewhat more peaceful. But let’s be honest here, it is all about the beach houses.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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That night we headed out for an important mission: the Night Noodle Markets. This year the festival of food was set up along Birrarung Marr, and it was absolutely packed.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We met up with one of Chris’ sisters and battled the crowds for our culinary dreams. Admittedly the food is a bit pricey for the small serve you get (and don’t even get me started on the price of a beer) but it was such a fantastic atmosphere. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe festival runs until the 29th of November, so there may be another tasty trip on our horizon.

Until then,

– Reanna