To Ski or Not to Ski

Taking a break from Nepal blogs this week and decided to talk about snow.

Winter hit this weekend, the sweat pants came out and the summer wardrobe was packed away. Not going to lie, it was very nice leaving the house Saturday night not in a ball of sweat from blow drying and straighten my hair in 34 degree heat.

Only 5 hours from Sydney in the Snowy Mountains they have already received there first sprinkling of SNOW! I have been skiing twice in Australia and both times it has been with the same company…Oz Snow. Both times have been such a blast. Its a great weekend with friends and minimal organisation on your part.

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This year we have friends going again and its so hard to say no…but we have to do some hikes and think about our month off in Nepal. It is amazing how hard a two lettered word can be …no! Personally I know I could go but then later down the line I would really be struggling to hit my goals money wise before we head out in September. It is a no ski zone for us this year. We both would really love to go to New Zealand but we have no holiday for a while, so that will have to be a trip we do in the future.

Link to my to blog on my Ski Trip 2016.

Never fear we might be seeing snow in a few weeks. We have booked our weekend to Jindabyne at the end of May. We are hoping the weather isn’t to bad and we can complete the 20KM Mt Kosciusko hike. The original plan was to go up on the June long weekend but that is the opening weekend of Ski season and accommodation was pricey to say we were not skiing. By bringing the trip a few weeks forward we have saved over half on accommodation. Full blog of our weekend in the Snowy Mountains will be up a week after our trip. I am actually excited to experience the other side to Jindabyne, see what it has to offer and to get a decent mileage hike complete.

Snow boots out, winter jacket and woolly hats at the ready!

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Nepal Training May.

3 and a half months until we leave for Nepal. We have started to do training to get our body’s in the best shape for the Trek. Decided to jot down what we have been doing and what we have planned.
Footwear
Both of us bought new hiking boots at the beginning of the year. I don’t really know much about walking boots apart from that I need to be able to walk in them for 8 days. Both our boots are from the Kathmandu shop. To save a few bob we shopped at the outlet mall in Birkenhead Point. They have some amazing deals. MK did struggle to find his size as they don’t carry many in the shop. It took two visits but we found him some in the end. Now the boots have been bought we have to wear them in.

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What Are We Working On?
I did a lot of research on tour websites and blogs about what are the key things for nailing this walk. The one thing that stood out physically is to have a good stamina. My main two focuses are to shift weight and build up my stamina. MK’s is to build his stamina. Basically we just need to be able to keep walking. We also are walking with backpacks as we will have to carry day packs with us. This may seem stupid but walking with a bag does make a difference. Every walk I have done so far I have packed up my camera back pack and walked with it. I would say after 3 walks I am finally getting used to it.
What Types of Training Are We Doing?
I am doing running and swimming during the week. Running is not easy for me and I am slowly getting into it. I actually find it easier with the colder nights. I love my swimming probably because I am good at it. I swim at the North Sydney pool its such a cool view of Luna Park and the Bridge. The sun is setting as I swim it such a lovely backdrop as I do my 2KM in the pool (40 lengths in a 50M pool). I am now running two times a week swimming once and using works gym once a week (uphill on the cross trainer and small weights). I also do the bay walk on a Saturday morning which I will start to run soon. I find recording my work outs really helps keep me going. I use the Nike Run App even if we are doing a walk. Its a great record of our fitness and how we are improving.

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Carly’s Look Out
Obviously we are doing walks /hikes to get used to the boots and build up our stamina. So far on our walks we have completed: Spit-Manly, Bondi-Coogee, Grand Canyon Walk (Blue Mountains) and Carley’s Look Out Point in Bent Basin. If we cant get out for a walk we do the Bay Walk to get a few KM under our belt for the weekend. 
Over the next few weeks we have a trip booked to the Snowy Mountains to walk Mt Kosciusko and over the long weekend in June we will be doing a mountain biking trip in the Blue Mountain’s. We also have a few more walks up in the Blue Mountains to cross off our list. A little bit closer to the trip we plan on doing a full weekend of walking to get into the motion of waking up and walking day after day.
This time next month we will have lots of KM’s completed, some strong legs and worn in boots. Hopefully have many photos of all the beautiful scenery we shall see as well.

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Spit – Manly Walk

Vivid ’18

Vivid is just around the corner it starts May 25th. It is probably one of the highlights of Winter along with reducing your AC bill. Last year I walked around the lights and did a boat cruise. Compared to the previous years the walk around the displays was done in a better fashion. There was a one way system which kept everyone going in the right direction. The boat cruise from last year was so good I have booked it again on Groupon. You can also get tickets still for them just Click Here. You know have to book through the site I believe there is only one company still with Vivid offers on Groupon.
There are so many things happening at Vivid other then the spectacular lights in the city. The events are really budget friendly as well. Two events stuck out for me and I am hopefully going to get tickets for it. I highly suggest checking out the Vivid Website.
My two events I hope to check out is a debate on the #metoo movement. I cant imagine the intensity of this debate. The tickets are $16 for the debate. I think witnessing a talk on one of the most talked about topics this year can not be missed. The other one is the 90’s night House and UK Garage night… my friends and I always comment on how we miss this music from home. Well now for $15 there is a full night dedicated to it!
Get your friends together and for under $20 you can have a night organised experiencing something new/unique or mind blowing for one night. Don’t let Vivid pass you buy its getting better and better each year. Little tip take a video and speed them up they will look like the one below…

 

Nepal Booked!

This year MK and I decided to not go home but to go on a trip. We both work full time so the maximum time we could get off was a month. Our work have given us both a month off in September…now we just had to decide on a destination.

I am 30 MK is 30 this year and we both had one thing in common on our 30th Bucket List…to do Everest Base Camp Trek. In September we will both be 30 and will be spending a full month in Nepal and yes you guessed it… we will be doing the Everest Base Camp Trek.

The next step was to find a company to book the trek with. There are around 75 companies which offer the trek. I found it extremely overwhelming and had been warned not to trust Trip Adviser when it came to reviews (apparently a lot of the reviews are from staff members). I turned to a few friends and family who have already been on the trip for recommendations and read a few travel blogs on what to look out for when booking with a company. It did cross our minds for a few seconds to do the trek on our own but as we are not experience hikers we decided against that option. In the blog posts I read I was shocked at how much of the money from this business never made it in to Nepalese hands. I also got a few tips on what should be in the trips itinerary and to check to make sure the company is a registered trekking company in Nepal. I decided that we would use a Nepalese company. I would recommend reading a lot of blogs so you feel confident in what you want out of your experience. I found AME Treks (Adventure Mountain Explore) online and found there Facebook page. To make sure their reviews where honest and true I actually messaged a few people from the Facebook page and had a chat with them about there experience with the company. Everyone had great things to say about AME Treks so I sent them off a email. After a few email exchanges and a look at the detailed 15 day trek itinerary we paid the deposit and locked in the trek. We are now 4 months out from this epic challenge and over the next 4 months I will continue to blog on how we are preparing. Along with the trek we plan on doing Safari in Nepal and traveling around to a few places. I have just started to look at what we can fit in and where we can stay.

This for me will be the biggest challenge I have set myself mentally and physically. I am not slim or that fit but I have been working on myself the past month and will continue to work on myself to make sure I am the best version of myself on that mountain. Over the next few months I will blog on how we are affording the trip, what we are buying and how our training is going. Its such a exciting time / nerve racking time. I know we can do this and achieve out goal of reaching the Base Camp.

InstaTravel

Like everyone else I follow a lot of travel accounts on Instagram. When I am at work wanting to escape the desk for a minuet or looking for some travel ideas this is where I go. I think there amazing all of them…but it is always on the back of mind, how real are they?
I have traveled a lot and I decided to try and stay in Australia which meant finding a job, visas and saving money. My travel list was put on hold. I also have student loans to pay back and just general living cost. I am so baffled on how these young people travel around the world for most of the year in what looks like the most glamours way. I think it’s a great life they have but just wonder how they keep it up with the pressure of daily demands.
I have a month off work to explore Nepal and I can’t wait but it has taken a few months to save for airfare and deposits. The rest of these months I am working I will be saving up the remainder of my trip. It also uses all my annual holiday as well. I would like to know how people do so much travel and keep a job?
I do admire how glamours the photos are and the person in the photo looks flawless. I have to say when I went round South East Asia I was so far from flawless more just sweaty and hoped my clothes did not smell.
I would love to know how people do this please get in contact.
Shout out to the instagrams who are working the 9-5 grind but love the travel.
Any information on how that lifestyle works would be great.
Below is me and my not so Instagram flawless photo covered in mud and possible elephant poop!

Nimbin and Lillian Rock

The end of our Easter break was spent visiting Nimbin and Lillian Rock. I had not planned to go to Nimbin but as it was on route to Lillian Rock we decided to stop off. Leaving Byron behind us we headed up into the hills. It did rain most of the drive to Nimbin but it did not ruin the views looking over the valley.
Nimbin
Before I arrived at Nimbin I had in my head that this place would be a hippie, earth loving town which had cookies to share. I’m not into drugs so was not fussed at all about the cookies. I was however excited to experience the laid back hippie town after having such a good time with Byron’s vibe. As soon as we parked up we were straight on to the main street which was full of colourful rainbow and in your face shop signs. The shops looked very hippie but when you walked in they were owned by your average Joe and the shop all of a sudden turned into a novelty gift shop. On one part of the main street people would walk up to you whispering “magic cookies” it felt very dodge as we were just searching for a bottle-o to  purchase a bottle of wine for the night. When we had done a quick sweep of the main street we had seen enough and headed back o the car. In the car park we found a man wondering around the cars peering in and holding a narrow metal rod in his hand. This place did not give me any good vibes at all. Maybe I am old and boring now, Nimbin I will not be going back to visit.
Lillian Rock
We had the afternoon in Lilian Rock. We were staying at a Air BnB which was a farm called Whisingwell Farm. We turned down a dirt track and made our way to the house. We met our host who was lovely. Jenny showed us to our room and around the house. We had an ensuite room and access to a deck with a big BBQ and sink. We settled into our lovely rooms with no TV or internet just the mountain fresh air. The room was full of board games, we played a few rounds of ‘Guess Who?’ At 4PM we joined Jenny and the other 2 gusts for a tour of the farm at feeding time. If you stay at the farm this is worth doing it was a lovely thing to do especially when you live in the city. On our feeding tour we fed the ducks, ponies, goats and held baby ducklings. It was a lot of fun meeting the animals and hearing about how they came to be on the farm. MK and I took a stroll around the farm down to the river…it was short lived as MK saw a snake so we made our way back to the house as the sun set. Once we had made dinner we settled into bed reading and writing before having a early night. It was very relaxing and exactly what we needed before the big drive home the next day. We had purchased a breakfast off Jenny for $5. We were supplied bacon, eggs, tomatoes and bread in a basket. The next morning we cooked our breakfast on the deck and packed up the car. There were a couple of things we did not get to see in Lilian Rock as it rained on and off the whole day and night we were there.
 The last day of our Easter break was spent on the motorway driving back to Sydney. It was a pretty smooth drive with minimal traffic and one giant thunder storm just outside of Sydney. I think we both came back very refreshed from the weekend and ready to hit the city life once again.

Byron Bay (Finally!!)

Easter weekend 2018 MK and I went on a road trip to Byron Bay. I have been in Australia 3 years and had not made it to this famous Aussie Coastal town. I was hoping to bump into any type of Hemsworth whilst up there …but no such luck.
We decided to drive up, which is a 9 hour drive plus a little Easter traffic. MK picked me up after work and we left from out West at around 5:30 and in true English and Irish form we had packed sandwiches for the route.
The first stop of the trip was Coffs Harbour….MK’s old stomping ground last year. We reached our hostel at midnight. We stayed in Central Backpackers and I can’t stress how lovely they were here. There check in closed at 10PM and one of the staff stayed up. They also provided us two numbers in case he was not reachable…these guys where brilliant cos after 6 hours in the car all we wanted was a bed.
Up early the next day we arrived in Byron Bay for 10AM and out first stop was The Farm.
The Farm
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Just before you get into the heart of Byron Bay you come across The Farm. The guys that own this place are the people behind the famous restaurant’s called “Three Blue Ducks”. There is a Three Blue Ducks at The Farm along with a cafe “Bread Social”. Everything is open plan and you can see them baking the bread fresh. We had lunch and a breakfast here…the food is delicious. Along with a good feed we also walked around the farm met the animals and cracked some nuts in the macadamia orchard. The land is so pretty and it’s really well put together. Great place for any type of meal.
Our AirBnB was just out of the main section of Byron. It was very cosy and the finishing touches instantly gave you the Byron vibe. Bathroom, bedroom with a sofa and eating area also a little kitchen as well. The space was perfect and our host was easy to communicate with. The space was actually a converted garage. We got an Uber into Byron’s main street every night which cost us $8.
After we had refreshed ourselves we headed to the beach. Traffic was crazy but we found a parking spot. After strolling the Byron markets MK took me on a walk. We walked along the beach to Fisherman’s View Point then around to Wategos Beach and up to the light house. The views all along the walk are beautiful. It is well sign posted as well no need to worry about getting lost. Not much parking by the light house so if you can manage the walk up its worth it. We also watched the sunrise from Fisherman’s View Point surrounded by the ocean and surfers it was lovely.
The first night we did not eat out as we had bought bread and cheese from the farm and treated ourselves to some nice cheeses. We did go to the Beach Hotel. It’s a huge venue with a few bars a big dance floor and outside area. After a few drinks we called it a night as the drive had caught up with us. We did return to the same place the next night and it was packed. Great atmosphere and DJ. They also had a guy on the drums playing with the DJ which really got everyone going.
We checked out a few sites on the second day.
Killen Falls

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These falls are about 25 mins out of Byron. I had looked online and these falls were not as well-known as the others near Byron. To avoid Easter crowds we went to check them out. On route you drive through a really cute town called Newrybar. It’s worth a stop to check out the shops and Harvest Deli. There was plenty or parking at the Falls. It is about a 15min walk to the base of the falls. There were a few people around in the water. I forgot my swim suit so MK was the only one of us who got to have a paddle. Lots of sharp rocks so be careful and no jumping it’s too shallow….be safe! One more sight we checked out that day was Crystal Castle.
Crystal Castle

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Located 40min drive out of Byron is Crystal Castle. If you believe in crystals and spirituality this place you will love. Also if you like really nice gardens it’s worth a look. Tickets are 30 bucks in. You walk around all these different gardens and there are Buddha’s and crystals everywhere. It was really peaceful. Somehow MK and I lost each other and did the gardens on our own and it really is a good way to do it. This is a quiet place for mediation and reflection.  I loved taking photos in the gardens and MK had a go with one of the crystal mazes. On our last night in Byron we went out for dinner at The Bolt Hole.
The Bolt Hole

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The Bolt Hole is a cocktail Bar and smoke house. They smoke all their own meat. I had booked us a table (recommend a booking). We tried a few of the cocktails all where amazing and we ate the meat sample dish for two. The meat was unbelievable it was insanely tasty. It was a great night I just feel they might have needed more than two waitresses on as between drinks we had a long wait and it kind of lost momentum. Overall I enjoyed it and would go back again to try a few more cocktails. After dinner we headed to the beach and watched the full moon with lots of other people. Once we had our full moon fill we headed to Beach Hotel.
On our last morning before heading up to Nimbin and Lillian Rock we hung out at Wategos Beach. It’s such a beautiful little beach. The water temperature was lovely and we had a paddle whilst watching the surfers. Such a good beach for photos.
Byron Bay was worth the wait. It had the best vibes and positive atmosphere I oped it would. We seem to do a lot but also relax as well. Chilling out was incredible up there lots of reading and journal writing surrounded by epic scenery. Highlight was watching sunrise and a pod dolphins swim by during sunrise.

 

Next blog will be about our trip to Nimbin and night on The Wishingwell Farm.