I have been to Hunter Valley three time now and all three trips where very different.
Hunter valley Gardens
I did my farm work not far from the Hunter valley region. I met a friend for lunch at the Hunter Valley Gardens one weekend whilst I was farming. He was on a tour for the day and this was their lunch spot. We ate at one for the cafes and had a walk around the beautiful grounds. There are a few shops to browse and of course wine shops. I did call in at the British Lolly Shop for a few treats to take back to the farm with me. All year round the Hunter Gardens has lots going on the best source is there website with all the up to date information.
When my Mum and her partner visited us we booked on to a wine tour. We booked with Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tour. They picked us up bright and early from central Station. After a pit stop we were at the first stop the Chocolate Shop. If you have a sweet tooth you will be in heaven in this big shop full of goodies. After the chocolate shop we did two wineries before lunch. Also at lunch you can check out The Smelly Cheese Shop. Each winery had a tasting and there own unique twist or story to tell. We had lunch then headed off to our last wineries. The great thing was we did not feel pressured to buy wine but were more stressed about choosing our favorite as they were all so good. They always change which wineries they visit. The tour guides really looked after us and it was a great day out with the family.
The weekend away in Hunter was for a Hens Do. We stayed at the Crown Plaza Resort in a apartment. Bring your swimming gear if it will be warm enough, there is a lovely pool. We had a leisurely lunch at the Broken Back Bar. It was beautiful tapas style lunch with a amazing view and tasty wine. After a tasting we headed back to the apartments to get ready and head to Harrigan’s. The night was spent in the pub which had a live band. A few sore heads the next morning we had breakfast at the resorts cafe and had to head home. It was a great weekend with the girls and not to long of a drive home.
Avoca Beach is a small coastal town just a hour outside of Sydney.
I visited the town once for a friends Birthday. We booked into apartments in Avoca Palms Resort which were modern and clean. There was also a pool and small gym on site. Not much use for the pool because you are on the door step of the beautiful Avoca beach.
The town has lots of little cafes and shops for all your weekend needs. We had breakfast at Point Cafe which is right on the beach and always packed. I would suggest booking ahead for this place. There are also huge markets every fourth Sunday the Avoca Beach Markets. They were very busy and full of colorful stands. I did not get to check them out as we headed home that morning.
In Terrigal we ate at a Indian restaurant called Rajdhani . It was one of the best Indian meals I have had in Australia. After dinner we walked up the street to a pub on the corner of the round about. Once that closed there was a courtesy shuttle to a street full of bars. After a few drinks we headed home which was a bit of a nightmare. The taxi services are pretty small and Uber was not available when I went. There was a bit of a wait for a Taxi to get back to the apartments.
For a cheap city escape which isn’t camping this is a perfect place to try during summer. Also on long drives back into Sydney Mk and I have stopped off for a swim and a break from the car as its not far off the motorway.
I have still only lost 2.5KG no weight went off me this week. I know exactly why as well. Last week I did 0 exercise and it showed in my 0KG weight loss this week. I had a sinus infection so my cold was in full swing. Looking back I felt rubbish all week and I choose to be at work as it was a big week. I did 0 swimming and walking as I was just trying to get through the work day. I have thought reflecting on last week I should have done something anything even if it was just stretching. Back to it this week and even harder then ever on the exercise as I let it drop last week. Starting tonight walking 12 KM home!
How do people keep there motivation going?
I have been pretty good at keeping it going and keeping my focus on the end goal but last week it slipped. I would love a way to get around those moments when its tough cos you are busy or your not as healthy as usual… any suggestions are welcome!
The festive season has not been to bad so far. We have had the BBQ so we have been in control of the food. We have had meat with salad and roasted pumpkin/ butternut squash. We did have dips but I provided carrot sticks and celery sticks for them…no crisps. No beer is hard and no wine. I had one small glass of wine this weekend and that was my one moment of weakness feeling sorry for myself cos I had a cold…. (it annoys me now when I think back grrr).
I was talking to a girlfriend about the way we see ourselves. She was telling me the bits she didn’t like about herself and how she feels the pressure to work-out but has one of the craziest work schedules and struggles to find time. We do put a lot of pressure on ourselves as women but I do like that we talk about it openly with friends and get that support from other females. It did make me think do men have the same thoughts? I wonder if they ever talk about it or feel like they can’t? Might try get it out of MK…but that will be like trying to get blood from a stone.
I have not been good with keeping up on my mindfulness book and journal which I will also get back into tonight. My routine basically went out of wack for a week and I do feel out of control which I don’t like. Hopefully I will be back on track next week and have a better result.
I do have motivation …example below is I wanted to use my new camera at sunrise in Bronte and I did it. I left my house at 4:45AM and captured the most amazing shots….so just need to find that all the time!
Summer is starting to appear which means… camping season is here!!!
We have already dusted off the tent and went away the long weekend at the end of September.
Having left it last minute we really struggled to find a campsite…FYI long weekends in Australia book up so fast don’t do what we did. Luckily our friends who are also tent warriors went camping to Kiama and let us know about a site they stayed on and it so happened to have a few spots left on the long weekend.
The campsite Killalea is in a national park which is home to two Surf reserves. It’s only a hour and a half drive out of Sydney. Perfect for a weekend escape out of the city. There is a locked gate if you arrive late at night and your access code is in the confirmation email ( we did not figure this out and tailgated someone in) don’t tail gate as you can get a fine. The sites are all marked out with logs and have a fire burner on each site. The reception sells fire wood. There is also a kitchen and a bathroom block. We didn’t use the kitchen apart from the kettle and the sinks to wash up. But the grills were always busy so must be in good working conditions.
You can walk to both beaches. We walked to Mystic beach and then drove down to “The Farm” beach. The beaches are beautiful long stretches and obviously the sea is full of waves and surfers. It is not a swimming beach but its great to go and lay out and watch the surfers. You are provided a map and there are also signs to the footpath for the beach. You are a 10 minute drive into Kiama which is the nearest town.
Kiama is well known for the blow hole (also Kiama is aboriginal for blow hole). It is a small coastal town very pretty and has old style shops. There are lots of places to eat. We ate at the Hungry Monkey for breakfast – great food and great service. Ritzy Gritz for dinner – the food was okay nothing special but we did have good service. Thai @ Kiama – we had our last dinner there which was really good Thai and good service. You just need to book on a weekend in this town. We didn’t on the first night and struggled to get in anywhere.
We spent the day on the beach at the campsite on one of the days. Sunday we explored the area. We walked over to Cathedral Rocks which are a jagged rock formation on the coast. There were lots of fisherman on the rocks so watch out for there catch of fish in the rock pools. To get to the rocks we walked through Boneyard Beach. We tried Bombo Beach but again it was rough seas for surfing not made for a dip. We decided to head back to Boneyard beach as the water was calm and we could lay on the grass. Added bonus there were loads of dogs around. MK was brave enough for a dip and did a but of snorkeling. He said there were a few fish but it was to cold to stay in there for to long. The shops in Kiama are full of vintage treasures, home made food, English treats (yes there is a English shop), candles, dream catchers and many more well being hippie type of shops….which we love!
We will be back down in Kiama in November with the surf board and hopefully warmer water 🙂
Winter has come full force over the past few weeks in Sydney. Summer wardrobe is now officially packed away and scarfs and coats are out. Below are a few places I have checked out so far this winter. Any suggestions on places to eat or drink leave them in the comment box please.
Hello Auntie – Marrickville
Vietnamese cuisine in a tapas environment. Marrickville has had a new gem of a restaurant open up. Hello Auntie is a great spot for some good Vietnamese food. There was four of us when went. We ordered a dish each and a side to share between the table. Pork ribs, beef, soup and chicken it was all delicious. The staff were very helpful in advising what to choose and making sure we had enough food. They do have cocktails but we went for the Vietnamese beer, so we could feel like we were reliving those care free backpacker days for a few hours. I would book a table it is very popular at the minute and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Mad Pizza E Bar – Newtown
Last weekend we wanted to avoid the rush of Vivid after spending a Saturday working. Heading to Newtown we checked out this Italian. It is trendy and has a buzzing atmosphere. At first it looks like a normal Italian with the red checker table clothes and pizza on every table. Once inside though you notice the DJ booth, the walls are black boards and your table cloth has a paper cloth on top with crayons for your inner child to come out. The DJ playing some modern background music you can enjoy a thin crust Italian Pizza with a nice bottle of red. Staff are friendly and you order with them via their IPad. I opted for a salad which was delicious filled with shrimp and haloumi. Perfect place for a date. They also have other locations around the Sydney area.
Earls Juke Joint – Newtown
From the outside this looks like a shutdown butchers. If it was not for the few people stood outside in line and the bouncer you would easily miss this bar. After a short time in line we walked inside to a busy cocktail bar. The bar is buzzing and with quick friendly staff you are not long without a drink. I tried the Espresso Martini and the Notorious OMG. Notorious OMG was delicious and went down far too easy. When you go to the bathroom don’t miss the photos on the wall of what the bar looked like as an actual butchers.
Hotel Palisade – The Rocks, Sydney
Having a family friend in town for a few nights we wanted to show her dinner with a view. The Hotel Palisade was a suggestion that did not let us down. It is an old hotel which has been converted into a pub on the ground floor, the top is an enclosed roof top bar and restaurant with views of the Harbour Bridge and darling harbour. Highly recommend the mussels and lamb cutlets. Drinks wise I would recommend the Stone Fruit Cobbler. During the week day it is very quiet so easy to get a seat but on a weekend it is very busy. Possibly the prettiest lift in Sydney whisks you up to the roof top bar with a mural painted on its doors.