Brighton Bathing Boxes

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend. I was fortunate enough to fly to Melbourne to visit my good friends. Whilst there I was able to tick off one of my bucket list items and that was to visit the Brighton Bathing Boxes, just 17km outside Melbourne’s CBD. We were able to drive there but you could walk or cycle also if you had the time. This was the perfect timing for us and the weather was beautiful, a welcome change from Sydney’s crazy weather.

The bathing boxes are pretty famous and have been around for over a hundred years. They are a very European idea and still exist in parts of Europe today. I had seen them on Instagram and thought they looked really epic. They are colourful boxes that people use for storage, just on the beach. There are 82 in total and stretch along the Dendy Street Beach. Useful for storing important items, especially for the beach (I assume) but interesting to note the boxes can not have electricity or a water supply. Perhaps to stop people from living in the boxes.

Please feel free to check out my pictures of the bathing boxes below. They are sure to brighten up your Tuesday 😆 and if you want any additional information, you can read more here.

Thanks for taking a look,

Wayne ✌🏽

Uluru – Sunrise tour

This tour was part of our Field of Light tour. After the lights, we headed upwards to the vantage point. There we were offered some tea/coffee and biscuits to watch the sunrise (this was needed due to being so early 😉). Needless to say, the sunrise was unreal. Even though we had witnessed a sunset, seen Uluru up close and from afar, this sunrise still managed to massively impress us. Take a look for yourself below.

Sun is rising
Waiting for the sun to rise 🌅
The colours 🤩
Sunrise with Uluru to the right. The way the sun hits is just stunning.

So we have now come to the end of my Uluru blog mini series. I hope you all enjoyed the pictures and are maybe now inspired to visit Uluru for yourselves. As I mentioned previously, we travelled here for a weekend break and didn’t quite get to see everything on our list, although I am overjoyed with what we did manage to see. If you plan to visit for yourself, there are a couple of other excursions you could try. Dining under the Stars is supposed to be amazing and was on my list big time. I’m sure it’s beautiful to eat in the middle of the desert with a clear sky above. Can you imagine how bright the stars must be? Also a camel tour around Uluru would be pretty epic, riding through the desert. Although part of me is slightly wary of this, could this be considered cruel to camels?

Anyway, hopefully you can do all the things you would like when and if you travel there. Not every excursion suits everyone. I for one am extremely happy with what we have seen and done and we have absolutely made memories to last a lifetime.

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Uluru – Sacred Sites & Sunset Tour

We had already booked a sunset tour but we really wanted to get up close and personal to Uluru. We had initially booked to have a BBQ after the sunset with some interesting bush tucker but sadly for us the weather had been pretty wet the week before (great for the National Park as rain doesn’t happen too often). Therefore, the BBQ had to be cancelled as they could not have it due to the area being saturated. This actually worked out well as we could then swap our BBQ for a day tour of the scared sites at Uluru. This enabled us to see Uluru up close and learn about its history. It’s one thing to see Uluru from afar but when you have the chance to touch the sacred rock formation, it was a welcome addition.

We booked our tour with AAT Kings and it offered a walking tour guide of Uluru and a sunset experience with drinks and nibbles. I have to say the tour was really good but for us, having the chance to simply see and touch Uluru from up close was the main event. You really do feel how majestic Uluru is and you can’t help but become engrossed in your surroundings.

We were delighted to able to touch Uluru
Mutitjulu Waterhole – this is a really special location and is one of the few permanent water sources around Uluru. This is a beautiful spot to sit and appreciate the peace and tranquillity.
We stopped here to see where tourists used to start the climb of Uluru. It’s hard to believe this was only stopped three years ago. Now we know how insensitive it was to climb this sacred site.

After seeing Uluru up close, it was time to head out and see the views from afar. This way you can really see how the light changes when it hits Uluru as the sun sets.

Sunset here is pretty special ☺️
Cheers to life 🧡
Every second spent here changes when the sun starts to set. The colour changes are impeccable. This was lovely to watch, whilst having some wine, cheese, dips and crackers.

As the sun was setting, local Indigenous people sit nearby displaying their incredible art work, hoping to sell a piece. They were all outstanding creations of art and we had to buy one. Such an amazing location to buy local art and support the local community.

This was honestly such an unbelievable experience seeing Uluru up close and at sunset. It’s difficult to even put into words. I hope you all have this opportunity to visit Uluru but until then, I really hope you can enjoy the photos ☺️. Thanks for reading.

Wayne ✌🏽

Uluru – By air

This was the first excursion we did when arriving to Yulara. This was a surprise for me as it had not even been on my radar to see Uluru from an airplane. I was told five minutes prior to being collected by the pilot. My remarkable partner had it all secretly planned.

We travelled with Ayers Rock Scenic Flights and yes you read that correct, we were collected by the pilot. This was certainly a first for us. We were taken by minibus to the airport where we boarded a very small airplane, a four seater Piston-powered aircraft (that’s as much as I know) and we had a safety talk with our amazing pilot.

I have been in a few different aircraft that holds up to ten people but never one that has just four seats. This was very exciting. You have to wear a headset that enables you to talk and listen to the pilot, whilst also listening to her communicate with the local air traffic control team. Then up, up and away.

The views even taking off were out of this world. I have never seen the ground so red and dusty. It’s amazing to be in the desert with not much at all around you. There were some green plants however, as there had been much needed rain just days before. We could see the town of Yulara, the hotels, the workers’ accommodation and an even fancier hotel away from everywhere else, where William and Kate had stayed. Our pilot was a great tour guide, giving us a run down of the area and history.

Then when you see Uluru, it’s just magnifique. Such a feast for the eyes. From the air it doesn’t look as big as on land but it fairly stands out in the middle of the desert. You can also see Kata Tjuta, another rock formation about 25km away from Uluru, which is just as formidable but somehow understated.

Honestly this is such an experience to see from the air. Whether you choose a plane or a helicopter, it will be worth your while booking a trip in the air. You won’t regret it. it’s not as scary as you might think and the turbulence was very minimal. The pilot talks to you throughout and you’re busy taking in the scenery to be anxious or worried about the height you are at.

Some advice for you that I learned after. You can only take and post pictures of Uluru from one side. On the back of Uluru are some culturally sensitive sites that you cannot take pictures of or post on social media. I had learned this when doing the tour on foot, however, I had never considered that fact when I was snapping away from the air. Granted I had this experience before the tour on foot so I was ignorant to this information. I have so many photos and videos but unfortunately cannot show them here from this angle. I will show more in the next blog post when we carried out the tours on foot.

Let me know what you think about seeing sites from the sky?

Thanks for reading all,

Wayne ✌🏽

Mudgee – a photo blog

I am excited to show you all a snippet of this wonderful place in NSW, Australia known as Mudgee. First of all, what a great name. It is an Aboriginal name meaning ‘nest in the hills’ which is very apt as it is geographically located within the Cudgegong River Valley.

The reason I have always wanted to visit Mudgee as I have heard that it’s the place to visit for wine tasting. I know we have Hunter Valley nearby (I have so many posts on this) but I was excited to try somewhere new and visit a more rural location. Mudgee, being further inland of NSW and a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney is the perfect getaway. I had heard that Mudgee has a lot of character and is extremely rustic and quaint. These traits are right up my street and boy did Mudgee deliver.

We were only there for a weekend so we didn’t have the chance to explore everything on offer. However, that just means we will have to return one day! I will show you where we stayed and the places we managed to check out, including 3 wineries. Also the people here! The people are amazing here and so, so friendly.

This is where we stayed. This is Perry Street Hotel, part of the Peppertree Hill Group. Gorgeous place to stay and very central location.
The kimonos were a lovely touch 👘

The architecture in Mudgee was fantastic. I love seeing the old style buildings and churches. It adds a bit of character to the place and showcases the history of the area.

Mudgee Town Hall
Mudgee memorial clock tower
⛪️
Regent Theatre 🎭
Even the solicitors office looks impressive

We booked a wine tour with Mudgee Wine Tours and we planned the half day tour. This offered three vineyards to visit and to be honest this was just the right amount. We have done a full day wine tour in the past and it’s a long day of drinking wine 🤪. Others on our tour were carrying out the full day and they were exhausted by the end. Our tour guide was with the most fabulous woman we could have met. Lindy was professional, personable, extremely friendly and honestly made the tour very memorable for all the right reasons. She would interact with the different vineyard staff also which was really lovely to see and to be honest this was a first for us. Most tour guides will simply wait outside and operate mostly as a driver for the day.

1 – Our first vineyard was Walter Wines. A lovely place to visit and we also had the most amazing pies here for lunch.
2 – Pieter Van Gent Winery – really delicious fortified wines with an exquisite interior featuring some awesome old church furnishings.
3 – Bunnamagoo Estate – beautiful area to sit outside
Too good not to purchase 😜

A couple of places where we had drinks and dinner. These are all popular spots in Mudgee and worth checking out.

Kelly’s Irish Pub (why do Irish people always have to find the Irish pubs?!)
Beers at Mudgee Brewing Co – the food was amazing here too
Delicious food at Cade Kitchen and Bar
Breakfast at Alby and Esthers – amazing outdoor space, feels like you’re eating in a secret garden.
Paragon Hotel – Our favourite pub just beside our hotel. Perfect for a wee night cap 😉

We loved walking around the town and even managed to stumble upon a pretty park just by the river.

Quaint stores
A lovely walk along the Cudgegong River.

We also took a ten minute drive outside Mudgee to visit Windamere Dam. It is really stunning and you can also visit on your way home from Mudgee as it’s on the route back to Sydney.

Thanks for checking out my Mudgee blog. I hope you liked the photos and maybe feel inspired to visit yourself one day. It is a truly wonderful place that I would happily visit again.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 20

I love this question. I love taking photographs with scenery, architecture or anything quaint. I love looking at photographs, I love taking photographs and I think I have a good eye for what subject would make a good photo, however, I’m not that clued into photography. I would love to be but it just flies over my head. I have a “proper” camera but quite often end up using my mobile phone as the IPhone 13 is pretty good at taking decent pictures.

This photograph is one of my favourites. I am a sucker for a good sunset and I like how this image showcases the sunset with a pelican just sitting in the foreground. I love the colour of the sky, the wispy clouds and the ocean at the bottom. This picture was taken in Ballina, NSW in 2020.

I can’t wait to see everyone’s favourite photo ever taken!

Cheers,

Wayne ✌🏽

Hunter Valley – in a day 🍷

Hunter Valley, NSW, an amazing place to taste some fine wines. Stunning scenery, boutique wineries, friendly people, what more could you wish for. I have been here quite a few times now and have always stayed at least two nights. I guess because it’s quite far away and it’s the ideal place to have a mini vacation. So when I was asked by my friends and work colleagues to join them for a day trip, I was excited to see what we could experience in a day. At least with the 2.5 hour drive each way, we could chat and catch up with each other 😊.

We had booked a day trip with Teds Tours. A company that specialises in wine tours and has a very friendly mentos. You can click https://www.tedstours.com.au/hunter-valley-tours/tour-packages for more information. Our driver Kris was amazing. He was a great laugh and very accommodating, picking us up from Wolli Creek and taking us there and back, whilst driving us also around three different vineyards and also to the pub for lunch. Nothing was a bother for him and he managed to keep us all within the time limits, no easy feat when everyone has had a few wines 🤪.

The gang ready to head off with Teds Tours

The three vineyards we had the pleasure of visiting were: Saltire 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿, Vinden Wines and Tatler. All three were good on there own merit, however, Saltire really stuck out for us. The scenery was unreal. Delicious wines, fantastic setting, a Scottish heritage and the service was extremely warm and inviting. All in all, this vineyard set the bar high and the staff had a really good knowledge and appreciation of their products 🍷.

Saltire 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Vinden Wines

Lunch at The Mighty – this was delicious and I really love this pub!

All in all, this was a great day out. We loved the company, the vineyards and the wines. Would I travel 2.5 hours each way again for a day trip, probably not. However, I would definitely use Teds Tours again, especially if staying in the Hunter in the future. I hope it inspires you to visit Hunter Valley, for a day or a longer stay. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for reading guys, take care and stay safe.

Wayne ☺️

1 night in Manly ☺️

When you need a break but can’t have more than a weekend off, 1 night will have to suffice. We just wanted to get away for a couple of days for a change of scenery. So we decided on Manly. Although Manly is still within Sydney and easy to travel to, we have never stayed overnight here. You see, you normally would catch the ferry here from Circular Quay and have a day trip in Manly, normally catching a ferry back home at around sunset. There are a few lovely bars and restaurants at the harbour and we would often have a couple of drinks here while waiting on the ferry to come in and take us home. However, when the craic is great and the drinks are flowing, you seem to just watch the ferries arrive and then they depart, without you on them. There’s always time to catch the next ferry 😉. This could go on for about 3 or 4 ferries until we have decided, enough is enough and head back home.

Drinks at the harbour waiting for the ferry ☺️

So this in itself would be a novelty for us to stay here and not have to worry about catching the ferry home. There’s lots to do at Manly and we still hadn’t seen all that is on offer. You have the harbour, bush walks, beaches and rock pools, as well as, amazing bars and restaurants. We decided to stay at Hotel Steyne. It’s a hotel but more so, it is a restaurant and pub, with outdoor areas, a glasshouse bar, whiskey bar and a rooftop with stunning views of Manly beach. It has charm, character and is right in the heart of everything Manly has to offer. We loved this place.

I could not recommend Manly enough for a short stay (more than 1 night would have been amazing) or a longer holiday. It honestly has everything and really feels like a holiday destination. I am seriously looking forward to a longer break but for now, 1 night will have to do 🙏🏼

We caught up with friends from home at The Ivanhoe Hotel.

The beaches and walks are stunning. We didn’t do any bush walks this time but they’re really worth checking out.

Is anyone else planning a night away? Where’s your favourite place to travel for a weekend break?

Thanks everyone for reading!

Keep safe,

Wayne ☺️

12 months and 12 photos (2019)

Hi everybody!!! It has been a while. I haven’t written a blog in about 4 months, sorry for that. To be honest, I haven’t had much to say or write about as there has been no travelling for the past few months (except Melbourne twice but does that even count?!). I have been attempting to lay low and save my pennies/cents for the big year that is to come in 2020. A fellow blogger has been carrying out 12 months and 12 photos and I loved this idea. It’s a great way for me to create a blog and keep me in the game. It’s the first time I saw another blog post and thought, yes, I want to do that. So thanks to Tanja from @theredphoneboxtravels for the inspo. I have picked my 12 photos (not an easy task by the way, if you have a few things going on each month) and added a little caption to each one. I hope you find them of interest 🙂

January – Taveuni

Taveuni
The holiday of all holidays. We won a trip back to Fiji and we decided to visit the garden island of Fiji that is Taveuni. An absolutely amazing place with the best people. We made memories there that will last a lifetime.

February – Belfast comes to Melbourne

Belfast comes to Melbs
2 of our really good friends Brian and Rachael came to Melbourne. I didn’t want to miss them so I flew over to spend the weekend with them and had the best craic!

March – Meet my parents in Thailand

Thailand
I had the oppotunity to visit my parents when they were in Thailand celebrating their anniversary. I couldn’t miss this, maybe my only ever chance to have a holiday with just the 2 of them all to myself. A really chilled out holiday with memories I will always cherish.

April – 10 years later

10 years later
We love our Sydney walks and for me, my photo opportunities! We sat here to have a photo taken and realised we had sat here 10 years ago also. We have lived in Sydney in 2009 for 1 year and had made it our dream and mission to return. I like this photo as it highlights how far we have came and what is achievable if you want something bad enough.

May – Home

Home
We love our trips back to Northern Ireland. This was our 2nd trip home since leaving for Australia. We had an amazing time as always, plus we attended 2 very special weddings. The landscape in Northern Ireland is stunning, it definitely needs to be seen if visiting Ireland.

June – A time of reflection

Reflection
This is the Chinese Garden of Friendship. The perfect spot for reflection and gathering your thoughts. I was really happy to have been shown this place.

July – Quality time

Quality time
July was a month of spending time with the other half and taking in the beauty of Sydney. Lots of nice walks and this day we were whale watching, a really unbelievable experience!

August – Leura

Leura
This is my birthday month!! I really wanted to head away for a couple of days. We decided on Leura, in the Blue Mountains. I would highly recommend this to everyone. It is a really quaint little town with a lot of character. The Leura Cascades are impressive and amazing walks in the heart of the Blue Mountains.

September – A personal journey

Personal journey
I have been going to the gym for about 2 years now. I am loving it and acheiving results that I am super happy with. This was the month I hit a personal milestone as I had hit the 10kg mark. Thats a 10kg increase in weight (muscle mass). I was delighted. May the journey continue.

October – Wedding dress shopping

Wedding dress
Never thought in a million years I would be doing this but it was an incredible experience. To be there for my best friend on such a huge occassion in her life was a true honour. We had the best weekend and not a bridezilla in sight!!

Novemeber – My cousin

My cousin
My cousin has been in Sydney for a year and we have loved it. To have a family member here is amazing, to share old memories and make new ones is incredible. We were sad to say goodbye as she heads off on her travels and then home but we have had the best year and again made the best memories.

December – Christmas time

Christmas
One of my favourite months of the year. This year we are spending it together, just the 2 of us. We are heading away on what will be our only holiday as a couple since 2014. Keep an eye on my socials for photos to follow. Merry Christmas everyone!!! See you all next year 🙂

L E U R A

Leura is a small town situated in the Blue Mountains. We wanted to see somewhere different within the mountains as we have been a good few times now and luckily there is still always something new to see. Blackheath, Katoomba and Leura are the 3 main towns and so we had already visited the other 2 towns. It was my birthday at the start of the month, so we thought it would be fun to have a weekend away, a mini vacation. We wanted somewhere that we could travel to by train, so we could save the hassle of hiring a car like we normally would do. Leura has its own train station and is less than 2 hours to get to from Sydney. Perfect spot because you are within the Blue Mountain region, great for stunning scenery and long walks ☺️. I had heard Leura has lovely cascades with picnic areas, so for me, that’s what I really wanted to see. I also wanted to simply see the mountains and feel a million miles away from the normal daily routine.

We used booking.com to book a lovely cottage in Leura, a 5 minute walk from the train station. The cottage was The Priest’s Cottage at St Raphael (no priests were spotted) and it was really special. Extremely cosy with its own little electric fire and it even had electric blankets that was a really nice touch. It was freezing at night when we were there but luckily you wouldn’t have known staying in this cottage. It was very easy to find and so close to the town. A really quaint little place that was pretty spacious and had all the amenities you would hope to find. Outdoor seating area too that would be great in the summer.

First thing you do on a holiday/mini break, check in and check out your surroundings. We took a walk to the town and had a look around. The main street is really quaint with lots of cafes and really cool shops. Our favourite findings were the vintage shops (particularly The Leura Emporium Vintage Collectables) and the really cool Teddy Sinclair’s Man Cave. This shop was awesome, you could spend all day in it. It smells amazing as you walk in with all the leather wallets, bags, coats, jackets etc and it has lots of men’s accessories from shaving utensils to travel bags, jewellery, watches and gifts.

Flemish Flavours

This is the best spot, in my opinion, for a beer and some food. This bar/restaurant is situated in a heritage listed mansion overlooking Leura. The outdoor space and gardens are stunning. This is a really cool spot to try out some Belgian beers and gourmet food. The beers were delicious and the atmosphere here is quirky and cosy. Be sure to check this place out this month as the restaurant/bar will be leaving the premises here for new pastures.

Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum

If you love tea as much as I do then this is the place for you. You can pay $5.50 in to see the museum or you can be admitted for free in the condition that you purchase a cup of tea after. The museum has the largest collection of private tea ware in the world and boasts more than 5,500 teapots from all over the world and from different eras. The staff here are super friendly and helpful and the atmosphere and surroundings create the perfect place to have a cup of tea, where you can choose from an array of different varieties.

Leura Cascades

I was super excited to see these!! I was just looking forward to heading out for a walk into unknown territory and seeing something a little different. We walked to the cascades, it takes about 30 minutes from Leura itself. We brought a picnic as we’d heard there are lovely spots to sit and have lunch, plus there are no cafes or shops nearby so best be prepared. The cascades themselves are stunning. Not overly big but tucked away amongst the trees and rocks to create a special ambiance. The walking trail is pretty easy to navigate with some steep stairways if you want to head upwards and see the views overlooking the Blue Mountains. Definitely worth the trek up as the views are spectacular. As soon as you see the mountains it’s a truly breathtaking moment. You really feel the vastness of the area and at one with mother nature. There are lots of areas worthy of having a picnic, with some picnic benches also provided. You can walk as far as Katoomba from here but we decided against it. All in all the walk takes about an hour and a half.

We did, however, head to Katoomba later that day as it’s only 5 minutes from Leura on the train. We always feel we have to see the infamous 3 sisters. Although we’ve now seen them multiple times, they still manage to make us feel in awe.

Two places to check out for dinner:

1- Miss Lilian Tea House

This is authentic Asian casual dining. If you want something tasty but not overly fancy or overpriced, this place is the ticket. Food was delicious and the decor is pretty funky with a stress on birdcages. It’s in Katoomba but a bit of a walk to so we travelled by taxi here. Definitely worth the fare 😉

2- Leura Garage

This award winning restaurant and bar has been on my list for a while as I have always heard good things about it. Using all local ingredients and wines, it was really amazing and didn’t disappoint. It is really handy, basically across the road from the train station. It is always busy so be sure to book ahead.

So that’s my mini weekend guide to Leura. Hopefully some of you find it helpful. This little town is most definitely worth seeing and is often a looked over little gem of a find. Next time your in the Blue Mountains be sure to check it out.

Thanks for reading,

W 😊

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