She Goes Everywhere……Places You Should Visit.

Hellooooo…..anyone still out there?  While it has been some time since I have posted anything on the blog I have still been busy exploring, working, and getting involved in this little community out in the middle of the Pilbara.  I thought I would do a quick update via a picture post to catch everyone up on the highlights.  At a later date I will hopefully share a little more about my trip to the Blue Mountains earlier this year, as my family and I had some great adventures there.  I am also knee deep in my next hitlist with lots of exciting things planned for the future.  In the meantime here is a little snapshot of the places I have been exploring over the last three months and which you really should add to your travel hitlist!

Mt Nameless, Tom Price

Exmouth, Western Australia

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne.

Numbat Trail, Swan Valley and Hyde Park, Perth

Pannawonica, Western Australia

There is no place like home.  I am in full training mode again with the Red Dog Relay coming up and my next big, scary goal is a half marathon trail run in the Margaret River region.  Here are some pictures of Pannawonica while out and about.

Ok now we are all caught up!!  Have you been to any of these places?

Climbing an Active Volcano in Bali

Once a year, my two sisters, Mum and I, try and catch up for a girls weekend away.  We try and scratch out the time and money so we can catch up, reconnect, and often have some much needed down time.  Our first trip was to celebrate my Mum’s 50th birthday and we went to Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Over the years, between having kids, moving, living life, we haven’t always managed an exclusive girls trip each year, but we have had memorable trips to the Gold Coast, Palm Cove, Emu Park, and New Zealand.  This year my mum is turning 60 and my little sister turns 30 so we decided it was time for another overseas trip.  Sale fares cropped up for Bali and we spontaneously decided to book the trip well in advance.  This gave me plenty of time to research what trails, hikes, or special attractions that I would like to attempt while staying in Bali.

As you can probably guess if you have been following my blog, I love a good mountain climb, so not surprisingly Mt Batur Sunrise Trek caught my attention.  Trip Advisor had some great reviews of this hike and as it was a 4 hour return trip it wouldn’t take up too much time.  Let’s be honest those wonderful foot massages, cocktails by the pool, not to mention the shopping were all vying for my attention as well!

I managed to convince my little sister to come with me and our trip started with a 2.30am pick up from our Villa just outside of Ubud.  Yes, 2.30 AM pick up, arrrgghh what was I thinking?  It took about 30 minutes driving to arrive at the meeting point in the Kintamani National Park complex where we had a small breakfast of banana crepe and tea or coffee.  We were quickly ushered back into the car for a further 20 minutes before arriving at the base of Mt Batur.  As it was August, it was peak tourism season and the day we hiked there was upwards of 450 people on the mountain.  At just over 1700m above sea level, Mt Batur is not a big mountain so this is a lot of people to have on it at one time.  I have to admit I am really not a fan of hiking with this many people.  There was a lot of waiting before we started and there was a bit of stop and starting during the trek as well.

Before I left Australia, I had been talking to another couple who had just returned from Bali and had completed the Mt Batur trek.  Their advice was to take a head light which left your hands free for the steep part of the track, take a warm jacket for the summit, and they also warned that there were no toilets along the way.  I don’t know about you, but after breakfast, coffee and an early start, my bladder was becoming very demanding.  It was still early in the piece and easy walking, but I was remembering that there were no toilets along the way and we still had 3 more hours of hiking plus waiting time on the top of the mountain.  I figured that I would not be able to enjoy the rest of the trek if I didn’t sneak off for a toilet break under the cover of darkness.  My tips for taking the sneaky, stealth pee: Don’t forget to turn your headlight off;  Try and find a spot that the moonlight won’t reflect off your white backside; And finally, just try to forget that there are 450+ people walking around you and that your face isn’t glowing red in mortification.

For the most part it was quite an easy hike, only the last 45 minutes or so was quite steep.  There are plenty of breaks and due the number of people hiking single file the pace is very steady, therefore achievable for most people with moderate fitness.  It was a lovely clear morning when we started out, it was dark but the stars and moon were bright and there was that lovely morning crispness to the air that I love.  Once we started moving it was a pretty cool sight to see all the twinkling spots of torchlight winding up the mountain.  Now the one thing I had been looking forward to since i woke up at a ridiculous time that morning was a spectacular sunrise.  We reached the top with a little time to spare and sat there shivering in our sweaty shirts, lucky we had a jacket, but I would recommend a dry shirt to change into.  As the sun started to rise, we started to catch glimpses of the view that we had climbed to see, all bathed in a beautiful deep red/orange sky and then tragedy struck in the form of heavy clouds rolling across the mountain……NOOOOOO! Get a load of our eagerly awaited sunrise view……

IMG_2511

Sunrise selfie.  Yep, not too impressed with our sunrise. Haha suckers!!

While the fog was this thick we were seriously doubting whether this trip was worth it.  But then the sun started to rise and the clouds started to clear…..

Looking down at the blackened land, cooled lava from an eruption in 1963 that destroyed a village, was a stark reminder that we had just climbed an active volcano!  In fact it is Bali’s most active volcano with mild eruptions every 10-15 years.  It did make me pause slightly when I did some research prior to the hike that the last eruption was in 2000 and Mt Ruang, in nearby Java, was on the boil.    Our boiled eggs for breakfast had been cooked in the steam from the volcano.  We were standing on a bloody volcano!  C’mon it was a little cool.

It was a pretty great experience and my sister and I were both happy that we did it.  We ended up descending a different path than we climbed.  It was a nice easy walk down, but I would have liked to see the path we had clambered up in the dark.  Oh well, it was not a bad view on the way down regardless.

While this trek is a very commercial enterprise and you could quite easily do it without a guide, I was happy to pay the fee as it creates a lot of employment for locals and I was hopeful that I was paying for their knowledge on the status of this active volcano I was climbing.  The views as we drove back to our accommodation were spectacular and all in all I was really happy with the whole experience and will cross this one off the hitlist!

7 Days in Perth – 7 Great Things You Might Want to Do

The whole point of staying fit and active is so that I can enjoy life to the fullest and recently I have had interstate visitors in the form of my sister-in-law and niece.  They were only visiting for 7 days so I wanted them to make the most of their visit to beautiful Perth while still having time to just hang and enjoy each other’s company.  Here is what we did in 7 days….

1.  Kalamunda Town Square, Zig Zag Scenic Drive and Lookout.

After a red eye flight into Perth I did not plan much for their first day.  We spent a quiet day having a look at the lovely Kalamunda Town Square near where we live, taking the scenic Zig Zag Drive, and stopping at the Lookout to give our visitors their first glimpse of Perth City.

Lions lookout1

2.  Visit Fremantle

We had to do the express tour of Fremantle as we had to be back to pick the kids up from school. Initially we did a bit of a drive around just to look at the beautiful old buildings that make Fremantle so engaging.  We of course drove up Monument Hill, past the Fremantle prison and Fremantle Oval, and past some amazing schools and churches.

Monument Hill

Then it was off to lunch at Ootong & Lincoln which was delicious and the cafe had a really great vibe about it.  Of course we did admire the street art on the side of the building, those amazing zebras.  Street Art in Fremantle and Perth is just amazing.

Streetart

After parking at the harbour, we took a wander through the park past the great skate park and parkour area, and admired the view of the big ferris wheel amongst the tall pine trees.

Freo

Off for a quick look at the Round House, the oldest building still standing in Western Australia, before wandering down the cappucino strip and grabbing an icecream.

Round House

3.  Poke around Guildford before heading to Swan Valley

We decided that we must visit some wineries in Swan Valley, the oldest wine region in Western Australia, however as we headed off after school drop off we thought we may not get away with drinking wine at 9am in the morning.  Instead we decided that we would stop in at the little quaint town of Guildford first.

Guildford1

‘The history-rich village of Guildford in Western Australia was one of three towns established during the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829. Perth was the administration centre, Fremantle the port and Guildford the market town.’

It has lots of old colonial buildings, antique and nic nac shops, and some lovely coffee shops.  You can also do a self-guided heritage walk trail about the small town as it has some fascinating history. These walks start at The Swan Valley Visitor Centre.  It is worth stopping in here as they gave some great advice about which wineries we may want to stop in at, although I don’t think you can go too wrong.

Wineries Collage

We only had time for limited stops so we chose to visit Sandalford Winery which is one of the oldest and largest wineries in WA.  It was beautiful and we ended up with several bottles of wine from here.  Next stop was Yahava Coffee….mmm, coffee….followed by a trip to The Margaret River Chocolate Factory. 

chocolate Collage

Seriously, how could we go wrong with this day?  Wine, chocolate, coffee…but wait there’s more.   The second winery we visited, Lancaster Winery, had cheese tasting as well.  I did happen to add another rather nice Verdhelo and a chilli club cheddar to my ever growing loot.  Next stop was the Honey House.  This was great too, they have a viewing window into a small portion of the hive so you can see the honeycomb and the bees working.  Sooo many beautiful products, honey tasting galore, and they even have honey ice cream.  Last stop was Whistler’s Chocolate factory with the chocolate fairy land….awesome!

4.  Twilight Hawker’s Markets Murray Street Mall

Friday was hubby’s fly in day this week so we decided to brave the busy Hawker’s Markets in Perth City for dinner before picking hubby up from the airport.

Hawkers Collage

It was really busy and in hindsight we should have gone a little earlier with the kids as we couldn’t really get a good look at what was cooking and ended up going tried and tested things that we knew the kids would like, which defeats the whole point doesn’t it??  But live music was good, the smells were delicious, and all in all I am glad we did it.  Would love to go back without the 5 kids in tow!!

5.  Kings Park – Anzac memorial, Tree Top Walk, and Synergy Playground

kingspark6 Anzac mem treetops2

Synergy play

What’s left to say about Kings Park Perth?  It is beautiful with so much to explore.  Everytime I visit I find something new to see and I still don’t think I have seen everything.  This is a must visit for everyone who comes to Perth.

6.  Rottnest Island

I have had Rottnest Island on my ‘To Do’ list for some time and having family visit was the perfect excuse to visit.  It was a lot more expensive than I expected, especially for a family of 2 Adults and 4 Children.  We elected to travel from Fremantle on the early bird ferry at 7.15am and come back on the 2.10pm ferry.  In hindsight, I wish we had chosen the extended day trip because we didn’t have nearly enough time.  Initially we thought 6 hours of sun and sand on the island would be enough for us and the kids, however, we found that by the time we had arrived (about 8am), waited in line to purchase bus tickets, and then waited in line to purchase some snorkelling gear, we missed the first bus to view the island.  Buses only run every hour so we had to kill some time in Thompson Bay, which lets be honest was not too much of a hardship.

Rottnest bound Rottnest5

We decided not to do bikes this visit (although I would love to go back and ride around the island) because our visitors were not hugely confident on the bikes, the thought of five kids riding crazily all over a place we didn’t really know was a little scary, and of course the cost and time factor played a role too.  The bus tour was awesome, the driver really informative, and it was a great way to see the island.  Once the sting over the cost of everything wore off we had a fantastic time.  We saw dolphins on the ferry ride over, quokkas, lizards, and the beautiful clear blue water against the white sand was stunning.

 

 

Rottnest3

 

If I had my time again I would seriously think of staying the night.  Looking after the fact, there are some great accommodation, ferry, bike, and snorkel packages that I think would give a much better experience to explore all the island had to offer.  Oh well, you live and learn and we still really enjoyed our visit.

7.  Bell Tower and Shopping on Murray and Hay Street

Bell Tower

Murray st mall

It is a novelty to have girls in the house and I took full advantage of the fact and dragged them along for a day’s shopping in the city.  Didn’t take much arm twisting let me tell you.  After a quick look at the sights it was all about the shopping!  Love the old London Court in the middle of Hay Street as well.

What do you think?  What are your favourite spots in and around Perth?

 

 

 

 

5km Done and Dusted in Beautiful Kalbarri, Western Australia.

So for those of you who follow my facebook page you will probably be aware that I finally hit that 5km milestone.  I have been sitting just under 5km on my training runs three times a week and I knew it was time to step it up.  On the weekend we travelled to Kalbarri which is a small coastal town about 580km north of Perth in Western Australia.  On our arrival into Kalbarri we pulled into The Grandstand Lookout to check out the view…..

Grandstand Lookout

Grandstand Lookout

I noticed that there was a path leading in and out of the lookout and on further research discovered that there was an 8km trail that hugs the coastline from Natural Bridge to Eagle Gorge.  I decided then and there that if I was going to complete the 5km hitlist task then I was going to make it memorable.  This coastal run would be the first time that I have run more than 5km after having four kids and the first time I have run this far in more than 10 years.  I think the last time I ran any decent distance was the 14km City to Surf event from Sydney to Bondi.  It would also give me an idea of how I was travelling fitness wise for the upcoming adventurethon.

My parents are visiting at the moment which is one of the reasons we were out exploring some of WA.  My mother was really keen to walk the trail, my dad not so much, but he didn’t want to miss out so he bravely put on his best walking gear and came along for the experience!!

My father's best walking gear....not quite the party he thought it was going to be. Haha.

My father’s best walking gear….not quite the party he thought it was going to be. This boardwalk was misleading, it only went for the first 800m.

I was going to head out early with my parents but woke up with a headache (didn’t drink enough water the day before) so I decided to go a little later after rehydrating.  This actually worked out for the best as I ended up finishing about the same time as my parents.  I will let the pictures do the talking as they tell a far better story of the magnificence of the trail then I ever could.

Start of the walk - Natural Bridge lookout.

Start of the walk – Natural Bridge lookout.

Warm up walk to Island Rock which is where I started my run and the boardwalk ended.

Warm up walk to Island Rock which is where I started my run and the boardwalk ended.

Running literally on the edge of Australia - pretty amazing.

Running literally on the edge of Australia – pretty amazing.

Just under halfway point was the Grandstand lookout.  This is mum contemplating the view....and waiting for Dad!

Just under halfway point was the Grandstand lookout. This is mum contemplating the view….and waiting for Dad!

This is the point that I caught up to Mum and Dad 1km from the finish point.

This is the point that I caught up to Mum and Dad,1km from the finish point.

Cutting inland a little as I ran to the carpark at Eagle Gorge where hubby and the boys were waiting for us.

Cutting inland a little as I ran to the carpark at Eagle Gorge where hubby and the boys were waiting.

My boys were cheering, what's a girl to do?  Victory salute, haha.

My boys were cheering, what’s a girl to do? Victory salute, haha.

Stretching at the end of the 8km at Eagle Gorge.  Feeling quite a sense of satisfaction at this point.

Stretching at the end of the 8km at Eagle Gorge. Feeling quite a sense of satisfaction at this point.

Apart from the first 1km of wooden boardwalk that I walked for my warm up, the rest of the trail was either really rocky or sandy.  This meant that the going was quite slow but I found that the slower pace meant that I completed the remaining 7km quite comfortably.  This is good news for the Adventurethon, just have to do this after kayaking 5km, running 2km on sand, kayaking 3.7km back to mainland, and riding 22km on mountainous terrain.  Shouldn’t be a problem……..