Dangar Falls

Dangar Falls is located just outside of the town of Dorrigo, which is between Coffs Harbour and Armidale in northern NSW. It is part of the area known as Waterfall Way, which as indicated by its name, has many spectacular waterfalls on display. Because we were popping in for an afternoon, we only stopped at a few of the waterfalls (which means there is more for next time!) and they were both very beautiful. But today I want to talk about my visit to Dangar Falls.

This was part of my road trip with my mum and my brother and we were keen for a quick swim before we continued on our way. After doing some research, I found that Dangar Falls was highly recommended, so we added it to the agenda for the day. When we got to the carpark it was almost completely full – many people were out and about enjoying the day. Before getting changed into my swimmers I went and checked out the view of the waterfall from the lookout and it was pretty spectacular! The waterfall was much wider and the pool below it was also much bigger than I was expecting. After getting changed we headed down the short hill to the pool at the bottom and although we were still excited for a swim, when our toes touched the water and felt the chill there was definitely a moment of hesitation.

I am the generally (not always!) the kind of person that likes to just dive in rather than easing myself in slowly. I like to get the shock over and done with so that my body can adjust to the change. So I was the first one to jump in and boy was it cold!

We made our way toward the waterfall, but the current was really strong and we had to skirt around the outside of it. It was making waves – it felt like I was swimming at the beach past the surf, where there are the gentle waves, but still coming steady and strong. We managed to make our way to the side of the pool and then picked our way along until we were behind the waterfall. There is actually quite a large space behind the waterfall that you can reach, and it is so spectacular to look out through the screen of the waterfall, to see this sheet of water between you and the rest of the world.

After enjoying the waterfall briefly, we made our way back to the shore and then headed back up to the car. Although it was a very short swim, it was probably one of my favourites of the whole road trip. I loved the fact that pool was so big and that it was a mini wave pool, that we were able to swim behind the waterfall.

I would highly recommend a visit to this waterfall to anyone in the area, whether you want to go for a swim, or just enjoy the view from the top lookout.

Gingerbread Creations

One of my fondest memories of Christmas time growing up is that we would often make and decorate gingerbread houses together. We would generally make 3 or 4 houses and then give them to other families to enjoy. In the last few years we have revisited this, but in a more creative way. Now that we are all grown up, a few of my brothers wanted to try some different gingerbread designs – from a cathedral to an Aussie style farmhouse.

We would spend a while on the planning step, making templates of the different pieces that we needed and then rolling out and cutting the dough. Then started the building process, which came with varying degrees of success.

As we built the cathedral it was successful at first, but the mixture of a few elements, namely the humidity in Far North Queensland and the many components that it takes to make up a dome, along with the added weight of the lollies we were putting on top, meant that partway through the decorating process, we got a spectacular slow-motion collapse of the dome. (But not before we got some pictures of the completed cathedral). We didn’t let that stop us though as we continued decorating, embracing the disaster and creating a storyline to go with it.

The before and after shots following the collapse of the dome

As you look at the photo, you can see my brother’s hands holding the cathedral together, and then seconds after the photo the dome collapsed. The second photo shows our finished product, which tells a story of some sort of explosion that happened in the dome resulting in people fleeing the scene, while police cars rush there(see the yellow liquorice) along with a news reporter van and a helicopter (attached to a chopstick which is cropped out of the second image). We had lots of fun with it and were very happy with the final result, despite the setbacks experienced in the middle.

Last year’s gingerbread creation was an Aussie style farmhouse. We had a lot of fun with this one, designing a full wrap around veranda, a windmill in the front yard and even some gingerbread animals scattered around the house. (These were my creation and I was very proud of them!) The cherry on top was a rocking chair sitting on the veranda with someone sitting on it enjoying the view. This creation was a lot more successful, with everything holding together (with the exception of the windmill, which fell apart shortly after we took the photos.

Front and side views of our Aussie farmhouse

I love how creative my family is and that we get to enjoy making these projects together – I can’t wait to see what we make next time!

Paperbark Forest Boardwalk, Agnes Water

I have been a busy little beaver in the past few weeks, so apologies for missing my post last week – I was taking some time out to enjoy a well-earned rest before starting work again. But during my holiday I went all over, from Victoria to Queensland and then back to NSW, including a 6-day road trip. All of this to say, I have a lot more exciting blog content coming up, so stay tuned!

To start us off, I wanted to share about one of the stops on the road trip, to Agnes Water and more specifically a short walk that we did, the Paperbark Forest Boardwalk. I have actually been to Agnes Water before and have already written a blog post about it, so go check that out! But when I visited previously I didn’t know about the boardwalk, I only found out about it later. So when the opportunity arose to go back, I was very keen to visit.

The Paperbark Forest Boardwalk is a very short walk, it is actually only 400 metres long, and as the name suggests, it is a walk through a forest as opposed to a walk along the beach. The only thing that I knew going into the walk was that there were some cool looking steppingstones (which there were), but the whole walk was really beautiful. Everything was so green and vibrant!

It didn’t take us long to do the walk, but we took a little extra time to take some pictures (shout out to my brother for patiently taking lots of photos for me!) It is a great short stop to fit in around other activities when you are out for the day because it is not a big commitment, but it is certainly worth a visit if you are in the area!

Arthur’s Seat

Following on from my post last week, Arthur’s Seat is another place that I revisited recently after spending many hours there growing up. It is a lovely area that has so much to offer, from beautiful gardens and lovely walks to gondola rides (or a chairlift as it was when I was growing up). It is at the top of a mountain with views over the Mornington Peninsula and even Melbourne City in the distance on a good day.

The view from the top of Arthur’s Seat

At one point I lived quite near to the bottom of the hill, and opposite where we lived was the beginning of a walk that went up to the Seawinds Gardens at the top. We would do it fairly regularly for exercise and it was a lovely walk although it was very steep!

When we were in the area again over Christmas we decided to do the walk followed by a BBQ brunch at the top. Some of my family didn’t want to walk, so they drove up to the top and met us, carrying all of the food with them. This meant that we were able to walk freely without having to carry everything with us – which I, for one, was very grateful for!

It’s been a few years since I had done the walk from the bottom of the hill to the top and although I knew that it was steep, I had forgotten just how steep it was. The distance of the walk is only just a kilometre, but it is uphill the whole time, most of it very steep. I was very impressed with myself because I only had to stop a few times as we went, whereas previously, I would have had to stop every 20-30 metres for a break. While I arrived at the top pretty exhausted, it was also very satisfying because I knew that I had worked hard. And I also had the rewarding prospect of a good meal! We ended up taking up all the fixings for French toast and cooking it on the barbeque – for some reason things always taste better when they are cooked outdoors on a barbeque!

After brunch, we strolled down to the lookout and took in the view, which was very nice because it was a sunny morning. After this we packed up and headed home, thankfully driving rather than having to retrace our steps by foot.

I would recommend Arthur’s Seat to anyone looking for a fun, family friendly outing in nature. It has lots of options for the kids from easier walks to playgrounds and of course the gondolas. And it is a beautiful area for adults to enjoy as well!  

Cape Schanck Rock Pools

In my previous post I mentioned that I have been spending time with my family and going adventuring with them. So in the coming weeks I thought I would share some of my experiences of our adventures with you.

I spent some of my childhood years growing up on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. And I still have family that live in this area, so my Christmas was spent staying here as well. It was lovely being back there again and seeing some of the houses that I used to live in and driving past some of the schools that I attended. (They seem so much smaller than I remember – it shows just how much I have grown!) In this time we were able to revisit some of the places that we used to go adventuring as well as discover some new ones.

One particular place that we revisited was Cape Schanck. Cape Schanck is a beautiful area made up of numerous beaches, a number of walks and a light house. I remember going here as a kid and there is one particular rock pool that we would go to as a family. We decided to try and find it again on this trip and we managed to pick the first hot day after Christmas to go, which meant that we encountered lots of traffic as we drove up from Mornington. And the carpark was no different! There were cars lined up both sides of the road for about a kilometre before we actually got to the carpark itself. We decided to continue to the carpark and see if we would be blessed with a spot there, which we were! This meant we didn’t have to walk for ages to get to the carpark before we could start the walk itself.

We set off on the walk, enjoying the views and anticipating the prospect of a refreshing swim. At a certain point you get to the top of a hill and have to descend down many stairs to get to the beach – I always try not to think about the fact that this means I have to go up all the stairs on the return journey, although this time it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Once we got to the bottom, we went down the stairs to the right towards Pulpit Rock. We rock hopped our way around past Pulpit Rock and before long we reached the rock pool. It was exactly as I remember it and it was very enticing as I was very ready for a swim at this point.

I am not a huge fan of swimming at the beach for a number of reasons – jellyfish and rough surf being some. I generally prefer to swim in fresh water, whether it be lakes or rivers. But ocean rock pools are different. Because they don’t have the waves constantly coming in, I quite enjoy them, and they are very refreshing. Often they are very clear with beautiful views of the floor below. They feel like they should be a lot shallower than they actually are.

Swimming on day 2 at Cairns Bay

We enjoyed our swim immensely, especially once we had become numb from the initial cold and then after a while we lay out on the rocks in the sun to warm up again. Eventually we made our way back along the rocks to the boardwalk and made our way home again.

We actually went out again the next day and found another beach that had a rock pool in it and enjoyed another swim. This one was one that I hadn’t been to before at a place called Cairns Bay. My sister had been here before and took us along and we enjoyed another refreshing swim, and this one had a number of shallower pools that felt like a spa bath – they were so warm! There was no way I could have gone back in the big pool after sitting in the shallower ones for a little while. It was another beautiful place to sit and watch the ocean and for the more adventurous in my family, to try and climb up the cliffs (successfully, I might add).

I really enjoyed both of the rock pools that we visited on this trip and I would definitely go back to both of them again if I had the chance!

Christmas 2021

Today’s post is going to be a short one! I just wanted to check in to say ‘hi’ and ‘Merry Christmas!’ For many of us Christmas is a busy time of year (it certainly has been for me this year!). I know that I can tend to get caught up in the many traditions and celebrations that come with Christmas and forget to slow down and reflect on what Christmas really is. For me, Christmas is the celebration of the birth and life of Jesus – the incredible miracles that occurred so many years ago that still affect me personally today. It is so much more than the presents and the Christmas lights and lots of food. I try to keep reminding myself of this as Christmas comes around each year.

For many people, Christmas is also a time for family. This year I have been very blessed to spend time with all of my family – a somewhat rare occurrence these days as we all live interstate and covid has made this difficult! I have been able to go on walks and to the movies and just enjoy adventuring together. I am sure I will share more on some of my adventures in the coming weeks, but for now, I’m going to sign off and enjoy some well earned rest!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

Until 2022,

Jo Xx

Venturing Out Again

It has been a long six months of lockdowns and restrictions in Sydney, but things are starting to change! Slowly, everything is opening back up, which also means that exploring and adventuring are an option again. And I am SO excited!

Enjoying the view on my first adventure post lockdown

For the first time since I started my blog, I am actually able to share some of my real time adventures – something that I am very excited about! I will still write posts on my previous adventures, but as I start to do more I will hopefully share these things with you too!

When I was able to go out and about again, the first thing I did was to go to the beach to watch the sunrise. A friend and I got up at 4:30am, made ourselves some warm drinks and drove down to Wollongong. The night before we had made some blueberry muffins to enjoy on our little adventure. We thought at first that we might have missed the sunrise – there were clouds along the horizon, but 15 minutes or so after we arrived the sun peeked out above the clouds and it was stunning! It got more beautiful as it got higher and then it disappeared into more clouds again, sending out light rays in lots of different directions.

After we had enjoyed the sun and the waves for an hour or so we packed up, but we weren’t ready to head home yet, so we decided to take a more roundabout way. We drove north along the various beaches and over the Seacliff Bridge. It is a beautiful drive with stunning views of the ocean on one side and the hills on the other. We stopped at Bald Hill Lookout and looked back on where we had just driven. It was such a gorgeous view and I never get sick of it!

I had a great morning and it was so refreshing after spending so long stuck at home! To actually get out and spend time at the beach, enjoying the fresh air and the sound of the waves. And I also got to do something that I have missed quite a lot – driving with a friend, listening to music and singing along! Its something that I have taken for granted until I wasn’t able to do it for so long!

Cubby Houses

I grew up with two older brothers and one younger one and this means that as many boys tend to when they are growing up, they were very interested in being creative and adventurous. All of my brothers were very hands on in their creativity, building many sling shots, bows and arrows and swords. And another thing they did throughout the years was build cubby houses.

We had a number of cubby houses over the years, varying in size and quality. I don’t specifically remember which one we made first, but one was a bunch of wooden planks that we used to build a little cubby house next to our fence. (When I say ‘we’, it was mostly my brothers who built it with me tagging along and ‘helping’ as best I could) When we were finished, the cubby fit all three of us, although just barely.

The second cubby house that I remember we built was on our monkey bar frame. The frame was a dome shape with four ladders going up to the top and bars connecting them at different heights. It was a lot of fun for a little kid and we found this a great frame to build on. We used the ladders to lay planks across and then built walls and a roof all out of wood.

The cubby house built on the monkey bars

The third and final one that I remember us building was the most solid cubby house and the most planned out. We dug out holes for poles in the ground and then built the cubby house off the ground, complete with two rooms and a hallway connecting them, and a trapdoor in the bottom to get in.

One of my fondest memories that I have from all of these cubbies was that every time we built one we would then try and sleep in it overnight. We would pull out our sleeping bags and eagerly head outside ready to take on the world. I’m pretty sure it took me until the third cubby house to successfully last the night. The first few times I would end up back in my bed before the night was through. I was very proud of myself when I finally made it until the next morning.

It was sad when we moved away from the house and had to leave the cubby house behind. But I still have the fond memories of ‘building’ the cubbies with my brothers and the different adventures that were had in them.

Breakfast at the Top of the Yellow Arrow

I have written in previous posts about my experience walking the Green Arrow track in Cairns, so today we are moving on to the Yellow Arrow track! This walk is located in the Mt Whitfield Conservational Park and is 1.9km long with a steady uphill climb.

When I lived in the area I had seen the Yellow Arrow on signs and had seen the track from the road and I had wanted to do it for a while. But it took until after I have moved away and was home visiting my family before I got around to doing it. But when I did, I really enjoyed it! It is the perfect walk do in between activities when you are in Cairns for the day, as my family live an hour away and will often try to combine activities when we make the drive. So if you have a commitment in the morning and then a break before the afternoon, the Yellow Arrow is a nice activity to fill in the time.

I have done the Yellow Arrow track a few times, but the most memorable one is the latest time, which was a sunrise walk before we picked up family from the airport. We decided to do the drive early with the aim to catch sunrise at the top of the hill, enjoying breakfast with a view before heading back down to the airport.

We looked very odd compared to the early morning runners that were easily passing us as we walked barefoot up the hill with our backpacks full of breakfast ingredients and utensils. But we enjoyed ourselves and when we got to the top we were glad we brought it all. The top of the hill has an open section that faces the airport so you get a lovely view of the planes taxiing and taking off and landing.

We decided to go gourmet with our breakfast so instead of just taking something ready made that we could eat straight away, we brought pancake mix complete with a gas stove and pan to cook them over. As people completed their runs up and down the mountain we sat there chowing down on pancakes and enjoying the view.

It was such a great way to start the day and to work off my breakfast at the same time!

Shades of Green

“What’s your favourite colour?”

When I was growing up, my answer to this question changed constantly. It would depend on many different things such as how I was feeling at the time, who was around me and what colours they liked, and what colours I could see at that specific moment.

But for many years now, my answer has remained the same – green.

Probably the main reason for this is because of how much green is reflected in nature.

It is currently springtime in Australia and let me tell you, there has been no shortage of rain … or green! Because we have had consistent rain in the last few months, there is so much green everywhere. I live in an area with lots of rolling hills and open fields, and lots of trees. So when you look out the window there are always lots of different shades of green, from the lighter green of the grass to the darker green of some trees and many shades in between. It is in scenes like this that other colours pop, such as the purple jacaranda trees.

I have heard the phrase ‘there is so much green’ said many times in the last few months and I have said it myself just as many times. And it is true. And it brings my heart so much joy! I feel so much more peaceful and refreshed when I have looked outside and taken in the scenery.

I was recently visiting a friend’s property and they have a forresty area on the property with a little gully and a small dam at the bottom. I went exploring in this area and at one point I looked down the length of the gully and saw what looked like a river made out of grass. It literally looked like it was winding down the gully with a bright green colour for the grass and trees in varying shades of green on it’s ‘banks’. I loved seeing this aspect of nature that isn’t quite right, but still oh so beautiful.

On the same trip we also visited a nearby campground which had a stream winding through it and one view that I enjoyed was the sight of a curve in the stream with a house behind it, and the house was multiple shades of green as well. It fit so well into the scene and didn’t stand out as something manmade amongst the beauty of nature.

I have discovered in the last few years that my favourite shade of green is a forest green or an emerald green. I tend to prefer these darker shades of green that often reflect nature well. I definitely enjoy the other shades, but often come back to these two when I am thinking of my favourites.