Saturday, 30 April 2016

Mount Tomaree & Kayaking

Shortly after sunrise, Mr Paella and I headed up Mount Tomaree which was a reasonably easy hike to the lookout. It was a 45min walk up however wasn't as challenging as some other lookouts (namely Barrenjoey Headland in Sydney which is a short 15 minute walk but quite strenuous). It was at the lookout that I truly realised and remembered how beautiful Australia can be. The view was breathtaking. The coolest part was seeing an elderly woman (probably 60+) who was slowly making her way up to the lookout. I want to be her when I am older.

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Friday, 29 April 2016

Work

Ah work. This is another quite personal post. I ended up leaving working 3 hours early just because I mentally couldn't cope with it anymore. I have been quite unhappy / frustrated with work for a while as I have mentioned here and here and here. I still have hope that it can change and that is why I am still around. Actually looking for another job also terrifies me but I think it is something that I need to do at least. What is the harm in applying? None. Last week I had a direct conversation with my line manager about how I feel unchallenged and unengaged and that my work load is super light. This morning at 9am, I had a conversation with the General Manager asking to get a permanent position in the team. She basically spoke a lot about budget and how there wasn't room for me, but I am more than welcome to apply for a role just like anyone else if the role arises. This conversation went on for probably 20 minutes of her talking about the budgeting and how there might be roles in the future, there might not be, she doesn't know.

I was probably crying at my desk for a solid hour after lunch (proud that I lasted that long without a complete breakdown!) and then the woman who sat next to me / mentor / manager asked if I wanted to have a coffee. I said yes and then had a massive cry to her. Basically I just feel defeated. There is so much history with the company and myself and that is something that I don't want to get into at all. I then mentioned in a flippant way, "I may as well go home now. I may not even have a job in 3 months why should I even be here?" and she said it would be a good idea to go home if I wanted. So I left at 2pm!

I am feeling very very lost and have been for a while. I have been feeling so anxious and so stressed for quite a while now. I don't think I've felt like this for a very long time now. Probably three years ago was when I remember feeling this so strongly.

The only thing I could think on the bus was: what is the point of all my suffering?

And the scary thing is: I just don't know. 
Thursday, 28 April 2016

Newcastle & Stockton Sand Dunes

I am very much someone who unconsciously thinks that grass is greener on the other side. Life and the world is more interesting overseas and Australia/Sydney/NSW is boring. However since starting a full time job, my time is quite limited. And in fact, so many people think that Australia is so interesting and would love to visit. So why do I feel this way? It really comes down to the fact that it's familiar and, sadly, I am a little desensitised to the beauty of it. I have been making a conscious effort in 2016 to see more of Australia or the very least, more of NSW outside of Sydney.

Long introduction aside, that is why over the ANZAC long weekend I headed up north to Port Stephens. The furthest north I had ever been was Newcastle many many years ago as a day trip and honestly, I don't remember too much about it. Mr Paella and I headed onto the Pacific Highway which was quite frankly a very very boring drive. It is really the only road up the coast so taking the smaller highways wasn't an option.

Newcastle was the first stop and it was so incredibly windy! The photos don't capture how strong the winds were and I really felt that I was being moved by the wind. As the photos show, it was a beautiful day. We also discovered the Memorial Walk by accident as we were driving by and it was definitely worth walking on! It provided stunning views of the ocean and I believe the best vantage point of Newcastle. Something that I didn't know prior to the trip was that Newcastle has the largest coal exporting harbour in the world. It was insane to see the size of the machinery and equipment at the docks.

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Riverina Roadtrip - Mount Wilson

This was my last day on my Easter trip (it has taken me a while to write all these posts...) and I knew that I would spend the rest of my trip driving back to Sydney. My aim was to beat the usual long weekend rush back and thus I aimed to hit Sydney at around midday.

First stop was heading to the highest point in Bathurst to watch the sunrise however I couldn't figure out how to get to the top of Mount Panorama and only managed to get to the bottom of it. It was such a gorgeous sunrise as the photos below show.

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Peak Hill, Milthorpe & Bathurst

I had only highlighted one attraction in this region as I knew that I would be spending most of my time driving. This attraction was the Peak Hill Open Cut Mine which I had never heard about prior to my research. After my stop in Forbes, I continued my journey to Peak Hill which is a town with a population of 800.



Saturday, 16 April 2016

Riverina Roadtrip - Forbes

For my last full day, I wanted to eventually end up sleeping the night at a place close-ish to Sydney. My reason was so the drive back wouldn't be too long and I would be able to beat the usual end of long weekend traffic back to Sydney. Subsequently I settled on sleeping at a free campground at Bathurst. It isn't accurate to call this and the next few posts as Riverina roadtrip since I left the Riverina region on this day.

The 240km drive from Ariah Park to Peak Hill was actually really enjoyable. I really enjoy waking up at sunrise and driving since the roads are quiet, the day hasn't started for a lot of people and it is just so peaceful. It also means that I can reduce the car's speed to a crawl or even stop it completely in my lane without fear of being hit by a car behind me.


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Riverina Roadtrip - Lockhart & Ariah Park

There really isn't too much to do in the Riverina region and I went through all 15 pages on the Riverina tourism website looking for things to see and do. Something that I stumbled upon was the Pastoral Shadows of Brookong located in Lockhart.

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Friday, 8 April 2016

Riverina Roadtrip - Along the Road to Gundagai

If I had to pick a year, I would say that Year 3 was probably my favourite year out of primary school. My teacher was Mr Bluett and he had this scruffy beard and played the piano every time we weren't doing our scehduled maths/ science/ English lessons. Now in hindsight, a lot of the teachers had their little quirk; some focussed heavily on arts and crafts whilst my Year 4 teacher was a grammar Nazi. For Mr Bluett, it was Australian folk songs and poems. One of the songs that has stuck with me all these years is "Along the Road to Gundagai" by Jack O'Hagan. I still remember all the words and I haven't met anyone else who knows the song.

And that is really my rationale behind my Riverina road trip. Yes. A folk song I learnt when I was 9 from my Year 3 teacher. Bizarre? Yes, quite I believe. Here is the song for those who are curious.


On the way, I drove through Tumut and saw many cars parked next to the station. At the time I didn't know what it was and decided to stop for a quick look. Reading about it later, it was the Camaro-Firebird & US Muscle Car Nationals. Knowing nothing about cars or the event, apart from the fact that they were super shiny and lots of proud owners next to them, I headed back on the road.


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

March Update

March is already over. How time flies.

+ I went on a road trip over the Easter long weekend and I am currently in the process of writing about it. I already have two posts up and more to come! Watch this space!

+ February was full of television shows and this month, more time was spent on novels. I have read 9 novels this month. Didn't really ready any amazing novels however but follow my Goodreads to see what I am reading.I have set myself a challenge of 60 novels for 2016 and am currently just on track due to my surge in reading this month. My recommendation would be Kitchens of the Great Midwest. 


+ Music favourites include: Old Dominion album, "Meat and Candy". Favourites from the album include: Half Empty, Snapback and Till It's Over.

+ Travel itchy feet rating: ★★☆☆☆
Saturday, 2 April 2016

Riverina Roadtrip - Sugar Pine Walk

I didn't really have the most comfortable night. Turns out the Hyandai i30 back seats don't fold flat completely and has quite a significant height difference. I woke up with a pain in my tailbone as that is the area where the ridge was hitting. I also woke up quite cold as it was around 9 degrees C when I woke up and it was 20 degrees when I fell asleep. This meant that I was overheating when I was trying to fall asleep but then woke up at 4am frantically zipping up my sleeping bag. I finally woke up at 6.30am to the sound of kookaburras and slowly got ready for my day.

I wanted to visit the Bago Forest for the Sugar Pine Walk however it was a 1.5hour drive from Wagga Wagga. Since I was "in the area" I decided to still visit and I actually find it crazy that some people head from Sydney just to see the forest (it would be a 7 hour drive). Madness. I do quite enjoy driving very early in the morning, just after sunrise due to the serenity and the roads are nice and quiet. I saw this bridge on the drive there and ended up stopping and found a lot of noisy cows too!

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It was a beautiful sunrise with lots of fog and my photos don't really capture the true beauty of it. There was this field with low wisps of fog hanging near the cows and it was just absolutely stunning. It was probably one of my most memorable sunrises.

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I love this shot. So glad that I stopped the car for this.
I ended picking a smaller back road unintentionally and drove past lots of orchards. Riverina is known as the "food bowl" of NSW and is where a lot of produce is grown. In the area near Laurel Hill, there is the town of Batlow which is known for their apples. I saw an orchard near the side of the road and I quickly snuck out, ran in and stole two apples from the tree. One of my most rebellious moments!

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Laurel Hill is part of the Snowy Mountains so naturally the landscape was very different to the Riverina Region. There were a lot of super tall trees and it was very very quiet. I have this tendency to spot things on the side of the road and want to stop to have a look at it. Sometimes it's a really good idea (like the shot above), and other times I need to remind myself that if I was to keep doing that I wouldn't get anywhere. For this instance, I stopped because I saw what I thought was an alpaca and a dog. Turns out they were just two dogs.

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The Sugar Pine Walk was absolutely breathtaking. The sugar pines were planted in 1928 and are the tallest pine trees in the species. Pine trees are not native to Australia and are actually native to the Pacific Coast of North America so it was very unusual to see so many pines planted there. There was one row of trees that had been cut down so that there was a "walk way" to the end of the 500m long path. I arrived there at 9am and was the only person there.

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It was so silent except for the chirping birds and since I live in the city and work in the heart of the city, silence is sometimes a very uncommon thing. Since I travel solo, my tripod and self timer are my best friends. Also a selfie stick although I am very selective about when I choose to use it. I wanted to take a photo of me standing in the greens underneath the sugar pines. What I was initially worried about was the possibility of discovering a snake however that was actually the least of my problems. I took a step in after I clicked the self timer and had instant regret since my right leg was attacked by the thorns. It was so painful that I immediately withdrew my leg and ended up with quite a few cuts on my leg. I have this wonderful photo that my camera captured.

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Trying to retreat quickly from the thorny plants.

By the time I wrapped up my photos it was 10am and as I was about to leave, 4 cars turned up! Lucky I did arrive early. And I guess that is also why I like heading out early. The roads are quiet and people generally only wake up at 8am which means I get a lot of things to myself.

Next up will be Gundagai! That post will explain why I decided to visit Riverina region.

This is my fourth trip as part of #take12trips. To see previous trips please click here