Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Cafe Belle Fleur

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Who would have guessed that Cafe Belle Fleur is located at a Flower Power (flower nursery) in Glenhaven. It was a bit expensive considering it was at a Flower Power and in the middle of nowhere, however the food was pretty good and the setting was quite pretty.

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I ordered the vegetarian burger (lentil & chickpea) and I actually can't wait to recreate it at home for my lunches next year!

Cafe Belle Fleur Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Christmas Lights

Christmas was always a non-event when I was growing up. These days, it still is. After a family lunch and present opening, I spent the rest of the day watching Jane the Virgin. I actually love that show!

These are some photos from Christmas Eve when I went Christmas light hunting. Some of these houses were actually crazy!

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This was from the front window of their house!

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Fitzroy Falls

A few weekends ago, I went on a one day road trip with Mr Paella to the Southern Highlands. I had visited the region earlier this year and it is a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney (although it is only an hour from the very edge of Sydney, damn you urban sprawl). We were heading to Fitzroy Falls at Morton National Park.

It was a little bit of a dreary drive initially however the weather picked up. Perhaps I'm a little old fashioned, but I'm not the biggest fan of the GPS. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful tool and the few times that I do drive, I love using Google Maps. But my problem is that I like to see the "bigger" picture of where I am driving and getting the general direction of where I need to go and I feel that that is a little lost when you follow directions mindlessly. Long story, but we didn't pay enough attention and we turned too early onto a small country road. Which was great!

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I'm a little boring as an individual but every now and then this need for spontaneity pops up. I don't mind taking the back roads and you see different things!

We eventually made our way to Bowral for lunch at Primary Expresso. I ordered a potato rosti and Mr Paella ordered baked eggs. Nothing to write home about, but a nice simple and hearty meal.

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Sadly at the time of my visit, it was a little dry and Fitzroy Falls was a trickle. That is the thing about outer New South Wales, I feel like a lot of the landscape is quite similar and Morton National Park reminded me of the Blue Mountains. Namely due to the flora.

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We did a quick walk around the track and discovered that the other falls were completely dry.

on the way back to Sydney, we decided to go via the scenic route from Kangaroo Valley to Berry. Oh my. The road there was crazy! It reminded me of country roads I visited in Switzerland except the road was narrow-er and the driver wasn't as confident. There weren't any lines and some of the bends were almost 360! You know that it is a sharp bend when the sign recommends slowing down to 25km/h on a 80kmh stretch of road. Please see photo below.

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Look at the right and left hand side of the image of the road.

It was a lovely day heading out of Sydney. I miss open space and the country. Or semi-rural. Actually, they are still big towns but compared to Sydney, everything is small.

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Friday, 18 December 2015

Figure 8 Pools


In early 2015, I made an attempt to find the famous Figure 8 Pools at the Royal National Park. However I didn't manage to leave enough time to get to the pools before high tide and was interested in returning one day. I decided that I would do the hike to find the pools on the day of my 24th birthday. Spoiler alert: I made it!

[Edit] This post has been updated with my experience with Option 2. I walked that hike to Figure 8 Pools in 2017.

There are two ways to get to the pools:

Option 1: Otford - 13.5km round trip

Option 2: Garawarra car park - 6km round trip

In 2015, I went for Option 1 as I thoroughly enjoy hiking. I felt that the hardest part of the track was getting from Otford train station to the start of the Coastal Walk as it was so steep! As I walk fairly fast, I managed to reach Burning Palms Beach in just over an hour! Admittedly, that section of the track is all downhill which does make the fast pace slightly more reasonable (5km in 1hr).

In 2017, I decided to try Option 2.
Tip #1: Ensure you arrive at the carpark quite early in the day. Half the carpark was already full at 9am and when we returned to the car, it was completely full and they had closed off the carpark. Whilst it is possible to park on the main road outside the full carpark, it will mean that you are adding an additional 3.2km to your entire walk.
The walk from the carpark to Burning Palms Beach was a lot steeper compared to Option 1. As it is also a shorter walk, the track is more attractive resulting in congestion in certain sections.

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The section of the walk between the beach and the pools involves scrambling over rocks and walking on the rock shelves. It requires nimble feet and a lot of balance. After around 2km you will reach the famous Figure 8 Pools!
Tip #2: You can only access the pools at low tide - check the tides before your visit. Give yourself enough time (including a buffer) and also plan in some time for having fun at the pools. The last thing you want is to be scrambling across rocks (which is hard as it is) without the water lapping at your feet.
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The Figure 8 pools are a natural geological rock pool located on a coastal rock shelf. There is the perfect Figure 8 pool and multiple other pools that are not quite in the "8" figure. The pools are deceptively deep and lots of people just jumped into them! There is also a pool near the edge of the rockshelf which almost feels like an inifinity pool.

!! Warning !!

Beware and be conscious of the waves. On many occasions, the waves would strike the rockshelf and spill over the shelf and into the pools. There was an instance where a massive wave hit and people were knocked over and left with scrapes and cuts. If you don't believe how dangerous it can be, please read this article where people had to be airlifted.
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After a small wave.

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On both visits, a lot of people who were in the pools or lower down were knocked over. When the water receded, people were also fussing over their phone. There were quite a few cuts and nasty-looking scrapes and I was surprised at how many people didn't have any band-aids.
Tip #3: Bring a basic first-aid kit! Just in case you do get scrapped when swimming in the pools or even when scrambling across the rocks.
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This was so cool! A perfect circle.

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A portion of the 'path' back to the beach.

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I think people should definitely visit the Figure 8 Pools as it is so unique and, although quite popular, it is still somewhat special since a lot of effort is required to reach them. I managed to do the entire hike for Option 1 (including resting at the pools and elsewhere) in around 5 hours.

With an increased number of visitors, I fear that the Figure 8 Pools will be blocked off from the public one day. This happened to the famous Wedding Cake Rock, further north in the national park.
This is basic bushwalking information, but from my experience, there seems to a complete lack of knowledge.

  • Please wear appropriate footwear! Don't wear ballet flats or thongs. Wearing either one is just a terrible choice.
  • Bring water and snacks. I would think this is a given, but I saw so many people walking to the pools without any water or snacks. I really don't know how people do that.
So please, be safe. Be smart. Be responsible and don't ruin this beautiful place for others and future generations.