Reflecting on 2017

Well first, a delayed, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Heeelooo 2018. I love the new year. No, I am not all about the ‘New Year, New Me’, it’s more of a New Year, Lets learn from last year and kicksomeass. But first, lets reflect on the year that was.

 Summer

2017 started out on an  interesting note for me. I started with a bang fitness wise. Bought a few inspirational books & off to the gym I went. I managed to soak up a lot of sun, went to the gardens a lot & started my walkingeverylunchtime routine (which I have managed to stick to hooray!). We also had our friends Nick and Illana visit around Chinese New Year so we were able to have fun showing them around and enjoying the festivities before they flew back to NZ and Dietmar shipped off to South America.
Autumn
The start of Autumn was great fun. I spent a lot of time at the gym & being really active. I signed up to an Insurance Benefits program called AIA vitality in which exercise and being healthy is what earns you points. It’s actually really great. I also had my amazing Aunty come and visit for a girls weekend in which we did a tour up the Great Ocean Road – it was really cool.
 This was also the season where I travelled a lot. First – NZ to visit the fam – back for a few weeks & caught up with a few friends. Dietmar returned  from his adventures & then I shipped off to Europe for my 3 week whirlwind trip around Spain and Portugal! My solo trip of a lifetime! Definitely one of the major highlights of 2017. 2 Countries, 5 cities & all the little towns inbetween!
Winter
The beginning of winter was dedicated to getting used to normal life again. After living alone for 3 months and then flying off myself, getting back and realising I had to adjust was surprisingly hard. I managed to spend some quality time with Dietmar, baked a lot & cooked a lot of comfort warm food! My birthday rolled around & I was completely spoilt with gifts and a LOT of chocolate from my beautiful friends.
Dietmar and I also did another trip up the Great Ocean Road for our anniversary and stayed in Apollo Bay which was really nice!
This was also the time that I left my job – flew back to NZ for a few weeks to visit all the friends and fam & then came back to Melbourne to start my new position. Was a whirlwind of a time!
Spring
Cherry Blossoms! I love spring. The weather starts to warm up again, all the flowers start to bloom and people just become happier! I started spending my lunchtimes walking around the botanical gardens & ate WAY too much fruit… because when berries are in season, I will eat them. Dietmar and I also managed to hire a car and take a trip up to Portsea & do the Portsea-Sorrento Artists Trail which is a beautiful walk.
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I also relaunched my blog & began planning out all my ideas for 2018. We had some magnificent lightening and thunder storms & I started to take more care of my health & fitness by joining a 12 week challenge at the gym. We had our friends Michael & Sarah visit from NZ for 10 days which was so great! We did many amazing things. High Tea, Dior Exhibition, Lunches, Brunches & dinners and my personal favourite, The Book of Mormon, where I discovered my absolute love for musicals.
Christmas came around & it was one of my favourites in Melbourne so far. We spent it down in Barwon Heads with my cousin’s & their extended family. Food, many kids & sun made for a fantastic day. Hiking on Boxing Day really topped off the festive period.
Overall, 2017 was really amazing and I am so happy with everything that happened. As per anyone’s life, there were ups and downs but I know that I was challenged and have managed to come out the other side feeling so proud of myself and accomplished. Definitely ready to see what 2018 has in store and to smash all my goals!
What are your goals for 2018? Does anyone else just have this feeling it is going to be the best year?

The Great Ocean Road Travel Guide | Australia

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

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I have now been lucky enough to travel the Great Ocean Road a few times. Once, with a tour & once hiring a car and driving down for the weekend. So I feel as though I can give (a few) tips on what to see & do.

TIP

Go in Winter. Off peak season – less tourists, less cars on the road – you actually get places quicker. Also hot spots such as The 12 Apostles are a lot quieter and you can take all the photos you like.

GETTING AROUND

Another advantage of this is that things such as rental cars are a lot cheaper. We got this bad boy below from Avis Rentals and it cost us $130 for 3 days! Bargain!

Holden Commodore SV6
Comfy, reliable & safe with great fuel economy. Great for road trips such as this!

KOALAS, PARROTS & KOOKABURRAS
Obviously this is Australia and what would a trip be without seeing some of the locals. My favourite spot to see these is a little place called Kennett River. You are (almost) guaranteed to see some of these guys on a trip here! It’s pretty cool. They are definitely there, but you just need to keep your eyes peeled as Koalas especially blend in with the surroundings really well.

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Spot the koala
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Kookaburra
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Feeding the locals

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Look higher up than you think – including the really small branches you don’t expect the koalas to be. Go early in the morning! By about 11am, there will be so many tourists that you can not move and also buy some seed from the ‘Kafe Koala’ to get a chance to get up close & personal with some parrots & cockatoos.

Feeding the birds

THUNDER CAVE & LOCH AND GORGE

On my first trip to the GOR, we did stop at Loch and Gorge, however, only for a few minutes so we did not get to see much. The second time, it was pissing down with rain so we just ran off in one direction to (quickly) show Dietmar what it was all about. However, we ran the wrong way, BUT it worked well because as well as eventually finding Loch and Gorge,

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we discovered the Thunder Cave which is quite possibly one of the coolest parts of this place!

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APOLLO BAY
This little town is the perfect place to stop for a snack, a quick beach trip or lunch along the Great Ocean Road. Its about smack bang half way between Melbourne and the 12 Apostles – right before heading into the Otways! Because of this, this is also the place we decided to stay for our weekend trip.

We booked a motel last minute and there were many to choose from (even in winter). Most of the Motels & Hotels are really close to the centre of the town (we stayed here .), so everything is really only a 5-10min walk away which is perfect!

Motel
View from our Motel Balcony

WHERE TO EAT

Great Ocean Road Brewhouse – Great dinner options. The food was really good pub food and the atmosphere was great. Get the Lamb & the date pudding, dreamy.
The Bayleaf Cafe – Breakfast and coffee both top notch!

THE CANOPY TREE WALK/ OTWAY FLY
I’m not gonna lie. I am not the most adventurous person. However, one thing I have always wanted to do is ziplining (don’t get excited, I did not go ziplining) and when I discovered a place that had this, I was (almost) sold. We then did some googling and discovered that for this trip it wasn’t in the budget. BUT they also had a more reasonably priced activity, which was The Canopy Tree Walk and it was awesome.

The walk itself is the tallest and longest of its kind (at this point). Its around 600 meters long and 35 meters above the ground, so maybbbbeee not your thing if you don’t like heights! There is also a spiral tower which goes up an extra 12 meters above the ground and gives you an amazing view of the forest! But, be aware, it does sway around with the wind which can be a little unsettling!

Tree Canopy

CRAFT BEER / WINE / WHISK(E)Y
Strangely enough, this area of Victoria has a sheitload of breweries, wineries and even a whisky distillery. We stopped by a brewery near Forrest called Prickly Moses and it was pretty cool. While known for their beer, they are a small scale wine and cider producer so if beer isn’t your thing they can cater to you also.
The tastings are fairly comprehensive and reasonably priced so I would recommend stopping in if you are in the area.

Other recommendations in the area for the crafty scene (which we were recommended) are:
Timboon
Forrest Brewing Company – Their fish and chips were top notch!

THE 12 APOSTLES

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These natural rock stacks do look pretty cool. However, they are so hyped up that when I first saw them I was very underwhelmed. I do think that they are worth going to see because the history behind how they got there etc. is quite cool but I think the trip actually getting to this point (and beyond) is much cooler. If I was to go back I think doing the helicopter ride would be the top of my list.

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LIGHTHOUSES
Along the Great Ocean Road there are quite a few lighthouses. My favourite would be this one.

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There are a few walks around here, including up to the lighthouse and I think at certain times you can even do a tour of the lighthouse and get some pretty amazing views down to the marine reserve.

There is also a (very) small chance of seeing whales here as they do come into the bay at certain times of the year. We weren’t so lucky, maybe next time?
I would recommend coming up here earlier in the day because I think we only saw two people.

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WATERFALLS
One of my favourite stops on the second trip up the GOR was Sheoak Falls. Its only a short, easy walk from the carpark and well worth it. It was really quiet too which was lovely considering how busy the road can get!

Waterfall

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Fun Fact: To the left of this picture there is actually a guy sitting on the edge reading a book. Other waterfalls we didn’t manage to get to but would have loved to had we had more time were Erskine Falls & Phantom Falls.
Go check em out!

I would really recommend a trip down the Great Ocean Road and could really add about another million and one things into this post. If you do have any questions or want to know more about certain things, feel free to leave me a comment!

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