Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A Sydney Harbour Walk: Where am I? No, seriously where am I?!

If you've been following my blog for a while now, you'll know that I enjoy wandering in small confusing circles without a map or phone. 

I did one better today and went for a Sydney Harbour Walk with both my phone AND a map, and I still got lost!

Can you imagine how great I'd be at navigating back in the compass and constellations days? Do not let me steer the ship!!

Anyway, I started my day by sleeping in, which I highly recommend when Ashtanga isn't on the schedule (cuz I know you really need to know why, it's my Ladies Holiday. WIN!).

I recommend long sleeves and long pants in case of low bushes that might scratch.

Thick pink socks are a must!

I decided beforehand to do a "short walk" so I could have some lazy time at home later. This 3km one is close to the city and easy to get home from - McMahons Point to Waverton.

But 3 KM in a wwwaayyyy is too little for an superstar like me. I thought I could up the ante by adding a few extra km by starting at Circular Quay and walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

So I had basically added up 2 walks in my book; Circular Quay to Lavendar Bay + McMahons Point to Waverton = about 7 km.

Some of the highlights was a beautiful stretch of road behind Luna Park, in Lavendar Bay.

It takes you down to a seriously tiny beach, and then the road ends.

Where do you go next?

Don't ask me. This is where I got seriously lost. There's a little park once you cross under the train tracks, and a bunch of stairs that lead you to random residential streets. I think I went in 3 little circles, up the stairs, down the stairs, around the park, and back up the stairs before I decided to ask someone.

The answer is, THIS IS LAVENDAR BAY, NOT BLUES POINT RESERVE. You need to take Bay View Road and wind around the private residences before you can get to Blues Point Reserve. Luckily, Bay View Road is a small residential street without a lot of traffic, so it's a pleasant detour.

And it's well worth it. Blues Point Reserve is a beautiful little loop with great views.

From here on, it gets better and better. There's a small foray back into the residential streets, and then you get to Sawmiller's Reserve, which was my absolute FAVOURITE!

Take a look!

There's some sort of ship wreck washed up!




You cannot deny how cool this is!

The walk goes through Sawmillers Reserve and onto a boardwalk that leads to the North Sydney Marine Centre. You've got to get back onto the residential streets in order to go around the Marine Centre and back   to the water.

Eventually, you get to this fork in the road:

The higher one goes back to residential streets, while the lower one goes to a nice little sports field in Waverton Park.

From there, you can go to the BP Oil Station, which is a nice little walk I've done before, and about 10 minutes from home.

Like a proper lazy person, I decided to go home.

I had started my walk at 1:37. By the time I got home, it was 3:15! That's about an hour and a half walk! WOO HOO I'M A WALKING MONSTER!

Anyway, I rate this walk about a 7/10. It's filled with beautiful green spaces and some quieter residential streets. It's easy to do, peaceful and quiet. Much better than last week!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Seriously, that moon day was mad

Not only was Friday a Moon Day, but this week has felt 'off' because of Australia's Anzac holiday falling on a Thursday this year.

You start to have a bit of fun, and then BOOM, Friday hits you and you have to go back to work. It's like a mean trick.

On top of all that, as soon as I walked into the office on Friday, it was madness, chaos, computer explosions and flailing limbs. (I may be exaggerating just a little bit.)

Our office is largely paperless (yay!), so when computer systems go down, my life becomes really difficult (naayy). Basically, work grinds to a stand-still and I have to make a lot of excuses and apologies. After what felt like a million years (was probably an hour, tops), the system came online and I caught up on my backlog of work.

Luckily, we had something pretty awesome to look forward to after work: a Tegan and Sara concert at the Sydney Opera House!

These two homegirls are Canadian (from Calgary, so close enough to Toronto for me to call them homegirls, obviously). They're super cute, funny, down-to-earth and matter-of-fact. Steven and I absolutely fell in love with them.

Especially this moment:

At the start of a new set, Sara started singing harmony, stopped suddenly, and glanced at Tegan.

"I forgot to plug my guitar in," Tegan explained. "But your part sounded really good. Can you sing it again?"

Sara was probably giving her as much of a death stare as one sister can to another. Buuuut she fell for it! She started singing harmony again, without Tegan, while Tegan was giggling away on her corner of the stage.

See what I mean? So naturally funny, easy-going and down-to-earth! I love these girls, and I miss my sister.

Anyway, after the concert, Steven and I couldn't stop about how talented the band was. We got a couple of McDonald's sundaes (they don't serve them with peanuts here! AUSTRALIA YOU ARE MISSING THE WHOLE IDEA OF A MCDONALD'S SUNDAE!!!) and went home.

Today, I've got a yoga class to teach, and then Steven and I are off for more adventures!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Day 3 in New Zealand: Gorgeous Queenstown

This is the third installment of Steven and my adventures in New Zealand! If you missed it, check out our first day in Christchurch, and our second day at Fox Glacier. Enjoy!

After our glacier hike, the second leg of our road trip was a drive from Fox Glacier to Queenstown.

This was a beautiful 4 hour drive that was surprisingly, 4 hours! After our Christchurch-to-Fox debacle, we had thought Google was inaccurate and untrustworthy. Sorry, Google. We will not doubt you again.

It was about 6 PM when we got into Queenstown. We were tired and hungry from the early day.

But Queenstown slapped us in the face with some pretty awesome natural beauty.

Are your eyeballs ready? Cuz I'm about to pass that gorgeous-scenery-slap-in-the-face onto you.



Hands down my favourite sunset. I <3 you, Lake Wakatipu!

Proof I was there. And hungry. See that face? That's a "sure-I'll-smile-for-your-camera-but-I'm-friggin-hungry-and-at-the-end-of-my-patience-can-we-leave-yet" face.

So Steven shoved that face in some Thai deliciousness.

The next day, we explored some more of Queenstown's sights.

We hit up Vudu Cafe for one of the best breakfasts I've ever had: Moroccan Beans with Poached Eggs and Toast.

They messed up Steven's eggs (overcooked... *face palm*. Seriously, what restaurant can't cook eggs?!), but I really enjoyed my food.

Queenstown had rained that morning, but thankfully it stopped by mid-morning. The clouds slowly began to lift, and we could see the gondola station at the top of the mountains. So guess what we did?

Yup. I hate heights. Especially when suspended on shaky-looking wires in tiny little metal boxes.

 The view from the top was stunning.

We even got to see this brave soul dive fearlessly off a feeble platform while harnessed only by a thin tether.

Crazy. But I guess this is the town of crazy.

To top off our day, we pretended to be 12 year-olds and took a couple rides each on the Luge.

We even bought the commemorative photos, but I won't post them here because they are far too dorky.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A Sydney Harbour Walk - Double Bay to Rose Bay

Since moving to our home in North Sydney, I've run/walked Balls Head Reserve many-oh-many a-time.

While it shames me to say it, I think I might even be getting bored of it!

So I decided first thing in the morning that I would change things up and try one of the many walks listed in this book:

Since it's on the train line, I decided to do this one: Double Bay to Rose Bay.

The pictures in the book were a little misleading, though the text was true to its word.

There are some beautiful views starting off at the small neighbourhood park, Steyne Park.

However, there beach right off Steyne Park doesn't connect to Double Bay, so you have to go back to the busy streets to get there.

You go through the Redleaf Pool area which is a public swimming part of the bay netted off from the rest of the bay with a jetty.

You go down some steps....

And there it is! You can walk along the jetty and enjoy some sun and breeze.

Then, it's back to the residential roads and lanes, which are quite disappointing because they are full of traffic, noise and smog on a Tuesday morning.

Finally, I made it to Rose Bay:

And was rewarded with this sweet little beach:

There was a Stand-Up Paddleboarding class going on and some kayakers enjoying the day.

I took these stairs out of the park and started to climb a little residential hill before I realized that I was missing a whole chunk of the walk!

You can sort of see it beyond the house in the foreground. There's a long section of the walk that goes beside the main street all around Rose Bay.


Anyway, a 2 hr walk was enough for me, especially since I had a date with some Mexican.

Perfect way to end a long walk!

I would only rate this walk a 4/10 since it takes you down too many main streets with very little time in comparison by the harbour (then again, I did miss a chunk of it).

I had downloaded and listened to 2 Radiolab podcasts: Bliss and Inheritance. Both were extremely excellent and engaging. I can't wait to download more for my walk next week!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Highlights of the weekend: 13 Rooms!

This weekend, I heard that a cool art exhibition was going on at the wharves, so after my Saturday morning yoga class, I had Steven meet me there.

13 Rooms is a free public art exhibit, part of an art series that has been to Sydney in previous years.

The line-up was discouraging but it actually moved really quickly.

Twenty minutes later, we were in.

My favourite exhibition happened right at the start.

A greeter handed us some pamphlets and said, "Scientists study spread of new China bird flu." (or something to that general direction.)

It turns out this was a "piece of art" aiming to incite interesting social interactions from a piece of "current" news. This "piece of art" came from 2003 and was entitled "News".

I had a HOOT watching people ignore the poor girl (literally, I think I hooted several times). I think very few people realized that SHE one of the pieces of art work happening there!

Most of the art was moving, interactive, and human-based. There were line-ups to plenty of the popular exhibits like "Swap" where the artist sits in a chair at a table asking people to swap stuff (often rubbish...seriously, one girl swapped a piece of plastic wrap that once housed a cheese sandwich) for other stuff.

I swapped my hand sanitizer for a magazine!

But my hands-down favourite was Revolving Doors:

The dancers in grey formed the arms of the revolving door and walked around while people walked inside the spaces with them. Often, they would try to smoosh you, which is what's happening here to those people in the corner.

I think I spent 20 minutes in here alone just running around like a kid.

My other favourites were these two:

We left the exhibit in high spirits, feeling all artsy fartsy for free!

I had a really great time, and would have loved to go back to play with more revolving doors, but the exhibit closed that evening.

Definitely, public art FTW!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Day 2 in New Zealand: Fox Glacier Township

This is the second installment to Steven and my adventures in New Zealand! If you missed the first, you can find it here. Cheers!

When Steven and I had planned our road trip to New Zealand, we were prepared for hours of driving a day. It would be worth the effort to have all the adventure we were planning on having.

Our first adventure would be hiking around Fox Glacier, the most accessible of New Zealand's 3000-some glaciers. This was supposed to be an easy drive: 5 hours from Christchurch to Fox Glacier Township through Arthur's Pass.

The drive was actually more like an agonizing 6 hrs plus. I was considering murdering Steven and dumping his corpse in the mountains.

Just kidding... Maybe.

We took a rest-and-stretch stop at a random lake about an hour or so out of Christchurch. Up in the mountains it was significantly chillier than the sunshine led you to believe.

We also stopped at Arthur's Pass for some gas and grub. I got 2 oranges for $3 NZD! Outrageous but I thought the vitamins would do well to heal my cold.

Some unique warnings...

Then, there was that magic moment when, after driving for hours through mountains and farms, you hit the coast and endless horizon:

By the time we got to Fox Glacier Township, the sun had just set. We were both really afraid of driving in the dark, so we were racing the sun to get there.

We had a quick dinner (btw, most delicious soup I've ever had; it was roasted tomato!), and went to bed.

The guy at our motel had told us to check out Lake Matheson, just 5 min down the road, before we went on our glacier hike at 8:30 AM. The sun was set to rise around 7:30, so we had a quick breakfast and made our way there.

So. Worth. It.

Steven and I signed up for a "Fox-Trot" half day hike around the glacier. You walk up the terminal face of the glacier and explore whatever area of it you can.

The company we went with, Fox Glacier Guiding, got us fully outfitted.

Boots, socks, wind/water proof jacket, waterproof backpacks, and crampons.

Crampons are sharp little pointy things that allow you to kick your enemies off glaciers and frolic with triumph. RAWR.

There was about a 20-30 minute walk from the car park to the glacier itself.

Those bits of white are the glacier there, covered in rock and silt.

Once you got on the glacier, it was incredible to think that it extended back another 30 miles up into the mountains.

It was really dirty up there.

"Glaciers are like conveyor belts for mountain rocks," our guides explained. "They carry them from the mountain tops to the bottom as they melt."

I just thought Foxie needed a good ol' shower and scrub. That dirty ol' glacier girl.

That's right.

"Sandy DOMINATED the mighty Fox Glacier."

One of our Heart Challenges is to dominate everything I do. What can I say. It comes naturally.