Fitzroy Falls

After we left the camp site on Tuesday morning, we drove to Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park. This mountainous countryside is located in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales and the scenery was breathtaking.

Fitzroy Falls

Morton National Park

I’ve made a short video in an attempt to capture the expanse of this stunning natural bushland.


If you don’t see the video above, click here to watch directly from YouTube.

I was also impressed by how well maintained Morton National Park was. The main scenic tracks were designed for visitors of all ages and only required average fitness levels. There are guard rails to help you along the steeper climbs and descents, rest areas and well-fenced lookouts for safety. Signs offered clear directions and also interesting information about native flora and fauna.

Morton National Park is a short 2 hour drive from Sydney CBD and for a small park fee of $3 per car, I think I’ll be back here regularly. That was the best $3 I’ve spent in a long time.

In the end, I had a great time those short two days away and I will go camping again. I need the break away from the computer and TV. I need to sit around doing nothing, not a craft project in sight. I need time to reflect and I need to laugh and chat for hours on end with my darling husband, my best friend.

Malay Wedding

This trip was to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Five of the best years of my life. We didn’t promise each other “forever” when we got married. We promised to stay together for as long as we’re both happy. And we are. 🙂 Still very much in love like the first time we met.

Related Posts:
5 lessons I’ve learned from my first camping trip [Part 1]   [Part 2]

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Part 2: 5 lessons I’ve learned from my first camping trip

This is the second part of ‘5 lessons I’ve learned from my first camping trip’. Click here to read from the beginning.

Photo from Torpedo7.com.au

Photo from Torpedo7.com.au



Our tent was erected quickly, along with the foldable table and chairs. Richard made us tea from the hot water in our shiny new Thermos flask. We sunk into our chairs, listening to the birds chattering away as they returned to roost.

This peaceful moment did not last long. A loud, heated argument had erupted from The Tent – the one we avoided like the plague! The angry man started pulling The Tent down as one of the girls flung herself on him, begging desperately for him to stop.

“I’ve had enough! We’re leaving right now!” he bellowed. The woman chased the girls away from him and they cried hysterically behind some trees. The argument grew in intensity and there was nothing anyone could or woud do but watch, completely gobsmacked, like a herd of deer in headlights.

The bedlam finally ended when the man suddenly stormed off with one of the girls in tow. And then there was silence. The woman and the other two girls retreated into The Tent for several hours, probably asleep or in shock.

As we cooked over our little camp stove, we theorised about this extraordinary turn of events. The main question was what was the story behind this family. It made for an interesting dinner conversation but I could not help but feel for those poor, traumatised children. There is no doubt in my mind that they would be scarred.

4. Summer ≠ warm nights

We had our fleece jackets and long pants on over dinner. The temperature had dropped quickly and the wind was chilly. Some of the other campers were not as prepared and they had to take shelter in their tents (and car!) to get away from the elements. The sun had not even gone down yet.

I’m so glad we used this camping checklist when packing. It paid off being prepared with the right equipment. We sat outside chatting and playing chess until bed time, which brings me to the last lesson.

5. Air beds in a small tent is not a good idea

As it was our first camping trip, we did not want to spend a lot of money on equipment in case we hated it. So we brought along a couple of air mattresses we owned, instead of buying sleeping bags. We had a doona to share and pillows too. We thought we’ll sleep pretty well…

Until we placed the inflated air matresses inside our small tent. The air matresses took up the entire tent floor! It was like stepping in and out of a cramped jumping castle!

Richard in tent

And if that wasn’t bad enough, both the matresses had a slow leak and we gradually deflated through the night! LOL… 😀

On the up side, we slept better than those in The Tent as another explosive argument ensued when the man returned near midnight. It was weird and scary at the same time as the man started bawling like a two year old!

“No, no, no, no! I don’t want to go!” he pleaded endlessly.

We remained shut up in our tent, only peeking out when it was all quiet again. Thankfully that was the last we heard of them until we left bright and early in the morning.

Do you think I will go camping again?

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5 lessons I’ve learned from my first camping trip

We went on a short 2 day trip to Canberra. It’s a 5 hour drive there with a couple of mandatory breaks in small towns along the way. The scenery was mostly golden – rolling hills of dry, parched grassland in desperate need of rain. A reminder that we are indeed still deep in drought.

Road trip to Canberra

Car cricket amused us for hours as we made the rules up as we went along. Utes and trucks were 1 point, SUVs 2 points, hotted up cars were 4, emergency vehicles and luxury cars scored 6 points, and creeks and red or yellow cars got us out. It made the monotonous driving rather exciting for Richard as he strategically sped up and slowed down to get the best score. 🙂

The reason why we drove to Canberra brings me to my first lesson.

1. Grab the chance of a lifetime

Photo from National Gallery of Australia

Photo from National Gallery of Australia

‘Masterpieces from Paris’ is an extraordinary and rare exhibition as it is the first time that these impressive artworks have ever been displayed outside of Paris’ Musee d’Orsay. There are 112 of some of the best-known works of modern art, including those from Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso and Monet. You can view all the works on display here [link].

And it certainly did not disappoint. There were so many moments where we stood there in silence, hand-in-hand, in absolute awe of the beauty that greeted us. “I can’t believe I’m looking at this in person,” we whispered, nodding in agreement.

We have decided to make a return trip to the exhibition in a couple of month’s time before these masterpieces leave for Tokyo and San Francisco. Just one more time to soak it all in again.

Well, after having our minds fully nourished and feeling a little bit more cultured, we head off to our campsite and to my second lesson.

2. Motor village ≠ Holiday park

No, it really does not. They might have the same things like cabins, camp site, swimming pool, tennis court, bbqs and shower amenities. On the surface, it sounds like Canberra Motor Village could be a holiday park but I think we were just naive and too much of an optimist.

Maybe it was because we were in Canberra. The grass isn’t thick and lush due to poor rainfall, and our camp site looks more like a fenced in dirt patch. Whoever wrote the awesome reviews for this place on Google were probably in cahoots with the owners!

On the upside, the amenities were clean, modern and everything looked rather new. Not too bad, if you don’t mind setting up camp on dirt, by the fence, with the endless drone of traffic in the background. Not too bad… I guess.

3. Don’t ignore the warning signs

The reason why we chose a site near the fence was we both listened to our instincts. We were actually designated a powered camp site next to something that looked like this:

family tent
Photo from ontheroad.buy.co.uk


The music emitting from within the tent was rather loud and unfriendly. There was a dirt bike parked in front of the tent too. Our two sites were seperated by towels and clothes hanging from a make-shift clothesline between a pair of skinny trees.

There was no way I wanted to spend an entire night next to that. I’m glad we didn’t ignore the signs and moved as far away as possible from them. The events that unfolded through the night will surprise you.

But I will tell you more about that tomorrow and I will share my last 2 lessons from the trip with you too. See you then!

Update: Click here to read Part 2

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Saturday

Bushwalking
A view like that never gets old. Location: Warrah Trig to Patonga Beach, Brisbane Water National Park
Warrag Trig Lookout
Not bad for photos taken from a mobile phone and joined in Photoshop. I’m rather proud of it.

Knitting
I haven’t been knitting much but I’m meeting up with the girls from the Central Coast Knit & Crochet Ravelry group tomorrow and I thought I should warm up. 😛 I’ve finally reached the mid-point of the Baktus scarf (pattern).
Alpine Pearl Baktus Scarf WIP
Anyone recognise the yarn from a previous project?

Baking
Our attempt to bake this condensed milk pound cake (recipe). Hmm… not as light and airy as the recipe’s pictures. I’m lousy at baking anything that requires creaming butter and sugar together.
Condensed Milk Pound Cake
But you know what? It tasted alright despite not tasting nearly sweet enough. I thought it was going to be sickly with the condensed milk so I cut the sugar back a little. Oh well. Most importantly, we both had fun making it together. 😀

Qantas
I watched the making of the new Qantas ad tonight and I LOVED it! I’m so thrilled to see an Australian indigineous boy leading the song. It’s a small but significant step in recognising the owners of this land.

If you don’t see the video above, CLICK HERE to watch the Qantas ad directly in YouTube.

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My First Graffiti Knitting

If you haven’t heard already, graffiti knitting is the most inoffensive graffiti. But instead of tagging in the urban setting, I chose to tag somewhere deep in a national park. I quickly knitted a little something the morning we left and I was finishing it up in the car on the way to Bobbin Head. This it the track we walked. It’s called the Bobbin Head Loop.

I was deciding where to leave my knitted tag and 4 hours of walking (and sometimes climbing) through slippery and rocky terrain,  crossing creeks and down into the depths of mangroves and rainforests, had left me feeling beaten. I wanted desperately to see the side track that would take me back up into civilization. The sun was quickly disappearing over the ridge and thoughts of being lost loomed in my mind.

And then it appeared. It was clearly marked and not just a white dot on the tree as described in Wild Walks. Thank god! This is the where I will leave my mark as my spirit felt uplifted again.
Graffiti Knitting

Can you see my fluorescent orange knitted tag on the tree?
Graffiti Knitting

Ironic that I embroidered a smile on it cos that’s how we felt at that very moment. Absolutely elated! We were giggling and looking around as if someone was going to come by this way soon, despite not having seen anyone for more than an hour!
Graffiti Knitting

The happiness was short lived as we started our climb out of the valley. It was steep. God, it was so steep. We climbed up for a good 30mins and it took us another half hour to get back to the car. You can see the elevation profile of our walk here on Trail Guru.

But here I am, extremely proud of what I’ve achieved that day. I conquered a hard 5 hour, 15km bushwalk and I left a knitted graffiti on a tree, which I hope will bring a smile to other bushwalkers doing that track. 🙂 I’m planning my next one for this weekend already. *giggles*

For those who play geocaching, the coordinates are latitude 33.683313327 and longtitude 151.138348561. Leave a comment if you find it!

**Edit: The knitted tag is not made of cotton. I’ve used acrylic and wool yarn. But the back of the knitted tag is “open” with a piece of yarn criss-crossing the back to hold it in place loosely. Only half of the trunk is actually covered. I’ve sewn it this way so that the rangers can easily snip it off if they feel it’s damaging the tree in some way.**

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