weekend walks: manly dam

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This weekend’s walk comes with more than just photos but also a story:

Our tally for the day was one red-bellied black snake, one brown snake and one goanna. A record considering we have seen NONE before in the wild. The two snakes is on the list for Australia’s deadliest snakes so you can imagine our reaction when we came across two in the span of about 20 minutes!

We panicked and our adrenaline kicked in – for those few seconds, we couldn’t think and pretty much froze. Kind of wish now that we had thought to take a photo. The red-bellied snake just slithered right across our path – possibly sun-baking until interrupted by the vibration of us approaching. As we watched it exit, it seemed to be moving in slow motion, with its bright red belly pressed against the ground. On the other hand, the brown snake seemed petrified of us when we crunched innocently through some dried leaves as we approached a billabong. The brown snake took off alongside a log and honestly, to witness its speed as it propelled its body was sensational. More sensational that it was heading AWAY from us. We had never seen anything like it other than on TV.

The goanna also had us stopped in our tracks. He paused on the path for about 2-3 minutes, long enough for us to take a photo from a distance, before scurrying off into the bushes!


What a surreal day! And as you would have it, we had forgotten to pack our first-aid kit. So there we were, hoping we could get to the end of the walk without any snake attacks!

Hope you enjoy the photos from this weekend’s walk.

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Manly Dam circuit walk is about 7.3 km which took us about 3 hours as the terrain varies quite significantly. Manly is approximately 17 km north of Sydney. There are plenty of picnic areas, areas for swimming, bike and walking tracks. 


introducing sheffield: town of murals

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We stayed in Sheffield while in Tasmania and used it as our base to visit Cradle Mountain National Park.

It can definitely be described as an open-air art gallery. There are murals painted everywhere and the artwork is simply spectacular.

No words are needed to describe this quaint and pretty town! We will let the photos of the murals canvasing the  streets do the talking. Hope you enjoy our photo essay.

(Photos taken by

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gallipoli: lest we forget

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IMG_9053As Australians, visiting Gallipoli carried a lot of significance for us. Before going to Turkey, if there was ONLY one place in Turkey that we were able to go to, we would’ve chosen Gallipoli without a second thought. Having studied the Battle of Gallipoli in school and learning of all those soldiers losing their lives, we needed to see where it all happened, the place that marked such a dark day in Australian history (April 25 1915).

The size of ANZAC Cove is small to say the least, to expect a campaign of 4000 men to land. Admittedly, it was soon learnt that the troops were meant to arrive at Brighton Beach which is much bigger and a little further a south. It was no wonder that so many died on that fateful day.

ANZAC Cover - wasn't very big at all
ANZAC Cove – wasn’t very big at all

Standing on the cove with the gorgeous sunshine on our faces, we tried to picture what it would be like to be here of a night, approaching the shore to face an “enemy” in the dead of the night. And we couldn’t imagine it, it’s impossible for us to fathom what would have been going through the minds of the troops. In one direction, the sea appears to goes on forever and in the other direction, the mountains stretch the length of the coast with Turkish soldiers up top or on the other side.

Now, the scenery is so very peaceful and serene and all we can hear is the tide as it hits the shore.

The memorial at ANZAC Cove by Ataturk was so touching – it was the first that we had ever heard or seen these words. We would hope that it had provided a little comfort to all the families that lost loved ones during this war from both sides. The words are really worth sharing (click on the picture & it will enlarge to be legible).


The remainder of our time in Gallipoli we saw Beach Cemetery, Lone Pine and the Turkish Memorial.  It is at Lone Pine where the name of one of the youngest known solders to have died is inscribed. He was 14 years and 9 months. To think back to when we were that old, would we have lied about our age so that we could enlist into the army and fight for our country?

Lone Pine Memorial
Lone Pine Memorial

We can imagine how being in Gallipoli on ANZAC day would be emotional and surreal because being there on any given Monday like we were, it still felt pretty special!

If there is anything anyone should take away is that war destroys lives and causes loss of life. However we cannot change the way things are but what we can do is pay our respect and remember those who have lost their lives in battle. And to also support those servicemen and women who serve our countries: in the past, present and future. LEST WE FORGET.

a little luxury in the red centre

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On countless occasions, we have spoken to people we meet on our travels overseas who have seen more of our country than we have. In conversation, we sheepishly confess that we haven’t seen the Great Ocean Road, Cairns, Broome or Uluru. And then more often than not the very same people have seen less of their home country than we have. Is it possibly because we forget the wonders we have in our own backyard or simply take it for granted that its not that far away and will always be there? For us, it is a little bit of both. We had this notion that we would travel further afield and do the “harder” trips while we are “young” and save the “easier” ones for when we get “older”.  But its all relative and subjective so why delay what you really want to do because of such perceptions!

So rewind to the beginning of the year when we were thinking of a place to getaway, close enough to squeeze into 4 days but far enough for us to feel like we had a holiday. Flights directly to Yulara and 3 nights at Sails in the Desert were booked. Our review of the hotel can be found on TripAdvisor – link

Now fast forward to the end of April, we were on that Qantas flight flying towards the centre of Australia, eagerly peaking out the windows to sneak a peak of anything and there it was, or more like, there they were: Uluru and the Kata Tjuta sitting tall on the red desert sand. Earth so red that it was quite a sight.

Red earth
Red desert sand

The Sounds of Silence dinner (priced at $188 per head) is such a spectacular experience. It all starts with watching the sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta while enjoying a cultural Aboriginal dance before sitting down to a buffet dinner under the stars. The full moon decided to join us that night along with a sky-full of stars as the sounds of a didgeridoo were played.

Full moon peaking out
Full moon peaking out
Uluru as the sun was setting
Uluru as the sun was setting

In between, main and dessert, an astronomer dazzled us with information about the night sky and one of our biggest highlights was seeing Saturn and its rings in the high powered telescope that was set up. It was extraordinary! Moments like these when you get to meet other like-minded travellers adds to the experience. The food was delicious, with a good variety and the dessert spread deserves a mention.

View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.