Shuri Castle, Naha Okinawa

I just discovered some hidden drafts of blog posts I meant to finish writing or publish when I was still living in Okinawa. 

This one was my second visit to Shuri Castle in Naha, and much better weather than the first time I visited!. I can't believe how small little G looks in these pictures, and I can't believe we've almost been back in Australia for a year!

Enjoy the photos, while I have pangs of missing the simpler and warmer life in Okinawa, while i'm freezing here in Melbourne.


Shuri Castle in Okinawa is a must visit, especially on a sunny day!





The gorgeous red stripes on Shuri Castel. It looks so different to Castles on mainland Japan
Love the red stripes outside the red castle!




Some snacks at the Teahouse




He's so little here!
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Shuri Castle is a must-visit in Okinawa. It is a very different looking castle than what you will see on mainland Japan and the grounds are gorgeous with views over Naha.

Secluded camping near Melbourne

This past weekend, we finally got our act together, the weather forecast was perfect, and we headed off for a camping trip. Of course, we only decided we were definitely going to go camping a few days before, and I totally forgot it was a public holiday, meaning all the usual and popular camping sites around Melbourne were fully booked! I was starting to despair because we had promised the little man we would go, but eventually stumbled across Youcamp, which had places available. This is not a sponsored post, but I wanted to give a shout out to Youcamp anyway. It's kind of like AirBnB for camping,in that people can advertise their land for people to camp on!

We wanted somewhere not too far from Melbourne, because we were only going for one night, and we found a couple of options. We settled on Seven Hills Tallarook because it was pet friendly and seemed to have a decent amount of good reviews.

Having no idea what to expect, we drove out there on Saturday morning, were met by our hosts when we arrived (after driving a few kilometres down gravel roads), and they recommended a hilltop campsite for us and then drove us to our site (while we followed in our car). Our campsite was lovely, on top of a hill with some great views, a picnic table and plenty of shade under a huge tree. These camp sites were all without any facilities, so beware you need to either bring your own portable toilet (or hire one from the hosts) or do as we did, and squat.

Being in the middle of nowhere on a farm, and with no other campers around, was lovely. Also, the stargazing was incredible! We saw one kangaroo at sunset, but didn't spot any other animals while we were there. When we woke up the next morning though there were a ton of fresh poops around, so we must have had a lot of visitors while we were sleeping! It was a totally different experience than our camping adventures in Okinawa, and looking over the dry landscape really made me think of how different Australia is!

If you really want to get away for the weekend, cheaply and not too far from Melbourne, and you don't mind roughing it a bit, I definitely recommend having a look on Yourcamp and seeing what is around. 

Seven Hills Tallarook
This is Australia
Camping at seven hills Tallarook
Our trusty tent, all the way from Okinawa

Perfect climbing tree

Camping in Australia, you might get a visit from some of the local wildlife
Spot our sunset visitor

Views

NGV Triennial


This New Year i've struggled to make any resolutions, but one thing I did decide was to try to go on some kind of adventure at least once a month, whether that be going for a hike somewhere i've never been, going to see a show, or visiting a museum i've never been to. I think it will help keep me sane while navigating my insane job, and also help motivate me to start blogging again. Also, I want to finally get myself a decent camera, because yes, I still take all my photos on my iPhone, and especially on my trip last weekend to Steavenson Falls, I was really regretting my lack of proper camera.

Anyway, in the theme of adventures, this past weekend, my mum came to Melbourne to help out with G while we're working these school holidays (anyone know or have any connections to help me get one of those magical jobs that have all school holidays off work - without having to become a teacher!?). We decided to venture into the the city to visit the National Gallery - NGV and their latest exhibition, the NGV Triennial. The whole exhibition is free and I was really impressed! My only regret is that I went in there hungry and therefore didn't spend as much time as I would like there. I didn't really know what to expect, except I knew there was a Yayoi Kusama installation, which I loved, and unexpectedly, there was also an installation by Teamlab, the awesome people who put on the DMM Planets exhibition I went to in Tokyo the year before last!

The whole thing was also really great for kids, and there was a separate exhibition with hands on things for kids (not sure if it was actually related to the Triennial).
The NGV Triennial runs until 15 April 2018.


The NGV Trienial runs at the National Gallery of Victoria until April 2018
Beautiful

Entrance to the NGV



Loved this installation ,#

Yayoi Kusama's Flower Room
Kids exhibit

View of Melbourne over the Yarra River on a sunny day
Melbourne <3



Marysville and Steavenson Falls

Last week was H's birthday. This year for her present I decided to get us a romantic night away in Marysville, where we previously used as a base for our snow trip in August. This time we were kid free and ready to relax!

Unfortunately the Saturday we arrived was over 40 degrees, absolutely boiling, but we were lucky our accommodation had air-conditioning!

We made the leisurely drive to Marysville (about 1.5 hours out of Melbourne), stopping in Healesville for lunch on the way, at Giant Steps Winery for lunch on the way, which was delicious, and the perfect start to our trip.

When we checked in to our cottage, we went for a quick walk out in the crazy heat to the supermarket for some supplies and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing because it was way too hot to do anything. The perfect getaway really!

The next morning, once the cool change had come through, we went for a longer walk around town, stopping at the bakery for breakfast, then after checking out, decided to drive out to Steavenson Falls. I'm a sucker for a waterfall, and this one didn't dissappoint! The last waterfall i'd seen was a very underwhelming small one in Okinawa, so I was blown away by this one was was over 80 metres tall!

There was lots of parking at the falls ($3 parking fee, coin only - so come prepared!) and only a 5 minute walk to the falls. After checking it out we decided to do the hike up to the top of the falls which was much harder and more rugged but totally worth the views!

I absolutely recommend a stop at Steavenson Falls if you're in the Marysville area. It was magnificent and much better than I was expecting.

Marysville is definitely our number one getaway destination when we're after a weekend away. I love how pretty and tiny the town is, as well as how close it is to Melbourne. Also, the drive there is beautiful, past all the vineyards in the Yarra Valley and then the amazing forest drive through Black Spur! We will definitely go back again.
Marysville Garden Cottages

Loved this weird tree

Countryside <3



This gorgeous creek flows through town
hydrangeas

One of the views up at Steavenson Falls








The view from the top of Steavenson Falls, Victoria
The view from the top was magnificent



Adventuring with this lady :)




Black Spur drive victoria
Black Spur
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Marysville is a short 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne through the Yarra Valley. It is a gorgeous small town perfect in any season!

Spring in Melbourne plus some news!

Spring has arrived in Melbourne! I love this time of year! The air smells like jasmine and there are blossoms out everywhere! Also, daylight savings has started, so the afternoons are lovely and we'll be able to spend more time out in the park after work.

In some exciting news for us - we bought an apartment! We've spent years lusting over real estate and imagining what we could eventually buy, and now it's happened. It's a cute little apartment, not too far from where we're living now, but it's a little bigger and perfect for us! We can't wait to move in (which won't be until around May next year). Here's to life with a mortgage! Eep!

Otherwise, life back in Melbourne has been good. A bit of an adjustment for me, and work has been insane since I started, but i'll eventually get the hang of things (I hope) on that front. Life-wise though, we've loved being back close to friends and so much amazing food! Melbourne really is the best! 

Enjoy some lovely spring photos from the last few weeks!

Double rainbow over Brunswick East
Caught this double rainbow walking home the other day! It was so bright!
Melbourne Graffiti laneway
East Brunswick Laneway


Blossoms

Spring at the University of Melbourne
More blossoms! These ones at Melbourne Uni

Hot air balloons over melbourne
Hot air balloons and the city views on my morning walk

More Melbourne Uni

"puppy party" in our local park

Coffees with Ollie

Ollie and his buddies