Adventuring in Australia: Weekend up by Cudgegong River

Australia was one of the second wave of countries to announce their re-opening to travelers back in November last year. Immediately, we booked tickets. We quickly found out though, that that plan was a soft launch, just for Singapore citizens, and did not include expats residing in Singapore (like Jeff). Then, Omicron hit, and while borders remained opened, travelers now had to do a mandatory 3 day quarantine at their place of residence before they were allowed to leave. In the end, we shelved those plans, and contented to staying in Singapore for the holidays.

Happily, we’re over that hump now (and hopefully it’s firmly in the rearview mirror). With borders re-opened – this time fully – we used the last of our carry over vacation days from last year to revisit what we regard as our second home.

Landed in Sydney on a bright and sunny Thursday morning, in time for a quick stroll around the quay before we settled down to work

We’d come in right before the ANZ long weekend, perfect to plan a weekend getaway with some friends. The Monday before though, after obsessively following the weather forecast, over a Zoom call, we reluctantly changed our plans to camp at Mungo Brush up in Myall Lakes, given the gloomy 8mm of rain projections every day of the long weekend. Happily, Dani found alternatives out west, and we easily swapped out our plans to explore Cudgegong River, west of Mudgee.

It was so, so, so lovely to be back on the water with these kayaking mates. This time, Jeff and I brought our standup paddle boards instead of kayaks, and Dani brought along her racing SUP for us to play around with (along with her trusty Elliot kayak and Oru Coast). We had the most marvellous afternoon paddling around together on Saturday afternoon, just like old times, before we returned to prepare a delicious hot pot meal and to lounge by our campfire and admire the stars and milky way overhead. Just like old times.

It’s always a special treat when one travels with friends who love to cook! For Sunday brekkie, we made french toast with fresh berries and mascarpone with vanilla and maple syrup. SO GOOD. Washed down with fresh moka pot coffee – we were nicely set up for a long day’s paddle!

The day’s paddle started off lovely. Though it was mostly cloudy, the winds were low and so made for a nice leisurely paddle to our lunch spot, a tiny brushy island on which we found a small clearing. Delicious build-your-own wrap lunch of roast chicken, pickled daikons, cucumbers, tomatoes, rocket, ham, and tuscan mix. Mm.

The wind picked up just as we finished lunch though, and sent white caps spraying in whichever direction. Initially, we’d entertained continuing up the river to explore, but very quickly decided with the strong headwinds, that it was more prudent to start turning back.¬†What a mad struggle – especially for me, a semi-novice stand up paddle boarder! The winds were pushing us backwards at least 3 km/hr, and I’m on average just clocking in 4 km/hr on my board. Lol. After at least 45 minutes of full out paddling, I looked back and we were barely 1 km away from our lunch spot. Gah. Looking at the time, I decided that if we wanted any chance of returning before sunset, I had to get a tow assist.

Enter Garry! He gamely pulled me behind his kayak for a good 7km. And though the sun finally came out right at the end, and the winds died down, I was too spent from trying to hold my own end of the tow to volunteer to unhitch from his kayak. Huge kudos to Jeff for pushing through on Dani’s racing board, badly skinning the tops of his toes kneeling through the wind in the process.

We were pretty wiped out by our 17 km paddle – no thanks to the epic winds coming back – and woke up sore the next morning, but it was a beautiful sunny and calm day on Monday that a bunch of us simply had to take the crafts out for a last spin. We ventured up to what we thought was a cove at the end of lake, but it turned out to be a fun little creek that we could meander up for quite a distance, alongside curious cows.

To end off the trip, and to take further advantage of the beautiful sunny weather, we stopped by Lowe Wines in Mudgee for a bit of cheeky tasting, and walked away with four bottles. Just couldn’t resist.

Another amazing Aussie bush weekend for the books! So grateful for the lovely company as well. Our hearts are full.

Weekend in Mosel

We flew over to Frankfurt, Germany the first weekend of June, where we met up with our good friends TPR and Serge for a weekend getaway to wine country in Mosel. It’s so awesome that they live just a short 2 hour drive away from world class Rieslings; Jeff, whose favorite wine is Riesling, was in heaven.

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Dr Loosen Vineyard – Mosel

We had a delightful 9 bottle tasting, where we were taken through the different terroir on which the Rieslings were grown, from blue slate to red slate and to volcanic soil.

Town of Trier
Town of Trier

After, we drove into the town of Trier, and while a few happy hours away exploring it’s ancient Roman Gate, the incredibly intact Roman Bath, and Marx’s house.

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Trier Baths

Zeltingen Mosel
Zeltingen Mosel

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Zeltingen at dusk

Possibly the main reason TPR picked this town to stay in, out of the many dozens littered around the Mosel wine route, was for the Zeltingen Hof hotel that with it’s attached restaurant that serves over 100 glasses of wine to try by the glass. To the utmost bemusement of Serge – and my reflected bemusement of his bemusement – I promptly ordered three glasses at a go to sample side by side. Two, I liked; the third I found too nondescript. Anyway, they complemented well with my hearty meal of schnitzel and white asparagus, which were in season and so fresh, juicy and sweet.

Zeltingen Hof - restaurant with over 100 wines by the glass for tasting
Zeltingen Hof – restaurant with over 100 wines by the glass for tasting

White asparagus season in Germany
White asparagus season in Germany

Sunday, we did a drive through the rest of Mosel before turning to Rheingau and exploring by car some of the region.

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Trimbach – Germany

Germany - Trimbach

Maker:S,Date:2017-9-18,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y
Along Mosel

Teaser week in Perth

If anything, these past few days just showed us how much Western Australia has to offer, and what little we’ve seen of it. Back in Sydney now, but already dreaming of going back and exploring all the other nook and crannies, including Broome, all the way up north in the further reaches of the state. Oh well.

In descending order, our highlights:

  1. Biking and snorkeling around Rottnest Island. I huffed and puffed my way around the island; it’s been too long since I got on a bike! But the weather was glorious. Hot sun with a steady cool breeze, and if we got too sweaty, we just cooled off in the water.
  2. Kayaking to Penguin Island where, along the way, we paddled up close to lazing sea lions and a pod of dolphins
  3. Walking short sections of the 135 km Cape to Cape trail. Stunning coast line. Oh to walk the full distance!
  4. Sneaking in a cheeky 2 hour SUP along Cottesloe Beach just before our flight. The water was soooo clear and inviting

We also managed to get in a bit of wine tasting in Margaret River, but for perhaps the first time ever, our heart wasn’t really into it. We just wanted to get back to the beach!

Exploring the Pinnacles

Male sea lions rule this little piece of land just off Penguin Bay – WA

Pod of dolphins just cruising by

Checking out the sea lion sanctuary – Jeff’s GoPro

Bird sanctuary on Penguin Island

Cape to Cape trail

Sunset over Surfers Point – Margaret River

Checking out the wines in Margaret River – Leeuwin Estate, The Watershed, Voyager

We know we aren’t supposed to pet the quokkas, but they didn’t get the memo and crawled all over Jeff

Look at those cute little ears

Snorkeling in Parker Bay on Rottnest Island

Exploring the bays of Rottnest Island by bike

Wine Tasting Weekend in Launceston, Tasmania

IMG_8862-Pano-1

Just spent a lovely weekend down in Launceston, Tasmania, where we had a blast visiting 8 different wineries and tasting up a storm. Some outstanding Pinots, Rieslings, and Chardonnays!

Because we were so focused on drinking wines, and because the forecast had spelled rain the entire weekend, we didn’t go out hiking, or do much of anything else really. But the drive to the vineyards was beautiful, and the sun broke through the clouds quite often, casting beautiful golden light onto the lush winter pastures.