Posts Tagged ‘Beach’

We love all that Melbourne has to offer but there is a small handful of little spots that are special to us.  Quaint, quiet, comfortable…little gems.  Seaford is one of those places.

Perhaps it’s because we first checked it out together when I was visiting last year, right around this time.  Or maybe it’s because it’s usually pretty low-key with only a few families here and there.  But whatever the reason, we can’t stay away.

Seaford was recommended by Ryan’s manager in his first few weeks in Melbourne.  During my visit last Easter we had a lovely lunch at the Seaford Beach Cafe overlooking the pier.

It’s a lovely little cafe that serves breakfast and light lunches.  The food is good.  The view is great.  And people will pay for the view at a restaurant.  This we know.  Ok, so the food itself is over-priced for what it is but you don’t leave feeling ripped off…remember the aforementioned view?  A few hints: 1. On a nice day, wait for a seat outside.  It’s worth it.  2.  Order a sandwich or salad to share.  The portions aren’t huge but it’ll help with the sting of the tab.  OR, you can do what we did last Friday….

Skip the cafe all-together and run across the street for fish ‘n chips.  There’s a little fish n chipper right across the way that is always bustling.  Friday we grabbed some take-away and ran back to the beach to enjoy our meal and our “free” view.

Cafe image from: http://www.beachcafeseaford.com.au/

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Best.Valentine’s.Day.Ever.  I won’t go bragging on and on about the amazingly romantic Valentine’s day we had.  I could.  But I won’t.  Instead I’ll share one of the highlights of the day as it relates to Melbourne.

Picnics and beaches are quintessential Melbourne experiences.  Packing up a blanket and filling an “esky” — short for Eskimo, a popular brand of coolers – is  a common activity for Melbournians.  And with the wonderful weather and great bay beaches, a beach-day is a regular Melbourne past-time.   Admittedly, we’ve neglected our “pseudo –Melbournian” duties by not enjoying either of these activities enough.

On Valentine’s Day Ryan surprised me with a dinner picnic to the beach to watch the sunset. We drove to Brighton Beach arriving around 7PM with the sun brilliant over the bay.  We set up our beach chairs and enjoyed a fabulous dinner, packed courtesy of my hubs and complete with sparkling wine.

We dipped our toes in the warm water as we strolled along the shore.  Here’s a shot of my gorgeous husband, ooh la la.

And, of course we watched the sunset together.

While we won’t be able to recreate the romance of this Vday regularly (nor would we want to) we agreed that we MUST make beach visits more frequently in the future.  Now onto getting a beach bod…

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Taking the family on the Great Ocean Road was a highlight for us (and them too, I think).  We visited the “musts” like Gibson’s Steps, The Twelve Apostles, and the London Bridge for the second time.  But we also made stops at Erskine Falls, outside of Lorne, to admire the beautiful water cascading down a 30m drop.

In Lorne we also made time for Teddy’s Lookout, which provided a spectacular bird’s eye view of the road.  This place has been called a photographer’s dream and I can see why.  I was dreaming about a new panoramic lens.

We experienced Cape Patton for the second time but with the overcast weather it was almost like experiencing it for the first time.

Must remember to bring an Iowa sticker from home to put on the Cape Patton road sign next time…

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Just a short drive away from Hot Water Beach is the scenic “walk” to Cathedral Cove.  The walk — which is really more like a 45-minute hike– begins at the top of cliff with this gorgeous view of the ocean and the cove off to the left. 

When we arrived at the cove, we laid out a couple of towels and settled in for some well-deserved relaxation.

And by ignoring warning signs warning about falling rock inside the cove (sorry, Moms and Dads)… 

…we got some great shots inside the Cove…totally worth it.  

That evening we stayed at the Cathedral Cove B&B, owned by Rachael and Pat.  It was the most modern of all our B&B accommodations as it was just newly remodeled.  Our room had an ensuite and its own little outdoor patio and the whole house was just full of light and cheerfulness.   Beautiful.  Spacious.  Private. 

In the morning we enjoyed a (very big) cooked breakfast and had a wonderful chat with Pat and Rachael.  All of our B&B hosts on our New Zealand trip were lovely people but Rachael and Pat felt like old friends.  We talked about their B&B experiences, our travels and life in Australia, growing a garden and eating fresh, and how to cook a perfectly poached egg.  We could’ve sat at their kitchen table all day just visiting.  What good is travelling if you can’t learn about others and learn a little bit about yourself in the process?

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Hot Water Beach is a major tourist attraction in New Zealand and it is exactly as it sounds.  During low-tide, you can dig holes into the sand, and lay in hot, bath-like water.

I tested the water myself to verify the “hotness” but no, I did not get into bath-like water with a bunch of strangers.  We just sat on the beach and enjoyed wave-watching and people-watching…both equally as entertaining.

After Hot Water Beach, we grabbed lunch at Hot Waves Café and had a scrumptious meal.  New Zealand might just be the best country to eat your way around, as we—and our waistlines –found out.  We did not have a SINGLE bad meal while we were there.  Everything was made on the spot and with fresh ingredients.  At Hot Waves Café, for example, Ryan had Thai beef pasta and I enjoyed a steak sandwich with garlic aioli.

This was right outside one of the major tourist destinations of New Zealand and Ryan and I reflected that any restaurant near a major tourist destination in the US would serve a meal that left you anything-but-satisfied.  I generally leave those places mad that I spent double the price on a processed and mediocre (at best) meal….and am still hungry.  I’m not ragging on our beloved country.  It’s just an observational opinion.  A sad, observational opinion.

Later that evening we feasted on a gourmet dinner at Eggsentric Café , owned by “eggsentric” Dave, aka, “Chook” (Short for chicken, in Australian), who greets all the regulars, cook all the meals, and chats it up from the open kitchen.  His lovely wife seats and serves the entire place!  This cafe is a “must-visit” if you’re ever around the area.  The name says it all about the atmosphere and the food is “eggcelent”!  (INSERT GROAN HERE)

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To wrap up our Sunshine Coast experience, I wanted to share a random mish-mash of photos of the beautiful things we encountered on our getaway.  Sometimes words are not necessary.

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I am not a nature girl.  I will almost always choose an activity where I can stay clean, warm, and dry over any activity outside.  I’m not overly proud of this fact but “it is what it is” as the saying goes.  So I admit that when we were deciding between sitting by the pool reading or spending the day trouncing around a National Park, I was tempted to opt for the pool.  Ryan almost too easily agreed with me since he had spent the past couple of days at a work conference.  In the end, our adventurous sides won out (and how often can I say that?) and we decided to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Noosa, a supposed “Must-See” when in Queensland.

We took advantage of the free shuttle from the hotel for the short twenty-minute ride.  Many people visit Noosa for the awesome shopping but we wanted to explore the long walk through the Noosa National Park .  One of the most amazing things about this park is the Coastal trail that follows the coast for miles and miles and we were lucky enough to walk next to views like this:

The experience was amazing.  We enjoyed the serenity of the ocean and even I enjoyed all the nature that surrounded us.  Stops along the way included lovely names like Tea Tree Bay, Granite Bay, and Little Cove (shown below).

We stopped in the mostly deserted Alexandria bay to write our names in the sand

Apparently this beach is attracts nudists but the day we visited was far too cold for anyone to be in swimsuits, let alone in their birthday suits.  The only exciting thing we saw while in the bay was a storm coming in from the ocean so we decided to press on.

While walking to the next check point, Hell’s Gate, the rain came in.  Once we arrived, we took in the breathtaking views from the cliff.

This was also where we shared probably my most treasured moment on the walk.  We were not well equipped since we weren’t anticipating rain and all we had was Ryan’s light coat.  There was little in the way of shelter so we lifted the coat above our heads and huddled together closely until the rain subsided…(insert swooning here).

We took the inland trail back to the town for a change of scenery.  All in all we walked about 10 km (a little over 6 miles) of the 2,290 hectare (5700 acre) park.  We had a relaxing lunch at a lovely little restaurant in Noosa and afterwards with our stomachs full, we felt revived enough to take on the climb up Mount Coolum.  There was no stopping us that day.

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