Rachel Pupazzoni


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Adelaide: How to put on 2kgs in 4 days

I’m sure you know that feeling after a holiday.  The world seems like a wonderful place, those annoyances at work don’t seem so annoying anymore, the sky is bluer and everything tastes sweeter.  For about 6 hours after you get back.

So the happy post holiday feeling has pretty much worn off and now I have those lovely memories to file away forever.  (And some tough sessions at the gym to work off the extra kgs)  Here are some of the highlights of my recent trip to Adelaide.

Jam Face:

I’m a huge Poh fan.  So naturally the first stop was her cafe at the Adelaide Central Markets.  She was there!  Oh the excitement. I took a lame I’m-not-taking-a-photo, photo of her.  Then ignored my lactose intollerance and dug into a milly filly.  Heaven!

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Poh’s Milly Filly!

Hahndorf:

We hired a car and drove the 30 or so minutes to Germany.  Well not really Germany, obviously, but a sweet little town pretending to be plucked from Germany and dropped in South Australia.  A stroll down the high street took us to bakeries, candle shops, sweet treats shops, German tourist stuff shops and a bunch of pubs and places to eat.  We settled on The Haus Handorf.  The pork belly and beef cheek were suitably rich and filling.  A quick stop for a candle on the way back to the car and we were back on the road.

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German merchandise as far as the shelves can contain it.

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Sugar anyone?

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Lunch at The Haus

Windy Point Cafe:

A high vantage gives diners – like us – at this restaurant or cafe (we opted for the cafe) a spectacular view of the city at night with lights twinkling in the distance.  Oysters were a must (hello, South Australia!) and they were delish. So we ordered more.  A little weird though that they came in serves of 5 or 10, not the standard dozen or half dozen.  Is that an SA thing?

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Oysters at Windy Point

Barossa:

The best way to visit any wine region is with someone else driving.  So that’s what we did.  It pays to have good friends.  We visited Seppelt Winery and tried the sparkling Shiraz (let’s be honest, we tried more than that).  Cue photo session among vineyards on the way back to the car.  Penfolds cellar door was a fun spot.  Lots of tastings (it costs $10 to taste, so obviously you’ll be like us and get your money’s worth).  Last stop was Yalumba.  Our driver (actually our friend Hugo) is a regular there.  The staff recognised him.  So we felt very VIP when we were given numerous wines to taste that were not on the standard list. It worked.  I spent $100 on 2 bottles of wine. (FYI – that’s not my normal budget).  Last stop was what we’d been promised months earlier – the best pizza in Australia at the Roaring 40’s cafe.  It was good. But I had been drinking so anything would have been good.  I would not call it the best pizza in Australia though.

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Barossa vineyard

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My pick of the Penfolds

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The terrace at Yalumba

McLaren Vale:

We joined some more friends in the Vale for a very long table lunch at d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant.  20+ adults and 6 kids under the age of 4.  Just think about how that could have turned out.  But actually it was great. Canapes were served to us on the lawn (arancini and bruschetta) with more at the long white cloth-covered table (stuffed olives and bread) I chose the lobster and crab ravioli entrée (to die for!) and Salmon for main. Roasted vegetables and salads spread along the table ensured I was full to the brim.  Out on the verandah we were served dessert.  I inhaled the chocolate ice-cream/chocolate fondant serving.  Hello deliciousness!  A massive photo was taken of us all.  I’m looking forward to seeing it.

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The view from our long table lunch

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A dessert fit for a chocolate lover like me!

Rundle Mall:

To be honest, my main priority about our final day in Adelaide was a visit to Haighs.  Rest assured we bought half the shop while we were there.  I’m not even home a week and one packet is already gone.  Yes, there are plenty of Haighs shops in Sydney and I am a regular visitor, but come on, when on holiday…

Osteria Oggi:

We ate our last lunch at Osteria Oggi thanks to a recommendation from my friend and food writer Max Veenhuyzen (on Instagram as @maxveenhuyzen – look him up).  It was the best meal I’ve had in a long time.  A great decor and perfectly attentative service.  We shared grilled squid for entrée.  Yum!  Main was a couple of pasta dishes with sausage and crab.  Add a glass of crisp white wine or a G&T and you’ve got a couple of very happy customers.

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Osteria Oggi grilled squid

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Sausage and fennel pasta at Osteria Oggi

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Crab and corn past at Osteria Oggi

Four days of overeating and drinking was definitely enough. Thanks for a great visit Adelaide.  Muchas gracias also to our hosts Hugo and Natalia.

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The Three Sisters

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I love a good ‘explore’.  So it was with an adventurous spirit I travelled to the Blue Mountains recently with my friend Sarah.  It was probably my adventurous spirit that Sarah wished didn’t come on the trip with us.

The Blue Mountains is famous for many things, but at the centre of our trip was the Three Sisters.  A beautiful rock formation Aboriginal legend would tell you is three sisters who were turned to stone because they loved three brothers from another tribe.  They each stand almost a kilometre above the ground.  In actual fact, winds caused the massive rock to erode away… leaving three columns towering into the sky.

The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters

As beautiful as they are from the lookout, I really wanted to climb all the way down to the bottom, to explore the forest underneath.  Work on the Giant Stairway began in 1916.  But it was stopped because it was too expensive to carve steps into the side of the cliff.  The project was resumed in 1932 and there are now more than 800 steps of carved stone and metal that take you all the way to the bottom.  Not so fun if you have a fear of heights like my travel companion.

Climbing down the steps

Climbing down the steps

Me and Sarah about half way down

Me and Sarah about half way down

Being silly on the edge of the cliff

Being silly on the edge of the cliff

In the end we made it to the bottom.  As we walked the well-trodden path we came across countless beautiful plants, rock formations and birds.  There were also two stunning waterfalls across our path.  Tour guides suggest the walk will take 2-3 hours, but we finished it in about 1.5 hours.  It’s all along a path and very easy.  The stairs really are the hardest part.

Deep in the forest

Deep in the forest

One of the waterfalls

One of the waterfalls

What a stunner!

What a stunner!

The view of the other end of the waterfall

The view of the other end of the waterfall

We came to the end of our journey when we reached the Katoomba Scenic Railway.  It’s the steepest cable driven funicular railway in the world.  An awesome adventure for some; a terrifying ordeal for others.  If you’re not keen to take the train – which has a clear roof so you can see the valley below you – you can climb back up hundreds more steps to reach the top.  For my money, the 90 second train ride is the way to go.  Sarah may tell you differently.  Once safely at the top we headed back to the viewing platform for the Three Sisters.  This time as we walked we gazed at the treetops and the valley to our right.

The world's steepest cable train

The world’s steepest cable train

The view from the train

The view from the train

I highly recommend the Three Sisters walk if you’re looking for something fun and adventurous to do outside of Sydney.  Plus there are always the delicious cafes and bakeries in Leura to lure you for a late lunch afterwards.

The view on the walk back

The view on the walk back

The Three Sisters are in the Blue Mountains which are 100 kilometres west of Sydney.  We drove there, but you can also take the train.

Thanks for stopping by and happy exploring!

Rachel

PS – All photos taken on a Nikon D90 (in fully automatic mode).


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Guest Blogging

This week I’ve written a guest blog for my friends Dave and Carmen Allan-Petale.  They write a brilliant travel and adventure blog.

I’ve known Dave since I began at the ABC in 2006 – we were both journalists working in regional Western Australia and spent a lot of time getting to know each other on the phone before we finally met.  I met his wife Carmen after that.  (I don’t think they’d even met when I first knew Dave).

Please head over to their website to read my blog.

http://double-barrelledtravel.com/amazing-race/

It’s all about me doing an Amazing Race in Sydney a few weeks ago.  While you’re there make sure you check out their site.

One of the photos of stunning Sydney which features in my blog

One of the photos of stunning Sydney which features in my blog

Happy reading and happy exploring!

Thanks for stopping by.

Rachel


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On Top of Australia

I’ve been as high as anyone can go in this country.  Last weekend I climbed Mount Kosciuszko. That’s 2228 metres above sea level.  I don’t know how many other people can say that – and I’m a little bit proud.

My journey started with an early morning bus ride (late by twelve minutes – hello Sydney buses!) to Circular Quay… then a little bit (read ‘a lot’) of frantic running… carrying two bags and dragging a suitcase behind me… from wharf to wharf… trying to figure out which one the express ferry to Manly left from.  Turns out it was the one I went to first.  Whoops!

Once on the ferry I spent the next twenty minutes trying to convince myself I wasn’t going to be seasick.  I think the ginger tea I had for breakfast helped because… despite some pretty big waves… I made it to the other side with my insides intact.  There I met my travel companions – my Aunt Margaret (AM) and Uncle Barry (UB) and we hit the road in their brand new car.  We took a wide sweep around Sydney to avoid the traffic which my country relatives (and I guess anyone who doesn’t live here) weren’t used to.  We ended up in Thredbo about 6pm. (It was a 10 hour round trip for me).

What an amazing part of this beautiful country Thredbo and its surrounds are.  So different to the endless, flat earth you see in WA.  (Which, by the way, I think is beautiful… in case you were wondering).

Our accommodation was second to none.  During the peak season you can hire our two bedroom, two bathroom apartment for a cool $2000 a night.  Off-peak, a much more digestible $250.

Saturday morning we ate a big breakfast to fuel up for our hike up the mountain.  But the news was not good when we met our guide.  The weather was not on our side… too bad in fact to go see the top of Kosi.  Winds up to 80km/hour were forecast with gusts fast enough to push me over apparently.  So we pushed it back a day and explored the region.

The view of Thredbo from our apartment... that cloud cover should have been a clear giveaway we wouldn't be climbing today.

The view of Thredbo from our apartment… that cloud cover should have been a clear giveaway we wouldn’t be climbing today.

The beautiful landscape near Thredbo.

The beautiful landscape near Thredbo.

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The banks of the beautiful Snowy River.

Sunday was take two and the weather was much better.  When they say you climb to Australia’s highest peak there is a little bit of help.  The Thredbo chair lift takes you up a fair way… a nice way to ease into the hike that’s for sure.  But it doesn’t stay that way.

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Looking good there Thredbo!

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The travelling party.

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Dark sky, mountain, rocks, waterfall… breathtaking.

Yours truly... mid march.

Yours truly… mid march.

Uncle Barry (AB)

Uncle Barry (UB)

Aunt Margaret (AM)

Aunt Margaret (AM)

Jason was our tour guide and spent the next 6 hours pointing out different flora and fauna and teaching us a little about the area.  I was pleasantly surprised to see toilets about half way up the mountain… what kind of hiking is that?!

Jason giving AM and UB the low down.

Jason giving AM and UB the low down.

Toilets on a mountain.  Unbelievable.

Toilets on a mountain. Unbelievable.

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Check out those clouds.

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Mountain lake. Amazing.

The path is laid out for you… more so to protect the fragile enirvonment than to help out hikers.  We crossed snow twice… that was pretty fun…. Also very slippery in my sneakers!  But no-one fell off, so that was a good thing.

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Our first snow crossing.

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The second snow crossing was a little harder.

The walk is a mixture of uphill climbs, easy plateaus and a few downward slopes.  Fittingly, the last kilometre or so to get to the peak is the toughest… an uneven path (at least there is a path!), ferocious winds which I did struggle to stay upright in and freezing temperatures.  But that’s all quickly forgotten upon reaching the summit.  Now I know what Edmund Hillary felt like when he became the first man to conquer Mt Everest (a bit of a stretch maybe?).  It was awesome to be up there.  The landscape is so beautiful.  Mesmerising.  Inspiring.  Amazing.  I have to admit, when Jason handed us all our certificates to say we’d climbed Australia’s highest peak I was quite proud of myself.  Actually I was more proud of AM and UB who reached the top too.  (Let’s just say I’m at least half their ages!).

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View from the top.

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You can’t get any higher than this.

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It really was this windy.

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View from the top.

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A little proud.

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Enjoying the moment.

The walk down wasn’t a breeze either.  Remember how I said the climb is a mixture of climbs, plateaus and downward slopes?  Well those downward slopes become uphill slopes on the way back.  At least this time we had the wind helping us along instead of marching head on into it.

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Seriously beautiful.

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On the way down.

Beer never tasted so sweet and delicious and refreshing as it does once you’ve reached the summit of Australia and you’re overlooking Thredbo.  UB shouted me and Jason a beer and AM went for the classier Veuve Clicquot as we overlooked the township and talked about the 13 kilometre climb we’d just accomplished.

Celebratory beer.

Celebratory beer.

Standing on tip toes I can just reach the top of Mt Kosciuszko.

Standing on tip toes I can just reach the top of Mt Kosciuszko.

If you ever get the opportunity I thoroughly recommend you reach the top of Australia.  You’ll never forget it.

Thanks for reading.  I’ll post more adventures soon!

Rachel


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A Day at the Beach

I’ve been living in Sydney since August and until now I hadn’t been to the beach.  You know that world famous beach called Bondi. Yep, that one.  I have no real excuse…. I’ve had the opportunity but never went.  Until five days ago.  Some dear friends from Perth were in town staying with another former Perthite… so a day at the beach was arranged.

Now you will know from my last post that I love my neighbourhood – I think I live in a great place.  But let me tell you, it’s not great for getting to the beach.  The first bus I needed to take just never came.  My fellow public transport travellers and I waited and waited at the bus stop for 20 minutes.  I’m starting to learn why Sydneysiders think the public transport system here is so terrible.  That bus took me into the city then it was a short walk through Martin Place to catch a second bus.  Thankfully the wait this time was only 10 minutes… but we still managed to gain extra time when the bus driver decided to pull over and get out mid-journey. There was no word to his passengers about what he was doing.  We all sat there for about 15 minutes…. Like sheep…. Knowing we weren’t going anywhere but too shy to ask each other what was going on.  Finally another bus driver hopped on, and again without a word, just continued driving us to Bondi.  Weird right?

The bus finally arrived

80 minutes after walking out of my apartment I arrived at Bondi.  Now THIS is why I’ve only made one trip to the beach.  80 minutes!!!!  I miss the days in Perth when I could walk to the beach from my house (I still often drove though!).

All was quickly forgotten when my friends arrived.  Bondi was great.  It’s such a huge beach and it didn’t feel crowded at all… it was a Monday though… so the weekend could be an entirely different experience!  The water was freezingly refreshing… you know that feeling when your heart could burst out of your chest and your arms and legs are numb because it’s so cold?  It was like that.  But the ocean does something … it enlivens you.

Beautiful Bondi

It really is quite a beach…(but I still love WA beaches!)

We both look pregnant in this photo – but only Helen is.

No trip to Bondi would be complete without a visit to the famous Icebergs clubrooms for lunch.  It was a small miracle we were even allowed in.  Despite not being members, not living in the area, not coming often and wearing thongs… the maître de let us in…  It must have been a slow day for them.

This is not something you see in WA. It’s very cool. That’s Icebergs to the right.

What more could a person want?

Walking between the beaches here seems to be ‘what you do’ so we set off from Bondi heading south.  The walk was made all the more beautiful by the Sculptures by the Sea display (it is shown in Perth in a few months at Cottesloe).  You can see the path we walked by going to this link.  http://bonditocoogeewalk.com.au/  We walked along Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee.

Getting among the sculptures.

Spot the human statue.

Life imitating art.

Colour everywhere.

Peering inside one of my favourite sculptures.

When we finally arrived at Coogee Beach we made our way to the ice cream shop before settling on the beach to solve the world’s problems and learn about seagulls.  We drove the last leg to make it to Maroubra Beach for a drink at the pub before dinner.  The day ended when I arrived home about 11pm…. 14 hours after I left my apartment.  Now that’s a day at the beach!

I think this is Clovelly….with a concrete beach.

Reward time.

Coogee Beach.

All photos were taken on my iPhone.  That fuzzy salty look is not an effect, but the salt from the beach on the lens… makes you feel like you’re there doesn’t it?

Thanks so much for reading and please come back again!

Rachel