Microadventure:A wintervention

microadventures

Sick of spending my life trying to get warm, I instigated a wintervention this week.

Three days of tropical adventures in Cairns. And by tropical adventures I mean mostly drinking in a pool.

MOJITO: It looks like I'm casually sipping from a cup, but the 2L jug is actually just out of frame.

I won't go to deep into the evening adventures… they basically involved wandering around night markets after one too many margaritas, adopting fake tamagotchis and admiring cane toad leathers… which are apparently a thing in tropical North Queensland.

The highlight was a trip to the Barrier Reef.
How do you sum up thousands of kilometres of coral and wildlife? It's one of the natural wonders of the world for a damn good reason.
BUBBLES: Would you believe this actually wasn't a staged photo? This was me trying to free dive down to about 6 metres and getting stuck in a flurry of bubbles.

I couldn't help but sit back, on the bow of the boat, soaking in the winter sun, thinking about how lucky I am. Lucky to be here. Lucky to be alive. Lucky to be warm and happy. Lucky to be on an adventure of a lifetime.

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Microadventure: NSW North Coast 

microadventures, Road Trip, travel

The Pass, ripe for 7am wave pickings.

Byron Bay highlights:
Drinks at the railway pub on a Friday where I can chat with all my friends up here and make a few new ones.

Surfs at classic breaks like Shipwrecks, the Pass and Cosy Corner.

Food on the laneway and from the Thursday morning farmers market.

Coffee coming out of your ears on every street corner.

Good vibes all day and night every single day.

Surfing, eating, drinking, sleeping, repeating.

I get the same feeling driving into Byron Bay as I do when I drive into my own driveway.

I love all the other coastal towns along the way mind you- there’s just something about this place. And the lighthouse. And the streets at midnight. 

Even though every surf break has about a thousand people fighting for a wave, I still like them the best. A good surf at the Pass is like 10 good surfs on the South Coast. 

Don’t need to go home- I’m already here.

#goodvibes 

Microadventure: Budderoo National Park

microadventures
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Swinging bridges at Minnamurra Rainforest.

It’s easy to forget about what lies on your doorstep and yet sometimes these little forays into the wild turn out to be the best adventures.

Budderoo is a National Park I have rarely delved into in the past few years. It’s so close, and so utterly spectacular, yet I’ve been busy adventuring around the world and on the South Coast so it’s flown totally under the radar.

Saturday seemed like the perfect day for a quick adventure. The rainforest seemed a good place to hide from the summer heat so I jumped in the car and drove out to Minnamurra Rainforest to start with an easy walk to a waterfall.

With so little rain, there wasn’t much water flowing and the upper falls were closed, but its still so lush. Added bonus- they still have the swing bridges and lets be honest those are the best.

Managed to spot a lyrebird and a water dragon, and did a short hike just to get away from town and people. There were plenty of tourists out there but thankfully, the people were spread out enough for me to feel like it was just me and my adventure buddy who I had recruited for the trip.

My intention had been to head to Carrington Falls just for the views, but the rangers said it was closed and not to bother since there was no water anyway.

Instead, they suggested the Macquarie Cascades- which I had never heard of despite living 20 minutes away.

They are nestled in at the bottom of Macquarie Pass, and the walk to the bottom is an easy 2km loop- perfect for a quick mini adventure.

Of course- they were too spectacular to stay at the bottom so I tried to get to the top. It seemed like a reasonably easy scramble up the side of the cliff.

Just 20 minutes from my house, I was standing on mossy rocks, in the middle of a rainforest, with no one else around, watching cascading waterfalls.

Lesson: What’s on our doorstep is just as spectacular as what I’ve seen on the other side of the planet.

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A quiet moment at the bottom of the Macquarie Cascades before a scramble to the top.

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I didn’t even know these kind of climbers existed here in Australia- evidently they do.

 

Microadventure: Snowboarding

Australia, microadventures
WHITE: Being on this mountain when it is so white, is kind of like passing out. Without the nausea and bright spots.

WHITE: Being on this mountain when it is so white, is kind of like passing out. Without the nausea and bright spots.

I have come a long way since I first posted about learning to snowboard back in 2013.

https://jessicagoessomeplace.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/snowboarding-take-1/
I got up at 3.45 am and by 4, was on the road. After a quick stop to pick up a four pack of energy drink, I headed for the hills.
The ever so reliable iphone let me know that we would be taking a road that was 15 minutes quicker than going through Canberra, and would take us out in the centre of Cooma! What is not to love about that?
Who doesn’t love a dirt back road, before dawn in the rain.
I must admit, after two years away from the snow, carrying several injuries and having only ever had bad experiences on the T-bar… I was mildly apprehensive about a one day trip and what that would mean for me.
As it turns out, it meant great snow (Australian standard great), fun hills and the realisation that I was not in fact, hopeless.
I spent the entire day, sliding down mountains.
Winter perfection.

Microadventure: Wagga Wagga Wedding

Australia, microadventures

Another month, another adventure.
This month, I drove out west, along tiny back roads at dusk to go to Wagga Wagga for a wedding.
This adventure was a sort of two tiered adventure, because firstly, back roads in Australia on dusk can be exciting.*
Secondly, weddings are often an adventure in a totally different league.
There was nothing out of the ordinary about the road trip.
I sang the entire Lion King soundtrack, cast myself as Cosette in Les Mis and later, when it got dark and I was on the Hume highway, 4 hours into the drive, I turned my car into a nightclub while I ate a strawberry thick shake from South Gundagai McDonalds.
On the way home, in an effort to avoid snow, I left early, got a coffee and croissant, which I proceeded to spill all over myself at the traffic lights 100 metres from the coffee store, and brooded about it for three quarters of the drive home.

The wedding was a lot of fun, and we managed to stretch the celebrations across an entire day.
I often find the ceremonial side of weddings difficult to swallow, particularly when they have a godly focus, but luckily, I do not find wine difficult to swallow, and there was a lot of that later on to compensate.

Wedding faces.

At the end of the night, my shoes were ruined from mud, my skirt split was a lot bigger than I remembered, I was dancing with a random and I was manically snapping selfies with one of my best friends.
Then, we rang my friends parents to come and get us, because under the age of 25, that is still okay as far as we were concerned.
It was exactly how wedding receptions should be.

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#MannionWedding2015

* For any of my international/city based readers, by exciting, I mean that there is a shitload of wildlife, which requires precision driving to avoid. It is not uncommon to be picking bits of roo out of your engine and wiping down the windscreen at your dinner stop.

Microadventure: Pigeon House Mountain

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The official microadventure for June was a hike up the steepest mountain in Australia.*
I am not really a hiker. I also don’t love bushwalking. I do one about once per year, and that sustains me for at least another 12 months.

I decided to go on a hiking adventure as more of a challenge than a fun weekend activity, and I am glad I did.

I never thought I would say this, but I actually had fun.
My friend Nathan came along too, and it will go into my bank of fond memories.
We went quite early, and were the only people heading up the track that morning. The best part was, on our way down, we ran into everyone coming up who had slept in, and when you pass people going up as you go down, it amplifies the satisfaction immensely.

Because it's all about that face, bout that face bout that face....no

Because it’s all about that face, bout that face bout that face….no treble.

I enjoyed the people who asked me how far it was to the top and I told them they were basically still at the bottom. Then I wished them luck. It was super satisfying and hilarious.
My next adventure, will be a trip to Wagga Wagga for the #MannionWedding2015.

TREE HUGGER: This is absolutely ironic. I was actually just trying to kill time because my legs hurt so much I didn't want to walk anymore.

TREE HUGGER: This is absolutely ironic. I was actually just trying to kill time because my legs hurt so much I didn’t want to walk anymore.

*Probably the steepest mountain.

Microadventure: Coastal Trekking.

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NEVER LOOK BACK: it is a little depressing to know how much  further left to go, but with a view like this, it felt like there just wasn't enough distance left.

I PRESENT TO YOU: winter, somewhere between Kiama and Gerringong. 

It is not Pigeon House Mountain. Challenge number 1, and already there is a setback. I have a knee injury. While this is not a barrier to all adventuring, it is a barrier to steep bush walks for the minute.
Instead of risking it, I postponed that adventure for 2 weeks, and did something with more distance and less steepness.
This track was still a challenge though.Maybe not physically, but carrying an injury, it was tempting to sit back and say “Oh I think I might stay in bed and watch Netflix instead.”
I have done the coastal track from Kiama to Gerringong a number of times, but it is always a little adventure, and I always enjoy it. It is just over 12km return, and virtually untouched.
And the best part about this coastline? I can see it from home.
Sometimes the best kind of adventures, are the kind you can have in your own backyard.

Microadventure challenge

microadventures

 

PROOF: This is my bib number for City2Surf. Just in case you didn't believe I was fully committed to registering, training, and running as my August adventure.

PROOF: This is my bib number for City2Surf. Just in case you didn’t believe I was fully committed to registering, training, and running as my August adventure.

I’ve had a full time job for three whole months now, as a regional journalist on the NSW South Coast.
It’s pretty cool. I get to come to work, go out an be professionally nosy about the cool things that happen in a small community, then sit down and get paid to write about it. The downside (let’s be honest, there always is one…) is that I am working all day, and I no longer have the luxury of jetting off somewhere whenever I feel like it.

It is for this reason, that I am committing to the micro adventure challenge. This is a concept that I discovered from Alastair Humphrey’s, who runs a blog dedicated to busy people who need a little more adventure in their lives.
It involves doing one challenge a month, in order to break what I, affectionately refer to, as the eat couch sleep cycle.

A cycle that I am quite fond of, and practise most afternoons, after work.

The challenge is to go out and have an adventure every month. You need to do something challenging that you wouldn’t normally consider doing. You need to make time for it, you need to be committed to it and you need to stop making excuses as to why you were sitting on the couch all weekend marathoning the entire Netflix movie catalogue when you could have been making exciting memories.

I am leaving the definition of adventure for loose interpretation. For example, I do not consider camping in winter an adventure, I consider it a nightmare. So to clarify, this is not something I will be doing.
I will however, be training for the City2Surf run in Sydney as my August adventure and aiming to take a fishing trip, because I have never been before. I may also consider, a summer camping trip.
I will take 10 challenges starting in June then end the challenge with a big adventure over two months, this time next year, in America on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles via the Southern states which, as it happens, I have conveniently booked earlier today.
So cheers to a year of adventures, because working full time should never stand in the way of living, adventuring and exploring the world.