The Australian Garden

The Australian Garden, situated in Cranbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, must be one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets. It’s a long way away from the CBD and I wouldn’t think that it’s on the radar of most tourists, unless they come on some kind of organised garden-oriented tour. As for me, I’ve been driving past it pretty much every year on the way to Phillip Island, thinking that we should really make an effort to see it one day. After finally visiting last year, we were impressed enough to come back for another stroll.

The Australian Garden is all about celebrating the native Australian plants and landscapes, with plenty of photo opportunities. It doesn’t waste time and sets out to impress just as you walk in, with its most spectacular Red Sand Garden. Just like the last time, I wished I had a jet pack to get an aerial view of this stunning spot.

This is no pretty manicured garden, but it blends nature, art and architecture in its own unique and beautiful way, with exhibition gardens, waterways and imaginative displays inspired by the natural cycles. It was wonderful to visit again on a Sunday morning, before it became too hot and crowded.

Hampton Beach 2 Brighton Beach

Six Melbourne lockdowns later, there’s finally a cautious hope that The Most Locked Down City in the World is putting those times behind it. So to mark the occasion of eased restrictions, I thought I’d do a photo tribute to my favourite beach walk that helped me keep my sanity in 2020 and 2021.

If there’s any silver lining to the Covid era, it’s the fact that it got me walking outside in almost any weather, on an almost daily basis. There are a few nice parks and green areas around where I live, but nothing has done more for my mental health during lockdown than a brisk walk by the beach, and a chance to look out on that infinite horizon, breathe in the salty air and feel less boxed in. I loved watching the beach change from day to day, and couldn’t resist taking photos.

One of the most pleasant things about this walk is getting rewarded with a view of the city and the famous colourful Brighton Beach cabins from the top of a small hill; on occasions I would extend the walk and check them out.

New Zealand Car Trip 2009

2020 was supposed to be another big year of travel for me, with a four-week Europe trip in August and September including Iceland, the top country on my bucket list of places to go. Safe to say, COVID-19 tore these plans to shreds and there’s no certainty on whether any international travel will be possible this year at all. So I thought I’d look back and blog about one of my most memorable overseas holidays, a solo car trip in New Zealand.

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