Categories
Daily Life Destinations

Bentwood Fitzroy

I guess Instagram does work for advertising, because this morning we’re at a cafe that David found on Instagram; Bentwood Fitzroy.

Bentwood Fitzroy Menu

I started by breakfast with the Nutella Shake, it basically tastes like they liquified Nutella and put it in a glass for me. It is delicious.

Nutella Shake

Accompanying this decadent drink was the Hotcakes: Raspberry curd, strawberries, passionfruit syrup, meringue, and mascarpone. I added the side of bacon, though it certainly didn’t need it.

Hotcakes, they had me at “meringue”

I want to eat here every day… but man is it expensive when you’re done, so it will definitely be a sometimes thing.

Categories
Destinations

New Zealand

For the 5 days away in New Zealand I spent most of my time without devices in my hand… because I didn’t have a roaming plan nor an OS sim card. 

I’m usually always in front of a screen; my computer, my iPad, or my iPhone. When something comes up that I don’t know about, I’m Googling away to find out more. But I learnt that maybe I don’t need it. Maybe all that extra info I take into my brain isn’t really making my brain better, it’s just cluttering it up.

A vital lesson perhaps?

Meanwhile, had a great time with the NZ family. Didn’t see any of the sights, but that’s not what this trip was for, it was to catch up with family we haven’t seen in person for almost 2 years. 5 days wasn’t nearly enough and I’m missing them already. While I’ve said just above that I maybe can be away from tech more often, I’ll be forever grateful for things like Apple’s FaceTime for giving me face-to-face time with family so far away.

Had an awesome time hanging out with the kidlets. Em and George are so much fun to be around, after they have warmed up to you. We played lego, and boardgames, and I even participated in a mock shop for their dolls (those dolls have a LOT of shoes). Got to go and pick them up at their school and watch them excitedly point us out to their friends. And listened their theories of life.

I also learnt, when a 7 year old is telling you she knows where to go and is giving you directions to a shop, believe her and follow her directions… I may have got lost and needed her to direct us back (told you, I didn’t have data, so no GPS). Kids are smart and so cool!

We also got to go on a quick road trip with mum on her birthday and had a nice lunch at a little cafe, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and had a good dinner at a local restaurant. We also tried the local pizza, burgers, and stopped in at a Denny’s for breakfast; and enjoyed a couple of nights of home cooking.

Home now, looking at our doggins as if they are giants, my view of them skewed from the 5 days looking at mum’s Yorkshire terrier puppy. The dogs are very happy to have us home. The cats don’t like us, they are looking at us as strangers. Doing 5 days of washing and about to get back into the busy days of work.

Time to start planning a sightseeing holiday to NZ to see its glory; though it’s hard to pass up more time with the family.

Massive thanks to Kathryn who took care of our house and the menagerie of pets while we were away. Our trip wouldn’t have gone anywhere near as smoothly without her taking care of our home while we were away. It was one massive thing we didn’t have to worry about. Our friends are the best!

Categories
Destinations Restaurants

BBQ

Drove to Geelong to have after work dinner with Kylie, went to Sethro’s Texas BBQ

We were the second last customers before they sold out! Would have been somewhat disappointing had we driven all that way and have it sold out. 🙃

Service was crazy fast. Food was delish.

I had the Texas Brisket Sandwich ($17.00): 150g meat, pickle, onion, cheese, and BBQ Sauce.

David and Kyle had Brisket boxes which came with sides and a “Texas napkin”; which I quickly learnt was a piece of white bread.

Their kitchen looks massive, but they only have a couple of tables in the dining area. Apparently they often sell out at lunch time, and once the day’s cook is sold they pack it in and go home.

Categories
Destinations

New Zealand Money

Aww New Zealand, they know how to design a good looking currency!

We stopped in at the bank in preparation for our trip to New Zealand, to get some New Zealand money. At our bank ANZ, they sell it by the pack.

Categories
Daily Life Destinations

Let the Sunshine In

Our big day today started, as they often do, with the idea we were going to do something small. Just like last week we jumped in the car and head out looking for a good photo opportunity. But all we could see was fog, it was thick. And you know what you shouldn’t do, fly Elroy in the misty fog, he’s apt to end up quite moist. You should also remember to actually start your GoPro so it captures the footage to make the flying through the mist worthwhile.

So the hope of getting a nice foggy photo was ruined by the fact there was too much of it.

Overlooking Bacchus Marsh - Morning Fog
Elroy in the fog

Given how foggy it was here in Bacchus Marsh, I thought we should head up to Ballarat, in the hope that the lake there might have a little of the fog, or at least a light mist, it would give it quite the ethereal look. As we were leaving the Marsh and heading up the highway it kind of became apparent that our little valley town was alone in it’s fog-filled haze. The sun was beaming and bright.

When we got to Ballarat, which was indeed fog-free, we stopped in at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens to see what was happening. Last time we were there they had a begonia festival on, this time it seemed to be daisy and poppy heaven. Of course I could be wrong, these may well be other flowers, feel free to correct me in the comments.

Robert Clark Conservatory
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens

After this I wanted to go and check out the wind turbines generating clean energy on the outskirts of Ballarat, well they are a little further away than that. We ended up near Lake Burrumbeet and found our way to the massive wind farm at Waubra. There are a whole mass of turbines spinning away in the wind, creating power from the wind.

To say I love these things is an understatement. They are beautiful to look at and when you’re close the steady “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” is, to me, a calming sound. Others apparently find it noise pollution. There have been many complaints about this wind farm affecting the health of people in nearby regions but I call BS on that. Seems the “Waubra Foundation” who’s was fighting this farm is representing no one who lives anywhere near the town or the wind farm. Seems a cash grab and a tax haven.

Wind Turbine
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria

I launched Elroy and sent him up for a closer look, but didn’t get too close. I didn’t have the smoothest landing earlier in the day with the fog and I damaged one of his rotor blades and well, even a small nick causes him to become less responsive, not to mention the wind farm is, of course, in a windy area so he was harder to control than usual. So he really just went up and then back down. Next month I’ve getting a POV kit for him so I can see what he is seeing and guide him better, can’t wait to make some nice videos then, it’s a little hard when you’re basically flying blind.


Clean Energy in the making in Victoria
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria

After this quick sojourn we head back to Ballarat to catch some of the local footy. They are in first weeks of finals and this was a qualifying finals game. Our local team the Bacchus Marsh Cobras were playing Ballarat Swans in the 2014 B&M Truck Parts Reserves competition, and I’m happy to announce we trounced them. 104 to 52. Looks like they’ll be rematching again next week, but if this week was any indication it seems Bacchus Marsh are headed for the Grand Final.

I’ve decided I need better lenses to capture footy. My 70-200 even with the 1.4 converter just isn’t doing it for me. We were on the wrong side of the ground, all the action was happening on the other side. That is until I went to the other side then all the play went to the other side… seems it’s always the way. We actually left the game at half time and caught up on the scores later. There was so much more to do with the day.

Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh

Our next stop was Mount Buninyong. We’ve been here before but wanted to check it out on this beautiful day. At the top of the mountain (more a hill) there is a lookout tower used during the fire season to keep an eye on the surrounding areas, but it also has a public viewing platform. There are a LOT of steps up and I’m not going to lie it almost kills me walking up them, but maybe I should make it a regular thing to improve the fitness.

You can see the view from the top below. It’s quite nice. Though the weather was great, I would have preferred a less foggy/misty day. I guess the view is worth the stairs. Both the photos below were taken with my iPhone 5S.

Lookout from Mount Buninyong's Observation Tower
Mount Buninyong - iPhone Panorama

After Buninyong we head home via Lal Lal Falls. Again we’d been there before but there is water there now. Only problem with this visit is we went at the wrong time. The afternoon is not a good time to visit these falls during winter, the sun is in the wrong spot and it’s nothing but shadows in the falls. I present the photo below more as a record of the stop and to show why we should have gone there in the morning.

Lal Lal Falls

On the way home from there we came to a massive “dip” in the road. I say that because just before you drive down into what feels like a ravine there is a little “dip” sign. At the bottom of the dip was a beautiful sight: a lush green field with cows and a solitary tree. Because of the dip there weren’t any safe places to stop so we had to do a U-Turn and come back through. It was worth the trouble I reckon.

Cow and Tree on a Hill

And finally, our last stop, was back where the day began at the top of the hill in Bacchus Marsh to show just how fogged in we were in the morning, with a photo showing the view from the same location after the fog and mist had burnt off.

Overlooking Bacchus Marsh - Afternoon - No Fog

The day ended with a mow of the back lawn, it’s nice to have this job to do after so many years of no grass in the yard at our old house, and some TV while eating reheated Pizza for dinner.

It was a full day and a fun day. I got plenty of sun, which should make my doctor happy (I’m low on Vitamin D). Another nice day is on the cards for tomorrow, not sure what we’re going to do with it, it may involve some hammock time with a good book.

Categories
Daily Life Destinations Photography

Bushwalk • Trentham • Football

This morning started off getting some of my stuff ready for tomorrow. There’s a thing we’re doing for Camera Club, but more on that tomorrow. One thing I did though was set up my GoPro to record photos for a time lapse. Less about what I was capturing and more about making sure I would be able to fit almost a whole daytime onto the GoPro’s card and making sure it would keep going all day. It does and it did, you can see below 3,272 images in a my test time lapse, so we’re right to go for tomorrow.

GoPro Set up and taking photos

Having said that, as you can see, because the GoPro is silver, and we’ll also be shooting through glass tomorrow, we’re going to need to cover the front of the device in something black. Will have to make him a little face guard tomorrow out of some cardboard me thinks.

So while that was all happening, we figured we’d go for a little nature walk, we have so much wilderness around us it seems a shame to waste it. We needed to get out before the rains came so we picked a place and off we head.

We decided to go back to Lerderderg State Forest, however this time we’d go deeper in from our side and looked up O’Brien’s Crossing. Driving along roads probably not intended for our Toyota Camry, we stopped a couple of times where we could find cell signal to check our progress, and we finally made it to the Crossing.

There were a bunch of people camping there by the river with the rv Smokey Point services. Seems like a great spot for it, but at this time of the year everything is constantly damp and the threat of yet more rain is enough to make me not want to go camping around this season. But it seems there are those who live for this stuff.

David and I went for a stroll along the banks away from the campers, taking in the river and the sites as we went along. It’s always cool to see the cube-shaped droppings of wombats near the water, it shows there’s plenty around that area. We snapped some pics as we walked along before turing back for the car. The walk on the side we picked wasn’t very long and the clouds above were becoming more gloomy.

O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's Crossing
O'Brien's CrossingPossible Platypus holes? [above]

Just as we got into the car the rain came down. As we drove away from the O’Brien’s Crossing it started bucketing down, and thus an end came to our bush walking for the day.

We decided to head out of Lederderg State Park on the opposite side we came in, take a right and head up to Trentham. Folks talk about the place like it’s a little gem, so we thought we’d better check it out given we were not far away. Passing through Blackwood there wasn’t much to look at; a local pub, corner store and a couple of little shops, the main industry in Blackwood seems to be beer and Bed & Breakfast places.

Trentham

Trentham was not far from Blackwood, and if I’m honest I didn’t even notice the other town you pass through to get there, Barry’s Reef. Arriving in Trentham you could tell it was as everyone says, a lovely little town. Well-maintained period buildings line the couple of streets that make up the main part of town. We braved the rain and walked the sidewalks to see what was what in Trentham. Like Blackwood, Trentham’s trade seems to be food and beverage service, however it differs in that it also has a few nick knack stores thrown in. They were all lovely, but all pretty expensive. Clearly this is a tourist town.

We thought about having lunch in town, but decided against it when a bakery was selling a pie with a side salad for $12. At $12 for a meat pie and salad, there’d better be a bunch of salad on the plate. Another time perhaps we’ll partake, but as we weren’t particularly hungry, we passed on the expensive fare.

There is a store in town, I forgot to get the name of, that had some pretty cool stuff in it. They had a little TARDIS, though when I say little I mean one a kid could fit in, they also had lots of Pinocchio statues, movie memorabilia, and other strange curios. Attached was another store selling homewares and the like. Of particular interest was an indian headdress that I wouldn’t mind getting one day as a shoot prop, but at $100 today was not the day.

Maybe we should have checked out the other attractions, like Trentham Falls, but with the rain coming and going we’d decided to leave it to another day with better weather.

On the way home we stopped in at a little nursery, Blackwood Ridge, off the track. A great little set up, but I can’t see how they do much business where they are given you pass two other “nursery and garden” places before you get to his. But he is relatively inexpensive, so we may venture back there when we have our plans for the gardens at the new house sorted.

After the nursery we found ourselves headed toward a local reservoir and decided to check it out, it’s massive and appears to be open for motor boats and jet skis, one of the latter taking advantage of the short run of sun we had, was hooning along the top of the water. It would be a good picnic place, with a park for little kids.

Finally home, we had the pizza left over from last night (we went to Saprano’s) and we took a look at our photos from the morning while I checked on the GoPro to make sure it was still going.

Deciding we needed to retrieve supplies for dinner, we head off to Foodworks, but took our cameras along to stop at the local footy oval to capture some snaps of the game in progress. It was Darley (112) v Melton South(69) at Darley Park. We haven’t taken photos of any local football but it was a good experience. With our limited equipment (certainly not that of a sports photographer) I think we did all right. David will probably add some to his Flickr if he finds any he likes. Mine, below, are blurry at times, but lets just say it adds to the sense of movement. We’ll probably hit up a few more games to hone our skills.

2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
2014 Red Onion Creative Seniors - Round 8 - Darley v Melton South
Still not sure if this dude’s hair is real?

That’s about it for the day, I’m about to turn in, I have a long day tomorrow with the Witness King Tides event, making some money for the camera club, along with other members who have volunteered. It should be an interesting day.

Categories
Bike Rides Destinations

Ride Update

It’s my baby, he’ll be getting a stablemate in about a month. Not sure what type of bike to get though. Will be either a hybrid or a road bike. Still deciding. Need something a little younger (he’s about 12 years old) and in better condition for the 135km Bupa Around the Bay ride on Oct 20. It seems so close now. 😱

I’ve only done a total of 872km in the last 5 months. Should probably be doing more to be conditioned, with spring hopefully we’ll see nicer weather and therefore longer rides.

Categories
Daily Life Destinations Photography

Bike Ride: Point Cook to Williamstown

This last weekend I managed to ride twice, covering a distance of 125km, I was hoping to do the 135kms but my calculations were off a little and a fierce accident saw me a little rattled to make up the extra ten kilometres.

It was a great ride. I left my house, road down one road and then I was on a shared bike/walking track… all the way to Williamstown. For about 35kms I was on the one path. A great resource we have down here is all our bike paths.

Above are some of the images captured with my GoPro, my iPhone (the top pano) and my DSLR (the bike on the beach). Usually I’d make a time lapse of my GoPro photos but I messed it all up yesterday. I did make a time lapse of most of the ride the day before, you can view that on Vimeo.

So the ride to Williamstown was relatively straight forward. I strayed from the path a little to try and find the entrance to the wetlands, I was going to ride through them to take a look around, but recent developments in Sanctuary Lakes made it too hard to find so I returned to the track, this was probably part of the reason for the disparity in the 35km out, but only 25kms back.

I came across the scene in top panorama that I didn’t even know existed until now. Behind the basketball centre in Altona. The 100 Steps of Federation and the Hobsons Bay Millennium Time Capsule are tucked away, largely hidden from the road and only found by riders, walkers and those in the know. It was a great spot for a rest and to check out the view.

Next major spot was Altona Beach. I had to ding a few folks out of the way as they cluttered the path unmoving. A couple of kids were walking and I dinged and I heard the boy say to the girl: “You know what you’re supposed to do when you hear that? Step left. He’s just telling us he’s passing”. A well informed kid. I sometimes feel bad about sounding my bell, I worry folks think I’m telling them off for being on the path… but I’m just saying, “I’m here, about to pass you, be aware”.

The path then winds it’s way along the water, past the doggy beach and all the way to Williamstown Beach where you encounter people walking aimlessly on the bike path, rather than on the walking path (one of the few places they are split). I finally felt that frustration so many cyclists expound. Pedestrians stepping into your way, you breaking quickly or darting out of the way. Some pedestrians who clearly think you should be somewhere else and are offended that you’ve dinged your bell.

I finished the first part of my ride on the Williamstown foreshore, a view of the city and the myriad of boats bobbing in the water. I grabbed a drink and a pie for lunch before heading home.

It was the same path home and should have been quite uneventful but on one part, about ten kilometres from home, I was going quite fast and put my bike up a gear so I didn’t have to peddle so fast. Sadly my bike doesn’t like being in that year, it flipped the chain, the chain got jammed and I was thrown off the bike. I went flying then sliding along the ground. My head hit and then the right side of my body. There was a loud crack as my helmet did it’s job protecting my head.

I have scrapes on my leg, knee, hip shoulder, upper arm and forearm. Thankfully though only a small bruise on my head from my helmet. Had I not been wearing a helmet, going as fast as I was and landing the way I did, I have little doubt I’d have been down for the count.

A nice lady, the only other person in sight, came up to me and said “Are you all right? I just watched that happen in slow motion.” I told her I was fine and nothing was broken. She told me she wasn’t leaving until I was absolutely sure. Even as far away as she was she heard the helmet break. It took a little convincing, but soon she was on her way.

I wanted to stop, to call David and have him come get me. I was a little defeated. Then I thought “no, get on with it you slacker, you’ve ridden this far, you’ll be letting yourself down if you don’t finish”. So I rode the last ten kilometres with a little less effort and I stopped a few times to rest my battered body. But made it home.

Details of the ride:

  • Total ride time: 3:27:39
  • Total distance: 62.2km
  • Avg speed: 3:20/kilometre

I still have a long way to go if I want to make sure i can finish the 135km ride in the Bupa Around the Bay ride on October 20th… not much time to train. Hopefully I’ll get there.

Until I heal, showering and sleeping are not my friends. I did however think of a new product while I was riding, an accessory for the GoPro… might have to look into Kickstarting it. :D

The top of the hill
Williamstown
Bike On Tour of Melbourne
Bike On Tour of Melbourne
Scenes from a bike ride 20130901
Scenes from a bike ride 20130901
Scenes from a bike ride 20130901
Scenes from a bike ride 20130901
Scenes from a bike ride 20130901