Point Nepean National Park: The Forts

When I decided that I was going to do the 4 day hike to Machu Picchu, I knew that I would have to do some training. One of my favourite place to go hiking close to home is located at the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula- Point Nepean National Park.

Over the years, this park has been home to a Quarantine Station for newly arrived immigrants to the city of Melbourne, and also to the Royal Australian Army.

In this post I thought I’d cover the army forts at the very tip of the park.

PN- stairs

The forts were commissioned in the late 1800’s as the City of Melbourne was growing in importance and defences were needed. It’s location, along with the forts at Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula, guard the entrance to Port Phillip bay in which lies the Port of Melbourne.

At the beginning of World War 1, the German Merchant ship departed the Port of Melbourne moments before War was declared and tried to flee the bay for the safety of open waters before they could be detained. Unfortunately for them, the word that England had declared War against Germany got the soldiers at the fort before they could make it out of the bay and a shot was fired across their bow from Gun Enplacement Six. This was the first shot to be fired in World War 1 and the German captain surrendered to the Australians. Interestingly, the first Australian shot of WW2 was also fired from Gun Enplacement Six!

Today there is still plenty to see with bunkers scattered all along the coastline and tunnels that once held ammunition stores open for exploration. Parks Victoria has also done an amazing job when it comes to signage explaining the history and importance of the sites.

PN- beach
Can you see the bunker?

PN army sign

PN sign

PN- sign 2
Signs that shouldn’t be ignored

 

The National Park is also home to the beach where Australia lost a Prime Minister- Harold Holt. In 1967, Harold Holt went swimming with friends at Cheviot Beach, a notoriously dangerous beach and was lost, presumed drowned. His body was never recovered and there are several of conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance but anyone who sees the beach on a good day can see that it’s a dangerous place and not smart place to swim. The beach proper is closed to the public but you can see it from the path on top of the sand dunes.

Cheviot Beach, where Australia lost a Prime Minister
Cheviot Beach, where Australia lost a Prime Minister
PN echidna
Keep an eye out for the wildlife! I’ve seen echidnas, wallabies, plenty of birds, and a snake here!
PN- path
Walking track looking towards the Quarantine Station

Nymindegab, Denmark

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a part of Denmark I hadn’t previously seen when I was invited to my friend’s wedding in Nymindegab, on the South-Western coast of Jutland.

Danish Summer houses in Nymindegab, Jutland.
Danish Summer houses in Nymindegab, Jutland.

Nymindegab is a small, former fishing village to the north of Esbjerg and is a popular town to rent a summer house and spend some time relaxing at the beach or taking advantage of the bicycle and walking trails nearby.

image image

Just outside of Nymindegab, you can see the remnants of wartime with concrete bunkers scattered all through the sand dunes and right on the beach.

 

image
Bunkers on the beach at Nymindegab

I absolutely loved spending time in this quaint village, plus I got the chance to practise my Danish with the locals! I spent a very rainy Sunday at the local Museum and enjoyed the displays on the history of the area from the Stone age to the Vikings and right up to the present. The museum is easily recognisable in the village as out front you can see a giant whale skeleton and an old wooden windmill.

On nice days, I hired a bicycle and rode up the road to Hvide Sande and spent most the rest of my few days there wandering up and down the beach, following the paths in the sand dunes and through the forest on the edge of the village. Some of the scenery reminded me of home- especially the grasses in the dunes.

It was a relaxing time although for me getting there was quite the mission! It took a two hour drive, two flights, a metro, a four hour train followed by a smaller train and finally a local bus to get from home on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia to Nymindegab, Denmark. The local bus driver was most perturbed by the Danish speaking Australian girl getting on a bus primarily used by local school kids and was concerned he was dropping me off in the wrong place!

image
Isn’t this the most adorable little cottage by a lake?!

All up I had only 6 days in Denmark (two of those were spent mostly getting to/from Nymindegab & Copenhagen Airport). I’d love to go back here and spend some more time exploring this region of Denmark!

For more information on Nymindegab and region, see here.

xx Lauren- navy

 

Denmark

CPH street

Having lived there as an exchange student way back in 2003, I love Denmark. I feel like it’s a second home for me. During my 12months there, I was in the crowds cheering as Australian Mary Donaldson’s engagement to Crown Prince Frederik was announced, made my first snowman, went ice-skating for the first time, sailed Roskilde Fjord on a replica Viking Ship, spent many hours wandering around Roskilde where I was living and also Copenhagen, enjoyed many summer afternoons and a couple days at Christmas time at Tivoli Gardens, visited Legoland (because you’re never too old for Lego), learnt the language, made many amazing friends and went to the Scandinavian equivalent of Glastonbury at the 4 day long Roskilde Festival where I had a backstage pass (thanks Rotary!).
I’ve been back quite a few times since and every time I visit I learn something new about the country. I also try to see something I haven’t previously, most recently I saw Møns Klint, white chalk cliffs similar to those at Dover, England. There is still a lot in Denmark I want to see -still on my list are Bornholm, Faroe Islands and most of Jutland.

P1000120

I thought I’d share with you my top ten list of places to visit in and around Copenhagen and share some travel tips for anyone heading there!

  • Head to Rosenborg Castle for a look at the Danish Crown Jewels (just remember to ask if they are all there as the royal family occasionally uses them for events and photoshoots).
  • Spend some time wandering around Tivoli Gardens- a Copenhagen landmark.
  • Don’t miss the Little Mermaid. This famous statue has lost it’s head twice and sits on a rock in the Harbour.
The little Mermaid
The little Mermaid
  • Spend a day in Roskilde- a half-hour train ride away. Once here, you can see the Viking ship Museum, go for a Cruise on the Fjord, and see the Roskilde Cathedral where the majority of Danish royalty are laid to rest.
  • Carlsberg Brewery! Learn how the beer is brewed and enjoy samples at the end.
  • Hire a bicycle and enjoy the excellent bicycle paths around the city and beyond
  • Amalienborg Castle is the Copenhagen residence of the Queen and Prince consort and everyday you can witness the changing of the guard. Visit the museum housed in one of the four buildings that make up the Castle.
  • Take a canal tour of the City for views from a different angle
  • Go to the top of the Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Lady’s Church) spire- it’s narrow and slow going but the views are all worth it!
  • See the Copenhagen skyline from the top of Rundtårn (Round Tower) located in the heart of Central Copenhagen.

cph view01

For fans of Hans Christian Andersen, head to the city of Odense where he grew up, his childhood home has been transformed into an amazing museum about his life. Odense is on the island of Fyn, about an hours train ride from Copenhagen with regular departures from the main train station (Hovedbanegård).

HCA Odense
Statue of Hans Christian Andersen in Odense

To see the home of Lego and visit the Danish Legoland, you’ll need to go to Billund on the Danish mainland, Jutland (Jylland in danish). To get there, you can fly to Billund directly or you can take the train to Vejle and from there take a bus to Billund. I would recommend spending a few days on Jutland, there is plenty of other things to see there, the Jelling stones, the ancient village of Ribe, Skåne (at the very tip of Jutland), beautiful coastline, as well as the cities of Aalborg and Århus.

If you’re wanting a proper Danish summer experience, you can let a holiday house in one of the many coastal towns. I stayed in Nymindegab, just north of Esbjerg on the Western Coast and stayed in a gorgeous little cottage in the middle of town. While it wasn’t the middle of summer (I was there in September for a wedding), I still walked along the beach, hired a bicycle for further exploration, saw some deer in the woods on the edge of town and enjoyed the slower pace of the town.

Danish Summer houses in Nymindegab, Jutland.
Danish Summer houses in Nymindegab, Jutland. Many have the gorgeous thatch roofs! 

There is still so much that I want to see in Denmark and I love getting suggestions on what to see and do there! Email or comment any places you love that aren’t on my list!

xx Lauren- navy

Cape Schanck and surrounds on foot

One of my favourite ways to relax is to go for a good long walk- either alone or with a friend. I’m lucky to live in an area with many trails and some truly beautiful scenery. One place I love and spent a lot of time hiking leading up to my trip to Peru is Cape Schanck. There are several walking trails leading out from the main carpark there and all are beautiful. Today I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos from my walks!

Cape Schanck

Stairs looking down to Cape Schanck beach
Stairs looking down to Cape Schanck beach
Going down the stairs at Cape Schanck
Going down the stairs at Cape Schanck
Pyramid Rock at Cape Schanck
Pyramid Rock at Cape Schanck

image

Looking up the stairs towards Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Looking up the stairs towards Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse
Cape Schanck Lighthouse

Bushranger’s Bay

View from the cliff top en route to Bushranger's Bay
View from the cliff top en route to Bushranger’s Bay
View from the cliff top on the way to Bushranger's Bay
View from the cliff top en route to Bushranger’s Bay
Bushranger's Bay
Bushranger’s Bay
Bushranger's Bay
Bushranger’s Bay (it was a moody early spring day)

Fingal Beach

View looking towards Fingal & Gunnamatta beaches
View looking towards Fingal & Gunnamatta beaches
Cliffs at Fingal Beach
Cliffs at Fingal Beach

image

Coming down the stairs to Fingal beach was easy...
Coming down the stairs to Fingal beach was easy…
Going back up the 800 metres of stairs was not!
Going back up the 800 metres of stairs was not!

For any information on these walks/ locations, the Parks Victoria website has plenty or email me!

Packing Carry-on only for a Wedding Abroad + Tips for packing

“Lay out all your things, then take half the clothes and twice as much money.”

I don’t know about anyone else but I still find myself writing up lists on what to pack for various trips, then leaves packing until the last moment and doesn’t bother to read the list.

When I packed for a quick trip to Europe to see my friends get married, I packed the morning I was due to fly out. Given that I didn’t depart until 11pm, that seems like quite a while except that I started work at 10am and then headed to my sister’s house for dinner before she drove me to the airport which is still a good 1½ drive from her house (two hours from mine). I had to make sure I had everything I needed for the week plus a change of clothes for after I finished work in my suitcase at 9am.

I had my list of things written out and when it came to packing, I didn’t look at it. I was only going for 8 days (2 full days would be spent travelling from Australia to Denmark and back again) so I was only taking a small carry-on suitcase but I still needed to pack a nice dress for the day’s festivities, make up, and heels for partying in plus a gift for the bride and groom. I also needed to take into account the Danish weather in September. It could be pleasantly warm one day and cold the next.

image

I also wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do any washing so I was taking enough clothes to get me through without washing. I was pretty impressed by what I actually managed to get into the suitcase!

Here’s the list of what I took

Antler Cyberlite 56cm Suitcase (my green one is 3 years old)

image

Clothes, Shoes, & Accessories

(Including what I wore on the plane)

  • 2 pairs of pants/jeans, 1 pair shorts, 1 skirt
  • 4 tops
  • 3 cardigans, 1 jumper
  • light raincoat
  • one dress (I chose one based on the material- it didn’t get creased in my suitcase)
  • pyjamas
  • underwear
  • 1 pair heels, 1 pair sandals, 1 pair flats
  • Scarf
  • jewellery
  • Small leather bag

image

Toiletries

I only took travel or sample sized products where possible and put others in smaller containers. I also divided everything into 2 bags, a clear one for liquids and a pink one for everything else. This meant that I could easily locate all the liquids at security without any delays or annoying the guards and didn’t have anything confiscated because it was too big.

  • travel or sample sized face wash, toner, & moisturiser (thanks Clinique counter at Myer)
  • foundation, bronzer, eye shadows and make up wipes
  • travel size body wash and cream
  • deodorant
  • tooth brush and small tube tooth paste
  • hand cream- this lived in my handbag after I’d gone through security screening.
  • lip balm with a tint of colour

Electronics

  • Kobo e-reader (which was sadly left on the Copenhagen- Doha flight coming home)
  • iPod
  • iPhone
  • camera
  • headphones and airline adaptor
  • cables, chargers, & power adaptors

Extras & Handbag

My handbag in this case was my Hedgren shoulder bag

  • 2 packets Tim Tams (for the bride and groom)
  • eyemask
  • snacks for the flights (more were bought in Denmark for the trains and flights home)
  • Lonely Planet “Denmark” guide (I know now that I can get these on my e-reader)
  • passport and tickets
  • glasses & sunglasses
  • wallet
  • convertible travel pillow (which I somehow managed to fit into my suitcase when I didn’t need it)

image

So looking at all that now, it looks like quite a lot of stuff but I can assure you that there was nothing that wasn’t worn or used. It also all fit comfortably into a 56cm suitcase with room to spare!

Packing Tips

These tips are ones that I have have learnt from past mistakes or were given to me by others and work well!

  • Choose your clothes wisely. Think about the clothes and the climate/ weather of the place you are visiting. Seems like common sense but it’s amazing how many people turn up in the tropics with wool jumpers and believe me when I say it’s a big mistake to travel to Scotland without a rain coat! This also goes for special occasion dresses- that pretty dress you have your heart set on wearing to the wedding might not travel well (creases) and the last thing you want is to waste time trying to find somewhere to steam it or find a new one. I deliberately chose a dress made out of the scuba material that wouldn’t crease when folded in my suitcase! Also pack clothes that go with everything- fewer pieces + more outfits
  • Don’t take too many pairs of shoes. The wedding was the first time I’d ever packed heels for an overseas trip. Unless you know you’ll wear them more than once, they’re not worth the space!
  • Don’t take anything that you’d be devastated to lose. They’re best left safe at home.
  • Do pack a nice outfit to go out in. This could be out to dinner, a show, or a club. You still probably don’t need heels though- flats can look cute! (I really want a pair of these flats)
  • Avoid taking too many electronics. Unless you need that laptop for work, you can leave it behind.
  • Always get travel insurance! If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel! Seriously, needing medical help abroad can be costly and don’t want to see the hospital bill should anything bad happen.
  • Check the terms of the travel insurance. It might not cover all your activities or you may need extra coverage for certain items you plan on taking!

Anything I missed? Got any good tips? Let me know!

Updating Furniture

Reupholstering and painting furniture is one of the easiest ways of getting unique furniture without the hefty price tag. I can honestly say that I have bought only three pieces of furniture new for my little house. Everything else I have inherited, ‘borrowed’ from my Dad or Nan, given to me by friends, or bought from secondhand stores, garage sales, and opp shops. I even found a table on the side of the road! What I have ended up is a house full of unique pieces that reflect my personality and tastes. As my tastes and styles evolve and change, so does my house but I always follow one rule- keep it feeling hyggeligt, a danish term for that warm, cosy, comfortable feeling you get.

I have at times ended up with more furniture than I need and when that happens, I have sold and given pieces to my friends!

I thought I’d share three of my favourite pieces of furniture and the stories behind them.

Bedside table

beside table

This is a little table that my friend gave to me. It came from a store room at her work and was going to be dumped at landfill. We then got our hands on a second one!

Choosing colours was the hardest part but I decided with a bold colour from British Paints “Grand Turquoise”. I gave it one coat of primer, 2 coats of paint then gave it 2 coats of clear vanish to give a nice gloss and a durable surface.

I love the end result. It’s a beautiful pop of colour in my otherwise very calm, pale bedroom!

Dining Table

dining table

This is the table I found on the side of the road. I had my neighbour help me get it home and once there, I had no idea what to do with it. I eventually got around to sanding it, stopped to buy a cordless sander, got it back to bare wood and then left it for another week. My flatmate suggested that I should paint just the legs so, I used the leftover “grand turquoise” paint from my bedside tables and gave the legs a rough coat of paint before sealing the whole table in 2 coats of clear vanish. You can see wood tones coming through the paint on the legs which adds character. Once done, I still had no idea what to do with the table as a) I already had a dining table and b) it was too big for my house. My flatmate then announced she was moving out and since she had very little furniture, I gave it to her as a house warming gift!

Bekväm Ikea stool. 
image

I don’t count this as furniture but as it lives out in my kitchen and I use it everyday (I’m five foot tall), I’m including it here. We all know how the Ikea Bekväm stepstool look new and you see them all over home design blogs but this is on of the best things I’ve bought. To personalise mine, I painted the legs orange (British Paint’s “Worldly”). I also gave this a couple coats of vanish for easy cleaning.

 

Updating my Bedroom

It was a long overdue project. Update my bedroom. I had ugly, custard yellow walls, purplish trim and liked nothing about the room. Time to change that.

image

I had already bought a new bed base (out of necessity as my old bed had broken), painted the bedside table, and made a headboard but the walls were horrible.

I started by moving everything into the spare room and painting the walls and trim white. I had the perfect opportunity to do this when my hot water system cracked flooding my entire house. I then set about moving everything back in.

My bed is an Ikea base with storage drawers (the Brimnes in white, queen size) and difficult to move. When I eventually got it reassembled, I had set it about ten centimetres too close to the wardrobes (I have a tiny bedroom). I solved this problem in an unconventional way- I removed the wardrobe doors.

image

By doing this, I could also tuck my antique chest of drawers in the wardrobe and have minimal furniture in the room itself.

I went back to Ikea to get a curtain rod and simple white curtains (used 2 pairs) to cover the wardrobe. I hung the curtains at ceiling height and had it cover the entire wall so it doesn’t look busy. Whilst at Ikea, I got new frames and 2 picture ledges (one long, one short) to put above my bed. I also got a new lamp (the Hektar in bronze colour) which clamps on to the end of the picture ledge.

image

 

I have only one bedside table- the room is really small and if I put the other table in, it will get hit by the door.

I also got new curtains for the window (the same as the wardrobe wall) and bought a shadowbox frame for a Japanese fan that a friend brought home from Japan as a souvenir. At my father’s house, I saw the old Singer sewing machine base and decided it was perfect for a small dressing table. As it was sitting in the backyard, it was rusting and I’m claiming I ‘rescued’ it. I had to clean it up and paint in black satin metal paint. I also spotted the piece of marble leaning against the fence (I had been told it was my grandfather’s) and it was the perfect size for the top.

image

image

image

image

IMG_3503

That’s it. That’s everything in my bedroom. It took a bit of work but it didn’t take too long to achieve everything.

The round-up:

Ikea- ‘Brimnes‘ bed base, ‘Vivan‘ curtains (3 pairs in total), ‘Räcka‘ curtain rods, ‘Betydlig‘ wall/ceiling brackets and curtain rod holders, ‘Hektar‘ Lamp with clamp in Bronze, ‘Mosslanda‘ picture ledges (55cm & 115 cm), ‘Ribba‘ & ‘Fiskbo‘ picture frames, ‘Kallax‘ shelves (similar- mine are about 5 years old, no longer stocked), ‘Kvarnvik‘ round storage boxes (blue no longer sold but now comes in grey)

Quilt cover (old)- Bed Bath N’ Table, White table lamp– Kmart Australia, rattan/blue basket (old) from Freedom Furniture.