Happy New Year!

Fresh from a week’s trekking on the Overland Track and a gorgeous beach day in the Freycinet National Park in Tasmania, I’m refreshed and ready to take on the new year.

We’ve got big plans for the blog this year, including more foodie posts and more content from our travels including Archer’s recent adventures stylishly treading the streets of Italy.

Stay tuned for a full recap of my Overland Track journey coming shortly.

In the meantime may January bring you lots of sun, surf & sea, excellent tennis watching and summer reading.

My summer reading pick – Mary Higgins Clark’s new one written in collaboration with Alafair Burke ‘Every Breath you Take’.  It features a murder at the Met Gala and a crime solving TV producer who wears excellent pant suits. I promise you’ll love it.

Beth xx

OXFAM TRAILWALKER BRISBANE

I’m writing this deliriously happy but with quite sore feet. That’s because last weekend we walked 55km in Oxfam’s Trailwalker challenge, raising funds to help fight global poverty.

We walked from Lake Manchester all the way to Mt Cootha. We tackled creek crossings, some very muddy tracks and lots and lots of hills, finishing just after 1-30am!

It was an incredible experience – so many highs and good times shared with some of my oldest friends.

And I’m so proud of our team. Of all the 55km participants only 65% finished with all 4 walkers.

Here’s my picture re-cap of our day –

After our 5am taxi ride to the start line, here we are bright and early at Lake Manchester, ready to go.

I even got a short black at the start line, thanks to the amazing coffee vendors who came all the way to Lake Manchester.

This was our no one gets left behind pact moment.

The one-minute to walking countdown!

And we’re off…

The teams were quite bunched up for the first 10kms. There was a lot of positive energy around!

We’d had quite a rainy week in Brisbane the previous week, so there was lots of very sticky clay-like mud. It was fun sliding around this part of the track.

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GORGEOUS MOSSMAN GORGE

Can you believe it’s November already?

Melboune Cup has come and gone (nice work Archer for backing Almandin, keeping her extraordinary Spring Carnival record on track) and for us down under, summer is now just around the corner.

You can certainly feel the heat in Queensland.  Each day the midday sun seems to burn a fraction hotter.  And the humidity.  So much humidity.

Which means a nice refreshing dip is in order. Only sensible thing to do really. And I can’t think of many places better for a swim than beautiful Mossman Gorge.

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LONG WEEKEND PERFECTION – PORT DOUGLAS

A beach weekend is always a good idea. But if you combine that with the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, it moves out of good idea territory and into get your togs and book it to the airport right now territory.

Port Douglas. A truly incredible town, so stunning and so fun and the only place on earth where two World Heritage Sites actually meet.

So when the question pops up – should we long weekend in Port Douglas? The answer is an easy one (You Already Know feat. Port Douglas, bethandarcher.com).

First up, it’s super easy to get to. Carins is just a two hour flight from Brisbane (three hours from Sydney) and just like that, you’ll feel the tropical north the second you get off the plane.

The drive to Port Douglas takes about an hour and is super picturesque.   You’ll also love the fact that it’s super straightforward – just follow the main road leading from Cairns up the Coast for an hour and you’re there.

Make a quick detour to Palm Cove (about 20 minutes into the drive) for amazing brunch spots and views like this.

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QUEENSTOWN – SPRING SKIING GUIDE

It’s September. The Remarkables just had 65cm of fresh, glorious snow.

There’s only one thing to do. Get yourself to Queenstown  – it’s spring skiing time.

Queenstown is a place of stunning natural beauty all year round. In snow season, it feels like a little European ski village.

But instead of a long-haul flight to Europe, it’s only a hop, skip & jump across the ditch from Australia’s east coast.

Spring skiing means long sunny days, less crowds and more value for your $$$.

It’s our second year skiing in QT  – here are our tips for the best spring-skiing getaway.

Flights 

Get a direct flight if you can, it makes the trip a breeze at around 3 hours from Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne.  

Try to get a window seat for snow-capped mountain views that will blow your mind.

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This is your view for about 15 minutes before the plane lands

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THE BYRON BAY LIGHTHOUSE WALK

Sometimes in life you’ve got to follow the lead of the Hemsworth brothers and get yourself to Byron Bay. 

Really, for your own wellbeing you should drop what you’re doing right now and go if that’s at all possible. In fact, I hereby volunteer to drive. Archer can DJ the trip with her typical uplifting and predominately hip-hop based playlist.

Byron has all the things we love – great beaches (and plenty of them), amazing natural surrounds for hiking and exploring, great cafes and bars and some pretty incredible places to stay.

And it’s also home to one of the most beautiful walks in Australia – the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk.

Here’s our how-to guide for one of our all-time-favourite walks.

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SAILING – SAN FRANCISCO STYLE

There are those subjects they just have to teach you in school.   English, geography, maths (they tried and I admit, when it comes to odds and working out potential Melbourne Cup winnings, Beth and I are both totally proficient), the art of playing it cool after your tennis team loses in the district final every year of high school – these are all important lessons.   What I really want to talk about though, is what they aren’t teaching in schools, but perhaps, what we should be teaching ourselves.

Fish tail braids is a need to know. Every bad hair day (and I’m talking even half-Greek girl hair, bad hair day) will be saved by a fish tail braid, which will leave you feeling cool and breezy and bohemian.

When in doubt, always chose red.  People say trust in the little black dress, but those people are wrong.  I should not have to tell you this.  I’m talking a red silk shirt for that job interview you have coming up, I’m talking red racerback togs in summer, I’m talking a slinky 90’s style strappy red dress for your ex-boyfriend’s wedding.  If 8 is the number of power and abundance, then red is it’s colour equivalent.  It’s the only life lesson Tiger actually got right.

You need to be able to drive a manual car.  You do.  This is not a funny suggestion, it’s a real suggestion. You also need to be comfortable driving said manual car in foreign countries on the other side of the road OR ELSE HOW YOU GONNA CALI ROAD TRIP!?

Which brings me to another mode of transport we all need to master, more ancient and definitely more beautiful.   Sailing.   Because when it comes to life goals, there aren’t many higher on both my list and Beth’s list, then learning to be really good sailors.

So when in San Francisco, what better way to explore the beautiful San Francisco Bay, then on a sailboat? Well, I guess you could top that, by getting down to Pier 39 and onto America’s Cup yacht USA 76? Sounds like a plan, because even stunning cities like San Francisco really do look their best when viewed from super fast racing yachts.

Oh. My. God.

Oh. My. God. That. View.  And how about the incredible San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in the background! If you’re driving into San Fran from Monterey then this is the lovely bridge that will take you into town.

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BIXBY CREEK BRIDGE

Oh Bixby!

Let’s talk bridges (not a sentence I’ve ever used before but one that I may use again because more and more, I’m really learning to appreciate the beauty of a good bridge).

Now I don’t mean those bridges where you forgive people and then all is well and I’m not thinking the card game bridge, mainly because our Yiayia thought I was too chatty and my concentration too lacking to deal me into any card game.

I’m talking actual physical bridges. I’m talking Bixby.  The Bixby Creek Bridge to be precise, which I’ve always mistakenly thought of as the Bixby Canyon Bridge, I think because of the Death Cab song.

When embarking on a Highway 1 road trip, there are so many beautiful and unexpected surprises, but Bixby is something you’re waiting for, a sight you’re anticipating and even in a way, something you expect will feel a little familiar, because you’ve seen it so many times in photos.

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YES THIS PLACE IS REAL – THE MCWAY FALLS

The McWay Falls are probably the most photographed sight along Highway 1. And no wonder. They are GORGEOUS.

To get to this amazing spot, head off the highway into Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park when you see this sign –

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Isn’t the bear a nice touch?

The Waterall Overlook Trail is an easy walk, being only about a kilometre round-trip.

It begins from the same carpark as the Ewoldsen Trail, a fantastic hike, which we LOVED and covered here.

Our tip? Do the big hike in the morning, maybe take a break and head somewhere nice for lunch with a view, and visit the waterfall in the afternoon when the sunlight hits the cove in spectacular fashion.

At the start of the trail you will walk though a tunnel under the highway. Soon you will emerge to the incredible view of McWay creek spilling onto the beach.

Behold – the McWay falls –

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SAND DOLLAR BEACH

Sitting below impressive cliffs on the southern Big Sur coastline you will find a crescent shaped stretch of sand, known as Sand Dollar Beach.

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This is the longest, and perhaps easiest to access, beach on the Big Sur coast. And it’s gorgeous.

A perfect spot for a walk or a picnic.

So what is a ‘sand dollar’ anyway? 

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