Bunker Bay – a weekend away.

On a coastline renowned for the spectacular and the stunning, for it’s wild clifftops and long stretches of accessible beaches, Bunker Bay is arguably one of the most stunning sections of white, pristine beach that you could hope to find anywhere along the more than 20,000 km of the Western Australian coastline. I’ve walked the Cape to Cape track and spent countless holidays in this south western corner of Australia but Bunker Bay is my favourite spot to go for a relaxing few days. No hiking, no trawling round wineries and no visits to the gourmet delights of this section of the state. Okay, so maybe a winery for lunch on the way home, but my time at Bunker Bay is spent solely in relaxation. I just spent a long weekend there with a friend for her birthday so I thought I’d share with you what’s so amazing about this place. We stayed at the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort and really, if you want to feel special, this is the place to be. Relax That’s what you’re here for, to leave the work week behind, ditch your electronic devices and social media updates and relax the way you know is best for you. Fitness If you’re staying here at the resort there’s often complimentary yoga on weekend mornings and there’s nowhere more beautiful to practice yoga than looking out over the ocean. If you’re new to yoga or not that confident (as I am) it doesn’t matter, this is for all levels and it’s a really great start to the day. Check with reception for availability in the classes.... read more

Avon Walk Trail, York

Just a short post for you today, about a short walk. My current house sitting gig has taken me to a beautiful spot on the outskirts of York in Western Australia. For those who aren’t from around here and not familiar with the area, York is an inland town in the Wheatbelt in Western Australia about 90 minutes from Perth with some beautifully restored heritage buildings. It’s such a quiet and peaceful area, particularly where I’m staying, and has some wonderful walks to soak up the countryside calm and leave behind all the city stress. I’ve been coming to York for a few years now to visit a good friend and every time I’ve driven through the town I’ve seen the sign to the Avon walk trail, and every time I’ve said to myself ‘I really need to go do that walk.’ Needless to say, I never have. Until last week, when I finally headed down to the Avon river, found the trail (which is extremely easy to find, literally 2 minutes from the main street) and spent a wonderful hour walking along the riverbank. From Avon Terrace just take one of the side roads down to the river, there’s a lovely picnic area with a children’s playground and you’re allowed to park your caravan or campervan overnight if you want to spend some time here. To the left of the grassed area you’ll find the suspension bridge – worthy of a walk across in itself – if you don’t mind a little bit of swaying you’ll get a wonderful view of the river from the middle of the... read more

The Cape to Cape Track

The Cape to Cape track is one of Western Australia’s most stunning walks and before I go any further I’ll apologise now for my overuse of adjectives in this post. I recently spent six days walking this track with two friends and was astounded by the stunning coast, its diverse and constantly changing ocean views, its incredible array of wildflowers and its perpetually changing terrain. This part of the Western Australian coast is unique and the only way to see it at its best is to walk it. On the Cape to Cape track you’ll cover areas only accessible by foot. Surfers find ways in to some spots on 4WD tracks but the majority of the coastline is inaccessible to vehicles of any kind. This walk takes you from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin and normally takes around six to seven days to complete. We did the walk in reverse, we walked for three days from Cape Leeuwin, had a days rest and then completed another three days to Cape Naturaliste. It was September and it was spectacular, the weather was perfect, the colours unimaginable and the peace and tranquility a welcome change from our busy lives. There are campsites along the way if you want to camp but we had the luxury of being picked up at the end of each days walk. One of our group lives in Busselton and her husband was our willing chauffeur. For those who want to camp out there are campsites positioned along the track. Some are commercial campsites but there are also isolated sites where you can pitch your tent in... read more

My new daypack – The Osprey Sirrus 24.

I’ve had my hiking pack for over three years now and it’s certainly been places. That pack and I have been to Everest Base Camp twice and it’s had lots of ‘stuff’ stuffed into it. It’s been drenched in the Himalayan monsoon, it’s been covered in snow and it’s been carried, dropped, pushed and just about kicked, all over the mountains. Not to mention being used as a pillow when I had to sleep in the hotel car park after the major earthquake in April this year. But there comes a time when a pack has to make way for a newer version – and that’s what’s just happened to my trusty red pack. It’s done a brilliant job and it will certainly see a lot more service in the future, but for my current purposes it’s a bit too big. I’m training for the Cape to Cape walk in the south west of Western Australia next month and am doing some day walks on the Bibbulmun Track in preparation, so I needed a pack that would suit the purpose. I needed a smaller pack but one that still had the required number of pockets and the features that are necessary when out hiking. I did my research, listened to other hikers, figured out the features from my bigger pack that I still wanted on a smaller one and came to my conclusion. My choice was the Osprey Sirrus 24, a 24 litre daypack designed specifically for women that comes in different back lengths. I’m somewhat vertically challenged so I needed the extra small/small length and it fits me beautifully with... read more

The Bibbulmun Track – a day walk.

I live in Perth and, up till recently, I’d never set foot on the Bibbulmun Track. I’m a trekker, I’ve trekked to Everest Base camp – twice – yet I’ve never walked on the closest long distance track to my home. The Bibbulmun Track runs for around 1,000 km from Kalamunda on the eastern outskirts of Perth to Albany in the south west of the state and is a world renowned walking trail. Hikers come from around the world to walk on this track, they spend months, sometimes years, planning the 8 week walk to become ‘end to enders.’ But you don’t have to do it all in one go. Let’s face it not many of us have the luxury of being able to take off from our work and family commitments to spend a couple of months exploring ourselves and the world that we’ve found ourselves in. This track is easy to split into sections, you can do day walks or you can spend a few days or even a couple of weeks on certain sections and this is the most popular way to do the walk. So, I figured it was time to see what all the hype was about and get out there myself. For my first taste of the Bibbulmun track, a friend and I headed up to Kalamunda early one Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago for a day walk. We were lucky, it was a beautiful day – cool first thing but sunny and pleasantly warm once we got going. When I’ve never done something before it’s the little things that tend... read more

Western Australian beaches – Cable Beach

This week it is going to be SCORCHING here in Western Australia! Now I know we generally love our weather here in the west but there are limits – the 40 degree forecast for Perth for the next few days is pushing it a bit far. Personally, I’ll be hiding in the air conditioning till it all goes away but for those who revel in the heat and the sun and the surf it’s perfect beach weather. Continuing my series on Western Australian beaches (see my first post on Burns Beach here) I’d like to introduce you to Cable Beach in Broome. Today, on Australia Day, I wanted to show you all one of the most iconic beaches in the world – and when you think of Cable Beach you immediately think sunsets and camels. Even visitors who claim not to do ‘touristy’ things can’t help themselves when it comes to Cable Beach. You simply have to sit on the beach, preferably with a champagne in hand, and watch the sunset and you have to take a ride on the famous camels of Cable beach. When I was there a few years ago I took a camel ride with Red Sun Camels and had an amazing evening, sitting up high, watching the sun set. If you want to do something a bit different, take a trip out on the water in an old pearling lugger to watch the sun go down. I’ve been to Broome a couple of times and would love to go back again but for now I’ve had to be content with going through my photos and choosing the ones to show you. It’s impossible to take a bad shot of... read more

Western Australian Beaches – Burns Beach

I’m lucky that I live close to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Western Australia has over 20,000 kms of coastline and the stunning Western Australian beaches provide us locals and the visitors to our state with the opportunity to swim, surf, snorkel, fish, sail, canoe, kayak, surfski, parasail, paraglide and picnic to our hearts content. We can play beach cricket and beach volleyball, fossick in rock pools, make sandcastles, swim with dolphins and whales and sip wine as we watch some of the most incredible sunsets you’ll find anywhere. Unfortunately when you live so close to this natural beauty you tend to forget what’s on your doorstep. Over the next few weeks I thought I’d spend a little time reminding the locals what they have and showing the rest of you in other parts of the world exactly what you’re missing. I’m starting in the northern suburbs of Perth with a visit to Burns beach.     Like this:Like... read more

A Bunbury weekend getaway.

Thanks to Jo at Zigazag I’ve just spent a relaxing and reinvigorating weekend in Bunbury. Jo very kindly offered free tickets to the Geographe Crush, a wine and food festival held near Bunbury, and my name came out of her barrel of entries. Bunbury is an easy two hour drive south of Perth and my BFF (getting all modern here – using initials instead of actual words ) and I spent the time in constant chatter mode. We don’t get much opportunity to spend quality time together so the weekend started as we meant it to go on – talk, talk and a bit more talk. Bunbury We made it to Bunbury in exactly two hours and, surprisingly, managed to drive straight to the hotel with no taking the wrong turn, seeing sights we hadn’t intended to or wandering in circles – it’s not a big place but navigating as well as we did was still a major coup to us. Bunbury is port town in the south west of Western Australia and is a typical small town, with it’s main street accommodating some quirky small shops, it’s new(ish) shopping centre housing its traditional supermarkets and major shopping chains and the requisite cinema, entertainment centre and Visitors Centre. What Bunbury has going for it is it’s position – it’s neatly placed on Geographe Bay, so there’s a wonderful stretch of coastline within walking distance of the CBD and on the other side the tip of the Leschenault Inlet nudges up against the main road into town creating a lovely foreshore on which to wander. It’s a pretty place, if only the silos and industrial accoutrements of the port weren’t so much in evidence. The Lighthouse... read more

Travellingbag’s spring makeover

Spring is officially in the air here in Western Australia. With a few minor glitches (today being one of them), the weather the past week has been glorious – warming up but not too hot, the flowers are blooming, the hay fever sufferers are suffering and the flies have returned from their winter migration to get up our noses and into our eyes. There’s a spring in people’s steps. This time of year puts a smile on the faces of most people (those hay fever sufferers being an exception) and for a brief time, until we all start complaining that it’s too hot, we are all that little bit content with life. To celebrate the change of seasons, when we all unearth our summer clothes from the recesses of the wardrobe and shove our winter woollies and flannelette pjs out of site, I’ve given Travellingbag a spring makeover. With the help of the amazing tech savvy Sandy at MicroManage – because we all know how incompetent I am when faced with anything of a technical nature – Travellingbag is revealed in all her spring glory. We’ve gone lighter and brighter and hopefully a lot more user friendly. Make sure you put your email address in the box in the sidebar so that you don’t miss out on any of my travels, my tips and my upcoming reviews. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram – @Travellingbag1 I hope you all like the new look and, please, let me know what you think – do you like it? Leave a comment below – I’d love to let Sandy know that all... read more

Margaret River Chocolate Company – Swan Valley Indulgence

One weekend recently I spent a wonderfully indulgent couple of hours surrounded by chocolate. No, my willpower did not stand up to it, in case you’re wondering. I actually went for coffee with a friend but those clever people at the Margaret River Chocolate Company have very kindly put a café in the middle of chocolate heaven. With factories in both the Margaret River and Swan Valley wine regions their cafes are perfectly placed as an alternative when you need a break from the wine tasting. Now we all know that chocolate is good for us – fact. It contains a range of vitamins, is high in antioxidants (particularly the dark chocolate) and is well known for giving us that ‘feel good’ feeling. The Margaret River Chocolate Company has certainly honed in on our lack of willpower when it comes to anything that is going to make us feel good. They are not short on variety either with a range of chocolate products in white, milk and dark chocolate.  Their range of hand made truffles makes it extremely difficult to choose, so, in an effort to combine a couple of indulgences, I chose the Rum truffle and the Cointreau one. At $1.95 each they’re not cheap but well worth the outlay. My only other purchase (I was very restrained) was a pack of their dark chocolate pastelles. These are just straight forward chocolate buttons but I don’t think you can go past them, chocolate coated fruit and nut, honeycomb, ginger and lots of other varieties are available, but give me plain chocolate any day. Continuing the theme in their café they... read more
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