We are lucky here in Australia. We got to have a pretty normal Christmas. We were allowed 30 people and didn’t have to worry about masks or anything.

Scott only got one combined birthday and Christmas present from me this year because it was a pretty big one. I had to get it delivered to my coworkers house to keep it a surprise since at that point Scott was working from home every day. I think he liked it!

We had Christmas lunch at Scott’s parents house like usual. Jess and Ava had to drive non-stop from Sydney to make it to Victoria before we closed the border from NSW but they made it. (Michael had to stay in NSW.) We spent the afternoon playing with nieces, nephews and cousins, playing battle blocks, and eating and drinking. It was a nice day.

Rosemarie managed to coordinate nearly the whole Perkin side of the family onto a group video chat on their Christmas. Even grandma and grandpa popped in right on schedule! Normally a lot of them would have spent Christmas together in real life, but because of Canadian covid restrictions they had to stay in their own homes. :( I’m glad we got to get together virtually at least.

We had Ava over for one last visit before they headed back to Sydney. We played with her reusable sticker book thingy. She sure is chatty. :D

We love Wilsons Prom but don’t really love the campground there (so expensive and noisy!!), so when I found out there is a state campground on the coast right before the Prom (in Cape Liptrap National Park) I was super excited and booked it right away. $15/night and fire pits, hell yeah!

The campground was so lovely. Spacious and quiet, and nice and natural. It smelled like eucalyptus and you could hear birds everywhere. We even saw a couple wombats too.

The beach at Bear Gully isn’t great for swimming (it was too cold anyway) but it was excellent for walks and shell collecting. I found a lot of cool stuff to look at. Scott found a tiny golf club.

Crimson Rosella
Red Wattlebird
Hooded Dotterel/Plover
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Juvenile Crimson Rosella
Grey Butcherbird

We saw a lot of excellent birds. Scott spent a lot of time wandering around with the camera trying to get the perfect shot. I think he got some great ones!! Once he’s gotten a picture I try to identify them with my bird app.

The wattlebirds were hard to take a picture/identify because they don’t really stay still. A friend had to help with that ID. The hooded plovers are a vulnerable species. Check out that hooked beak on the butcherbird! Excellent for snatching butterflies out of mid-air.

It was pretty cold at night time. I wish I brought more clothes and a touque. We bought wood to make a fire but the wood was so wet we couldn’t get it to burn. I can’t believe they sold it like that. Sad.

We drove into the Prom one day. We did two hikes (Millers Landing and The Drift), and had showers before going back Bear Gully.

Millers Landing is the southernmost stand of mangroves in the world and was supposed to be a bird watcher’s paradise, but all we saw were black swans.

The Drift was pretty cool. The last climb up to the dunes is pretty soft sand and steep! Scott, the King of walking, didn’t even want to finish going up! But once you’re up it becomes a lot easier to walk. Worth it for the epic pictures.

We were driving up the road from the Cape Liptrap Lighthouse and were like “What is that? A grey wombat?” and then got closer and saw it was a koala! Once he noticed us he went off the side of the road and climbed a tree, so we were able to slowly creep up and see him up close. We saw him jump from one trunk to another! I did not think he was going to stick the landing. He probably had to rest for 5 days after all that activity.

We also did a very nice hike around Sandy Point/Shallow Inlet but I guess I didn’t take any pictures other than the Hooded Plovers. We also went to Venus Bay to look around and replenish our supplies but I don’t remember anything else we did there.

Overall, a really lovely trip other than being a bit cold. I would definitely return to Bear Gully.

Way back in November 2020, after having zero covid cases for 28 days, or something like that, they finally lifted our 5km/25km radius limit and we could finally, finally get out of the city. We decided to book a little cabin in Heathcote and have a weekend away.

We tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible and ended up doing a whole bunch of very short hikes.

Trentham Falls

(Still had to wear masks everywhere.)

Bendigo Conservatory Gardens

Bendigo was quiet AF. We climbed up this tower thing where you could see out over the city. Really not much happening.

It was super hot so we stopped at a random bar for a drink. I think Scott was the only male there. Everyone looked the same.

Pink Cliffs Reserve

This place was pretty cool! I love a random geological feature!

Hanging Rock

The hike up was pretty hard with a mask on!! I was gasping for air at the top. (No picnic unfortunately.)

We had a pretty epic meal at Masons of Bendigo. We had the 6 course set menu, plus I splashed out and got the matching wines. They use lots of local ingredients. Everything was quite lovely and the service was great.

I was SO FULL and also DRUNK lol. Took me forever to fall asleep that night.

Masons of Bendigo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Scott and I had our 10 year wedding anniversary on July 14th. Our first plan was to go to Fiji, but obviously that couldn’t happen. Then we changed our plan to a few days away in the Bendigo area, but that got cancelled when they announced Lockdown 2.0 [I thought waiting until 4 days before was low-risk enough to book an Airbnb and some fancy meals and spa stuff but no!]. Ah well. Hopefully we’ll celebrate our 11 year anniversary somewhere nice.

Instead we had a couple days off at home.

I decided there was NO BUDGET whatsoever and searched around and found out one of my all-time dream restaurants was doing fancy takeaway. What a treat!!

We started with Kinoko-no-dobinmushi, which had like a dozen different types of crazy mushrooms in a konbu dashi broth. There were three types of little vegetarian dumpling things: taro, tofu, and lotus root, an interesting green vegetable that I have no idea what it was, and some yuzu and lime. One of the mushrooms was hairy!!

Next we had Truffled teba-gyoza. This was insane. It had a perfectly gooey egg yolk (Scott thinks it was duck, as it was pretty large) wrapped in a chicken mince mixture with truffle, pancetta, shiso, somehow stuffed inside a de-boned chicken wing, which was then cooked until crispy. It was so rich and tasty. I don’t know how they did it, you couldn’t see any seams!

Then the main event, Chirashizushi (for two). It had 50 million tiny pieces of absolutely perfect fish on top of a bed of sushi rice and egg slivers. According to the menu we had o-toro, engawa, prawn, tamago, ikura, tuna, trout, Hokkaido scallops, anago, nori, kinshi tamago, cucumber, shiitake, kanpyo and bamboo shoot.

The highlights were the incredibly buttery torched engawa and the super sweet and tender scallops, but honestly every bit of it was amazing. Even the pickled ginger that came with it was extra delicious.

For dessert I chose the Otona banana, which had a Japanese whisky infused banana pureé, Okinanwan black sugar and miso butterscotch, crispy wafer pieces, roll cake layers, fresh banana and vanilla custard. I usually only eat bananas for convenience… but I still loved this. Everything was super smooth and not over the top sweet.

Scott had the Matcha Pudding Parfait. It had matcha pudding, sponge and syrup, adzuki beans, strawberries, raspberry sauce, kanten jelly, mochi and whipped cream. It was very earthy. Scott liked it a lot.

All in all, one of the best meals we’ve ever had, and a very fun at-home experience. Happy anniversary to us!

Minamishima Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One kinda cool thing about lockdown life has been all the new takeaway options. Fancy places doing cheaper takeaway, where you might have to do a little assembly at home. After weeks of not going anywhere we decided to treat ourselves with Attica at Home, somewhere we probably wouldn’t get to go to normally.

A Simple Dish of Potato Cooked in the Earth it Was Grown – a very tender potato with a tart curd and saltbush.

The Dish That Saved Attica aka Spice Crusted Lamb Shoulder – a verrry tender piece of lamb with some greens and a super rich puree.

Plight of the Bees: Trifle Version – a fairly basic trifle with very smooth cream, cake, raspberries etc.

Baby Holy Goat ‘La Luna’ cheese served with Baker Bleu ficelle and fresh honeycomb – really delicious creamy cheese with suuuuuper chewy rolls, with a delicious hunk of gooey honeycomb.

Cocktail Selection: one sweet, one dry.

Everything was quite nice. We loved the lamb and puree the most, and the cheese was sooooo good. Everything was pretty small so I’m glad I added the extra cheese course. The trifle was the least special part of the meal but it was still fine.

Attica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato