Australia · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between)

Beautiful Boonah, a place of warmth and simplicity.

“They want me. I want them. I want this place. I want everything to be simple and beautiful and warm.” Jackson Pearce (Cold Spell)

I live surprisingly close to the city, which is pretty affordable and means I can get in and out of the city within an hour for the total trip. I love my proximity to the city and the heart of Brisbane, as much as I love living near the river and having pretty much anything I need right on my doorstep.

Day in, day out I start to feel just a little too claustrophobic. I work in the CBD as well and seriously, by the time the weekend rolls around I just feel trapped and want to hibernate in my bedroom and hide away from the world.

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Given the chance to escape the city and get out into the country, I grabbed it with both hands and ran with it. So excited was I to be hitting the M7 and heading far, far away from my house, I barely remembered to pack a jumper or even stop for a coffee on the way. Coffee is my morning elixir, so this provided to be a costly mistake. I had no idea where I was going, how far I would travel or where (even more troubling, when?) I would get my coffee. I drove from Brisbane out through Ipswich and it was not until I reached the very gorgeous Boonah (over an hour south-west), that I stopped, got out of the car, and realised I had no time frame. There was no reason to rush…*SIGHHHH*.

After a bacon & egg roll and a coffee the size of my head, I decided I would make my way out to the Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm, a place which I have wanted to check out for quite a while. Given it was not open until 10am, and I was up with the birds and had finished my breakfast by 9am, I decided to get back into Scarlett and just drive (Scarlett is my incredibly cute 2010 Mazda 3).

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There is something about the country that calms my mind, gives my heart butterfly kisses and makes me feel at home. For a girl who had no real home and was moving every 2-3 years, I don’t have a ‘home-town’, I do however have a connection to the land. Where the skies are long and blue and the ground is brown – I am at my happiest. I don’t know why, it just is. I feel at home. I feel like I can breathe and I am more than happy to spend some time on my own.

I made my way out to Maroon Lake, set my tripod up and thought I would do some exploring. As I had my tripod in its place and not another soul insight (seriously, it was 9.30am on a Wednesday!), two cars rolled in and in a completely empty area – parked exactly in front of the tripod and stared at the camera. It was, strange? Let’s go with strange. So I hauled my gear to the other side of the lake but didn’t get the shots I was after. Not to worry, it was passed 10 and it was Lavender Farm time!

Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm is a little over an hour from Brisbane and has a spectacular view across the Great Dividing Range. I arrived far too early for a meal or a wine, I did however try the lavender tea and some lavender scones and they were absolutely delicious! There is a stunning chapel where I daydreamed having our vowel renewals one day (a girl can dream, right?) and I spent a healthy amount of time weaving in and out of the beautiful rows of lavender and just enjoying the beautiful spot I was in.

Kooroomba has many award winning wines and host a five-star restaurant on site. It certainly is a location I am keen to return to soon. Once the lunchtime crowd started to roll in, I knew it was time to head home.

For under three hours of travel in total, I felt renewed by the time I got back home to Brisbane. The fresh air, the incredibly friendly people, amazing views and large blue skies and deep straw-coloured fields. It just feels like home, every time.

For more information on Kooromba Vineyard and Lavender Farm click here.

Queensland’s very own Scenic Rim is something really special, to see all of the wonderful things you can see and do, click here.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

 

Australia

Morans Falls, Lamington National Park

Morans Falls – Lamington National Park – IMG_0055May 2018

Sometimes, you just need to break out of that concrete jungle and chase the bush, the wind, the silence and nature. We had this moment a couple of weeks ago. We have been working so hard to save for our next big adventure that we found we had become passing ships in the night, once you add work , the gym, the late nights and the on-call which G works every second week.

I have a mini-wish list on my desktop at work, of places nearby I want to explore. Just me, my camera and my husband. This list has been stared at longingly by me daily for many months, so you can imagine my excitement when by some miracle we both had the same weekend free. We decided to check out Morans Falls, which is a beautiful track located in Lamington National Park. The trek itself takes around forty minutes from the top, and the walk is well worth it once you find yourself at the falls. A part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area, Morans Falls plummets an impressive 80 metres to the valley floor.

IMG_0118The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, were formally known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves and are the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest in the world. The forests were inscribed to the World Heritage list in 1986 and is a total of approximately 370,000 hectares across NSW and Qld.

The trek itself is 4.4km and you should allow yourself an hour and a half – it depends how quickly you are walking. We took around 30/40minutes down, spent over an hour at the falls and then another 40 minutes to climb back up to the top.

The trek is graded a four out of five for difficulty, but I would put it more at the three out of four, there is no scrambling required, the path is well done and well signed so if you are without any mobility issues then you should be okay. We got there to watch the beginning of sunset and it was worth every second we were there, just beautiful. The photos in this post were taken with my Canon EOS 80D with my 24mm pancake lens. Any photos which make you draw your breath in quickly…belong to my Husband who thought it was appropriate to dangle himself off of the edge of the waterfall *deep breaths*.IMG_0112

From Brisbane it will take you around two hours to drive, the roads up to O’Reilley’s can be quite windy so try not to be in a rush getting there. You can either take the highway or head out through Browns Plains-Jimboomba-Canungra to get there. From the Gold Coast the drive takes around an hour and a half.IMG_0178Have you explored Lamington National Park?IMG_0162

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

 

x C x

Australia

Mt Ngungun, I’ll Summit Up Nicely.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Magician’s Nephew

14 April 2018

I climbed a mountain! It may seem like that isn’t a huge deal, so is it more impressive if I say I climbed a mountain at 4am? A little better? Okay. I will work on that.

After our amazing insta-meet in Brisbane and spending an incredible day getting to know each other, each other’s photography style and celebrating the end of the day at Eat Street markets, Cat and I made our way back home. Several ciders and three hours later and it was time for our 3am wake-up call. We left Brisbane and drove up to the Glasshouse Mountains, Wild Bean coffee in hand – excited for what the dawn was going to bring us.

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The Glasshouse Mountains were unbelievably popular and that even though it was 4am there would be a bevy of igers and fitness groups tackling the mountain. It is quite early showing up to a carpark at 4am, in the middle of the bush and the carpark being half-way full?! Being the seasoned professional, Cat took off with her amazing backpack and headlamp and I followed with my iPhone light (amateur) and my bag which to be honest, was mostly filled with snacks.

Mount Ngungun (seriously, it is pronounced ‘noo noo’) is incredibly popular, though I am not sure I agree with it being so due to its relative ease (not sure I agree with that statement considering my level of fitness) and its fantastic views.The track itself is very well guided and there are a few steep sections but if you are taking care with your walk, you will be fine.

As we slowly neared the summit, we could see the sunrise slowly kissing the coastline and rising rapidly. It was a bit of a sprint towards the end – not only to make it in time for sunrise, but to secure a decent spot.

Once we were at the top, it was show time. There isn’t too much which I could possibly say or put into writing the beauty of sunrise here, so I will use pictures instead.

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Being able to travel, walk, see, smell and experience such a beautiful sunrise in such an amazing setting is not something which is lost on me. During the climb, I was struggling and I thought I had basic fitness, but when the same people lapped me after running up, down and up again – I realised that I was not fit at all.

Making it to the top was incredible, there were so many people up there and most were enjoying the sunrise. Just experiencing the quiet and dawn of a new day, a new week. Each of us thinking about our days, lives, wants and loves. There was one group of people who were talking and carrying on as though they were out the back of a grotty pub so we did share our sunrise with that but once the shock factor of their language and attitude faded away it became quite funny. It is the classic Instagram v. Reality vibe.

Having the pleasure of experiencing such an amazing sunrise with a new friend was special. I have included the above two photographs which we took of one another. Two people can have totally different perceptions of the same place, same spot and same thing. Two photographs and completely different. Either of us could have moved the camera and had the same shot, yet we both sought something completely different. I think both are incredibly beautiful.

The trail itself is a graded path and it starts from the sign post and information board (I always make time to read the information board as it will set you up with a nice history of where you are walking. There is a path and some light scramble but once you get to the top, it is well worth every second.

My snacks came in handy as well :).

Are you a fan of sunrise or sunset? Where is your favourite hike?

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  • Mt Ngungun has a maximum of 225m elevation and the climb itself will take you up 196m.
  • To get there either from any direction, get yourself to the Gl
  • asshouse Mountains Township and follow the road to the west over the railway lines and turn left into Coonowrin Road at the T junction. Follow this onto Fullertons Road just after the State School and along this road to the car park at the base of the mountain.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

x C x

Australia

Be a sunflower, stand strong and follow the sun!

A post dedicated to my beautiful little sister, CG <3.

IMG_9206South-East Queensland has had some super cheeky weather of late. Typically February is the hottest, muggiest and most unpleasant month of the year for me. However, I actually wore a cardiagan last week which is unheard of!

So here we have bee, gloriously skipping along thinking for some reason or another Australia has decided NOT too cook us all alive. It turns out we have been lied to. Australia has been tricking us!

On Saturday I finally decided to head out West and go on the famed ‘Sunflower Trail’. I have left it much too late in the season but I just have not been able to go out west before this weekend.

Southern Queensland country = sunflowers. I have long wanted to visit them myself. When I lived in Central Queensland, we would often drive from Dysart out to Emerald and the sunflowers would face us on the way there and by the time we made the drive home in the afternoon, their beautiful yellow faces would be looking at us again on the way home. It is one of my favourite memories!

The most ideal time to go sunflower hunting in South East/West Queensland is December to February – BUT – I would say Feb is just a smidge too late. If you follow the ‘gram, you would have seen Jan as peak season for 🌻🌻.

Our trip started in South Brisbane and we drove our towards Toowoomba, with a couple of stops for coffee/loos/cuddles with my little (nearly) four year old Niece 😊.

Once we hit Toowoomba after a couple of hours we grabbed some lunch / picnic food and continued our drive out to Nobby, QLD. This took us another forty or so minutes. It was HOT!

IMG_9160We had our picnic in Nobby and had a lovely older gentleman come up and explain the towns history and he pointed out all of his favourite buildings. I think one of the sweetest things in the world is the pride locals take in their smaller communities. We had he pleasure of growing up out West and it’s there that you truly appreciate the saying “salt of the Earth” people. Have a chat with someone if you can, you will always walk away more knowledgeable and with a friendly smile and a wave.

After our lunch and playground evacuation negotiation skills with little L, we drove another five or so minutes out of town to the sunflower fields. Unfortunately we were far too late. They had dropped their last petals and were no longer beaming up at the sun.

IMG_9286At first we were disappointed but really, we had had an amazing day together and we knew we were pushing our luck given it was mid-Feb.

We jumped back in the car (which was no longer red and was more a unique dusty-brown shade) and as we were about to turn around we thought we would maybe just dive a little further.

Another five mins down the toad and we found some sunflowers! Not too many but more than we thought we would! One last little field. We walked up and down the edge of the field, took some pics, watched the cute bees and imagined the hardships our Aussie farmers face each season.

If I could mention something though (and I’m going to), it’s for travellers, grammers and visitors to be respectful. These are not wild sunflowers. These are farms. There are wonderful, hard-working people behind these crops. Don’t just stomp your way through the fields, grabbing the flowers and forgetting that this is someone’s crop. Be respectful. This is private property. If we could explain this to a four year old – then I think your group of ten stomping all over the field with drones and selfie sticks can also work that one out?

IMG_9260Ideally we would so this trip again in January. We would leave earlier in the morning and not pick the middle of the day. However in saying that, for a last minute spontaneous trip out west – I think it went pretty well!

See you next season Sunflowers 🌻.

x C x

For more info on our beautiful Southern Queensland Country click here.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and items, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – redhead_novaturient

 

Australia

Mt Tamborine – Australia Day bushwalks <3

♥ And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul – Anon

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Is there anything more magical than surrounding yourself with clean, crisp air, the sounds of the rainforest and spending time with one of your most cherished friends for the day? I don’t think so. These are the days which give me a happy heart and fill my appreciation-cup up for another week.

In my late teens & early to mid twenties, I spent many Australia Days the ‘traditional-Aussie’ way. Drinking in pools/at the beach/near any body of water – or in the back of a ute tray filled with a tarp and a hose. Listening to the hottest 100, eating BBQ, getting sunburnt and basically preparing for a 2-day hangover.

Rather than participate in any cockroach or cane-toad racing, thong throwing, XXXX boat-racing activities, at the advanced and mature-age of 31 (going on 32) – I decided that a bush-walk was on the cards. Not just for health reasons, but also to explore my own ‘backyard’, which I am quite passionate about and really want to promote as much as I can. I am also trying to stay alcohol-free for a couple of months (Christmas was a little too festive, if you know what I mean!); and I figured that going up a mountain and escaping into the forest was a pretty good way to avoid the typical Australia-day celebrations!!!

DSC09121Petey & I have been the very best of girlfriends for many, many years now and we try to make our time together about quality and experience, rather than ‘going out’. We run in different circles for the most part and we both live the hectic corporate life – so we like to hang out make-up free, either doing something #fitspo (look, we try...) OR eating snacks and watching reality TV. Is that not what friends are for? ♥

We decided on whether we would head north or south, decided on south and within an hour of our early morning FaceTime chat, we were on the road and heading towards Mt Tamborine – a place which I personally think is one of Mother-Earth’s tropical gifts to South-East Queensland. Whilst not technically a mountain and more of a volcanic peak, it is known asTamborine Mountain / Mount Tamborine / Mt Tamborine.

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It is a beautiful escape from the city, sits at 560m above sea level and has a population of around 7,000. Located along the Scenic Rim, Tamborine is a result of the Mount Warning volcanic eruption 22 million years ago. For tens of thousands of years it was the home of the Wangerriburra Aborigines and is also known as Wonglepong (which is believed to mean ‘forgotten sound’ – isn’t that beautiful?).

Sadly it’s beautiful sub-tropical rainforest would have began to be rapidly cleared for the purpose of agriculture and timber production from 1875 onwards, once the are was settled by the colonists (land clearing in Australian history since European colonisation has been reckless and incredibly sad). Thankfully, in 1908 movements were made to protect the natural beauty of the area and it became Queensland’s very first National Park.

DSC09161We made our way to Witches Falls National Park walking circuit and started our descent. The Witches Falls Section of the Tamborine National Park was first proclaimed as part of the National Parks of Queensland on 28 March 1908. The circuit itself is 3.1km and is of moderate grade so it takes around an hour to walk. We took around an hour and a half to stop for photos and just breathe in and experience the area.

Our climb down the mountain was a fun adventure through medium density rainforest, walked over rocks, explored little streams and also made it to the Witches Falls lookout

Tamborine has some really amazing fauna & flora, it is the home of the giant earthworm (can grow up to 1m – eep!), carpet pythons, lyrebirds, scrub turkeys, brilliant parrots and lorikeets, tawny frog mouth, whip birds, bowerbirds, platypuses etc., There are glow worm caves, butterflies, possums, koalas and frogs.

DSC09148We zigzagged down the mountain, through medium density rainforest, hopped over boulders, walked over little streams and also were able to peer off of the look out. There is something so calming, about peering off of a lookout and hearing that dense sound – the wind slowly crawling up the mountain, the sound of nature and the waterfall. It’s just so beautiful. Also I am sure the smell of the rainforest is my favourite smell on earth.

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Our walk back up to the carpark was way, way, way less fun and with the amount of suncream + sweat which was pouring off me I was silently cursing my decision to go bushwalking. Also, have you ever tried to hide how unfit you are and not breathe like a warthog going up a hill and then nearly passed out because you aren’t getting enough oxygen? No? Just me, good.

Once we made it back to the car, we started our trip back down the mountain. Driving around the town you can stop at several little stalls out the front of people’s properties and pick up avocados, kiwi fruit, macadamia nuts and rhubarb – which all flourish in the area thanks to the volcanic soil and high rainfall. I managed to grab a gigantic bunch of fresh rhubarb from an honesty stand/box for $2.50 which smells so good sitting in my kitchen as I write this (I am decided what I will make with it tomorrow).

I had the most amazing day, it was a wonderful and inexpensive way to spend the day with a good friend. All we really needed to pay for were some snacks, some fuel and of course the large brown bag of goodies we took home from Yatala Pies (a landmark pie shop along the highway which has been around for 130 years!). I am really trying to promote things I love and of course discover what I have around me. So, if you do get to Mt Tamborine – here are my following recommendations:

  • My favourite inland viewpoint is Rotary Lookout (Main Western Road).
  • I highly recommend the Witches Falls Circuit – pick your time of day well though to avoid high crowds + heat
  • If you feel like spoiling yourself, then I cannot recommend staying at the Escarpment Retreat & Day Spa (123 Alpine Terrace). It is romantic, secluded, beautiful and the memory of staying here will last a long while!
  • If you have a spare $20 and want to check out the Tamborine Skywalk, it is absolutely gorgeous, however there are many free walks to experience around the area.
  • Eat: Bavarian Grill Haus (160 Main Western Road) – I love the Jaeger Schnitzel & the Weizen.
  • Oh and don’t forget to grab some fudge from Fudge Heaven and/or Granny Mac’s fudge store before you leave the mountain!

Have you been to Mt Tamborine? If you haven’t and you are in the area I highly recommend it! It is such a short trip, a beautiful destination with so much to do. There are wonderful places to stay, delicious restaurants, coffee shops, a giant cuckoo clock collection and fudge shops. If you get there, let me know what you think!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and items, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – redhead_novaturient

x C x