Friday 8 March 2019

Trentham Falls, Victoria, Australia - An easy day trip from Melbourne for families

Trentham Falls

Trentham Falls is one of Victoria’s most spectacular waterfalls and boasts Victoria’s highest single drop of around 32 metres. The waterfall is only a couple of kilometres out of Trentham in the Coliban Scenic Reserve between Daylesford and the the Macedon Ranges and about an hour’s drive from Melbourne.

The top viewing platform is only 70 metres from the car park and the scenic picnic reserve. The walk down to the lower falls is officially closed however you may see a constant stream of walkers heading down to the what is arguably the best view of the waterfall. The cooler months are probably the best time to visit because the Coliban river will probably have a constant flow that will showcase he best cascade over the falls. It can dry up a bit in the summer.

This is an easy accessible waterfalls for families with small kids. However the path to the lower falls is not maintained and is prone to landslips so if you do risk it take care.

Instagram: @shaneonthego

Trentham Falls on Parks Vic

Olinda Falls, Victoria, Australia - A Day Trip From Melbourne for everybody (and families)

Olinda Falls

Olinda Falls in the Dandenong Ranges is about one hour's drive from Melbourne. Wonderful for a family day trip from Melbourne. The falls are a short shady walk under the cool rain forest canopy.

It is an easy 800 metre walk for families with small children. It is a beautiful green walk to the falls but, let's face it, they're not the most spectacular falls in the world. Iguazu should feel pretty safe with its mantle as one of the world's most scenic falls. Even Turpins Falls, check out last video, north of Melbourne makes this one look little more than a splash and trickle.

However as a destination for a bush walk and to get a taste of the great Aussie bush it is a day well spent. Because of its accessibility from Melbourne the lower reaches of the Dandenong Ranges National Park can overflow with visitors so just keep driving for a few minutes more to get to the Olinda Falls reserve. It won't be anywhere near as crowded and you will be rewarded with seeing some of the largest trees in the world - the mountain ash.

Instagram: @shaneonthego

Olinda Falls on Visit Dandenong Ranges

Thursday 10 January 2019

Day trip to Turpins Falls

Turpins Falls

Turpins Falls is a waterfall on the Campaspe River about an hour north of Melbourne; about 10 kays from Kyneton. The waterfall flows into a secluded pretty billabong that seems brilliant for swimming. In the summertime it can be packed with swimmers however Parks Vic don't recommend swimming there because of the "cold water". I don't know what the hell that means. Many people have been killed or seriously injured falling or jumping from the rocks though. I suspect that is the real reason they don't recommend swimming. In fact the top of the falls is supposed to be closed but that doesn't seem to stop anybody clambering up there.

It is a perfect place to take the family for a picnic though. You're allowed to take dogs there because it is a public reserve and not a National Park.

There are dozens of waterfalls within an hour or two of Melbourne. Turpins Falls in one of the most accessible and is an easy day trip from Melbourne. If you're looking for a family day out Turpins Falls isn't bad.

We visited on a beautiful Winter's day in July. The video below is the result. Please enjoy. 

Friday 3 August 2018

New blog

I've got a new blog. I'll keep updating some of the older posts here but eventually I hope to move them to the new platform here...

Definitely new content over there so please check it out.

I'm on Instagram too.

Thank you!

Sunday 8 May 2016

Placeholder post - I am updating the blog but...

I have slackened off over the last couple of years. I have dozens, or more probably, posts half written or ready for posting. I'll post them a few at a time over the next few months. I'll have to finish the 2013 Japan trip first then we've got the 2015 trip to look forward to.
So keep an eye on the post below this one...

Update: 28/02/2017
I've actually added a couple of posts. Still from 2013 but I'm getting there. In the meantime check out my almost up to date Instagram feed...

Saturday 16 March 2013

Road trip to Mount Fuji - Kukuna Resort and Spa

It's a fairly straightforward drive from Matsumoto to Kawaguchiko (Mt Fuji) of about 2 hours. Mount Fuji is visible from the road from about 100km away. I can't recall anything I've seen from a 100 kays before? Certainly not from ground level.
We're staying at the Kukuna Resort and Spa. It wasn't our first choice, we left booking too late, but our room has a tub on the balcony. That was the main thing we wanted, a tub with a view, and, oh my, it did not disappoint.
We were issued with "resort wear" for out stay. Unlike most ryokans this place is set up like a tropical resort so instead of the usual yukata we have loose fitting smocks and trousers. Loose fitting is very good for the very pregnant Michelle. Georgia got a mu-mu type thing.
In the foyer outside our room is a bar set up with snacks and drinks for us to have during the day. We also get the traditional welcome snack and tea when we get to the room.
The room is a typical tatami mat room but one entire wall is a window. Apparently there is a bloody great volcano out there. And a lake. The view is quite amazing. The balcony has privacy screens either side so we can nude up no worries for the onsen. If I have one complaint it is the glass door is too clean. I was going in and out when Michelle closed the door, I didn't notice and walked right into it. Hard. I left a face imprint on the glass. P1020030
The room has a bathroom, actually a sink room, the bath is on the balcony, and the usual Japanese Starship Enterprise heated toilet. So even if it is freezing, and there is some ice on the ground outside, you have to tub it in the onsen on the balcony.
Even staying at a resort where almost everything is catered for we wanted some snacks so we went for a drive into town and went to one of the convenience stores for supplies. Even car parks have a pretty reasonable view of Fuji. P1020047

Another stroll around Matsumoto Castle

We had to leave Matsumoto today to go to Mount Fuji, but we had enough time to visit Matsumoto Castle again and see if we could snag that elusive photo of Georgia. Of course she was uncooperative again so Michelle wandered off to take photos. Somehow I convinced Georgia to pose for a couple of photos. Later between Michelle and myself and some chocolate we cajoled another couple of photos out of her. Bribing with chocolate wasn't necessarily a good idea because then we had an uncooperative two year more interested in eating chocolate than posing for the camera.

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Friday 15 March 2013

Mirakuen Japanese BBQ, The Pungency and doing the laundry

After we got back from our stroll to the castle I grabbed a couple of beers for beer o'clock drinks. I thought they were beers. The Suntory was obviously a beer but "The Pungency" was something I took a punt on. "The Pungency" is probably not the most enticing name for a drink in history. I'm still not sure what it actually was. I think it was milk tea.
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There's no Michelin Guide to Matsumoto so we're at the mercy of hotel receptionist recommendations or the Lonely Planet for dinner. I can't recall if this Japanese BBQ place was a recommendation or if it was something we just stumbled upon. Either way it was awesome. Of course no one spoke English but the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. The menu has Yakiniku written across the top of it. It could be the name of place but I have a feeling it means something like grilled meat because we have hit the jackpot by the look of it when it comes to meat. Whatever this place is called it is a Izakaya style food joint. The menu has pictures and is bilingual but the descriptions are beautifully vague - "Beef of Ribs" and "High Quality Beef of Ribs". From the pictures the "high quality beef of ribs" looks like delicious wagyu. And it was. We tried a few different plates of meat and we cooked them on the grill in the middle of the table. Extraordinarily good it was.
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All this was washed down with sake. Georgy had a ball and even posed for some photos. Nothing quite like getting some great food in your belly to make you happy.
I painstakingly searched for pictures of yakiniku places in Matsumoto so I could get this wonderful place's name. I finally found a picture of the front of the restaurant that matched my photo. It is called Mirakuen. They're on Tabelog here and have their own website here.
Doing the laundry is one of those painful things you have to do when you're travelling. We usually try and book a hotel with a coin laundry. The laundry does build up after a few days to a week. The laundry tonight took a number of loads, and I was still doing it way after midnight. I sat on a stool next to the clothes dryer making use of the free hotel WiFi and catching up on emails and eyeing off the beer vending machine to my left. There was some sake in the vending machine. Or, I was hoping it was when I pushed the button. Some bloke came in as I picked it up and laughed and said "Japanese sake'. Waiting for the dryer to finish wasn't as boring after that. P1010841 2013-03-15 23.46.59

Strolling around Matsumoto and Matsumoto Castle

It was a beautiful sunny day. Clear blue skies and a not freezing. It was apparent we weren't going to get snow in Matsumoto this time around. It was a perfect day for strolling around Matsumoto before heading to the castle though.
And stroll we did, down to the old historic merchant area of Nakamachi-dori, a street of restored Japanese inns, restaurants, sake breweries and shops. The giant samurai frogs used in parades were a favourite of Georgia's. In fact little statues in fountains or ceramic or toy frogs were everywhere, especially in Nawate-dori. I'm not sure what frogs have to do with Matsumoto? That would require, you know, research. But kawaii nonetheless.
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At the main railway station we found a Mos Burger. Who knew a burger franchise could be this good? Unlike Maccas or Burger King the burgers are made to order but they're worth the wait.
I was trying to take video of Georgia in Mos Burger but she waved her hands at me and said most emphatically "No photo Daddy!". Even a two year old has her limits.
By the time we got to Matsumoto Castle, Japan's oldest, Georgy was a little cranky and tired. She'd been carrying around her bag of treasures everywhere. No amount of pleading from us could make her give it to us to carry. It is a large paper shopping bag with string handles almost half Georgia's height but she insisted on carrying it. When we walked through gate of the park and saw the moat and the castle Georgia brightened up and exclaimed "Castle!".
We tried to get photos of Georgia in front of the castle but she really wasn't cooperative. Oh well.

Okay, I am a sucker for a little research. The Matsumoto Frog Festival is a thing. It lasts a couple of days every June. I'm not sure why they have samurai frogs but for the duration of the festival and beyond everything is frog themed.

Breakfast at the Richmond Hotel Cafe and a new toy for Georgia

Western style breakfast for the win. Eggs, sausages, toast and pancakes, not too mention yogurt and fruit. Now that is how I like starting the day. Throw in a slight discount for hotel guests and this cafe is a winner.


They have a bunch of touristy nick knacks and toys at the counter. Georgia noticed a little pink fake computer. It has lots of buttons that play music. Each letter of the alphabet spells out a word - "K. K A N G A R O O, kangaroo". Mostly it says words or phrases in English but inexplicably drops into Japanese occasionally. Yep, now her new favourite toy. Into the treasures bag it goes.