A Roadtrip to the Sunflower Fields

Monday, September 24, 2018
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW
Sunflower Fields Liverpool Plains NSW

A Roadtrip to Liverpool Plains (Quirindi)
Photos taken by Hai, Lisa and myself on my Canon 70D DSLR

The sunflowers in NSW grow nearly every year between December to March, ready to be harvested in April. For around three to four weeks, sunflowers can bloom and bloody oath, its beautiful.
So in February, Lisa, Sang, Hai and I decided to drive up after we received word that the crops have bloomed and we knew we had a that short window.
From Sydney, it took us four and a half hours. It was grueling but still a really fun roadtrip even if we did wake up at 3.30am to get there at 10am. Hai and I picked up Lisa and Sang in the quiet dead of night with thermos in our hands to sip our coffees. We passed the time by going through playlists to try and decide what songs to play at our weddings that were happening a few months later.
We settled on some dirty songs for the Garter song - giggling away listening to "Move B*tch" by Ludacrus or "Freak Me" by Another Level.

On a more serious note - please ensure to get permission from the owners to get into the crops for some beautiful photos.
If you want to be on the "Sunflower Alert" emails, its best to email info@visitquirindi.com.au to get on the mailing list. Its also a good idea to drop by the Liverpool Plains Visitor Information Centre (England Highway, Willow Tree) to get directions to the live crops as they aren't at the same place each year.

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As for this past week, I've spent it working from Monday to Friday, going to gym for weights and cardio most nights. I've been adding around 15 minutes of the Rowing Machine for more cardio and a great back and arm workout.
On Friday I went to eat out with our friends for Thai food; then Saturday I took another friend out to Costco for their time (their eyes lit up!) to grab party supplies. At night we went to the birthday party where we sang Karaoke until 3am on some high tech Karaoke machine.
Sunday was a hangover brunch then I got to hang out with Betty with her little baby Jazza.
I picked up a new TV show on Netflix called the Dragon Prince which is pretty damn good (created by the same people who made Avatar: the last Air Bender series). I binged watched it through seven episodes, appreciating the score, which reminded me of one of my favorite TV show The Legend of Korra.

Some other great news, I recently was selected to be a Bangs Ambassador for Fall 2018!
Bang Shoes are an adventure based company that create shoes modeled after simple work boots found on farmers and workers in China. Hannah, the CEO was teaching English there and found the inspiration.
Their motto: Your Adventure Helps Others Find Theirs. This resonates with me and with my goal in life - to remind everyone that Australia is still beautiful.
I had just ordered some BANGS shoes - the High top in Yellowstone and a Low top in London Fog and I can't wait to get them in the mail!


Map to Liverpool Plains Visitor Information Centre:

Kiama's Hoddle's Track Bushwalk

Sunday, September 16, 2018
Hoddles Track Bushwalk Entrance
Hoddles Track Bushwalk Entrance
Hoddles Track Entrance
Hoddles Track Bushwalk Kiama
Hoddles Road Track Farmland
Hoddles Road Track Farmland
Hoddle's Track - Unsealed farm tracks 
Hoddles Track Private Property
Letter Boxes along the track
Hoddles Track Private Property
Walking Past Private Property and Farmland
Hoddles Track Dam and Utility Vehicle
On the right a dam with a small jetty with a rusty utility vehicle
Hoddles Track Dam and Utility Vehicle
Hoddles Track Dam and Utility Vehicle
Hoddles Track Bushwalk Kiama
Hoddles Track Kiama
Beautiful building on the left marked 'Private Property'
Hoddles Track Bushwalk Sign
After a steep incline, a T-junction with the Hoddles Track sign
Hoddles Track Illawarra Lookout
Turning left at the T-junction, to see a beautiful view on the right
Hoddles Track Illawarra Lookout
Hoddles Track
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve
Reaching Barren Grounds Nature Reserve
Hoddles Track Noorinan Mountain
Hoddles Track Noorinan Mountain
Noorinan Mountain Cliff edge
Hoddles Track Illawarra Lookout
Hoddles Track Illawarra Lookout
Hoddles Track Lookout

Hoddle's Track to Noorinan Mountain. Starting Point at cnr of Hoddles Road and Foxground Road, Kiama, NSW Australia. Completed 1st Sept 2018
Wearing: Asos Top, Timberland 6 inch Boots, 5.11 Tactical Wyldcat Pants, Vans Backpack, Fitbit Versa Watch
Photos taken by myself and Hai

With 16 posts to go until 2018 is over, I decided to blog about a recent Hiking adventure instead of reaching into my photo archives. Two weeks ago Hai and I wanted to take advantage of the first day of Spring weather and hike the Hoddles Track in sleepy Kiama.

We followed the walk guide 'Hoddle's Track and Saddleback' on page 204 from the book 'Best Bush, Coast & Village Walks of The Illawarra'. Below are a few points from the "At a Glance" section:

Grade: Medium
Time: 3-4 hours
Distance: 9.5km return
Ascent/Descent: 450m / 450m
Conditions: Hoddles Track is steep and eroded; take care near unfenced cliffs

1. We parked the Jeep at the corner of Hoddles Road and Foxground road in Kiama. As you drive down Foxground road which is unsealed, the entrance isn't as obvious as I thought. We approached a open wooden fence with an old green sign overlooking farm land.

2. Hesitant at first (it looked like private property), we walked over easy hills with the path lined with kangaroos and cow's manure. It then became obvious then we were on the right path. The path stretched out towards the trees, which starts to ascends and I found myself out of breath. We then passed through gates lined with letter boxes giving us indication that we were going to pass some houses.

3. Soon on the right, we took notice of an old utility vehicle that had rusted away on top of a small hill. Next to it was a sad little dam with a tiny jetty.
We kept walking and we reached open farmland again, passing by some cows chewing on grass.

4. A lonely wooden building appears on the right labelled 'Private Property'. It looked abandoned, inside were some chairs and a few chest of drawers. However distracting us was this beautiful weathered wood bench that overlooked the beautiful sea view. As I sat down I could see joeys and kangaroos grazing at the bottom of the hill and I suddenly felt small and insignificant.

5. The track climbed steeply and through some gum trees. It really puffed us out as we took 10 minutes to reach the top. I kept muttering to myself "when is this bloody hill going to bloody end" until we reached the T-junction. A nice grassy area with a track sign that said "Hoddles Track" appeared before us and I rested to eat my snack.

6. We took the left path towards Noorinan Mountain, past a crumbling wall on our left. To our right, there is a spectacular lookout with a view of rolling hills of Jamberoo and Minnamurra that leads to the sea. We continued upward passing some marked posts painted green and the 'Barren Grounds' sign to continue upwards.

7. We veered left, and kept climbing over fallen tree trunks and up the crumbling path. Above us the cliff rocks tower. We eventually reached a stone on the ground with an arrow etched in pointing right. We suspected that a hiker was trying to indicate that you could climb the cliffs for another view. But we knew it was not part of the official path so we continued on straight.

8. We eventually reached a slightly open area with a big boulder sitting on our right. Momentarily confused on which path to take, Hai then found the path towards our left. We climbed through the narrow path flanked by grass tress and could hear the sea waves crashing. We carefully found a rock with an arrow etched into it pointing up. We climbed up and the ground became sandy. Finally we reached a rock platform with a beautiful view over Foxground and to Saddleback Mountain.

We ate our lunch (pork rolls and cheese and bacon rolls) and then made our way back. Thankfully it was alot easier and quicker to descend the steep path, making the return trip feel alot shorter.

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For us, we had set ourselves a 2-3 hour time limit so we only completed the track up to Noorinan Mountain and back, instead of going right at the T-junction to Saddleback Mount (as indicated by our Guide book). It instead took us about two and a half hours, 5.6km return and around 11.6k steps (according to my handy Fitbit).

Hai and I were using this hike to celebrate our anniversary which was between the 2nd (our official first date) and the 5th (our wedding day date) of every month. Usually we eat out at a nice restaurant but this time decided to hike, because it had been so long since our last one. And the weather was bloody beautiful that day, reminding me that Australia is still wonderfully unique; despite our year long hiatus.
Next roadtrip/hike planned: another visit to Laurel Hill to visit the Sugar Pine Trees, with friends Betty, Erin and Jaye.


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