Mogo Zoo & Pretty Beach Camping

Friday, June 9, 2017
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Mogo Zoo Jervis Bay Australia
Pretty Beach Campsite Australia
Pretty Beach Campsite Australia
Pretty Beach Campsite Australia
Pretty Beach Campsite Australia

Mogo Zoo, 222 Tomakin Rd, Mogo NSW 2536 Australia
Pretty Beach Campsite, Murramarang National Park, NSW Australia

For my thirtieth birthday, Hai surprised me by taking me to Mogo Zoo and camping. At 5am we packed our cars and drove off on our adventure. It took us three hours, driving through Berry and for their famous doughnuts on the way.

Once there, we payed our $31 entry fee plus the $10 to feed giraffes. I raced to the giraffes first, bypassing all the other animals. I was clearly keen. 
The zookeeper finally ushered me in and I walked up the steps with my Eucalyptus leaves in hand. I never thought about how big a giraffe's head is until I was face to face with one. It's face filled my field of vision with its big innocent eyes and a giant blue tongue reaching out for my leaves.
I then raced over to feed the deer with my $2 bag of food. The deer was so cute as they poked their heads out of their pen. One greedy deer did headbutt the others to get to my hand and pushed them away. Annoying deer, but still cute.

There are some really beautiful animals at this Zoo. We met monkeys, lions, a Fennix fox, hippopotamus, tigers, meerkats and red pandas, all in spacious enclosures, lazing about or climbing trees or eating food. We attended most of the talks by the Zoo Keepers - the Gorillas at 12pm, the Rhino at 1.30pm and the Tigers at 2.30pm.

And after a satisfying lunch of cheese & ham toasties, the carnivore burger and hot chips, we picked up a toy Red Panda on the way (we named him Rupert) and drove ourselves down to Pretty Beach. Here, wallabies and joeys grazed the front lawns of this sleepy town and across the beach campground. The wallabies watched us from a couple of metres away while we pitched our tent and collected firewood.

Hai and I spent our night sitting by our fire and drinking beers. Then we ate like 4 packs of instant noodles (with poached eggs!) since we packed light - but it was so worth it. The next morning we had a stroll on the empty beach and took in the fresh air and sound of the crashing waves.

On our drive back, we picked up some more doughnuts from Berry and listened to my iPod. We also discussed what super hero powers we wanted (a never ending discussion) and talked about the pros and cons of each situation in which to use our power. Only with Hai would I enjoy such geeky yet fun conversations, carrying on for hours.

 Thank you Hai for an amazing trip <3

My 30th Birthday

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Chefs Gallery Parramatta Unicorn Cake
Chefs Gallery Parramatta Unicorn Cake
Chefs Gallery Parramatta Unicorn Cake
Chefs Gallery Parramatta
Chefs Gallery Parramatta
Chefs Gallery Parramatta Unicorn Cake

A 30th Birthday, at Chefs Gallery, Parramatta NSW Australia

12th May 2017 - I've made it to my 30th Birthday. And the first thing I did was take a few days off to celebrate with Hai, friends and family. The second thing was to cry in private because I was turning thirty (just kidding).
I used my days off to reconnect with music, to catch up on my blog emails, walk, read my books and play with my dogs. It was really satisfying to put aside time for myself.
The rest of the week I spent with Hai - he took me to two zoos, camping at Pretty Beach, buffet dinners and adorned me with lots of birthday presents.

I also compiled a list. Thirty lessons, guidance, or "canon" I've written as a testimony to my life. I took some time to really reflect on my life and the person I am today.  I understand and know myself better then ever - so this list is designed to gently remind me to be myself no matter what.

1. Natalie, don't be afraid to admit you love pop music. Who cares what people say, your iPod is full of it and you should be proud of it (even if they say "What IS this song?" or "Uhh, what's this?"). They're just bitter people.
2. Natalie, don't change the song that you obviously love when a passenger gets in your car. It's your car, your music. Own your love for that song.
3. Natalie - Yes. You love hot chips with tomato sauce and chicken salt. Don't let anyone argue with you that gravy is better. Or garlic sauce is. Or BBQ sauce is. Seriously, screw them.
4. Natalie, you love soggy hot chips. Again, don't let anyone tell you that crunchy or crinkle chips are better. F*ck that.
5.  Natalie, you love Japanese Curry, it always cheers you up. Especially when loaded with lots of potatoes. Stay away from cabbage in curry; it makes it taste gross. And never again eat the curry from Ryo's. You've had your heart broken before, don't let it happen again.
6. Natalie, your favorite song is "My Girl" by The Temptations. Listen to it when you feel sad.
7. Natalie, don't weigh your bag with too many lipsticks. Rotate them, don't just add more into the side pocket for "lipstick emergencies".
8. Natalie, keep your bangs. Side fringes look terrible on you.
9. Natalie, wash your hair every three days. Don't kid yourself, four days without washing is pushing it.
10. Natalie, your favourite desserts flavour is chocolate. Don't be afraid to ask for it. You've ended up sharing way too many non-chocolate desserts with people in the past.
11. Natalie, keep spelling Mom as Mom. Who cares if its American spelling.
12. Natalie, don't tolerate rude people. Seriously, the people who have excessive foul mouths, the people who don't RSVP, the people who are flaky and cancel plans. Screw 'em.
13. Natalie, those who double book and cancel on you to go spend time with another, are not YOUR type of people. Stick with those who care about you. Stick with those who stick by their word.
14. Natalie, those people who take days to reply back to your message, are not OK. They obviously do not put you as a priority.
15. Natalie, you do not own too many backpacks. You love backpacks. Keep buying them.
16. Natalie, same rule applies for lipsticks.
17. Natalie, keep documenting your life. The events, laughter and time goes. But the photos, are forever. They enhance the memories. So don't feel embarrassed taking the camera out to capture these moments.
18. Natalie, your favourite movie is Love Actually. Keep watching it every year at Christmas, by yourself. (When you watch with other people you tend to worry if they are enjoying the movie).
19. Natalie, hugging dogs and dancing will always brings you joy, no matter how sad you are.
20. Natalie, same applies for when you hug Hai.
21. Natalie, you don't have a favourite colour. Equal contenders are - all pastel colours. dusty pink, teal, dark pink, dusty blue, sky blue, gold, rose gold and apple. But don't own too many bright coloured clothing, it does not work on you. Continue wearing blacks, browns and greys - they make your bright lipsticks pop.
22. Natalie, keep hiking. You love it; you're in your element. You feel at peace and feel free.
23. Natalie, don't forget your past. Don't regret your mistakes and decisions. They made you who you are - stronger, wiser, resilient, empathetic, independent and vocal.
24. Natalie, take care of your phone. You've had three phone funerals in the last year alone.
25. Natalie, you can't handle your Soju. Down the Vodka, down the Hennessy. Put the Soju down.
26. Natalie, keep love in your heart. Speak kindly, don't judge, be understanding, be emphatic. You only have one life.
27. Natalie, listen to the song 'The Funeral' by Band of Horses whenever you are mad at someone.
28. Natalie, continue to plan hikes once a month, to try to new restaurants, walk the dogs every week, to cook something new. Even if you lose sleep over it., continue to be passionate about living your life.
29. Natalie, you love to read. So keep putting aside time for it. Read when you can - an hour before bed, while you're cooking dinner, when you eat breakfast on the weekends. Books complete you.
30. Natalie, always remember to recognize your happiness. Don't be scared of it when it comes your way. Don't push it away like you think you don't deserve it. Your own Happiness should be your number one priority. Embrace it. Enhance it. Keep fighting for it.

I also want to give my deepest thanks to those that celebrated my birthday with me - with laser tag and dinner at Chefs Gallery. The thoughtful gifts - like my teapot, tea flask, backpack, 511 pants, books and pens, POP vinyls, Silverbullet curler, personalized purse, earrings, Sailor Moon beauty products, Lush and Star Wars products - they will be cherished and stay with me forever.
And lastly, I want to thank Betty, for my amazing unicorn cake! I know it took you hours and I'm grateful for the time and effort. That means more to me then any gift. Your friendship has guided me through my twenties and I know our friendship will grow even stronger into our thirties <3

Sunrise at the Twelve Apostles and Gibson Steps

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
Gibson Steps Magog and Gog Rocks Victoria Australia
The Twelve Apostle Victoria Australia
The Twelve Apostle Victoria Australia
The Twelve Apostle Victoria Australia
The Twelve Apostle Victoria Australia
The Twelve Apostle Victoria Australia

Sunrise at Gibson Steps with Magog and Gog Rocks & The Twelve Apostles. The Great Ocean Road, Princetown, Victoria Australia.
Wearing: Bonds Sweater, H&M Leggings, Vans White Sneakers, Double Stripe Hipster Bag from To The Nines
All photos taken by me and Hai, with a Canon 70D DSLR.

Before Hai turned thirty and for our 2 and a half year anniversary, me and Hai embarked on an ambitious roadtrip. After we got engaged on the first night, we drove down the extra 5-6 hours to the Twelve Apostles via the iconic Great Ocean Road. There we reached our campsite at Apostles Camping Park to pitch a tent and finally have a hot shower.
Making our dinner at 9pm, we finally realized the sun had not set yet. It ended up getting dark at 10pm! Apparently it's because we were more inland from the East coast yet we were still within the same time zone (We have five different time zones in Australia - with some towns choosing to follow a different one even though the rest of the state follows another). So that was a new and interesting experience.
At 11pm, we decided to go to the Twelve Apostles to catch some night shots.
Parking our cars on the other side of the road, we walked. The path to the coast was well lit, making it safer to walk at night. After a few minutes I finally found myself facing the grande apostles. I didn't know what to expect, and when my eyes adjusted and I could see the outline from afar. It was captivating. The sound of the crashing waves, the cool wind, the eerie dark. For the first time in a long time I just stood there in silence, content with my life. At the campsite, I slept while hugging Hai tightly.

At the break of dawn, we were back to watch the sunrise. Facing the Magog and Gog rocks (not part of the Twelve Apostles by the way), the sun rose sprawling pinks oranges and purples across the sky. It truly is one of the most prettiest sunrises I've seen. I heard the song 'Across the Universe' by Fiona Apple being played out in my head.

There is opportunity to see the Magog and Gog rocks at beach level. We drove a few metres down to the Gibson Steps carpark and walked down the 86 cliffside steps to the sand. Tide permitting, we were able to get really close to the rocks and admire its grande scale.

The Twelve Apostles can be seen from the viewing platform, where it is nice and windy (that chilly Southern Ocean wind is unforgiving). Over the years the Apostles have been eroded over time, now there stands only seven - making my opportunity to see them more cherished.

Hai's original plan was to propose to me here. However as you know from my engagement post, this didn't happen. Reflecting on my visit, I'm glad Hai didn't use this chance. Getting proposed to here would've been nice but it can get crowded by enthusiastic tourists quickly. And we were there on a random Tuesday morning.

Honestly the tourists didn't bother me though and didn't take away from my experience. As the sun rose we simultaneously stopped talking and we all knew we simply felt graced to be here.
I will definitely visit again.

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