Royal National Park // N.S.W, Australia

It was a cool, rainy day while we travelled out to the national park. It was an adventure that Raph had planned for us to do for the past week or so. Through the deep, darkening forest roads, the scene immersed us. We couldn't find the walking track we planned on taking, so we stopped where the forest met the ocean, rolling beneath the cliff face.

The walk began with a view of the sea; and a thick cloud of rain moving quickly toward us. Suddenly from rich Australian bush, a lush rainforest surrounded us as we neared the beach at the base of the cliff. We made our way through hillsides of wild raspberries, listening to the calls of eastern whipbirds.

It took almost an hour to reach the beach we were destined for. We arrived at the rocky shore and I felt like I was in a whole other country. Hills of bright shades of green painted the walls of the cove, like soft blankets wrapping the sea. Our first sight was an echidna nibbling on some of the biggest ants I'd seen. It was the first echidna Raph had ever seen in the wild. An old man combed the waters edge and offered to show us a nest of pythons that he'd spotted. It saddened me that my immediate thought was that the man might have had entirely different intentions and wanted to lead us to a trap. He obviously didn't, and he was just a friendly old man. It's so upsetting that the world has enforced such distrust within me. 

On our way back, it began to rain lightly, cooling our warm skin from climbing the hills back to the top. As the terrain became wetter, it invited a few unwanted friends to our trek; leeches. It was my first encounter with these little suckers, and to say the least, it wasn't something I enjoyed. I spotted one crawling into my boot and I didn't remain overly calm about the situation. Ripping my boot off I discovered that one had already been in my boot drinking away on my foot. As Raph waited for my minor melt down to conclude, a few of them started attaching themselves to his legs. That was it. As soon as I got my boot back on, knowing I had leeches in my shoes and knowing they were emerging from EVERYWHERE, I sprinted the whole way back. Raph was happy to sprint too. I didn't blame him. 

Aside from the extra guests joining our adventure, it was a stunning sight to see and as always, being out amongst the trees and the crisp air, it was a much needed change from the busy city.

Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain // Tasmania, Australia

Cradle Mountain was one of the most magical places I had ever been. This is the second last set of images and posts from my Tasmania adventure. These images were taken on the Dove Lake Circuit, at the foot of Cradle Mountain. After free-camping a little while away, we drove to the pick up point where a shuttle bus would take us to the beginning of the circuit. Winding through deep, lush forest, out through valleys and mountain sides, we arrived at Dove Lake.

Cradle Mountain was covered in a blanket of thick clouds, only peeping out momentarily. It got its name from its likeness to a baby's cradle, with the baby's head just showing (you can see it in the very last image). We began the walk and the bitter winds blew forcefully through us. It began with such an open, slightly barren, rocky environment, suddenly slipping into rich Australian bushland. Before we knew it, our surroundings became rainforest-like. Cooler, darker and every shade of green that you could imagine. Moss crawled and covered almost everything it could; claiming the tallest fallen trees, almost bringing them back to life. We stepped foot into the 'Ballroom Forest'. I can hardly explain the feeling I felt walking into this forest. It was like I was five again. My mind wandered and I could see fairies dancing among the soft moss, gathering by the clear waters of the creek. Walking into such magic, with trees so old and wise, they were like the elders of the forest. I felt blessed to be there. It was like the elders watched over me, as I stood at their feet. I respected their way. It was a deep connection that I'll never forget. 

As we left the forest, the land changed again, opening out to a rocky mountain side. The clouds greeted us and it began to snow. It was only light, but it still made me burst with joy. I hadn't touched snow since I was a young child. Pure happiness, was all that existed in that moment. 

The journey took us just over two or three hours. A journey I could do a thousand times over. Thank you Dove Lake for all you gave. For your elders who welcomed our souls and gave us more than they know. The grounding of purity, respect and gratitude. Thank you. 

The Road to Cradle Mountain // Tasmania, Australia

Our journey began to one of my favourite places of the adventure; Cradle Mountain. On the road, we were gifted with one of the most beautiful sunsets I had and have ever seen. The sky, like flames, softly changing to pastels. It painted the world around us shades of gold and pink. We hit the road again and suddenly darkness fell. We hadn't found our next campsite. So after a lot of driving around and asking locals, we travelled to another free campsite, a little while out from Cradle Mountain. This was one of the coldest nights we had yet. It wasn't the first time we arrived at our campsite at night. It's almost exciting in a way, knowing that when you wake up, all your surroundings are a complete surprise! This campsite was beautiful and surprisingly, it was straight off the main road (not that it's a busy main road at all).

I woke early again before the others and slipped out of bed into a bitterly cold morning. It didn't stop me from going on a little exploration around the area. The sun slowly rose above the hill ahead, turning the sky a soft yellow and pink. The river beside us, ran loudly. I sat and listened, admiring it's unknowing strength. I continued to find plant species I'd never seen before and it repeatedly astounded me.

By the time I got back, Brad was out on an adventure too. We both met back at the van and made the morning ritual chai tea. We cooked breakfast, got ready for the day and made our way to Cradle Mountain. 

Douglas Aspley National Park // Tasmania, Australia

We did a whole lot of driving on this day. Most days, actually. We left our magical spot at Diana's Basin and were bound for the Douglas Aspley National Park. The roads wound through mountains and past fields by the sea. The ocean was too beautiful to keep driving, so we stopped and felt the sand between our toes. Before we knew it, we were driving through the country side. That's something I found remarkable about Tasmania; it's incredible diversity, so closely connected. Nearing the end of the trip when we were walking the Dove Lake circuit, I thought about the incredible diversity. The combination of words that came to mind for Tasmania was the land of diverse symbiosis. All the terrains and ecosystems, so different from each other, but yet, so intertwined. 

We reached the national park and began the hike to the Douglas Aspley Gorge. Some parts of the hike weren't easy, but it was all worth it once we arrived. We were all so warm by the time we got there, we took off all our winter layers and splashed ourselves with the fresh running water. We lay on the rocks, warming our skin with the sun. Soon it was time to leave, so we decided to take a different route back, down stream. The rocks were quite slippery, but alas we continued only for a few minutes when I took quite a fall, saving my camera before myself (fellow photographer friends will probably understand why...). I slipped backwards and luckily my backpack softened the fall, so nothing was hurt. Some of my friends had a couple of slips before me, so we thought that was enough bad luck and decided to go back the way we came. 

On our way back, we couldn't help but stay a little longer to take some more photos. It began to rain lightly only for a moment. Long enough for me to capture its beauty kissing the rocks of the river.

Diana's Basin // Tasmania, Australia

Our third home for the night was Diana's Basin. It was a complete spontaneous decision to camp here, as the sun was quickly bidding the day farewell. We planned to drive much further to another campsite, but we didn't have time. We pulled in and searched for a site. A space, cleared perfectly amongst a circle of ghost-gums. The golden light kissed our skin and danced across the water right before us, while we gathered firewood from dead trees and set up camp. That night, the sky was illuminated by millions of sparkling stars. We all walked into the darkness to see the magic above.

Before we knew it, the new day was before us. I woke earlier than the others, and quietly climbed out of bed to take some photos of the clouded mountains ahead. The peaceful quietness of just sitting by the river bank, watching the birds cruise the water and the sun rising was a blissful state that I can't quite explain. Soon, the others woke, we cooked breakfast, packed up and made our way to the Douglas Aspley National Park. 

Bay of Fires // Tasmania, Australia

It's been almost a month since I've posted images from my trip to Tasmania in July. Slowly, but surely they are making an appearance! This set of images were taken at the stunning Bay of Fires. It was our second stop of the adventure. We set off from our first campsite in the morning and arrived to the white-sanded beach, with rolling storm clouds above. As cold as it was, a young boy ran shirtless, splashing in the sea; something none of us could comprehend, while we watched and shivered. I walked to the shore and danced my fingers in the cold ocean. We then found our way to the famous fiery coloured boulders of the bay and clambered over them to take photos and soak up some warmth from the sun poking its way through the clouds. We found a playground on our way to a cafe that overlooked the bay. In seconds, we reverted back to the inner child and hung from the monkey-bars and swung from the swings. After our childhood-embracing detour, we warmed up with some hot drinks before hitting the road again. 

Policemans Point // Tasmania, Australia

Our first stop for the trip was Policemans Point. I flew in to Launceston in the evening and my friends picked me up in the Wicked campervan that we would be living in for the next week. We drove for an hour or so, and pulled off the road to cook dinner. Well, we had dinner made for us actually, by the head chef of the trip, Brad. Before we knew it, we were back on the road. Since it was dark, driving on unsealed roads, we had to move quite slowly due to the crazy amount of wildlife around. There was no reception out where we were, so it was back to good old REAL map reading for us to find our way; and eventually we got to our destination! 

The next morning, our van overlooked a beautiful field, with mountains in the distance. I took a walk and noticed all the new kinds of flora I'd never seen before. We made chai and walked down to the seaside to find the clearest of waters running over pure white sand. One thing I couldn't believe was the size of the seaweed washed to shore. Seaweed with growth wider than my handspan. I'd never seen it before! We collected pretty seashells and walked back for breakfast, ready to hit the road again.