Luke and I recently visited Breakout Bar and Escape Rooms in Wollongong because they were closing down their Ancient Egypt -themed room The Tomb (to make way for a new room!).
The escape rooms are designed around the story of the mad Professor B, and this theme is reflected in the unique décor of the bar. As both a nerd and a romantic, as well as someone who just generally appreciates good art, I felt like I was right in my element.
Of course, I had their Cleopatra cocktail. Concocted from Four Pillars, lemon, and Pimms, it was one of the nicest cocktails I’ve ever had.
Luke had their Lava Lava beer. Despite the sheer force of lava (and its sourness), he somehow survived!
The Escape Room
You can read all about the escape room here. In summary, we loved it.
In the corner of the bar, we found some board games stacked on top of a piano. After many years, we decided to ignite some childhood nostalgia by versing each other at the notorious game of Guess Who?. I’d like to say I won, but I’m fairly sure he bested me 3/3.
I love that Breakout Bar & Escape Rooms have board games available. I feel like it’s something that sets them apart from other bars we’ve been to.
An outstanding bar with an ingenious concept. Definitely worth visiting!
Our Albury Airbnb host recommended we visit the Albury Railway Station before leaving the area.
The heritage-listed station, built 1880-1, is well-known for the length of its platform. As the terminus for trains at the NSW/ Vic border, the length of the platform is due to incompatible track/ train designs between the two Australian states, wherein commuters were required to transfer trains at the station.
Still in use, the station’s historic design makes you feel as though you are boarding a train through time.
Complete with waiting rooms, the station is truly stunning. The inclusion of a modern TV screen, an anachronism that blends the past with the now.
My partner and I were told the Braddon precinct was the best place for food in Canberra. We had a quick look around and decided to eat at Grease Monkey as it looked enticing, busy, and came recommended by locals online.
Busy but not noisy.
Great set-up with plenty of seating and heaters, as well as bottles of sauce and paper towels across the establishment.
My partner ordered a beer, which I (of course) had a sip of. It was their equivalent of a house beer and on their menu was called the Greasy Lager. It was cheap, costing only $5. I thought it tasted a lot like a Great Northern. We both loved it!
My partner also bought me a cocktail. He couldn’t remember the name of it and I was unable to find the drink on their website, but it was made up of rum, passionfruit, pomegranate, and came garnished with a lemon slice. I don’t usually drink rum but I really loved this drink!
My drink also came with a paper straw. I’ve always loved the idea of supporting the environment by using straws alternative to plastic, however I find that I don’t like paper straws much as they break easily and their texture feels gross… What I really loved about this particular straw is it stayed solid and was pleasant to drink from.
I ordered the Grease Burger (below, left). It’s a typical beef burger with pickles, lettuce, mayo, cheese, and onion. For $15, it was incredibly disappointed. It seemed basic with not a lot on it, and tasted as plain as it looked.
My partner ordered the Parma Burger (above, right). It was a fried chicken burger and was just as lacklustre as my Grease Burger. I even managed to find a bone when I took a bite into his burger, which could’ve been potentially dangerous had I swallowed it.
The chips were also disappointing. They looked and tasted flat and had a strong peppery taste. If this peppery seasoning had more flavour to it, the chips could have potentially tasted great. The tastelessness of these chips weren’t helped by the fact that the only sauce available was self-serve bottled tomato sauce. Having a great side of sauce may have made these chips amazing.
Toilets were clean.
I wasn’t a fan of the hand wash basin as it was open to the bar and eatery and I felt exposed as I washed and dried my hands. It also seemed like the noise of the hand drier was super distracting for other patrons because a few people did look over when I used it.
I would highly recommend the Grease Monkey for their bar.
However, I would definitely not recommend eating here.
It was a nice establishment, but the bathroom section should be separated from the rest of the bar/ restaurant for privacy and sound management reasons.
We chose to stay at David’s Airbnb in East Albury due to its convenient location close to the centre of Albury. Only a five minute drive to the main boulevard, we felt staying here gave us more options for things to do in the short space of time we had to do these.
Dave’s Airbnb is a recently renovated standalone unit attached to the bottom of his house. It is incredibly modern with beautiful decor. We were ‘wow-ed’ the moment we stepped into the room. If I could describe the unit in three words, they’d be: luxurious, spacey, and warm.
From the way the bed was made to the placement of the ladder, the decor really blew us away. We also really loved some of the artworks on the wall- one of the first things you’ll notice as you step into the room. Our favourite facet of David’s place, however, was the heated floor! Such a small detail really improved our mid-winter stay.
From the beginning, Dave was very helpful with giving tips for things to do and even offering to lend us his bike if we decided to go cycling (there’s a beautiful cycleway in the area called the 6km Wagirra Trail, a must-see in the region, but we unfortunately didn’t have time to ride the path!). One tip that Dave gave us that we did take on-board was to visit the Albury Railway Station. It’s a historic station, still in use, known for its extra long platform, with the length due to the station being the interchange between Victorian and NSW trains.
We enjoyed our time staying at David’s Airbnb and would definitely go back if we pass through the area again. Next time we’ll leave more time to explore though!
You may or may not have heard the mysterious story of Miranda, Edith, Irma, Marion and Miss McCraw and want to explore the haunted scenes from the novel and movie for yourself…
Or, perhaps, you want to explore Ngannelong, a place of Indigenous spiritual significance as a border territory and meeting place between different tribes for their Corrobborees, Initiation Ceremonies, Songline Ceremonies, trade, relationship building, and a place where laws were passed…
Or, even, to just admire the beautiful landscape and the unique mamelon volcanic rocks formed by about six million years ago by a stiff magma pouring from a geologic vent and congealing in its place, creating that jutty appearance the rocks are famous for…
Whatever your reason, Hanging Rock is one of the most beautiful landscapes Australia has to offer and, conveniently located only an hour away from Melbourne, it is a must-see in Victoria!
Because we arrived at about 4:15pm, with the park closing at 5pm, our walk felt incredibly rushed. I would definitely recommend leaving a few hours to garner the full experience from Hanging Rock! The return walk to the summit takes about an hour, but there is also the Base Walk, a small museum, and a cafe.
The view of rural Victoria and the Macedon ranges from the summit of Hanging Rock is truly breathtaking, while the Base Walk offers an easier but no-less-enjoyable circuit around the mountain. What’s more is that certain points of interest on the track are marked for full enjoyment. There is a brochure with a detailed map available to pick up from the Visitor’s Centre.
The maximum elevation at hanging rock is 718m, to be explored in a 1.8km return trip that, as aforementioned, takes about 50 minutes to complete. The path forks as you near the top and there are two options for how you complete the track: a more gradual climb up to the summit (if you veer left) or stairs (to the right). The Hanging Rock itself is located on the track with the stairs, so if you are keen to see this but unsure how you will cope with the slope, take the stairs on your way back.
There are 10 points of interest, starting with 1. The Visitor’s Centre, a small museum (so to speak) explaining the rock formation and depicting the fictitious history of Hanging Rock.
2. The Forest. Admire the natural beauty of the national park along your walk.
3. Edge of the Rock. The track splits here and, if you are on the summit walk, this is where you begin to walk along the edge of the cliff face.
4. Hanging Rock. The ‘hanging rock’ itself, for which the park is named, as well as the title of the original novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.
5. Natural Amphitheatre. Here, I sat on one of the rocks as if I were in back row of an amphitheatre watching nature as a play. This spot is imaginatively named.
6. Check Out the Views. This is the point where you think you’re finally at the top, but you’re not… There’s some room to explore (sort of off-track) if you take a right here. The path to the summit continues on the left.
7. The Top! You’ve finally reached the top. Take in a deep breath- you’ve earned it!
8. Views of Mount Macedon. Hanging Rock is located on one of the mountains of the Mount Macedon ranges, which were (re)named by explorer Major Thomas Michell after Phillip of Macedon since he was able to see Port Phillip from the summit of Mt Macedon. At the 8th point of interest, you are able to view Mt Macedon, which rises to an impressive 1010 meters above sea-level.
9. Rock Pillar. Pillars of rock overhang the cliffs. They look like they have faces making it easy to see how the site may be sacred.
10. Wildlife. Glimpse popular wildlife like grey kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and hundreds of species of birds.
The Base Walking Track takes you in a clockwise direction around the base of the formation. It is a wide, easy path, with some undulations, that enables you to experience to beauty of the park with ease. The 2km track is clearly signposted with arrows. This track is perfect for the eldery, those with children, and those who want an easier walk.
The summit walk isn’t appropriate for young kids as there are no barriers on the cliffs. The base walk is, however, just as beautiful as the summit walk and completely safe for children.
Dogs are permitted on leash in the picnic areas but not on the walking track due to the presence of native animals.
The entry fee is $10 per car or $4 for pedestrians. There is a ticket machine just outside the cafe. You produce the ticket when you exit the park.
The park strictly closes at 5pm. If you’re late, your car (and you) will be locked in! Beware that with the creepy history of this forest, you’re in for a haunted night should you be locked in!
The North Gate is closed. However, if you do drive over to the North Gate it is possible to see kangaroo’s up close (or are they wallabies? I can never tell the difference!…)
We stayed at Lake Bunga in Lakes Entrance as it was halfway between Walhalla and Jervis Bay, so a good resting place for us. My understanding is that Lakes Entrance isn’t a massive tourist destination but there are some lovely views of lakes, beaches to visit, and a quick Google search shows that it does have some noteworthy activities. We didn’t spend any time doing activities here – For us, Lakes Entrance was just a stop over.
We chose Alan’s Airbnb for affordability. We saw on his listing that his house had a lovely view of Lake Bunga and this was enough to excite us. However, we found Alan’s Airbnb to be much better than expected. He really went above and beyond with his effort in making sure we left satisfied and had the best possible trip. One thing I loved is that Alan responded to my messages quickly; giving me a much-appreciated tip-off about the best place to stop for fuel and warning me that most eateries would be closed by the time we arrived. He also added to our itinerary by giving us a tourist pamphlet and circling some scenic places to stop, great places to eat, etc. We actually did take his advice too, stopping in Eden at the lookout where we saw a seal flipper sticking out of the ocean and grabbing lunch from Longstocking Brewery in Pambula where we unexpectedly had a lot of fun with their attached petting zoo.
We had a great chat with Alan about his travels as well. He is a retired teacher, who spent the latter years of his career working in international schools around Asia. As such, his home is decorated with Asian artefacts and art pieces. We found this a real treat as both Luke and I come from caucasian backgrounds and haven’t been exposed to much Asian art, so it was quite culturally enhancing for us.
We would definitely recommend staying with Alan if you’re travelling through the Lakes Entrance area. He really goes above and beyond to help you make the most of your travels and he is great to converse with.
Rocky Hill Lookout and Memorial is a hidden albeit well-known gem in Goulburn.
The lookout shows off Goulburn with stunning views of the small town and beyond. It isn’t especially scenic but does provide an interesting vantage of the town as well as the opportunity to pay your respects to soldiers of The Great War. In saying this, the memorial tower stood as proud as a soldier, but was unfortunately closed when we went.
Also worth mentioning, my partner and I visited this lookout mid-winter and, being from the Central Coast, we did NOT expect how cold it would be. Seriously, do not get out of the car unless you are thoroughly rugged up (and I mean the full deal- long pants and a coat do not suffice!)
It was a lovely and well-kept memorial and lookout, with a nice view. Would be a perfect visit to pay respect to the ANZACs or for a beautiful landscape photography shot (I’ve heard it looks great at sunrise/ sunset!).