Chasing Waterfalls wearing Nike leggings and Hunter Boots at Swallow Cave Falls

Top 5 Things to Take on a Waterfall Adventure

Chasing Waterfalls wearing Nike leggings and Hunter Boots at Swallow Cave Falls

People are often asking me what gear I take on a waterfall trek with me, like I'm some kind of expert. I know it may seem that way, but believe me, it's not the case. 

I'm somewhat of an amateur hiker, by no means am I an extremely fit hiking guru with proper expensive gear. However, I do have some essentials that I never leave home without when going on a waterfall adventure. So, without further adieu, here's a list of my top 5 things to take on a waterfall adventure.  

1. My Kathmandu Backpack

Let's be real, it doesn't really matter what backpack you take along with you. Everyone has a preference. However, having said that, I honestly couldn't survive my waterfall treks without my Kathmandu backpack

The great thing about this backpack (aside from the great value for money: buy it here), is that it has plenty of pockets for organising and storing things. 

It's quite large, and I can fit a three-legged tripod, a water bottle, hat, portable charger and other electronic accessories, snacks, keys, a kimono, a raincoat (or two) and sometimes even another pair of shoes in this bag. The straps are well-padded and easily adjustable, so it's super comfy and the weight is evenly distributed on my back. Really, I would never go past one of these bags. 

2. Cygnett Portable Charger

I bought my Cygnett portable charger from JBHifi for around $40AUD and I've never looked back. Honestly, this thing is the best. It's 4,000 mAh lithium polymer battery, and it charges my phone (iPhone 6s, though the USB port on the charger means it's compatible with anything) from 0 battery to full battery about three to four times. It's also got a digital display which tells you how much charge is left (a scale of 0 to 100). It's been my saviour when I've been out and about with limited phone service draining my battery (*cough* uploading everything to my Instagram story *cough*). I can tell you now, it's worth investing in one of these bad boys. Cygnett even do a 10,000 mAh version for double the price if you want one with a bit more juice. 

3. My Hunter Gumboots or Kathmandu Trekking Boots

As you can see in the cover photo of this post, I almost never embark on a waterfall trek without my trusty Hunter gumboots. These were slightly on the expensive side, sure, but they're a solid investment. Trekking through mud and crossing streams and rivers in these sturdy rubber boots is a piece of cake. I've even had people pass me on muddy tracks and comment on how appropriate my shoes are, with a hint of jealousy in their voice. Don't sleep on the rubber boots, they give you so much freedom. 

And if I'm not wearing my Hunter boots (or Nikes coz I was super unprepared, or knee high Wittner boots to impress Instagram - more on that here), then I'm in my Kathmandu hiking boots. I've had these babies since 2011, and they've done their fair share of hiking. They were worn-in during a World Challenge trip to Borneo, hiking through humid rainforest and up Mt Kinabalu, so I know they're reliable. Their fairly waterproof exterior paired with the strong lace-up design means that my ankles are always secured. The grooves on the soles make them great for gripping surfaces and they survive through mud, gravel and rock face. Highly recommend. Since they're about six years old, I'm sure Kathmandu don't still sell the same ones (I'd be extremely surprised), but I'm sure you can find something similar. Try your luck here. 

4. A Quality Raincoat (or Two)

If you've seen my Instagram feed, you'll know that I have a flair for vibrant rain coats. But not only that, my raincoats are also super effective. The first choice is my Kathmandu raincoat (I'm sensing a theme here, anyone? Let's just say I love Kathmandu, it was where I lost my hiking-gear virginity, so I have a soft spot for the brand). This raincoat is bright pink, which I actually used to be quite embarrassed about (my family all had matching ones except Dad's was black, Mum's was a dark purple and my sister's was a nice aqua colour, so I'd gotten the shitty end of the stick in my opinion), however now I kind of love it. The great thing about this raincoat is that it folds into one of the pockets and becomes a rather compact, square carrier case of it's own! Amazing. 

The second raincoat I take with me is actually from Bunnings. You know, Bunnings Warehouse? Lowest prices are just the beginning? Bunnings Sausages? Let me know if I've lost you - any Aussie would be feeling me 100%. Anyway. I went searching and searching for this yellow raincoat from Bunnings, which isn't so much a raincoat as it is a rain blanket. It's one size fits all, but it's super thick and sturdy, and the large fit has actually ended up saving me many times, because it means I can fit my backpack and camera underneath it when walking and keep everything dry. It also has a detachable hood, so I mean you can do what you want with that. Also, it was $15 bucks (Australian), so if that's not a bargain, I don't know what is. 

5. Swimwear (in Summer)

Anyone who knows me would know that I'm absolutely obsessed with bikinis. No, I'm talking like totally obsessed. I own that many pairs of bathers, it's not even funny. One pieces, bikinis, mix and matches, you name it - I own it. If I'm trekking to a waterfall in the hotter months, I'll likely be sporting more than one pair (no - I wear one pair, and stash another in my bag, silly!) Anyway, here's some of my favourite brands. Eat your heart out- they're fab! 

Cenote Swimwear
MinkPink
Tiger Mist 
Moana Bikini
Onepiecekini
Seafolly 
Eau Paix Vie

The list goes on... 

And there you have it! My top 5 waterfall essentials. Happy waterfall chasing!

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Actually Moving to Melbourne

It’s one thing to say that you’re doing something drastic, like, “I’m moving to Melbourne.”

But to actually do it, is another thing entirely.

The 30th of January – “Moving Day” – finally came around, and to say I was anxious is an understatement.

My Dad and my best friend came to see me off at the airport. I was grateful that my entire family weren’t coming – airport goodbyes are bad enough as it is without being overwhelmed with all the people you’re leaving behind.

Once at the airport, I placed my suitcase on the scales and watched in angst as the numbers ticked up – 27kg, to 28kg, to 29kg. All the way to 31.9kg.

Thirty. One. Point. Nine.

Bearing in mind the absolute maximum for luggage is 32kg, I couldn’t help but laugh. Despite having paid for an extra bag, I had somehow just managed to squeeze my most prized belongings into the bigger case in under 32 kilos (someone must have been watching over me).

With the luggage out of the way, we waited at the airport’s bookshop café, tucked away from the corporate coffee shops and airport gates.

Not quickly enough, yet all too soon, the time came for me to board. So many things made it easy for me to leave, but leaving my family and the person I love behind made it one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

I hugged my Dad tightly and he whispered he was proud of me.

I turned to my best friend and I got my kiss goodbye.


Then I walked through the gate without so much as a glance back.

It was a strange flight. I felt a mixture of anxiety and sadness, giddiness and excitement. One thing you should know about me is that I hate flying as it is, so I was relieved when we finally touched down in Melbourne.

I had a driver booked to take me to my Air BnB, which was located in Footscray. I don’t think the driver said one word to me the entire time, and I spent the ride gazing out the window at my new city.

Finally, we arrived. Aside from the fact that I had to lug my ridiculously heavy suitcases (plural) up two flights of stairs, it was a great apartment.

I had made it. The place was cute and cosy, clean and tidy. My room had a big queen bed and I settled some of my things around it. Then I burst into tears.

I was exhausted and alone and scared. Who could blame me? But I managed to pull myself together shortly thereafter.

Because what else do you do?

You have to pick yourself up, and you keep going.

I threw myself into the week, exploring bustling Melbourne streets, purchasing my MyKi card, doing my food shopping. It was so normal, yet so surreal. A difficult feeling to describe.

I guess it was just life.

Even when you experience change, life doesn’t slow down for you. It just keeps on going.


Pictured: The view from my Air BnB bedroom window.

Priority Number One: Find somewhere to live. My Air BnB was only booked for one week, so I sifted endlessly through ‘Flatmates.com’ and ‘Fairy Floss Real Estate’ on Facebook, messaging everyone and anyone that suited my criteria.

On my first day, I saw an absolute shit-hole of a house, and one that wasn’t so bad. If I’m being honest, though, even the not-so-bad one didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t instantly think, “this is the place for me.” And shouldn’t you? Shouldn’t you feel that element of just knowing when a place is right? I had no idea.

The tricky thing about finding a home, in a busy city, at a busy time of the year, is that it is ridiculously competitive. Ads would get 40-100 comments alone, all saying “messaged you”. The seller’s inboxes must’ve been fucked, for lack of a better term. How, out of all of those messages, would I get chosen?

I took solace in having dinner with a friend who had also moved over from Perth, to discuss the struggle with someone who understood.

I woke up on Wednesday morning, my third day, to all of my inspections having fell through. And I started to Freak. Out. What was going to happen if I couldn’t find a place to live? I had a little cry, went back to sleep to avoid it all, and then frantically worked out a back-up plan.

The funny thing is, the next minute people started to reply to old messages. One minute you have 0, the next minute you have them coming out of your ears. You take what you can get.

A lovely girl had messaged me back on Facebook – out of pure luck I’d say – and we set up a viewing that day. Turns out someone else had bailed out, and I caught the train to Brunswick almost immediately.

The place was perfect, small and cute with a big room (where I could also purchase all the stuff from the girl moving out), in a great location with easy access to Melbourne University and two female roomies who seemed pretty lovely. I couldn’t believe it.

The girl’s agreed I was a good fit and it was settled (well, somewhat, we are still waiting for the real estate to pull through for us). But aside from that – I had found a home!

And better yet, I’ve now made some good friends from the whole process, and begun to decorate the room to make it mine for when I can move in.

It just goes to show that even when things seem dark and gloomy, there is always something waiting on the other side of that. You just have to believe it, and keep going.

Now I’ve been able to enjoy the city and focus further on my ambitions – applying like crazy for jobs on SEEK (I got offered one yesterday – yay me!) and strolling around finding the best Mexican, Spanish and American-style food I can get my hands on.

I’ve been going out for drinks with new friends, sharing laughs, watching Mean Girls and experiencing Melbourne’s St Kilda Festival (article here), even if it was freezing cold. Prior to that, it’s been very hot and humid here, and I’ve been craving the cooler weather.

Is it strange that I wanted the ‘Doom & Gloom’ weather? For some reason the overcast days and the rain inspires me in this city. Inspires me to live. Inspires me to write.

And I guess that’s why today I’ve found myself on this wooden bench in a warm little coffee shop in the Block Arcade, typing endlessly on my laptop and delving into my creative mind.

It’s finally starting to feel like home.

Moving To Melbourne

In less than 10 days, I will be zipping up my suitcase and hopping on a one-way flight to Melbourne, Victoria. It might not sound like that big of a deal, but for me, it is.

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While the thought of strolling through Melbourne’s bustling streets with its quirky coffee shops, cafes and graffiti filled lane-ways, finding a new place to live and making a room my own with unnecessary cushions and decorations, starting a new job and a fresh degree definitely excites me, it’s still hands-down fucking daunting.

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Pictured: Hosier Lane, Home to Tourist-Attracting Graffiti Art.

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Pictured: Hosier Lane Side-Lane

You see, I’ve never lived out of home. All of my friends still live at home. Everyone is still very much stuck in the same town with the same friends with the same drama with the same old bar and club events on the same nights of the week.

Me?

I want more.

I’m also a tad crazy because I still want to keep studying. But really, working 9-5pm every day? No thanks. Not me. Not yet.

When I visited Melbourne back in October, I loved strolling through the grounds of my soon-to-be-uni and feeling a sense of place. A sense of studiousness (is that even a word?) too bad, I’m making it one. The point is, I could see myself here.

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Pictured: The University of Melbourne

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Pictured: The Univeristy of Melbourne

And so I’m picking up my life, or what’s left of it once you count all the things I’m leaving behind – family, friends, the love of my life, my cat, my bedroom – half my shoes! (oh the horror), living for free, a stable income… you get the picture…and moving to the city with better coffee, better lane-ways, better shops and well, let’s face it – better everything. #sorrynotsorry

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Pictured: Melbourne Emporium Shopping Centre

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Pictured: The Infamous Chadstone Shopping Centre, largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Perth is getting there, though, and a part of me wishes I was staying to see it flourish.

But, to be brutally honest, I just can’t wait to be gone.

I was going to say that I can’t wait to leave – but that wouldn’t be right. Leaving will suck. Leaving will be the hardest thing I have to do. Leaving will be gut-wrenching, anxiety fueling and all-consuming.

But actually being gone, whisked away into a whirl of new and busy and challenging?
That will be worth it.

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Pictured: Another of Melbourne’s quirky lanes in the CBD.

I booked an Air bnb for my first week over there. My first experience with the app actually – and so far so good. It looks like a cute little apartment in a prime location – Footscray – and a roommate who had colourful, positive reviews. Maybe I’m crazy heading over with no solid place to live, but it’s all part of the adventure.

I’ve spent way too much time browsing Flatmates.com and hovering my mouse over various listings with a racing heart. Finding somewhere to live will be my number one focus during my first week, though I suspect I will end up wasting quite a bit of time sipping cappuccinos and sneaking off to Chapel Street.

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While I’m exhilarated at the thought of tackling this on my own, it doesn’t mean it isn’t daunting. And it’s funny how many people are surprised at what I’m doing.

I mean for starters, the most common question I get is;
“Do you know anybody in Melbourne?”

And the answer is always, “No. Not really”.

But you know what? I love that. I’ve accepted that.

And you know why? Because it is a chance to meet new people. People I will meet fresh and without judgement, at this point in my life. It is a chance to reinvent myself. (They say your 20s is the best time for this kind of thing, don’t they?). It is a chance to be friends with new people, not just people I’ve known for my entire life, or from high school.

Don’t get me wrong, friends like that are great. I love those friends. I have a soft spot for them and a history that will always be there. But, sometimes you are only friends with those kinds of people because you’ve known each other for years. The sad truth is that if I met some of them today, we probably wouldn’t be friends. So I’m glad that we are, but we all mature and change as we grow up and it will be nice to make friends who see me for the person I am today.

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Pictured: Me in Hosier Lane, “Call Upon The Author To Explain”.

The second thing I need to accept is that it’s not all going to be sunshines and rainbows. There will be tough times, times when I will feel lonely. Times when I will question what the hell I’m doing; what the hell I’ve done.

But if I accept that, then I am on the right track.

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Pictured: South Wharf Promenade

More so than any of the bad, though, I am overwhelmed by the good. It’s something about Melbourne as a city that fuels and inspires me. I’ve only been to the city twice – once with my family and once on my October trip, alone.

And yet, being in the city, I become a version of myself that I am proud to be. I become independent, confident, stronger. I love how you can sit in a cafe until the cows come home, feeling welcomed and not at all judged.

It is very difficult to feel that way in Perth cafes, with staff member’s sassy attitudes, hurriedly clearing your table and asking you if they can get you anything else in a way that says I-really-hope-you-don’t-want-anything-else-actually-and-could-you-just-be-on-your-way.

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As well as the great cafe atmospheres, Melbourne oozes in the kind of art and culture that I need to keep me writing, smiling, living. I hope that it will bring many more exciting things to my blog; places to explore, things to do and a life to – for lack of a better term – grab by the balls.

I think I am ready for the adventure, though it feels kind of surreal and as though it hasn’t quite hit me yet that I’m leaving. But it will.

And at the end of the day, it’s only a 4 and a half hour plane trip away from home.

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Pictured: Melbourne CBD at Sunset.

I don’t quite know what possessed me to write about this. I guess sometimes it’s hard to have it all swirling around in your own head. But in any case, I guess I wanted to share the journey, to prove that I’m not alone. To prove that we all feel a little daunted and excited and overwhelmed with the changes and decisions we make in our lives at times.

I’m not sure why you would care about me ranting on about my move to Melbourne, but I hope you take something from it at least.

After all, aren’t we all just people…

trying to get by…

in this crazy little thing called life?

BLACK DIAMOND LAKE, COLLIE – WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Ever since I saw a photograph of the pristine, bright crystal-blue water of Black Diamond Lake, I wanted to go there.

I mean, look at it.

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Friends and I talked about it, throwing around ideas about road trips and camping trips and the works, but of course, they never actually got put into motion.

And it’s only now, because I’m leaving Perth soon (I’m going to live in Melbourne), that I realised there’s so much I want to do, and so little time to do it. (Of course, it’s not like I’m leaving Perth forever, but to be fair I also don’t know when I’ll be back, so it makes sense to try and tick off as much as I can from my list).

So when I was down south, I sent my friend Morgan the message – something along the lines of “WE STILL HAVE TO GO TO BLACK DIAMOND – BEFORE I GO!!!” And Morgz, being the enthusiastic person that she is, said ‘Yep, what about Thursday?’ And that was that.

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Black Diamond Lake is located in Allanson, a community only 5km or so from the town known as Collie, roughly 190km from Perth.

Morgan drove down from Perth, and I drove up from Busselton. My trip was an hour and a half, while hers 2 hours or so. Either way, the lake isn’t too difficult to get to – Ferguson Road, the road the lake resides by, comes directly off Coalfields Highway, so there’s not a lot of fluffing about in small country-town roads.

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Road Map. Black Diamond Lake, Allanson. Google Maps (2017).

I actually visited Black Diamond on the same day I did Barrabup Pool, so I won’t go into the details of the way I went. But if you’re traveling from Perth, take Kwinana Freeway South until it turns into Forrest Highway and eventually continue onto Old Coast Road. Then turn left onto Raymond Road, which you follow until you hit South Western Highway, at which point turn left and then a quick right into Coalfields – and then you’re on your way to Ferguson!

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Road Map. Raymond Road to Coalfields Highway. Google Maps (2017).

Once you’ve turned into Ferguson (a right turn onto an unsealed road), keep following for about 600m and you’ll see the first glimpse of the lake. Continue until you come to the first carpark on the right (it will be very obvious). There is lots of parking space there and easy access into the lake.

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For those that don’t know, Black Diamond was formerly an open cut mine site that ceased operation in the 1950s and has since been filled with water.

Now it is probably at this point that I should mention the danger of the presence of amoeba in the water. There have been a few warnings issued about the water quality at Black Diamond – all the information you need can be found on the council’s report and also an article by WA today. (FYI, I put my head under the water and I’m still here kicking).
However, it is best to have all the info and make your own educated decision before you go.

I would recommend going on a really sunny, cloudless day, because this is when the water will look its best, shining the beautiful azure blue colour.

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On the opposite side of the lake to the carpark, there’s a rope swing tied to a big tree. We couldn’t help ourselves – we had to have a turn. Though I would advise to jump directly straight and land on your feet, as it is very shallow on either side of this bank (and only if you’re willing to put your head under).

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In terms of picnicking, the best idea I’ve seen was those who took tarps to use as shades between two cars (generally utes, but you could make do), or small tents, picnic rugs and tables and chairs. There’s not a lot of shade space at the lake, so get creative with your choice of gear and remember to Slip, Slop, Slap!

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We made a full day-trip out of being at the lake. Eskies, rugs, you name it. It was such a beautiful setting, even just to sit and observe.

We found a limestone rock to set up our stuff on, rather than being down on the bank with everyone else around us. The rock gave us a higher view of the lake, but not so high that we couldn’t easily enter the water. It was the perfect setting.

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It was a scorching 37 degrees (probably more in direct sunlight) on the day that we went, so we escaped into the cool water, lounging around on blow-up mattresses, watermelons, pineapples and various birds for most of the time.

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Would you believe me if  I said that photos don’t even do this place justice?

It is another one of this world’s wonders that is worth seeing – especially when we don’t know how long we will be able to continue to visit, swim and enjoy the lake for.

I’m glad we made the trip.

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