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Win 2 nights in the Enchanted Love Cave!

This post was brought to you by Flowers for Everyone.

I grew up a hop, skip & a jump away from the Blue Mountains, and I don’t know HOW I didn’t hear about this place sooner! The wonderful people at Flowers for Everyone have a pretty amazing competition which includes 2 nights stay in the flower filled Love Cave.

Set high on a cliff face in the Blue Mountains, the Enchanted Love Cave is a place to cook simply, relax easily, and love your partner. Relax in the spa and watch the afternoon clouds roll over the mountains before the sun starts to fade and an eternity of stars begin to prick the night sky. Breathe in the scent of wood smoke mingled with fresh Eucalyptus and the fragrance from hundreds of red roses filling the cave. Listen to logs spitting in the fireplace as flames flicker shadows across rock walls, painting them with warmth and the age-old secrets of a primeval earth.

If you have a spare minute, make sure you watch the above video. WARNING: You may fall in love. Seriously, this is like a dream destination for me and total house inspiration. I’d love to live in a place like this, with nature at my doorstep, or actually merged with the house. I didn’t get the nickname ‘natatree’ for not loving trees!

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If you win, be sure to check out some of the local attraction, one of the most famous is about 40minutes away, The 3 Sisters. I’ve honestly lost count the amount of times I’ve visited this landmark, and it never fails to blow me away. I really do think Australia is beautiful and feel so lucky to live here.

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For your chance to win head over the competition page. Make sure you read the T&C’s at the bottom of the page.

ENTER HERE!

XL in Tasmania – Tasman Island Cruise

My parents fell in love with Tasmania when they visited, and pretty much demanded that whilst I was there, I go on the Tasman Island Cruise. They loved it, and seeing as I don’t drive, it was a nice way to see more of Hobart and the surrounds. In fact they paid for us to go on it as a birthday/christmas present!

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The day started up and early. We had to meet at the docks at 7:45am. It was coooold. Winter in Tasmania, right on the wharf, that early. Golly, it was cold! We met our bus tour guide and other passengers and were on our way.

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Tasmania has gorgeous scenery. It’s the closest I’ve come to New Zealand scenery in Australia. Our driver told us a lot about the history of the towns and of the devastating bush fires that passed through the area a few years ago. Some places are yet to rebuild.

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We were dropped off at a cafe near the Tasman Peninsular whilst the driver went and picked up a few passengers from elsewhere. We had juice and a yummy muffin.

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We were picked up and taken to our boat (an awesome 12.5m Naiad boat, which got us so close we could touch the rock face!!). We got suited up in survival suits and given ginger for motion sickness. Don’t I look fancy?

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By now it was around 10am, and it was a BEAUTIFUL day, but still cold. I had multiple layers, and the survival suit and I still felt frozen at times. I was thankful the day was so clear and calm as we still had a few waves we crashed down from that had my stomach somersaulting like it does on a rollercoaster.

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Seeing all the rock formations, the sea so clear at times you could see what lay on the sea floor, and knowing that at one point, if we kept on heading South there would be no land until we hit Antarctica. Spot the birds up there? This is also the trip where I got to see at the seals I talked about previously.

tasmania-016 tasmania-017The Totem Pole & Candle Stick

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Can you believe people from all over the world travel here to climb the totem pole and candlestick! Nu-uh, no way could I do that! These photos don’t do them justice.

tasmania-019The candlestick from the other side.

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We finally made it to Tasman island, where we were greeted by the still in place mechanics used when the lighthouse was manned. It’s one of the most isolated lighthouses and was built in 1906. It became automated in 1976.

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To get anything onto the island, including people, they would take a small boat out to a smaller rock (which you can’t see, we’re in between the rock and the land in this picture) and use a basket on a flying fox to get across. Then hauled by an engine-driven winch along a steep tramline up a cliff to an elevation of about 700 feet, which you can just make out in the picture below.

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It was STEEP! Light straight up! I wouldn’t make it up, and i’m sure i’d probably break my neck trying to navigate the way down. The whole family would move and live there, I think there was often 2 families at once. If you have a spare moment, go check out this page.

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After that, we headed back and made our way to Port Arthur, which you can read about here. If you ever make it to Hobart, I’d really recommend you go on one of the Tasman Island cruises. I am SO thankful for my parents for making sure I got to experience it!

I have to admit, I am a little scared of boats, but I felt fully safe the whole time & glad that I did it. (It once took my parents a few days to get me on a paddle steamer in water a few feet deep!)

If you had the chance, would you do a day boat trip like this?

XL in Tasmania – Seals!

Animals are everything to me, I love them all, and i’m pretty certain I like them more then most humans. So, i’m always excited when I get to see animals, especially ones that you don’t see all that often, especially ones in the wild. I didn’t know what to expect as far as animals in Hobart, but I wasn’t disappointed!

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I arrived in Hobart late Sunday night, and the next day, took a walk from where I was staying to Salamanca. On the walk back along the piers, I saw a crowd of people hanging around one of the floating food vessels.

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Turns out, a seal had come through the boating entry and was hanging around for some food! The staff of the boat happily gave him some off cuts and he had fun throwing it around and ripping it apart.

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It was amazing seeing one so randomly and SO close, he wasn’t scared at all. Apparently he’s a regular! It was also fascinating to see how he would slam the fish into the water to break it apart.

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He would dive deep in the water, and you couldn’t see him, then he’d pop up somewhere else. He was doing some rolls and floating on his back, being SUPER cute. I think he loved the attention. I stayed and watched for an hour.

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The second time I got to see them was when I went on a Tasman Island Cruises. They often see many animals on this cruise, and were hoping for whales, but honestly, I was just stoked to see more seals (& an albatross!!)

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We got to see Australian Fur Seals, as well as New Zealand Fur Seals, but I don’t remember which ones were which. It’s quite outstanding how far they’d make it up the rocks, and the sounds they make, oh so cute! They were rather inquisitive too, some even taking to the water to come check out the boat!

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A mum & her pup!

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A bit further away were the males, a whole heap of them, lazing around. I’m happy to say that my nose was rather blocked, because from what i’m told, they can get a tad smelly at times!

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A few perked up at the sound of the boat, then were kind of like “oh, it’s just you again” and returned to rest. Except a few sassy seals who TOTALLY posed it up! I mean, look at the dude above, you know he’s being all “B*tch, i’m fabulous”.

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What’s the most exciting animal you’ve seen in the wild?