A recap of my adventures in AUTUMN 2023

Autumn was busy! I had some experiences planned across Sydney, the Central Coast and the South Coast before I jetted off to South East Asia for some adventures in Singapore, Indonesia and a new country – Taiwan!

Read on for my adventures…


I never have enough time to do art so a few times a year I treat myself to a watercolour class. The amazing organisation Heritage Ventures is based in the tiny Hawkesbury town of Spencer. They do a range of fun weekend experiences but I couldn’t pass up the birdwatching and watercolour full day workshop! I spent a lovely Saturday wandering around the river and the town of Spencer, looking and listening for birds. We then practised and honed our skills painting magpies and lorikeets, instructed by a local artist. I was also able to grab takeway lunch at the very cute cafe ‘The Anchor’, a popular spot for day trippers.


I had been breaking up the Tuggerah Foreshore walk/shared pathway  loop into smaller sections, doing 5-6km each time. In Autumn I did Long Jetty (the actual jetty that gives the suburb its name) to Picnic Point Reserve at The Entrance. It’s always a nice way to spend a weekend morning wandering around the lake. The pathway is currently being extended, so I can’t wait to get a bicycle so I can ride from my house all around the eastern side of the lake!


I took the niece and nephew down to visit mum on the South Coast for some family time, and so their parents could have a long weekend to themselves! Despire being April, the water was perfect for swimming and playing at Mollymook beach and at Narrawallee Inlet. We grabbed a cafe lunch with a view at Oceanvibes Ulladulla, one of our favourite spots. On Saturday night we hung out on the hill (and in the boot – literally) watching the fireworks over the harbour that are held for the Blessing of the Fleet festival in Ulladulla.

Both days we took the kids on a few bushwalks and to some lookouts.  The final day was the drive back to Sydney, we had a lunch and lolly shop stop in Kiama and of course went to see the famous blowhole. It’s always special sharing my favourite places in NSW with a whole new generation of mini explorers!


I had begun going to Treehouse Yoga here on the Central Coast when they advertised a Mothers Day half day workshop. Held at a local function centre called Our Secret Garden, we did two hours of yoga, intermixed with a healthy lunch, a wander around the property and a succulent potting workshop. It was such a great way to spend the morning!


My cousin has been a ‘coastie’ for nearly ten years so she knows a few good walking spots in the area. We took on a section of the Coast to Lake Scenic Walk at The Entrance, travelling past the pools, beside the channel that gives The Entrance it’s name and around to the foreshore park. It was a cloudy, moody morning, so we grabbed a hot chai at the end of an enjoyable 6km walk!


My first day back at work after a two week break was spent participating in a local ‘on country’ indigenious experience at Ku-ring-gai National Park, led by local Aboriginal elders from the Eora Nation. It was such an educational experience and a reminder of how much I like to get back to nature. We finished with a visit to the lookout over West Head, where my aunty and uncle got married in the 1970s!


Towards the end of Autumn I hopped over to Singapore! It had been exactly ten years since I was last there and the purpose of our visit was to attend a concert by K pop group Blackpink. I met up with my travel buddies from England and Canada for a few days in the vibrant city.

We stayed in Little India and used the metro to get around town, visiting the harbour and merlion statue, Gardens by the Bay, shopping districts, parks and restaurants. A highlight was visiting the Gardens by the Bay cloud forest and flower domes and seeing the light show in the supertrees. I missed the light show when I was here in 2013 so I really enjoyed seeing it this time. It was also incredible seeing the growth of the gardens and domes ten years later.

We hunted for a great restaurant and bar with views to celebrate one of our birthdays and Lantern at The Fullerton Bay Hotel certainly hit the mark! I love the vibrant food and drink scene in Singapore, I could explore for days. We also had drinks at a roof top bar in Chinatown and being the foodies we are visited many Hawker markets for yummy food, as well as the popular Indian eateries, open all night, perfect for post concert drinks!

The concert was amazing and very busy, with crowds of around 80 000. It was also interesting to attend a K pop concert, there were many differences between this concert and other stadium tours I have attended. Glad I wore my sneakers and comfy clothes, we walked all the way back to Singapore harbour from the stadium, after no luck with the metro, buses, Ubers and taxis – we tried them all! Even McDonalds was a disaster, losing our order after a 40 min wait! We were finally in bed at 2am, sweaty and tired but very happy!


After walking for 4 days straight around the bustling Singapore, we decided to treat ourselves to a few days lying by a resort pool. Some investigating online led us to find some destinations close to to Singapore, narrowing our choices down to the islands of Batam and Bintan. Both located in the Singapore Strait, a short ferry ride from Singapore, these Indonesian islands offer resort accommodation at a much more affordable rate than those in Malaysia and ingapore. We ended up choosing Montigo Resort, on Batam island. For the 4 of us we booked a 2 bedroom villa with our own infinity pool and rooftop. All of the villas have views over the bay and looked back at the Singapore skyline, which was perfect for sunset.

Batam reminds me of Bali, 20-30 years ago. It’s hard to get around the island and town is over an hour away. You could definitely stay at a resort for the whole time, especially if you are only there a few days like we were. We did hire a driver and head into the main town to go to a day spa and have lunch, which felt like we had seen some of the local sites and how the locals live.

I would highly recommend (if you can) staying at one of the Bintan or Batam resorts during the week, we literally had the place (and pool, and restaurant) all to ourselves, compared to weekends which are very popular and busy. Throw in the odd monkey sighting, cocktails, friendly locals and lying by the pool and it was an amazing few days. I think we have convinced ourselves that all overseas holidays from now on need to have a ‘resort rest’ at the end aftera few hectic days (or weeks) of travel!




After a few relaxing days on Batam island, we headed back to Singapore to get a flight to Taipei. We only had 3 days in this bustling city,  my only new country for 2023. Although it was hard to get back into the swing of busy sightseeing days after lying by the pool, we crammed many activities in. We visited famous monuments and temples, hiking elephant mountain, took a trip up Taipei 101 tower, hit up some night markets and shopping, and tool gondola ride up to the teahouses of Maokong. We even took a day trip to the hot springs of Beitou, a place where there is some geothermal activity. Beitou is only 30 mins from the centre of the city.  Instead of visiting the very famous public bathing site, we paid to go to a private resort hot spring – where you don’t have to go naked and it’s less crowded! I would recommend the outdoor spa at Spring City Resort.

Keep an eye out for more Singapore, Batam Island and Taipei content soon on the blog!

So that was Autumn. It felt strange travelling overseas in May, outside of holiday time. It was worth it for the lack of crowds, but it definitely made it tricky taking time off work. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long for another holiday period and another overseas trip in July. After five years I was heading back to New Zealand! Stay tuned for that and more adventures in my next recap, Winter 2023.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *