We’ve just been celebrating Australia Day weekend, which means a public holiday! So, I went back to Melbourne to catch up with old friends and celebrate my friend Emma’s birthday. It was really great to see my old city, and a place that still resonates with my soul. I love the really laid back feel and effortless cool the place radiates.

Emma took us to an outrageously good pub in Brunswick called the Retreat Hotel. Grungy, funky, vibing and charismatic, it’s a place you (as we did) sit for a good meal in a comfortable environment, drink good beers and then as the evening progresses enjoy the huge beer garden, and then wile away the committing the dance crime of choice.

We also ate at a Cambodian restaurant called Bopha Devi in Yarraville. The food was first class, spicy but delicate with complex favours. Wish they’d open one in Sydney!

After saying my goodbyes I headed back to Sydney. The weather was fantastic, and on the bank holiday Monday a few of the beach crew (Phillipa, Sarah and Maree) got in the old beast and drove North! With windows wound down, the sun shining and music blasting from my little stereo we gleefully headed towards the glorious Northern Beaches. After a bit of deliberation we decided to check out Avalon Beach.

You can view photos of the afternoon here.

This really is a beautiful haven of a beach. Largely uncrowded, it has a relaxed and easygoing air about it. We stayed for the afternoon, read, chatted and swam. It encapsulated all that is great about living in Australia: clean air, exercise, sunshine and lifestyle. As the afternoon became early evening we decided it was time to head home. En route we stopped at North Heads National Park which has the most epic views of Sydney imaginable. Sweeping views of the city and bay vistas arrest you from every angle. If you ever get a chance to visit Sydney, I’d highly recommend checking out both these places.