Hike number ten! What we have gained so far.

wp-image-101430948
Hike #10!

This past weekend marked out tenth hike since we started getting out to explore the great outdoors. When this tradition started, it  was out of necessity. Our two year old son was having a hard time adjusting to a new sibling, a move to a new apartment as well as change in structure at his daycare. The days were long, with many tantrums, lots of frustration and second guessing my abilities as a mother. I knew my son needed reassurance, I knew the tantrums were a way of him communicating his anxiety and angst; yet, I still found myself getting angry and cross with him, punishing him and then feeling guilty.

wp-image-1534797616
Getting through obstacles.

The idea of getting out and hiking was something I had been thinking of for a while, but I kept coming up with reasons why we could not do it just yet. I had a newborn, we were still settling in to the new place, it was too cold for my newborn, and so on. Then one day, when I was at my wits end, I decided to get everybody out of the house and I picked our first hike. A short 3 km loop that took us through bush land and small creeks and thus, started the journey of a thousand miles.

wp-image-1081480631
“follow me mummy”

Ten hikes in, and these hikes are what gets us through the week. Though the initial goal was to get my son out of the house, I have seen so many more benefits;

  1. Hiking has brought our family closer. We now enjoy sitting around the table and discussing where to go next. We look at maps, descriptions of the hikes and pick one that suits us. This has made for some lovely evenings.
  2. We have seen so much more of the state of New South Wales just from going on hikes. Sydney alone is surrounded by beautiful national parks. You only have to drive a short distance in any direction and you are bound to find yourself in a park waiting to be explored.
  3. My son is calmer, and even looks forward to getting out. Outdoors, the rules are less and the space is vast. We tailor our hikes to suite my son and any friends he may bring along. We go at his pace and cover short distances to avoid fatigue and irritability. Adult supervision is still key but out there, we let him explore, throw, collect, dig etc. Its his playground.
  4. My son is a more confident and an agile hiker. For an almost three year old, its interesting to see how much his coordination has improved. This has in turn made him a more confident explorer who is able to assess the hike and determine what he can do on his own and when he needs help.
  5. We now have conversations about preserving and respecting the nature we so much love. Being out in nature has given us an opportunity to teach lessons about empathy, responsibility and respect. We stress the importance of leaving a place better than we found it for those who may come after us. Even though he is still young, I believe that its never too early to start teaching basic morals and values.
  6. Stronger friendships. Through our Instagram account, we have had other families ask to join our hikes. We have also met new families along the way. The hikes have allowed us to form new friendships and solidify existing ones.

Hiking as a family has done wonders for us. I am there for encouraging anyone reading this to get out and wander. Whether its in your neighbourhood or you travel away from home, the benefits are immeasurable. The hardest part is making that first step out of the door, and once you do, it will be hard to look back. Happy hiking!

Another weekend another hike. Bundeena to Jibbon head.

The cool weather in Sydney will soon be gone, and hiking in the scorching sun is not really my cup of tea. That said, we are trying our best to cover as many short hikes as we can. Even though we felt a bit run down this weekend, we picked ourselves up and headed south of Sydney, and boy are we glad we did!

The royal national park is roughly 55 kms from Sydney. It has a variation of walks both in distance and difficulty. Some give you some beautiful coastal views and you can also opt for walks with lots of bushland. On the coastal walks, you will find beaches along the way where you can cool off in the summer or winter if you are brave enough.

wp-image-1892431
Jibbon beach. Where our walk almost ended before it even started. Luckily, we convinced these two to keep moving.

For our family, we choose a toddler friendly walk, Bundeena to Jibbon head. The walk starts from Bundeena wharf and takes you through Jibbon beach. Past Jibbon beach, you join the Jibbon track on to shelley beach. Important to note, past Jibbon beach, the track is on the edge of a cliff and some parts are a bit exposed. If hiking with children, please be mindful. What worked well for us was we had one adult walk ahead of the eager and energetic toddlers and they followed behind.

wp-image-759679672
The walking track, and two happy boys.

We were treated to some amazing coastal views, some bushland as well as aboriginal engravings. For this walk, we were joined by a friend and her son and so the boys had a really good time making up games along the way. It was also interesting to listen in on their conversations as they explored things they found on the hike.

wp-image-1163063593
Spectacular coastal views. Exposed cliffs, keep a close eye on the kids.

 

wp-image-1275769876
Aboriginal engravings.
wp-image-24545954
Exploring toddler.

When we did our first hike this winter, I had an idea that I wanted it to be a family tradition, but I was skeptical. Would we make it past the first hike?. We had a new baby, we were sleep deprived and were dealing with a toddler who was having a hard time adjusting to  the changes happening in his family. Now, seven hikes in, we all look forward to getting out and exploring. This hikes have become an outlet, a fun way of bonding and its also how we stay active. Its my hope that whether you live in Sydney or elsewhere, our blog inspires you to get out in your area and discover new places on foot. You will be glad you did.

 Talk of a hike with breathtaking views!

If you are familiar with Sydney, you are aware of all the beautiful walks and hikes that are only a short drive from the city. My young family started exploring these walks a few months ago and it has made for a very interesting winter. To paint the picture, we are a family of four. My husband and I, our almost 3 year old son and our five month old daughter. These hikes started as a way of getting our very energetic boy outdoors, after all, he is up at 6 am everyday! They have now become something we all look forward to each weekend and are hoping to keep up for a long time to come. I will write about all the walks in good time, but today, I cover a hike we did this weekend.

Chowder bay to Bradley head. This is about a 5 km hike return (back track). Note that you can extend this hike by starting from Balmoral beach and walking all the way to Taronga zoo. We choose this hike because it ticked all the boxes we consider  when hiking with a toddler.  Easily accessible, not too difficult, great views and less than 5 km return.

If you do a search on Google maps, you can see that the walk can be accessed from different points. We started from Clifton gardens.  Once you walk past the beach, the track immediately takes you into some bush land. From here, you can catch glimpses of the ocean through the tree branches. Further down the track, views of the Sydney harbour and all her glory come into view.

IMG_20170819_192827_097

The walk is nicely shaded by all the trees ensuring that you don’t get too hot or sunburned. Along the way, there are all sorts of native birds and plants. My son was able to walk the track easily as its flat enough to allow him to cover a  lot of distance without tiring. Half way along the hike, at Taylors bay, we stopped for a picnic and were joined by some Kookaburras who were happy to pose for a picture.

IMG_20170819_192827_095Things to note, like with every hike, we took basic precautions. Had enough food and water, (5 km is nothing but if you have ever been around a hungry toddler, you know food is a must!) we also checked the New South Wales national park website to ensure that the walking track was open on the day. As this is Australia, snakes are everywhere. There were signs along the track with details of the snakes found in this particular area, some poisonous some not. I am happy to point out that we did not encounter any. At the end of the hike, as we have done with any hike that has taken us through bushland, we checked my son for ticks  just as a precaution.

This hike is great for everyone. Its for families looking to enjoy the outdoors with their children, visitors to Sydney looking for a short hike with breathtaking views, or any Sydneysider looking for a good relaxing walk. Its guaranteed to take your breathe away!

We love sharing our hiking experiences with other young families.  Please let us know your favourite hikes in Sydney,  or share how you hike with children in different areas of the world. We hope you follow our blog for more hiking stories and tips. We look forward to hearing from you.

I am not my hair.

In the last 2 weeks, I have been mistaken for a man four times. Four times! Okay so the first time was by a young boy so I will let that one pass. The second and third, by people on my Instagram account. They thought that a picture of me and my husband riding bicycles was a picture of a same sex couple. You can take a look at the Instagram picture here. 

The fourth time,  a vendor in my new neighbourhood.  I walked in to his shop pushing my infant in  a stroller, he looked up briefly and addressed me as ‘sir’. I Did a quick scan behind me just to be sure. Yap! He was addressing me. I responded and waited for him to realise his mistake and address me correctly but nothing. Sure my voice was raspy from a case of laryngitis but I did not think I sounded like a man. So with a little annoyance in my voice, I said something else, and then he looked up for more than two seconds and laughed. ‘I am sorry’ he said.  ‘I thought you were a man. The short hair threw me off.’ After a slight scoff  I asked him, ‘you based my gender just on my short hair?’. ‘Well, you don’t see that many women with short hair’, He said. ‘You need to get out more sir’ was my answer.  After a short laugh, we engaged in more conversation.  He wanted to know if my short hair was because of some tradition or custom. I explained that it was purely a matter of choice.  I wear my hair short because it suits my lifestyle.  I went on to explain that where I come from, women wear their hair many different ways, long, short, curly, straight, braided and the options are endless.  I explained that our hair does not define us and its merely an accessory.  As he handed me my change, he told me that I wear my short hair well but he still prefers his women with long hair. I smiled, aware that my infant was getting restless in her stroller and I had limited time to finish my errands.

As I walked away, I could not help but find India Aries song ‘I am not my hair’ on my playlist and rock to it all the way home. However you wear your hair, here is a  video of India Arie reminding us that we are more than meets the eye. Have you been mistaken for a different gender because of the way you wear your hair? how do you deal with it? I would love to hear your comments and stories.