Around Melbourne | Pink Lake

I know this is probably old news by now, but I finally went to see the “Pink Lake” in Melbourne at Westgate Park. The salt water lake turns pink almost every summer due to the interaction of alga and halobacterium in the heat.  Lots of people were there to see it before it disappears.
If you go, be warned: it’s stinky!

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Around Melbourne | Forest Glade Gardens, Mount Macedon

About an hour from Melbourne is the beautiful area of Mount Macedon. Forest Glade is a  private garden with a variety of themes, such as English, Japanese, and a fern gully. It costs $10 to get in, and it is beautiful year-around!
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El Rancho Escondido | Driftwood, Texas

Back to our US road trip! After New Mexico, we finally got to Texas where we spent a few weeks in Dallas, Austin, and Houston. For a few days, we stayed at my aunt and uncle’s ranch in Driftwood, which is a little south of Austin. El Rancho Escondido is home to lots of cows, donkeys, and dogs. Austin the Australian Cattle Dog even has his own Facebook page.

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Angie + Alex | Melbourne Wedding

A few days after a big wedding in Sydney (where he’s from), Angie and Alex celebrated a second wedding at the registry office in Melbourne (where they live now). Any excuse to wear a second wedding dress is a must, right? It took place at the beautiful Old Treasury Building. Afterwards, we walked around the city for a few shots that were very ‘Melbourne’; a tram, Hosier Lane, Flinders Street Station.
Thanks for exploring the city with me, guys! Best wishes for a happy marriage filled with many adventures 🙂

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International UFO Museum | Roswell, NM

“In July 1947, something happened northwest of Roswell during a severe thunderstorm. Was it a flying saucer? Was it a weather balloon? What happened?” – Roswell, NM government website

Another stop on our little American road trip was the International UFO Museum & Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico. Whether you believe it was aliens or not, it’s definitely worth the cheap entry fee. There is so much to read, it could take hours to get through it all.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but damn, that whole situation in 1947 sure was strange!

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Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

We went to the States to visit family last month. We decided to take a little road trip from Los Angeles to Texas, to have some time to ourselves before spending every day seeing as many family/friends as possible.
Our first stop: the Grand Canyon! There was snow EVERYWHERE. It was magical. But, we didn’t get to hike like we wanted to.

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Australian/American Family Photoshoot in Melbourne

An Australian dad, an American mum. Two amazing little girls. I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful family earlier this year. Isla just turned one, and is wearing a hand-me-down dress that her sister wore at the same age. Georgia is three and is definitely a city girl (we came across some bees and she was not excited about it). It was a beautiful day for sunflowers and spins in pretty dresses. Thanks so much for hanging out with me for an hour in the gardens!

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Around Melbourne | World Rice Festival

I love rice. I could eat rice every day. When I was little, sometimes I would eat just a bowl of rice with butter (I was skinny, I needed the carbs!). I love curry with rice, fried rice, sushi rolls, sweet rice with mango, even risotto counts. Anyway, when I heard about the new World Rice Festival coming to Melbourne, I knew it was for me! My husband and I aimed to try as many dishes as possible, but we got full way too quickly. The pork belly from Rice Paper Scissors was one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted! There were flamenco performances and cooking demonstrations, so we could sit and let everything digest happily.

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pork belly from Rice Paper Scissors

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Flamenco

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Japanese curry from Maedaya Sake & Grill

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sushi class

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paella class

There was a lot more to see, but I couldn’t stay for the whole day. I hope this festival comes back every year!!

Hawaii | Pearl Harbor

December 7th, 1941. “A date which will live in infamy.”

I’ve been saving this post for today (it’s still December 7th in America!). When we went to Hawaii earlier this year, we got to see Pearl Harbor. Actually, for my family, it was a must-do. The number one thing we had to see. When we got there, I was surprised at just how much there was to experience. There are some exhibits that show the lead up to the attack, and President Roosevelt’s famous speech. Then you are ushered in to a theatre, where you watch an amazing short documentary about the attack. Hearing and seeing the USS Arizona explode in actual footage from that day is something I will NEVER forget. It absolutely shook me. The USS Arizona Memorial itself was closed, but they drove everyone by it in a boat.
Also, we didn’t tour the USS Missouri, but we got to see it. That is something I’ll never forget, too.

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1,102 sailors and Marines are buried with the USS Arizona. 2,403 people in total died in the attack.

Never forget.

Around Melbourne | Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens

After living in Melbourne almost two and a half years, we finally went to the zoo! There were some particularly cheeky animals. I recommend going to the keeper talks to get good views and information. Every major exhibit has a message about conservation, such as recycling cell phones and buying products that don’t use unsustainable palm oil. A lot of renovation is going on, so we couldn’t see some things like the frog house, but I think the improvements will be really nice!

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Around Melbourne |The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

On one side of Federation Square in Melbourne sits a small museum featuring Australian art. It’s part of the National Gallery of Victoria. The temporary exhibitions change constantly and they always surprise and inspire. Everything from photography to furniture, audio/visual and interactive collections, including Indigenous art.
The best part? Free entry!

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The Reyes Family | Documentary Family Photography in Melbourne

I met the Reyes family on a sunny day at Elwood Beach. We had a short session in the sand and at the park. This American family has been in Melbourne for a year! Three little boys make for some fun moments 🙂

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christina hardcastle photography’s 1 hour session includes some portraits!

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the session ended with a sweet hug ❤

For information on 1-hour “unscripted” sessions like this one, as well as other services, click here!

Around Melbourne | Werribee Gorge

Now that the weather is getting nicer, we finally went for a hike. We went to Werribee Gorge (always looking for fun things to do on the west side!). The circuit walk is so good! There are definitely hard sections; parts of the trail are just piles of rocks, and there is a cable to hang on to in one part so you don’t fall in to the water. An old irrigation channel goes along part of the trail, and informational signs about plants and wildlife keep the hike interesting. It took us about 3.5 hours and we took our time.

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Kauai, Hawaii | ATV Tour

In a last minute adventurous decision, my family signed up for an ATV tour at Kipu Ranch in Kauai. It was really beautiful and really, really dirty. We left completely covered in a thin layer of dirt.
A lot of movies were filmed on this ranch, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, and we got to swing on a rope into the river where the opening scene to that movie was filmed. We saw a beach from a distance that supposedly has a lot of skeletons from when Hawaiian warriors tried to take Kauai from its last king. We also saw taro farms that have been there for a very long time.
Overall, it was an awesome tour, and the guides made it really fun. I highly recommend it!

 
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Hawaii | Fireworks and Palm Trees

My husband and I met up with my family in Hawaii recently. We had many adventures, and my next few blog posts will be photos from that trip!

Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort puts on a fireworks show. It lined up pretty perfectly with some palm trees on the beach. I’m not that great at firework photography, and I used the wrong lens, but here are a few of my shots 🙂

Buddha’s Day & Multicultural Festival | Melbourne

This past weekend, at Federation Square, the annual Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival took place. It celebrates Buddha’s birthday and promotes cultural awareness and inclusiveness. There were many interactive opportunities, including a tea ceremony and an art installation. It was really cool to see people learning about a culture they weren’t familiar with, and participating with open minds. The food was also very, very good!

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buddha festival at federation square

Alms giving ceremony

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Bodhi Tree art installation

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Tea ceremony

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Bathing the Buddha

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Melbourne | Parliament of Victoria

Another touristy post!
Living in Melbourne, I have always wanted to tour Parliament. I never got the chance until recently. We only did the short tour (15 minutes), which was extremely rushed, but still really interesting. I would recommend taking one of the longer tours, because there is so much information! I got the impression that the guides prefer leading the longer tours, too.
Here are some quick photos I got of the building and details.

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