Pleasant ways to experience the New Year

How channelling your inner goodness can lead to a balanced life


2018 was a year I found balance and then lost it. It’s easy to do. You get caught up in work, family, projects and before you know it – the gains you have made are sliding away.

So how do you keep hold of that positive space where everything is simple, relaxed and enjoyable?

The answer is to do something you love. And experience nature.

Nature is grounding. Nature is also soothing. Notice how people frequent beautiful places – the beach, the bush, lovely walks. These places give back to us in spades.

Living on the Sapphire Coast means there’s many stunning places to ground yourself. My favourite lately has been Panboola,, which is a gorgeous wetlands conservation project with bicycle paths, picnic areas and bird watching hides. Strolling around the many paths quietens the mind so that you can simply appreciate the surroundings.

Panboola has a magical effect on me. I found it easy to become so engrossed in the beauty before me that I did not see a huge kangaroo jump the fence behind me until he grunted, indicating I should leave. Not arguing, I backed away, out the gate only to be surrounded by his friends. Missing the peak of a stunning sunset, I determinedly marched through the group and hastily returned to my car. But not snapping the gorgeous photo on this page.

The lesson learned – find something you love = balance.

I see art everywhere!

How your surroundings can enrich your life

I never thought I had an artistic bone in my body. I’m sure the school art teacher had my name on a list titled, “Students never to be offered a place in elective art.” I bet the teacher had a big star beside my name to emphasise my lack of ability and candidature for the course.

But that has not stopped me from developing an appreciation for art.

Photographing the Sapphire Coast has been a wonderful journey into enjoying natural art which is seen in rock formations, textures of windblown trees, composition of landscapes and the amazing hues of colour seen in the sea.

I cannot drag my eyes away from the blues which change in intensity depending on what part of the coast you are located. The Pambula River has clean, green colour while the water off Short point is a deep sapphire blue.

The Sapphire coast has a thriving artistic community who love to show their work. Pambula’s Artessence gallery shows paintings, pottery, jewellery and photography. Twyford Hall in Merimbula hosts artists groups while the attached gallery is often booked out with exhibitions. Don’t miss out on the Bega Regional Gallery with its exhibitions. I couldn’t believe my good luck to find the Archibalds there – without the crowds. For something affordable and simple,  Black Daisy in Pambula has, “The exquisite work of local artists and artisans plus a selection of divine homewares.”

Whether it’s natural or man-made, the Sapphire Coast offers opportunities to satisfy every artistic adventure.

Start yours today!

Rules for seeing the sunrise

Can experiencing a sunrise improve how you feel?

I have been watching the sunrise for 24 years. It started when I was travelling to work so after changing jobs I continued getting up early. Now, as a photographer, I watch every second, observing the natural world around me in an effort to get a great shot. That ritual provides balance and appreciation in my life, something you can achieve too.

Rules for seeing the sun rise

Don’t be a lush! Drinking heavily will affect your experience

There’s nothing worse than a hangover for preventing you from getting up early. Go easy on the red, or the bubbles, set your alarm and commit.

Mimic Greta Garbo – Find a place where you can be alone

There’s nothing worse than making polite conversation when you want to chill. Being alone is good for you. It reminds you that you don’t need to rely on others and gives you that essential time to reconnect with yourself and nature. In fact, psychological theorist Erikson recognised the importance of nature based intervention by using this method in counselling.[1] So find a safe place where you can be uninterrupted and wait for the magic to happen.

Be at one with your surroundings

Turn your phone off – you don’t need reminders or texts for the 20 minutes it takes for the sun to rise. Allow yourself this time to experience the scene. Listen to the sounds of nature, feel the breeze drift across your face and watch the glorious colours unfold before you.

[1] Burns, G.W., “Nature Guided Therapy” Taylor & Francis, USA, 1998, p.15.



Tips for busy travellers to the Sapphire Coast

Some of the best sights can be found by pulling over and watching the moods of the Sapphire Coast


I have finally learnt my lesson. I have a habit of living in my head. We all do it. Afternoons can be the worst. You’ve rushed from work, picked up the kids, dashed to the soccer fields. Made a quick trip to the supermarket. Home to put the chook in the oven. Fed the dog. Watered the one surviving indoor plant and all the while thinking of something else. What you have to do this evening, tomorrow or have finished by the end of the week.

And all the while you missed something important – like what is actually going on around you.

I have visited the Sapphire Coast since 1986 and I have never actually seen it. Always in a rush, or too exhausted to take in the scenery, I never noticed the beauty surrounding me.

Like how the waters of Lake Merimbula has many mood and colours and how clouds create atmosphere.

How restful it is to sit for ten minutes and observe the changing light, reflections and colour.

Some of the best sunsets can be seen from the many vantage points around Merimbula, whether you are strolling the boardwalk at Top Lake or sitting near the pelican sculptures at Fishpen.

So if you are a busy traveller or just flat out with the daily grind, allow yourself time to appreciate the scenery. And don’t forget – some of the best sights can be found by pulling over and watching the moods of the Sapphire Coast.

The Easiest Way to Enjoy Life on the Sapphire Coast

To walk it is to love it

Ever felt overwhelmed by life? Has the enormity of the task hit you? Or are the changes you have made are huge?

That is how it was for me.

We had moved recently, the house was organised, husband happy in his work and the teenager adjusted (as much as they can be). All the busyness had slowed down and the realisation hit me – I didn’t know anyone.

I was used to walking down the main street and being greeted by people I knew. Sometimes it could be a little annoying being stopped for a chat when you had quickly ducked out.

But no one stopped me here.

Time to get out and walk! I had always enjoyed walking at dawn. You get to meet fellow dog lovers whilst witnessing a beautiful sunrise.

Sometimes, you simply need to take time out from reality and just be.

The Sapphire Coast has some of the best walks in the country. You can walk around the edge of Lake Merimbula whilst witnessing takeoff of the daily flight to Sydney or experience the spectacular scenery of the light to light walk over 3 days.

Walking gives me experiences that helps with changing mood. I’ve seen whales steam their way up the coast, heard the early morning screech of galas and disturbed snacking roos. Who can feel negative after that?

After one of my first walks around Lake Merimbula I realised how lucky I was to be starting over. No preconceptions, no judgements. Simply be.

How refreshing.

Why you should take a leap of faith

To explore is to live.


For me, moving to the Sapphire Coast involved a huge leap of faith. I had to believe that leaving what I knew would be better. This meant overcoming the obstacles my mind naturally produced.

Like the obvious. I left the city for a country area considered rural and remote. I certainly felt isolated during the first few months when I bumped down gum tree lined roads to get to the supermarket.

Yet the locals reassured me we had done the right thing. They were so welcoming after they found we had recently moved that I knew we would soon belong. Being accepted is an important part of feeling valued and gives a great feeling of self-worth.

The more I explored my new postcode, the more I belonged.

I started with my immediate area and gradually branched out. I had no plan, which made my exploration more like an adventure. I just went where the whim took me. And the more I discovered, the more alive I felt.

Something simple, like taking the dog for her daily run, became the next step in the adventure. Together we saw wild life you would never see in the suburbs and we experienced the open skies and bare beaches of the Sapphire Coast normally reserved for travel stories.

Now it’s your turn.

Choose a place to discover.

Feel the freedom of being somewhere different.

Explore and feel alive.

A Sapphire Coast Welcome to 2018

This is the post excerpt.

This is my very first post of a brand new blog. This blog will not only explore the beauty of the Sapphire Coast but will also will also reveal a little about me and my experiences on moving to the area.

I am writing this on New Year’s Eve and thinking back over the past year. My husband had applied for a job in the Bega Valley and this time last year, I sat comfortably in the lounge room, feeling assured that we would never move.  I gazed at the familiar scene out my front window and felt secure in the knowledge that friends would soon come over to eat and watch the annual fireworks.

The small seed of doubt grew as they were told of the possibility of us leaving. How could you leave everything you knew? What about your friends? Family? How was your son going to be able to finish his final year of schooling?

Yet there was something exciting in considering the possibility. The opportunity to start afresh, to discover new areas to photograph, to begin an adventure in our middle aged years was inviting and just a little bit exciting. The thought of starting life again, just like I had at 18, appealed. The desire to reinvent myself outweighed the usual, stale New Year’s resolution of weight loss, gaining new qualifications, saving money. Those dull promises that I knew I would never keep was being swept aside in a blink, as the prospect of a possible new adventure loomed.

So as you sit there on New Year’s Day, tired from the frantic festivities of the night before, think about what new adventure could be yours for the taking in 2018. What areas are you going to explore about yourself and the world around you? How are you going to set some time aside to appreciate the natural beauty the world has to offer?

2018 is a year that I will share the beauty of my new world – the gorgeous Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Join me on my adventure in nature and observe my experiences in learning to live in a small country town.