Paradise was only a two-and-a-half hour drive away

Okay, it just hit me that we are seriously just a speck of dust on the surface of this earth. There is actually soo much this world, and na...

Okay, it just hit me that we are seriously just a speck of dust on the surface of this earth. There is actually soo much this world, and nature in itself, has to offer. Australia is beautiful, and even that adjective is an understatement. Incomprehensible and abundant blessings pour out in order for me to be a witness to just a fraction of God's creations.

So what better way to be exposed to all this eye candy, without blowing too much cash, than to go on a ROAD TRIP! A group of friends and I decided to plan a well-deserved beach house getaway after enduring a semester of hard work (and a wee bit of procrastination here and there). Port Stephens is just a two and a half hour drive from the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Honestly, you'll lose track of time when you're in the car with a close bunch of friends mucking about, music to elicit vibrancy in the car, and a well-lit exterior to show off the greenery and presence of country lifestyle.  

Reaching our beach house prompted more excitement than before, hurriedly opening the front door before unloading our belongings from the car. I could see why the beach house was named 'Catch of the Day', appropriately titled to cater for the beautiful view which made you feel one with the sea. 
And whilst exploring the various rooms of the house, my inner artsy fartsy mind found it particularly cute how the bed comforters matched the pictures on the wall.
After a few of us settled our groceries for the next few days, we got on our exploring shoes (basically just our slippers), and walked down a quaint pathway which lead us to...
...this KILLER view! This beauty is called Dutchie's Beach, and is home to residents living in this area of Nelsons Bay. Tranquil and off the beaten track, it was definitely a breathtaking sight to sea :3

As the sun awoke, so did two of my friends and I at 7 in the morning. Call us crazy, but we decided to experience the beach life at its full potential, by going for a run on the beach. Apparently you lose twice as much calories running on sand than you would running on hard ground; so that became our motivation hehe. In all honesty, I LOVED the run. Having the ocean right next to you as your feet trampled lightly where the water meets the sand is such a refreshing feeling. There was something about the crisp and pristine morning air that enabled me to run longer than I thought I could. And what better way to cool off after a run than to jump in the ocean? 

Our physical activity for the day was not over. Visiting some concealed beaches where the typical 'Bondi crowd' was non-existent, called for some beach soccer and captain's ball as the expanse of the beach was practically dominated by us. 

#1: Shoal Bay 

These piers were made for jumping (Y)
And we saw a dolphin near the shore! How blessed are we?! 

Further explorations commenced as we ventured to another secluded beach which made me feel like I was in Hawaii. 

#2: Zenith Beach
And of course, what's the beach life without lazing about by the beach?
And here are a few candid shots of some of my lovely girls: 
Anddd then there's this potato :P
DAY 3:
The intensity of the physical activities we undertook kept on escalating. We decided to challenge our stamina with an intention to instigate some sort of improvement to our fitness levels after weeks of neglecting physical activity due to our busy exam preparations. With my worn out vans, we wandered through Tomaree National Park that eventually lead us to Tomaree Head summit walk consisting of numerous elevated paths and steps. 
It was a strenuous workout for the legs, not going to lie; (My fitness level isn't at its peak). What made the trek more bearable was that we were accompanied by unparalleled views of idyllic Port Stephens and its coastline. But it gets better each time we ascended more steps. At long last, we reached the summit. And oh my... the view was simply captivating. Panoramic north-coast views of where land and sand meets sea. 

To add to the awesome view, there was a touch of quaintness at the lookout point of the summit where locks, consisting of engraved or written couple names and dates, were attached to the railings as a symbolisation of their relationship. I thought it was cute. 
Not sure how some couples managed to place locks underneath the platform but I admire their dedication and exclusiveness of their love :P 
As we descended from the summit, we decided to visit the Gun Emplacement site. The pathways which lead to this destination seemed magical; as if the branches from the trees communicated and agreed to form a perfectly symmetrical archway. 
Arriving at the WWII Gun Emplacements site called for a moment of appreciation for this local military heritage. It was built in 1941 to defend the east-coast of Australia, and you could definitely smell history tainted all over the worn out stone walls and military weapons hidden behind the rusted locked door. 
DAY 4:
CHECKING OUT TODAY?! Man that went by fast... I'll miss waking up to this :( 
 Anddd sitting in the living room having this view right in my line of sight: (let it goo ~)
But the fun isn't over just yet! We had one more stop planned before we head back to our routined life in Sydney. So next stop, sand dunes! :) 
But first, some food :3
Take #2: And now, SAND DUNES! 
As I scanned my surroundings, I could relate to T.S Eliot's poem The Wasteland a tad better due to the desolate landscape. The expanse of the sand dunes stretched out beyond the horizon at some parts; if we got lost by ourselves, it'd undoubtedly be a terrifying experience. 

"Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust"
Despite eerie connotations to this arid environment, we made use of the silky slopes by sand-boarding (we actually just used our boogy boards which proved to be effective nonetheless). I was a little nervous that I might be thrown out from the board whilst sliding down, but thankfully, I survived to write this blog post (hehe). 
And that commences our trip! Sorry for the super lengthy post, but there were just too many amazing experiences and photos I needed to share. It'd be selfish not to expose this beautiful part of the world.

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