How I Planned My Trip to Japan !

I’m a planner, much to the annoyance of my fiance, friends and family. The “go with the flow”doesn’t sit well with me, while I do like the odd adventure. This trip is not an adventure like previous trips were to India or Sumatra. This is a streamlined trip of as much of Japan I haven’t seen yet and some of my favourite parts to show Christel. Yes this will be my third trip to Japan, yes you read that right third time. So this time I made a list of things I wanted to do and visit, one main thing was finally climb Mt Fuji, to my dismay I will not be able to do this due to the weather in October and the fact the summer climbing season ends the 14th October the day we arrive, I overcame this so more will follow.


You may ask why I am trying to see so much of Japan in only 15 days, but for those of you who haven’t been to Japan, It is the most organised and time conscience place I have ever visited, like seriously where in the world do trains actually run on time. They do here !! It took a bit of convincing and explaining at how we would travel great distances in only a matter of hours with out flying. I explained to Christel that we will be using the Shinkansen or Bullet Trains to get around and that they go nearly 300km / hr.

So one of the first things I did was to make sure we purchased a Japan Rail Pass, this is a way that people on Tourist Visa can get around the whole of Japan. A rail pass allows us unlimited travel for a set time period 7, 14 or 21 days. We choose to get a 14 day pass and we will start using right from when we arrive at Narita International Airport. The rail pass can be used for free unlimited travel on nearly all of the JR – Japan Rail Services not Private companies. The standard pass allows some reserved but mostly unreserved seating on the shinkansen, however I wanted to travel in a bit of comfort this time so we purchased a Green Ticket this is more commonly called Business Class in Australia. The Green carriage of most trains must be reserved prior so this will guarantee us seats on our preferred trains and times we want to travel.



  1. Tokyo
  2. Yonago – Mt Daisen
  3. Osaka
  4. Kobe – Kobe Beef
  5. Kyoto
  6. Toyama – Kurobe Gorge
  7. Nagano – Alpine Mountain Pass
  8. Yamanouchi – Snow Monkeys and Onsen
  9. Tokyo

Some of you may ask where are these places, I haven’t heard about them, what is there to see and do, I will post a new update about each day and what we did and where we went, but the above is a list of places we are going to visit and in rough order, hopefully Christel will do a vlog about each place as well, I will include a link to her Youtube Channel.



You all will be able to keep track of our travels throughout Japan because we will have PocketWifi, provided by a new Japanese provider called eConnect. As the name implies, PocketWifi is a mini portable Wifi router that will enable me to check in all over Japan as well as allowing Christel to update everyone on Facebook and Instagram. This means we won’t have to be tethered to an internet cafe or free wifi hotspot. To make things even easier I grabbed a prepaid nano sim as prepaid phones for tourists are only starting to gain popularity in Japan. I did all my research and worked out Yokoso Sim – 31days – 4 GB of data to be best value only $45 AUD.

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Mount Warning Summit

Hiking Mount Warning

  • Name: Mount Warning
  • Location: Northern Rivers region of N.S.W
  • Summit elevation: 1,156 m
  • Elevation change: 
  • Round-trip distance from trailhead*:
  • Round-trip time from trailhead**:
  • Difficulty:  Hard, but i consider it one of the easiest climbs ive done.
  • Water on trail: No
  • Trailhead facilities: Free parking
  • Date: 6 Times in the past few years.
  • Team:  Jarryd, Ruairi, Christel and once just by myself.

Mount Warning is a very nice and easy trek only 8.8km return. There is a formed path all the way to the last 400m where there is  chain that helps you get to the Summit Lookout platform.

Mount Warning is the central volcanic remnant of an ancient shield volcano, the Tweed Volcano, which would have been about 1,900 m above sea level or just under twice the height of the current mountain. This volcano erupted around 23 million years ago. As the mountain’s central vent cooled it shrank, forming a depression at the top that has greatly eroded.View above the clouds


  • Region: Northern NSW, Treed Range
  • Trailhead parking: Yes
  • Trailhead facilities : Composting Toilet
  • Trailhead coordinates:  -28.399320, 153.281752
  • Summit coordinates:   -28.400117, 153.266067


The mountain is located 14 kilometers west-south-west of Murwillumbah. The trailhead carpark is located on Mt Warning Road, off Kyogle Rd. The car park usually fills up by mid morning, but most choose to hike for sunrise.


From carpark follow the trail signs up 4.4km to the summit, the path is well formed switchbacks made by NPS At approximately every 1km there is a clearing suitable for rescue helicopter. However as the sign at the trailhead states it can take 4 to 6 hrs so take your time and avoid heavy rain storms. It usually only takes me about 2.5hrs these days to get up and back.

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One thing the I highly recommend is please remember to take enough water and wear proper footwear. I’m so sick of seeing hungover backpackers and other fools wearing there clubbing  clothes , or people in thongs thinking just because they read it 8.8km,I can do this mentality. There is NO WATER ON THIS WALK therefore 1 x 600ml water bottle that you litter on the walk is not enough. I always carry 1 to 2 extra bottles as well as my 3L to give to someone who i think is struggling.

I get very annoyed when I hear on the news that someone had to get rescued off this mountain, like seriously if your to unfit or cant do it then don’t waste your time and the rescue chopper’s time.  It may sound easy, but when was the last time you walked 4.4km up a set of big rocky uneven stairs?


At the last 400m you will reach a chain and posts that help you ascent the summit, the summit has 2 look out platforms which offer seating and amazing views of sunrise, not that in my 6 attempts have i actually made it there before sunrise.  Me on the Summit



If you are just starting out bushwalking and or want a good fitness challenge then I highly recommend this walk. You will be the first people in Australia to see the morning sunrise if you make it to the top. One day I will stay in Murwillumbah so i dont have the 2.5 hrs drive from Brisbane in the morning. Camping is not permitted on Mt Warning, but there is suitable private camping grounds on Mt Warning Road before the trailhead carpark.


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GEAR, Travel

Gear Review : Klettersack 22L Backpack

I just purchased a new bag the Topo Designs Klettersack Packcloth Hiking Pack. Picked this up at shop I haven’t been to before but its been around Brisbane for a while “The Outpost”. This bag is is made in USA. It is made from super durable 1000D cordura fabric will handle all of your daily hikes, and looks just as good on a mountain as it does in a cafe so all the advertising goes. I will see about this, I did however get one complement on the first day I took it to work. The bag has natural leather lash tabs that are meant to add that vintage look, while the classic top-load entry keeps a few things handy at the top.

I purchased this bag for 2 reason, I wanted a new travel bag as my Lowe Alpine – Airzone Quest 27  that I picked up a few years ago from K2 Mountain Shop just inst cut out for daily life. It is however great for day hikes and climbing mountains but it just isn’t cut out for as my daily work laptop bag, even when it comes time to travel, I’m stuck with a very large 27L bag that isn’t that large once you put your laptop in and camera and other travel equipment, I feel its to specific to just hiking due to all the little pockets that make up the volume.

Air Zone Quest 27L - FrontAir Zone Quest 27L - Back
















  • Frame type: Nil
  • Capacity: 22.4 L
  • Weight: 0.84 kg
  • Dimensions:   48.3 x 30.5 x 15.25 cm (length x width x depth)
  • Material: 1000D Cordura
  • Pack access:Top
  • Number of exterior pockets:1
  • Gender:Unisex

MSRP : $279 AUD ($169 USD)

  • Natural leather lash tabs
  • Heavy-duty plastic hardware
  • Heavy-duty straps reinforced with seatbelt webbing
  • Inner drawstring closure
  • Internal sleeve fits most 15″ laptops
  • Zippered top pocket
  • Side pockets for water bottles or additional gear



The inside of the Klettersack  is designed to hold a laptop upto 17in or hydration bladder. Two side pockets for my water bottles, there is only one inside pocket and one larger top pocket in the lid. To solve the issue of not enough pockets i grabbed 2 small Topo Designs zippered stuff sacks to organise my power cables and travel equipment. If you know me, i like to have all my gadgets in one place.


One negative thing I have found is there is no waist or sternum strap, but I ordered a nice sternum strap off ebay, hopefully it arrives before we leave for Japan.



I will post an update after our 2 weeks to Japan but I believe this bag will be suitable for our needs, as the central main pocket is massive.


Disclosure: Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links for Amazon, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to use these links to make a purchase. I have personally used everything on this site and only rely on my own experiences with each product.

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My Old Drone

I recently purchased a Phantom 4 from DJI to use now to film my aerial videos. Previously i used a Phantom 3 Advanced. Im yet to shoot any nice content with my new drone but more videos will come.

I like to purchase all my drone’s and accessory from a local supplier, just like APPLE products DJI wholesales have to sell them for same price as if i was to buy it direct from China. My favourite store here in Brisbane is Johnny Appleseed GPS in Rocklea.

Phantom 3 – Advanced.

Maiden Flight of my Phantom 3 Advanced.


The main difference between a P3 and P4 is the build quality and they have fixed the gimbal to be stabilised from both sides of the Tilt. The onboard camera processor handles video now at 60Mbps for much smoother filming. I will post again once i have flown my P4 for a few hours, but honestly the quality of it is unbelievable. It feels so much better than the last one.

For anyone interested the case in the main image is from Microraptor Pro Cases i think it cost me around $350 Australian by the time it got here. It has been a lifesaver especially when i traveled to Bali last year.

Here is a short video of our trip to Bali including some drone footage.





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Half Dome – We made it

Half Dome – The Ultimate Day Hike

  • Name: Half Dome – Cables Route
  • Location: Yosemite Valley
  • Summit elevation: 2695m (8,842 feet)
  • Elevation change: 1600 m from Yosemite Valley.
  • Round-trip distance from trailhead:22.7 – 26.5 km via Mist Trail or John Muir Trail (We took Mist Trail up and returned JMT ~ 23.6km)
  • Round-trip time from trailhead: 10hrs 30min
  • Difficulty: Very Hard
  • Water on trail: Yes
  • Trailhead facilities: Free parking
  • Date: 7th August 2014
  • Team: Christel

Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, California. It is a well-known rock formation in the park, named for its distinct shape. One side is a sheer face while the other three sides are smooth and round, making it appear like a dome cut in half. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft (1,444 m) above the valley floor. (Wikipedia) 


  • Region: Yosemite National Park (High Sierra)
  • Trailhead parking: Yes
  • Trailhead coordinates:  37.732178, -119.558036
  • Summit coordinates:   


The trailhead is at the east end of Yosemite Valley, to which almost all roads in Yosemite lead. From 140, just stay on the road until you’re in Yosemite Valley; from the north (Big Oak Flat) entrance, do the same; from the Tioga Road, go west until it terminates at Big Oak Flat Road, then turn left and follow Big Oak Flat Road to the valley; from the south entrance, take highway 41 (which you’re already on) all the way to the valley.

Once you’ve reached Yosemite Valley, keep an eye out for signs to Curry Village and head in their general direction. Once you’ve reached the Curry Village vicinity of the valley, you should start spotting signs for trailhead parking. Follow them to the trailhead lot or park at Curry Village.


Your closest option is the trailhead parking lot. It’s just past Curry Village, on a road that’s marked “Service Vehicles Only”. However, your private car is apparently allowed to enter this road to perform the service of getting you to the trailhead parking lot. The trailhead lot has a few dozen bear-proof storage lockers in which you can store all the scented stuff you don’t want to haul up the trail with you.

If the trailhead lot is full, you can park at Curry Village, which you’ll find near the east end of Southside Drive. As you head east into Yosemite Valley, you’ll find road signs pointing the way.

For most Yosemite Valley hikes, you can park in any lot and catch a free shuttle bus to the trailhead. If you’re planning a dawn start for Half Dome, though, as most day hikers do, that won’t work, because the buses don’t start running until 7 a.m.

We were staying at Curry Village so we choose to park there and just walk the extra 1.5km to trailhead as we set off before the free bus at about 4am.


At Happy Isles (including plumbing), just across the river from the trailhead; at the bridge below Vernal Fall (also with plumbing); near the Emerald Pool above Vernal Fall (outhouse style); above Nevada Fall (outhouse); and at Little Yosemite Valley campground (requires a short detour from the trail).


There is fresh water 1.5km into the hike at Vernal Fall Footbridge, however for next 9.6km along the trail there is no potable water. You can however filter water from the Merced River.  At the time of doing this hike I didn’t carry a water filter, but we did however start out fully hydrated and carried 7 L of water each. It wasn’t a very hot summers day but we did run short of water maybe 2km away from this water supply on our decent. This was not an issue as we were fully aware of the water source and its location.

However for all hikes more than 10 km, I now learnt for this mistake and always carry my sawyer mini water filter. I grabbed mine from Aussie Storm Shop for about $45. AUD.


Here is some footage about Hiking Half Dome, this is the official park services video, you can see the cable route from about 5:40 mark.

Hiking in Yosemite has been on my to do list for a very long time, ever since seeing my first “Reel Rock” Rockclimbing videos. For maybe 10 years I’ve told myself i will go here  when i make it to America, in the summer of 2014, Myself and my now fiance Christel, stopped into Yosemite National Park for a quick 2 days during our road trip from LA to San Fran.

Hiking Half Dome takes lots of preparation especially for tourist like us who are travelling across America on a 5wk holiday, we had to pack ultra light and account for all possibility as the weather can change and you could stuck on the trail. I will go through a detailed post about my gear in my next update.

I will also post a link to all the great websites i read through to get as much information about this hike before i went out.

My Gear

My Gear

The first thing you will need before you can attempt this summit legally is a permit. There is a permit system due to the safety risks involved with climbing the cables. We applied for our permit back in January nearly 8mths prior to starting the climb. The permits are issued in March of each year approximately 225 per day. For more information please check out the National Recreation Reservation Service.  I applied for the permit lottery in both mine and Christel’s name for the same 2 days just to increase our chances of getting one.  This wasnt really an issue as we were hiking on a weekday however it was the busy season being August. Once i found out we got one we preceded to pay the remaining fee. I think it cost about $4.5 for the lottery then an additional $8 for the permit if successful.  There are extra 50 permits awarded two days before each hike day by Park Services.

If you are unsuccessful in getting one of these 2 permits there is another option this is called a wilderness permit and it allows you to camp for more than 2 days and also allows you to climb the cable route.  The last options is to Rock Climb up one of the many routes up the face of half dome, thus only needing to descend the cables this is the only legal option where a

permit is not required.


Nevada Falls

We started our hike from Curry Village at approximately 4 am, after eating a quick breakfast, we packed up our camp and checked out. Leaving everything we didn’t need for our hike in the Bear Lockers near the Curry Village reservation office.  We headed off on the trail in the dark using our headlamps, once there our plan was to walk up the mist trail past both Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls. The last few hundred meters of the ascent of Vernal Falls cuts into the cliff side this hike alone is very strenuous and we are only 2.4 km into the hike. These waterfalls fall a combined 270 m to the valley floor below.

We were making good time up the trail as it was still nice and cool and sun was just coming up, at the top of Vernal Falls we took our first break. We met a lovely gentleman who has climbed half like every summer for past 30 years i think, he takes a small group of 5 up every year.

After our short break we then traverse across the flat Little Yosemite Valley before taking the gradual climb through the forest to the subdome and then onto the cables. This next part was pretty good but it was very sandy this lead to me getting some pretty bad blisters on way back down. I was prepared for this, i had spare socks and liners and moleskin for my blisters. The ranger wasn’t at the start of subdome to check off our permits as we got there early in morning we figured they would be waiting on our descent.

After making up to subdome via a series of switchbacks which nearly killed me and Christel, my knees were starting to feel this. It was at this point Christel didn’t want to attempt the cables, as the elevation was starting to get her. They say climbing those switchbacks to the top of subdome is actually harder and more intense than the next part the Cables. I was very proud of Christel of making this far and anyhow she was at the bottom with her DSLR to capture my ascent. I was very happy that we left on time as we were at the cables before most. The only people who really beat us there were those that were camping at Little Yosemite Valley Camping Ground.





halfdome-2014-17 THE SUMMIT


 The Summit, aka the CABLES . I didn’t really see this problem with these, I’ve read many a review saying they are very difficult and time consuming however, I was prepared for this part of the hike, I quickly threw on my Outdoor Research leather gloves pictured in my gear photo and got to the cables, i was up as fast as i could, i think i had to wait for maybe 1 or 2 people who were a bit scared and descending however where I could and I did, I went on the up just one cable, I think i got to the top in about 15 min. Upon finishing this i should have worn my harness and via ferrata lanyard so i could safely ascend and descend on the outside of the cables. I did carry this all the way here so Christel could feel safer on the cables but she ended up sitting this one out and taking a well deserved rest. How else could we get these awesome pictures.

Top Of Half Dome



When you are ready to head down , make your way back down the chains. You can face out from the rock now, and take in more of the view, but it is helpful to walk backward down the steep sections.  Expect the descent to be a bit more challenging than the way up. At the bottom of the chains, return down the switchbacks, through the forest, and down the river past the falls to the trailhead.

The descent was much the same as the ascent however once at Verna Falls we took the John Muir Trail, while this added about 2km to our route, we thought it would be nicer to see the trail and awesome scenery from a different angle. There is alot of switch backs this way however as its designed for the mulls to pack gear upto all the ranger outposts.  That’s Half Dome and Sub-Dome in the distant behind Liberty Cap and Mount Broderick.  I think we still have about 6 km to trailhead to go. We were very lucky with the weather, I think we got a small rain storm just after this photo was taken, but that is standard in Yosemite.


Half Dome from JMT above Vernal Falls

At the Trail Head sign, we made it, well we thought we did, we forgot we still had about 1.5km to go to the carpark 🙁

We Made It – 23.6km Return


We took so many photos as i will never forget this day, hope you enjoy it as much as we did and if you have any questions regarding this walk, please ask me in the comments below.



  1. http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/half-dome-hike-yosemite/
  2. http://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-valley/mist-trail/mist-trail.htm
  3. https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm
  4. http://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-valley/half-dome/half-dome.htm



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