Tag Archives: australia

Groundhog G’Day!

The brainteaser from yesterday’s post: ‘what’s not right in this [that] blogpost?’

Answer: the last three pix were of Melbourne! :)

Yep, for that was the next city on my itinerary. Now, I always like visiting Melbourne, but having to leave Sydney on the eve of its yearly Vivid festival to get to Melbourne, well, that’s just not cricket. Here are the pics from 2015 and 2013. Vivid Sydney is a festival that you really have to experience once in a lifetime if possible. There’s no other festival comes near. But I digress. Here we are… in Melbourne!

Another lovely city, but we saw hardly any of it this time: airport (‘welcome!’) > taxi > conference > speech (‘thank you, good bye, come again!’) > taxi > airport. And that was it! The only (non-work-related) thing worth taking photos of were… these here works of art on the walls of the hotel where the conference was taking place. Perplexing is the word I’d used to describe them. Mysterious too, perhaps.  What do you think? Oh, and… what, exactly, are the pictures of? :)

Oh well; I’ll just have to show you some work-themed pics – from CeBit Australia conference:

Read on: Work, Deja-vu and ransomware…

Sydney Walkabout: Plenty to Shout About.

Dearest readers! Those of you who follow closely my globetrotting adventures on these here blog pages appear to have been neglected of late. But have no fear, world-wandering is here (again)!

Last week was yet another crazy one: five (30-50 minute) presentations at five events, a zillion interviews, meetings, conversations, business card swappings and assorted other business commitments in three cities in as many countries. That’s my excuse for why I’ve been quiet of late – again!

But enough of excuses. Let’s get this back up and running…

So here we are, back with more tales from my travels: the best bits, the odd bits, the curious bits, the beautiful bits, the plane bits, the airport bits, the hotel bits, the cuisine bits, and all the other bits… – you know the drill by now :).

The week kicked off in very special city on an endless sandy coastline along the Pacific. A city that features on my list of Top-20 Cities, meaning it’s a city that, IMHO, is simply must-see: It’s Sydney folks. I woke up in the morning, opened the curtains, and this is how the morning said G’day mate to me:

But!… After coming so far, and being so close to such terrific tourism possibilities, alas, we only had half-a-day free time. Oh, well. So off we popped to one of the three ‘centers’ of the city here. Sure, I’d been here before – several times – and taken plenty of pics too, but I just couldn’t resist taking some more, kinda to keep my archives ‘fresh’:

Read on: A beautiful corner of Sydney…

Worldwide Swimming – Pt 2.

Oakie-doakie. On we march front-crawl, to the next stop on the worldwide swimming bus – Europe.

6. Hot Sea, Santorini.

Santorini is a volcano-island, or island-volcano. It’s actually a ring of islands, which are the remains of the caldera of a huge volcano of yester-millennia, with a fresh volcano growing up inside the ring in the middle, which every now and then erupts and grows bigger. I was on Santorini not long ago, and wrote plenty of words about it here on this blog.

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The only hot springs in the world that are situated in the sea reside here. At least, the only ones in the world known to me. The hot water spurts up from the seabed through the sea, making said sea the warmest sea you’ll ever know :).

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There are quite a few spots around the islands where you can partake in hot-spring-sea-bathing. The one in the above pic isn’t the best; others are deeper and hotter, I’m told…

Read on: summer holidays on the White Sea islands…

Top-100 Series: Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

Strange as it may seem – what with their being so far away – Australia and New Zealand represent the region I’ve explored the most out all regions of the world. I’ve been to many of their Top-100 spots, and those not yet visited I plan on getting to very soon. “What’s the rush?” you may be thinking, since I’ve been saying all along through this here Top-100 series that I “must get there soon” to dozens of the listed places I haven’t been to yet. Well, that’s an easy one: the region is just awesome. The places I’ve visited there already: all OMG. Add to the mix kangaroos, koalas and crocs, and it all adds up to the most interesting continent on the planet! Ok, not quite a full continent, as there’s Australasia, so maybe I should just stick to ‘region’. Oh, and out of Oceania I’ve only been to Hawaii so far. Caveats duly noted, let’s get cracking folks, and head down under!…

83. Kimberley.

Aussies had been telling be all about this lesser-known region of Oz for years. Finally, in the summer of 2015, I got myself there. Now I know what all the fuss was about.

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Read on: reefs, mountains, glaciers and islands…

The Santiago–Sydney Antarctic ‘Smile’: QF28

Hola amigos!

Not long ago I flew one of the most unusual commercial air routes I’ve ever taken.

It was the Santiago–Sydney-route on Qantas QF28 in a Boeing 747. The route forms a smile shape as it curves downwards and flies past… Antarctica! It felt a bit eerie flying – for 14 hours! – over a part of the world where there happens to be absolutely nothing at all! No islands, no ships, no folks, no hamburger stands… the very definition of ‘godforsaken’! Even submarines don’t bother with these remote southern reaches. Curiously, there’s one thing that features relatively prominently here: deceased satellites! They have them fall out of orbit and give them a marine burial here, well out of the way so they do no harm to Homo sapiens.

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“Cheese!”

Read on: Antarctica!!…

In Kimberley, Oz, I was. Part 7.

As mentioned in my previous post, in this one I’ll quickly go over what we didn’t see in Kimberley, but really wanted to.

Since Kimberley is a truly titanic territory, seeing it all in three days (a mere long weekend) is simply impossible. However, I was assured we did get in all the best bits of the territory. Also, another important objective was reached: Now I know where, when and specifically how inspecting the place’s natural beauty spots needs to be done. Thus, the below material should be taken as a plan of action for future visits…

So, herewith, some pointers for how best to plan and organize a sightseeing vacation in Kimberley, Australia:

– Season to visit: April-May – right after the rain season; so as to see the waterfalls at their best – in full gusto.
– Micro-timing of the trip: when there’s either a new or full moon; so as to see the tides at their best – at their maximally extreme.
– To have one or two days’ plane or coach excursions; so as to see all the sights described and photo’d in my Kimberley posts 1-6.
– To charter a ship for, say, 10 days (preferably with a helicopter, or to come to an agreement with a local chopper company).
– Sail on the ship from Broome to Wyndham (or nearby – wherever the ship can moor); so as to be able to inspect all the most significant coastal beauty.

… And those most significant coastal beauties are as follows:

1. King Cascade, somewhere on this river. (Surprisingly, the Internet has little to say about or show of this place.) It’s around 200km (as the crow flies) northeast of the Horizontal Falls. The few pics on the net are here.

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More…

In Kimberley, Oz, I was. Part 6.

G’day possums!

Herewith, the penultimate post in what has turned out to be a bit of a marathon travelogue series from down-under…

After lunch after our morning adventures on our last full day here, it was finally time for some retail therapy!

But not in the traditional sense of mall-traipsing + inevitable food-court submission, naturally; no malls in Kimberley. No, it’s a very specific type of shopping – of just one product. Can you guess yet?

Guys (males) – I’d recommend doing this spot of shopping either without the wife/girlfriend/daughter, or without credit cards or cash. Preferably with neither! For the product on offer here doesn’t come cheap…

The product is… the pearl! Pearls are industrially produced here at Leveque Cape.

It goes like this:

Locals here catch oyster shells, implant inside them a foreign body (I forget made of what), then put the shells into net cages and put them back in the sea. Several years later they open up the shells to find – da, daaaa – pearls!

The meat left over inside the shells is fed to hungry tourists here, and beautifully cleaned up and finished shells are also sold to them once they’ve had their fill of the oysters. Nice little side line :).

Check these pearl-farming pics out:

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Shells…

In Kimberley, Oz, I was. Part 5.

Time to move from all things on-land to all things just off it – to the more attractive sections of coastline, for we were told the best natural charms of Kimberley lie on or near its shoreline. From Broome (the region’s ‘capital’ if you missed it earlier, also our base) the nearest bit of awesome ocean-ness is up at Buccaneer Archipelago, just under 250km away.

What a place! Countless islands, islets, cliffs, straits, bays, an almost turquoise tropical ocean, and impossible horizons. Wikipedia reckons there are more than 800 islands here. But I don’t get how they can be counted accurately: when the tide is low some tiny islets may emerge; when high – they’ll disappear again…

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More…

In Kimberley, Oz, I was. Part 4.

G’day possums!

Back. In the outback…

The next point of call on our tour or northwestern Australia was the Tunnel Creek National Park, around half an hour’s drive from Windjana Gorge.

Tunnel Creek itself runs through a natural cave cut into the limestone that was once the Devonian reef here under the ocean. Tourists come and naturally walk through the tunnel, which is what we did too. Insider tip: Wellington boots are a good idea. You’ll see why:

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More…

In Kimberley, Oz, I was. Part 3.

Hi all!

After our first, somewhat tame forays into the wonderful wizard corner of Oz called Kimberely, it was high time we headed to the hellishly hot central part of the region – into the savanna and nearer to the Great Sandy Desert. For there’s plenty to see there too…

Now, if you were to travel approximately 300km to the east of Broome, and for some reason got stranded there in the dry season with no transportation or satellite phone… you’re dead in the water (actually, dead with no water) for sure. Your mummified carcass would perhaps be found after two or three weeks, or, more likely, it will have disappeared already after the termites and other hungry creatures have made an extended feast out of it. Yes sir, for this place is… a beautifully barren, direly desolate, utterly unpeopled and unroaded savanna that stretches for thousands of miles all around.

Hmmm. That paragraph came over a little macabre; and flowery. Let me try again…

If you were to travel approximately 300km to the east of Broome accompanied by reliable guides and with guaranteed means of transportation and communication, then it’s highly likely you’d find yourself in the thoroughly interesting Windjana Gorge national park (here). Apparently, if the various tourist information/history boards here are to be believed, then some 360 million years ago – in the Devonian (the period in which amphibians appeared) – this was where the coastline was, and underneath the ocean waves crashing against it a massive barrier reef was formed…

(Hmmm. Still… too wordy. I’ll have to start getting to the point quicker.)

…Anyway, later on, the sea left the area to expose the reef, which is now a terrestrial rock formation. It’s the ridge here in the next pic, somewhat incongruously traversing the sunny Australian savanna:

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Read on: Deep gorge through the coral-rock…