October 2017
  • Day14

    Wollongong and Home

    October 31, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    The main reason I wanted to visit Wollongong was to see the bridge/road over the ocean.
    I was able to walk across it which wa kind of cool.
    I had lunch at a gorgeously house on the coast. You could eat outside facing the ocean.
    The set up was weird though, it took talking to 3 or 4 different people to just order the meal.
    I drove up through one of the National Parks to somewhere in the south eat where I could return the hire car and catch a train to the airport.
    View from cliffs
    Where I had lunch
    Wollongong bridge
    Wollongong bridge
    Weir in national park
    Wollongong bridge
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  • Day13

    Coastal towns

    October 30, 2017 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Today was the last full day of my holiday. My iPad isn’t charging properly so I started with a visit to the Apple store and then sat at a cafe writing my postcards.
    I then headed to Batemans Bay and then up the coast via Ulladulla and Gerroa to Wollongong.
    I’m staying in a very nice hotel on the harbour. It is very windy.Read more

  • Day12

    Culture and War

    October 29, 2017 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Another leisurely breakfast in Manuka before starting with the National Museum.
    I’d forgotten how museums like to store animals and fetuses in glass jars. It certainly wasn’t my favourite part of the museum. I’ve spent the last couple of days driving around Canberra thinking there was a massive orange crane in the distance, turns out it is part of the artwork of the museum.
    The museum is certainly comprehensive, from indigenous Australians, through colonialism, to the present day. Apart from the bodies in jars, I enjoyed it.

    Next stop was the National Gallery. I saw the Albert Namatjira and Sydney Nolan exhibitions but it was the small collection of impressionist paintings were what I enjoyed the most. I also say a Degas sculpture.

    I finished up at the War Memorial. It was very confronting, I didn’t realise it was part museum as well as a memorial. The exhibitions are excellent but highlight the horrors.
    I was there for the last post which was a fitting way to finish the tour.
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  • Day11

    Politics and Portraits

    October 28, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    I’m staying in Forrest, next door to Manuka which has a great cafe strip.
    After a leisurely breakfast in Manuka I went to Parliament House. I did the behind the scenes tour which was very interesting. The House of Representatives seemed smaller that the WA legislative assembly but my perspective must be off given it has three times the members. I was able to go up onto the roof as well.
    I had a good chat to one of the security guards who said yesterday was quite interesting but it wasn’t just 5 people affected, they all had staff who are now out of a job.

    I went to the National Portrait Gallery, which while interesting was quite small.
    I drove around Lake Burley Griffin and even had to stop for a mob of kangaroos at one point. Some of them appeared to have collars.

    Back to Manuka for dinner and now time for bed.
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  • Day10

    Travel to Canberra

    October 27, 2017 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    It was a cloudy day today but not foggy like yesterday. Rather than head back towards Sydney and take the highway too Canberra I went west and until Goulburn stayed off the highways. The drive was pleasant. Again I was struck by the difference in the country which, superficially could be described as similar to where I grew up (but greener). This country brought Henry Lawson to mind.
    I happened to come to Taralga at lunchtime and found a gorgeous little cafe. It had various old books dotted around the cafe, I found a guide story, read the first chapter over lunch and fortunately it was for sale.
    I didn’t much enjoy the drive from Goulburn to Canberra, too many speeding drivers.
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  • Day9

    Foggy Mountains

    October 26, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    After a beautiful day yesterday I woke up to heavy fog this morning. Shelving the sightseeing I decided to take Katherine’s suggestion of visiting Hydro Majestic. It is a beautiful old hotel and I had an eastern high tea as an early lunch. The mist cleared while I was there. I find days were I don’t have firm plans usually turn out quite well. I can stop whenever I see something that looks interesting. After a stop at a lookout I went into Blackheath to browse the book and antique shops. I didn’t buy anything but had fun looking.

    I then went to the Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens. They were beautiful and the rhododendrons were stunning.
    As I returned to Katoomba the dog was setting in and by the time I finished dinner at around 7:30 visibility would have been about 20m. Certainly a new experience for me.
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  • Day8

    Lookouts and walks

    October 25, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    I started the day at Scenic World.
    Unfortunately the Skyway is undergoing renovations so I didn’t get to test whether my non fear of heights includes a glass bottomed sky rail.
    I started with the scenic rail which is the steepest rail in the world. It certainly is steep, I got such a fright at the steep ness of it when we first went down I couldn’t enjoy it.
    From the scenic rail I did the walk along the Forrest boardwalk. It was lovely but not peaceful. It is so loud, I’m not sure what the insects are but there are a lot of them!
    I made my back up the top via the cableway.

    As I hadn’t really enjoyed the scenic rail I had another go, this time I didn’t incline the seat all the way back and knew to hang on! It was much more pleasant second time around.

    I had lunch at a lovely little restaurant with a great view of the valley. I then went in search of books! I found a lovely little shop full of curios and my sort of books.
    I didn’t buy any though, two that I may have been interested in were locked behind glass doors and judging by the prices of similar books not under lock and key I didn’t bother asking to see them.

    I went out to Wentworth Falls. The walk to the falls lookout contained a lot of steps but the view was worth it. There were quite a few lyrebirds hanging around the car park.
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  • Day7

    Three Sisters

    October 24, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    So today marks the second part of my holiday, travelling around.
    I caught the train out to Penrith and then picked up a hire car and drove to Katoomba. I had planned to check in and then go and explore but I ended up relaxing instead.
    I went out to the Three Sisters at sunset, they are truly majestic. There were a few people there but it wasn’t crowded. I took a lot of photos.
    At one point there was a single sulphur crested cockatoo was flying around. It made the experience that little bit more special. Even though I grew up in the bush, this bush has something extra, almost a little spiritual.
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  • Day6

    Sydney on foot

    October 23, 2017 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    I started the day out at the Sydney Tower eye. It was a lovely day so I walked there. It took me a little bit to find the entrance. The 4D movie that we saw before going to the Observation deck was fantastic. It was short but very good.
    It was a nice clear day so I could see a long way.

    I then wandered down to Hyde Park, got way to interested in a giant chess game and then onto the botanic Gardens. I visited The Calyx which I had tried to visit yesterday but the rain and getting lost prevented that. It is a fairly small area but very pretty.
    I made my way through the gardens around to the Opera House and then Circular Quay. I was a bit early so I took the ferry across the Harbour to Milton’s point, mainly because I hadn’t actually been on a Sydney Ferry. I then caught the next one back.

    I met my friend Katherine, we had rooms next to each other and shared a balcony when we were in first year at uni. We walked across the bridge and had dinner at a lovely little Italian restaurant. It was so nice to catch up with each other’s lives and chat.
    I caught the ferry back to Circular Quay and the train back to the hotel.
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  • Day5

    Royal Botanic Gardens

    October 22, 2017 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    I needed a quieter day today so I spent it in the Botanic Gardens. I started with a guided tour and while we didn’t go very far it was very informative. It didn’t just focus on the Australian plants but other interesting ones as well. Towards the end of the tour we were discussing the drought and the guide lamented how dry that particular part of the garden looked, an English woman said it did look very dry. I thought it looked fine but as Sydney gets four times the rainfall of the area I grew up it really is all a matter of perspective.

    After some lunch I made my way over to Mrs Macquarie’s chair. I have to confess I was a bit disappointed that it is really more of a bench than a chair, I was expecting more of a throne style chair carved out of the rock.
    As I was making my way back the the Gardens it started to rain, it wasn’t too bad to start with but got heavier. I went out without an umbrella or jacket so I got pretty wet although it was still quite warm
    I made my way back to the cafe to wait out the rain. It eventually stopped, I was trying to make my way to the bus stop but managed to get myself a bit lost. I eventually made my way out of the Gardens.

    The rainbow trout for tea tonight. It was okay but I definitely preferred the mullet and whiting.
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