nature

Tasmania – Bruny Island

I’ve been to Tasmania at least five times before, and seen most of its major attractions, but never made it to Bruny Island off the south-eastern coast near Hobart. This beautiful spot exceeded all of our expectations and was very much worth the trip.

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Mt Macedon Gardens

I’m usually on the ball when it comes to sorting through photos, but for some reason I left these pics from our trip to the beautiful Mt Macedon gardens this past autumn sit on my camera for months. Then again, it’s kinda cool to look at them later on the other side of winter and get a mini-blast from the past.

My dear and entirely selfish wish is for my local council to chop down the evergreen trees in my area, and replace them with the European ones instead, so I can get spectacular autumn foliage at my door.

Townsville

Spent four days up in Queensland, in a place where every day was reliably hot and sunny without crazy temperature drops we have to endure here in Melbourne. Though on the plus side, we don’t have to worry about crocodiles and six varieties of stingers. It was rather weird to see beautiful palm-fringed beaches with beautiful warm water… except you couldn’t swim anywhere outside of the official netted areas.

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Baraka – Film Review

baraka-blue-ray_0-pageA striking and mesmerising documentary with no conventional narrative, Baraka presents a collection of sights and sounds from around the globe – mountains, places of worship, cities, wilderness – as a sort of lush travelogue, set alternately to tribal beats and rather New Age-y soundtrack. The sights of the movie are not always beautiful, detouring at one point to the humanity’s darker places like the concentration camps and Cambodia’s killing fields, as well as sweatshops and overcrowded slums in South America and Asia. This is probably going to be the shortest film review I’ll ever do, because this movie is one to experience, rather than talk about. It’s an ambitious achievement that really leaves you in awe of the world’s sheer variety and splendour, and reminds me of the sadness I always feel at the thought of seeing only a tiny little sliver of the world in my lifetime. It’s a moving portrayal of faith and nature even if you’re an atheist like myself and find hippy-drippy sentiments maybe a tad cringey.

More images from the film:

Vietnam Week 1

I’m back from my two-week trip to Vietnam, and it’s amazing how quickly the rubber band snaps right back and the whole thing feels like a dream. Thankfully, there are photos to remind of all the good times had. It was a big success all-around: great group and leader, a wide variety of experiences, yummy food. The weather was humid and got progressively hotter as we went further south, but other than sweating like a piggie I bore it surprisingly well. The only real low point came when I ate something dodgy couple of hours before boarding the overnight train. Food poisoning and bumpy Vietnamese train and me with my motion sickness… let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. It’s probably a karma payback for all those times in Egypt and India when I was almost the only person in the group without tummy troubles.

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Tasmania Day 3

MONA and Mt Field National Park

The first time I went to MONA (that’s Museum of Old and New Art), it blew my mind – it’s simply one of the best and most unique museums I’ve been to. I had no idea a place so amazing was just an hour’s flight from Melbourne. Even taking away the art itself, the underground spaces with their somewhat ominous atmosphere and bare rock walls are worth seeing. It was a pleasure to visit it again and see the changes since the last time.

After MONA we decided to drive to Mt Field National Park and see the Russell Falls again. The last time we were there in a different time of year, it was more like a Russell Trickle, so it was nice to see it roar with a bit more energy. It’s a beautiful walk through the rainforest, as well, which made us burn off at least some of the food we shamelessly stuffed ourselves with during our break.

And that was it for our trip to Tasmania, except for a short stop in Richmond on our way back to Hobart, where Mum bought a couple of cheese knives, which she then forgot to take out of the handbag. That didn’t impress the guys at the screening point at the airport, luckily our bag was still available at the check-in so she could put them inside. I then also did a no-no by walking through the screening gate with my hands inside the jacket pockets, which I was told to never ever do again. The funny thing was that, at the beginning of the trip, Mum had to part with a pair of small scissors left in her handbag by accident when we were screened at the Melbourne airport, so this trip was obviously under a curse of small metal objects.

Tasmania Day 2

Freycinet and Bicheno

On the second day, we headed out to the Freycinet National Park. Our first stop was at the Friendly Beaches, which I haven’t checked out before. It’s a gorgeous spot, with white sandy beach and those awesome red lichen-covered rocks typical for the coastline on this side of Tasmania.

Then we went on to Coles Bay, which turned out to have its own micro-climate; it was hot enough to swim and made me wish I had packed my bikini or at least a pair of light pants instead of jeans. Sunbathing ruled out, I did a walk along the beach, enjoying the view of the Hazards and stopping to take a photo every 30 seconds or so, because seriously how can you not?

We had lunch at a local cafe which I would not come back to – we got served a lumpy seafood chowder, tiniest pieces of white bread, and a Greek salad which was predominantly spinach with a couple of drops of balsamic vinegar. Food everywhere else was great, but this cafe obviously survives only because of the high tourist turnover.

I chickened out of doing a hike up to the Wineglass Bay lookout, so instead we drove to Bicheno, a coastal town further up north. The sea was much rougher there compared to the sedate Coles Bay and the wind way nastier, but that didn’t stop us from hopping all over the rocks.