2020 was supposed to be another big year of travel for me, with a four-week Europe trip in August and September including Iceland, the top country on my bucket list of places to go. Safe to say, COVID-19 tore these plans to shreds and there’s no certainty on whether any international travel will be possible this year at all. So I thought I’d look back and blog about one of my most memorable overseas holidays, a solo car trip in New Zealand.
I’ve been to Kangaroo Island almost ten years ago, and in the meantime I forgot just how enormous it really is. Once we got off the ferry, it came as a shock to realise that it would take us about an hour and a half to get to the Flinders Chase National Park on the other end of the island. You also have to plan your meals carefully, as you very well may be stuck an hour’s drive away from the nearest cafe with a growling stomach.
The drive is worth it though, since Kangaroo Island is home to some of the most amazing landmarks in Australia. The absolute star attraction is Remarkable Rocks, a group of giant granite boulders that look like abstract sculptures artfully scattered by nature atop the granite base. I was prepared to enjoy them rain or shine, but the day’s random weather played into our hands; the minute we got to the rocks the showers cleared and the orange lichen looked even more stunning against the blue sky.
Yeah we may look like Miss Cute and Mr Cuddly… but don’t come any closer humans!
Cape du Couedic lighthouse
In the late afternoon, we just made it to a guided tour of the Seal Bay, where you can see the Australian fur seals. We were lucky to catch them during the season when young seal pups frolic around excitedly and annoy the grown-ups who just want to have a nap.
The next day, we headed to Little Sahara, which is exactly what the name suggests: a mini sand dune area about two square kilometres in size. More active travellers go there for sandboarding, but we were content to just go for a stroll.
“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.”
Last time I went to Bali I was so determined to have a purely relaxing holiday I deliberately left my big camera at home and didn’t bother about photos. Though this recent week was also mostly about relaxing and pampering (hot stone massage, mmmm) I did take some shots of a few beautiful places we visited.
Bali Botanic Garden, a green oasis of calm
Bali Botanic Garden
Bamboo grove… now that’s proper Neighbours-Be-Gone hedge
View on the rice fields from our hotel in Ubud
Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest
Macaw at the Antonio Blanco Museum
Antonio Blanco Museum – the roof
No idea what the deal is here, but it’s a striking sight
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.
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.
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.
A 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.
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.