Sunday, 22 February 2009

More From Oz

Since the failed attempt to get to the top of Mount Warning it has been a busy week, some of it spent watching the rain tipple down but some spent on little trips. One such trip was to the Best of All Lookouts. I have been there 3 times before, the first time was in my pre digital camera days and all I had was a throwaway camera, great for shots of people but not much use for a view that took in Coolangatta in the east, Byron Bay 40 miles to the south and round to the reason for this great view, Mt Warning in the west. Trip 2 and 3, both with my digital camera with which I took great shots of the inside of a cloud. So one day when I got up and there wasn't a cloud in the sky I headed for the lookout. It's a bit of a climb to the lookout and there were clouds coming in from the north so a few anxious moment but I got there in time before the big thick black cloud arrived. It was a bit hazy but it was still a breath taking view.
After the Best Lookout we went to the Springbrook National Park, Canyon Look out. I have been here before but there wasn’t as much water coming over the cliff and the trees didn’t look as green, it has rained a lot this week.

When I was here in 2007 my sister pointed out one rainy day that the drain pipe next to her house was blocked. There was a large lake in front of her house to help make the point. So I spent a day removing large amounts of dirt from the 30 foot pipe. Now as you can see the water flows through without let or hindrance and the local family of ducks enjoy walking through the rushing water. So far I haven’t noticed any of them going for a white water ride.
An other visitor is the Green Frog. He sits on the rail hoping to catch the old insect drawn to the nearby light. I haven’t seen him actually catch anything but I suppose he/she must otherwise he would not look quite so happy. The frog used to sit there when I was here in 2007. We do have a little conversation each evening, I say “Hello little green frog.” The frog says nothing, shy I expect.

Today there was a Memorial Service in Melbourne for the victims of the Bush Fires in Victoria. Princess Anne was there representing Britain.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Mount Warning

A couple of days ago my sister and I headed for Mount Warning. This time I was determined to get further up than last time, and the time before that. Should not be difficult as we never get more than a few hundred feet up the path after taking a few photos just to show we tried. I'm told it is worth the effort and before my next trip to Oz I am planing to spend months running up and down Rock Walk, hope it's open, to get fit for the attempt for the summit.

Anyway the photo isn't of Mt Warning, it's of a stream, or what is in a stream we crossed on the way there. Shortly after turning of the Murwillumbah to Uki road we came to bridge over a small stream full of rocks. OK most streams are full of rocks but these rocks were piled neatly on top of each other to make columns, hundreds of them. So we stopped and took a few photos and added our own humble effort to the display.

These are just a few of the piles. I have never in my travels seem such a display.

Right now it is raining, torrential rain. It is a shame such rain didn't fall last week in Victoria then we wouldn't be watching the scenes of devastation on the TV over the last few days. So much lost for the people of this country I do so enjoy visiting.

Monday, 9 February 2009

More Travels in Australia

I am now in Tweed Heads where the temperature is expected to make it to 32C. To tell the truth it has already made it to 32C and it isn’t even midday yet, still the car I picked up at the airport has aircon so life isn’t to bad. The flight from Tasmania was rough, up down, side to side and one or two movements I don’t feel like remembering. Tassie was great. Hot when I got there, not as hot as Melbourne but hotter in places than it has been since records began. As with Tassie the rain fell and the temperature dropped to expected levels and the days passed pleasantly, a bit of site seeing a bit of work helping in the renovating of my niece’s house. Arthur River was an interesting trip. But one thing I always notice when out in the wilds, 30km from Burnie, is the stars. There are so many of them and so bright. Before the moon got to near full it was easy to spot our neighbours in space which I call Big Magellan and Little Magellan. They look like small fussy clouds but are in fact Galaxies a million light years away. I am sure they have scientific names but what ever they are they can not be seen from Torquay, Devon.

Landing in Melbourne was sad following the news on TV about the fires in Victoria, so very upsetting, so many people killed and many more with nothing left but the clothes they stand up in. And some of the fires were apparently started deliberately. Such a country of extremes, to the North in Queensland whole towns have been flooded out of their homes.

While here In Tweed Heads I will be doing the usual trips out. My sister liver here and she will be making a list of places to visit. This is my 4th trip here and I have been up to the Best of All Look Outs which overlooks Mt Warning and the caldera that surrounds it. The volcano erupted 20 million years ago and the plug sticks up and the land around has eroded away, Captain Cook named it Mt Warning so passing ships would know about some rocks the stick out into the sea at Tweed Heads called Point Danger. At that point he hadn’t reached the Great Barrier Reef which can be seen from space 200 miles away but not from the deck of a sailing ship 200 yards away as the good captain discovered.

I’ll down load a few photos to day, it does take a while as this computer has a slow link to the world wide web.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Travels in the Heat

Hi all
Sorry not much happening at the moment, I’ve been out of reach of a computer for over a week now. Yes there are places where people manage with out but I am not sure how. Anyway I was in Sydney and the heat was a bit much, even the locals were saying how hot it was and how unusual it was to have such an extended heat wave. So I decided to head south to Melbourne, should be cooler there. Silly me. The evening I got there it was still 38C. I was there for 3 days and the first day I took a trip to the seaside at Torquay at the start of The Great Ocean Road None of the people there I spoke to had heard of the real Torquay so that was a bit of an ego busting trip. Nice beach, bigger than the Abbey Gardens Beach but no sign of any surf. I looked round for a pub for a nice cool beer, no luck. I walked over to the RSL Club, didn’t open till 5pm by which time I would be on the way back to Hot House Melbourne. Then I found a cafĂ© bar called Mojave’s which did beer and a sandwich, very good, if you make it to Torquay Victoria head there for lunch.

Then next day, a look round Melbourne. I had a list of places I had been told were “must see”. But with the temp up to 43C it was a question of survival not site seeing. Did see the insides of a couple of pubs. Now here’s a thing. In Oz I tend to drink VB, Victoria Bitter, so here I was in Victoria and not a sign of Victoria Bitter any where, may be they export it all to the rest of Australia.

Then came the big escape, the flight to Tasmania. That’s even further south than Melbourne so it should be cooler, please god make it cooler. On the trip across the Bass Straight to Burnie on a Saab the smiling attendant handed out newspapers, the whole of page two was given over to the news that Tasmania was experiencing its hottest heat wave EVER! Right, OK it wasn’t quiet on the scale of Melbourne’s attempt to reproduce Hell on Earth but really there isn’t much difference between 43C and 37C when heat exhaustion and sun burn had already taken its toll.

So Saturday and Sunday were spent helping my niece’s partner move the kitchen for one part of the house to an other, it an old house some way out of Burnie and we dug a channel for the waste pipe, moved the stove, removed the fitted cupboards and sink, including taps, re routed water pipes, hot and cold and then fed the chickens and ducks. Then a few beers in the cool of the evening.

Monday we, my sister and I borrowed the car and took a trip to the west coast of Tassie to the world famous Arthur River. Never heard of it? So it isn’t world famous then but a fairly wild place and if you are in NW Tasmania have a look. We looked west towards South America across the Southern Ocean and the Roaring Forties, couldn’t see it though, bit too much spray from the pounding waves.

More, including some photos on Sunday (8th Feb).