Just some stuff I want to share with you

Posts in category Australia 2009

Well I have taken some time of to see a lot of the smallest continent, which seems rather big to me.

Exploring Hobart and surroundings.

The day starts with some shopping. I am not equipped for 15 degrees and potential rain showers. Luckily my hotel is just meters away from the shopping centre of town.

And I had to stop by Thrifty: my car key came apart and I don’t want to risk losing any part, since one is used to open the door and the other part to start the beast… The “rent a car” man looked surprised. But a drop of glue should do the trick.

During my walk through town I concluded that I will not spent a lot of time in this city. It’s not that interesting. Here are some views from the harbor.

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According to my little book there are some nice views just a few car minutes away. Time to hit the road then.

First stop: Mount Wellington. Nice drive! A winding road of about 20 kilometers to the top. On my way over I noticed that there was a big cloud surrounding the mountain top. Hope that’s not going to impact my pictures! Then a few minutes later I was IN the cloud and a few minutes later again the sky was clear again. Interesting, so the top is above the cloud. And it looks like this:

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And there’s more.

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There is a big radio mast on top of the mountain; therefore there’s also this warning.

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From here you can follow several walking tracks. But that’s not for me today. I walked a few hundred meters of one of the tracks because of these views.

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Then we (me and my mate for the next 9 days) had to move on. At a certain moment I noticed a broken tail light on my car. That wasn’t on the form when I picked it up, but I know for sure that I didn’t hit anything… Well we need to visit the Thrifty office one more time.

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When I got back below the cloud I could just see the city beneath me. And looking up I could see the top of the mountain again.

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There’s a casino (Wrest Point) and another harbor with some nice views just to the south of the city centre.

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I wanted to make sure that my broken light was not going to give me issues for the next days. Therefore I visited the Thrifty office one more time. We came to the conclusion that the light was already broken by the time I picked up the car (there was a lot of water in it and it hasn’t rained, so that must be caused by washing the car). The light itself is working and therefore I will not have any problems with the police… We’ll see.

By mistake I took a wrong turn driving back to my hotel and ended up on the other side of the bridge (east side) again. Well, since I am here, let’s see what my little book finds interesting here. Hey, there’s a “lookout” sign. Deviate… Yes Tom I know I am going in the wrong direction…

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Then it was getting dark again and I noticed that the cloud around the top of Mount Wellington was fading. How would a sunset look from there? Only one way to find out… Well it’s nice, but for some reason I couldn’t get it “on film”. It’s freezing cold up here by the way. Temperatures are down to 5 degrees and the wind is strong making things worse.

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Then it was time to return “home”. It’s been a nice day again and I think I have covered Hobart and surroundings. Tomorrow I want to move away from this city.

Monday 20 April 2009

Switching islands.

No pictures today. Today I will travel from Sydney to Hobart (Tasmania).

The day started with a lot of rain in Sydney making leaving this city a bit easier;-) But when the sun showed for some time, I couldn’t resist walking to Circular Quay one more time. It was a nice stroll along many visitors again. Then I had to return to my hotel because the taxi would pick me up within 30 minutes. The moment I got back in the hotel, the rain started pouring again. Good timing.

It was a pleasant flight to Hobart. Here I picked up my next car, a Nissan X-Trail this time, to drive to all sorts of nice places on this island. One thing is clear: it’s much colder down here: 15 degrees… brrrrrr. A few weeks ago it was over 40… But then: it’s dry. And that’s not always the case on this island.

Let’s start by getting to the hotel. I noticed on my small map that Hobart city is all about one way streets and my hotel is in the middle of it all. Hey, where did I hear that before? Oh yeah: that was in Sydney where Tom Tom didn’t help much… Well this time he/she was performing very nicely again and I found the hotel in no time.

By the time I got there, it was dark and it’s Sunday, meaning everything is closed in this town. Therefore it’s going to be a relaxed dinner in the hotel and then it’s time to move on to tomorrow.

Sunday 19 April 2009

Darling Harbour

Someone suggested I should also take a look at Darling Harbour. It’s just a 30 – 40 minute walk from my hotel (seems that most things are in a 30 – 40 minutes’ walk range). The weather is not that warm today mainly due to the cold wind. But hey: put on some jeans and start walking.

Within about 5 minutes walking from my hotel (The Sebel Pier One) I got Darling Harbour in sight. There was a big cruise ship here, loading up to go nice places I assume.

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And today we will see a lot of planes ready to land at the Sydney airport.

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Darling Harbour is all about fun. There are a million restaurants, bars and shops to entertain the masses. Here you will find the National Maritime Museum, Wild Life World and the IMAX theater. It’s also the place to be when you want to get out on the water. There are water taxis, cruises and you can even hire sailboats and Jet Ski’s here. It’s a pleasant place to be. The street theater performances make it even better.

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During the afternoon I noticed that the IMAX was showing the 3D IMAX version of “Monsters vs Aliens”. That’s one that I will not find at home, so I just had to see it. And you know what: the theater was filled. Great movie and the 3D effects are amazing.

And another day has passed. Time is passing in record speed I think. Some many things to see and do and so little time left to do so. Well, let’s move on: tomorrow I will leave Sydney and fly to Hobart (Tasmania). Another island, switching from Ausies to Tasies.

Saturday 18 April 2009

Let’s look at if from another angle.

Clare McEwan (the organizer of the Air Safari) had a suggestion for my days in Sydney: take the ferry Manly and have a look around. And since he’s been around this place more then I have, I will follow up on his recommendation. So here we go to find the Ferry. It’s an interesting concept: this boat never turns around; it just uses the other propeller I guess.

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A 30 minute journey results in this:

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And then you end up in Manly. And this place has a beach, the so called Manly Beach (although they have a good sense of humor, they are not very creative over here). It’s quite busy on the beach already when I arrive. A lot of parents with their children (it’s school holiday in this state).

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There’s also quite a bit of surfing going on here. But before you can ride the waves you will have to learn how to stand up on your board. Here’s a small group getting their instructions on the basics. Lie down, peddle, push up and then jump into the standing up position.

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Yeah right… Most of them couldn’t even do so while they were on the beach.

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That’s going to be a lot of fun when they get into the wet.

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Well if you practice enough, you might end up with this group and do like they do…

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It’s not only surfing, swimming or getting a tan, there’s also some quite fanatic beach volley ball game going on here.

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So what’s more in Manly? Well, shops of course! Everything you need when going to the beach (or pretending you are going to the beach).

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After all that excitement it was time to catch the ferry back to “my harbor”; Circular Quay.

The next thing on my list today: I want to get on the Sydney Tower (www.sydneytower.com.au). When I got to the tower it was extremely busy. It looked like they just dumped 10 busloads of Asians here… But then I got my tickets and up we go. Ten people in a small elevator up to the observation deck. It only takes about 40 seconds, but since you can’t see a thing while you’re in the elevator, it’s not a very pleasant ride. After that, this is what you get:

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As you can see, it was already getting dark. Therefore I decided to stay here until the sun had set and try to take some night shots as well.

During my stay, there was a helicopter constantly circling around the tower. At some point it hovered very close to it as well. He for sure did not meet the minimum distance requirements that I need to take into account when flying…

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It’s difficult to take nice shots at night. You can’t bring tripods up here, there’s too much light inside from the coffee corner and shops and about a million people are here and making all sorts of marks on the windows.

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After enjoying the views it was time for the next event I booked: the OzTrek ride. Well what can I say about that? It’s good fun, but it’s not worth what I paid for it… Perhaps there were just too many Chinese/Japanese around.

That was the fun for today. Clare was right: it’s nice to visit Manly. And if you can: visit this tower. The views are just fantastic.

The Ferry to Manly:

Friday 18 April 2009

So what does this town have to offer?

Yesterday when I walked back from Thrifty to my hotel I found the places I showed in my previous post. Today I want to look at things more closely. No big plans just walking around and see what’s here. Let’s start by looking out of my hotel room window:

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Then let’s move on to this big bridge that’s on the other side of the hotel. Before climbing start walking up it. Here’s an impression on what’s out there:

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Then I started to look up. Hmm that’s high and there’s not a lot to hold on to. I watched a group of climbers going up and then I saw some of them turning around. And you know what: that did it… I am not going to climb this thing. I don’t have the guts to do so! Well that’s one thing of my “to do” list then.

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Let’s move on. Here’s an impression of “The Rocks” and the harbor. As you can see everything is very close together. Ideal for a tourist like me: I don’t want to walk too far…

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Next to the harbor is the Royal Botanic Garden and in that area you will also find this:

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I just walked around this place for a few hours. It’s very relaxing and there are a lot of people around. It’s school holiday in this state and then there are all these tourists as well.

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There were also a lot of joggers running in this park. It must be one of their preferred places to go to since I saw dozens of them.

I already mentioned the Australian sense of humor. Here’s another example:

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After all that walking it was time to see the Opera House. There are several tours of this place and I did the “essential tour”. Very interesting! And there’s another plus to these tours: you are not allowed to take pictures from the inside of the building… But here are a few from the outside.

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After all that walking around and seeing things it was getting dark again. It’s been a nice day, but now it’s time for a drink and it’s time to put my feet up.

Thursday 16 April 2009