Just some stuff I want to share with you

Posts tagged Google Maps

Let’s hit the road.

There are so many nice things to see and do on this island, but I have limited time and the distances are enormous. Therefore I need to make some choices. I choose to go to the Huon valley and to see the Tahune Forest AirWalk.

Let’s start with the weather of the day: it’s cool (I am getting used to temperatures below 20 now), dry (there’s overcast) and hardly any wind. Result: it’s nice out here. And since there’s no wind you can take pictures like these:

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It’s fall over here. The leaves are changing color or just falling off.

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There we are: Tahune National Forrest. Let’s find out what this AirWalk is all about. Well this is it:

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After walking along the tree tops, it was time to get back on the ground. There’s a nice track back to the entrance. It will take me over two nice bridges over the river and since I haven’t walked for a few days…

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Then it was time to move on again. But it’s too early to return to Hobart. Let’s go south. Tom, where can we go? Let’s try “Dover”. After some discussions with Tom (he wants to get to places fast and efficient; I just want to see nice things) we found these views.

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Eventually we got to Dover and since it was getting darker and late again, I asked Tom to do what he does best: get me to my hotel fast and efficient. He did… And my PhotoTrackr gave up again. I still have no idea why.

The track of today:

Tuesday 21 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

Leaving the mountains…

Today I want to get closer to Sydney. Tomorrow I will need to hand in my car and I don’t want to spend too much time driving around the centre of this big town. Therefore the schedule of today: find one more interesting place in the mountains and then drive to one of the towns close to Sydney.

The morning started with a friendly discussion with Greg, the owner of the Bethany Manor bed and breakfast. I told him that I wanted to go for one last walk before driving away from the mountains. Well that turned on the tour guide in him… The maps came out and within 10 minutes I had my plan for today. Today I will drive to a very nice lookout that not many people will go to, because it’s not printed in bold and big letters on any map and the road to it is unsealed.

I will drive to the Butterbox Canyon or lookout. It’s about 45 minutes on an unsealed road that goes up and down and has several “challenges” like big holes. It’s a “4 wheel drive preferred” road. Hey, I have a 4 wheel drive… sort of. I have a Mitsubishi Outlander. We can do this.

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After the bumping and turning and escaping from death (the story is slightly dramatized) I ended up at the parking place. From here it’s a 15 minute walk and then you see things like this:

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Greg was right: this is probably the best way to leave a magnificent place like the Blue Mountains: with an overview of everything it has to offer.

Then I had to go back on this fabulous road. Doesn’t look to bad does it? That’s because something can’t be expressed by pictures. You have to be there…

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After this nice walk it was time to find a hotel close to Sydney. This morning I planned to go to Parramatta. It’s about 45 minutes away from the hotel I need to go to tomorrow and the hotel I choose has everything I need today: a guest laundry, a Woolworth across the street, a restaurant and a bed.

After driving for about 30 minutes the scenery changes dramatically. The mountains are gone. The amount of cars increase and within no time I am surrounded by buildings. And then there’s my hotel. Time to prepare my move tomorrow and clean out the car…

I don’t know what happened to my PhotoTrackr today. But for some reason it stopped recording somewhere on my way back from Butterbox canyon. Therefore my track of today is not complete…

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Today I need some shelter.

Yesterday I already planned to go to the Jenolan Caves today. And what a good planning that was… Today is going to be a very wet day. And then it’s not a bad thing to be “inside”.

It’s quite a drive from Katoomba (or Leura to be more precise) to the caves. And on my way I was able to take some nice snapshots of the landscape (and the clouds).

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And then there they are: the caves. They are big, there are a lot of them and it’s going to be a challenge to take pictures… It’s just to dark in there and you will need a far better camera to take really nice pictures here.

I booked two tours: first I will visit the Temple of Baal and after that I will see the Lucas cave. And because I booked two tours, I also got access to the “self guided” Nettle cave. Here’s an impression:

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Then it was time to visit the Temple of Baal. Together with another 20 or so visitors, including some very young children that liked the first 10 seconds, but couldn’t really appreciate the other 90 minutes…
Nevertheless, our tour guide tried to entertain them as much as possible and we had a lovely tour. As stated before, it’s very challenging to take good pictures in these caves. Here are a few that worked out (but they don’t show the real glory of the real thing however):

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They spent a lot of time and effort to create beautiful light effects and music in this cave. If you ever have the option: go and see for yourself.

Then it was time to see Lucas. This is the biggest cave, but far less impressive then the Temple of Baal. I took hardly any pictures of this cave, but here are a few:

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After all these caves, it was time to return to my hotel. And that was not that easy. The rain was far more intense then when I drove up here and the clouds were covering the road I had to go on. It took me far more time to get back then I expected; I just had to drive very slowly in order to stay on the road…

By the time I got back it was already quite late. So after a quick diner it was time to call it a day. Hopefully the weather is better tomorrow, since it will be my last day in this magnificent area.

The track of today:

Monday 13 April 2009

There’s another “Grand Canyon”…

And you can find it in Blackheath a small town just west of Katoomba. The lady of the visitor information centre warned me about the potential masses of tourists that I will encounter in the popular places today. Therefore she suggested walking the Neates Glen – Grand Canyon – Evans Lookout track. Most of the walkers will do it the other way around, but she explained that this was the better way: “you will end up with the best views, instead of starting with them”. She was very convincing and I don’t know anything about this place, so let’s find this big gap in the ground.

The weather was a bit strange today. It’s unclear whether it’s going to rain or not. The good thing about the clouds is that it will keep the sun away. The potential not so good thing: it may get wet…

When I got to the parking area, I noticed that there were already a lot of cars. Hence there must be quite a few people walking around here. But initially I saw nobody. The start of the walk wasn’t that exciting. Along some steep steps downwards and through a rather boring valley.

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But then things become more interesting. The views got better and the path more exciting as well. And there were some other people here as well. Most of them “going the wrong way around”.

It’s almost impossible to show the size of things in pictures. So just to make it clear: everything is big in this place. The trees are very tall, the rocks are big and the way down is long enough to make sure that you don’t go there.

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By the time I got to the river that runs though the valley, I stumbled upon a group that was going in the “right direction” as well. And it was good to have them in front of me, because at some points the track was not as clearly visible as before. Especially when we had to cross the river.

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The valley and the river were for sure the most beautiful part of the track.

And then there was the hard part: getting up again along a long long step way. But the views from the top were good as well. And guess why they call it the Blue Mountains…

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One more try to show the size of this place. Look at the trees…

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After a short break, my legs informed me that two walks like this after so little (= no) training were perhaps a bit demanding, it was time to see where all the tourists were. Well a good place to find them should be “Scenic World”. And yes, there they were: truck loads of them. It was interesting to see that most of them were from Asia and India. And they were here on a organized tour: the tour leader showed them clearly when to take a picture and when to get on the “Scenic Skyway”, “Scenic Cableway”, “Scenic Railway” or walk the “Scenic Walkway”.

So what’s here? Well this:

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By the time I took these pictures, it was getting dark and it was time to find my new room for the night. As I explained in my previous post: I will move on to a nicer and cheaper place tonight. It was a bit difficult to find in the dark, but it is correct: it is much nicer. And Greg (he runs the “Bethany Manor” bed and breakfast together with his wife Jill) welcomed me and showed me around. Very nice this personal touch and hospitality.

That’s it for today. Nothing more interesting happened. More to do and see tomorrow.

The track of today:

Sunday 12 April 2009