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Melbourne (February 2015)
Tasmania (February 2015)
Florida (June/ July 2015
Georgia (July 2015)
California (July 2015)
Dubai (October 2015
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Northland, New Zealand (Jan 2016)
MORE POSTS TO COME FROM
Kapiti Island (NZ)
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Another book is due out very soon (topics - Borneo & eco travel) and will be on Amazon with my other two books
I'm being interviewed about some of my travels on NZ Radio (National/Nights) mid/late March http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nights
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Many thanks to Grayline for hosting me on this fun day trip which included the Puffing Billy trip (see an earlier blog) food, wine and chocolate. It also had stop at Healesville Sanctuary which is part of Zoos Victoria and we arrived just in time for the bird show.
I think the best way to introduce you to this sanctuary is to give you a slideshow about some of my time there … naturally being there in the flesh is way better and I hope this encourages you to pack a picnic lunch and go, or do as I did and go on a day tour with Grayline.
Let have another look at that bird that hit my camera, which hit me and created a huge lump and cut in my eyebrow – seemed it didn’t like the close up i wanted to take! I don’t know what part hit me, maybe the straps hanging from his legs, his body or wing, but whatever it was, it was an unexpected and hard wallop!
Travel writers – just going that extra length to get a story huh!
More blogs to come from my recent Australian trip, but no more such bird encounters.
. . . “Two weeks later I’m on Penang Island, named after the betel nut so loved by many older men and women: all recognisable by their stained teeth and frequent spitting. It’s early in the morning: very early. Standing in the dawn light, at the colourful temple I’m unsure if I should go in. A few other tourists are also standing around, talking in low whispers, cameras around their necks.
It’s Thaipusam; a day of consecration to the Hindu deity Lord Murugen who is confusingly also called Lord Subramanian. Hindus who have made a vow to him carry frames decorated with coloured paper and flowers, fresh fruit and milk. When these tributes are placed at the feet of the deity, their penance or gratitude is accepted. Some 2000 people will carry the kavadi or silver milk containers, the 12 kilometres to the Natlukotai Temple in Waterfall Road, Penang Island on this annual pilgrimage.
Arriving at the bus departure place, near “Fed Square’, Melbourne,I was not surprised to find many others had also signed up for a Puffing Billy day trip – it seems everyone loves a ride on a steam train.
My first driver, Ismet – who in the Aussie tradition has had his name babified/shortened to Issie – regaled us with local stories as we drove out of Melbourne and, as this was my first trip to the city, I valued the historical and current background context. He told of car museums, rich suburbs, soccer, wide streets; that the city has 32% of its land in sports fields and gardens, and explained the thirty-six ‘right-hand hooks’ – the unusual but elegant solution to keep the trams moving in the city.
As well as the Puffing Billy trip, other activities on the day included a visit to the Healesville Sanctuary, Billy Tea, riding through forest and little towns and for those who wanted to, feeding colourful Rosellas and King Parrots; chocolate, wine tasting and a roast dinner – the day covered them all. (But more about those topics in another blog)
We boarded the Puffing Billy at Belgrave for our short trip (about 30 mins I think) in the Dandenong Ranges, but first its seemed all passengers took many, many photos of the fire-fueled steam engines.
This line, built in the early 1900s, helped open up the area and carried logs, livestock, and other goods it now carries about a million and a half tourists annually: it is mostly staffed by volunteers. Running every day except Christmas Day, of course it is also closed on high temperature-high fire risk days for fear of starting a bush fire – a wise precaution.
Our Grayline tour had its own carriage and it seemed all the other carriages were full too – I said, seems all the world loves a steam train!
Here’s a slideshow for you – a few of the many photos I took on this little section of our day tour. (A friend had recommended I rode the Puffing Billy and I’m glad I took the advice)
Many thanks to Grayline for hosting me on this fun day.
Just got home at midnight last night: but here are a few photos from my first day in Melbourne, Australia to give you a taste – these are from a great day tour which included food, wine, wildlife, and a Puffing Billy!
I did this tour with Grayline and for more about this day tour and my other activities during the past 3 weeks make sure you sign up to get my blogs by email (top right hand corner of this page) and/or follow me on FaceBook, Pinterest, Instagram etc – get the links off my website www.kiwitravelwriter.com)
Originally posted on KiwiTravelWriter: food, travel, tips:
Have you seen this on u-tube by Tony Clark – a Christchurch quake slide-show .
When I look at this I can still smell the dust from the September 4th quake … which now seems nothing after the smaller, but shallower and fatal, February 22nd one.
This selfie was taken on a Tasmanian beach last week.
Just had a message from WordPress
with congratulations for seven years blogging right here .. so lots of topics and places for you to search for in my writings.
More blogs on the way after this current trip in Melbourne and Tasmania Australia. Back home in New Zealand next week to start on them … and also convert my new book into e-formats. (A Love Letter to Malaysian Borneo: Or, Can This Travel Writer Be Green?)