Resolute Bay, Kuringai National Park. Where are all the people?
‘We do live in an amazingly beautiful city, don’t we?’ says my friend and hiking companion Duncan.
How could I not agree? We’re sitting on rocks by a beautiful beach with spotless sand, surrounded by spectacular forest. We’ve just been admiring millennia-old Aboriginal rock carvings. It’s the peak summer holiday period and we’re less than an hour’s drive from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, technically still inside the city limits. Yet we have it all to ourselves. Continue reading
If every day could be like this, I’d almost be content to stay for the term of my natural life.
Many of the first white residents could wait to get off Maria Island.
Convicts transported here in 1825 built Aboriginal-style canoes, begged or bribed whaling ships to give them a ride or tried their luck on the swim across the strait to mainland Tasmania, a few kilometres away. To see the island now, you wonder where they’d rather have been. Continue reading
I’ve finally found time to venture out of Sydney, into the Blue Mountains. I thought I knew them well, but I didn’t know about this hidden treasure. Continue reading
A photo op over the Grose Valley.
Click on this photo and look carefully, and you may be able to see the mules coming to our rescue.
The little log and stick bridge is supported by sandbags at each end. It has sagged onto the surface of the muddy river, its waters swollen by melting snow from the surrounding peaks. It has no handrail.
Local children skip over its 15-metre span. Village women stoically struggle across, carrying absurdly large bundles of animal fodder on their backs.
Nobody seems to have any trouble. Until it’s our turn – six Dutch hiking friends, one Australian and our Berber guide Khalid, two hours into our five-day trek through the foothills of Morocco’s High Atlas range. Continue reading
Nobody knows the Pyrenees walks better than this man.
Back in 2006 some friends and I walked a week-long section of the Haute Route in the Pyrenees. The guidebook and maps we followed then had been prepared by Dutch hiker Ton Joosten, an expert in the area.
This week it’s a coincidence, a privilege and a pleasure to find myself walking in the Pyrenees with the man himself there in person as our guide.
Ton is not only a guidebook writer, he’s also the cook, housekeeper and host of his guesthouse Le Petit Refuge in the village of Ayet, Bethmale Valley, where he offers guest accommodation and guiding.
If any bonus were needed, he’s also a superb landscape photographer. So I’ve been standing close to him, trying to pick up a few pointers. I’m pleased with some of the results. It’s hard to take a poor shot in this wonderfully varied terrain. Continue reading
A fairytale sandcastle, melting into the desert.
We’ve never been to Morocco before, so everything seems wonderfully exotic. And our first night’s accommodation is extraordinary.