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
Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW.
Camera in point and shoot mode, letting the mist provide the blurring and the magic.
It was a good day for taking photos of waterfalls yesterday.
I’d read a bit about how to do it, and practised the technique with a bathroom tap, trying to get that smooth, soft water effect that seems to be compulsory for waterfall shots in magazines.
And where better to try it for real than on a hike with my fellow amateur snapper Duncan down the evocatively named Valley of the Waters, in the Blue Mountains just outside Sydney? Here’s what we learned… Continue reading
A delicate photo and a delicate tale to go with it…
I was rather pleased with this photo. It was a shame I had to break the law to take it.
To read the kiss-and-tell, cards-on-the-table, warts-and-all story of how Shifty and I risked hefty fines, serious lectures from the judge and delicate parts of our anatomy to bring you this little sample of Blue Mountains magic, CLICK HERE.
The ferns are lush, but it there something missing?
I met some Germans on this hike, students from Bavaria. It was their first time in Australia and their first time in the Blue Mountains.
‘There are lots of forests in Germany,’ I suggested.
‘Yes,’ they said, ‘but they are not smelling like this, or sounding like this.’
I was glad they were enjoying it. I certainly was. Does anything smell better than eucalyptus after rain? Do any bird calls sound better than the clear notes of those bell miners? Yet I’ve also met people who hated the Australian bush. Continue reading
It all looks so good, but getting the ideal shot is very tricky.
I crouch in the shrubbery, attempting to keep the drips off the camera while getting a shot of a little waterfall. Water glistens on dark rocks, bright ferns contrast with the white spray and there are flashes of rusty reds in the sandstone cliffs towering over us.
The scenery is brilliant, so why is making a satisfying photo in the Blue Mountains so hard?
‘Have you noticed there are hardly any good paintings of the Blue Mountains either?’ observes my friend and walking companion Duncan.
He’s right. The great Australian landscape painters, Fred Williams, Arthur Boyd, Albert Namatjira, Arthur Streeton, to name a few among many, usually choose as their subjects desert and open hillsides rather than clifftop views, dark gullies, deep forests and gushing waterfalls. Why should that be? Continue reading
Flowers of the forest - gilding the lily, perhaps? Julian Smallwood and Judy Paddison's BlueM
As the little train plummeted towards the valley floor, the Indiana Jones theme blared out. It’s the steepest funicular railway in the world, our guide breathlessly informed us.
Since the entire ride took less than a minute, it may also be, gee whillikers, the Shortest Train Track in Australasia if not the Southern Hemisphere, though this was not part of the publicity. Continue reading
That's North Head in the distance. The end of the road is in sight.
If you want a nature walk by Sydney Harbour, this is as good as it gets. The ten kilometre track through the national park from The Spit to Manly is easy to walk if you don’t mind a few steps, gives lovely views out over the water and offers a useful coffee stop by the water at Clontarf. Continue reading