I’m often asked to travel for my work, which is great. It’s an opportunity to take photos and explore – even when it’s somewhere like Canberra that I have been many times.
So here is a short story in tweets and photos from a road trip to Canberra!
No trip is complete without a camera (or three!). This was only an overnight trip though, so I limited myself to my big camera, two lenses, and my phone. More than enough surely! I managed to prove myself wrong, but it still worked out fine.
Leaving Sydney was mercifully easy, with only light-ish traffic on the M5.
The clouds in the distance were a harbinger of things to come…
In the spirit of good concentration and staying safe, we stopped regularly to “Rest, Revive, Survive”.
Tea is my beverage of choice – well, just about everywhere, and it’s a good choice when travelling as it helps me avoid the empty calories of soft drink that beckon from rest stop service station fridges…
The further we drove, the darker the horizon became! In the past (including once on a motorbike) I have been caught in torrential downpours south of Sydney that were so heavy that all of the traffic had to pull over to the side of the road.
I was really hoping this wasn’t going to be one of those storms.
And then it hit. Really serious rain! But thankfully not serious enough to make us have to pull over – although it did have it’s moments.
Much to our relief, the rain eased (a little anyway) when we got to Goulburn, so I was able to get a quick photo of The Big Merino!
If you’re not familiar with Australian regional highway culture, then this is the pinnacle of that culture: the BIG [insert regional speciality].
The Big Banana (Coffs Harbour)
The Big Potato (Robertson, NSW)
The Big Playable Guitar (Narrandera – apparently it’s the largest playable guitar in the world – who knew?)
And of course in a wool growing region like Goulburn – The Big Merino (sheep). There are many, many more “big” things dotted around Australia.
Random trivia: The Big Merino was moved from it’s original location, about 100m across the road to the new service centre in Goulburn some years ago to make way for a Bunnings hardware store. The jury is still out as to whether or not this improved Goulburn’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.
Rambo (as he is locally known according to Wikipedia) was sporting a very festive red thing around his neck. Good to see Goulburn getting into the Christmas spirit.
We set off again and continued through patchy rain for Canberra and took a moment to stop at Lake George. Actually two moment – as there are two quite good rest stops to view the lake from.
Now my tweet about the lake was somewhat confusing for some people. It’s called Lake George – but where’s the water? The answer is that Lake George is highly seasonal (and sometimes doesn’t fill up very much at all for years).
So most of the time Lake George is a flat plain of waving grass that hosts various birds and in the back ground a low line of hills – topped, controversially in recent years with a forest of wind turbines.
It was quite the view with the storm clouds coming over as you can see below! Click on the image to see the full panorama
If you love dramatic skies, then these photos are for you. It really was a beautiful scene and I was just a little disappointed that I hadn’t bought my equipment to shoot time-lapses!
The last time I stopped to take photos at Lake George (about a year ago) I managed to shoot a beautiful time-lapse with the passing clouds and the play of light and shadow over the lake grass. You can see it near the star of this video…
We waved Lake George goodbye and made the final run into Canberra before the sun set.
Now I’m a big fan of public transport and I much prefer light rail to busses. But it was disappointing that Canberra cut down all of the beautiful eucalypts that lined the middle of middle of Northbourn Ave to build theirs.
I suppose that they couldn’t really do much else, but it is a shame to see all of those trees gone now to be replaced with concrete and rails. I am hoping that they will replant with something once the rails are done, but who knows?
Hotel rooms in Canberra rarely have a beautiful outlook, but this one was rather pleasing.
While walking out to find some dinner, we discovered that one of the roundabouts in Braddon had been painted up in LGBTQI colours in support of the same sex marriage non-compulsory, non-binding, (totally-not-a-plebiscite) postal vote.
It’s nice to see such public, unambiguous support of marriage equality.
And it has become quite the tourist draw too – I wasn’t the only one taking selfies on it!
A burger and chips with a beer from Grease Monkeys Cafe seemed like perfect road trip fair! Not the finest dining in Canberra to be sure, but it was quick and easy and cheerful food food after a long drive.
Jump forward to the next day and we headed back for Sydney. It was a far better day to be driving! No rain and barely a cloud in sight.
Leaving Canberra though, there is an avenue of bottle brushes that were in absolutely spectacular bloom! This isn’t the best photo ever taken, but you can clearly see the beautiful red bottle brush flowers covering them.
The drive home was uneventful – but did include me sleeping for an hour! Lets just say that I am not a nervous passenger.
As always, there were many, many trucks on the Hume Highway (and a fair seasoning of highway patrol police too). It never ceases to amaze me the shear volume of “stuff” that we move around the countryside on trucks.
Despite roadworks and the usual disaster that is the M5 motorway, we made good time back into Sydney and I was soon home…
This was only a quick trip, but I am available to travel pretty much anywhere you might like to go. From a day or two locally, to a week or more in Australia or overseas.
Sydney has its problems, but distance from various spectacular natural attractions is not one of them.
I had some time this afternoon, so I decided to take my new camera – and drone out of Sydney and explore nature. My destination was the South Lawson waterfall circuit.
It’s an hour a little over an hour drive from my place in Olympic Park to Lawson, so it was a convenient destination that is reputed to have some fabulous scenery. And I have to say – it did not disappoint!
Don’t forget to click each image to see the full size version.
So, if you are contemplating a date with me and would like to take a walk in nature, then just let me know. There are so many special places to explore in Sydney and close by.
I want to share two blog posts with you. It is written by an older woman who I recently had a date with.
She was generous enough to share her writing with me and I wanted to give my readers the chance to see another woman’s perspective on sex and sexuality and the experience of visiting a male escort like myself.
“The Camino de Santiago known in English as The Way of Saint James among other names, is a network of pilgrims’ ways serving pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups” – from Wikipedia
For those who follow my Twitter account (@JohnOhOfSydney) you will know that I was lucky to be booked by a client to join her for a few days walking The Camino de Santiago from the South of France down into Northern Spain earlier this year.
It was a fabulous trip – filled with beautiful scenery, physical challenge, and the solitude of wild places.
I am not a religious or spiritual person, but you don’t need to be to enjoy this trek and to grow as a person from the experience. I had the opportunity to practice my photography skills along the way and I can say that the scenery was truly stunning – like nothing that I have ever experienced. I love Australia and the Australian landscape, but I have always had a strong reaction to the deep and vivid greens of European lands and forest.
Something that surprised me was discovering that there was very little animal life – other than domestic animals – as we walked over the French Pyrenees Mountains. There was some bird life (including golden eagles which were most impressive), but I literally didn’t see a wild animal until we reached Pamplona – and that was a solitary red squirrel.
The food in southern France and Northern Spain was surprising to me. It was probably the biggest cultural difference from Australia. The local food was very limited in its variety. A lot of bread, cured meat, and cheese – and quiche! I love all of those things, but you can have too much of a good thing…
It emphasised to me how much Australia has benefited from migrant culture. We have such diversity in the food available to us on any given day on in any place. There will always be Asian food, European food, American food – the list goes on. And our fresh produce is, I think, second to none in the world, and that makes a huge difference to the quality of dishes.
The walking itself was serious and requires preparation. The first day from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles is approximately 27kms. It would be a long walk just on flat ground, but this part of the trip climbs 1,200 meters over the French Pyrenees and down another 500 meters into northern Spain. It’s a walk that many people split over two days rather than one, but we did the whole thing in one go. It was quite an achievement and a spectacular experience.
For anyone contemplating this walk, I would definitely recommend that you take your time. Don’t rush to get to your next destination. Walk slowly. Stop often. Look around. Take lots of photographs.
There is always another days walk ahead, but taking the time to really enjoy where you are (and will likely never be again!) is invaluable.
If you are contemplating a trip and would like a companion for your travels, then please seem my Travel Page for rates and conditions.
In the spirit of urban exploration yesterday I visited Parsley Bay, a place I never even knew existed until recently. It’s a quiet little harbour side bay that is home to beautiful waters – and water dragons and stingrays!).
It’s still a little cold in the water, but it made for a pleasant hour or two sitting in the shade admiring the view and photographing the scenery – you can click on any of these images to see the full sized version.
As the weather warms up (and the water too!) I will definitely have to come back for a swim in this delightful little spot – and hopefully see some stingrays!
Well, it’s been a while! I realised today that I haven’t posted anything to my website since June is year (!).
So in the spirit of not being so slack, here is a photo that I took some time ago at the Brick Pit at Sydney Olympic Park. I’m have posted other images of the Ring Walk in the past, but this one showing the artificial lake that has become home to endangered golden bell frogs and much more wildlife is one of my favourite images.
Click the image to see the full sized version.
It seems like only yesterday that it was January and I was having some time off – the year has truly flown by for me.
In recent times, I have been lucky enough to travel to France and Spain to walk the Camino Way with a client and to spend several days in Tasmania experiencing the best food, wine, art, and culture that Hobart has to offer. It has been an amazing time – if tiring!
I am still working to process the photos that I have been taking in my travels and I will post more about my trips in due course.