A Travellerspoint blog

The Red Centre

Ayers Rock

This weekend we flew to the very middle of the country, also known as the Red Centre, and I think you will see from the pictures how it’s earned its meme.

The first evening we set out to view the Field of Light, a light installation by Bruce Munro of over 50,000 light stems. We were served bubbles and beers as the sunset on Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, as the light installation came to life. Once dark, we ventured into the field to explore.

The next morning we headed out to catch the sunrise over the rock. It was pretty spectacular as the sun began to hit the rock, illuminating the redness and the sheer mass of the monolith. Once the sun was up and we began to warm up we joined the Mala Walk tour, which gave a lot more insight into the area and its importance in Aboriginal culture, before heading off on the 10km walk around the rock. We also learnt that it is against their culture to pass on a story about a place unless you are in that place, so I’m afraid I won’t be sharing and specific details here.

That evening we experienced the Sounds of Silence dinner. Once again we watched the sunset on the rock over canapés, bubbles and beers. We then headed to our outdoor dining venue where along with a three course meal, which included a dessert buffet(!) we were entertained with a traditional aboriginal performance (all a bit touristy but enjoyable nonetheless) and the highlight of the evening was a star gazing talk and a peek of Saturn and the moon through the telescopes. It was close to 5 degrees, so luckily the wine glasses were kept topped up to stave off the chill.

On our final day we once again got up and headed out for sunrise. This time at Kata Tjuta, also know as the Olgas, the second largest rock formation in the Red Centre. It also offered a different perspective on Ayers Rock.

The drive was a little further, which I didn’t appreciate that early, particularly because James wasn’t registered to drive on the car and I had to drive the whole way (due to a minor incident at the airport that involved a camera being left on the plane and him not being present to register his license – I won’t say who left it on the plane but I did have my two bags).

That afternoon we walked through the Olgas. Being more than one rock it was a more interesting walk than the Ayers Rock circuit.

After some lunch in the town square, it was back on the plane. We secured a window seat on the way back, which gave us one last glimpse of Uluru and the red landscape.

Posted by Time Well Spent 00:07 Archived in Australia Tagged uluru ayers_rock Comments (0)

Long Weekend in Tasmania

Tasmania is another state we hadn’t yet visited. Therefore, we took the long weekend to make the trip. We flew into the capital city Hobart, which has a grand total of 205k people. We headed out for a late dinner and some beer sampling at the Jack Green pub (a place that became a favourite of ours over the weekend).

The following morning we were up early for some breakfast (at Jackman McRoss café, which was conveniently located round the corner) and a wander through the Salamanca markets before we headed off on the 4000ft bike descent down Mount Wellington. The view from the top was spectacular and we were very happy we didn’t have to cycle up. The off-road sections on the mountain bikes were probably the most fun and our favourite.

After a quick shower, we headed to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). The gallery was established by a man who made his millions as a professional gambler and it was bizarre. It was complete with a wall of lady part molds, a poo machine and a random death room, which we didn’t make it into because it was two at a time and we didn’t fancy the 45 minute queue. We were much more keen to get to the wine bar and taste some Tassie vino and some of the Moo Brew beers from the local brewery. Well, James was. Someone had to drive us back. Luckily dinner was in town, so we could both enjoy a glass of wine.

The following day we drove up to Freycinet national park to hike Mount Amos, one of the three hazards in the park. At 1,500ft it was a good hike to the top, with some sections requiring a lot more grip on the shoe than mind had. Nevertheless, we made it to the top within the hour for another spectacular view of Wine Glass Bay. Back down we went in search of lunch and dropped by Devil’s Corner Winery for some fish and chips and wine tasting (again James did – someone had to drive). It was a 3 hour drive back and after a quick shower and a nap we headed out (to the Jack Green pub) for some drinks before dinner.

Monday was to be our final day in Tassie. After a walk around the town centre, the waterfront and a late breakfast at Machine Laundry Café, which was where everyone seemed to be, we drove down to Port Arthur. There were a few nice stops along the way and some stunning scenery. My favourite stop however was the drive through the town of Doo. Yes, Doo. Every house had a quirky name with the word Doo including Make-Doo, Doo Rum, Much a Doo about Nothing, Didgeri- Doo, Yabba Dabba Doo, Humpty Doo, Doo Me, Just Doo It, Doo Little, Do for Now, it goes on, but you get the idea.

Port Arthur is a former convict settlement and an open-air museum. The tour guide gave some fantastic insight into what it would have been like to be a convict in the prison in the 19th Century. Many of the houses have been restored following a number of bush fires. Visiting the museum and walking around the houses it was hard to see how it could have been such a bad place to live. It was a sunny day, it’s by the water and it was very peaceful. I expect the 16+ hour days of hard manual labour and very little to eat would have changed my opinion.

Sadly, that was all we had time for and we headed back to Hobart to catch the flight back.

Posted by Time Well Spent 04:23 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania Comments (0)

Byron Bay

Christmas & New Years

It’s been a while since we posted anything here - seems work etc gets in the way, however we won’t let it stop us from going away an visiting amazing places. This Christmas was our third Christmas away from home and our friends and family. We used the time off over the festive period to visit Byron Bay. Whilst we were away from our friends back home we managed to find accomplices this side of the world to join us.
We made the ten hour drive up to Byron, broken up with a stop for Christmas day near Wauchope (pronounced War-hope) at a friends. We hit Byron on Boxing day and settled in for a week of beach, sea and bars. Although, the first day greeted us with a deluge of rain (it does rain in Australia), which found us holing up in a bar for the afternoon.

Following the rain we were lucky enough to have a sunny week. We hired surf boards and I gave it a crack – managing to stand up a few times, all be it in the shallow white water. James faired much better and spent a lot of the time out in the surf. I’m clearly more of a land based creature, and preferred to run on the beach that be battered in the sea by the waves.

Stone & Wood Brewery

Lighthouse Walk

The walk to the lighthouse was a pleasant walk along the coastline. We spotted a pod of dolphins in one section, playing in the waves with the surfers. We’d never seen so many of them in one place and it was an incredible site.
The walk to the lighthouse took us to the most easterly point of Australia, which was, as far as I can tell, very windy.

Our days were mostly spent chilling by the beach, splashing in the sea and cycling to and from the town, as we stayed 3km out of Byron Bay in Belongil.

A nice place to visit is Bangalow, a town a 15 minute drive from Byron Bay. We drove up for some brunch and went to a great café called Downtown (highly recommended for breakfast – and they have a restaurant called Uptown, which is a good spot for dinner).

News Years Eve we started with a BBQ and moved onto the street party, where there was live music and markets in the town. Once that wound down we popped into a club and finished the night with a beer on the beach.
We broke the drive up with an overnight stop in Port Macquarie. After a spot of lunch we took out a kayak for the afternoon and spent the evening walking along the coastline and watching the surfers and body boarders before dinner and bed and an early start to drive back to Sydney.

Posted by Time Well Spent 15:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


Vineyards, vineyards, vineyards

We arrived in Adelaide early on Good Friday. Once we'd collected the car we headed to Mount Lofty, which had some spectacular view across the town and out to sea. We then spent some time walking around the Botanical gardens , which looked very Autumnal, with green, red, brown and orange coloured leaves everywhere.

We then drove up to the quaint German town of Hahndorf, which was busy with tourists. We browsed the tourist shops and sampled some fudge in the fudge shop, and then bought some fudge and ate that too.

Everything in Australia seems to be shut on Good Friday, due to the bizarre regulations, which means you must have a meal with your drink, however we found a great Szechuan restaurant in the city where we spent the evening with a bottle of wine (which was the real reason we came to Adelaide).

The following day was spent driving around the Barosa valley visiting the vineyards (Wine!). We stopped at a few - Kellermeister, Rockford, Langmeil, Kaesler, Peter Lehmans and Charles Melton. I think James' probably had more fun, given I was designated driver, but we'd purchased a few rather nice bottles which we were to start on later in the evening - once the car was parked up for the night.
The wine in this picture is purely for aesthetic purposes - it was James' and sadly I was only allowed a sip.

On the Sunday we got up super early, as the clocks had gone back, and drove down to Port Noarlunga to walk along the beach - it was pretty chilly (coats were on) and we spent most the time watching some crazy couple who'd actually gone in for a swim. Next we wandered up to Christies beach to have some brunch before heading to the McClaren Vale, yet another wine area around Adelaide.

In the McClaren Vale we managed to squeeze in one more winery (Chapel Hill). This actually turned out to be one of the best ones (perhaps because it was my turn to do the tasting) and I think I'd sampled about 12 wines by the time we left. Next stop after our flight back to Sydney was to Dan Murphy's (the liquor store) to buy some bottles of the Chapel Hill wine!

Here's some shots of our landing in Sydney. It is by far one of the most beautiful cities to fly into.

Posted by Time Well Spent 04:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Blue Mountains

A few snaps from our Blue Mountains visit. We descended the Devil's staircase from Katoomba, 1,000 steps down into the mountains, encountered a snake (A black diamond python, apparently - not poisonous, phew), numerous waterfalls and then ascended back up the other side into Leura, where we had a few drinks before taking the train back to central. Pretty Awesome to have this just a short journey away.

Posted by Time Well Spent 03:18 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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