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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Whale song

My thoughts on tourism and photography are a bit muddled up:  To experience life through a camera lens, surely means that one is detached from the reality of the moment and is not truly experiencing it with full senses and emotions?
I am as guilty as most people I meet, so that is why I am wondering if it is posssible to capture the moment and actually be in the "now" with it? While going on a two-day whale watch tour in Hervey bay I tried to do both. And you know what? it worked, but maybe I was just lucky? When the amazing creature rose from the deep sea and came up so close that I could touch him, I took some pictures quickly and then put the camera down to let the moment wash over me with all the emotions that followed. I have seen whales before in the wild but each time I see them I can not believe how big and spectacular they are, it is a life changing moment, watching and hearing them sing up and close.

 Each year the humpback whales migrate from Antarctic waters to eastern coast of Australia where they mate and then give birth. Hervey bay is the best place in Australia to view them and in high season in August there will be around 300 whales moving around in the relatively small  Platypus bay by the coast of Fraser Island. Then in October they start to migrate back to Antarctica to feed.
As you know they are still being hunted by Japan, Norway and Iceland and therefore need all the help and protection we can give them. Whales have been on our planet for more than 50 million years and are important for the marine environment. Even after the whaling ban went into effect in 1986; 30 000 whales have been killed for commercial purposes. There are lots of organisations you can join in order to help and it is important that we do. Please see more info on IFAW's  website.

Dolphins and Humpback whales playing around.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

After the sun comes rain

We are staying in hostels on our road trip up north, some better than others but it's a great way of meting people from all parts of the world in all ages as hostels seems to be a more common way of staying even if you have hit your thirties here.  We stayed in a great YHA hostel in Noosa, where we spent a few days relaxing on the beach and going for long coastal walks and through the national park where we spotted koalas up in the trees.

Australians are so incredibly sporty, always outdoors: running, walking, kayaking, sailing any time of the day. It is such an inspiration that I have now decided to change my lifestyle when I come back to London:
Being in such a proximity to animals and also exploring nature has made me realize how I miss this way of living in London. Being by the sea makes me calm and complete. Living in a big city can be so unnatural and inhuman- that is why I always have longed to live close to Hampstead Heath, which really does not feel like you are in a city when you stroll around on the meadows and hills and swim in the different lakes. I am sure that I would not have lasted if I did not have that around the corner.  So my decision is to start exploring the rest of UK by tent and walking shoes and sit around camp fires in the evenings, that is so simple, cheap and yet so fulfilling.

Suddenly on our walk around Noosa heads national park the weather changed and this moody beautiful sky showed up like a painting in front of us. Isn't the world oh so beautiful?

My favourite weekend trip is Woolacombe in north west Devon where there is great surfing and beautiful views from the different walks. My dream for years was to invest in a camper van which I would drive out there but somehow the thought of being stuck in traffic with it every Friday evening stopped the actual purchase.


Rainbow beach

The sunshine state

The next day I was in heaven cuddling up to Koalas and Kangaroos in Lone pine coala sanctuary a life long dream come true. Apparently they are really sensitive on their nose, so my wish to touch it was not fullfilled but for your information : it feels like stroking a kiwi. They are such lovely creatures, all drugged up from the eucalyptus trees of course, so really mellow and cuddly. I love the way their bum has yellow color in it so as to blend in with the environment of trees and sun rays.

Spending a few hours hanging around with the cool cangaroos and woolabies was also an out of the world experience I'll never forget. When we finally managed to leave the amazing creatures we took the road through the beautiful Glass house mountains and watched the sunset over the volcanoes.

Glass house mountains ( cangaroos in the far distance)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Driving north

Having left for Sydney I headed straight to the warmer area of Byron Bay, which is a lovely coastal town north of Sydney. The climate was warmer already so I enjoyed the beautiful views of the long walk around the area and up to the white-washed light house.
Finally I was lucky to watch the migrating hunchback whales perform and lots of dolphins where in a good mood as well on the way. I could watch them play around for hours, such amazing creatures it really looks like they are having lots of fun jumping up out of the waves and swirling around.
After Byron Bay I headed up north in a car towards Brisbane and took a detour to the old hippie town of Nimbin. Not sure how healthy Marijuana really is after having watched the old hippies stuck in the 60's wheeling around their rollators in their rainbow colored clothes. The Australian landscape reminds me a lot of the american west but with the sea close by. Me and a lovely german girl spent the day taking the modern capital of Brisbane in by feet, exhausting and way too much steel for me.

Byron Bay images


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Blue mountains and beaches

It is the perfect time to be in Australia, not too hot and not a lot of tourists so everywhere I go is tranquil and great temperature to explore in. We took an early train †o Katoomba to visit the unreal Blue mountains. The whole day was spent bushwalking around the scenery and taking in the amazing views. Both Katoomba and Leura which connect with the mountains are worth a visit on their own. They remind me of some old towns on Route 66 in US.

Another day was spent exploring the area of Palm beach which is exactly as it says. The weather was not great but for us it was perfect as we went for a long misty seaside walk and I realized how much I miss my autumn walks on my own perfect beach in Sweden.

Fish and Chips in Balmoral during a sleepy Sunday.

Bondi blues.

Wow what a day at the beach. Started it with the usual Sydney breakfast grub: Banana bread while watching the surfers ( still not well in the back to join in ) and the whales parade down the sea on their way to Antarctica. I intended to bring my bikini and go for a swim at the iceberger club where you can swim in pools and have the waves from the sea spill over onto you. Unfortunately somehow I had forgotten the briefs... Sarah told me that in the past she has been swimming there and after a big wave swept the pool a lonely crab was sitting at the edge waiting to be thrown back into the sea! Instead of swimming I went for a long coastal walk to Tamarama and Nelson's bay, all the while watching out for more whales.

Bored Bondi citizen.

Sydney- The perfect city?

Which city is your perfect city? I find it difficult to find faults with Sydney.
 Apart of course from the weather which seems to always be bright and sunny and the beaches; Sydney has so much else to offer.  The people living here seems to be the friendliest I have ever met in a city. I can not bring my map up before someone asks if they can help me and in the shops and restaurants they always ask how my day has been so far and continue with a bit of small talk. How come they all seem so happy? Remember it is winter here...
I am staying in the eastern part: in Darlinghurst which seems to be like Islington, full of warehouses, artists and great cafes. Forgive my comparisons to London but it is the easiest way to get a hang of Sydney.
The first two days was spent just getting to know the city : walking through where the beautiful people hang out: Surry Hills (like Hoxton) and wandering in and out of vintage shops and colorful cafes. By the way, even though I don't really drink coffee, the smells just enraptures me here and I can not stop myself from ordering flat lattes etc. and really: I think it will be very difficult to get a bad tasting coffee on this continent.
I wandered without any map through Woollahra (St john's wood) and was just amazed at all the pretty matching colors and stunning flowering gardens. They are so lucky here, without much frost it means that their flowers can keep flowering all throughout the year. Imagine that!
I took in all the modern architecture of the rich neigbourhood of  Double Bay (Chelsea), listening to the cuckatoos fighting and watched the other beautiful parrots flying around the exotic landscape designed gardens. The days were finished by walking up and down in Paddington (Notting Hill) and meeting up with my lovely friend Sarah in one of the great restaurants. I'll make sure to make a seperate Sydney guide at the bottom of the page in a few days.

Most stunning shopping street in the world? William street in Paddington.

Queen street in Woollahra.

Common architecture in Paddington.