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In Van Diemen’s land: My travels in Tasmania – 3

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If you ever happen to parse through the most picturesque beaches of this sandy-shoreline gifted continent, and chance upon a near perfect semicircular beach holding turquoise waters, blending into indigo, in all probability, you are looking at Wineglass Bay. Aptly named, it is a picture-perfect postcard of a beach, and the single biggest draw of the Freycinet National Park. The taxonomy of places in Australia has always interested me, so when I looked into the origin of names in this part of the island, I was a bit surprised. The Dutch and English had already played a key role in […]

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In Van Diemen’s land: My travels in Tasmania – II

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Pitstop #1: The Bay of Fires Our first stop was the gorgeous white sands of the Bay of Fires in the eastern coast of Tasmania. The appellation goes all the way back to the early age of English exploration, sometime in the 1770s, when Captain Tobias Furneaux spotted Aboriginal fires on the coastline, thereby naming it the Bay of Fires. Another less popular theory is attributed to the fiery, bright orange lichens that colour the rocks on the beaches here, hence the Bay of Fires. While most of Tasmania – and in a way, Australia – is a British legacy, […]

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In Van Diemen’s land: My travels in Tasmania – I

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Introduction The island off the island, Van Dieman’s land – Tasmania, drifting south of Australia, must be one of the most far flung areas on the planet. If you look at the map, you will find few places south to Tasmania (New Zealand being a welcome example). Maybe that ‘far-flungness’ is all in the mind, but when I drove around the island, some of the more pronounced adjectives that came to mind were: secluded, desolate, solitary, remote, and even wild. Tasmania is all that, and even more. Australia’s largest island, Tasmania is geographically more diverse than the mainland – the […]

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Saudade, Merimbula

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It started as a rough day – with a punctured tyre, I was stranded. It was the year end, long break, and chances of a tyre replacement looked grim. So there was I, 450 km south of Sydney. In Merimbula. Atop a grassy hill that overlooked lagoon and the town’s famous oyster culture, where row upon row of baskets penned dark lines on the brackish waters of the lagoon. Thus rendered stationary, I had nothing but time. To stare at the boundless skies and cloistered seas. Time and peace settled. And I sat on the grass, breathed in deep gulps […]

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In the Heart of the Reef

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From the rust-coated outback to emerald green, Jurassic rain-forests, the wind beaten, primeval canyons to indigo blues of three guardian oceans, Australia’s beauty is abundant yet scarce, raw yet comely, humbling yet humble. And topping that list, the first among equals, is none other than the Great Barrier Reef. Without it, Australiana is never 100% complete. With it, history unites with geography, while a proud past fights against a fragile future. Comprising over 3000 reefs, the largest reef in the world has existed for millions of years, though the present infantile incarnation is ~10,000 years old, existing since the last ice age. Seen from […]

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Postcards from Kiama

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About 120 km south of Sydney lies the beautiful coastal town of Kiama. A superfast expressway makes it not only a quick, but scenic drive as well, as you zoom past the shoreline full with expansive Pacific views. Timeless Kiama Like many other coastal havens on this side of the NSW coast, Kiama has its fair share of aboriginal history, overshadowed by two centuries of Caucasian settlement. Yet, unlike other townships, Kiama to me, seemed like a small, quaint jewel box that contained within itself a sense of timeless nostalgia. It is perhaps not hard to imagine that the natural […]

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Panorama at the Pylon

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If you have not heard of the Pylon Lookout, then believe me, you are unaware of Sydney’s best kept secret. For it is the greatest vantage point in the city (move aside Cremorne, move aside Vaucluse). I mean, it would be hard to beat the panoramic landscapes of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour, seen from one of the highest points of the Harbour Bridge itself. While most Sydneysiders and tourists alike are aware of the bridge climb, there is a less expensive option of reaching the same dizzy heights. Almost. That’s your Pylon Lookout (AUD 15 entry ticket). […]

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Vivid Sydney 2018: Let there be light!

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‘Let there be light!’ the city said. And light there was. It was winter, the days were grayed in hazy shades. So it was time to invoke the lights at night. Welcome to Vivid Sydney, version 10 – the world’s largest festival of lights and the country – and the southern hemisphere’s – largest festival, with over 2 million visitors making the annual pilgrimage. While the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House take away first prize, no prizes for guessing – other locations, increasing over the years, and vying for strong attention include the Rocks, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Darling […]

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The Federation Cliff walk: Bondi to Watson’s Bay

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Most hikers enjoy the beach laden Bondi to Coogee walk – It is undoubtedly Sydney’s most popular walk. However, it has a lesser know cousin that takes you in the exact opposite direction towards Watson’s Bay. While it is not strung by a necklace of beaches with delectable names, it is still a beautiful track, straddling lofty cliffs – the quintessential Sydney limestone – along with vertiginous and verdant viewpoints. The 7 km hike gives you multiple stops to take a break, ponder on the faraway horizons and take a deep breath to admire the world outside, just as you […]

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Snorkeling @ Bushrangers Bay

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For snorkelling Sydney-siders, the city’s crenellated shoreline has brilliant spots – Gordon’s Bay, Colin’s flat and Shelly beach to name a few. However, if you desire to get far from the madding crowd, without driving to exhaustion, the Illawarra region has a sparkling option – Bushranger’s Bay. Roughly 120 km from the city, it takes about 2 hours to drive to Bushranger’s Bay via Wollongong and Port Kembla. Called ‘Allowrie’  (apparently translating to ‘pleasant place by the sea’) by the once local Tharawal indigenous tribes, Lake Illawarra was named Tom Thumb’s lagoon by Matthew Flinders after his boat, Tom Thumb. I […]