‘Thar she blows!’: Whale-watching around Sydney

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Come winter, and Australia’s coastline becomes a migratory superhighway for the whales of Antarctica. These blubberous behemoths thrive in the cold waters of the Southern Ocean, but not their calves which do not have substantial fat to insulate them. Therefore, when winter comes, the whales migrate northwards to warmer climes to calve – c’mon, everyone deserves a tropical vacation once in a while! Naturally, cities like Sydney and Brisbane become hotspots for whale watching on the eastern coast, with operators diligently and enthusiastically offering cruises to get closer to these peace loving cetaceans. Having been around in Sydney for three […]

At Shoal Bay (1/3)

Port Stephens – A promise of tranquility

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The rich coast of New South Wales offers an overabundance of sleepy retreats. The coastline, running for over 2000 km, is no doubt then, one long sandy festoon, bedecked with a string of pearls. Starting all the way with Byron Bay from the north, the pearls in this necklace take the guise of Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, among many others, to arrive midway at the large pendant of Sydney, then continues beyond to Wollongong, Jervis Bay, Bateman’s Bay , Narooma and Eden. Each pearl is unique, shining with its own kaleidoscope of colors. And I have been lucky to […]

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Tiger, tiger, burning bright!

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For any wildlife enthusiast in Sydney, Taronga Zoo is the easiest way out with assured returns ๐Ÿ˜› I had been to Taronga many a time in the past  – but this time I couldn’t resist myself for a new addition to the zoo – Tigers! My luck of seeing big cats in the wild has been incredibly poor, having seen only one leopard many years back in Bandipur, Karnataka and returning empty handed even after touring some of the most popular tiger national parks back home (read Jim Corbett, Pench, Masinagudi, Sariska et al). So when I read that Taronga […]

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The lake in the valley: Camping at Lake St. Clair, Hunter Valley

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Once in a while, man comes close to nature as an artist. He recreates the landscape into something more beautiful, more picturesque than the canvas that he inherited. No, not ugly towers nor decapitated glades, but something raw in nature, something close indeed to the earthy world. These were precisely my thoughts when I was standing in front of the dreamy blue expanse of Lake St. Clair, hidden in the Hunter Valley. Far from the intoxication of the vineyards and the usual busloads of trumpeting tourists, there lies this little jewel for those who seek a bit more.  A man-made […]

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A weekend at Port Stephens

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Having ventured quite afar into Shoalhaven โ€“ the southern part of Sydney, we decided to venture north this time to yet another naturally endowed bay in the fecund coast of NSW โ€“ Fingal Bay in the Port Stephens area. We decided to camp in the Fingal Bay Holiday Park, tantalisingly close to the Fingal Bay beach โ€“ a beautiful semicircle of a beach culminating in the locally famous Fingal Spit. But more of the destination later. The journey is worth mentioning. Woy Woy and the Ettalong beach Bundled in two cars, we took the Pacific Motorway straight out of Sydney […]

The Ssugarloaf Point lighthouse

A Seal-Rock Sunday!

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Not far from the more popular camping havens of Nelson Bay and Myall Lakes lie the postcard perfect beach town of Seal Rocks, in the mid coast of New South Wales, and 275 km north of Sydney. Having camped at Myall Lakes the night before, we couldn’t help bring ourselves to this beautiful gem of a place. Named apparently after a family of seals that perhaps lived here, Seal Rocks today is devoid of these furry critters, leaving the beach to practically yourself. The Seal Rocks beach or the Boat Beach as the locals call it, is a crescent shaped […]

Sandy shores of the lake Broadwater - our camping tents were just a few metres away

Camping @ Myall Lakes

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I must admit that there is something primitively beautiful in the idea of camping. Primitive, because it makes you feel primeval, like a wandering Neanderthal, happy to move into the vast wilderness of the world, and happier to spend nights and days immersed in the brazen and rustic soul of the world. Exactly as it would have been thousands of years back. Except the waterproof camping tent, of course. And the cosy sleeping bag. And the packaged meals. And the barbecue and heated showers. Okay, I digress, but in no way should the experience of camping look any bit less […]

On the way to the Lighthouse

A weekend in Shoalhaven – II

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Day 1 The next destination for the day was Culburra Beach โ€“ a sleepy yet rejuvenating town, south east of Nowra, and just north of the Jervis Bay National Park. It is a quintessential watery paradise โ€“ to its north lies the Crookhaven River, to its south is Lake Woollumboola, while its east is wrapped by the magnificent Pacific, dotted with myriad sun-and-sea laden sandy stretches happily justifying the name of the place (Culburra is aboriginal for sand) We first headed to the Culburra Beach Motel located at the heart of the town. I met Gail who runs the place […]

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A weekend in Shoalhaven – I

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They say, if you really want to understand something – anything, a person, a place, or even an environment, you need to give it time. Time to observe, understand, introspect and then finally decide whether to love or hate the same. Without which, any judgment  becomes a flurry of an observation. I would say the same deeply of any traveler’s tales. He needs to spend some real time to feel the wind on the hill, hear the call of its denizens in the bush lands and smell the sea-breeze as the waves lash and crash on the isolation of the […]