Capybaras at the Zoo

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I have been to the Taronga Zoo umpteen times and have written about it on numerous occasions earlier. This time, it was the charisma of the Capybaras. To be ignorantly honest, I didn’t even know these critters existed. Yet when I read these are the world’s largest rodents, I had to see them. I had told you – some people just require an excuse!

Wowed by Waratahs

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Spring descends in Sydney with an outburst of colours that almost makes you want to celebrate. Flowers of nearly every imaginable pastel colour pops up in the most common alleys and boulevards, suddenly awakening you up and making you take those deep breaths of rejuvenating freshness, courtesy la primavera. Reflective of the unputdownable multi-cultural spirit of this city, the zest of spring abounds in flowers from nearly every part of the world – yellow daffodils from the Motherland, pink cherry blossoms from Japan, purple magnolias from China, lavender jacarandas from Brazil, crimson rhododendrons from India – the list is one long […]

An ode to Basho

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The onset of spring. Solitude and peace in a Japanese garden. Cherry blossoms waiting patiently for a sensuous rampage. While the magnolias and chaenomeles can no longer wait. They have burst forth like the vanguards of the season. Water – some stagnant, some speeding, lulling, yet not putting one to sleep. Trees – some empty, some flowering, others evergreen as if reflecting the circle of life. So many scurrying thoughts, yet so much peace. Zen. Yes, such were my vagrant thoughts on an empty weekday at the Auburn Japanese Gardens. When I look back and reflect, there were too many […]

A ramble in the rhododendrons

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The last weekend was a damp, cloudy day right in the middle of a chilly winter. Yet I was treated to a dazzling and precocious glimpse of Spring. For I was at the Illawarra Rhododendron Gardens. Not the best of times to visit. Or so I thought. Yet, even in the middle of winter, the floral extravaganza was a pure delight. The gardens comprise largely of undulating temperate rainforest in the shade of Mount Keira. It is only in one corner of the garden, towards its entrance, that you will find shrubberies, well-manicured lawns and a duck pond. But at […]

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 […]

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 […]

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). […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]