Saturday, March 21, 2009

Travels in Victoria

While staying at our timeshare at Mansfield, 200km north of Melbourne, we visited several vineyards and Mt Bulla, which is a ski resort township in the Victorian Alps. One photo is of Michael and Linda on the Mt Bulla ski lift, an apparatus with which they - and any Canadian worth his/her salt - is highly familiar.

We had also visited Banrock Station, a vineyard in South Australia, before travelling east into Victoria. Banrock Station is an environmentally friendly wine producer with a wetlands bird-life sanctuary at its vineyard and produces wines in as environmentally friendly manner as is practicable eg, their wine casks come in totally recyclable cardboards.

Unfortunately, when wine tasting is on, someone has to drive. Here's a quiz: I'm the photographer. Look at the photo of Christina, Mike and Linda wine tasting and answer this question, "who do you think was driving?" Yes, of course, but the day before Christina drove and I joined in the wine tasting.

Occasionally, we stopped at small townships for coffee. You can see Linda and Christina enjoying theirs
We dropped Mike and Linda off at Tor and Nadine Hansen's where they are close to Melbourne city centre for their last couple of days in Australia. We drove on to our second week of timeshare at the Nepean Country Club Resort near Rosebud south of Melbourne. Click here for info about the Club.

On Friday we head back to Alice Springs, a three day drive.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We are fortunate to have Mike and Linda Fairhart still holidaying with us enroute to Canada ex Al Ain. As Christina hadn't had a break for six months (midwifery is a hard life!), we decided we'd head south for a break while showing our guests part of Australia.

We travelled in our old, but reliable Toyota 4WD Forerunner diesel to meet Mike and Linda at Erldunda as they had been to Ayres Rock on a bus tour which terminated (for them) at Erldunda Roadhouse rather than have to travel another two hours north to The Alice.

At Erldunda Mike met and befriended a young kangaroo. A little bread goes a long way in making new friends.

Our first leg took us across the South Australian border where I took a photo of Mike and Linda as proof they had been there, done that.

The first major stop in SA was Coober Pedy, famous for being one of the world's largest opal producers. It's also a place where the heat of summer has driven people underground. The motel shown in the photo is an example of underground living where the hard rock has been carved out to make living space.

From Coober Pedy we headed south to Port Augusta and then east into the Murray River areas of New South Wales an Victoria. More about that soon. Watch this space.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Our Canadian Visitors

This week, Michael and Linda Fairhart visited us at Alice Springs enroute from the United Arab Emirates to Canada, arriving Thursday afternoon.

On their second morning we drafted them into an early morning walking race with the Alice Springs Walking and Running Club. I had expected they'd resist my offer, however, they didn't bat an eyelid and lined up as keen athletes like the rest of us.

Here they are all numbered-up (and hopefully limbered-up for the race)

Those keen enough, ran the 4 km around the Central Business District. The rest of us, the more sensible people, walked. At the end, everyone received a numbered ticket and had a chance at winning prizes donated by the owner of Centralian Sports shop. The top prize was a Panasonic television set. Other prizes consisted of a heart-rate monitor, pairs
of socks, T shirts and water bottles.

I managed to better my time by about three minutes from the last race a fortnight earlier, so I was pleased with myself. Here I am with Linda.

Friday night we had a scrumptious meal at the Juicy Rump restaurant which is part of the famous Lassiter's Casino and after dinner helped the casino make a profit for the 2007-08 fiscal year.

Saturday we spent idling about ... you know the dictum, "All work and no play ....".

On Sunday we visited the Standley Chasm which is 45 km west of Alice Springs and dropped in at Simpson's Gap which is on the same Larapinta Highway, but a bit closer to town.

As flies were plentiful, the ladies each bought a fly net. Mike commented that they were looking like Emirati women. One of the photos following shows Christina and Linda wearing their fly nets.
Another is of Michael at the entrance to Standley Chasm and finally, a photo of the Chasm.

According to the publicity, Standley Chasm was gouged into tough sandstone by floods that surged down a narrow tributary of the Finke River over untold millions of years.

The Chasm is at its best around noon on a sunny day when the sheer walls glow from reflected sunlight to create a breathtaking display of stark form and rich colour.

There are also many lush plants, even some cycad palms that have survived from wetter ages millenia ago.
Early this morning Linda and Mike drove off in a bus for a tour of Ayres Rock and Kings Canyon.

We are going to meet up with them at Erldunda Road House 200 km south of Alice Springs tomorrow evening and on Wednesday drive off to Coober Pedy to visit the opal fields and then to a cabin we timeshare in the Snowy Mountains area of Victoria.

We did tell them not to get too excited about the snow, it's not the right time of year for that here.


Standley Chasm (Chris in distance)