New South Wales

Vivid Sydney: A festival of light you shouldn't miss!

Vivid Sydney
I love festivals. Even so, it took me a while to get into Vivid. 'Lights shining on buildings' - how exciting could that be? As it turns out - really exciting, especially when one of those buildings is the spectacular Sydney Opera House! Vivid Sydney is in its ninth year. For the first five or so of those years I couldn't be bothered making the effort to drag myself into town to see it. It is only a twenty minute train trip from where I live, but Vivid is on in late autumn. It is cold and dark! I am not a great fan of either. A few years ago a family event forced me into the city purely by chance during the Vivid festival. Since I was there anyway I dragged David into town too, organised dinner in the city with number one son, dug my overcoat and winter boots out of the back of the wardrobe and set off to find out what all the Vivid fuss was about.

The Huts of the High Country

Fitzgerald Hut

Scattered throughout the Australian Alps are more than a hundred historic huts.  They date back as far as the 1860s. Many were built as shelters by stockmen grazing their cattle on high country pastures. Others housed fishermen, gold prospectors, foresters, workers on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, skiers and bushwalkers. Today they are used as emergency shelters for skiers and bushwalkers caught out in the changeable mountain weather.

The huts are the antithesis of luxury. Most are simple corrugated iron or wood constructions. Very few are easy to get to. They are tucked away in the back country, far from roads and other services. Over many years of skiing, bushwalking and mountain biking David and I have come across a half dozen or so of these huts. With a few exceptions they are a challenge to find and it is always fun when we come across one. We have never camped out overnight so all the huts in this post can be reached in a day's bushwalk or mountain bike ride from the nearest road.

Q Station Manly: A unique place in Sydney's history.

On Thursday 18 May 1882, 25 year old Thomas Frost, his wife Evelina, 23 and their three children Clara 5, Florence 3 and Christina 1, set sail on the ship Orontes from Plymouth in England en route to Sydney, Australia.

Clara was my great grandmother.

Two months later, on 19 July the Orontes arrived in Sydney Harbour. It was a migrant ship and my forbears and their fellow passengers came to Australia to begin a new life. However before they were allowed to disembark, the Orontes like all other migrant ships arriving in Sydney had to be declared free of contagious diseases.

Sculpture by the Sea, Sydney

Sculpture by the Sea is 20 years old.  Set against the stunning backdrop of the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Sydney's Sculpture by the Sea is the largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world. David and I try to go every year and this year turned out to be a lot more dramatic than most. As we watched from the safety of the cliffs, a king tide combined with huge waves sent one sculpture into oblivion and damaged several others. It was as though mother nature was determined to put her mark on the exhibition.

Not really being the artistic type there isn't a lot I can say about sculpture, so sit back and enjoy the photos of some of my favourites. I have included the prices in the captions just in case you have a bit of spare change laying around and fancy a bit of modern art for the front garden.

Skiing in NSW, Australia - Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass and Mt Selwyn.

UPDATED: July 2016 

'Winter is here!'  Australia may not be the first place people think of when it comes to snow but last year's ski season was one of the best we have ever had. This year only needs to be half as good to be stunning.

Lots of Australians head overseas each year to ski in America and Europe giving up a chunk of summer in search of snow, ice and wintery weather. Hey guys, I've got news for you - it snows in Australia too.

The Snowy Mountains in Summer: where to go, where to stay and what to do.

With only a few weeks to go before the Christmas school holidays I thought I might post a guide to Summer in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains. David and I have spent many summer holidays at Thredbo, a couple at Jindabyne and even one at Perisher. This is my take on where to go, where to stay and what to do. I hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

The Fernleigh Track Rail Trail

Fernleigh Track Rail Trail

Ride - The Fernleigh Track Rail Trail.
Distance - 30 km (return).
Terrain - Sealed for the full distance.
Difficulty - Easy - a perfect family cycle. The track slopes gently uphill from both ends with the high point at Whitebridge.
Highlights - Hearing the bell-birds sing.
Website and map - Click here.

Floriade and Tulip Top Gardens