“Tali Karng is a hidden jewel nestled deep in the mountains of Gippsland, fed by snowmelt waters of the Wellington Plains. The lake is believed to have been formed about 1500 years ago when a massive rock slide collapsed into the valley damming the waters of Nigothoruk Creek above Wellington River. The water runs underground from the lake to emerge as the infant Wellington River 150m below in the Valley of Destruction.” Parks Victoria
Lake Tali Karng in Victoria’s Alpine National Park
One of my favourite hikes in Australia is to Lake Tali Karng in Victoria’s Alpine National Park. I was lucky enough to do this hike with two good friends on an Australia Day long weekend, several years ago. Bruno, who is from Switzerland and has a wicked sense of humour, spent a lot of the time reminding me that Australia doesn’t have mountains, only ant-hills (particularly as I struggled up a couple of steep trails). Mary, who has since become my regular hiking buddy, had been travelling overseas for about four years, so this was something of a reunion. It was also the first time we’d all gone hiking together since we met in Alaska on a Green Tortoise Trip (see my blog: Arrive inspired, not dog-tired).
Setting off on the Lake Tali Karng hike
“At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flames to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.’ ” Howard Carter
Howard Carter’s words after opening Tutankhamun’s Tomb in 1922 could well be spoken by any tourist on their first visit to Egypt, with a myriad of wonderful things to see. In Cairo, there is the awe-inspiring pyramids and sphinx, the heady atmosphere of the colourful bazaar, and, in the museum, the astonishing treasures that were taken from Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Further south, between Luxor and Aswan, there are the fascinating ruins to explore – temples, monuments and tombs built by the slaves to immortalize the pharaohs – and hieroglyphics telling the stories of an ancient civilisation.
Rail trails link small country towns, meandering through valleys, forests and farmlands or alongside rivers and lakes. Each ride offers something unique and they vary in length, anything from a few kilometres to more than 100km, so there are rides suitable for every level of cyclist. For those who love getting on their bikes, it’s a great way to explore a region.
One of my favourite pastimes is getting on my bike to explore the rail trails, which have cropped up right across Australia, but particularly in my home state of Victoria (which has in excess of 30 trails). A few years ago, I set out to explore them all and, while that challenge is still in progress, I’ve decided to also blog about them all.
First up is the East Gippsland Rail Trail! It’s one of my favourites and I’ve cycled it twice – once with friends and another time on a memorable tour (which also included another rail trail – the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail). Below is an article about that trip.
I came to see thousands of life-sized armoured soldiers standing in battle formation, guarding the entrance to a forgotten tomb. Every statue is unique featuring a distinctive expression or stance. The famous Terracotta Army. It’s arguably the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century, yet people were staring at me. This is where it all began. The fame. The adoration. Demand for my time.
In rural China blonde hair, blue eyes and fair complexion are the ingredients for attention and quite often it was the locals asking for permission to take a photograph of me or my travel companions, rather than the other way round. Children would stand beside us, giggling nervously during the photograph, before skittering back to their parents. It was an adventure in an unknown culture – for all of us.
Can I tell you how much I love New Year’s Day? With an entire year stretching ahead like a blank page in a brand new notebook. Empty days to be filled with exciting adventures of my choosing. A story waiting to be created. Anticipation of the unknown and the unexpected. New experiences to be welcomed with wide-eyed joy and child-like enthusiasm.
Travels in 2012 – My first visit to beautiful Fiji
I don’t know why, but this never changes for me, no matter what age I am. New Year’s Day always fills me with such optimism. I can reflect on the year gone by with fresh eyes, taking lessons learnt into the future and leaving behind any disappointments (of which there were very few in 2012). I can also look back fondly on my travel adventures of the previous year and begin to plan for those that will occur in the coming year.
Cycling in 2012 – Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail