Photo story: Vancouver

Vancouver is my home away from home; a place I love…

Horseshoe Bay

These are two of my favourite photographs. They were taken in Vancouver and they both adorn a wall in my home, so this beautiful city is never far from my thoughts. Over the years, Vancouver has become my ‘home away from home’… because my brother lives in Horseshoe Bay with his family. For me, there’s nothing better than hanging out in Horseshoe Bay, which has a village atmosphere even though it’s part of a city.

My other favourite pastime is cycling around Stanley Park, which is where I took the photograph below, along with the many other trails around the city.

Stanley Park

I have just spent two more weeks in Vancouver – hiking the Grouse Grind, visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge (for the first time), wandering around Gastown, exploring Steveston and, of course, hanging out in Horseshoe Bay. It has been wonderful to be back.

Now I’m headed to the USA for a hiking trip in some of the big national parks, so my blog will be a little less frequent for the next month. Happy travels… and I will return soon.

Port Arthur’s Historic Ghost Tours

“Am I haunted? Am I haunted?” Dean Winchester, Supernatural

Port Arthur

This week I’m sharing a ghost story from Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia. Firstly, because it continues my recent series of blogs about the Tasman Peninsula (see Fortescue Bay and Cape Pillar) and, secondly, because I’m about to go to a Supernatural convention in Vancouver. If ever there was a time for a good spooky tale, it’s now.

For those of you who are clueless about what a Supernatural convention is, feel free to check out my blogs on How far would you travel to for a convention, festival or special event and Supernatural, Twitter and the reluctant groupie.

Port Arthur – Spectres of a troubled past

Dressed in period costume, the old lady sat quietly on her antique rocking chair. She looked at home surrounded by elegant furniture and bric-a-brac in the Commandant’s House at Port Arthur Historic Site.

Seemingly oblivious to the visitor who had entered the room she stared straight ahead, but then whispered, “Get out of my house”.

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Tasman National Park: Cape Pillar

“All that glitters is not gold. All who wander are not lost.” William Shakespeare

Cape Pillar and Tasman Island

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service have, for some time, been working on an ambitious project known as the Three Capes Track. This multi-day coastal trek will take in the towering sea cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula, including Cape Raoul, Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy, and will have a boat leg across Port Arthur Bay, and finish at Fortescue Bay.

My friend Mary and I were keen to explore the Tasman Peninsula while it was relatively unknown and somewhat wild, so we set off on a New Year’s weekend (a couple of years ago). On day one, we walked from Fortescue Camping Ground to Retakunna Creek via Cape Pillar Track. It was a short walk, taking us about three-and-a-half hours, climbing gradually across Consolation Hill and Tornado Ridge. The final half an hour was downhill to our beautifully located campsite, our base for two nights.

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Tasman National Park: Fortescue Bay

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” Aristotle

Fortescue Bay

The Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania, Australia, has some great bushwalking and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the area four times. Once was a visit to the historical site of Port Arthur – and I can recommend the ghost tour – but, every other time, it’s been to go hiking. The Tasman Coastal Trail, which is one of Tasmania’s Great Walks, hugs the coast from Waterfall Bay to Fortescue Bay, and then out to Cape Hauy and Cape Pillar. It’s a spectacular walk that features some of Australia’s highest cliffs, including dolerite towers known as the ‘Candlestick’ and the ‘Totem Pole’.

My first hiking foray was just a lightning day trip, so we checked out short walks to the Blowhole, Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen and the beginning of a walk to Waterfall Bay. On the second occasion, we donned packs and set off on a three-day-loop from Fortescue Bay to Cape Pillar return (which I’ll feature in my next blog). And, on the third occasion, we set up camp at Fortescue Bay and did two short, but incredibly beautiful, hikes – to Bivouac Bay and Cape Hauy.

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