“We ought to take outdoor walks, to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On Tranquillity of Mind
The Three Capes Track was dubbed by Lonely Planet as the world’s hottest new travel experience – even before being officially unveiled on Monday 21 December 2015. This multi-day, 46-kilometre, walk leads hikers through some of Tasmania’s most spectacular natural landscapes, including incredible clifftop views from Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy. There are also stunning views of Cape Raoul – the third cape of the track’s name – however, this section is still under development.
“From paradise to paradise I go sweeping; collecting rocks & views; owning nothing but what I feel.” Alice Walker
Hinchinbrook Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is Australia’s largest island national park. I travelled there with my friend Mary and we had a wonderful escape from our usual 9 to 5 lives – hiking the 32-kilometre Thorsborne Trail through unspoiled wilderness.
The hiking was amazing, but the most memorable part of the trip was our lazy rest day at Zoe Falls. We took a dip in the refreshing pool, bathed under the waterfall, hiked to the top of the falls for incredible views of the beach and ocean, and occasionally pinched ourselves to make sure it was all real. This was our version of paradise and we didn’t have to share it with hundreds of people, because we’d carried heavy packs through swamps to get here. It was one of the most wonderful days of my life.
If you’d like to see more photographs from Hinchinbrook Island, click here.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” William Shakespeare
In July this year, I spent a long weekend in the Grampians, along with my sister and her children. We did a couple of short walks to Venus Baths and the Pinnacle, saw heaps of kangaroos, and, in general, felt the stress of everyday living evaporate because we’d found time to get out into nature.
So, when my niece – who lives in Pomonal, near the tourist town of Halls Gap – suggested that she and her partner host Christmas this year, I was thrilled.
The Grampians are situated in western Victoria, Australia, about a three hour drive from Melbourne – and I love going there. Like the Great Ocean Road and Wilsons Promontory, it’s a destination that is firmly entrenched in my heart.
“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for.” Louis L’Amour 1908 – 1988
A procession of hikers winding their way up to Dead Woman’s Pass
I took this photograph when I was almost at the top of Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmiwanusqa), which is the highest point on the Inca Trail (at 4215 metres above sea level). You can see the procession of hikers winding their way slowly up the mountain. The air is thin, it’s difficult to breathe, it’s fairly steep, and you feel like you’re never going to make it.
But for me, this was such a memorable moment, because I’d contemplated quitting at 3000 metres above sea level. I had been struggling with the altitude, to the point where our porter gave me oxygen. So, those last hundred or so steps to the top of the pass gave me a great sense of satisfaction and it was one of the happiest moments of my life; standing with my sister at the top of Dead Woman’s Pass.
Reaching the highest point of the Inca Trail in Peru
If you’d like to read the full story on my Inca Trail trek, click on the links below:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Machu Picchu
“Not knowing when the dawn will come
I open every door.” Emily Dickinson
Two weeks ago I received a call from a DJ at a community radio station in Melbourne. Matt, from Joy 94.9, had found my details on the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance website, where I have a profile, and wondered if I’d like to be a guest on his program, The Escape Pod. He was particularly keen for me to talk about my travel photography, as well as my freelance writing and travel blog.
My first instinct was to say a BIG and very resounding NO. I’m so terrified of public speaking and I don’t like being the centre of attention. I think it’s why I enjoy sitting at my computer putting words on a page, or being out on a hiking trail taking photographs. That is what I’m passionate about. And if someone is inspired by my words, I’m thrilled. That’s reward enough for me.
“It is a great art to saunter.” Henry David Thoreau
On my most recent trip to Vancouver, I managed to fit in a couple of short hikes including Cabin Lake on Black Mountain. Although I wouldn’t necessarily call this hike ‘a saunter’ – due to the steep ascent via switchbacks – it was relatively easy compared to hikes I’ve done on previous trips.
We parked at the Cypress Bowl downhill skiing area and then headed passed the chairlifts to the trailhead. My friends Jamie and Nathan had their dog Ellie along for the walk and we took our time, getting to the lake in about 45 minutes.
“Grampians National Park is a place of spectacular natural beauty in western Victoria. Aboriginal people have lived in the area for thousands of years and it is one of the richest Indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. The park is renowned for its rugged beauty and spring wildflowers, and attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year.” Department of Environment (National Heritage Places)
The Grampians National Park is another of my favourite places in my home state of Victoria, Australia. I have been camping and hiking there on numerous occasions, and I also participated on a Great Victorian Bike Ride through this area in November 2008. The latter experience actually led to many writing opportunities, so it’s just another reason for why I love this place.
The park, located 235 kilometres west of Melbourne, was listed on the Australian National Heritage List in 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and for being one of the richest Indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. Aboriginal occupation of the Grampians dates back well over 20,000 years and the park is also known as Gariwerd, which comes from one of the local Indigenous languages.
The thing I love most about this park is the variety of walks and the stunning landscapes – views of sandstone mountain ranges, rocky plateaus, forest, fern gullies and many waterfalls. On my most recent trip – with my sister, nephews and nieces – we did two short hikes to Venus Baths and the Pinnacle lookout.