Posts with the category ‘Australia and New Zealand’


More Thrills Than Just the Great Barrier Reef, As Bats Take to the Skies in Cairns

February 4, 2018

The most monumental fig trees I’ve ever seen, stand on the property of the Cairns Public Library in Queensland, Australia. These trees are such an impressive sight, it took my dazzled brain several minutes to notice that they were singing. In the thicket of deep glossy green, a high pitched-clamor prompted me to look for a cluster of noisy birds, but I was wrong. Very wrong. The Cairns library trees are a year-round roost site for thousands of bats, or what the Australians call Flying Foxes. Spectacled Flying Foxes and Little Red Flying Foxes spend their days hanging upside down (as they do), wrapped in… Read More…


My Terrible/Wonderful Typically Australian Day

April 23, 2016

No irregular rider goes out on a horse without expecting sore muscles the next day. The price seems well worth it, however, because there’s nothing to compare with the get-back-to-nature nature of horseback riding and doubly so when the destination is Victoria’s St. Andrews Beach, a wild stretch of dunes and energetic surf on the Mornington Peninsula. Early one recent morning, I saddled up for a ride with a group and guide at Gunnamatta Trail Rides. We were given a safety briefing and helmets and then I was assisted into the saddle of a tranquil horse named Banjo. With me atop, he obediently he took his place in a line of horses… Read More…


Evolution of Darwin From Thrill-seeking to Thought Provoking Destination

February 16, 2015

Its no secret; Australia is a country infested with things that will kill you. Or as humorist and Australiaphile Bill Bryson put it in his brilliant book, In a Sunburned Country, “If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles,”. Even so, I was not prepared for just how much the residents of Darwin on Australia’s north coast would take pride take that dubious reputation. In a twist on the adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you strong,” Darwin’s tourist-attracting theme seems to be, “If it can kill you you can see it here up close.” All… Read More…


Lesson from the Rails; There Are No Strangers On a Train

February 7, 2015

The sound of raucous conversation greeted us when the double saloon-style doors opened to the Gold class lounge on Australia’s famed long distance train, The Ghan. My sister Lee and I were late in arriving for the departure cocktail party because we’d stopped first to check out the compartments where we’d be spending the next two nights crossing Australia from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the far north. We each had a single room and the tiny cubicles were across a corridor so narrow, we could have left our doors open and held hands if we wanted. But we did not. We would have welcomed being closer to the… Read More…


Nine Wonderful Ways The Aussies Are Different

January 26, 2015

By Andrea Lee Negroni – I’ve traveled all over the world, but one country encompasses everything I love about travel and that’s Australia. It is astonishingly beautiful, with great food and wine. It’s got weird wildlife; deadly stingrays and jellyfish in Queensland, crocs in Darwin and the Outback’s kookaburra, need I go on? But more than all of this, it is the Aussie attitude that keeps me coming back. Below are nine uniquely Australian notions that captivate me, but I bet you can add some of your own. Gentle mothering – Even before I arrived down under, the welcoming flight attendants on Virgin Australia were urging those… Read More…


Flying (and Dying) Swans Add Drama to Morning Walk

April 3, 2013

The womph, womph, womph made me stop in my tracks and look up. It was the sound of wings, big wings, wings big enough to make the use of the verb “flapping” seem inappropriately diminutive.  Above me I saw a large white bird  pummeling the sky on its descent to the pond in the middle of the golf course where I was  walking my dog. I thought to myself, “It could be a goose,” because there are plenty of those here,  and as it flew it had its long neck thrust forward like a goose. But if that’s what it was, it was not like… Read More…


Stamps Prove An Air Travel Truth

October 10, 2012

I’ve written before about my affection for the photo series Earth from Above by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. So I was alert when I read this quote from Joseph Corbett of the US Postal Service. “Once you’ve seen the world from above, you never look at it quite the same way again.” He’s right of course. Corbett makes this observation by way of introducing a new series of postage stamps that show us the world as viewed from airplanes and satellites. The artists who put together this beautiful collection of stamps have taken familiar subjects and given us a new perspective by with a top down angle…. Read More…


Airbnb For Rooms and a Whole Lot More

September 22, 2012

I can’t believe it was just one year ago that my internet-savvy daughter, Marian Schembari told me about Airbnb. I was visiting her in New Zealand headed to the United Arab Emirates  and – as is my wont – had not yet booked a hotel in Abu Dhabi.  “Why didn’t I check Airbnb?” she asked, and I had to confess, I’d never heard of it. Simply, Airbnb is a web-based marketplace for people to rent overnight accommodations to travelers. These can be as modest as a bed in a shared room or as grand as an entire house. In additional to these conventional places, people… Read More…


Quite a View from the Trolley

June 28, 2011

There’s a bright red cable car that runs up and down Victoria Mountain in Wellington New Zealand. Its so adorable, its easy to dismiss it as tourist kitsch. But this icon of the city has a history because this is the little train that could. It could create living space out of the sharp cliffs surrounding the narrow harbor front of New Zealand’s capital city by providing  easy and direct transport up the side of steep terrain.  It could feed the imagination of city planners who one hundred and fifty years ago set aside a large chunk of land for a botanical garden and footpath… Read More…


Kinda Like Being a Tramp

June 24, 2011

What Americans call hiking, the New Zealanders call tramping, which if you want to be silly and immature, (and I always do) it makes describing an afternoon of healthy activity giggle-inspiring because to be a “tramp” in the USA is kinda  naughty. Anyway, I had my first tramp yesterday when my daughter Marian‘s boyfriend, Sam James Jones-Parry and his cousin Ed Howard took me to the Te Henga Recreation Preserve northwest of Auckland. Sam actually has a connection to the Bethell of Bethell’s Beach above which we were tramping.  And listen, if I could claim it, I sure would, no matter how far up the… Read More…


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