Tuesday, March 8, 2016

coastal getaway

As an endless summer rolls along Paul and I decided to head to the coast to catch some cooling sea breezes.

Paul had never been to the the Shoalhaven part of the NSW coast so we set off early Saturday morning from Goulburn and drove to the coast via Fitzroy Falls which is a little South East of Moss Vale in the Southern Highlands.

Fitzroy Falls (low on water after a dry summer):



Heading through Kangaroo Valley and across Hampden Bridge:

We stopped at the town of Berry which is about 6kms from the coast, Saturday mid morning and it was exactly like Paddington on a Saturday. Lots of smart deli's, upmarket cafes and twee trinket stores. And VERY busy.

A brisk walk of the main street and we left Berry to check in at our hotel 20 minutes away to the South West.

This whole region is very expensive and accomodation is a little ridiculous in my opinion. Most of the small towns in the region require you to book at least two nights if staying  over the weekend.

Some of the B&B's charge upwards of $400 for a night. We settled for a hotel in Nowra which was just about the cheapest room we could find at $110 for the Saturday night.

A bleak mid sized city (pop. just over 35,000) with little in terms of attractions (wait for the flood of incensed Nowrarites...) - we asked a local merchant what were the top three things to see in Nowra and she said: "Kangaroo Valley, Berry and Harris Scarfe (the store she worked in).

The hotel was basic (what I'm used to) and at least it had a pool.

After checking in we drove to the coast to a little fishing hamlet called Greenwell Point where we were entertained by the pelicans and corellas.

Back to the hotel by 6ish and then we headed off to Nowra for dinner. And of all places we ended up at the Nowra Bowlo. (Bowling Club). A first for me!! Disappointment was high on the menu and it lived up to all expectations.

Early the next morning we set off for Jervis Bay and particularly Hyams Beach.

I'd been to Hyams Beach several times before. The last time was with three other mates on our motorbikes down from Sydney for a days ride. When we arrived at Hyams Beach (midweek) it was deserted and as we walked along the water's edge on the pristine white sands we were rewarded with a pod of dolphins swimming alongside of us less than two metres from shore.

This visit on a hot Sunday promised to be a flotilla of bare bodies crammed side by side filling the sands from water to woods.

But I was very pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was.

Hyams Beach:

When we'd had our fill of sun,sea and surf we set off for Canberra via some back country roads through thick native forests and past tiny country villages with names such as Sassafras, Nerriga, Wog Wog and Tomboye.

We stopped for lunch at Bungendore where we once again visited the Woodworks Gallery (a must see if going there) and then popped into the National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Australia in Canberra for some kultur before heading home.

Outside the NGA:

Back in Goulburn and the heat continues.

Monday, October 5, 2015

subterranean sojourn

No overseas birthday this year - the first for 10 years! I need to focus on building my shipping container house.

But as the day drew near I decided I couldn't bear to stay at home so we decided to head to Wombeyan Caves just over an hour from here.

During the past couple of years that I've been in Goulburn I have made many trips around the countryside to various little country towns and places of interest but had not headed directly North.

So Paul came over and we both set off to a small old town called Taralga about 50kms away in an area known as the 'Richlands' due to the fertile soils in the region.

Taralga dates from the early 1800's and contains some lovely old buildings.

We stayed overnight at the Argyle Inn (1875), a basic pub hotel with a nice wide upstairs verandah where we sat in the evening while Paul had his beers.

It looks out over the town and across to the windfarm windmills on the adjoining ridge.

Birthday brekkers: Vegemite on toast and a long black:

The next morning we set off early to the caves, a further hours drive two thirds of which was dirt road.

The caves are quite small and modest compared to some of the other cave systems (such as Jenolan Caves -  believed to be part of the same Karst Limestone geological layer about 120kms further North) but still worthy of a visit.

We restricted ourselves to just a couple of the caves - one guided and the other self guided. The former was the most interesting and unfortunately photos do no justice to them whatsoever!

There was also some very friendly wildlife in the grounds of the caves entrance.

King Parrot:

Mother and child:

Paul sleeping with the roos:

And it wouldn't be a birthday without the birthday candle ritual!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Selection of details from last trip.
(Click to enlarge)

Monday, November 3, 2014



A recap of some dome interiors from the last trip.
(click to enlarge)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

more mesmerising mirror mayhem

Our last day in Iran and we were down to our last mosque!

This one was called Sayyed Alaeddin Hossein Mosque (or The Jelly Mosque as I preferred to call it).

Paul had ducked into it a couple of days ago while I was back at the hotel. He insisted I come with him today to see it.

It was spectacular.

(Make sure you click on the photos - they deserve to be seen full sized!)

While I was wandering around the mosque I found a door open towards the back of the building and stepped inside.

I found myself in the 'school' part of the mosque where religious students spend 30 hours a week studying the Koran. This was another stunning display of mirrored mosaics.

As my last post for this trip I have to say Iran was a wonderful place to visit. Not only did I feel safer there than just about anywhere else in the world, the people were the friendliest I have ever met in all of the 85 countries I have visited.

Do yourself a favour - go there!