Post Covid-19 travel: when and where will you travel – or not!

When will you start travelling once we have COVID-19 under control or at least contained?  Check out the map below-the world is a huge place.

my office map ūüôā

If you’re a kiwi you’ll soon be able to travel all over New Zealander again. What will be your destination, and will it be to visit friends and family or as a tourist or traveller?¬† What about a trans-Tasman bubble?¬† Will you go to Australia? (or NZ)¬†

Peacock Fountain, Christchurch Botanic Gardens
quintessential Australia – a sleepy koala

If you’re not resident in New Zealand, when and where, will you start travelling to?

birding in Florida perhaps?
Cycle trip in Thailand?
Off to the Moulin Rouge in Paris perchance?

My belief is that tourists will stay home for quite some time however, as always, solo travellers, nomads, and backpackers, in general, will be the first onboard planes heading to exotic destinations. Backpackers, of course, are a state of mind – it’s nothing to do with their luggage or the amount of money in their bank account. They are the explorers who want to learn new things, to meet new people, see new things and of course, taste new food!

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So what places are on your travel list my bucket list is so long that at my age I know I will not be able to tick many off

Unless of course, I meet a tall dark handsome stranger who is happy to fund my travels – I’m open to that!

Take a photographic trip around Tasmania, Australia

Take an eclectic photographic trip around Tasmania, Australia, with me. I had two weeks there in February with a rental car .. thankfully with a GPS.

 

Having fun on Bruny Island, Tasmania

While many on the day tour I took  (Bruny Island Safaris) wanted to see a white kangaroo Рthey, like animals everywhere, refused to turn up for us to see. We did learn there is no such species as an albino kangaroo, they are simply variants within the normal species of kangaroos and an albino can occur in any species of kangaroo red or grey kangaroo, wallaby or a pademelon.

The tour is an eclectic mix of food, nature, and history.  At the top of the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve we see a monument to an Aboriginal woman, Truganini, and on my return home I did a little research.

Firstly, Bruny Island is called Lunawanna-alonnah in the native language and

Her memorial at the top
Truganini’s memorial at the top

Truganini  is said to have been born around 1812, a Nuenone woman.

The arrival of Europeans brought violence, brutality and disease to her world and she had two alternatives – adapt or die.

Like much of history there are conflicting opinions about the veracity of her story. Nevertheless, her history sounds appalling: she was the daughter of an elder of the Nuenone people; saw her mother stabbed to death by whalers and her sisters abducted by sealers. It doesn’t finish there. Her uncle was shot, her husband-to-be was murdered by timber-workers¬†who cut off his hands and left him to drown before she was repeatedly raped. ¬†And still it continues, her brother was killed and her step-mother kidnapped by escaped convicts and her father died within months. She’d lost her entire family.

The Nuenone people, a band of the south-east tribe have connections with Lunawanna-alonnah (Bruny Island) and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel which separates it from Tasmania’s mainland. The first white settlers landed in Tasmania in 1803 and by 1836 the surviving first Australians were thought to be about 300. Another estimate says only 150. Either way the result is a humanitarian nightmare. Most of this information gleaned from www.Wonthaggihistoricalsociety.org.au

Here are few photos from the most enjoyable day …. esp as we were all picked up and dropped off at our Hobart accommodation

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Another story I’ve written about Bruny Island include cheese, oysters and berries¬†

Shucked oysters in Tasmania

Oh yes shucked oysters!  My next blog will be about the food tasting I did while on a day tour with Bruny Island Safaris. Oysters will lead the way of course Рwatch this space in a couple of days.

Wildlife Sanctuary – near Melbourne, Australia

Many thanks to Grayline for hosting me on this fun day trip which included the Puffing Billy trip (see  an earlier blog) food, wine and chocolate. It also had stop at Healesville Sanctuary  which is part of  Zoos Victoria and we arrived just in time for the bird show.

I think the best way to introduce you to this sanctuary is to give you a slideshow about some of my time there ¬†… naturally being there in the flesh is way better and I hope this encourages you to pack a picnic lunch and go, or do as I did and go on a day tour with Grayline.

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Let have another look at that bird that hit my camera, which hit me and created a huge lump and cut in my eyebrow – seemed it didn’t like the close up i wanted to take! I don’t know what part hit me, maybe the straps hanging from his legs, his body or wing, but whatever it was, it was an unexpected and hard wallop!

Travel writers – just going that extra length to get a story huh!

A second before it collides with me!
A second before Australia’s biggest raptor collides with me! See the mean look it has!

Seems everyone loves to ride steam trains

Arriving at the bus departure place, near¬†“Fed Square’, ¬†Melbourne,I was not surprised to find many others had also signed up for a¬†Puffing Billy day trip¬†–¬†it seems everyone loves a ride on a steam train.

My first driver, Ismet – who in the Aussie tradition has had his name babified/shortened to Issie – regaled us with local stories as we drove out of Melbourne and, as this was my first trip to the city, I valued the historical and current background context. He told of car museums, rich suburbs, soccer, wide streets; that the city has 32% of its land in sports fields and gardens, and explained the thirty-six ‘right-hand hooks’ – the unusual but elegant solution to keep the trams moving in the city.

As well as the Puffing Billy trip, other activities on the day included a visit to the Healesville Sanctuary, Billy Tea, riding through forest and little towns and for those who wanted to, feeding colourful Rosellas and King Parrots; chocolate, wine tasting and  a roast dinner Рthe day covered them all. (But more about those topics in another blog)

We boarded the Puffing Billy at Belgrave for our short trip (about 30 mins I think) in the Dandenong Ranges, but first its seemed all passengers took many, many photos of the fire-fueled steam engines.

Puffing Bull getting up  a head of steam
‘Puffing Billy’ getting up a head of steam for our trip

This line, built in the early 1900s, helped open up the area and carried logs, livestock, and other goods it now carries about a million and a half tourists annually: it is mostly staffed by volunteers.  Running every day except Christmas Day, of course it is also closed on high temperature-high fire risk days for fear of starting a bush fire Рa wise precaution.

Our Grayline tour had its own carriage and it seemed all the other carriages were full too – I said, seems all the world loves a steam train!

Here’s a slideshow for you – a few of the many photos I took on this little section¬†of our day tour. (A friend had recommended I rode the Puffing Billy and I’m glad I took the advice)

 

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on our way
On our way – on a comfortable bus (or coach -depending on where you live and the variety english you speak!)

 

Many thanks to Grayline for hosting me on this fun day.

ANZAC Day In Malaysia.

I had not realised ANZAC DAY is¬†observed in Malaysia. One site it will happen at is the Sandakan Memorial Park¬† where i attended the 2013 Memorial Day ¬†event .. remembering the men who died on the death marches there – more deaths than any other such ‘march’.

More history I wasn’t aware of, perhaps as no New Zealanders were in involved, (unless they were in the British Army which was captured in Singapore and this is not known) was the¬†Sandakan Death Marches –¬†a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau.

I also learn in 1942 and 1943, Australian and British POWs, captured by Japan during the Battle of Singapore in 1942 were shipped to North Borneo to build a military airstrip and their own prisoner-of-war camps at Sandakan. As on the well-known Burma Death Railway, prisoners were forced to work, were often beaten and got very little food or medical attention. By the end of the war only five Australians, and one British soldiers survived, all of whom had escaped. It‚Äôs widely considered to be the single worst atrocity suffered by Australian servicemen during the Second World War and many Australians attend this emotional day and follow ‚Äėin the footsteps of heroes.‚Äô

ANZAC DAY is commemorated with dawn services on 25th April annually. The initials mean  Australian and New Zealand Army Corps which was formed in Egypt and fought in Gallipoli. Nowadays the term has come to mean all New Zealanders & Australian defence personnel. There is a call in NZ to include the men and women who fought on both side in the 1800 NZ Land Wars.

 

Sandakan Memorial Service
Sandakan Memorial Service 15th August 2013

Death marches: Sandakan, Sabah, Borneo Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu city, Sabah, Malaysia, is built mostly on reclaimed land and overlooks the South China Sea. It was almost leveled as part of the Borneo Campaign by Allied forces during 1945 with bombings day and night for over six months leaving only three buildings standing. The war in North Borneo ended with the official surrender of the Japanese 37th Army in September 1945.

Tucked into the hillside and unable to be bombed is the Clock Tower, beside Australia Place, site of old timber Chinese shops in Jesselton, as KK was called then,  and where  the Australian Liberation Army camped when they landed in 1945. I stayed in one of these old buildings, above a coffee shop called Museum Kopitiam that serves a good cup of coffee and makes traditional ANZAC biscuits (Australia New Zealand Army Corps). Both Australia and New Zealand claim to have been the first to make these sweet oat biscuits for their soldiers and many myths and legends have grown up around them.

More history I didn’t know about, perhaps as no New Zealanders were in involved, was the Sandakan Death Marches – a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau. I learn more when I attended the annual (15th August 2013) Sandakan Memorial day event to remember the fallen heroes of the Australian and British prisoners-of-war who had endured the notorious Death Marches.

I also learn in 1942 and 1943, Australian and British POWs, captured by Japan during the Battle of Singapore in 1942 were shipped to North Borneo to build a military airstrip and their own prisoner-of-war camps at Sandakan. As on the well-known Burma Death Railway, prisoners were forced to work, were often beaten and got very little food or medical attention. By the end of the war only five Australians, and one British soldiers survived, all of whom had escaped. It‚Äôs widely considered to be the single worst atrocity suffered by Australian servicemen during the Second World War and many Australians attend this emotional day and follow ‚Äėin the footsteps of heroes.‚Äô

The War Memorial and Gardens of Remembrance were built at Kundasang, Sabah in 1962 to commemorate those who had died in what seems to be a forgotten chapter of history.¬† Local people, who also suffered or died,¬†were remembered and thanked for their support to the prisoner and escapees.¬† The Australian High Commissioner said ‚ÄėThis debt can never be repaid. Thank you from a grateful nation.‚Äô

The British High Commissioner said he was here to pay respects to the bravery of the 641 Brits who had died. That it was a reminder of the ‚Äėbrutal story of man’s ¬†inhumanity to man‚Äô .

For audio what the Australian Dept. of Veteran Affairs has to say about the Sandakan Memorial Park, and another photo

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Sydney to Host Australia’s Largest Ever Indigenous Festival

Passing this info on ..  and I hope to get there! Will you?

NSW Governor, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir has joined Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, George Souris and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Victor Dominello, to announce that Sydney will host the largest, annual, national Indigenous arts and cultural festival in Australia’s history….

via Sydney to Host Australia’s Largest Ever Indigenous Festival.

Royal Spoonbill an Aussie import to NZ

According to my Collins, Birds of New Zealand, it seems these handsome birds, Royal Spoonbills,  arrived from Australia in about 1949 and were first seen nesting then at Okarito on the South Islands West Coast Рa place on my bucket list for when they are nesting.

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I took this photo of juveniles a week ago – apparently they hang out in this Wellington estuary while maturing.