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03 July 2008

Run Melbourne 2008

Yours truly ran the half marathon event again this year. I was disappointed with my time, which at 1:44 was about 4 minutes slower than a year ago. This is however additional motivation to get fitter and improve!

In the adjoining picture I am running past St Paul's cathedral opposite Federation Square on the second lap around the city and surrounding parks!

Queen's Birthday at Paynesville, VIC

Our outing over the Queen's Birthday weekend was to Paynesville and more specifically Raymond Island - a mere three minute ferry ride from Paynesville. [We took the ferry back to Paynesville for dinner in the evenings!]

The autumn weather was really fantastic. I went for an early morning run on both mornings and managed to see koalas, kangaroos and wallabies. Pearl and I saw the koalas on a walk around the island later as well. Raymond Island is highly regarded as a wildlife refuge, with parts of it only sparsely populated.

Lunch at Marysville earlier this year

27 April 2008

ANZAC Day Weekend

A long weekend at last!

ANZAC day is celebrated on the 25th April every year. This year it coincided nicely with a Friday. Aussies turn out for memorial services from early in the morning, and the rest of the day is spent in marches, at footy and a barbie! We had a brunch in Brighton and took a leisurely drive down to the Mornington Peninsula and our favourite estate, Foxy's Hangout.

On Sunday we decided to head out to the mountain areas for a potential walk. I was hoping to get some nice pictures of the autumn colours before they all disappear. The night before a cold front blew in, and Melbourne was a bit wet. It was not that cold; I took my usual jog along the Yarra and the Burnley tower showed 9 degrees, not that much lower than last weekend. We headed out on our drive at about 8am.

Just before 11 we arrived at Mt Baw Baw, but rather than autumn, it looked more like mid winter!

22 February 2008

Queen Victoria visits Victoria

The youngest member of the CUNARD fleet, the Queen Victoria called at Station Pier in Port Phillip Bay earlier this week. On her maiden voyage, the Queen Victoria aptly called in Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, before visiting Sydney later in the week.
We saw her dock in the morning from our apartment, and decided to take a closer look later in the day, prior to the Queen Victoria departing on the next stage of her trip. Although second in size only to her sister ship, the Queen Mary, she is nonetheless huge, dwarfing the pier at which she docked.
Others had a similar ideas to us, and the surrounding waterfront vantage points were packed with onlookers. As darkness fell, she gently edged away from the pier, reversed and as she was turning away from the pier, she got a send off with a traditional Aussie fireworks display.

02 February 2008

Australia Day weekend

26 Januray is Australia Day, usually also signalling the end of the summer school holidays here. This year the day fell on a Saturday, and as is the custom here, that made Monday 28th a holiday too. Melurne was abuzz with tennis fever, but we did not have tickets to either of the finals which were sold out months ago, so we decided to head out south-eastwards, to a region called Gippsland, South Gippsland more specifically. The region is known for its farmlands, farm produce, beaches and spectacular scenery. [Link] We drove towards Phillip Island in Western Port Bay and then towards Inverloch. We had not made any accommodation bookings, and this being the height of summer, I was skeptical whether we would find any. This region is however not further than 200km from Melbourne, so the option was always to drive back home in the evening. However after a somewhat protracted visit to the Inverloch visitor centre we were referred to a B&B in Toora - Miranda, which still had openings for the next two nights.

We drove onto Walkervielle, and then inland through Fish Creek and Foster to Toora. Miranda is located near the Gippsland windmill farm (renewable power generators), with fantastic views of the Corner Inlet - an enclosed corner of the Southern Ocean. Our hosts Kath and Doug made us feel most welcome in their home, and prepared a special dinner (since the local hotel, where we were planning to have dinner, were fully booked). In the evening we had a lovely shower which cooled off the warm humid conditions which made the day quite oppressive. We watched the ladies final on TV in the evening.

The next day we headed to Wilson's Promontory, a peninsula, stretching into the Southern Ocean offering spectacular scenery in the National Park. The day was overcast, and the wind quite cool, but we saw enough to want to come back and attempt some of the longer walks and test out the camping facilities.

The following day, Monday was again spectacular, and after sumptious breakfast at Miranda we took a relaxed drive up to Melbourne, stopping off at the birding facilities overlooking the Corner Inlet, before concluding a most enjoyable mini-break before returning to the now resurgent rat-race.

Gippsland is certainly well worth a visit and worthy of further exploration!

With so many places in close proximity waiting to be explored, there are just not enough holidays to satisfy the wonderlust!

Further afield I am keen to be exploring Tsmania and New Zealand in the not too distant future, both of which offer prime tourist, sport and exploration opportunities!

Finally and rather belatedly, I would like to wish all the readers of this blog a very prosperous 2008! Enjoy it!