January 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Travel | 1 Comment
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While back in Brisbane I took the chance to catch up with friends in the city, on the Gold Coast and swim in the Pacific at Noosa. All very relaxing so there wasn’t much tourist activity taking place, except for:

Mana Bar – Video game themed bar in Brisbane ’nuff said.

Daisy Hill Koala Sanctuary – The sanctuary looks after injured Koalas, there aren’t many and it doesn’t take too long to go through the exhibits but it’s pleasant to walk around the sanctuary and if you wanted to, for several more hours around the large bush area that surrounds it.

Photos on Flickr.


January 11, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Posted in Travel | 1 Comment
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In 2013 I went back to Australia for the first time in three years for a wedding and took the opportunity to visit Melbourne for the first time. Long haul flights are not my friend so inevitably I was incredibly jet lagged, which may colour my opinions.

As for Melbourne I went to:

  • The Queen Victoria Market – Lots of stalls when I got there quite early most of the outdoor ones hadn’t opened yet but inside there was a lot of activity and I wish I was hungry enough to buy all the food
  • National Gallery of Victoria – it’s a decent representation but sorry to say nothing here blew me away (spoilt from London I guess)
  • Shrine of Remembrance – monumental structure to remember those who died in war with a museum underneath it. From the top you can go outside and get some great view.
  • Botanical Gardens – get your fill of nature and greenery here
  • St Kilda and the Esplanade – it was a very windy day as I walked to St Kilda and along the esplanade but I imagine on a sunny day it would be very relaxing
  • Federation Square: Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the Ian Potter Centre – ACMI had some interesting exhibits on changing media in Australia and the world from radio, TV, film and new digital forms like the internet. The IPC is an Australian art gallery that was interesting but nothing made me want to go and buy a print from the shop.

Overall I thought Melbourne was ok and the winding laneways offer lots of opportunites but the river didn’t offer the same impact as Sydney Harbour. Having said that I only saw a small portion of it and was quite tired so I could have just missed the spot that really sells the city.

Photos on Flickr.

Royal Academy: Australia

December 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Posted in London, Tourism | 1 Comment
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Recently went to the Australia exhibit at the Royal Academy. Going to an art exhibit is always an iffy proposition for me as my knowledge of art is pretty much relegated to whether I like the look of it. In that context while I recognised some of the pieces at the end of the day nothing blew me away and had me racing to the gift shop to buy a print.

Nonetheless the exhibit was useful in showing the development of the Australian art scene and it’s likely future development as it continues to absorb cultural elements from across the globe as well as its own domestic voice.

Sydney – January 2010

July 5, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Posted in Australia, General, museum, Out and About, Sydney, Tourism, Travel | Leave a comment
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Obviously very late with this wrap up and for the next few. Regular readers will know this means that they tend to be shorter than usual. I do apologise for this but when procrastination is in the title it’s got to be expected. Right? Right?

Or not.

So with the mea culpa out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Has Sydney changed much in the past 2 and bit years since I left (over 3 at this writing!)? Not appreciably, no. There are always going to be new shops springing up and closing down but luckily the bustle and energetic vibe of the city remains. This was a nice and welcome contrast to the slightly less active Brisbane.

I was surprised by the redevelopment happening in Pitt Street Mall. Formerly one of the most frequented shopping streets and on my visit largely covered in scaffolds. Presumably this will lead to a super shopping experience in the future, nonetheless is was a touch unnerving.

Now onto the things I went and saw (for those wanting more Sydney activities check out the archive).

ANZAC Memorial
I used to walk past this imposing and towering memorial to Australia and New South Wales’ war dead practically every day on my way to work through Hyde Park and never went in. Even on my last helter skelter day it was still on the cards but never eventuated. So did it live up to the hype?

ANZAC Memorial - Sydney 2010 (14) ANZAC Memorial - Sydney 2010 (10)

Sort of. For foreign nationals it’ll probably only appeal to the military history buffs amongst you. As for an Australian, I did find it reasonably interesting.

There weren’t exactly a lot of exhibits or content but the curators have done a solid job of putting up information that covers the conflicts have been involved in, the lives of soldiers and their families and their current activities.

However, this is a memorial, to remember and reflect. The museum elements are simply there to put it into context.

ANZAC Memorial - Sydney 2010 (21)

Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
Want to walk up the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge but don’t have the time or money to do the climb? No problem! The Bridge Pylon centre is here to help. Located on the south side of the bridge the right hand pylon houses a museum covering the construction and maintenance of the bridge as well as a viewing platform.

Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (1)

Granted the views won’t be as magnificient as those from the top of the bridge but they’re still very good.

Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (32)

This option is really much faster and cheaper than the climb so if either of these are limiting factors, then go for it!

Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (24) Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (33)

Sydney Observatory
Located near the southern pylons is the Sydney Observatory. It no longer functions in that capacity, rather it now houses a musuem covering the astronomy and the unique history involved in charting the southern hemisphere’s night sky.

Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (9)

The observatory is set atop a hill (as you’d expect, really) and also offers some great views over the surrounding city. A few years ago I watched the new year fireworks from year – a great spot.

Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (10)

However, one bugbear was that in several places it still referred to Pluto as a planet. If by chance they opposed the resolution stripping it of that status then at the very least they should put up a piece of paper explaining the position. If they don’t oppose it then it’s just laziness to no put up some statement. Afterall won’t someone think of the children (and their education!). …. end of rant.

Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (28) Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (27)

Besides that it was a very pleasant wander. In one instance I helped explain the working of a telescope to a family. OK really it was just verbally explaining the instructions to the English speaker in the group who then translated, but still! Don’t take away my moment.

I love visiting Sydney and look forward to coming back again. Will also have to get to Melbourne – people are always raving about you!

Lastly, a big thanks and special thanks to Amy’s mum. Sorry it’s taken so long to get move past Brisbane.

More photos over at Flickr and Google maps.

Brisbane mini trip 2009

December 28, 2009 at 11:27 am | Posted in Brisbane, General, museum, Out and About, Tourism, Travel | 1 Comment
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It’s been about 2.5 years since I was last in Brisbane and for better or worse not much has changed.

Brisbane (4) Brisbane (10)

The Queensland Museum is largely the same as it has been for years and years. Though there are now new areas devoted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and colonial/state history.

The museum doesn’t occupy a particularly large space and in addition to the above also covers subjects such as dinosaurs, animal extinction, historic vehicles and a rotating exhibit space.

It’s free and a nice enough area to wander around but unless one of those topics catches your attention it’s fine to skip.

The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) had opened just before I was last here and I’ve come back on this visit in order to check out the special exhibit “The 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT6)“.

Brisbane (17) Brisbane (15)

GOMA itself is largely unchanged but of course the APT6 items are new and come across the region from Iran to Japan. The pieces included video installations, interactive displays and then everything in between from wall hangings to full houses.

My personal highlight was a room full of densely packed hanging threads that you wander through bare foot while trying to avoid collisions with other visitors.

Brisbane (117)

Conformity through production.

Brisbane (39)

Randomly in the ground floor bathroom they have a video display of hand washing!

Brisbane (122)

APT6 is free and well worth a wander. Where one artist’s efforts may bore another will invigorate!

My only critique of the gallery is to question why the restaurant and members lounge both overlook a freeway and truck depot rather than the Brisbane river. An odd choice!

Brisbane (43)

After GOMA we wandered over the Wheel of Brisbane ($15; 10 mins; 3 rotations). It’s nothing compared to the London Eye but still provides a good view of the city and surrounds. One advantage of the Wheel over the Eye is that there’s a volume controlled narration of some of the notable buildings.

Brisbane (127) Brisbane (137)

Unfortunately one of the facts they decided to include was the use of a bridge in the straight to video Inspector Gadget 2. Seriously? If it’s not a good thing don’t include it.

More photos at Flickr.

2007 – apparently was the year for pod slurping

February 5, 2008 at 12:30 am | Posted in Australia, General, News, Podcasts, Pop-cult, Random, rant | 2 Comments
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The boffins over at Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary have announced the word of the year is two words “pod slurping”. It’s good to know that they can come out with this in February well after the nostalgia [insert year] lists that normally proliferate in December/January.

Continue Reading 2007 – apparently was the year for pod slurping…

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