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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Entertaining yourself in Alice … part 2

June 6, 2010 1 comment

Alice Springs is not your typical small town with not much happening. Those that disagree, try living in some of the small towns in the rural areas of any of the other states.

We have the following:

Then there’s our magnificent landscape. Camp if you like, but much can be done via day trips too.

Uluru, or the Rock (formerly known as Ayer’s Rock) is worthy of a visit. It’s not a day trip unless you do the Emu Run Tour (coach trip). It’s 450km or so down the road. Lovely drive, and you’ll get to see the spectacular Mount Connor well prior to reaching the federal National Park. And if you’re sightseeing at the Rock, you simply must drive the extra distance and inspect & explore Kata Tjuta (formerly The Olgas).

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Come, move to the desert

April 29, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been out on holiday. And now I’m back.  Sporadic posts will now recommence.    🙂

Some people I know from Tasmania are relocating to Alice Springs, so most of the posts over the coming weeks will concentrate on my thoughts & feelings about the town. Like most blogs, the content I write is going to be subjective with maybe a modicum of objectivity depending on my mood at the time I write.

I’ll be covering topics such as which suburbs (yes, Alice Springs is just large enough to have its own suburbs) are desirable, which schools & pre-schools would I choose, which medical centre I use and why and so on. All the stuff that people about to move in need to know in order to make semi-informed choices.

Now I don’t usually pass the url of this particular blog on to people I personally know, this is where I express myself completely, and in a small town, anonymity can be a useful thing. If friends or family stumble upon my little hideaway here in the centre of the universe, well, be warned if you go trawling through the archives.

Australia’s a great place to live

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Just typing off the cuff here. Had planned to do a photo shoot today but not feeling so good today. Instead I’ll chat about retirement. Where to live in retirement, specifically.

My partner’s almost ready to retire.  About 3 or 4 years to go we reckon (global financial crises & their impact on superannuation allowing).  So the question has arisen – where?

We’ve both travelled extensively in Australia and lived in multiple states and territories.  We’ve both done urban, rural and remote areas.  He’s been financially savvy enough in his younger years to have bought & nearly paid off a few houses in Adelaide and Brisbane.  So, worst comes to worst, we could opt for either the South Australian or Queensland capitals, basing our retired lives in the inner urban areas.

Pushed to choose between those two cities, I’d opt for Adelaide. It’s smaller, quieter and has a gorgeous Meditteranean like climate.  With occasional heatwaves.  🙂

More importantly, for me, Adelaide is an arts city. Lots of festivals, great theatre, wondrous music. 2010 sees the biennial Festival of Arts, the Fringe Festival and Womadelaide. That’s just in February-March!

Brisbane is a nice enough city. I particularly like where we own a house. It’s close to the city, close to the river, close to riverside suburbs such as New Farm. But I don’t like the traffic, the growing crowds on the trains and buses, or the noise. As more land is cleared for housing, the more noise from the Gateway Motorway penetrates the older suburbs.

I prefer Adelaide’s shopping. It’s cheaper and where we would live has very easy access to street shopping with a distinctly multicultural flavour. It’s hard to pass by the Italian bakery or the German bakery. Brisbane’s shops are more expensive and there’s no way to avoid the big shopping centres if you want cheap produce. Adelaide’s cost of living is much lower than Brisbane.

Brisbane’s humid. In winter it’s lovely but in summer? Ugh!

No beaches in Brissy. One has to head up or down the coast to the Gold or Sunshine Coasts. With their crowds and traffic chaos. It used to be lovely. Not so anymore.

Adelaide has quaint beaches, reminiscent of English beaches but a lot warmer. And there’s this terrific bike/walking path stretching all along the suburban coastline of the city. That’s a winner.

I wouldn’t be unhappy living in Brisbane if my partner decided that’s where he would love to live. But personally I’m hoping he’ll opt for the city of serial killers and other strange crimes.

But …

I’m not really an urban girl. I prefer the peace and quiet of rural Australia. I don’t want to retire to a remote locality. I’ve spent way too many years living in deserts and other remote areas.

I don’t miss the beach (too much) when away from it so I don’t need a sea change. After all, that would be costly real estate indeed.

I like mountains. There are so many towns in or near the mountains to choose from: Jindabyne, Tumut, Khancoban, Corryong, Richmond (Tasmania), Bright, Mount Beauty, Beechworth.

I’m incredibly taken with Deniliquin, sitting on a small river, with its beautiful, historical buildings. Then there’s Portland (Victoria) on a busy seaport. Or Albany in WA. Esperance. And Strahan, sitting quietly on magnificent Macquarie Harbour in the World Heritage Area.

Tenterfield (NSW) still grabs me with its beauty and friendliness.  Robe, on South Australia’s Limestone Coast is simply gorgeous. Laura (SA), Jamestown (SA) or Melrose (SA). The list of towns goes on.

How does one choose?

Ideally, wherever we choose to live, we would have the income in retirement to constantly travel to all those towns and cities mentioned above.

I suppose, in the end, I shall have to be practical. My (I hesitate to write the word ‘failing’) health will more than likely determine our choice. I will need to have easy access to a hospital and a GP. So be it.

And whilst my partner will be retired and drawing a nice, fat allocated pension (or whatever it’s called nowadays), I will need to work.  Well into my 70s.  As per the government’s dictates.  So I need a reasonable sized town where job prospects are also reasonable.  Or I need to carve myself a new career in the arts.

It does amaze me, the incredibly long list of towns and areas of Australia I can come up with as possible retirement contenders. Shows me just what a truly wonderful country I live in. I am so glad I did return to live here.

I’m back!

November 2, 2009 3 comments

Flew back to Alice Springs on the weekend. Gosh but it’s surely hot in the desert now! Phew! Will take me a few days to acclimatize. 🙂

Had a terrific time away. Looked at Hobart with a more critical eye to my last visit five years ago. The Tassie capital has developed and spread with resultant increased density of traffic and noise. The Steve Irwin in Hobart port

The waterfront was still a magnificent and I got to see the Sea Shepherd’s ship Steve Irwin whilst it was in port, even got to go on board for a free tour. I am more impressed by the volunteers that sail her, it’s a job I couldn’t do. I wish the crew well and a successful season preventing the killing of whales for “research” in Antarctica this summer.

Highlight of my trip has to be the two and a half days I spent in Strahan on Tasmania’s very rugged west coast. If you’re headed to the town, you owe it to yourself to do one of the Gordon River tours. Seats can be purchased for as little as $85 and it’s well worth the money. FANTASTIC! Rugged forests, magnificent harbour, lighthouses, convict-built channel stone walls and harsh convict history. It’s all there.

I then spent a week lolling about in Adelaide. Very pleasant, didn’t do much except read Tasmanian history and occasionally wander the nearby shopping areas of Torrensville. Great food, lovely weather. Even got warm enough to go paddle my feet at the beach one day.

But it’s back to the desert now. Summer is fast approaching. My hope is to pop in here regularly to post but I am having a few health problems which put me in the mood for resting rather than writing or reading. Should be on the improve later in the week.

 

Quiet Sundays in the Desert

September 27, 2009 2 comments

I adore quiet Sundays, those days when the neighbourhood is quietly resting, just a few cars driving past but barely disturbing the peace.

My daughter and her lovely partner have departed, their company, whilst unobtrusive, is missed by both myself and my partner.

Then I had to return to work. Full on, short staffed, myriad of things that went wrong and needing fixing. And somehow, the new administrative assistant whom I am supposed to be supporting, she seems to believe that I am the fount of all knowledge of administrative matters for this organisation. The remaining few staff also seem to think I know a lot more than I do. I try to explain that the Administrator (capital ‘A’) is the wondrous fount of knowledge, not I. I point out that I’ve only been working for a few months, and only on certain tasks and no, no, no, a thousand times no, I do not have access to the organisation’s online banking facility or its credit card. So I can’t pay those bills, sorry.

Should be most interesting when the Administrator returns to the office on Tuesday morning. Just in time for the payroll to be done again. And to discover that no, they didn’t end up doing those job interviews they were meant to do two weeks ago. I see task upon task piling up on the Administrator’s desk.

Glad I’m off out of town shortly (again) (yes, I know, can’t tie me down).

Alice Springs Desert Park

September 18, 2009 2 comments

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Playing tourist today with my daughter and her partner who are visiting Alice Springs for a week. This morning we went out to the Desert Park. As always, it’s a beautiful and fascinating place to visit. One learns so much about the desert environments, of which there are many: the sandy, the desert rivers & the desert woodlands.

This photo (above) was taken in the woodlands, looking across the Park, towards the MacDonnell Ranges.

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Lots of wildflowers in bloom as we had rain fall a few weeks back. Beautiful and plentiful.

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Desert rivers environment.

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Western bowerbird.

The Desert Park has an enormous collection of birds displayed in numerous large (enormous) walk-through and walk-in cages.

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A white-faced heron. Found in the desert rivers environment exhibit. This is one of my favourite birds.

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Close-up of some healthy looking wildflowers at the Desert Park.

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Typical scene at the Desert Park today. Flowers and native trees blooming colourfully everywhere.

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And finally, some Desert Oaks. You see these trees out around Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and also around Arltunga (the old abandoned gold mining area, 130kms east of the Alice). They’re usually a bit more water deprived and subsequently look a bit more silvery-green-grey than this, but these are fine young trees nevertheless.

Deniliquin – home of the Ute Muster

September 15, 2009 6 comments

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Probably the most unexpected highlight of my recent road trip between Brisbane and Adelaide, was the small town of Deniliquin, NSW. Deniliquin sits on the Edward River, not far from the Murray River & the state border.

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We’d driven down via the Long Paddock route from Jerilderie, crossing kilometres of flat plains, denuded of trees for farming. As we drew in close to Deni (as the locals refer to the town), we spotted river gums and paper bark trees, signifying the presence of water.

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It was a cold, grey, overcast Saturday afternoon. Rain fell sporadically, drizzle drizzled often. Fragments of mist occasionally swirled through the trees as we neared the river and Island Sanctuary. This small island sits in the middle of town. A lovely park, full of tall gums and other native flora. Very evocative scenery, perfect setting for a moody, scary movie!

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We opted to stay right on the river, within walking distance of town and the Sanctuary. Island Sanctuary is reached via a pedestrian bridge that swings and sways in the wind. I imagine in the summer this place would be a marvellous spot for a bbq at the end of a hot day.

We spent an hour meandering the island, enjoying the atmosphere, gazing at the houseboats and the cabins across the water, watching, listening to the birds.

Back at the motel we couldn’t help but notice the number of utes in the carpark. Deniliquin is the home of the annual Ute Muster (to be held this year on the 2 & 3 October). Nine vehicles, seven of which were utes, one was a 4WD and then there was our little Audi sedan.

The other thing about Deni? Trackie dacks. Sitting at the fish & chip shop, waiting for our dinner to be cooked, we were treated to a run of people, all wearing sagging, fleecy track pants. Warmth and comfort I guess. There was one man with spurs. He wasn’t wearing track pants, he wore tight black jeans. With the size of his spurs, there was no sneaking up on him.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our brief sojourn in Deniliquin. So much so that we plan to revisit the town, hopefully next autumn or winter. We’d like to book in to one of those self-contained cabins on the river for a week, soak up the atmosphere of Island Sanctuary and write. And take photos. And videos. Should be fun.