Not a bad view for a morning run

Sometimes work requires that I not only work on the weekend but am also away from home working on the weekend.

This weekend was one of those weekends. This morning, on a Saturday, I woke up in Broadbeach Queensland, with a whole day of work ahead of me. However, the joys of the many different time zones in Australia at this time of year meant I was awake early. So what should one do on a Saturday work day when waking up early? Sleep in maybe? Have a lazy breakfast? Well, I decided to go for a run. It was definitely the right decision. Being away from home and working on a Saturday isn’t so bad when the payoff is getting to run along looking at this!

Continue reading Not a bad view for a morning run

Mamu Tropical Skywalk

My second stop of the day was the Mamu Tropical skywalk. The Mamu skywalk is located in the Wooroonooran National Park about 90mins drive from Cairns off the Palmerston Highway. The Mamu tropical skywalk is a fairly new attraction that was built after cyclone Larry. Having recently had the cyclone go through cleared out a lot of the foliage and made it easier to build the skywalk whilst minimising the impact on the environment and clearing required.

The skywalk consists of both paths that enable you to explore the forest floor as well as elevated walkways, a cantilever and an observation tower that enable you to explore the upper levels of the forest foliage as well as the canopy.

It is fairly well designed with the paths being easy to navigate and guided audio tours that introduce you to different points of interest along the way.

The cantilever is a little freaky but certainly puts you amongst the canopy and keeps you surrounded by lots of greenery.

The view from the top of the observation tower is quite spectacular. There are creeks and waterways to be seen, a never ending sea of green forest foliage and the occasional wildlife. I saw some spectacular blue butterflies although unfortunately I was not quick enough to get a photograph of them.

Definitely worth doing, does require some walking but give some spectacular views.

The Babinda Boulders

Usually when I travel for work I see the airports, the clinics and the hotel. However, on this trip I ended up with a spare day. I needed to be in Cairns for the Friday and Townsville for the Sunday. I could have just flown from Cairns to Townsville. However, then I probably would have worked until I went to the airport, caught a plane and worked at the other end. So I decided to drive and see part of the country.

It is a 4 hour drive and I had the whole day to complete to get to Townsville so that meant I could stop off along the way. Usually I would pre-plan everything but this time I decided not to be so pre-planned. I had a couple of ideas of places I wanted to go but thought I would also just wing it a bit. Not like me at all but hey- always good to try doing things differently. To start off my plan of taking things as they come, I decided that rather than grabbing breakfast at the hotel, I would find somewhere along the way.  So off I went. I must admit, I was tempted just to pull into McDonald’s along the way but that would hardly be finding something new as I don’t think a McDonald’s I haven’t been to before really counts! So driving along I saw a sign for a bakery in Babinda near Cairns followed by a sign to a tourist attraction called the Babinda Boulders. I pushed aside my need for pre-planning and turned off the main highway into Babinda. I grabbed some breakfast at the bakery and with a quick enquiry I found out that the boulders were not far up the road and a lovely spot. So off I went to the Boulders to eat my breakfast.

It was definitely worth the detour! The Babinda Boulders was a lovely spot. It was large boulders in a water setting. Although there was a swimming hole right at the beginning the truly spectacular sights were further along a walkway where swimming is banned but the views were awesome.

I could not have asked for a nicer breakfast spot or a better start to my day. Now however, it was time for the next adventure.

Beautiful Cairns

Today was a busy day for work. It was one of those days where it got to mid-afternoon and I was starving as I had eaten an early breakfast and had not yet got as far as lunch. However, today I was in Cairns so I decided to find somewhere nice for lunch.

Rather than just duck into a local café I took the opportunity to pop up the road to the beautiful Palm Cove and find a place to eat with some scenery. Well, not only did the scenery not disappoint, but the burger I had was awesome. I am not always a burger person but this was one of those burgers where every element is delicious and the quality bread really just helps to hold it together rather than being an overriding element- perfect! Top that off with some great views of the beach and the ocean and it was a rather enjoyable late lunch.

By the time I finished lunch, the work day was drawing to a close but I still had some daylight left so I set about seeing what I could squish into see before it got dark!

I darted up to the Kuranda Markets to discover that they were closed for the day, but saw a sign for the nearby Barron Falls. I decided to take a chance and check them out. It was well worth doing so. Apart from providing some much needed exercise in the form of a walk through the rainforest, the falls themselves were beautiful. It would be great to spend more time there but I was on a schedule so it was a quick visit.

Following my exploration of Baron Falls, I headed home, taking a quick stop off at a look out point that was quite beautiful. Cairns and its surrounds is definitely a place I could spend more time.

I also couldn’t quite resist a quick stop off at Yorkie’s Knob. A beautiful little town with an unfortunate name. It was here that I saw something I hadn’t seen before- a first aid point on the beach with Vinegar for people to use if they happen to encounter stingers in the water. Great idea, I just hadn’t seen it before. I suspect there are not too many places in the world you would find this but Australia does have it’s unique features!

For only a couple of hours of daylight I managed to squish in a lot exploring the surrounds of Cairns and then it was back to the hotel for a quick bite- afterall lunch was so late I didn’t need much dinner. Then it was time to catch up on some work and to grab some sleep before trekking from Cairns to Townsville the next day!

How to get opposite seasons in one day.

So this morning I went for a run in below freezing temperatures in Canberra. However, then I needed to travel for work and luckily, I was due to go to Cairns. Whereas it was freezing in Canberra, I landed to nice, warm, tropical weather in Cairns. Perfect for defrosting. How do you get opposite seasons in one day? While some areas of Australia are known for providing multiple seasons in one day, travelling to a different part of the country is also a way this can be achieved.

It has been many years since I was in Cairns and the last time I was there it was on a Contiki tour. So while there was a lot of drinking on that trip, there was not a lot of independent exploring. While I was determined to squish in some exploring if I could around work, when I got there today there was just enough time for a quick walk before it got dark.

One thing that is apparent in Cairns is that it is quite a touristy area. Even the hotel itself is much more geared towards tourists than to the business traveller. That means, a nice pool and a swim up bar. Unfortunately, being there for work, I did not have the opportunity to indulge in the swim up bar. The other thing about Cairns is some beautiful plants and flowers. Being a fan of the colour purple, I quite liked the purple flowers near the pool.

A quick walk along the boardwalk showed that while the beach near town was maybe not the best, there were still nice views out to see and there was even a free Zumba class taking place in a local park! I loved this plant, the green with the pink was striking and I liked the way that from the front of the leaf there was a pink border to the green.



Working up an appetite I found a place where I could sit back and relax and enjoy a steak for dinner while sitting outside without a jacket on (somewhat of a novelty in August when one lives in Canberra).

Upon returning back to the hotel I did discover that the nice looking pool looked even better when it was all lit up at night. Fingers crossed I get time for some exploring tomorrow.

Wollongong

Today I headed to Wollongong for work. I have only been to Wollongong for work once or twice before and not in my current role, so not for a number of years.

Wollongong is an interesting place. There are beaches, a golf course, light house, significant industrial areas and lots of cafes. While serving as a local hub, it definitely also has the vibe of a beachside town. In the past it was a significant coal mining area that was also known for its steel industry. Today however, it has moved away from a dependence on heavy industry and now incorporates contributions from industries such as information and technology, business, finance, heath and aged care, education and research, and a significant tourism element.

The first time I went to Wollongong was in 1994 for the Australian University Games. I was playing Rugby Union and that trip was as much about partying, the atmosphere and what happened when tent city blew down, as it was about the sport.

Today’s trip however, was about work. While a 10:30am meeting made for an early start it meant it was over by lunchtime. Usually when I travel places for work I go in, do what I need to do and get straight back in my car and go home or on to the next location. Given the weather was meant to be nice today I packed my lunch and after my meeting finished, I headed towards the beach and sat and ate as I watched the water in the sunshine.

Not a bad way to take a break before heading back to Canberra really. The good thing is it looks like I will get to go back again in a couple of weeks. Think I might pack my lunch again…..

Brisbane

Like many people, when I first started travelling for work, I thought it would be glamorous. Airports, planes, hotels. What’s not to like right? As anyone who has ever travelled for work will know, it is not so glamorous.

Travelling for work tends to consist of early mornings, late nights, packing and unpacking bags through security and a delicious combination of airport and airplane food. Not to mention the nights alone in hotel rooms. Tiring- yes, glamorous- not so much.

After only getting home from Townsville and the Sunshine coast a few days ago, today I went to Brisbane. I didn’t have to leave home until 8am- that’s late for a travel day and felt rather luxurious. Furthermore, unlike Canberra, it was nice and warm in Brisbane today.

So after my luxuriously late start, I grabbed breakfast in the airport lounge and boarded a plane. I managed to knock over some work on the plane and landed in nice sunny Brisvegas. With some time to kill and a document I needed to print I headed to the lounge for its free printing service, lunch and the chance to use free Wi-Fi to knock over some more work.

At the appropriate time I jump in a cab, head to my meeting and following its conclusion it is back to the airport to once again for free Wi-Fi to finish off some work and dinner in the lounge.

As I ate my scrumptious dinner in the lounge which consisted of a small quiche (not bad) and a hotdog with sauce (not so good), it dawned on me……..every meal I ate today consisted of airport lounge food. For anyone who has ever spent considerable time in airport lounges, you will know, while having access to airport lounge food is a novelty at first, after a while it becomes repetitive and not particularly appetizing. Although, it is still more palatable than paying exorbitant amounts of money for food in airport cafes that generally isn’t any better. Every meal in a day at an airport lounge though- that is not so good and a little sad!

So as I head home tonight, I will land just after 9pm and my luxuriously late start seems not so luxurious but rather an essential requirement to avoiding the potential resultant exhaustion that comes on those travel days where the start is early and the finish is late. But hey, my flights have all been on time today and tonight I get to sleep in my own bed instead of a hotel so who am I to complain. All in all, a pretty good travel day today even if I am looking forwards to not eating airport lounge food until at least next week.

Mt Taylor

Today while many of my friends were tackling the 14km City to Surf fun run in Sydney, I was having a lazy day. After a sleep in and late brunch followed by some writing, I realised at 2pm that I had walked an entire 925 steps. Just a little short of my 10,000 daily target.

Since the sun was shining, I decided it was time to get up off the couch and go for a walk. Since I am not really fit enough to run too far but wanted some decent exercise I decided going up a hill was a good idea, specifically Mount Taylor.

Mount Taylor is not too far from my home but I made a tactical error by accidentally taking the long way to the bottom of the mountain meaning I had walked over 2 kms by the time I even got there. It was a beautiful day and the Kangaroos were out in abundance. Usually the keep their distance or hop away as soon as you get close but there were a couple of game ones out and about today. This one in particular did not seem to be scared by someone plodding along down the path towards him or her.

When I set out from home I was determined to go all the way up to the summit. Seemed like a good idea. Getting to the top would bring awesome views and a sense of accomplishment. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, I wasn’t so sure. Maybe I will just keep going until I reach 3kms. Or maybe I will turn around at that bend. When you are looking at a nice steep hill upwards, it can be hard to stick to the original plan and this is what I was looking at:

However, I talked myself into it and managed to get all the way to the top. There I was greeted by the expected sensational view and feeling of accomplishment at having toughed it out.

Of course the good thing about it being all uphill on the way there is the nice easy downhill on the way home.

Townsville

I am lucky enough that I get to travel to different places for work. Today I went to Townsville. Townsville is a place I had never been before this year and have been three times in the past six months. Living in Canberra, this is a great time of year to need to go to Townsville as I get to defrost in the warmth of Townsville after being in freezing cold Canberra. Usually I land, go to the hotel, and get stuck straight into work. However, today it was still daylight when I got to the hotel and after a day of traveling, I felt the need for some exercise so I went for a walk. It is always good to stop and look around in new places, you can see some unusual things. If I hadn’t gone for a walk in Townsville today I would never have seen this:

How often do you see a giant dinosaur on the side of a building? I certainly wasn’t expecting it!

Further exploration also yielded photos of boats on the water and the nearby river:

Apart from the dinosaur,  my favourite pictures of the day came from the blackboards at one of the local pubs:

think that makes it time for a cold beer……….