After sunset the weather stayed fair. Eventually even the midges gave up and headed in for the night, but I spent some time fooling around with the camera resting on a log near the shore. While far from technical perfection (I didn’t even have a tripod at the time), I think the atmospherics are unmatched. This photo can probably be credited/blamed for a lot of early morning, missed suppers and gear acquisition!
I really hoped to see a sunset at Milford Sound. In retrospect, given the view is a lot more north than west, I’m not sure what I was looking for. In the end I barely saw the sky at all in 3 days, with rain must have totalled 10s of centimetres. During this brief reprise there was the tiniest bit of colour in the clouds from the setting sun.
After a long day on the road and an adventurous final leg driving up a riverbed we arrived at the entrance to the Gurvan Saikhan national park. True to form, just about everything was shutting down for the season. In equally Mongolian fashion it didn’t matter at all and we were offered accommodation in a giant concrete “Gher”(ordinarily the gift shop). As night was falling this impressive cold-front passed overhead. Though the locals did an admirable job of retrofitting a stove and finding us a couple lumps of coal, our repurposed water tank wasn’t really up to the task. Coldest. Night. Ever.
Ah, the “Lanai”. A funny Americanism that seems to be a deck, porch, patio or verandah (but with furniture). We already had at least 4 words for it, so why not another? Maybe it’s the Hawaiian word for porch and I’ve just been horribly insensitive, but given it’s the name of one of the islands, I suspect I’m ok.
It’s pretty rare for me to put a lot of research into a travel photo location – I tend to be trying to see as much as possible and take the photos as they come. This was the end of a 4-week marathon trip, however, and I just wanted to sit on a beach for the evening. Looking at the map, I decided it might be good to catch a sunset from the west coast overlooking Lanai. Like everywhere in Maui, the Honoapiilani was unbelievably busy, but it didn’t disappoint once I finally arrived.
In late summer, Mongolia’s famous ice canyon takes on a different meaning. Through July and August it is a place to see winter remnants in the dark corners that never see sunlight. By September, as the days are getting shorter, it’s just plain icy. We hopped out here for a quick look over the mountain scenery and 3 sprinted circuits of the cairn for luck.
Something about these toilets reminded me of trainspotting. We spent a couple of days here next to the White Lake (Terkhiin Tsagann Nuur) while waiting for the brakes to be replaced in the Land Cruiser. Dry air, altitude and no civilisation made for spectacular skies; yack bones, cold dumplings and vodka for dinner made for many trips to hell.
I took the opportunity to spend a few days in Fiji while traveling between Canada and Australia. I only had 3 nights, but wanted to head away from he big resort hotels in the Nadi area. Waya is the first point of call in Yasawa group of islands, so was an accessible alternative. Even after a direct hit from a cyclone the snorkelling and scenery didn’t disappoint.
With a public holiday on a Thursday, I had the urge to get out of town for a few days. I jumped in the car and headed West. Here are a few things I found along the way:
The Long Unwinding Road
Nowhere does long, straight roads like rural Australia. I could never keep attention on the task long enough to measure any of the long stretches, but some go well past the horizon. This particular stretch was somewhere between Nyngan and Cobar on the Barrier Highway. One day I’ll have to check out 90 Mile Straight in WA for the ultimate in highway monotony.
Moonset over Silverton
I arrived in Broken Hill after dark, but not too late. Being ANZAC Day, however, everything was closed. I decided to push on to Silverton and without tourist information, phone reception or fuel to spare I made makeshift camp next to the road. I awoke at dawn to see this scene: a setting full moon, wispy clouds lit by the morning sun and an abandoned railway ticket booth.
1001 Photos at Menindee Lakes
This has got to be one of the most photogenic spots I have ever visited. A bit of a challenge to get to in the tiny Audi they decided to give me, but the National Parks guide said I could get to the first access point, 5km in, without 4WD. It didn’t tell me that recent thefts have caused them to move the registration box in another chunk. There’s something life-affirming about soft sand, a ridiculously inadequate car and one rule for 11km: DON’T SLOW DOWN. $7 successfully paid!
As the sun rises, Menindee Lakes reach their full splendour. There are spectacular images to be taken all around.
About 100 km southeast of Broken Hill, the Darling River spills into a chain of shallow lakes. Menindee Lakes are part of a catchment and irrigation scheme, which has left them ringed by dead trees and bushes. On still mornings they form a near perfect mirror.
The Hand of God
The fractal nature of the natural world is on full display in Menindee Lakes and it can throw out all sense of scale and proportion.
On Golden Pond
Moments after sunset Menindee was turned golden by the last rays of the day. The water is absolutely still and a near-perfect mirror except for the multitude of slimy bubbles.
A Howlin’ Moon
After sunset at Menindee Lakes, the full moon rose for the evening. The moon was a bit of a theme for the trip. So impressive (as it always is) in flat country, the near-full moon came up just after sunset to disappear around sunrise on the first couple of days of the trip. This was my walk through the desert scrub to get back to the car after taking photos of the lakes at sunset. Thankfully no snakes!
Who You Gonna Call?
Yarrangobilly Caves are in a small, but dramatic region of limestone karst near Kosciuszko National Park. Here in Jersey Cave, one of the older ones in the area, everything is covered in layers of grey and pinky-orange flowstone and other speleotherms. It looked remarkably like Ghostbusters 2 slime (ectoplasm?). Wonder what’s at the top of the stairs…