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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

IMG_2247Beautiful Waiheke Island is just a short and picturesque ferry ride from downtown Auckland, making it a justly popular weekend and holiday destination for many North Islanders in the summer.  It’s even an easy visit from east coast Australia – an easy 4 hour flight to Auckland, jump on the 30 minute airport bus to the wharf, onto the ferry and then you are there – ready to get vertical and relax! Take note of the welcoming sign at Point Kennedy!  There are hundreds of small bays and hidden beaches tucked in around 20+ wineries, restaurants and artists studios, so even on the occasional cloudy day, there is plenty to do. There are artists studio trails and gourmet food and wine trails to follow, as well as regular sculpture festivals. Absolutely don’t miss the Connell’s Bay sculpture property in the west of the island, which you must pre-book. Reflecting this, in summer, the island population swells to 30,000 from its permanent resident population of 8,000 though to be honest, the beaches still feel blissfully empty.

IMG_2282We’ve just spent a great week there over new year, staying with friends close to the main village of Oneora, and just minutes walk from lovely Oneroa Beach.  If you can bear to drag yourself away from the water, there are plenty of short walks all over the island, many of them passing across headlands to reach secluded bays.  This one from Little Oneroa Beach (popular with the locals) heads up over the headland to Fishermans Rock and Divers Rock, where local teenagers test their mettle clambering up and leaping off 4m and 8m high rock shelves into the ocean below (at high tide only please!). Most of the island is hilly, so it’s a great place to build up your calf muscles.! The local tourist information centre has a range of free brochures with short walks you can do all over the island.

Overlooking Calypso Bay on Motuihe Island, nr Waiheke Island, NZ

Overlooking Calypso Bay on Motuihe Island, nr Waiheke Island, NZ

If you have a friends with a boat, sail across to one of the many small islands around Waiheke – we headed to uninhabited Motuihe Island for the day, moored at picture-perfect Calypso Bay and just hung out. There’s a one and a half hour circuit walk mown into the island’s grasslands, which takes you from Calypso Bay, around to the wharf and back again – there’s no shade or facilities so take a hat and plenty of water, but the views are incredible the whole way, and if you get too hot, you can always detour for a quick swim! Stealing from a well known Queensland marketing campaign ….. beautiful one day, perfect the next!

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New Port Philip Cycle Trail

New Port Philip Cycle Trail

While out walking in Melbourne’s western bayside suburbs today, I spotted these enterprising lads, who obviously decided to take the short cut from Altona across to St Kilda.  Hope they packed their snorkels! I opted for the longer route, and took in a fine 8km stretch of the Williamstown to Altona Foreshore Trail, a shared cycle/walk path which winds along the coastline from Williamstown Beach across to the fabulous off-leash PA Burns coastal reserve in Seaholme.  While the Foreshore Trail itself is on-leash for dogs,  (it runs parallel to the Jawbone Conservation area), the parks at either end of the walk are both off-leash, so plenty of exercise for everyone – particularly those whose dogs like a good run (or in the case of these kids, swim) beside the bike.

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Williamstown Wetlands, via the Foreshore Trail

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Connell's Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

I couldn’t say goodbye to New Zealand’s beautiful Waiheke Island without sharing this pristine view down to Connell’s Bay.  There are loads of tracks to explore on the Island – all with views just as beautiful as this.  However, it was good to get back home this week to sizzle in some hot weather – just in time for Christmas.  Am aiming to get everyone out for a walk after the obligatory yummy buffet lunch on Christmas Day, instead of everyone collapsing in the usual pile of ‘I’ve eaten far too much’ snores and snuffles on the couch.  Not sure how we will go given the forecast 37C heat!!
What walks are you planning for the new year?  I am heading down to Apollo Bay for a week with family and friends (including Dianne McLay, author of Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay and City Walks) and plan to drag them off for some exploratory walks around Apollo Bay and Cape Otway, for inclusion in the Great Ocean Road walk book.  Any suggestions or recommendations are very welcome!  Can’t wait! My best wishes to all walkers and your families for a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas!

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Beautiful Connell's Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Have taken a bit of a detour for a week, visiting friends on beautiful Waiheke Island, New Zealand.  The first few days have been a bit wet for ‘tramping’ (that’s kiwi for hiking/walking), although we managed a wander around beautiful Whakanewha State Park, with its glorious red-flowered pohutukawa trees and nesting oyster catchers.  But today the rain lifted and we went to the far end of the island, for the privilege of taking the guided walk through Connells Bay Sculpture Park. I can’t recommend this walk highly enough – the commissioned sculptures – all New Zealand artists, sit so well in this stunning landscape, it’s hard to imagine they haven’t always been there.  It’s by appointment only, and well worth the effort of getting here.

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Rambling by the River Dart, Devon

Well, it’s been a bit quiet I know for the last couple of months – and that’s because I’ve been away and walking anywhere but Melbourne! Decided the cold of our long Melbourne winter was a bit too much, so swapped it for the cool of an English summer. Had a wonderful walk by the River Dart in Devon, on the Dartington Estate near Totnes, strolling under branching oaks and by dry stone walls. Then headed ‘up north’ to the expansive Yorkshire Sculpture Park to ramble with the kids amongst the sheep poo and enjoy some incredible outdoor sculpture in the fields by David Nash, Henry Moore and Andy Goldsworthy.

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Part of the 17th Sydney Biennale, Roxy Paine's 'Neuron' (2010) outside the Museum of Contemporary Art on Sydney's Circular Quay.

 

A great excuse for an urban ramble yesterday when we arrived in Sydney and needed to stretch our legs.  So different to walking in Melbourne, with all those stairs around the Rocks! Parked at Manly Wharf in North Sydney and caught the wonderful old Manly Ferry across the Harbour to Circular Quay.  Probably among the most scenic commuter transport in the world – and the kids really enjoyed riding the big swells coming in through the Heads!  Spent a wonderful afternoon wandering up and down the historic streets and staircases of the Rocks and enjoying the street art and the Rock’s markets.  Ended up at the Museum of Contemporary Art where the whole family enjoyed the art on show there which is part of the 17th Sydney Biennale.  Only regret was we didn’t have time to take the free ferry around to newly opened Cockatoo Island, an old convict-built prison and dock complex in the middle of the Harbour.  It’s now open for the public to explore and a unique exhibition site for another 56 of this year’s Biennale’s artists.  The Biennale’s website includes free art walk guides to download: www.biennaleofsydney.com.au

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