Balloon Sunrise Spectacular

Early mornings and I have a civil and mutually beneficial agreement wherein we politely avoid each other, or offer only the briefest nod of acknowledgement if we are akwardly forced to meet. However, Canberra’s aptly named Balloon Spectacular is (at its 29th year) one of the longest-running hot ballooning events in the world, and so…

Just Around the River Bend: Rafting the Weld

Fed by streams originating in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, the Weld River flows peacefully through the island’s south west. Only a few kilometres upstream of its merger with the Huon River, the tannin-stained waters plummet violently into rapids, though downstream, it is tranquil and still. The river gurgles lazily along, beneath the dappled…

Balloons, Kayaks and the Majestic Skywhale

Yep. Skywhale. And a quite magnificent beast indeed, whose ten enormous udders allow it to ascend heavenwards over the Australian capital city, Canberra, to the delight (and sometimes disgust) of onlookers. To celebrate Canberra’s centenary in 2013, artist Patricia Piccinini was commissioned to design a hot air balloon, and thus the Skywhale was born. To…

Scraping down the Goobarragandra

Apparently, kayakers in countries of snow-melt are able to paddle in summer! For Australians, however, we rely almost exclusively on rain (or Hydro releases, such as my recent trip down Cataract Gorge in Tasmania), so at the end of a dry summer many kayakers are chomping at the bit – or, more accurately, are refreshing…

Cataract: The Flood-Gates of Heaven

cataract, n. 2. b. transf. A violent downpour or rush of water. †1. a. pl. The ‘flood-gates’ of heaven, viewed as keeping back the rain (with reference to Gen. vii. 11, viii. 2…) “The flood-gates of heaven.” What a title! Cataract Gorge, in northern Tasmania, is on the lower section of the South Esk River,…

Kayaking in Kangaroo Valley

Tranquil, the kayak glides effortlessly across the almost still water, the walls of the canyon green with she-oaks and eucalyptus trees… An almost silent yellow blur rushes past, and then the polo ball splashes down in front of me. I turn over my shoulder to see two double kayaks bearing down in my direction, and…

White Water Safety and the Murrumbidgee.

Buoyed on top of the frothed water by my life jacket, I counterintuitively rolled myself into the white water swimming position (on one’s back, feet downstream and high in the water) and eyed off the approaching trunk stretched across the river. Seconds later I collided with it, losing some air as the strainer hit my…