Auld acquaintance and sky o’ercast in Scotland

Since the modern honeymoon* originated in Victorian Britain, and since Queen Victoria herself waited two years after her marriage with Albert to travel to Scotland for their belated honeymoon, and since our own honeymoon had been delayed for two years at least in part by me finishing my PhD thesis on neo-Victorian literature, it could…

Frenchmans Cap: Two Lakes and a Summit

“May contain nudity and some coarse language.” So reads our logbook entry in the Lake Vera Hut, on the last morning of an epic three day trip into Frenchmans Cap. For myself and my brother, who was visiting from Victoria, it was the last morning of six days of bushwalking. We’d already raced up and…

Mt Anne Circuit

  My first attempt at Mt Anne back in undergraduate days left much business unfinished. Not only did I manage to crash a friend’s borrowed car into the embankment, but I didn’t even manage to successfully write it off (indeed, he had to finish it off himself several weeks later, an icy road delivering what…

Mid Winter Feast XVII

We tend to think of seasons as being external – after all, it only snows in winter, and it seems pretty safe to assume that the axis tilt of the earth is both real and beyond our control. Certainly, the earth does tilt, causing the changing lengths of light and dark hours and associated changes…

Nadgee Howe Wilderness

Taking out a spot in Australian Geographic’s Top Australian Bushwalks, and widely considered one of the best coastal walks in the country, the Nadgee Howe Wilderness Walk was something that I had actually never heard of before it was suggested that I walk it. In fact, I barely even Googled the trip before embarking on…

Crowded House on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

In the world of an arts PhD candidate, living on less than minimum wage, it is worth making the most out of the one extra source of candidature-related finance available: conference funding. Last year I managed to wring enough out of two funds to get to a Victorian Studies Conference and Steampunk festival in England,…

Constructing the Roof of Indochina

The roof of Indochina – the last foothill of the Himalayas before the ocean and the highest peak of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – is a construction site. By the time you read these words, these images from Christmas Eve of 2014 will be almost irrelevant. The speed of change and the appetite for construction…

Cat Ba: Exploring Ha Long Bay without a cruiseship

“Well, it’s definitely cheaper. Instead of being locked up on a boat we can choose a new place to have dinner every night!” The speaker gestures at the waterfront strip of restaurants with his 5,000 dong beer*. “And we get to do different things each day, like kayaking and rock climbing and motorbiking. Yeah, being…

Cocktails on the Castle: The Red Promenade

The heat was, once again, oppressive. It seems particularly unlucky that this hike, involving 800m of elevation over 6km, and packs weighing upwards of 20 and even 30kg, had coincided with a heat wave not once but twice in 2014. Still, we napped in the shade before the final ascent and then pushed to the…