Main Range Extravaganza

What do you get when you throw together a kayak, a volleyball and blue food colouring, a packliner sack race, two firn-gliders and nineteen people in a tent? The Main Range Extravaganza! Quickly dubbed the most extravagant extravaganza yet, the 2015 Australian National University Mountaineering Club Main Range Extravaganza was run by our super-keen (and…

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…

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…

Surfing a Kayak

On a beach on the New South Wales coast, a mid-twenties surfer stares out at the waves. It is a glorious day, the swell is perfect. The surfer flicks back his long hair… and then pulls up a skirt. And then zips up a life jacket. And then wedges himself inside a buoyant plastic boat,…

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…

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…