Showing posts from June, 2006

Oceanic Princess

Following on from their successful inaugural programme in 2005, Coral Princes Cruises’ brand new, 76-passenger expedition yacht, Oceanic Princess returns to The Kimberley, Across the Top of Australia, plus Papua New Guinea , Melanesia and New Zealand in 2006. The growing list of destinations include; Alotau, Sepik, Madang and Rabaul in PNG, (Two 10 night itineraries) the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Noumea (One 13 night itinerary) and a semi-circumnavigation of New Zealand (Five 12 night itineraries). Glowing passenger reports cite excellent (fully inclusive) land excursions, dining and cultural experiences as well as the ease and expertise in which they are conducted. Oceanic Princess is the first Australian-flagged vessel to cruise internationally in over 50 years. Coral Princess Cruises continue to operate their original two vessels, Coral Princess and Coral Princess II , on the well-established Kimberley , Top End, Cape York and Great Barrier Reef itineraries. Pho

A Tangled Tale of Tangiers (précis) or “He Escaped with a Kaftan and His Life!”

by Roderick Eime (from an eight-week, school sponsored tour of Europe in 1977-78) As naïve 16 year olds on a merry train jaunt, we knew little of the turmoil the rampaging Baader-Meinhof Gang and Red Army Factions were wreaking on Europe in late 1977 – that was until one of our little group was baled up and interrogated at length. Apparently his German name, long hair and Australian passport were a suspicious mix. We heard later that one of the fleeing Bader Meinhof terrorists had been arrested with a fake or stolen Australian passport. With a rattled Paul returned to us we continued our Eurail journey through France and Spain , spurning hotels and hygiene until we reached the southern Spanish port of Algeciras where we were to make our brave foray to Tangiers the following day. We expected some shenanigans, but couldn’t foresee having to walk in a tight circle around Marilyn to thwart the many lustful lunges at her from gangs of wharf urchins. Normally outspoken an

Welwitschia – The Desert Dwelling Fossil

By Dennis Collaton - World Adventurer "It is out of the question the most wonderful plant ever brought to this country, and one of the ugliest." Such was the response of the Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1863 when presented with a Welwitschia mirabilis. With such a reputation, you can imagine my wonder and awe when, spread-eagled across the sand of the harsh Namib desert – there it was. “Stop the bus!” I yelled, and as the door of our air-conditioned carriage swung open, we were immediately blasted with dry desert heat of this famous natural wasteland. Yet despite this arid desolation, the Welwitschia flourishes, even though it may not look that way! This primitive member of the cone-bearing gymnosperms is a remarkable denizen of the coastal desert regions of Namibia and Angola. So devoid of rain is this place, that our living fossil must rely on the scant morning fogs to provide the moisture in an otherwise forbidding moonscape. Welwitschia m

Shiny New Newcastle

Shiny New Newcastle by Roderick Eime - OUTthere Magazine Smelly, smoky buses, noisy old cars and shabby, grimy storefronts is what I remember of Newcastle when I first visited the no-nonsense steel and coal city in the late 1970s. Definitely not the sort of place you’d ever consider for a holiday. Today, I can barely recognise Hunter Street. A stylish, harbourside promenade graces the foreshore along with sparkling new apartments, Scratchley’s exclusive restaurant and the immaculate, brand new Crowne Plaza – all part of a multi-million dollar facelift for this once glum industrial city. In line with similar waterfront rejuvenations like Port Adelaide, Wollongong and even Cardiff in Wales, these once simply utilitarian ports had all the appeal of a post-industrial scrapyard. Newcastle is in the midst of beautification scheme that is more than skin deep. Newcastle Council’s Economic and Tourism Development team are working overtime to present their city as an attractive hub, not ju

The Blue Tarp Resort

Roderick Eime (Get Up 'n' Go Magazine) suggests you consider the portable canvas option for your next road trip. After Mum and Dad told me their camping stories from the ‘50s, pitching a tent somewhere in the great Aussie outback was about the last thing I ever wanted to. But on a 4WD trip to Cape York recently, I rediscovered the primal joys of sleeping under canvas miles from the nearest streetlight or flush toilet. As you flick through the pages of your favourite travel magazine (yes, this one!) gazing longingly at the golden, palm lined beaches and the lush forest destinations, you might be thinking these exotic locations are the exclusive realm of the rich and famous. Maybe, not! Camping has long been a favourite Australian pastime and an accepted means of visiting places a long way from home without running up exorbitant hotel and resort bills. I’ll confess that on our tour to the “tip”, we mixed and matched our digs. From the glamour of swish Bloomfield Lod

The Emperors of Snow Hill Discovered

Report by Roderick Eime - World Adventurer The world’s largest penguin, the Emperor, lives exclusively in the deepest regions of Antarctica , right? Wrong! In November 2004, the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov , encountered substantial numbers of Emperor Penguins in the water around the ship at 64 degrees south. Take a look at your atlas. The Antarctic Circle is 66 degrees! What were they? A new tropical breed of Emperor Penguin? Frank Todd, ornithologist, author and naturalist guide aboard the Khlebikov , had heard stories of “lost” Emperors way up toward the tip of the Peninsula , on the Weddell Sea (eastern) side. In December 1893, Norwegian Captain Carl Larsen reported “numerous” Emperors in a colony on the fast ice (as in 'stuck fast') at around 67 degrees. In the last decade, the disintegrating ice shelf probably caused this colony to scatter and some, it would appear, headed north in search of more stable breeding grounds, or ice as in the case of Emperors.

The Great Hong Kong Camera Scam

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, a colleague related to me his perplexing experience after an attempt to purchase a camera. “I’ve just had the most bizarre experience,” he said, clearly disturbed by the event. My friend had attempted to purchase a particular Nikon DSLR camera from a prominent, Nathan Road camera store. He’d done all his research and really had his heart set on this unit. He also had existing Nikon lenses he could use. After some protracted haggling, as is the norm, he ended up with a price that was some $1000 less than the Sydney price he was quoted, plus he had a lens and sundry accessories thrown in. Next, the assistant wanted his credit card details for an up-front payment prior to delivery of the goods. The camera, he explained, was not in stock and he needed a firm sale before he went to get it. Not entirely happy with this arrangement, my friend (wisely) insisted on sighting the goods before payment. Hearing this exchange, a more senior assistant moved in to