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Stadium Walking

Come with me on a train ride. We’ll travel 4,352 kilometres across Australia from east to west, spending four days and three nights on a train 731 metres long. We’ll start in Sydney and stay in Perth at the end and along the way we’ll traverse deserts, stop in a ghost town and cross the mighty Nullarbor Plain. Come with me on a transcontinental journey aboard the iconic Indian Pacific! 

Indian Pacific Adventure #18 Optus Stadium, Burswood

Cricket fans will know that the first international test of the 2022 Australian summer is currently being played at Optus Stadium in Perth, with Australia taking on the might of the West Indies. Earlier in the year, several matches in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup competition were also played at the stadium, drawing crowds of up to 60,000.

With inclement weather forecast for our last day in Perth, we decided to visit Optus Stadium too; not for a cricket match but to go on a guided walking tour.

Optus Stadium is the home of Western Australia’s two Australian Rules Football teams – West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers. And, as well as the cricket, it hosts other major events including Rugby League and Union, concerts, festivals and shows.

At the time of our visit, the ground was being prepared for the Festival of International Football, with excited fans looking forward to Leeds United v Crystal Palace and Manchester United v Aston Villa.

Officially opened on 21 January 2018, the stadium boasts modern design and technologies. During the planning phase, the designers studied the world’s greatest sporting arenas and incorporated the best ideas from each in an effort to create maximum accessibility and comfort for all spectators.

Our guide was keen to demonstrate how this has been achieved and shared many interesting statistics with us. We learned that every seat in the stadium is at least 50cm wide with at least 50 cm in front for ease of movement, and each has its own cup holder. Every seat is also no more than 80 metres from a food or beverage outlet and a bathroom in the concourse.

There are 450 spaces with excellent views specifically allocated for people in wheelchairs. And 1,000 television screens are located around the stadium so fans won’t miss a minute of the action on the field.

After admiring the concourse with its abundance of outlets and bathrooms, we saw the arena from ground level,

in a general admission seating area,

and from one of the 84 private boxes.

We went into the Victory Lounge, where corporate guests are treated to gourmet dining and leather recliners.

While the seating in the media boxes might not be so luxurious the views are better,

but not as good as the rooftop seats, 42 metres above the field!

In 2019, Optus Stadium was awarded the UNESCO Prix Versailles for sport as the “most beautiful stadium in the world”. After spending a couple of hours walking around, we would have to agree.

Linking to Becky’s November Walking Squares

Do Quokkas Go Out in the Rain?

Come with me on a train ride. We’ll travel 4,352 kilometres across Australia from east to west, spending four days and three nights on a train 731 metres long. We’ll start in Sydney and stay in Perth at the end and along the way we’ll traverse deserts, stop in a ghost town and cross the mighty Nullarbor Plain. Come with me on a transcontinental journey aboard the iconic Indian Pacific! 

Indian Pacific Adventure #15 Rottnest Island

In 1696, Dutch sea captain Willem de Vlamingh landed on a small island off the coast of Western Australia. The only residents he found were furry animals he mistook for giant rats so he named the island ‘t Eylandt ‘t Rottenest (The Rats’ Nest Island). de Vlamingh described the island as “pleasurable above all islands” and “a paradise on earth”. He must have had better weather than we did – we went to Rottnest in the pouring rain!

Our day trip to Rottnest Island had been pre-booked as part of our holiday package so we had to go that day. We just hoped that the island’s famous residents, the quokkas Willem de Vlamingh thought were rats, didn’t mind the weather.

Our first activity was a minibus tour around the island. Although the scenery was beautiful, the rain meant we didn’t stay long off the bus. And, even though the driver kept a lookout along the way, we saw no quokkas.

After our soggy bus ride we walked to the shopping area at the Thomson Bay Settlement and, to our delight, there were quokkas everywhere! It’s forbidden to approach, feed or touch these native Australian marsupials but they’re used to people and were happy to pose for photos.

Even though their thick fur looked quite bedraggled, they seemed oblivious to the rain.

By mid-afternoon the downpour had cleared, so we explored the settlement. No one lives permanently on the island and most of the historic buildings are now used for holiday accommodation.

We even went for a short walk on the beach.

The quokkas enjoyed the break in the weather too.

Joining Becky for November Walking Squares

Winter Garden

Come with me on a train ride. We’ll travel 4,352 kilometres across Australia from east to west, spending four days and three nights on a train 731 metres long. We’ll start in Sydney and stay in Perth at the end and along the way we’ll traverse deserts, stop in a ghost town and cross the mighty Nullarbor Plain. Come with me on a transcontinental journey aboard the iconic Indian Pacific! 

Indian Pacific Adventure #5 Chinese Garden of Friendship

There’s an element of surprise at the entrance of Sydney’s Chinese Garden of Friendship. Surrounded by the high rise office buildings of the city’s CBD, the forecourt offers glimpses of the calm space within.

The garden opened on 17 January, 1988 during Australia’s Bicentennial celebrations. Mosaic paved walking paths lead visitors on a circuit past 17 traditional pavilions and a serene lake complete with waterfalls and trickling brooks.

Both Chinese and Australian native plants fill the garden; mid-winter blooms add colour to the rich greenery.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the garden on this sunny winter’s day.

Joining Becky for November Walking Squares

High Rise Views

Come with me on a train ride. We’ll travel 4,352 kilometres across Australia from east to west, spending four days and three nights on a train 731 metres long. We’ll start in Sydney and stay in Perth at the end and along the way we’ll traverse deserts, stop in a ghost town and cross the mighty Nullarbor Plain. Come with me on a transcontinental journey aboard the iconic Indian Pacific! 

Indian Pacific Adventure #4 Sydney Tower

At 309 metres, Sydney Tower is the tallest structure in Sydney and the second tallest observation tower in the southern hemisphere.

The day we travelled in the lift 250 metres up to the observation deck, known as Sydney Tower Eye, clouds drifted past at eye level. But we still had fabulous 360° views of the city and the harbour.

Skywalk offers visitors the opportunity to walk around the outside of the tower on a glass-floored outdoor platform.

I didn’t! Would you?

Joining Becky for November Walking Squares

Under The Bridge

Come with me on a train ride. We’ll travel 4,352 kilometres across Australia from east to west, spending four days and three nights on a train 731 metres long. We’ll start in Sydney and stay in Perth at the end and along the way we’ll traverse deserts, stop in a ghost town and cross the mighty Nullarbor Plain. Come with me on a transcontinental journey aboard the iconic Indian Pacific! 

Indian Pacific Adventure #2 Sydney Harbour Bridge

One of the most recognisable sights in Sydney is the famous Harbour Bridge, which spans the harbour from Dawes Point at The Rocks to Milsons Point on the lower North Shore. It’s often photographed from Circular Quay or out on the water.

Many visitors miss the opportunity to see the bridge from a completely different angle – they don’t know you can walk under the bridge.

Dawes Point Park, at the southern end of the bridge, is a heritage listed archaeological site. Excavations have revealed the remains of an observatory built in 1788 and the foundations of Dawes Point Battery structures dating from the early 1800s, including a guard house, officers’ quarters and store rooms.

Five cannons originally used at the Battery in the 1850s are located around the pylons of the bridge.

Next time you’re in Sydney, make sure you go for a walk under Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Joining Becky for November Walking Squares and Jo for Monday Walks

In Sydney

Come with me on a train ride. We’ll travel 4,352 kilometres across Australia from east to west, spending four days and three nights on a train 731 metres long. We’ll start in Sydney and stay in Perth at the end and along the way we’ll traverse deserts, stop in a ghost town and cross the mighty Nullarbor Plain. Come with me on a transcontinental journey aboard the iconic Indian Pacific! 

Indian Pacific Adventure #1 Sydney Harbour

You know you’re in Sydney when you see a ferry going past the Harbour Bridge,

and another sailing around the Opera House.

The best way to see all three is on a ferry ride on Sydney Harbour.

A Loo With a View – The Savannah Way Edition

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland.

Up in far north Queensland

there are lots of loos.

While some are new and some are old

they all have excellent views!

~

This interestingly painted loo

sits high on Castle Hill

The view of Townsville and beyond

Is sure to give a thrill.

Townsville, Magnetic Island and the Coral Sea

~

This loo sits at the base

of a volcanic crater.

With wallabies just outside the door

You’re surrounded by nature.

Undara Volcanic National Park

~

In Croydon, where the buildings

are beautifully preserved,

this loo’s no longer used

for the purpose it once served.

Croydon

~

The amenities are Talaroo

are brand new and top notch,

When the night sky glowed at sunset

we sat outside to watch.

Talaroo Hot Springs

~

This primitive old outhouse

might not be inviting,

but the pioneers who lived here

must have thought it was exciting!

Ravenswood

~

And finally, this toilet

inside the small blue shed

at the camp beside the roadhouse

filled me with dread.

“Thank goodness,” I said

When we pulled up for the night.

“We have a bathroom in our van.

I will be all right.”

Bluewater Springs

~

See more loos with beautiful views!

The original Loo With a View

Loos with views in Western Australia

The highest loo view in Australia

Loos with views around Australia

Loos with views – The Cruise Edition

Loos with views – The Hawaiian Edition

Loos with views – The English Edition

Loos with views – The Canadian Edition

Loos with views – The Kevtoberfest Edition

Loos with views – The Western Queensland Edition

or just search #looswithviews

Built on Gold

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland.

Like Croydon and many other Queensland towns, Charters Towers was founded after the discovery of gold in 1872. And just like Croydon, many of the buildings were constructed to service the booming young town still exist. But these are different. Most of them are grand, colonial style buildings still in use today.

Almost every building in the centre of town is heritage listed and at night they’re beautifully lit.

Old signs retained on the buildings tell the story of their original purpose, some not that different from today.

The tiny town of Ravenswood, an hour east of Charters Towers, also flourished when gold was discovered. Even though the population dwindled from a peak of 5,000 in 1912 to fewer than 130, many of the gold rush era buildings still stand and the whole town is now heritage listed.

In Ravenswood though, most structures were utilitarian: family dwellings, government offices and community buildings.

Only two of the 50 pubs which once quenched the thirst of the people of Ravenswood remain. And while most of the town’s buildings are quite plain, the elaborate façades of these hotels are an indication of the prosperity brought by gold.

Living History in Croydon

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland. 

The Savannah Way passes right through the centre of Croydon and it would be easy to drive on without stopping. But this little town, isolated in the vastness of the Gulf Country, has a history worth learning about. 

Today Croydon has a population of just 266, but in the late 1880s it was the third largest town in Queensland. The reason for this population boom was, of course, the discovery of gold. People flocked to the area after the first discovery was made in 1885 and, by 1887, the town had a police station, general store, hospital and 36 pubs!

The population may have dwindled over time but the buildings from the gold rush era remain in Croydon, preserved in a Heritage Precinct on Samwell Street. We enjoyed a gentle stroll from one building to the next, going inside each to read their stories and look at the photos of times past. 

The Police Sergeant’s residence (1897)

The Police Station and Old Gaol (1896)

Croydon Court House (1887) 

Croydon Town Hall (1892) 

Club Hotel (1887)

Hospital Male Ward (1887)

In earlier times, kerosene lamps lit the streets of Croydon. Today four original lamps have been joined by several replicas along the length of Samwell Street, adding to its historic character.

After wandering through town on foot, we used our car for the next part of our exploration, to the site where Chinatown and the Chinese Temple once stood. The foundations of the temple are the only remnants left of this once bustling area of Croydon. More than 300 Chinese people lived in Croydon, mostly working in their market gardens growing fruit and vegetables to supply the settlement. 

Plaques telling the stories of some of the Chinese families are set beside the walking track. 

Another couple of kilometres along the road we came to Lake Belmore, an earth walled dam constructed in 1995. The lake may be far more modern than the historic structures in town but its legacy is just as important. It is the largest body of fresh water in the region and supplies the town and surrounding area. The lake is a popular venue for water sports and fishing.

On our way back into Croydon we stopped at Diehm’s Lookout. Its location in the hills behind Croydon gave us just enough elevation to look down on the historic town, isolated by the seemingly limitless expanse of woodlands and savannah of the Gulf Country. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Bush Camping at Undara Experience

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland. 

While camping is not permitted in Undara Volcanic National Park, there’s a fabulous campsite nearby which had everything we needed and more. 

Undara Experience, just outside the national park, offers a range of options from unpowered bush camping and large powered sites to tents, cabins and luxury converted railway carriages. Our powered site was perfect – shaded in the afternoon, close to the amenities and a short walk to the bistro.   

We visited the bistro at Undara Central every day. It was the ideal location to enjoy an invigorating morning coffee, a tasty lunch or a refreshing ice cream after a long walk. 

Seven bush walks, ranging from 1.5 to 12 kilometres, all begin from Undara Central and there’s plenty of wildlife around the camp ground and on the tracks. While we loved seeing the pretty face wallabies, kookaburras and rainbow lorikeets, I was less than excited when I came face to face with a huge goanna sunning himself outside the toilets one morning!

Even in May the afternoon temperatures rose to the high 20s C. The swimming pool was a popular spot. 

Best of all was the delicious dinner we enjoyed at Undara Experience: macadamia crusted barramundi with chips and salad followed by a chocolate lava cake for dessert. It was bush camping with a touch of luxury!