Monthly Archives: August 2011

Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens

You know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to the Royal Botanical Gardens to hangout with other grannies like me, should be a blast!

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Crazy Beautiful Melbourne Weather

One thing is for sure, you can’t predict the weather in Melbourne, unless your prediction is unpredictability but let’s not go there. I hadn’t been back in Melbourne long when I thunderstorm of epic proportions broke out, naturally I avoided going outside like the plague but when it stopped I grabbed my camera and went for a look. The end of the storm coincided perfectly with the setting sun which brought out some ridiculously beautiful colours in the sky, I don’t think I’ve really seen anything else like it. I couldn’t cover much ground in the limited time I had but I made my way down Glenlyon Rd in Brunswick towards Sydney Rd to catch as much of the sun as I could. I couldn’t resist taking a few pics in the middle of the road which isn’t the smartest idea but hey, since when have I had smart ideas. Melbourne weather at its best, crazy, unpredictable and beautiful.

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Looking at Things in Sydney

What a great trip to Sydney, it’s been fun catching up with the whanau and I’ve been inspired by their running shenanigans. Here’s a few photos of me looking at things in Sydney (minus me), we got out to the northern beaches, cruised the Manly shores, checked out the Sydney Harbour Bridge, performed Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture at the Opera House, chased birds and much more.


Posted in Australia, Sydney

My New Office in Sydney

This is my new office in Sydney, you’ve got to love what I’ve done with the place. Okay so it’s not my office but whoever’s it is, business is thriving.


Posted in Australia, Sydney

Parked Under the Giant Rock

Don’t forget kids, we’re parked under the giant rock.


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Chinese Gardens, in the Rain

A chance to contemplate life while taking a relaxing stroll through the Chinese Gardens in Sydney just isn’t the same when it’s pouring with rain, trust me, I have the emotional scars to prove it.


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Sydney Birds

Here are some pics of the birds that followed me around Sydney, including colourful lorikeets, cheeky kookaburras and annoyingly loud cockatoos.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge by Night

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is ridiculously good looking by day and even more ridiculously good looking by night. Did you know that on hot days the steel can expand and increase the height of the bridge by as much as 18 centimetres (that converts to roughly a gaggle rhombic inchoids for you Americans). In other news, it’s about time I invested in a tripod to make night photography easier.


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Sydney City 2 Surf Panorama

Took a detour through Sydney to celebrate my Dad’s birthday and watch him and my sisters run the Sydney City to Surf. My role was behind the camera, which was probably for the best. I heard that it’s the biggest running race in the world, which wouldn’t surprise me as it was packed!


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Tokyo in 24 Hours

I had a day to spare before I flew out of Japan so I took the opportunity to get out and about in Tokyo with my camera. With 24 hours up my sleeve I challenged myself to take 24 photos that I liked. Thanks to the reliable transport system in Tokyo I managed to cover quite a bit of ground. Starting in Ueno I set out to explore Tokyo in 24 hours, this is what I found.

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Hiking in the Northern Japanese Alps

From the Azusa River to the peak of Mt Yarigatake, through the exhilarating Daikiretto, over Mt Hotaka and back down to the valley floor of Kamikochi. There were a lot of great opportunities for photography during my hiking trip in the Northern Japanese Alps and these are my favourites. I loved exploring such a unique part of Japan and hopefully I’ll come back one day to check out any spots I missed the first time round.

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Panoramas of the Japanese Alps

Here’s a few panorama photos from my time climbing in the Japanese Alps. There’s the Azusa River, Mt Yari and some other gorgeous views that I encountered along the way.


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Mt Hotaka to Kamikochi

After battling through some heavy fog I eventually made my way back down to civilization, it seemed to take forever but there were some nice views and a few double ladders to enjoy along the way. When I arrived back in Kamikochi the first thing I did was hunt down food and lots of it. After some yakitori, koroke, noodles and ice cream I got on the bus and made my way back to Tokyo, what a trip!

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Mt Maehotakadake – Summit Fever

It’s official, I have summit fever. Mt Maehotakadake was next on the list and not even common sense was going to stop me. The 3090 metre summit ended up having some of my favourite views, I could even see Mt Fuji!


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Staying at Hotakadake Hut for a Night

I may have been tired after climbing Mt Yari yesterday but it’s nothing compared to tonight where I’m also cold and wet. It rained steadily late in the afternoon and unfortunately I couldn’t escape it, it’s amazing how difficult climbing over rocks becomes when the conditions are slippery. I’ll be resting up at the Hotakadake hut for the night which is similar to the Yari equivalent, quite modern with most of the facilities you might require (what? no pachinko parlor?!).


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Climbing Mt Hotakadake

At 3190 m (10466 ft), Mt Hotakadake is Japan’s 3rd tallest mountain, just 10 m taller than Mt Yarigatake (which I climbed yesterday) and 3 m shorter than Mt Kita in the prefecture of Yamanashi. It isn’t as spectacular as the jagged peak of Mt Yari but it does take some serious effort to get there. Coming from the Daikiretto side takes a lot of energy and I imagine it is the same coming from Kamikochi, there’s a lot of scrambling over rocks as well as ascending and descending steep slopes. This is however the kind of hiking I enjoy, so I loved every minute of it (ok except when it rained, that was awful).

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Just Me and a Raicho (Rock Ptarmigan)

Inevitably it started raining during one of the most difficult sections of the day. Just when it was getting really tough I came across a family of birds known as Raicho (‘lightning bird’) to the Japanese. I learnt later on that night that, according to legend, they are guardians of the mountain. I don’t know if this means they were supposed to throw me off the mountain or look after me but either way it was a nice distraction during a difficult climb.

Educational update: Turns out Raicho are a Japanese subspecies of Rock Ptarmigan (Partridge).


Posted in Japan, Northern Alps Tagged , |

Yari to Hotaka Traverse in the Hida Mountains

The Mt Yari to Hotaka traverse through the Hida Mountains in the Northern Alps of Japan is one of my favourite climbing experiences. I got a thrill out of every ladder I climbed and every unique panorama I saw while climbing my way through gorgeous sunshine, driving rain, thick fog and everything in between. The Daikiretto was incredible and the scenery seemed to change around every corner.

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Surviving Daikiretto – The Big Cut

If you’re a little crazy, the best route from Mt Yari to Mt Hotaka is through the infamous Daikiretto (meaning ‘big cut’), one of the most exhilarating hiking trails in Japan. In a nut shell it’s a 300 metre vertical drop followed by a ridge line crossing and a 300 metre vertical ascent. I’d done my homework but didn’t really know what to expect until I got here and gave it a crack. I was hoping for something spectacular and that’s exactly what I got, steep drops, jagged rocks, rusty chains, knife edge ridge lines and incredible views, awesome stuff. For the most part I had good weather, which is important, I’m not sure it’s the kind of crossing you’d want to attempt in bad weather.

Rock face.

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Yarigatake Hut for the Night

Boy do I need some rest, conveniently for me the Yarigatake hut isn’t too far from the summit. The sleeping arrangements can be a little cramped during the busy season but that’s pretty standard for Japan and who really cares when you’re exhausted after a days climbing. It was relatively quiet when I was there so no problems finding a bed, the hut is quite modern so you can enjoy some food, get a packed lunch for the next day and keep warm in front of the fire.


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