More flood photos taken with Instagram

I like this app a lot.

The Go-Between Bridge from the Library window

Boats doing their thing on the river

I took a walk down to the pontoon on the way home.

The walkway is pretty covered

It started getting a bit foggy

I managed to get the train home

And I reckon this sign was a little redundant

My 2010 in photos

2010 has been a pretty big year for us. Moving. Changing churches. Starting a new job (or study)… they’re meant to be some of the most stressful things around. But is has been fun. Here are some photos. Consider this a photo essay of our year… If I can be bothered I’ll caption some of the photos later.

Peddling Townsville

Given that I’ve only got another month or so of official duties “peddling” Townsville to the world, I think it’s a good idea to get out and enjoy the scenery while we can.

Robyn and I bought bikes a couple of months ago.

Yesterday we took to the streets (and parks) of Townsville in time to take some sunset photos at Aplin’s Weir.

Ten things I enjoyed about the Townsville 400

  1. The feeling of professional satisfaction – the organisation I work for played an integral role in bringing the event to Townsville, I have written more about V8s than anything but energy generation. I know lots about energy generation. This photo is largely unrelated.  
  2. The noise – is absolutely thrilling. The “pop” the cars make when changing gears sounds like fireworks. We were sitting in stands next to the starting grid and the start of the race was phenomenal. 
  3. The crowd – was massive. It’s weird how into the sport fans of V8s are – they’re covered in team merchandise.
  4. The professionalism – The V8 organisation, the teams and the drivers are the most personable sports stars I’ve ever interacted with – if sitting in a room as a bunch of drivers talk about the sport is “interacting” – the Melbourne Storm weren’t far off. But these guys can sell merchandise and know who butters their bread (the sponsors).
  5. The carnage – everyone goes to races for crashes.
  6. The spectacle – it’s a visual feast, fast cars, colourful starting grid set-ups, the mini racing, the utes… it was a grand day out.
  7. The teamwork – one of the things I’m really starting to appreciate about motor sports (and cycling) is the team tactics – and the contribution to “individual” success that comes from the surrounding team – like the pit crews. They change tires, fuel up and do running maintenance in a blur. We were sitting opposite the pits and I spent as much time watching the pit crews as watching the cars.
  8. Photography – I was determined to snap a few photos of moving cars looking like they weren’t moving with the background all blurry. I got a few such shots – you can see other photos from the day here. I took about 1,300 photos.
  9. The Jesus car – Andrew “Fishtail” Fisher drives a ute in the V8 Ute race – his team is called “Jesus – All About Life” – he gets great exposure and they read out the full name of his “sponsor” every time he gets mentioned (see point 4). The exposure is tremendous. In the first ute race he ran three other drivers off the road – and busted a tire while doing so.
  10. My wife – I went to the V8s with Robyn. She makes everything more fun.

Signage fail

We spotted this at our favourite cafe on Saturday – while I’m not a grammar nazi I am an irony fan – so this made me laugh. I tested it on people at work and most of them thought the slogan was funny without noticing the glaring error.

Polar expedition

Last weekend Hilton and Justina (Robyn’s sister and her husband) came up to visit. It was a surprise (for Robyn).

We went to Magnetic Island for a day.

Stopping at the region’s best restaurant – the Barefoot Art Food Wine, and getting all tropical with a coconut… Here are some photos – and here is a photo summary of the day.

How to eat a coconut

Step 1. Find a coconut

Step 2. Find a big stick and whack the coconut to remove the outer shell

Step 3. Remove the husk – this is a three person job

Step 4. Retrieve your big stick and split the coconut. 

Step 5. Eat the coconut

Camp photos

It seems I can’t go anywhere without my camera these days.

I’ve decided I’m far too excited by sillhouette photos and photos with the sun in shot. And clouds. Clouds are fun too.

I also, strangely, find this picture of shoes compelling enough to make it the “album cover” for my Picasa album.

Creatures of the swamp

My employer has committed to raising funds to save an iconic North Queensland wetland. Until recently I thought wetland meant swamp. I was apparently mistaken.

I went there yesterday with some film crews. And took some photos. Check them out here… or if you’re too lazy, here are some highlights…

Bird strike

It’s not only teachers striking in Townsville – apparently we’ve got the highest incidence of “bird strike” in an Australian regional city. 

BIRDS have hit more planes at Townsville airport than at any other regional centre in the country, a new report shows.

From 2000 until the end of March, 324 bird strikes at Townsville airport were reported to the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau, with 17 strikes in the first three months of this year.

The figures were higher than at Rockhampton with 263 and Alice Springs on 160.

I only really posted on this because I saw that great Pelican picture in the Wall Street Journal’s photoblog.

Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook

Today is national bad similie day. I’ve just declared it. Hence this post will be filled with them – like a flea circus on the back of a mangy dog.

Our little car that could, a red kia Picanto, chews through fuel like a fire breather chews through kerosene – quickly and in spectacular fashion.

We made the 100km journey from Lake Tekapo (a quaint lakeside village) to Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) in double quick time – like tinned food on pension day…

Actually, we were slowed unexpectedly by a chain of cattle at muster time. These cows – we guessed there were about 200 of them (a fifty/fifty split between adults and calves) – were travelling between paddocks – along the road. We spent some time travelling in cattle class – and some further comic release was provided when an add for a local butcher came on over the radio. We promptly wound the window up so as not to scare the locals into some sort of frenzied stampede.

Mount Cook is a glacial behemoth. It has killed over 130 people. So deadly is it that the Visitor Information Centre includes a book listing those who have died – and a video of a recent rescue effort that ended with the untimely demise of the rescued climber.

The base of the mountain is also home to the Sir Edmund Hillary centre – a museum dedicated to the kiwi mountaineer.

The coffee at the Edmund Hillary centre’s cafe was bad – like a similie without a corroborative noun. How hard can it be to make a palatable coffee?

The cattle were still lowing on the way back. En route I was surprised by the amount of roadkill on New Zealand roads.

The only billboards we’ve seen on our travels have been for road safety – and it seems that sentiment doesn’t extend to animals. The distance between Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo was 106km. On our journey we counted 136 individual pieces of roadkill. Birds, possums, rabbits, unidentifiable fur balls.  That’s a road kill index of 1.28 animals per kilometre. I’m sure that’s high. In fact, there was a 20km stretch about 10 minutes out of Mount Cook that accounted for 48 pieces of roadkill – a significantly higher roadkill index of 2.4. Is there anywhere else that boasts a figure like that? If so, I haven’t seen it.

The township of Lake Tekapo is a small town on a big lake. There’s not a whole lot of exciting stuff there. There is a Peppers Resort – which is where we stayed. Our track record with Peppers hasn’t been great. It was a Peppers Resort that lost our booking on our wedding night – almost leaving us sleeping in a stable… before upgrading us to the one available luxury room. This Peppers experience was much better. On our second night in Lake Tekapo we dined in house at the restaurant, and enjoyed a fine sirloin steak and superb lamb rump.

One of the township’s famous attractions is the Church of the Good Shepherd – an old stone chapel built right on the lake. We spent a bit of time at twilight last night taking photos in what was pretty photogenic light.

Some photos were more serious than others
Some photos were more serious than others

The chapel is a working church – shared by the Anglicans, Presbyterians and Catholics in town – outside the chapel there’s a little letterbox styled post – asking for donations. There’s no need to pass the plate around if your church is a tourist attraction.

Heres one we prepared earlier
Here's one we prepared earlier

Actually, this afternoon we toured the Christchurch Cathedral – having only seen the outside on our first stop. They “encourage” a five dollar donation, and those looking for a “truly memorable” experience can donate a church chair for just $320.

As I’ve already pre-empted – like a US president’s foreign policy – this morning our trip came full circle – back to Christchurch. We’re at the Off the Square boutique motel which is the first place we’ve stayed to offer free broadband. Tonight’s dinner was probably the best of the trip. Bailies Pub, just around the corner from the hotel and the cathedral, cooked up a sensational sirloin steak with mashed potato. And Robyn’s lamb shanks were cooked to perfection.

Seal of approval

This morning’s activity involved some very cold water, hooded wetsuits and a colony of New Zealand fur seals. Oh, and some snorkels. It was cold. Did I mention that already? It was also great, there are hundreds of thousands of seals living on the New Zealand coast. Their numbers were significantly reduced as a result of the fur trade about 200 years ago. These particular seals were thought to be extinct. Luckily for us – they weren’t. Our tour guide informed us that a particular type of seal – I can’t remember which one – is actually more like a dog with flippers.

We finally found a good coffee – at a cafe called Sugar on the main street of Kaikoura. The temperature was perfect. Their big breakfast was also very big. We did have an abysmal failure from the cafe next to the seal swim place – it must have been over 100 degrees – it was scalding.

I think a general rule for picking somewhere to have coffee in New Zealand is avoiding anywhere serving vivace or hummingbird coffee.

There are photos from our last couple of days worth of activities now stored in our New Zealand picassa album – seal photos will be coming once we get the film developed from our underwater disposable camera.

Today is winery day – which I must say I’m particularly looking forward to. Must be off. The grapes await.

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