Special memories and views

Cape Conran, south eastern Victoria. The romanticism of returning there recently and remembering the young boy so overjoyed to explore the huge sand dunes and climb across the rocks at water’s edge. The innocence, the joy, the fun. Still beautiful and impressive through that now grown boy’s eyes.   
 Overlooking Halls Gap and Lake Bellfield, Grampians, Victoria. One of my favourite views in this state (along with Mt Oberon, Wilsons Promontory). Again, a childhood fascination with the Grampians, so rugged, so spiritual, so serene yet mighty. So wonderful to visit whenever. Pack your hiking boots though, there are so many places to explore.  
 Hamilton Island, in the simply glorious Whitsundays, Queensland. A truly adult experience sailing for a week with two close friends. My abiding memory was of how to cope with the boredom of bobbing along at 3 knots for 7 days. Soon enough, I discovered that was the joy. And the seascape. A very special experience.  
 I have always admired those iconic American pictures of the long road into the desert. One day in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, I discovered my own. A gateway to a very inspiring, rugged, spiritual and ancient place. Better take the 4WD next time though, the 2WD has still got the rattles from this trip. But so worth it. Highly recommended to anyone who loves the serenity of the outback.  
 Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Best seen from the air, photo by me from our joyful and stunning flight. And there is so much more, as you see the adjacent landscape, ancient lands and mountains shaped and folded by the power of nature over many millennia. What a place to repose to. Just stay at home at night unless you want a close encounter with an abundance of wildlife.
 Mallacoota, eastern Victoria. So especially mild in the middle of a Victoria winter. Gets very busy in the summer, no surprise there as it is a spectacular region. But on this recent trip, we did so enjoy the peacefulness, the clear air, the local hospitality, and cruising on the adjacent mirror-calm inlet. Half way between Melbourne and Sydney. And a world away from the pressure therein. Highly recommended, out of season.
 Silverton, just west of Broken Hill, NSW. Mad Max territory. So vast, looking west to South Australian border. Wonderful memories watching the sun go down on new year’s eve, and soon after, invited to some locals’ house to complete the evening with tea and cake. Broken Hill is an interesting place, along with its art galleries and mining history.
 Seventeen Seventy (1770) Queensland. So named as Captain James Cook beached the Endeavour here at low tide for repairs in 1770 on route back to England. Meantime, how privileged looking out one’s bedroom window at this ever changing view. Exhilarating! This is another special place, also renowned for being able to see both the sunset and sunrise over the water on the same day, from land, in 1770.  
 Agnes Water, Queensland. Just south of 1770. What a magnificent strip of beach, about 6-7 km by foot. I have such fond memories of swimming just here in June, the water temperature so accommodating. Such a wonderful place, we have kept returning to here and 1770 in the past several years, and hope to do so again in the future. One of Australia’s many wonderful sandy beaches.  
 Nha Trang, Vietnam. A very short trip to Vietnam, but loved the place nonetheless. I felt very safe here, a place I hope to return to. It also reminds me of the special and dedicated young man I hired in my corporate team some time. No regrets there. Was pleased to visit his refugee parents’ restaurant for tea, and when they refused to accept payment, we were pleased they could accept our equivalent tip. Such lovely and hard-working people.  
 Kangaroo Island, South Australia. A special trip with best friends. A rugged but such beautiful place. The food, the wine, the gin, the marron, the fish, the size and yes, many kangaroos. Careful at dusk and dawn. Hopefully on every Australian traveller’s bucket list, but let’s keep it as unspoilt as possible, as it is still special. So many other wonderful views and special pictures.  

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