Cathedral Cove and Hahei Beach, New Zealand

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC, plus the TC’s other travelling companion, are on New Zealand’s North Island. We spent a bit of time exploring Cathedral Cove, Hahei Beach, and the routes from the one to the other.

My impressions? Rock, sand and sea, in perfect harmony.

The book I’m in

Rat Run, by Gerald Seymour. A mix of crime, terrorism and psychology. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened to make the hero the way he is.

Travel tip

The walk from Cathedral Cove carpark to the cove itself will probably take you less time than the sign-posted 45 minutes. The TC did it in under half an hour (one direction).

Recommended restaurant

Hahei Beach Café, 3 Grange Road, Hahei 3591, New Zealand. The food is good, although not fancy. The service is friendly and efficient.

Recommended accommodation

Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge, 174 Vista Paku, Pauanui. A restful lodging with welcoming hosts. Be aware that the nearest supermarket closes at 6.30pm. Any others are far away, so stock up as soon as you arrive.

The photos

Me at the entrance to Cathedral Cove on New Zealand’s North Island:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

You can only get to Cathedral Cove on foot or by boat. The closest car park is about half an hour’s walk away (though the signposts declare the walk to be 45 minutes). We chose to walk from the carpark to the beach.  It’s an easy stroll along a well-kept path, with views over the sea and bush.

Here’s the view from the Cathedral Cove carpark, at the start of the walk:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Here’s another view of the entrance to Cathedral Cove at the end of the walk, unadorned by this worm’s noble form:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

The entrance is an open-ended cave leading to Cathedral Cove from the next-door Mare’s Leg Cove. Walking through the cave onto the beach:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

This imposing rocky pinnacle is called Te Hoho:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

A view from the other side of Te Hoho, with a bird fortuitously in the shot:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Looking back at the entrance from the other side, on the water at Cathedral Cove:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Jonathan was there too, although a little less sure of himself than is his wont. Perhaps his equanimity was disturbed by the frothy ecstasy of the approaching wave:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

A typical New Zealand tree skeleton stands sentinel on the beach:

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Rather than walking back to the carpark, we took a water taxi from Cathedral Cove to Hahei Beach. Here’s the water taxi after we disembarked at Hahei Beach:

Hahei Beach

Then we walked from Hahei Beach back to the carpark, which takes about 20 minutes. Here’s a view of Hahei Beach from the walking path:

Hahei Beach

And the sea through the trees:

Hahei Beach

A view from the other side of the lagoon and Tairua Harbour, where we lodged at Pauanui:

Pauanui

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 9 December 2016 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Driving Creek Railway, Coromandel, New Zealand

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

The TC and her travelling companion are travelling on New Zealand’s North Island. This worm is here too, to keep them on track and ensure good reading habits.

We took a ride on the Driving Creek Railway, outside the little town of Coromandel. The train is small, just high enough to sit in. Each bench can seat two adults side by side. It’s a beautiful, interesting ride, up steep slopes from the lower station to the playfully-named Eyefull Tower at the top. (Faithful readers may notice that this worm does appreciate a good pun.)

To get up the slopes the train goes through a series of zigzags and spirals. Every now and then the driver reverses up one leg of a zigzag, or gets out of the train and walks to the other end to change directions.

My impressions? An engineer’s dream brought to life.

The book I’m in

Rat Run, by Gerald Seymour. A mix of crime, terrorism and psychology. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened to make the hero the way he is.

Travel tip

It takes longer than you expect to get from A to B in New Zealand.

Recommended restaurant

Driving Creek Café, 180 Driving Creek Rd, Coromandel 3506. It’s a cosy restaurant combined with a second-hand book store. The people are welcoming, and they prepare the food with flair and skill. Photos below.

Recommended accommodation

Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge, 174 Vista Paku, Pauanui. It’s not close to Coromandel or the Driving Creek Railway, but it’s a restful lodging with welcoming hosts. Be aware that the nearest supermarket closes at 6.30pm. Any others are far away, so stock up as soon as you arrive.

The photos

Me and the Driving Creek Railway train:

Driving Creek Railway

The video below is taken from on board the train, as it leaves the lower station. You’ll see people in the engineering workshop wave as we leave. There’s also a view on one of the slightly scary bridges (viaducts) that carry the track across gorges and gaps:

The next video includes a zigzag. To get up the hill, the train stops at the end of a track and reverses up the next leg of the zigzag. Below the train you can see the section of track that we’ve just travelled. It’s an impressively steep climb.  At the top, the engineer gets out of the train to switch the track, then we move forward again. The zigzag track is visible below the train.

The third video includes one of the short, narrow tunnels on the track. The video starts as we come to the end of a reversing section. The engineer gets out to switch the track, then gets back in and says “Tunnel three, everything inside please”. He mentions the pottery and artwork on the sides of the track as we approach the tunnel, and the bush environment after exiting the tunnel:

The train, unembellished by this worm’s attractive person:

Driving Creek Railway

At the top station is the playfully-named Eyefull Tower:

Driving Creek Railway

The view from the top is lovely:

Driving Creek Railway

One of the pottery artworks that stud the banks along the way:

Driving Creek Railway

A reversing point:

Driving Creek Railway

A closer view of the notices on the wall:

Driving Creek Railway

One of the reversing points is on a rather scary platform:

Driving Creek Railway

My (probably adrenalin-fuelled) delight in the view from the platform made the scariness worthwhile:

Driving Creek Railway

Looking across the carriage at the view on the other side:

Driving Creek Railway

Switching tracks:

Driving Creek Railway

Back at the lower station, ticket office and engineering workshop:

Driving Creek Railway

It’s worth taking the short bush walk down the side of the station, to see more eccentric bits of art and hear the birds singing in the trees. A sign clearly tells you when you’ve gone far enough:

Driving Creek Railway

After the ride, we stopped for a meal at the Driving Creek Café:

Driving Creek Café

It’s cosy, and it has books, which make it a winner in this worm’s eyes:

Driving Creek Café

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 9 December 2016 at 7:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC just spent a day and a half in Melbourne, Victoria. On Saturday we drove from the big smoke down to the Twelve Apostles on Australia’s south coast. The drive takes around three hours. It’s well worth the trip, to see the Apostles themselves as well as the bush and coastal area down the bottom end of Australia.

My impressions? Bright, clear beauty.

The book I’m in

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante. Teenage angst, beautifully written, with a hint of dreadfulness to come.

Travel tip

Take layers and layers of clothing to the bottom end of Australia. Even in spring, the cold can be bitter. Leave the brolly behind, unless it has gale-force certification.

The photos

Me at Twelve Apostles, Victoria:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria. Australia

The Apostles are these strange steeples of rock rising directly out of the waves:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

The vegetation is pretty in a low-stated way. It’s early spring, with tones of silver and green:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

You can walk down the cliff path at the Gibson Steps and stroll along the beach. This shot is taken with the Twelve Apostles out of sight behind the photographer:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

Now for a last look at the Apostles before I go:

A tad chilly at the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

That’s all for today, folks.

Lost and found in the Googleplex

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in California again. This worm has had an interesting day, navigation-wise.

My impressions? It’s very easy to get onto U.S. Route 101.

The TC decided, bless her cotton socks, that she now knows her way around Mountain View. No need for a navigation aid today. So we set off in good cheer. Faithful readers can guess where this post is going, particularly if they’ve read my previous scribbling.

Our first foray into unaided navigation went well. We found the Googleplex, which was our intended destination. After a few hours in one office, the next step was to get from one part of the Googleplex to another. To those unacquainted with the TC, that mayhap sounds simple, but not so.

In the blink of an eye, in the twitch of a steering wheel, we found ourselves on U.S. Route 101, heading north for San Francisco. Now, the highway is worth a visit, as a venerable and worthy piece of navigation history. Wikipedia says that US 101 is one of the last remaining and longest U.S. Routes still active in the state, and the longest highway of any kind in California. It was one of the original national routes established in 1926. Still, if you don’t need to head north at speed, it’s probably not the best place to be.

Luckily it’s almost as easy to get off U.S. Route 101 as to get on it. Also luckily, the Googleplex is a big place and thus easy to find. The TC kept calm and steered us to our destination unscathed although not unrattled. There to greet us were a giant Google map pin, a Street View car, and the Code the Road bus.

The book I’m in

Caleb Williams, by William Godwin (1794). This worm is enjoying the richness of language and the care taken with phrasing, though it be at times a trifle archaic. Mr Godwin is adept at building up an atmosphere of menace that lurks close beneath a seemingly civilised society.

Travel tip

Ne’er cast a navigation aid til journey be made.

The photos

Me on the giant map pin outside the Google Maps offices. I am here:

worm-on-marker

A Street View car took a well-earned rest nearby. I made use of its rearview mirror for a quick face-and-hat check:

worm-on-street-view-car

Me hanging out with Pegman:

worm-and-pegman

My own dear Peg needed a bit of me time after seeing the above snap. So here are me and Peg, and a big green fuzzy person who happened by:

worm-peg-android

The Google Maps Code the Road Bus was in the neighbourhood too:

code-the-road-bus

Me on the Code the Road bus:

worm-on-code-the-road-bus

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 3 June 2016 at 10:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mysore or Mysuru in India

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are visiting the city of Mysore, in India’s state of Karnataka. Mysore, officially named Mysuru, is about three hours’ drive from Bangalore, up into the hills.

My impressions? Bright air and fresh colours.

The book I’m in

Zero’s Return, by Sara King. This is part 3 of the Zero chronicles. This worm is enjoying this story as much as the first two, and is impressed with the change in theme. Sarah King has managed to retain the magic of the Zero character even while throwing him into a completely different situation. Sink or swim, again, Joe Dobbs.

Recommended accommodation

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, 1 MG Road, Mysore. It’s comfortable, and the staff are very pleasant and attentive.

Travel tip

Drive up Chamundi Hill, or walk up if you can manage a staircase of more than 1000 steps. Stroll around the temples at the top of the hill. It’s beautiful and peaceful up there.

The photos

Me with part of Mysore city behind me:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Here’s the same view of Mysore, without this worm embellishing the foreground:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A busy street scene in Mysore:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A quiet side street:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Mysore Palace is full of activity, and the buildings are attractive and interesting. Here’s a temple near the palace gate:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Mysore Palace:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

The palace courtyard:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

An alleyway behind the main palace building:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

We drove up Chamundi Hill, just outside Mysore, and walked the circuit at the top of the hill. This is a view of Chamundi temple:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Chamundi temple from a different angle:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A closer view of the temple. Click the image to zoom in:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Back in the city of Mysore, Gothic huddles up close to telephone lines, carts and auto rickshaws. St Philomena’s Catholic church, built in 1936:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

That’s all for today, folks.

Bangalore peace and traffic

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Bangalore, India, for a few days. It’s an amazing place. Energetic, frenetic, hectic.

My impressions? Bangalore traffic is a metaphor waiting to happen.

In fact, traffic was used as a metaphor in two of the conference sessions that the TC attended this week.

The book I’m in

Railsea, by China Miéville. Moby-Dick meets steam punk, as told by a master of language. This worm has seldom been as impressed by a writer as I am by China Miéville.

Recommended accommodation

ITC Gardenia, 1 Residency Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560025. Actually, though that’s the official address, the entrance is on Vittal Mallya Road.

Recommended restaurant

K & K restaurant at the ITC Gardenia hotel, for excellence of Indian cuisine and friendly attentiveness of service.

Travel tip

Take a stroll through Cubbon Park, during daylight hours, for an oasis of peace and coolness.

The photos

Me at the railway station on the well known MG road:

Bangalore peace and traffic

Next is a rare glimpse of the TC, snapped as she was watching a Bangalore rickshaw. These little three-wheeled vehicles are also called auto rickshaws, to distinguish them from the hand-drawn rickshaws. When this worm was in Bangkok a while ago, we travelled in a similar vehicle, called a tuk tuk. On the TC’s left, behind the green and yellow rickshaw, is the Vidhana Soudha, which is the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka, the state in which Bangalore is located:

Bangalore peace and traffic

Communication is an art in Bangalore traffic. Know where you’re going, make it clear to those around you, and toot to let people know you’re there. If you’re on foot, just pretend to be a vehicle:

For a puddle of peace in the swirl of traffic, take a stroll under the trees of Cubbon park:

Bangalore peace and traffic

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 27 February 2016 at 9:18 pm  Comments (2)  
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Dangling over the Whitehouse gardens in Washington, DC

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC have been in Washington, DC, for the last few days. Washington is the capital of the United States. It’s also known as the District of Columbia, or DC, or just “the District”. This worm admits that, until today, I thought the city of Washington resided in an area called District of Columbia. But it seems they’re one and the same thing.

My impressions of the city? Wide roads and lofty grandeur. It will be warmer when the cherry blossoms are out.

Travel tips

Don’t dangle over the Whitehouse lawn. The story: The TC has been pretty busy running workshops, which has left me and Peg to our own devices most of the time. As you’ll see, this had a different effect on each of us. Me, I was raring to go when the TC suggested a quick tour of the capital this morning. Peg, on the other hand, had become unfortunately attached to the room and so missed out on seeing the sights. She also missed out on saving this worm from a fate worse than death. Read on, dear friends.

The book I’m in

Zero Recall (Legend of Zero), by Sara King. This is the second of the Zero series I’ve tasted. Meeting the Huouyt and Jreet is like seeing old friends again, and the Geuji look like a force to be reckoned with.

Recommended accommodation

Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol St NW. Our room is small, but comfortable, clean and pretty. Service is friendly and efficient.

The photos

Me and the Washington Monument:

Washington Monument

The weather is chilly and grey. Yesterday we had snow, although it was officially the first day of spring, which led to much derisive commentary from the locals. Here’s a wintry view of The Mall, which is the thoroughfare connecting many of the monuments and museums in the city:

The Mall, Washington DC

We walked closer to the Washington Monument and snapped a shot through the trees, along with a passing plane:

Washington Monument

The Whitehouse is close by, nestling behind the bare winter branches:

Whitehouse

I had to have a shot of me at the Whitehouse, naturally, so here it is:

Travelling Worm at the Whitehouse

It was at this point, dear readers, that I sorely missed my faithful companion, Peg. Or should I say, my erstwhile faithful companion.

Peg would have been most useful in ensuring I didn’t inadvertently drift down onto the Whitehouse lawn and be lost, forever out of the TC’s reach. But Peg had elected to stay in the hotel room on this occasion. She said she was keeping the coffee company. I suspect, however, that she was hanging out with the cool kids and basking in their warmth.

Peg keeping the coffee companyPeg-WashingtonDC-21March2015-IMG_6297

Never mind. Despite the brisk breeze, I managed to cling to the Whitehouse railings long enough to get the shot, and the TC and I continued our stroll. More of the Whitehouse:

Whitehouse

The buildings in this area of town are gorgeous and grand. This is 1301 Constitution Avenue, home to the US Environmental Protection Agency and other organisations:

Constitution Avenue, Washington DC

Pennsylvania Avenue:

Pennsylvania Avenue

The Ronald Reagan Building:

Ronald Reagan Building

More grandeur:

A Washington building

The Corcoran Gallery:

Corcoran Gallery

And… the Eisenhower Building? How come Ronald Reagan and George Washington merit such imposing structures, while Eisenhower is relegated to this humble construction?

Eisenhower Building

The TC, bless her cotton socks, was actually taken in by the sign, until we rounded the corner and spotted the actual Eisenhower Building:

Eisenhower Building

The Metro offers a painless, easy way to travel around Washington DC :

Metro at Union Central, Washington, DC

That’s all for today, dudes.

Bennetts Wallaby with joey in pouch

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent a couple of days in Freycinet Park, Tasmania. A Bennetts Wallaby, also called a red-necked wallaby, wandered into the car park at the start of the walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout.

My impressions? Somewhat jaded, slightly faded – I’m referring to the wallaby, not to myself of course.

The book I’m in

Where Song Began, by Tim Low. The fascinating tale of how Australia’s birds took over the world.

Recommended accommodation

Freycinet Lodge in Coles Bay. The cabins are dotted around amongst the trees. Inside is clean and comfortable. Open the doors to step out amidst the trees, birds, wallabies and echidnas.

The photos

This worm can pardon the mother wallaby for her slightly dufus expression. It must be hard work carrying such a big joey in the pouch. And so hard to scratch that itch too!

Here’s a still photo of the pair:

Bennetts Wallaby with joey in pouch

That’s all for today, dudes.

Echidna at Freycinet Park, Tasmania

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent a couple of days in Freycinet Park, Tasmania. We encountered a couple of echidnas, sometimes called spiny anteaters.

Unlike other famed Australian creatures, echidnas are not marsupials, although they do have a pouch. So, why not a marsupial? Because they lay eggs and put the eggs into the pouch, whereas marsupials give birth to tiny babies which crawl into the pouch. This puts echidnas into a rare order called “monotremes”. The only other creatures in this order are platypuses.

My impressions? Like a small prickly bear with ostrich tendencies.

The book I’m in

Where Song Began, by Tim Low. The fascinating tale of how Australia’s birds took over the world.

Recommended accommodation

Freycinet Lodge in Coles Bay. The cabins are dotted around amongst the trees. Inside is clean and comfortable. Open the doors to step out amidst the trees, birds, wallabies and echidnas.

The photos

Here’s the first echidna we saw. It “hid” when it heard us, by sticking its snout in a bush. After a few minutes it decided we must have gone away, so it came out to play:

The TC, bless her cotton socks, says this has to be the cutest animal ever. This is the second echidna that crossed her path:

Here’s a still photo of one of them:

Echidna in Tasmania

That’s all for today, dudes.

Salamanca Market in Hobart

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC, plus her husband whom this worm fondly dubs the “TC-once-removed”, spent a long weekend in Tasmania last week. We visited the Salamanca Market in Hobart on Saturday morning.

My impressions? Colour, talent, scents, laughter.

The book I’m in

Catching Fire, part 2 of The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Classy teen science fiction that appeals to adults for its fast pace, clever social commentary and appealing characters.

Travel tip

Take a stroll around the streets in the area of the market, to smell the roses and absorb the architectural variety.

Recommended restaurant

This worm was a tad disappointed in the lunch we found near Salamanca Markets. I’d heard Hobart is a gourmet heaven, but the TC’s potato salad was decidedly below par. Enough said on that score.

The photos

Me in Salamanca Place:

Salamanca Market in Hobart

Looking up through Salamanca Market towards Gladstone street:

Salamanca Market in Hobart

A couple of the colourful market stalls, snapped by the TC-once-removed:

Salamanca Market in Hobart

The view from Gladstone street, looking down through the market:

Salamanca Market in Hobart

Nearby the market is Battery Point. It’s one of the longest-settled parts of Hobart, dating back to around 1804:

Battery Point, Hobart

The balcony on this building intrigued the TC-once-removed, because there’s no way of getting onto it:

Hobart

Wrought iron and roses:

Hobart

A rose, just because it is:

A rose in Hobart

That’s all for today, dudes.