Sydney Park with Conservation Volunteers 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

The TC, bless her cotton socks, occasionally gets a bee in her bonnet about conservation, and goes out pulling up weeds with a group of like-minded souls. Today we went to Sydney Park, in the inner city area of Sydney. We joined a group of 15 volunteers hosted by Conservation Volunteers Australia.

My impressions? Hard work, but the volunteers loved it. Many of them go out once a week or more to look after sites around Sydney.

The book I’m in

Hotel du Barry, by Lesley Truffle. A delightful romp through the streets of London, with more than a glimpse of the dark side of life.

Travel tip

Take a hat and plenty of water.

The photos

Me at the old brickwork kilns in Sydney Park:

Sydney Park

This row of kilns is near the corner of Sydney Park Road and King Street, near St Peters railway station:

Sydney Park kilns

The chimneys from the old brickworks are an imposing sight:

Sydney Park chimneys

Slopes and skylines are a characteristic of Sydney Park:

Sydney Park skylines

Down to the business of the day: bush conservation. These were the TC’s tools today:

Bush conservation tools

A handy tip from one of the seasoned volunteers: hang your bag on a branch, or you’re likely to find the ants have eaten your lunch:

Bush conservation in Sydney Park

The volunteers wore bright yellow vests:

Bush conservation outfit

The bright outfit makes people easier to spot when out in the bush:

Bush conservation in Sydney Park

The group’s task today was to pull up weeds. Conservation Volunteers Australia and the local council cleared this site a few months ago (it was a mess of grass and weeds), covered it with Sydney sandstone to provide a good base for native plants, then planted a number of bushes and ground cover. The aim is to restore the area with mid-height vegetation, to provide food and homes for small birds and other creatures.

The new plantings are growing well. Spot the conservationists:

Bush conservation in Sydney Park

But things are not all good. Meet the enemy! Fleabane is one of the non-native plants the group wants to eradicate. This one was a large specimen, about four feet high. The TC wrestled with it for quite a few minutes, employing mattock and brute strength to pull it out by the roots:

Fleabane

Another baddie bites the dust. Kikuyu grass. The TC found it very satisfying to pull these long strands of grass up from amongst the native bushes:

Kikuyu

And now for the goodies. This is a tea tree (Leptospermum):

Tea tree

More tea tree, intertwined with a pink-flowered something:

Tea tree

A colourful fly enjoying tea tree nectar:

Colourful fly enjoying tea tree nectar

This Dianella caerulea has bright blue flowers, and eventually blueish purple berries that are edible. The TC, bless her soul, delights in plucking them straight from the garden and popping them in her mouth:

Dianella caerulea

There was a lot of this yellow-flowered bush. The TC doesn’t know the name of it:

Yellow-flowered bush

A profusion of yellow:

Yellow-flowered bush

A hardy white flower, the name of which currently escapes the TC and me:

White daisy-like flower

A rare shot of the TC photographing some grass. Note the hat!

Grass flower

The TC isn’t sure if this is a fossilised leaf or just a pattern in the sandstone rock:

Fossilised leaf in sandstone?

That’s all for today, folks.

Wentworth Falls and Valley of the Waters, Leura

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

The TC recently spent a couple of days in Leura, a town in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I was there too, but I spent my time cosily buried in a book. The TC, brave soul that she is, went on a four-hour hike from Leura to Wentworth Falls and back. The walk is 6 to 7 kilometres in distance, with a vertical drop and ascent of 200 metres.

My impressions? To judge by the TC’s glowing face and weary limbs, this was a walk and a half. She loved it, and had sore muscles for days afterwards.

The book I’m in

Jupiter War, by Neal Asher.

Travel tip

When walking in the Blue Mountains, take plenty of water and some food. Although your intention may be to stay out only a couple of hours, weather can change and mishaps can happen.

Recommended accommodation

Fairmont Resort, 1 Sublime Point Rd, Leura NSW 2780. Comfort, warmth, and friendliness.

The photos

Looking out over the Blue Mountains from the Fairmont Resort in Leura. This is where the four-hour walk started. Early in the morning, the valley is filled with mist:

Leura, Blue Mountains

On the way to Wentworth Falls, the path takes you up and down, through forest-filled glens, under overhanging rocks, along cliff faces:

Walk to Wentworth Falls

The views are stunning:

On the way to Wentworth Falls

At the top of Wentworth Falls, the ground just ends. The water falls over the edge:

At the top of Wentworth Falls

Wentworth Falls, seen from the bottom:

Wentworth Falls

To get down there, you can take the National Pass, a spectacular cliff-face path of metal and rock:

National Pass, Wentworth Falls

Cockatoos frolic around the falls:

Cockatoo at Wentworth Falls

On the loop back to Leura, the TC’s group walked through the Valley of the Waters. This is a gorgeous walk, with waterfalls and hanging gardens and spectacular views. This shot is taken from behind the curtain of water that drops off the cliffs:

Valley of the Waters, Blue Mountains

Here’s a short video taken from behind the same waterfall:

The Cascades are a silver shower of water on black rock:

The Cascades, Valley of the Waters

That’s all for today, folks.

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.

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.

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in 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 took the half-hour stroll up to Wineglass Bay Lookout.

If you’re fond of birds, take a look at the New Holland Honeyeater the TC filmed at the lookout.

My impressions? The detail is in the trees.

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 the time to look around as you follow the trail. The walk probably won’t take as long as you think.

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

Me at Wineglass Bay Lookout:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

On the TC’s insistence, here’s a picture with Wineglass Bay in focus rather than this worm. (If I had much of a nose, it would be somewhat out of joint):

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

A tree on the trail up to the lookout:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

Striations in a fallen trunk:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

Rocks tower over the path:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout 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.

Cockatoo Island in Sydney

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 yesterday afternoon on Cockatoo Island on the Parramatta River, immediately inland of Sydney harbour. It’s a forlorn place, strewn with gravel and history.

My impressions? Sandstone, sheds and seagulls.

The book I’m in

Gidget, by Frederick Kohner. An engaging tale of a teenage surfer, written 1957. Clever use of language and style to carry along a simple story with tons of atmosphere.

Travel tip

When travelling to Cockatoo Island, take sunscreen and something to tie back your hair. (That is, if you have lots of it, as the TC does.)

The photos

Me on a metal lathe in the industrial area of Cockatoo Island:

Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island, as seen on Google Maps:

Image created by Google Static Maps API: https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=-33.8475896,151.1720669&zoom=16&size=470x352&maptype=satellite

The Aboriginal name for the island is Wareamah. The Aboriginal people of the area used to come to the island to fish.  But there was no fresh water, so they didn’t live there permanently. In 1839 a governor of New South Wales decided the island was an ideal place to house prisoners and put them to work quarrying sandstone and building prison and military barracks and official residences.

The entrance to the island from the ferry wharf:

Cockatoo Island

Walking into the industrial area:

Cockatoo Island

An impressive sandstone cliff on the right as you walk in, which has survived the extensive quarrying:

Cockatoo Island

A view of Sydney Harbour Bridge from the island:

Cockatoo Island

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the island became a major ship-building site, playing a large part in ship construction and repair during World War II. Its use as a dockyard and construction facility for ships and submarines continued until 1992.

Inside a huge ship-building shed on the island:

Cockatoo Island

The magnificent machinery made this worm feel small and insignificant:

Cockatoo Island

More machinery:

Cockatoo Island

A giant crane stands guard over the Parramatta River:

Cockatoo Island

These imposing beam benders are the remains of a hydraulically-powered plate-bending machine from the 1920s, used to bend metal plates up to 9 metres long and one inch thick for ship building:

Cockatoo Island

Below is one of the slipways used to launch ships after construction. Film buffs note: The ark at the top of the slipway was created for and used in the film “Unbroken”, directed by Angelina Jolie and filmed on the island last year:

Cockatoo Island

The solitary confinement cells on the island, opened to visitors only last week, and introduced with great enthusiasm by our charming guide:

Cockatoo Island

Inside the left-most solitary-confinement cell:

Cockatoo Island

A tunnel cut through the sandstone, built in 1912, and used as an air-raid shelter during WWII:

Cockatoo Island

A view through the window of the now roofless military guardhouse:

Cockatoo Island

Below is the prison barracks, built in 1839. The convicts themselves quarried the sandstone and erected the buildings. Our guide told us that each man had a specific style when hewing sandstone. You can still see the marks in the stone used in the buildings on the island. At the end of each day, the overseers could tally each man’s work just by looking at the distinctive cuts in the stone:

Cockatoo Island

Notice the seagull nesting at the bottom of the building in the above photo? Pro tip from a wary worm: You don’t need to worry about cockatoos on the island. They all left when people cut down the trees to make room for the convicts. So now the seagulls reign supreme. Go Jonathan! Be afraid, be very afraid. As our guide said, the chicks are cute but the parents are not.

Cockatoo Island

Inside the barracks:

Cockatoo Island

A window to freedom:

Cockatoo Island

That’s all for today, dudes.

Is this a worm or a fungus – in Sydney, Australia

The TC (my Travelling Companion) spotted this weird and wonderful creature on the Wild Flower Walk at Manly Dam Reserve near Sydney, Australia. We’re intrigued. Is it a worm, or some type of fungus, or something else entirely?

It’s quite long, perhaps 10 to 12 centimetres – compare it with the gum tree leaves also visible in the photo. It’s red with pale cream extrusions at the edges. It’s attached to the vertical face of a step. It didn’t move, even when the TC prodded it gently with a stick.

At first the TC thought it was a fungus. But looking more closely at the photos, we’re leaning towards some kind of worm.

Worm or fungus?

Here is is again, from a slightly different angle. You can probably enlarge the image by clicking it, or by right-clicking and opening the image in the browser.

Worm or fungus?

If you have any ideas about what it may be, please add a comment to this post!

 

Published in: on 30 June 2014 at 5:11 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sydney under smoky skies

New South Wales, Australia, is battling more than 90 bush fires. The last few days have been scenes of fierce horror and deep sadness for many people. Approximately 1500 fire fighters have been battling the blazes throughout New South Wales. Close to 100 homes have been destroyed. Our fire services and volunteers are hard-working, efficient, smart and heroic.

For those of us in the city of Sydney, the fires brought smoke-filled skies and showers of ash. The weird lighting yielded some beautiful effects. It was as if someone had thrown a sepia filter over the city.

These photos show the Sydney city skyline on Thursday this week, as seen from Pyrmont.

Sydney under smoky skies, seen from Pyrmont

Clear skies to the south

The lighting changes minute by minute

Pyrmont Bridge

Pyrmont Bridge (demolishment of monorail is in progress)

From the side of Pyrmont Bridge

A closer look at the crane on the water

Published in: on 19 October 2013 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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