Nice of you to drop in

 

Baz and Janet, AMP Building, Sydney, Australia
Baz and Janet-Planet, AMP Building, Sydney, Australia

Putting in a couple of leave applications the other day to cover my two climbing expeditions to Nepal in 2015 turned out to be a lot of fun…

My boss, let’s just call him Wayne, he’s a keeper, can’t afford to lose him!

“Baz”

“Yeah Wayne”

“Might be nice if you could drop into the office and do some work occasionally Baz, but don’t let it get in the way of your endless holidays, and how about you call me boss, just for once”

“Sure Wayne, I’ll make some arrangements”

“Janet?”

“Yes Baz?”

“You doing anything, the boss wants me to drop into the office”

“Just lattes with the girls”

“Meet me at the office, and um, bring the ropes”

“Ooo, we playing those games again, you naughty boy”

“No, well yes, if you like, but not just now”

“Hey Wayne, I mean, Boss, I thought I’d just drop in to see if you’ve signed those leave forms yet”.

These photographs show Janet-Planet (isn’t she awesome!) and me abseiling down the AMP Building, Sydney, Australia, in support of a charity fund raising day!

 Baz, The Landy

 

 

 

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Beware of Trojan Horses (“The Kiwi” strikes again)

Heatons Gap, AustraliaI have a couple of things to say about this photo.

Firstly, it is Heatons Gap in the Watagan Mountains to the north of Sydney. It starts off steep and then it really gets steep. This photograph of me was taken on a training run with a backpack loaded with a 20-kilo sand bag.

Yeah I know it seemed like a good idea down in the car park, hindsight is a marvellous thing…

Secondly, if you are wondering what I’m saying, I’ll give you the sanitized version – if I ever catch up to “The Kiwi” he’ll be plucked…

“The Kiwi” is my brother-in-law.

The Kiwi - I often wondered how he arrived "Across the Ditch"
The Kiwi – I’ve often wondered how he arrived “Across the Ditch”
Baz - Mountain Run, Coast to Coast Race, New Zealand
Baz – Mountain Run, Coast to Coast Race, New Zealand

Yeah that’s right, the bloke that had me signed up for a run, cycle, and kayak, from the West Coast of New Zealand to the East Coast in less than 24 hours, a couple of years back…

Now I will admit there was beer involved in the lead-up to being “pressed ganged” by “The Kiwi” to the start line on that occasion. Come to think about it my skydiving career had its genesis in the bottom of a beer glass in the early 1980s during a session with Bluey and the boys at the Breakfast Creek hotel in Brisbane.

Skydiving at Picton, Australia
Skydiving at Picton, Australia

Yes, I heard you saying there’s a bit of a pattern developing here…

But hey, in my defence, I was young and stupid back then.

At least I can say that I have moved forward over the years, now I’m only stupid!

I didn’t know “The Kiwi” back then, he was too busy jumping off cliffs with a parachute on his back, paragliding around New Zealand’s north island.

Anyway, “The Kiwi” calls me up a little while back…

“Baz, I’m turning 50-years young on 13 September and I thought we could have a few beers”.

Now you’ve got to be very cautious of Kiwi’s offering to buy you a beer, especially if you’re an Aussie. It’s a long story, but there was an under-arm bowling incident in a cricket game way back in 1981 from which they cannot move on. So if they are being nice, there is bound to be a catch, if you’ll pardon the pun…

“What is the catch”, I asked…

“None”, he said, “but I thought we might walk to the pub”.

“That’s sounds sensible”

Alarm bells were ringing inside my head, after all this is months away, but his shout, so why not?

“Walk” I said,

“We’ll, walk and run, after all the quicker we get there the more time we get before the girls come looking for us”.

Um, that would be Leah and Janet.

Leah and Janet (You boy's don't know how lucky you are!)
Leah and Janet (You boy’s don’t know how lucky you are!)

Strewth, I’m thinking “The Kiwi” is actually talking sense for a change!

“Yep, sign me up” I said without further delay…

Well sign me up he did…

Today our entries for the Great North Walk 100, a 100-kilometre run through the Australian bush on September 13, up and down a mountain range that will take us around 18-20 hours to complete, was accepted.

Fortunately we are no strangers to the area and we’ll be doing a training run up Heatons Gap this weekend, the first of many…

Strewth, I’m starting to feel thirsty just thinking about it…

Wish us luck; we’ll need it that’s for sure!

Anyway, the moral of the story (if there needs to be one) is if you are going to drink beer with a Kiwi, The Kiwi, then accept all may not be what it seems – so just gulp it down and enjoy the experience!

 Footnote (for the uninitiated):

“Kiwi” is the name given to a small flightless bird that is native to New Zealand, and New Zealander’s are usually referred to as Kiwi’s…

And where is New Zealand I hear you ask?

Well, it is not too far across “The Ditch” – The Tasman Sea; just think of it as an outpost of Sydney’s Bondi Beach! 😉

Adventure and Youth (How good is this)

Adventure and Youth (TomO the Trailblazer)

Adventure and youth, what a great mix!

TomO lead the way today heading off for his first scuba dive which he did at Clifton Gardens, on beautiful Sydney Harbour…

scuba diving

 Despite Janet and I quite comfortably diving out of airplanes and loving water sports, we’ve never harboured the desire to scuba dive! So TomO has set a first for our family!

Crikey, adventure hey, good on you mate.

Bravo TomO!

Photos: Janet Planet

A Seedpod (In the Australian Bush)

A Seedpod (In the Australian Bush)

There are some wonderful things to see when Out and About in the Australian Bush.

There are landscapes that stretch from horizon to horizon under a never-ending blue sky, some unique animals, and some things you need to go searching for, or you just happen to come across.

A couple of weeks ago I was bush-walking up in Yengo National Park and the lovely contrast in this little seedpod caught my eye…

How good is it!

Crikey, you wouldn’t be dead for quids, hey?

Photo: Baz, The Landy

Dope on a Rope (Over Australia)

How good is this… just hanging out, a dope on a rope…

Sublime Point, Blue Mountains, Australia
Sublime Point, Blue Mountains, Australia
(Big Bad) Baz on  Sweet Dream, Blue Mountains, Australia
(Big Bad) Baz on Sweet Dream, Blue Mountains, Australia
Just hanging out - On Sweet Dreams
Just hanging out – On Sweet Dreams

 

Ever played Twister? It helps!
Ever played Twister? It helps!

Strewth I’ve got to get back to some climbing, and what better place than a climb on Sweet Dreams in the Blue Mountains just to the west of Sydney…now there’s a thought!

And hey, remember, if all else fails, just take a running leap at life, see what develops and live to the motto…

“Those that don’t think it can be done shouldn’t bother the person doing it”…

If all else fails, just take a running leap at life...
If all else fails, just take a running leap at life…

(Big Bad) Baz…

In search of Gold and Ghouls (In the Australian Bush)

Hill End
“The Landy” mobbed by locals

We spent the past weekend touring through the Hill End region nearby to Sydney in our new Outback Touring vehicle, a Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab.

Dare I call it “The Landy”.

And it proved to be popular with the locals who mobbed it as we neared the historic gold mining town.

This was a Gold and Ghouls weekend, for it was in the early 1850s that the discovery of gold at Ophir, not too far from Hill End in the State’s Central West, that created Australia’s first gold rush.

It was almost over as quickly as it began and very few found the fortune that they came in search of, and of course those that prospered most were the people who ran the stores, supplying equipment and provisions to the miners, and the many hotels that quenched the thirst of those who were looking for the “big strike”.

Hill End, Australia
Hill End, Australia

Hill End is a historic town administered by the New South Wales National Parks. There is a pub, a store, and plenty of old buildings that give a glimpse into how life might have been in those heady gold fever days. For the more energetic, there is a walk to Bald Hill where there was a lot of mining activity.

And the Royal Hotel is a great place to have a beer, or two, and a meal in the bistro.

Country Pub
Royal Hotel, Hill End, Australia

Leaving Sydney we travelled the Great Western Highway via Bathurst and the small township of Sofala.

We camped at Glendora campground, which is located about 1.5 kilometres from the pub and is well equipped to take caravans and camper trailers, with powered and unpowered sites available and self-registration. In fact this is a good spot for larger groups with full facilities including electric barbecues and hot showers.

Hill End, Australia Glendora Campground, Hill End, Australia Glendora Campground, Hill End, Australia Glendora Campground, Hill End, Australia Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab Glendora Campground, Hill End, Australia

There is also a campground in the centre of town, which was about half full…

Leaving Hill End on Sunday we travelled back to Bathurst via Dixon’s Long Point Road, a four-wheel drive track that winds its way down to a rocky creek crossing on the Macquarie River.

Macquarie River, Australia
Macquarie River, Australia
Track Tvan
The Landy + Tvan

“The Landy” had its first workout and performed admirably, although it was hardly taxing for the big V8-engine housed under a bonnet as big as a football field.

The views are spectacular and you can camp by the river and wile away the day under a deep blue sky…

The drive down to the river takes about one hour, depending on whether you stop along the way to visit the Cornish Roasting Pits, which we didn’t do on this particular occasion.

Travelling on you eventually come to Ophir Reserve which is located in a gorge where the Summer Hill and Lewis Creeks converge, and it was from here that the gold in the gold medals presented at 2000 Sydney Olympics was mined.

A great spot for a picnic, and it didn’t take long before TomO found a rope swing.

TomO, young and carefree...
TomO –  young and carefree…

Leaving Ophir it is less than an hour drive to Bathurst and another couple of hours back to Sydney.

And what about the Ghouls I hear you ask?

The National Park Rangers do a Ghost Tour that takes in a number of properties in Hill End and can be organised with about a week’s notice. It was uncertain whether “The Landy” would be finished in time for this trip so we thought we’d keep the ghost tour up our sleeve, giving us a reason to return again soon…

Hill End, Australia
Hill End, Australia

For anyone visiting the central west of New South Wales, Hill End and a tour of the region is well worth the experience. And there is some good four-wheel driving to be done, if you are inclined. Otherwise the Dixon Long Point Road is easily traversable and will reward you with some stunning vistas of the Australian Bush…

Photos: Baz, The Landy, and Janet Planet…