We drove up to Brisbane via the back roads rather than the motorway. A good portion of the road was actually built privately by the local Lion’s Club, and is now maintained at least partially through donations. It was really beautiful countryside, with rain forests and farmland interspersed. The road was almost incidental, and indeed there are no fences keeping the cattle off the road. The sounds were also incredible…we’re not sure what the birds were, but they had such a loud, piercing, mesmerizing call.
New Zealand proving its volcanic bona fides. Rotorua and surrounding countryside are particularly steamy and bubbly, allowing for lovely hot spring bathing. Downside is a rather pungent miasma over the area.
In and around Hawke’s Bay: beaches, port, cliffs, cycle paths, black swans, Cape Kidnappers, wineries, the bay.
Fenghuang is a quaint little river town in Hunan province. We spent a few days there, staying in the Old Town, strolling the alleyways and crisscrossing the river, whiling away misty mornings and sunny afternoons.
The West Sea Canyon walk on Huangshan is unbelievable. Those are stairs carved into the side of that mountain, and many of them have scant guard rails if at all. Every time you look over a precipice, the bottom just falls out of your stomach. And the stairs! We climbed over 1100 on our way back up out of the canyon, and we surely descended more as the outbound part of the loop was a bit longer. And that was just on the morning walk. To get down the mountain, we climbed another 2000+ stairs with full packs on our
One of the done things at Huangshan is to get up to watch the sunrise from the summit. So we dutifully bundled up (just about every layer of clothing we’d brought - it was really cold) and trooped out to watch, along with the hundreds of other people who spent the night on the summit. It was like sunrise paparazzi; less than the dawn, the real sight we should have captured was the people clambering over barbed wire fences and clinging to trees above the cliff-face, desperate to get an unobstructed view of the sunrise.
Huangshan is a stark, rugged mountain with multiple peaks over 8,000 feet. Typically the mountains are ringed with clouds and mist, but we had two days of brilliant sunshine and clear blue skies. Once the sun set, it also made for some spectacular stargazing.
Sunset boating on the West Lake in Hangzhou.
The ascent to Mt. Misen on foot and cable car, with views out over Hiroshima and the Inland Sea.
We arrived in Takayama in a bit of a race against the weather. After a beautiful week in Tokyo, a typhoon is headed our way. We wanted to make the most of our time in the mountains while the nice weather holds, so as soon as we arrived we threw our bags in a locker and went on the Higashiyama Walking Course, checking out the temples on this hillside and then trekking up to the top of the hill where the old Takayama castle used to sit. Just made it back to the train station as the last of the