Thursday, September 05, 2013

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

Byron Bay is a beautiful northern NSW beach town 2 hours by road from Brisbane. Golden sand, blue-green ocean water and rolling surf make Byron a great family holiday destination.

The lighthouse on Australia's most easterly point
The view to the north

Byron's Main Beach

Byron's Belongil Beach

Pandanus tree on Main Beach
The rolling surf
The old train station - no trains come here anymore
Byron's Thursday Farmers' market

Juzzie's One-Man Band playing at the markets

Juzzie's quiver of harmonicas

Fundies (fundamental food store) at Byron

Kids playground at Byron's Main Beach

Byron's Surf Life Savers' Club Function Room

The deck of the Surf Life Savers' Club Function Room

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Oahu revisited - beach holiday Hawaiian style

Direct flights on Hawaiian Airlines from Brisbane to Honolulu now make Hawaii a very accessible holiday destination for Queensland families. There is no place quite like Hawaii for the ultimate relaxing holiday experience.

Waikiki Beach viewed from Duke's Bar with Diamond Head in the distance

Waikiki Beach viewed from our balcony at the Circle Hotel


Lu'au at Paradise Cove


The SWIM bar at Waikiki's Hyatt Regency (very close to the Circle Hotel) hosts live music at happy hour - this is ManoaDNA playing their originals and covers

Friday, June 22, 2012

Santa Cruz, California, USA

The Santa Cruz coastline is an excellent holiday destination for young and old. It has both natural and built attractions that are very accessible. There is an extensive range of rides at the fun park on the Boardwalk, from gentle carousels to wild roller-coasters and everything in between. If you want to get hot enough to brave the chilly ocean you can play a game of beach vollyball with friends or strangers. 

Walking north from the Pier you will encounter the endearing Sea Lions that laze on large rocks grooming themselves and each other. They happily coexist with the surfers that frequent the rocky coves.

Anyone interested in sea creatures has to see the huge whale skeletons that have been preserved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) center. The Blue Whale is the largest known animal on earth.

Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Pier

Beach Volly Ball Courts

Beach volly ball for everyone

Santa Cruz Boardwalk cable chairs

Santa Cruz Boardwalk Carousel
Santa Cruz Sea Lions snoozing on their favorite island rock

Santa Cruz natural coastline
Gray Whale skeleton - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Blue Whale skeleton (NOAA)

Brown Pelicans in flight over the ocean

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Angels Flight - Downtown LA

A quaint pair of rail-cars provide transport up the steep incline from the Grand Central Markets on Hill Street to California Plaza on Bunker Hill.

If you have already read the novel "Angels Flight" by Michael Connelly you'll enjoy the ride a whole lot more. Quoting from the backcover of the book: "An activist attorney is killed in a cute little L.A. trolley called Angels Flight, far from Harry Bosch's Hollywood turf. But the case is so explosive - and the dead man's enemies inside the L.A.P.D. are so numerous - that it falls to Harry to solve it. Now the streets are superheating......"

Michael Connelly provides an excellent description through the eyes of Harry Bosch:
"Bosch had ridden the inclined railroad as a kid and had studied how it worked. He still remembered. The two matching cars were counterbalanced. When one went up the side-by-side tracks the other went down, and vice versa. They passed each other at the mid-point. He remembered riding on Angels Flight long before Bunker Hill had been reborn as a slick business center of glass and marble towers, classy condominiums and apartments, museums, and fountains referred to as water gardens. Back then the hill had been a place of once-grand Victorian homes turned into tired-looking rooming houses. Harry and his mother had taken Angels Flight up the hill to look for a place to live." page 11.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Smurf Watch - Los Angeles

In late July, warning signs on the front of the LA Times newspaper and on the sides of the Big Blue Buses of Santa Monica advertised the arrival of mischievous smurfs to LA cinemas.

Santa Monica Place took the hype further by being home to this monstrously large smurf.

I haven't seen the 3-D movie yet, but I did fall victim to the advertising efforts and bought some really cute figurines and soft-toy smurfs from a toy shop in downtown LA - in the Macy's building - to take home as gifts.

Catalina Island - Casino Building

The Catalina Casino building is not a casino, it is an entertainment center that dates back to 1929. Through the 1930s and 1940s the Casino Ballroom was a favorite venue for many of the Big Bands.

The Casino Art Gallery, Avalon Theatre, and Catalina Island Museum are also located in the Casino Building.

This glorious Catalina icon is as tall as a 12-story building.