Welcome to Roaming Down Under, an independent hobby website where I share some of the great locations and activities I've enjoyed on my travels in Australia and New Zealand.
My main focus is on places of natural beauty which are quiet, out of the way, or just a little overlooked. Although I do cover well known places too (preferably out of season). The cooler southern parts of "down under" which I write about are:
- Mainly Tasmania, the south of Western Australia, and the south island of New Zealand
- Some parts of Victoria and southern New South Wales.
The About page has a bit more about this website and its author.
Finding your way around
There are more than 150 pages on this site, with original photos and some videos. Ways to explore them include:
Most places I've written about
are also on my Google map
- Explore by location - pages grouped by state or region (WA south coast, etc).
- Explore by category - pages grouped by subject (beaches, scenic drives, etc).
- Browse the articles - my opinions and tips on travel, photography, hiking, packing, etc.
- Watch the videos - some of my pages are illustrated with a video; the Videos pages gather them together.
- Otherwise, there is a sitemap which lists every page, or the search box (top) if you're looking for something specific.
Listening to favourite music is a great way to make long drives more enjoyable, and scenic drives memorable. However the actual method of playing your own music in rented vehicles is a detail sometimes overlooked when planning a trip. I've tried a few ways, and gadgets, and this is what I've found
1 October 2016
“Stop and smell the roses (or flowers)” - an old piece of wisdom, urging us to pause and appreciate the beauty all around us. It may be wise, but can be easily forgotten when travelling. So much to see, and so little time! On a climb up Frenchman's Peak in Western Australia I took the old saying literally, and was very impressed with what I saw ... once I stopped long enough to really see it.
27 August 2016
Years of bushwalking have taught me a few things. On another page I share some of the lessons specific to the Bibbulmun Track. Here I share some other things I've learned which apply to long hikes in general, regardless of where that happens to be.
2 July 2016
Just about every visitor to Perth photographs the famous view of the city and river from Kings Park. For those looking to capture the city skyline from other, different angles, here are some of my favourite alternative viewpoints.
19 May 2016
Boat trips to see whales at Kaikoura are well publicised as must-do activities, and draw large numbers of tourists. I usually focus on less crowded attractions, but fancied the idea of seeing whales along such a beautiful bit of New Zealand's coast - so I did the boat trip to see if the hype was deserved.
1 May 2016
If you want to explore the colonial remains of a notorious Tasmanian penal colony, the Port Arthur historic site is the obvious place to go. In the same general area, but far less known, is another historic site where some of Port Arthur's worst convicts were sent to mine coal ... and where visitors can roam the ruins without cost or crowds.
28 March 2016
One of the things I enjoy about travelling in Australia and New Zealand are the small country towns. Despite some common features they are not all the same; many have their own unique character. One distinctive town is Waratah in the north west of Tasmania - an old mining town on the edge of the Tarkine wilderness.
5 March 2016
Anyone visiting Esperance in Western Australia would know of Lucky Bay - one of the more popular highlights of a stunning stretch of coast. The access point is at the west end of the bay, but not all visitors get to experience the different landscapes and ambience at the far east end. The lure of a slightly less travelled path compelled me to go and have a look.
30 January 2016
When I first visited the Esperance area of Western Australia in the 1990s, I thought Thistle Cove was close to perfection. That is, if you like charming secluded bays with gorgeous beaches and picturesque rocky backdrops. All unspoiled by humans. I returned more recently for a closer look, to see if it really is as lovely as I remembered it.
9 January 2016
The Malleefowl is an intriguing Australian bird, but also very endangered and unlikely to be seen in the wild. You don't need to be a birdwatcher to enjoy learning about these amazing creatures, especially if you get to see them at the excellent Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre at Ongerup in southern WA. They do a good presentation, and make a good lunch too.
12 December 2015
Albany on the WA south coast is known for its gorgeous coastline, but many of its beaches are exposed to boisterous seas and winds. One beach which is reasonably sheltered and safe in the right conditions is Whaling Cove - its scenery and views across one of the world’s great natural harbours put it among my favourites.
28 November 2016
If you're serious about landscape and travel photography, it's easy to believe you need a lot of gear to get good photos - DSLR camera, multiple lenses and filters, sturdy tripod, etc. But what if you're also travelling light, and don't have room for all that in a single carry-on bag? Or you just prefer not to carry much? Years of lightweight travel have taught me how little you really need for good photos - allow me to make a few suggestions.
14 November 2015
On a long road trip it can be easy to just keep driving past small historic sites that appear unexpectedly. The Kukenarup memorial, near Ravensthorpe in WA, is a good example of why it can be worth making the time to stop. It combines the sad and the positive in a memorial which is unique in Australia.
17 October 2015
If you want to enjoy some impressive creativity and chuckle over quirky artwork, the Tin Horse Highway is worth a look. This otherwise ordinary stretch of country road in Western Australia's wheat belt has become a delight for travellers ... thanks to many delightful horse-themed sculptures made out of junk by local farmers. I visited in late winter to see if a non-arty person like me could like it.
26 September 2015
If you like train rides, and New Zealand's Inland scenery appeals to you, then a trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway is one I can recommend. Big Otago hills, dramatic viaducts and a train with character make this journey into remote-feeling landscapes one to remember.
29 August 2015
I often like to visit places with odd or interesting names, and this applies to roads too. One such road I just had to investigate was the Pig Route (or the Pig Root) in the South Island of New Zealand. How did it get such a name, and what do pigs have to do with it?.
15 August 2015
These are the most recent pages; much more is available from the navigation links below (and at the top of every page).