Viewing posts categorised under: Topics of interest

The Superb Lyrebird

by Edgardo Gubelin on February 7, 2018

On a recent terrific, private tour to the Jenolan Caves, which is an hour and a half beyond the Blue Mountains, I was fortunate to experience my first sighting of the Superb Lyrebird.

The bird-like sounds coming from the forest were confusing, as I couldn’t pin point the species of bird.  It was a cocktail of sounds from a kookaburra, a camera shutter closing to the sound of a car alarm going off!

Confusing to say the least!

I ended up peering into the undergrowth not knowing what to expect.

Then to my amazement, out of the foliage struts this beautiful pheasant bird, looking like a glamorous ramp model, with the most beautiful long, veil-like tail.

Blessed to have had this rare species of bird cross my path.

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The Best Private Tour in Sydney

by Edgardo Gubelin on September 7, 2017

We’ll show you the best of Sydney, from the highlights of the City to the beauty of the surrounding waterways and National Parks.

What makes us different?  Too many excellent reviews on Tripadvisor.

We’ll supply your own personal guide and vehicle for a few hours if that’s all you need. It’s your day… from sunrise to sunset… you’ll have your best day yet!

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Nan Tien Temple Pagoda

by Edgardo Gubelin on March 2, 2017

The Nan Tien Temple is a Buddhist temple complex situated just outside Wollongong. It’s approximately 80 km south of Sydney. It is one of the branch temples of Fo Guang Shan, founded in 1965 by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, which has over 200 branches worldwide.

The 8 level Pagoda that is located within the Nan Tien Complex is set amidst landscaped gardens and serves as a resting place for the created ashes of devotees and relatives. It can accommodate the remains of over 7000 people. Inside the Pagoda is a shrine dedicated to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva who vowed to help all beings reach enlightenment; there is also a wishing bell where visitors may make a wish.

The Nan Tien Temple complex is an award winning tourist attraction and the surrounding gardens present a tranquil environment where you can admire the artistic sculptured rock statues and architecture of the buildings.

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St Mary’s Cathedral

by Edgardo Gubelin on August 30, 2016

St Mary’s Cathedral is the spiritual home of Sydney’s Catholic community. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney, and stands on the site of the first Catholic Chapel in Australia.

The first stone for St Mary s Cathedral was laid 1821. It was a simple Gothic style cruciform stone structure. In 1865, the church caught fire and was destroyed. In 1868 the foundation stone for the present Cathedral was laid. It became an on going project and was eventually completed in 1961.  The two spires were eventually completed in 2000.

The glory of St Mary’s Cathedral is the remarkable interior. The stained-glass windows in the Cathedral were crafted in England. The brightly coloured floor of the Cathedral crypt is an outstanding example of terrazzo mosaic. The roof is made of red cedar. St Mary’s is a building which has a song to sing and a story to tell – And the song of the Cathedral is the sound of its bells.

You’ll be at a loss for words, it’s well worth a visit.

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Taronga Zoo

by Edgardo Gubelin on August 30, 2016

Taronga Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals and birds. There’s plenty happening and you’ll always have a new reason to visit the zoo. Events include, more than twenty zookeeper talks, daily shows, guided tours and concerts.

If your time is limited, we highly recommend the Australian wildlife park. Home to some of the most fascinating marsupials in Australia. You’ll experience Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, Koala’s, Kangaroos, Bandicoots and a host of other Australian indigenous wildlife. The Platypus is one of our favourites. It’s only one of three egg-laying mammals.

We also recommended the seal and bird shows, the cable car ride and wild ropes challenge. Your children will enjoy every minute. It’s a day filled with excitement and adventure, in a relaxing atmosphere, overlooking the beauty of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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The Rocks – Sydney’s outdoor Museum

by Edgardo Gubelin on August 29, 2016

The Rocks was established shortly after the Colony’s formation in 1788.  Most of the buildings at this time were built of local sandstone, from which the area derives its name.

The Rocks was a slum area from earliest times as it was often frequented by prostitutes and sailors. In 1900, the bubonic plague broke out and many of the buildings were demolished. During the 1920’s more were demolished to make way for the bridge.

In 1968 the the government planned to demolish the remaining buildings to make way for high density dwellings. This was overturned in 1975 and the Rocks were transformed into a vibrant pocket of cafes, restaurants and interesting tourist shops and stalls.

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A Blue Mountain? What’s in a name?

by Edgardo Gubelin on August 5, 2016

The Blue Mountains are one of Sydney’s most popular tourist attractions … and are just over an hours drive from the city. Sydneysiders love to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy some of the many “off the beaten track escapes” where they can find solitude in an environment surrounded with beautiful eucalyptus forests, crystal clear streams and starry, starry nights.

How many of these nature lovers have stopped to ponder … why the BLUE MOUNTAINS are so named? As there is nothing blue about the mountains themselves, except for the blue haze, blanketing the mountains.

It is believed that this haze is created by the atmosphere where dispersed droplets of Eucalyptus oil, dust particles and water vapour are combined to scatter refracted rays of sunlight which are largely blue in colour.

Join us for a terrific day as we explore one of the worlds most popular heritage sites.

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Not so cute, Bandicoot!

by Edgardo Gubelin on July 15, 2016

Traveling the local roads, we pass signs along the route, making us aware, to beware of the “endangered Bandicoot”. Does this mean “Hoot for a bandicoot”?

My first thoughts on seeing my first bandicoot, was that it resembled a cross between a miniature kangaroo and a rat! It has the same posture as a kangaroo, with large back legs and small front legs and it seems to hop around in the same old fashion. Really weird! Being an Australian mammal, it is marsupial (active at night) and has a rear facing pouch as it spends most of its time digging.

The Long-nosed Bandicoot, is the most common species and is known to visit suburban backyards, leaving tell-tale conical holes in the garden. They eat insects, earthworms and spiders including the poisonous “Funnel Web” spider.

Over the past few years on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, there have been several outbreaks of “Salmonella Java Infections” caused by accidental swallowing material such as sand containing these harmful germs. Long-nosed Bandicoot droppings taken from the area have tested positive for Salmonella Java. Bandicoots are protected in NSW, so next time you are cornered by a Bandicoot, just use the words “Scoot Bandicoot!”

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Views to die for!

by Edgardo Gubelin on June 15, 2016

Fort Denison is a small island located about one kilometer east of the Opera House and just off Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.

After the First Fleet arrived in 1788, Governor Philip and his advocate-general used the name Rock Island. In 1788, a convict named Thomas Hill, was sentenced to a week on bread and water in irons there, after a time the island came to be known as “Pinchgut.”  It was once a 15 meter high sandstone islet, the rock was later leveled by convicts for sandstone, to construct nearby Circular Quay.

In late 1796 the Governor had installed a gibbet (which is a gallows-type structure) on “Pinchgut” from which the dead or dying bodies of executed criminals were hanged on public display, to deter other existing or potential criminals.

A convict to be hanged there, was Francis Morgan. The British Government transported him to New South Wales for life, as punishment for the murder of Simon Raven. On the 30th November 1796, Morgan was hanged for the brutal murder of Simon Raven. Following his execution his body was hung in chains (gibbeting) on “Pinchgut”. His skeleton was still hanging there four years, after his execution.

He said to the hangman that the only thing worth mentioning was “the superb view of the harbour from his high elevation”, and that he was sure there were no waters the world over, to compare with Sydney Harbour’s  beauty!

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The Queen Victoria Building

by Edgardo Gubelin on May 30, 2016

The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is Sydney’s most beautiful building. The Romanesque revival building was built on the original municipal markets site. Completed 1898, it was designed as a market place.

The QVB consists of 4 main shopping floors. The elegant interior of the Queen Victoria Building features, beautiful stained glass windows and remarkable shops, two mechanical clocks each featuring dioramas and moving figures from moments in history.

The Royal Clock activates on the hour and displays 6 scenes of English Royalty. The Great Australian Clock includes 33 scenes from Australian history seen from both Aboriginal and European perspectives. An Aboriginal hunter circles the clock continuously representing the never ending passage of time.

The Queen Victoria Building is a must to see!

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