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Showing posts from March, 2008

Palin’s Travel Tonic

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Michael Palin, that icon of independent travel, actor, comedian and grandfather made his seventh visit to Australia to promote his latest book and TV series, New Europe. Roderick Eime hounded him, and his PR people, for two weeks to get this interview.

Almost one thousand expectant guests crammed the auditorium, a record-breaking sellout for the Sydney Morning Herald Dymocks Literary Lunch. The mainly grey-haired, bespectacled audience sat entranced, their veal fillets a mere side dish for the main course; English adventurer and raconteur, Michael Palin.

With New Europe, Michael claims to fill what has been a void in his own experience and that of many of his own generation. In all he visits 20 countries, starting high in the Julian Alps on the border between Slovenia and Italy where the Iron Curtain once ran, he travelled through the Balkans and the countries bordering the Black Sea before turning northwards through the heart of old East Europe to the Baltic States, almost as far north…

Great Aussie Cruise with Real Bite

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The enormous chunk of tuna flesh bobbed on the end of the line supported by a small foam ball. Matt ladled great gobs of minced gills and guts onto the surface creating a lumpy, letterbox red slick just behind the boat. Then he struck.

We’d seen his ominous black shadow patrolling beneath us like a menacing midget submarine probing for a weakness, but nothing prepared us for what happened next. In a heart-stopping explosion of gaping crimson jaws filled with rows of razor sharp teeth, the 5 metre, 1000kg monster breached its full torso out of the water in a triumphant display of total dominance. Gotcha!

Underwater, the view is even more terrifying. The seemingly flimsy aluminium cage appears barely strong enough to withstand the fury of this consummate killing machine. Those who remember the Jaws trilogy will recall the complete inadequacy of the metal sanctuary and in no coincidence, many of the scenes that employed live sharks as stunt doubles to the mechanical star were filmed in t…

Lake Taupo – A Scenic Spot so Hot, it’s Steaming!

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Australasia’s largest inland lake was created by an enormous volcanic eruption less than two thousand years ago. Today it’s a hive of activity for lots of different reasons. Roderick Eime visits.

Adrenalin junkies swarm to Taupo and the lake for sky-diving, jet-boating and waterskiing. Motorsport fans congregate in droves for the annual A1GP and fishermen love the challenge of the trout, but the region’s abundant natural beauty is its own attraction.

The great land of Aotearoa was still untroubled by man when the great eruption took place in 181 AD. So fierce was this event it is estimated that 30 cubic kilometres of debris was ejected in just a few minutes and about 100 cubic kilometres in total. We know the date because ancient Roman and Chinese historians recorded the red skies over their cities and ash was found in recent ice core drilling in Greenland.

“Taupo's name in full is Taupo-nui-a-Tia. 'Taupo' means shoulder cloak, 'nui' means big, 'a' means of an…

Soaring to New Heights

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Roderick Eime takes to the wing over the NSW Central Coast


Main image: Al Sim/GoSoaring.com.au

“Today we’re going to learn to fly,” I told my 12-year-old son. His eyes briefly lifted from the Playstation console, looked doubtfully at me and then proceeded to hammer away at the hand control as he massacred the next wave of invading aliens.

These days, it’s all too easy to fall into the abyss of virtual entertainment: racing the latest Formula 1 cars, test piloting jet fighters and creating mayhem with semi-automatic weapons. As fun as these indoor pastimes may be on a rainy Sunday afternoon, when the weather’s fine there’s no substitute for outdoor fun.

Despite the promise of great satisfaction, most people recoil at the thought of learning to fly. The expense and mental application of aircraft ownership is just too daunting. Yet the sport of soaring (or gliding) offers great opportunities for late-onset pilots and those wanting to get a real joystick in their hands.

Pried away from his P…

Sky High

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Have you long dreamed of learning to fly? Then Roderick Eime recommends that you pursue your passion and soar to new heights in a liberating glider.

Today we’re going to learn to fly,” I said to my 12-year-old son. His eyes lifted briefly from his PlayStation console, looked doubtfully at me and then proceeded to hammer away at the hand control as he massacred the next wave of invading aliens.

These days it’s all too easy to fall into the abyss of virtual entertainment: racing the latest Formula 1 cars, test-piloting jet fighters and creating mayhem with semi-automatic weapons. As fun as these indoor pastimes may be on a rainy Sunday afternoon, when the weather’s fine there really is no substitute for active, outdoor-based fun.

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