Heiko Spallek | digital imaging: Blog http://photos.spallek.com/blog en-us (C) Heiko Spallek | digital imaging heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:06:00 GMT Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:06:00 GMT http://photos.spallek.com/img/s11/v29/u43379006-o1041325852-50.jpg Heiko Spallek | digital imaging: Blog http://photos.spallek.com/blog 90 120 Wentworth Falls http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/wentworth-falls During the weekend, we explored Wentworthville Falls, specifically the waterfall that gives Wentworth Falls its name plunging 100m to the valley floor.

Wentworth Falls

We also walked on the National Pass and the Wentworth Falls Track, one of the Blue Mountains iconic walking tracks that was constructed in 1906-1907. There is also a nice picnic area nearby.

HEI_4287HEI_4287 HEI_4260HEI_4260 HEI_4363HEI_4363 HEI_4375HEI_4375

"In 2002 the track underwent major restoration works that included helicopters depositing sandstone blocks along the trail and heritage stonemasons perching on cliff faces to set sandstone inserts into steps eroded over the years by weather and walkers. It's an inspiring walk, with fantastic views of the Jamison Valley and beautiful waterfalls at either end.” (ref)

HEI_4334HEI_4334 HEI_4341HEI_4341

The actual water falls can be seen from many different angles and from various levels of the adjacent stairs:

HEI_4294HEI_4294 HEI_4345HEI_4345 HEI_4360HEI_4360 HEI_4352HEI_4352

The drone video has captured the beautiful aerial moments.

More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Blue Falls Mountains Wentworthville http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/wentworth-falls Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:37:05 GMT
Bicentennial Coastal Walk http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/bicentennial-coastal-walk Last weekend, we walked part of the Bicentennial Coastal Walk. We started at Long Reef Beach at the Northern Beaches near Narrabeen Lagoon and made it up to Dee Why Lagoon. 

Map Long ReefMap Long Reef


Sandbanks shape beach breaks that are great for beginners and intermediate surfers.

HEI_4077HEI_4077 While we did not see migrating whales as we had hoped, we enjoyed an Eastern Osprey circling around us with his prey in the beak.

Eastern Osprey Eastern Osprey Eastern Osprey Eastern Osprey

The Australian Pelicans, Australia's only species of pelican, can have a body of up to 1.8 m long.

Australian Pelican

HEI_4101HEI_4101 HEI_4102HEI_4102

From the headlands next to the Long Reef Golf Club as well as from Dee Why Lagoon, we started the drone to enjoy the arial view:

More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Beach Beaches Bicentennial Club Coastal Dee Golf Lagoon Long Narrabeen Northern Reef Sydney Walk Why http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/bicentennial-coastal-walk Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:20:00 GMT
Wattamolla, Royal National Park http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/wattamolla-royal-national-park On Sunday, Gisela and I walked 5 kilometres of the 26 kilometres Coast Track within the Royal National Park. We started at Wattamolla—a cove, lagoon, and beach on the New South Wales coast south of Sydney. 

4.5 km


We parked at the Wattamolla Picnic Area and walked South taking pictures and letting the drone fly above us.


During our walk, we spotted two humpback whales travelling North along the shoreline.

Here more images.



heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Coast National New Park Royal South Track Wales Wattamolla http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/wattamolla-royal-national-park Sun, 04 Jun 2017 20:22:17 GMT
Central Tablelands http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/central-tablelands In August 2016, we visited the Central Tablelands in New South Wales. After meeting Aboriginal Elders and visiting several Aboriginal Medical Services under guidance of the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, we explored the beauties of the Central Tablelands.

IMG_2086IMG_2086 IMG_2049IMG_2049

Driving can be challenging on dir roads.

Driving on Dirt Road HEI_6532-EditHEI_6532-Edit


Airplanes and airports are often very small and everything is handled in a very informal way.

Moree Moree

We did not expect to see so many impressive waterfalls in a modest highland area that peaks at 1,500 metres. The "New England National Park” features a so called Waterfall Way that connects the various waterfall attractions.


We also enjoyed a tour of the L P Dutton Trout Hatchery that releases Rainbow Trout into the streams of New South Wales for fishing.

We were also lucky to spot the signature bird of the area, the Superb Lyrebird -- largest songbird in the world apparently. This bird can mimic man-made sounds, like a chainsaw, a car alarm and toy guns

Superb Lyrebird
Here a short video of the waterfalls and the Lyrebird.

Here more images.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Central Hutchery Lyrebird Superb Tablelands http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/6/central-tablelands Sat, 03 Jun 2017 18:54:46 GMT
Vivid in Sydney http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/5/vivid-in-sydney Vivid, the annual lighting festival, includes performances from musicians, artists and an exchange of ideas in public debates. I participated in the "Collective Walking Tour" with Canon to get advice on the best spots to capture the beauty of the various projections--the light show on the Sydney Opera House probably being the most impressive one.

Sydney Opera House - Vivid 2017

I had the opportunity to stand next to the light projectors on the cruise ship terminal. Next to the light projectors

In 2016, Vivid Sydney was extended to 23 nights from 27 May to 18 June and was attended by more than 2.3 million people according to Destination NSW. No numbers for 2017, but many people...

Crowded walkways at Vivid   

Crowds at Vivid Crowds at Vivid

The Harbour Bridge is bathed in light as well.

Harbour Bridge

However, Vivid extents beyond just the iconic symbols of Sydney.

Umbrellas    MCA

Impressive projectors provide the light for the various displays.

Powerful Projectors at Vivid

Vivid displays can be seen from many angles and view points.

Small video here (mostly as time lapse):

More pictures here

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Light Sydney Vivid http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/5/vivid-in-sydney Mon, 29 May 2017 06:11:54 GMT
Broken Hill http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/4/broken-hill In September 2016 and in April 2017, we made trips to Broken Hill, called the "Capital of the Outback". The first trip was with the family and the second one with Professor James Deschner from the University of Bonn. The "BH" in the world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton, refers to "Broken Hill" and its early operations in the city. The closest major city is Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, which is more than 500 km (311 mi) to the southwest. Unlike the rest of New South Wales, Broken Hill (and the surrounding region) observes Australian Central Standard Time (UTC+9:30), the same time zone used in South Australia and the Northern Territory. This is because at the time the Australian dominions adopted standard time, Broken Hill's only direct rail link was with Adelaide, not Sydney. Driving a few kilometres outside the town sets your mobile phone’s clock half an hour back as the time Adelaide time zones applies only inside the town borders.

We visited Silverton—I am not into "Mad Max” movies, but the Mad Max 2 movie was filmed in Broken Hill and Silverton. While Mad Max tourists stop at the Silverton Hotel for nostalgia, we actually had a good lunch there just because we were hungry.
Our drive to Silverton:

Silverton Silverton Silverton Silverton

After lunch, we drove to the Mundi Mundi plain overview, where much of the opening of the film was shot. We mostly enjoyed the breathtaking view despite the wind. The wide, flat Australian outback extends seemingly forever—in fact it is so flat and so devoid of trees and shrubs that you can see the curvature of the earth.

We visited the Day Dream Mine located northwest of Silverton and about 20 kilometres outside of Broken Hill. It was established in 1882, now serving as tourist attraction. We were allowed to walk into the mine down to level 4 - a welcome change as the outdoors were extremely windy due to a strong cyclone over Southern Australia that caused major power outages and damages near Adelaide.

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine

HEI_7848Day Dream Mine HEI_7848Day Dream Mine


Afterwards, we stopped by at the Line of Lode Miners Memorial and Visitors Centre, on the edge of the mullock heap.

Miners Memorial Miners Memorial Miners Memorial Miners Memorial Miners Memorial

Broken Hill is home of one of the largest Solar Plant in the Southern Hemisphere due to its extensive daylight hours of sunshine—temperatures can go up to 47 C (116 F).

I had dinner with the local health administrators was in The Palace Hotel, formerly known as Mario's Palace and the place where The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) was in part shot. The Palace Hotel Broken Hill was used as a stop-over for the characters in the 1994 Australian iconic movie. Many favourite scenes from the movie were filmed in and around Broken Hill and throughout various locations within the Hotel

I got a tour of the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) base in Broken Hill that sends airplanes with doctors, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc. to many of the remote communities. The services include evacuations of patients that need help in hospitals and the transport of medical equipment. Residents have to make a “roo run” on the airstrip prior to the landing to chase kangaroos and emus away. Airplanes land on dirt airstrips near mobile clinics that often serve only 20 residents living in an outpost. The airplane waits until all patients have been seen and returns with the medical personnel and the equipment to the base (most remote locations have no sterilisation, so everything is carried back to base for cleaning and sterilisation). Recently, an airstrip lost power prior to a night evacuation (none have radar or any other electronic landing help) and the pilot had to instruct the person on the ground how to soak toilet paper rolls in diesel and how to set them on fire with the help of petroleum to mark with 20 of them the landing strip. Each two hour trip costs about $10,000 using these modified $7.5 million King Air propeller aircrafts: The modifications include higher landing gear that elevates the engines farther from the ground when landing on dirt, a $1.5 million interior change that allows to change the inside of the plane in 30 minutes to an intensive care unit when evacuations are needed and a larger door for hoisting stretchers into the plane.  The RFDS proudly reported that they transported 90,000 patients last year. We also learned that they maintain "Medicine Chests” in remote areas where, after teleconference advice from centrally located doctors, residents can get prepared medicine for self-administration. 


We went with a guide to the Mutawintji National Park, driving for hours on dirt roads with a 4-wheel drive bus, going on bush walks with a guide and exploring the rich Aboriginal history.

Map from Broken Hill to Mutawintji Park


Many cars have roo bars (called bullbar or push bumper in other countries) installed to protect them from crashes with kangaroos. 

Roobars Roobars Roobars Roobars Roobars

The area around Broken Hill is characterised by sheep and cattle farms, each between 50,000 and 180,000 acres of size. We saw kangaroos, emus, Bearded Dragons and Shingle Back lizard.

Reptiles Reptiles Reptiles Reptiles Reptiles Reptiles

We also enjoyed the art at the Living Desert and Sculptures site.

Living Desert and Sculptures Living Desert and Sculptures Living Desert and Sculptures
In the evening, we enjoyed a stargazing session with Outback Astronomy—a guide explained the constellations and we could look through a telescope observing the rings of Saturn and other spectacular objects, including nebulae, star clusters and other galaxies in a sky not polluted by other light sources.

More pictures here.


heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Astronomy Australia Broken Hill http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/4/broken-hill Sun, 30 Apr 2017 06:59:38 GMT
Carriageworks Farmers Market http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/4/carriageworks-farmers-market This Saturday, we visited Carriageworks Farmers Market. The Carriageworks is the largest and most significant contemporary multi-arts centre of its kind in Australia. The building is the old Eveleigh Rail Yards at Wilson Street, located near the University of Sydney's Business School and only a 5-min walk from the Redfern Train Station. The nineteenth century industrial atmosphere of the former railway carriage interestingly mixes with the offered foods from across New South Wales.

Carriageworks entry from Carriageworks Way:

Carriageworks Entry


Bustling Farmers Market on a Saturday:

Bustling Farmers Market

Produce by farmers and artisans:

Produce Produce Produce Produce Produce Produce Produce Produce Produce Produce

We purchased some mushrooms:

Purchasing Mushrooms

For lunch, we converted the purchased pasta and mushrooms into a delicious dish.

Mushrooms Mushrooms Mushrooms Mushrooms

More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Farmers Market Produce Sydney http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/4/carriageworks-farmers-market Sat, 29 Apr 2017 20:21:47 GMT
Blackheath, Blue Mountains http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/3/blackheath-blue-mountains In January of 2017, we visited Blackheath, located near the highest point of the Blue Mountains, between Katoomba and Mount Victoria in New South Wales. According to Wikipedia, "the region of what is now known as Blackheath was originally known as East Lithgow. Surrounding areas were thought to be a summer corroboree meeting place for several Indigenous peoples of the Darug, Gundungurra and Wiradjuri nations."

We embarked on several bush walks marvelling at the colourful flora along the paths.


The resilience of the trees who have survived bush fires is impressive. Here a picture of a living tree.

Tree, many years after a bush fire.

Grass Trees are the first ones showing green after a bush fire. When you buy one of these plants for your garden, you can read on the instructions that they "benefit from burning off occasionally". A Gass Tree can be seen on the Australian $2 coin. 

Grass Tree

Gisela almost stepped on a 40 centimetre long Blotched Blue-tongue Lizard.

Blotched Blue-tongue LizardBlotched Blue-tongue Lizard Blotched Blue-tongue LizardBlotched Blue-tongue Lizard Blotched Blue-tongue LizardBlotched Blue-tongue Lizard

Evans Lookout is located at the top of the escarpment providing one of the best views.

Evans Lookout The Cathedral of Ferns was one of the highlights of the trip.

Cathedral of Ferns Cathedral of Ferns Cathedral of Ferns Cathedral of Ferns

We discovered the Victory Theatre Antique Centre which is the largest antique centre west of Sydney.

Victory Theatre Antique Centre

The Blue Mountain Botanic Garden Mount Tomah is a 252 hectare estate that sits on the summit of basalt capped peak. We enjoyed the plants and a lunch concluding our trip. The gardens are occupied by many lizards and we even observed a opossum in one of the shelters. 

Botanical Garden Botanical Garden Botanical Garden Botanical Garden Botanical Garden   lizard


Here a small video of our travels through the Blue Mountains near Blackheath.

More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Blackheath Blue Mountains Opossum http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/3/blackheath-blue-mountains Sun, 12 Mar 2017 06:07:34 GMT
Avalon Beach http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/1/avalon-beach Following a Sydney tradition, we spent most of Christmas Day on the beach—trying out our new beach tent. We drove about an hour North to escape the tourists who crowd the famous beaches, like Bondi, Coogee or Manly, to enjoy the sand and water at Avalon Beach

The beach is about 50 km north of our home in Northmead in the Northern Beaches region. The beach is mostly a surfing beach, but it also has a 25-metre salt water rock pool at the south end whose bottom is overgrown with kelp--watch the video below.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Avalon Beach Beaches Northern http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/1/avalon-beach Sun, 08 Jan 2017 22:06:11 GMT
Sydney New Years Eve 2016 http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/1/sydney-new-years-eve-2016 For New Years Eve (NYE, or hashtag #SydNYE), we set up our tent on Cockatoo Island camping in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Cockatoo Island is an old industrial site which reminded us of Pittsburgh given the many old steel manufacturing building there, like in the huge turbine assembly plant used for ship engines.

We watched the fireworks with thousands of other people who managed to get tickets to one of the campgrounds set up on the little Island. Others just put up chairs somewhere on the shorelines of Sydney Harbour, or charter a boat to see the fireworks from the water (between $1,000 and $3,000 per person depending on the boat). The city officials tweeted at 9:30 pm on NYE that “All Vantage Points in the City, Darling Harbour, and North Sydney are FULL. Do not travel into the city or North Sydney.”

spectators spectators

New Years Evening in Sydney is something very special! Before the family fireworks at 9 pm, there was an airshow and a Welcome to Country honouring the traditional owners of the land. Then at 9 pm, we watched the Family Fireworks Display that originated from barges that were anchored on the Sydney Harbour—one of them very close to Cockatoo Island providing us with a front-row seat. The Midnight Fireworks Display was spectacular as expected, but due to us being located in the direction of the wind from the fireworks partially obstructed by the smoke emitted from the exploding pyrotechnic. After staying the night on the Island, we departed to our car via a ferry shuttle next morning. 

NYE Fireworks NYE Fireworks NYE Fireworks

More images here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Eve Harbour NYE New Sydney Years fireworks http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2017/1/sydney-new-years-eve-2016 Sun, 01 Jan 2017 20:08:22 GMT
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/12/sydney-to-hobart-yacht-race On Boxing Day, we spent five hours on a Sailing Boat, the "South Passage”, watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. This year was the 72nd edition of the Yacht Race that starts traditionally at 1 pm on the 26 December. Yachts 60 to 100-feet long get to start at the front line just north of Shark Island, while the second start line is 0.2 nautical miles behind and includes all other boat sizes. The vessels sail one nautical mile out to sea past Sydney Heads, then they turn south to Tasmania. We had a first-row seat on the South Passage as we were sailing only meters away from restricted race area. When the start canon fired, we sailed along, although much slower, until the racing boats, among them the eight time winner, Wild Oats XI, that had to drop out due to mechanical problems, turned into the Pacific. One of the boats passed the start line prior to the canon shot and had to turn around passing the start line again.

We left from Darling Harbour:

Darling Harbour

We observed the boats prior to race start:

before race start before race start


There were many observers--on the water and in helicopters:

observers observers observers


Then, the race started at 1 pm, sharp:

race race race race race

On our way back the 100 foot gaff rigged Schooner which was built so that all sails can be managed from the deck, put up its sails and we steered without engine underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

HEI_1112HEI_1112 HEI_0761HEI_0761 HEI_0760HEI_0760

Our 5-min video of the experience:


More images here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Sydney boat hobart race yacht http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/12/sydney-to-hobart-yacht-race Thu, 29 Dec 2016 19:12:08 GMT
Flying Foxes at Botanic Garden http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/12/flying-foxes-at-botanic-garden After a nice picnic at Mrs Macquarie's Chair, I attempted to take picture of the flying foxes that can still be seen outside the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney  were they eat fruits from the fig trees at night. The Royal Botanic Garden was for decades home to a large colony of native Grey-headed Flying Foxes, a large species of fruit bat. The colony (estimated to be over 20,000 strong at times) caused significant damage to the trees used for roosting, especially around the Palm Grove Centre where dozens of historic trees were killed or severely damaged. With the help of remotely triggered flashlights held by Gisela and Alexandra, I succeeded to take some pictures in near darkness:

Flying Fox




More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) bat flying fox fruit sydney http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/12/flying-foxes-at-botanic-garden Sat, 24 Dec 2016 20:41:45 GMT
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/12/royal-botanic-garden-sydney During the Christmas break, we visited the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney--64 hectares located harbourside near Mrs Macquarie's Chair, immediately adjacent to the Sydney CBD and the Sydney Opera House. The Garden, established 1816, is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, currently visited by more than 3.5 million people each year. It is the oldest botanic garden and scientific institution in Australia housing an outstanding collection of plants (8,900 species) from around the world with a focus on Australia and the South Pacific. But, it also includes an herb garden with many common (e.g. basic and parsley) and exotic spice plants (e.g. Sweet Honey Leaf - Stevia rebaudiana). 

HEI_0492HEI_0492 HEI_0459HEI_0459

HEI_0468HEI_0468 HEI_0560HEI_0560 HEI_0536HEI_0536

HEI_0539HEI_0539 More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Sydney botanic garden royal http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/12/royal-botanic-garden-sydney Sat, 24 Dec 2016 18:59:40 GMT
Dubbo Zoo http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/9/dubbo-zoo The Dubbo Zoo is officially named the “Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo.” It is home to hundreds of animals from around the world and consists of a 6 km circuit that meanders through natural bushland and around large open style exhibits.

We liked the extremely large outdoor areas where African animals roamed almost freely. We have never seen a zoo where the animals looks so well kept and not suffering from “cage rage.” Zoo keepers, we learned later, make a lot of effort to enrich the animals’ lives. This includes distributing some zebra poo in the lion cage to make them excited. The zoo designers tried to provide as much as possible characteristics of their natural habitat for each animal.Given the temperatures in Australia, creating pseudo-natural habitats is obviously a bit easier than in, for instance, Berlin or Pittsburgh.

We stayed overnight on zoo grounds enjoying a Zoofari that is advertised as "an intimate retreat comprising stunning Guest House, luxurious accommodation, cuisine and guided Zoo tours, and offers a private and luxurious African safari style experience in the heart of the Zoo.” 

We started out with Hippo dental care:

Hippo Dental Care Hippo Dental Care

Giraffes were shown in an impressively large area and during our private zoo tour we were allowed to feed them:


Feeding Giraffes Feeding Giraffes

The Otter feeding was fun to watch:

Otters Otters Otters Otters

The evening feeding of the African Wild Dogs was an impressive spectacle:

Wild African Dogs Wild African Dogs Wild African Dogs Wild African Dogs

Early in the morning, before the zoo opened to regular visitors, we were permitted to watch the feeding and cleaning of the Elephants:

Elephants Elephants Elephants Elephants

Observing the animals in the early morning fog let us almost forget that this was not Africa:

Early morning fog Early morning fog Early morning fog

More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Dubbo elephant giraffe otter zoo http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/9/dubbo-zoo Sat, 10 Sep 2016 23:40:26 GMT
Sydney Fish Market http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/8/sydney-fish-market On Sunday, we went to the Sydney Fish Market located on Blackwattle Bay, in the Inner West suburb of Pyrmont. The Sydney Fish Market was established in 1945 by the state government and was privatized in 1994. It is the world's third largest fish market. We did not see the fishing port and the wholesale fish market, but the fresh seafood retail market was accessible—if one can say so given that it was so crowded that we could barely fit through the aisles. 

In addition to usual things that you would expect at any fish market, we saw many exotic sea food items:

You do not need to take the sea food home and prepare it, but there are many restaurants and vendors that provide oysters and sushi, but also fried and cooked sea food.


On Christmas Eve 2016, or morning to be precise at 2 am, we visited the Sydney Fish Market again. This is a tradition for people in Sydney as the Market opens each year from 5 am on the 23rd of December for its annual 36-hour seafood marathon. By the time the market closes at 5 pm on the 24th, the six wet fish retailers serve around 100,000 customers about 700 tonnes of seafood; including 200 tonnes of prawns, 900,000 oysters and everything in between. We contributed this year purchasing prawns, tuna, trout and salmon for the holidays. The nightly visit is somewhat strange as you don’t expect at that time of the day a crowd in a store: 

More photos here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) fish market prawn salmon shrimp sydney trout tuna http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/8/sydney-fish-market Mon, 15 Aug 2016 03:15:19 GMT
Dee Why Beach in Winter http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/7/dee-why-beach-in-winter After our dog arrived from the US via Melbourne on a 10-day journey, we owed him some nice walks allowing him to explore his new surroundings. We headed to Dee Why Beech which is quite different at this time of the year compared to the summer. The dog had a lot of fun in the salt water and the lagoon.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

We also observed Rainbow Lorikeets and an Eastern Great Egret.

Rainbow Lorikeets Rainbow Lorikeets   Rainbow Lorikeets


On our way back we saw several Tectocoris diophthalmus, commonly known as the Hibiscus Harlequin Bug or Cotton Harlequin Bug. These convex-shaped bugs have a brightly coloured metallic sheen and can grow to about 20 mm.


The strong waves during the winter months are enjoyed by the surfers.

Surfer More pictures from Dee Why beach can be found here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Beach Dee Dog Sydney Why Winter http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/7/dee-why-beach-in-winter Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:54:20 GMT
Sydney Harbour Bridge from Mrs Macquarie's Chair http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/5/sydney-harbour-bridge-from-mrs-macquaries-chair One of the nicest views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as the Sydney Opera House is from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair which is just past the Royal Botanical Gardens. Mrs Macquarie's Chair is an exposed sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench, on a peninsula in Sydney Harbour, hand carved by convicts from sandstone in 1810 for Governor Macquarie's wife Elizabeth. Mrs Macquarie was the wife of Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. Folklore has it that she used to sit on the rock and watch for ships from Great Britain sailing into the harbour. She was known to visit the area and sit enjoying the panoramic views of the harbour.

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House


Sunset from the same place with leaving cruise ship:

This is how Mrs Macquarie's Chair looks from the water during daytime:

from the water from the water  

Alexandra modelling in front of Mrs Macquarie's Chair:

Alexandra Alexandra Alexandra Alexandra Alexandra

More pictures of Sydney here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Bridge Chair Harbour House Macquarie's Mrs Opera Sydney http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/5/sydney-harbour-bridge-from-mrs-macquaries-chair Sat, 28 May 2016 10:27:42 GMT
Sydney - Central Business District http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/4/sydney---central-business-district During our time here in Sydney, we have explored the Central Business District, which is mostly referred to as "CDB" or "the city."  CDB is considered a suburb that extends southwards for about 3 km (2 mi) from Sydney Cove, the point of first European settlement in which the Sydney region was initially established. Due to its pivotal role in Australia's early history, it is one of the oldest established areas in the country. The main attraction is obviously the Sydney Opera House that was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. The Opera formally opened on 20 October 1973 after a gestation beginning with Utzon's 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. 

Sydney Opera House It combines the concert halls at the top under the "shells" and the opera bar, a large entertaining area with multiple restaurants and bars below.

The second most photographed structure in Sydney is probably the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the CBD and the North Shore. The bridge is nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its arch-based design.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

The CDB is dominated Port Jackson, consisting of the waters of Sydney Harbour, Middle Harbour, North Harbour and the Lane Cove and Parramatta River. There are permanent cruise ship terminals at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, Sydney Cove and at the new White Bay Cruise Terminal at White Bay.
White Bay and adjacent Glebe Island have been working ports since the mid-1800s, handling just about everything from timber and paper, coal, sugar and cement to cars and containers.

Port Jackson

The streets of the CDB are lined with examples of historical as well as contemporary architecture.

Watch the three-minute video with more Sydney impressions:


More CB pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Harbour Opera Sydney http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/4/sydney---central-business-district Tue, 26 Apr 2016 01:54:59 GMT
Taronga Zoo Sydney http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/4/taronga-zoo-sydney We took the ferry to the Taronga Zoo--a 12-minutes ride from the city. From the Zoo, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Sydney with its Harbour in the foregound.

Harbour Bridge  

There are many Australian animals to observe, such as a Tree-Kangaroo and the endangered Tasmanian Devil

Tree-Kangaroo Tasmanian Devil  

One of the popular attractions is the bird show: Various kites fly just a few feet above the heads fo the spectators. There are coin-snatching Galahs that even return the coins. The largest bird is an Andean Condor whose three-metre wingspan is frightening when it glides above the audience.

Kite Red-tailed Black Cockatoo HEI_3299HEI_3299 HEI_3320HEI_3320 HEI_3277HEI_3277 Andean Condor Andean Condor


There are also Emus and many different plants and spiders everywhere.

HEI_2891HEI_2891 HEI_3046HEI_3046 HEI_3130HEI_3130 HEI_3132HEI_3132

Here a last look at Sydney with a flock of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos

More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Sydney Tasmanian cockatoo condor devil emu zoo http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/4/taronga-zoo-sydney Sat, 02 Apr 2016 04:38:22 GMT
Dee Why Beach http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/3/dee-why-beach On Sunday, I rented a car to try out driving on the wrong side of the road. After some disagreement with the rental car agent about the damage to the driver's seat—the damage was on the seat next to the driver’s one, but I had to be persuaded of this as I was pointing to the wrong side—I got into the car to find the steering wheel next to me instead of in front of me. Eventually, I got the hang of it and ventured to the northern beaches, specifically Dee Why Beach. I first hiked through the Dee Why Lagoon Wildlife Refuge where I was before entering warned about "heavy snake infestation” but then “only” discovered several Golden Orb Weavers, spiders that have 2-meter diameter nets and look like they are out for catching birds. No picture can do them justice as all pictures invariably lack a comparison of size. Given their rather stunning dimensions, one can sympathise with the fact that nobody wants to put his hand next to it for comparison.

Dee Why Lagoon Wildlife Refuge

Golden Orb Weaver


Then, I took a swim at the beach to try out the Pacific Ocean; well it was less of a swim and more like a knee-deep walk into the water as the waves were about 3 meters high and even my cautious venturing into the shallows resulted in being knocked down by one especially big wave.

Dee Why Beach

Rock Pool

HEI_1931HEI_1931 Dee Why Beach

HEI_1884HEI_1884 More pictures here.

heiko@spallek.com (Heiko Spallek | digital imaging) Australia Beach Beaches Dee Sydney Why http://photos.spallek.com/blog/2016/3/dee-why-beach Tue, 08 Mar 2016 00:34:28 GMT