Wollemi N.P., Nissan 4x4 Trials

Friday, 5 November 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
Went for a drive up to the Nissan 4x4 trials. Easd and Kirsty went up Friday and camped overnight, so I was joining them in the morning. Putty Road from Windsor up into the Wollemi National Park.

The trials were 8 events spread over about 20 acres of the National Park, the part already scared by the crossing of high tension electricity transmission lines.

It was a good day. Lots of people doing really crazy things in 4x4's. Lots of broken parts, dinted body work, and flying mud. Some of the courses these guys managed to finese their trucks over really did boggle the mind.

Apart from the people, trucks, noise and music of this large event, there was still enough quite and solitude here and there to also enjoy being out in a forest.

Canberra, Tallaganda NP, Captains Flat

Saturday, 30 October 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
Driving with Phil, first time in a while since I've been doing hardly anything but work, and Phil largely been overseas in some hell hole or other :). The excuse was a trip to Canberra to collect some of Phil's belongings from a friend that lives near Queenbeyan. Once that was done, we took a more scenic route home, via the Captains Flat Road. This road winds it way through the lovely rural country-side of the southern highlands - rolling green hills, boulders, sheep.

It then turns into a gravel road for about 40 kilometres as it passes through the Tallaganda National Park. An excellent drive. We took a diverting half and hour down one of the 'fire trails' that headed off into the park. We had a whale of a time. Tight, forested tracks, a few water hazards and some nice crests here and there.

The urge to have the sunroof open on a delightfull summers day in the forest and the water hazards were mutually exclusive. We had to stop and wipe up the 500 litres of water that came in the top after going through a biggish puddle. Doh!.

A great day. It will take me hours to clean the damn thing now...

The Grandis, Seal Rocks

Friday, 24 September 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
Rowena came up to Sydney to spend the day with me, and I wanted to head north and try out my replacement 300D.

So, A trip up to the Myall Lakes to see if the Grandis, the tallest tree in NSW, has been re-opened.

It HAD finally been re-opened, and the new work and platforms realy do the National Parks service proud. Immeasurably better, the platform stands some 10 metres from the ground and is some 30 metres back from the tree - much less intrusive than the old platform which ran around the base of the tree itself.

As usual, the drive up to the Grandis and back is an absolute hoot - winding and climbing gravel road through the rainforest.

We pushed on and took the turn-off to Seal Rocks - I wanted to show Rowena the most fabulous beach in NSW. We weren't dissapointed, the water was its usual aquamarine, and crystal clear.

We finished with a hike up to the SugarLoaf Point lighthouse, before returning to Sydney.

Townsville to Sydney

Monday, 13 September 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / Queensland
Exhausted from the diving, but otherwise not really pressured, the drive back was considerably more relaxing.

We drove from Townsville to nearly Mackay, Airlie Beach, and stayed the night with Jason. Was good to catch up again, if only briefly, and look around his new pad. He sure does know how to pick the spots.

Next morning we headed on to Hervey Bay, but stopped for a couple of hours and had lunch in Rockhampton with Bug and Andrew and crew. Of the entire vista of human experience, limited quality time spent with good frieds demonstrates just how short minutes can appear - in this case each minute felt like 55 microseconds.

We had seafood in Hervey Bay with M&D and got a good nights sleep before the longer haul back to Sydney bypassing Brisbane.

All in all an enjoyable and relaxing trip.

S.S. Yongala and Wheeler Reef

Thursday, 9 September 2004 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / QLD - Great Barrier Reef
Fantastic diving in the Great Barrier Reef again, the coral was in excellent condition and there was lots of life out and about.

First port of call was Wheeler Reef. Made up of mainly small to medium bommie clusters and meandering sand paths it was very easy to get lost, though with the amazing visibility we didn't do too badly.

Towards the end of the day, we found a large school of fusiliers being mercilessly picked off by a big school of black trevally. Absolutely huge fish, some nearly 2 metres long. White tip reef sharks cruised along underneath the carnage, picking up stunned near misses.

S.S. Yongala was an absolutely amazing dive. 110 metres of wreck, lying on its side in 30 metres of water covered from bow to stern with soft corals, sea fans, spongues and plant life. Green turtles, Qld Grouper and Coral Trout where everywhere. Black Trevally and white tip sharks cruised nearby and shovelnose and huge bull rays glided effortlessly along in the current.

A wreck is a bit difficult to dive, and often we found the current in the shipping channel a bit daunting. Mostly we were mored on the down current side, so you initially swam into the current to the far end of the wreck, turned around, and flew back to the start.

S.S. Yongala is easily the best diving on the GBR I've done so far.

Sydney to Townsville

Tuesday, 7 September 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
Jonte and I drove to Townsville in Qld and back for a diving trip with Abyss. I took 3 days off work, the Wednesday before to the Tuesday after the weekend.

We drove to Hervey Bay the first day, after having slight car troubles before leaving Sydney - the engine boiled over because the electric fan connnector was left unplugged during a recent service. We got to Hervey Bay about midnight or so, crashed, had breakfast and pushed on early the next morning.

Aiming for a 4pm arrival in Townsville, we completely and utterly failed, but it all worked out in the end, we got on the boat and passed out - no sea sick sleeping for us !!

The drive was mostly uneventfull. It was really good to see the country north of Rockhampton again. Last time I was in Mackay was about 7 years ago, and in Townsville, many years more. Supprisingly I still remembered some bits of it!

Apache 2, Webmail

Wednesday, 11 August 2004 | link | tag | / Computers / Networks
Spent some time installing Apache 2.0.50-8 so that I could do the proxying for Outlook Web Access properly. It sort of worked with Apache 1.3.26 but you couldn't reply to an email or forward one without a weird access denied error.

Apache 2 allows "ProxyPreserveHost" option, which ensures that the website requested by the client is passed to the proxied machine - that way Outlook Web Access knows how to insert correct URL's into the returning data. Works ver nicely now.

I must say I'm very impressed with the modular way Apache 2's configuration works. Heaps neater than one monolithic file, especially if you have multiple sites of configs.

SPAM Filtering

Friday, 6 August 2004 | link | tag | / Computers / Networks
Spent the last few days setting up SPAM filtering. I used to use SpamAssassin, but it was just getting so hopeless at detecting SPAM. I've given DSPAM a try, and so far it works remarkably well. Very easy to set up - and I even learned a thing or two about Exim MTA.

Barrington Tops National Park

Friday, 30 July 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
I went for a day trip to the Barrington Tops National Park. I've heard a bit about it of late and decided to go and check it out. I wanted a nice days driving also, so I started off by going North West of Sydney to Old Windosr Road and from there to Putty Road. Putty Road is full of nice winding turns as it climbs and descends through the ranges. Once I reached Singleton, and then one to Scone, I struck out east on the Barrington Tops Forest Road, which almost immediately becomes a gravel road.

Some punishing climbs and turns on this stretch. The pastoral land gradually gives way to more and more dense forest. The rocks become covered with mosses and the forest grew closer, and the temperature outside the car gradually dropped, until it was about 8 degrees.

I stopped at a couple of the camp sites for a look around - these spots were deserted in the middle of winter - but they would be an excellent overnight stay - I'll have to come back.

I also stopped at the Thunderbolt Lookout and enjoyed the magnificent view.

A short way further on I found a couple of unmarked logging roads and explored to the ends of them - usually about 5 or 6km into the forest. Lots of fun driving to be had here.

Continuing on towards Gloucester the road finally becomes sealed again. I returned to Sydney via teh freeway. An enjoyable day trip.

Subaru Rally of Canberra, Day 2

Saturday, 8 May 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / Australian Capital Territory
Day two got us east of Canberra, out into the pine forest and the sort of rally I guess I was actually expecting - trees, cars, noise and last minute views.

The feel was a bit different, the roar and thunder of an approaching 300 BHP rally car, the crack-crack of the backfire, but no car... Then dust, car, roar, and gone...

A fantastic weekend out in the forest. Note to self, next year, bring a damned heavier coat, we were freezing.