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[personal profile] charloween
Apologies for not posting much recently - I've been (*ahem*) in Australia. :D :D :D

It was really beautiful:



(That's Wineglass Bay in Tasmania.)

And I spent time in the outback, where it was SO HOT. But also beautiful.



(Uluru, Northern Territory.)



(When the forecast high is above 36 degrees, most walking trails in the outback are closed after 11am. I saw lots of sunrises to get the hiking in before the weather started to hate us.)

For example, in King's Canyon!



I have now ridden a camel, the grey one.



(It was fun when the camel ran. It was only a couple minutes, but I pretended I was in The Mummy. Right animal, wrong continent. OH WELL.)

Anyway the outback was gorgeous.



(Kata Tjuta)



(The dry Todd River, Alice Springs.)

And also we found the spiritual home of h/c fans.



(In Hobart, Tasmania.)

We did just shy of two weeks in Tasmania, mostly near the coast. Freycinet Peninsula was gorgeous.





Devonport was also nice.



But also climbed some hills, like in Cradle Mountain National Park.



(There's a little car park in the distance of that photo, that's where we started our hike that day.)



(This is a crater lake, called Crater Lake, at Cradle Mountain.)



(Those tufts? Button grass. Giant tufts of grass spheres. Spend enough time near them - they were everywhere - and you maybe start to think they could be fuzzy triffid-ish things with sentience and the capacity for organisation. They're big, too.)

I saw Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Launceston, Alice Springs, Adelaide... and lots of tiny places, and the delicious incongruity of what looked like British dairy farms with palm trees outside the farmhouse. And flies, the outback is covered in flies. I saw many flies.



(I call this one Uluru at Sunrise, With Fly. Voted best sunrise picture of the tour group - only with them for the outback part of the trip - because a couple days in we were ALL SICK OF THE FLIES.)

I met lots of people, generally had a good time, spent a lot of time fascinated by how different the landscape and wildlife was to what I've known (e.g. what is this even), and could've easily spent twice the time at every stop. Four weeks wasn't enough, but it was a fairly comprehensive taste of the place.

I did some of it alone, the Tasmania stuff with She Who Has Mostly Withdrawn From Social Media So I Won't Link Her LJ, and the outback stuff with a backpacker tour (including sleeping under the stars for a few nights). The Tasmania road trip was definitely the best pace (which included watching The Flash with wine in the evenings), but I can't imagine trying to drive through the outback if you're not a seasoned professional. All in all, I am happy with how things worked. I've been wistfully browsing other tour company pages, wondering how long it'll take for me to save up for my next adventure.

(There's a two week Spain/Morocco trip that'd go through a part of the world I've wanted to see since high school, so that might be next.)

When I got back to Canada I had my official "your PhD is conferred" and "you have no outstanding student loans" letters, which was also quite nice. (:D :D :D)

Then Mum took me to Buffalo for an architecture tour (memorable), and of course we stopped off at Niagara Falls on the way back (always good to see).

This time next week I'll be back on my way to the UK, and I'm itching to get back to things. I haven't done any paid work since August, so that's a priority. Last night I finally spent three consecutive nights in the same bed, after over a month of hopping around. I'm looking forward to getting back to my flat, which I'm sure is still in fine shape because I trust my subletter, unpacking, and catching up on TV or finishing up Dragon Age Origins or continuing Mass Effect 2 or convincing local friends to go hiking with me in the area or finding work... and all the other things I haven't been able to do because I've been away for three months.

I am, for the record, downright gleeful that the Conservatives lost the Canadian federal election. Fingers crossed for the Liberals spending their first weeks in power hitting a massive legislative undo button. I'm also amused by the possible symbolism of the PM-designate refusing to move into the official residence until after it gets a year's worth of renovations. As the residence gets fixed up, so the nation. One hopes.
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