Latest Posts:

Australia’s Four Corners

Saturday, 15 December 2018

▲ My recent trek to four Western Australian islands (or island groups) also took me to Steep Point, the most westerly point on the Australian mainland. If you haven’t got a helicopter or a suitable boat you’ll need a four-wheel drive to get there, but that completed my visits to Australia’s four corners.

It’s easy to get to Australia’s most easterly point, the place you’d see the first sunrise each day. That’s marked by the lighthouse at Byron Bay in New South Wales and I first went there, riding a motorcycle up the east coast, back in 1974. I was en route to Darwin and then on to Indonesia (via Portuguese Timor) to research the first edition of Lonely Planet’s South-East Asia on a Shoestring.

▲  I’ve been back to Byron Bay many times over the years and in 2016 I not only walked out to the lighthouse I also flew over it in a Tiger Moth biplane. Way back in WW II my father was an RAF pilot instructor and used to fly Tiger Moths and Harvards.

◄ The most southerly point is South Point, at the tip of Wilsons Prom in Victoria. If you want to get there you can drive to the Telegraph Saddle car park in Wilsons Promontory National Park. Then it’s a 13km hike to Roaring Meg campsite and from there an 8km round trip to the point. So 34km total from the car park. You don’t have to walk, however, it’s possible to cycle. Maureen and I walked down to the point way back in 1977, here she is on the track and from the tyre tracks it would appear a 4WD has been by recently. .

▲ The tip of Cape York in Queensland is the most northerly point, from here you could head north through the Torres Strait Islands to Papua New Guinea, only 150km away. With a sturdy 4WD you can drive the 850km from Cooktown to the cape although there are some challenging rivers to get through en route. I got there back in 1989 by boat, the Queen of the Isles on a trip from Cairns heading up to Thursday Island in Torres Strait. The boat started its career operating from Cornwall to the Scilly Isles off England, then turned up as the Olovaha in Tonga, as the casino boat Gulf Explorer in Australia, reverted to Queen of the Isles II shortly before my trip and then had two more names before running aground in the Solomon Islands ‘around 2001.’ I had a good trip.

The USA’s north-south-east-west extremities are complicated because you have to specify whether you’re talking about all 50 states (ie including Hawaii and Alaska) or just the contiguous ‘lower 48.’ Anyway nobody seems very interested. The UK’s two extremities are usually considered to be Land’s End in Cornwall and John o’Groats in Scotland, although in fact one isn’t the furthest point south and the other isn’t the furthest point north. Never mind they do neatly mark one end of the island from the other and cycling or even walking between the two landmarks is popular. According to Google Earth it’s 839 miles by car, a bit shorter on foot, rather longer by bicycle.


No, that’s not Donald Trump

15 April 2018 | Culture

Exploring the German History Museum – Deutsche Historische Museum – on Unter den Linden in Berlin, just before my recent trip to Bangladesh, I came upon this interesting portrait with its even more interesting description: ◄  Kaiser Wilhelm II In an attempt ...

View Post

The Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

11 April 2018 | Living

In early November 2017 – just six months ago – I went to the Irrawaddy Writers Festival in Mandalay, Myanmar. And got castigated for swanning around in Burma when the country was guilty of war crimes, genocide in the Rakhine region, chasing half a million of their Roh...

View Post

Pristina – Kosovo’s Capital City

8 April 2018 | Places

The final stop in my three country Europe circuit was Pristina (or Prishtina) in Kosovo. If Macedonia is partly defined by opposition from Greece (they don’t like the name), then Kosovo’s problem neighbour is Serbia (they think Kosovo should be part of Serbia). I trav...

View Post

Skopje – in what is that country called?

3 April 2018 | Places

▲ Stop two on my recent ‘continental European countries I haven’t been to’ excursion was Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Skopje has two memorable facts, one is the terrible earthquake that totally devastated the city in 1963. On the front of the ruins of the old tra...

View Post

Bratislava – Slovakia’s Capital City

30 March 2018 | Places

There are only a handful (four in fact) of countries in continental Europe I’ve never visited and with a week to spare in late March I set out to visit three of them, starting with Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. In fact I’ve been to Czechoslovakia when it includ...

View Post

Eritrea Summary

24 March 2018 | Living

Let’s be honest, Eritrea is not going down as one of my favourite destinations. I’m often surprised by the places from which I depart thinking ‘well that was interesting.’ The Ukraine, Kiev and Chernobyl a couple of years ago. Panama – with the canal, birdwatching, Pa...

View Post

Not quite Qohaito – Eritrea’s Ancient Site

22 March 2018 | Places

Eritrea won’t go down as my favourite recent travel destination, I found the capital Asmara disappointingly quiet and subdued. You could multiply that by 10 for Massawa, the semi-deserted Red Sea port. Nevertheless my final Eritrean destination, the ancient Aksumite c...

View Post

Massawa – the faded ‘Pearl of the Red Sea’

20 March 2018 | Places

It was the ‘Pearl of the Red Sea’ so a trip to the principal Eritrean port from Asmara, the capital, seemed like a good idea. I turned up at the bus station and waited – and waited some more. There was absolutely no indication when buses arrived or left and where to g...

View Post

North Korean Design

18 March 2018 | Media

◄ At the House of Illustration – 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross – behind King’s Cross Station in London, England, there’s an exhibit of Graphic Design from North Korea: Made in North Korea: Everyday Graphics from the DPRK. The exhibit is open until 13 May. The exhi...

View Post

Asmara – the Rationalist, Modernist, Futurist African Capital

15 March 2018 | Places

Earlier in March I visited Eritrea and its World Heritage capital Asmara. Architects frequently describe it as Africa’s secret modernist city, but futurism, rationalism and assorted other architectural buzzwords have also been applied. It’s all a result of its period ...

View Post