Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Overlooking the majestic and pure beauty of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, the peace and serenity of the place lends itself well to comtemplating life plans, love, the meaning of it all. The dramatic cathedral of the big sky and jutting snow-capped mountains is ever-changing and there's a reverent silence here like inside of a medieval…

Melbourne's vibrant laneway graffiti

Travel: Melbourne’s vibrant laneway graffiti

Melbourne has a great variety of every changing laneway graffiti, which is sort of like the creative engine bellowing and churning away below the city. Street Art in Mebourne has become an attraction in its own right and meant that tourists mark out their stay in the city by visiting these modern monoliths of culture.…

Exploring early mediaeval churches in Eirann

Travel:Exploring early mediaeval churches in Eirann

I visited this crumbling relic, the largest and oldest remaining church in the Irish village of Glendalough in 2009. It was one of the largest known early Christian churches in Ireland. The church was originally dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul but ceased to be a cathedral in 1214. The large rectangular stones at…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lake Menteith in the fading light of a winters night

Travel Poetry: The Crackling Thunder of Frozen Lake Menteith

I wrote this poem in 2011 during a particularly bewitching snow-storm on Lake Menteith in Stirlingshire, Scotland. I had borrowed a pair of old, worn out and blunt ice-skates that were a size too small. And together with my friend, we set out to skate on the lake and also record the audio of the…

The Berlin Wall Redux: A punk of leisure on the shores of the Spree river

Travel:The Berlin Wall Redux: A punk lady of leisure 

Copyright Content Catnip 2010 In 2008 I lived in Berlin. It's a vast adult playground of earthly delights, diversions and shiny, distracting baubles. Its maddeningly vibrant during the summer. It's as though life is amplified to full volume and there is no dimmer switch. The sky sits very high up and the sun is beaming…

Ride or die: Scooter riding in Taiwan

Travel: A scooter swarm and the dance of life and death in Taiwan

Among the chaos and the streaming lights there are tiny rockets moving between buildings and jostling people out of the way as they walk into the street. In South Korea, Japan, Thailand and China these pocket rockets roam through the night, comandeered by a mixture of salarymen, young punks and mums with kids strapped to…

Mysterious cat in Chefchauoen

Travel: The lost and hungry felines of Chefchaouen, Morocco

Seeing you sprawled on the ground in a doorway in Chefchaoen, Morocco, something broke inside of my heart. I found myself so immensely concerned for your safety. From your gaunt and shabby physique and milky, clouded eyes I worked out that you were severely malnourished. I attempted to pick you up gently but my Morocccan…

Where to eat in Taupo? 

Travel: The best places to eat in Lake Taupo, New Zealand

On a recent trip to the beautiful Lake Taupo  with all of its athletic pursuits such as MTB there is nothing better than chowing down on some superb and hearty food. Taupo has some great options which we tried and loved. For a quick and reasonably priced brunch, try Cafe Baku which has a relaxed…

Words and Music: Miss Hollywood & Shanghai

Words and Music: Dave Clarke’s World Service & Shanghai

I wrote this poem because I came across an album I hadn't heard in years, it reminded me so much of Shanghai where I lived briefly as a teenager that I had this all rush into my head and I needed to get it out. So here is a memory purge of my time in…

Luminous Edinburgh during Christmas time lit the way for work-weary me

Travel: Luminous Edinburgh during Christmas time lights the way through winter 

Edinburgh is bewitching at all times of year but arguably the most captivating time is before and during Christmas. From early December the area in Princes Gardens is turned into an enchanted frozen amphitheatre. The faerie wonderland buzzing with a German Christmas market and overflowing with handmade, wooden and delicate trinkets, along with carnival rides…

Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

History: The history of the Forth and Clyde Canal

Above is a map of the first part of the canal which stretches from Lochrin Basin to Falkirk Wheel over a distance of 32 miles. The remainder of the canal after that goes to Glasgow and turns into the Clyde River. See more detail.    Originally opened in 1789, the Forth and Clyde Canal crossed…

Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

Words and Music: Stases & Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b6h4hYBSgM [I will write a poem about a place that I've been each week with music to match] Neist Point on the Isle of Skye Swirling batons of time Erasing thoughts and hushing life and death On a clear day you can see all the way to Iceland it's said In any case there to…

Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

Cycling along Edinburgh’s canal: Lochrin Basin to Almond Acqueduct

See more detail here This is one of my favourite scenic routes through the leafy, pastoral and mountainous outer suburbs of Edinburgh and East Lothian heading out into the countryside. This epic shared pedestrian and cycling path goes all the way from Edinburgh to Glasgow (56km one way) alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal. With…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Sunset over Orakei

Great Cycling Routes of Auckland: Part 3 North Western Cycleway, Onehunga Foreshore, Cornwall Park, St Heliers Loop

 FYI Click on image to show map. On this Google map I created the bike path in Waterview cycle path isn't showing yet because it was only created last month. Álthough it's a pretty straight-forward bike path with little deviation from it. You should be able to work it out. Happy riding!  See more detail …

Travel: Maori waka ama (racing war canoe) on Auckland Harbour

Waka Ama is a sport akin to outrigger canoe racing or group rowing. It's based on traditional modes of Polynesian sea travel which relied upon celestial navigation. Since the 80s and 90s high-tech canoes of Hawaiian or Polynesian design have become hugely popular as a sport among Māori, often performed as part of cultural festivals held…

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland

Great Cycling Routes of Auckland: Part 2 St Heliers to Te Atatu Return 60km

St Heliers to Te Atatu South via Auckland Zoo and back: Athletic Sprint and Scenic Route All of the cycling routes here generally take place on paved and separated cycling paths that are away from the road. In all cases I have endeavoured to only include the safest routes possible with minimal direct contact with…

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland: Part 1 Beach-side cruising from St Heliers to St Mary’s Bay

All of the cycling routes here generally take place on paved and separated cycling paths that are away from the road. In all cases I have endeavoured to only include the safest routes possible with minimal direct contact with the traffic. Mainly this is because Auckland drivers are pretty bad and it's not a good…

An excellent MTB adventure in Huka Falls, Taupo

An excellent MTB adventure in Huka Falls, Taupo

This 17 km track located close by to the town of Taupo is a scenic loop crossing Huka Falls initially then continuing north along the Waikato river. There are some great panoramic lookout points along the way which feature the powerful Waikato river, bright green belts of forest and tracts of farmland. From atop high…

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Orakei Korako https://wp.me/p41CQf-JXQ

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Orakei Korako

The earth's crust is made up of a patchwork of interlocking slabs (techtonic plates) which move independently like enormous ice flows. Today New Zealand straddles the boundary between the Indian, Australian and Pacific plates. Tremendous natural energy is released which results in many spectacular geologicial occurrences including mountain building, earthquakes and volcanic activity. Over the…

Secrets of the Mornington Peninsula: Tyabb Packing House

Secrets of the Mornington Peninsula: Tyabb Packing House

The Mornington Peninsula (where I hail from originally) is located in the S.E tip of Port Phillip Bay, about 1 hour's drive outside of Melbourne.  It's a sundrenched and beachy part of Melbourne which features serene and quiet, toddler friendly beaches in sheltered Port Phillip Bay, along with colourful bathing boxes. On the other side…