Oz in Pictures

For some time I've wanted to do an 'Everesting'. The challenge really appealed to me from the moment I first heard about it. I wouldn't say that I'm a natural climber when it comes to cycling but I've been trying to make it into a strength by doing as much as possible and I figured this was another part of the journey towards that. Ticking this goal off didn't come easily. It's reputation as being 'fiendishly simple, yet brutally hard' is well and truly earnt! In hindsight it was probably the most physically demanding challenge I've ever done.

Until a few months ago I didn't even think it would be possible given my knees sometimes have the tendency to inflame something terrible due to auto immune issues. A few months before this attempt I twice had to get more than 200 my of fluid removed from one of them and that put on hold any immediate plans for any extreme cycling climbing challenges! However I found ways of managing it and given me and my partner had both bought smart trainers a few months before and were utilising them effectively with Zwift as a training tool, there was the possibility to test things under controlled conditions by doing a Virtual Challenge instead.

I first did the shorter 'Virtual Basecamp' challenge as a stepping stone and it went rather well without any inflammatory flare ups. On the strength of that I realised a full 'Virtual Everesting' was definately on the cards. I chose the same KOM segment on Zwift as I did with the earlier challenge (Leith Hill KOM on the London map) due to its shallower incline which suited my knees, gear ratios and th smart trainer I was using which is a wheels on variety.

I wrote down some checkpoints I planned to use along the way by writing on a piece of paper a list of smaller elevation goals. Being someone who used to have an interest in mountaineering, these took the form of some well known mountains and also the elevation of the most frequently used Everest camps on the South East Route. I added on 150 meters to each of the figures as that was the elevation I had to ride just to get to the start of Leith Hill and that would not count towards the Everesting challenge itself.

I felt comfortable during the ride up to the elevation of Basecamp (5,364 m) but as I was approaching 6,000 m I started to fatigue massively. With 3,000 m still to go I had to dig pretty deep. By the time I got to 8,000 m it was a real struggle but from 8,500 m I knew I was close to the end and that was all the motivation I needed. In the end I did a few extra repeats to ensure I was beyond the the required amount for the attempt to be ratified by 'Hells 500'. The white striped 'cloud' jersey that those who successfully complete an Everesting was now there for the taking and I'll wear it with great pride.

My vEveresting on Strava:
https://www.strava.com/activities/3809595552

My vEveresting in the Hells 500 Hall of Fame:
https://everesting.cc/hall-of-fame/#/hill/3809595552

Swim With The Tuna Port Lincoln

Swimming with tuna or in my case freediving with tuna, in large numbers is not something one gets to do every day, particularly in large numbers, so the opportunity to do this in an enclosed area whilst visiting the town of Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia was something I had to do.

There are plenty of in water attractions in Port Lincoln. One of them is appropriately called 'Swim With The Tuna' and enables you to do just that. It has been built in the same type of netted aquatic farm structures as are used throughout the Blue Fin Tuna industry in the region. It's a first rate experience, with some of the staff having significant prior experience in the Blue Fin Tuna Industry itself. It's also very reasonably priced for an adventure that lasts 3 hours. It starts with a 15 minute boat ride in a luxury catamaran out to a world class Tuna Pontoon, then put on wetsuit, mask and snorkel and in the water you go, surrounded by fish.

There are two enclosures you can swim in (one smaller one within the other) so you can experience not only the excitement of swimming amongst large blue fin tuna themselves (one of the 10 fastest species of fish in the ocean), but also a host of other aquatic life that you will find in the smaller enclosure which is equally interesting. There are also some shallow pools that you can observe and in some cases touch marine life and underwater viewing. Not content to just snorkel, I wanted a 3 dimensional experience that I could immerse myself in so as I am a qualified freediver I asked if I could freedive in the enclosures. This isn't always possible with large fins when the company has lots of customers but as there were only a handfull that day and there was plenty of room, the friendly staff obliged on this particular occasion. Whether you get to swim with the tuna on the surface or like me freedive with the tuna too, it's an exciting experience and I highly recommend it. You will also learn much about the tuna farming industry and may get to see some other aquatic life on your trip to and from the pontoon, in particular seals and whales. So for anyone passing through the area with half a day to spare, you don't need much in the way of experience, as long as you are comfortable in the water. Feel free to contact 'Swim With The Tuna' for further information.

This video was made some years ago and originally uploaded to our other channel, "Endurance Swimmer Australia" where you'll find more of our aquatic adventures.

Lake Bonney is a large lake located next to the town of Barmera in South Australia. It measures 6.5 km down the length at it's longest stretch and is the venue for our latest marathon swim challenge. On this occasion I swam 2 laps of the lake along that course making the swim 13 km.

I'd been wanting to do this swim for years. As a much younger person I competed here in open water swimming competitions that were much shorter in length that took part near Barmara running parallel to the shore. It was at this time that I became aware that Lake Bonney had been the site of an attempt on the world water speed record by Donald Campbell in his jet powered hydroplane, Bluebird K7 back in 1964 when he was trying to become the first person to capture both land and water speed records in the same calender year. I had quite a fascination with Campbell at the time, having watched a film about his last record attempt in 1967 that ultimately ended tragically. I worked out where the run had taken place, along the longest stretch of the lake and decided that someday I would swim two laps of the lake along this course. I wasn't aware of anyone else who had done it so it seemed like an interesting challenge worth doing.

We decided that we would camp at the northern end of the lake for Christmas of 2018 and that we would do the course back to front with the turnaround point being the Bluebird Cafe (which is an extension of the shed that Campbells boat was housed in during the 1964 attempt),

Bluebird Café
https://www.facebook.com/bluebirdonbonney

On Christmas eve we had a good weather window so shortly before 6.00 am we headed off and benefitted from flat water for most of the swim. It's worth noting that Campbell wasn't so lucky as it was the wind and water state that ultimately caused the attempt on Lake Bonney, which had yielded speeds of up to 216 mph, to eventually be called off and be moved to Lake Dumbleyung in Western Australia. It was there that on the last day of the year he recorded an average speed over two runs of 276.33 mph to set a new world record and become the first (and so far only) person to officially set both world land and water speed records in the same calender year.

Many thanks to K7 Project Bluebird for providing some stock footage to assist me in making this video.

K7 Project Bluebird
https://www.facebook.com/k7projectbluebird

This video was originally uploaded to our first channel "Endurance Swimmer Australia" where you'll find more of our earlier aquatic based activities.

This is one of our earlier videos that we made back in 2014. It features Piccaninnie and Ewens Ponds which are both located in Mount Gambier, South Australia. Both are stunning freshwater sites which can be snorkelled or scuba dived, although with Piccaninnie Ponds you require the appropriate cave diving qualifications due to the overhead environments. I have videos on our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' scuba diving both sites. For this video I explored some of the areas with direct access to the surface by freediving.

Basin Lake is a small perched freshwater lake on Fraser Island in Queensland, Australia. It can be reached via a few different hiking tracks but the one that is used the most goes from Central Station via Wanggoolba Creek and is about a 5.5 km return trip. With the close proximity of the thick vegitation the lake is reasonably protected from the wind making it an attractive secluded location that is not visited as much as many of the other lakes in the area.

This video was put together in 2018 and was originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia. Due to the picturesque nature of the hike it was also an appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

Lake McKenzie is a stunning freshwater lake on Fraser Island in Queensland and the location of the second of my 'marathon swim challenges'. It covers an area of 150 hectares and with it's clear waters and white silica sands it's probably the most well known and visited location on the island. The waters are slightly acidic in nature and this actually is one of the reasons it stays so clear because there is very little aquatic life in it. There are however short necked turtles that live in the lake.

I first swam in the lake in 1994 and was quite captivated at just how stunning it was and despite it's popularity, if you're able to get to the other side the crowds can't get there and you have this amazing experience of solitude at such a beautiful location. It's quite intoxicating. Ever since then I wanted to return. Having never heard of anyone swimming a marathon distance there (a distance 10 km or more) I decided that (assuming that is in fact the case) that I would put a plan in motion to be the first.

So for my second Physical Challenge video I've chosen to swim 10 laps of Lake McKenzie at it's widest point (which is 1.2 km per lap). That's a total distance of 12 km. For this challenge I'm again using the Orca S6 wetsuit.

Lake Wabby is a well known lake on Fraser Island. It's relatively small and is getting gradually consumed by the Hammerstone Sand Blow. At 12 meters it is the deepest lake on the island and unlike most of the others is full of aquatic life, particularly large catfish. There are 2 hiking tracks, one from the beach about 4.3 km north of Eurong which is 2.4 km long and the other is a shorter one from a carpark off Cornwell's Break Road which is 2.4 km long. This is the later. It includes a lookout with spectacular views.

This video was put together in 2018 and was originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia. Due to the picturesque nature of the hike it was also an appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

This is the first in a new series of videos that I will produce from time to time where I subject myself to a physical challenge. Given that my background is distance open water swimming it seems fitting to start off with a a marathon swim at the picturesque 'Encounter Lakes' in South Australia.

By way of an inntroduction as to what constitutes an official 'marathon swim' these days, I have to go back to 2008 when the Olympic Games first featured a 10 km open water swim, a swimming marathon. From that date it has been considered that a marathon swim should be classified as a swim of a duration of 10 km or more (as opposed to 25 km which was the official distance prior to this). This is somewhat appropriate as the average time it takes a decent distance swimmer to do a 10 km swim is not too dissimilar to that which a decent marathon runner runs a 42 km marathon on the road. There is some parity here.

Unlike in most competitive open water events I will likely be using a full length wetsuit for all of the swimming physical challenges I do. Now I know some hard core open water swimmers out there may thumb their nose a bit at the idea of this and I must admit I came from that mould too. If you'd have asked me 10 years ago I would have been dead set against endorsing wetsuits for any type of event or recognised swim on the principal of parity, but it occurs to me that just because something can be done without and it is arguably more challenging doesn't necessarily mean it is best practice. After all, one can climb high on many mountains in shorts and a T-Shirt if you get the right weather but the folly there is pretty clear. I'm wearing it mainly for protection from the sun but acknowledge it provides some protection from other environmental issues such as the cold and stinging jellyfish. I'm planning to test a variety of suits and this will be part of the conversation moving forward. I also note on this subject that FINA has approved certain wetsuits for some events that take place in extremely cold conditions. This arguably opens up the sport to more countries and more competitors. Anyway it's a subject I'll revisit as I produce more videos on the topic.

For my first Physical Challenge video I've chosen to swim 6 laps of Encounter Lakes which is located in Encounter Bay, South Australia. That's a total distance of 10.14 km. For this challenge I'm using the very reasonably priced Orca S6 wetsuit. Stay tuned for many more marathon swimming challenges.

Lake McKenzie is a stunning freshwater lake on Fraser Island in Queensland and the location of the second of my 'marathon swim challenges'. It covers an area of 150 hectares and with it's clear waters and white silica sands it's probably the most well known and visited location on the island. The waters are slightly acidic in nature and this actually is one of the reasons it stays so clear because there is very little aquatic life in it. There are however short necked turtles that live in the lake.

I first swam in the lake in 1994 and was quite captivated at just how stunning it was and despite it's popularity, if you're able to get to the other side the crowds can't get there and you have this amazing experience of solitude at such a beautiful location. It's quite intoxicating. Ever since then I wanted to return. Having never heard of anyone swimming a marathon distance there (a distance 10 km or more) I decided that (assuming that is in fact the case) that I would put a plan in motion to be the first.

So for my second Physical Challenge video I've chosen to swim 10 laps of Lake McKenzie at it's widest point (which is 1.2 km per lap). That's a total distance of 12 km. For this challenge I'm again using the Orca S6 wetsuit.

In 2016 we spent a week in Tulumban, Bali, We stayed at the Matahari, Resort, which is very well equipped for divers and excellent value for money.

Visibility was not quite as crystal clear as it can be in the area. But even then it provided a certain atmosphere, particularly around the resort itself and the garden of statues known as 'Suci Place'. It reminded me of an early morning mist.

We did a number of dives over the trip but for this video I've chosen to focus on 'Suci Place' and the Boga wreck which is a short drive away at Kubu along with the stunning Tirta Gangga Royal Water Gardens.

This video was put together in 2016 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' where you'll find all of our aquatic activities. Due to the picturesque nature of the dive sites it's also an appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

The St Kilda Mangrove Trail is a well known boardwalk built on the coast of this seaside suburb in South Australia (not to be confused with the suburb in Victoria with the same name). St Kilda itself was built on what is a reclaimed part of the Barker Inlet. It was once home to just fishermen but is now well known for an adventure playground and a tramway museum. There is a large area of mangrove swamp in the tidal zone and in the mid 1980's a boardwalk trail was built through the mangroves to be used by the public to get closer to the environment without impacting upon it.

This video was put together in 2017 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia but the picturesque views also make it an appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

One of the most well known cave diving sites in Mount Gambier is Allendale Cave which is located in the middle of a road! Attempts were made in the early days to fill what was thought to be a large hole in order to build the road over it but later on when it was established that it was actually a water filled cave of significant size this futile process was stopped in favour of building one lane either side.

It's must have been an interesting site to behold in the early days by locals but now watching fully equipped divers waiting for a gap in the traffic before crossing in full diving gear and descending down the steep entrance slope is common place. What awaits is a stunningly clear dive site. The small entrance lake leads to a steep slope and eventually a large cavernous chamber down the bottom. There are also some tighter areas to explore for the more adventurous.

This video was put together in 2015 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' where you'll find all of our aquatic activities. Due to the the picturesque nature of the cave it's also an approprite fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

Morialta Conservation Park is a nature reserve in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia and is well known for it's seasonal waterfalls. It covers an area of 5.3 square kilometres and is popular with bushwalkers, rock climbers and photographers.

There are numerous trails but most involve visiting 1 or more of the waterfalls. The Three Falls Hike is the longest and visits all the parks major attractions.

This video was put together in 2015 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia but the picturesque views also make it an appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

Fossil Cave is an underwater cave located in Mount Gambier, South Australia. It can be accessed by those who hold CDAA (Cave Divers Association of Australia) Cave Certification or higher.

The cave gets it's name from the large number of extinct animal bones that were discovered there in the 1970's whilst it was being surveyed. It's now more known for it's crystal clear water and interesting topography but you can still see the pickets around which the survey grid was attached.

There is also another small underwater cave at the other end of the sinkhole, which has some interesting features but it's mainly the south eastern cave that is dived. Divers enter one end of a crescent shaped surface pool but as the passages below curves around following this crescent, a greenish tinged light can be seen refracting through the water from above in many parts of the dive site. It's one of the more unique caves to dive in the region.

This video was put together in 2015 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' where you'll find all of our aquatic activities. Due to the the picturesque nature of the cave it's also an approprite fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

St Mary Peak is the highest point in the Flinders Ranges and is a bucket list hike in Australia for keen hikers. Located in Wilpena Pound, It's a demanding hike but within the ability of most healthy active people as long as adequate steps are taken. You can ascend to the Tandarra Saddle via a trail on either the outside (the steeper approach) or the inside (less steep but longer approach) of the pound. From there you follow a futher rocky trail to the summit itself. To do the full loop (taking in both the outer and inner trails and the trail to the summit) is 21.5 kilometers and requires a full day. An early start is preferable particularly in summer. You should take a minimum of 4 litres of water, climb in good weather (in the wet it can be very slippery). Needless to say you should also take sunscreen and wear appropriate footwear.

On a clear dy the view from the summit itself is hard to put into words. Pictures don't do it justice, you have to go there nd do it yourself. I fully recommend anyone who is physically capable does it at lest once in their life.

This video was put together in 2014 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' but the picturesque views actually make it a more appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

There is a series of well known freshwater ponds and channels called Ewens Ponds near Mount Gambier in South Australia that are popular with scuba divers and snorkellers. What is less well known and not completely obvious is that there is creek that goes from the 3rd pond to a seldom visited 4th pond and then continues all the way to the coast. It's called 'Eight Mile Creek' although it doesn't get it's name from it's length but rather because where it finishes at the coast is about eight miles to the east of Port MacDonnell. It's closer to 2 kilometers in length.

When in the channels and creek you can drift along effortlessly and enjoy the ride due to the constant downstream water flow. It's a really nice trip that takes just over an hour with crystal clear water most of the time. Unlike most of the freshwater activities in Mount Gambier which one needs to be a qualified cave diver to experience, this one can be enjoyed by anyone who can swim although a thick wetsuit is recommended as the water seldom gets above 16 degrees centagrade.

This video was put together in 2015 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' but the picturesque nature of the creek also make it an appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

Mount Remarkable is locted in the Southern Flinders Ranges in South Australia in a national park (of the same name as the peak). It is 995 metres high and while there are a number of hikes in the area the summit hike is the most popular.

This hike can be done from the eastern side of the range starting from the War Memoril Monument. A hike to the summit and back is just over 12 kilometers.

This video was put together in 2014 and originally uploaded to our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' but the picturesque views actually make it a more appropriate fit for 'Oz in Pictures'.

Moonta Bay is located on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. The area was well known for copper mining and you can visit some of the historic mining sites on the tourist railway which departs from the platform adjacent to the Moonta Mines Museum. The area is sometimes referred to as 'Little Cornwall' and it is probably little wonder that the locals claim that they make some of the best cornish pasties. The area is popular with locals and the jetties are popular with fishermen and scuba divers.

A DJI Spark drone was used to capture the footage of the area including Moonta and Port Hughes jetties, the coastline of Moonta Bay, the mangroves approaching the Bird Islands and the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway.

The coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia is well known for it's beaches and spectacular vistas. Located to the south of Adelaide and only all of it able to be visited within a day trip it is a popular location for locals and tourists.

This video features photos from both the air and the ground of the Murray River Mouth, Port Elliot, Horseshoe Bay, The Bluff, Rapid Bay, Second Valley, Port Noarlunga and Brighton Beach.

Port Noarlunga in South Australia is located south of the Adelaide CBD and as the name suggests, was originally built as a sea port. It's now primarily a destination for holidays and weekend trips. Probably the most notable feature is a 1.6 kilometer long reef that is partly exposed (particularly at low tide) that runs perpendicular to the shore. There is also a long jetty that goes right up to the reef which is popular with fishermen and also scuba divers that use it to provide a method of entering and leaving the water close to the reef.

In this video we get a good look at Port Noarlunga, including the reef, jetty and coastline from the air. A DJI Spark drone was used to capture the footage.

The Whispering Wall is actually a dam in the Barossa Reservoir, South Australia. It was completed in 1903 and was a revolutionary engineering feat for it's time. However what attracts visitors is the dam's acoustic qualities. Visitors can whisper at one side and their words can clearly be heard at the corresponding position on the opposite side.

In this video we get a look at the Whispering Wall and the various views along the Barossa Reservoir from the air. A DJI Spark drone was used to capture the footage.

Port Gawler in South Australia was once an active town due to it's wharf and surrounding grain areas, however it's now known more for fishing, crabbing and bird watching. It's also quite well known for it's off road bike track and go kart tracks.

In this video it can be seen from the air along with the Gawler River and surrounding mangroves. A DJI Spark drone was used to capture the footage.

The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, is a 244 kilometre coastal drive between Torquay and Allansford. It was built by returned servicemen and dedicated to solidiers that lost their lives during World War 1. Appropriately there is a memorial to commemorate this. It's considered the world's larges war memorial and is a popular tourist attraction with it's spectacular views.

Fraser Island is located just off the coast of Queensland, Australia near Hervey Bay. It's about 123 kilometres long and is about 22 kilometres wide at it's widest point. With it's lush rainforests and pristine freshwater creeks and inland lakes, it's a popular place for tourism and four wheel driving.

We spend 8 days on the island in 2018 and were able to take many stunning photos during that time. This is a collection that we feel captures some of our favorite places on the island that we went.

The Murray River at 2,508 kilometres is the longest river in Australia. It's source is high in the Australian Alps, then meanders across some of the inland plains that form the border between New South Wales and Victoria before entering South Australia which is perhaps where it is at it's most spectacular. It eventually reaches the ocean via Lake Alexandrina (which at it's widest point is itself over 38 kilometres).

The Murray is a well known tourist attraction and is also used as a fresh water source. It's a popular destination for water sports and holidays. Perhaps the best way to see it is by doing a houseboat trip on it and it was during such a trip that we took this series of spectacular images.

SHOW MORE

Created 1 year, 1 month ago.

25 videos

Category Travel

Join with us in our travels around Australia (and occasionally overseas) as we share the vistas we see through the pictures and video footage we take. You can also visit our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' which we upload our adventure and activity based videos to.