Tag Archives: Road Trip

The Snæfellsnes and journey to the centre of the earth #SIMResidency

Yesterday was an amazing day as I set off with some of the artists from the SIM Residency on a road trip to the Snæfellsnes peninsula, north-west of Reykjavik.

Our first stop was the historic town of Borgarnes, where we went to the Settlement Center. We had a lot of fun in the exhibit, where there are some 3d fibreglass interactive maps, a bow of a ship that moves and some great information about the early days of the Icelandic Sagas and the creation of the parliament in Iceland in 930AD (located in Þingvellir). Lots of buttons were pressed and plenty of laughs were had on the recreation of the viking boat. We also took a few pictures of the fjord behind the museum.

From there we headed to Stykkishólmur, where we enjoyed some great fish and chips on the wharf before heading to the Library of Water and checking out the incredible church.

We took our time heading west, taking lots of photographs along the way before stopping at Ólafsvík and checking out the triangle church.

Everywhere we went there were lava fields – I was amazed at how soft they felt – I always imagined them to be really hard. I think they would be dangerous to walk on as you could fall through the sections that are sparsely covered, or covered in moss.

The next stop was at the Saxhóll Crater, where you walk 300 metres up a flight of stairs to arrive at the top of the crater. There are fantastic views of the surrounding landscape, especially the Snæfellsjökull volcano.

The Snæfellsjökull volcano, glacier and surrounding landscape was the inspiration for Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which incidentally was one of my favourite books as a child. Although we were keen to go to the glacier, we were informed that it takes about five hours, you need shoes with metal spikes, an all-wheel-drive vehicle – none of which we had. We also learnt that much care was needed as there were cracks in the glacier as it is summer. We decided that it might be better to go with a guide another time.

On the way back to Reykjavik,we were so lucky to see some Gray Seals at Ytri Tunga. When we arrived we were told by some other tourists that there was only one on a rock, but we thought it was worth walking along the beach anyway. When we got close to the rocks we saw the big one basking on a rock and then over the next 20 minutes around half a dozen appeared. Also the sun was just gorgeous, sparkling and golden as it was reflected on the water. Here is a short video of the seals – it is bit wonky as I only had my phone with me.

After leaving at 10am, I finally arrived home by around 1.30am – a huge day and biggest thanks to the awesome driver Ella <3. It was an amazing day and a taste of what an incredible place Iceland truly is.

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365 Places: Great Ocean Road

Day 46: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Tracey at Torquay © Martin Drury 2012
Tracey at Torquay © Martin Drury 2012

By now many of you have figured out that I love the coast. Being by the sea makes me happy, as I love to feel closer to the beauty and power of nature. The movement of the tides and the impact of weather at sea is a humbling reminder of our transience as human beings and the constant change of our universe. The ocean has also been part of my earliest childhood memories and continues to be a significant place for me to be inspired and mindful of the wonderment of our beautiful planet  earth.

Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012
Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012

So today, I would like to share with you a special journey along the coast from a couple of years ago, along the Great Ocean Road. It is a road trip that is also on many Australian’s bucket list – for good reason. This heritage listed 243 kilometre long piece of bitumen takes travellers along the Victorian coast from Torquay to Allansford, taking in some incredible coastline along the way.

© Tracey Benson 2012
12 Apostles © Tracey Benson 2012

Some of the most iconic Australian scenery is located along this route, for example; Torquay Beach, Bells Beach and the 12 Apostles. But it is not just the beautiful scenery that makes this road important for Australians. Great Ocean Road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and is dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, making the road the world’s largest war memorial.

For many years the Great Ocean Road has been considered one of the world’s most scenic roads. Even back in 1962, The Age newspaper reported that the Tourism Development Authority  recognised the opportunities for commerce and tourism for the region making the decision to generate tourist interest through publicity.

Over time, I will write about some of the lovely places to visit along the way, but for now I hope you enjoy a little teaser article about this amazing Australian road trip. For now, here are some images from our journey.

365 Places: Sawtell

Day 22: Sawtell, New South Wales, Australia

Looking towards Coff's Harbour, © Tracey Benson 2013
Looking towards Coff’s Harbour, © Tracey Benson 2013

My post today is about a place we would love to live – Sawtell. This little hamlet is situated around 15 minutes south of Coff’s Harbour on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. We spent some time in the Coff’s Harbour region looking around last year, as we are thinking to move there to follow our dream of building an ‘off the grid’ home.

We went to a drive one day and found ourselves in Sawtell and fell in love with the main street, with its beautiful Moreton Bay figs aligning the middle of the street. The beaches around this area are magnificent, as is most of the NSW coast. Although I would say that parts of the south coast are more beautiful, the water is quite a bit colder, whereas around the Coff’s area, the ocean is the perfect swimming temperature. This region also boasts having the best climate in Australia, according to the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) – not too hot or cold.

Anyway, Sawtell is a place with a lot of character and a lot of potential. One day soon, I hope we turn our daydreams into reality and make to move to warmer climes.

Main Street, Sawtell, Image Credit: Sawtell Gazette
Main Street, Sawtell, Image Credit: Sawtell Gazette