Cooma – Gateway to the Snowy Mountains

Cooma is a New South Wales (Australia) country town of nearly 7,000 people and is generally regarded as the capital of the Snowy Mountains region. It is located about 110 kilometres south of Canberra (Australia’s Capital) and 90 kilometres from the ski resorts of the Snowy Mountains. Continue reading “Cooma – Gateway to the Snowy Mountains”


The Australian War Memorial At Night

As part of the its activity to commemorate the centenary of the 11 November 1918 Armistice, which brought about the end of World War I, the Australian War Memorial opened its commemorative area for night-time viewing (up to 10pm) on a number of weekends running up 11 November 2018. This rare event allowed visitors to see the memorial in a different light. Again, as part of its commemorative programme visitors were also able to enjoy the Memorial’s temporary 62,000 Poppy Display by night. Continue reading “The Australian War Memorial At Night”

Ri Chun-hee And Television In North Korea

While I watch very little television at home and I would seldom ever watch it while travelling, after my 2014 trip to North Korea I urged future visitors to actually watch a little television. Television, like many other things, in North Korea – or rather the programming content – is not quite like the television most of us are accustomed to at home. North Korea is not your everyday normal location. Continue reading “Ri Chun-hee And Television In North Korea”

The Flowers Of The Leaders – Why Doesn’t Kim Jong-un Have One?

Should you visit North Korea it will not take you long to realise that anything of any importance is named after Kim Il-sung or more recently, since his death in 2011, Kim Jong-il. Very little, at this point is named after the current leader, Kim Jong-un.

It will thus come as no surprise that the most important flowers (trumping the national flower, the magnolia) in North Korea are the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia. Yes indeed, that is what they are called – I kid you not.

Continue reading “The Flowers Of The Leaders – Why Doesn’t Kim Jong-un Have One?”

62,000 Poppies Display

In the run up to and as part of its commemorative activities to mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I on 11 November 1918 the Australian War Memorial commissioned a rather haunting and melancholy display of poppies, bathing the western gardens of the Memorial in a sea of red. A moving musical program, created by Chris Latham, the Memorial’s recently appointed musical artist in residence, beautifully complemented the display. The idea of having a musical artist in residence really appeals to me and Chris has got of to a flying start with this project! Continue reading “62,000 Poppies Display”

Yanga Lake

In a separate review, on Willowvale Rest Area just outside Balranald, New South Wales, I have pointed out that the biggest issue facing long distance drivers in Australia is fatigue. There is only one solution to this problem and that is to stop driving and rest. On our regular 1,200kms trips between Canberra and Adelaide Andy and I swap driving at regular intervals. While those in the know say you should pull over and rest every couple of hours we often change drivers more frequently than this. Our bodies tell us when it is time to stop and have a rest. Continue reading “Yanga Lake”

Rules Around Photography in North Korea and Their Enforcement – With a Side Comment on Mobile Phones

A Totally Acceptable Photograph in North Korea

There are numerous rules for tourists in North Korea. The ones around photography are the most complicated, confusing, inconsistent and inconsistently applied. While the rules themselves seem to have been relaxed only very marginally, if at all,  since my last visit in 2014 the enforcement of the rules seems not to be as strict – apart from in more remote and less visited parts of the country.

Very few visitors, apart from those who have no camera, make it through a tour of North Korea without being counselled on their photography – or rather, being told off for taking a photo when they should not have. Continue reading “Rules Around Photography in North Korea and Their Enforcement – With a Side Comment on Mobile Phones”