2016 Rathmines Catalina Festival Car Show Gallery

Temora Aviation Museum – Videos

Thanks to the overcast weather on the day I didn’t have a great deal of success shooting video with the TZ40 at Temora.  The combination of grey skies cloud and cold weather (the latter giving me the shakes) reply hampered the flying videos.

Warbirds on the apron

However I’ve cut together the good bits and they’re ready to watch Continue reading Temora Aviation Museum – Videos

Temora Aviation Museum – 2nd July 2016

On the 2nd of July 2016 I jumped into the car and we went out to the Temora Aviation Museum.  It’s not the first time I’ve gone and certainly won’t be the last.  This visit provided the opportunity to see the Curtis P-40 “Kittyhawk” fly Continue reading Temora Aviation Museum – 2nd July 2016

Roadtrip: Canberra – Merimbula

Not every holiday we take involves jumping onto a jet plane.  Instead for a nice week away we decided to head for the region of Merimbula & Sapphire Coast slowly travelling up towards the South Coast of NSW.  There’s going to be a few other posts about this trip so check out the links below.

Getting to Merimbula

To make this a little more comfortable on the varied road conditions and unsealed carparks we left the Megane GT220 at home and hired ourselves a Mitsubishi ASX through Hertz.  Ultimately it proved a good move with the more relaxed ride and increased ground clearance making some of the National Park access roads a much more comfortable affair.

Canberra to Merimbula Navigation
Canberra to Merimbula Navigation

Our route from Canberra was one new to both of us and turned out to be both thoroughly enjoyable and much smoother than the more traditional route travelled by Canberrans to the South Coast.  We’d taken a leisurely approach to departure time and meandered along the highways.  Stopping at Cooma for lunch before a relaxed break at the Fred Piper Memorial Lookout before descending down to the coast visiting the Bega Co-Operative Heritage Centre.

After stocking up on local dairy goods we completed the journey arriving at our (almost) Beachfront accommodation and wandered out to the beach to take some photos.

Unlike a lot of our Driving Daytrips where we end up spending 5-6 hours in the car this leg of our holiday was all about slowing down into a week of relaxation.  Stepping down into a more relaxed vehicle worked, and we made a point of stopping at any and every lookout or “point-of-interest”.

Sometimes it’s nice to step into the “Slow Lane”.

Daytrip: Orion Beach

Daytrip: Canberra – Orion Beach

In Canberra taking a daytrip to the “coast” usually means loading up the car and taking a 90-120 minute drive to Batemans Bay.  We went a little further afield doubling the distance and duration to sit upon the shores of Jervis Bay on the picturesque Orion Beach.

Route to Jervis Bay
Pick-a-Route via Apple Maps

The TomTom mapping on the built in Satnav was oddly convinced to take the middle of three routes, while we were going to follow the highlighted (and more familiar) route following the well trodden Kings Highway to Batemans Bay and then turning left and following the Princes Highway for the remaining distance.

Ulladulla – Ocean view from the Princes Highway

As you’d expect the journey along the coast passes through many towns as it winds from hinterland to the shoreline on a slow progression north.   We took a quick comfort stop in Ulladulla, where the highway virtually touches the sea.  While the photo shows a magnificent hue it can’t portray the howling blasts of wind coming off the water.

Ulladulla also marks the beginning of the end of the journey with only about 30 minutes of travel left to the clusters of towns around Jervis Bay.

Orion Beach

Looking at the pictures above you’d be right in thinking “it looks suspiciously late in the day” and you’d be right as Orion Beach wasn’t our only reason to trek all the way to Jervis Bay – but it was the ultimate goal of the trip to plant our feet in the ocean after many months of land-locked living in Canberra.

The beach itself is a narrow strip of sand and rock features along the shores of Jervis Bay.  With and incoming tide and a strong wind the waters were murky, washing away the traces of the days activities.

So how did the GT220 go?

I’ve written other posts here about the long-legged touring ability of the Renault Megane GT220 and once again it failed to disappoint with a good compromise between stability over many varied road surfaces and comfort.  The F4RT provides a seriously “adequate” overtaking power while offering reasonably good economy.  Given the rather steep terrain and high average speeds over it running around the 8L/100km is not bad.

Braidwood by night
Braidwood by night

On the return journey the magically bright Bi-Xenon headlights turned the night into daylight letting us pick-out the roadside dangers of wildlife before they crossed our paths.  The brakes pulling us up with metres of space when the inevitable rabbit hopped across the road in our path.

In one way this daytrip is the warmup and practice for a longer roadtrip planned for later this year where we’re looking at travelling around 3500km as we complete the South Eastern triangle between Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Gunning Fireworks Festival – 13th September 2014

The Gunning Fireworks Festival is not a new thing, having been held for some 10 years as a trade display before becoming a Community festival in 2010.

The 2014 Festival was our 2nd, we were captivated in 2013 and after looking at our hand-held footage from the Lumx FT3 and iPhone knew we could do better in 2014.

Last Years Fireworks Show:

All about this year:

So last Saturday (13th September 2014) we rugged up and headed out to Gunning.  It’s a 45 minute drive on typical rural Australian roads.  single lane in each direction, potholes and roadkill to remind you of the dangers of the road at night.

We found the Gunning Showground bustling with people enjoying the sideshow amusements.  A stop at “Ze German Hut” for a Bratwurst in a roll was mandatory before finding a ringside location.

When I saw ringside I mean about 75-100m from ground zero of the displays.  You don’t so much as watch the Fireworks as sit inside the display.  As with 2013 we started out behind the VIP area.  The crowd filled in around us and we waited for 18:30 when the action was to begin.  The photos don’t do the sheer volume of fireworks on the Showground justice.

As darkness falls the anticipation builds and then it’s on.  One by one single shots are fired, each announced by name; “Shot 5, 4 inch giant red ring” this continues for well over one hundred shots, some made up of hundreds or thousands of individual fireworks.

After the trade display is done there’s a pause while the setup for the finale is completed.

Then it starts.  The finale display is amazing, it’s almost too close, the crowd is coated with falling ash and debris, an occasional still light piece falls still lit and fizzes about the feet and stamped out.  The “pooh” and “ahhhh” continues, a monsoon of fire.  Yes we’re so close that the human field of vision can’t take it all in, we’re so close that with each massive mortar explosion we can feel our organs compress.

And then, in a crescendo of explosions it’s over and we start to shuffle out.

There’s just one stop to make.

The last Kransky of the night, sustenance for the drive home.

Once I edit up the video I’ll link it here!

Temora Aviation Museum – 15th Feb 2014

5:11am and the cheerful melodies of the alarm that woke me are a distant memory.  My feet hit the floor and it’s time to get a move on.  Looking out the window reveals the smattering of rain that’s fallen and the latest forecast looks more like I’ll become a human lightning rod.

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The 229km drive out to Temora from south Canberra takes about 3 hours to do at a leisurely pace, stopping for breakfast, comfort and naturally avoiding the attention of the NSW Police force.  Yes we’ve all driven further faster, but these days having a license and money in my pockets is more favourable.

After rummaging around throwing my untouched for 3 years camera gear back into the bag, stopping for fuel and generally getting myself conscious by 6:30am I was cruising.  There’s the obligatory stop for breakfast at the Yass/Hume Highway Service Centre for one of McDonalds fine breakfasts around an hour later.  I had a bit of a walk around, you know the classic “Stop Revive Survive” mantra while savouring the coffee from the same fine establishment.  Then it’s back on the road.

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It’s just short of 9:30am as I cruise up Tom Moon Ave in Temora.  The gates to the carpark are open and there’s a few cars sitting forlornly in the rain.  It’s still another 30 or so minutes before we can enter the museum so I sit back and play with the trip computer.

The GT220 was never bought for hyper-miler performance, but it has proven to be very economical in comparison to my last 4 cars.  In fact its fuel consumption is on-par with the 2002 RenaultSport Clio, ironically adding considerably more size to the car and a turbocharger to the “same” 2L F4R base engine results in no change to overall consumption.  This is a great example of just how much silent evolution happens in the auto industry.  I’ve carrying around 400kg more weight, added more performance (50hp additional thanks to the turbo) and yet use the same amount of fuel!

The numbers are good but not stellar, but with the light rain and water on the road plus the rather undulating terrain I’m not about to complain.  The outward journey consumed about a quarter tank with a measured 229.2km travelled.  This was spot-on the Google Maps estimate of distance and the same as predicted by the Tom Tom Carminat system in the GT220.  More encouraging was the “Range” calculation showing an even 500km Distance to Empty.  Take away some of the more adverse conditions and I probably could bank on an easy 750km touring range.  This is an important consideration for future day-trips!

Finally the clock flashes up 10am and my fellow carpark lurkers and I spill from our rain sodden vehicles, gather our camera equipment and proceed into the Gift Shop/Entrance of the Museum.  $20 changes hands, I get my pass-out stamp and the days program of flying.

The Museum is broadly made up of 4 areas of interest; The Gift Shop and Information centre where displays covering both the aircraft and RAAF history are intermingled with museum restoration information, a “observation deck” that overlooks the main maintenance hanger so you can see aircraft being maintained (as opposed to the non-accessible restoration hangers), the main Museum Hanger where aircraft are displayed when not being flown, and finally the open-air benches and seating where the hard-stand, runway and flying can be observed from.  None of these areas are huge, so with the crowd diminished but he rain I’m able to move around freely and attempt to reacquaint myself with my old Canon 300D.

CAC Wirraway Trainer
CAC Wrraway
GoPro mounts fitted to wing of CAC Wirraway
GoPro Mounts!
T28D Trojan
T28D Trojan 


CA-27 Sabre
CA-27 Sabre

By now it’s clear the weather is going to get the best of the day.  There will be flying but there’s eagle eyes poised over the weather radar and flights will be low-level and low-speed to minimise aircraft damage.

That was something new I learnt, historic aircraft aren’t flown in the rain because the impact of water against the surfaces strips the paint!  The weather remains closed in, but the museum crew continue to ready aircraft while the small crowd rotate through the hangers and the open areas.

One young fan keeps watch on the Lockheed Hudson
One young fan keeps watch on the Lockheed Hudson

There’s plenty of time to take photos of todays demonstration aircraft between the rain squalls.  The Supermarine Spitfire Mk8, CAC Boomerang and Lockheed Hudson are prepped and fuelled in front of us.

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At last there’s a break in the weather and the CAC Boomerang takes to the air.  Shortly after the Boomerang returns the Spitfire takes off and gives us a unique demonstration of low-speed flying.  Normally (on a clear day) the Spitfire is flown more in line with its reputation for speed and agility, so in a way this is a refreshing change.   A break follows while the weather clears enough for the Hudson to take-off.  5 minutes becomes 15 which becomes 30 but eventually the rain breaks and the Hudson is up.

While the 300D and I struggled to get our groove back the iPhones video ability did allow me to capture the engine starts quite clearly.  Once in the air the 300mm telephoto was brought into play, the now 10 year old 300D was never going to cope well in the weather and my lack of recent experience didn’t make things better.  While I fumbling with settings I’d occasionally get a good short and ruin 20 others by forgetting to switch those same settings back!

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By 2pm the flying was over and the aircraft moved to the maintenance/engineering hangar for us all to get up close.  A bit more wandering around and finally it was time to make another pass through the giftshop before heading back to Canberra.

The plan for the return trip was much the same, use the same route, expect it to take 3 hours and generally stay out of trouble.  Pulling out of the Museum carpark at 2:30pm and crawling through Temora until hitting the open road I was immediately surprised at the massive increase in traffic.  The constant rain had led to a build-up of standing water, the road sections depressed through constant heavy vehicle use were now 20mm deep channels of standing water, the crown of the road and centre of each lane forming the “dry line”.

An insipid version of McDonalds coffee at Yass/Hume Highway Services – why is it that some McCafes still can’t make an average quality coffee? – before the final leg back to fill the tank and see what our real world economy was.

IMG_6945  IMG_6948  IMG_6949Door to door we covered 458.9km and burned a total of 34.71L of Shell V-Power.  My fuel use spreadsheet tells me this equates to 7.56L/100km.  The trip computer was showing an average consumption of 8.7L/100km and a Range of 320km.  I’m overall happy with that, pushing through water on the road and having a number of quite-low to quite-high speed runs overtaking on undulating terrain was never going to deliver diesel shaming economy.