Welcome to TravelWriterLife

  Hello, and welcome to my blog: TravelWriterLife. For the next six years my other blog, CurseOfTheTraveller, will be dedicated to daily posts of entries from my travel diaries written between September 1988 and June 1994. With that in mind, I decided to launch another blog where my travel stories, photography and other bits could… Continue reading Welcome to TravelWriterLife

BACKSTORY PART ONE: The House of Blakiston.

I come from Geraldine. Someone had to. My hometown, Geraldine, on New Zealand’s South Island, doesn’t have any notable citizens. We can’t lay claim to being the birthplace of a great politician, or an eminent scientist, or even some famous deviant, serial killer or chef. The closest thing Geraldine has to a celebrity is Jordan… Continue reading BACKSTORY PART ONE: The House of Blakiston.


“When vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings…” – Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness  North of Westport, State Highway 67 followed the coast on a narrow, scrubby littoral. The outer edge of the Denniston Plateau, where vast amounts of coal were hewn from the earthquake-rumpled landscape during the late nineteenth and early… Continue reading NORTH BY NORTH-WEST


Out here nothing changes,Not in a hurry anyway.You feel the endlessness,Running from the light of day…                             – Goanna, Solid Rock. East of Borroloola the back left tyre of my four-wheel-drive exploded.  I was driving fast, too fast, probably, on a hellish stretch… Continue reading THE GATES OF HELL


Out where the river broke,The bloodwood and the desert oak…                            – Midnight Oil, Beds Are Burning At Roper Bar I was swimming with crocodiles. And not the harmless freshwater variety, either. These were the real deal: big ‘ol, bad-tempered, drag-you-under-and-drown-you saltwater crocs.… Continue reading CROCODILE COUNTRY


the emu-sextons pay me a last cursory glance… At Menzies, a dead-on-its-feet mining town a hundred kilometres north of Kalgoorlie, I turn off the bitumen highway onto a rutted track bulldozed through the red dirt landscape of Western Australia.  My rented car moves about on the loose surface like a schooner under sail on a… Continue reading IRON AND GOLD


You’re in by Karumba,Where the fishing boats come in;I can’t believe this feeling,But I wish that I was there,Every passing day…                    – Goanna, Every Passing Day Fifteen nautical miles north-west of Karumba the oppressive air presses down on us with an almost tactile force. Thunderheads massed… Continue reading UNDER THE SUN


The river stretches a braided thread of silver along the valley floor. Morning in the High Country. On a hillside far above the Phantom River, a musterer gives his sheepdogs a command: “Speak up!” His four black and tan huntaways immediately set up a cacophony of loud barking. The musterer joins in with his own… Continue reading SHADOWS ON THE HILL


And so I came, at last, to my final destination in India: the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. I had wandered through the stone garden of the Park Street Cemetery, sat quietly in the grand neo-Gothic St. Paul’s Cathedral and walked along busy, crowded Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road to the gardens of the Maidan. The… Continue reading MONUMENT


…the tomb of Nithar, lies reflected in the shimmering pool.  In Allahabad I find a secret garden. I have been walking for hours: exploring the parks of the city’s centre, the exquisite domed buildings of the University, the sad, barricaded, derelict cathedral. I have fallen asleep on a concrete bench beneath a shady tree in… Continue reading JAHANGIR’S GARDEN