Viti Levu, Fiji.

Everyone talks about that dream vacation on a tropical island, don’t they? My visit to Fiji was my first, and it was absolutely beautiful.

On entering the airport terminal, you’re greeted with a welcoming song – and oh, wow! Can they ever sing! Everywhere you go, you’re greeted with a friendly “Bula!” and a genuine smile.

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The islanders of Viti Levu call this mountain ‘The Sleeping Giant’.

 

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The mountains become more prominent in the scenery as you travel inland from the coast.

 

The scenery is dramatic. Farms and fields of sugar cane and corn give way to mountains dotted with villages.

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The people are vibrant and friendly, the colours are bright and vivid, and the hospitality is warmer than anywhere else I’ve been. Their houses and shops are not like those in Australia or the US – these people don’t place a high value on being fancy. Their values revolve around faith, family and community.

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Among the colourful buildings and homes, the police stations are all white and blue so that people can identify them easily.

The sand on the beaches is golden and the water is clear and almost magically turquoise.

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Many of the beaches feature palm trees that sway in the light breeze, which is almost constant.

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Golden sand and turquoise water make a very inviting vision!

As we drove into the mountains, the beaches gave way to forests, rivers, and more closely settled villages.

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Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf, Camperdown.

I don’t know about you, but I love a stormy sky and the different qualities it brings to the landscape.

Mt Leura is relatively small for a ‘mountain’, but it does afford a spectacular view of the “lakes and craters” landscape of this dormant volcanic region.

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Overlooking Camperdown.

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Looking north – the rain is coming!

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Looking northeast.

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Looking east, over Lake Corangamite toward Colac.

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Mt Sugarloaf – a perfectly conical formation nestled beside Mt Leura.

Vermont.

Vermont is one of those places that is stunning everywhere you look, at any time of year. We drove south across the border of  Quebec at Morse’s Line hoping to see some Autumn colours and to see  some ski trails on the mountains.

We saw some absolutely breathtaking colours and scenery.  We headed through Enosburg and Montgomery, enjoying gorgeous scenery with beautiful mountain backdrops.     

  

  

 

From there, we headed to State Route 58 and into Hazen’s Notch. Incredible colours ranging from yellow-green and gold to deep red danced with the sunshine along winding gravel roads, with the scenery opening up to reveal whole mountainsides covered with vivid colour. 

  

  

 

After Hazen’s Notch, we turned at Lowell and headed up to Jay Peak, where the ski runs were lined with magnificent trees in every shad of Autumn.

   

 

We headed up to see where the Von Trapp family moved after leaving Austria. Looking at the mountains surrounding their lodge, it’s easy to see why they chose this part of Vermont. It’s safe to say that these Vermont hills are alive too! 

 

We then circled back to Montgomery and, from there, turned toward the ski resort town of Stowe via State Road 108 and Smuggler’s Notch. 

Smuggler’s Notch is even more stunning than Hazen’s.  The same kind of winding roads and trees team with rugged mountain cliffs and enormous boulders that have fallen from them to provide stunning scenery that reminds you of your relative insignificance in relation to the size and forces of nature. 

   
 

Stowe is a very attractive looking town, but you can tell it’s a playground for those with lots of money. There’s nothing about this “resort village” as it calls itself that says ‘budget family holiday’. The hotels are enormous and the condo blocks are fancy. Glossy red gondolas leave the centre of the town and carry people up the mountain. In all honesty, I was glad we drove straight through because I much preferred the surrounding scenery than the town itself. 
   

 

Vermont is blessed with a wealth of majestic scenery. It’s one of those places where there is natural beauty everywhere you look. 

RED ROCK LOOKOUT, ALVIE.

Red Rock is a dormant volcano near Alvie in western Victoria which offers spectacular views of lakes, craters and dramatic landforms that are the result of volcanic action over thousands of years. It is believed to be a younger volcano than others nearby such as Tower Hill near Warrnambool, Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown, and Mt Elephant at Derrinallum. The views from the lookout are breathtaking: craters, lakes, hills and folds that rise dramatically out of the earth, and a patchwork of farms that thrive on the rich volcanic soil.It’s no wonder they call this “Lakes and Craters Country”.

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On Coragulac Hill near the peak of Red Rock, is the War Memorial for Alvie and Dreeite servicemen who fought “for God, King and Country” as stated on the stone memorial. As I stood and read the names, I was very aware of the fact that it was exactly 100 years ago that some of these men were fighting and dying for our freedom.  I spent two minutes in silence and finished with “Lest We Forget”.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.

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