- a blog by markus nolf

archive for the category "travel"

[posted: Monday, 2018-01-15] [category: travel] [tags: , , ]

we’ve just spent five weeks in vanuatu, largely off the beaten track, and wanted to share some first-hand and up-to-date travel information and tipps for independent travellers, from december 2017 and january 2018.

i’m typing this text on the phone to post it while it’s fresh, so proper formatting and some pictures will follow later.

general notes

online resources:
positive earth’s vanuatu aelan walkabaot (“island walkabout”) at has lots of information about accommodation, transport, and things to see on all the islands, even in very remote parts of vanuatu. the website is getting a little outdated, so prices have increased e.g. from 2500 to 3000 very p.p. for typical accommodation in the banks province, but in many cases it lists several options that other resources don’t, and in greater detail.

shefa travel at is run by the shefa province tourism office and has good travel info for efate, pele & nguna, emae & tongoa, and epi islands, including phone numbers to contact local-run bungalows directly. 

similar websites exist for the some of the other provinces, e.g. for malekula and ambrym in malampa province, but these seem to have a central non-profit (but nonetheless slightly more expensive) booking office and don’t give direct contact options.

there are apps that let you download web content for offline use, such as OffLine Browser for android. very handy for remote where we found cellphone reception and data connections to be very unreliable.


[posted: Wednesday, 2017-06-14] [category: photo, travel] [tags: , , ]

here are three photos of uluru (“ayers rock”) and kata tjuta (“the olgas”) at sunset. i have seen many perfect pictures and postcards of uluru before finally visiting the place, but it took nothing away from the sense of marvel and appreciation when we were actually standing in front of these massive rock formations!

uluru in golden sunset light


[posted: Sunday, 2017-05-14] [category: photo, travel, video] [tags: , , ]

on our great Great Ocean Road road trip, we happened to visit the cape otway lighthouse. i was actually not very interested in lighthouses when we visited the area (and much more excited about the almost guaranteed koala sightings along the road to the lighthouse), but the entrance fee was included in our accommodation and we decided to checked it out. good decision!
it’s a fascinating piece of engineering, and worth talking to a visitor guide who will explain its history and functioning!

inside the cape otway lighthouse lantern room


[posted: Sunday, 2015-07-12] [category: photo, travel] [tags: , , ]

here are a few impressions from a recent field trip to outback australia, more precisely western new south wales. our route included stops in toorale national park, wilcannia, broken hill and mootwingee (mutawintji) national park and kinchega national park.

panorama: kinchega national park - the desert, after rainfall

i’ll let the pictures and captions speak for themselves. [more…]

[posted: Tuesday, 2015-07-07] [category: photo, travel] [tags: , ]

below, you see a resized version of a 45 megapixel night sky panorama recorded in toorale national park near bourke, outback new south wales, australia. the image is composed of 24 individual 30 second exposures at f/1.8 and ISO 1600 taken with the Sony RX100 (mark 1), a compact camera that continues to impress me even after almost three years of frequent use. the panorama took almost an hour to record.

night sky panorama: the milky way, seen from toorale national park in the australian outback

here’s a detail crop of the milky way, from the left third of the image: [more…]

[posted: Sunday, 2015-06-28] [category: photo, travel] [tags: , ]

the australian outback is dry. very dry. except when it rains.
here are three photospheres (interactive 360 degree panoramas) from a recent trip to western new south wales:

red sand tracks leading through the outback, toorale national park.


[posted: Monday, 2014-06-16] [category: travel, video] [tags: ]

for the past few months, i’ve been wearing meru zip-off pants when outdoors and/or traveling. the manufacturer promises that the fabric used, called armadillo (65% polyester, 35% cotton), is “virtually mosquito proof” and i’ve been wondering how much this promise really holds in the wild.
on a recent field trip to what can only be described as “mosquito land”, i noticed that many mozzies were actually trying to bite through the pants, but eventually gave up. here’s a short video that shows one of these mosquitos trying to get through the fabric, and failing miserably:

isn’t it fascinating how bendy these probosces are?

is armadillo fabric really mosquito proof? (mosquito head and proboscis outlined in red) is armadillo fabric really mosquito proof? (mosquito head and proboscis outlined in red)