Thursday, May 28, 2015




By guest blogger Kris Madden

8:15 am on 6 August 1945 was the moment the world changed forever. It was at this time Hiroshima became the target of the world’s first atomic bomb attack. This August commemorates 70 years since that devastating attack, which effectively brought an end to WWII in the Pacific.
There are many attractions in Hiroshima that are a reminder of that day, but the city is far from a depressing place. Present-day Hiroshima is a vibrant city with an internationally minded community. Reborn from the ashes, it offers a chance to learn about the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

                                         The city of Hiroshima means ‘Wide Island’ in Japanese.
Hiroshima’s leafy Peace Memorial Park is dotted with memorials, one of the main ones being the Cenotaph, which contains the names of all the known victims of the bomb.
Some may find it upsetting as many of the displays are confronting, but Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum is an essential place to visit. It presents the history of the city prior to the bomb, along with some gruesome dioramas and artefacts recovered in the aftermath of the blast, such as ragged clothes, glasses, and twisted remains of roof tiles that bubbled with the heat of the explosion.
There are video testimonials from some of the survivors of what they witnessed that day, and in the years following. The museum also displays the development of even more powerful and destructive weapons in the years since 1945.

                                         'Hello, Kitty', Hiroshima is far from a depressing place.
Across the river, the A-Bomb Dome is possibly the starkest reminder of the city’s destruction. The bomb exploded almost directly above the building. Remarkably, although everything around it was razed, the propped-up ruins still remain, and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

While the memorials and displays relating to the blast are sobering, ‘The City of Peace’, inspires hope for the future.

                                         A-Bomb Dome.
The Children’s Peace Monument is inspired by Sadako Sasaki, who survived the bombing as a baby, but developed leukaemia 10 years later. She decided to fold 1000 paper cranes, which in Japan are a symbol of longevity and happiness, convinced that if she reached that target she would recover. Unfortunately Sadako died before she reached her goal, however her classmates folded the rest. The story inspired a nationwide spate of paper crane folding that continues today. Many places give away free paper cranes as a symbol of the city.

                                         Children’s Peace Monument.

                                         Folded paper cranes are a symbol of the city.

This August commemorates 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima, and the city has designated it the year “to share Hiroshima’s desire for peace”. Around 35 projects marking the 70th anniversary will begin, under the themes of “enhancing the city’s ability to convey its call for peace; supporting A-bomb survivors and handing down the desire for peace to future generations; expressing peace through culture and art; and appreciating the attractiveness of the reconstructed city and its ongoing development”.

My last stop is the Flame of Peace, which will remain lit until the last nuclear weapon on earth has been destroyed. Let’s hope we see it extinguished in our lifetime.

                                         The Flame of Peace.
Further information

Getting there

Hiroshima can be reached in 4 hours from JR Tokyo Station by high-speed bullet train. It is 1 hour and a half by shinkansen from Kyoto Station.
Follow Kris Madden’s other travel stories at






Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Get Up & Go: Discover Southern Queensland - more flights!

Get Up & Go: Discover Southern Queensland - more flights!

Discover Southern Queensland - more flights!

It’s never been easier to discover one of Queensland’s hidden tourism gems – Toowoomba and Southern Country Queensland. Get Up & Go was invited to fly to Toowoomba to enjoy the town's amazing First Coat street art festival. And being able to board a flight that flies us directly from Sydney to Toowoomba (in a little over an hour) adds to the desirability of this southern Queensland destination.

QantasLink now has two extra weekly return services between Sydney and Toowoomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport (WTB). The new services equate to an additional 296 seats a week with a total of 1924 QantasLink seats offered weekly.
Added to the extra flights is the discovery of the beautiful new airport that Toowoomba is puffing its chest out about - and so it should.
Sitting in the middle of what looks like a vast paddock, the gleaming, architecturally snappy building boasts modern, clean, contemporary lines that stand out in the landscape.
A large entrance with plenty of room to move, interesting photographic décor across some walls gives the history vibe total regional relevance to this building and what it functions as.
(And you can buy excellent coffee here. Trust me.)

QantasLink is the foundation customer for Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, Australia’s newest Airport, which welcomed its first flights on 17 November last year. The airport is also serviced by Regional Express Airlines (REX) providing intrastate Queensland services.
With this new schedule, holiday-makers will be able to fly-in from Sydney on a Friday eveing and depart Sunday afternoon or first thing (6am flight) Monday.
A weekend away in Queensland could do the 'stress relief 'trick!

Southern Country Queensland is home to myriad food and wine trails, funky festivals, iconic events, roaring rodeos, natural wonders, artisan delights, luxurious escapes and fun family attractions – all delivered with authentic country hospitality.  
The weekend Get Up & Go was in Toowoomba (16-17 May), there was the fantastic First Coat street art festival (the largest outdoor gallery in the state); the tasty nearby Hampton event (food and wine); the 1000 paws walk and there were many cute canines taking their owners for walks through the many parks and leafy streets.


Throughout the year here, you can party at the picnic races, meet the wine maker, plunge into fruit picking and grape stomping, reconnect at a family farm stay, wonder at amazing waterfalls or curl up in front of a log fire.
From pasture to plate, the region is a foodies delight as Australia’s second biggest agricultural basin.
It’s also home to the Granite Belt wine country, almost 1000metres above sea level boasting a cool Alpine climate year round – perfect for a delicate verdhello and bold shiraz. Many wines in the region have received rave reviews from critics such as James Halliday.

The QantasLink flights added to the existing schedule are:

o   WTB-SYD, 7pm on Fridays

o   SYD-WTB, 6.35am on Saturdays

o   SYD-WTB, 1.05pm on Sundays

o   WTB-SYD, 3.10pm on Sundays

(Negotiations were also continuing with QantasLink for other routes, with Melbourne a high priority.)

Editor of Get Up & Go, Bev Malzard was a guest of Southern Queensland Country.







 For schedules and flights visit

Sunday, May 10, 2015




This neighbourhood is undergoing a quiet transformation . . .
There is no better time to re-discover the Flatiron District of New York City, with the monumental art exhibition in Madison Square Park on view while it is being installed for the June 1 opening day, the debut of the New York EDITION luxury hotel this month, the much-awaited reopening of Shake Shack and the Big Apple BBQ happening here later this spring.


The Flatiron District (above) is named after the signature 1902 Flatiron Building named so because of its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron.  The wedge-shaped building sits on a triangular island-block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street.

Experience the Flatiron District like a local
  • Getting there: The Flatiron District is easily accessible by the N, R and 6 subway lines.
  • Madison Square Park Art: The most ambitious art sculpture to be mounted in the park, Fata Morgana by Teresita Fernández features golden, mirror-polished discs that will hang over some 500 feet of the park’s walkways. On view in its entirety on June 1, visitors can now enjoy sections of the exhibit as they are installed throughout the park.
  • Museums: The Grand Masonic Lodge features a library and museum open to the public that is dedicated to notable American Masons like former NYC mayor Fiorella LaGuardia and founding father Benjamin Franklin. Visitors can learn about the evolution of human sexuality at the Museum of Sex, which has more than 15,000 objects in its permanent collection. The Museum of Mathematics makes math fun, with interactive exhibitions on the connection between math and everyday objects.
  • Italian Dining: The Flatiron District is home to an array of Italian food options from gourmet pizza at Tappo Thin Crust Pizza, to contemporary and casual Italian dining at Obicà, to Eataly’s 50,000 square foot-plus, high-end Italian food market and its rooftop restaurant and brewery Birreria.
  • Restaurants: Craft Restaurant features green-market cuisine and family-style meals, while KOA offers a twist on modern Chinese cuisine with Japanese influences. Visitors craving a taste of the American South can also enjoy the soulful dishes of Blue Smoke. Shake Shack, popular for its custards, burgers, hot dogs and crinkle-cut fries, will be reopening later this spring after renovations at its original location in Madison Square Park.  
                                              Madison Square Park.
  • Shops: Abracadabra Superstore is a unique, all-in-one joke shop, novelty warehouse and magic emporium. Manhattan Saddlery carries equestrian gear for those looking to saddle up in fashion. The Limelight Shops is a retail destination with more than 50 upscale vendors, including Soapology and Mariebelle Chocolates.
  • Nightlife: From old-school cocktails at the Flatiron Lounge, to world-class live music at Jazz Standard, to Ping-Pong at SPiN, the Flatiron District comes alive with a variety of things to do when the sun goes down.
  • Events: Madison Square Park features food festivals year-round, including Madison Square Eats through May 28 and Big Apple Barbecue from June 13–14.
Visitors looking to experience more of the Flatiron District for longer than a day can stay at The New York EDITION, which will open May 14 in the historic 41-story clock tower that was once home to The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. With interiors designed by world-renowned architect David Rockwell, this sophisticated hotel features 273 rooms and suites, along with a restaurant located on the landmarked second floor, lobby bar, and a fitness center and spa on the 39th floor.
NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organisation, today announced Manhattan’s Flatiron District as the next area featured in its NYCGO Insider Guides. As part of the neighbourhood’s promotion, a short documentary is available online that features locals who recommend the Flatiron District’s must-see places, venues and more that make it distinct. To view the documentary and neighbourhood highlights visit  
For more information, visit
Images by: Kate Glicksberg

Monday, May 4, 2015

Get Up & Go

Get Up & Go

Adventure a-plenty for Pony Express

Although William Russell, Alexander Majors and William Waddell were already well into the transport business with 3,500 wagons and stage coaches,  40,000 oxen to haul them, and with somewhere around 4,000 men on their payroll, they came up with an idea in 1860 for yet another money-making venture.
And an advertisement they placed in a St Joseph, Missouri newspaper in America’s Midwest for adventurous youngsters to sign up to their new scheme, contained a most eye-opening clause.
For the ad read “WANTED: young, skinny, wiry fellows, not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages $25 a week” and gave a St Joseph address at which to apply.


And the reason for “Orphans Preferred,” was because they didn’t want angry mums and dads bothering them if their sons died in the line of duty.
But despite the forebodings, apply youngsters did, and in their hundreds – for the job offered obvious outdoors adventure, and $25 a week (about AU$765 today) was an absolute fortune at a time when unskilled labourers and farmhands were lucky to earn $1 a day.
Russell, Majors and Waddell registered their new company as the Central Overland Express, advertising that it would offer a “speedy” 10-days for letters, newspapers and small packages to be delivered some 3,100km between St Joseph and Sacramento in California.
And because it would be by horse-back, it quickly became known simply as The Pony Express.


                                         Some of the earliest Pony Express riders.

The men hand-chose 400 horses, built some 190 small relay stations, leased larger buildings for home stations along their route, and hired 120 riders – who at an average 45kg, were more like racing jockeys than those expected to face long hours in the saddle in sun or snow, and to fight-off attacks by unfriendly Indians and less-savoury other travellers.
Russell, Majors and Waddell dreamed-up their new venture to cater to the rapidly bourgeoning population that followed the discovery of gold in California in 1848.  A population that came largely from America’s East, and which was reliant on mail, newspapers, parcels, freight and household items coming by lumbering stage coaches that could take weeks to cross from one side of America to the other.


Hollenberg home station in Kansas; at these home stations riders could get some well-earned sleep after 120km and up to 20 hours in the saddle. (Pony Express Museum)

Because St Joseph was already well-connected to much of the country’s east by numerous railroads and stage lines, the Pony Express would collate its mail and start from there, travelling through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, including across the Nevada Desert and conversely the high snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains, to Sacramento.
From there the mail could then be quickly distributed by coach and wagon along roads that in 1860 now fanned out to reach a California population of over 380,000.

Remains of a Pony Express relay station in Nevada’s Ruby Valley; riders simply changed horses at these and rode on. (Pony Express Museum)

Young riders were given a revolver, rifle, waterbag and Bible, and made to take a bizarre oath that they would abstain from swearing, drinking alcohol and quarrelling with fellow employees while on the job…
And they were required to gallop their horses non-stop for roughly 16kms between relay stations, change mounts at up to seven of these, and finally after around 120km by day or night get some well-earned rest at home stations while someone else urged fresh horses onwards with their precious mail pouches.


The ‘mochila’ saddle that sat across the horse’s normal saddle and had four pockets for carrying 10kg of mail, small parcels and newspapers. (WikiMedia)

The pouches, called mochilas, were like a second saddle with four pockets into which a-near 10kg of mail and small parcels were packed, and were simply thrown across the horse’s regular saddle and kept in place by the rider’s weight. Customers initially paid a whopping US$5 per ½ ounce an item (14gm,) although this eventually dropped to $1 (about AU$30 today.)
Amongst earliest Pony Express riders was “Buffalo Bill” Cody who enlisted at 14 years of age, and later went on to serve in the Civil War, become an Indian scout, travelling showman, and ultimately own his own Wild West Show.
Many Pony Express riders reported doing up to 20 hours in the saddle at a time in extremes of heat and cold, some told of leading their horses through metre-deep snow for days in winter, others were killed in conflicts between Indians and white settlers, and yet others died in riding accidents.
But although the mail always got through, the Pony Express lasted a mere year and a half, killed off by the coming of the instant trans-continental Electric Telegraph in 1861.

Researched and written  by David Ellis.