On the way home : Lingering Look at Windows

Only 3 kilometres along the coast from Trial Bay gaol is the charming little seaside town of South West Rocks. Our friends put it as a “must see” and recommended we definitely should visit it.

After the walk to the lighthouse and being immersed in gaol life all morning the time had flown round to 3-30pm, coffee time. First priority was to find some where open. A local bakery is always a good choice. We made it just as they were closing but they made a good coffee and we chose one of their home-made meat pies to sustain us.

I think we must’ve been all “photo’d” out. Do you ever get like that?  As walking around the small shopping area we just looked and didn’t take any photos. Then I spotted some windows and had to snap them. So here are a few window photos.

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I rather like this colour combination.

Then we walked round the corner and down to the beach. This apartment block was all windows.

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When we turned round it was just WOW what a view they have.

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With views like this my photography mojo was turned back on.

What a great place to sit and contemplate or meditate

What a great place to sit and contemplate or meditate

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I tried to catch that magical effect of the sun sparkling like diamonds on the ocean. I vaguely remember reading some where that there is a special expression used to describe this and it has a calming effect on the mind. Can any one out there tell me what it is?

It was a beautiful moment watching the swimmers enjoying the ocean.

So ends another interesting day, not many more days before we will be heading home to the Goldcoast.

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G’day Dawn. I’m sneaking in a second post about windows this week.

Categories: Australia, Lingering look at windows, New South Wales, photos, South West Rocks, travel | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Another day, another outing. Let’s go to gaol

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There is so much beauty along this coast and it is also steeped in history.

“The cape was named Smoky Cape by Captain Cook when he passed it on 13 May 1770, writing of “a point or headland, on which were fires that Caused a great Quantity of smook, which occasioned my giving it the name of Smooky Cape”.[2] Smook was his usual spelling of smoke, the spelling for the cape now follows the modern spelling. The hills there were an important meeting place for aboriginal people from various surrounding areas, it’s possible Cook saw fires from such a gathering.[3]

A lighthouse was proposed for the cape in 1886 and completed in 1891. Known as the Smoky Cape Lighthouse it was built from concrete and local granite aggregate in an octagonal shape at the highest point on the cape.” (from Wikipedia)

Before walking up to the lighthouse we take a short stroll through the bush.

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A relaxing stroll

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“Smoky Cape Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on Smoky Cape, a headland east of the town of South West Rocks, New South Wales, Australia, and within the Hat Head National Park. It directs boats towards the entrance to the Macleay River, which is located just to the north of the lighthouse.[2]

It is one of the last major lighthouse complexes designed by the New South Wales colonial architect of the time, James Barnet,[3] and was one of Australia’s last lighthouses to be designed for architectural excellence.[4] Standing on a granite headland 140 metres (460 ft) above the sea, its light is the highest in New South Wales.[5]“(From Wikipedia)

The path is steep but the views are spectacular.

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Looking North

Looking North

B&B cottages

B&B cottages

On the way up we pass these cottages. Staying here you would get fit walking up and down to your accommodation.

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From the top the view South is as stunning.

View South

View South

A short drive away is the Trial Bay Gaol.

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Step back in time and soak up the history and the amazing coastal views that surround it.

The gaol opened in 1886, after 13 years of construction. It must have been a strange feeling building a prison in such a beautiful setting. The prison labourers were there to construct a breakwater to make Trial Bay a safe harbour between Sydney and Brisbane. Unfortunately the scheme failed, however you’ll still be able to see the remains of the breakwater from the guard tower lookout. During World War I the gaol became an internment camp for people of German descent who were feared to be enemy sympathisers.

Today, this picturesque historic ruin stands as a testament to those who lived and died here, with a museum and memorial for visitors to get a better idea of life in those days.

That little dog is the back seat driver...

That little dog is the back seat driver…

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Very solid construction

Very solid construction

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These are the only inmates we saw and they seemed to have the run of the place.

Laying down on the job

Laying down on the job

I can imagine that back when this gaol was in operation it was one of the more liberal prisons, and what a million dollar location.

Time to head for home but we have one more stop on the way… to be continued

Categories: Australia, New South Wales, photos, Smoky Bay lighthouse, travel, Trial Bay goal | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

A day out immersed in the art and craft of Bellingen

40 kilometres along the Waterfall Way is the delightful small town of Bellingen. Surrounded by mountains and nestled on the banks of the Bellingen River it has the romance of a place loved by artists of all kinds. What attracts artistic people to a certain place? Is it the beauty and peaceful atmosphere? Is it a few artists settle here and suddenly a commune of artists develops? Whatever the reason in the 1970’s Bellingen became one of those places.

From the 1970s until the present, alternative life-stylers purchased land in the area and built owner-built homes. Numerous intentional communities were established, many of which are still in existence. The rural lifestyle of Bellingen and surrounds has consequently diverged and is now a mix of traditional and non-traditional farming. Many of today’s residents, such as artists, craftspeople, writers, musicians and horticulturalists, have established home-based activities.” (information from Wikipedia)

The old Bellingen Butter Factory is now a collection of art and craft shops, paintings, glass work, leather work, wood gallery, fashion emporium, antiques of all kinds. We spent a pleasant hour pottering around through all the outlets.

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This old corrugated iron shed had been transformed into a fashion boutique but with a difference.

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Can you see it? The trunk of the tree has been allowed to stay and the shed has been formed around it.

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The shops were all clustered around a landscaped court-yard.

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Huge, spacious area packed with fascinating stuff.

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Just look at that beautiful window in the leather shop. Dawn runs a “lingering look at windows” each week and invites us to share windows we see, so here is a gallery of windows I captured around this interesting place.

Of course there is a restaurant/café and a jazz band was entertaining the diners with very good Dixie land jazz. So time out for a coffee and light lunch and sit soaking up the atmosphere.

Before going back to the car we walked down to the river.

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Another 2 kilometres along the road and we stopped in the main street of Bellingen.

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I think this may be one of the alternative type locals. What do you think?

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 A group of locals are having a liquid lunch while the dog waits patiently for it’s master.

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Next to the pub is this old style “Emporium” going inside is like entering a time capsule and going back almost 100 years.

The shop assistants were giving us side ways looks as we oh’d and ah’d our way around taking photos.

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Next door this grocery shop had a definite old-time feel about it too.

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The bank is a splendid example of Art Deco. But then most old towns have very impressive bank buildings, I guess they had the money to make a statement in style.

Just look at the size of these trees.

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Floating down the street came the happy, chirpy sound of an Irish jig and we stood a while tapping our feet to the rhythm. 2 dogs wait for their owners here.

Just to finish our wander around this charming old town I couldn’t resist another gallery of windows.

 

Categories: Australia, Bellingen, Lingering look at windows, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

A journey into the dawn of time.

 

Where we are staying for this house sit, along the mid-north coast of NSW, the mountain scenery  is a spectacular backdrop to the pristine beaches along the coast. National Parks abound in this area. One in particular we have been told about is Dorrigo National Park along the “Waterfall Way”. The name alone tempts me to explore. So today with the sun shining we head inland.

It is a 65 kilometre drive from Nambucca Heads to Dorrigo and the road is a marvel of the grit and determination of the early road builders. It climbs and winds through narrow gorges cut from solid rock. In places the tight turns curl back on themselves. Then it will narrow to a one way cutting. It feels like driving a rally course and needs intense concentration. The spectacular scenery spreads away to the horizon.

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As I squeeze past the oncoming traffic I catch a glimpse of this waterfall mistily cascading down the cliff face, we pull over to take a photo.

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The rainforest towers above us.

It is lunchtime when we pull into Dorrigo the small timber settlement on the edge of the National Park.

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This grand old hotel built in 1925 by Michael Feros, is heritage listed and is still owned by the Feros family. It is a classic example of Australian hotel architecture of the 1920s. The meals had been recommended and they were good, but HUGE. After seeing the size of other diners meals, we ordered one seafood platter to share. 4 Large calamari that just melted in the mouth, 4 super size prawns, 4 pieces of fish a heap of chips and a delicious fresh salad, that was supposed to be a meal for one! Needless to say we enjoyed it…

Next it was a short 2 kilometre detour along the road to the Dangar Falls.

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It was a pleasant surprise to see so much water cascading over the escarpment as there has been no rain for weeks.

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  This fertile area was once covered in forest and the giant red cedar was the king, but the timber industry of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s soon cleaned out this precious timber.

Word quickly spread of the agricultural potential of the area’s deep basalt Soils, and with Government regulations requiring selectors to improve the value of their land, farmers immediately set to work to clear the scrub for pasture.

Rainforest clearing was backbreaking work. Trees were ringbarked or felled, and burnt in ‘great conflagrations’.

 “During the last twelve months it is estimated that fully 3,000 acres of timber have been committed to the flames so that at the present rate it will not be very long before the entire original scrub has disappeared.” (Agricultural Gazette, 1911).

The 1917 Guide to the Dorrigo Shire extolled the plateau as “an enormous area of splendid, delightfully, watered agricultural and dairying lands, upon which are many smiling homesteads and herds of well-bred cattle and adds “notwithstanding wanton destruction of enormous areas of timber, magnificent supplies yet remain for posterity”.

However, the luxuriance of the rainforest growth exaggerated the fertility of the underlying soils. Most of the valuable plant nutrients were derived from the rich and constantly recycled litter layer of the forest floor, and after forest clearing and subsequent burning,these nutrients were quickly depleted.

It was a hard life for early settlers, with distant markets and decreasing soil fertility offering poor returns. However, many were successful and dairying, beef cattle and logging are still major industries of Dorrigo today.”  (information from the Dorrigo community web site)

Leaving the fertile farmlands behind we drove on to the Rainforest centre.

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This word brings to me the vision of an ancient land, with dinosaurs roaming through the rainforest. But this is the twenty-first century and fortunately remnants of these prehistoric rainforests have been preserved as National Parks.

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This 75 metre long “Skywalk” takes you over the rainforest canopy to magnificent views to the distant mountains and on a clear day as far as the ocean.

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After seeing life from a bird’s eye view it is now time to go down to ground level.

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Another board walk takes us down into the bowels of the rainforest.

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As we walk through this heritage listed park the track winds through the luxuriant tropical vegetation. Trees, with large buttress roots,  tower above us, palms fight for space as thick woody vines encircle every thing. Epiphytes and ferns are also common and add a profusion of multi-layered confusion.

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This describes the atmosphere so well. Much better words than I could ever think of to describe how it feels, with the rustle of the wind and the abundant call of birds and, surprisingly, no one else on the track, it felt as though we had been transported back to the start of time.

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There is so much more to see in this spectacular area and I make a mental note that we will come back again and follow this “Water Fall Way” right along its 165 kilometre length from the ocean at Coffs Harbour to Armidale on the New England tablelands.

***********************

This is my contribution to “Jo’s Monday Walk”.

Categories: Australia, Dorrigo National Park, Jo's Monday walks, National Parks, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 64 Comments

Lingering Look at Windows over the River

Nambucca Heads is our closest shopping centre. A small town of 10000 people, it was an important coastal port with ship building and timber mills as the main industries in the 1800s and early 1900s. Situated at the mouth of the Nambucca river where the river flows into the sea it is now an ideal tourist destination and the fishing is superb.

Some of the best views in town can be seen from the local RSL club as you gaze through the large picture windows.

Large windows invite you to come inside

Large windows invite you to come inside

Up the stairs past more interesting windows

Up the stairs passed more interesting windows

Morning tea time and not too busy

Morning tea time and not too busy

How can you ignore this view.

How can you ignore this view.

Looking down the Nambucca River

Looking down the Nambucca River, notice the pelicans and the fisherman launching his boat. Those pelicans will be waiting for the return of the fishing boats.

A board walk runs along the edge of the river so after scones, jam and cream to go with our coffee we go for a short walk.

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“Quick, look, look” Jack calls, and we watch entranced as a couple of dolphins leap and play in the centre of the river. They are so fast diving and leaping we could not catch a photo of them. Then, with a last flick of their tails they are gone.

Further along we discover the “V-Wall”, a long row of rocks and boulders along the breakwater where every one is encouraged to make a statement and leave a message or decorate one of the rocks. It has become a Nambucca Heads institution.

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The rocks covered in art work disappear into the distance

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As we wander along reading all the messages there is suddenly a loud commotion in the bay.

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The fish must be running and it is creating a frantic feeding frenzy among the pelicans and seagulls.

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The tide is strong and swift and the birds have to keep flying back to where the fish are.

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Then launching back into the fray. I think that splash of water in the bottom centre of the photo could be a fish trying to get away.

 The climate in Nambucca Heads is close to perfect, with highs of around 27°C in summer, and 18°C in winter. An ideal place for a holiday.

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Dawn invites us to join in her “lingering look at windowseach week and show the windows we have found.

Categories: Australia, Lingering look at windows, Nambucca Heads, New South Wales, photos | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Beach Walk : Joining Jo’s Monday Walk Group

Valla Beach is only a 5 minute car drive away and this is where we take Rufus for his morning walk.

First a stroll through a small patch of rain forest

First a stroll through a small patch of rain forest

Across the boardwalk

Across the boardwalk

Those shells on a tree stump look interesting

Those shells on a tree stump look interesting

Let's have a closer look

Let’s have a closer look

There's the ocean

There’s the ocean

 

We have the beach all to ourselves.

We have the beach all to ourselves.

Jack spends time fossicking for shells

Jack spends time fossicking for shells

It's starting to look like rain, time to head back

It’s starting to look like rain, time to head back

Have a drink of water Rufus.

Have a drink of water Rufus.

Just a short walk this week, hope the sea air refreshed you.

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Jo invites us to join her on a weekly walk and take us for a walk in our parts of the world.

Categories: Australia, house sitting, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, Ocean, photos, Valla Beach | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

House sitting again

We love house sitting, it is a great way to make new friends, explore different parts of Australia and adopt a new animal family.

So I would like to introduce you to our latest furry and woolly friends.

Rufus a beautiful, loveable blue heeler.

Rufus a beautiful, loveable blue heeler.

The "boys" 3 very aloof and haughty alpacas

The “boys” 3 very aloof and haughty alpacas

Notice the park like grounds and mature trees. The alpacas have 20 acres to wander around during the day and each evening I entice them back to their securely fenced night paddock with a bucket of pellets.

Can you see me?

Can you see me?

Wait for me...

Wait for me…

Time for a chat now they are in the shed.

Time for a chat now they are in the shed.

We are staying on an idyllic property just 7 kilometres inland from Valla Beach on the Mid-north coast of NSW.

The garden wraps around the house in a profusion of colour and we wake each morning to the song of birds and the distant crowing of a cockerel as he welcomes the day.

Mobile coverage is non-existent and the internet connection is very slow. I wonder is that a good or bad thing!!!

So posts will be few and far between.

Categories: Australia, house sitting, New South Wales, Valla Beach | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Lingering Look at Heritage Windows.

Braidwood is another delightful little village we discovered just an hours drive from Canberra and across the border into New South Wales.

Beautiful, historic Braidwood is one of the little gems of NSW’s Southern Tablelands. The town is situated on the Kings Highway halfway between the national capital, Canberra, and the state’s South Coast.

The entire town is classified by the National Trust and Braidwood is the first complete town to be listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. Braidwood also boasts about the fact that we still retain most of the Georgian town plan, one of the last left in Australia. The rural life and charm of the town is carried on against many fine examples of 19th century architecture.

Beautiful churches, pubs, cafes, galleries, craft and antique shops all operate in sensitively restored old buildings which have served the town since the frantic gold rush days of the 1850s.

Braidwood street scene

Braidwood street scene

This was a big temptation

This was a big temptation

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Then we found this interesting place and had to go in for a browse around.

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Inside was a wealth of bric-à-brac, memorabilia from days gone by, and local art and craft.

I peered through this window…

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It looks very interesting, so went along to go inside.

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Oh dear. Well we will have to find somewhere else to eat. I had Googled Braidwood to check out their restaurants. So many and they all sounded good. I chose “The Albion” it had good ratings and excellent comments.

(I wonder how many of you use Google to help you make decisions)

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We had 2 friends visiting us for the weekend and had all gone our separate ways, exploring the many interesting shops. Jack had arrived at the Albion before us and when we arrived he was watching the people go by and had struck up a conversation with a local. Notice all the diners on the balcony, fortunately I had booked a table so we ate inside.

We all agreed I had chosen well and we had a delicious lunch. So well fortified we wandered back out to explore the other end of town.

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I loved all the details on the buildings, the iron lace balustrades, the embellishments and the carved roof decorations. A treasure trove from the past and so good to see it being preserved.

The camera is in over-drive I could not ignore all the interesting windows.

It was a fascinating place, so much to see. I’m pleased we talked to a local in Bungendore who noticed us taking lots of photos of her village and recommended we visit Braidwood.

There were some older, buildings that had not been renovated and they had a charm of their own.

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I hope you have enjoyed this wander around this interesting Heritage town in the glorious spring sunshine.

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Dawn invites us to join in her “lingering look at windows” each week and show the windows we have found.

Also Jo invites us to take a ” Monday walk” with her. Now I know this is mid-week Jo, so I’m not sure whether I am late for last Monday, September 29, or cheating a bit and am early for October 6th. But on October 6th we will be on a Greyhound bus heading out on a 7 hour bus ride to Nambucca Heads and our next house sit.

 

Categories: Australia, Braidwood, Canberra, Jo's Monday walks, Lingering look at windows, photos | Tags: , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Lingering Look at Science Windows

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The CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation )

Employing nearly 6,500 staff, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and biological control research stations in France and Mexico. The primary roles of CSIRO include contributing to meeting the objectives and responsibilities of the Australian Federal Government and providing new ways to benefit the Australian community and the economic and social performance of a number of industry sectors through research and development. (information from Wikipedia)

This is one of the largest research and development institutes in the world and it has a discovery centre. Aimed mainly for children it explains and shows in charts, videos and interactive material what they do and the things they have discovered and developed in the past. One of the discoveries I really appreciate is the insecticide that repels those pesky mosquitoes.

Explained in easy to understand language, no scientific jargon, we were absorbed and impressed with all the displays, but it was also the building and windows that caught my cameras attention.

Entering the door to discovery

Entering the door to discovery

The upper floors are were the experiments and office work is carried on.

The upper floors are were the experiments and office work is carried on.

But what is that flying over to meet us?

That is a BIG bee

That is a BIG bee

Just one of the many displays

Just one of the many projects being (ha ha) worked on.

It is school holiday time but still children with parents are trying all the interesting exhibits.

It is school holiday time but still children with parents are trying all the interesting exhibits.

We found the information and videos about health very interesting

We found the information and videos about health very interesting

Jack studying information about the brain

Jack studying information about the brain

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After a couple of hours we were ready for a sit down and a snack. Before going  to take photos of the outside of the building.

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Another of Canberra’s hidden gems.

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Dawn host’s a windows challenge each week. Click here to take a look at windows around the world.

Categories: Australia, Canberra, CSIRO, Lingering look at windows, photos | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

Fabulous, Fabulous Floriade.

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 I stood in the centre of a kaleidoscope of colour and was overwhelmed by the beauty of millions of blooms. People swirled around me, but I just stood transfixed, to be here, to see and experience Floriade is a dream come true. I cannot find the words to describe the feeling of pure joy, all my senses taking in being in the moment, the sweet scent of spring blooms, the happy sound of the old organ playing in the background and the laughter and chatter of the families. The vivid blue sky, and the air as clear as crystal.

I owe this experience to my blogging friend Christine of “Dadiridreaming”, who many of you know. She introduced me to her family as they needed a house sitter in Canberra for three months, July to September. Sadly Christine passed away the week before we arrived here, but I thought of Christine as I wandered around this magnificent display and knew how much she loved it. It was through a comment I made on a post Christine did about Floriade last year that this connection started.

I am constantly amazed by the power of WordPress and how it connects people from all over the world.

 Floriade is also FREE, no entry fee. I first visited the weekend it opened and, though beautiful, the tulips had not all opened. It is on for 4 weeks, so yesterday we went for a second visit.

What a difference 10 days make, the tulips were at the peak of perfection.

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I tried to capture the beauty but photos can only show the colours, they cannot convey the three-dimensional effect of being immersed, surrounded and totally conscious of all that is going on around you.

There were other spring blooms among the tulips, swathes of pansies surrounded the borders. Daffodils and occasional iris. But the tulips were the heroes.

Every one seemed to be taking photos, using their phones, Ipads as well as cameras of all shapes and sizes.

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An old-fashioned, small fairground attracted the children.

A Ferris wheel will give you a birds eye view.

A Ferris wheel will give you a bird’s eye view.

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Do you remember these old favourites? They are still popular.

Do you remember these old favourites? They are still popular.

The music from this lovely old organ brought back memories.

The music from this lovely old organ brought back memories.

Scattered around the grounds were sculptures and art works.

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This is an interesting interpretation of a dandelion thistle. Jack recently did an interesting post about the dandelion, pop over and see it.

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These cheery little fellows reminded me of “Gnomesville” that very unusual place in Western Australia were we found the huge gathering of gnomes.

What a beautiful place for a picnic

What a beautiful place for a picnic

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I think he is an artist. Lots to inspire your artistic talents here.

I have over 300 photos taken over 2 days so I will not forget this visit. It is classed as Australia’s biggest spring festival and it is a credit to the parks staff that created this spring wonderland on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.

In the back-ground the spectacular spout of the Captain James Cook fountain rises 147 metres from the centre of Lake Burley Griffin.

To cap this wonderful day off we went into the information hub to take part in a wine and cheese tasting.

Cheers!!!!

Cheers!!!!

Canberra is quite often the place that tourists ignore when they make their to visit list, but there is so much to see and do here, much of it is free. We have been here 3 months and enjoyed our stay. Even the weather is underrated as, though the winter temperatures are low the days are, mostly, crisp and clear. 

We have one more week in Canberra then it is back home to the Goldcoast.

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Floriade, photos, Tulips | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

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