On the road again…

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We are heading over the Great Dividing Range travelling to Sydney via the inland road and it is springtime.

We are travelling in our Toyota Corolla car this time but we see lots of caravans and campers on the road and it reminds us of previous trips in Matilda.

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The scenery is quite spectacular.

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Fields are covered in white daisies and they look like snow.

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 At 1330metres it is the top of the ranges, so we stop in a small township called Guyra,  for a wander around and stretch our legs. It is Sunday and the shops are shut and the streets deserted, but look what we see…

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I have to go over for a closer look.

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A bench with writing on it. Just what Jude is asking for in this months “bench series”

We are now in Armidale doing a 3 day, mini house sit. So much to see in this fascinating heritage city but that must wait for another day…


Categories: Australia, bench series, Great Dividing Range, house sitting, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments

Beach combing in New Zealand…

Another day another day trip. This time to the beach. Quite different to our Australian beaches, smaller and sort of intimate lined with the iconic Pohutukawa trees that stretch right along the east coast.

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The glorious Pohutukawa trees line the cliffs. In another month they will be flaming red and they are known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree.

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Now they defy gravity. Over the years the tides have swirled around their roots gradually eroding the rocks and dirt.

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I meet a local walking her dog and ask her if she can recommend a lunch place.

Jack took this photo. Can you see me talking to a local?

Jack took this photo. Can you see me talking to a local?

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Little Oscar waits patiently while we chat.

But before lunch there is the other end of the beach to explore.

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Going round the corner the scenery changes and large interesting looking boulders are piled high. I need Meg with me to help identify them.

This rock with character just asks to be photographed.

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Midday and time to search for the “Vintage Café” we had been told about. It was not easy to find, in fact we drove right by. But looking for the Shell Service Station (Why do they still call them service station?) we spotted it. A small lean-to on the end of the garage.

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It was every bit as delicious as we had been told with a charming old world décor, home-made food, friendly service and delicious coffee. We sketched while we waited for the food to be cooked (I ordered an omelette, Jack had a meat pie) In no time our lunch arrived and I only got the drawing half-finished.

Time to slowly drive home.

I had to stop and photograph this dedication a local farmer had erected to the National All Black heroes.

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Rugby football fever had taken hold of New Zealand, every where the black flag with silver fern fluttered on houses, next to fences, on cars, on hats. The country was swathed in black, even the milk came in black bottles and the Weetbix breakfast cereal box was black with a fearsome image of the All Black team doing the Maori Haka. The All Blacks had reached the finals for the unprecedented second time in a row and they faced Australia for the show down.

The game was broadcast live at 5am Sunday morning New Zealand time and I sat in bed watching the drama unfold. What a game, I was torn between my 2 favourite countries. Who would I cheer for?

I think most of New Zealand watched the match and next day, in fact the next week, jubilation and pride of their team was palpable. No wonder they won with just about the whole country on the team…

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We carried on home. The scenery in this area is pastoral, almost English, with its neat hedges and rolling grass-covered hills.

A field of rape glows in the sun.

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The hedgerows are clustered with wild flowers, again reminiscent of the English countryside of my youth.

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The New Zealand cabbage trees are flowering very well this year and I’ve been told this is a sign of a dry summer to come.

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As we arrive home the donkey from the next door neighbours farm comes over to say “hello”

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Categories: Clarke's Beach, New Zealand, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

The Rural Heart of New Zealand…

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This is the green, green grass my son calls home. This is the view from the kitchen window, of the rolling, lush farmland, that I will be seeing for the next 10 days, as we house sit for Laurie and Kerry while they go on their honeymoon.

This is the neighbours dairy farm across the road and he milks hundreds of cows.

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Laurie’s farm is only 7 acres so we only have 5 beef cows to look after, no milking required…

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I smile when Kerry tells me the names, “Steak” and “Sausage” but the worrisome one is called “Houdini”!!! That is the one at the front that is eyeballing me…

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Then we have “Nisha” the cat, named after a tiger, and she is a cat with attitude. I fed her, so we were friends, and she would curl up on the bed with her hot little body draped over my legs. Jack was a different story and when she bit him one day they were no longer friends…

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In the early morning, as the neighbours cows went to be milked, we would go for a walk around the lane.

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It was so peaceful and perfect light for photography.

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The young yearlings would watch us wonderingly as we walked by. I don’t think they are used to seeing people walking along the road.

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I was so absorbed in capturing the beauty of the world around me that I didn’t realise that Jack was having fun capturing me, until we downloaded the mornings images, then, oh dear, I had to laugh. No wonder the cows were looking at me…

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These are a couple of the neighbouring farmhouses we walked by and they are typical of the farm houses in this area, with the barbed wire fences and the lichen covered fence posts, so photogenic.

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As we arrive back at the gate to Laurie’s place I look across the road  at this magnificent Macrocarpa tree. Later in the day I attempted to capture its strength and beauty in a sketch.

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But now it is time to have breakfast.


I have joined Restless Jo’s walking group again this week. Another different New Zealand walk Jo. I hope you enjoyed it.

You simply must pop over to see Jo’s amazing walk around the Lumiere festival it is stunning.

Categories: Jo's Monday walks, New Zealand, photos, Waiuku | Tags: , , , , | 67 Comments

New Zealand Highlights…

Of course the top highlights of the three-week visit to New Zealand was the wedding of my son and his lovely partner and meeting a new extended family of in-laws. Also spending time with my daughter in Tauranga.

Between visiting and socializing I did find time to see some interesting places to explore and, naturally, a garden was top of the list.

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Wrights Water Gardens has been created in a disused quarry covering 7 acres. The gardens are rustic, rambling and wild. tracks meander around the ponds and waterways and through the different levels leading to the 30 foot Mauku waterfall. I fell in love with this garden and spent nearly 3 hours wandering around and, of course, the photo opportunities were endless. The light was perfect and I took almost 200 shots. Hard to pick my favourites.

I hope you enjoy this walk around with me and my camera…

It is mid spring and I was amazed at the colour and diversity of the leaf colours and the way the light shone through them highlighting the veins and making them glow.

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The tracks wind through the abundant drifts of perennials and shrubs opening up to ever more delights.

The flowers are in full bloom, the very best time to be in a garden.

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Wisteria flowers create a carpet of purple. Can you see that strange figure? (no not Jack!!!) This one is sitting down.

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What an imaginative way to use old phones…

I think it is time to take a seat and just enjoy the surroundings. This bench is for you Jude. They had put lots of benches around.

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There were also lots of sculptures, but this was my favourite, she looks so relaxed.

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Around another corner and I find an oriental garden.

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A water wheel trickles water over the bank into  the waterlily ponds below.



The water lilies are just starting to come out and the lotus flowers, that this garden is famous for, are still waiting to burst into bloom.

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Tracks follow the stream trickling over rocks and swirling into ponds. Everywhere the plants jostle together creating drifts of colour and the weeping willow branches droop daintily down to the streams surface.

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The rocks were covered in fascinating forms of lichen and I thought of Meg who shares all the delightful flora and fauna from her part of Australia on her blog, enjoy it here, “snippets and snaps“.

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After seeing tantalising glimpses of the waterfall as I slowly savoured this magnificent garden I now stood and enjoyed the full force of its beauty.


Restless Jo takes us on fascinating walks every week and she has a happy band of followers, so I would like to join you again this week Jo with a New Zealand garden walk.


Categories: garden, garden, Jo's Monday walks, New Zealand, photos, Wright's water garden | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments

Travel Theme : Luminous…

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On Labour Day in New Zealand, October 26th, everyone has a 3 day weekend. The shops close, school is out and in the small town of Waiuku, where I am staying with my son and his new wife, it seemed as though the entire population had turned out for the annual fireworks display. We went along to join the happy throng.

The OOHS and AHHS and cheers greeted the luminous, flashes and cascades of sparkling colours.


How appropriate that Ailsa chose “Luminous” for her theme this week…

Categories: fireworks, luminous, New Zealand, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Wedding Bliss in New Zealand

I am in New Zealand for the wedding of my son to his lovely lady that he has known since they were at school. It has been a convoluted path for both of them over the years, but like all good love stories they have now found each other again.

The wedding morning dawned with the sky bleak and grey and rain pouring down. They say that is a good sign!!!

But the show had to go on…

Friends and family arrived with so much home baked food that it looked as though they could feed hundreds. With umbrellas raised the marquees went up and the bamboo arch (home made by Kerry’s best friend Rachael) was decorated with net, flowers and native greenery also from Rachael’s garden.

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At midday Rachael helped Kerry with her make-up and miraculously the rain stopped.

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The wedding was in their back garden and it was a small and intimate affair with approx. 40. Kerry’s family and friends congregating from around New Zealand, and on the groom’s side, Jack and I, plus my daughter and partner, 2 grandchildren and a great grand child. We are a small family, but now we have swelled by 40…

The wedding ceremony started at 2pm and the sun came out.

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It was a beautiful and happy ceromony. I had to take deep breaths as I gave a reading and welcomed Kerry into our family.

I looked around and saw Rachael with tears in her eyes and Margaret, a long time work colleague, dabbing her eyes too. Margaret made the wedding cake, a delicious carrot cake that was Kerry’s favourite.

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The last part of the day Rachael took us down to the beach as the sun set for a photo session.

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Then it was back to join the family and friends in the garden to share a traditional home cooked BBQ, sausage, steak, chicken and so many delicious salads. Followed by pavlova, cheesecake and fruit salad.


I am so enjoying family time over here and only have 10 more days before we head back home. I have been disconnected from the computer while over here, but just ducked into the local library to share these few photos from the almost 600 that were taken on the day…

Look forward  to connecting with my blogging friends when I get back to Australia.

Categories: travel | 52 Comments

Bye, bye beach…

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Tomorrow morning I will be going to New Zealand and it will be quite a while before I see my beach again. So this morning I made a monumental effort and biked down to see the sun rise.

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The surfers also arrived to catch the early morning waves.

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The seagulls preened and watched the passing parade.

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Then I went up the steps, at a more sedate pace than this young woman. To walk through the bush.

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Then it was time to go home, have breakfast and start packing.

Bye bye to my blogging buddies I may not be around for a while. I’ll miss you all.

Categories: Australia, beach, Goldcoast, photos | Tags: , , , | 31 Comments

A Flower a Week : Jacaranda

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This is Jacaranda time and these stunning trees are in full flower. The Jacaranda tree is a native of south-central South America, but is found all round the world in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

I went for a drive this morning to capture the beauty of these trees. At the moment they are at their peak flowering. As I stood under them taking photos I was enveloped in their soft sweet perfume, but if it rains or strong winds blow the petals will fall and create a carpet of mauve then it will be over until next year.

This is one of my favourite paintings from the Brisbane Art Gallery.

Under the Jacaranda tree by R. Godfrey Rivers

Under the Jacaranda tree by R. Godfrey Rivers

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Nalinki on “Angles and views” is hosting a weekly series called: Flowersoverflowers”, it will be posted every Tuesday. The idea is to bring some more colorful pics of nature into our blogosphere

Categories: Australia, flowersoverflowers, Jacaranda, photos | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

Just Ducking Through…

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Look what was wandering through the garden this morning. Almost camouflaged.

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He popped out to say “Hello” when he saw me.

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Of course I had to rush inside, get him some bread, and grab my camera. Can you see all the bread in the side of his beak? And look at those lovely turquoise feathers. Almost like a splash of paint.

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Then with a “quack, quack, thank you”, they meandered over to the neighbours.

Categories: Australia, birds, ducks, garden, paint, photos, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Flower a Week : Silky Oak…

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Look very carefully you may see the lorikeet

Grevillea robusta, commonly known as the southern silky oak or silky oak, or Australian silver oak, is the largest species in the genus Grevillea of the family Proteaceae. It is not closely related to the true oaks, Quercus. It is a native of eastern coastal Australia, in riverine, subtropical and dry rainforest environments receiving more than 1,000 mm per year of average rainfall. ( Wikipedia information)


Jack planted this Silky Oak tree about 12 years ago. He bought it as a 6 inch tall seedling from a market. Now look at it.

It towers above the houses and it is still growing. It is beautiful when in flower and the lorikeets love the abundant nectar it produces. But look at all the leaves it drops…

I’m not sure how safe it would be if a hurricane roared through and I would like to prune the top off it, but the tree man tells me he is not allowed to touch it as it is a native…


Nalinki on “Angles and views” is hosting a weekly series called: Flowersoverflowers”, it will be posted every Tuesday. The idea is to bring some more colorful pics of nature into our blogosphere.

Categories: Australia, flowersoverflowers, photos, Silky Oak | Tags: , , , | 20 Comments

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