Weekly Photo Challenge : How close can you go…

I wonder how close can I go…

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Now this is getting closer, I can almost reach…

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Got it….

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This is close-up…

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Not macro photography, but I have interpreted “close-up” in a different way.

Categories: close up, lorrikeets, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 52 Comments

Brisbane, city of the future…

Take a look at what is coming…

Click on this link to see images and a video of the proposed “Super City”

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/brisbane-casino-what-echo-entertainment-development-will-look-like/story-fnn8dlfs-1227449577697

It was announced last night. They promise more jobs, more tourists and it is going to be world-class.

So what do you think? Will it entice you to come here?

Don’t forget the beautiful Gold Coast is only 100 kilometres south and we are hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It is going to be an exciting future…

Categories: Australia, Brisbane, Goldcoast, Queensland | Tags: , , | 20 Comments

Browsing in Brunswick Heads…

We have a new toy. Actually it is more than a toy, for me it is a brilliant piece of technology. She talks to me, keeps me on track and even beeps at me if I exceed the speed limit and what’s more, warns me of fixed speed cameras. Brilliant, a GPS system, I will never get lost on car journeys again…

Yesterday we tried it out on a car journey to Ocean Shores to meet Sue and Norm who we will be house sitting for in September.

We cruised along, under the speed limit, in complete confidence that at least the GPS knew where our destination was. I didn’t even look it up on Google maps before we left home. In 45 minutes the smug voice announced “You have reached your destination”.

Now I will “never walk alone”….

After a cup of tea and a pleasant hour meeting the pets, Mitch, a very well behaved rescue dog, and Rainy and Lenny, 2 cream coated Burmese brothers. We left and will be looking forward to coming back in September.

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What a view. This is from the “Lion’s Lookout” and down below is the small township of Ocean Shores, snuggled into the bush. I’ll look forward to dog walks all around this area.

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In the opposite direction I can see the Mount Warning range. But look at those yellow flowers, glowing in the sun and I spot small birds flitting among the blossom. I slowly inch forward camera at the ready. They move so fast and they are almost camouflaged among the flowers.

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They are the scaly breasted lorikeet gorging on the nectar. I have read in Google that this area is renowned for bird life. More to look forward too.

Time to move on and with confidence I reprogram the GPS to Brunswick Heads, only 10 minutes down the road.

Gathering information brochures of the area from the information office we wander round this  traditional seaside village  Timber bridges link the riverside to a safe, quiet beach at the mouth of the Brunswick River and to the surf beach that spans the coastline.

Lunch is our first priority and there are plenty of options, but we choose Park Street pasta bar offering alfresco dining, set in a cool, hip, relaxed family-friendly atmosphere. 

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This town has an alternative lifestyle vibe. The locals are relaxed and many have their dogs with them. The dogs lay under the tables and wait patiently for their owners. I make a mental note that I will be able to bring Mitch, the dog, here with me.

Here is a gallery of things I saw on my browse around Brunswick Heads.

After walking along the river bank we go back into the shopping area.

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Now this is a bright and breezy welcome.

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The architecture is old world style and has a friendly welcoming feel. This looks like Another place to try…

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There are a number of op shops, antique and boutique places to potter through.

 

This artistic layout caught my eye, very “olde worlde” which matched the display of retro clothes inside.

Look at the shadows...

Look at the shadows…

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Now this gate would suit our garden…

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It was an interesting day with a promise of more to come in September.

But now it was pressing the “favourite” tab on the GPS and we drove stress free home…

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Here’s my weekend walk with Jo and her cyber walking group. Also link (a bit tongue in cheek) to Ailsa and her theme of “toys” this week.

 

Categories: Australia, Brunswick Heads, Jo's Monday walks, lorrikeets, New South Wales, photos, toys, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 50 Comments

On top of the world…

Surfers Paradise is a tourist mecca on the Gold Coast of Australia.  An influx of 10 million visitors pour in every year to soak up the sun, play in the surf and enjoy the many attractions. Locals tend to stay away from this “glitter strip”.

We are just 2 of the 515,000 people that live here permanently. How often is it that when you live in an area it is not explored or appreciated. We have travelled extensively all over this huge country. I am always planning the next adventure. So while we are home for a short while I thought it was time I discovered some of the attractions closer to home.

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 We parked our bikes then rode this new form of transport, the new light rail, “G-link” that, after 4 years of very disruptive construction, opened for business one year ago this week. Come for a ride with me.

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The destination today is to visit “Q1″ (Queensland number 1) Opened in 2005 for a while it was the tallest residential building in the world.

At 77 stories and 322.5 m (1,058 ft) and with a roof height of 245 m (804 ft), Q1 now qualifies as the world’s third[dated info] tallest all-residential building when measured to the top of its structural point (spire),[7] (Wikipedia information)

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It is a beautiful day for walking and as we walk toward Q1, surrounded by the other towering apartments, I notice the parking police are vigilant and I am pleased we came on public transport. That 3 story “walk-up” apartment in the photo below, is one of the older style accommodation blocks. 

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The media have been forecasting “Arctic conditions” as a low pressure belt sweeps up the coast. Inland the temperatures have dropped to single digits and snow is falling. Last night it dropped to 3C, and I snuggled under an extra blanket, but apart from a slightly cooler breeze it is now a warm 19C here.

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Look up….

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Now that is impressive…

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We take the fast lift that whisks us up 77 stories in almost the blink of an eye. But there is another way to get to the top…

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Here are a group of intrepid troopers ready to scale the outside. I think it will be cool and breezy up there.

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The observation deck circles 360 degrees round the 77th floor and the views are stunning.

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Looking south I can just see our Burleigh Beach.

Before the 1920’s this was an area of swamp or as it is now called “wetlands” and known as Elston. Then in 1933 a man with a keen eye for promotion, Jim Cavill, with the support of locals, lobbied hard until the place name Elston was changed to the more glamorous Surfers Paradise.

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The land was drained and the swamp converted into canals.

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Looking north the canals open out into the Broadwater, a playground for boaties and fishermen

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Far, far below I can just make out the ant-like figures of people enjoying the beach.

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It is not too busy today, it is mid-week and of course it is winter!!!!

400 people are allowed on the observation deck, but it is not that crowded today.

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Looking up I see one of the climbers peering down at us. See how far they went up…

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Time to go back down. There is a dining area and a cafeteria but we have decided to have Indian for lunch. There is no shortage of choice in Surfers Paradise and as we walk by mainly empty restaurants, I wonder how they all manage to survive.

This looks interesting so in we go…

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We are the only customers, but the meal is delicious.

Before we take the “G” back home we walk down to the beach and watch the activity going on.

This is a classic case of “land meets water” on my walk around Surfers Paradise. So I will link this post to Ailsa’s travel theme, and Jo’s Monday walks (even though it is Friday. Maybe I can be early for next weeks Jo!!)

Categories: Australia, Goldcoast, Jo's Monday walks, land meets water, Q1, Queensland, Surfer's Paradise, travel, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Symbols of Australia

When you think of Australia what pops into your mind?

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This land down under has unique flora and fauna and I think the kangaroo is one of the symbols that people associate with Australia.

Everyone who comes here thinks the Koala is so cute and cuddly.

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They look so harmless, but beware they have very sharp claws.

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Never smile at a crocodile, they can jump and also run, so keep well away from the water’s edge in the tropical parts of Australia…

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The dingo looks like the family pet, but don’t be tempted to pat him, he has a nasty temper.

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As for the Tasmanian Devil, he is devil in name and devil in nature.  Its oversize head houses sharp teeth and strong, muscular jaws that can deliver, pound for pound, one of the most powerful bites of any mammal.

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The snake is another of the scary creatures that live in Australia. This one was living in a  tree in my back yard.

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There are also birds and maybe one of the most colourful is the lorikeet. They travel in large flocks and though they look beautiful they have a very loud screechy voice.

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The kookaburra’s raucous laugh is, to me, the symbol and sound of Australia.

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Categories: Australia, kookaburra, lorrikeets, photos, post-a-day, symbol, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 57 Comments

A walk in a Botanic Garden???…

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The Gold Coast Botanic Gardens were established in 2003. When I first visited in 2006 it was still in the developing stages. Since then I’ve visited many Botanic Gardens all round Australia, so it is time I went back to see how our own Botanic Garden compares. 

I was disappointed. This is a lovely parkland with a large lake system and board walks crisscrossing them. But look closer and the water ways are clogged with the invasive Salvinia weed.

 

There were large grassed areas, ideal for picnics and play areas. It was the school holidays and families were enjoying the beautiful sunny day. Children were running, biking, riding scooters and having a great time.

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Notice the Salvinia on this part of the lake? It could easily be mistaken for an extension of the lawn area.

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Further round the water was clear of the weed and look at the reflections.

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Swans, moorhens and ducks enjoyed this part of the lake system.

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A few attractive sculptures of native animals and birds were dotted around.

Further round a sensory garden with raised beds was a riot of colour for sight, another had a herb bed for smell. But it all seemed a bit uncoördinated and also needed some maintenance. Maybe I am being a bit unfair as it is winter and not the best time to view gardens.

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Tucked away at the back of the gardens I found the fountain… I did my best to take a decent photo, but I don’t think I succeeded. It was not very inspiring.

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I found a bench (actually there were a lot of benches dotted around the lakes) and I sat for a while thinking about these gardens. Am I being biased by all the other gardens I have seen? Maybe. Somehow it just doesn’t seem to qualify for the “Botanic” tag. It is a lovely “park” and fits the criteria for that label. But there isn’t that extra attention to detail, not many plants and trees labelled, no unique areas of special plant collections. As for the café, oh dear… I didn’t even take a photo. It was squashed onto a narrow deck around the side of the small information building. Only 4 small tables and hardly any room to squeeze past each table. Thankfully I had brought along a thermos and sandwiches…

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Despite being disappointed with how the gardens have developed it was still a pleasant days outing. I think I will come again in another season. October/November is the best time for sub-tropical gardens, before the heat of summer sets in.

I was expecting to be more impressed. I think maybe the council do not think giving money for a Botanic Garden is very high on their list of priorities.

Come over to visit “Restless Jo” she is our intrepid leader and inspires people from all over the globe to join her cyber walking group each week.

Categories: Australia, Gold Coast Botanic Garden, Goldcoast, Jo's Monday walks, photos | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Early morning walk along the beach…

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We missed the sunrise by about an hour. Being winter I cannot prise myself out of bed in the dark. But when we arrived at the beach by 7am it was still a beautiful sky. The sun tingeing the clouds with apricot and turning the ocean to molten gold.

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Of course we had our cameras with us and it was a perfect morning for a beach photo opportunity. So much activity. People walking, running, surfing, playing. All ages enjoying the sun while it is out.

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I wonder if he is going to catch anything for breakfast. The seagull looks on in anticipation…

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The surf is pumping and the wind whips the spray off the top of the waves in a frenzy of foam. It is a good day for the surfers.

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When I downloaded these photos I noticed the dark shadow in the wave. I wonder if it is a dolphin.

I took photo after photo of the ocean as it crashed endlessly, trying to catch that moment as the wave peaks and the light shines through in an iridescent green. Most of the shots I missed. These 2 above were the closest I got to what I was trying for.

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Walking north the sharks teeth outline of Surfers Paradise is shrouded in the misty ocean spray.

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At the top of the sand this patient pooche guards its masters clothes.

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He looks a bit woebegone…

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This area is the patrolled swimming area and in the distance is the surf life savers yellow hut and vehicle. It is school holidays and the life savers are on patrol from 8am to 6pm. every day. There are dangerous rips in this ocean and every year unsuspecting tourists are dragged out to sea. It is only the vigilance of these dedicated, volunteer life savers that only a few lives are lost each year and they are usually people who swim outside the flags that denote the patrolled, safe areas.

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A lovely morning to build sand castles with the help of  Mom and Gandma, but keep an eye on those waves…

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The tractor has been along the beach grooming the sand ready for another day of fun for the tourists.

Time to turn round and head back south and home for breakfast.

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The fisher man is still trying for that catch…

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One last look back.

The sun is well up now and we go back to where we left our bikes.

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They are still there next to this bench that shows the detail of the shape of a surf board. (Jude is looking for benches with unusual detail for July bench series. Couldn’t resist showing you this one…)

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Home we go for breakfast…

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I am also joining Jo’s cyber walking group this week. Being Wednesday I am a bit late for last Monday, and a bit early for next week (Sorry Jo I’m not following the rules too well… )

Categories: Australia, beach, bench series, Burleigh, Burleigh Beach, Goldcoast, Jo's Monday walks, Ocean, photos | Tags: , , , , , | 62 Comments

My Garden, My Muse : Weekly Photo Challenge

Brie Anne asks us this week

So what’s your muse — what subject do you turn to frequently, more inspired each time?”

This is so easy for me to answer. I am surrounded by “my muse”. Every day I walk round the garden noticing the changes, marvelling at the beauty and colour, seeing flowers slowly fade and new ones take their place.

This morning I took my camera for a walk with me, as I often do, and these are just a few of the things I noticed.

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This apricot poinsettia has been flowering for weeks and shows no signs of wilting.

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The sun throws vibrant shadows of this crucifixion orchid on the new fence. Below it a new bud is opening to take the place of the slowly fading flower.

As the flowers come and go the foliage, in many shades and hues, fill the garden beds with colour the whole year.

The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.

Gertrude Jekyll

 

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These ants are only about 1 centimetre long and they were covering the flower buds on this jade plant. Do you see that other strange-looking spiky caterpillar? It is so small I only noticed it when I downloaded the photos.

Finally I went round the corner to say hello to our blue tongue lizard as he lay draped over the rock sunbathing.

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He was almost camouflaged among the bromeliads and rocks.

The glory of gardening:

hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.

To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Categories: Australia, garden, muse, photos, post-a-day, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

A walk to the Giants Causeway…

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Well I am not in Ireland but walking in the delightful small village and area of Fingal Heads.

When it comes to odd facts, they don’t come much odder than the fact that this charming Tweed village was named after the mythical Celtic giant Fingal who reportedly built the famous Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

The connection is that Tweed’s Fingal Head has its own Giant’s Causeway – a crescent-shaped mass of hexagonal columns formed when the lava flows from the ancient Tweed Volcano rapidly cooled in the ocean currents. This unique rock formation sits just below Fingal Lighthouse on the headland, reaching towards Cook Island.

This is my first outing in “The Car”. Though Fingal Head is only a 25 minute drive from home this is the first time I have been to explore it.

A sign pointing along a sandy track to the intriguingly named “Dreamtime Beach” entices me to follow it.

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I can hear squeals and shrieks as I approach the end of the track.

4 bikini clad girls are frolicking in the surf. Now I must remind you that it is winter but the temperature is approximately 22C and obviously these girls do not think it is winter.

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These two are exploring around the base of the rocks as I pass by and find another sandy track taking me round to the headland.

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A bench is conveniently placed to rest awhile before following the steps up to the top of the headland.

The lighthouse is having a renovation. But look at how bright that blue sky is in contrast to the fresh white coat of paint.

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From this headland there are glorious views of the ocean and along the beach. Being Saturday and such a perfect day I pass many other people also enjoying a day out.

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Perfect picnic weather. I follow along the path. Gulls are swooping and gliding in the air currents. I stand for a while trying to catch a gull in flight. But it is impossible every photo is blurred.

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As I round the corner I am amazed to peer over the edge and see this man fishing. The ocean is swelling and breaking in a frenzy of foam, threatening to sweep him off the precarious rock he is balanced on.

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This is the Giants Causeway. The might of the ocean is crashing onto the rocks then sweeping through the narrow causeway. The sound and fury of the waves is awesome and this is a fine day, I wonder how it would be in a storm.

Fingal Head boasts some of the most spectacular examples of columnar jointing to be found in the whole of NSW. The local indigenous Goodjingburra clan’s name for Fingal Head is Booninybah – Home of the Giant Echidna: “Booniny” means Giant Echidna. The spectacular columns of Fingal Head resemble the spines of an echidna, and so the Goodjingburra believe that the spirit of the echidna inhabits the headland.

I sit on a rock for quite a while watching the ebb and flow of the waves and waiting to see if the fisher man will get swept off his rock. I have heard that rock fishing is classed as one of the most dangerous sports and a number of people are swept to their death every year. (While overall coastal drowning figures for NSW are significantly down from last year, for the first time rock fishing deaths have topped the list at 26.7%, making it the leading cause of all coastal drownings.)

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This is looking north along Fingal Beach and I follow the track back through the bush.

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From this beach I look back and see the fisher man is still on his rock.

It is lunch time and after seeing a number of families enjoying picnic lunches it was time to go back to the car for my lunch.

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I smile as I follow along behind this couple walking hand in hand. They soon disappear as I stop to listen to the birds. Then I spot a couple of bush turkeys and stalk them trying to get a photo, but I’m having no luck with the bird photos today. So I take photos of some native flowers I see.

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I have no idea what these flowers are. They look like red bluebells!

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A park is on the other side of the red flowers BUT it is not the park I left “The Car” at. There are so many tracks going in all directions through the bush and I have not been taking any notice of the direction I was heading.

I am lost…

Fortunately it is not a large bush area. So I backtrack along the beach and eventually find where I came in. Phew, there is “The car”…

I decide to go back, in “The car” to the park of the red flowers as I had noticed picnic tables.

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I packed a picnic lunch as I was not sure if I would find any where to eat in Fingal. It was pleasant, an ibis joined me.

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And I was entertained by a mother and her 2 children as they examined an interesting wooden sculpture. Then played hide and seek. The little girl “hid” under a picnic table in full view, but Mum searched around for her and there was shrieks of laughter when she was “found”.

 The Tweed River flowed along the other side of the park so after lunch I wandered over.

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At last I caught some seagulls as they scattered before me.

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This looks a much safer way to fish.

Almost time to head home, it has been a great day. Then I hear singing and a guitar playing.

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I had to investigate. What an interesting place and live music too. The Sheoak Shack, this groovy café is located on the banks of the river, under the shade of a Sheoak Tree.

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It was so laid back and a small table in the sun called to me. So I ordered cappuccino and carrot cake and listened to Guy Kachel serenading us.

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This was the most delicious, moist carrot cake to end my day out with…

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I would like you to come along with me on Jo’s Monday walks. She has a dedicated group of cyber walkers who share their wanderings with us each week. Go here to join them.

Categories: Australia, Fingal Head, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, Ocean, photos | Tags: , , , , | 48 Comments

Thursday Challenge : Street Photography

I have just discovered this “challenge” when I saw blogging friend Tish had put in a post, and it is a beauty, such happy smiling faces. (Take a look at it here)

So it has intrigued me.

I enjoy following along with Yvette and love her street portrait themes so when I noticed she was the guest blogger for Paula I couldn’t resist joining in.

Sorry folks I am a day late…

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When taking photos for a post about my suburb of the Gold Coast, Burleigh, this stranger saw me pointing my camera in her general direction and started a happy, spontaneous dance. I just love it…

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Further around and along the beach front this lovely lady in the coffee nook saw me point my camera and gave me a big smile and the victory sign. (This is part of a Monday walk with Jo).

I may be home for a while so will enjoy joining in these challenges.

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Categories: Burleigh, Goldcoast, photos, Street photography, Thursday Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

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