The magic of a dream come true

 This story starts in 1985. Naren King was invited to a New Years Eve party at the home of Edwin Kingsbury an eccentric architect who had designed a unique and magnificent building. The building was positioned right on the point where the earths energy lines, or ley lines intersect. It was a magical place, radiating harmony and peace and Naren fell in love with it.  When the eccentric architecture went broke due to only demanding the very best materials for his “harmonious architecture” it became a dream and an obsession for Naren to own it.

After a number of set backs the property became his and he and his wife began a life long project of creating a place of magic. Naren was Australia’s first direct importer of quality natural crystals from around the world and this was to be the ideal place for him to showcase their beauty.

In 1986 the land had been cleared for grazing and banana growing so now the work began to transform it into a garden, a tropical wonderland.

Jump forward to 2015 and we are house sitting only a 30 minute car ride from this extraordinary place so of course we had to visit it.

But where do I start to show you the captivating, overwhelming beauty of the gardens with magnificent statues of the deities at every corner. The tranquil Buddha and the magnificent stupor that was blessed by the Dalai Lama.

I will start as we walk in and follow the track to the Stupor…

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A rustic path meanders through the beds densely planted with tropical vegetation. Prayer flags are waving in a slight breeze as we round the corner.

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The first of the many serene statues  we are to see, stands guard over the large koi fish.


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Passing the Tibetan prayer wheels the path leads down to the Stupor.

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Beautiful eastern music floats through the air surrounding me as I recorded this short video as I sit and watch all ages walk reverently around this symbol of peace.

Crystals were Naren’s passion and they are to be found all round the gardens. A short way past the Stupor “Rosie”, a 4 tonne mini-mountain of rose quartz is one of the largest ever found in the world with such a large “crystalized face”.

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I spent quite a while in this area absorbing the feeling of calm and beauty that pervaded the atmosphere.

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Going back past the other side of the pond the track now winds through the tropical gardens back to the house that Narin fell in love with.

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After wandering through the Botanical Shambhala Gardens admiring the variety of sub-tropical and tropical plants we spotted the café through a screen of red kangaroo paws. But first we looked around the courtyard outside the café. This is where we saw this amazing trompe l’oeil.

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This extraordinary water feature dominates the courtyard. Using rose quartz it was crafted by highly skilled fountain makers from Germany. The base is granite from Switzerland. The 310 kilogram sphere rotates on a mere 0.3 millimetres of water. It glows as it catches the sun and according to mystic lore, rose quartz emanates the qualities of love and compassion and this is the spinning heart of the Crystal Castle.


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There is so much to see in this courtyard. The ground is embedded with 20,000 pieces of rose quartz

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This seat is made from Sodalite’ this is what I found about it on the internet.

“Sodalite is the stone of athletics, as it stimulates endurance. It is said sodalite will harmonize the inner being or the conscious and subconscious mind. Sodalite promotes peace and harmony. Sodalite is extra lucky for writers.” (I sat there for a while!)

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Magnificent clusters of crystals were everywhere, sparkling and glistening giving off so much energy. Almost overwhelming.

Time for lunch.

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We were there during school holiday time so it was busy. But the service was friendly and quick and the food delicious. Most of the salads and vegetables are grown in their own organic vegie garden.

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This was an Indian Plate and delicious. But look what we followed it with…

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As we waited for lunch we had a lovely view down into the gardens, and across to the distant Border Ranges.


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There is still more to see but for now I will leave you as we eat our lunch and take you on the Buddha walk in the next episode.

Going through to the Buddha Walk...

Going through to the Buddha Walk…

(To be continued)


I’m joining with Restless Jo’s cyber walking group this week. Bloggers sharing walks all over the world.


Categories: Crystal Castle, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

A Flower a Week : Bauhinia…

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Bauhinia Corymbosa, this showy, tropical climbing plant smothers a trellis along my side garden and loves the hot, sunny spot.

Look closer and you can see why it has the common names of orchid vine and butterfly vine.

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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: Bauhinia, flowersoverflowers, photos | Tags: , , | 24 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Boundaries…

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Can you see where the reality ends and the creation starts?

This is a boundary with a difference. It is a boundary of what the mind conceives as reality.

From a distance I thought I could walk through the archway into a magical kingdom. But as I came closer it transformed into a “Tromp L’oeil” 

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This incredible work of art was in the court-yard of an enchanting and extraordinary world of the Crystal Castle. It is in the hinterland, surrounded by lush green hills, near that alternative life style village of Mullumbimby that I visited recently. I will be showing you more, much more of this amazing place, but I am still sorting the 300+ photos I took on the day.

This is just a preview of what is to come. 

(Here’s another bench for the October “Bench Series” that Jude hosts)

Categories: bench series, boundaries, Crystal Castle, Mullumbimby, New South Wales, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Home From the Hills…

Back to the flat terrain of the Gold Coast.

What is the first thing I do? Go for a walk around the garden.

Would you like to come with me?

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This is the view from the kitchen window and the bottle brush is in full flower.

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Tucked away under the bush is a clump of Pentas rivalling the bottle brush in colour.

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Further round the rocket and coriander have gone to seed, but still taste good in a salad.

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The nasturtiums are climbing every where.

In front of this bed the tropical lilies are showing off.

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Above the pond the Hoya twine through the bare branches of the frangipani tree.

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Overseeing this area the Bougainvillea create a canopy of colour.

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A swamp orchid has burst into flower in the shade of the “Bali corner”.

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Peer closely at this unusual plant. It is only about 6 inches high but is deadly to any insects that come near.  Drosera Carpensis.

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Watch it here in action.

Now I will go into the front garden to see what is flowering.

Just look at the silky oak, Grevillea Robusta.

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It is covered in flowers. I wanted to have the top pruned but because it is a native it cannot be touched. I hope it doesn’t grow much taller.

Clustered around its base is the pretty pink pelargonium.

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Tucked behind is a red geranium and the lobelia and primula are still flowering on.

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Under the trees in the shade the Clivia is a burst of orange.

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Finally I stand in front of the powderpuff lily pilly ( Syzygium wilsonii ). I love the way the branches droop and drip through all the other trees and plants in this bed and each branch finishes with a burst of fluffy red.

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I hope you have enjoyed this stroll around my garden. I love this time of the year as spring is the best time. In another couple of months summer will be here and in the heat the plants will go into shut down, survival mode, and so will I…


I’m joining Jo’s cyber walking group this week, pop over to see where every one else is taking you this week.



Categories: Australia, garden, Goldcoast, Jo's Monday walks, photos | Tags: , , , , | 36 Comments

A Flower a Week : Tulip


Fabulous,Fabulous Floriade

A year ago this week we visited Floriade when we were house sitting in Canberra. So in memory of that I would like to nominate the tulip as my flower for this week


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

Originally posted on gypsy life:

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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…

View original 445 more words

Categories: travel | 11 Comments

Bangalow, a country gem.

Bangalow is one of those country gems: a picturesque, heritage listed village, largely nineteenth-century streetscape of tall verandahed buildings, shady trees and quiet parks.

The Pacific Highway is the major transport route along the central east coast of Australia, with the majority of it being part of Australia’s national route 1, and it used to run right through the centre of town bringing hustle and bustle 24 hours a day. But in the 1990’s in a major upgrade, the road bypassed Bangalow and the town, with a population of just under 2000, regained its peace and quiet. But it didn’t slowly die, as many towns do in those circumstances, instead it became a hub for artists and talented craft people. These artistic people found the tranquillity and beauty of an area where they could settle and create works of art and things of beauty. They displayed their crafts in the old style buildings along the one main street, and word spread. And the visitors came to look and to buy.

It is now a vibrant, bustling community. No empty shops and no big multi-nationals have moved in.

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Bangalow is only 20 kilometres from our housesit, so we drove over to look around and have lunch. It was Monday and I thought it would be a quiet day to visit. Wrong, it is school holidays and the weather was fine. It was crowded and the first challenge was finding a place to park the car. 15 minutes later we are parked and ready to wander around.

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This looked interesting with the Jolly Roger flying and a name like that it invited us in.

It was an Aladdin’s cave of colour and goodies. Then I spotted this sign and to me it says what this town is about.

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I have never, ever seen a shop saying they will pay for breakages. I walked out with a smile on my face.

Then a door, narrow passage way and a sign saying creative glass pointed up some stairs. So up we went and I stopped at the entrance and gazed in awe at the display.

This is how these stunning works of art are described in the web page of Zakay Glass Creations.

“Unique and timeless, these stunning three dimensional art works are resplendent of sparkling gemstones: facets and symmetries shimmer as colours of the rainbow bounce off their bevelled edges when they are touched by natural and artificial light. Adding majesty to any space in which they are displayed, a Zakay keepsake regularly decorates homes, balconies, corporate foyers and hotels around the world. Founding artist Asaf Zakay’s pursuit of creative and aesthetic excellence has resulted in three dimensional glass designs that capture the essence of nature. Using the stained glass technique (a process Asaf studied whilst in his native Israel) each magnificent creation is a sacred symbol, evolving from natural geometric patterns. “

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As well as the glass sculptures these Escher like wood sculptures adorned the walls and other stunning glass vase sculptures were displayed.

Asaf Zakay this talented artisan was in the studio and Jack took his photo. (To see more of his work follow the link.)

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Back on the street I spotted this door. How intriguing, what is behind it?

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Entering the shop, or I should call it a boutique, it had very expensive Italian fashion wear. Leather jackets and boots, fine cotton shirts and very exclusive hats. But the draw card for me was to go out through a side door and find this court-yard.

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Like stepping into a Spanish hacienda.

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Mmm, very tempting Jack. But time to find some lunch. So many to choose from Trip Advisor lists 17.

I chose Town Café. It was awarded a Chef’s Hat for 2012.

I chose a chicken, bacon, mushroom and leek pie. The filling was tasty, but unfortunately the pastry was like leather…

No worries, the salad was fresh and the coffee was good…

Time to browse around a few more shops. An art gallery ticked all the boxes for me. Local artists and world-class paintings. “Windhorse Gallery”

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A book shop called “Poet” with a large choice of philosophical and new age books. A news agent who stocked a large display of art materials and art books. An antique shop full of memorabilia and a junk shop tucked away down the back, behind the pub. What a load of junk it stocked and I couldn’t believe he was serious about the prices. For example an ancient old paint brush, stiff with dried paint $10. This business was for sale and closing down in a weeks time. (I should’ve taken a photo)

Time to go home along the back roads.

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Across a rather rickety old bridge

Across a rather rickety old bridge

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Parking the car we wander around taking photos.

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Passing through the small village of Federal (712 population) with a store and café that seemed to be popular we decided to stop for a coffee.

Finally home by 3-30pm and Mitch was patiently waiting for his 4-30pm walk.

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 Another walk Jo, this is almost the last one. I have one other but it was so overwhelming that I am struggling to sort through the almost 300 photos.

Restless Jo leads a diverse of group of walkers from all over the world. To join them click here.


Categories: Bangalow, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, photos | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Evening Glory…

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This is the small courtyard at the front of the house where Mitch has his evening dinner. It is a private, tropical looking space and I like to sit on a bench and watch the evening settle in as Mitch chews on his bones.

Most of this week it has been showery, overcast days, with the sun just making intermittent appearances. The rain has created a lush, green environment and today the sun came back out.

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Looking over the back fence I noticed the setting sun creating a misty, aerial perspective. I had to rush in and grab the camera.

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It caught The tips of the azalea on the corner of the neighbour’s garden.

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And turned the bottle brush into tiny torches.

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The grand, old tree across the road slowly sinks into the shadows.

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This will be an apartment dwelling to thousands of insects and other creatures and I picture them all settling down for the night, or maybe just waking up to spend the night foraging.

We have been here 2 weeks now and only another 3 days before we go back home. How quickly the time has passed.

Categories: Australia, house sitting, New South Wales, Ocean Shores, photos, sunsets | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

A walk along the river.

The Fisherman’s co-op at Brunswick is renowned for the best fish and chips in the area. It is an institution and its reputation has spread by word of mouth and people come from far and near to sample the  tastiest and most ideal meals of fish and chips around.

Time for us to check it out. It is only a 10 minute drive, so with Mitch, the dog, as back seat passenger we go for lunch.

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It is the first day of the school holidays and they are busy. They sell both fresh fish caught that day and cooked meals. I order 2 Orange Roughy and one portion of chips. It is a 20 minute wait.

The jetty is just across the road so while waiting I wander over to watch the action.

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Or should I say inaction! Of course you can catch your own…

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With school out what better way to spend the day than sitting in the sun, with your mates, waiting for the fish to bite. 

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The pelicans are showing a lot of interest as well.

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This is no flash, up-market dining venue, it is strictly take away. But what better way to eat your fish and chips, wrapped in paper, than on a rustic, rather scruffy picnic bench. Shared with your Mates.

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We tear away the paper and tuck in to fish that is white and delicate and melts in your mouth. The chips are crunchy and cooked to perfection, and what they call one serving of chips is more than enough for both of us. Yes the reputation of best fish and chips is well deserved.

Across the road the fishing boats are moored. So after lunch we take Mitch for a walk along the river.

Pelicans are everywhere.

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There are also a number of boats with people living on them. This little dog got all excited when Mitch walked by.

Maybe you would like to hire a pirates boat and cruise along the river. At those prices you would need a bunch of mates to sail with you.

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Round the corner the river side track goes past the caravan park and it is bursting at the seams. Families set up in rather sophisticated arrangement of tents, with annexes and awnings, comfy, canvas chairs. BBQ’s , chilly bins and fridges, portable washing lines. Today the weather is perfect and the families will be so pleased to make the most of this glorious day.

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The water is crystal clear and a safe environment for all types of water sports. I think I see more fishing on the spit.

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It is about a 20 minute walk (allowing for photo stops) into the centre of Brunswick Heads.( click here to see more of Brunswick Heads, a very quaint country town) So time to have a coffee before heading home.

It turns out that this coffee shop is the one that Sue and Norm (the home owners we are sitting for) come to regularly and the owner knows Mitch by name.

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Of course the end of a perfect day needs celebrating with a special cup cake. Chocolate and Grand Marnier for me and Mango and pineapple for Jack. Yummy….

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Meanwhile Mitch chats to a passing friend.


Here’s another walk Jo. No worries if you can’t fit it in, I know how busy you are with your travels at the moment.

Categories: Australia, Brunswick Heads, Fisherman's coo-op, Jo's Monday walks, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Grid

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Dogs are masters at finding the warmest spot in a room. Mitch snoozed at my feet as I had breakfast this morning and looking down at him I noticed the perfect grid formed by the sun shining through the back of the chair.

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When he heard the click of the camera he looked up as much as to say, “What are you doing now?”

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This week Michelle asks us to make a grid the centerpiece of your photo. Next week, they can lapse back into our photographic subconscious, but this week, let’s give them some time in the sun!

Categories: grid, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

A Flower a Week : Silver Princess Gum

Princess gum

Princess gum





Gum trees or Eucalyptus are very common around Australia. The more than 700 species of eucalyptus are mostly native to Australia, only 15 species occur outside Australia, with just nine of these not occurring in Australia. One of the most spectacular is the Silver Princess Gum. Found in the wild in Central Western Australia. It is now cultivated and a very popular small tree for gardens. 

Eucalyptus caesia, commonly known as Caesia, Gungurru or Silver Princess, is a mallee of the Eucalyptus genus. It is endemic to the central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, where it is found on a small number of granite outcrops. The name “silver” refers to the white powder that covers the branches, flower buds and fruit. “Gungurru” comes from the name used by the indigenous Noongar people. (Wikipedia)


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: a flower a week, flowersoverflowers, photos, Silver Princess Gum | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

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