Bench Series : Garden #4

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A bench at the start of the Botanical Gardens in Canberra.

Can you see the small pond alongside? It was alive with the chorus of Motor bike frogs.

To see more of the Canberra Gardens click here.


Join Jude in her “Bench Series” and sit on benches all around the world.

Categories: Australia, bench series, Canberra, Canberra Botanic Gardens, photos, video | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

Looking forward, looking back…A photo essay of 2014…

This song by Slim Dusty touches the nerves of my gypsy soul. It brings back memories of the past year and starts me thinking of the year ahead.

It was this time last year when we sold Matilda our faithful camper van that carried us around Australia for 4 years.

Goodbye Matilda

Matilda takes off with her new owners to new adventures. Goodbye Matilda.

Now it is pedal power.

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I never thought I would be able to survive life, as I know it, without a vehicle. But we made the decision, in December 2013, to be carless for the time being, as during 2014 we would be travelling and having the use of other people’s vehicles.

 Our 2014 adventures took a new direction.

During February and March 2014 we were in New Zealand.

April and May we house sat in Geraldton, Western Australia, and had the use of Hector a grunty, rusty, old, diesel, 4WD Toyota land cruiser that I bonded with and loved driving. Made me feel macho…

June is winter in Australia and we had 4 weeks before the next house sit, so we hired a camper van and toured the south of Western Australia. Visiting friends made during previous travels.

Canberra was the next house sit, July, August, September, October. It is winter and Canberra has a reputation for very cold weather. But the house was warm and Canberra is an interesting place. This time we had the use of an almost brand new Mazda 6, and we had the company of an adorable “Labradoodle” called Molly.

2014 is flying by, we have been away from home almost 9 months but decide on one more 2 week house sit for the year. This time it is on the New South Wales coast. A delightful place called Valla Beach. We have the company of  Rufus, an affectionate blue-heeler, and 3 rather haughty alpacas. This time we are driving a Honda Jazz, a very zippy little car.

Finally we arrive home end of October.



So here I am back home for Christmas and taking time out to catch up with family and friends.

What is in store for us in 2015? Well I am already starting to plan our next adventure and it will be the slow way to New Zealand, something I have never done before and I’m wondering if cruising is going to be my style. Our friends tell us it is so relaxing. Am I ready for relaxing? In the past it has always been the road less travelled, roughing it and minimalist style travel, taking time to go where ever looked interesting.

I’d love to hear from my cyber friends if they have been on a cruise and what they thought of it…


Categories: Australia, Canberra, Geraldton, house sitting, New Zealand, photos, Valla Beach, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 46 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.


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: , , , , , , | 30 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.


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.



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: , , , | 42 Comments

I’m totally immersed in the splendour of Spring.

I LOVE to visit Botanic Gardens and I have been holding back a visit to the Canberra Botanic Gardens waiting for Spring to warm the air and coax the trees and blossoms from their winter slumber.

It was worth the wait.

Come with me for a walk around. These Botanic Gardens are special as they capture the diversity of all areas of Australia. Only native Australian plants are showcased. It has the world’s most comprehensive display of living Australian native plants. A place for recreation, inspiration, science and learning. 

Welcome! To the world of Australian plants, botany and horticulture!

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The light is magic, perfect conditions to take in the glory of nature.  This is going to be a day to savour, so first we fortify with a shot of caffeine.

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A snack on the deck

A seat near the frog pond

A seat near the frog pond

The motorbike frogs are in full voice as we pass by.

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The atmosphere of the rainforest is damp and cold, like the rainforests of Tasmania. The many broad leaf plants of the tropical rainforest are also in this area but they cannot replicate the steamy jungle feel of the tropical rainforest. Soon I will be back home in that tropical climate, I think I will miss the freshness of the Canberra climate as I sweat through the heat and humidity of summer.

Back into the sunlight and the Banksia are in flower. Beacons of light and full of nectar for the birds.

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Tracks and paths meander in all directions. Everywhere is a rhapsody of spring. I am in photography overload.

Xanthorrhoea plant

Xanthorrhoea plant

These are unique and interesting native plants, pop over to Madoqua’s blog, “Have you ever” she has actually grown some from seed, an amazing achievement, and you can read about them.

Another path and another region of Australia.

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Can you spot Jack taking photos?

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Jack feels at home in this area, born in Sydney he spent his childhood wandering through the bush with his little dog Pinto. Most of that bush is now suburbia. Botanic Gardens are needed to preserve what is rapidly being lost to urban development.

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They have even recreated the iconic red centre, not easy to achieve in this climate.

Then everywhere are the magnificent gum trees. For me the gum tree shouts Australia. So many varieties and 67 of those varieties are spread through these gardens. The soft silver trunk splashed with all the colours of the spectrum. Others with bark thick and knobbly. Pioneers were amazed to see these trees that shed their bark and not their leaves. Round every bend they towered over the surrounding bush, calling to be photographed, again and again…


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Beautiful trunk colours

The wattles have been flowering around Canberra for weeks. The happy splash of yellow brightens all the suburbs and they are also on show through these gardens.

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This has been a day to remember, walking through nature is good for the soul. The beauty of these gardens highlights how diverse the plants are in this huge land. From the rainforests to the deserts and vast grasslands they are all represented in this Botanic Garden. A definite must see if you are in Canberra.

Could not resist adding one more photo...

Could not resist adding one more photo…


Now for another coffee stop before we head home.


I am joining Jo’s cyber walking group this week. Jo leads people from all over the world as they walk us around their home towns and other places of interest.

walking logo

Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, Canberra, Canberra Botanic Gardens, gum trees, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

Lingering Look at Windows : National Library Canberra

Like all the buildings in the Parliamentary triangle this is a very impressive building.

National Library Building

National Library Building


The National Library of Australia is the largest reference library of Australia, responsible under the terms of the National Library Act for “maintaining and developing a national collection of library material, including a comprehensive collection of library material relating to Australia and the Australian people.” In 2012-2013, the National Library collection comprised 6,496,772 items, and an additional 15,506 metres of manuscript material.[1](Information from Wikipedia)

What caught my attention was the stained glass windows in the café.

Bookplate café

Bookplate café

It was busy and we had to queue for a table. It was certainly worth the wait.

A place to meet friends and enjoy a coffee

A place to meet friends and enjoy a coffee

Many of the customers were government workers

Many of the customers were government workers

With a free internet connection many had their computers with them.

The book shop also had stained glass windows

The book shop also had stained glass windows

The glass used was a heavy and chunky. Take a closer look. The colours are so vibrant.

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This library is for reference purposes and large areas are reading rooms for study purposes. But there is more than that in this huge building. The “Treasures Gallery” showcases some of Australia’s important historical documents and artefacts. An hour can quickly slip by as you study Captain Cooks journal. Follow the extraordinary story of Edward Mabo and his fight for justice and Aboriginal land rights. Truly a treasure trove bringing Australian history alive.

Wandering into a second gallery we discovered the amazing art and story of J. W. Power. Follow this link to read the story of this almost unknown artist who left a huge fortune to the Sydney University.

J.W.Power, Susannah and the Elders, 1931-32

We spent almost 4 hours discovering all this library had to offer. If you are in Canberra set aside half a day, you will not be disappointed.


Dawn (The day after) hosts a weekly window challenge. You will see interesting windows from around the world. You may like to join in.

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Lingering look at windows, National Library, photos | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Misty Morning in Canberra

Come on, join me. It is hard to leave the warm comfort of your bed but there is a fairy land waiting to be explored. The mist is drifting across Lake Burley Griffin shrouding the world in dreams and expectations of a beautiful, sparkling day to follow, when the sun has chased away the mist.

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The High Court looms behind the flags

The High Court looms behind the flags

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Dew sparkles like diamonds on the web

Dew sparkles like diamonds on the web

Now it is time to head back home for a hot cup of coffee and breakfast.

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin, Misty morning, photos | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Lingering Look at Science Windows.

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 Questacon is a large centre with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. It has many science programs that are devoted to inspiring the children of Australia to love science.

We spent a couple of hours exploring the many interactive exhibits and watching the hordes of children of all ages enjoying them too.

But it was the huge windows that caught my attention.

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A ramp wound up and took you through 8 different rooms of discovery.

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Wow how many of us can you see?

This is just another of the interesting things to do in Canberra.

Dawn hosts a “Lingering Look at Windows” post each week. Take a look at what other windows people have found from around the world this week. 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Lingering look at windows, photos, Questacon | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

Collector of Dreams

Wattle the herald of spring

Wattle the herald of spring

 The Federal Highway, a 4 lane highway, dips and curves through the rolling hills of the Great Dividing Range, eventually  joining the Hume Highway and fast tracks Canberrians 300 kilometres from Canberra to Sydney

But today we will only go approximately 90 kilometres to explore the inland city of Goulburn

The Great Dividing Range and Lake George

The Great Dividing Range and Lake George

The highway by-passes many small villages on its relentless rush from point A to B, but the joy of slow travel is to take the road less travelled and what interesting and delightful discoveries are waiting to be found. So it was when we noticed the sign for “Collector”. Now who could resist wanting to see a village with a name like that.



The sun sparkled on this small pond and the raucous sound of the “motorbike frog” filled the air. It was a joy to see the soft green leaves cloaking the trees on the side of the pond. A definite photo stop…

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Further along the road the local Hotel was once the refuge for the Ben Hall bush-ranger gang.

“The hotel’s dubious claim to fame is linked to the murder of Constable Samuel Nelson by John Dunn a member of bushranger Ben Hall’s gang on 26 January, 1865. The hotel changed its name to the ‘Bushranger’ after the incident.”

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Now it is for sale. Any takers out there? Have you $755,000 to spare?

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It was closed but we snooped around peering through windows.

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Now here is a very interesting piece of information…

The Paranormal Guide lists it as a potential haunted hotspot.

“The Bushranger Hotel is said to be haunted by a former publican, who continues to go about his work. Glasses on the bar are moved by unseen hands, and even found to be stacked when a staff member leaves and reenters the room. At other times glasses just shatter while they sit on the shelves,” they note.

“White, whispy figures have been seen travelling through the doorways, accompanied by the step of heavy shod boots. If you are a woman and are staying in the hotel, you may be fortunate enough to have the sensation of your hair been stroked and run through with invisible fingers.”

The hotel was also the subject of a documentary, and has been investigated by West Sydney Paranormal.

WOW! I only found this after checking the hotel in Google. Here is another interesting site about the present owners.

Next to the Hotel is another interesting place.

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It is an old books and rare items shop. Look inside. Hundreds of books, but it is only open by appointment.

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But then I looked across the road. WHAT is this???

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I take a closer look.

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There’s no one around, it looks as though it has been deserted for quite a long time, so I go round the back.

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It certainly has been well reinforced. I think a major dream has been under construction here. My curiosity is running wild and when a young bloke comes by I ask if he can tell me about it.

Yes he could as his father lives next door. He remembered when he was at school watching as  Tony Phantastes, the art teacher at Goulburn High, slowly created his “Dreamer’s Gate”. All along the front had electric wires running through and lights installed. Tony would turn them on in the evening, lighting up his dream.

“Collector is also famous for the controversial sculpture Dreamers Gate by Tony Phantastes, built between 1993 and 1997 to commemorate, among other things, his father’s life. A Gothic structure of cement and chicken wire, the artist and the Gunning Shire Council have been in constant battle regarding the structure since 1999.[9] The plot in which the sculpture stands is now for sale and the sculpture itself under demolition orders.[10]”   (Information from Wikipedia)

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This is the gateway round to the back. Tony had planned to build an art gallery and coffee shop.

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This is his field of dreams. How very sad. My young informant thinks he has gone somewhere north and hasn’t been seen in Collector for quite a while now.

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Slowly we drive away leaving behind the dreams of yesterday, now dying and turning to dust.

Just as we turn back onto the Federal Highway I notice signs of new life arriving in Collector. Roads and paving are being constructed and a new housing development is rising out of the earth waiting for commuters to build and create a new dream. Working in the city but living in this idyllic and eccentric country town.

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As we leave this funny fellow waves goodbye.


Our day out has just begun and we are half way to Goulburn, but I will take you there tomorrow.

(To be continued….)


Categories: Australia, Canberra, Collector, photos | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

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