Australia

Chinese New Year Dinnertime : Weekly Photo Challenge…

The Gold Coast China Town precinct has only been established for a short while, but it is expanding and now extends through 2 streets. Just in time for the celebration of the Chinese New Year the first set of traditional Han gates arrived.

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“And, as befits an auspicious addition to the precinct, a consultant ensured the gate’s feng shui was appropriately adjusted. We had a feng shui master examine the gates and his analysis showed we needed to put a lucky charm in each of the gate’s towers,” Cr Crichlow said.

“So we buried a set of eight Chinese coins connected with red Chinese knots in each tower.

“Eight is the luckiest number in China and because the towers are twins we had to get two sets of eight.

“We also had to bury them at a particular lucky time and date to maximise the feng shui.” (Gold Coast Bulletin)

It was February 20th 2016, Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey. China Town was crowded, parking was at a premium, so we went there on the G:Link, the new light rail system.

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The stall holders were busy preparing the food.

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And the hordes of people, locals and tourists, tucked in…

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On a stage traditional Chinese dancers entertained the crowd.

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I even managed to get a photo of a very rare 2 headed Chinese lady…

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Meanwhile round the corner a magician was enthralling both children and adults with his sleight of hand.

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It is getting darker but still the food stalls are supplying dinner for the crowds.

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The fairy lights are twinkling and some people find a seat.

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Others squeeze on to whatever they can find to sit on…

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While others have to be content with sitting in the gutter.

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But everyone seems happy.

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This week, Michelle asks us to focus on dinnertime: share a meal with us, or shoot during your dinner hour. Blogger’s choice!

I hope you enjoyed sharing dinner in China Town and celebrating the start of the year of the monkey.

Categories: Australia, Chinatown, dinnertime, Goldcoast, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 49 Comments

7 Days of Nature Photography : Day 4…

Continuing to another part of the Roma Street Parklands after the mysterious and misty fern gully, the Spectacle Garden is a blaze of colour, shape and form. The paths wind round through the beds of annuals and over in the corner I spot a scarecrow protecting a small herb and veggie patch.

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I love the attention to detail. Notice how the wall is colour coördinated to compliment the bromeliad flower.

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This water dragon stayed so still I thought he was a sculpture, until he turned his head to look at me.

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Thanks Gilly (Lucid Gypsy) for nominating me. I’m enjoying splitting my Parklands day-out into smaller posts. Normally I would do one big post with lots of photos. Maybe this way is better for my followers, especially when time is limited, so many blogs to visit out there in cyberspace…

Today I would like to invite Gerrie (Canberra’s green spaces) to join in this challenge. Gerrie lives in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, a beautiful city with lots of gardens and parks that she delights in showing us. So I think it will be a pleasure to see her daily nature photos. Hope you have the time to fit it in Gerrie.

Categories: 7 day nature photo challenge, Australia, Brisbane, photos, Roma Street Parklands, travel | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

7 Days of Nature Photography : Day 3…

Roma Street Parklands is a garden lovers paradise and it needs to be savoured in sections to appreciate its amazing abundance and diversity. So moving on from the vibrant, colourful lush tropical garden area where I found the stunning red ginger, I now find the mysterious and secretive fern gully. Jets of misty water swirl over and through the ferns. Intermittent streaks of sunlight highlight leaves and figures move like ghosts through this subtropical wonderland.

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Can you see the jets of mist coming up from the ground?

I approach a bridge and while taking a photo two ghostlike figures appear out of the mist.

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I can hear the trickle of running water as a small stream winds through the undergrowth and cascades over the mossy rocks.

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This could be worlds apart from the tropical wonder I photographed in yesterdays post but it is just created in the same area by providing these plants with the different damp, moist conditions they need to flourish. (to be continued)

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Thank you Gilly (Lucid Gypsy) for nominating me for this challenge. I am going to invite Georgie (third time lucky) to take on this challenge. Georgina has the amazing lifestyle of living on a yacht and sailing around the Greek Islands. I hope you have the time to take this challenge on Georgie.

Categories: 7 day nature photo challenge, Australia, Brisbane, photos, Roma Street Parklands, travel | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

7 Day Nature Photo : Day 1 a walk in the National Park

I have been nominated by Gilly (Lucid Gypsy) to join this latest challenge that is doing the rounds. 7 consecutive days posting a nature photo, could I manage that? Then Sue (Wordsvisual) showed me the way by combining it with other challenges I enjoy doing. So for day 1 I am combining it with “Jo’s Monday walk”.

The second part of the challenge is to nominate another blogging buddy to join in. So today I would like to invite Ruth (Ruth’s arc) to join in.

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It is 5-30 and I have biked down to Burleigh Heads in the pre-dawn to watch the sunrise over the ocean from the Burleigh Heads National Park. The track winds along beside the ocean and I find a good position to wait for the moment the sun makes its appearance.

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Here it is in all its glory bathing the ocean in a blood-red glow

This is a popular jogging track as it is one of the few hills around this area for runners to test themselves on.

Going up

Going up

But I prefer to saunter along, taking my camera for a walk with me gives me an excuse to go slow and absorb the sights and sounds around me. (actually I am well past the jogging stage of life!)

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It is a narrow track and at this time of the morning the rays of the sun angle through the trees lighting up the volcanic rocks.

Before leaving the ocean track I take a side track down to see what is happening along the banks of the Tallebudgera River.

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It is so peaceful and this young woman sits and meditates.

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While another group move in a graceful swaying motion, almost hypnotic to watch them.

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The river along this part of the beach is also busy. Stand up paddle boarding is the current craze. Small tinnies zip by taking the fishermen out to try their luck in the ocean.

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The weather is perfect for swimming watched over by the lifeguards.

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I now branch away from the ocean track and head up the hill along the rainforest track. The vegetation changes, this park features rainforest, eucalypt forest, Pandanus groves, tussock grassland, coastal heath and mangroves.

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This bush turkey is quite unconcerned by the runners and walkers and just saunters along at his own speed. It seems to be a good year for these birds as there are far more than I have seen before.

 Six-sided basalt columns line the track were they have come to rest millions of years ago.

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 I explore the Rainforest circuit, wandering through a living museum of plants.

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It is  steep on this part of the track but I take it gently. There are benches at regular intervals and this one is right at the top.

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Look at the view all the way south to Coolangatta. Not so many hi-rise buildings on this part of the coast…

View from the top of the track

View from the top of the track

But the serious runners are not looking at the view, this is a good place to stretch the legs before the run down the other side.

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Some of the rocks are quite unstable and when there is heavy rain part of the track is closed for safety reasons,

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No danger today and now I am getting close to the bottom of the track. The road is in sight but lots of steps to negotiate. The serious runners make good use of these pounding up and down them and I have to keep standing to one side to let them past.

Going down

Now I can see the ocean again.

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I’ve been almost an hour going round the circuit. The light has changed, not so good for photography now.

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Hardly any surf, but still some surfers wait hopefully for some action and this photographer is waiting for action too…

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While others sit and watch the ocean, drink a cup of coffee, take the dog for a walk, bike and play with the children. Some people have to work and it is good to see the council workers keeping the place clean.

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I wonder if this surfer caught any waves…

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Well it is now time to head back home for breakfast.

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Ever Restless Jo encourages us with her energetic walks each week and a great band of world-wide walkers join her. Pop over to see where they are all taking us this week.

Categories: Australia, Burleigh Heads National Park, Jo's Monday walks, photos | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

The changing seasons : March…

 In January I joined Cardinal Guzman’s “changing season” challenge. and introduced you to Burleigh Beach.

In February I took you to the monthly art and craft market on the beach front

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

My challenge each month is to showcase some part of Burleigh, this place I call home.

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March is my favourite month, the weather has cooled to a very pleasant mid 20’s, a very slight breeze keeping the humidity away, it is perfect weather for walking. So come with me to the Burleigh Heads National Park. That prominent headland that juts out into the ocean at the southern end of Burleigh Beach.

For this challenge I will just pick the highlights of the walk as the challenge calls for 5-20 photos. On Sunday I will overwhelm you with more photos when I walk with Jo and her troop of world-wide walkers.

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Version 2…

These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

March has been a pivotal month for me. It is my birthday month and also Jack has his birthday on the same day, so double reason to celebrate. But it is the month we decided to settle down after 6 years of travel. We have moved back into our house (see the details of that move here.)

For the first time in over 10 years we had all Jack’s clan arrive and spend a joyous Easter with us. 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and 5 gorgeous grand children. This is what we missed while travelling. In the short periods at home, during travelling, we would make hurried visits to catch up with family and friends, but now we will be able to cherish having them visit us.

So, for me, this photo (taken by Jack), captures the feeling of togetherness.

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Would you like to see more of our Easter get-together? Go over to Jack’s blog he has done a nice post about the day.

Categories: #monthly photo challenge, #the changing seasons v2, Australia, Burleigh, March, photos | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Going up in the world…

For 6 years a very small, one room Granny flat has been our home base. For 4 years we meandered around Australia in Matilda our small, very small Toyota Hiace camper van. (Jack called it our sardine can!!!) Usually coming home for a few weeks over Christmas before setting off again on another adventure.

Then we began doing more house sitting. So for the next 2 years we flew around Australia to various locations, enjoying the opportunity to become part of a community for the duration of our house sit. And we sold Matilda.

After 6 years of almost constant travel we could feel another change of life style creeping up on us. It was time to settle down again. The catalyst came 2 weeks ago, when our dear friends, who had cared for our house and garden for those 6 years, decided it was time for them to move on too.

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The Granny flat is behind the bottom right hand window and over the past 2 weeks we have slowly, very slowly, transported all our worldly goods, piece by piece, up those 15 steps and arranged them in a minimalist style in our new habitat. (not much furniture was needed in the Granny flat and we had down-sized in a big way 6 years ago). We now have the luxury of 3 bedrooms. One to sleep in and one each as our play room…

So life has changed. Time to settle down. Spend more time in the garden and getting back into our various hobbies, or just sit on the sunny decks and reflect on life.

From the back deck I can now see over the top of the trees and shrubs into the neighbour’s garden and just look at what is in flower…

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This Tibouchinas is in full flower. I have planted one in the front garden but it will be a few years before it is flowering like this. I have put this in for my blogging buddy Meg who has just gone to Warsaw for a year to stay near family and share in the life of her 2 mischievous twin grandchildren. Her descriptions of life in her adopted country will take you on cyber wings to experience life in Warsaw. (follow along here)

Being up 2 stories I am now on a level with the top of the Grevillia tree and I spotted this blue-eyed honeyeater and he defiantly eye-balled me right back.

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Jude is looking for wild life in the garden in her “garden photography” challenge. Take a look here.

Being home for Easter is a novelty, so tomorrow we will be inundated with the family, 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and 5 Grandchildren. What a lovely way to start this new stay at home year.

I wish you all a very happy Easter however you may celebrate it. And if you are travelling please take care.

Categories: Australia, Goldcoast | Tags: , , | 55 Comments

Thursday Special : Tall…

In 1977 Pacific Fair opened it’s doors and became the iconic shopping centre on the Gold Coast.

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Tourists travelled from around the world to experience this new style of shopping.

But in the last decade new shopping centres have opened, modern and up to date, they eclipsed Pacific Fair. In contrast it looked drab and dated. So in 2014 a multi million dollar redevelopment started. The first stage opened late in 2015.

This is the new look…

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So what has this got to do with “tall” the theme for this weeks challenge from Paula at “Lost in translation”?

Well I went for wander round the new and improved “Pac Fair” and I found these very tall, rather old-fashioned looking, ladies strangely promoting the new look stores.

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The final stage of the redevelopment is due to open later this year. I imagine it will be with lots of fan-fare and I will be there, camera in hand, to see what they have spent all the money on…

Categories: Goldcoast, Pacific Fair, photos, tall, Thursday Special, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

Wordless Wednesday : Golden Hour…

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Categories: Goldcoast, travel, Wordless Wednesday | Tags: , , | 24 Comments

My “state of mind” as Summer ends…

It is March 1st, the first day of Autumn and it is raining, really raining, not just the dribbly showers that fell occasionally during February bringing no relief to the hot, parched earth, but the steady sort of rain that soaks into the soil bringing renewed life and vigour to the plants.

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Just look at it, can you see the plants smiling? In the past 12 hours we have had 70mm of rain and it is still raining…

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How do I feel? What is my state of mind as I stand under the deck awning and watch the rain soaking into the garden? I feel I am coming back to life. The listless, constant stickiness of the hot, humid summer is over (well I hope so!) I love Autumn, March is my favourite month of the year. I feel revitalised and ready to do things I have been putting off.

My state of mind is happiness.

Over at WordPress Ben Huberman asks us to share an image where you see a particularly strong connection between what we see and what you felt as you pressed that shutter button on your camera or phone. What was our “state of mind”…

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This sort of follows on, or really came before, when I went round the garden to see what was still in flower. I was in a reflective state of mind thinking and hoping for the cooler weather to come.

On the weekend it was very hot, I did a photo essay of what is flowering in the garden at the end of summer.

Grevillia flowers all year round

Grevillia flowers all year round

The main work during summer is pruning and the compost bin is almost full again.

My favourite flower is the gorgeous Fruit salad Frangipani. I’ve put this in for Jude “earth laughs in flowers” She is a passionate gardener and hosts a weekly “garden photography” challenge, I hope you will go over and have a look.

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How are you feeling? I hope these smiling flowers have put you in a happy state of mind.

Categories: Australia, garden, photos, state of mind, tropical garden, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 49 Comments

Changing Seasons…

It is the last day of February. In fact it is the extra day for February as it is Leap Year. (now who shall I propose to???)

This year I am joining Cardinal Guzman’s “changing seasons” challenge. He has 2 versions to choose from.

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

So I’ll start with version 2….

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February is the hottest month. It is humid with temperatures going into the high 30’s, sometimes reaching 40+. It is the month for sun, sea, surf and going to the beach. Cyclone Winston has created wild seas, perfect for surfers. Look carefully and you can see these beach walkers are looking at that tiny dot riding the waves.

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Version 1

Each month I’ll visit the beach and park around Burleigh Heads to show you some of the things you can see around here. It is the last Sunday of the month and the Art and Craft markets set up along the beach front park.

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Music adds to the ambience and happy atmosphere.

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A variety of food stalls will keep your energy levels up.

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I hope you enjoyed this wander around the markets, these are only a few of the stalls that set up here every month. Did you see anything you would like to buy?

Meanwhile the beaches have been opened again to swimmers, but the life guards are keeping a sharp eye on the few that venture in.

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Check here to see what the conditions were like a few days ago.

Categories: #monthly photo challenge, #the changing seasons v2, Australia, Burleigh Beach, February, markets, photos | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

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