Jo’s Monday walks

The Buddha Walk at the Crystal Castle…

In my previous post I’d been looking down at the organic vegetable garden as we had lunch, so before going along the Buddha Walk I went to look at where the delicious salad had come from.

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The raised beds were home to a variety of salad veggies, herbs, flowers a glorious array of healthy goodness. The sign invites volunteers to feel free to come and help and learn the skills of organic garden. Now if I lived closer I would love to help out.

Now onto the walk…

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Before the Buddha Walk the labyrinth is waiting for you to walk around. This is not a maze as there is only one way in and the reverse way out.

 “A labyrinth is a walking meditation… a spiritual tool for reconnecting with your inner voice. Walking these single path designs assists us in bringing together the analytical/rational part of our consciousness with the intuitive/spiritual level of consciousness. An exercise for the mind and the body” (so says Sig Lonegren)

In a maze we lose ourselves, but in a labyrinth we find ourselves. (Michael Stevens)

Well that’s enough of the quotes lets head through the beautiful towering amethyst geodes and discover the Buddha walk.

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Flanked by the sparkling amethyst geodes is the first deity the chubby, gentle, wise, elephant-headed Ganesh, or Ganesha, is one of Hinduisms most popular deities.

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A short way along the path from Ganesh is Lakshmi.

“Goddess Lakshmi means Good Luck to Hindus. The word ‘Lakshmi’ is derived from the Sanskrit word “Laksya”, meaning ‘aim’ or ‘goal’, and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Lakshmi is the household goddess of most Hindu families, and a favourite of women.”

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Nandi

Nandi

The statues and deities are  incredible works of art and for some will add a spiritual dimension to the walk, but for me it is the gardens and the overall serenity of the surrounding rainforest that takes my breath away.

Then I turn a corner….

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And discover the bamboo glade…

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I listened, entranced by the soft whispering of the bamboo canes as they rubbed together. They seemed to be speaking to each other.

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These children ran exuberantly down the steps and down the end I see another statue.

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Everywhere these bold purple signs inform us of what we are looking at. Giving brief descriptions and explanations. I appreciate that as I only know the very basic facts about Eastern philosophy.

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“Damanhur” now this is a place I have never heard of and later I looked it up in Google and this is what Wikipedia said…

The Federation of Damanhur, often called simply Damanhur, is a commune, ecovillage, and spiritual community situated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy about 30 miles (50 km) north of the city of Turin. It is located in the foothills of the Alps in the Chiusella Valley, bordering on the Gran Paradiso National Park. The community has its own constitution and currency, the Credito.

Damanhur is named after the Egyptian city of Damanhur which was the site of a temple dedicated to Horus.

It was founded in 1975 by Oberto Airaudi with around 24 followers, and by 2000 the number had grown to 800. The group holds a mix of New Age and neopagan beliefs. They gained fame in 1992 through the disclosure of their secret excavation of an extensive underground temple, the Temples of Humankind, which was begun in 1978 under complete secrecy. The Italian authorities ordered construction work to stop because it had been constructed without planning approval, although artwork could continue. Retroactive permission was subsequently granted.[1] 

It seems to be quite a controversial place and some say it is bordering on a cult status.

There is starting to appear many different levels of meaning in this Crystal Castle and I am having difficulty to absorb all the different messages I am starting to perceive here.

Take a look at this link. A virtual tour of this underground temple.

http://www.thetemples.org/tour/

Be careful you may get dizzy. Tell me what you think…

Back to the walk…

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This is the Damanhur Spiral with the young boy taking a photo. The sign requests that only one person at a time enter the spiral. When I passed it again a short time later the boy had gone and this time I could see the woman had connected with the spirit of the large central crystal.

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Finally I reach the spiritual heart of the Crystal Castle and gaze at the Blessing Buddha and I am about to listen to the singing plants…

To be continued in the next post…

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I am joining Restless Jo and her band of trampers from around the world with this part 2 of my Crystal Castle experience.

 

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Categories: Crystal Castle, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, photos | 28 Comments

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 Mal Cooper who had employed  Edwin Kingsbury an eccentric architect to design 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 Mal Cooper 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)

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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: , , , , | 32 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…

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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: , , , , | 41 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: , , , , | 38 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.

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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

Market Day at Mullumbimby.

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The third Saturday of each month is market day in Mullumbimby. Called Mullum by the locals. It has been the centre for alternative or counter-culture since the 1970’s and to wander around town and visit the markets it is like stepping back into that era, the time of the flower children, communal living and the hippies still survives in this vibrant and colourful “biggest, little town in Australia”.

 

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These 2 had come down in their camper van, from Brisbane, the big smoke, to spend the weekend here. Picking a handful of flowers from the hedgerow to put in her hair she is a new age flower child.

It was interesting to look at the houses and gardens as we walked along to the markets.

Definitely my style of place. Small, rustic, lots of picket fences, some overgrown and wild, others neat and cottagey. Loved to see the swing hanging from the tree in the middle of the street for all children to play on.

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Before we even arrived at the markets we passed locals that had spread their wares out behind their vehicles. Is there anything there you would like Jack?

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As we entered the market we could feel the love, so many greeting each other with hugs, the atmosphere was happy and care-free, and a great place for people watching.

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Grey flowing locks and bare feet, long skirts, caftans and happy pants were the predominant fashion. The young woman in the modern “jeggings” looks to be from another world.

The market is in the Historical Park and an old cedar shed looks its age next to the 50+ market stalls.

Weaving being demonstrated

Weaving being demonstrated

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Do you remember macramé? A craft from the 70’s. Well this stall was full of it and I thought this is an example of a “grid” created with string, (the weekly photo challenge)

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Look how tall this bloke is!!!

There were plenty of food and coffee  stalls all under the large shady trees, but it was an overcast sort of day with showers threatening, so we decided to walk back to the main street for lunch.

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One last channelling of the 70’s as we passed this old truck devoted to shiatsu massage. But he is all modern age with his phone in hand.  Incidentally I did not see too many people on their phones…

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As we passed these two friendly characters Jack had to stop for a chat. Bushy and the Pirate were very laid back and a distinct aroma of the 70’s floated on the air around them. Back in the day, this town grew weed so potent it was known as Mullum Madness!

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This was originally the Bank of New South Wales but now houses a very comprehensive collection of organic produce and supplies. Mullum is the service town for the area and has a good range of shops and services. Lots of craft shops to wander around. But we were looking for lunch. I had checked on “Trip Advisor” before I left home and from 21 choices they named “Rock & Roll Coffee Company” as number one. It is tucked away down a little lane in the heart of town, just round the corner from the organic emporium.

But just a minute, we could hear music, a jazz  blues band. This we had to check out.

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This group of local musicians were belting out “Mustang Sally”. Lunch forgotten we stayed, along with quite a crowd, to listen. Finally we dropped a donation in the guitar case and left with a smile on our faces to find lunch.

So down the lane we went. Most of the diners looked like locals and it was a small, sort of hole in the wall type of place. But the food was delicious, (I forgot to take a photo!).

Did you notice the entrance to the left of the café?

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Must have a look in here…

Lots of good quality arts and crafts and a relaxing courtyard with that amazing mural on the back wall.

Feeling refreshed, fuelled and caffeinated we went for a walk around the streets. But time to head back home…

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I don’t think the cats even missed us… 

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I will join in with Restless Jo’s intrepid walkers this week. Come over and join them.

Categories: Australia, grid, Jo's Monday walks, markets, Mullumbimby, New South Wales, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Time for walkies…

One of the main things I have to do on a house sit is “walk the dog”. All dogs love going for “walkies” and Mitch is no exception. It is also a good way to explore the new area.

So would you like to come with me for the afternoon walk?

The house is on a spur high above the surrounding bush, and it is hilly. Just across the road is where Mitch is taken for his morning walk, before breakfast!!! Then again at precisely 4-30pm…

That hill is very steep, it feels almost vertical and it certainly got my heart pumping.

I had to stop, catch my breath, and, of course, take a photo. I think Mitch was quite pleased to sit down and wait for me.

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Almost to the top. This is my second stop, (puff, puff, puff) another photo of the view looking back down the hill. Are you still with me?

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There is a picnic area with free BBQs and these lovely gum trees were casting elongated shadows, pointing the way through an avenue of trees

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Finally we reach the summit and find a bench (this is for you Jude) and look at the view. It is late afternoon and you can see my long shadow.

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But the walk isn’t over yet. What goes up must come down. So now I head down the other side of the hill.

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This is not so steep, it has a path that winds gently down through the bush and steps make the descent easier.

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It is an attractive and well maintained piece of bush and plantings of bottle brush, Grevillea and various other species line the track. I had to stop to photograph this unusual white bottle brush.

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Mitch looks back “come on” he seems to be saying, “we are supposed to be walking”…

We finally reach the end of the track where it comes out onto a road, so now we turn round and go back up the track and the steps to the summit. It is still quite steep and a challenge going in the opposite direction. But here we are back at the summit.

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This is the view inland over the Border Ranges. More areas to explore.

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Just as we reach the bottom of the hill this fit young thing swished by.

That was my first walk with the dog, the day we arrived. It is now 3 days later and I have scaled the hill five times. I am very pleased to report that this morning I made it to the top without a stop…

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Restless jo is an avid walker and her latest ramble was on the Algarve border. She has inspired a cyber group of walkers from around the world to take us along on their walks. You may like to join them.

Categories: Australia, house sitting, Jo's Monday walks, Ocean Shores, photos | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

Ups and downs in Brisbane…

A few weeks ago my blogging buddy Meg from “Snippetandsnaps” mentioned the Australian landscape artist William Robinson. I Looked him up on Google.

“Figurative expressionist painter William Robinson is considered one of Australia’s foremost living artists. He is recognised for his unique interpretation of the Australian landscape as well as his whimsical portraits and narrative scenes. Robinson was born in Queensland in 1936 and began painting in the 1960s. His broad, detailed images of the Australian bushland emphasising the skewed perspective of the beholder are among the most recognisable images of the Australian landscape. His humourous and imaginative self-portraits were awarded the Archibald Prize in 1987 and 1995. A major retrospective of his work was held in 2001 at the Queensland Art Gallery. A monograph of his work was published in the same year. In 2009 the William Robinson Gallery was opened at the QUT campus in Old Government House. “

I decided that we would have a day’s outing to Brisbane  to view his art. We caught the 8-45am commuter train and it was packed. Not only workers on their daily commute to Brisbane, but young children and parents and grandparents going to visit the Ekka, the annual country comes to town show.

Just over an hour later we arrived at South Bank and walked across the “Goodwill Bridge”, a pedestrian and cyclist bridge that goes directly across the Brisbane River to the QUT (Queensland University of Technology).

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Looking over the side of the bridge I could see the River Cat ferry swooping along from side to side picking up passengers, and a more sedate old-timer boat taking tourists sightseeing along the river. A few mellow people were relaxing over on the lawns of South Bank.

I had planned a full day, but top of the list was find the Old Government House to visit the “William Robinson Gallery”

So we entered the campus and the world of students.

As we entered the first thing I saw was this strange-looking sculpture. What ever is it? Can you guess? I thought maybe a pile of nuts, or a pile of poo!!! Jack sat and waited while I read the information plaque.

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Well I would never have guessed that…

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The stately old Government House faces the City Botanic Gardens (I am standing on the steps down to the gardens as I take this photo) and I also plan a wander through there later in the day.

“Old Government House was the hub of colonial life in the early days of Brisbane. Constructed between 1860 and 1862, shortly after Queensland achieved separation from New South Wales, the House was Queensland’s first public building. A rare surviving example of the domestic work of Queensland’s first Colonial Architect Charles Tiffin, the House was both a private residence and official state office for Governor Bowen, the colony’s first governor, and continued to be the home of Queensland’s governors until 1910.

Old Government House successively became the University of Queensland’s inaugural building (1910-1972) and the headquarters of the National Trust of Queensland (1972-2002). As one of Queensland’s most significant historical buildings, it was the first building in the state to be heritage listed in 1978. In 2002, the Queensland University of Technology accepted custodial responsibility for the House and undertook a lengthy restoration project. This included the delivery of an interpretative multimedia centre to highlight the cultural and historical significance of each part of this landmark colonial building.

Old Government House was reopened to the public in June 2009 as an historic house museum, a gallery housing the works of renowned Australian artist William Robinson and an elegant venue available to hire for private functions. Located centrally in Brisbane adjacent to the City Botanic Gardens, the House stands with renewed grandeur within the Gardens Point Campus of QUT.”

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The grand old home is now dwarfed by the newer buildings of the campus, but it still appears to be the heart and on this warm day, students are clustered around in ones and twos and groups doing what students do on a beautiful Queensland day.

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Time to people watch later, now it is time to go inside and immerse myself in the world of art.

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The gallery is on the second floor so first a look around downstairs.

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I can imagine the many grand balls and functions that were held here when this house was the centre of the newly created colony. Now these surroundings are for private hire.

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The library/office is the only room with furniture and it is a museum to the National Park Movement celebrating 100 years of conservation.

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But now it is past the baby grand piano and sweep up the stairs to the gallery…

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The paintings dominate the space, they are breathtaking and have captured the colours and spirit of the native bush.

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 Photographs cannot fully capture the intensity of the layers and build up of texture that flows and ripples across the canvas.

The captions explain the paintings better than I can. So I will let the paintings talk to you.

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I have taken this close-up so you can see the layer up on layer of paint. That corrugated iron could be the real thing. For 10 years in New Zealand I milked Jersey cows and I fell in love with these quirky popeyed ladies…

But this next painting was my favourite and I kept going back to savour the ethereal beauty of the bush.

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Before we left I stepped out on to the balcony. What a magnificent position, this is looking straight into the City Botanic Gardens and over to the river.

But now it is time for lunch.

A rather trendy café is situated in the courtyard at the back of the house in what was the kitchen and servants quarters. But we decide to go over to the students food court and join them for the cheap and cheerful budget fare that students prefer. So armed with kebabs and chips we find a bench under the mature trees and watch the activity and plan the rest of the day.

The Art Museum is behind Old Government House and then a highly anticipated visit to the “Cube”. Before a look around the Botanic Gardens then catch the train back home.

“The Cube is one of the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display spaces dedicated to providing an inspiring, explorative and participatory experience of QUT’s Science and Engineering research.

The Cube consists of 48 multi-touch screens soaring across two storeys. Housed in QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre, The Cube is your hub for scientific and digital exploration.”

That sounds exciting.

But first the Art Museum…

THEN…. OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!

Now comes the downs…

Jack misses a step and goes hurtling down the steps landing heavily on his right shoulder. Three students rush over to help and as Jack is unable to get up straight away I ask one of them to phone for an ambulance. A tutor arrives and phones for a security guard and then rushes off to find a glass of water. Slowly we help Jack to his feet and he sits on a bench cradling his right arm and in pain.

Everyone is very concerned.

Eventually the ambulance arrives. The campus is like a rabbit warren and they had difficulty finding us.

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The Ambos are very efficient and after taking his heart rate and finding the source of the pain in his right shoulder it is onto the stretcher and as heads turn and follow our progress, Jack is trundled through campus to where the ambulance is parked.

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The hospital staff are amazing and efficient. A couple of hours later an x-ray had established that nothing was broken, but the shoulder was very bruised and sore. So  having been given pain killers and the arm put in a sling we could head home.

So it will be another trip to Brisbane, when we can fit it in, to finish the sight-seeing around QUT.

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This walk was not quite as far as I had planned Jo, so now I will have to come back again to finish it off…

Check out all the other intrepid walkers from around the world

Categories: Brisbane, Jo's Monday walks, Old Government House, photos, QUT | Tags: , , , , , , | 72 Comments

Gold Coast Icons,

Change is inevitable. I look around and see it happening. So before these Icons have gone and been replaced with bigger and better (often debatable) I decided to take my camera for a ride on the light rail/G.link to Surfers Paradise and walk around to show you what is here at the moment.

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This is Pacific Fair at Broadbeach. It opened in 1977 and at that time grew to be the major shopping centre on the Gold Coast. It was the jewel in the crown and a major tourist attraction.

“Pacific Fair opened in 1977 on what was swampland with just 96 specialty stores and two anchor tenants. Since then, Pacific Fair has undergone numerous expansions and grew to have more than 300 specialty stores and four anchor tenants.” (Wikipedia)

But gradually new shopping precincts opened. Robina muscled into the market. Brighter, bigger and all air-conditioned it made Pacific Fair look tired and out dated.

 So in January 2014, work began on a major redevelopment project to meet the predicted regional growth on the Gold Coast. Shoppers will be lured back to ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers from online shopping when the $670 million transformation of Pacific Fair is complete.

Take a look at what is coming….

Click on the following link for a fly-through of the proposed revamp.

http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/pacific-fairs-670m-revamp-set-to-make-broadbeach-shopping-centre-a-mustsee-destination/story-fnj94idh-1226785865380

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This is the new look. What do you think? I prefer the previous frontage, as seen in the top photo. I think it has character and a certain style. This new (improved?) look to me is just a generic clone of commercial buildings, all square and chunky, no finesse…

Just a short stroll along the highway, negotiating the crossings and avoiding the trains, is Jupiter’s Casino.

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Jupiter’s Casino was opened in 1986 and has had 2 major renovations in 2006 and 2012.

The seven acre complex includes eight bars, seven restaurants, conference facilities, a ballroom, theatre, health spa, gym, and a monorail which connects the property to the Oasis Shopping Centre across the road. The hotel, with 594 rooms, stands 66 metres (216 feet) and has 21 floors.

But look what is coming…

This is an artists impression of the 6 star hotel complex that is to be built.

JUPITERS Hotel & Casino is embracing the great outdoors with work on the first stage of its $345 million transformation finally under way.  It is expected to be finished before the 2018 Commonwealth Games start.

I hop back onto the G. Link and hop off again at Surfers Paradise, a 5 minute ride.

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Across the road is the famous “Hard Rock Café” sign, but a sign of the times is the “for lease” sign in the window. Business has been hard for the traders in this area as the light rail took 3 years of disruption to construct and many shops simply closed the doors and walked away.

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Caville Avenue is the main pedestrian shopping and tourist mall in Surfers Paradise, but look how empty and quiet it is. The beach is just at the end of this mall.

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Mid-week and it is almost deserted. This is the iconic sign that must feature in millions of photos that go around the world.

The yellow life savers hut, yellow and red flags marking the safe to swim areas and the life savers on duty are icons I hope will never change.

Remember it is still winter,  the weather is glorious, but where are all the people…

Time to head back home…

This is Burleigh Beach and this is where the people are, well a few,  look at all the sun bathers…

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Back home and a walk along Burleigh Beach. In the distance, across the sparkling ocean, the iconic outline of the hi-rises of Surfers Paradise line the horizon. The highest spike, in the centre of the row of buildings is Q1. Last week we visited it and from the top viewing deck could see all the way to this beach. But already there are plans in the pipe line to build another apartment block even higher than Q1.

So change is inevitable…

Well here I am, it is Monday and I am joining Jo’s Monday cyber walking group. I made it on the day, just…

       

Categories: Australia, beach, Burleigh, Goldcoast, Jo's Monday walks, Pacific Fair, photos, Queensland, Surfer's Paradise | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 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: , , , , , , | 53 Comments

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