slide show

Saturday is Salamanca Market day

Bellerive beach

Henry          Saturday dawned fine and sunny, the rain had cleared a

perfect day to visit Salamanca markets.

But first to take the dogs for their morning run along the beach.


“Set on Hobart’s historic waterfront, Salamanca Market is  Australia’s biggest, brightest and best outdoor market. Every Saturday, the Georgian warehouses of Salamanca Place look down on a bustle of colour and music, as visitors and locals come to meet, eat and pick up a bargain or two. Market stalls and vendors sell everything from hot baked potatoes to antiquarian books, from hand-carved craft in Tasmania’s specialty timbers to sheepskin boots. The fresh fruit and vegetable stalls are simply superb – this is the place to grab the makings of a perfect Tasmanian picnic. Buskers entertain the crowds – on a typical day you might hear blues guitar, barbershop quartets, Irish harp, classical violin and the music of the Andes. Open 8:30am to 3pm, the market is an outstanding cultural experience”


Well that is what the web page tells you.

It was on my list of must do while I am here. I love all types of markets, craft markets, farmers markets, flea markets, car boot sales they all have an appeal and charm that I cannot resist. Salamanca Markets are said to be the biggest in Australia with over 300 stalls, spread out over one kilometre, surrounded by mature plane trees, that at this time of the year are clad in glorious autumn foliage, in front of the beautiful sandstone, Georgian warehouses that also house craft shops, art galleries, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops.

I hopped aboard the local bus in anticipation of an interesting and photogenic few hours.

As I followed the crowds all heading in the direction of the markets it started to spit with rain.

Oh no! The morning had been so fine and with a clear blue sky I had expected a sunny day. I had not brought an umbrella with me.

The rain increased and I discovered that the awnings outside the art galleries and restaurants  had heaters under them. So I stood and dried off and warmed up with a crowd of other people who had also forgotten to bring umbrellas.

Gradually the rain stopped. The distinctive sound of bagpipes from nearby  drew me out from the heat of the awning. A very energetic and talented mother and daughter were giving a spirited display of sword dancing to the drone of the pipes.

So my market experience started.

The market is huge. Despite the rain the crowds were large. I can only imagine how crowded they would be in the tourist season of December to March. I enjoyed the people watching, listening to buskers, admiring the many and varied stalls, walking through the warehouses looking at the art and craft, some paintings I liked, some I really wondered if any one would buy them. I wandered around eating hot chips from a paper bag. The sun stayed hidden behind threatening grey clouds but the rain stayed away for the rest of the day.

 I did enjoy the markets. Even on a grey and overcast day,  with every one dressed for the cold it did not dampen spirits and the music and buzz created that distinctive atmosphere that I so love about markets.

I did not see all the stalls, so I have promised myself that I will visit again and try to go on a sunny day.

I walked back to the bus through the historic St. David’s park. The autumn leaves are falling rapidly now and soon the bare branches of winter will be here and all that glorious autumn colour will just be a memory in my photos.

Historic St. David's park

Historic St. David’s park

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

Categories: Australia, Hobart, photos, Salamanca Markets, slide show, Tasmania | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

Sunrise walk along the beach

On Friday I approached Mackay with caution. I planned to find my way to the Art Space. Now I have a very poor sense of direction: directionally challenged I believe the phrase is, and without a navigator it could be a difficult assignment. Cities and heavy traffic have a way of confusing me. Miraculously, with the help of signs pointing the way at every corner, I found it and what’s more I fluked a free parking spot right outside the gallery. What an excellent start to the day. Art galleries, museums and botanic gardens are always a top attraction for me, so this time I decided to see what was on show at the Art Space.

An exhibition by the artist Jenny Sages “Paths to portraiture” was on display. Her work overwhelmed me. Huge canvases, some just a persons face and larger than life, in fact the canvas would be about 4-5 foot square with the face covering the canvas, others where life-size portraits of the person. The technique I have never seen before. She pours molten wax onto the canvas then when it is dry the portrait is etched into it and oil colour is then brushed, scrubbed and manipulated into the wax. The finished effect is very tactile and life-like. An art critic on a video showing Jenny at work described them as a “speaking likeness” and as I stood in front of each one I did expect them to talk to me. (click here to see the video that was on show at the gallery).

Back onto the Bruce Highway and mile after mile of road works , many just one way sections with long queues waiting their turn to get through. It must be my lucky day as with the exception of one 5 minute wait, I caught the traffic controller person with the go sign facing me at each one way section…

I estimated approx 60-70% of the area I drove  today was almost finished, many sections just had the white lines to be painted, or still in major repair mode. It makes me wonder where is the money coming from??? When finished it should be a pleasure to drive along…

After an uneventful 237 kilometre drive I turned into a side road running parallel to the Bruce Highway and along the ocean front. Along this road lies hidden the small hamlet of Clairview. Approximately 50-60 cottages nestled right on the beachfront. During storms or high tides the ocean invades their garden space. They do have a free over-night rest area but I decided to stay at the caravan park. It has its own pub which is also a hangout for the locals. Having stayed here a few times it is another of our favourites.

It didn’t disappoint me, I had a site almost on the beach and the cooling breeze coming from the ocean was pure bliss. Also being Friday it was fish and chip night….

With the sound and smell of the ocean and the cool breeze I had a very good nights sleep…



This morning I woke early with the sun just appearing over the silky oaks and date palms lining the beach in front of Matilda and couldn’t resist grabbing the camera for a walk along the beach as the sun rose. I had a companion join me….

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Categories: caravan park, slide show, travel | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

The rain it came…

What a satisfying sound it is to be laying in bed and hear the rain start to fall. I fell asleep thinking of the plants relishing the moisture…

It rained all night and I hurried outside as soon as I woke up. The rain gauge recorded 35mm had fallen. I wandered around the garden with my camera to catch the freshness of the rain drops on the flowers and foliage. Every thing had a sheen and glossy glow of happiness.

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Matilda Update

The reconditioned gear box is finally installed. This weekend she will be going for a long trial run. Then, hopefully I will be able to bring her home….

Watch this space…..

Categories: garden, photos, slide show | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Geometry (2) more photos of Pacific Fair…

I completed the previous post late at night and thought I had up loaded a slide show. Some how it did not happen, the gremlins must’ve made a late night visit to my computer.

So I will try again…

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I have tried to capture the laid-back, holiday atmosphere of this shopping centre.

When they start the big make-over I do hope they do not make it too ritzy. I like the present village style.

What style of shopping centres do you enjoy the most?







Categories: Australia, geometry, Pacific Fair, photos, slide show, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

We are home, after a 24 hour train ride…

The train pulled into the station at Townsville at 4-00pm. It was a long train 20 carriages, including the engine, one restaurant car in the first class Queenslander area, one buffet/dining car and a lounge car for the rest of travellers. Quite an impressive sight as it rolled in.

Our cubicle was the last one before the dividing, locked door into the first class Queenslander compartments it was a walk along the corridor of 5 carriages to the dining car. But that is ok, as it is exercise and an insight to the other passengers as I “sticky beak” into the compartments as I walk by.

After settling in we walk to the dining car for dinner. I remember this meal well from the earlier trip I did in 2005. It was one of the tastiest train meals I have ever had. The cooking is all done onboard in a minute galley kitchen, about the size of an average walk-in-wardrobe. No pre-cooked, packaged meals here. The meal comes up to my expectations. The roast beef just melts in your mouth and freshly cooked roast vegetables are the accompaniment. A small glass of wine and a beer for Jack and we watch the sun slowly disappear and darkness descend. We are feeling relaxed and happy to be on the way home.

The cabin is converted to a bedroom when the staff come round and let down the top bunk.

At 9-30pm as I lay there I listen to the very noisy clatter and clang of the wheels. The carriage shudders and jerks along and I think to myself “this is going to be a long night…”

Sleep is such a strange thing. You cannot make yourself go to sleep, and when it does over take you, you cannot, actually recall the moment of dropping off. So it was with me, after thinking I would never get to sleep I suddenly woke up to find it was 2am and I was needing to visit the toilet. Returning to the bunk I noticed a change in the tempo of the train, now the wheels were whispering and rushing headlong through the night and the carriage had a gentle sway and rock like the cradle in the tree-top. I soon slipped back into sleep.

Another sunny day dawns outside the window, but inside the cabins the temperature is kept at a rather uncomfortable air-conditioned level.

There is a choice of continental or full English breakfast. I resist the temptation of the bacon and eggs…

The staff is extremely efficient and friendly, I chat with them in the buffet car and am amazed to find they are catering for 200 passengers in that small cubby hole of a kitchen.

One of the main benefits of travelling in a train is the fact that you can wander around. Spend time in the lounge area, which is much warmer than the cabins, talk to fellow passengers, drink copious cups of coffee. Walk the 5 carriage walk each time you go for a meal or coffee. Watch the scenery roll by and attempt to capture it, unsuccessfully, on the camera, but it is fun and time-consuming trying.  Then of course we had books to read and the computers with us, but no internet!!!!

The scenery mesmerised me, the tinge of drought colours the land gold. I read a page or two of my book but my eyes are drawn back to the unfolding vista. As the hills of the Glasshouse Mountains pierce the horizon the land turns greener. The train slows for a bend and I try to catch the fleeting glimpse of the engine.

The road, that I should be driving along, snakes along-side the tracks, occasionally veering off to pass through another small settlement, a cluster of houses, a pub, garage and sometimes a country store. Then it returns trailing the rail line.

The 24 hours did actually seem to fly by and before we had time to get bored the train was pulling into Brisbane. Change to one more local train to take us just over an hour to the Goldcoast and we were greeting and hugging our friends who had come to meet us from the train.

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Categories: Australia, australian travel, photos, slide show, Sunlander, train travel, travel | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

A native and dry tropics experience…

This is the third Botanic Garden in Townsville and the largest. Anderson Botanic Garden is 25 hectares and was originally an arboretum so it is home to a magnificent and outstanding collection of tropical trees. Set in sweeping lawn areas these stately rainforest trees have room to grow to their full impressive height and width.

It is now more than an arboretum, it has been extended to a true botanical garden with interesting collections of plants. As we entered we first wandered through a collection of tropical lushness. This was the Cape York Peninsula Collection. Palms, creepers and vines competing with the rainforest trees. butterfly’s were a feature in this area. Fluttering around and teasing us as we tried, unsuccessfully, to photograph them.

A school was on the boundary of the gardens and we ate our lunch (a tuna, salad roll we bought at “Subway”), sitting on a bench under the shade of a huge rain tree listening to the happy sounds of children at play. A blue winged kookaburra perched in the branches above waited patiently for any crumbs. We could only see one other couple and the gardeners as we looked across the expansive lawns. The gardeners told us the park was well used in the early morning and evening by excercisers and dog walkers, but now we had the 25 hectares almost to our selves.

We walked on. The lotus pond offered a photo opportunity. With ducks, water lilies, reflections and of course the lotus flowers and their enormous, plate-like leaves. It was almost the end of the lotus flowering season but a few lingered on in their fading glory.

We walked along grand avenues of trees and then found a corner of the park devoted to a world collection of cycads. There were 300 plants.(I didn’t count them it told us the details in a pamphlet), from 4 distinct zones, Africa, Asia, Americas and of course Australia. These are amazing plants and some of the oldest known species going back to the time of the dinosaurs.

A tropical orchard had many fruit trees I had never heard of before. Elephants nuts anyone?

It was a very interesting and well designed gardens. The helpful, friendly bus driver put us out at one end then told us how we could walk right through to the other end, then where to catch the bus from that end, to save us walking back to where we started. We really appreciated that because after almost 4 hours every short cut was welcomed.

I recommend a visit to all  the Botanic Gardens in Townsville, they are so different to each other…

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Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, photos, slide show, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

A Tropical Experience

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It is very difficult to capture the atmosphere of a place with photos. The photos show the beauty of it, but it is the smells and sounds, the feel of the soft, warm tropical breeze brushing over your skin, the foliage rustling, the constant squeaking of the bats and their offensive, putrid smell, the flash of a bird and butterfly as they float by that add so much more to an experience.

I look at these photos and I am transported back to this unique place.

Tumbetin Lodge was built in 1934 and is predominately constructed with silky oak it was originally a school room for the Roman Catholic Church. Now it is a delightful café, information centre and art gallery. It was our first stop for a reviving cuppa and delicious savoury muffin. What a great way to start our exploration of the gardens…

Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, Palmetum, photos, slide show, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Queens Gardens Townsville Botanical Garden

I have shown you a video of the rainforest part of Queens Gardens but there is so much more, ( and I took 100’s of photos ).

In Botanic Garden terms it is small and compact, but there is so much to see and it is beautifully maintained. A team of gardeners were working and we took a few moments to chat with them. Not many people around but the few that were here were making the most of the perfect weather and peaceful garden.

So come stroll with me, here is a slide show of more views of this garden.

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The photos of the family and the gardeners were taken by Jack. He is very good at capturing people. You can see more of his photos on jacksjottings

He has just posted a poem on aging, it is very good, worth having a look at…

Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, Castle Hill, photos, slide show, Townsville | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Cairns botanical gardens

One of the highlights when we visit Cairns is to go round the Flecker Botanic Gardens.
It is only 6 months since hurricane Yasi devastated this area and I was expecting to find the gardens badly damaged. Walking round we could not see any signs of where the hurricane had been and when we talked to one of the gardeners we were told that a number of large trees in the rainforest area had been knocked over, but the main damage had been done by the flooding which took out a lot of the Heliconia and undergrowth but because growth is so rapid in the tropics they all quickly regrew.
These botanic gardens would be one of the best with the thick lush tropical plants and the vibrant Heliconia and ginger in flower. We spent almost a full day wandering around.
The Cairns villas tourist park we are staying in is only 15 minute bike ride from the gardens. Cairns is a very bike friendly place, flat and bike paths every where.

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Cairns botanical gardens , originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.
Categories: australian travel, botanic gardens, slide show | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Mountain View Lake camp ground

Rose , originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

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We discovered this delightful camp ground 50km north of Ayr and then 1km along a dirt track off the Bruce Highway. It was picturesque, quiet and spacious, just the sort that we like and best of all we had Rose and Tony wander over to say hello when we had settled in. We discovered we had lots in common and then Rose told us she had been a professional singer in clubs and other venues in the 80’s and 90’s. What a lovely happy hour we had when Rose brought over her guitar. This is the heart and soul of travel when you meet people and briefly share special times with them, times that become treasured memories. Thanks Rose and Tony for a great evening.
Decided to stay another day as there was a good walking track through the bush, across a cattle station and into the edges of Bowling Green Bay National Park. Fred, the manager, told us it was a one hour walk to black rock and Palm creek. It took us 2 hours as we dawdled along taking lots of photos and enjoying the scenery. The weather was perfect for walking and when we got to Palm Creek it was time to sit and have lunch and Jack couldn’t resist stripping off and having his first dip of this trip.
When we got back to camp Rose and Tony had moved on and Jack put the new hammock up and christened it. I think it is going to get a lot of use…
Categories: australian travel, caravan park, National Parks, slide show, travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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