travel

travel around Australia

Time has flown…

The year certainly has flown by. Where have the 5 months disappeared to since I last put my virtual pen to paper. It is hard to believe that it was July since my last “goodbye and see you soon” post. Now it is the day before Christmas.

In this tropical summer climate the Poinciana tree is in full and glorious colour…

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And the delightful, sweet scent of the frangipani drifts around the garden.

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Have I done all I planned???

Well sort of.

I’ve let my creative juices try to flow, trying to connect to my right brain. I’ve spent a lot of time watching “how to” videos on you tube. Deciding I will never create that masterpiece, but having fun trying. I’ve always known I am a left hand brain person. So the latest craze of “Zentangle” suits me.

It has been a magnificent growing season and the garden is flourishing. So lots of time spent pruning and creating large heaps of steaming mulch.

I’ve read more books in 5 months than in the past 5 years.

One short 4 week house sit to satisfy my “gypsy genes”, and a glorious weekend at the Grafton Jacaranda festival. (will post about that soon).

So I will wish all my “blogging buddies” a very happy and peaceful Christmas, where ever you are in the world.

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Categories: travel | 64 Comments

Time for change…

I arrived back home from extended travel in January, that was 6 months ago, now I’m sleeping in the same bed every night. My days and weeks have become structured. I have enjoyed watching the garden change through the seasons.  See the garden in its summer glory hereIt is now mid-winter, but in Queensland that means slightly cooler days and nights and no humidity, ideal for working in the garden.

Back in January I planted vegetables and tomatoes in pots.

The tomatoes have done very well and kept us in a steady supply.

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But, annoyingly,  the birds also found them. A bird net over them solved that problem.

I keep the salad greens and herbs in pots so I can move them around to follow the sun. They are now down the far end of the garden in a sheltered area, protected from the winter winds, and they get all day sun.

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The raised bed for herbs, in the front garden keeps on keeping on.

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So that is my vegetable supply and my entry into Jude’s (earth laughs in flowers) weekly/monthly garden photography challenge and for July the theme is “the edible garden”

But while you are here I will take you for a garden walk to see what is happening in July in my garden.

Today winter has arrived it is a rather grey and dismal sort of day, showers are forecast and the temperature is only about 18c degrees, but until this week we have had some warm sunny days and this flowering shrub is bursting into flower. I inherited this shrub when I moved in and don’t know its name but it has a most beautiful soft scent and flowers twice during the year.

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I wonder if you remember the bat plant, the most unusual plant in my garden (see it here) It is a true tropical plant and look at it now.

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It certainly does not like the cooler temperatures. (this is for you Sue)

The compost bin is full and quietly decomposing. It has been a busy time of pruning and mulching as this year there has been plenty of rain and the growth has been phenomenal.

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After that wander around the garden I would like to invite you inside ( joining Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Indoors), through my front door. (Joining Norm’s “Thursday Doors” challenge)

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Come into my very untidy “studio”. That is possibly a rather pretentious term for where I now like to indulge in my new passion.

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So for a while I am going to be loving and leaving you all.

I took my first tentative steps into  the virtual world of the blogosphere in 2009. Since then it has become a major part of my life, journaling my daily and weekly happenings, joining in challenges, searching through thousands of photos in my archives to find the perfect submission for the themes. Taking photos with the ever-present thought of “will that be suitable for a post”, and, of course, making many dear friends from all over the world in this wonderful virtual world of Word Press. Enjoying the connection of “chatting” and commenting with other bloggers and the community spirit of friendship.

Now I want to take a break, spend more time practising art, trying and learning new techniques. Immersing myself in the flow of creativity, reading more books and of course spending time in the garden.

I’m sure I am going to have withdrawal symptoms, 7 years of regular posts is a major commitment, so I will occasionally pop by to say “G’day” and keep in touch with my blogging buddies.

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The hammock hangs forlorn and unused waiting for summer.

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Maybe I will find time to do some house-work, but I will not disturb this spider I think they do a good job of catching mosquitoes.

So that’s it for now. I hope you all have a really great weekend. Bye for now…

 

Categories: Australia, garden, Garden photography challenge, indoors, photos, Thursday Doors, tomatoes, travel, travel theme, vegetable garden | Tags: , , , , , , , | 99 Comments

Thursday Doors : Teavine House…

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A friend told me about this restaurant. It is in the country and not a place that you would just stumble across. I’ve never seen it advertised, so it is one of those places that survive on word of mouth. It would have to be good.

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I liked the look, Queenslander style with large open decks.

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The door was open with 2 elegant inlaid panels.

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We were welcomed by Chris, the smiling and friendly owner of this delightful French Provincial Teahouse. It specialises in high tea. The range of teas was impressive, 15 blends from all around the world, a page of choices. I chose Peony tea because I had never heard of it before, it was light and flowery, quite delicious. Served in delicate, exclusive fine china on lace table clothes it was an impressive start to our meal.

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We also ordered lunch and while waiting I looked around.

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It wasn’t long before guests started to arrive.

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I think it was a celebration.

Our lunch arrives and a photo is worth a thousand words…

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Notice Jack is straight into his stuffed chicken and flower salad. Mine is a vegetable stack piled high with a variety of goodies, I found asparagus, mushroom, capsicum, kumera, courgette, onion and egg plant, home made pesto, fresh salad, small roast potatoes and crusty bread.

This is just one of the deserts that tempted us…

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But we resisted them…

After lunch we looked around the garden area.

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This looks like a very special High Tea function. I checked their web page and this is what it said.

History of High Tea

According to the legend of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting, the Duchess of Bedford is credited as the creator of Afternoon Tea.  At first, the Duchess had her servants sneak to her chambers with a pot of tea and bread.  The Duchess then invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal.  This menu centred around small cakes, bread and butter, sandwiches and assorted sweets and of course tea.  This practice was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

At Teavine House, we specialise in the experience of High Tea “a cup above the rest”.  For centuries, Tea Houses have been important venues to socialise, for special parties and to conduct special business affairs.  We believe the experience of High Tea opens up conversations and helps people to connect.

Our dedicated team at Teavine House are committed to making your special occasion memorable.

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I loved the attention to detail that made the atmosphere quite special.

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A boutique gift shop next to the restaurant beckoned, so I had a look around.

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After a memorable meal it was time to move on to the next stage of our day out.

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Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time)

Categories: photos, Teavine House, Thursday Doors, travel | Tags: , , , | 40 Comments

Travel Theme : Eye to Eye…

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A few months ago** (See footnote) when visiting the Brisbane Art Gallery I took a photo of this life-size elephant sculpture. It is rather magnificent, but a bit puzzling. Why is he standing on his head like a giant book end? I checked Google when I got back home…

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“More than a million dollars was spent on this single piece of art,  commissioned by an artist who doesn’t live in Queensland or Australia for that  matter.”

Ms Bates insisted her comments about government waste were “not a smear on  the artist or the sculpture” but argued the state funding would have been better  spent helping the Queensland arts sector.

The sculpture was funded by the state government’s art+place Queensland  Public Art Fund and the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation.

Parekowhai was one of three  internationally acclaimed artists shortlisted to produce a sculpture to be  located between GOMA and the Brisbane River.

The Queensland Art Gallery argued the proposed sculpture responded to the  cultural and historical significance of Kurilpa Point.

“A life-sized bronze elephant, which on closer inspection is revealed to be a  bookend, is flipped on its head. Its eyes gaze directly into those of a kuril,  the native water rat that gives Kurilpa Point its name,” the gallery  said in a statement to the ABC earlier this year.

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On that day I only looked from one point and had not seen the “Kurilpa”. So decided that next time I went to the art gallery I would look at the other side. This weekend I went back to the art gallery

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Look what I saw…

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A footnote to this story: I did not take my camera, so for the first time I pulled out the IPhone and was very surprised, on an overcast day, at the detail the phone captured. I think I am a convert…

A second footnote: When I checked back I was astonished to find it was three years** since I took the first photo. Unbelievable! Where did that time go…

A third footnote : I am linking this to Ailsa’s (Where’s my backpack) “travel theme” of “close”

Categories: art gallery, Australia, Brisbane, close, photos, travel, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 31 Comments

All Aboard the Blues Train

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Steam train “Special 1079” (numbers) Is a very special heritage train and has been puffing along for 150 years (more numbers) and is now used for special excursions and, in March, I had booked for an excursion to the Glasshouse Mountains in search of the “blues”. (If you are a train buff and would like more information go here)

 

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The passengers milled around, the excitement was palpable. The train guard kept us all behind the yellow line till it was time to board.

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Do you remember these old trains? Shiny, hard leather seats, racks for the luggage, room to move around and windows that opened to let in the fresh air tinged with smoke,smut and cinders!!!

Time to settle down, get to know the passengers around you and take a photo or two.

One complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink was included with the price. After this first drink there was plenty more at a price $9 per, small, glass of wine or beer…

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So with the windows open, wind in the hair and wine in hand the journey began.

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With 6 carriages and over 150 people (more numbers) it would be a fun journey. Blues musicians entertained in each carriage. The train was rocking and rolling along.

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This lovely lady and her backing guitarist belted out the blues in our carriage, she was good, a strong husky, blues voice and sang all popular songs. Really set the atmosphere. And look at that figure…

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The joint is jumping…

The scenery swished by lit by the late afternoon sun and for a while I stood on the open deck, outside the carriage, watching the world go by

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Then the unusual shaped Glasshouse Mountains, glowing in the late afternoon golden light, came into view. We are almost there.

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The Glasshouse Mountains Tavern is next to the railway station and everyone heads for the bar.

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It is a bit like the old-time six o’clock swill. (Who remembers those days?) Standing 2 and 3 deep waiting to be served, the barmaids are going as fast as they can. Then find a seat and wait for the “gourmet” bar-b-q to be served.

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Here it comes…

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Here it goes…

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It is a beautiful balmy night and some people find a table outside.

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But I heard they breed large, hungry mosquitoes around here. One of my new friends had brought her mossie repellent and I, gratefully, used it too. Then found a seat inside.

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Now we had a 2 hour blues show. Just look at this blues singer, she really looked the part and she could belt out the blues.

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We shared a table with Rob and his partner and made an instant connection with them. Lots in common to talk about. I went over to get another drink and when I got back to the table the music had started and Jack and our new friend could not resist the rhythm so they became part of the show…

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Jack loves to dance and in New Zealand, when he followed many of the blues musicians over there, he became known as the “detonator” he would be the first one to start dancing, then every one would join in dancing. So it was this time. At the next song the floor was filled with grooving, happy people.

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I was surprised how many times numbers popped up in this post. So I am linking it to Ben’s photo challenge of numbers.

Categories: numbers, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , | 29 Comments

Immersed in the Blues

The Blues came to Broadbeach this weekend with 62 musicians, both local and international playing their hearts out. For 4 days the sound of blues, soul and rock n roll wowed the crowds as thousands flocked into the Gold Coast for this iconic FREE event now into its fifteenth year. The atmosphere was electric. Stages set up in the streets that were closed to traffic. Bands playing in venues from the hotels to the shopping centres. Every where the music followed you, heavy rock, morphing into soulful jazz then beating into rock n roll as you move from venue to venue. And the sun beamed down in typical Gold Coast style.

We chose to go to the Pacific Fair shopping centre at lunch time to watch a 2 hour concert by Juzzie Smith, a favourite of ours, an immensely talented entertainer, a one man band who composes all his own music.

“Juzzie is a walking, talking, singing example of how it pays to follow your heart. Not that money is the point here – far from it. The real point is that Juzzie is one of those truly creative souls who makes a living out of doing something he absolutely loves.” (from Juzzie’s web page, see more here)

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We are huge fans. Look at this unusual guitar made from a cigar box. It makes a terrific blues sound. He also has 2 other guitars, his feet are his percussion, he has a belt full of harmonicas and then he has “chukka chuks”. “What ever are they?” I hear you ask. Well be amazed, I took a short video…

The kids found him irresistible and I had to get another video of these 2 young boys. With the spontaneous abandon of youth they grooved to the rhythm.

Then on to music central in the heart of Broadbeach. We mingled with the happy crowd and stopped for a while to watch another one man band.

Taking photos of the artists was very difficult as the crowds gathered around intent on hearing the music. So we just wandered around, stopping for a coffee and listening to acoustic, lyrical guitar for a while, then joining the crowds at the main stage in the mall. The big attraction was “Big Daddy Wilson”

“As soon as you hear Big Daddy Wilson’s voice, whether speaking or singing, you hear his southern country roots. The sound of the original blues people comes through loud and clear, reminding you of a bygone era when music came from people’s front porches instead of iPhones. Wilson has a voice baptized in the river of African-American song – a voice with the power to heal. His repertoire encompasses spirituals, blues, country & soul, delivered in his unique, heartfelt way.” (from his web page)

The crowd was packed tight around the stage so we just found a bench near the water feature and listened to the rich sound of a mellow blues man and soaked in the reverent atmosphere of the crowd.

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I love people watching and there are plenty to see here. I think this bloke is on to me!!!

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But time to head home. We came on the bus, to find a car-park would be impossible. As we sauntered back in the late afternoon sun I couldn’t resist getting a photo of these 2 lovely ladies in front of us.

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As we stopped at the pedestrian crossing Jack told them how we admired their dresses. Debbie and Cherry were pleased to let me take a photo. These are more than dresses they are works of art. Just look at all the detail and they are designed and created here on the Gold Coast, not one stitch was produced in China.

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They then put on these funky jackets from the same designer.

 

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Jack loved chatting to them as I took the photos and then gave them a big hug as they went on their way and we crossed the road to catch the bus home after a day immersed in the Blues…

Categories: Australia, Broadbeach Blues Festival, Goldcoast, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 35 Comments

Koroit Opal Fields.

Recently I was left home alone to look after the garden while Jack went outback with his son and 2 grandsons. I have never been to the opal lease and these photos show another part of Australia that not many people get to experience. I still long to go there but for the time being I will just have to experience it through Jack’s photos.

I have reblogged this post from “Jack’s Jottings”. Follow the link at the bottom of this post to see the rest of the photos and experience the hot, dusty, red outback…

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The house in the early morning golden light. The house in the early morning golden light.

Jason’s Out Back Getaway House.

Sun peeping up on the other side of house. Sun peeping up on the other side of house.

 Out in the country, in Aussie referred to as the bush or outback, I see and experience a feeling of boiphilia, an affinity with the natural world. Some would say the outback is desolate and ugly.

The children decorate the walls with love. The children decorate the walls with love.

 If you are not observant, hurrying, wanting to be someplace else you never notice the wonder of nature. Amazing things never experienced in the city. Different to what you can find in the lush green rain forests of the coastal areas and highlands of this vast island continent of Australia.

Feral goat on track to water hole. Feral goat on track to water hole.

 It is an 800 km/500 miles from the city of Brisbane to the town of Cunnamulla via Toowoomba, Dalby, St George. Then another 80 km to my son’s opal…

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Categories: travel | 28 Comments

7 Days of Nature Photos : Day 6…

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I’m woken at 5-30 by the maniacal, cackling call of a kookaburra. Have you ever heard them?

I found this clip on You Tube

They have not been around for quite some time so I was pleased to hear them, really I was, but would prefer they did not wake me so early.

I peered out of the bedroom window. But it was too dark to see them, or take a photo.

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Just a slight tinge of pink on the horizon. So I went to the archives to find some other photos I’ve taken of these crazy looking Aussie birds.

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Look at that fearsome beak, they do not hesitate to capture and eat snakes.

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Here he is sitting on the deck rail hoping for a hand out.

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I’ve forgotten to top up the bird bath and this fellow looks a bit fed up about it.

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Finally this kookaburra was bathed in the beautiful golden glow of the rising sun.

After being woken up and deciding it was too early to get up, I went back to bed and listened to the dawn chorus. In the background I could hear the cacophony of cawing from the crows, the chattering of the lorikeets and countless chirping and cheeping of other unidentified birds. Then the clear sweet melody of the magpie rings out. A lovely way to greet the day.

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Gilly (Lucid Gypsy) nominated me for this 7 day challenge and I have enjoyed being part of it. Today I would like to invite Gwennie (Gwenniesworld) to join in. Gwennie is another very keen gardener and loves cactus and succulants, her posts are filled with beautiful photos of nature.

Categories: 7 day nature photo challenge, travel | Tags: , , , | 48 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

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