Posts Tagged With: australian travel

Travel Theme : Glass

Margaret River is now the top place to live in Australia. I forget which travel magazine or survey confirmed this, but I would agree. It is a mecca for artists, wine buffs, surfers, lovers of the good life. It has top quality restaurants and small cafes by the dozen. It is near the ocean but also surrounded by bush. Another unique feature are the caves, deep under ground, dripping with stalactites and mighty up thrusting stalagmites, you are taken down by a guide and when you are deep within the lights are turned off. I have never experienced such intense blackness. It weighs on you and is like a living thing enfolding around you.

We stayed  in Margaret River for 2 weeks during our 2010 journey around Australia and did not want to leave.

Glass is Ailsas theme this week and that brought back the memories. There are artists of every medium here and they are all world-class. Painters, metal workers, potters, wood carvers, and also glass artists. That brings me back to Ailsas theme.

Melting Pot Glass Studio

Melting Pot Glass Studio

We wandered into “Melting pot glass studio”  (click here to see some of the glass creations and more information about Gerry) Not only did it have an Alladins cave of beautiful glass on display it also had Gerry Reilly’s glass blowing workshop at the back of the studio. We were fascinated with the process. What a great opportunity when Gerry offered Jack the chance to have a go. Of course I had to capture it on video. Now Ailsas theme has given me the opportunity to show it to you…

Some of Gerry Reillies creations

Some of Gerry Reilly’s creations

 Jack has just reminded me of the famous Chocolate factory that you simply must visit if you are in Margaret River.

Categories: Australia, australian travel, glass, Margaret River, travel, travel theme, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

A Word a Week Photo Challenge : Clouds

Sunset reflecting in the waves on the West Coast

Sunset reflecting in the waves on the West Coast

This sunset will forever be in my memory as, for me, the most spectacular sunset ever.

We travelled for a year around Australia in 2010. Mostly the skies were a pristine cobalt blue with not a cloud in site. That is till we rounded the corner after going up the East coast, across the outback and headed down the West Coast.

WA, as the locals refer to it, is spectacular in every way. The distances, the wild flowers, the soaring mountain ranges, the national parks, the mining boom funding and fuelling our economy, the enormous road trains, the wild ocean, the wide fish and crocodile filled rivers, the emptiness, the spinifex grass clustered in clumps like small animals and over and above it all the vast expanse of the sky.

I met Mic and Wendy in 2005 and I WWOOFed (willing workers on organic farms) on their seahorse sanctuary in the idyllic township of Kalbarri, in the heart of the National Park and the centre of the fabulous wild flower display (another story for another post…) We visited again in 2010 and this was our last day with them. We took nibbles and wine to the beach, which was just across the road from their place, and watched this sunset.

Kalbari sunset

Kalbari sunset

Thank you Sue for your “word a week challenge” of clouds as it reminded me of that time on our travels around Australia, and gave me the opportunity to share this with you.

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, australian travel, clouds, photos, sunsets, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 55 Comments

Heading home….

I made the decision to drive along the coast road. The hinterland can wait for another day, another drive, another blog post…

First stop is Hastings Street the iconic shopping and café culture centre of Noosa. This short, 300 metre, street is popular with the shopaholic. With the shady ponciana trees in full flower it is a pleasant way to stretch my legs and do some people watching. I try to capture the unique ambience, the sun is shining, the people are strolling/trolling the boutiques or enjoying coffee with friends. Some shops have funky music spilling out into the street. In contrast a delivery bloke rushes past with goods to deliver. I love the atmosphere.

Leaving Noosa I take a wrong turn and spend 30 minutes driving round the tree-lined streets of the suburbs, expensive walled villas, homes surrounded by lush tropical gardens with a glint of swimming pools. Where is the way that will take me to the coast road? Eventually I stumble on to the road south.

It is a beautiful drive, the road winds along miles of ocean front with views across the azure blue ocean and almost deserted beaches. I stop to take photos. What a great way to spend a day.

Path to the beach

Path to the beach

White sand, blue sky and bluer ocean

White sand, blue sky and bluer ocean

Sunshine coast beaches, sun, sand and lazy living

Sunshine coast beaches, sun, sand and lazy living

Finally I leave the coast behind and join the frenetic traffic on the M1 motorway, 4 lanes, 110 kilometres/hour, every one in a hurry. In the distance, over the hills of the hinterland I can see black storm clouds looming.

On the by-pass that takes me around Brisbane and now 100 kilometres from home it starts to rain.

A sign flashes overhead “Be prepared for congestion”. I wonder how you do that!

Another 30 kilometres and I join the end of a slow, crawling line of traffic. It continues all the way to my turn off.

Then there it is, home sweet home, end of another road trip…

Home sweet home

Home sweet home


Categories: Australia, australian travel, travel | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Reflections 2 (Mary River) Last day on the road…

When I woke next morning and stepped outside I gasped with pure pleasure. The Mary River gleamed crystal clear and the reflections were stunning.

What a perfect opportunity to capture some shots for this weeks photo challenge…

Crystal clear images

Crystal clear images

Mist skimmed over the top of the water giving an ethereal, wispy, mystical atmosphere. What a memorable final morning for this road trip.

The rising sun just catching the trunks

The rising sun just catching the trunks

The mist rising from the river as the sun slowly rises

The mist rising from the river as the sun slowly rises

It was a magic start to the day. I sat and watched the mist slowly rise and disappear as the sun rose. A promise (or a threat) of a warm/hot day.

I turned to go back to Matilda to pack up ready for the final leg and what a magic site she presented as she waited for me. Early morning photography is the best time of day to capture the light….

The beautiful elongated shadows of sunrise

The beautiful elongated shadows of sunrise

Matilda waiting in the mist

Matilda waiting in the mist

These photos were taken with the weekly photo challenge in mind, it was a coincidence that this week it was “reflections”

So packed up and ready to roll I now had to make a decision, which way would I go. Inland via the beautiful Sunshine hinterland, an artists mecca, an interesting journey through small villages full of boutiques, craft shops, cafes and restaurants.  Into the hills and a landscape of bush and rivers. Or via the coast road that winds past the golden beaches and brilliant blue ocean of the Sunshine coast.

Difficult decision….

I will continue the journey tomorrow….

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, reflections, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Blue skies smiling on me….

Road from Bundaberg

Road from Bundaberg

Another dream fulfilled so time to move on, but first I had one very important meeting.

My newest beautiful grandchild

My newest beautiful grandchild

My path was going to cross with son Jason and wife Vanessa and their family. They would be in Bundaberg today as Jason had organised a school camp in this area. Three weeks ago baby Aimee, their 5th child arrived and now I would get to see her and give her a big cuddle.

It was only a very brief but satisfying meeting. Now Matilda is home we will be together for Christmas.

Aimee is only a few hours old in this photo and they sent it to us via the e-mail.

The road from Bundaberg to the Bruce Highway passes through acres of sugar cane crops. What an amazing sky, it dominated the landscape and I had to stop and take a photo, actually I took lots of photos and I even used the tripod.

I turned onto the Bruce Highway and back into the never-ending road works. So turn up the music and crawl along with the windows down and enjoying the sight of that sky as I waited and waited at each stop sign…

2-30 came around and it was definitely coffee time but with the continual dusty road works finding a decent place to stop was becoming a real mission. Finally, an hour later I spotted a sign pointing down a side road, “Mary River, Tiaro Park”. Only one kilometre and I came to the perfect place for a coffee stop, shade trees, river views tables, even a BBQ if I’d needed it and toilets. Time to relax.

In fact I decided that I couldn’t go past this place, so I set up Matilda for the night. Only one other family camping a little further over, so peaceful. I love finding these free, out-of-the-way camping spots, they are dotted all over Australia but you need to search for the better ones. Many are on the side of the Highway and are noisy and dusty.

As the sun went down the camera came out again.

Mary River

Mary River


The setting sun slanted onto the river giving the trees a 3D effect and made the water sparkle like diamonds.

The sun highlights the trunks and creates beautiful reflections

The sun highlights the trunks and creates beautiful reflections


The proverbial silver lining

The proverbial silver lining

What a beautiful peaceful place. The sunset was a gentle dipping of the sun below the horizon, no great spectacular splash of colour, but that silver lining was very special.

Mary riversunset

Mary river sunset


A final glorious burst of sun rays then the full moon took over. It was a poetic evening, an owl hooting in the distance, the frogs croaking and a chorus of raucous laughter from a family of kookaburras the only noise disturbing the peace.

A memorable last night on the road. Tomorrow I will be home.








Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Turtle Encounter…

Taking "Our girls" statistics

Taking “Our girls” statistics

This is one of the wild life experiences that has been on my “too-do list” for a long time.

Finally I am in the right place at the right time.

It is almost a full moon, the weather is warm and balmy with a slight breeze blowing in from the ocean and the turtles are arriving, as they have done for thousands of years. The Mon Repos beach at Bundaberg is one of the main beaches in Australia where the loggerhead turtles drag themselves up to dig a hole in the sand and lay their eggs.

The turtles are on the endangered species list and the egg laying turtles are monitored and the viewing experience carefully controlled by the rangers. People are only allowed on the beach between dusk and dawn in a group and accompanied by a ranger. No photos are allowed whilst the turtle is laying her eggs and every one must stay 3 metres away from the turtle.

This all sounds very sterile and organised but the experience of seeing these animals is quite special. “Our girl”, as the ranger referred to her, seemed oblivious to the crowds and every one spoke in whispers. After she had finished laying 156 eggs she laboriously filled in the hole, flipping the sand high and over the nearer spectators, I wonder if this was deliberate??? At this point the ranger said we could take photos. Then the ranger moved us back so a path back to the ocean was cleared and she slowly made her way back into her natural environment. The moon created silver ripples as she disappeared. “Our girl” had been recorded 4 times coming to lay eggs, the previous year being 2008. They don’t start laying until they are 30 years old so “Our girl” could be around 50 years old.

Watching as she fills in her hole. Look at the expression on the faces.

Watching as she fills in her hole. Look at the expression on the faces.

That wasn’t the end of the evening because the eggs had to be moved. The turtle had dug the hole too close to the high tide mark and during storms or extra high king tides the nest would be swamped. So the ranger dug the eggs up, an identical sized hole was dug in the dunes and we all helped to transfer the leathery textured eggs to the new position…

The babies will hatch in approximately 6-8 weeks.

(Now I will attempt to put in some photos, fingers crossed…)

Digging out the eggs

"Our girl" laid 156 eggs, that is more than normal, usually 60-80 are laid

“Our girl” laid 156 eggs, that is more than normal, usually 60-80 are laid

This little boy was 4 years old and the only child there

This little boy was 4 years old and the only child there

Many hands made light work...

Many hands made light work…

The eggs were then carefully put into the new hole.

The eggs were then carefully put into the new hole.

For more information about the turtles click here.

The beach next morning

The beach next morning

We walked approx 500 metres along the beach to the place our turtle laid her eggs and they had 4 turtles come in to lay during the evening. The rangers are on duty all night to record and monitor them and protect them. Slowly the numbers of turtles coming each year is increasing. A lot more research is needed as so much is unknown about the life cycle.

Categories: Australia, travel, turtles egg laying | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

I’m home….

I have been deprived of internet access for the last few days of my trip. During that time I had a moonlight encounter with an egg laying turtle, found an idyllic, free, riverside camp, walked along the iconic Hastings Street, the shopping and culture centre of Noosa Heads, driven past the golden beaches of the Sunshine Coast, been in photographers heaven with more sunrises, sunsets and river reflections.

Finally arriving home and bringing the rain with me….

Matilda is finally home

Matilda is finally home

Frangipani in the rain

Frangipani in the rain


Ok, end of rant I will try to work out how this new system works, it has all changed in the last 3 days since I last logged on…

I have lots to show and tell, but first I will post this to see what happens to the photos…


Categories: travel | Tags: | 13 Comments

Fishing Fanatics Favourite Camp

ast night I went 12 kilometres along a narrow side road, with a sealed strip of bitumen only wide enough for one vehicle, to find a Caravan Park at the mouth of the Kolan River.I found Miara Holiday Park a camp full of fanatical fishing folk. The campers seemed to be here for the fishing, there’s nothing else here. Every one had a big 4WD to tow THE BOAT.

This is what Matilda had to look at tonight

At 4-30pm, when I arrived it was a quiet sleepy camp, they gave me a site under a large shady tree. Unfortunately that tree had a mass of ripe berries and the birds were tucking into them with gusto and inevitable consequences. Matilda was right in the firing line….

So I moved to another tree with no berries…

About 5-30pm the clans started to stir and to gather, with chairs and booze they congregated in groups at various vans. Obviously a regular ritual of “Happy Hour”. I didn’t have a clan so instead, this time, I quietly read my book and watched and listened to the friendly banter.

Like most river and beach sites it had a cool breeze and that made for a comfortable nights sleep.


At 6am this morning the camp became a hive of activity as boats were launched to check the crab pots before breakfast. The serious fishing comes later.

I wandered down to the boat ramp to watch the goings on. Great photo opportunities

If you are serious about fishing you need a serious 4WD to pull the boat or carry the tinnie…

Launching the boat

Another tinnie hits the water

Racing to get to the crab pots

Some people do not have a boat but that doesn’t stop them.

Early morning fisherman maybe he will have fish for breakfast…

Now it is time to wait and contemplate and dream of the big one

A lonely seagull waits for the return of the boats

The seagull is such a lovely soft colour, but what a raucus squawk it has..

But wait there’s not just one bird, every post has a bird perched on it

All clustering together

The Kolan River

Yesterday afternoon when I arrived in camp the tide was out and I didn’t think I would bother with taking any photos. What a difference a few hours make. complete transformation once the tide was in.

I will only be going about 100 kilometres today as I plan to have a look around Bundaberg then stay at the Lighthouse camp ground at Burnett Heads.(If you click on this link you will find an earlier post I did about Bundaberg when we stayed here in 2010)

Then tonight I will be hoping to see the endangered loggerhead turtles as they heave themselves up the beach to dig a nest and lay their eggs. This is the season they come ashore but, being wild creatures there is no guarantee that they will turn up

To see this amazing sight has been on my “bucket list” since I moved to Australia…

Categories: australian travel, caravan park, Kolan River, Miara, photos, travel | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

Artists Market, more photos

They have the artist and farmers market every Sunday.

Categories: australian travel, Cedar Galleries artist colony, farmers markets | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Freedom camping on the river this time….

Matilda parked right on the banks of the river

The view from my front door…

How good does it get…

After 340 kilometre of steady driving and not being so lucky with the road works as I had a number of waits at one lane sections. I pulled into this idyllic free camping area. Being Saturday it already had family groups set up for the weekend, but still plenty of places left, camping is allowed on both sides of the river.

The “beware of crocodiles” sign did not put any one off, dogs and children were swimming, people out in their “tinnies” fishing others trying their luck from the bank. A group of youngsters enjoying the thrills of a jet ski, putting up sprays of water as they turned and weaved around. I sat relaxed with my coffee watching all the action.

Good shot

Wonder if he has caught anything yet…

Jet ski hi-jinx

Plenty of entertainment. The neighbour wandered over to warn me about the midges and mosquitos, she had been badly bitten. I thanked her and lathered myself in repellent.

I had the shade of a tree and cool breezes from the river. I slept well….

Look what I woke up to this morning….



It is now 8-30am, time to pack up and hit the road. Today I head for Bundaberg and I am planning to take the back road. Even though it is Sunday I think it will still be slow through the road works on the Bruce Highway…

So see you later I will see what today brings….

Categories: Australia, Calliope River, freedom camping, travel | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

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