Posts Tagged With: Western Australia

A Flower a Week : Silver Princess Gum

Princess gum

Princess gum

Buds

Buds

Close-up

Close-up

Gum trees or Eucalyptus are very common around Australia. The more than 700 species of eucalyptus are mostly native to Australia, only 15 species occur outside Australia, with just nine of these not occurring in Australia. One of the most spectacular is the Silver Princess Gum. Found in the wild in Central Western Australia. It is now cultivated and a very popular small tree for gardens. 

Eucalyptus caesia, commonly known as Caesia, Gungurru or Silver Princess, is a mallee of the Eucalyptus genus. It is endemic to the central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, where it is found on a small number of granite outcrops. The name “silver” refers to the white powder that covers the branches, flower buds and fruit. “Gungurru” comes from the name used by the indigenous Noongar people. (Wikipedia)

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Nalinki on “Angles and views” is hosting a weekly series called: “Flowersoverflowers”, it will be posted every Tuesday. The idea is to bring some more colorful pics of nature into our blogosphere

Categories: a flower a week, flowersoverflowers, photos, Silver Princess Gum | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

A Flower a Week : #6 Banksia

banksia Banksia Banksia Banksia Banksia Banksia

These are just a few of the Banksia species. The Banksia is a native Australian plant. There are 173 Banksia species, and all but one occur naturally only in Australia. Banksias were named after Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820 ), who, in 1770, was the first European to collect specimens of these plants. 

In 2010 we found “The Banksia Farm”. It was  just outside the small village of Mt Barker in Western Australia. What an amazing place. Kevin and Kathy Collins have created  the world’s only complete arboretum of Banksia species. I never knew there are so many and varied forms of this unique plant.

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Nalinki on “Angles and views” is hosting a weekly series called: “Flowersoverflowers”, it will be posted every Tuesday. The idea is to bring some more colorful pics of nature into our blogosphere

Categories: travel | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

A Flower a Week : #5 Kangaroo Paw

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The spectacular Red and Green Kangaroo Paw, Anigozanthos manglesii is the floral emblem of Western Australia. It is one of about twelve species of the genus Anigozanthos which is restricted to the south-west of Western Australia. The family Haemodoraceae to which it belongs occurs in Australia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and the Americas.

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This is another Kangaroo Paw species, smaller and not so individually spectacular as the Red and Green one but when seen massed in a garden bed they are a stunning sight.

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September is the month King’s Park Botanical Gardens in Perth has its Spring Festival. A glorious celebration of the wild flowers that grow so profusely in Western Australia. Five years ago I achieved a dream of a life time when I spent 3 months travelling the length of WA immersed in the beauty of this regions native wild flowers and culminating in being in Perth for the Spring Festival.

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Nalinki on “Angles and views” is hosting a weekly series called: “Flowersoverflowers”, it will be posted every Tuesday. The idea is to bring some more colorful pics of nature into our blogosphere

Categories: Australia, flowersoverflowers, kangaroo paw, Kings Park Botanic Garden, photos, Western Australia, wild flowers | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

Travel Theme : Details

I find flowers are fascinating in their variety of colours, shapes and intricate details. I try to capture these details. It is often difficult to get sharp images in close up as even the slightest puff of wind can cause the flowers to shimmy and shake, but I still try…

In 2010 I timed our journey of discovery around Australia so that I could be in Western Australia in spring when the wild flowers were in bloom. The sight of carpets of colour stretching to the horizon took me on a 3 month journey from North to South along Western Australia’s trail of flower wonderland.

It was a dream come true for me. Now I have hundreds of images on my hard drive and  I can look at them any time I want to be transported back to that magic time and have a flower fix…

I would like to share some of them with you for this weeks “Travel Theme” from Ailsa.

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The texture of this flower makes me think of delicate tissue paper. I must confess that I do not know many of the flowers names. There are at least 12000 species to be found, they are one of the most spectacular displays in the world.

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Many are very tiny and yet they are vibrant. Look at the scattering of pollen on this dainty plant.

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The Kangaroo Paw is a favourite of mine, the unusual shape and looking closely you can see how the stamens are poised to attract insects and dab them with pollen.

The Princess Gum pops open its flower bud to reveal a powder puff of stamens. Look closer and you will notice the bee busily doing it’s job.

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Orchids come in many shapes, colours and sizes. This is the Donkey Orchid. Can you see why it is called this?

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This is the green hooded orchid. Can you see the detail of a small spider’s web?

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I’m running out of words to describe all these amazing plants.

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Finally this beetle is trying to rival the beauty of the flowers. I think it has succeeded.

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Here is a Johnny Joke for you…

The teacher asked young Johnny to write a sentence using the words defence, defeat and detail.

Johnny thought for a while then put pen to paper.

When he took it to the teacher she read..

“The cow jumped over de fence, de feet before de tail…. “

Have a happy week….

 

 

Categories: Australia, details, photos, travel theme, Western Australia, wild flowers | Tags: , , , , , | 55 Comments

Looking forward, looking back…A photo essay of 2014…

This song by Slim Dusty touches the nerves of my gypsy soul. It brings back memories of the past year and starts me thinking of the year ahead.

It was this time last year when we sold Matilda our faithful camper van that carried us around Australia for 4 years.

Goodbye Matilda

Matilda takes off with her new owners to new adventures. Goodbye Matilda.

Now it is pedal power.

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I never thought I would be able to survive life, as I know it, without a vehicle. But we made the decision, in December 2013, to be carless for the time being, as during 2014 we would be travelling and having the use of other people’s vehicles.

 Our 2014 adventures took a new direction.

During February and March 2014 we were in New Zealand.

April and May we house sat in Geraldton, Western Australia, and had the use of Hector a grunty, rusty, old, diesel, 4WD Toyota land cruiser that I bonded with and loved driving. Made me feel macho…

June is winter in Australia and we had 4 weeks before the next house sit, so we hired a camper van and toured the south of Western Australia. Visiting friends made during previous travels.

Canberra was the next house sit, July, August, September, October. It is winter and Canberra has a reputation for very cold weather. But the house was warm and Canberra is an interesting place. This time we had the use of an almost brand new Mazda 6, and we had the company of an adorable “Labradoodle” called Molly.

2014 is flying by, we have been away from home almost 9 months but decide on one more 2 week house sit for the year. This time it is on the New South Wales coast. A delightful place called Valla Beach. We have the company of  Rufus, an affectionate blue-heeler, and 3 rather haughty alpacas. This time we are driving a Honda Jazz, a very zippy little car.

Finally we arrive home end of October.

Home

Home

So here I am back home for Christmas and taking time out to catch up with family and friends.

What is in store for us in 2015? Well I am already starting to plan our next adventure and it will be the slow way to New Zealand, something I have never done before and I’m wondering if cruising is going to be my style. Our friends tell us it is so relaxing. Am I ready for relaxing? In the past it has always been the road less travelled, roughing it and minimalist style travel, taking time to go where ever looked interesting.

I’d love to hear from my cyber friends if they have been on a cruise and what they thought of it…

 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Geraldton, house sitting, New Zealand, photos, Valla Beach, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Southern Beauty

The scenery along this south-west coast of Western Australia is spectacular. The Indian Ocean pounds the ruggedly beautiful coastline creating huge swells and the wind whips the tops into a frenzy of spray.

The wild Indian Ocean

The wild Indian Ocean

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Sugarloaf rock

Sugarloaf rock is tucked into a more sheltered bay.

 

Once 30 birds would breed here, now only a few are left.

Once 30 birds would breed here, now only a few are left.

The unusual Grass tree is prolific in this area. The grass tree Xanthorrhoea is a uniquely Australian plant, which epitomises the Australian landscape and is as tough as goats’ knees. It will withstand drought. Bushfires will burn the foliage and blacken the stump, but then it regrows. In fact often a bushfire will encourage flower development.

The grass tree

The grass tree

They were once known as "Black boys" but that is now politically incorrect.

They were once known as “Black boys” but that is now politically incorrect.

This area is renowned for its magnificent forests. The strange-sounding Tingle trees, the mighty Karri and Marri trees tower above as we drive through them. Four years ago we went on the tree-top walk to visit that experience click here.

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The scenery changes as we move inland from the coast. The land becomes farming country, the trees have been cleared and the pasture is the most vivid green. It rivals the scenery of New Zealand.

The long shadows of the golden hour create a magical scene

The long shadows of the golden hour create a magical scene

The wine industry of this area is world-famous and you cannot drive through without seeing the many vineyards. As winter approaches they are changing into the autumn foliage, the grapes have all been harvested and next years vintage is being produced.

The vineyards

The vineyards

This night we will spend in a caravan park at Yallingup and take a last stroll across the road to watch the sunset across the Indian Ocean.

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and the moon rise

and the moon rise

 

 

Categories: Australia, Western Australia | Tags: , , | 17 Comments

The Gathering of the Gnomes

  Never have I seen such an unusual sight.

A huge gathering of gnomes. Yes the common garden gnome, sometimes ridiculed, sometimes loved, but here they all congregated in their thousands.

They have come, one assumes with human assistance, from all over Australia and even from New Zealand and other parts of the world. I noticed Germany, Holland, Canada, Ireland.

They are a magnet for tourists and in summer busloads descend on this tiny corner of the Ferguson Valley,  just down the road from Donnybrook. Glades full of playful, naughty and sentimental Gnomes climbing logs, hanging out in trees, playing cricket, even flying planes! The parking is very limited and surprisingly there is no tourist shop to tempt you to buy memorabilia, not even a toilet… Just the gnomes

These gnomes are waiting on the side of the road to greet you

These gnomes are waiting on the side of the road to greet you, in the background is the small area of parking along the road.

They disappear into the distance, almost a kilometre into the bush.

They disappear into the distance, almost a kilometre into the bush.

They squat on the tree stumps

They squat on the tree stumps

These gnomes have grouped together to form a choir

These gnomes have grouped together to form a choir

Can you spot Jack?

Can you spot Jack?

There he is....

There he is….

So how, and why have all these gnomes congregated here?

It all started in 1995 when the council decided to alter the road and put in a round-about. Next day a gnome appeared in protest to the alterations, no one knew were he came from. As in the legend, it wasn’t long before other gnomes joined in this silent protest. 

Visitors seem to love the opportunity to leave a part of themselves in this idyllic, rural wonderland. I followed along as Emma and Gino searched for a safe place to settle their 2 gnomes into the community.

Gino decides the opposite bank is not so crowded.

Gino decides the opposite bank is not so crowded and will be a good position.

Hesitantly Emma follows, with a helping hand from  Gino's Mother

Hesitantly Emma follows, with a helping hand from Gino’s Mother. The resident gnomes urge them on.

This looks like the perfect spot.

This looks like the perfect spot.

I'm sure it won't be long before they are joined and so the community will grow

I’m sure it won’t be long before they are joined and so the community will grow

And so the legend lives on...

And so the legend lives on…

 

Categories: Australia, Gnomesville, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , | 40 Comments

The Awesome Might of Nature

 Gracetown is a hillside, coastal town with panoramic ocean views. The town is located on Cowaramup Bay which faces north, bringing shelter from the strong winds of summer, and making it popular with holidaymakers and surfers.

The day Carroll and Jack took us for a drive through the area the weather god was shining down on us.

The surf was pumping.

Surf's up

Surf’s up

Will he catch it?

Can you see him as he frantically paddles. Will he catch it?

YES....

YES….

It takes the brave to challenge and ride these waves.

It takes the brave to challenge and ride these waves.

But Gracetown has a tragic story in its past. On a day like today, fine and sunny, in September 1996. It was the last day of the school term and Cowaramup and Margaret River Primary schools were enjoying a day of friendly surfing rivalry. Watching the final heat children, parents and teachers were sitting on the beach under the cliff overlooking the Huzzas surf break.

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Without any warning at around 6pm more than 2000 tonnes of rock and earth collapsed on them. The horror of that moment will be forever remembered at this spot.

Onlookers dug desperately to save those buried. As news of the tragedy spread they were soon joined by rescue workers, friends and relatives.

Two excavator drivers came to assist the frantic rescue efforts. One risked his life manoeuvring his machine over then down the cliff.  

One 10-year-old girl  was freed from the rubble 2 hours later and survived.

Sadly 5 adults and 4 children were killed.

A beautiful memorial stands on the top of the cliff were the collapse happened.

A beautiful memorial stands on the top of the cliff were the collapse happened.

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drive with jack  carroll pc 008

For my friend Carroll this place is deep in memories as she was working at the Margaret River Primary as secretary and receptionist and was in the front line of the out pouring of grief.

Life can be so unpredictable, so my friends out in the blogosphere, count your blessings, give your loved ones a hug, and appreciate every moment.

Categories: Australia, Gracetown, Margaret River, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

Friends Past and Present

Where do I start?

It has been almost 5 weeks since we hired a camper van and set out into the Great Southern area of Western Australia.

The whole purpose of this part of the trip was to reconnect with dear friends we made 4 years ago. No time to blog, and not very good internet connections, so for that time I was in cyber limbo.

I’m finding it hard to get back into the discipline of confronting the computer and sorting all the photos, and I must admit, remembering the details is not easy, I didn’t keep very many notes either…

But what I do remember is the times spent with our friends, sharing stories, telling jokes and eating meals together, very precious memories and a time I will cherish. The weather was not the best, after all it is winter down here. But the fires burnt bright and warmed our bodies and souls, and we wrapped up in thermals and winter jackets.

The last 2 days in Western Australia we spent in “Airbnb” accommodation. This is the second time we have used this type of accommodation and I am now a big fan. It is very affordable, at least half the price of a motel or hotel, and it is world-wide. Maureen, our host in Perth, gave us a warm welcome and we immediately felt at home. We came as strangers but when we left, after 2 days, we felt we were saying goodbye to a friend. Maureen was a Yorkshire Lass too, so Jack had 2 of us to keep him under control. (Actually an impossible job!!!)

  

Now we are in Canberra for another house sit.

What a sad start it was as the day we left to fly to Canberra Nicola emailed us with the sad news that her Mother, Christine, had died so suddenly and unexpectedly. I was devastated. Christine had become a close blogging friend, ( Dadirridreaming) and it was through her we had contacted her son Mitchell and daughter in law Nicola to do this house sit, and I had hoped we would also meet Christine while we were here.

Wednesday was the day of the funeral and the family have included her many blogging friends in the community by sharing a moving post of the service and photos.

Now we are settled in to this beautiful house with gas ducted heating and a cosy log fire in the lounge and Millie, the dog, to keep us company and take us for walks AND a very good internet connection. The next 3 months will fly by.

So welcome to Canberra the capital city of Australia.

But first I will sort through the photos and over the next few days show you some of the highlights of the Great Southern area of Western Australia.

Categories: Airbnb, Australia, Margaret River, Perth, photos, travel, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 23 Comments

Quick update from on the road.

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We have been on the road almost a week. Today it is raining so a good opportunity to find the local library and catch up with emails.

We decided to travel from Geraldton to Perth on the bus. Much, much slower than flying, 6 hours instead of 60 minutes, But much easier on the budget and we were not in a big hurry. After one movie and one very interesting documentary about the wine industry in Bordeaux, France and a brief 20 minute stop in the middle of nowhere we arrived at the bus station in central Perth. 10 minute taxi ride round to pick up our next set of wheels and it was on the road south. At least we thought we were on the road south, it turned out to be the wrong motorway, we were heading back north….

I am directionally challenged.

Eventually after stopping at a garage, were the very helpful young mechanic photocopied off maps for us, and then calling out to a passing cyclist to verify we were in the right direction we found the Kiwani Freeway south.

Our delightful couch-surf hosts had a delicious meal waiting for us and we unwound with a glass or two of wine and got to know each other.

We spent 3 days exploring their area.

This fresh fruit and veg barn is only open weekends and had the freshest produce. Only locals would know of this sort of place

This fresh fruit and veg barn is only open weekends and had the freshest produce. Only locals would know of this sort of place.

Our transport waiting for us as we had lunch and explored Mandurah

Our transport waiting for us as we had lunch and explored Mandurah

One of the advantages of couch-surfing is you are told of the interesting places in the area. I have many more photos to show and tell about, this is just the preview of what is to come.

On our final day Graham and Marie took us on a tour of the area they live in and we finished at this small café with the most delicious cakes and BIG mugs of coffee.

But all good things come to an end and it was back on the road again slowly heading south for Margaret River. Now we are in caravan parks for a few days.

Today is raining so we are taking the opportunity to spend time in the local library using their internet.

Categories: couch surfing, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

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