Tag Archives: nature

An Autumn Stroll in Sydney…

For those of you who don’t live in Sydney, I apologise in advance that there are no photos of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the Opera House on this walk. That’s because this walk isn’t about Sydney. Rather, it’s more about immersing yourself in the golden yellows of Autumn and appreciating nature in all her finery.

If you live in many parts of the world, you might take such Autumn colours for granted. However, I live close to the beach and there aren’t many English style gardens around here. With our sandy soil and low rainfall, they just don’t grow or are extremely high maintenance. Our Australian natives are evergreen and so we just don’t have those forests of Autumn colours you see elsewhere. This all means that I get quite dazzled by Autumn colours and that despite being forty something, I’m still prone to collecting Autumn leaves.

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So, now that I’ve started painting this story from my perspective, perhaps you’ll better understand my excitement when I emerged from the underground tunnels of St James train station, and saw Macquarie Street all lit up with glowing, golden leaves back lit by a bright, blue sky. It was glorious!

So, I wanted to invite you to join me for a bit of a stroll today, which starts out in Hyde Park and goes along Macquarie Street, through the Domain and finishes on the Art Gallery Steps.

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As I walked along Macquarie Street, the photographic focus became historic Sydney Hospital, which was opened in 1811 and is Australia’s oldest running hospital. While in other parts of the word such a building would be relatively “modern”, by Australian standards it’s “old”, but not quite ancient.

You can take a short cut through Sydney Hospital to get to the Art Gallery. The short cut has a lot of rustic charm and you really feel like you’re stepping back in time, and yet you’re not if that makes any sense.

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A rear view of Sydney Hospital with modern skyscrapers peering over her shoulders.

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I thought this sign was rather funny. Hospital Road runs in between Sydney Hospital and The Domain (park). I am a bit concerned about where a trip down Hospital Road might take you…a one way trip with no return.

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Playing sport in The Domain under the shadow of high rise.

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Lunch time joggers running through The Domain. Note the huge fig trees, which are very popular.

And finally we arrive at the Art Gallery of NSW.

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Hope you enjoyed the walk.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Capturing the Moon…Friday Fictioneers.

“Doesn’t everyone want to capture the moon?” She smiled enchanted by some kind of magic. “I wish I could just reach up into the sky with a magic, butterfly net. Bring the moon down to earth and hold it in my hands… a dazzling, golden ball of mystery.

“That’s what I do through the lens,” he replied. “It’s the closest I can get to taking it home.”

Meanwhile, the moon retained it’s secrets… watching, waiting, longing for the humans to return. It was so lonely just hanging up there in the sky.

“All I have left is their footprints”.

…..

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishof Fields.  PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Out of the Goldfish Bowl.

“We have all been hypnotized into thinking that we are smaller than we are. Just as an undersized flowerpot keeps a mighty tree root-bound or a little fishbowl keeps goldfish tiny, we have adapted, adjusted, and accommodated to a Lilliputian life. But place the same tree in an open field or the fish in a lake, and they will grow to hundreds of times their size. Unlike the tree or goldfish, you are not dependent on someone else to move you. You have the power to move yourself. You can step into a broader domain and grow to your full potential.”

Alan Cohen

It’s hard enough to get my kids to smile for the camera. So, I was really stoked when this Japanese carp stared right into the lens, and almost magically, I even managed to capture the ripples in the pond.

Have you ever heard that the size of  goldfish, depends on the size of the environment.

“Most times a person grows up gradually, but I found myself in a hurry… Hoping to find an answer, I uncovered an article about the common goldfish. “Kept in a small bowl, the goldfish will remain small. With more space, the fish will double, triple, or quadruple in size.” It occurred to me then that I was intended for larger things. After all, a giant man can’t have an ordinary-sized life.”

John August

A pinch of food for thought.

xx Rowena

Searching for “O” – A-Z Challenge.

Welcome to Day 14 of the Blogging A-Z Challenge.

No matter what your theme might be, almost all of us have a letter we find difficult, challenging or outright impossible during the challenge. For me, “O” has proven quite difficult.

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Breathtakingly beautiful…Mt  Ossa.

Looking at the map, Mt Ossa would make an obvious choice. With an elevation of 1,617 metres (5,305 ft) above sea level,  Mt Ossa is Tasmania’s tallest peak. From the summit, it offers a 360-degree view of Tasmania’s north-west, with visibility of nearly 30km on a clear day. Mt Ossa is located in the famed Cradle Mountain National Park and may be reached via a week-long hike on the Overland Track, or via the shorter 36 km Arm River Track.

However, unlike our last stop at The Nut in Stanley , there is no magical chairlift to the summit. Nor is it an easy stroll. Rather, you have to HIKE and it’s one of those most dreadful of hikes too, where you have to take everything in and everything out. Indeed, it makes camping seem pure luxury.

So, as much as I might enjoy roughing it and communing with nature, this is way beyond my capabilities and so we’ll be reading about Mt Ossa in  Australian Geographic  instead. As they say, prevention is better than cure, and being airlifted from remote areas couldn’t be cheap.

Now, that Mt Ossa’s been scratched, I thought we’d head over to Orford on the East Coast to watch the sunset. Orford is a village 73 kilometres north-east of Hobart and centred on the mouth of the Prosser River, with stunning views across to Maria Island.

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Black Swan Lake, near Orford.

After stopping at Orford, we headed up to Swansea where we saw the most stunningly serene sunset, that I just had to share.

Swansea hills“And yet day and night meet fleetingly at twilight and dawn,” he said, lowering his voice again and narrowing his eyes and moving his head a quarter of an inch closer to hers. “And their merging sometimes affords the beholder the most enchanted moments of all the twenty four hours. A sunrise or sunset can be ablaze with brilliance and arouse all the passion, all the yearning, in the soul of the beholder.”
― Mary Balogh, A Summer to Remember

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I took these photos on our trip round Tasmania in January when we were driving back from Port Arthur to Devonport. We took the coast road as far as Swansea and I’m not exactly sure where we went from there. However, it was this night drive which caused our tragic run-in with a wallaby and how we discovered Campbell Town has a 24 hour public toilet and were very thankful to have some Ashgrove Farm Cheese and crackers in the car when everything was shut. That was a late night home.

If there is one thing you take home from this tour around Tasmania, it’s the importance of taking time out from the frenetic madness of the everyday and to spread your wings into the great outdoors all around you, while being with those you love. Cherish these moments and not only take the photos, but also print them off and put them somewhere you can see them. Through this trip, we all really come to appreciate the importance of family, knowing your family’s story beyond names and dates, but try to walk in their shoes and know the stories, which have helped make you who you are.

Looking forward to seeing you back again tomorrow.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

N- The Nut, Stanley, Tasmania.

Welcome to The Nut at Stanley on Day 13 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. As you may recall, we’re Traveling Alphabetically Around Tasmania and now we’re halfway.

Well, I Hope you’re not all dying from a chocolate overdose, because we’re about to Carpe Diem, seize the day, and get back on the road. While I’m cruising around taking photos, I thought you could all go and climb the Nut…chocolate belly or not!

Map Deloraine to Stanley Tasmania

The Right Map: Deloraine to The Nut, Stanley.

Just to recap. We’ve been camping beside the Meander River in Deloraine and today we’re off to The Nut in Stanley on Tasmania’s North-West Coast. That’s just over 2 hours’  (176.9 km) drive away.

Map Deloraine to Stanley Victoria

This is NOT how you drive from Deloraine to Stanley!

By the way, I should warn you to make sure you specific Stanley, TASMANIA when you go into Google Maps. On my first search, I was directed to Stanley, VICTORIA and could have ended up submerged in Bass Strait instead. What the???!! Even with my dreadful sense of direction, I knew that was wrong!

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How would you like that rock on your finger?

Now, before you start getting cheeky and asking whether I’ve moved to Stanley, the Nut is an old volcanic plug discovered by the explorers Bass and Flinders in 1798, who named it Circular Head. It’s also been referred to as Tasmania’s “Gibraltar”. It has steep sides and rises to 143 metres with a flat top. It is possible to walk to the top of The Nut via a steep track or via a chairlift. However, we’ve been to Stanley twice and haven’t done either. On our first visit, we were on a day trip from Bridport in the North-East and didn’t have time. Unfortunately, when we were there in January, it was ridiculously windy and the chairlift was closed. Indeed, it was so windy, that you could barely eat your ice cream without it splattering all over your face, in your hair and would have been heading across Bass Strait into Victoria, if the wind had been heading that direction.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the area around Stanley was occupied by the Tommeginne Aboriginal people, who were slowly decimated as Europeans arrived and settled. In 1798, English explorers Bass and Flinders were the first Europeans to sight the Nut when they circumnavigated Van Diemen’s Land in the sloop Norfolk in 1798, proving that Tasmania was detached from the Mainland. Flinders described the Nut as a ‘cliffy round lump resembling a Christmas cake’. In 1825 the Van Diemen’s Land Company was granted land in north-western Van Diemen’s Land, including the Stanley area. Employees of the company from England started settling in the area from October 1826.

Recently, I found out that Geoff’s 3rd Great Grandfather, William Burke, worked in Stanley for the Van Dieman’s Land Company after they first arrived in Van Dieman’s Land in 1830. I can’t imagine what it would have been like living there for him and his wife Catherine and young sons John and Daniel (I mentioned the Burkes in a previous post about Jail Journal. They were one of the families who assisted Irish Exile John Mitchel escape to New York). They didn’t stay long.

Anyway, as you may recall, I put together an amalgamation of newspaper snippets on our last stop when we visited the Meander River. That was so much fun, that I’ve sandwiched together  a few tales about The Nut:

“STANLEY. Octopus Grassed: An octopus was caught at the back of the Nut on Thursday by Capt. WE Leggett, and brought in to the wharf, where it attracted attention. When outstretched it measured about 7 feet from tip to tip of the tentacles. It was provided with a beak, much like that of a parrot, about three quarters of an inch long. Although it was not a large one, it could be seen that an octopus of this size would be a formidable object to meet in the water. During the past few days a large shark has several times been seen cruising about near tho deep end of the breakwater wharf.Large Whales: On Friday morning four large whales were watched with interest as they sported in the bay, not a great distance from the breakwater…During the past two or three weeks dogs have been worrying sheep on the Nut. A number of sheep have been lost. War has been declared on dogs going on the Nut, and already some have met their doom.  EXCITEMENT AT STANLEY.THE NUT DECAPITATED.STANLEY, May 23.About 3 o’ clock this morning the top of the Nut fell. Many thousands of tons of rock have fallen and the wheel of the large crane was smashed. There was a remarkable scene at the breakwater. The event caused great excitement. Fortunately it happened when the men were not working, otherwise many would have been killed…As a, deep-water port, Stanley, with its Old Barracks and Chapel (a relic of the “bad old days”), has attractions that more modern ports fail to possess, and if your “wind” is stout enough, a climb to “The Nut’s” top is well repaid by the entrancing view obtained….STANLEY.Lady Lost on the Nut: Some excitement was caused at Stanley last Saturday night when a rumour spread round the town that a lady had been lost round the Nut, and parties with lanterns went out in search… A Circular Head Phenomenon.’THE NUT CRACKED.’ TO THE EDITOR.Sir,— The old Nut still stands, though report says it is cracked, and no one can tell what queer prank may take place next, but it will take something to frighten us into opening our doors and windows, and fleeing for refuge to the open air about a mile distant a second time, leaving everything to the mercy of burglars…When perusing your journal of the 20th inst. I was somewhat amused on reading an interesting article giving a graphic account of a monster of gigantic proportions which the writer, signing himself. “The Nut,’ affirms to have seen stranded on Pelican Point some time back… BLOWING UP THE NUT FOUR THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED POUNDS OF DYNAMITE IN ONE CHARGE.UNSUCCESSFUL RESULTS (BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT ) [BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH] STANLEY.”

Well, after all that excitement, you’ll probably feel like some fish and chips, or a scallop pie, followed by an ice cream or possibly even some chocolate. I really enjoyed checking out the historic buildings in Stanley and you can even visit the birthplace of former Australian Prime Minister Sir Joseph Lyons.

You can read more about our visit to Stanley here: Blown Away By Stanley.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to Stanley and are still somewhat conscious after climbing that monstrosity? Hopefully, we’ll make it up on the chairlift on our next visit.

xx Rowena

M- Meander River, Tasmania.

Welcome to the Meander River for Day 12 of our Alphabetical Tour of Tasmania during the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

The Meander River is true to name as it flows from its source high up in Great Western Tiers Mountain Range via towns like Meander and Deloraine, until it flows into the South Esk River at Hadspen. From source to mouth, the Meander is joined by fourteen tributaries including the Liffey River and descends 930 metres (3,050 ft) over its 112-kilometre (70 mi) course.[1]

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The Meander River, Deloraine.

“Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.”

Mikhail Lermontov

As you may recall, we’ve spent the past few days hiding out in Launceston with friends. So, today we only have a short drive from Launceston to Deloraine where we’ll meet up with the Meander River. After all our driving, you’ll be pleased to hear this will be a quick 41 minute trip covering 52.3km (not that I’m being precise and hanging on each and every second. I promise that you won’t need to bring a stopwatch.)

As an alternative to driving, I did consult with my in-house, Tasmanian white-water kayaking expert about the possibilities of kayaking from Launceston to Deloraine. After all, we’ve been driving everywhere and it would be good to get out there on the water, especially when we were there in January (far too cold now heading into Winter!) While he didn’t discount kayaking completely, we agreed you’ll be reported to Missing Persons long before you reach Deloraine, and even the most intrepid adventurers will be offering their rescuers profuse thanks. “You’d be exhausted!!” Not only is there the not insignificant matter of the River’s never-ending twists and turns, there are also white water rapids to overcome.

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Train Parked.

So, I guess that means we’ve all agreed to drive and we’ll meet up at the Train Park in West Parade, Deloraine.

Rivers intrigue me. Much of the time, they seem so benign and it’s only in times of drought or flood, that we generally stare beyond their obvious facades probing for answers to life’s imponderable questions. Rivers can run deep, and yet they’re so reflective in a purely superficial sense. I love taking photos of reflections dancing over the river’s facade, especially when there’s just the slightest ripple through the image just to remind you, that it is indeed a reflection and not the thing itself.

Indeed, reading through numerous newspaper headlines through the last 150 years or more, I’ve sandwiched together Meander’s ever-changing tides…

DELORAINE. The Meander River has overflowed its banks, causing a very heavy flood…MEANDER RIVER FROZEN OVER.DELORAINE. Wednesday. The Meander River at Deloraine was frozen over this morning from bank to bank. The frost was the severest ever known in the district…After it is taken in to the Deloraine water scheme, it is treated with chlorine to kill bacteria … to make it safe to drink. (Continued on P2) MEANDER RIVER POLLUTED Continued from Page 1. HIGH E COLI…The recent rises in the Meander River have greatly assisted anglers, and large catches have been reported. All Ash were In good condition, A number of platypuses have been seen near the Deloraine…DELORAINE FISHING STARTS – The river fishing season started yesterday, and the banks of the Meander River were lined with fishing enthusiasts, all endeavouring to catch the first fish of the season…LOBSTER IN TROUT. – Mr. L.D. Cameron, of Deloraine, caught a large brown trout weighing 2¾lbs. in the Meander river below the weir on Tuesday. Its stomach contained a 3-inch freshwater lobster. Lobsters have not been seen in the river at Deloraine for a number of years…

I guess this just confirms what Heraclitus said:

“You cannot step into the same river twice.”

Meanwhile, as we peer deep into the Meander our hopes are not dashed. Our son finally manages to spot a platypus with its bill sticking out of the water. Being a mammal, the Platypus must return to the surface to breathe but it still needs to get spotted and they’re notoriously shy.

Me being me, there is only one thing more important than seeing a platypus in the wild for the very first time in my life. That’s right. That’s taking THE photo.

Black Swan

This black swan made for a much better photograph than the elusive platypus.

 

Of course, we all know that if I was wanting to photograph a platypus, I’d be much better off going to the zoo. However, as you would appreciate, a photo taken out in the wild out trumps a zoo photo any day, even if you can’t see the subject.

Mind you, it seems that Geoff has seen quite a few platipus in the wild. Geoff’s aunt who used to live at North Scottsdale, used to have a resident No-Name platypus living in their creek. Geoff’s even seen this platypus walking across their gravel driveway around dusk heading off hunting downstream.

So, when I catch up with Mum and Dad for Easter lunch, I’ll definitely be adding: “No Platypus Encounters” to my list of childhood grievances. I’m still not sure whether not going camping as a family, counts as a minus or a plus.

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The kids and I crossing the Meander River at Deloraine.

What do you think? Are you a camper, glamper or up there in your ivory hotel? And…does the presence or deadly snakes and spiders in Tasmania influence your decision at all?

I look forward to hearing from you!

xx Rowena