Tag Archive | nature

Weekly Travel Theme: Peaceful


There’s something very soothing and peaceful being high up on a mountain overlooking the rolling countryside. This photo was taken from Mount Buffalo in north-east Victoria. We were looking down to the towns of Bright and Porepunkah.

Travel theme: Peaceful

Moreton Bay Figs in the Fitzroy Gardens


These magnificent old trees have such interesting trunks. The trunks on the trees in this photo were lying parallel to the ground. Although these trees are native to New South Wales and Queensland they grow really well in Victoria. I’ve also seen them on Norfolk Island. They are amazing.



One photo, two ways (part 2)


Here are two more photos I took at Steavenson’s Falls at Marysville. I have to say I was really inspired by this challenge. When I read about it I went through my photos but couldn’t find any I could use. I went out and looked for opportunities and found so many.


You can see many other outstanding entries for this challenge here http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/one-shot-two-ways/

Weekly photo challenge…One shot, two ways


Steavenson’s Falls, Marysville. This is a small waterfall beside the carpark. Normally there’s no water coming down from the mountain at this point but as we near the end of the snow season, there is a lot of water.


Walhalla: Goldfields Rail Trail


The volunteer-run rail trail runs from Walhalla to Thomson (and eventually it is hoped to run to the town of Erica). Volunteers have raised money to rebuild and keep the trains running. It’s a shortish journey but goes through some spectacular bushland. In some parts you are only centimetres from the rocks as the train flys past.
In particular I loved the two bridges we crossed.






One of the volunteers giving the go-ahead for the train to start it’s journey to Thomson.

White polar bear


This white polar bear appeared to be alone in his exhibit. Unless there was another one hiding or asleep in the cave. He roamed from side to side and took a dip in the pool. It was funny watching him contemplate getting back in the water though. He would walk right up to the waters edge and stare at it as if trying to decide if he would risk the cold water again. The picture above shows this contemplation. We thought he would eventually dive in but he didn’t. He kept walking away then coming back.



Orang-utan Sanctuary


A few years ago Melbourne Zoo built a new orang-utan sanctuary. Last time I was there they hadn’t quite finished it so I was really looking forward to see the completed sanctuary. There is a lot more room, both under cover and in the fresh air. It is separated into what looks like two areas or it might be one big U-shaped enclosure. It’s hard to tell.

There is a great education centre in the sanctuary but I couldn’t get near it. Being school holidays there were a lot of families around. On the other side I spotted a mother and baby resting together. It was a beautiful moment as the mother moved away, then the baby followed and they shared a tender, playful moment.





Word a week photo challenge: Clouds (2)

Yarra Valley

Every December, a friend and I go to the Yarra Valley for lunch. Last year (it seems so weird to say that) we went (as we do every year) to Domaine Chandon to have a glass of wine and one course.

The view is one of my favourite. I love to just sit there and enjoy the view. I love this photo because of all the different layers. There’s the clouds, the mountains then the vines.

Details of the challenge can be found at https://deliciousfoodandtravel.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/word-a-week-photo-challenge-cloud/

More of the Royal Botanic Gardens

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the inside of the William Tell Chapel (see yesterdays post https://deliciousfoodandtravel.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/royal-botanic-gardens-melbourne/ but I wanted to share some more photos from our walk around the gardens.

These were taken in September when Mum and I were doing the Mali sculpture challenge.  The gardens still had a feeling of being in Winter.  The Rhododendrons, Camelias and Azaleas were all flowering as were the Clivias in their orange splendour.

This is an unsual flower that I hadn’t seen before.

Another unusual flower.

I love the reflections in this photo but also the two buildings in the background.  One is Government House and the glass building is Eureka Tower, Melbourne’s tallest building.  It’s a case of the old and the new.

New Zealand….day 9 – Mt Cook

Mt Cook is New Zealand’s tallest mountain at 3,754 metres high.  There are actually 23 mountains that are over 3,000 tall and are all on the South Island.

We had stayed in a small town called Omarama (population approx 230) which is the base a lot of fly-fishing and hang gliding due to the favourable winds.  There are quite a few gliding clubs in the area that has head gliding championships in 1995.  I could see some hang gliders in the distance from my room.

On day 9 we left to begin our journey back to Christchurch and the end of our tour.  First stop was a stop to view Mt Cook from quite a distance.   It was very magical and enchanting.  The lake itself we were beside was such a gorgeous shade of blue/green and as we looked up to the horizon, we could see reflections of low mountains in the lake.  The further we looked up to the horizon we could see Mt Cook.  From our distance it didn’t look very tall but later when we drove closer we were able to appreciate its height.  There was some low cloud which covered the snow-capped peaks but as the cloud moved aside it revealed the mountains.

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New Zealand….day 6 Mirror Lakes

We left Queenstown early Friday 6th January, heading for Te Anau then Milford Sound.   The sun hadn’t fully risen so there was a quiet, eerie glow over the town as most people seemingly hadn’t woken up.  We were told we would arrive in Te Anau at around 10.30am for a (very) early lunch.  We were allowed around 1 hr to check out the town and eat.  Although we had only just had breakfast.  We travelled past more beautiful scenery and on the way out of were told the maori story of how Lake Wakatipu was formed.

Maori legend of Lake Wakatipu (extract taken from http://www.queenstown.nz.com/lake-wakatipu.aspx)

The Maori legends state that the giant Matau was burnt to death in his sleep after he abducted a chief’s daughter, burning a massive hole in the ground and melting the ice and snow of the surrounding mountains, forming the lake. The lake is a large “S” shape, like a giant, curled up and sleeping on its side. Matau’s head rested at Glenorchy, at the north of the lake, and his feet south in Kingston. Queenstown sits on Matau’s knee.

One of Wakatipu’s mysteries is the rise and fall of the lake by about 12cm (5″) every five minutes. Legend states that a Giant’s heart is impossible to destroy, and causes this rise and fall, while science says it is due to fluctuating atmospheric pressures. But across the lake from the town below Cecil Peak is a little island visible only from up close, from above, or from a different angle. Some say Hidden Island is the still beating heart of the Giant Matua…

When we arrived in Te Anau we got off the bus and walked around town.  It’s a nice, small town but most of us stayed in the area near where the bus was parked because we were told we had a tight schedule and had to leave at the stated time of 11.45am.  Unfortunately Clarke wasn’t very clear on the time so one couple weren’t there when we were ready to leave.  I had seen them near the shops around 15 mins before leaving time then they disappeared.  Clarke went looking for them but couldn’t find them.  Just as he was calling in to his head office to ask for permission to leave without them they were spotted heading for the bus.  Most of us were very relieved to see them but there were a few nasty people on the bus letting them know we may have to miss a photo stop on the way due to them.

Our first stop on the way to our main destination for the day of Milford Sound was Mirror Lakes.  They have built a boardwalk so you can easily walk over part of the lake to see the reflections a lot better.  We were the only ones there so it was very peaceful.  We could hear birds and see eels in the water.  We were able to spend some time there just enjoying the peace and quiet, despite there being around 50 of us from our tour.

The following photos were taken as we were leaving Queenstown.

Makarora and Lake Wanaka

When you are driving through Haast you are driving through and beside steep mountains and rainforests. As you get closer to Makarora and Lake Wanaka you see the land begin to flatten out and get a bit browner.  The trees are also different as you move out of the rainforest.   We stopped at Makarora Country Cafe for lunch.  It’s a grand name for what is really just a roadhouse but it’s well-appointed and has a friendly atmosphere and staff.  We were finding we had to queue up everywhere we go which was getting a bit annoying but was something we would have to get used to.  When I got to the counter I was disappointed to find there were lots of pre-made sandwiches.  I hate pre-made sandwiches.  I decided to ask if they sold dim sims.  The man behind the counter laughed at me and said “you can only get them in a Chinese restaurant”  It was my turn to laugh at him.  I told him that at home we can buy them at this sort of place.  I suggested he might like to sell them.  I’m sure he would find they were a best seller, especially amongst Aussie visitors.I bought a pie and sat down with Carol, Bec and Brad to eat it.  There is a beautiful brand of ice cream that is sold by the scoop in cafes.  We tried it and loved it.  Across the road, sheep and deer were roaming a paddock.  It was the first time we’d seen deer.  Venison is a popular meat on menus in NZ.

From Makarora we drove to Lake Wanaka.  We were only stopping briefly here but it is a beautiful lake with more spectacular scenery.  Families come from miles to stay here, sometimes only a few miles in fact.  Clarke told us that people that live in Queenstown often come to stay here just to escape their busy home town.   You can just relax or join in some of the more adventurous activities such as water-skiing, snow boarding, mountain biking.

lake wanaka


New Zealand day 4….Knights Point

We got off to a very late start on day 4.  The people who had booked their joy flights over the the glaciers were waiting to hear if they would go ahead.  The weather was constantly changing so the decision of whether the pilots would fly was also changing .  Eventually they all went up and loved every minute of it.  I didn’t go on a flight but they certainly saw some awesome sights.  They were able to land on Fox Glacier and walk around briefly.

Once we left we drove for about an hour to Knights Point.  It’s a popular hangout and breeding area for New Zealand Fur Seals.  Unfortunately they are located off land so we couldn’t see them off the rocks.  I’ve since found out that they also play in the sand on the beach.   The area is very beautiful, being on the west and wild coast.  We were jokingly told we would have been able to see Australia if it hadn’t been so cloudy.



New Zealand Day 3: Fox Glacier

Our final stop of the day before going to our hotel was Fox Glacier.  It’s not as well known as it’s neighbour Franz Josef Glacier but is more accessible from the road.  A  lot of people hike the 6km from the town of Fox Glacier to the glacier.  We drove through the town through light, misty rain. By the time we got to the glacier the conditions had worsened.  In what I was learning is one of the drawbacks of coach-touring, we were only given 20 mins to walk to the edge of the glacier and back.  As I was the last person off the coach I didn’t have as long to get there so didn’t quite reach the edge.  Visibility was quite poor so the people that did get there said they couldn’t see much. 

Many of the  people on our tour booked in to do the helicopter flight over the glaciers but due to the weather, those flights were cancelled.  Although the forecast for the next day wasn’t much better the flights were tentatively booked for the next morning, even though we were scheduled to leave the town shortly after breakfast.

I was disappointed the weather wasn’t to our advantage as I have seen pictures and tv shows about the glaciers and was really looking forward to seeing them.