Tag Archive | outdoors

Darwin: Howard Springs Nature Park

Howard Springs is a bushland oasis and family playground south of Darwin, just near Palmerston.  It is in a really tranquil setting off the Stuart Highway. They were assembling sails over the swimming pool when we were there. I was really surprised they haven’t had them in the past given it is so hot. As well as the pool there is a playground and BBQ area.

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Kakadu: Ubirr rock art

 

 

 

 

Ubirr is one of the best places to see the flora and fauna of Northern Territory.  There are more than 5,000 discovered rock art sites, containing some of the oldest rock art in the world.  It is believed there are many more thousands of sites that haven’t been discovered.  They may never be discovered by white man either.

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Northern Territory: Yellow Water and South Alligator Cruise

The cruise is a very relaxing way to take in the surroundings of the Yellow Water and South Alligator Rivers in Kakadu.  I didn’t know what to expect of this cruise.  I hadn’t done any research and just wanted to take what came. It turned out to be a great, informative tour.  We were lucky for this one and a half hour cruise to be extended to almost two hours. Although it didn’t please our driver.

We were able to see so much flora and fauna, it was incredible.  Many of my photos didn’t turn out as well as I wanted to because the birds were hiding on the banks of the rivers.  About one third of Australia’s bird species can be found in Kakadu. Whistling ducks and Magpie Geese were the birds we saw in most places. We also saw a lot of crocodiles, both in the water and on the banks of the rivers.

We were warned not to move around on the boat in case it toppled over.   It was a small boat so we certainly took heed of the warning.

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This was our boat.  It would be no match for a crocodile so we all had to be very careful not to move around much.

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It may look like this crocodile is about to attack but he was really just cooling himself down. Luckily for us.

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The scenery is so beautiful in one of the most remote areas of Australia.

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This is considered a ‘large’ crocodile.  We learned the body of a croc is seven times larger than the head.  Most of the body is hidden below the water.  He was just minding his own business.

The Otway Fly Treetop Walk and Adventure

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The Otway Fly treetop walk is in the rainforest of the Otway Ranges in southwest Victoria. I’ve been there a few times and love it. The carpark is in a clearing and you walk down the footpath and descend into the forest. The fly walk then takes you back up to be amongst the canopy provided by the trees. At it’s highest, the walkway is 30m above ground and there is a 17m tower you can walk up to get a view above the trees and into the distance. It’s the longest and tallest treetop walk of it’s type in the world and includes a cantilevered walkway to give you an extra thrill. From start to finish, the walk is approx. 2kms long and can take an hour. Or longer if you want to really take your time. If you look carefully you will also see some dinosaurs lurking amongst the undergrowth.

They have also included a 2.5 hour zipline tour in recent years. It is a fully guided experience, including training and simulation, 8 cloud stations, 6 flights and 2 suspension bridges. You also get free entry to the Walk.

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The tower gives you an extra view over the treetops.

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The cantilevered arm of the steel walkway. It’s fun to jump up and down. A lot of people get really scared though so it’s best not to do it with strangers around.

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Looking up to the tower.

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I love the shape of this tree trunk.

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Looking down to the fern gully.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Water

I took this photo a few days ago at Howard Springs in Darwin. They have made this part of the National Park into a great family-friendly area with a wading pool, fun playground, picnic facilities and bushwalks. Beside the play area is a beautiful waterhole where Barramundi, turtles and other fish swim. The water is so calm and provides beautiful reflections of the surrounding trees. This is truly an oasis in a broad area that is fast being developed with houses.

Howard Springs waterhole

Uluru: The Sounds of Silence Dinner

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The Sounds of Silence dinner is all about eating under the stars while watching the sun set on Uluru.

For one thing it’s a chance to dress up in more fancy clothes than your normal travelling clothes. On arrival we were served canapes and sparkling wine while we listened to a didgeridoo player. He was excellent. We were given time to mingle and watch the sun setting over Uluru before sitting down to eat. Although it was starting to get very dark (being several kilometres from any artificial light) we went up to the buffet to choose what we would like to eat. On offer were kangaroo, crocodile and emu. I’m not sure if there were any other meats but they were what I chose to eat. There was also pumpkin soup with lemon myrtle. Lemon Myrtle is a very strong-tasting native plant associated with native bush tucker. It has a very strong flavour so is used sparingly. The reason I’m telling you this is that I really hate pumpkin. However I do like lemon myrtle so I decided to try the soup. There is no way I would have known it was pumpkin because of the other flavours. It was really nice. I even texted one of my friends back in Melbourne and said “Guess what I’m eating”. It has now become an inside joke between us.

It was the first time I’d eaten kangaroo, crocodile and emu meat and I enjoyed them all. They were served with a variety of salads. We also ate dessert but I don’t remember what that was. The best part was being able to eat native foods. I hadn’t had much exposure to them at that stage.

After the sun sets we were treated to a talk by a star tracker. He pointed out different constellations. It was really interesting. You can see so much in the desert with no artificial light.

Below are a few photos showing how the colours change as the sun sets on Uluru.

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This photo gives you an idea of what it was like eating dinner under the stars.

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If you would like more information here is the website for the dinner. I’d recommend it for anyone visiting Uluru. http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/sounds-of-silence/

Cape Schank Lighthouse

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Cape Schank is at the southernmost point of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. It overlooks Bass Strait which separates Victoria and Tasmania. The lighthouse was built in 1859 and is 21 metres tall.

The air felt so fresh and clear when I parked my car, gathered my camera bag and took off for a walk. There are two paths and I first took the one that lead away from the lighthouse but towards the cliffs. I wanted to be able to get some photos of how the lighthouse sits in its surrounding. There is a boardwalk that takes you out to the cliffs so you are looking back on to the lighthouse. I didn’t walk all the way out there because I did have some time restrictions so went to the first lookout and took some photos from there. I was really lucky to have a lot of blue sky. In Melbourne it was a very dull day but on the coastline it was beautiful and sunny with just a light breeze.

I retraced my steps to the carpark and kiosk where I bought a ticket to be able to go into the lighthouse compound. There’s not a lot to the compound; just the lighthouse, the keeper’s cottage and some other cottages which are let as self-catering accommodation. It is a great place to get away from everything and relax for a few days. The lighthouse keeper’s cottage also holds a museum. As well as the history of this lighthouse, it also details the history of lighthouses around the world. Although only a small museum, it’s really interesting.

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The below transcript is on the wall of the museum. I’ve read this before but still find it funny.

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Death of a Prime Minister

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Something strange happened in December 1967 in Australia. Our Prime Minister went for a swim at Cheviot Beach (in the Point Nepean National Park) and never emerged from the bay. I wasn’t born then but I believe there were all sorts of theories as to what happened. These included being murdered because he was opposed to the US Government setting up a nuclear base at Pine Gap or that he had been kidnapped by communists. This was despite an official report that his death was accidental. Apparently the conditions that day were very turbulent but Holt still chose to swim despite being warned not to.

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A walk around South Melbourne – part 2

Mum recently borrowed a book from her local library that had a lot of different walks you could do in and around Melbourne. The first time I looked at it I thought there were a few good walks but the second time I realised that I wanted to do most of them. I also realised I had already done some of them. Now that the weather is getting better we are going to do more walking and sightseeing. We love being tourists in our own town. There’s no better way of getting to know a place than by getting out of your car and walking. You see so much more.

South Melbourne isn’t a place I knew a lot about. Apart from a few job interviews years ago in the business district of the suburb I haven’t been there a lot. I’ve been past it and around it often enough. It borders Albert Park, Port Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay, all places I’ve been to a lot more. I was looking forward to this walk. It was a nice day for walking too.

It took a while for us to get our bearings but parked near the corner of Park and Ferrars Sts. That was actually stop 4 on the tour but we decided it was easy to park there. When we got a block away from the South Melbourne Market we decided to go in there for lunch. I loved the range and prices of the fruit, vegies and items in the butchers.

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One of the modern developments in South Melbourne. This one has a modern scene printed on the side depicting the trams rustling down South Melbourne.

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This beautiful, old building was a school but is now apartments. I’ve seen other such buildings turned into apartments as well.

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Nixon Place is an example of the cobblestone laneways spread through many inner-city suburbs. There is a drainage channel running down the centre. These laneways were used by night soil collectors and ice delivery men before mod cons such as indoor bathrooms and fridges.

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Nowadays, the Caledonian is a house but it was originally built as a hotel.

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These heritage-listed prefabricated portable cottages are an example of the housing that was required in the 1850’s Gold Rush. Demand was so high that they had to come up with a cheap, easily-built type of housing. They are maintained by the National Trust and are only open on the first Sunday of each month.

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Another example of Gold Rush housing. This one is a wooden prefabricated house. The owners have very cleverly built a double storey house beside and behind the wooden house. It’s very well designed, providing a discreet home and not destroying the look of the wooden house.

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Rochester Terrace. An example of the beautiful rows of terraces.

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A walk around South Melbourne – part 1

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South Melbourne is one of the oldest suburbs in Melbourne, being just 2kms south of the city. It was originally named Emerald Hill because it was an attractive green hill behind the swampy land south of the Yarra River.

Within a few decades it became one of the homes of the working class. There were a number of industries operating in this and nearby suburbs and they needed somewhere to live. There are streets of tiny workers cottages on the western side of the suburb. Further east are much more grand two and three storey homes with iron lacework. The town hall is one of the most magnificent in Melbourne.

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The photos above and below are of the Old St Vincent de Paul Orphanage for Boys. Nowadays it’s the McKillop Family Services building. It is also listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

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The much plainer Orphanage for Girls, located just behind the Boy’s Orphanage.

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I love this small building. It was probably an old corner milk bar.

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A lovely row of red and gold terraces.

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Weekly Travel Theme: Peaceful

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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.

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Moreton Bay Figs in the Fitzroy Gardens

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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.

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One photo, two ways (part 2)

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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.

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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

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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.

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Walhalla: Goldfields Rail Trail

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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.

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

Studley Park Boathouse, Kew

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In 1864, on what was then country but is now just 10 minutes drive from the city of Melbourne, the first wooden boathouse was built at Studley Park. Over the years it has expanded to be one of the most popular places to enjoy a hot, Summers day. There’s a restaurant, cafe, kiosk and now a conference centre. It feels like you are out in the bush, surrounded as you are by the tall, majestic Eucalypts.

It’s always hard to park there. You need to get there early because it’s such a popular picnic spot. There are great walks in all directions so you can escape the masses. In Summer the queue for ice creams is very long.

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You can hire these boats and row yourself up- and down-stream.

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Domaine Chandon – Yarra Valley

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Domaine Chandon is my favourite winery in the Yarra Valley. I first went there a few years ago on a beautiful summer day. Summer is the perfect time for visiting a winery. Most of them have an outdoor area where you can sit and enjoy the weather, the food and, of course, the wine.

The winery is part of the international operations of Moet & Chandon who began producing wine outside France in the 1960’s. This winery was established in 1986 on the site of an old dairy farm called ‘Green point’. They have named their bar and brasserie after the old farm.

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