Monday, April 6, 2015

King River Weekend

Inspired by Safeway christmas propaganda of happy families all gathering to bask in each others company  our big weird mob, decided to stage our own gathering.  I chose the location, one that was big enough to take us all, but at bargain basement price and in January, over the Australia Day Weekend,  we all (grownups, kids and dogs included)  headed inland to the King Valley for a weekend at King River Camp.

It was hubby's birthday, as well as the Australia Day weekend so it was a good excuse for a big family gathering.  We decided to forgo the boring drive up the Hume Hwy and go via the back way through Yea and Mansfield.. no longer in distance, but more picturesque. We briefly stopped in Bonnie Doon for lunch and brief break before continuing on.

Once past Mansfield the road climbed and narrowed.. it wasnt as hairy as the Great Alpine Way, but there was plenty of cloud and misting rain to make it a very attractive, though s slow enough drive for some of us. Would have loved to stop and take a pic of the mist and clouds over the valley but there was no where to pull over...  By the time we got back down into the King Valley the sun was shining and rain has moved on... and we arrived at the King River Camp mid afternoon.

 We were a big group of five families and took over the cottage and one of the lodges.  Accommodation is comfortable and roomy but its not five star, if you are expecting luxury you are in the wrong place.  Unfortunately it never occurred to any of us to take a group photo.. I have to work on getting into family holiday picture mode lol

Kruz at the river
The scenery and surrounds are quite beautiful.. the King River courses through the property and the kids were all either at the river or racing around on bikes all weekend..

and its a long way down if the Hurricane decides to squeeze a toy between the bars!

Powers Lookout is only half an hour away and we took a side trip up there on the saturday afternoon... as the song goes, I can see for miles and miles and miles

just down the road is Lake Hume Hovell... while the idea was for the guys to fish that weekend - no one caught anything, however several worms drowned in the name of male bonding.

We left on the Monday morning to head home... being waved off by our lovely hosts Glenda and Geoff.  We decided to come home via Glenrowan and down the Hume thinking it would be quicker.. no, no, no, no, NO.  Never again.. will use the back way each time.. while it may have been quicker its such a bum and brain numbing boring drive it seemed to take forever.  I had never done the big family getaway before.. but it was fun, and I'd def do it again.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wye River

After months of planning, bookings, revised dates with life of the middle aged intruding, Lucy and I finally got away for our BFF weekend to Wye River the first week of December.

As is the way, the weekend we were due to go originally in October was glorious.. sunny, mild, a great weekend to be alive.  The weekend we went was overcast, wet (very wet), cold, and one to remind us its best to stay rugged up in the nursing home.

After leaving Lorne, we eventually arrived at the Big 4 Holiday village in Wye River , I say eventually as I think we broke our record for U turns.  Once there, we booked in and then got lost INSIDE the Holiday village... it sounded simple enough, drive on through the gate, turn left, then left at our 'street' Currawong Way..  how many times can you do a U turn in a caravan park? LOTS.

The sign for our street was non existent.  The numbers didnt run logically.  Watched by the increasingly curious gazes of other cabin dwellers, all who seemed to know where THEY lived we drove around, and around, and around.  On our last U turn before asking for help we tried a street with no name and found our home!

Once parked, unpacked and settled in we starting 'arting'.  Our goal was to complete some dolls that Lucy's hubby John had cut from MDF (like Mary Jane Chadbourne's class).  We didnt get too far though as we were exhausted from the drive and multitude of U turns.. so it was an early night.

Next morning brought the abundance of wildlife we were to see all weeknd.. birds, koalas, kangaroos.. we spent loads of time on our deck feeding the visitors.. first thing in the morning we were up and out of bed, coffee in hand, bread bag tucked under the arm to wait for the 'guests'

At one stage there was three kookaburra's on our railing..

and King Parrots that ate out of your hand...

the highlight of our weekend was a visiting Koala.. he/she came by saturday afternoon and stayed till monday morning...

He/She stayed in the tree all Sat night and Sunday.. the tree looked a lot barer for food once they left!

We didnt see half the things we planned to see.. but had a great time.. and got some art done....just two dolls... the one on the left is mine, and Lucy's is the one on the right

pic was taken monday morning before we left, and yes, as you can see it was still overcast, wet and foggy when we left.. so much for playing it safe and going in December!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cairns 2014: Day Two

After the warmth but overcast grey skies, we woke on day two to glorious sunshine.

We were only at Thala overnight with our next stop the Daintree River - so we called up for the golf buggy to take us to breakfast, and while we ate, they took our luggage back to the car and then had the car waiting for us at the foot of the steps ready to drive off (gotta love the Thala VIP treatment!)
Arriving at the main building for breakfast.. (no thats not a tattoo, is the leg strap of my pants lol)

Our first stop was Mossman Gorge... which has changed a lot since I was there last.. they now have a lovely new visitor centre and big fancy coaches that ferry you from the visitor centre to the gorge for
$15... before you drove your own car down a goat track, over floodways spilling with water all year round and into a tiny car park ...

According to the Qld brochure Mossman is "Crystal-clear water cascades over large granite boulders in the Mossman River gorge. Lush rainforests cloak steep mountainsides from the river banks up to the rugged eastern slopes of the Main Coast Range"

Walking tracks are good.. are little bit of steps and gradients but not too bad on old legs lol.  We walked up to the Rex Creek Bridge... 

its great entertainment to watch people who have never been on it before start to saunter out on it, then stop with a look of shock and grab the sides for support.... they totally walk past this sign...

....its a swing bridge and boy does it swing!  trying to take a photo on it is a challenge.. people keep walking over it.. one step from the edge and you can feel it instantly in the middle.. its like trying to take a photo standing on jello!  I waited for ages until traffic had left both sides.. and it stopped wobbling enough to get this...
We stopped in at the visitor centre on the way out for coffee and a muffin before heading up the Captain Cook Hwy again towards the Daintree... stopping off at Daintree Cruise Centre, just before the village to do a 2 hr Croc Cruise with Adam on the Matilda II.. yes I had the theme song of Gilligans Island stuck in my head for hours lol

According to Adam who is a veritable encyclopedia of croc info - there about about sixty crocs on the Daintree River.. which also according to Adam is a 'low' population... Kakadu has more.  But in his quote for the day "its only take one to ruin your day"

One very well fed croc!

We passed quite a few just lounging around on the banks waiting for someone to wander by... 

Thala Beach to Daintree Village via Mossman Gorge

Cairns 2014: Day One

I love Far North Queensland... the hot, wet tropics to me is more 'Queensland' than the regular tourist mecca of Surfers..... the last time I was there in 2012 I missed seeing/doing a few things so when my sister suggested we head there together I jumped at.  Being a tad OCD when it comes to trip planning the logistics were left in my hands and I organised our budget, bookings an itinerary.. and unlike my BIL didnt get half way there and remember the wallet at home on the kitchen bench :)

Our flight left Melbourne at 6am so we were up at 3.30am and out the house at 4.15am which was a good thing as we kinda got lost finding the long term parking entrance.. in the dark and the rain we totally missed it and ended up back on the freeway, U-turn and head back to the airport.. park the car, jump on the shuttle bus and still made the terminal by 5am.

Our flight left on time and we landed in Cairns at 9.20 ... 25C but windy.. which even with the wind was a big improvement on the 12C that we left back in Melb.  We collected our hire car (a zippy little blue Toyota Yaris) and headed into Cairns for a late breakfast before heading to the Wildlife Habitat at Port Douglas for lunch.

The Wildlife Habitat has been there 25 yrs and apart from birds, also homes Kangaroos, snakes, Koala and Crocodile.   The venue itself is lovley, reasonably priced and lots of free shows once you are in - but skip the buffet lunch and just order what you want from the cafe.. we werent too impressed with the lunch buffet.
Tawny Frogmouth

Black and Gold Speckled Parrot

After leaving the Wildlife Habitat we headed back to Thala Beach and booked in....upon arrival you just drive up to the entrance where you leave the car, hand the keys to the valet and head inside.  While they take your luggage to your room and park your car, you are invited to relax and enjoy the view from the sitting area while sitting on your complimentary tropical punch...

This is how you look when the needy family is left behind :)
after which you are driven to your room in the little golf buggy

Jungle Walk Bungalow

Our bungalow at Thala
'Herbie's Shack'
We settled into our room and then wandered down to the private beach... lo and behold 'Herbies Shack' was open... "Damn" says sister, "who knew that was here!, I didn't bring my purse"... "I knew", said I... "and just in case they were open, I brought I brought the credit card!" .... here, buy the champers and I'll met you at the banana lounges") ..and as it turned out..we didnt need purse or CC it was just booked to our room ;)


Airport to Thala: 51kms

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Princes Pier

I had been wanting to photograph Princes Pier for a while... we finally made it down there on Good Friday.. .choosing that day as we thought it would be quiet, empty, everyone off doing other things for easter.. which it mostly was...

We got there around 7am as the sun was coming up and found a park easy enough at that hour.. there was just us and a few other fishing there...

Rain was predicted for later in the day, but at that hour it was lovely sunrise...

the pier was built between 1912-1915 and was Victoria's third major peir before it fell into disrepair and was closed in 1989.  After a massive renovation it was reopened in 2011.  The old decaying pier walk was removed exposing the pylons and the remaining pier and gatehouse restored.

I do plan to go back again.. would like to get some sunset shots .......all images taken using Canon 7D and an ND 400 filter

Alfred Nicholas Gardens

Early autumn we took a trip up to the Alfred Nicholas Gardens at Sherbrooke.  Packed the camera's and a nice picnic lunch with cakes and wine and off we went.....

The gardens are in the Dandenong Ranges.. and as stunning as the gardens are... the property is hilly and steep.  Very!  by the time we got back to the car I was wishing we packed and oxygen tent instead of the wine ....but we drank it anyway, sitting on the tail gate of the car sipping wine while everyone else that was going back to their cars looked just as winded and puffed as we were.

Originally named Burnham Beeches it was built in the 1920's owned by Alfred Nicholas  the 'Aspro' magnate...the beautiful gardens cover about 13 acres and feature tree ferns, mountain ash trees, lakes and waterfalls

walking all the way down to the ornamental lake you come to a small series of islands connected by footbridges..

at the end of one is a small boathouse....

the gardens are alive all season long with masses of plantings... ...we had hoped to photograph the gardens as the leaves turned.. but the unseasonably warm weather had kept everything green....

Our shortperson travelling companion finally found some autumn leaves.....

the gardens are definitely worth a visit... but plan your day well... there is no cafe onsite so you need to carry everything in if you plan to eat there... didnt see too many bins so we carried our rubbish around for a while too until we found one.  And bear in mind... its a long way back up!  take the paths... they are easier than the steps!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Port of Echuca

One would think we have a 'port' theme happening but it was only two trips in a row :)

Late Feb we headed up the Calder Hwy to Echuca for an overnight trip.  The weather wasnt forcast to be particularly nice on the saturday, but sunday was supposed to be pretty good so we took off anyway.

By the time we were heading through Wallan the rain started to set in.... pic above was taken just out of Rochester.. I spotted the knarly tree, second car behind us spotted the 'roos but they took off as we pulled over...

We were staying at EastEnder Cottage.. booked through Take A Break.. lovely house and very comfy at a very good price... it was still raining on and off when we arrived so we went for a walk around the Port and then came back to the house

When the sun started to come out the kids were given water balloons to play with :)

Sunday morning the rain had stopped.....we went down to the port early morning to get some shots of the river as the sun came up

In the Port Precinct they have many old original buildings still standing... and a stagecoach you can ride pulled by this lovely pair of greys, ...

..driven by a coach driver in driz-a-bones, akubra and complete with beard.. very authentic looking if you overlook the RayBans lol

we took the ride.. didnt realise how awkward it is climbing in and out of the old coach... dont know how the ladies of the 1800's managed in long dresses and corsets! 

Narrow alleway.. got the nephew to pose for me in the arch :)

We took a cruise on the PS Canberra.. well worth it and quite reasonably priced.. 

I choose the Canberra as they allow any kids on board to have a steer of the boat....

.......and you can see the engine and equipment :)

Cruising down the Murray River on PS Canberra
After our cruise and before heading home... we had afternoon tea at Wistaria Tea Rooms.. very nice.. we sat outside with our wine and devonshire tea and watched the world go by for a little while :)