Posts tagged ‘travel’

August 12, 2017

Day Trip to Young

Today I did a day trip to a town famous for cherries which had been recommended to me by a childhood friend. Yes, I am talking about the town of Young in NSW which is roughly two hours drive from Canberra. I set off around 8.30AM and drove along the Barton and Hume highways before going onto country roads. There were a couple of potholes here and there but overall it was a pretty smooth drive. Soon green fields and crops appeared, as did fluffy white sheep and cattle grazing on the fields beside the road. I spied the bright green and red of rosellas and saw a flash of white as a sulphur crested cockatoo soared overhead.

After about two hours, I was in Young! I passed a sign adorned with cherries (a motif I would see repeated everywhere) and parked at the well-sign-posted and easy to find information centre, which was housed in what appeared to be a rather historical-looking building. I entered through the doors and was greeted by wonderfully friendly staff. I received a map of the town and was asked if there was anything in particular I would like to see. I said I was interested in the museum I had seen a sign for further down the road. The lady helpfully explained the way there and circled the location on the map for me. She also circled a nearby park and said there was a good cafe’ behind the museum.

I thanked her and had a look around the information centre. I picked up some leaflets about Young and other regions in NSW. Then I bought a postcard of Young, some cherry jam and a bottle of pinot noir I saw in the wine cellar. After depositing the goods in my car, I milled around the art gallery which had free admission. There were lots of pretty works of art to be seen, including still life and landscapes but with figures in the pictures. My favourite picture was of two men looking out to a glorious sunset with their dogs at their side. I thought it was brilliant.

Then I left my car in the 2P free car park and set off on a walk around the town. I passed a playground and stopped off at a fudge factory. I saw loads of lollies but settled on a chocolate cherry liqueur, sticky date and butter pecan fudge pieces respectively. They came all nicely wrapped up in a little box and in a pretty pink and white striped bag. I continued my way around the town and read lots of information signs about historical buildings including the bank and old school which is now a museum. I also bought an oil burner and a nice romantic fiction book. I eventually completed my journey around the town and ended up where I had began. Then I bought a 1.5L bottle of water from IGA and put the street address of the museum into my GPS as I didn’t quite know my way well enough around the town just yet.

It led me straight to the museum where I parked my car. It was now about lunch time so I decided to have lunch first and then visit the museum; I wasn’t in a hurry after all. I bought a cappuccino in a mug and a slice of someone’s mum’s famous carrot cake. I also ordered a chicken salad with pumpkin and cous cous. All of it was absolutely delicious and was enjoyed out in the courtyard in the winter sun as I read my Paddington book by Michael Bond.

After having a delicious lunch and reading a fair bit of my novel, I headed off to the museum. I paid the very affordable $6 admission fee for an adult and entered the museum. I was met with a whole lot of history about the Gold Rush era and the town of Young and the people who had lived there in times past. There was an old horse carriage and many other old devices. There were old war medals and an afternoon dress and wedding dresses. There was history about so many events and it fascinated the hell out of me.

After quite a long time wandering around the museum and reading all of the information, I headed back outside and crossed the road to the park that had been recommended to me back at the information centre. I walked through an archway with the name of the park and read a sign saying a rose garden was dedicated to someone. I walked along a gravelly path and up into a gazebo with the sunlight streaming through the gaps in the wood. The gazebo gave me a good view of the park and to the Catholic church beside it. I walked out of the gazebo and walked the length of the park.

There was a children’s birthday party happening near the end of the park and there were blue balloons everywhere. I walked back through the park opposite the Catholic church and settled on the well-mown green, soft grass and continued reading my book in the winter sun; it was just gorgeous. Then I drove to the Chinese tribute garden and parked my car there. It was only about 3km away up the road. I walked across a little bridge and past two great granite lions and a great red archway. I walked around a little path which led around the central water feature of the garden. I also passed a lovely little waterfall.

I saw there were fish in the surrounding water and one was bright orange. Having completed my circuit around the garden and finding some early spring daffodils, I settled on some grass near the dam on the other side and continued reading my book again in the winter sun. After that I drove off back to Canberra, passing a sign saying Thankyou for visiting as I did.


April 14, 2017

Visit to the National Botanical Gardens and Lake Burley Griffin

Today I visited some of my favourite places in Canberra: The National Botanical Gardens and Lake Burley Griffin. I headed to the gardens first and was pleased to find a car park pretty quickly. I did have to pay for parking though, but that done, I headed up to the entrance to the gardens. First of all I walked inside the Visitor Information Centre and saw there was an art exhibition on. I strolled around and looked at artworks of numerous native plants and flowers adorning the walls-they were so pretty!

Then I collected a map of the gardens as I hadn’t been in a while and headed on the main path track. The path was very smooth and easy to walk on. I passed my favourite walk which is Rainforest Gully. This walk winds through rainforests from Tasmania to Northern Queensland-it is devine! I headed to the Sydney garden area and looked at lots of plants I would recognise from the odd weekend down the coast: banksia trees and so on.

I saw a sign about a Waratah which is such a gorgeous red flower. I’d seen them at markets down the coast before and they are amazing! I walked past the Red Centre Garden which has soil and plants like you might see in a desert-like area of Australia like Uluru. I found the Bee Hotel which was a little wooden house with holes in it for bees to nestle in comfortably.

I gazed at the tranquil waterfall of the Rock Garden and saw a lizard sunning itself on a rock nearby, which someone pointed out to me. Then I walked past gorgeous cornflowers rustling in the wind and headed down through the Rainforest Gully on the lower walk. I heard water trickling over nearby rocks and felt the coolness of the rainforest encasing me in its supreme tranquility. The forest was a sea of green with giant tree ferns waving their branches at me as I walked on by.


Lastly I headed through the Tasmanian Woodland section with bridges over pools of water and interesting-looking trees. I saw a Rosella in a tree fern as I crossed a high bridge and skipped across some stepping stones in a pond underneath a waterfall. Then it was on to Lake Burley Griffin!

I jumped in my car and headed for Canberra’s most well-known lake. It’s a great vantage point to spot the numerous landmarks and tourist attractions of Canberra like Telstra Tower, Parliament House, the High Court, National Library, National Museum and Questacon to name a few! Having arrrived, I did need to park a bit further away as many people had the same idea as me to visit the lake today.

However I was glad of this because it meant I could stroll by the lakeside and take in the scenery. I saw the trees at the other side of the lake were turning bright reds and yellows. I spotted a seagull, ducks and black waterbirds with white beaks splashing around in the water or padding along on the grass. Tall poplar trees lined the way and stood majestically above me. Soon I approached Aspen Island with the National Carillion-a great musical instrument with brass bells chiming in the breeze from a tall tower. There is a bridge leading across to the island and a Lake Burley Griffin cruise boat was circling it.

Having brought along my newspaper, I stopped to buy a coffee and a pie and sat down at a table under some poplar trees with a great vantage point of the lake. It was great for people watching as I watched walkers, dogs and cyclists pass on by. Having finished my coffee and pie, I headed across the bridge and around Aspen Island. I spotted a couple of black swans which were eagerly looking for food. They are very friendly animals. I saw the cruise boat travel into the distance and headed back under the branches of some willow trees.

April 9, 2017

An Afternoon Apple Picking in Pialligo

This weekend I decided I fancied some apple picking as I knew the season was right and hadn’t remembered doing it in the past. I had searched a couple of orchards but decided the ones in Pialligo should be the easiest to get to.

I hopped in my car and drove off past Fyshwick and where I would normally go straight to go to the airport or head for the coast, I turned right. Immediately I was transported from city to country as signs proclaiming apples, pears and even peaches sprang up from the roadside. The first orchard I went to sold apples but didn’t let you pick your own. Luckily the owner directed me to an orchard further down the road which would let you pick your own apples: Tanbella Orchard.

I parked my car and saw the lady at reception. She was very friendly and directed me to help myself to a bucket (I chose a purple on of course) and head for the fruit trees which were not too far away, past a vegie patch and gorgeous pale pink giant tea roses. I couldn’t help myself but stop to smell their sweet scent as I went to walk on by.

I walked past the two gates and I was inside the orchard! Row upon row of tree were neatly lined up, shooting out into the distance. The lady had given me a map of which trees were ripe for the picking and I was pleased to see Golden Delicious apples (my favourite) were highlighted on the map as being ready! The rows of trees had a letter and number assigned to them which corresponded to the map that I was holding.

Soon I saw the delicious apples hanging tantalisingly from the tree branches. I plucked a couple off and put them in my bucket. I also picked some Royal Gala apples which looked utterly delicious. Then I headed back, the lady weighed my apples, I paid for them and drove off home.

April 23, 2016

Exploring the Gardens

Yesterday I caught a tram in the Free Tram Zone (yes they actually let you ride for free in a certain area) to Federation Square and looked at the shops. Then I bought pizza for lunch, gourmet chocolates and a nutella donut for lunch along with a newspaper and headed over a bridge across the river to Alexandra Gardens.

I got a lovely view of Melbourne from the bridge. On the riverbank on the other side I sat beside a tree on some grass in the sunshine and watched the elegant black swans go about their business which included walking up to me to check if I had any food.

Unfortunately by this time I had eaten my lunch but human food is probably not too good for swans anyway. Some swans had tags around their necks and legs. After finishing reading my newspaper and watching the Yarra River go by I headed to Queen Victoria Gardens.

Sure enough there was a towering statue of the monarch in the middle of a rose garden filled with red, pink, white and yellow heavily scented blooms. I wandered near a domed structure and spied a water nymph statue in a pool of water.

I wandered past Maple trees shedding their star shaped leaves coloured yellow and orange. They crunched under my feet as I walked by.

Soon I was in Kings Domain and I spotted the Shrine of Remembrance commemorating Australians who served in World War One. I saw a TV presenter and a cameraman on the path filming probably as Anzac Day is on Monday.

I walked up the path to the shrine, past large bushy green trees, past a huge statue of a group of men and the eternal flame and around the building. I saw statues of huge angels.

I entered the shrine and looked around the perimeter. There were books in glass cases and flags around hanging from the ceiling including the Australian flag. From the roof a circle of sunlight streamed down through a skylight.

Then I ascended stairs to a balcony at the top of the shrine. From here I saw sweeping views of Melbourne and even a glimpse of blue with a ship-perhaps St Kilda?

I took my photographs of the city, descended the steps and took a tram home.

April 22, 2016

The Penguin Parade

Yesterday I hopped on a pre-booked tour bus to a place called Moonlit Wildlife Sanctuary. There I walked around and visited a selection of Australian animals including native birds including a corella, dingoes, koalas, a wombat, wallabies, an emu, kangaroos and quolls. We then had a delicious lunch which was included in our tour price. I had chicken sausages, potato salad, salad and bread. It was filling and delicious.20160421_113111





Then we headed to a koala conservation place and looked at koalas in gum trees.20160421_160307

After that we drove to Churchill Island on the Mornington Peninsula and parked at a farm there. There we walked through a historic homestead and cottages, beautiful gardens including a kitchen garden, a stable and a blacksmith’s workshop.

We watched a sheep get sheared and a Border Collie called Billy round up sheep. I saw a peacock, turkey, pigs, a cart horse, guinea pigs, a rabbit and a friendly sulphur crested cockatoo called George who said “Hello George” and cocked his head from side to side.

Back onto the bus and onto the most anticipated event of the day-the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island! We walked around and took photos of the beautiful island before being brought to the entrance to the penguin viewing area. We showed our penguin viewing tickets and walked over the threshold.

I had a dinner of chicken schnitzel with chips, salad and gravy with a Pepsi and a gingerbread biscuit. Then as the sky darkened and penguin time drew near, I walked along the boardwalk past the penguin burrows and took a seat facing the sea.

Soon enough groups of little fairy penguins emerged out of the sea and waddled onto the shore and to their burrows in front of an enthralled audience. It was absolutely magical.

September 29, 2015

Exploring Fitzroy Island

I caught a boat to Fitzroy Island. The boat was a huge catamaran which could fit loads of people. We took our seats and began our voyage to Fitzroy Island! The journey took about 45 minutes and we were lucky that the ocean was calm.20150928_100115wpid-20150928_100124.jpgwpid-20150928_100239.jpg

Soon we arrived at the island. The ocean surrounding it and its reef was a brilliant turquoise blue which blended into a darker blue as the water got deeper. We all disembarked the vessel and boarded the wooden jetty which led to the island.

Once on the island I hired a snorkel, goggles and flippers for $15. The company had laid out different flippers with sizes marked on them for us to try on beforehand. Once I’d hired the gear, I made my way down the coral sand and snorkelled around some rocks. Tropical fish greeted me and their bright colours gleamed in the sunlight beneath the ocean’s surface. I saw Parrotfish, Clownfish and an Angel Fish. The fish ate what looked like moss around the coral and I could even hear them eating under water.wpid-20150928_120016.jpg

After snorkelling for about two hours I sunbaked on my towel. Later I returned my snorkel gear and did the Secret Garden walk. There were a lot of rocks to climb but it was good exercise. I came to a wooden platform lookout with a bench. It was very peaceful looking up into the green rainforest foliage and hearing the sounds of its creatures. I saw some brown skinks which camouflaged well with surrounding twigs.wpid-20150928_131712.jpg

After the walk, I made my way to Nudie Beach. The walk afforded fantastic lookouts of views of the ocean. I arrived at Nudie Beach, laid down my towel under some shade and went swimming. Even without a snorkel and goggles I could still see tropical fish in the clear water which had excellent visability.

I sunbaked again. Then seeing it was almost time for the boat to depart the island, I made my way back towards the jetty. On the way I arrived at the General Store and bought a choc mint Drumstick ice cream. I sat on a rock near the jetty eating it and gazing at the brilliant blue ocean between the palm trees. Then it was time to go and I bid farwell to a beautiful island and boarded the boat back to Cairns.wpid-20150928_105808.jpg

September 3, 2015

Snorkelling on Green Island

My mum and I caught the boat to Green Island from Cairns. We had our photos taken before entering. On board we received tea and coffee. We took a seat with a table near the centre of the boat then away we went out to Green Island! The last time I’d been on Green Island was when I was about 8 years old and my parents had taken my two brothers and I four wheel driving to Cape York and back. We had stayed at a caravan park in Cairns and saw freshwater turtles! When I was 8 I remember wearing a green and purple sarong with star fish prints on it. I remember snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and seeing clown fish, parrot fish and so on. I also remember getting startled by a moray eel peering out from behind a rock and kicked myself ferociously back into shore.

We arrived at the jetty and disembarked the boat. On the jetty I just had to stop and marvel at the magnificent colours of the reef. It reminded me almost of the patterns on marble with the light and dark blue moulding into each other. Mum and I both gazed at the island filled with memories. We walked across the jetty and arrived on the island. We looked at a sign and started a walk around the island. There were lots of informative signs along the way. We stopped at a beach, put on our flippers, googles and snorkels and waded into the water. 10924592_1010039369014598_3057826199192453660_o11699014_1010041262347742_6646020479685271489_o11703472_1010039815681220_787805522075244596_o11717372_1010040099014525_4631474842065150504_o11722310_1010040689014466_8772595704002248902_o

Clown fish, parrot fish and other species swam peacefully around the coral. It was such a mesmerising experience-I could have done it for ages. I looked up every now and again to check I hadn’t strayed too far from the shoreline. After snorkelling we went to a nice restaurant on the island. I had a wonderful pink cocktail with pineapple. It was such a wonderful day.11222441_1010041429014392_6678020270764042787_o (2)

August 15, 2015

I’m in the Tropics!


I’m back in Australia after my year in the UK. It’s great to be back! I actually think I experienced a bit of a culture clash from my own country which I’ve never experienced before.

My family lived on the South Island of New Zealand for a year when I was little. We were in a place called Sumner which isn’t far from Christchurch and has an esplanade, beach, “Rocky Island” (a rock near the shore which we kids pretended was our island) and a horse riding club. My brothers and I used to go there all the time and ride horses and donkeys on the beach and through the port hills. When we came back to Australia and moved to Queensland in 2002 I guess the culture and climate were different and a new adventure was beginning.

Growing up in Canberra my parents always took us out camping, bushwalking…

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July 7, 2015

A Trip to Port Douglas

Recently I went on a short holiday up to Port Douglas in Northern Queensland, Australia. I got my carry-on luggage and walked outside Cairns Airport. I clambered on my bus to Port Douglas. The bus driver cranked up the radio and I and fellow holiday-makers gazed out of the windows at the scenery unfolding around us. We drove along a relatively straight, wide road. Tall mountains rose up all around us. Sugar cane fields stretched out endlessly into the distance. The most beautiful part of the bus ride was along the coastline: I could see islands out to sea in the brilliant blue water. People disembarked to go to their hotels. We then came to my stop at a backpackers. The street was lined with trees. I got out of the bus, dropped off my carry-on luggage in the luggage room and went outside to explore. 

The town of Port Douglas was walking distance from the backpackers so no transport was required. I wore my thongs (flip flops for overseas readers) and walked off into the distance with my backpack. I looked into lots of interesting stores. I passed bookshops, clothes shops,  a bakery and so on. I did my grocery shopping and returned back to check in (as it was past 2 PM.)

The next day I booked a Great Barrier Reef Outer Reef snorkelling tour. This tour was for three different sites on the outer reef. The boat would stop off at each site for about an hour. They would also serve lunch and tea and coffee when the boat was stationary.

I wandered down to Four Mile Beach. Coconut palms fringed the sandy shore. Coming from the Gold Coast, it was different to see more of a wild-looking sort of beach. A broken-open coconut was lying on the sand near the rocks, its white flesh gleaming in the bright, hot sun. I wandered up the rocky headland on a small wooden path with steps.11221358_1002326923119176_5109364758988079387_o11707742_1000995856585616_283053117976710814_o
After ascending all of the steps I stood on the precipice and marvelled at the view. Mountains rose up in the distance and the beach and coconut palms stretched out endlessly. I descended the stairs and went for a beach walk. The water felt warm and the sand crunched beneath my feet, rich and cool. I walked back past the shops and looked in at the Port Douglas Markets. Many stalls were set up selling a myriad of wares. I also explored a nearby park with coconut palms facing the open water. I sat underneath the palms and listened to the palm fronds moving in the breeze. It was very relaxing.11698795_1003377366347465_1345009509944006348_o

Then came the day of the outer reef snorkelling. I walked down to the marina which wasn’t too far to go from where I was. Other tourists including from Spain and the US were there too. We all boarded the boat and headed out to the outer reef. The boat went up and down over the waves. After about an hour we were at the first reef we were to explore. We put on wetsuits, flippers, snorkels and goggles. We went into the reef and began to explore the underwater world that awaited us. Clown Fish in anemones, giant clams, corals, Parrotfish and a Maori Wrasse called “Angus” by the marine biologist and crew (because he was always around the same area) awaited us. We went to the second reef and continued to explore and the third. More and more was found beneath the surface each time.

SnorkellingCoralCoconutBoats The marine biologist told us all about what we were seeing on the ocean floor. After on the boat we were told about corals and other information. I left the tour knowing I had learned more about the reef and experienced Australia’s natural beauty-something young people are reminded to see. Boarding the plane back to the Gold Coast, I reflected on the relaxing holiday I had in Tropical North Queensland. Tropical Palm Trees

August 29, 2014

A Journey to 1066

Today I had a cream tea at Mrs Burton’s Restaurant and Tea Room which had all of these little square tables with blue tablecloths with lace coverings and real flowers in the centre. There were cakes in a stand too. I ate my giant scone and drank my tea from a dainty teacup and saucer whilst gazing out the window at Battle. Then I entered Battle Abbey and began my tour to the year 1066 and the Battle of Hastings with William the Conqueror of the Normans. Entry for an adult cost about £8 and came with a complimentary audio guide and map. It started with a timeline leading down through the centuries until the year 1066. Then there was an exhibition room filled with one side information, armour and weapons of the Normans, and on the other of the English. There was a film playing too showing a re-enactment of the battle. We could touch real swords, shields and armour which was fantastic. I held the handles of Norman and English swords in my hands! They were bolted to the wall though. Then I did the Battlefield Walk with my audio guide where you walk through what appears to be green, idyllic English countryside but was actually once a bloody battlefield where at least 7000 lost their lives. The walk is on a path which winds around the Battlefield perimeter with lots of information signs and posts for you to key in numbers on the audio guide to hear more information. I tried to picture the English on the hill and the Normans below on their horses fighting to the death! It felt really wild on that open field with the wind blowing fiercely across the grass and through the trees. Then after exiting the Battlefield I found what reminded me of Mary’s “Secret Garden”: a walled orchard garden! I also found hedges forming a sort of maze, an old ice dairy and a high wall to walk on back to the entrance! As I exited the abbey, musicians had begun to perform outside Mrs Burton’s Restaurant and Tea Room: magic. IMG_7851.JPGIMG_7855.JPG