Friday, March 22, 2019

Goodbye Old Friend

Where have you been?


 "There and Back Again"

        "... to see how far it is"

How long did it take?
       22 Years.

It was July 25th 1997 when I drove my first ever brand new car Home for the Very First time.

And looking through the Albums for that First Photograph of my new car has definitely been a Trip down Memory Lane!

She has faithfully and Safely taken us to Adelaide and Yarra Glen.

From Limestone Caves at Buchan to Pelicans at Streaky Bay.

And the most Southerly part of Mainland Australia at Wilsons Prom to Deniliquin in NSW!

We have driven along the Coast and through Majestic Trees of the National Forests.

Down many "Rabbit-holes" seeing what is around that corner or where the road will take us.

On Bitumen and Dirt and sometimes Sand.

With Three at once on Learner Plates.  Now THAT was an Adventure!

Each time we climbed aboard we trusted her to bring us home safely.

And sometimes - we were reassured with a Heavenly Promise that we would be kept Safe.

Only ONCE in 22 years did she ever leave us "High and Dry" but even then we were but a few Kilometres from where she was built and Help was at hand.

10 years later that Muffler repair was still going strong!

22 years of Hey Mum can you....

Pick me up at the Train
Come get me I have the 'Barry Sax'
I need a Freezer - can you help
We just bought two 12 foot trees.......

22 years of Recording
Every trip to the Petrol Station
Every Odometer reading
Every Price per Litre for every fill

All - 850 times
34,529 Litres
260,648 km
How much? - I could but I didn't!

Today with more than a few tears
I said Goodbye to my Old Girl.

As she "Sailed off into the Sunset" without Us.
Our journeys together are now over and She has been donated to
"Kids Under Cover"

Perhaps she will find someone to take her on more adventures.

I will miss her greatly.

* * * * *

And Now it is time for New Memories

I would like to introduce you to Bessie.

She is my new ride
She came with a LOT of Whistles and Bells for me to learn

And a Big Red Ribbon!

She came with just 16 km
on the clock

I plan to change that!

She has her own new Log Book - ready to record all those adventures DH and I plan to have in his Retirement.

With her Built in talking Street Directory, Access to Google Maps via my phone AND Old faithful Myrtle as a back up we shouldn't get too lost!

"Live Now; 
Make Now the most Precious Time.
Now will Never Come Again." *


Jean-Luc Picard - StarTrek Next Generation

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Healesville Sanctuary

Trying to pack as much as possible into a couple of weeks we load our Visitor into the car and head a one hour drive to the Beautiful Yarra Valley.

Zoos Victoria comprises of Melbourne Zoo in Parkville,
Werribee Open Range Zoo
and Healesville Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary is where you go if you want to see  Australian Native Animals in a Bush setting.

Greeting us at the entrance is the beautiful sculpture of BUNJIL - The Creator Spirit with his 7 meter wingspan.

The Wurundjeri believe Bunjil keeps a watchful eye over their people and offers guidance to those who listen.

From there we hurried past Sleepy Koalas with the promise of catching up with them again before we leave.

There was somewhere we had to be before 11:00
"Ornithorhynchus anatinus" - The Platypus is one of Australia's most Iconic animals.

Once considered to be a Hoax as it was thought impossible for such a creature to exist.

We sat in the Amphitheatre and watched the Keepers play with a young Female Platypus who was born during the Black Friday Bushfire while we listened to the environmental talk that informed us as to how to look after the waterways that these wonderful creatures call home.

After the formal talk we held back (letting the crowd leave first) and were rewarded with a personal chat with the keeper as she continued to acclimatise the Platypus to her surroundings.
It is possible to get into the Pool with the Keeper with the "Wade with the Platypus" experience - but at $182.00 per person and having to book well in advance it requires a lot of planning!

Another of the free Keeper Talk sessions, The "Spirits of the Sky" Bird show was next on our list.

The undisputed Monarch of the Skies is the Australian Wedge Tail Eagle - Our largest Raptor with a wingspan of 2.5 meters.  They can be seen riding the thermals up to 2 km high while hunting.

These magnificent birds although not a threatened species are Protected.

Wandering through the Sanctuary we then came to The Avery.

While our guests happily fed the Red Tail Black Cockatoos I took the opportunity to photograph some of our more colourful Birds - The Rainbow Lorikeet.

I am happy to see these small birds reclaiming suburban backyards as more people plant Australian Natives in their gardens.
They like to nest in hollows of Old Trees.

There was certainly plenty of things to see - We even watched, (through a glass wall in the Cafe) a small group of Children feed the Echidnas while we were having our lunch!

Echidnas, together with the Platypus are the world's only Monotremes - or Egg laying Mammals.

After a quick lunch DS#2 had organised a couple of "Wildlife Encounters" for us to enjoy.

A personal Keeper talk and a chance to meet Brother and Sister Alpine Dingoes.

The Dingo is neither a Dog or a Wolf  but a species in their own right.  These two are Beautiful animals - but don't be fooled - They ARE Wild animals who were fighting each other at my feet moments before taking this photo.

Our Last encounter before heading home was with the friendly Kangaroos from South Australia's Kangaroo Island.

It was the perfect finish for a big day out.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sorrento Beach

The township of Sorrento is situated at the end of the Mornington Peninsula.

From here you can catch the Ferry for a beautiful 40 min voyage across Port Phillip Heads (the Mouth of Port Phillip Bay) to Queenscliff and from there it is just an hour to Anglesea and the Great Ocean Road.

It is a popular alternative with tourists that want to see the 12 Apostles, Mornington Peninsula and the Penguins at Phillip Island without spending a day of their holiday driving around the Bay.

But today we are headed just 1.6 km (1 Mile) across the Peninsula to the Ocean Beach that faces Bass Strait.

Readers of my Blog may have already guessed by now that I am not fond of sitting on an overcrowded Swimming Beach getting Baked in the harsh Australian Sun.

I much prefer the wind in my hair and the sound of the surf any day!

This is where we come when a day trip to 'Blow the Cobwebs' away is needed.

And today it did not disappoint.

There are many more beautiful beaches along this coast but none (I know of) that have a Cafe with a view like this.

You can enjoy a warm meal and a cold drink (or Hot Coffee, Chocolate - whatever takes your fancy) and watch the waves from the comfort of the enclosed verandah.

We had an enjoyable day showing our Guest around this Seaside Town that truly has the best of Both Worlds.

The Morning was spent wandering around the Sorrento Township Street Market, introducing our Overseas Visitor to the delights of Local Produce and chatting to the Vendors.

After lunch we wandered along the freshly washed sand to The Point, where in Summer at low tide, children can play in a large rock-pool that is there. Today we were content to watch the Tide come in trying to guess how far each wave will reach.

Tomorrow will be a rest day for me before heading off for another Day Trip in the opposite direction!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Travelling Victoria - The 12 Apostles

"Morning has Broken like the first Morning, Blackbird has spoken ...."

Well, it was actually a Magpie that was Caroling in the morning.

So worth getting up early to see the dawn
So different to the night before.
The promise of a beautiful day.

The 12 Apostles, arguably the most photographed rocks along the Victorian Coastline, are a 4 1/2 hour drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road.

Inclement weather the day before and some necessary stops along the way meant we ran out of daylight before we were able to see the attractions we had actually come to see.

So a little back tracking was needed.

The wind had blown itself away.

A Rainbow in the Sky

The waves crashing in

It is going to be a GOOD day!

3 minutes down the road from the 12 Apostles is  Loch Ard Gorge.

On the 1st June 1878, the Sailing Ship Loch Ard with 54 Crew and Passengers was wrecked on a reef just off  Mutton Bird Island.
Miraculously, there were two survivors who came ashore at what is now known as Loch Ard Gorge.
Only 4 bodies were recovered and these are buried in a small cemetery on the cliffs above.

Our next Photo-op stop, on the other side of the township of Port Campbell was at The Arch.

Each of our stops was harder to leave than the last.  With mighty waves crashing onto the rocks promising bigger ones next time.

Then it was on to London Bridge.

I think it is now called London Arch - I remember the News reports at the time, as we had been here just a few months before.

On the evening of 15th January 1990 without warning, the main bridge connecting London Arch to the mainland cracked and fell in the sea.

Fortunately there was no one on the bridge when it collapsed, however two people were marooned on the new Island and rescued hours later by helicopter.

I suspect, it is because of events like this that you are no longer able to walk across these natural bridges.

The Grotto is another 'must see' Photo Stop along the Shipwreck Coast.

The arch creates a perfect frame for the Ocean with spectacular waves crashing through the small opening.

It all looks very calm in this photo but as we left we heard squeals from below as a wave sprayed visitors who were not paying attention.

45 minutes later I dragged my companions away.

We had intended our trip to end at Warrnambool for a spot of Whale watching however, after making enquiries at the local Tourist Information Centre, we were informed that there were no Whales at Warrnambool today (they were further along the coast at Portland).

So - we turned towards home Inland via the Gourmet Food Trail and soothed our disappointment with treats of  Locally made Ice cream at Timboon Fine Ice cream and Handmade Cheese from The Timboon Cheesery.
After all - there IS more to the Otways than Rain-forests and Rugged Coastlines....

It's Dairy Country and some of the finest dairy products come from this region of Victoria.

If you would like to see more of this wonderful part of my home state of Victoria and cannot come to visit - check it out on Google Earth.

Just place the 'Peg Man' anywhere along the Coast (on the blue line or dots) and have a virtual look around!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Travelling in Victoria - The Great Ocean Road

Type in "Top 10 places to see in Victoria" and the Number One spot goes to ...
The Great Ocean Road.  The Iconic and Must Do Coastal Drive.

This 243 Km road winds it's way along some of Victoria's most rugged coastline from the Township of Torquay to Warrnambool.
Starting construction in August 1919 and being completed in November 1932  It was built by returned Servicemen using picks and shovels, and is a Permanent Memorial to those that died during The Great War. It is acknowledged as the World's Largest War Memorial.
To recoup expenses the Road was Tolled at 2 Shillings per car until 2nd October 1936 when it was handed over to the State Government.

Sadly the thousands of tourists that travel the road each year are unaware of it's history or significance.

Some stop at the Memorial Arch, and hopefully read the plaques placed there.

We missed the Turn Off for this, as we were trying to avoid hitting someone who was standing in the middle of the road taking photographs!

Sightseers in the middle of the road is one thing but another problem the local councils have had to address is the number of International Tourists that drive on the WRONG SIDE of the Road.

This is extremely dangerous and they have had to resort to installing MANY of these signs along the road.

Now that the Safety Instructions are over - Let's see where this Road goes and why it is so beautiful!

Our first and most welcome stop, an hour and a half from Melbourne, was at the newly opened "Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery" - (It's Sister Chocolaterie is in the Yarra Valley).

The Month of August is their Hot Chocolate Festival with 7 different Hot Chocolate creations a week for the entire month.

31 flavours!! Now that is an awesome reason to come back each week - Chocolate Heaven (and the Coffee is pretty good too)!!

Then it was on to another Iconic Stop - Split Point Lighthouse.

It was here the Australian Children's Fantasy Series "Round the Twist" was filmed (1989-2001).

The story was of the adventures of a Widower and his 3 Children that lived in this 'magic' lighthouse.

I would have liked to have done the tour and climbed to the top - but we had a lot of miles to go before Sunset.

Little did we know that the brilliant sunshine and perfect weather was going to turn nasty in such a short time.

Pressing on, we drove through the rain and stopping at roadworks for a few minutes at a time was most welcome.

But it slowed us down and meant we had to skip some planned stops - never mind they will still be there another time.

Another Hour and a half driving along some of Victoria's most beautiful coastline and we arrive at Apollo Bay.  It is here that the Road moves away from the coast and into the Otway Ranges and the Great Otway National Park with its Waterfalls and Temperate Rain-forest.
No stopping here - we are now chasing the Sunset!

[Photograph by - Click the link to see more of this beautiful area.]

You can do this drive during Summer and will see those calm seas that grace picture postcards, but the weather we drove into gave us no doubt as to why so many Ships were lost in these waters and why this is called "The Shipwreck Coast".

No perfect sunset photos, it was just too wild and windy.
But then - I do have a 'bucket list' and These Waves are at the top of it!

Maybe we can get back here for Sunrise tomorrow?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Time to say "Good bye/Au Revoir/Auf Wiedersehen "

Sunday Morning - we were supposed to meet up with DD and be treated to a lovely Brunch at the Cafe behind her building.

There were just a couple of things that prevented this from happening. 

First was to get all our luggage safely stowed at the Train Station so we didn't have to drag it around with us for half the day. 

The Other -
Well, You need to get up VERY early in the morning to have Brunch at the best cafe in town when there is a Breast Cancer Fun Run on!

We did eventually find somewhere that had room
but then -

You know the old rule - 
Never trust an EMPTY Cafe!

It had a beautiful View of the Bridge, Cathedral and Fun Run Course, but that is where the 'nice' ended.

This place got our award for the WORST Breakfast and Service for our entire trip!

Placing breakfast behind us we headed off to find a Sunday Market -
Which when we got there... was
"Postponed due to Fun Run"  [Big Sigh!]

Now not knowing how to fill in our last morning - we wandered over to the 'other side of Town' where DD showed us the one thing that in all her time away - made her feel so very far from home.

When confronted with a sign post
and the furthest point on it says SYDNEY 14,000 km.

You don't sit down and work out how far Melbourne is from Sydney!

We saw parts of Strasbourg that had been updated and modernised.

No time left to explore the boardwalk where old Cranes now turned into Sculptures, have been left as testament to the original use of the Docks.

For now we had to reluctantly head back to the Station and board the Last Train on this journey.

Tearfully waving Goodbye to Our Beautiful Girl.
(How I wished we could have stayed longer.)

Two Hours later we pulled into Frankfurt Airport Station.

More like an Airport than a Train Station - and after a mix-up with the wrong Bus and  waiting for a Shuttle that no longer existed we staggered into what was the Best Hotel Room EVER.

(It had a Nescafe Coffee Machine!)

All that was left now was to get a Good Night's Sleep.

Before boarding the plane where they looked after us well and served reasonable meals and "Nice" Snacks.
(See - it says so on the label!)

It was listed on the Menu as the MOVIE Snack and served at about 2 AM - because doesn't everybody needs Potato Crisps at 2 am?

Breaking our Journey Home  in Doha, Qatar
After 6 hours in the Air with another 13:45 hours ahead of us, it was good to stretch our legs.

With Large Open Concourses, Clean Futuristic lines, Lit travelators and Silent Electric Trams that run overhead. 
We commented it was another perfect Movie Set and it would not surprise us to see someone in a "Star Trek" Uniform walk past.

Transiting passengers were taken directly from the Aircraft to the Departure Lounge - no long queues, just a small security check at the boarding gate.
This has to be the Best Organised Airport we have transited through.

After 3 weeks away
Staying at 7 Hotels 
In 4 Different Countries
Travelling on Panes, Trains, Trams and yes Automobiles

It was Good to see
"Welcome Home"

And the conversation on the ride back was . . .

"Where do you want to go NEXT ?"