8/09/2014

Australian Countryside, Upper Hunter, NSW


The Australian Countryside

It is easy to love the Australian countryside, especially that of the Upper Hunter Valley. The view from my daughter Suzi's house is quite stunning, as you can see from the image above.


Of course, one disadvantage could be that this is the road out from their house, 
and it's quite a while before they hit a tarred road.


My Granddaughter, Katelyn, is a true country girl, who loves the outdoors. 
Here, Grandpa is helping her collect some sticks, so she can show him how to make a campfire.


And here she is beginning to build her fire, as Grandpa and her faithful dog look on.


Katelyn's dog, Tinker


Here is the beginnings of the campfire that Katelyn built by herself. 
Very good, for a five-year-old! 
(Of course, she is still too young to be allowed to light it herself!)

Part of country living is the ability to see a wide selection of wildlife. Every night we saw thousands of flying foxes. But they fly so fast in the dying rays of light, that I was unable to get a shot of them.


Fortunately, I was able to get an image of these Rainbow Lorikeets...


...and the ubiquitous kangaroo.


And here is the end to another perfect day in Australia.

by Elizabeth Coughlan

8/06/2014

Hawks Nest & Tea Gardens, NSW, Australia




With only a singing bridge between them, Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens offer beautiful views and vast expanses of sandy beaches. We are so lucky that they are easily accessible for a day's outing from Suzi and Neil's home. The singing bridge is so-called because its railings act like a harp, when the heavy south-westerly winds blow.

We spent a glorious day on the beach, followed by lunch at tea gardens, where we watched the pelicans on the jetty. All in all a wonderful day, and I think the above video tells it all!

by Elizabeth Coughlan

8/01/2014

Hunter Regions Botanical Gardens, NSW, Australia


Hunter Regions Botanical Gardens

Just imagine the joy of walking through a natural bush setting, and seeing more than 3,000 plant species. That is the Hunter Regions Botanical Gardens. Created and maintained by volunteers, these gardens are world class, and feature more than 30 hectares of landscaped gardens, displaying the beauty and diversity of Australian native flora.


Katelyn and her Grandpa, following animal tracks through the grounds


Beautiful water features are everywhere


Suzi and Katelyn emerge through a tunnel of foliage.


Tree Goanna or Lace Monitor Varanus varius

We suddenly came across this enormous lizard, as we rounded a bend in the path. Fortunately, it wasn't named the Tree Goanna for nothing, as it shot up the nearest high tree, at an amazing speed!


Katelyn, and her reflection in a pond


 Look up here!


...and look over there!


We also saw lots of kangaroos, like this one...


...and this one!


Australian White Gardenia

It was winter in Australia, so there were not too many flowers in evidence. But we did see a bush of white gardenias.


Reflections in a lily pond

Although the weather was less than perfect, we spent a wonderful day at the Hunter Regions Botanical Gardens, and I, for one, would certainly like to go there again.

by Elizabeth Coughlan

7/28/2014

Katelyn's 5th Birthday


Birthday girl, Katelyn

We arrived in Australia just in time for our granddaughter Katelyn's 5th birthday. Suzi baked her a special rainbow cake, and held a lovely party for Katelyn and her friends.


The Rainbow Cake
The sponge inside was striped with colours of the rainbow!


Katelyn and her friends played with bubbles


Katelyn busy drawing. She loves to draw and paint.

We also got to go to the Farmers' Market. I have always loved these, in any country I have been, as I always find something interesting.


Farmers' Market in Stroud NSW


I was surprised to see these monks from the nearby hermitage,
contemplating the wine for sale


Here is cowgirl Katelyn sitting on a fence

video

Here is Katelyn's Cowgirl Dance
(This is best viewed small, as it is low res. The high res. one
took far too long to upload)


We treated ourselves to pizzas for lunch

Interestingly, the guy selling pizzas had adapted his van to take a pizza oven in the back. Now he makes his living as a mobile pizza seller. He drives to people's houses, or other venues, when they want a pizza party. What a great idea!

by Elizabeth Coughlan

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I couldn't resist this one!