Lottarock Farm

Lottarock Farm

23 February 2015

A Brief Rest

We've arrived at our friends', Greg and Christine, home for a few days.  It is a very welcome respite after our long travels and fun to be at a place we've spent many days in the past.  The Tropical Cyclone Marcia, which hit hundreds of miles north of us, has roused up the surf and the water isn't safe for swimming.  The beach, a few hundred feet away, is beautiful as ever and we enjoy walking along it.

It is far more humid than we've experienced to date but that is to be expected with this region at this time of year.  Actually it is humid year-round, just changes in temperature. I expect this is much like the Georgia/South Carolina coasts in summer.

We will be here a few more days and then travel to our final destination, Garth and Denise's home just outside Brisbane for a couple of days before we fly out.  This vacation has gone by far too fast, but that is always the case in Australia.

Tallow Beach, Suffolk Park, NSW

A Quiet Afternoon on the Beach

Tallow Estuary

Looking Toward Cape Byron Light

Walking the Dog

A Lone Tree

Storm Clouds Near Cowra, NSW

Lake Hume, Albury, NSW

Reaching For Rains

20 February 2015

Traveling Days

Sorry for the delay, getting reliable internet still is a challenge in Australia.

We’ve gone from Melbourne to Daylesford to Echuca/Tongala to Mansfield to Seymour to Beechworth.  

We spent a night in Daylesford, a very nice spa town northwest of Melbourne famous for second homes of the city’s residents trying to escape the heat and one of our favorites as it isn’t too chic (much like New London NH as compared to Woodstock VT).  We spent some time at the weekly flea market where we saw some beautiful pie cabinets but when asked if he ships, the local craftsman simply said “You buy it and take it with you.”  Oh well.

Then off to Echuca, home of the Murray River Steamboats (which weren’t running as the river level is so low due to the drought) and a nice and cold air-conditioned motel room as the outside temperature was 40C or 104F. The next day was spent with an old friend of Allie’s who she worked with 25 years ago. They had much catching up to do (and they did), but the sunset was pretty.

Then down many a puzzling road, the most direct route according to our Garmin GPS, Sheila, to Mansfield, one of the most beautiful places at the feet of the Victorian Alps. Easily a place we could settle.  I lucked out in accommodation as we had a swank B&B to ourselves for a night.  We drove the countryside, went up the local ski area, Mt. Buller, and walked our feet off having a ball.

Then to Seymour, not much to see except for the Seymour Alternative Farming Exposition, although what is alternative I have yet to figure.  We went there four years ago and had such a wonderful time, we decided to do it again.  A bit warm at 35C/95F but we walked away with more knowledge, and even more regrets we don’t live here in Australia.  A quick (2 1/2) drive up to Beechworth and here we are for the night.

Beechworth is Victoria’s quintessential high plains/near alpine town frozen in time.  Quaint, charming, chock full of history and period homes, tourist mecca, and full of local boutiques, Beechworth is well worth the stop.

Tomorrow we’re off to the North.  We’ve three days to get to our friends in Suffolk Park, New South Wales (next to Byron Bay) and I’m not yet sure which route we’ll take. Probably to Cowra then Armidale then Suffolk Park, but who knows.

Downtown Beechworth

Seymour Farm Expo

Looking Southeast from Mt. Buller

Victorian Alpine Detail

Rough Road Atop Mt. Buller

Mansfield Gum at Dawn

Mansfield Dawn

"Our" Digs in Mansfield

Sunset at Mansfield

Some Locals May Not Like Tourists

Mt. Stirling from Mansfield

Near Tongala

Tongala Sunset Color

Lake Daylesford

Downtown Daylesford


Flea Market Buskers

14 February 2015

Melbourne, Australia!

After a bit of a wild drive from the airport to our great lodgings at a Newport Airbnb, courtesy of our Garmin, Sheila, which seemed to have some senior moments and routed us through the city and made us a bit late, we’ve settled in for our 2.5 day sojourn in Australia’s second largest city.

Our first full day was full of figuring out the train travel to the city, walking our poor feet off, and then a simple one hour cruise up and down the Yarra river which runs through the city.  Then a rewarding beer under a bridge in a bar designed for that purpose and full of trolls (not really the troll part). Fish and chips dinner, a delightful conversation with our hosts, Jim and Karen, and then bed.

Our second day was spent with a very dear friend who drove us to her favorite place, Cape Scanck, on the Mornington Peninsula, where we hike for about three hours in sunshine and a nice sea breeze.  Then lunch at a very Italian pizzeria, where English is definitely a second language where we talked for another couple of hours. Then sadly back to Melbourne and our goodbyes.

Tomorrow is off to Daylesford, one of our favorite places in Australia, to stay with another Airbnb host family, who have two dogs!

Sailing of Cape Schanck

Cape Schanck

Mornington Countryside

Where the Land Meets the Sea

On the Yarra River

The Eureka Tower

Colorful Melbourne Alley

The M.S. Grower

Flinders Station, Melbourne

"Trolls" Under the Bridge

11 February 2015

Last Day in New Zealand

Well, it has been quite an adventure!  We've driven all over kingdom come, sampled some great wines, especially the Pinot Noir 2009 at Brennans Vineyard, and even taken a flight around a local mountain.

Allie has created a gardening monster in Amanda, who is up every morning now at 6 to check the gardens and have time alone before the 3 year-old Dexter starts his daily routine of noise.  We've given Randy and Amanda some very concrete ideas and plans and hopefully they will happen.

Our feet are getting itchy to go to our beloved Australia (two hours until the bus takes us to the Queenstown airport), but we have come to know New Zealand much better and its very British quiet charm and its ever present splendor.

It is going to be a long day today; bus to Queenstown, flight from there to Christchurch, change planes and fly to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, pick up our reserved rental car, and then drive to our accommodations just outside the city center.  We'll be relying on our Garmin GPS, Sheila, to help with the last bit.

So without further ado, here are some images you might enjoy!

Mt. Aspriring North Side

Mt. Aspiring South Side

Still Flying!

Alpacas by Lake Hawea

Solitude at Lake Wanaka

Night Sky over Randy and Amanda's

Boundary Creek in Wanaka

Stillness of Lake Hawea

07 February 2015

Work and Play

As one of the purposes of our visit to Randy and Amanda's was to help out, we've been working  like gangbusters. I think they are a bit amazed as they thought we would simply come and vacation.  Fat chance.  We're up at 6am ready to go, same as at home.  It is a bit difficult as they are all night owls here and we have to tip-toe around to get the kettle boiling for morning tea (I have to go into town to get coffee).

Still, Allie has totally renovated the garden, rearranged lots of plants, bushes, and even a couple of trees and I have been cutting and hauling brush and cleaning out an old chicken coop.

But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so we've enjoyed an afternoon at the Lake Hawea hotel with very good food and beer, followed by a drive up the lake.  This morning I took their van up to New Zealand's highest maintained road and photographed the Remarkable Mountain range, which border Lake Wakatipu.  Then back to the property to do more clearing.

We are having a great time and here are some photos to make all of you jealous! Just kidding.

Pastoral Bannockburn New Zealand

Cows Happily Grazing Along Lake Hawea

Cyclist Heading Down into Nevis Valley

Bunny Rock and the Remarkables

Big Rocks and Little Rocks

On the Shore of Lake Hawea

View From Duffers Saddle, Nevis Road