Possible rerun…..

It was this time last year that travellers were being encouraged to ‘return home’ before they became stranded overseas.

Earlier the month before, two family members had ‘close shaves’ – one had been gone a few weeks seeing and doing what was on ‘the bucket list’ but getting more worried as days went by, finally managing to get a flight back from Glasgow (nowhere near where they were). They had booked with a travel agency which had worldwide outlets (High Street ‘shops’ all over the world) so appreciated the negotiations that took place between their ‘contact’ in Melbourne and someone in the uk to get them onto one of the fast filling aeroplanes coming back to Australia.

Another, plus her daughter, were booked to fly out; granddaughter had obtained a work visa with employment all lined up, daughter was going along to keep her company; they’d have a week or two sightseeing, granddaughter would start work, daughter would then go and visit family before coming home. So not hearing from the agency they continued to think everything would be ok – until g/daughter’s contacts in the uk said….”we recommend you don’t come”. . They spent days cancelling everything and watching the world shut down

Then the task began for both families to try and get refunds, in other words recover everything they’d outlaid already. Flights, accommodation, other transport plus entertainment and other bits and pieces. Trouble was…..just about every other traveller (worldwide) was trying to do the same…and it took a long long time. Both families were lucky in getting back all payments – there was a little argy bargy with some companies offering credit vouchers not cash but last I heard (at Christmas time) that was ‘all sorted’

So what this is leading up to is that after all this time of a closed international border (apart from instances of approved returning Australians who then go into a quarantine program) Australia and New Zealand have finally opened their borders to each other. The first flights took place the other day…..quarantine free but with a catch. The bubble will be burst if the virus raises its ugly head on either side of the Tasman….people could be ‘stranded’ away from home not knowing when they could make their return journey …..people will be looking for refunds….and if this article is anything to go by (see link below) – they will need to pick their airline carefully or there may be problems getting them!

Those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of flyer beware. People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak,” Ardern said.
‘ While everyone is hoping it doesn’t become necessary, there is still a possibility that additional travel restrictions could be reimposed at any time. This could involve the trans-Tasman bubble being paused or suspended with little or no warning, in the event of a new COVID-19 outbreak somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. If this unfortunately happens, the government is unlikely to help and most current travel insurance policies specifically exclude cover for getting stuck somewhere due to COVID-19 border closures

Link – Which airlines will refund cancelled trans – Tasman flights.

Explore:- Travel, Investigate, Research,

Earlier in the year I read a book that definitely took my fancy.

The House between Tides…..Sarah Maine.
Her debut novel and one I’d definitely recommend.
Set in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides it’s centred around an old family home, a ‘crumbling mansion’ on an island that is only reached during low tides. Two timelines a century apart, two stories about the earlier inhabitants and the ‘last in the line’ who has come to explore the possibility of renovating and restoring the house to its earlier state only to discover it’s not as easy as she thought. Tucked into the storyline of an artist and his young wife, house parties, wildlife colonies, forbidden love, belligerent crofters, property rights plus a mysterious dead body are descriptions of sights and sounds of the island which catch you by surprise
The sand steamed slightly as the re-emergent sun turned the shallow pools into ripples of quicksilver”
so much so that they have you turning back the page to reread and savour again
BUT it was the access to the house at low tide that interested me.

Now most of you know that whenever possible we ‘winter in Queensland’ – Far North Queensland…… at a place called Bowen. Just offshore from Bowen, well within sight of the town is a small island, an island with a lighthouse – one of Queensland’s oldest!

A couple of times during winter the day time tides are low enough for a very special event – Bowen’s Walk to the Lighthouse. Read all about it HERE. It has become a well organised community event, a yearly fixture on the town’s calendar enjoyed by locals as well as many of the seasonal visitors.

The start is always at Dalrymple Point – where you can wander down and begin the trek across the sandbar or just stand around, explore the foreshore and watch the others enjoying the experience. Whichever you choose don’t forget the coral can be rough on feet so shoes of some sort are needed….not your best Sunday ones because your feet are going to get wet at some point .

What do they do once the walkers have reached the island – wander round the base of the hill, scramble up the hill to enjoy the view, take in their surroundings and
explore the lighthouse!

Turning around to come back to the mainland you meet up with streams of walkers young and old all coming the other way.
The walk takes about 2 hrs – a bit more if you stop along the way
You never know who you might meet and what you might see

These giant Red Starfish are a favourite find for those who look around and explore the shallows. But then they are not hard to find as they are there for all to see
when the sea level drops

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Some years we’d try to visit other parts of Queensland
spend time in places we’d normally just pass by on our 4 day drive north from home
or plan an actual road trip to places unseen before …off the beaten track
where you never know what’s round the corner

Places you decide ‘you must go to’
ones to get to – to explore – to appreciate- before it’s too late
Like the trip we took in 2012

Exploring the Undara Lava Tubes

I know this isn’t my usual ‘words only’ Monday Musings post but for me it fits in
perfectly with the suggested topic for Life this Week.
In some ways this pandemic is reminding us of roads previously travelled and places previously explored – I think it’s nearly time to start thinking about finding new ones.
Given the chance what are you up for next?

In the meantime perhaps you’d like to dip into some of those days.

You should find the photos will open/enlarge with a tap/click

Oh and pop over to Denyse Blogs to see how others are exploring

British Rail Red Bench Special

First there was us…….

Catherine’s sister Catherine’s Dad Catherine The Golfer
Retford Station 1985

Then there was them….

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Batley Station 2020

I wonder if their Red Bench was as uncomfortable for them to sit on as it was for us
And I wonder if their train was as late as ours was as we continued our journey south to see the other side of the family. First trip back ‘home’ after 13 yrs away
Also wondering if all UK railway stations still have those red metal benches

Does anyone have the answers 😊

Seen Outside…..

Even though daily life activities here in Victoria are being expanded day by day, restrictions eased, doors opened that have been shut for months, we are still not able to travel long distances so I’m still reliving trips away to places far far from home. I’m thinking armchair travel is going to be a way of life for a little while yet.

I once saw the climate in Melbourne described as Temperate but quite variable…known for its changeable weather patterns …lol four seasons in one day isn’t far from the mark. It can be hot and dry, it can definitely be cold and wet but what it isn’t is tropical…..except on some really hot humid days we might get in the summertime 😎

So one of the things I look forward to seeing when we are out and about in Queensland ….because I’ve never seen them growing in Melbourne and they just seem to shout out Tropical ….are the beautiful Bougainvillea which seem to grow like weeds, they are everywhere. Bright bursts of colour climbing over and around anything and everything reminding me of the big climbing Banksia roses that do well down south.

This week I’ve been reminding myself of some seen on a trip in 2009
I hope you enjoy them as well

We saw this lovely pink and white bush in a car park of all the places at Winton.
all on its own and looking a little out of place amongst the natives.
Maybe self sown

The actual flowers are the little white ‘bits’ in the coloured bracts

But what I did like was the way some businesses used it decoratively.
This was a lovely white strain growing up an archwayin front of a cafe in Longreach
It had a really nice cool look to it and there didn’t seem to be any thorns on this one.
which is possibly why it was placed so very strategically in front of the cafe

You can see the little flowers more clearly here

Now this to me was the most appealing of all
Mountains of colour at several spots along the main street of Bowen
One side of Herbert Street is higher than the other
and there were several of these fabulous covered crossings along the street.
(sadly removed during a ‘street renovation’)

A beautifully shaded area under those enormous Bougainvillea shrubs
Those bench seats looked so inviting

Thank you Kay (at Musings) for the inspiration……for this post.
To enlarge click or use the two finger slide


Sunday Selections is hosted by Elephants Child.  Find Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. 
Denyse Whelan Blogs is the home of Life this Week
Linking also to  – Travel Tuesday – My Corner of the World – Our World Tuesday.

Is it just me

Often when toilet blocks get renovated they sometimes get fancy murals painted on the outside in lieu of just a quick coat of paint. We came across these on a drive through the Pioneer Valley in a place called Marian about 25kms from MacKay. Fun to look at sadly no name to say who painted them.

Lloyd Park Marian Qld August 2009

The Ladies section was empty ….or so I thought….and being the city girl that I am gave a little squeal of surprise (to put it mildly) when I saw these in the bowl.

During cooler and drier months, the green tree frog can often be found hiding in toilet bowls across Australia,  source
Checked the other stalls – same again – and as there was no way I could have lasted until the next place up the road learnt that where there’s a will there’s certainly a way. I now know I can pee almost standing up…..with trepidation and difficulty 🙂

Do you know you can find a toilet block online? I was trying to place where these were in relation to Dame Nelly Melba’s house…..there in Marian not here in Coldstream…and discovered a site called ‘The National Public Toilet Map ‘- A project of the national continence program – and each block has a number. So if you’re travelling in Australia and ‘need to go’ that’s where you can find the nearest one to where you are.

But look what else I also found on the site. The mural is no more – it’s reverted to plain paint . Don’t laugh but I felt a little disappointed…and sad that it had gone.

I’m beginning to think that as I get older I’m becoming more intolerant of change. At one time I’d have just shrugged my shoulders and not thought anymore about it. The weather up there decides a lot of things and it was probably due for a repaint anyway.

I’m not slow to accept change if it’s needed but it’s what seems to be the change for change sake or to benefit others I’m starting to get crook at…..those doing the change will probably ague their case (oh no it’s not money/profit related) but it’s things like rearranging supermarket layouts….knocking houses down to build units….resizing products. This week three of our utility plans have been scrapped – ‘new plans suited for us’ will give us more…..but if you actually read the fine print will cost a little extra in some way or another.

So that’s what I’m thinking about and trying to get my head around this Monday morning – are there ways to accept that which you have no control over….apart from taking a deep breath and sighing each time you think about it (or moving to new providers). Am I mourning a loss, is this just the result of months of ‘you know what’, the slow change of our season…..proper constantly warm spring seems to be a long time coming …..or am I just becoming a miserable moaning old woman!

On the bright side, there’s one thing I do know about the new look at the supermarket…..I’ll be able to add a few more steps to my daily total walking the aisles trying to find where they moved things to 😊

How about you? Is it just me or does anyone else feel like this?

MondayMurals is hosted by Sami at Colourful World.
MondayMusings is hosted by Corinne at Everyday Gyaan

A cloudy day….

What with one thing or another I’ve been feeling moody all week
It’s been continually raining and we still can’t go far….5km ruling
to do or even look at anything different
So what better thing Is there to do when you’re moody and can’t go anywhere.
What else but look at …..

A collection of tiny drops of water or ice crystals so light they can float in the air!

These clouds were seen in Far North Queensland – in Glacier Bay Alaska –
and close to home in Victoria
Fascinating to look at – hard to capture – do you look at the land or the sky?
~ ~ ~ ~

Clouds reflected on the wet low tide sands of Queens Beach Bowen 2011

This was what we saw two years earlier (2009) on a trip further north to
Charters Towers Qld
The whole of the town spread out below us….under a cloudy sky

2010 saw us cruising Glacier Bay Alaska under a heavy grey sky.
Very quiet & eerie!

Close to home later the same year (2010) I was driving past and saw this big build up of fluffy clouds over the The Dandenongs

If you are interested there are several basic sites online
with easy understandable information

As well as :

The sky and the sun are always there. It’s the clouds that come and go.
Rachel Joyce

~ ~ ~ ~
Photos will enlarge with a click
Linking to My Corner of the World
Linking to Skywatch Friday – where the sky’s the limit!

If you’re ever……

if you’re ever up Queensland way be prepared to see some fun things.

These are from trips in 2009  – 2012 –  2015

Rockhampton –  sometimes called the beef capital of Australia –  slap bang on the Tropic  of Capricorn.   A  fair way from anywhere.

Tully –  920 kms further north up the Bruce Highway.  In the Wet Tropics so it gets wet a lot 🙂

Cooktown – a further 450 kms  north up on the Cape York Peninsular is a place of it’s own. And there too you will see some very unexpected things.  

But where ever you go and what ever you do just make sure you have enough fuel in your tank because when you’re out and about (like at the caves in Chillagoe 2015) it’s not a good feeling when you come across a sign like this 🙂

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wednesdays are the days  when photos do the talking.

Sometimes wordlessly other times not – do pop over and see what others have found to show you this Wednesday .

Wordless Wednesday     

My Soul Talks

My Corner of the World


So where do we begin?

Thanks for all your Welcome Home comments and emails – we were on the road for a couple of months staying in cabins and living out of a suitcase so it is good to be back in a house with all the amenities (and the clothes) to choose from.

After all that time in the sunshine I certainly found it cold, wet and miserable the first few days back, then the rain stopped and the sun has come out so things don’t look quite so bad.   All the thin summer clothes are back in the wardrobe and its back to sensible warm things suitable for the current temps – read fleece tops and warm pants lol

Where did we go for our Winter trip this year?

I could just tell you we drove through 3 states (Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland) on our way to Cooktown going via Cobar, Charleville, Hughenden, Charters Towers and Mount Surprise, down to Cairns and then on to Bowen (midway between Townsville and Mackay – coming home to Melbourne through those same states but on different roads via Rockhampton, Goondiwindi and Forbes but not many of you would have an idea of where those places were.

So to help you with that I found a map online – added a red line for the out (up) bit and then a blue line for the down.

We broke the trip north at Mount Surprise to stay a couple of days and visit the Lava Tubes at Undara.

With the Kennedy Development Road from Hughenden being closed due to heavy rain we had to go via Charters Towers which meant the total mileage (kilometreage sounds daft lol) from home to there was about 3000kms in the end.  We had travelled this route before and knew what it would be like but it still turned out to be Four Long Days!!

The drive to Cooktown (which is the most northerly town on the east coast of Australia) was a doddle at 500kms compared to the previous but going through the Atherton Tablelands didn’t mean we could take it easy.  Twisty turny is the name of the game and as we’d never driven the road north of Mareeba before ‘taking very good care’ was the name of the game.

Visiting Mount Surprise and Cooktown was on last years agenda but with Aunty Pam dying and us having to return home for the funeral we didn’t get there so I was quite pleased we achieved it in the end.

A short drive (300kms) down the Bruce Highway to Cairns a few days later and we caught up with a very old airforce ‘mate’ of The Golfer’s – stayed a couple of nights and then moved on to Bowen (500kms down the road) for the rest and recuperation part – Six Whole Weeks to do nothing much but enjoy ourselves.

All good things have to come to an end so reluctantly we took the long drive home down the Bruce to Rockhampton and then on the Newell via Goondiwindi and Forbes.  Total of 2500 kms from there to here and with a mileage of over a 1000kms going out and about whilst we were in Bowen the poor car added about 8000 kms to its odometer reading.

Once I’ve sorted the photos out hopefully I’ll be able to tell you a bit about some of those places over the next few posts.
Bye for now

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