Two black doggies go to the beach

Summer means going to the beach and our doggies just love the beach. Loading up the car with bottles of water, portable drinking bowl and towels we headed off to the coast early in the morning to avoid traffic and the hordes of people that usually end up at the beach mid-morning. Bundy loves a car trip regardless of the destination, but Maxi knew that we were going somewhere special and once we got closer she could smell the salt air and her happy, excited face appeared.

Parking spots aplenty at that hour of the day, we chose a great spot by the water and under shade. As soon as the dogs were out of the car it was noses to the ground and it took all my strength to stop them from dragging me down to the water while Marty unloaded the necessary gear. Maxi loves to swim, Bundy loves to wade, Maxi and Bundy both love to roll in stinky dead things that they dig up and they both always end up covered in sand.

The car ride home is always a quiet one, Bundy lies down for a nap on the back seat and Maxi settles in her position so she can look out the window. Happy, tired dogs 🙂

When it wasn’t raining

The end of the year has been a mix of muggy, high temperatures, fierce storms and heavy rain. Christmas was no different. The day started off with a peaceful walk and a swim in a nearby creek and ended with me and my Dad sitting on their front balcony in the dark listening to the rain and enjoying the cool breeze. I took many walks during the time at my parents’ house, being in the country is so refreshing for me and seeing all the different wildlife makes me happy even if I couldn’t capture them all with my camera. A trip to the beach was on the cards for boxing day regardless of whether it was raining or not, the thinking was that if we’re going to get wet we may as well go for a swim in the surf.

My Australia Day

Australia Day is a day where Australians get together and celebrate the good things about our nation and being Australian. The date for Australia Day, January 26, was chosen because it is the anniversary of the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet from England in 1788. On this day, many Australians join their family, friends and communities for a BBQ, picnic in the park or a game of cricket at the beach, it is a National holiday and if the date happens to fall on a weekend then we get an additional day off to make the most of the event. This year Australia Day was on a Sunday (so I’ve got today off work) which for me, started like any other Sunday with time spent at our local shelter, cleaning up after puppies and dogs, getting lots of kisses and cuddles and taking the dogs out for a bit of exercise. At the moment I have a couple of favourites at the shelter, but there is one particular fellow called Curly whom I absolutely love, he is a British Bulldog/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross (apparently) and he is loud, barking at everyone he sees and sadly, people find it off-putting and interest in this gorgeous guy is minimal. Curly has a huge grin, is a wriggle butt, a snuggler and a kisser, once you get past the barking and spend some one-on-one time with him it is almost impossible not to love him so my mission (when I am there) is to get him out of his kennel and walking where people can see the other side to this gorgeous little man. Surprise, surprise, I also take lots of photos of him to share on social media 🙂

Our two black dogs certainly didn’t miss out on the fun of Australia Day, once the heat of the day had passed we loaded them into the car and headed off to the lake for a walk and a (dogs only) swim. The border of the lake has an excellent walking path, rough 4 kilometres in distance, and off leash park, plenty of outdoor gym equipment as well as BBQ areas and playground equipment for children to enjoy. Being Australia Day, every man and their dog was out and about, the carpark was almost full and a variety of activities were being undertaken by the lake including kite flying. I’m not keen on the off leash area and Maxi doesn’t always react well to other dogs after the initial sniff and greet, instead we redirected our pooches to the water’s edge where they sniffed the rocks and reeds, scratched in the sand and paddled in the shallow water until it was time to go home. As we walk to the car we pass by the remnant of someone else’s Australia Day celebration, careless people had expressed their ‘Aussie pride’ by spray painting a rude gesture on an old lounge and leaving it for someone else to dispose of, this thoughtless and often aggressive patriotism is a side to Australia Day that bothers me and one that has been all too prevalent over the last 10 years. Regardless of the blight on the landscape, spending time together at the lake was a lovely end to the day, I stood and took photos of the setting sun while Bundy pulled on the lead in pursuit of a scent, Maxi was grinning like a fool and the husband stood by, rattling the keys in his pocket, his hint for me to hurry up and put the camera away.

The girls go on a road trip

Lighthouse, Port Macquarie
Lighthouse, Port Macquarie

Recently I had to do alot of driving, about 4000km and thankfully I was able to spread it out over several weeks and call on a couple of friends for help. A good chunk of kilometres had to be done during the last few days of March so a girl friend and I went on a road trip to visit our families and then we took the long way home. Why so many kilometres? I have a lease vehicle and for tax purposes I have to do a set amount of kilometres each year, this year wasn’t looking good and rather than pay a hefty tax bill I decided to take a couple of days off to do some driving.

My friend and I grew up in the same, small country town about 500km from where we currently live and we were looking forward to seeing family again but with limited time available it meant a very short stay. The drive south went quickly, we talked most of the way and I am hoping that I didn’t miss any hidden speed cameras. Before we knew it, the trip was over and we were talking about the drives we could do around the area, not to mention the little food stalls and cafes we could stop at to purchase and/or taste fresh local produce. Alas, we didn’t even have much time for that, my Mum had booked me in for yoga and a facial and my Dad was celebrating a birthday so it really didn’t leave time for socialising with friends or going for long, scenic drives.

My camera goes everywhere with me, I thought that this trip would be a great opportunity to take photographs of the local area and some of the small towns we would travel through on the way home. Little did I know that I had left all my memory cards at home, a discovery I would make when the opportunity to take photos of Kangaroos and Wallabies came up, it was dusk and these gorgeous animals were happily feeding on the land surrounding the home of a family friend.

So, even though the photography plan didn’t work out I have included a variety of photos that I have taken in the past when visiting the Mid-North Coast region of New South Wales. I am very happy to say that I did manage to do the required kilometres and see some amazing parts of New South Wales and Queensland that I hadn’t seen before. Both of us were really surprised at how pretty the towns were and we loved rummaging through the little shops that were open, the tourist information centre in Tenterfield sells local art, craft and wines which impressed us greatly although we didn’t purchase any souvenirs to take home. Towns such as Tenterfield, Stanthorpe (home of the most delicious apples) and Warwick are now on our ‘bucket list’ for a girls weekend away in order to explore the areas more thoroughly (including the antique shops and boutiques) and take lots of photos to share with you.

Jelly Bean Art
Jelly Bean Art
Happy, wet dog
Happy, wet dog at the beach
Harrington on the New South Wales coast
View from the pub, Harrington on the New South Wales coast
A Beechwood sunset
A Beechwood sunset
The farm where I grew up
Early morning in Beechwood
My Mum's Frangipani flowers
My Mum's Frangipani flowers
Maxi enjoying the local swimming hole
Maxi enjoying the local swimming hole
Port Macquarie foreshore at night
Port Macquarie foreshore at night
Lights of Port Macquarie
Lights of Port Macquarie
Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie
Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Playing ladies in Montville

Poet's Cafe and Montville shops

Montville is a lovely town on the Blackwall Range in hills behind the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Here you can visit art galleries, pottery shops, craft shops and lolly shops, it is only an hour or so from Brisbane and very popular with day trippers like me and my friend Shannon. We left the clouds and rain behind, hopped in the car and headed north to ‘play ladies’ which usually involves lunch somewhere nice, a glass or two of wine and time spent browsing shops and galleries.

The Poet’s Cafe is a well known cafe on the main street of Montville, the building overlooks rainforest and you can choose to sit indoors or on the balcony and admire the view. It is certainly not the cheapest cafe, a gourmet chicken panini will set you back roughly $22 and a glass of Pinot Gris was about $11, however the surroundings are worth taking the time out to sit and relax even if you only want a coffee. Underneath the cafe is the Main Street Gallery, the work of local artists can be viewed and purchased from the gallery, there were a few pieces of interest to me such as the work of Christopher Pope and a couple of less interesting works of art but I’m sure someone else will love them.

There are several stores that any sweet tooth will love, Candy Addictions sells rock candy made on the premises, one of the Gelaterias produces all natural Banoffee Gelato which is divine and across the road is a Chocolate Shop. We didn’t venture into the chocolate shop, our senses were overloaded after the rock candy and gelato, instead we went looking at Venetian glass, candles and leadlight lamps. One of the more amusing sights was a sign outside a travel shop, telling any visitors to the store that if children were unattended they would be given espresso and a free kitten.

The Poet's Cafe

The Montville Bowerbird shop

Amusing sign outside travel shop

The countryside around Montville is beautiful, gum trees, stately homes and rolling hills, not to mention views of the Sunshine Coast. Kondalilla Falls is the sight to see after eating too much lunch or sweets, the 3-4 kilometre walk taking you down hill through rainforest and across a strong flowing creek. The rockpools near the falls are extremely popular with people of all ages, locals and tourists and on a hot day the feeling of jumping into cool, fresh water must be exhilarating. Shannon and I didn’t pack for swimming, we played the tourist and took photos before heading back up the hill, through the rainforest until we reached the picnic grounds where bush turkeys were scavenging for leftovers.

There was still plenty to see in the region surrounding Montville and a local photographer does weekend workshops so it won’t be the last time I go to Montville. The drive home seemed to take much longer, traffic was heavy and the closer we got to Brisbane the wetter the weather got, at times I could barely see the lanes of the road, vastly different to the sunny day we had spent walking around Montville. Perhaps we’ll go to Maleny or maybe the Glasshouse Mountains for our next ‘ladies day’.

The walk to Kondalilla Falls

The beginning of Kondalilla Falls

Looking towards the coast from Montville