Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

Here's a few of the small fun things from our stay in Coburg. Above is Dilly practicing her wombat hand-puppet routine for the coming of Seamus.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Retrospective: 2016

This year has been a stressful for much of the world. However, 2016 is the year we started our journey to sluff off as much of this stress as possible. We visited Stockholm, Sweden for Christmas and New Year's; Maun, Botswana in February; Southern Queensland in July-October; New South Wales in November; and Melbourne in December. Here is a collection of images in a slightly jumbled order to inspire you and restore your spirit after the long slog that 2016 has been.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Visit to Chinatown

We decided to go to the movies and just for fun, we went to Chinatown for lunch. On the way we passed by a couple interesting scenes.

Echidna Sighting

On a drive to to Mount Macedon, we happened to see an echidna out grazing someone's front yard.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Retrospective: St. Simon's Island

There was a time when it was "really" summer. You know, summer in the northern hemisphere...none of this "I travelled to the other half of the world just to get warm" stuff. In late spring before we headed down under, we travelled to Florida and along the way, we stopped on St. Simon's Island, GA.

Monday, December 26, 2016

How We spent Our Christmas

Summer has just begun here in Australia and Christmas Day was an abrupt introduction to the season. It was 36 C and cloudless. That's about 97 F for those who don't convert easily. Perfect time to go to the beach.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Ride in the Country

Somewhere in this photo, way off in the distance, more clearly seen in person that in the photo, is the city of Melbourne. Being where you can see the whole city is pretty cool. But the dead trees in the foreground tell a different story.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wishing you the best...

From the multicultural Coburg, Victoria...have a safe and happy holiday with your friends and family. Peace and joy to all. And the chips aren't bad either.

Friday, December 23, 2016

City of Angels

In this Christmas season, lots of angels appear in lots of the decorations. We decided to spend a little time in the Coburg cemetery to visit a whole city of angels.

In Preparation for the Celebration

Another trip to the Queen Victoria Market to buy some goodies for our Christmas meal. Our meal will be a nice picnic since we are headed to the beach. Why, you may ask, are we going to the beach for Christmas? Because it is something we can't do in the northern hemisphere.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Public Cemetery in Macedon

 During a drive north of the city we visited the small town of Macedon and made a stop, of course, at the public cemetery.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Brunswick Street Art

Our foray into the street art world also took us to Brunswick to see what was on offer. There are several drawings here that are quite good.

Street Art Near Anstey Station

Riding into the city, I noticed that there was lots of great graffiti near the tracks. So, today we ventured out to the nearby stations to see these images up close. Here, I report on the drawings near Anstey station.

Friday, December 16, 2016


While Montmorency has a nice shopping street, Coburg has a proper shopping district. It run along the Sydney Road through several communities.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Coburg Market

We walked across the the train tracks over to Sydney Road to explore central Coburg. But first, we did a little shopping.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On to the Next Popcorn Stand

We've moved on to the next house sit and met our next charge, Maeve. A very independent calico that spends most of her time roaming out back in the fenced in yard and ignoring us.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral

Visiting the Catholic Cathedral in Melbourne was a different scale of thing all together from our visit to the Anglican Cathedral.

Back to the Western Treatment Plant

Taking advantage of the key we put a deposit on, we made another trip to the Western Treatment Plant. Our first trip was interesting but seemed to be low on birds. We decided to check out the place earlier in the morning to see if the time of day was the reason. It seems to have been.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Off to the Opera

There is a long delay between when the Met Opera broadcasts an opera live and it appears in Australia. We went to see Don Giovanni at an art house theater on the edge of the Italian district in Melbourne. Along the way from the Flinders Street station we passed a delightful arcade.

Interesting Bit of Technology

What you see here in this shopping center with an underground parking garage is a very common thing in Australia: a travelator.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Kangaroo Ground Cemetery

Its been a while since I've brought you a cemetery, so I thought it time to bring you another one. While in the Yarra valley, we found a splendid one at Kangaroo Ground.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Visit to the Yarra Valley

Our first stop as we headed east from town was Kangaroo Ground, a small farm community. Here, there is a tower on a hill dedicated to the men lost during WWI (among other conflicts).

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Westfield Mall

Needing a slow day, we went to the nearby Westfield mall. The first thing we noticed is the cool way the parking works. In an effort to keep things moving along, the first three hours of parking is free and after that there is a charge. This means they must keep track of when you come and go. This is done, not with a ticket, but by cameras that record your license plate. You pull up to the gate and it instantly knows who you are and that you go our for free or there is a change. Pretty cool, eh?

Monday, December 05, 2016

Elie Cat

In our current sit, we are taking care of Elie Cat (short for Elegant Cat), a long-haired tortoise-shell that is warming to us. I go to bed at night and find her curled up on top of E.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Queen Victoria Market

In the Melbourne CBD is the extensive and amazing Queen Victoria Market. This is a place filled to the brim with just about everything you can imagine. We only made a tour of the food section, but it goes on and on.

Royal Botanic Gardens

A short trip south to Cranbourne brought us to the Royal Botanic Gardens. On the way into the parking lot, we encountered several signs warning us to be alert for animals.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Melbourne's St. Paul's Cathedral

We took the train into the city and when we walked out of the Flinders station, across the street we see St. Paul's Cathedral. As noted on their web page, this is the "seat of the Anglican Primate of Australia and home church for Anglicans in Melbourne and Victoria".

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Myrtle Beach

We also visited Myrtle Beach. No, not the one is South Carolina. This one is secluded at the end of a walk through what is referred to as an enchanted forest.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wasp Head II

After our quick visit to the North side of Wasp Head, we drove around to the south side and found a marvelously sculpted landscape of sandstone and sea.

The Lorikeets at Pebbly Beach

I forgot that I have several short videos of the Rainbow Lorikeets at Pebbly Beach to share. These fellows are very tame. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wasp Head I

After the Superb Lyrebird experience, we visited Bateman's Bay for a quick look about and some breakfast (or Brekkie, as it is known here). Naturally, we were drawn to McDonald's (aka: Maccas). All instances of this chain restaurant have a separate barista and the coffee is good.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Superb Lyrebird

While driving in to the cabin at Pebbly Beach the first time we were greeted with a Superb Lyrebird running across the road in front of us. This was an exciting moment. But, it got so much better.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pebbly Beach Arrival

Driving to Pebbly Beach took us through a marvelous forest of eucalypts. A truly special drive over a hill and down to the beach. And the hill completes the blockage of the cell signal and leaves you in place that is near, yet utterly isolated. The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the lawn full of kangaroo.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In Melbourne!

We've arrived in Melbourne and are working at getting settled in. I've got loads of photos to process and post, so stay tuned for the tale of our travels. We've had a fun adventure. Details on the way.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Preparing to Move on from Lemon Tree Passage

One last post from Birubi Beach. Such a magical place, especially when it is empty. OK, I cheated a bit and took out the few people that were present, but there really weren't many there. There was more wind that on the last visit and the sound of the surf was louder. If you looked carefully (you can't see it in these photos), you could just make out a cloud of mist hovering above the breaking surf.

Monday, November 21, 2016

'Tis the Season

In a recent trip to New Castle to visit the Apple Store (trackpad problems on E's laptop), we saw that "the season" is finally here and Australian's do indeed celebrate with many of the same rituals as Americans.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

FIngal Bay

Another visit to Fingal Bay on a stormy day brings a deserted beach at low tide. You can just see the sand in the distance as it stretches across the horizon from the mainland to Shark Island. It is possible to walk to the island at low tide, I suppose, if you are more adventurous than me.

Window Shopping in Nelson Bay

We made a stop in Nelson Bay to do a little shopping, mostly window shopping.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Gan Gan Lookout

We made another round of visiting places we had either not been to before or had not fully explored. On this list was the Gan Gan lookout just inland from Nelson Bay.

Swan Bay

Swan Bay is a place we visited that required driving through the area of the bush fire, as seen in the earlier post. Out by the water, it was very, very quite. The road  led along a small residential neighborhood on the landward side and the water on the other.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

That Fire You saw in the Earlier Post Off in the Distance

On the way out to visit Swan Bay, we drove a short distance on the Pacific Highway, the road we took for about 1/2 of our trip here from Toowoomba. This section of the road was closed during the bush fire. As you can see in the photos here, large sections (miles and miles) of the forest is dead. Completely.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Boat Harbor on a Calm Day

On the same calm day that we went to Birubi Beach, we also visited Boat Harbor again. Once more the deep blue sky and sea create a special place.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Birubi Beach on a Calm Day

Our first visit to Birubi Beach was on a windy weekend. There were lots of people, the waves were rougher, and it was posted for no swimming. This day was different.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lemon Tree Passage

The center of mid-town Lemon Tree Passage is a park, a restaurant or two, a hair dresser, a post office, and a coffee shop. Not a lot more than that. On one of the posts in the water sat an Australian Pelican trying to have a nap. With that eye open, it isn't clear how mush sleep he's getting.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tastes at the Bay

Last weekend, Nelson Bay held their annual Tastes at the Bay Food and Wine Festival. I guess the name is long to compensate for only doing this once a year.