Friday, September 30, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Drayton & Toowoomba Cemetery

We realized recently that there is a large cemetery in Toowoomba, one of the oldest ones in Queensland. It is also significantly larger than the ones we've explored in Australia so far. So we traveled to the western side of Toowoomba to investigate.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Brief Look Back at Belize & Guatemala

Back in 2008, we visited Belize and Guatemala. I thought you might enjoy a short stroll down memory lane.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cabarlah Market

Interestingly, the flea markets here all seem to be on Sunday mornings. The nearby community of Cabarlah recently had one. Among the many things we saw on sale there, we saw chooks (chickens).

Kilcoy Beer & BBQ

Over the weekend, we drove to Kilcoy to enjoy a bit of small town Australian fun. The street fair was held under a warm sunny sky and filled with characters. We also had some interesting choices of food.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Table Mountain

Soon after we arrived in Toowoomba, we had an evening with our neighbors and over wine and finger-food, we talked. One of our neighbors, John, is a teacher with a degree in biology and loves, as do all Australians as near as I can tell, to go for a walk. He offered to take us on a walk to Table Mountain. Weather and travel got in the way, Elizabeth realized that it is a hard walk and backed out. I did not. We've finally made the excursion. Above you see the top of the extinct volcano and a short section of the track to the top.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pioneer Cemetery, Chincilla

We took a drive westward on the Warrego Highway to visit Dalby and Chinchilla. the towns were nice but nothing to  get too excited about. However, the Pioneer Cemetery in Chinchilla was a pretty interesting place.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Glen Lomond and Duggan Parks

Toowoomba sits on the crest of the Great Dividing Range. Along the eastern face of the mountains where there is a sharp drop down to the Lockyer Valley are a series of parks. We recently visited a couple of these parks: Glen Lomond and Duggan.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Carnival of Flowers Parade

The Carnival of Flowers is an excuse for the city of Toowoomba to metaphorically put on shorts and a tee-shirt (actually people wear these all winter) and bask in the spring warmth. Since The Friday before and the Sunday after this Saturday were rainy and cold, it has to be done in a hurry.

At the Anglican Church (St. Luke's) there was, in addition to the sale of flowers, there was a sale of woolen good in the fellowship hall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Those darned Magpies!

During magpie nesting season, these birds get extremely territorial and will attach anybody or anything that they feel is a treat.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Taking the Plunge

After giving it some thought, I have finally decided to go "full monty" and have now connected the blog commenting to Google+. They are now one. New posts will appear on my feed (is that what it is called?) on Google+ and comments left there will appear on the blog and vice versa (I think).

Jump in and enjoy. Let me know if there are issues. Just trying to get a little bit more exposure for the blog. We seem to currently have regular readers in France, Germany, and Australia in addition to the US. A few other countries show up pretty regularly but it is hard to tell if places like Russia, Serbia, and Thailand have real readers or are simply someone (somebot?) just trying to spoof me and drag me into some sort of mess.

Queen's Park Botanic Garden

With the arrival of spring is the blossoming of the Queen's Park Botanic Gardens in East Toowoomba. We went out on a misty morning to catch a few of the flowers at their best.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tamborine Mountains Overlook Panorama

I finally had time to put together the photos from the Rotary Overlook in the Tamborine Mountains and make a panorama. This is closer to what is was like to being there. I thought you'd enjoy the scenery

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Australian Pelicans at Cooby Dam

A visit to Cooby Dam with warmer weather finds the Australian Pelican in full form.

Main Range National Park

Back in July, we visited the Main Range National Park and stopped at Queen Mary Falls (here and here). Since spring has advanced, decided to stop by again and see what is going on. For one thing, the Satin Bower Birds are clearly fatter.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Got a Sweet Tooth?

There is a kiosk store in the Toowoomba Grand Central shopping center called Donut King. They sell coffee and donuts. Seriously sweet donuts covered with multiple layers of sugar disguised in party colors.

Even the people I know with a significant sweet tooth probably can't get though more than one of these without sugar coma. There's something of the British love of sweets here that is ramped up in the southern heat.

On some of these, the "icing" is thicker than the cake underneath. My teeth hurt just thinking about it.

Driving on Hills

In the US, we often climb and descend hills when on the highway. But in Australia, when you climb a hill, it is really a serious hill!

In southeastern Queensland, the land is largely flat farm land punctuated periodically with a mountain or hill. This means that there are little to know foot hills as Americans and Europeans would recognize them. You just drive along and suddenly, you find yourself climbing a 500 - 1000 m high mountain. This produces some very steep climbs like the one above. This one is on the way to Spring Bluff near Toowoomba, but we've seen similar hills in the Tamborine Mountains and in the Bunya Mountains. And yet, we routinely find large trucks, very often with two large trailers behind the tractor climbing these hill (very slowly). This particular section follows the old stagecoach/wagon route between Toowoomba and Brisbane. We've read that when descending these hills, the wagons would drag logs behind them to keep from running over the horses. I just use low gear.

There are certainly some interesting things to be found simply by driving about the countryside.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Spring Bluff

Just a ways north of Toowoomba is a small, old train station that has been converted to a cafe. The grounds around it are filled with flowers in bloom.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Laurel Bank Park - Spring has Arrived!

Spring is making an appearance finally! At the Laurel Bank Park, not far from the Grand Central shopping center in central Toowoomba, we find lots of sunshine and flowers.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rotary Overlook

The Tamborine Mountains rise suddenly from the surrounding plain. On the western side there is an overlook maintained by the local Rotary Club.

Curtis Falls, Tamborine Mountain

We had to spend a few extra days away from Toowoomba before returning so we spent a couple nights at Bribie Island and one night on Tamborine Mountain. The afternoon we arrived we hiked down to Curtis Falls through the rainforest.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Tamborine Mountain

The town of Tamborine Mountain reminds me very much of places like Boone or Banner Elk, NC. There is a small community of residents and lots of coffee and sandwich places for the tourists. One stretch of road has a winery, German clocks, Clothes, ice cream and burgers...just the sort of stuff you expect to find in a tourist destination.

The forest is very lush and beautiful and quite a change from Bribie Island. It really does feel like visiting the mountains in the southeastern US. There's food, farmers, coops, vegan stores, and people dressed just like you'd expect mountian people to be.

Deagon Wetlands

After we left Bribie Island, we stopped on the north side of Brisbane at Deagon Wetlands to have a quick look about. There were paperbark trees making a symmetric pattern.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Bribie Island

We spent a couple nights on Bribie Island. This is the only island along the east coast of Australia that you can get to without taking a ferry. It is only a few hundred meters from the mainland and there's a bridge.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Colleges Crossing at Sunset

Another trip to Colleges Crossing, this time at sunset. No new players, but with sun across the river, it is a very different scene.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Laughing Kookaburra

A Laughing Kookaburra came to visit and posed on the back fence for us in Ipswich. He's a handsome fellow and very calm. I was no more than 10 feet from him. When he heard the camera shutter, he turned and looked and studied me a moment...then turned back to his vigil and ignored me entirely.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Phryne Fisher Exhibition, Brisbane

In Brisbane, next to the City Botanic Garden, is the campus of Queensland University of Technology, QUT. This campus is built on what used to be the site of government buildings. Hence, the Old Government Building is found here. It is now called the William Robinson Gallery and is a museum space. At the moment, the exhibit is of the clothes created especially for the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Television series.

Colleges Crossing

 A short drive north of Ipswich is Chuwar and there we find Colleges Crossing. This is a nice park along the river where we can bird watch and stretch the our legs while walking Zoe. Many old friends to be seen here like the female wood duck above.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Workshop Rail Museum

Ipswich is where it is because of the river. This is about as far upstream as you can go with a boat, so the town was built here and it became a rail head. To build and maintain the trains, a large workshop was built in the 19th century. Today, most of the site is a museum.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

River Heart Parklands

Ipswich sits along the Bremer River. Downtown by the river is the River Heart Parklands. In 2011, there was a terrible flood and all what you see here (except the bridge), and a whole lot more around the Brisbane area was underwater. Since then, this park was created to commemorate the spirit of the Ipswich people's ability to deal with this disaster.