Free Floating

Last December, after 25 years I was reminded how relaxing it is to go to the beach after work. To lye on my back free floating, totally unmoored to the world —just bobbing around in the waves. Trusting I was safe but keeping an eye out for any bigger waves that could do me harm. Then to keep myself safe, I would simply dive under the wave and avoid its direct impact. Free floating is now my preferred mindful activity for the warmer months.

As I gazed over the horizon watching the random sets of waves, my muscles relaxed and looked for a new way to work. Suddenly, I realised my free floating had turned into the best core exercise I had ever done and with no effort on my part.

Give it a try and  say goodbye crunches. Take you feet off the ground and free float. Go with the rhythm of the waves and focus on the horizon. It’s my favourite way to centre myself.

 

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X – XXXX Origins Beer

I was 10 years old and we first traveled to Queensland and I first saw the XXXX beer label. Now over 40 years later the brand has grown into an Australian icon and I love that for its latest venture XXXX has gone back to its roots and named its beers after the working country areas of Queensland. I’m not a Queenslander but it still makes me proud.

The 36 towns featured are:

  • Atherton
  • Bellbowrie
  • Birdsville
  • Bluff
  • Cairns
  • Calen
  • Chinchilla
  • Cloncurry
  • Coolangatta
  • Curra
  • Deeragun,
  • Drillham
  • Emerald
  • Foxdale
  • Gatton
  • Gin Gin
  • Giru
  • Gladstone
  • Goondiwindi
  • Herberton
  • Inkerman
  • Jimboomba
  • Karara
  • Laura
  • Mackay
  • Maryborough
  • Mirani
  • Mount Isa
  • Nobby
  • Rockhampton
  • Roma
  • Stonehenge
  • Toowoomba
  • Townsville
  • Warwick
  • Windorah

If I ever see these beers in New South Wales I may even taste my first XXXX beer.


V – Vincentia

Vincentia is a seaside town on the shores of Jervis Bay, 200 kilometres South of Sydney.Arriving at our B & B, we decided to take an afternoon stroll and found ourselves taking in the natural beauty of the White sands Walk along Blenheim Beach and Jervis Bay National Park. It was a glorious winter day and a great way to relax.


U – Uralla

Uralla is a small town on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, which was established in 1855. The town’s name is Aboriginal and means meeting place. As it happens Uralla is also mid way between Sydney and Brisbane via the inland route.

On our recent road trip we hadn’t planned on stopping long in Uralla, however as we got so distracted along the way looking at the waterfalls, we needed to stop here overnight. This turned into a blessing as we then ended up investigating this interesting area the next morning. And what amazing Australian history we found — the secret gem, McCrossin’s Mill Musuem is situated across the road from Thunderbolt’s Statue. The building is a recently restored 3 storey flour mill built-in 1870 by Samuel McCrossin, one of the first settlers to the area.

Some of the treasures we found in the musuem included:

  • A series of nine paintings by Phillip Pomroy called “The Death of Thunderbolt”, based on the account of Constable Alexander Walker — the detail in these paintings was fascinating
  • A display of farming and household equipment from the early pioneering days
  • A relocated Chinese Joss House form the local Rocky River Gold Fields
  • A display to Australia’s first world champion — rower Edward Trickett
  • Letters home to mother from World War 1 by a local war hero
  • Local goldfield information

These beautiful decorative gates were created by concrete man Antonio Perez Martinez in 1960.

Thunderbolt’s Life and Death Exhibition

Edward Trickett, son of a convict and Australia’s first world champion, a sculler died in Uralla.

 


S – Sheepyard Opal Field

The Sheepyard Opal Field is next to the Grawin and Glengarry opal fields and together they make a memorable day out for tourist to the Lightening Ridge region. If you are driving around stick to the main roads or you’ll get lost in the maze of dirt back roads. When we drove from Glengarry Hilton to Sheepyard Pub, we saw many unusual signs and interesting actions including a young boy, far to young to hold a license, driving his father between pubs. His father rode in the tray of the ute not in the back or front seat, and just hopped off the back when he arrived telling the young boy he would find his own way home. No wonder there is a sign that says cars with brakes give way — here obviously anything can happen.

The Sheepyard Inn

Sheepyard War Memorial

 


G – Grawin and Glengarry Opal Fields

 

Last year on a road trip around northern New South Wales, my husband and I  discovered the unique Grawin and Glengarry opal fields.  Located 40 kilometres SW of Lightening Ridge — Black Opal Capital of the World — these fields mine seam black opal and were where opal was first found in the area back in the early 1900’s. It is a very rustic, natural area that makes recycling an art. Every one and everything is different and it is like nothing I have ever seen before.

IMG_3811

The Grawin Golf Course

The Club In The Scrub

The Glengarry Hilton

This warning sign at the entrance to the area reminds everyone that you are entering an old working mine field, littered with dangers so keep to the tracks and beware.

IMG_3742


H – Hospital For Koalas

Have you ever thought what happens to sick or injured koalas? Enter the world’s first Koala Hospital. Like humans those living around the Port Macquarie region of New South Wales are taken by koala ambulance to the Koala Hospital.

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In 1973, Jean and Max Starr began caring for sick and injured koalas in there home. Soon however they realised the problem was much bigger than they had to offer and a purpose built koala hospital began construction which has now grown into a specialist world renown research facility. Today, the hospital comprises of a treatment room, 8 intensive care units, 6 outdoor intensive care units and 33 rehabilitation yards.

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When a rescued koala is brought into the hospital via ambulance they are named. The name they are given is divided into two parts — the first name is after the home range in which they are found and their second name is after the person that found them. For example if I found an injured koala, they would be named Sydney Max. A koalas name is particularly important as if a koala is to be returned to the wild, they must return to their original home range and if this information is in their name there is no confusion.

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In 1986, John Williamson country singer was at the Koala Hospital when a rescue koala was brought in and was so impressed with the work done that he wrote a song about Australia’s dying koalas — Goodbye Blinky Bill and donated the royalties to the hospital. This generosity has provided John Williamson Wing and allowed the hospital to expand its support for koalas and its research.

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There are three main reason 200- 250 koalas each year are brought to the hospital are:

  • Disease
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Dog Attacks

If you ever get the opportunity add The Koala Hosptital to your to-do list. While you can take a self guided tour at anytime of day feeding time at 3pm is an amazing experience.


Celebrating Australia Day

Today is Australia day. To celebrate I would like to share my A-Z of Australian things. Although far from a complete list it is  fun way to share Australia. Included in the list are:

  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Food
  • Inventions
  • Items
  • Places
  • Treasures

A: Aboriginal Art – Paintings by indigenous Australian often using a dot design.

     Anzac biscuits – Australian biscuits eaten by our troops on the shores of Gallipoli hence the name. They are made from rolled oats, golden syrup, coconut and butter.

B: Beaches – Australia is known for its sandy beaches. The most famous being Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

Bondi Beach Photo Credit: Google Images

     Black Box Flight Recorder –  The black box voice and data recorder was invented in Australia.

     Beetroot – Your typical Aussie hamburger include beetroot, lettuce and tomato.

     Baby Safety Capsule – Developed in 1984 to make sure babies and small children could be safely locked into a seatbelt.

C: Cockatoo – There are 21 varieties of Cockatoos in the world and all can be found in Australia. In my area the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo is common and are often seen on the ground in groups     looking for food.

     Caramello Koalas – Small Australian chocolate bar

cadbury-giant_caramello_koala-40g_

Photo Credit: Cadbury

 

D: Dual Flush Toilet –  Toilet with two flush buttons—able to flush either a half or full load of water dependent on amount required.

     Dame Edna – Australian iconic entertainer known for her

 

     Didgeridoo – An wind instrument, invented by Aboriginals and originally found only in Northern Australia. It is  thought to be the oldest musical instrument in the world.

E: Emu – Australian flightless bird

Emu

     Esky – Portable coolers keeping food and drink cool in the Australian sun.

     Electric Drill – originally invented to drill through rock this technology was later adapted to household use.

F: Fair Dinkum – Aussie slang meaning true or fair. Used when wanting someone to believe you.

     Fridge – In 854 the first mechanical ice making machine was invented in Australia that lead to the development of the refrigerator—”fridge.”

G: Great Barrier Reef – World’s largest coral reef covering 2,300 kilometres off Queensland

Photo Credit: Google Images

 

      G’day Mate – Australian welcome

      Google Maps – 2003-4 Australian’s Lars and Jens Rasmussen developed the platform that developed into Google Maps.

H: Holden cars – Holden is an Australian automaker based in South Australia. With limited choice for cars in the early days many families had a Holden.

 I: Icy Pole – Famous Australian water ice block

Icy Pole

Photo Credit: Peters Icecream

J: Jackaroo/Jillaroo – Male and Female workers on a cattle or sheep station in Australia.

     Jumbuck – name for sheep in Waltzing Matilda.

K: Kangaroo – One of Australia’s most iconic marsupials

 

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     Koala – small bear-like herbivorous marsupial that eats gum leaves.

Photo Credit: Google Images

 

L:  Lamingtons – Spongy butter cake coated in chocolate sauce and rolled in coconut.

      Long wearing Contact Lens – Were developed by the CSIRO as the original ones couldn’t stay in day and night for long periods.

M: Melbourne Cup – “The race that stops the nation” is the richest two-mile handicap horse race in the world. Run the first Tuesday in November, it is a public holiday in Melbourne.

      Meat Pie – The meat pie is an Australian icon. Traditionally it is pastry filled with beef and gravy just big enough to fit into your hand, making it easy to eat on the go.

      Macadamia – A tree nut specific to Australia with a creamy texture.

N: Nullabor Plains – 1200 kilometre stretch of desert runs from South Australia in the east to Western Australia. Its name means no trees, just flat mostly straight road. In fact, the Nullabor holds the record for the worlds stretch of straight bitumen 146.6 kilkometres.

     New South Wales – My home state between Queensland and Victoria.

O: Opera House – Multi-purpose entertaining venue on Sydney Harbour. A white building during festivities it is changed dramatically using lights.IMG_6535

     Outback – The Outback is the large, remote, arid space that covers a Australia. Usually covered in red soil.

P: Platypus – Unique Australian mammal that looks like a cross between a duck and beaver

Credit: Gambassa

Credit: Gambassa

      Plastic Banknotes – Invented by the CSIRO, making bank notes tougher and reducing their ability to be counterfeited.

     Powerboard -Invented in 1972 allows multiple electrical devices to be powered from one electrical socket.

 

Q: Quokka – Australian macropod about the size of a cat found on Rottnest Island off Perth

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

      Quoll – Carnivorous Australian marsupial first seen by Captain Cook in 1770.

 

Quoll

Photo Credit: Wikipeadia

      Queensland– Australian state north of New south Wales.

R: Rotary Clothes Hoist – Clothes line that raises and lowers as well as swings around in the wind.

      Rottnest Island – 18 kilometres off Perth, it is home to Quokkas, pristine beaches and world-class surf.

S: Sydney Harbour Bridge – The world’s largest steel arch bridge and connects Sydney to the north shore. I travel across it everyday on my way to work and never tire of the sight.

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      Surf Life Savers – Australians classics that keep our beaches safe by rescuing swimmers in difficulty

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

       Surf Ski – Australian invention to assist in saving lives see above photo

       Speedos – Australian men’s swimmers—sometimes colloquially referred to as “budgie smugglers.”

      Splayd – Australian invention that combines the spoon fork and knife

T: Tim Tams – Iconic Arnott’s biscuits that involves two layers of chocolate biscuits joined together with chocolate cream and covered in chocolate.

U: Ugg Boots  Unisex sheep skin boot with fleece on the inside.

      Uluru  Also known as Ayers Rock is a large sandstone rock in the Northern Territory.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

      Ultrasounds – Invented in Australia through work with the Department of Health.

V: Vegemite – Sandwich spread most Australians won’t travel without and most of the rest of the world try but find it very bitter. Below is the original ad that explains alot.

 

 

       Victoria – Southern State of Australia on the East Coast—Capital is Melbourne.

W: Wiggles – The original Wiggles —children’s entertainers—are Australian.

Photo Credit: Wiggles

Photo Credit: Wiggles

      Wine casks – Wine casks are an Australian invention to carry large amounts of wine in a plastic bladder with a simple pouring spout

      Wi-Fi Hotspots – Wi Fi technology was invented in Australia through research at the CSIRO.

X: XXXX Beer – Famous brand of Queensland beer

Y: Yackandandah – Small tourist town near the New South Wales and Victorian border

Z: Zeehan – Former silver and gold mining town in Tasmania

 

 

 


Chris The Sheep

Back in September 2015 I was surprised to hear the story of Chris The Sheep, as it had never occurred to me that his could happen. Chris was found wandering in the bush on the border between New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory, his fleece so massive he could barely walk or see.  The size of his fleece makes professionals estimate that Chris had wandered around in the bush not shewn for about 6 years possibly after wandering off from previous owners.

When Chris was spotted the RSPCA ( Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was called in to get him help. They organised a rescue team and for Australian Champion Shearer Ian Elkins to shear him. After two shearing passes,  a new world record was set for the heaviest fleece — 40.45 kilograms or 88 pounds. The previous record holder was New Zealand with a  28.9 kilogram fleece. Due to the damage that carrying this amount of wool around can have on a sheep’s tiny body let’s hope this record is not broken again.

 


V8 Supercars Sydney 2015

After weeks of preparation the Coates Hire Sydney 500 starts today at Sydney Olympic Park. I was lucky enough to spend a few hours yesterday watching the last practice event. I took many photos from various angles and vantage points however in the end photographing cars speeding at over 200 kilometres an hour isn’t easy to get right.

The action continues off track down the centre with many displays and car style shops and merchandising vans. There was literally something there for most tastes.