On the Beach

An Australian Point of View #4 The Gold Coast

It’s not surprising that more than 10 million people visit the Gold Coast every year. With its subtropical climate, nearby national parks and beautiful beaches, theme parks, wildlife sanctuaries and dozens of restaurants and cafes, Queensland’s second largest city is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations.

For an overall view of the Gold Coast region, go straight to the top. At the Q1 Tower at Surfers Paradise there are observation decks on the 76th and 77th floor.  From a height of 230 metres it’s easy to see the 70 kilometres of beautiful beaches and 600 kilometres of canals which make waterfront living so desirable.

Back down at ground level head away from the popular tourist areas and you’ll find plenty of places where it’s not so busy. Go for a long walk, sit on the beach for a while or swim between the flags where vigilant lifeguards keep watch.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a surf class or do some windsurfing.

Or simply take some time to relax. That’s what everyone else will be doing!

 

Advertisements

Gold Fever

An Australian Point of View #3 Sovereign Hill

On the main street of Ballarat there’s a memorial commemorating the centenary of the discovery of gold in 1851. It is dedicated to the miners who toiled on the gold fields and has a replica of the second largest gold nugget ever found. The Welcome Nugget, weighing almost 70 kg and worth £10,500 at the time, was discovered at Bakery Hill in 1858.

More than 25,000 people flocked to the gold fields in western Victoria. Miners with hopes of riches came from around the world and others, who saw the money-making opportunities, provided the goods and services the miners needed. Another life-size replica, even bigger than that massive nugget, allows 21st century visitors to travel back in time to experience life on the gold fields in the 1850s.

Sovereign Hill is one of Australia’s most visited tourist attractions. History comes alive at the open-air museum located on the site of original gold workings.


Cobb & Co coaches once carried passengers and parcels of gold from Ballarat to Melbourne. At Sovereign Hill, teams of Clydesdales pull handcrafted replica coaches and drays through the streets.


On Main Street the grocer, apothecary and drapers sell traditional wares. A popular store is the confectionery, where raspberry drops, toffee apples and humbugs gleam like crystals on the shelves.

There are two hotels, a theatre and a school where today’s students can dress up in knickerbockers and braces, bonnets and pinafores for an 1850s school day. Those who work at Sovereign Hill dress up too; the streets are filled with redcoated soldiers, demure ladies and policemen ready to check for mining licences.

Closer to the gold mine, the blacksmith turns out horseshoes and mining tools. A boiler attendant works around the clock to keep up a constant supply of steam for the mine engines. At the smelting works, a three kilogram gold bar worth $100,000 is melted in the furnace before being poured into a mould to take shape again.


Down in Red Hill Gully, calico tents and bark huts like those the first miners lived in dot the hillside, and a makeshift store sells the necessary fossicking tools.



Modern treasure hunters pan for alluvial gold and, if they’re lucky enough to find some, they can take it home.


Like most of those hopeful miners of the 1850s, they won’t be retiring on their earnings!

Join Jo for more Monday Walks

Born to Sing

An Australian Point of View #2 Redcliffe

There’s a lot to like about Redcliffe. This seaside suburb on Brisbane’s northern outskirts has a broad esplanade overlooking the calm waters of Moreton Bay. Redcliffe Jetty, the third to be built on the site, has heritage features copied from its forebears. There are plenty of cafes where cake and coffee can be enjoyed with an ocean view, but there’s no big city hustle and bustle to contend with.

P1170674

P1170671
Perhaps this is what attracted Hugh and Barbara Gibb to the area when they emigrated from England with their young family in 1958. Three of their boys, talented musicians from an early age, formed a band to make pocket money and, in 1960 at the ages of 12 and 9, they were regular performers at interval during the Redcliffe Speedway. The boys were allowed to keep the money the enthusiastic crowd would throw onto the track.

Little did those people know they were witnessing the birth of one of the greatest musical acts of the 20th century, with eventual worldwide sales of more than 220 million records. After those early shows Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb went on to become The Bee Gees.

P1150769

Bee Gees Way, a 70 metre walkway on Redcliffe Parade, documents the amazing career of the brothers who called Redcliffe home. It celebrates their music with photos and video footage played on a large screen.

P1150754

P1150770

P1150760

Visitors are serenaded by the music of the Bee Gees as they view the group’s first recording contract, signed by their parents because they were underage.

P1150755

P1150759

Two statues pay homage to the brothers, first as barefoot boys singing at the speedway, and then as a supergroup of the 70s and 80s.

P1150757

P1150766

Barry Gibb opened the walkway on 14 February, 2013 and visited again on 9 September, 2015. Perhaps the last plaque on the walk echoes his thoughts about the walkway dedicated to the story of the Bee Gees.

P1150761

Cityscape

An Australian Point of View #1 Capital Cities

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world with a land mass of 7,692,014 square kilometres. Despite its size, Australia is composed of just six states and two territories, all with their own capital city. Every capital has its own distinctive architecture; some buildings are more well-known than others, but each plays a part in the story of its city.

Brisbane, Queensland

The heritage-listed Albert Street Uniting Church, completed in 1889, is dwarfed by the surrounding city tower blocks. By the early 1900s it was the main Methodist Church in the city and is now the home of Wesley Mission Queensland. With its Victorian Gothic architecture and its inner city position, the church is a popular wedding venue.

Melbourne, Victoria

The Arts Centre Melbourne is Australia’s busiest Performing Arts complex. Construction began in 1973 and the buildings were completed in stages, the last being finished in 1984. The steel spire is 162 metres high and is surrounded at the base by a ruffle of steel mesh reminiscent of a ballerina’s tutu.

Adelaide, South Australia

The scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval has been keeping track of cricket matches since 3 November, 1911. The heritage-listed Edwardian scoreboard is the only one of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and is still manually operated.  A tour of Adelaide Oval includes a visit inside the four storey scoreboard.

Perth, Western Australia

The Bell Tower in Barracks Square houses the Swan Bells, a collection of 18 change ringing bells. Twelve of the bells come from St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London and date from the 13th century. They were gifted to the city of Perth during Australia’s Bicentenary, while the Bell Tower was completed in time for Millennium celebrations.

Hobart, Tasmania

The Shot Tower at Taroona, just outside Hobart, was built in 1879 and was, for four years, Australia’s tallest building. Lead shot was produced in the tower for 35 years. Next door is the home of Joseph Moir, who constructed the tower and other landmark buildings in Hobart. The shot tower is still the tallest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Darwin, Northern Territory

Government House, on the Esplanade in Darwin, is the oldest European building in the Northern Territory. Completed in 1871, the house is the official residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory. The Victorian Gothic design is complemented by wide verandas, which help to cool the house in Darwin’s tropical climate.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. This is the second Parliament House and replaced Old Parliament House, which was in use from 1927 to 1988. This new building was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II during Australia’s Bicentenary celebrations. The Commonwealth Coat of Arms adorns the front façade, and an Australian flag the size of a half tennis court flies at the top of the 81 metre high flagpole.


Sydney, New South Wales

The Sydney Opera House, opened in 1973, overlooks Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point. Every year, more than eight million people visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and it hosts more than 1,500 events and performances. The Opera House becomes a focal point during Sydney’s Vivid Festival each June.


Participating in Becky’s #RoofSquares Challenge

A Collection of Favourites

Kevtoberfest #27 The Beginning and The End

It seems fitting to end this Kevtoberfest series as it began, with a few favourites. I started with some special photos of Glen and Kevin to acknowledge their lifelong friendship, and our first destination on the long journey south was Stanthorpe, where we collected some favourite beverages.

In three weeks, we travelled more than 3,000 kilometres and visited many wonderful places. Sometimes though, it’s the little things we remember – these are my favourites.

Poplars, bare-branched at the end of winter. By the time we returned, they were dressed in new spring leaves.

My favourite native bird – a galah, feasting on seed in Kevin’s garden

Giant metal flowers growing up against a corrugated iron wall in Nundle

The ultimate holiday camper – a renovated ice cream van. Travel and ice cream, a winning combination!

My favourite sign, on the wall of a bakery café

This trip was all about beer, with a few craft shops for balance.

Longstocking Nano Brewery at Pambula was Glen’s favourite.

Mine was the Nundle Woollen Mill, aglow with all the colours of the rainbow.

Sunrise at Mallacoota – a glorious start to a new day

Out of the 3,390 photos we took over three weeks I have one absolute favourite, of Kevin and his lovely wife Mary Lou on party night. It captures the joy of celebrating a milestone with family and friends and the anticipation of what lies ahead.

Kevtoberfest has come to an end, and like children playing a favourite new game, we all say “Do it again, Kevin!”

A Loo With a View – The Kevtoberfest Edition

Kevtoberfest #26

Australian loos have lovely views

from the mountains to the sea,

When you need to answer nature’s call

they’re where you want to be!

~

This bush loo looks a little rough

but believe me when I say,

it’s better than no loo at all

in a bushland hideaway.

The road to Perry’s Lookdown

Perry’s Lookdown, Blue Mountains

~

These stylish loos are made of stone

which is very apt.

They overlook some famous rocks.

At sunset we were rapt!

The Three Sisters, Katoomba, Blue Mountains

~

At Jenolan we found two beaut loos

in excellent locations.

Outside there were garden views

and a hotel for vacations.

Jenolan Caves House, Jenolan

~

The Grand Arch housed a second loo

amongst the cave formations.

Please use this loo

before you start your caving explorations.

The Grand Arch, Jenolan

~

The town of Bermagui

has a loo up on the hill.

With views in all directions,

it really fits the bill!

Bermagui River

Horseshoe Bay, Bermagui

~

This loo may look a little plain

– it’s very practical.

But sunset over the water

is simply magical.

Wagonga Inlet, Narooma

~

This tidy loo is on the lakes –

the water views are fine.

The locals like to gather

and enjoy the bright sunshine.

Lakes Entrance


~

So when you’re on a road trip

and the distances are long,

If you find loos with views like these

You really can’t go wrong!

 

More loos with beautiful views!

The original Loo With a View

Loos with views in Western Australia

The highest loo view in Australia

Loos with views around Australia

Loos with views – The Cruise Edition

Loos with views – The Hawaiian Edition

Loos with views – The English Edition

Out of the Ordinary

Kevtoberfest #25 Gundagai and Holbrook

No matter how large or small, country towns and cities in Australia all have memorials commemorating past events. Many are war memorials with the names of long ago battles and those who served. Some recall explorers who passed by or local residents who achieved greatness. Others are either famous or a complete surprise, with a fascinating story to match.

Eight kilometres out of Gundagai is a memorial to the pioneers who journeyed west and settled in what would become the Riverina region. In the early days, supplies were transported from the coast to the inland by bullock drays. The routes were difficult and unpredictable and the bullock drivers, known as bullockies, took many risks to deliver their precious cargo on time. In the 1850s, an unknown poet penned the tale of “Bullocky Bill“, recording the hardships of life on the road for the bullockies and their faithful dogs.

The Dog on the Tuckerbox depicts the bullocky’s dog immortalised in the poem, loyally guarding his master’s food store.  The statue was unveiled in 1932 and has become an iconic Australian symbol.


While the faithful dog is well-known, further south at Holbrook is another memorial much more unusual and not so famous – the upper section of an Oberon-class submarine. Why does a town so far from the sea have a connection with a submarine?

Until 1915 the town was known as Germanton but, with patriotism at a high during World War One, the decision was made to change its name. “Holbrook” was chosen to honour Lieutenant Norman Holbrook, a submariner with the Royal Navy. He had become an international hero after deeds of bravery in the Dardanelles earned him a Victoria Cross. In the years after the war, Norman and his wife Gundula visited the town three times. Following Norman’s death in 1976, she made a bequest to the town for a memorial to submariners in his name.

The submarine HMAS Otway, decommissioned after 26 years service with the Royal Australian Navy, was the perfect choice for a memorial. The funds gifted by Gundula were used to purchase the submarine’s upper casing, fin and stern and they were transported by semi-trailer to Holbrook. The submariners’ memorial and museum were established and opened in a ceremony in 1997, attended by Gundula Holbrook.


Today, Holbrook is known as “the Submarine Town”, even though it is more than 300 kilometres from the sea and no one drives past Gundagai without visiting the famous dog. Some memorials are far more interesting than others!