Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Down on the Farm.

Monday 14 January

My brother's 70th birthday gave us the impetus to organise a long overdue visit to the farm. As always, the drive down was a rural delight. Sadly, on this occasion, the lush green of this 'northern rivers' area of New South Wales is suffering from lack of rainfall just like so many other areas. The nearer we got to the farm, it was abundantly clear that the pre-Christmas thunderstorms had avoided them. Fingers crossed.

We broke the journey at Murwullimbah for a coffee break in their lovely Knox Park and its sculpture to the pioneer woodcutters.

The ibis kept us amused with their tooing and throwing as we sat.

On the R is what I believe to be the spoonbill mother. The whiter bird was either a chick, constantly annoying her for food or a male suitor. She took absolutely no notice.

Mt Warning, the peak the Gaitor Girls have summited and the peak the Hungry Hikers love to hate. It is quite a joke in the group. Four of us have climbed it on seperate occasions. I'm the only one who enjoyed it. Admittedly, Laurel did it to catch the sunrise and suffered from the speed of the ascent. She would like to do it again.

I have a wonderful view to look out on from the back of our home, but I am still a tad envious when I visit my brother, of his verandah views.

As we drove up to their driveway I noted that sunflowers were in bloom in their vegetable garden. Once all our greetings were made my brother was prompted, by me, to give me a guided tour of all he had done since our last visit. 

Walking out the side door - view up the hill and the forest of trees he planted 5 years ago.

Nearby, a quiet nook for the birds and somewhere to relax.

Paths through his rainforest, created over the past 20 years, led to the vegetable patch.

Spot the tables for our luncheon picnic.

Views from the veggie patch.

Note the milo and maize growing.

View back to rainforest and house - bananas and passionfruit growing.

And of course there were many snaps taken of the sunflowers.

This is a ripe head. Ian has begun to brush the flowerettes to reveal the seed.

Job done.

Another head had been completely enjoyed by the birds.

A hybrid variety.

Their patterning is amazing.

Close up of the milo / sorghum.

Pineapples about to be harvested.

Also the grapes - delcious.

Garden colour.

Their bushhouse is full of orchids.

Gum blossom.

Our lovely al fresco lunch.

We definitely need to find time to visit more often.

I would love to read your comment.

Friday, 11 January 2019


A few days after Christmas I took my early morning walk and as I followed the path around Mt Warren Oval, the early morning chorous of birds had me delighted. I couldn't believe how many different bird calls I was hearing and of course spotting them in the trees and bushes was almost impossible. As you listen, you should initially hear the kookurrburra laughing. Towards the end the distinctive sounds from the bat colony across the field and the raucous sound of caged maccaws. [so sad!] Other birds are wrens, parrots, whip birds, magpie and ............... I was thrilled at how clearly they sounded on this video taken on my phone.

Recently I posted photos of the golf club's seemingly resident flock of corellas, below our house. Sitting in our lounge this week I was alerted to their presence by their noisy calling. I looked out and saw a mass of white on the fairway. Again I decided to record their call.

I will add that our side of the golf course and its gums, is now their preferred place of abode. Their calling is constant day and night and if disturbed, and this seems to be quite often, their call rises to annoying crescendo levels.  They are fascinating to watch.

The corellas from the video.

In the gums near our home on a different occasion.

Eating the seeds of the conifer in our front garden, taken some time ago.

Having discussed ticks in my previous post, I was interested to spot this report about a poor carpet python, found in a home swimming pool at the coast. It is believed he was trying to rid himself of the multitude of paralysis ticks that had attached themselves to him.  By coincidence, I read a report this evening that the python is recovering well and will be released back into the bush in the near future.

I would love to read your comment.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Lower Bellbird and Ballanjui Falls Circuit, Binna Burra.

12 December 2018

The previous week we were enjoying a glass of wine in the city, after attending the Lord Mayor's High Tea and Christmas Concert. Someone asked 'what are we going to do next week?' I, tongue in cheek, suggested we should return to the rainforest for a long hike. Given the heat and humidity, I thought I would be howled down but it was the opposite, and what a magnificent hike we had!

We arrived at Binna Burra at 7am and after yet another delicious morning tea with Christmas delicacies, we were soon on trail - the Lower Bellbird Circuit with the off shoot to the Lower Ballanjui Falls. The Hungry Hikers had hiked to the falls but their memories were only of getting wet on the hike out. I had enjoyed the full hike with the Gaiter Girls earlier in the year, but on this occasion, it seemed the hike exceded the beauty I recalled. 15 kms on my garmin watch and 17 km on their fitbits. How does that happen?

This pic was taken towards the end of the hike but our motto is so true.

Energising for the hike.

Binna Burra Lodge was near bye with its magnificent 180 degree views and New South Wales floral emblem in full bloom - Waratah!                                                                              [Joc Pic]

Initially we had to walk a couple of k's down the road to the actual trail head. Much better than hiking up it at the end of the day.
Laurel is always on the alert for fun shots.

The trail begins with a shoe clean to help prevent the spread of micro organisms.

Soon after we came across our first wild strawberry plant. As a child living in the country, we often found them. Today was a rare event and enjoyed to the max by me. So many and so delicious.

Our initial descent was over and we looked up to where we had come from. Then entered the forest canopy single file, for most of the remainder of the hike.

Occasionally we would get a glimpse of distant ridges.

We constantly hiked below the cliff face but the trail offered so much to enjoy..


A lovely ferny track.

Narrow paths

Trees to hide in.

Magnificent, towering giants.


Lianas and rich green foliage.

Amazing palms.

A giant at rest.

Strangling fig trees, making the heart break for these helpless giants.

There was time to rest and rehydrate.

Times when we felt dwarfed more than ever by nature.

There was climbing.

And time for posing and selfies.

Waterfalls impressed ..................

even when there was only a glimpse.

Ballanjui  drops 150m. 

Dry, boulder strewn creek beds.

Progress is slow when you have to watch your feet but want to soak up the beauty.

Steep drops  and open vistas.

Brown Cuckoo Doves

A variety of flowering flora, in snatches.

A tick or two or three, came home with us.

Our final treat for the day - fruit mince pies with local raspberries.

I saved this lovely image taken by Joc to the last.  Beneath this cliff is the trail we hiked from left to right. The Gold Coast is on the horizon to the right. It was just the best day with the Hungry Hikers!

I would love to read your comment.