BUT, what to do if you only have 1 day in this great city?? Easy, if you have someone special like Margareta to take you on an adventure.

                  mellb 3

On the edge of Port Phillip Bay, looking back to the city, and with the mouth of the Yarra on left of the map.

Starting point - Point Gellibrand (now Williamstown ) - and we were standing at the point of the earliest settlement, and home to the timeball tower, pictured.





           f s map 2

Originally a lighthouse, built in 1849, the tower was later converted as a navigational aid to help the ships sailing through the bay. At precisely 1.00pm every day, the large brass ball on the top of the mast, was lowered as a signal to calibrate chronometers. Now a historical tower, it remains as a great legacy to all the sailors and their ships.



From there, you stroll through the charming, and interesting streets of Williamstown.

             w s mix  

Lovely old houses, many of them being gentrified - some with renovation plans tacked to their front gate (middle piccy) Style, in my mind, tends to be linked with Melbourne - and Williamstown certainly bears this out. Was extra good to stroll through this part of the world and acknowledge its age, and beauty. I suspect the suburb is more pictureque now, rather than when all renovations are finished - but it will certainly be more comfortable.

                 w t 41 a

And so we emerged from the streets onto the Strand - waterfront row of shops and restaurants, housed in the original buildings - and looking totally totally charming and inviting. We accepted that invitation to linger, as we strolled through and eventually settled on one cafe for lunch. Melbourne - doesn't get much better than this. 

                mel mix

Malkie was quite taken with fish and chips - served with fries & salad. Overkill. But we settled happily for grilled fish.

                  ferry 4

On to the next step in our day - we were going to take a ferry, out through the Bay and into the mouth of the Yarra, which would deliver us right into Southgate. And NO, this was not our ferry. This big boy just happened to be moored on our wharf, so of course he had to have his piccy taken.

           f s leavin g 2

And so we said farewell to wonderul Williamstown - I would love to return some day. Maybe when the clouds don't threaten as much, maybe have a gelato from the yummy array we saw, maybe browse through a book shop - certainly could spend time in wonderful Williamstown. But honestly, how lucky were we to have this special time here.

                 f s swans 3 

                 Swans graciously said farewell.

                 f s docks 

                 Past the docks on the right. 

                 f s old better

                 Lovely old buildings on our left.

                         f s under west gate

                         Under the Westgate bridge. So spectacular!!          

          f s west gate 

                      And under the Bolte bridge.

f s martian triffids  f s high rise                            

The triffids of the Melbourne container terminal marched towards us, just as the high rise swung into view on the right.  

SO SO interesting. A view of Melbourne like none other I had ever seen. We sat on our ferry in the sunshine and revelled in the changing scenes as we came up the Yarra.

                   f s bridge first                      

Southbank appeared on our right, the Casino, and the Exhibition building, but then the adventure continued as we crept under a series of bridges on the Yarra. I'm sure none of them were built with our ferry in mind - they were so low to the water, we all automatically ducked our heads.

                           f s under 2             

Kings bridge, Queens bridge, several walking bridges - we ducked under them all. Quite exciting to look up at metal beams from the wrong side !! Not so exciting if you think you might hit your head !! But we didn't - popped out from under each in turn.

                       f s bridge 1                          

                          They look very different from the topside.

                          f s coffee under

      Even sailed past a coffee shop that's tucked under one end of one of the bridges - wonderful !!

                               f s eye  

All too soon, we arrived at our destination Southgate, where we succumbed to the myriad of coffee shops lining the banks of the Yarra at Southgate, and feasted on cakes and coffee - yumbo. Was a great way to arrive into the city, so interesting and so different, and from here it was a short walk over yet another bridge to Federation Square.

                      f s new bridge

   Yes, you're right - the Yarra is a paler shade of brown. We can't talk - so is the Brissy river, even if it is bigger.

                       f s 1

  And so here we are - right in the heart of Melbourne town, with the amazing buildings of Federation Square laid out for us to explore.

 f s church    f s people

Wonderful old cathedral in front of us, and Flinders st. station behind. Plus lots and lots and lots of people. We explored the very modern architecture of Federation Square, marvelled at the old church, then caught the train home from Flinders St.


Totally captivated by the beauty that Melbourne exposed to us, we were tired, but so satisfied by the sights and sounds which this magic city had laid out. Spending a day here - let me recommend the ferry through the Yarra - gives you a day very different to the usual touristy one. Thank you, Margareta, we will not forget this experience.

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Our piece of hill, only 7 kms from the centre of Brisbane, backs onto bushland reserve - 58 hectares of it. When Malkie first came to live here, wasn't even reserve. Agitation by him and others in the bushland group managed to change that, so our bushland is here to stay. 

                              general 2

                             Is absolute bushland, with walking trails right through it. 

All pretty wonderful, from our balcony we only see trees, ours on our hill, and those where we back onto the reserve. For us, however, 2 yrs of exceptionally good rain had meant the rubbishy plants had taken over - and our hill was suffering. 

Something drastic was needed to fix it. 

They arrived with their Tonka Toys one bright morning, and proceeded to dismantle the nasty parts of our hill - hopefully not wrecking our magnificent trees.

                            set to work

Was all a bit vicious and very noisy. One up the tree with rigging, the other pulling out the overgrown bits with block and tackle and Tonka toy.

                           set to best

Particularly nasty euphorbia had gone thoroughly feral. You can just see bits of it, light coloured leaves, base of picture, and repeated at the top. They had already removed it from the middle. Had really rampaged through the area, becoming massive. Gets a small, almost hibiscus-like flower, and that had become a nightmare. Wherever we looked we could see the nasty red flowers popping up on ugly tree-like stems. The steepness of the area made it almost impossible for us to exterminate it.

                          gradually best

Gradually our trees emerged again from the mess - our magnificent tallowwood(Eucalyptus microcorys) is just starting to relax again in this shot. Our bush is naturally a grey green. On the left of the piccy you can still see bits of the euphorbia - it's a bright bright unhealthy (for our bush) colour.

OK rubbish gone. 

Next step - back came the Tonka toys.

                          mesh better

 This time, the workers used a very strong metal mesh, laid it over the bank to stop slippage. Hard to see, but there are 5 levels down to the base of the tallowwood.The white trunk of Eucalyptus grandis shows up in the middle of one terrace.(left of piccy)

                         tiny plants

Time for the tiny plants. Holes were cut in the mesh, and 240 tube stock plants were popped in and patted down, all ready for the bush turkeys to come in that night (they sleep in our trees - honestly seem to think the trees belong to them !!) and dig a lot of them out. So, Malkie laboriously made chicken wire cages for the tiny trees, and that way we saved lots. And of course, having some spaces has allowed me to go find some special trees that I want.

                        lawn better

                      Final step, the workers brought in new lawn, so Malkie still gets to mow!!

                       left side view

Incidentally, we didn't touch the bush from the left side of the balcony - only the right side has a new face, So the work extends over approx. half of our land.

No more Tonka toys. Instead, lots of climbing up and down the bank, lots of planting, lots of watering, and lots and lots of growing.

                      top of the bank

Top of the bank, many different grasses, combined with star lilies. These grow in big clumps with gorgeous star shape flowers, all helpimng with stabilisation. 


On the levels below, many many little trees. And they are growing quite sturdily. As you can see, the leaf litter is coming back, and gradually the mesh will disappear. From the left, clock wise - leucospremum lineare hybrid, westringia fruiticosa, dianella, alloxylon, eucalyptus torrelliana, unknown, grevillea bright orange, elaeocarpus reticularis, back to leucospermum.  The centre bit is a random mixture of heroes.  We have many many little trees to talk to and watch over, and grow - how lucky are we ??

I did marry Malkie 3 years ago cause I loved him - but I could have married him for his bushland !!!!!

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Where were we? 

Driving miles and bloody miles though saltbush. Do you know what that's like ? "Dead flat. Dead flat and boring" I hear you say.  Well yes, but this country has its own unique beauty, maybe cause it is dead flat.

                      1 hay 21     

After many hours of this, suddenly, on the horizen, we saw the shapes of trees. Trees, out here ? Amazing. It was sunset, day 2 of our recent trip, and we had reached an oasis on the Murrumbigee River, called Hay, N.S.W.

                1 hay good

Why am I talking about HAY ? Cause it is such a charming small country town, (population only approx. 3000) and I rather liked it.

                    1 hay 22

Felt like we were in Woop Woop, but actually, when you look at the map, we were still only about half way across the dry dusty parts of NSW. The red dot is the Darling R, (all the way from Qld), the blue dot is the Lachlan R., and the yellow is the Murrumbigee. It flows, with all the rest, into the mighty Murray - the border of NSW and Victoria.

                    1 hay 14

Our motel for the night - Saltbush Inn, what else ?? Luckily we rang ahead and booked - got the last room. Imagine not having a room way out here !! 

                   hay buildings

As for Hay itself, the story goes that, back in approx. 1850's, the locals thought that Hay would become the capital of the Riverina (based on the Murrimbigee R.), which has left the town with a grand legacy of Australian architecture. The early architects, in their efforts to tame the harsh outback climate, have left us with a plethora of historical buildings. Such ingenuity, such amazing buildings in this lonely spot, leave you in awe of their work. As with many country towns, the history of Hay is one of rich characters, and an economy that has cycled through booms and busts. 

                  har river

Today, Hay is relevant for several reasons. The river, of course, is totally vital. The surrounding countryside, even though one of the flattest landscapes on earth, farms many many sheep. Top right side of this piccy, is the "Shear Outback", a humungous building as a testament to shearers, sheep, sheep farmers, and the land. 

And the highways - Hay is a hub of roads, going south, going west (Adelaide) going east (Sydney), but why go ?? Swim in the Murrumbigee - even has a beach- adventure on the dirt roads going north, comfortable little town to live in. Why bother going east, west, etc etc., leave that for the tourists (like us !!)

                     hay foodworks

Shopping at Foodworks - I asked the ladies - bright, bubblybut not unusual, if I could take their photo - said yes, very seriously - then fell around the floor in hysterics. Invited everyone over to meet me. Definitely ready for a giggle and a natter. Well, they would have to be friendly and fun, wouldn't they ? They live in Hay.

The picture sitting on top of their heads, is the original grocery that was right here - fabulous picture. Only men, all serious too, but with their shanks of meat lined up on hooks above the counter. So different !

                    1 hay 17 

Fancy a tree change ? Quiet country town with friendly locals ? Sorry, you're too late. This charming cottage, situated right on the main st., sold last July for $80,000. Bargain.

                hay daisies    

We were about halfway to Adelaide. Time to go. Even though the next section was almost as flat as the last, I made a wonderful discovery. The fields seemed to be covered with snow. Snow? hardly. Stopped the car, and as far as the eye could see, were masses of tiny tiny daisies, each one totally perfect. Was the prettiest sight, I picked a few, and they have now dried beautifully - still have them. Plus, an emu came to investigate what we were doing. Told him, and he just said - move along, then.

SO, goodbye Hay.

Next country town on my 100 most charming is BURRA, South Australia.

                       1 burra 2

Look for Adelaide on this map, then go up approx 170 kms - check the red dots. Burra. Once a mining town (copper) now the centre of lots of farming, and a recognized tourist town within the national register.

                  1 burra 10

The countryside is SO beautiful. Slow down Malkie, I need to revel in it. Rain comes here in winter. The hay is growing and green, the rape is sunny amd brilliant and the majestic gums sail serenly through the fields. Beautiful. We have been here in summer - and they do a very good number in browns - brown brown brown. So this is delightful.

                1 burra mining

You know you are in for a treat - get to the outskirts of town, and even the mining ruins are picturesque !!

                   1 burra

Accommodation ? The cutest yet. Paxton Cottages, built by the mining coy. to get the miners out of their hovels by the creek - now converted to extra charming accomodation. No, we haven't stopped there yet, but one day we will!!

As for the rest of Burra - would have to be a photographers delight in every way.

                1 burra mix

The buildings are super quaint. No flashy modern stuff in Burra, thank you. Everywhere you walk - charming and quaint - most overused word by tourists I'm sure.

                1 burra 20 mix

And of course I went crazy with the camera. Clockwise from the top - Adelaide rosella (Malkie thinks a naughty mix of the Adelaide and the yellow rosellas), old house, moss on tree, war memorial, trees in winter,close-up of wonderful stonework, door hinge, rooftops. SIIIGGHH. I could live here.

                1 burra coffee

Hit the local bakery for a coffee - of course they made an exceptionally good cappuccino (mug size, it was freezing outside) and asked the local ladies about the magnificent trees that line the town streets, is winter so no leaves for identification. The answer came back very promptly - "Oh they're cedars", to which I replied in a shocked tone -REALLY ?? "YES". Very emphatically stated. Can't argue with a positive woman with a coffee machine in her hands!! I walked away quietly and drank up. Those trees were certainly NOT cedars, but who am I to argue with the locals.

                       1 burra 31 

                    Fancy a tree change ?? I reckon would cost a lot more than 80,000.

Time to go. Time to leave beautiful beautiful Burra, snoozing in the winter sun, and head off back through to Victoria. One day I will come back and absorb the whole town.

                        grasses 2

This time the white flowers are on long stalks, and the grasses are superb. Time for a cuppa and a look around and a piccy. Who doesn't love travelling ?? And remind me to get a reference book on wild flowers, please Malkie.

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Where have we been on our latest trip ?? Feels like everywhere, man. It isn't. We hardly scratched the surface of this amazing continent.

However, we did travel 5778 kilometres, down to Adelaide and back, PHEW !! But, as Malkie says, we could have done those kms and more, and stayed in Qld. Puts the country in perspective, doesn't it?  (Western Qld next year, please Malkie)

                        red to go green to come back

GREEN line is the trip down. Goondiwindi, Moree, Parkes, Dubbo, Hay, Mildura, Strathalbyn, across to Adelaide. Took 4 days.

 Malkie just drives - sets the car to go, and just drives. Such stamina - he doesn't seem to even get tired. Bright and bushy tailed and fresh with each new day, raring to go - and drives all day. Loves it. Gets a tad anxious if I take over (can't imagine why!!) so I leave him to it. 

Me - I sit beside him. I groan. I wriggle. I squirm. I crochet (granny squares- easy in the car). I whinge. I buy chocolate when I can't cope any longer.I photograph everything and anything. Some of it I enjoy. Eventually I get addicted (approx day 2), and can't wait for the new day, new towns, new sights, and all to come.

Got to Adelaide, had conference (S.A.railways of course), came back.

RED is the trek home.Via Port Broughton, Burra, Swan Hill, Bendigo, Melbourne, then back thru Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury, up through Snowies, back down to Canberra, Sydney, and up the New England to home. Took a lot longer than 4 days, and we had the BEST time, visiting friends along the way.

Back home, and we have crashed this week. But our memories are still with us. And some part of me still wakes up in the morning and thinks - wonder where we go today ???? Addiction to travel - pick me everytime.

That will do for this post, but I plan to write a bit more about the small towns, and some bigger ones, that we spent time in. That will be in the next post.




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