13 November 2014

G20 Summit in Brisbane, Queensland Australia

Well, the G20 Summit is taking place this weekend in Brisbane, Queensland - just up the coast from us.  It's been really interesting seeing the dignitaries arriving and the excitement building for this historic event.  The entire city is in lock-down.  Police from NZ, and every state and territory from Australia are on duty.  The media centre that was built to house the incoming media is the size of 2 football fields.

Whether any agreements will be made is anyone's guess.  What I do know for sure is it will be Hot! The forecast high for Brisbane on Saturday is 35C (95F) and 37C (99F) on Sunday.

Neo captures what will no doubt be going on @ the G20 Summit in his routine on the trampoline.

27 October 2014

Whitehaven Beach and Chalkies

Water Sports boat holds 22 passengers
We joined Hamilton Island Water Sports for a boat ride tour of the Whitsunday Islands.   It was a calm day, with mostly sunny skies - only about 20% clouds.  Reef Ryder is a fast boat, and Neo was ducking under a towel to avoid the wind.  I was in the front row with Zoe and Neo.  Dave, Clara and Tristan were in the 2nd row of seats.

Kids ready to snorkel @ Chalkies Beach
We traveled around Hamilton Island from the Marina through the Whitsundays Channel.  First we passed Dent Island, which is where the Hamilton Island Golf Club is located.  The Captain informed us it's a world class golf course and no expense was spared to create it.

We have witnessed tidal rips from top of One Tree Hill.  Today, we rode through the rip between Whitsunday Island and Fritzlan Island.
Fish on Chalkies.  Visibility wasn't very good.

Whitsundays Island (L) Fitzalan Island (C) Hamilton Island (R) .
Rockface on Whitsunday Island.
Our first stop was Chalkies Beach on Haselwood Island.  Chalkies Beach is just across from Whitehaven Beach.  The fringing reef of the Great Barrier Reef is in the Whitsunday Islands.  White sand of Chalkies Beach is the same as on Whitehaven Beach.  Everyone went in for a snorkel, including Dave.  The visibility wasn't very good.  The Captain explained there had been recent storms that had stirred up the sediment. We had 45 minutes to snorkel, and the time was gone quickly. There were reports of a sea turtle.

Beautiful turquoise water of the Whitsunday Islands.
We were finally able to see Whitsunday Island upclose, after looking at it from Hamilton Island for this week.  Whitehaven Beach is on Whitsunday Island.

Fish in feeding frenzy at Neo's feet on Whitehaven Beach.

Mom and Zoe on Whitehaven Beach

24 October 2014

Hamilton Island Vacation

Resort Lookout is the 2nd tallest point on Hamilton Island. Clara took Neo to mini golf, while Zoe, Tristan, Dave and I trekked.  It's a steep climb to the top, but well worth it.  The views are spectacular.  While we were standing at the top, we witnessed a plane coming in to land at the airport. The tallest point is Passage Peak, with many stairs straight up to the top.  Clara climbed to Passage Peak later in the day.

We had opted to take the free shuttle from our holiday accommodation to the start of the trail.
Hamilton Island, Resort Lookout view

Dave and Zoe on Resort Lookout.
Past an 800m Steep Climb there's this sign.

Catherine enjoying a drink in the resort pool.
A cruise ship, with passengers from the US, Canada, and Australia, was visiting Hamilton Island for the day and riding the free shuttles.  Which made our return trip home tricky.  When the shuttle arrived, it was full, until 2 passengers got off then Dave and Tristan could get on and go home.  Zoe and I explored on foot.  We discovered the Resort Pools near Catseye Beach.  We shopped at the General Store.  We looked at other storefronts.  

Sunset over Dent Island, as viewed from One Tree Hill.

23 October 2014

Adorable Koala @ Wildlife Hamilton Island

Holiday to the Whitsunday Islands

The taxi collected us at 6:15am then train to Sydney Airport.  Morning breakfast after our security clearance and our flight was boarding.  Scheduled 9:50 departure time bacame 10:20 as we waited for connecting flight with 14 additional passengers.

As the plane came in to land, we could see the Whitsunday Island and the blue, blue ocean.  Dylan greeted us at the airport with our golf buggy.  Our luggage was stowed into a trailer attached to the golf buggy he drove.
Dylan @ our golf buggy

We're staying at Cooinda Gardens 1, a 4 bedroom townhouse on the North end of Hamilton Island. Our food order from Coles Online was waiting for us.  By 1pm we were unpacked and in the pool.   After lunch, I drove Tristan, Zoe and Neo in the buggy for a quick tour of the island.  Meanwhile, Clara explored using the free island shuttles.

Early the next morning, Dave and I climbed One Tree Hill to view the sunrise.  We saw a kangaroo dash away.  We heard amazing bird songs we're unfamiliar with.

Sunrise.  Dave @ One Tree Hill
Back at the house by 7am, the younger kids were up.  Zoe, Tristan, Neo and I enjoyed a buffet breakfast with the koalas @ Wildlife.  Tristan's breakfast sausage was snatched from his plate by a kookaburra in midflight!   This little Koala was so adorable.  He was one of 3 having his breakfast with us - and he was active.
Breakfast with this Adorable Koala 

06 October 2014

Stroms Lookout - Daley's Point - Tristan's 14th

Bouddi National Park
Rocky Point Trail
Stroms Lookout

Lighting Tristan's 14th Birthday Cake
I love these Spear Plants
During these school holidays, we bush walked on a couple of trails we haven't been on before.  One of these was the Rocky Point Trail to Stroms Lookout.
Snake on Rocky Trail

Spring Flowers on way to
Stroms Lookout

Tristan and Zoe
Looking out over Brisbane Water
and Pretty Beach
 Just as we started on the trail, there was a snake under our feet!  It was traveling as quickly as possible across the path.  By the time I had my camera out, it was moving into the grass.  The picture above, left is blurry.  The snake was a nice Rust color with good pattern.  Clara thought the tail had been lost.
View from Stroms Lookout
Hardys Bay and Pretty Beach

Pretty Beach and Wagstaffe
Ettalong Beach (Right Point) by sandbar
 Beautiful day, nice walk, awesome lookout.  We enjoyed the time together and in nature.

Zoe with Flannel Flowers on path

Cool Notch in Tree

Heart-shaped bark

27 September 2014

National Art School HSC Intensive - Clara's Paintings

Clara was selected for the National Art School's HSC (Higher School Certificate) Instensive class in Painting.  Year 11 students from around NSW applied for the opportunity to participate.

Cell Block Theatre Sign
You can see the circular stairs and bars in
sandstone and bars on the windows of
Cell Block Theatre
Clara's Horse painting was displayed in the Cell Block Theatre.  This theatre has an interesting history.  The restoration project was officially announced in 1955 by Katharine Hepburn.

Originally built in 1836 as a prison block for female inmates, The theatre is a reminder of Sydney's dubious origins as a place for convicts to serve their terms.  The original sandstone walls and bars on windows remain.

Clara's "translation" of Anna Vinogradova painting

The National Art School (University) in Sydney.  Clara had to travel with Dave to the train station in the morning (6:45 am departure time) and returned home about about 6:45 pm - so a full 12 hour day.

The class ran over 9 days - 4 consecutive days in the school holidays after Term 2 and 5 consecutive days in the school holidays after Term 3.  Clara just completed the course.  In 9 days, she "transcribed" 5 paintings.  She seemed to enjoy Anna Vinogradova's paintings.  She learned a lot.

On Friday, there was a public Open House with the art from each Year 11 participant on display.  I took Tristan, Zoe and Neo to the Open House.

Clara's "translation" of Anna Vinogradova painting

24 September 2014

Spring Wildflowers on Daleys Point Fire Trail

Sign at the beginning of the Daleys Point Fire Trail
 It's the school holidays here in New South Wales.  The weather has been warm and sunny, perfect for bush walking.  I've been wanting to walk the Daleys Point Fire Trail for some time.  The Parks Department has been upgrading the car park, sparking more interest on my part.  Finally walked it this week, and it was beautiful and enjoyable.  The walk ends with views over the Brisbane Water. Here you'll find some of the Spring Wildflowers we encountered and a few views.  Enjoy!
Wildflowers on the Daleys Point Fire Trail

Brothers on the Daleys Point Fire Trail Walk

White Flannel Flowers.  These flowers are very soft and velvety.

View of Brisbane Water from The Daleys Fire Trail

Another view of Brisbane Water from Fire Trail
Small cave in the rock formation

Tristan thought this was a blood tree....
I don't think that's correct, but the sap is amazing

15 September 2014

Google Trekker

Google Trekker (photo from Google Trekker webpage)
Google is continuing to map the world - now in hard to reach places.  The Google Trekker will be carried by NSW Parks and Wildlife staff in Bouddi National Park.  The street view camera system captures 360 degree views of some amazing walks and landscapes.
Coastal Walk in Bouddi National Park, NSW

The Coastal Walk in Bouddi National Park will be mapped.  The World Heritage listed Old Great North Road will be mapped with the trekker as well.
Read the full article from the Express Advocate, Wednesday 10 September 2014.  School Holidays are just around the corner (next week).  Since it's spring, I think I'll take the kids for one or both of these walks - and add some more photos for a sneak peak of what the Google Trekker will display.
The Old Great North Walk trail sign