St Augustin

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Who lives sees much, who travels sees more.

Monday, December 6, 2010

DARWIN - N.T. - The bush, strange fruits, waterholes, water buffalo, Litchfield National Park, Mindil Beach


The hot, dry bush in the Kakadu National Park

Some strange bush fruits in Kakadu - sorry, don't know the name, do you?


One of the many waterholes south of Darwin. This is part of Berry Springs.

The beautiful Arafura Sea. View from Darwin close to where the WW2 bombing took place.


A water buffalo caught resting while a friendly bird eats its pests.

Another swimming hole south of Darwin.

Many illegal fishing boats get confiscated. The Maritime Museum puts some on show.

Litchfield National Park swimming hole. Oh this was good on a boiling day!


They grow big termites in Darwin

A lovely cool bush walk south of Darwin (sorry! Darwin teeters on the edge of the Arafura Sea south everything else is south!

They're a weird bunch! Darwin streets.

So now we wait for the sunset. The beach will be packed soon. I'm going to post some glorious sunsets from Mindil Beach next post.

I hope you enjoyed tripping around Darwin.

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Monday, November 29, 2010


Darwin has some great Colonial buildings

Government House

Aboriginal Cave Art

Berry Springs, a natural waterhole south of Darwin where it is safe to swim.

My husband and I lived in Darwin for a few months before it was razed by Cyclone Tracey. This is the old house we rented. We went back recently and lo and behold, it was one of the few original houses standing!

I hope you enjoy this peek of Darwin. I'll be posting more in a few days.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

A short trip through Kakadu.

When we were in Darwin for a wedding, we took a day trip to the Kakadu National Park. It has been developed a lot since I was last there like 30 years ago! Good roads, good tourist info, and especially good Aboriginal tours now available. Our trip up the Yellow River had a wonderful commentary. The sights were awesome. I'll share some with you.

Aboriginal Rock Art

The caves where the rock art is found

Wildlife watching on the Yellow River. The guides are aboriginal and it's an aboriginal-owned company.

Jabiru in the wetlands

Brave bloom in the wilderness

Aren't the little ducks cute?

Part of the Yellow River wetlands

Jaiburu, the NT's national bird, is everywhere.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Northern Exposure - touring the Northern Rivers District of New South Wales


Tropical blooms at New Brighton village
A short stay in the Northern Rivers District of New South Wales reveals vibrant communities and tranquil natural beauty.

We love the Northern Rivers District of New South Wales, so when a friend recommended a cabin at New Brighton in the Brunswick Valley, off we went.

New Brighton is a quaint village minutes from the thriving township of Ocean Shores, six minutes from Brunswick Heads and a 20 minute drive to touristy Byron Bay.

 Every evening, a glass of wine on the river outside our cabin

Photo Courtesy of Sydney Tourist Guide - click on map for info.

The B & B, An Ster is a cabin wedged between the Pacific Ocean and an arm of the Brunswick River. A perfect oasis—sub-tropical garden, beautiful river (a sanctuary for migratory birds and marine life) and a pristine surfing beach to soothe the spirits. The owner, Francoise, imports hand-embroidered French linens, so the decor was ‘beach luxe’, comfortable yet affordable.

The Northern Rivers District is huge, so we explored mainly within the Brunswick Valley. There was plenty to see: lush green countryside, quirky towns, mountain and coastal scenery.

Lush green countryside

Horses on the range

Waking to birdsong, we walked along Brighton Beach chatting to friendly locals. After a healthy breakfast provided by Francoise and enjoyed beside the river, we drove to Brunswick Heads. The Saturday market was in full swing. Stalls spread along the Brunswick River, it was a colourful sight— people swimming and fishing in the sparkling waters nearby. We bought books at Two Square Pegs’ stall, run by a Gold Coast couple who combine travel with bookselling, their staggering library housed in the rig.

The Square Peg Book Bus

At the breakwater where the river meets the ocean, we found an excellent safe beach. We noted for future reference the number of superbly situated holiday parks in the Heads and were impressed by the many cafes, restaurants and cool shops. The art deco Hotel Brunswick was pumping out live music to an appreciative crowd munching on fresh local fish and chips.
Busker at the Brunswick Heads Markets

A short drive from Bruns, (as the locals call it) we were in the enchanting town of Mullumbimby, in the foothills of Mt Chincogan. We enjoyed panini and coffee in La Table’s dog-friendly outdoor eating area with our little Foxy. Driving by Cedar House Antiques in a beautiful historic home, we couldn’t resist. Some dollars lighter, we headed to Minyon Falls through dense forests and winding roads. Our return trip was via tiny Federal, then prosperous Bangalow, stunning rural scenery all the way.

 Old Federal General Store - a country-town institution

This route took us through Byron Bay, where we couldn’t resist homemade ice cream, so we perched on a rustic bench dripping everywhere and watching the hip passing parade. We were both looking forward to getting back to our cabin –a bottle of wine, bread, cheese and fruit, watching the mullet doing acrobatics in the river.

 Byron Bay lighthouse seen from the hinterland drive

Brighton Beach is beautiful, but after a walk there next morning, we drove to Tweed Heads along the coastal route, buying funky fruits at roadside stalls. We enjoyed the wonderful view from Hastings Point, then at Kingscliffe we ate the best ever homemade scones at The Three Figs cafe.
 One of the beautiful beaches

On our drive back, we explored more Brunswick Valley villages. At Crabbe Creek, a wrong turn led to the discovery of TheRealBeans, a certified coffee farm. Axel Wurtele’s coffee has no pesticides, is handpicked and sundried. The car was full of the aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans as we drove off, eager to sip it by the river at our idyllic cabin.

Oh, the coffee! Everywhere! And some is certified organic too!

Driving back to Queensland via the Tweed Valley Way, we discovered Chillingham, near the border. We ate macadamia ice cream and bought fresh produce from the bush tucker garden. A fitting end to a wonderful three days of Northern Exposure.

 Sunset by the river at An Ster, New Brighton

I hope you enjoyed the tour. Some day, go, if you haven't already.

The Northern Rivers district stretches from the Clarence River to Tweed Heads on the Queensland border, then to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.

New Brighton is 600 kilometres north of Sydney, and 40 kilometres south of the Queensland border. Easily accessible via the Pacific Highway.

An Ster Riverside Cabin, New Brighton (from $110 per night)
Tel: 02 66804499

The Real Beans Organic Certified Coffee, Crabbe Creek:
Tel: 02 66771682

Holiday Parks, Brunswick Heads:
Ferry Reserve Holiday Park
Pacific Highway
, Brunswick
Ph (02) 6685 1872

Massey Greene Holiday Park
Tweed Street, Brunswick Heads
Ph (02) 6685 1329

Terrace Reserve Holiday Park
Fingal Street
, Brunswick
Ph (02) 6685 1233


Monday, August 30, 2010

Let's Go Noosa! Part 4, Final chapter.

There is no shortage of places to stay in or around Noosa.


From upmarket resorts to houseboats to campsites to rainforest retreats, there is a huge range of accommodation.

Check out: Tourism Noosa for choices.

Accommodation along the beachfront in Hastings Street is heavenly, but the prices can be hellish. Here is a sample:

La Mer, Hastings Street, on the beach

• The up-market ‘La Mer’ charges from AU$500 nightly, to AU$8,000 weekly.

• Noosa Village Motel, has rooms from AU$150 per night for 3 people, to AU$265 per night for 4 – 6 guests.

For a budget option, try the Noosa Tewantin Caravan Park, which offers deluxe villas for AU$103 – 137 per night, or 1 bed villas for AU$88 -116 per night, powered tent sites AU$29 per night. The bushy setting on the river makes it a wildlife sanctuary.


Hastings Street is Queensland's most famous ‘eat street’ and foodie destination. There are over 170 restaurants with a vast range of cuisines. Try hinterland country pubs, casual street dining or surf clubs with fantastic views. All use fresh local produce and most are open 7 days.

On Hastings Street:

berados on the beach

• berados, owned by Noosa icon and American ex-pat Jim Berado. Excellent week night specials. Tel: +61 7 54475666.

• Noosa Heads Surf Club has the best views of Main Beach. Recently renovated and looking amazing. Dine on the deck day or night for a visual feast. Loads of fresh seafood too!

Tel: +61 7 54745688

Noosa Heads:

• Reef Hotel. Kid friendly ‘Reef Ranger Room.’ Great meals, reasonable prices, just up the hill from Hastings Street. Tel: +61 7 54474477

Check out Noosa Restaurant’s for many more choices.


Hastings Street is gorgeous and its shops are original and interesting. It may be Noosa’s glam fashion strip, but for that Great Outdoors holiday you’ll find locally-designed beach gear and world-renowned classic surf boards. There are many galleries in and near to Hastings Street where you can learn about contemporary tribal life. The Putipula Gallery in Noosa Junction has artwork sourced from remote community-based aboriginal artists.

Markets are a great way to soak up local culture, taste test local products, and see artists at work. Visit the local, hinterland or seaside markets. The Noosa Farmers’ Market is held every Sunday morning at the AFL grounds, Weyba Creek.

Pitipula Gallery - Tel: +61 7 5449 2511.


There are plenty of ATMs and credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere. Except for Hastings Street restaurants, Australians generally do not expect tips.


Noosa's climate, active community and gorgeous scenery make it a perfect setting for events. There are festivals of Surfing, Food, Wine, Jazz, and the famous Noosa Triathlon, the 3rd largest in the world. Plan your trip around an event you’d enjoy.


Tourism Noosa’s website for comprehensive information for planning your Noosa holiday. Tourism Noosa Information Centre is located in the centre of Hastings Street.

Tel: within Australia: 1800 002 624 or 07 5430 5000

Tel: outside Australia: +61 7 5430 5000

So jump on that plane. The Noosa tribe is waiting. Maybe you’ll follow in the footsteps of David ‘Wandi’ Bracefell. He escaped to Noosa four times!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Let's Go Noosa! Part 3 - Noosa National Park, Australia Zoo and more...

Surfers heading into Noosa National Park to catch some waves at the Bay


Noosa National Park is a short walk from Hastings Street. Families surf here all year round watched by the occasional koala, bush turkey, goanna or wallaby. Hire boards (some accommodation provides them free) and walk to the bays and coves of the rocky headland. You will meet locals like Jim, Quinn and James who eat breakfast every Sunday at the entrance to the park after a morning surfing their favourite spot, Tea Tree Bay. They told me that First Point has a perfect long-board break that, on a small to medium sized swell, dishes up long, peeling waves. Further round the headland, protected coves and bays offer great surfing, but if you and your family are novices, stick to Noosa’s Main Beach or try the latest, Paddle Surfing.

Note: Patrolled swimming areas

Always swim between the red and yellow flags. Lifeguards patrol the main beaches only. NO FLAGS = NO SWIMMING.


Pray before you surf
Great Sandy National Park and Fraser Island

An unforgettable family tour is to the Great Sandy National Park which stretches for 37 miles from north of Noosa to Rainbow Beach. It offers easy 4WD access to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island with its pristine rainforests, clear blue lakes and lagoons and long, sweeping beaches covered in dazzling white sand. Pure-bred russet-coloured Fraser Island dingoes prowl the bush and beach, foraging for tucker.

Fraser Island’s original inhabitants

The Butchulla tribe inhabited Fraser Island before a shipwreck in 1836 brought a white man and woman, Captain James and Eliza Fraser. The Butchulla cared for the castaways on the island they called K’gari (Paradise), but by the late 1930s sadly they had been cast out of paradise.

Getting there

Access the Great Sandy National Park via North Shore, located between the Noosa River and the Pacific Ocean. You need a boat or put your vehicle on the regular motor vehicle ferry from Tewantin, a few minutes from Noosa. At North Shore there’s camping, fishing, horse or camel riding, the lakes and the Everglades to explore.

Tel: +61 7 54490393 for tour information.

Terri, Bindy and critters at Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo, home of Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin, is 27 miles south of Noosa. It can be the wildest show on earth, with risky wildlife action, crocodile feeding, and encounters with gorgeous animals. Behind the antics there is a strong message of wildlife conservation and care.

Entry: AU$54 adult, AU$32 child, or a family ticket of AU$161.

Tel: Local: 07 5436 2000

Tel: Overseas: +61 7 54948604

Australia Zoo - Whale Watching

Steve’s Whale One Whale Encounters leaves from the Wharf, Mooloolaba. An adrenaline-inducing day of whale watching on a luxury cruiser with a great lunch costs a family AU$320, a single adult AU$125.

Tel: 1300CRIKEY.

Ettamogga Pub and Aussie World

Fair Dinkum Aussies arriving at Aussie World for a day of Down Under fun

Ettamogah Pub is 24 miles south of Noosa. You will be charmed by its quirky shape and caricature appearance and while you’re there, tuck into a huge fair dinkum Aussie family meal in Bluey’s Bar and Grill.

A Fair Dinkum Aussie history lesson

The word ‘ettamogah’ is Aboriginal for ‘place of good drink.’ The original creator of the Ettamogah Pub, cartoonist Ken Maynard, started drawing the Pub in 1959. The real life Ettamogah Pub was built in 1989, using trees cleared from the site. Pictures of the original cartoons hang around the walls alongside other eclectic displays of Australiana.
Ettamogga Pub, from comic book to reality

Check out the 1927 Chevy truck on top of the bright red roof of the Pub. It stands an impressive 59 feet high. In the cartoon the theory is the truck was washed up there in Australia’s mighty flood of 1946 and no-one bothered to get it down.

Aussie World family fun-park is located behind the Ettamogah Pub and has over thirty rides and games for children and big kids. There are great gift stores with a huge display of aboriginal souvenirs and artefacts.

Entry, free, but you buy tickets to the rides. For AU$80 a family has entry to all rides all day.

Tel: +61 7 54945444


Eumundi Markets, centre of fresh produce
Eumundi Markets

Every Wednesday and Saturday this former timber and railway town close to Noosa becomes a bustling marketplace under the shade of massive ancient fig trees. These trees were planted in memory of local boys who died in the Great War. Over 500 stalls sell local hand-crafted goods. Check out local artwork. Taste test pungent ginger beer. Try local organic coffee and snacks while listening to buskers and entertainers playing didgeridoos, world music, Australian country and western tunes or tribal rhythms. Australian culture at its most relaxed.

Didgeridoo player