Yesterday's brown butterfly is one of the brilliant blue butterflies when it opens its wings! I've run out of material so perhaps this is a good time for me to take a blog break while I figure out what I will do with my blogs in the New Year.
I remember that I forgot to post a story about the Nerada tea plantation on the Atherton Tableland. I wondered how the tea was harvested. The only image in my mind of tea harvesting was of women on the slopes of India hand picking the crop. The neat hedge-like clip of these fields assured me this was not the case here. The photo below of the video display shows how it's done. The informational display says the best tea comes from the top shoots. Hand pluckers can pick 40 or 50 kilos a day. With shears a plucker can do about 150 kilos a day. A Japanese developed hand shearer can do about 300 kilos a day per person but it is hard to control the depth of the cut. The machine above is Australian developed and can do 45 tonnes in a single shift, of tea as good as hand plucking.
And so we reached the end of our long journey. In our garden winter flowering camellias were in bloom, the first blossom was whitening the boughs of the pear trees and the air was fragrant with jonquil, daphne and wattle. Ah home!! Thank you for following along with me over so many months which actually took 9 weeks but much longer to report. It has been a delight to relive one of the best journeys I have ever travelled.
Royal Hotel, Musswellbrook It was so chilly my camera mirror fogged up but by the time we reached Merriwa it had cleared. It was surprising to find two Royals quite close to home that I had not previously collected. Royal Hotel, Merriwa
Well we have clearly left the Grey Nomads behind. Even though we mountain folk were feeling the weather was still quite warm, it seems most of the rest of the population doesn't think so. We are at a caravan park near Forster. I was seduced by the claim that it had absolute beach frontage but I don't consider a fence and forest of trees between me and the beach to be true to that claim. Perhaps as compensation down by the water we were rewarded by seeing a pod of five or six dolphins at play (didn't have my camera with me)
The Big Banana at Coffs Harbour was one of the first of Australia's big things and these days the attraction is a little worn but we called in anyway. It was the weekend again, I will take you down the Road that Beckoned tomorrow.
I was too busy making visits to relatives to take photos at Gympie, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast but here we are on the road again, leaving Queensland and back in New South Wales. We decided to stick to the coast on the Pacific Highway for our trip home to stay warm just a little longer -- the inland can be very cold at this time of year. We haven't driven the Pacific Highway for years and were pleasantly surprised with the improvements in the road. I took this shot as we drove across the bridge into Grafton. The Northern Rivers district is quite a lovely part of the world, I plan to one day to spend more time here.
It's pretty nice country around here, especially where the Glass House Mountains appear. But we are on the downward run, not lingering because we are now back in South East Queensland with lots of family visits to make. We are also in familiar territory and I don't have the same sense of discovery. The driver is intent on our destination so even made me grab the Royal Hotel at Tiaro from the car window instead of stopping. Royal Hotel, Tiaro
As we approached the Lake the tour guide said, perhaps you have seen postcards of a beautiful blue lake fringed with white sands. It's not like that at the moment. We've had so much rain over the past few months the water level is high and covering the sand and runnoff and vegetation has tainted the crystal clear water to a murky green. And so our day ended with disappointment. Here is what I hoped to see And in case you are wondering, we didn't see any dingos (native dogs) either. After one of them killed a child some years ago they were extensively culled so sightings are more rare these days.
We go a little further up the beach to the coloured sands. They pitch pretty hard to try and get you to take the 15 minute flight that takes off and lands on the beach. You will very likely see whales they said. We gave it a miss. But from the beach we did see whales jump out of the water a few times and blowing water, but I was not quick enough with my camera. By this time I was feeling very battered from bumping about and hanging out for the lunch break to get a rest. I was consoling myself that after lunch we would see beautiful blue Lake McKenzie and it would be worth the bumpy ride.
Fraser Island is a World Heritage sand island. It has forests, lakes, sandy beaches and crystal clear streams. It is a big island 123 kms long and 22 kms wide and you must have a 4WD to traverse the sandy tracks. Rather than attempt unaccustomed driving in the sand we took a tour but had the misfortune of being the last passengers to board our bus which put us at the very back and resulted in a VERY uncomfortable jarring ride. The roads were bad due to recent heavy rains. Our first port of call was Central Station where there was once a timber camp. Lots of beautiful tall trees with staghorns and elkhorns growing among them. And a walk beside the beautiful clear stream, you can see an eel in the middle shot.