Monday, 27 August 2012

Our Mountain

A simple view of Mount Gravatt bushland at sunset, touched by the warm glow.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A grand day out at the Ekka

The event of the year in Brisbane - the Ekka!  The Brisbane Royal Show, or as its better and more fondly known, the 'Ekka', is such a big event here that people are even granted a day off to attend - and its so big that the day of the week you get to take off depends on whereabouts you live in the region!  We went along on the holiday Wednesday 'Peoples Day', along with the majority of the city folks, but the crowds were far more exciting than annoying with a wonderful family vibe.  In total 400,000 people attended the week long event.  This lovely set of instagram photos 'Ekkagrams' taken at the Ekka 2012 give an impression of the colour and ambience of the place.  Here are also a few of the many photos I took on the day, I've made them into a slideshow as it was just too hard to pick out just a couple!  You might spot 'can-do Campbell' Newman, the Queensland Premier, singing the national anthem before the final of the Australian Tree Felling Championship!  Click the image below to start the show.

The Ekka is city meets country, fairground rides, sheepdog trials, horse parades, strawberry sundaes, dagwood dogs, showbags, exhibitions, farmers market, chariot races, wood chop and so much more... one day was really not enough to see it all and it was totally kitsch, charming and very Australian.  Loved it!  I hope it keeps its soul when it is 'revitalised' over the coming year.  The video below shows both how it is now, and how the developers envision it will become.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Places you love

An alliance of 30 conservation groups has started a campaign called 'places you love'.  As the federal government is considering revising environmental laws to facilitate resource exploitation, a major component is to devolve project approval powers to state governments.  We need to take action now to keep federal protection of the special places we love in Australia, as they are already vulnerable to development threats, such as from mining. As you can see on this blog there are many places in Australia I love and so of course I've already sent my message to try to keep them protected.  There are also some lovely photos on this site in the gallery (I am hoping my picture of koalas on Mt Gravatt might feature there too, I just uploaded it!). 
Crimson Rosellas in the ANBG: A place I love very much

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Peaks to Points

My local 'peak' Mount Gravatt

Some nice little wildlife events are coming up in Brisbane in early September I thought I would publicise. I will be sure to go to the photography workshop at my local reserve Mount Gravatt! This is part of the Peaks to Points Festival to be held at reserves across south Brisbane, with activities ranging from orienteering to the wonders of worm farming!  The website also contains some nice info on the nature of the Flinders Peak to Moreton Bay corridor and there are plenty of ongoing events advertised there, if you miss this festival.  Great that something like this is happening in the city!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Why didn't we go sooner?!

It is nearly a year since we moved to Brisbane, and with the beautiful days of endless sunshine we are having at the moment it seemed about time we visited Stradbroke Island, or 'Straddie' as its known here.  Our excuse for not visiting earlier was that we only just recently bought a car, now making the trip to the ferry much easier.  However, its surprising how it seems locals rarely, if ever, visit Straddie - my hairdresser confessed she has never been there, and she has lived in Brisbane for 30 years!

The early morning ferry ride across the calm bay from Cleveland was great, plenty of bird life around including of course some pelicans.

We hopped off the ferry and onto the local bus.  As soon as we were ready to go the driver asked 'so who would like to stop for a couple of minutes to see a koala?!' A resounding 'YES please'! The bus pulled up just down the road and we gathered round a tree to see this lovely little koala having a snooze.
At this time of year its perhaps a little cold to go in the water (unless you are from northern Europe like me, then I'd say its fine!), but the real attraction right now is the chance to see Humpback Whales migrating along the coast.  We headed for the cliffs at Point Lookout on the North-eastern tip of the island, where as soon as we stepped off the bus we caught sight of whales on the horizon.  After a leisurely coffee and whale watching for a while we headed off on the 'Gorge Walk' which took us to some absolutely spectacular viewpoints.  From here we could look down into the crystal clear waters of the coral sea, viewing not only whales but turtles, manta rays, eagles and an entire pod of dolphins.  To experience a coastline so alive was truly wonderful, and we felt very lucky to be there that day.  
Main beach - we can't wait to go camping here! 
Such clear water we could see this turtle swimming from the clifftop.   
My best shot of a whale!  Not spectacular... we only saw one breaching in the calm water and they were a long way off.  But it was great to see so many.  
 Showing again how clear the water is.  The dark shape just in the open water you might make out is a Manta Ray.
I'm seriously thinking of taking up canoeing after this - the whole dolphin pod surrounded the canoeist. 

After a wonderful day and a little lazy time on the beach we headed back to the ferry, with some lovely views back towards the island, yachts bobbing on the water and Pelicans swimming nearby.  Truly an idyllic place and so close to the city.