• > STAY SAFE - WEAR A MASK - or whatever way you choose to deal with this thing! Dear MobiMembers - We are all aware of the still current serious situation facing us all right now! Continue to heed the warnings, stay safe, look after yourselves and others and remain well. As much as we are able, let's all help each other to stay sane in our social distancing/isolation and face this thing down. Much love 'n hugs, Rog, Matt and all your MobiStaff... x x <

Hong Kong and Beyond....

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We stayed in a wonderful B&B on the outskirts of Margaret River and in the middle of nature. Kangeroos came hopping on the lawn right next to our little verandah to feed on the grass early evening. :inlove:

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With Margaret River as a our base we take a trip to Hamelin Bay. While in the UK I happen to mention our trip to a friend who tipped me off to the presence of strings rays here which you can paddle amongst in the shallows. Very special.

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From Margaret River we drive along the coast to Albany, a long 4 hour drive that seems to take forever due to the winding roads. Our only stop on the way is the Valley of the Giants which has a tree top walk and ancient forests of tingle trees.

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The coastal area between Perth and Albany is famous for it’s beaches and I can definitely confirm that! The beaches are just superb. We wanted to swim a lot more but some days were too windy or we weren’t prepared or had limited time which was a shame.

The highlight for us in Albany was a boat trip that I found on Tripadvisor. I have become a massive fan of all types of boat trips which I discovered 4 years ago on our holidays to Asia. Although I’m not attracted to sailing or any type of water sport I love being on water in areas with lots of wildlife. This trip promised lots of bird life. Tom had been saying since we arrived in Albany that he wanted to get some photos of pelicans and neither of us were prepared for the wonderful display that we were given.

The trip started at Emu Point and went up the Kalgan River and the name of the boat was the Kalgan Queen. It was a family business running for many many years and now being run by the son who was very knowledgeable and interesting giving us all sorts of info about the area and wildlife.

When we arrived at the boat, it was surrounded by pelicans. For the next 15 minutes as the boat travelled towards the mouth of the river, we were given an amazing display by the wild pelicans as the Skipper chucked them fish. Some of them had been rescued by the father and son combo and brought back to health before releasing back into the wild. After leaving the pelicans behind and reaching the river next in for some lunch were 3 ospreys. Fish were chucked into the water and down swooped the birds to grab the fish out of the water.

I’m not always sure how I feel about such human intervention in nature but this felt fairly harmless and I suppose I have bird feeders in my garden which is no different really. The owner clearly had a special relationship with the pelicans which were highly intelligent.
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Here I thought a video would do the event more justice:
 

terse

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The coastal area between Perth and Albany is famous for it’s beaches and I can definitely confirm that! The beaches are just superb. We wanted to swim a lot more but some days were too windy or we weren’t prepared or had limited time which was a shame.

The highlight for us in Albany was a boat trip that I found on Tripadvisor. I have become a massive fan of all types of boat trips which I discovered 4 years ago on our holidays to Asia. Although I’m not attracted to sailing or any type of water sport I love being on water in areas with lots of wildlife. This trip promised lots of bird life. Tom had been saying since we arrived in Albany that he wanted to get some photos of pelicans and neither of us were prepared for the wonderful display that we were given.

The trip started at Emu Point and went up the Kalgan River and the name of the boat was the Kalgan Queen. It was a family business running for many many years and now being run by the son who was very knowledgeable and interesting giving us all sorts of info about the area and wildlife.

When we arrived at the boat, it was surrounded by pelicans. For the next 15 minutes as the boat travelled towards the mouth of the river, we were given an amazing display by the wild pelicans as the Skipper chucked them fish. Some of them had been rescued by the father and son combo and brought back to health before releasing back into the wild. After leaving the pelicans behind and reaching the river next in for some lunch were 3 ospreys. Fish were chucked into the water and down swooped the birds to grab the fish out of the water.

I’m not always sure how I feel about such human intervention in nature but this felt fairly harmless and I suppose I have bird feeders in my garden which is no different really. The owner clearly had a special relationship with the pelicans which were highly intelligent.
View attachment 153937
Here I thought a video would do the event more justice:
Look at those black and white markings on the pelicans! Not like our locals here.
 

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From Perth we went up to the Pinnacles. What extraordinary landscape and they cover quite a big area. Nobody really knows how they were formed although theories abound.
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Just outside of the town of Cervantes where we stayed was Lake Thetis which contained stromatolites. These are ancient ‘live’ fossils that grow over thousands of years. Live micro organisms combine with sediment to create them. Unlike most situations, the photos look better than the actual landscape. Many of these have been damaged over time. They should all be round domes.
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Amazing!!! ❤ :hearteyes: ❤
 

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We leave the pets in the hands of a house sitter and leave on Boxing Day for the South - Margaret River, the main vineyard district of Western Australia.

On the way we stop off at the famous Busselton jetty which is 6,040 feet (1,841 metres) long. We took the mini tour which excludes the miniature train ride, because we wanted to walk it and it turned out considerably cheaper. This was fortuitous because the main tour was sold out that day. At the end they have an underwater observatory which was a little underwhelming but still fun. I think I would have felt ripped off if I had paid the full tour price although this did include a talk at the observatory which we didn’t get.
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That underwater view is gorgeous... :hearteyes:
 

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RoseCat

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When we arrived at the boat, it was surrounded by pelicans. For the next 15 minutes as the boat travelled towards the mouth of the river, we were given an amazing display by the wild pelicans as the Skipper chucked them fish. Some of them had been rescued by the father and son combo and brought back to health before releasing back into the wild. After leaving the pelicans behind and reaching the river next in for some lunch were 3 ospreys. Fish were chucked into the water and down swooped the birds to grab the fish out of the water.

I’m not always sure how I feel about such human intervention in nature but this felt fairly harmless and I suppose I have bird feeders in my garden which is no different really. The owner clearly had a special relationship with the pelicans which were highly intelligent.
View attachment 153937
Here I thought a video would do the event more justice:
WOW. Look at that pelican!! What an amazing bird.
 

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Back in Sydney and trying to catch up...

So it was back to Perth and then onto Adelaide on the 2 January.

Well, what a big surprise. I had no expectations of the city but it turned out to be a pretty city with lots of old buildings. It really felt that it had been preserved in time but there were still hip restaurants and places to visit.

On the first day, an old colleague of Tom’s took us to the D’arenberg Vineyard Estate, which has The Cube which was holding a Dali exhibition. I am fascinated by Salvador Dali’s art. He was a truly unique artist with an unusual imagination.

Here is The Cube with one of Dali’s status in front.

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The other floors of the building had some interesting experiences. In the room shown below different items were placed into jars and you squeezed the blower and put your nose up to the ‘trumpet‘ part to experience the aroma of the item in the jar. It was quite amazing how strong the smells were.
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Then Tom having been a good cricket player and a massive cricket supporter, it was off one evening to see the Adelaide Oval. It was a lovely evening.
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In this last image you will see people on the roof which is a tour you can do.
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From Adelaide we went back to Sydney to recuperate for a couple of days although we did play some golf!

Next was Tasmania, a much anticipated leg of the journey. It’s interesting how one has a total misconception of a place. I was expecting a wild untamed jungle sort of place. :rolleyes: Well, yes, a lot of it is untouched but less of the wild jungle and surprisingly dry. It has 900mm of rainfall a year which is a fair whack. 200mm more than Surrey in the UK where I live. It was also quite chilly which we had been warned about, often not hotter than 17 degrees C during the day and going down to 10 degrees in the evening.

It rained on our first day in Hobart which was a pity because we only had one night there so we went off to the famous Museum of Old and New Age (MONA). It was a fascinating building, built mostly underground because the owner wasn’t allowed to build it up. All the levels are connected by walkways and levels so you can often see artworks from under them or next to them or above them. I thought this very clever.

As for the contents...sorry, a load of rubbish. And totally disorganised. They ran out of handsets but we discovered that you could only see many of the smaller exhibitions if you got yourself into the ‘digital queue’ using our non-existent handsets although we did discover later we could have downloaded an app on our phones :rolleyes:. I don’t think I missed out to be honest and the only good thing was that we were out of the rain!

Top - a couple of things I did find amusing. Bottom left - the different levels within the museum. Bottom right - a ceiling selfie with my Tassie friend and Tom.
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Next day in Tassie was a quick stroll around the Saturday market. About the same as any other market and then a trip up Mount Wellington to see views of the city. Pretty windy and cold up there but great views.

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So it’s on to Freycinet (Coles Bay). Just to help a bit here’s a map of Tasmania and only the little we managed to do in 7 days! Yes, it’s an island off Australia but it’s two-thirds the size of the UK and bigger than Austria! Or the same size as West Virginia.

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We stopped in at a wildlife conservation park just outside of Hobart because we realised we wouldn’t have the opportunity to see a Tasman Devil in the wild because so many of them have been wiped out by a face tumour cancer. They look awfully cute until they open their mouths! Their teeth are strong enough to cut through wire and when they eat other animals they eat the whole lot crunching through the bones, skin and fur. They are scavengers so often feed on road kill which means they often get wiped out themselves. Tasmania’s answer to the hyena.
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Scenery on the drive up to the Freycinet National Park (the peninsula at Coles Bay on the map).
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I was looking forward to our two night stay on the edge of the Freycinet National Park and I wasn’t disappointed. We treated ourselves by staying at the Edge of the Bay hotel and my what a spectacular room we had overlooking Coles Bay. In the evenings the little wallabies ate outside our window.
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The next day we went on a 10km walk around the park. Just wonderful. It has to be said there were a fair number of people doing the walk but not too many to spoil it. Of course you won’t see too many people in my photos even if there’s hordes around :lol: .

Here’s a panorama of Wine Glass Bay which is about 45 minutes from the start. Fewer people after this.

The landscape was surprisingly varied and at one point we were walking through what felt like a desolate forest.
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This view reminds me a lot of the Robberg walk I do in South Africa on the South Coast and I reckon the climate must be very similar but I saw a lot more bugs and creatures on the SA walk surprisingly.
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Let’s see if I can finally get this finished!

Next was a leg highly anticipated by my DH. Golf at the Barnbougle courses in Bridport at the top of Tasmania which are in the top 30 of the world! The reason why I had no problem dragging him all the way to Tassie! These are what are called linked courses - ‘wild’ coastal courses typically found in Scotland.

The wind was howling and the flies were frightful but the courses beautiful. These images really do not do them justice.

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From here it was down to Bridestowe Lavender Farm. I have always wanted to go to a lavender farm when the lavender is in full bloom. I think the one we went to in New Zealand was a bit prettier but the lavender wasn’t blooming. The red soil inbetween was a little harsh. The products were high quality but pretty expensive. We did the ’free’ half an hour tour including the oil extraction shed (not really free because you paid $10 to enter the farm but well worth it). Very interesting. It surprised me that of all the 100 or so tourists milling around, only 6 of us bothered to do it. However, many of them were there for the lavender bear! Right? Okay, so a female Chinese Pop star cuddled her lavender bear that she got from here on social media. The rest is history. It really put Bridestowe on the map!

Of course I went to the section of the farm where the hundreds of tourists weren’t taking selfies. :lol:

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