Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finishing February

The kangaroo 'caretakers' of our church grounds watch over our comings and goings.
A thoughtful friend delivered these gorgeous roses on Valentine's Day - she had read between the lines.
The friendly King Parrot revisited our backyard at least twice more.

Miss E celebrated her 7th birthday in a flurry of Lego and siblings, declaring she had the 'Funnest, craziest, biggest, cutest family in her whole life'. Master J came home from uni in time for birthday cake, while Miss E senior departed for her Sydney college very early the following morning. 

And so ends February. A brand new month and season await, brimming with fresh hope and opportunities.

Sharing at Saturday's Critters.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Biology in the Backyard

I may have left the enchanting rainforest setting of Dorrigo, but I am still surrounded by the rich wonders on nature! With young to protect, these gorgeous Superb Fairy Wrens or Blue Wrens have been quite visible and noisy in recent days - much to my delight!

Where do butterflies go when it's raining? Well this Oleander Butterfly seemed to be enjoyed Sunday's rain.

With my love of nature, I have had a wonderful time creating with the feature print of Sarah Watson's Biology fabric collection. Biology is a recent release from Cloud 9, a company which which uses only GOTS certified fabrics and low impact dyes. Combined with the matching Cloud 9 Cirrus blue called Sky and Limestone for white, this would have to be a favourite of mine. The design and colours work equally as well for a boy or girl, baby or toddler - or even as a small lap quilt for an adult. I'd be tempted to hang it on my wall. Now available in my Etsy shop.

Sharing at Wild Bird Wednesday, Weekly Top Shot, Image-in-ing.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


I just may have left a piece of my heart in Dorrigo.

As we turned east towards the coast from Ebor Falls the countryside soon became lush and fertile with green farms spreading before us on the undulating Dorrigo plateau. Although only about 40 minutes drive from Ebor Falls, it seems almost a world away.

By the time we reached the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre it was 6pm, the clouds were closing in, drizzling gentle rain, and the light was fading. No one else was there but the access gates were still open. We took a quick walk out onto the short elevated boardwalk, as I tried to huddle my camera under the shelter of an umbrella. Below you can see the rainforest floor. Should we just head for home - or hope the rain holds off long enough for a quick walk through the rainforest?

One look down the ramp and we decided we had to venture further - after all, J said the tree canopy would protect us from most of the rain....

We were soon entranced by the wonderland below. We could hear some birds and with no other visitors, the atmosphere was truly amazing. The camera managed to capture these scenes much better than the naked eye for the light was quite dull.

For over twenty minutes we kept following the winding path, enjoying every turn, not wanting the journey to finish. Deeper into the rainforest and the magic it held.

But then it really did start to rain, enough to put the camera safely away and decide to retrace our steps. What lies beyond that curve? I will have to return another day to find out. Rainforest is my very favourite habitat in the world. 

There are many tracks and more areas of World Heritage listed rainforest in the Dorrigo area. I last visited Dorrigo on our honeymoon, nearly 25 years ago - and have been wanting to return ever since. The Dorrigo Rainforest Centre wasn't here then - it's the perfect way to enjoy a taste of the rainforest, very accessible and user friendly. I can hardly wait to return for a full day of rainforest walking, hoping to bring the younger six children (and my husband when he is well enough) who weren't able to come this day. 

Back onto the road and down out of the clouds, we followed the Waterfall Way all the way to Coffs Harbour on the coast. The road is an adventure in itself - I see woolly sheep poking through those truck rails!

It was dark by the time we arrived home. A day to savour, having visited the University of New England in Armidale, Hillgrove, Wollomombi Falls, Point Lookout, Ebor Falls and last but not least, Dorrigo. Oh - and the reason for this whole big day out - J had to sit an exam at UNE in Armidale - and he scored a brilliant result! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ebor Falls

Even better than I remembered, the Ebor Falls were a beautiful sight in the afternoon sunlight. Recent rains meant a good water flow but not of flood proportions. The upper falls have two distinct drops over columned basalt rock.

 The Ebor Falls are pleasantly easy to view with wheelchair friendly access from a picnic area just off the Waterfall Way. It takes less than an hour to drive here directly from Armidale, however we had taken a stunningly scenic route with detours to Hillgrove, Wollomombi Falls and Point Lookout/Eagles Nest.

This is just the top half of the upper falls as the Guy Fawkes River begins to descend. I love the touch of rainbow colours in the spray.

There is a gently sloping pathway to follow which soon reveals some eye-catching natural rocks....

and another waterfall! These are the lower Ebor Falls, with the double upper falls in the background. If only I could make the trees on the righthand slope invisible we would be able to see all three sections of the falls at once.

Wandering back up the path I kept stopping to admire the amazing rainbow spray of the lower falls.

I was so enthralled with the rainbow effects that I nearly missed this bright little fellow on the walking track which Miss E pointed out to me. My 'Insect of Australia' book identifies it as a Monistria Concinna, a slow-moving NSW alpine grasshopper. 

Miss E also directed my attention to this beauty standing tall in the grasses just off the track. I'd never seen a flower like it. Thanks to the internet I've been able to discover that it's a Dipodium Punctatum, commonly known a purple-spotted Australian ground orchid, or hyacinth orchid. 

This native orchid doesn't have any significant leaves and is classified as being terrestrial or saprophytic, obtaining its food from organic matter in the soil.

The land beyond the walking track is currently a beautiful display of golden Australian everlasting daisies in the late summer. So many wonderful scenes with very little walking required. We headed off with one more stop to make.....

Monday, February 16, 2015

Point Lookout

We felt like we were up with the clouds - and for very good reason. Point Lookout often is literally in the clouds, nestled in mist at a height of 1560 m/yds, it is the highest point in northern NSW. On a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean to the far east. 

This magnificent lookout in New England National Park is only 100m from the carpark and is wheelchair friendly. The air is noticeably cooler and damper than at Wollomombi Falls, our previous stop, even though it was only a further 45 minutes drive. 

After enjoying the views we ventured onto the Eagle Nest track which is definitely not wheelchair friendly!

That's Master J you can see at the lower end of the hand rail. The walk is rated as 'difficult' and takes about two hours if you complete the loop. We walked as far as Eagle Nest lookout and soon after turned back to retrace our path which was wet and muddy in places, but not as wet as the track further ahead on the shady southern side.

I could have easily stayed much longer (and walked slower), soaking up the beauty and photo opportunities along the way. It was however 4pm already and we had more places to visit on our adventurous day out.

Sharing at Our World Tuesday, and Sky Watch Friday.

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