31 May 2009

Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Sunday was a lazy day so we decided to just chill out at the botanic gardens down the road. We packed our books and a picnic lunch of fresh sesame seed loaf and delicious cheeses. And we spent the afternoon listening to the ducks fighting, the breeze in the trees and distant sounds of children laughing. Very peaceful indeed. As you can imagine, we didn't take too many pics of us just chilling out. But I didn't completely forget about the camera so here are the ones we did take.

A brush turkey being curious - it actually walked over the side of the blanket but was off by the time we got the camera out.

I'm re-reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series so was quite happy to lie there all afternoon and read.

Scott found the perfect pillow!

30 May 2009

Queensland Art Gallery

Scott & I kept saying we'd go and visit the NSW Art Gallery & never got around to it. So we decided to go down to South Bank to the Queensland Art Gallery instead of just talking about it.

And weren't we in luck to find a travelling exhibition from the Met in New York: Amercican Impressionism & Realism.

The brochure & our tickets

The first hall...

A Toulouse-Lautrec

A Degas statue and one of his paintings in the background

A Renoir

A Picasso

Scott outside the gallery on the Southern bank of the Brisbane River

Just me in the same spot

Off to take a walk down on the river front


This guy was just running up this wall and doing these awesome back flips. So I thought I'd try and capture it...

We ended up at South Bank for lunch and a walk through the markets. This is the view from our table at lunch - the sculpture overhead looks great at night with the lights on. Unfortunately it doesn't photograph well at night.

18 May 2009

Kite Festival & Brisbane Powerhouse Arts

There's a great website called OurBrisbane with a huge What's On section. We found and headed out to Redcliffe for the annual Redcliffe Kite Fest.

Very eye-catching banners

Some of the kites - a killer whale, a shark....

Goldie - really amazing!

Some more kites

And more...

Beautiful bright colours

Not sure exactly what plane this is but the show he put on was excellent - loop-de-loops and all!

Kites, kites & more kites...

And some more!

The Coastal Patrol boat went up and down the coastline with this massive kite

And even added a diver

The wind eventually died down so we headed for home. We decided to take a quick detour at Indooroopilly shopping centre to watch the new Wolverine: X-Men Origins movie. BRILLIANT!!!

Sunday saw us heading off to New Farm to the Brisbane Powerhouse Arts Centre. We walked around the massive New Farm Park for a while and then headed for the Powerhouse for some lunch. They have free entertainment on over weekends which is great. The first one we went to see is called LiveSpark - up and coming Brisbane indie rock/pop bands. Okay, so the first band nearly blew us out of the venue, but the 2nd band was good. Just a pity that they don't advertise who the bands actually are.

The second show we went to was LiveWired - stand up comedy - both local & national. We were lucky enough to see Dave Thornton.

What a fabulous evening's entertainment!

The New Farm Park / Brisbane Powerhouse Precinct

Scott in front of the Brisbane Powerhouse

A "Notice" in the gardens of the Powerhouse

Brisbane Powerhouse - side view

Scott in the park at New Farm

People picnicking in the park

Looking at the art exhibition at the Powerhouse - The Legacy of Koorah Coolingah - paintings by child artists from Carrolup

After the bands had finished playing, Scott managed to get us a table right near the front for the comedy line-up. Me having a beer!

Scott & his beer!

The stage with the Live Spark banner.

14 May 2009

Mandy's Crazy Haircut

I know, I'm not normal. But this was crazy! And exciting! And SO much fun!

When we first arrived in Australia, I was too busy adventuring to worry about finding a hairdresser - until I felt like a shaggy dog & was absolutely desperate for a haircut. I just walked into a hairdresser one day in Darling Harbour. Some Irish girl butchered my hair!!!! It took me ages to gather up the courage to go into another hairdresser again. When I eventually did, that's when I found Nicola at Bodhi Hair in Mona Vale.... In 20 years I haven't found anyone else able to cut my hair as well as Nicola.

Fast forward to the Brisbane move.... The last thing I did was visit Nicola for a last haircut before heading north. I kept putting off finding a new hairdresser. I was too bloody nervous of having my hair butchered again and having to walk around with a beanie or cap on! Not to mention then having to start from scratch again! Well, I started resembling a shaggy dog once again....

So I booked a cheap flight to Sydney and went to Nicola for a haircut! Totally insane!

I was up at 3.30am, showered and parked at the airport's long-stay garage to catch my 6am flight. I landed in Sydney at 7.30am and took the AirportLink train to Museum station. I'll let the pics take over the story of my wonderful day in Sydney...

AirportLink train ticket

My Daytripper ticket - $17 allows you to travel on all public transport - ferries, trains & busses (except the airport train!) for the whole day. It was well used.

Museum train station in the city

The Downing Centre courts where Scott worked so bloody hard over last Xmas hols. Very close to Museum train station.

Town Hall

Queen Victoria outside the Queen Vic Building

Darling Harbour

Pyrmont Bridge at Darling Harbour

Looking down the stairs under the Pyrmont Bridge

Looking down towards Cockle Bay Wharf. All the red flags were for CeBIT - Australia's largest ICT trade show taking place at the Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. Everywhere you looked there were people with CeBIT clothing, bags & folders on ferries & pleasure boats, shopping, eating at restaurants, etc.

The wooden beams under the Pyrmont Bridge

This was at about 8:30am and the light was amazing. There was no wind - just a light breeze enough to move all the red banners. I love this pic of the bridge reflecting in the water.

For the month of May, it is Darling Harbour's 21st birthday. They have fireworks displays every Friday & Saturday nights with live music on a floating stage.

The restaurant I went to for my breakfast - coffee & an omelette. The view was absolutely heavenly! The brekkie wasn't bad either!

The view from where I sat eating brekkie. Don't you just love the flags across at Cockle Bay Wharf and those city buildings reflected on the water? *sigh*

Looking across at the city centre - that's the Sydney Tower in the centre. Oh, and that's the covered floating stage just next the bridge.

One of the public toilets at Darling Harbour - funky colours & so clean!

The Festival Cafe taken from inside the mall - made for an interesting shot through all the glass.

I can watch this water feature ALL day! And the sun catching the rippling water was dazzling.

Off to the next stage of my trip... Catching a ferry around to Circular Quay

Shaggy! When I left home that morning it was pitch dark & I left my sunnies at home so I bought a cheapie pair at the Sunglasses Hut.

Leaving Darling Harbour on the ferry - looking towards Barangaroo. That's where that tower is in the distance & also where they held the Youth Day celebrations last year.

The Scarborough - two identical ferries passing each other

I was on the Supply. Yip, odd name for a ferry.

Anzac Bridge

Balmain Ferry Wharf

The park at Balmain Wharf - it was the starting point of a lovely walk Scott & I took last year.

Goat Island

Looking back at Darling Harbour

What a sight! The Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Iconic Sydney


Shaggy! I got someone on the ferry to snap this one.

The Rocks

The Manly Ferry - so much bigger than the little Supply

Leaving Circular Quay for Manly

The Art Gallery of NSW - still on my to-do list...

One of the Jet Boats at Kirribilli

Our path...

HMAS Sydney Naval Base

Sydney City

Shaggy snapping away

South Head

North Head

Passing one of the other Manly ferries - I call them push-me-pull-you's cos they go in both directions.

Arriving at Manly Ferry Wharf

Inside Manly Wharf. Wooohooo! Officially back on home turf - the Northern Beaches of Sydney!

Manly Court House

A 400m walk up Belgrave Street to catch the bus to Mona Vale

My appointment card for Bodhi Hair in Mona Vale - 3 months since my last haircut!

Shaggy no more!!!

Nicola & I at the salon - I'm SO stoked with my haircut!!!

Looking down Bungan Street, Mona Vale village

Rainbow Sushi - our favourite sushi spot until we discovered their sushi train sister restaurant around the corner

Sunday brekkie spot

Rainbow Sushi Train - YUMMY!!!

Miro at Rainbow Sushi - she couldn't believe her eyes when I walked in the door! I got plenty hugs & was brought a complimentary tea as a welcome. Damn, it was good to go back!


Looking back up Bungan Street

At the traffic circle looking down Pittwater Street towards the Village Park

Park Street which crosses Barrenjoey Road & changes into Golf Avenue - home!

Barrenjoey Road

Golf Avenue with the Mona Vale Golf Club on the right - home's just over the crest of the hill ahead.

This was worth every hour worked and every cent paid in rent! The view as you come over the hill - our apartment was one of the brick ones on the left.

Mona Vale beach looking towards Warriwood headland

The pathway to the beach

What the dunes look like when people obey the dune management signs! Mona Vale beach at last!

The seas were really rough and the beach had totally changed shape in the 3 months since we left.

Looking towards Warriwood - those rocks and the concrete pipeline thingy were only just visible.

Big surf! This guy was getting absolutely pummelled by this set - he just got caught in the washing machine and couldn't get out.

Happyness is!

Looking back towards the golf course

*sigh* Time to make tracks back to the airport

On the bus heading back to Manly - this is the dog park on the other side of the golf course to us. We'd often walk this way.

Where Narrabeen Lake meets Narrabeen beach

On the ferry at Manly - heading back to the city

Sunset over the harbour

I tried. I really did. I arrived in Sydney looking for faults and negatives. The worst I could come up with was the traffic congestion. This incredible, exciting and beautiful city is where I want to lay my hat...