Friday, 14 July 2017

Last Australian post

I've seen quite an array of Australian wildlife during this trip.  None of it in the wild, unfortunately, but during a trip to an animal sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo.  
Could this koala be more cuddly - or Australian!
And after a feed of gum leaves, a snooze in a convenient tree.  Koalas are known to frequently fall out of trees during a kip!
Here is a tawny frogmouth owl.  Quite a creepy looking bird, with his triangular shaped eyes!
Below, the dingo - Australia's largest terrestrial predator, although this one looked pretty innocuous!
Mary the wombat.  Seems cuddly, loves chopped veg, but look at those claws!
My granddaughter had a happy time feeding wallabies, a duck who was keen to get in on the act, and even a kangaroo which stood considerably taller than her at full stretch!
 This is the only truly wild creature amongst this collection - an Eastern yellow robin.
Below, a bush-stone curlew, which looks quite different to our curlews at home.
Although obviously not a local, I have to include the orang-utan because he was my granddaughter's favourite at the zoo.  
And finally, a kindly looking pelican!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A visit to the museum

One of my oldest and dearest friends came down from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne last week, so that we could have a good catch up, and we also took the opportunity to introduce our granddaughters to each other, during a visit to Melbourne Museum.  That was quite a moment for us, and the two girls got on very well.  
The girls loved the dinosaurs and all the interactive displays throughout the museum.  

 In an outdoor children's play area there were some fantastic rocks!
There is lots more to see in the museum so my granddaughter and I are going back again today.  

On our way back home last week, we passed by the spectacular display of cakes at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, in the 19th century Block Arcade off Collins Street.  They have been serving tea and yummy cakes there for over 125 years.  There is always a long queue for a table, and the window display never fails to attract passers-by who can't resist a quick ogle and a photo or two of the incredible cakes.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Sunny Sunday morning and a brand new adventure

We have had a few good days of sunshine in Melbourne.  Don't be fooled, those of you reading this in the northern hemisphere!  That does not mean it is warm.  Winter in Melbourne is a very chilly affair, with icy early morning windscreens, layers of clothing for me (I knew to bring lots this time) and bundling up in the ever-present scarf.  But as long as the sun is shining - who cares!  
I spent most of the morning at my son's new cafe, Arboretum.  It's been open for just over a week, and so it was good to see people pouring in the door and tucking into good food, my daughter-in-law's scrumptious baking, and carefully prepared coffee.  The place was jumping, which is very encouraging for a first weekend of trading.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The best of days

Not only do I have my son and his family to visit in Melbourne, but friends and other relations, including one of my most longstanding and dearest of friends/cousin, who lives further north, in Coffs Harbour.  She has a daughter who lives just outside Melbourne, and she has flown down to see me and spend time with her grandchildren here too.  Yesterday we met up and had a really lovely day, catching up, wandering through the botanical gardens in the sunshine, and enjoying each other's company.  We go back a very long way, so it is always good to be together again.

We started off with a quick visit to the art gallery in Federation Square.  There are paintings there my cousin loves to see every time she comes to Melbourne.  There was also a very small exhibition featuring corrugated iron, which went down very well with me.  I can't explain my love of the stuff, but I just do like it a lot!  (See my previous post http://therunningwave.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/corrugated.html)
We walked along to the National Gallery with the intention of visiting the van Gogh exhibition.  The queue was a mile long, and the sun was shining outside, so we decided a better way to spend our day would be to walk through the botanical gardens instead.  Good decision!  
The handsome bird below is a spinebill, a honeyeater.
Tucked away in a corner of the botanical gardens is the plant craft cottage.  https://www.rbgfriendsmelbourne.org/FRBGM_Content/PCC_Folder/Plant_Craft_Cottage.aspx  It is actually one of the oldest properties in Melbourne, built as a gardener's home in 1850-51, and was used by Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, one of the gardens' founders, between 1853 and 1857, when he was the State of Victoria’s first Government botanist.  It's a delightful place to visit now, and is surrounded by a lovely cottage garden.
We walked round the lake to the cafe in the middle of the gardens, passing some cheerful yellow wattle on the way, and then sat outside, in the sunshine, listening to a man playing the harp.  We drank our tea, scoffed an enormous white chocolate and raspberry muffin each, and chatted some more.  A pretty good way to spend the afternoon!  
A swamphen, a water bird with very large feet, was doing a spot of clearing up on a neighbouring table, watched by an Indian myna bird!