Melbourne Zoo

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Melbourne Zoo may not have hundreds of different animals, but what they do have appear to be well cared for and spacious confines.  Advertised throughout the zoo are programmes regarding conservation of species and breeding and how visitors to the zoo can learn about how to help, concentrating on teaching children.   The walks all through the zoo guide one through passages of intense growth of trees and vegetation, making it feel like you are walking through the jungles where these animals would normally live.  Butterfly house and aviary a treat.  My favourite has to be the meerkats who had several areas, each mob having a look-out while the others foraged.

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Some unusual flowers at the zoo, I have no idea what it is,  but these photos are of the same flower as it progresses:


Exploring Melbourne’s Parks and Monuments – Part 2


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The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is another very large area and obviously well liked by Victorians as many were picnicking throughout the gardens, and in ‘secluded’ part, a couple were getting married.  Let the photos speak to you:

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From the Botanical Gardens, back through Kings Domain:

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And back to the City….

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Exploring Melbourne’s Parks and Monuments – Part 1

IMG_7913 (2)Opposite the Arts Centre, my walk takes me through various gardens:  Alexandria Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens, past the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Kings Domain and up to the Shrine of Remembrance.

For the first time, I have been there when it was open and took the opportunity to explore inside and climb the stairs to the balcony for the view.  So very glad I did.

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Up the outside steps and into the inner Shrine, this room is a solemn reminder of those lost at War.  It’s structure and decoration is amazing.  In the centre, the Stone of Remembrance, set in marble below the pavement.  At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, apparently a ray of sunlight illuminates the inscription:  “Greater Love Hath no Man”.

In the passage surrounding the inner Shrine, are displays of volumes of books of names of Victorians who lost their lives in war.

I spent a long time in the museum within the Shrine, it was so interesting.

Downstairs in the crypt, Queen’s and regimental colours are displayed and in the centre, a statue representing a father and son, WWI and WWII.

From the balcony, a great view of Melbourne City and the surrounds of the Shrine of Remembrance.

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On the grounds near the Shrine of Remembrance, a pair of striking statues by British sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger:  “The Driver” with his wet weather cape, “Wiper” named by what soldiers said instead of “Ypers”.

Nearby, in Kings Domain and leading to Government House, many other statues and memorials.  I particularly liked the Australian Hellenic Memorial and Australian Turkish Friendship Memorial.

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On the Streets of Melbourne

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There is just so much to see in Melbourne City and walking, the best way to do it.

Federation Square is hardly “square”.  It is a complex of modern designed buildings around open spaces with amphitheater steps, large screens (broadcasting Winter Olympics) and restaurants all around.  The buildings also house exhibitions of Aboriginal Art, and other forms of art and design.  Set opposite Flinders Street Station, between Flinders Street and the Yarra River, it was designed as a focal point for contemporary cultural and civic activities and is close to the Melbourne Art Centre, and National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).  Down on the riverside, more bars and eateries line the Yarra.

On the grassed area outside the Art Centre, on Sunday morning was a market of arts and crafts people to display their wares.  Some beautiful pieces for sale and quite different from the usual arts and crafts markets I have been to.

The National Gallery of Victoria is a favourite of mine.  It was holding “Trienniel”  – an international exhibition featuring over 100 artists from 32 countries.  Being the weekend, it was very popular and although I tried twice, the large queues of people didn’t seem to be dwindling and I left, hoping to return on Monday, but time got away from me.

I did manage however avoid the rain and get a last minute seat at a show in the Art Centre where there were a number of productions on the go.  I saw “The Show Must Go On”.  Bernadette Robinson performed a one woman show, signing the well known songs of such as Judy Garland, Edith Piaf, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Julie Andrews and Maria Callas.  She did a monologue between the songs with the theme that despite these performers’ personal problems or difficulties, they would go on with ‘the show’.  She mimicked the well-known stance and actions of these performers and their voices – so well, I could close my eyes and think it was the original performer of those songs.

21-26.02.2018 – A week in Melbourne: Markets, Galleries, Gardens…

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The Famous Queen Victoria Markets, overshadowed by some of the skyscrapers of the City of Melbourne


We stayed in North Melbourne while Mike worked at the Victorian Caravan & Camping Super Show.  I continued working too, but then came the weekend…… and I was on the loose again!


Queen Victoria Markets

These predominantly food markets are massive.  Established ‘officially’ in 1878, it is the largest of the Victorian markets.  Being a Saturday morning when I went there, it was packed with couples and families enjoying breakfast or brunch at the cafés around the site and doing their grocery shopping.  Brazilian entertainment and temporary stands were being set up in the outside area.  Buskers had their hats out and it is a great place to sit and watch the world go by as people passed by in all manner of dress and make-up, from sublime to outrageous.  The world is getting curiouser and curiouser! Am I in Wonderland?

Old shops adorn the outside of the markets with interesting products for sale.  Rows of fruit and vegetables are under cover, inside the main building all the coffee, cheese, meats, fish, bread and more you could desire.  Parked outside the buildings, the American Donuts Van – queues of people there!  And still more undercover market areas for clothing, shoes, animals, the list goes on.  As I said, massive.



30.01.2018 Sale – Tostaree Cottages & Tavern

From relentless heat, to non-stop rain.  Grateful to be free of the awful heat, but now we are camped in muddy lawn.  Not complaining mind, the area needs the rain as can be seen by the pools of rain that aren’t penetrating the very dry ground.  Poor Mike having to do all the ‘outside’ jobs, got a bit wet.


With it still raining, it was a good opportunity to go inside and visit the Sale Info Centre and Art Gallery.  Staff at the Info Centre were very helpful and we were glad we took the time to view the Art Gallery.   We were in awe of the exhibition of the works of Annemieke Mein.  This artist compiles drawings and then turns them into sewn works of art.  Wondrous and beautiful.  Very detailed work and various materials sewn to reproduce birds feeding their offspring in amongst gum trees, as well as various pictures of flowers, fish and more birds.  She is extremely talented.

The Art Gallery is near the Port of Sale.  In 1886-1888, a 2.5 km long Sale Canal was cut to link Sale to the Thomson River for shipping.  Now, it looks like it is more for pleasure boats.

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Keeping an eye on the ipad as we drove in case work arrived, we travelled to our next camp site, an RV Friendly spot at Tostaree Cottages & Tavern, $20 per night, no power.  We drove down a very wide entrance without any trees to dodge, to a good camping spot with views of farmland and trees.  Our host, Greg, came around to let us know he had lit the fire in the tavern and invited us up for “Happy Hour”.  Once I had finished my day’s work, we joined him at his tavern where other campers were.  We enjoyed looking at the historical photos, having a drink with him and the social atmosphere.  We recommend staying at Tostaree Cottages if you are in the area.



29.01.2018 Sale, Victoria

Leaving Phillip Island, we arrived at the RV Friendly Town of Sale.

We parked near the shopping centre and went to Woolworths to top up the groceries.  Towards the end of our shopping there, Mike went ahead with the trolley towards the ice cream freezer whilst I trailed behind.   Mike didn’t see a large patch of water in front of some freezers to the left of the passageway when he walked through the middle of the passageway.  I didn’t see it either, when I walked to the left side of the passageway.  Mike turned around when he heard a large “smacking” noise as I hit the floor.  My foot went on the water and over I had gone, knee and arm hurt, and ended up on my side, in the large pool of water.

So that’s three times I’ve fallen this year and no more!   My arm was very sore and knee slightly, but again, nothing broken but my pride.  Pleased to report there were half a dozen strangers who came to my aid, concerned about me lying on the floor, offering assistance.  Of course, notice completed with the Manager, just in case.  Bet he had a laugh at the CCTV that would have recorded my fall.

We then camped at the Sale Showgrounds in the RV area in time to set the computer up for work.  Cheap with power and amenities for $22 per night.

Fiona and Barry dropped in to say farewell for now.  They have their own plans now on travelling that don’t match with ours for a while.  It has been great having them along (for most of our travelling to date) to share the experiences.  We will no doubt hook up again later in the year.

The weather over the last week has been very hot and this day was no exception.  I don’t know whether it was the heat or my fall, but I did not feel well and rested the rest of the day, with thankfully, very little work coming in via email for me to do.



28.01.2018 – Last Evening at Phillip Island

What a great weekend we all have had and to finish off, rode with Barry and Fiona for a quick lap of the Island, stopping at Cowes beach and then at San Remo at the fishing harbour for some really good fish and chips at the Co-Op.  Building awareness of the problems of plastic in the ocean, a large statue of a pelican was there with a notice inviting people to pick up plastic bottle tops and put in the pelican’s beak.   We watched some people swimming, some floating with the strong current that would take them from one end of the jetty through the fishing boats until they chose to break from the current and climb up the jetty ladders.

We stopped at other beaches, finishing at Woolamai Beach to watch surfers in the water as the sun went down.  Fabulous!

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25.01.2018 – Phillip Island

Awakening very early, we travelled from Mornington to be at the Phillip Island Circuit shortly after ‘gates open’ at 7.00 a.m.  The four of us had pre-purchased our camping and racing tickets and had been informed that in the camping area, “first there – best spot”.  With a 9.5 metre long motorhome and our companions having a long 5th wheeler and tow vehicle, we were glad we were some of the first to arrive.  There was a roomy camping area, however lots of trees and more akin to tent camping than these vehicles.  Being so early, it was relatively easy to secure a little corner of the camping ground to ourselves and for me to set up my office long before Perth work hours.

A short walk from the camping ground is access to great views of the track and overlooking Bass Strait.

We are camped here over the long Australia Day weekend for the 25th International Island Classic – the southern hemisphere’s largest historic motorcycle meet.

While I stayed working, Mike went with Fiona and Barry to Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate on Phillip Island and how amazing it is!  Mike ‘made’ his own chocolate while there for me to eat, so I was happy.

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Tonight, courtesy of Barry, our chauffeur in his tow vehicle we travelled to Summerland Bay to see the Penguin Parade.  Sitting near the ocean, we waited as the sun went down to see the parade of Fairy Penguins coming ashore.  It is breeding season and there were a great many chicks waiting to be fed, some too eager to stay in their burrows and were standing guard outside to wait.   Gradually the light faded and the first tentative penguins gathered at the shoreline.  It took ages before one or two would venture further onto the beach, followed by some more, but then there would be a movement, or a wave would come up behind them and they would scurry back into the water.  This would be repeated numerous times until finally, one would have the courage to keep going up the beach, followed by the rest of the group.  The boardwalks  all over the sand and dunes enabled us to look on the burrows and chicks and watch the returning penguins make their way to their own burrows.  An absolute delight!

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PHILLIP ISLAND PENGUIN PARADE – Thanks Linda & Russell at Rickety Gate, Denmark WA: You produce the best wine and the warmest beanies!


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