Australia in October 2017

We had been hoping to bring the growing family to England this time, but other things intervened and sp off we went again.  The weather. like in 2015, was a little cool at times and we never really lost the cold wind when we were in Adelaide.  Our break-out trip to Queensland also saw us hitting poor weather and we had lots of clouds on the Tablelands, but nothing stopped us really enjoying that part of Australia once again.  We are grateful to Sheila Tait for her enthusiastic welcome and help with where to go, and to Sheila's daughter Ivanka and her husband Alan for a very pleasant day on their cattle ranch.  We were almost drowned by torrential rains and thunderstorms in Cairns on our last day up there, but survived.  The Adelaide family are lovely and both our grandchildren are, of course, the best in the world.

I know I said the weather was cool, but it never got worse than an English summer day, and Abi's lemon tree in the back garden provided us with a plentiful supply of the fruit without Lizzie finds it impossible to function.  Australia_2017_3.jpg (714976 bytes) The boardwalks of Hallett Cove are a short drive north of the family home and Declan and Alice loved to sit on this glacial "erratic" which has been left in the centre of the boarding Australia_2017_6.jpg (421355 bytes)
Early in the trip we had to visit playgrounds, where both children could do all the usual stuff Australia_2017_12.jpg (421322 bytes) Like falling off slides Australia_2017_15.jpg (425698 bytes)
And walking along dangerous, wobbly bridges Australia_2017_16.jpg (413361 bytes) And of course there is always the obligatory "beating up your brother" scenario among the wood chippings Australia_2017_19.jpg (709187 bytes)
Near the house there is a creek, home to water birds and frogs, but also, sadly, old tyres, washing machines and lawn mowers Australia_2017_24.jpg (566290 bytes) Like most daughters, Alice is "Daddy's little girl" Australia_2017_27.jpg (276977 bytes)
and a romp before bedtime is nothing unusual Australia_2017_29.jpg (305776 bytes) Butter wouldn't melt?  Don't you believe it! Australia_2017_30.jpg (310463 bytes)
We once again visited nearby Victor Harbour for a few days, which gave everyone time to relax and for the children a chance to swim and play Australia_2017_32.jpg (425253 bytes) It will not be long before Alice is able to swim Australia_2017_33.jpg (505594 bytes)
And it was tough to get Declan to spend any time out of the pool Australia_2017_35.jpg (348696 bytes) All in all a nice place to be for a break Australia_2017_38.jpg (485827 bytes)
The Family Australia_2017_39.jpg (479809 bytes) Despite a brisk breeze, Lizzie managed a dip in the sea, although she didn't know I was taking this picture of her from a fair distance away Australia_2017_44.jpg (480442 bytes)
Alice being polite to granddad Australia_2017_50.jpg (307480 bytes) Once back from Victor we spent a few hours on one of the lovely beaches near the house in Adelaide Australia_2017_52.jpg (422188 bytes)
My Lizzie enjoying herself Australia_2017_53.jpg (427181 bytes) We picked a spot where a river runs down to the sea Australia_2017_54.jpg (418022 bytes)
And played with pieces of driftwood Australia_2017_55.jpg (281233 bytes) My one disappointment from this was how people are allowed to bring their dogs to the beach and allow them to run around uncontrolled.  It's dangerous, it's un-hygienic and it's wrong Australia_2017_58.jpg (335696 bytes)
The other exciting event here was burying Alice - an event which she seemed to be eagerly anticipating, to the extent of helping to dig the hole Australia_2017_59.jpg (449798 bytes) She fits Australia_2017_63.jpg (571830 bytes)
And seemed to be content to stay there all day - but we did let her out eventually.  House would have been too quiet! Australia_2017_64.jpg (563044 bytes) Rarely have I seen so many cuddly toys in one place all at the same time.  The amazing thing is that everything (everyone?) seems to have a name Australia_2017_65.jpg (393921 bytes)
Then Lizzie and I flew on JetStar from Adelaide to Cairns for a few days on our own.  Here we drove up into the Table Lands and met again our dear friend Sheila Tait, who once again showed us some of the sights.  Here, we are at a place called "Barney Springs". Australia_2017_68.jpg (528246 bytes) 61 litres a minute of fresh water bubbles up out of the ground and creates a super environment for huge fig and other trees Australia_2017_69.jpg (549671 bytes)
It was unusual to see figs growing in conditions very unlike those we are used to in Spain Australia_2017_71.jpg (480561 bytes) We also visited a gala day in the nearby town of Atherton, where we found some excellent examples of early American and British cars Australia_2017_78.jpg (530395 bytes)
It's amazing how little of the engine space used to used by engine, compared to modern cars where you have to demolish half the engine to get at the working bits Australia_2017_81.jpg (401928 bytes) Just look at this lovely old Austin Australia_2017_82.jpg (673252 bytes)
Inevitably Lizzie found locally grown mangoes Australia_2017_84.jpg (584155 bytes) We also visited a local cattle ranch where owners Alan and Ivanka showed us around Australia_2017_86.jpg (384945 bytes)
They are very proud of their cattle, chosen for their docile nature, and here Alan is stroking his favourite bull.  I was invited in to the field but preferred to stay this side of the fence  Australia_2017_91.jpg (630603 bytes) Another local visit was to the Herberton historic village, where artifacts from all around the world have been gathered together for display.  This is Lizzie in a reconstructed pharmacy from the time.  You have to see some of the drugs to believe what is in them - like morphine in baby's soothing syrup?  Australia_2017_94.jpg (425386 bytes)
They have lots of old transportation related stuff, such as these pumps for dispensing petrol Australia_2017_98.jpg (465581 bytes) And this 1,000cc V-Twin Harley-Davidson from 1929 Australia_2017_100.jpg (481101 bytes)
They also have an amazing collection of old steam engines, which were once used for power generation, hauling and driving machinery Australia_2017_105.jpg (435161 bytes) Whilst walking around the village, where we spend most of a day, we spotted this Kookaburra Australia_2017_112.jpg (392673 bytes)
We also discovered this massive electricity generator, which came from England and was used in WW2 to power airfield searchlights.  What is it doing in Herberton?  Who knows, but is apparently spend its recent past as a stand-by generator for a local milk production company Australia_2017_113.jpg (423743 bytes) as explained in this notice Australia_2017_114.jpg (372598 bytes)
Another interesting find was this collection of gollywogs for sale, which opened up an interesting discussion in the gift shop Australia_2017_120.jpg (436145 bytes) One of the last places we visited in the Table Lands was a bat hospital, where a large number of bats in trouble (caught on barbed wire, infected by ticks or generally in trouble) are nursed back to health.  Bat numbers are declining and although this one hospital won't fix the problem, they are doing good work Australia_2017_128.jpg (279824 bytes)
One thing we learned is that bats turn themselves the right way up to pee, so if you are walking underneath and you see them inverting - move aside quick! Australia_2017_129.jpg (435256 bytes) One final photo from Adelaide.  We had taken out a cardboard model kit of the starship Enterprise and we built it (not easy as it could have been!).  It is now hanging on Declan's bedroom ceiling.  So if Declan is missing one morning we can start looking in the local stellar neighbourhood............. Australia_2017_133.jpg (210648 bytes)

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