The Sapphire Coast, nature’s paradise…

Nestled on the southern coastline of New South Wales is an area they call nature’s paradise, the Sapphire Coast…

A spectacular region where the ocean is a deep blue and mountain ranges teeming with Australia’s unique wildlife roll down to the Tasman Sea.

With the weather heating up in the Australian Outback we are heading for the cooler climes of the Sapphire Coast where we will set up camp on the shores of Twofold Bay, which incidentally is the third deepest natural harbour in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our banana lounges are loaded in our camper trailer, a Track Tvan, as they are perfect for an afternoon nap after a morning of kayaking in the Bay and fossicking along the shoreline.

Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it…!

Well, we’ll let you in on a little secret, it is. 

But rest assured, we will take the time to share this beautiful part of Australia’s magnificent coastline in photographs over the coming weeks.

And hey, stay safe in this COVID world…

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the red earth touching a blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a warm turquoise blue sea…

A few years ago we graduated from work and re-entered the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Smile, just smile…

Crazy times we live in at the moment, hey…!

Perhaps our world is always crazy, one-way or another, sometimes good crazy, and at other times, bad crazy.

One remedy to help through the “bad crazy” that has survived the test of time is to simply live in the moment and smile.

Surely we can all find something to smile at…hey?

And talk about smiling, the clock has just ticked into the cocktail hour, well it has in our part of the world…

So in our mind’s eye” and with a smile on our face we’re jumping back into this beautiful Ratua Island sunset where we’ll drink a toast to the health and well-being of all our friends.

Photos: Janet & Baz

About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the red earth touching a blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a warm turquoise blue sea…

A few years ago we graduated from work and re-entered the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Cheers, Baz & Janet

Tumbling from the Jetty

Hey, how good is this wonderful Silo Art.

Located in the small coastal town of Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia, the artwork depicts two boys jumping into the cool waters of the Spencer Gulf from the local jetty on a hot summers day…

Photos: Janet & Baz


About us…

We love the colours of the Australian Outback, the ochre red earth touching a deep blue sky on a faraway horizon; and the fabulous coastline of our sunburnt country, where a golden sandy beach is washed over by a turquoise blue sea; and the characters you meet in a quiet country pub, where it is nothing flash, but you are enriched by the encounter…

A few years ago we decided it was time to graduate from work and re-enter the classroom of life where an education is guaranteed and all that is needed is an open mind.

Thanks for joining us in the adventure…!

Cheers, Baz & Janet

A hidden gem amongst the urban chaos…

Sydney Harbour

Whether you are a Sydneysider or visitor to our fine city, if you are looking for a hidden gem overlooking the magnificent Sydney Harbour then this is the place for you…

The picturesque Ball’s Head Reserve situated on the Waverton Peninsular.

Covered in native trees the reserve has a number of walking tracks that meander around the headland taking you past the “Ball’s Head Coal Loader” which is situated alongside the Naval Base HMAS Waterhen.

The “Loader” was built in the early 1900s to supply Steamships with coal to use as fuel…

Mind you, it wasn’t without controversy, and our famous poet, Henry Lawson, wrote about it in his poem “The Sacrifice of Ball’s Head” in 1916.

Lawson, who lived in the area at the time, lamented the loss of the bushland to the ugly looking loader, spewing out its ugly “brown rocks” in such a beautiful setting. These days’ picnickers and hikers, who can enjoy this magnificent vista a stone’s throw from the urban chaos that is Sydney, have reclaimed the area…

We often travel thousand’s of kilometres into our colourful outback looking for those little gems of places just off the “beaten track” – but sometimes you don’t need to look much further than your own backyard; just scratch the surface and you never know what you will find.

And hey, Janet and I are pleased to say, just like Henry suggests in his poem, Ball’s Head is a great place to spend a glorious day.

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Baz – The Landy

 

“The Sacrifice of Ball’s Head” by Henry Lawson

 

They’re taking it, the shipping push,
As all the rest must go —
The only spot of cliff and bush
That harbour people know.
The spirit of the past is dead
North Sydney has no soul —
The State is cutting down Ball’s Head.
To make a wharf for coal.

Where picnic parties used to go
To spend a glorious day,
With all the scenery of a coast
And not a cent to pay.
The deep cool tangle shall be cleared
To make the glaring roads
And motor lorries jolt and grind
And drag their sordid loads.

And strings of grimy trucks shall run
In everlasting trains
And on the cliffs where wild trees are
Shall stand the soulless cranes,
To dump their grimy loads below,
Where great brown rocks are grand;
And the deep grass and wild flowers grow —
And boating couples land.

No more shall poorer families
Give “Grandma” and “Grandad”
A glimpse of nature’s mysteries
To make their old hearts glad.
No more our eyes shall be relieved
In the city’s garish day —
A sordid crime has been achieved!
And none has aught to say.

Vibrant red in the Outback

 

Anne Beadell Highway, South Australia

 

 

Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Bush.

Janet-Planet

Paper daisies in the Australian Bush

 

 

Anne Beadell Highway, South Australia

 

Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Bush

 

Janet-Planet

Natures sculptures – in the Australian Outback

Anne Beadell Highway, South Australia

 

Photo: Janet Planet – in the Australian bush!

 

Janet-Planet

Thumb prints in the Australian desert

Anne Beadle High, South Australia

 

This is actually a close up of the bark on a tree!

 

Photo:  Janet-Planet in the Australian Bush

Janet-Planet

Gold – in the Australian Outback

Gary Junction Road, Kintore, Northern Territory

 

Photo:  Janet-Planet, in the Australian bush

Janet-Planet

Vibrant colours of the Australian Outback

 

Anne Beadell Highway South Australia



Photo:  Janet-Planet, in the Australian bush.

Janet-Planet

 

Old, old story from long time ago…(Dreamtime)

Australia’s Traditional Owners have many wonderful Creation and Dreamtime stories that form the basis of customary laws and traditions.

On our travels throughout Australia, Janet-Planet and I seek out these stories as they provide a fascinating insight to the local area, often the prominent land topography, and importantly, aboriginal culture.

Ahead of this week’s hike on Hinchinbrook Island I came across one such story as related by a Traditional Owner from the Girramay people. The Girramay come from the lands surrounding Cardwell, in Queensland and this story is common to a number of groups in the region.

A great story to kick-off my hike with!

“An old, old story from long time ago…

Girugarr, we call that bloke the first surveyor, he named all the country, he come from across the sea, we don’t know where he came from. He look like man on top and he got long tail like an eel.

Girugarr comes from across the sea and he stop there on Palm Island, his first foot print is there at Mundy Bay.

The earth was hot and when he put his foot down there was a little bit of splash on the mud, it’s on a rock over there.

He speaks to the old people there, growls at them, “what are you doing?”

Girugarr comes up the channel.

When he comes through the sea up to Hinchinbrook Island there are no waves in that sea. He finds all the old people cutting a candle nut tree down and he asks them what are they doing.

They’re telling him in Guwal, the traditional language, “we are cutting this tree down to find witchetty grub”.

In Guwal the tree is called gabura.

The sea was calm.

That gabura tree it stand up tall and when it falls down into the water it creates waves for the first time…”

Thanks to Marcia, a Traditional Owner, for sharing a part of this wonderful dreamtime story from long time ago.

If there are waves on the passage as I cross to Hinchinbrook Island I will be able to reflect on the dreamtime story of the Girramay people – how good is that, hey.

Photos: Baz – The Landy, Cardwell, Far North Queensland…!

 

 

Steampunk meets Napoleon – on a World War 2 Battlefield…

The sound of a shell fired from the World War 2 tank rang out across the field, the boom and compression of the explosion sending a shiver down the spine of all in proximity…

 Men in khaki and camouflage fatigues were hitting the ground to avoid the inevitable fall-out from the shrapnel, weapons at the ready as they lay silently waiting for the order to advance on the German line.

The rattle of machine gun fire ringing out from the bunkers and motorcycle side-cars was deafening as the Germans fought to protect their ground, shrouded for a time behind the white plume of smoke that was by now drifting across the battlefield.

Mind you, some of the soldiers ambushed on “patrol” were a about a quarter-of-a-century too late for the encounter given it was a mock battle between American and German World War 2 forces; the advance party were dressed and kitted out for the jungles of Vietnam…!

But hang-on, what are those Vikings doing on the battlefield?

Didn’t they have their run a few centuries ago marauding and pillaging their way across England?

And aren’t those fancy looking blokes dressed to the “nines” with the feather plumes on their headgear “Frenchies” from the days when Napoleon was barking out orders as he roamed the countryside looking for trouble?

The scene was unfolding at Ironfest 2017 in the Central Tablelands township of Lithgow.

Ironfest is an arts festival that explores the relationship between humans, metal and identity and is held annually at the Lithgow Showground. It brings together artists, designer-makers, blacksmiths, and performers of all kind, musicians, Steampunkers, as well as historical re-enactors and steam-machine enthusiasts from all over Australia…

TomO, the Crown Prince, is a member of Ausreenact, a non-political World War 2 living history organisation made up of members who share a common interest in history and militaria, with a particular focus on the uniforms, equipment and vehicles of the Allied and Axis forces in the period 1939-1945. He re-enacts as a member of the US Forces 2nd Armoured Division and has quite a collection of gear and equipment he has assembled from the era and which he proudly had on display in his “bunker” during the weekend.

Each year Ausreenact, along with a number of other military groups, including those dedicated to Napoleonic re-enactment and Knights from medieval times, are invited to attend and take part in the festival.

No wonder the “battle-ground” was chaotic…

Medieval swords flashed and clashed to the boom of Napoleonic guns that were challenging the armoured vehicles from more modern times.

When the Knights were not swinging their swords in battle they were charging at each other in a medieval jousting match.

And here I was thinking how macho I must look wielding the whipper-snipper with menacing precision each time I trim the moraya hedge at home. Strewth, talk about starting to feel just a tad inadequate.

So I’ll just move on…

Away from the “battlefields” there was the sound of iron striking iron on anvils as blacksmiths demonstrated their craft, beads of sweat rolling down their faces as they forged metal into works of art.

And hey, what about all those Steampunk people…?

Steampunk I hear you ask? I too had to look up the definition of a “Steampunker” and I am still not sure I have it right.

One of the best definitions for a Steampunker I have come across is from Jess Nevins, author of the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (it hasn’t come up on my book club read list yet) who said…

“Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown.”

The costumes were as varied as the people that dressed in this fashion genre inspired by the Victorian era of steam and industrial machinery. I think it was the default costume for many who attended the festival.

But the Steampunkers seemed a happy bunch even if the women’s corsets appeared three sizes to small and their mode of transport was from another age if not simply strange…

Without doubt this weekend is possibly the two days of the year the various groups can safely come out from behind closed doors and still look normal; safety in numbers, so they say.

The activity was as diverse as it was frenzied, but somehow it all worked and integrated in a way that you would not think possible and I even got to take Janet-Planet on the cruise she has always wanted to do…

On the infamous “Love Boat”…

Photos: Baz – The Landy & Janet-Planet, Lithgow, Australia…

 

Selfishness – A simple word (With a complex meaning)

Selfishness is a word that we are likely to be confronted with every day…

But what does it really mean and how should it be applied to our daily lives, if at all?

Most dictionaries define selfishness as…

“Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.”

I pondered on this definition and eventually came to a conclusion that this is possibly one of the most misused words in the English vocabulary.

I asked myself the question..

Is it selfish to pursue our dreams, to live the life we desire, to see what we can achieve; to explore new horizons and to develop as individuals; to stand at the edge and look at the world through a different lens…?

 

As individuals our life and the way we lead it creates a mosaic of who we are.

The pieces of a jigsaw puzzle randomly sitting in a box are meaningless unless they are joined.

In much the same way the pieces of our lives, scattered, cannot portray or project anything about who we are or what we seek to be until pieced together.

Interlocked they provide a mosaic of whom we really are…

The picture unfolds…

Whom or what would we be if we were not able to join the random pieces together and pursue our dreams?

Would we ever achieve our real potential, or would a fear of selfishness limit us and how we develop as individuals?

Baz – The Landy

Surviving an Atomic Bomb!

In 1956 the British Government built an atomic bomb testing site in the South Australian outback with assistance from the Australian Government of the day…

We discovered these beautiful flowers growing at “ground zero”…   Don’t they demonstrate the tenacity of nature by defiantly shining through in spite of the brutal treatment this wonderful landscape was subjected to?

You can read more about the area in our blog titled “An Atomic Blast (In the Outback)”.

Photos: Janet Planet – Maralinga, South Australia

Rosenberg’s Goanna, inquisitive and vulnerable…

australian reptile

The Rosenberg Goanna is a monitor lizard and Kangaroo Island, situated off Australia’s southern coastline, is the last stronghold for this wonderful and inquisitive reptile. We came across this one on our recent visit to the island. 

It has been declared a vulnerable species, so let’s hope we won’t just be looking at them in wildlife journals in years to come…

Photo: Baz – The Landy

The thunder of a hundred hoofs (Camping in your backyard)…

Breaking the bounds of urban living from Australia’s largest city and heading bush into the Australian Outback without a care in the world is always tantalisingly attractive.

Fortunately, as a family we are to be able to hitch up our camper trailer and head west at least once or twice a year.

The glow of a setting sun on a faraway horizon, the warmth of a camp fire crackling in harmony with the sizzle of a roast cooking in the camp-oven, and the chorus of laughter and banter with family and friends is what draws us to camping in this great country of ours.

And if you are like me, my mind’s eye pictures this scene almost every other day!

The problem for many of us is that work and the studies of teenage children tend to get in the way of a sojourn across a parched, rugged landscape under a never-ending blue sky.

Such is the beauty of Australia.

Recently, the call of the bush and a shoulder of lamb roasted on the fire was far too great to resist so we headed for a camp in our own backyard. Well, not quite literally our backyard, but a short drive up the freeway to a place called Glenworth Valley.

Glenworth Valley is a sprawling 3,000 acre property located just to the north of Sydney that caters to a variety of activities including, horse riding, quad bike riding, and for the less active inclined, a float on a li-low down a quiet meandering creek or if you like, just a leisurely stroll along many of the bush tracks.

Glenworth Valley has it all…!

And for those who cannot go a couple of days without a coffee fix expertly prepared by a barista, don’t be alarmed, you are catered for in a small café located near the stables.

Usually, we avoid camping with the crowds, in fact, as a family we are quite comfortable being in the middle of no-where without another soul in sight. The trouble with living and working in an urban environment is you usually need to travel some distance to find your idyllic spot, especially one that you won’t need to share with someone else…

The trip to Glenworth Valley was a rewarding way to re-charge the soul with family and friends despite there being just more than a few other campers who were perhaps encouraged out by the warmer weather and a long-weekend.

But don’t be put off by there being other campers, we still had plenty of room to kick-back and enjoy our camp-oven roasted lamb, washed down by a glass or two of red!

If you ever make it to Glenworth Valley don’t miss watching the horses’ race out of their holding yard and along the bush track that leads to their paddock. The thunder of the hoofs of over a hundred horses in full flight is a daily ritual that happens not long before the sun slips below the western hills, a spectacle not to be missed, that’s for sure…

Australian Kookaburra

And don’t worry about taking your alarm clock, the kookaburra’s will herald in a new day dawning just before you hear the sound of the horses returning from the paddock to be saddled up for another day of riding in the picturesque Glenworth Valley.

Enjoy, XPLORE…

Photos: Baz – The Landy

A Call to Service (Where timing is everything)

Yorkshire

 You have to love the class system in Great Britain, it defines who you are and helps you fit into your neat little place in life.

 Well, at least that is my take on it anyway…

Mind you I’m no expert on the subject, after all, coming from the Colony of New South Wales the closest I get to an insight to the lives of the upper class is watching The Real Housewives of St Kilda.

Just for a change I am not immersed deep in the Australian Outback, travelling along some dusty track in the middle-of-nowhere under a deep blue sky, or sitting beside a campfire under the Milky Way, telling a tall yarn.

Nope,

I am entrenched deep in the Yorkshire countryside where you’ll get a few minutes under a blue sky every hour, if you’re lucky!

It is no wonder those Chelsea Housewives have got orange tans that are more fake than their boobs.

Hey, I’m sure they really do have nice personalities so let’s not get into a class war here.

Anyway, as you can see, my propensity to digress hasn’t diminished despite being on the other side of the world so let me push on otherwise it will take me another two gin and tonics to get this story finished.

Bath

Speaking of which, I was in a small bar in Bath the other day, well evening really, and strike-a-light, they had every type of gin known to mankind and that was all in a bar that measured six-by-six feet – cozy really. But hell, who designs these places?

And how good are those Country Estates they have over here, hey?

Manor Houses, where you cross the country from east to west just to get from the front gate to the front door and when you arrive there is a bloke all dolled-up in a penguin suit to greet you.

Very civilised…

It reminds me of that television show starring Carson and the Gang down at Downton Abbey, which coincidently is set in the Yorkshire Countryside, despite being shot anywhere but near York.

But who am I to get picky, after all I’ve told one or two porkies in my time just to suit the yarn…

Hey, let me share my story of a “Call to Service”…

There I was being chauffeured through the York Countryside when we came across a sign for Harewood House, the ancestral residence of the Earl of Harewood, inviting all and sundry to come and visit.

For a fee of course.

You know what those Aristocratic Pom’s are like, never miss a chance that lot and good for them, strewth, it costs me a fortune to maintain my shed with toys, imagine how much it must cost to run a joint like that, especially with a stable full of Bentley’s!

Anyway, here was a chance to roll up the driveway and be greeted by Carson and the Gang. In reality, we were directed to a car park in a field and Janet was heard mumbling that I would indeed start looking as portly as Carson if I drank any more pints of that warm cask ale they serve over here.

Nice one Janet, but hey I’m not counting the number of cream teas you’ve had (fifteen).

Those three gin and tonics are starting to work their magic, so best I get on with this story.

What a fabulous home this was, truly Stately, and whilst we weren’t greeted by Carson, the staff were friendly and showed us around the home, which is full of artifacts and paintings collected by the Earl’s over the years.

And you oughta see the size of the bedrooms they had in this place. You needed a map and compass to get from the door to the bed and a bloke would need a rest before he mounted anything in here, especially the four-poster, which for some reason was about about ten-foot off the ground…

Now it was pointed out that the second wife of the Seventh Earl still lives in the house and occasionally one might catch a glimpse of her, rare as that might be.

Well stone the bloody crows, just as I was about to leave who should turn up but the Countess herself, who coincidently is an Australian.

Yep, a fair dinkum Aussie, all class and no (whoopsie).

Anyway, standing at the front door in all-my splendor, wearing my usual bond’s black tee shirt, I opened the door with all the grace befitting of the occasion and welcomed Her Ladyship home…

G’day Ma’am…

And with all the air of the upper class she breezed by with a slight nod, but without familiarity, as it should be…!

 Welcome to service Baz, where Timing is Everything, hey!

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Ps: Janet didn’t really say that I would look portly like Carson – she’s far to nice to say that!

…Speaking Welsh (And Jibberish)

Aberystwth, a seaside town deep in the Welsh heartland is about as far away from the red ochre soil of the Australian Outback you could get, but it has much in common.

The locals are warming and friendly, the beer is cold, and I’m sure if you drink enough of it you’ll be able to converse in the Welsh native tongue.

The amber fluid usually finds its way around most language barriers…

Strewth,  speaking of cold, it is the middle of summer, 15 degrees and the wind so strong that it’d  “blow ‘ya dog off its chain”…

But hey, I’m not complaining, blimey, I could get used to this, for a while anyway!

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Ps: Did Benny Hill ever “Carry-On” here?

To Travel is to Live (And Warm Beer)

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”

I was reminded of this eloquent quote from Hans Christian Andersen as Mrs Landy, Janet-Planet, and I took an early morning stroll in the picturesque village of Dittisham, situated on the River Dart in Devon, England.

Yes, I hear the chorus ring out…

“There is no red dust or never ending blue skies in the South of England Baz”…

Crikey, I can live with that, for a week or two, but seriously, warm beer?

Mind you, after a couple of pints down at the Ferry Boat Inn, okay Janet, three, I didn’t realise we were counting, one can almost get used to it…

“To travel is to live”.

Photos: Baz – The Landy

The Romance of a South Pacific Island…

Ratua Island

A Ray of Light, in paradise… in love – who are with and what are sipping on as the sun slips gently below the horizon on a balmy South Pacific evening…?

Photo; Baz – The Landy

(With Janet-Planet, a gin and tonic with a twist of lemon, and a champagne, bubbles, for Janet of course… 😉  ) Oh, and I just spotted TomO, the Crown Prince…

Ps: We do get away from the Outback every so often!

Lazy days on Australia’s East Coast

Scarborough is a small village situated on the northern end of the Redcliffe Peninsular where the fishing fleet brings its daily catch to market and the days move at a slow pace; perfect!

I always have a sense of returning home as I drive along the Esplanade with its sweeping views of Moreton Bay to the east and Bribie Island to the north – wouldn’t be dead for quids, hey!

Photo: Baz, The Landy