Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Sunday, February 5, 2012


School kids having a surfing lesson.
Silvana is a young lady visiting us from Switzerland. She is backpacking her way around Australia. Her grandmother was in the same class as Bill at school in Thun, Switzerland.

 Silvana emailed from Noosa and asked if she could call in. We invited her to stay.

So we have had a busy few days showing her some sights.

Firstly we took her to the Gold Coast, stopping in at Southport and Coolangatta.

Surfers Paradise from Snapper Rocks

George, Laila and Silvana

On the way home from the coast we called in to see friends, Laila and George, who have just moved into an Eco-Village in the Currumbin Valley.

All the houses are sustainable. They have solar panels for electricity, they have rain water tanks for water and recycled water for toilets and laundry.

The architecture provides natural air flows and air conditioning is unnecessary.  The house is surrounded by an organic garden and a green belt strip is between every house.

There are no cats or dogs allowed but there are plenty of kangaroos.

It is a great concept.

View from Laila's window
The next day we went into Bribane and caught a City Cat from South Bank Parklands for a cruise up and down the Brisbane River .

 Then we got off the Ferry at River Side and walked though the Queen Street Mall and had lunch.

 We walked over the Victoria Bridge back to South Bank and we stopped by the Wheel of Brisbane.

Then we drove up to Mt Coot-tha for an overall picture of our huge city of Brisbane which sprawls as far as the eye can see. Silvana enjoyed the tour.


  1. I've enjoyed the tour as well, and once again, impressive photos.
    The sustainable housing looks impressive, but I don't think I could live without dogs.

  2. This reminded me so powerfully of my trip to Australia four years ago. It's wonderful to have a reason to show overseas guests around and get to enjoy ones hometown from the perspective of a visitor. I found the inclusion of the eco village most interesting, too! As always, the photography is outstanding, Diane! We can all learn from you.

  3. You are great tour guides! Beautiful pics of the Brisbane city and blue skies! :)

  4. I really like those eco houses. I would love to put something like that out on our block.

  5. What a cool experience for Silvana. I would have loved to do something like this when I was her age. A great way to see the country. And a fantastic time with you and Bill as tour guides. What a great tour, the eco village and boat ride and the lovely view of the city. Your photos are wonderful.

  6. looks like the weather was perfect for all this beauty your visited. i like those skyline shots, we don't have anything like that here. those houses are very interesting and i would like to have kangaroos out those windows.

  7. Great tour Diane that you and Bill took Silvana on - thankfully the "weather gods" showed some favours.
    What is that white building in the CBD from the view from Mt.Cootha that seems to have two eyes staring at you? I've not seen that building from within the city! Colin (HB)

  8. Wow, these sites are beautiful! I love the energy efficient housing, what a fantastic concept!

  9. Brisbane is quite a big city, hadn't expected you had such huge skyscrapers.

  10. Wow I'm booking you guys as tour guides next time I'm in Brissy.

    Is everything still soaking over there? Anna Bligh looks exhausted on the telly.

  11. I can imagine that the girl enjoyed the stay with you !! it's practical sometimes to have grandmothers with the right schoolfriends ;) !
    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate these eco houses and that in future everybody should built like this, but as cats and dogs are not allowed I don't like these houses anymore !! lol !

  12. I can understand why Silvana enjoyed the tour -- I enjoyed it as well. The sights were beautiful. I really like the idea of that Eco-Village.

  13. What an adventurous young lady and what wonderful tour guides you are! I'm so glad we got to share in some of the touring with you all and I love the eco house - very nice!

  14. thanks for this wonderful tour through your stunning shots!
    i love every single one.

    the sights were beautiful i thoroughly enjoyed your post!

  15. Looks like you provided a great tour of your area for Silvana. If I were her age, I'd love that kind of backpacking tour through Australia...

    The Eco-Village sounds intriguing. And what a gorgeous area!!!! wow!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Very nice city Brisbane and you seem to be very open hosts.


  17. Thanks for taking us on the tour with you. Had a nice time.

  18. This is such a beautiful part of the country and I love those sustainable houses. I must take a look next time I am out that way.
    She must have loved the trip.

  19. Colin, that is not a building, it is one of the 'weather gods', keeping two eyes on things.

  20. Hi Annj

    Well, the strange thing is that today I went to the city and had eyes looking skywards for this building -( Actually I bumped into a couple of the SMS/mobile brigade on their gadgets - no sorries from me either)! I told them they would be well advised to watch where they are going!
    And I could not see 'these eyes'.
    You go in and see if you can locate your "weather gods eyes" building.
    I think a "purple people eater day" might be coming up???
    Colin (HB)

  21. It sounds like you are having a grand time showing your young friend the sights of Brisbane! What a fantastic adventure she is on!
    I love the sound of your friends sustainable eco house. But I wouldn't like the part about no cats or dogs.

  22. How lucky Silvana was to go on this sightseeing tour with you. I hope she appreciated your wonderful hospitality.
    The eco-village sounds amazing, I'll have to look it up!

  23. ...with photos like that, I'm not surprised that Silvana enjoyed the tour! :)

  24. The picture of the city from the boat is a gorgeous cityscape!
    The eco community looks very inviting. I would think kangeroos would leave a bigger mess behind than cats and dogs. :)

  25. Thanks to you and Silvana for sharing the tour with us! It's really fun to see your home area with a visitor isn't it?