Brisbane, QLD

Monday, May 25, 2015


On the last day of our reunion in Ballina we visited the Maritime Museum. I thought the most exciting exhibit was the raft  from the Las Balsas Expedition in 1973. This expedition was made up of three rafts named Guayaquil, Mooloolaba  and Aztlan lead by Vital Alsar a Spaniard who wanted to prove that it was possible that early South American peoples could have sailed across the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean to Australia.
This is a model of one of the rafts.

The three rafts left Guayaquil, Ecuador in May 1973 and after a gruelling adventure they arrived in Ballina in November 1973. They were supposed to make landfall in Maloolaba on the Queensland
coast but a strong current pushed them down the coast to Ballina in NSW. One raft was too waterlogged to get over the bar into the river and it was let go. The other two were salvaged and the one in the museum was recreated with original timbers of the remaining two rafts. The rafts were made from all natural materials. There were no nails or screws.

 The cabin quarters behind the sail.

 Then it was time for our last lunch together until next year. It was a fun 3 days.

On a different note. I will probably not be blogging for the next two weeks as I am flying over the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean to LA on Wednesday to spend two weeks with my two little grandsons and their parents. It will take me 13 hours while it took La Balsas 178 days.
Looking forward to seeing you again Fox and Banjo. I hope I get lots of hugs and kisses.

Friday, May 22, 2015


While my reunion friends were having drinks on the deck, I took my camera for a relaxing walk to the beach. I'm still trying to learn everything this little Sony HX60V can do. Still not as good as a DSLR but much easier to travel with.

 I walked along the Richmond River groin wall for about 20 minutes. I climbed down the wall and onto the beach instead of walking  to where the wall protrudes out into the sea.

 The beach was littered with driftwood making arty sculptures on the sand.

 Others had a more romantic companion than a camera.

 Found it hard to capture the waves in the low light. Very grainy and not sharp.

 A driftwood frame

 It was getting dark so I headed back to the wall, where I saw silhouettes of cyclists and walkers on the path on top of the wall.

As I walked back along the wall towards the Holiday Park the sun disappeared and 

the sky put on a show.

 Mr Pelican was coming home after a day out too.

It was a relaxing evening walk. Soon I joined my friends for tea on the deck.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


While we were at our reunion on the NSW north coast we visited Byron Bay.
On the way we had to stop to check out this huge motor bike. I'm a bit too old and fat to be a pin up girl but I tried.

 Byron Bay on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. It was named by Captain Cook after Naval Officer John Byron, circumnavigator of the world and grandfather of the poet, Lord Byron. The lighthouse was built in 1901. The original industry of the area was logging, then gold mining. Primary industries developed, especially dairy, fishing and whaling (stopped in 1963). Now the biggest industry is tourism as the town has become a mecca for happy, hippy, arty, alternative people and tourists.
 We walked from the old lighthouse keepers house around the cliff edge stopping at lookouts and gasping at the drop to the sea and rocks below.

 The path wound around the headland and then descended down many steps to the furtherest eastern point. Can you see the path out to the point. Del and Martin our fit bike riding friends galloped off down to the point, while the rest of us lazed in the sun on a grassy knoll.

 Now we have been to the most easterly point, the most southerly point, the most northerly point and almost to  the most westerly point of the Australian mainland.

 Our little reunion group. We all (except Bill) belonged to the Judo Club of Pt Moresby, PNG back in the sixties.
L to R. me, Bill, Del, Charles, Martin and Penny.

We walked back up to the lighthouse and the car park, which overlooked this beautiful beach. There are many beaches in this area.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Last week we stayed in Ballina for a reunion, one of our outings was to visit the Tweed Regional Gallery and the Margaret Olley Art Centre. It was a 45 min drive from Ballina to Murwillumbah situated in the rolling hills of the hinterland of the NSW North Coast. The gallery is built on top of a hill with stunning views.

The first thing we found was shop of course. I just loved the views and it was a lovely warm Autumn day.

Mt Warning in the distance, was formed from a volcanic plug millions of years ago. It is situated close to Byron Bay the most easterly point of Australia. Therefore, the mountain is the first place in Australia to receive the suns rays each day.

 After coffee we perused the interesting art works. Inside the gallery there is an amazing structure. The house of a famous artist has been rebuilt. Margaret Olley (1923-2011) a famous Australian and international artist was born in Lismore not far from here. However, she lived in many places including Brisbane, Sydney, London and Paris. Her last place of abode was in a converted hat factory in Sydney. Parts of this house was transported and rebuilt in this Gallery.

 It is filled with her belongings and replicated as it was. It was amazing.

 The Yellow Room (and my reflection in the mirror)

 It was just as she left it. Filled with interesting things to see according to Margaret.

 Just one of the many paintings by Margaret Olley.

Soon it was time to leave and drink in one more gaze of the fabulous view before we go to Byron Bay for lunch.(next post)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


This post is a bit late but better late than never. On 10 May it was Mother's Day but it was also our 46th wedding anniversary so we thought this deserved a nice lunch out. We went to our favourite restaurant in Brisbane even though it is on the other side of town.
It is 'Des Alpes' a Swiss Restaurant operated and owned by our friends Monique and Nick. 

Even though it was a warm Autumn day we opted to sit inside.

 The food is cooked to perfection. I had Chicken Florentine.

 Bill had salmon

Still smiling after 46 years of marriage while we savour a delicious Tiramisu. We are fatter, wrinklier and have poorer eyesight than when we had dinner together forty six years ago.
My taste in drinks has improved. I prefer a red wine now rather than the Sherry I have here. Bill had a Swiss beer instead of the San Miguel in PNG.

Friday, May 8, 2015


It was time again for our annual reunion of friends who belonged to the Pt Moresby Judo and Scooter clubs in PNG over 50 years ago. Unfortunately 2 of our group, Dianna and Graham couldn't make it this year. However, we found another ember, Bev, recently and she will join us later. We all drove from our different towns to meet in Ballina, a beautiful seaside town on the north coast of NSW. Penny and Charles were the organisers this year and they found us nice cabins in a Holiday Park. 
It was fun catching up with Charles, Penny, Martin and Del. We had 'fivsies' on the deck every evening.

 The first morning we walked along the groin, a wall built along  the Richmond River to provide a safe entrance to the river. The river is on the right and Shaws Bay on the left and the ocean is straight ahead.

 Love is preening together. The bay was muddy due to recent storms and flooding.

 After our walk we drove to The Crystal Castle in the hinterland between Mullumbimby and Byron Bay. It is a privately owned botanical garden filled with extraordinary crystals, sculptures and subtropical plants.

The original building was built in 1980 by eccentric architect Edwin Kingsbury, who pioneered harmonious architecture. It is built where the earth's energy lines intersect and it doesn't have any 90° angles. The original owner went broke but it was bought by Naren King. He has imported hundreds of crystals and sculptures and developed the gardens. This is just one of the many rooms full of crystal displays.

Crystal Singing Bowls made from quartz crystal create a magical and powerful effect of sound and vibration. You just rub a special suede mallet around the rim.

 The Fountain of Peace. This is an amazing fountain. A 310 kilogram sphere of Rose Quartz rotates on 0.3 millimetres of water. 

 Naturally we had a coffee in the Cafe, where Bev (in blue) joined us.  It was fun catching up after not seeing her for 50 years.

After that we ventured into the gardens.

Where we followed many paths through the lush subtropical vegetation which was punctuated with sculptures connected to Eastern spiritual traditions.

 We did the Buddha Walk which went through a bamboo avenue and onto The Blessing Bhudda sitting in a Lotus Pool. It is the largest Bhudda in Australia.

 Recently a stupa has been added to the gardens. It is the Kalachakra World Peace Stupa. A stupa is a sacred monument built by Tibetan Bhuddhists to represent universal divinity. These structures are assembled under the precise guidance of a Tibetan Lama and every part of the design has a special significance. Inside is a treasury of sacred objects and the Tree of Life. It was built under the guidance of the Gyuto Monks of Tibet. This one is unique to the southern hemisphere and only the seventh in the world.
This was a beautiful, peaceful place to visit and we didn't want to leave. I would love to return and see more.