Friday, December 30, 2011

Guess who turned two!!!

Our little man has turned two!!! We had a rainbow birthday celebration for him, with a few friends (the Flood family) who popped over for an afternoon play... Thank you very much friends and family for calling, sending cards and the lovely gifts xxx

The birthday boy

The Fire station is a hit

Morning birthday celebration in bed

Rainbow cake for the happy boy

Birthday hoodie from the thompsons.... thank you xxx
We popped down to NSW for our other little cuzzy's birthday party, to re-register the car in NSW and for school interviews with our teachers for next year.... Below is a piccie of the cuzzies jammin in Mullumbimby.

jammin with the cuzzies in Mullum

Noosa, QLD

We headed south for Noosa, to stay with our friends in Doonan, the Coles-Morrish gang. We parked up the caravan in the backyard and enjoyed hanging out with friends and catching up...

These guys are building a new driveway and pool at the moment (in the same week), so it was pretty crazy busy, leading up to the start of the Christmas holidays... The family then took off for NZ and we stayed in Doonan to mind the house, animals and the new pool.... very lucky ducks xxx

Dadda found this bike at the tip!!!  Very lucky boy..

Front tooth fell out whilst diving in the pool - we found it in the pool filter

Working on the outdoor pool area

loving mumma lucky duck xxx

We went and camped for a few nights at Cotton Tree, right by the sea... Our caravan fridge, which has been on its last legs since Northern Territory, finally packed it in, so we're living with an eski/chilli bin for the last part of the trip.

Seventeen Seventy (1770), QLD

Yehhhhh, we hit the East Coast... So nice to swim in the sea again. We parked up at 1770 for two weeks, it is beautiful, right on the water. We've managed to find the local op shop, fruit farm (where you can pick your own strawberries), beautiful sunsets, few waves at Agnes Waters, diving at the point for some dinner.

1770 Sunset

Busy bee on the beach

1 kgs of strawberries in half an hour at the strawberry farm

Playing in the mangroves, 1770

catch of the day

sleep out in the swag

Crafting madness here, we've gone origami mad, we've made a big piece of rainbow felt and we are stitching our Christmas Advent calendar, a little bit each day. Music madness too.... Ross' guitar playing is coming along nicely.

Season table in the caravan

number gnomes - Class 1 project

felted a rainbow advent calendar with our neighbour, Michelle, in the caravan park

Stitching and cutting the pockets

Advent Calendar..... ready

Origami box lesson with Saatchi

Tiny crane by Saatchi - our neighbour in the caravan park

the start of our crane-making-madness - have done a hundred since this piccie was taken xx

Our favourite locals in the area were a couple of girls riding horses around Agnes Waters. They had stopped in at the Agnes Waters Beach cafe, and then proceeded to jump back on their horses, with takeaway coffees...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gemfields - Sapphire Country - Central Highlands, QLD

We decided to try our luck at the Gemfields. With some local advice from Nola, a lovely volunteer at the Information Centre - Alpha, we headed to Willows Gemfields. Ross and the older boys took off fossicking out in the country-side... they collected samples, crushed and cleaned the rock samples and put them through a saphire finding machine... The boys (including Dadda) are grinning from one ear to the other at the moment, they are absolutely loving being 'fossickers'!!

The most common sapphires found in this area are green and yellow sapphires and for those of you who are interested... apparently rubies are red sapphires...

Everyone getting into the sorting - cleaning process
Sorting through the treasures

Sorting out the sapphires from rocks...

The boys found one small green sapphire!!!!

Next stop was Lake Maraboon, Central Highlands, QLD, 16kms south of Emerald. The lake is huge (three times Sydney Harbour apparently). We hired a motor boat, dropped some pots to get a feed of red claw lobsters (note to self for next time.... they don't eat cauliflower or apples). We threw out the fishing lines, all fiveluckyducks had a turn to steer, we ran out of fuel (had spare fuel on board)... and we had a swim in the lake.... Forgot to pack the camera today....

Longreach - Barcaldine - Jericho, QLD

We are really enjoying the little outback towns of Queensland, the people are friendly and its quiet and peaceful... There are not many travellers on the road at this time of year, so we are often the only one or one-of-two at any campground...

From Winton, heading south-east, we stopped in Longreach for a few hours, to get out of the car in the hottest part of the day. We visited the library and swam at the local pool.

waiting for the buckets of water to drop on Dadda

We passed Barcaldine's Tree of Knowledge, a 200 year old ghost gum, regarded as the birthplace of the Australian Labour Party (ALP).

Looking up at the Tree of Knowledge - Barcaldine

.... and stopped in Jericho community park, camping by donation by Jordan Creek. The creek is good for swimming, there's a swinging rope and a big rubber tyre on the riverbank to play with. We had a fire in the evening, toasted some marshmellows.... one of those beautiful understated spots, love it.

At the time we passed through Jericho there were only sixteen children living in this town...

Locals leave a floating ring by the creek to play with

our camp by Jordan Creek

Rope swining boy number 1

Rope swinging boy number 2

swimming across the creek

balancing on the rubber ring

bedtime for the happy campers :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hello Queensland - Sunshine State and Cowboy Country (North-west)

So from where we left off.... We reunited with our caravan at Threeways and headed East across the NT/QLD border.

NT/QLD border...

We found ourselves, almost by accident, in the middle of Banjo Patterson country (north-west QLD). We visited Combo Waterhole (now a Conservation Park), just east of Kynuna (the origins of Waltzing Matilda). This is the billabong where the swagman/men drowned fleeing the policemen at an unspecified date in the 1890's, leading on to Banjo Patterson creating the lyrics to the Aussie classic 'Waltzing Matilda'.

Scene of Banjo Patterson - Waltzing Matilda

Oh there was once a jolly swagman, camped by a billabong.... with his three boys xxx

After a hot walk out..
Next stop was Winton, home to 300-odd dinosaur footprints and the Waltzing Matilda Museum.

Banjo Patterson (Andrew Barton Patterson) is believed to have performed 'Waltzing Matilda' for the first time in the North Gregory Hotel in Winton in 1895... well we had to go there! There are now officially four versions of Waltzing Matilda.... see the end of this post for the original (highly disputed) lyrics by the man himself.

The North Gregory Hotel.... Banjo Patterson's first live performance of Waltzing Matilda

Homeschool in Winton Library

The fiveluckyducks are in full swing of 'Waltzing Matilda'....

Waltzing Matilda - Banjo Patterson, 1895

Oh there once was a swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree
and he sang as he looked at the old billy boiling
Who'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me

Who'll come a waltzing Matilda my darling
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading a tucker bag
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the waterhole
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee
And he sang as he put him away in the tucker-bag
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me

You'll come a waltzing Matilda my darling
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading a tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me

Up came the squatter a-riding his thoroughbred
Up came policemen, one, two and three
Who's is the jumbuck you've got in the tuckerbag
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me

You'll come a waltzing Matilda my darling
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
Waltzing Matilda leading a tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me

Up sprang the swagman and jumped in the waterhole
Drowning himself by the Coolibah tree
and his ghost can be heard as it sings in the billabongs
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Red Centre, NT - Kings Canyon and MacDonnell Ranges - Part 2

We arrived at Kings Canyon in the pouring rain and luckily for us the following day the sun was out.... So we took off for a hike along Kings Creek into Kings Canyon, this was our littlest man's first solo hike, out of the backpack.
At the base of Kings Canyon

Walking along the Kings Creek track

Ross meets a friendly lizard

People at the rim of Kings Canyon

Upside down rainbow over the canyon
Returning to Alice Springs, we travelled along the Mereenie Loop Road, an unsealed road through Aboriginal Trust land, requiring a permit to use. This was such a fun drive, with the rain there was quite a bit of sloppy mud and water, so the boys were loving it.

us on the Mereenie Loop Road

Ginty's Lookout - Mereenie Loop Road

We then travelled along the picturesque MacDonnell Ranges, back into Alice. We stopped in at the Gossee Bluff Meteorite Crater site for lunch and a look around.

Inside the meteorite crater

Up the top of the lookout

We carried on to Redbank Gorge, where we camped up for the evening. Whilst we were there we heard a family of dingoes howling at sunset. The fiveluckyducks howled back until mumma duck thought it sounded a little too authentic and asked everyone to stop!

This was such a great trip, we really loved being in the Red Centre.

Passing through Tennant Creek, NT - on our way to QLD