Friday, February 13, 2015

Holiday in Tasmania

Our first  stopover from Melbourne to Tasmania was the city of Launceston.
We had breathtaking views of Launceston's famous Cataract Gorge and First Basin from the Chairlift. The Central span of 308 metres is believed to be the greatest single span of any chairlift in the world. I was more anxious about my hat flying off and our cameras, as we sat being so exposed.! 

Left Launceston for Mountain Valley Retreats. . A real fire to sit by in the evening. after a delicious home cooked dinner by host, Pat.  No wifi  so caught up with my audio book and it was Beethoven waiting patiently!
 So for the 3 days we were 'lost' in the valley of Loongana under the Black Bluff Mountain. Time was on our side, so we ventured to the caves, experienced Australian wildlife  and the beauty of the Kaydale Gardens - all such great memories to reflect upon.  
Our rustic cabin with simple kitchen amenities. Breakfast was all ready in the fridge for the  three days we spent there. We were advised to stock up on drinks as we made our way to  our destination as there were no shops within close drive to Mountain Valley Retreats. We experienced Tasmanian  wilderness; roaming round the cabins were Pademelons and they fought shy of us when we came closer  

Out in the wilderness
Our host fed road kills in the evenings, and in the darkness of our room, we watched the  Tasmanian Devils come stealthily to eat their dinner. In the evening, we could only watch from a distance the platypuses diving in and out of the water in a river nearby as they foraged for food in the still pools .

From the Cruickshank Lookout, 275 m above the Leven River. Off the beaten track, we got to it via a well equipped picnic area and followed a short relatively easy rainforest walk.

High enough on the viewing platform to marvel at the  Leven Canyon below.

Beauties at Kaydale Lodge and Gardens - just an example of the visual delights of this acclaimed 2 hectacre garden. A must for garden lovers.

Award winning gardens at Kaydale Lodge

With the owner's daughter
Gunns  Plains Cave is close to Leven Canyon - a fascinating world of caves, sinkholes and underground streams. Is this Western Australia hanging from the roof? Actually I saw the head of a python! Amazing limestone formations, glowworms, underground stream, including one of the  Southern Hemisphere's largest shawl formations. Impressive.  The tour guide told us concerts are held in the Caves too! He held our attention with so much info told in an interesting manner. It was well worth the visit.  
. There were low points requiring visitors to 'bend low'. The pathways were sufficiently lit  and not too narrow.

Hanging shawls 

At Wings Wildlife Park - a sleepy wombat in the arms of a caretaker. So many animals - alpacas, eagles, Tasmanian Devils, kangaroos, wallabies, birdlife, emus, ostrich, koalas, echidnas, reptiles

Getting acquainted with the koala at Wings Wildlife Park.

The Tasmanian Devils snarled at one another .  Yes, the teeth doth show up sharp and mean!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

All abuzz for the wedding

A team to set up the tent and the dais for the wedding ceremony. 
Work done! 
The event organisers are in.
More hands on deck - the menfolk  are assembling the door gifts to contain the specially made fruit cake by the groom's mum.

Lovely Thank You  door gifts 
Rice grains and rose petals to  fill up the sachets for the 'moment' during the thali tying.

All packed  in delicate chiffon packets  - to be distributed to guests . Ready to shower the bride and groom. 

The groom's uncle up on the ladder to decorate the main entrance to the house. - a traditional welcome in a South Indian wedding.

Adding more colour and beauty  at another doorway to the main wedding  area.

A lady specialist in henna painting from Byron Bay  painting motifs a day before the wedding.

The bride's choice

Getting the kumkuma - mixture of tumeric and saffron  ready - a Hindu ritual 'aarti'  to greet and bless the bride when she enters the groom's house. 

More colour and grandeur for the wedding house  lounge  -  the groom's mum was up early at the Ballina farmers' market for flowers etc.

Sarees, salwars, sherwanis,dhoti, kurta etc  - all having a quick steaming to iron out the creases.

Giving special attention to the flower girl's gorgeous salwar.

The local hairdresser from Lennox Head  certainly had a busy time !

Niece of the groom getting ready for her flower girl  role.
Pretty ladies in a row - taking turns  to be dressed in their sarees in the hands of the expert.
A small white rose for my hair, with a little help from the hairstylist.

 Time to light up  the  kuthivalika ( brass oil lamp) adorned with fresh jasmine.

Lighting up for the auspicious day
The wedding reception team of  pretty nieces  and cousins  - rose water, kumkuma , programe to explain a simplified Indian wedding ceremony , sachets of tumeric rice 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lennox Head - we're back!

Upon our first visit to Lennox Head in 2012,  we spent Christmas there.We fell in love with the quiet peaceful village.  Thereafter,  two years in a trot we  returned to it again  and again for a big 70th birthday bash of my sis in law and now in December  to gather for her son's wedding. Lennox Head certainly has many family stories to tell.

Lennox Head is a seaside village in the North Rivers region of NSW, Australia situated on the stretch of  coast  between Byron Bay and Ballina.

Truth be told, I do not swim. Just playing in the water is fun . I guess I really miss out on this aquatic enjoyment. So at Lennox Head, I walk on the beach, climb Lennox  Point and look out at Pat Morton, and watch the waves roll endlessly. The lapping, crashing  and pounding of the waves is music to the ears and looking out from the balcony or sitting on the beach or lawn, one never tires of of the therapeutic effects. The ocean vista is always changing and when evening comes and darkness follows, out in the vast open space it  is pitch black and the waves sends its own rhythmic sounds to us.

Lennox Head is where my sis in law goes to for peace and quiet. It's a kind of retreat,so blissful.  But  the times we have gathered, gosh , it's like what we say, a fish market, with 15 people or more  under one roof! Well, the wedding that we attended had 100 people but the roof stayed intact!

This time round, my hubby and I  made an effort to get  up at 5.44 to catch the sunrise from the bed on the ground floor of the bungalow.

 With droopy eyes, after all the liquor imbibed, we got our cameras out to catch the morning glow. A little cloudy but the sun was up all the same.

So ended  our third visit to Lennox Head after fourteen happy ,memorable days. It seemed like the fun and the eating and drinking would never stop!  The children amongst us gave us much interactive cheer. The adults talked and talked and we got to know each other better with rellies and friends popping by.  The parties prior and after the main event - wedding, of course got us excited and dressed in our finery.  Then came Christmas Eve  lavished with turkey, leg of ham and the full works, all home -cooked by home-grown chefs who happen to be our nephews and even the new bride who cooked goose ( not one but two ) to feed the army of  uncles, aunties  and others in tow!) on Christmas Day.Not forgetting some shopping on Boxing Day in Byron Bay.

So much to say about this holiday which is really special 'coz it started in Melbourne and then onward to lovely Tasmania for a first visit. Finally we ended up in Lennox Head which wound us up as we worked as a team to get the house and things ready for a traditional Indian wedding. All good things must come to an end and here we are back in Kuala Lumpur. Whatever one says, it's still home sweet home. Well, till  good things happen again, in whatever manner.

I can't believe how this year has flown by. And the blog has been rather idle! Well this is to say goodbye 2014 and welcome 2015. Here's wishing  my blogging friends , A Happy New Year. All the best of things to you.

Hail the waves!

Lennox Head is popular with surfers.

The seaweeds washed ashore

 Keeping  watchful eyes on surfers

Surfs coming in 

A peacock fanning out on the beach?

Catching the wind

See me and see my name! I took some time to make those alphabets - as it was mainly seaweeds around me.  My name was made of seagull feathers, a bluebottle, twigs and seaweeds. Just as it was made, a quick click of the camera and the waves came in...

A blob of jellyfish
Here's looking at you! One of the locals, Les  told me it's the skull of a snapper, noting the hump on the head. He reckons  that fella weighed about 10 kg. 

Pincers and what's left of the crab .

Said hello to a local who was strolling with his wife. Got talking about the blue bottle jellyfish. Les sportingly showed me the sting marks left by the bluebottle jellyfish. He had them all over his thighs and hands too. Not bothersome to him!

Les held the bluebottle jellyfish to show me the tail. They were a few washed up the beach .
Whoa, I've landed! The picture was taken from the balcony of the house.

On the boardwalk to Pat Morton lookout
From  Pat Morton  lookout
View from the bed  - Sunrise at Lennox Head