After my return from Perth, the last three weeks of my stay in Australia was meant to be a bit of family time and return home, but the shut downs after the Corona virus put paid to those plans. I stayed on another three months to see out the worst of the pandemic after three flights were cancelled. In many ways it was a bonus for me being able to spend more time with the family helping out with normal household chores. Once I got my head around the uncertainty of it all, I caught up with my life, trying to live it on four continents, messaging back and forth, and getting on with my artwork and writing.
The first Saturday back we had a lovely trip out to Wellington Point, Morton Bay, with Bribie Island nestled in the entrance to the Bay, this the main sea port for ships entering Brisbane Harbor. We picnicked under an indigenous Morton Bay Fig Tree with its huge grey trunk and extending branches which threw a good shade to protect us from the sun. We walked along the boardwalk to the pier where we experienced a stiff breeze and the salty smell of the sea. We stood with the wind ruffling our hair watching red and white sailed yachts tacking their way back to the harbor with billowing sails, before going to the café for a cup of coffee. We drove home again around the outskirts of Brisbane where we were able to see a different view of the city than that from the top of Mt Coot-ha.
Sunday saw us walking through the Botanical Gardens and the Biosphere, looking at exotic plants and ferns. We made our way down to the Japanese Gardens with their peaceful lily pads, ordered bushes and tinkling stream flowing through the stepping stones. We also encountered enormous lizards which fascinated me at nearly two feet long!
The final weekend before the ban on travel we took a weekend trip to the Sunshine Coast. We stopped along the way at the famous Pie Shop where I had a delicious curried chicken pie for lunch. We stayed at a self-catering cabin in Moochadoore, right near the beach. We headed off to the beach in the afternoon enjoying the sand between our toes and the waves lapping around our feet, watching the sun set over the ocean.
The highlight of this trip was a drive to Maleny and Montville, right up in the Glasshouse Mountains. We had lunch at The Secret Place, it lives up to its name hidden deep in the forest on the shores of Lake Maroon. We sat on the deck enjoying the view, framed by tropical plants and the artworks and rustic carved furniture. I was privileged to meet Gary Myers at his Maleny Studio, an artist I very much admire for his colorful paintings of the area. He gave me a brief painting lesson on how he does his paintings, it turns out he was also a cartographer in his younger days! I bought one of his Art books as a memento. We went back to Moochadoory for dinner and walk along the beach. Sunday, we headed down to Maloolabah to walk around the harbor and beaches. It was quite warm so we did not stay too long, we were excited to find a flame lily growing alongside the road, a symbol of our country of origin! We then drove home via the Pie shop for lunch after a very pleasant and fruitful trip.
This was the last trip before travel restrictions were lifted in Queensland. Thus, followed about six weeks of total self-isolation going nowhere except twice out to the shops for urgent supplies and my daily walk up the road to the little park by Hibiscus and Paperbark Rds, Moggill. On my walks I looked closely for interesting or exciting things as I observed the trees, plants and bird life around me. When you take the time to really look, it is amazing what will inspire you! I spent time sewing masks, painting and writing, so nothing really changed from my daily routine at home.