Retirement, Seasons of Life, Transitions, Travel

Final Chapter of My Adventures in Australia 2020

The first weekend restrictions were lifted on visiting parks for recreation, we went back to the Khola Botanical Gardens to walk. It was as beautiful as ever, with the water lily pond where a cute little turtle climbed onto a lily pad and then jumped off again. We walked the circuitous route down to the river and back getting our fair share of cardio exercise!  The following weekend we were able to go to Slaughter Falls a lovely parkland area below Mt Coot-ha where we walked along a winding trail where I came across the tallest, straightest tree I have ever seen! The Falls were dry but we enjoyed the walk amongst all the beautiful indigenous trees. On the way home, we went to the look out on Mt Coot-ha for a cup of coffee which we enjoyed sitting on the lawn overlooking the city.  

Another Sunday, we were able to go to Springfield dam, which we walked around enjoying the sunshine and fresh air watching the fish swimming beneath the water lilies and waterfowl paddling along the edges of the lake dipping for food. The water dragons were out in force basking in the sunshine. We went on a bit further to Orion Park, to walk along the trail, I nearly stood on a snake that looked just like a twig, which sent me into flight mode screaming as I ran away. My daughter though it was a poisonous brown snake. After that scare we made our way slowly back along the trail to the car after a lovely weekend out of the house! 

The Kohla Botanical Gardens became our favorite ‘get out of the house’ place to go as it was not too far away in Ipswitch and it is set in such beautiful scenery. We also took a trip down to the Brisbane River at Anstead where we enjoyed a walk along the river bank, saw a couple of bush turkeys running around and my grandson did some fishing.  We also had several walks in the Anstead Bush Reserve. My daughter and I walked down the trail to Sugars Quarry, it was a very steep road so I stopped halfway as I knew I would have to walk up it again!  We walked a very long circuitous route back to the car park instead. 

When we were allowed to drive a bit further we decided to take a trip up to Toowoomba about 120 miles away, where we looked at the beautiful vistas from the top of the mountain, it was very cold up there so we went into the town for a cup of hot coffee. We went to see the windmill museum so I could photograph the old windmills, which have special memories for me.  I also wanted to see the Japanese Gardens but they were closed, we did walk around the park though, looking at flowers before heading home. We did the scenic drive back to Brisbane along the Lockyer Valley which was badly flooded in 2011. This rich fertile valley is the breadbasket of Queensland, mile upon mile of irrigated crops and agricultural lands. 

My penultimate weekend, we went into Brisbane so I could say goodbye to the city. We drove to New Farm and walked through the gardens to the Avatar Tree, so my grandson could climb it. This huge Fig Tree is a feature, with a children’s park built around it, and where I have made a memory of my grandson each time I visit. We walked down to the City Cat Quay to take a ride up the river, this was a wonderful experience as we looked at the city skyscrapers and the skyline from the comfort of our seats. We disembarked at South Bank and walked through the gardens were the bougainvillea were out which was what I had hoped to see. After a lovely cup of hot coffee, we slowly made our way back to the pier to catch the City Cat back up the river to New Farm.  I was sad that COVID had prevented a visit into the shopping precinct of Brisbane, but guess it also saved me some money!  It was so good to have spent this time with my family making memories, as who knows if I will ever come back this way again! 

Retirement, Seasons of Life, Transitions, Travel

Rhodesia by the Sea in Perth!

Elizabeth Quay -Perth

LIfe’s Journey takes us through many transitions, one of which is immigration. My generation grew up in a time of political turmoil in Africa, when the winds of change forced many of my friends and I to seek lands where we could once again put our shoulder to the wheel and flourish and bring up our families in safety. One of the purposes of this journey was to reconnect with old friends.

My visit to Perth was to spend time with long standing friends and a colleague from my first job at the Rhodesian Geological Survey, fifty-seven years ago! They met me at the airport and after taking me home for a cup of tea, we went out to Freemantle to look at The Sculptures by the Beach, it was a lovely evening with the sun slowly sinking on the horizon behind the sculptures. This was quite magical as one of the sculptures was of the sunset, so viewing them side by side was special!. When we had completed our viewing of the sculptures, we enjoyed fish and chips at the famous Kailois Restaurant on the quay, before heading home to bed. 

Saturday was spent with other ex-Rhodesian friends, who had been our neighbors; our children had grown up together.  We had a very pleasant lunch at the LoQuay Restaurant with a view over the lagoon. It was so good to catch up on the past forty odd years, the good, the bad and the struggles. They had arrived in Perth with four children, a tent and $500.00 dollars to start their new life. We had fun reminiscing over our children’s adventures in Rhodesia, very special memories! 

In the evening, I walked along the Carring-Swan River walkway with my hosts as far as the Dome Restaurant, a local landmark.  It was a very enjoyable walk as we chatted and looked at the beautiful scenery, catching a glimpse of jelly fish near the Jetty and other sea fowl along the beaches. Apparently, dolphins are also seen in this lagoon at times! We spent the evening talking about our travel adventures! 

Sunday, we caught the train to Elisabeth Quay, a new development cut into the bank of the river in the City, making it a good place for the ferry to pick up and set down passengers. It is also a wonderful place to hang out with friends at the coffee shops and eateries. We looked around the main precinct at the Bell Tower and lovely bougainvillea arches. The children’s playground had a wall with all the children’s names written into it who were at school on a specific day in Perth – what a great idea!

First Contact Statue inspired by the Aboriginal people’s first sighting of European Settlers sailing boats.

After a delicious cup of Cappuccino at the Ritz Carlton my friends left me at the Railway station to catch the train to Joondelup where I met up with another ex- Rhodesian friend, I had not seen since she was a child! She met me at the station and we ate lunch the Dome, where we caught up on the intervening forty odd years. She also had interesting stories of finding family members she never knew existed! She then took me to Ocean Reef,a fairly new small harbor and new development, which was near her house.

I enjoyed seeing where she spent her leisure time, and had a breath of ocean breezes at the same time. We then headed over to Sorrento Quay and Hillary’s Boatyard which we explored, taking in the holiday atmosphere of the place and watching children jump from the Jetty and island into the water. We finished the day with another cup of coffee before she took me back to the station to catch the train back to Bull Creek.  The train was very busy as the Road to Hell Highway had been closed, for a parade in honor of ACDC whose one band member was born in Freemantle. My hosts met me at the station, where we shared more memories of our common history, before packing for our road trip to Dunsborough and Margaret River region.