Armstrong Beach and beyond

We are up to Day 8 at Armstrongs Beach near Sarina. We arrived to a massive beach, the tide goes out a long way, and saw a few birds… Pied Oystercatchers, a couple of Eastern Curlews and a few Bar-Tailed Godwits, but all too far away to get photographs. The delight was the visitors to our campsite – a battalion of Crested Whistling Ducks, bickering and scrounging for tidbits around the caravans. And a few pretty little Diamond Doves have been visiting, so sweet.

We really are starting to get the feel of being on the road, doing a bit of planning for the next few days, and contacting friends and family to visit around Cairns. I am really excited to bring out my paints on the beach today and play around with mark making and watercolours which I collaged and pasted into my journals. The beach is a mass of zillions of little and bigger blue crabs, with a few brown/black ones as well. The biggest about the size of a 50c piece.

These are happy, contented and joyous times, I really love seeing what I can create with inspiration from the environments we visit…sometimes it works and I’m happy with the result… other attempts are less successful, but its the process of making that is my driving force that provides the creative satisfaction that I crave to so much.

Travelling North in Ziggy – start of a big adventure

We are a week into our big adventure and I thought I’ll keep my travel journal in My Liminal Space. We have a route planned but so far every place we have stopped has turned up the unexpected.

We started on Monday 27th July. Such a long wait to get away. First there was the COVID lockdown, then school holidays and the promised holiday for the grandkids in Ziggy. With Georgie, Penny and Tom we went to Bongaree on Bribie Island and visited the Butterfly house with the girls, did lots of drawing and bike riding and with Tom we went fishing… a lot. An easy place to holiday with kids, and close to home and to Brisbane.

The first few days of Ziggy’s first big adventure was a slow trip up the east coast from Noosa. I was interested in using Youcamp farms to stay in as I would rather pay a farmer for my accomodation that a big chain caravan park.

Travelling with our friends Dianne and Brian, the first night was at Evergreen near Tairo. We had no idea what to expect except we were on a ridge and there were good views… and we could have a fire. The host farmers Susie and Marc met us at the gate and took us through another paddock, across the grass (we were a bit concerned as Ziggy is not a nimble beast), and finally we arrived under a huge fig tee, where there was room for a couple of vehicles to park on the flat. And the views were amazing, 360 degrees. Lovely friendly and enterprising people, and a well looked after farm and animals.

We gave our new free standing fireplace a good workout and enjoyed an evening around the fire, being entertained by one of the most amazing sunsets we have ever seen. It was expectedly delightful, a tad chilly, but clear blue sky the next day, and a walk through the paddocks looking at the drought master cows and the spectacular views.

Onto Day 2 after a slow morning we headed south to Childers and turned left to Brierley Vineyard. Again it was not what we expected at all. There were several rows of vines, a cellar door, and rustic decoration, all a bit run down. The host Tony promptly disappeared after we arrived and we had to wait a while for the cellar door to open. I was not overly impressed with his wine, even though it was organic and fermented with natural yeasts. But we did buy some together with our friends, and it was a pleasant enough overnight stay.

Day 3 took us to Seventeen Seventy, where we stayed at the campsite on the beach. Crowded with people coming and going each day, but a prime location, walking along the boardwalk on the first couple of days. A pub meal (very fried… not great) for lunch on day 2, and a scenic walk out to the headland on day 3, which was the highlight, with rugged cliffs, lots of little grasstrees, and surprisingly a native grevillea, grevillea banksia, and a couple of red bottlebrushes. A facebook friend told me that the grevillea banksia occurs all along the Wide Bay coast… a new wildflower.

After three relaxing days, and saying goodbye to our friends, we kept travelling north, this time skirting around Rockhampton to the Capricorn Caves for a couple of nights. A quiet little campsite, with power and water, and we parked so we looked out onto the bushland where we saw a drongo and a family of kookaburras. We went on the caves walk with a guide. They are dry caves, so no dripping water, but huge caverns, and one has been turned into a chapel where they hold weddings. The guide was entertaining, and even though we were not overwhelmed by the caves themselves it was worth going, especially the zigzag walk right at the end.

Filling my days – what’s next?

Didn’t get up real early today, the old body would not let me sleep until after midnight, but I wake feeling ok, especially after that essential morning cuppa.

After an hour or listening to the news (depressing) and the Saturday morning show, then breakfast, I joined the lovely Jenny MaClelland in an interval workout. She is great.

Ok, so now into the studio, a brief touching base with Fox my partner, and into the day. I’ve decided to do a video journal as I work in my studio, edited down to about 10 minutes with an occasional tutorial on my processes thrown in.

As two online shops with my work have just been launched I produced a short video – a quick tour of my studio. It was really fun learning IMovie and then saving it to YouTube, still more learning to do so a good challenge in these stay at home days.

My Etsy shop was mentioned in previous post and the Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre is also building their online gallery. It seems this will be the best way to buy those special handmade gifts for a while now, a way if supporting your local artisans.

Here is my first short video clip

The videos will be on my YouTube channel, so I’d love to see your comments there.

Till the next blog, and Liminal exploration.

Walking around Lake Doonella

In Noosa we are truly blessed with so many walks, some with pathways, some through the dunes, along the beach, along the river, and through the wallum. This walk down to Lake Doonella I have been wanting to do for a while. It’s at the bottom of the housing estate, but once on the walk the houses disappear, and some very beautiful old trees can be enjoyed with glimpses of the lake.

Definitely a Liminal Space

Life throws up many unexpected turns, and the one we now find ourselves immersed in is worldwide, and completely liminal, in between, the next stages are unknown, and the predictions and timelines that the politicians and experts are handing out change almost daily. The one constant is that they don’t know how this situation, this pandemic will play out.

It’s amazing that it takes pandemic, COVID 19 to do some of the things that are needed to reverse the effects of greenhouse gases. There has been so much happening since we made our quick return to Noosa, so I’ll start at the beginning of the journey home.

We were heading along the highway towards Woody Head campground at Bundjulung National Park. We left Diane and Brian as they went straight back go Noosa and we intended to join the Noosa Parks Outing for a week.

After stocking up on food for a week. We were nearly at the turnoff to Woody Head when Annastacia Palaszczuk announces that the Queensland border will soon be closed. It seems that the excursion would have to be cancelled so we quickly decided to head home. It was totally the right decision, the weather turned to rain for a few days, and supermarket shelves started to empty as people were continuing to panic buy. We had food in the freezer and the fridge, and at home, so it was with relief when we drive over Monks Bridge and remarked that Noosa was as special anywhere we had visited.

At home things were a little chaotic as our French doors (the rattley ones that didn’t close properly and were never fitted well), had been replaced with 3 sliding doors, opening up our dining room and deck. We were excited to see it. And the painters had refreshed our living areas. All that was left to do was replace the painting and tidy up a bit. Tired from our journeying it took about 3 days to sort it out.

Now we are settled back into the quiet Noosa lifestyle, confined to the house apart from food shopping, exercise and medical appointments. So phone calls to friends, and only walking with one other buddy, no social gatherings. It’s astounding how lifestyles can change (although not such a big change for me as some). Many are working from home, children are not at school, school holiday started early so teachers can train in online teaching for next term.

It has taken several days to really start to generate some meaningful work in my studio. After a few false starts it seems that most successful are little porcelain bird people, bird sculptures (Australian birds), vases with printed designs, and working towards some faerie folk of some form (still in development). I do want to explore those lovely matt textured glazes at 1100degrees for my sculptures, and African influenced designs.

It’s exciting to have time to develop some new glazes and play with those I’ve developed over the years. It could be several months before we can travel again, so this time of hibernation is ideal to start on some new creative journeys, experimenting, consolidating, extending.

Walking along the beaches as the river too crowded to stay away from strangers, and we will explore some of the inland walks through Girraween, and around Lake Weyba and the back of Sunshine Beach. We are lucky to have so many alternative walks so close by.

Red Rock, rocks

Looking at the map we thought Red Rock looked interesting. It is out of the way and well recommended. And it is one of the treasures of this part of the coast. A short walk to the beach in one direction and along the river in another. We found a paddock full of Christmas Bells in full bloom a short bike ride away.

Lots of parrots in the trees and a sea eagle flies around the rocks in its search for food. Osprey here too.

The camp ground has the feel of the 50s but is well kept and clean. The unpowered section is secluded.

One of the very special things we found at Red Rock was a huge area of Christmas Bells in flower – they were simply beautiful. The pathway down to this area was abundant with Flannel Flowers, so delicate and subtle in their colours.

The magic of Urunga

Some stops along the road are simply magical and Urunga is one of those. We are in a very comfortable (if a little expensive) caravan park right on the beach. There is a walkway that connects the main town to the headland – an amazing piece of infrastructure. In the evening we spotted Sooty Oystercatchers on the rocks, and a Little Egret, as well as many pelicans and terns.

A flock of Glossy Cockatoos fly overhead each evening, coming from the north shore. We guess they drink there and fly south to their roost sites.

The sun is shining and we are enjoying meeting up with Dianne and Brian, sharing stories, laughs, wine and good food.

Flynn’s Beach – Port Macquarie

So the weather not looking so good, and after another shopping expedition (buying warm tracksuit, soft topper for the mattress and more pillows, and other essentials, including lots of food we found a little run down campsite at Lakewood on Queens Lake. Good for one night for tired travellers, in the rain.

Along the road we called into the Lighthouse at the southern end of Port Macquarie, and then onto the Rainforest Centre for morning tea. Our final stop for three nights was Flynns Beach Caravan Park. We survived the rain in our lovely Ziggy and enjoyed getting the bus into Port Macquarie and a bit of window shopping.