6/06/2016

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Our first view of Brisbane, from the summit of Mount Coot'tha

On our return to Australia, we headed for Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, to stay with our friends, Jan and Tim, in their wonderful apartment, overlooking the Brisbane River - what a view!


Sunset, as seen from the balcony of Jan and Tim’s apartment


“Look at me when I am talking to you!”
Kookaburras in the gum tree outside Jan and Tim’s apartment

Brisbane is a big, modern, fast growing city, spreading on both sides of the Brisbane River, with high-rise buildings springing up everywhere. 


Brisbane cityscape showing modern high rise buildings


There are older buildings among the new, like this,
the former Queensland Government Treasury Building

Dating from 1893, this building is a heritage-listed public administration building. It fell into disuse, when the government moved their offices in 1971, and it is now the Treasury Casino, owned by Tabcorp. However, this will ensure that this fine old building has been saved for posterity.


Another heritage listed building is City Hall, 
a centre for cultural, social, and civic events


The main auditorium of City Hall


Taking a moment to rest!


Albert Street Uniting Church

Just across from the City Hall is the Albert Street Uniting Church. Dating from 1889, this Gothic-style church has become dwarfed by the towering blocks surrounding it.


Statues are a feature in Brisbane. This one is the Petrie Tableau

The Petrie Tableau was commissioned in 1988 to honour Brisbane’s early families, and to capture the pioneering spirit of the city. It shows Andrew Petrie leaving for an inland expedition in 1842. His wife is handing him a drinking bottle, watched by their daughter Isabella. Young Tom Petrie plays on the river bank with two Aboriginal friends, while John Petrie is holding his father's horse. John became Brisbane's first Mayor. The figure on the left is a convict who was freed by Petrie. The Sculpture is by Stephen Walker.


These statues in the square facing city hall are in what is known as Speakers’ Corner

These bronze statues show, from left to right, Steele Rudd, author and storyteller; Emma Miller, trade union organiser and suffragist; and Sir Charles Lilley, former Premier and Chief Justice of Queensland.


The Shrine of Remembrance monument and the Eternal Flame

This major Brisbane landmark is a war memorial dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs).  It stands at the top of Anzac Square, and on 25 April, every year, a Dawn Service is held there in commemoration of the many Queenslanders who died in all the wars since WW1


A Boab Tree (Adansonia gregorii)

I was surprised to see this tree in Anzac Square. I am familiar with Baobab trees in Southern Africa, but I didn’t realise that there was a similar tree in Australia.


There were lots of Sacred Ibis birds strutting around the square


I was fascinated by these strange steel balls dotted around the city

This “Street Art” by Donna Marcus, is made from recycled vegetable steamers, welded on to metal plates. The balls were randomly placed on Brisbane square, by the artist, after she threw minature copies on to a map, and that determined where they would be set.

Thank you Tim and Jan for introducing us to your beautiful city. I hope we get the chance to explore it further, in the not-too-distant future!

Elizabeth Coughlan

6/03/2016

Queenstown, New Zealand. Adventure Playground


Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown was our last stop in New Zealand, before returning to Australia. Apart from its obvious natural beauty, Queenstown is also a destination for all kinds of adventure sports, and general partying.

Clustered on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, and set against the dramatic Southern Alps, Queenstown is a perfect vacation location for every season of the year, and is a photographer's dream.


The Remarkables (so called because they are, well… remarkable) tower over Queenstown, 
rising to a height of 2319 metres. 


This was the sunset view from our room at the hotel we stayed in.


…and this was the view directly opposite our room


TSS Earnslaw, the vintage steamer on Lake Wakatipu

We often saw this vintage steamer as it travelled up and down the lake, taking visitors on a leisurely cruise. Known as The Lady of the Lake, the TSS Earnslaw was first commissioned in 1912 by New Zealand Railways, as a service to isolated farming communities. She was rescued from the scrapyard in 1968 by Real Journeys, and put to work once again.


Another view of the Remarkables


…and another…


…and yet another

One surprising fact about Queenstown is that it is a must-stop place for burger lovers.  Fergburger, commonly known as Ferg’s, always has a seemingly unending queue stretching down the street. You’d think that a burger is a burger is a burger! But Ferg’s has at least 20 different types of burger on their menu. Of course there’s the standard Fergburger, but also ones like Southern Swine (beef, bacon, avocado), Chief Wiggum (pork belly), Bun Laden (falafel), Codfather (cod) and Holier than Thou (tofu).


Queues outside the Fergburger.

So our trip to New Zealand finally came to an end, but in the words of the Terminator, “I’ll be back!”

Elizabeth Coughlan

5/30/2016

Glenorchy, New Zealand. The Gateway to Paradise


The Head of Lake Wakatipu

Popularly known as "The Gateway to Paradise", Glenorchy is a tiny settlement at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, set among the most breathtaking scenery. Even Hollywood can't get enough of the stunning landscapes surrounding this tiny town, and has used them as the backdrops for many movies, including 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe', 'Prince Caspian', 'The Narnia movies', 'X Men Originals', 'Wolverine', and for 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy. Sir Ian McKellen who played Gandalf in the trilogy said, "This is the Middle-earth I had always pictured."


We stopped off at the Glenorchy Café for lunch,
before exploring the area


There was an exhibition by Dan Kelly,
a local sculptor, in a field behind the café


Dan Kelly works primarily in recycled materials


After admiring the sculptures, we walked out on to the jetty,
to marvel at the view…


…and take photos, of course…


…of glorious scenes…


…whichever way we looked…



…and even though it was summer,
there was still snow on the mountain tops


We were blissfully at one with nature

Thank you, Brian and Avis, for yet another wonderful day in the paradise that is the New Zealand Landscape.

Elizabeth Coughlan

5/21/2016

Travelling Highway 6, New Zealand


Our journey took us beside Lake Wakatipu

From Invercargill, we travelled with Brian and Avis to Arrowtown, on Highway 6, surrounded by stunning views everywhere we looked. Our mountainous route hugged the shore of Lake Wakatipu, and climbed the Devil's Staircase, as we headed for the Crown Range. The road was too steep and narrow to stop to take photos, but fortunately the powers that be had provided two safe places to pull over. Our first stop was the Devil's Staircase Lookout.


Brian, Avis, and David beside Lake Wakatipu at Devil's Staircase Lookout




The higher we climbed the more magnificent the view


Our next stop was the Crown Range Lookout, with a bird's eye view of the countryside.




Which ever way we looked, the view was beautiful

As we continued on our way, our route took us through the Cardrona Valley, an historical area dating from New Zealand's gold rush era.


I just had to stop and take this shot of the Cardrona Hotel, 
with its vintage car, permanently parked outside.


Even though it was summer, there was still snow on the mountain tops

What a journey we had. New Zealand is an amazing country, with unique scenery. It should definitely be on everyone's bucket list.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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