Barrington Tops, NSW, Australia

View from Devil’s Hole Lookout,
Barrington Tops World Heritage Wilderness

Imagine a place where planes vanish, wanted men hide out for years, and the wilderness offers a window to centuries past; Barrington Tops is a place of legend, within striking distance of Sydney. We drove up to the 'Tops for the day, but there are 9 different camping sites for those who want to stay over in this unspoilt rainforest.

Our first stop

We parked the car at the “Devil’s Hole Lookout” picnic area and followed the wooded path.

We were all entranced by the stunning view!

One of the last of Australia's wild and untamed places, and alive with plants and wildlife, Barrington Tops National Park gives us a glimpse into past stages of the earth's evolution. It is home to home to more than 50 species of mammal, 278 of bird, 42 of reptile, and 18 different types of frog; a nature-lover's paradise.

Our next stop, Thunderbolt Lookout, is named after Captain Thunderbolt, 
an infamous bushranger from this region.

 We wandered through snow gums, beech trees, and wild flowers, 
to the Thunderbolt’s lookout.

…to find another amazing view!

We decided to follow one of the trails deep into the forest, and chose the Honeysuckle Forest Track. We trekked through magnificent Gondwanian Antarctic Beech rainforest, and thickets of Soft Tree Fern.

The forest was dark with dappled light, as the moss-covered fallen trees, 
silently crumbled into the soil from which they sprang

This Soft Tree Fern is like a living fossil. They are found in the fossil records of Antarctica and other southern lands, which once formed the ancient continent of Gondwanaland.

Fungi are also prevalent in the forest

Polblue swamp

We just managed to fit in a trip to the Polblue swamp. The area is dominated by alpine moss and lichen, although in spring or summer, you may also see rare ground orchids along the track. It’s also beloved by wombats and kangaroos, so it is a good walk for spotting them. On a side note, while driving up to the area, we saw what looked like a boulder in the middle of the gravel track. It turned out to be a wombat that had been hit by a car. I never realised they were quite so big!

Barrington Tops is the perfect place for hikers, campers, nature lovers, and photographers. Imagine a place that is so unspoilt that it feels like a mythical kingdom. So magical, that if a unicorn suddenly appeared, no one would be the least surprised! What a wonderful experience!

Elizabeth Coughlan


Upper Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

Suzi and Neil’s house is but a dot in the landscape 

We sadly said goodbye to Clare and Reg in Abu Dhabi, and flew to Australia, to stay with our daughters, Jane and Suzi. They both live in the Upper Hunter Valley, NSW. What an idyllic part of the world! We have always loved spending time there.

Upper Hunter Valley

Named after the river that runs through it, the Hunter Valley is one of the largest river valleys on the New South Wales coast of Australia. The area where Suzi and family live, is mainly associated with horse breeding and beef cattle farming, although one often sees sheep, too. The Upper Hunter area around Scone, the small town where Jane was living, is one of the largest horse breeding areas in the world, which is why Scone is called the "Horse Capital of Australia".

The gravel driveway to Suzi’s house…

…passes through several cattle grids…

…over hills

…overlooking the most amazing scenery

…past dingo fences

…through woods and fields

…and over a bridge crossing a creek, before reaching the house!

Suzi lives 80km from her nearest supermarket, and, with a 7 km long driveway from the road to her house, this gives us an amazing space in which to walk, run, and ride, among breathtaking scenery.

David, Suzi, Katelyn, and Brandyn, walking the track

Two-year-old Brandyn loves to ride his balance bike out in the fields

David and Suzi’s evening walk

As you can see, it’s no wonder we love staying in rural Australia. There is only one downside – limited WiFi; although, I am gradually learning how to cope, and find ways to overcome this. One way, is to prepare everything beforehand, so I only have to upload quickly, and not work online. Wish me luck!

Elizabeth Coughlan


Istanbul to Zimbabwe, Abu Dhabi, Australia and New Zealand.

Our journey since leaving Istanbul at the end of September 2015

Since leaving Istanbul at the end of September 2015, David and I have been travelling the world to see friends and relatives. We flew to Zimbabwe for a family wedding, fishing on the Zambezi, and a walking safari in Mana Pools; then on to Abu Dhabi to stay with our daughter, Clare. We had a two week break in Istanbul with dear friends, Angela, and Korhan, before returning to Abu Dhabi for the month of December. Since then, we have been to Australia to visit our other two daughters, Jane and Suzi, and are currently in New Zealand on a visa run, before returning to Australia.

The problem with being truly nomadic, is that it is very difficult to keep up with daily activities, like blogging. However, I have decided, that, come what may, I must try my hardest to continue recording the events of my travelling life. This became apparent when visiting friends in New Zealand, and we were trying to recall what we did the last time we were together. Eight years is a long time, but, we only had to look at my blog, and we were able to see everything we had done at the time, and recap many happy memories.

But, let's step back a little, and revisit the times I should have blogged about to date.

We spent a wonderful Christmas in Abu Dhabi, with Clare and Reg. 

Presents under the tree

Clare was delighted with her watch.

...and David loved his new running socks

Reg was unsure of how to use his "Health Tool", suggestions in the comments section please!

We began the day by opening our presents, and then made our way to the Southern Sun Hotel, where we enjoyed an amazing Christmas Day Brunch.

Our table was waiting for us

It was difficult to choose from the wonderful array of starters...

...and the desserts!

For mains, the turkey was a must!

...for dessert, should I have the stollen?

...or these? Hmmm, maybe,,, both!

There was also a choir from a local church to sing Christmas carols for us.

...and, of course, Father Christmas!

We had such a wonderful time in Abu Dhabi, that we are looking forward to our return visit next April. Thank you Clare and Reg!

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