Dandenong Delight

I spent what I thought was an inordinate amount of time in the garden as a child.  My mother loved gardens, with a major passion, and if I was ever foolish enough to say I was bored, in 2 seconds flat she had me on some form of garden job.  I figured that by the time I was 14, I was ‘gardened out’.  So visiting gardens has never been on the top of my to-do list.  The odd botanical garden visit in new cities, or walking around a friend’s garden as she has shown me her new Amorphophallus titanum (exactly!). Now that I’m getting involved in veggies, and native food plants, I’ve started having a sneaking interest in plants,  for their pragmatic qualities.

However, a friend took me to a couple of her favourite gardens in the Dandenong Ranges just outside Melbourne, and we had a lovely wander though a very formal garden, a wild garden and possibly the most formal of gardens, a bonsai nursery.  The beauty of these places, the serenity and relaxation they bring, the appreciation of the work that has gone into them, and gentle refreshing of the soul has made me consider that maybe I should be on the lookout for more open gardens to wander in.

(But please don’t ask me to work in them…)




Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Community, conservation, Gardens, Melbourne, Nature, Travel, Weekends, 0 comments
Winter Feast – Dark MOFO

Winter Feast – Dark MOFO

Dark MOFO is a fantastic time.  Established by David Walsh from MONA, Dark MOFO brings people from all over to Hobart, in the dead of winter for two weeks of art, concerts, performances and great food.  The city joins in, covering garden lights in red, adding flags and crosses (upside-down ones this year) in various locations. Bars, and underground theatres have performances of pretty much anything from doom metal to movies of crabs and prawns crawling on underwater cliffs.

The Winter Feast is a long table feast (actually three long tables) inside and small tables clustered around fire pits outside. Pretty much everything you could possibly want to eat and drink available.  Let’s eat!

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Community, Cultural dimensions, Fun, Night, Tasmania, Weekends, 0 comments

Run-away weekend – Hobart

Hobart is at the bottom end of the world – not so far from the Antarctic – with that potential of Roaring 40s weather, and snow.  It was settled originally by the Palawa people, and later by the British when setting up convict colonies, and outposts to stop the French from further colonisation. It’s Australia’s second oldest city, with plenty of convict remnants about.  Not only that, it is has the steep, rocky Mt Wellington guarding it.

But those facts are all very well, but is it a good city to visit?  Oh yeah!  It’s an energetic vibrant city, and has one of the best private museums I’ve ever been to. MONA is on a must visit list every time I head Hobart way.  Twice a year Hobart also holds the MOFO celebrations, with Dark MOFO the winter celebration – but more about that next post. This one focuses on a short weekend enjoying MONA and the Farm Gate markets.

Posted by DeborahH in Art, Australia, conservation, Cultural dimensions, Exhibitions, Tasmania, Weekends, 0 comments
Magic Melbourne

Magic Melbourne

Living in a small regional town is fun, but every now and again hitting the big smoke is a ball. When an invite comes from a friend to play for the weekend, I’m always happy to take it up.  Melbourne is one of the nicest cities to play in. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Melbourne as the world’s most livable city for 7 years in a row, and it’s pretty easy to see why.  True, as a visitor, I never have to worry about traffic or parking, but the wonderful places I’m taken to and the great food I can eat, and the exhibitions I can head to… so lovely.

So last weekend, I had another lovely play.

Posted by DeborahH in Art, Australia, Cultural dimensions, Exhibitions, Fun, Melbourne, Travel, Weekends, 0 comments
Boots and Hats

Boots and Hats

Agfest comes but once a year… but is planned for over months.  Agfest is the biggest rural show, run by all of the local Rural Youth groups who put in massive hours in planning and organising, as well as staying on site for the 3 day duration of the festival.  (I’ve heard the parties at night are pretty spectacular…) Anything to do with agriculture is on show – massive machinery, the sweetest lambs you ever saw, clothing for farmers (and wannabes), food, crafts from wool, wood, whatever.  It’s all there.

Agfest as traditions as well.  The main tradition is that it always rains.  Always.  So, the flow on tradition – new gumboots (or wellies).  I didn’t own a pair of these delightful feet covers, so had to skip off to buy a very fancy pair in a leopard skin print.  Hats, and beanies are necessary too, but I had a lovely striped, pink number so was set – until I saw the serious head gear everyone else had, so slipped mine into my backpack. Better to be wet than weird, right?

By skipping the machinery that wouldn’t fit into my veggie patch, we managed to cover the rest of the festival in one day of pretty solid walking.  Let me take you to Agfest – without the need to buy new gumboots.

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Community, Cultural dimensions, Fun, Tasmania, Village life, Weekends, 0 comments
Vine to vat

Vine to vat

Living is Tasmania means I’m never too far from a vineyard, which I assure you, is a really good thing.  I enjoy my wine, and being able to be part of the whole experience – not just an end user – is interesting.  I helped pick grapes last year, and again this year, but was also lucky enough to go to the winemakers’ to see the next steps in moving those little globes of juice to the final destination of glass and mouth.

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Fun, Grapes, Tasmania, Weekends, Wine, 2 comments
If Wishes were (Sea) Horses

If Wishes were (Sea) Horses

I was one of those horse crazy girls – to the extent that if I saw a stray horse, I’d have my school tights off in a flash to make a bridle, and bring the horse home to protect it from being run over. Must have driven my parents nuts.  However, older, wiser and living on a small house block in the middle of town really prevents my horse dreams… but is there another way??

Ohhh, maybe….  Seahorse World in Beauty Point has thousands (millions?) of (sea) horses, and has created a fabulous industry in exporting these black and white, dappled and grey beauties of the underwater world to the world. Small industries like this fascinate me.  A beautiful niche market, but with such reach, and open to the public to wander through.

The company has a breeding program for the Tasmanian seahorses, as well as a program to breed specific colours.  Seahorses can change colour, but apparently not as camouflage (maybe it’s just a yellow kind of day?).  They are found all over the world, but the majority live below the equator, and around Tasmania, a careful check of the kelp beds can help you find your very own horse.

Every child is taught that seahorse dads (stallions?) are the responsible parent, carrying the babies after fertilisation until birth.  Mum specifically looks for a dad with the biggest pot-belly as a partner, and very quickly hands over all of the fertilised eggs and swims off to graze another day.  Around a thousand ‘foals’ can be born, looking like wee, little wriggly specks in the water.  Out in the ocean, this is a dangerous time.  They grow very quickly, and in specially designed tanks to mimic their home environments (warm for the tropical types, a touch on the chilly side for the tougher Tasmanian breeds), they can live for up to four years.

Watching these fascinating creatures prance about, attempt to strangle each other, and feed was amazing.   Patting a seahorse is not quite the same, but without the risk of a solid kick, or a squashed foot.

Which one will you choose?

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, conservation, Fun, Human-nature interaction, Tasmania, Tourism, Weekends, 0 comments
One day in Bruny (Island that is..)

One day in Bruny (Island that is..)

Bruny Island is a lovely little island off the south coast of Tasmania, not far from the Huon Valley.  Access is via a car ferry, and sailings are regular.  A very easy place to spend some time, checking out the winery, the whisky and gin distiller, the oyster shack, cheese factory and all sorts of other food places.

But, being an island, it’s also surrounded by ocean, and if you kept going south you’d hit the Antarctic.  I didn’t plan on going that far, but instead opted for an adventure, travelling on a combination of a boat and rubber duckie, down the east coast.  The brochures promised rocky outcrops, sea animals and birds, and lovely seascapes.  A brilliant morning and a reasonably calm sea (for the Roaring 40s) made the start of our adventure lovely.

Later the winds rose, and the sea became very choppy, so we were very glad we hadn’t booked in for the afternoon adventure – it could have been a little too adventurous, and we’d have missed out on entering some of the little rocky inlets or getting up close and personal with sea caves.

Were there animals and birds – yes… by the boat load. A large Australian fur seal haul out (ie hangout for seals when they aren’t breeding), albatross, sea gulls, Pacific gulls, cormorants…

A lovely day out, followed by chatting to a local, and eating as many oysters as we could fit in at a local oyster shack.


Posted by DeborahH in Australia, conservation, Fun, Nature, Tourism, Weekends, 0 comments
Why Tasmania?  Just one day…

Why Tasmania? Just one day…

Recently I had a sister-in-law come over from the mainland to spend one day with me (OK, she was travelling further on, but it still sounds cool 🙂 ), and we hit quite a few highlights – good food, culture, whisky tasting, market visiting, platypus hunting.  Tasmania has a wonderful variety of things to do in a small space – nothing we did was more than 5kms from my front door. Had we been energetic we could have ridden or jogged to most places – although after the whisky tasting, I’m not sure how well we’d have done on the way home.

So ladies and gentlemen, I present – Adventures in a Day.


Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Cultural dimensions, Daily Life, Nature, Tasmania, Tourism, Weekends, 0 comments
Past present 2

Past present 2

This is another ad hoc collection, not of memories of past adventures and events, but of current adventures and events that will become those memories.

Sunset over Bass Strait.  Some days just take your breath away. 19/1/2018

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Human-nature interaction, Past Present, Tasmania, 0 comments