Diamond Valley Miniature Railway

A great place to take children for a Sunday treat is the Diamond Valley Miniature Railway, which is open every Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Found at Eltham Lower Park. Cost is $3 per person for a ride but to walk around and view there is no charge. Be aware that parking can fill up on the left very quickly on popular days, such as the Teddy Bear’s Picnic but you should be able to find parking if you head off to the right of the oval there.

This place is run entirely by volunteers who are passionate about their model trains and they have built an extensive railway, complete with a bridge, several tracks, a picnic grounds, signal box rooms and a very large and impressive workshop. Definitely with the visit!

Queen’s Birthday long weekend

It’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend this weekend in Australia. And what have you planned?

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(image from Zoos Victoria newsletter)

The Healesville Sanctuary has a Wine and Wildlife Weekend and with the promise of fine weather, even if quite cool at 16C, that should mean there will be a lot of people out and about!  I receive Zoos Victoria email newsletters and they say:

Combine wildlife experiences with the tastes of the Yarra Valley and indulge yourself over the June long weekend.

Healesville Sanctuary has partnered with Sanctuary Harvest Café, De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate, Napoleone & Co Cider and Kennedy and Wilson Chocolate to create a gourmet experience with a difference.

You can find out more here.

Aura Vale Lake Park

My husband and I were exploring Selby which is where our new home will be and we discovered only 5 mins drive away a lake park we didn’t know existed. It’s at the top of Cardinia Reservoir and is called Aura Vale Lake Park.  It’s apparently the run off water from nearby areas which is prevented from entering into the reservoir. So it was quite full, and really lovely to visit.  You can go canoeing, kayaking, walking, have picnics and just enjoy the scenery.

Approx 54kms from Melbourne itself, it can be easily reached via Wellington Road for a lovely outing.

While it was a cool afternoon it was certainly pleasant and there were few people around as we visited it.  A couple of pics below but if you want to see more then visit my blog at KathiesPhotos.com.

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Autumn in Melbourne

I absolutely love Melbourne’s Autumns.  The colour displays as the leaves turn to gold, brown, orange, yellow, etc are beautiful.  And often we have pleasant and slightly warm days with quite cold nights – makes it easy for sleeping but still good during the day.  We’ve even had some rain this year which is nice as we’re still very short of water in our state.

The following photos were taken at the George Tindale Memorial Garden which is in Kallista, almost 40 kms out of the city, in the Mt Dandenong ranges. Graham and I visited there on Mother’s Day and enjoyed our time in that area, visiting a couple of grounds and looking at houses.

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Grant’s Picnic Ground

If  you want to get away from suburbia and enjoy our lovely countryside, you could head up towards Kallista and visit the many gardens and grounds there.  One of them, Grant’s Picnic Ground, has a large variety of birds that happily visit with the visitors in return for food.  There is a cafe there, walking tracks and lots of photo opportunities for those who are keen photographers.

Below are just a small selection of photos I took when we recently visited the picnic grounds on Mother’s Day. There were a lot of people there and it was a beautiful day to make a visit.

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Karkarook Park

I’ve driven past this park many times over years as I’ve gone about my business or visited my family but it never occurred to me to visit it till this past week.

I knew it was reclaimed land that had been turned into a wetland reserve and this occurred sometime after 1994 when we’d shifted into this area.  But this week as I dropped into a business across the road from it I decided this would be my next planned photography shoot and I’m so glad I did.

Here are two links that tell you more about it:

Parks Victoria

Fisher & Fisher

For the first time in my life I saw a Flame Robin and that was thanks to a couple who regularly walk their dogs there. They’d seen me taking pictures of the birds and they pointed me towards a path they’d walked on where they had seen the robin. So when I went looking it was very obvious as the bright colour showed up easily amongst all the greens and browns.

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Introducing Basterfield Park

I belong to the Southern Suburbs Photographic Society which meets in East Brighton regularly and am currently participating in a beginners course.  Why beginners? Well, even though I’ve been taking photos for over 30 years as an amateur I’ve never learnt the terminology or the intracies of using a camera so I’m now learning what Fstops mean, and aperture and all those other words.

Today we had a field trip and went to a park I didn’t know existed only a few minutes from my home because it’s hidden away from main roads and in the middle of a residential suburb.  It was a cold crisp and very clear morning and we all had a good time playing with our cameras.  I was hoping for some fog but another time.

Anyway, hope you like these shots and you can see more at my photoblog.

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A snippet about Beechworth

Remember my recent posts about Beechworth and the fires, and the problems with the tourism dropping there? Well, here’s a small update for you.

We have a new gourmet cheese shop just opened, lovely lady called Natasha Davis has opened ‘The Larder’ in Camp St, opposite the bakery. She was the guest speaker at the Beechworth BPW meeting last night and everyone enjoyed a beautiful selection of French and Italian cheeses with lots of interesting history. Natasha will shortly be expanding into pastries and coffee.

Ahhh! The sweet smell of rain!

If you live outside of Australia I bet you still know about the bushfire challenges the state of Victoria has been having.  Today they were forecasting really strong winds and there was a high bushfire alert for the whole state – that ends at midnight tonight.

So far, the firemen have kept things under control as they’ve worked hard during the past week backburning and setting up other strategies to protect towns around our state.  But today everyone was on tenterhooks waiting to see what might occur.

noserainThe cool change is just sweeping through the state now, it hasn’t quite hit where I am in the south east but we know it’s on its way and ahead of it is rain – wonderful sweet-smelling rain. I hadn’t realised how much I missed that smell!  It’s not heavy but hopefully it will keep up regularly, even if it’s soft rain. They’re forecasting showers for the next week – nothing heavy unfortunately but it might finally help get the fires put out which have been going for weeks now.

Butt or Bug?

The latest fire has hit quite close to home for us.  Graham and I were only at Birdsland Reserve in Belgrave on 14th February and you can see some of my photos at my photoblog.  Today there is a fire tearing its way through the park and heading towards houses that we had only been looking at a month or two prior.

The fire started at the edge of one road (Nixon Road) and then headed north as it was fanned by the strong winds and heat of the day.  It also has burnt some of Lysterfield Park – the very place my husband and his mate ride every weekend and where I was taking photos just yesterday.  The fire is further up the hill from where we were.

I can’t understand this.  There was no thunder and lightening and unless there were problems with a powerline there, that pretty much leaves it to two possible things:

1.  Someone threw a cigarette butt out of their car window – something I’ve seen happen so many times in the past, or

2.  Someone deliberately lit the fire.

Either way it was a deliberate act and I can’t help feeling that the person in number 1 above is just as liable for the damage and terror as the person in number 2 above.  And the person in number 1 could have driven on their way merrily totally oblivious to what they have done.

cigartettebuttI don’t like the fact that smokers litter places anywhere – you just have to walk around cities and suburbs and see cigarette butts where smokers congregate. There aren’t always ashtrays or sandboxes available and it seems to me that many just seem oblivious to their actions. But to throw a live butt out of a car window as they drive along is totally irresponsible and I expect they’ll be eligible for a jail sentence if ever anyone was seen to do that immediately before a fire was started.

Tonight the wind is blowing strongly and I remember back to the year we first shifted to Melbourne.  It seemed to rain all year long in 1992 and we wondered what on earth we had done, shifting to such a wet city!  How I wish it were like that again, this drought has gone on for far too long and our beautiful state is really suffering.