Health Retreat Kununurra


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I noticed something the other day, when we are away time flies, but for those at home life goes on at the same old pace. So sorry I haven’t posted more often or kept in touch as much as I normally would. I feel like I am on a health retreat, inside this beautiful bubble, but I know when others go away, I miss them and wish they would stay in touch. I wish I could bring each of you up here for a few weeks, it is so beautiful, relaxing and refreshing. I wake up every morning to a lawned vista, dotted with boab trees and the river winding it way through the property, the birds are tweeting and the wind gently rustles the leaves.

They say a picture paints a thousand works, so here are some pictures to help you see what it is like.

sunset-bill-and-andrea

 

 

 

There are beautifully coloured bee eaters, red breasted robins, willy wagtails, green throated lorakeets, crimson rosellas, white cockatoos, sulpher crests, mud larks, cranes and sea eagles to name a few of the birds, the kangaroos and wallabies lay in the shade of the mango trees and then come down to the lawned area near the river in the evening.

bee eaters in flight

bee eaters sitting on sprinkler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sea eagle

sea eagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gazebo has lovely swing chairs where I sit and read or just sit and watch the world around me and my soul takes a deep breathe and relaxes.

view from gazebo

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t worry though, Colin has still kept very busy, him and Bill, the owner of the property we are staying on are renovating the house, so he is up and gone at 7am and knocks off at about 4pm. He is loving it:)

We have got to do a bit of sight seeing as well, Bill and his wife Andrea took us up to Lake Argyle where we were able to borrow a friends barge and spend the day out on the lake. We took a tinny (motorboat) with us to get out to the barge and to cruise around at a bit faster pace. Andrea stayed on the pontoon and read and swam while we went sightseeing in the tinny. We saw a couple of big crocs, fresh water ones though. There were pelicans and cormorants and even some rock wallabies. The water was beautiful and calm and as we turned and headed towards home the water had started to glass off and the reflections were amazing.

islands in Lake argyle

islands in Lake argyle

reflections in lake

reflections in lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

swiming in Lake Argyle

 

 

 

 

crocodile-in-mid-air

 

 

 

 

Black-tailed-rock-wallaby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colin and I took the day off on Wednesday and went out to Zebadee springs, one of our favourite places and then into El Questro for lunch and then decided to continue on the Gibb River Road to Home Valley Station. The road was amazingly good until we crossed the Pentecost River and then it deteriated a bit from there to Home Valley. It was great for me as at least I got to drive on the Gibb River Road and cross the main river. From there we headed out to Wyndham and went up to five rivers lookout. It is an amazing place, no matter how many times we visit.

zebadee 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night Bill and Andrea had visitors for tea, so we went out to Kelly’s knob to watch the sunset. Here comes the photo tip for this week:- Don’t automatically head to where everyone else is, look around you for interesting features or hang back a bit so that the people themselves are silhouetted against the sunset. Everyone was looking at the sun set and yet if you turned around the real light show was happening on the rocks as they changed to burnt orange and the trees were bathed in golden light, but most people never saw this, neither did they capture it. If you want to have people showing in detail, rather than in silhouette, as you take a sunset you need to get close to them and use some fill flash to add light to their faces. Also remember sunset is a low light situation, so take your tripod, and use a remote shutter release or the timer function on your camera to avoid camera and shutter shake. If you don’t have the right equipment, don’t worry, try doing some video instead.

kellys-knob-sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever heard of a two eyed jack or a one eyed jack? Go and get a pack of cards and look at the jacks, I think it will surprise you, it did us.

We will be here for another week before we head closer to home.

 

Will post again soon.

 

Darwin


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Well after 4300km Rosie is ready to rest up for a bit, so we are stopping in Darwin for a few weeks.

We are camped up on families block and loving being part of the family and getting to spend time with the kids again.

farmyard

cow, goat and kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night was Friday 13th and a full moon. When this happens it is said to be a Strawberry Moon, so needless to say I had to have a photo.

full moon darwin

full moon 13th Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I created this image by setting up my tripod, setting the camera to 8 sec at f5.6 and then used my timer function set to 2 sec as my remote shutter release is broken. Once the shutter opened I then used my head torch to paint with light over the bushes in the front of the image so that you could see them.

Yesterday we visited the national park in Howard Springs. It is great, lots to do, but you need to have long clothes and lots of mossie spray if you want to do the monsoon walk, so we left that for another day.

We decided to visit Crocodylus while we were here, this is a crocodile park with a zoo. I loved seeing all the animals but was very saddened to see the animals held in small enclosures. It is like we had stepped back in time to when people thought it was okay to keep animals in cramped unnatural environments.

above and below the water

crocodiles eye out of water

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got some great photos of the lioness while we were there. The trick to photographing through glass or wire is to get as close to the glass or wire as you can and then focus on the animal in the enclosure. This throws the glass or wire out of focus and it doesn’t show in the image. It is also best to use a shallow depth of field, an f2.8 or f4 as this will allow you to throw the background out of focus so that you don’t see the back of the enclosure.

lioness looking at me

She’s watching you

Bored

Lioness yawning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While here I also visited Kakadu, to read about the trip go to http://www.juliaharwood.com/kakadu/

We also visited Berry Springs Nature Reserve which has a huge hot pools area. It is only body temp, so not hot but very pleasant, although it is quite deep so I recommend you take a noodle or other flotation device so that you can really enjoy it. they also have a grassed area, bar-b-que’s and a small shop.

waterfall berry springs

waterfall at Berry spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also visited the territory Wildlife Park which is a bit further along the same road and this is a wildlife park I would totally recommend, not only are the enclosures more what you would expect of our modern age, they even had a train that picks you up and drops off at each exhibit. They have a great playground and a cafe.

We got to see a great bird of prey show. As well as walk through an aviary in a monsoon forest and see a crocodile and other marine life in the aquarium.

NT Wildlife park

Owl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent lots of time with our Niece and Nephew and their children and extended family, it was a great time of getting to know the kids better and spending time with everyone.

They have Territory Day on the 1st July and this is the one day that it is legal to buy and set off fireworks, we had a big fireworks display with only a few duds and a couple falling over and causing some serious ducking and diving.

fireworks territory day 2

Territory day

Fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darwin is a great place to spend time in the dry season, in the wet it is very humid and not what I would like. Busselton in Summer and North in winter is definitely the way to go if you have the choice.

 

 

 

 

Mindil Beach Markets


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Everyone who has ever lived in or visited Darwin will tell you you have to go to Mindil Markets at least once.

These Markets are an icon in Darwin, they are on Thursday night and Sunday night each week. They are traditional markets, plus fantastic live entertainment and a sunset to die for on the beach.

They start around 4pm. The trick is to get there early or you will have a long walk from where you park.

Once you arrive, it is time to wander around and look at all the colorful and varied stalls. Then as Sunset approaches you walk to the beach and join the 100s of people also on the beach. They often have life saving rescue boat racing and then it’s time to sit and watch as the sun slowly sinks into the horizon and the sky changes from a blue to a beautiful pink and then to the blue of twilight.

The night we were there, there had been some smoke in the air and so the sky became a beautiful pink and the sun was a blood red orb hanging in the sky.

Mindil-markets-sunset-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the sun had set the sky got more and more red and this is where the photo tip comes in, never leave home without your tripod. I was unable to capture the beautiful sky as I had left my tripod behind. To successfully capture the afterglow or any long exposure you need to use a tripod. Some cameras handle high ISO better than others, so you may be able to increase the ISO until you get the shot, unfortunately this creates a lot of noise in the image, especially in the sky and seeing that is what the photo is about we want it as clear as possible.

There are some software products that help us deal with noise in Post Processing. The best I have found is Topaz Denoise. Go here to see the full range http://www.topazlabs.com/911.html                                                                                         I often get discounts for these products so email me if you are interested.

After the sun had dropped below the horizon I turned and walked back up the beach and there was an aboriginal man using tapping sticks sitting on the sand and there was a little white baby crawling towards him. It was a precious moment as the baby showed that there is no discrimination until it is taught. He was totally mesmerized by the tapping sticks, crawling up onto his lap. It was a beautiful moment.

bridging-the-gap

Bridgint the gap

two-cultures-meet

Two cultures meet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after the sunset we sat and enjoyed some great entertainment, there was a man with a whip doing tricks and a couple who did acrobatics and juggling. It was a great night.

 

Kakadu


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Wow, what a busy couple of weeks.

I thought stopping in Darwin to rest would be a good idea, but it seems there is always something on, but I am not complaining as I got to fulfill one of my dreams this week…..to visit Kakadu!!!

We stayed at Cooinda and went on the Yellow River Cruise. You can see why it is called Yellow River.

Yellow River Kakadu

Kakadu Yellow river

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had previously flown over the falls in Kakadu and I would still like to visit them in person, but on this trip we got to do the Yellow River Cruise and have a look around Cooinda and then on to Jabiru and Ubirr to see the aboriginal art.

Obviously Ubirr was a very special place for the aboriginies as the art is prolific and really good, probably the best I have seen.

Aboriginal art

great examples of aboriginal art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great opportunity photography wise to shoot lots of different animals and birds and the cruise was great as they gave you plenty of time to take photos. Paul Arnold a photographer also does Photography Cruises out of Cooinda at a great price.

The accommodation in the budget area was a bit rough, but the beds were really comfortable and the dongas had air conditioning and the pool was to die for.

What they didn’t let us know was that in the budget accommodation there are is a camp kitchen but no pots, cooking or eating utensils, fortunately we threw the picnic basket in at the last minute and it was a life saver.

I traveled with Jan & Chris our friends from Qld, their daughter Ang and Hans and Cora friends from Holland. We had a great time together and all got on very well.

These were some of the birds we saw on the Yellow River Cruise.

Brolgas in Australia, Northern Territory,

Brolgas at Kakadu

 

 

 

 

 

yellow river cruise, sea eagle

sea eagle kakadu

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were privileged to see a Jabiru catch his dinner and then eat it.

Jabiru Kakadu

Jabiru catching fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jabiru at Kakadu

Jabiru eating a fish he caught himself

If you have any questions about anything you read or see here, feel free to ask me. Wishing you all a great week and will have more next week.