China,Great Wall, Monday Photo of the day – Landscape

The Great Wall of China was built to protect China from the marauding tribes to the north. Construction began in the 7th Century BC and the most well-known section was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).

Watch towers and garrison stations were built at strategic placements for protection from enemys. The wall was also used to transport of goods and to control immigration and migration. Archaelogical surveys determine that the wall measures over 21,000 kms.

Ned Kelly Vault, Beechworth, Saturday, Urban Photo of the Day

Ned Kelly Vault, Beechworth.

A Permanent exhibition, the Vault contains artefacts and collection of Kelly Gang articles and memorabilia, preserving the history of the Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang’s bushranger reign in North East Victoria

Quaint, rustic and charming, the Wicked Virgin Boutique Winery at Rutherglen, Victoria

I had to meet the interesting people who would name their winery “Wicked Virgin”. The colourful banner waving in the wind welcomed us to this family operated Wicked Virgin Winery at Rutherglen on the Murray River in Victoria.

John and Laurel had planted vines and olives and have built a quaint mud brick earth building from an old shearing shed as their cellar door and cafe. Quaint, rustic, charming and welcoming, they have revisited the history of the region’s wineries  and the building of the Wicket Virgin estate, with photographs on the walls and albums and folder telling the stories of the wine industry around the area and the building of their cellar door.

Incorporating olive oil from their own grove and fresh produce on the menu, the café was busy the day we visited, with soup, frittata, and cheese being our choice for lunch. I chose a sparkling shiraz  to enjoy with my cold plate.

The resident peacock kept the children entertained while they waited for their lunch  and the green lawn and gardens overlooking the olive grove made us linger awhile and sit outside in the sun.

The Wicked Virgin Winery and Café was a great venue to spend a relaxing lunch and well worth the visit.

Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach

We had driven into Longreach a couple of times and passing the Qantas Founders Museum on the entry to the town, it took our interest and went back to spend the  morning at this interesting part of Australian aviation history.

We took a tour of the original Qantas Hanger, which started with a dirt floor, and is now heritage listed. With original engines and machines, lathes and offices on display.The Founders Museum was extremely interesting as the airline struggled for years to survive. Trying to attract customers and win contracts from private and government business.

The Catalina which was loaned by Qantas to fly secret missions to land troops into enemy territory during World War 11

The 747 jet, is 3 stories high at the cockpit and 7 stories high at the tail. The engines on the wings are held in place by six bolts. In event of a crash, the engines shear off first on impact with the ground and fly away from the fusilage, leaving the plane to belly land without any heat source caused by the engines to cause an explosion and catch. The jet also has the ability to carry an extra engine to a break down, thus minimising down time as much as possible.

I am 5ft 10, so how big is this engine?

Inside the cockpit, with room for four pilots

The Qantas 707 jet which had been fitted out with teak and walnut fittings, Waterford Crystal lamp bases, gold bathroom fittings, gold inlay in a wall sized map of Australia, with the intention of selling the aircraft to Saudi Arabian oil shieks. However, someone, made a huge error of judgement and fitted the aircraft with pig skin leather lounges and armchairs. Ooops.The Saudi’s weren’t interested and didn’t buy the aircraft. There were no other buyers with the ready funds to purchase the purpose build 707 and being worth millions,  the builders went broke.

Eventually the aircraft was sold to an American company to fly their CEO and executives around the world and was leased to celebrities like Michael Jackson, who used it to tour.As time went on the 707 failed the new noise level requirements of aviation authorities  and it was stripped of its gold inlay and other valuable fitting and remained unused for a number of years. When John Travolta heard of the opening of the Qantas Founders Museum he was responsible for it being donated to the Museum.

Ilfracombe Machinery Mile

The Ilfracombe Caravan Park, was recommended to us several times. It lived up to its reputation. Kathy and Jesse are extremely friendly and helpful and their happy hour has to be seen to be believed.  Kathy reading bush poetry with a little (heaps) of attitude and Jesse telling jokes with a double meaning.

27kms from Longreach, an easy drive to visit the Stockmans Hall of Fame and Qantas Museum, it was quieter and more pleasant than the parks in town.

The locals of Ilfracombe had watched for years as tourists drove straight through the town on the way to Longreach and decided they needed an attraction to encourage them to stop, stay and visit and spend a little time and money in this outback town. So the Ilfracombe Machinery Mile was born. Locals donated machinery, trucks and farm pumps, engines and tractors, and endeavored to bring to life, by painting and restoring old and unused farm memorabilia. We visited the machinery mile and reminisced about the farm machinery and old trucks etc that Woolly used to work on as a mechanic in his youth.

We also had a couple of meals at the Wellshot Hotel and struggled each time to finish a large, wholesome meal amongst the locals and visitors

Mendooran Hotel, NSW Urban – Saturday Photo of the Day

Our first stop on our Central Queensland trip. Mendooran Hotel serves a fantastic meal and a cold beer or wine. Decorated with murals and painted in prominent colours the pub welcomes visitors as they travel through NSW to Queensland or south to Victoria. Mendooran is the oldest town on the Castlereagh River. We were camped on the banks of the Castlereagh in a free camp not far from the bridge. The area had basic amenities with cold showers and toilets.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Birds – Friday photo of the Day

Sulphur crested cockatoos

Sometimes a pest, always beautiful, this cockatoo was playing the comic as he drank from the pipe dripping into Wollundry Lagoon

Buttchart Gardens, Vancouver Islands, Flowers/Gardens -Wednesday Photo of the Day

A stunning showcase of landscape creativity, exotic and native trees and shrubs surrounded by perennials and seasonal annuals. Visit our story on Buttchart Gardens they are a definite must for your Canadian calendar tour