Exclusive Lunch Fraser Gallop Winery, Margaret River

Lunch at Fraser Gallop at Wilyabrup is at the heart of the Margaret River Wine Region was the start of a wonderful journey enjoying red wine. I fell in love with their Parterre Cabernet Sauvignon and it is still my favourite red. A boutique winery that showcases Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Their winemaker Kate Walker, spent time with us explaining their vineyard practices and also the winemaking process. I think this was the first time I forgot to take photos of what we were eating. Our lunch was set up in with the barrels on a very elegant, highly polished timber table and our guide from Margaret River Discovery Tours had organised a lunch of local produce, condiments, cheese, smoked trout, and cold meats. With each course we tasted our wine, from a fresh Parterre Chardonnay and my favourite Fraser Gallop Cabernet Sauvignon. Fantastic

Back to the Beginning, Margaret River Discover Tour

With a wealth of knowledge of both white settlement and aboriginal ancestry, Sean, our Margaret River Adventure Discovery tour guide took us to a beautiful spot on the river where the local aborigine tribe would meet and camp. It was easy to see why this spot was chosen, it was pretty, tranquil and in the heat of summer, lovely and cool. The water tumbled gently over large rocks, which had been worn smooth through the millenium by flooding waters, with potholes in the rock dug by swirling pebbles as the water washed through the valley.

Sitting on the sandy beach below the rock wall, dipping our toes in the cool water, Sean, had brought with him, some local home baked bread, which smelled delicious and was nice and crusty and he gave us a taste of three different types of honey from the local trees. One which stood out for me, was the honey from Agonis Flexuosa, the peppermint willow and you could actually taste the mint in the honey.

Stunning Peacocks, Wagga Botanic Gardens. Friday – Birds Photo of the Day

Peacock Parade

An amazing creative work of nature. Perfect symmetry in the unique feathers and brilliant colours of jade, teal and emerald and irredescent blue shade of purple. Peacocks photographed in Wagga Botanic Gardens

Piglet Races, Deni Ute Muster

Struggling with drought for ten years, Australian country towns have invented some unique fesivals to come together, support each other and to bring tourists and to support their towns and improve their economy.

The Deni Ute Muster, started as a group of utility owners would gather and show off their pride and joy and compete in burnouts, drag races and generally chill out.

The Ute Muster now runs over two days and attracts visitors of all ages from all over the country and with numerous attractions other than the utilities their is plenty for all the family.

The Piglet races raise money for charity, with a calcutta auction held for the right to “own” the chosen pig for the race. The winners’ owner getting half of the prize pool, the other half going to charity.

The course is rectangular and the pigs must learn how to operate the gate at each corner to progress. The prize is a bowl of mash, milk and cereal, placed on a bale of hay in the centre of the course.

Each piglet is identified by the colour of his saddle cloth.

Styled in the fashion of the Ascot Races, the trumpets blast and the crowd roars and they are off. The run and the pen are built of iron mesh and the piglets make their way through the first gate, with the leader able to nuzzle the latch up and the gate springs open.

At the second gate the lead has changed and the piglet in front can’t work the gate. Eventually he is nudged out of the way and the gate is opened. When they have reached the centre where the mash mixture is the group of piglets are hugging the outside of the mesh rails and trying to find then next gate, when one of the last pigs to arrive, heads straight for the bowl and he is declared the winner.

The piglets are lost and trying to get through another gate

The aqua piglet is first to the bowl and is declared the winner

There is enough for all!

Deni Ute Muster

The Deni Ute Muster, started when a group of utility owners would gather and show off their pride and joy and compete in burnouts, drag races and generally chill out.

Struggling with drought for ten years, Australian country towns have invented some unique festivals to come together, support each other, forget about the hardships of the drought and to bring tourists to support their towns and improve their economy.

The Ute Muster now runs over two days and attracts visitors of all ages from all over the country and with numerous attractions, circus tent, non-stop country music from the afternoon until late in the evening there is plenty for all the family to enjoy.

Berlin Concert Hall and German and French Cathedrals, Thursday Photo of the Day – Monochrome

Rebuilt following World War 11 to original designs on the exterior, but totally modernised and refurbished interior, the Berlin Concert Hall is flanked by two beautiful Cathedrals, all on Gendarmenmarkt. Once soldiers marched in the square now in summer open air concerts are held and in winter the square is transformed into a winter wonderland and fantastic Christmas Market.

Utes, Dust and Music, Deni Ute Muster

Utes of all manufacture, size, colour and model were on display at the Show and Shine, Deni Ute Muster. From vintage to utes that were two-packed and shined till they glowed. Parked next to each other in the muster paddock they were a favourite with the crowd of over 15,000 fans who attended the two days.

With different sections, according to engine size and two at a time the time trials were a test of skill and daring. The fastest time had to be achieved by being able to stop within a few metres of the finish line. WOW!!

The paddock where the circle work competition was held was covered in a cloud of dust. But you could hear the roar of the engines for miles, together with the cheers of the crowds, obviously there was plenty of excitement.  Needless to say, I stayed away, I preferred to stay clean for the day.

Winner of the Ladies Section

Both evenings we were entertained by non-stop country music, with plenty of Aussie music stars to choose from

Lee Kernaghan

Beccy Cole

Sideshow Alley, Deni Ute Muster

It was two days of non-stop activity for visitors to the Deni Ute Muster. With families and young people, but, not many grey nomads like us. The usual attractions in side show alley included numerous food and drink stalls, including almost all international flavours. Stalls selling country style bush hats and belts, boots and shirts and just in case you had forgotten your Jacky Howe singlet for the World Record Singlet challenge, they were there  in all sizes, so you could be part of the action.

Brophy Bros circus acts located in the big top with plate spinning, single wheel bike riding, whip cracking, trained dogs. Entertainment for  all the family.

Direction Man

Brophy Bros Circus tent, whip cracking and clown on bikes

Wood Chopping

Piglet Racing

Darwin Sunset, Monday Photo of the Day – Landscape

Darwin is a city of extremes. Beautiful sunsets, strong rich colours in its beaches and foreshores, incredible lightning displays from the summer storms, (I promise myself to visit in the wet season to photograph them).

Niagara Falls

We can hear the roar from a distance. The first thing we see is the mist rising like a cloud, we can’t see the drop-off because of all the tourists and as we get closer to Niagara Falls, the width of the Niagara River is enormous, the colour, that gorgeous emerald green of a glacial flow, as the River pushes is way through Niagara Gorge. The sun is shining and the colour of the water of the Niagara River is spectacular.

We are so close to the edge of the Horseshoe Falls that we feel like we can lean over the railing and touch it. It is only a couple of metres away and the footpath has been built at the same level as the water’s drop-off. The cliff edge of the falls, curves around in front of us to create the perfect horseshoe.

The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are further down the river. If you hadn’t seen Horseshoe Falls first, you would think these natural wonders would be awesome, but, we have been spoilt by the sheer strength, power and grandeur of the larger falls.
We took a tour under the falls. We were 200 metres below the escarpment and the tour took us to two tunnels, which opened up with the falls pounding down to the bed below.  If you wanted you could get as close as two metres to the water falling at the opening of each tunnel. The lookout was on the downstream edge of the  falls at the same level.  From this perspective we could see the fury of the water as it crashed past you to the bed of the rocks below.

One of the seven wonders of the world, Niagara Falls is an experience not to be missed. Another tick on our bucket list.

We stayed in Niagara Falls a couple of days and each day, we would wander down just to check if this magnificence was still there, the sheer power and strength and volume of water flowing over the Falls is awesome.

A couple of blocks away from the Falls back up the hill, is sideshow alley. It is such a contrast to the natural wonder of the Falls. This man made monstrosity, I guess is necessary to take advantage of all the tourists that visit and to provide entertainment for the younger crew, but is totally out of keeping with the beauty of Niagara Falls