KathSwinbourne » Having it all and enjoying every minute of it ... mostly

Apr 06 2015

Sunset, full moon and a big campfire

Crimson rosellaThis is my favourite part of the day.

I’m the only one up and it’s very peaceful. I’ve thrown a few twigs onto the remains of last night’s fire and brought that back to life. The coffee pot is sitting on the coals, there are crimson rosellas in the tree watching me, and a swallow is hopping around nearby showing off its tail in what I presume is a mating ritual.

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Apr 01 2015

Kakadu dreaming

Kakadu - water lilies, birds and waterThere are a few places on this earth that just hearing the name conjures up magic. Kakadu is one of those places.

It’s also the place where I’ve had one of the scariest experiences of my travels with Doc, as well as one of the most romantic.

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Mar 23 2015

What’s the scariest thing about travel in Australia? Sharks? Crocodiles? Spiders? Not what you think

CrocodileYou might think the scariest thing about travel in Australia is the killer wildlife, and you’re right.

Great white sharks, huge crocodiles in all the waterways, the world’s deadliest snakes, big spiders, blue ringed octopus at the most famous (and popular) beaches, irikandji – the list goes on.

But they’re not the scariest.

The scariest thing about travelling in Australia is mosquitoes.

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Mar 15 2015

Explore the elements – earth, air, fire, water

FireIs there a better place than Australia to explore the elements?

The extremes in Australia are celebrated in poetry and song, and have been embedded in our psyche for thousands of years. The elements here – earth, air, fire, water – are the basis of life and culture.

Aboriginal society knew the importance of the elements and of looking after the earth. Secret and sacred waterholes were looked after carefully and celebrated for their life giving qualities, fire was an important part of managing the land and its resources, and the air and skies above were a source of stories as well as a guide to the seasons and songlines.

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Mar 12 2015

Canoeing on the Bellinger River. Amid killer cows.

20150308_120547[1]Have you ever seen 5 ‘women of a certain age’ canoeing? Two of them in a double canoe?

It looks pretty much as you’re imagining it does.

After 3 days spent hanging around in Sawtell, dividing our time between the beach and home, with perhaps a walk or some fishing in between, we decided we all wanted to do something a bit more active. The golf that three of our members played doesn’t count as active.

So in between glasses of wine and hands of 500, we poured over the guidebooks and came up with … drum roll please …. hiring canoes on the Bellinger River.

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Mar 10 2015

Cuckoo, cuckoo. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Eurasian-Cuckoo-Mital-Patel-525x700Have you ever met a cuckoo?

Cuckoos are brood parasites. They lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, and when the young hatch they get rid of the other babies. Sometimes they’ll kick the other eggs out before they have time to hatch, other times they’ll worm their way in, taking food from the other chicks and/or pushing them out of the nest.

Some people behave just like baby cuckoos.

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Mar 08 2015

Beaches, hibiscus and fish & chips

The beachWe came for three days, and five days later we’re still here.

Wouldn’t you if you could?

Five days of perfect weather in a beach side location. Who wouldn’t extend their holiday.

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Mar 06 2015

The beach disappeared while I wasn’t looking!

20150305_083726There’s nothing like a coastal road trip to make you think about climate change. Or is that just me?

Doc and I camped at Sawtell a few years ago. I can’t remember where we were going to or coming from, but I do remember our night in Sawtell. The camping area is right by the creek & the beach, with a boardwalk along the rocks. The main street is wide, with gorgeous fig trees and gardens along the middle, and the cafes make great coffee. And there’s a long beach with soft white sand.

So when a friend asked me if I wanted to come away to Sawtell for a few days I jumped at the chance. I didn’t even need the inducement of free luxury accommodation, though it certainly helped. As did its location on the north coast of NSW so the weather is a bit warmer than in Sydney.

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Mar 03 2015

A few of my favourite things


As somebody who travels a lot in Australia, I often get asked “where’s the best place to for …”, so here are a few of my favourite things.

One of my favourite places to see all of these things is the farm in rural NSW that we go to to get away from the world. But that’s not accessible to everybody, so I’ve picked places where anyone can go.

If you have the right equipment that is. Some places, like Chili Beach, you do need a 4WD and complete self-contained camping set up, but others, like Darwin, are easy to get to. Some, like Bendeela are even close to the city. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb 20 2015

Orange Food Week

DSC_0044 (2)Orange Food week is coming up from 10-19 April. Yes, I know that’s more than a week, but I didn’t name it. And it just means a few extra days to eat and drink. What’s wrong with that?

If you don’t know, Orange is a town in NSW. It’s out past Bathurst on the way to Dubbo, and was the first stop in the Two Sheilas in a Ute trip to Broken Hill.

They have great food, and not too shabby semillon blancs! I’m not going to give you the low-down on the events because I haven’t been to one of their festivals (I’m open to invitations), but if you like autumn colours, and light sauvignon blancs (I do) then you’ll enjoy Orange in April.

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