Category Archives: Kenny Koala

Mother’s Day

untitled (304)

We decided to book a table at Bribie Island R.S.L. which with hindsight was a mistake as the club was very busy. Our meals took over two hours to arrive. We spend a little time showing Ben and Natasha some of the sights including some of the canal frontage mansions, and a neat as a pin new house we liked.

By mid-May we are really enjoying the warm evenings and relaxing into Bribie Island lifestyle.

Bribie Island Queensland
Jocco’s pals Duchies and Rose, at the dog beach.

Impact of dog inheritance:

  • A routine that involves a walk before breakfast
  • Repeated activities, you throw, I fetch, you throw, I fetch, you throw
  • Waste removal duties – carry it until a receptacle can be reached
  • Social awareness, other dogs (on lease or off) people walking them
  • A means to get people active
  • Walk on the beach rather than an afternoon nap
  • Discussion about variety – Jocco’s mix of Border Collie, Staffy and Kelpie always draws a comment. We meet a neighbour with a wire coated Vizula and are told to get photos.
  • Show off with party tricks, mostly of the fetch variety
  • Shopping now includes searching for dog bones.
  • Where are the doggie treats kept?
  • There is no such thing as being solitary as everyone is going to say hello, ask what breed, or trade walking notes.
  • Learning his foibles; Jocco doesn’t like getting his feet wet on damp grass, but is happy to trundle alone the surf edge, especially if there is a need to wash sand of any throw toys.
  • Apparently Jocco doesn’t like being washed. This much is evident when after researching the tides we walk him along Pumicestone Passage and he quickly sinks in the mud. Although he is more than happy with this skin treatment we feel bad about putting him into our host’s car in that condition. So attempts to remove the mud are treated with a great deal of distain. But when we want to return Jocco to black and white instead of black and grey, the warm water and doggy shampoo treatment is much easier to manage. Do dogs really need to be washed?untitled (307)

Control burns are being conducted near Glasshouse Mountains, making for smoky, spectacular extended dusks. We stumble upon a local tourist attraction – The soldier crabs of Pumicestone passage. Rod recalls, “the first time I saw them I was scared, had nightmares, never saw anything like it before.”

The mud flats, sand banks appear to be moving as there are so many of the tiny creatures, they crackle and creek as they scurry away. A group of tourists are pleased, “we’ve come all the way from Victoria to see this phenomena.” After taking Kenny down to Beachmere we begin to find the low tide infestation quite commonplace.



Mural entry

Time to catch up with some of the highlights as far as wall art is concerned. They might well be large images from my own resources – scan down if needed, to read the words.

  • We did visit the Mural capital of Australia – Sheffield, Tasmania. Where I took this shot of a waterfall on a building – two categories there, waterfall and wall art in one. (two smaller images above)
  • Encountering the images in Phillip Island was a bonus. Not sure what I will discover on saved on the cloud from there. (larger one on the left above – look closely, Kenny is there too.
Cann River art.


  • On the border, great way to further break the journey, look for a way to put Kenny into the shot. Pity it was so cold, we’d have further explored coastal areas near Cann River
  • Ocean beach wall in Forster – site of the Australian Ironman Triathlon for all those years, truthfully that endurance race’s spiritual home. Kenny again, likes a good bit of wall art he does.
  • WP_20140406_001
    Mural King – Kenny Koala
  • Woolgoolga – at the ocean lookout, art reflecting life; or rather the seascape that sensi-surrounds. This was visible forever, even turning part of the tower into the yellow submarine – well done those mural painters. Featured image .
Burleigh Heads Queensland art
Kenny surfer dude – gets the best wall art positions.
  • Burleigh Heads, themed with local pursuits – Kenny gets into the act again.

Time to put the computer to sleep, new life rule: I only work until the lap-top needs charging.


Only on the Gold Coast

We have to go through a process of adjusting to loss of daylight saving. January in NZ we talked about 8 more hours of daylight and now the evening descends quickly. Now long drawn out twilight in the sub tropics. Basking on the beach, shooting the waves, just lolling about has us taking on what we might have considered as “old folks” hours, eating dinner early, retiring early. We are surrounded by others with the same hours, so it doesn’t seem alien. Another subtle shift towards being elderly? The Gold Coast does have a high percentage of retirees in their population.

Marianne Fredriksson – Hanna’s Daughters …Suddenly she dared admit to herself how tired she was of high-rise apartment blocks, the anonymity and the motorway thundering through her days and nights, not to mention those poor pine trees. This description would fit Burleigh, we are just off the Gold Coast Highway, the shore is lined with Norfolk pines, and there are certainly plenty of high-rises. Trends are for lower constructions, but it seems this all depends on who you know at the council, and what you are prepared to offer in the way of ‘improving the ambience.’

High rise towers on the Gold Coast
What are all those other people doing?

From Joanne Harris’s Jigs & Reels a section I thought worked well with the broken sleep of being in a tower looking out on the world of Surfer’s Paradise I woke up at two in the morning again, and couldn’t go back to sleep. …so I get up, dressed and went out. .. sometimes I like to walk there and see the lights above the car park and the people moving about inside. They can’t see me looking in, but I can see them… I wonder why they come here so late; perhaps like me they can’t sleep. Perhaps they are night workers, or perhaps they enjoy looking out from those warm yellow windows and imagining someone standing outside. There was a few nights that jittery temperature controls (hot flushes) had me watching the view to see how many others might be doing the same. The sounds of surf invade everything.

Tony Plant beach art
Temporary but spectacular

We encounter the work of the beach sand artist Tony Plant who constructs swirling patterns on the tidal flats, and then photographs the incoming waves eating his work. The ultimate in disposable art. Apparently he has been doing this, ‘temporary interventions and drawings in the landscape’ for 20 years. Local television calls for suggestions for where he can work, I immediately want to suggest out front of the Southern Cross apartments in Burleigh Beach.

Beach Art
Under construction or destruction?

Continue reading Only on the Gold Coast

More Woolgoolga Wonders

From Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express …Pretend I am someone who has never travelled anywhere – I want to know what these places are like. We have 3 days to feel what this little town is really like, and to pretend we’ve never been there before. Tough when you know how the roads connect, but at least the brand new Pacific by-pass has changed things. Now there are more chances to see the nets that protect the precious blueberry bushes.


We can walk the beaches, which are preferred method for getting to the town. I decide to bring a plastic bag and be aneco-warrior collecting random bits of plastic. There was a documentary about the birds that were found to have hundreds of bits of rubber in their stomachs. Even a problem out there in the Pacific, will I be able to find this junk away from populated centers? First problem is that plastic bags are used to remove doggie-poo, beware pulling a bag out of the beach sand it could already contain a brown surprise. Yuck!

Woolgoolga town beach
What more does Rod need, perfect siting on beach.

The local fruit and vege shop means we can stock up on tropical delights. But paying $15 for tiny school prawns seems unnecessary when you can secure prepared delights at White Salt. I find myself alphabetically rearranging books in Waterside Office, time to get outside!

This place bears a name which is derived for the first people’s name a black apple tree.

Part of the major coastal trail that extends some 60km.

Gnarly paper back trees between the shore, lakes and highway.

We find lots of hermit crabs in the shore break. There are points where you can access the beach in 4wheel drives, and there are plenty of dogs running about. This is where we encounter the trusty companion who waits while their human surfs, galloping up to say hello to us, before returning to its waiting place.

Woolgoolga NSW
Looking from the tower back towards Lakeside caravan park

Samuel asked, ‘when is Anzac day?’ How can that be – after years in the Australian education system. Even the Bushies have a special run to ‘do it for the troops.’ Being able to run along the soft sand, kick our shoes off and sink into the pebbly edge is pleasurable compared to what soldiers go through in the dust of Afghanistan, jungles of Vietnam or beaches of Gallipoli. Being that Rod could have been sent to Vietnam we can respect the efforts of our defense services this one day.

Heard on the day, ‘busier than a drum band on Anzac day.’

Building clouds, thunder and eventually rain; those Kookaburras were right.

On the Road again

Leaving Sydney to Woolgoolga – departing early by 5am to avoid the traffic through the Northern suburbs. Being a newcomer to Sydney I couldn’t believe a lack in alternatives to winding through Pymble, Turramurra and even up to Hornsby once you were on the M whatever number. The roads follow ridge tops, loose and gain lanes creating bottlenecks: why is there not a lovely straight, traffic flowing freeway?

Woolgoolga vegetation
What a tree!

We discover the loyalty discounts that can be had by booking somewhere you’ve already stayed. Always a pleasure to take in the bush that surrounds Lakeside cabins, just out of Woolgoolga. We spot a stingray in the waters of Lake Hearn. Kookaburras perched on the trees watching us, watching them. But luckily they do not cackle as this according to Rod, ‘would mean it’s going to rain’. They do become our alarm clock at 5.40am. Wind on the town beach erased the swim-sun-fun factor.

Our visit to this familiar half way between Brisbane and Sydney spot aligns with both Anzac day (right) and the Curry Fest. The latter billed as, ‘the sights, sounds and aromas….a day for the senses…’preparation includes the arrival of banks of porta-loos (left). We’d already been instructed by our neighbour, ‘to get a curry there,’ on a previous business, but the festival gave us a chance to multi-indulge.

This small town has a huge Indian population owing to the presence of major Sikh temples, it’s called …The missing piece of Paradise…a title to which I am inclined to agree. untitled (259)Apparently Punjab immigrants came to work on the local farms in the 1940s. Obviously they liked it and stayed. I note that they own 90% of the banana plantations. Is that the same for the other major crop – blueberries? Pickers accommodation is to be had in town at $120 per week in a shared house, including wifi (jobs found on sites like Gumtree apparently) Bit of a weedy garden, but right on the beach.

All sorts of long overdue upgrades are underway on the Pacific Highway. One of the largest road infrastructure projects in NSW. I search for some figures of what is being spent to by-pass traffic around all those black spots like Urunga, (still sporting the scars of recent trucks crashing into buildings incidents) but seems only sections are aligned to numbers, $820 million for south of Kempsey. There is even a 51 page document about the Woolgoolga to Ballina section at etc etc etc.

Pacific Highway
About time for Pacific highway improvements

Fantastic landmark at the highest ocean lookout, even more elevated as it’s painted on the water tank. Must be visible for miles out to sea. Nice touch with the yellow submarine. (featured image)

Business Travel

Being home in gave us a chance to do a bit of casual work and recoup some cash. But also involved a quick trip to the old Ironman stomping ground Forster. All our involvement with running check in, manual capture of finishers and getting timing equipment to the correct location makes of 100 miles an hour activity for first light till well after the last finisher. Those doing a triathlon don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes. Especially when a point score to decide state champion club must be calculated. Thank heavens the numbers expert the lovely Vivien was part of our team.

Forster - Tuncurry
Old stomping ground – home of Australian Ironman for all those years

We did get a chance to spend time on the beach, thanks to the generosity of the accommodation booked on our behalf. Kenny got to see the murals we were familiar with. These images were looking a tad stale and worn out. We caught up with fellow Engadine club members at the beach café.

The mural – Kenny’s holiday snap – featured image

It was eerie to view the Ebb Tide apartments from street level after so many years of staying there for Ironman races. And knowing that it would be possible to get an apartment, instead of booking a year ahead, or waiting for someone to die and sign over their perpetual reservation to you. We wondered aloud if the week only Saturday to Saturday restriction was still placed on these flats by managing agents.

Ebbtide Apartments Forster
That view for so many years, now we are looking at it form the other direction

We are marking time in Sydney trying to organize logistics like renewal of Rod’s driving license. This can be purchased 6 months in advance, but when he arrives one day before, the counter staff send him away. The car registration needs to be organized, a complicated system of green and pink slip, one from the Road Transport Authority and the other a certificate of roadworthiness from the mechanic. Then a few medical appointments; how do the real, years away gypsies do this?


On to Narooma

Cann River Victoria
Favourite motor cycle journey, coast road Sydney to Melbourne

Our third state so far; Tasmania, Victoria and now back in New South Wales.

Up through Cann River, notable murals for Kenny to notice. (featured image)

We check out the pretty location only previously seen as wall-to-wall campers over Christmas, on that slow trip to Melbourne. Mystery Bay – and it seems there was one. 10th October 1880 five men were looking for gold in the area. What happened? Where did they go? Apparently the hole in their boat, when it was found had been bashed inward, instead of damage outward from hitting a reef or rocks.

From Steven Lang’s An Accidental Terrorist …Hitching out of Melbourne that morning, heading for Sydney, he’d taken the wrong road…The only thing he’d been sure of was that he was leaving. It wasn’t until he’d got a lift from a RAAF man going to Sale the he’d realized he was on the Coast Road, not the Hume, and even he hadn’t considered he would have to go through Eden. It was only later, when he had passed Orbost, and then Cann River, when they came to the turn-off to Mallacoota, the Bellbird Hotel slipping by amongst the tall trees that it came home to him…

Coast road heading to Orbost
Coast road heading to Orbost – not the Hume highway

Note to confused protagonist, big mistake. How could you confuse the Hume Highway with the coast road? But that aside, it is eerie to read the progress of such a highway, merely as ticking off the names. On two fronts, familiar to us as twice travelled that way on purpose, yet without the depth that going beyond only the main highway grants.

We spent the day beach lazing; ‘I could live here, can we stay another day…’ sort of place. I notice Rod buries smelly things in the sand. We shared majestic scenery and lovely water with a total of three people. But we already know this is a completely different place in the depth of Christmas school holidays. Plus later on our southward journey from Queensland we will talk to someone who lived in the area while their husband was an international piolet. She found it very difficult to be more than that woman from Sydney. Or the one who did not want a proposed development to happen.

One of the first differences we have noticed is in the call of bell-birds now we are back in NSW. Surely we’d heard them in Tasmania; had they been there? New nature noises and the number of stops needed due to road works on the major highway.