Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Australian critters

Someone posted this image on Facebook recently and it served to underline the fact that we've barely scratched the surface of Australia.

We've only sailed down the east coast (from just north of the Russia / Ukraine border down to northern Egypt, in northern hemisphere terms). Having picked up a hire car in Brisbane we were able to revisit some sailing haunts and catch up with good friends before heading inland.

With Irene and Lionel in Yamba. They have just bought a beautiful house there so, sadly, the wonderful Kiapa is up for sale

In Kingscliff, to visit Di's aunt Brenda (seated in front of Di ) - we were introduced to her gang
Driving north, we stopped at Byron Bay

Another lighthouse moment - this is the most easterly point of mainland Australia

The car's boot is loaded with all the important things

The little inland trip of the past couple of weeks has introduced us to a whole new climate and a complete change of animal life. Luckily this handy species identification chart hasn't been needed too many times:

We spent a night at an Airbnb house up in the hills inland of the coastal town of Mooloolaba (which has such a great name that the spell-checker wants to convert it to Hullabaloo) near Melaney and were delighted to find that Lex and Marie, the owners, are huge wildlife enthusiasts and have three generations of 'pretty face' Wallabies visit them each morning and evening.

'Ziggy' is very partial to the odd gift of a cracker. The bulge in her belly shows that there's a joey in there, but it has yet to show its face.

 The bird life around the house was pretty good, too:

Fluffy kookaburras 

Marie puts seeds out for the parrots and Rosellas 
Lex turned out to be another engineer who used to work in the brewing industry in Melbourne so he and Graham swapped stories. These days his passion is restoring rare motorbikes so Di got to jump on another old British bike - this time a 1950, 1000cc Vincent:

Leaving Melaney we stopped for a walk at a national park to marvel at the rain-forest trees that were spared the loggers' saw when much of this area was cleared for farmland - today, Melaney's warm, moist climate makes it one of the best areas for dairy farming in Australia.

Extraordinary buttress root structures

There's always something trying to kill something else in Australia - a huge vine is slowly encircling this tree

This is a Booyong, or Brown Tulip Oak

Huge bats roosting in the canopy

The view across the plains towards the sea. These are the Glasshouse Mountains, so named by Captain Cook.
We are now in Noosa, having stayed with our lovely friends Sue and Andy and their daughters, Hannah and Emma for a few days of relaxation and more exploration. Our time here is rapidly running out, sadly!


  1. Cool article !
    I am planning car tour through Australia. My first destination is Sydney . After reading this article i am planning to visit some more places )

  2. After seing that spider species chart I'm not going to feel safe during my next Australia trip. It is better to be prepared and educated I guess :)

    1. Hello there CS. It's not such a problem. All you have to do to avoid the bastards of all varieties is to not put your fingers or toes into places you haven't looked into first. Places you haven't looked under as well; some of the deadly bastards like those spots - the Red Back Bastards in particular. Best not to put your hands or feet into places you haven't looked at carefully either. Come to think of it, don't put any part of your body, be it fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms, legs, heads, tongues, torso, or corpus completus into places you haven't carefully inspected. Beyond that, you should be right. Apart from the sneaky bastards that come out of their holes, looking for you while you're unawares. They're the real bastards! You get to be a bit like a leprosy sufferer after a while - constantly surveilling your extremities to make sure they're safe and haven't slipped into any crevices you haven't looked into first. Which is always a good idea, because if there aren't any bastard spiders in there, it's most likely because they've all been eaten by their enemy, the arseholes, i.e. the snakes! So many snakes! Now, about them - basically the same rules apply. Simply read all of the above and supplant all mentions of bastard with arsehole and you'll be good to go. Unfortunately, good manners and decorum prevents me from providing friendly advice about how to avoid the F-ers and C-bombs you'll find in pretty well any body of water, whether inland, coastal or open ocean. It seems they're getting hungrier and a lot less fussy every year. Other than that, have a great time while you're here. :-)