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.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

To Australia!

First sighting of curious wildlife - and Ibis at Brisbane Airport
You will know by now that our lives are terribly stressful so will, we are sure, understand that we needed a week's holiday in Australia. Actually, what we really needed was to extend our 6-months visitors' visas in NZ and that involves a lot of form-filling, a fairly costly fee and a full medical including chest x-rays to prove we don't have TB. It's actually cheaper and a lot more fun to get a cheap flight to Oz because our NZ visas automatically renew on our return!

So we flew into Brisbane last Thursday, hired a Toyota Forgettable 1.5i with 195,000km on the clock and drove north a couple of hours to stay with British friends Andy & Sue and their daughters Hannah and Emma. They have lived out in the beautiful area of Noosa for ten years or so and were wonderful hosts. Andy and Graham used to work together, making Christmas Puddings at Matthew Walker in Derbyshire, so there was a good deal of catching up to be done over long walks in the beautiful sub-tropical forests and during some great meals. 
With Sue and Andy at their lovely home in the countryside

This was Graham's first visit to Australia (Di spent several months here in her early 20's, but over on the west side of the country) so we are loving it here. The wildlife, and not just the Ibis at the airport, has been amazing and the coastline is pretty awesome.

A great surf beach along the Noosa National Park

An 80cm long Monitor Lizard. Graham chased it with his camera and then Andy pointed out the risks of poisonous snakes, spiders and the often fatal result of a lizard bite. Oops, we're no longer in safe NZ then!

Even the plants are aggressive here - the Strangle Fig finally kills the huge tree it envelops.

Di and Sue looking for Koalas in the trees

We nearly put our hand on this 'branch' but it's actually a bird of prey called a Tawny Frogmouth which is incredibly well camouflaged (see how its feather merge into the bark) and allowed us to be within half a metre of it without it moving.

It was watching us closely though!
Another well-camouflaged wild animal - the gorgeous Pipi on an England shirt. Yes, we were up early for the terrific England-Wales rugby.

Andy and Hannah on the a local volcanic outcrop - all around is dense forest

Looking out to Noosa Heads. In theory we could sail Maunie into the Noosa River but the entrance has a notorious sand bar which makes is impossible if there is any swell.

We stayed in Noosa for three nights before driving south and inland to spend a night in a B&B in Tamborine Mountain, another beautiful spot. After that it was a short drive to Kingscliff on the coast to surprise somebody. More on that to follow shortly!

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