Saturday, 27 May 2017

Hangin with the roos

It was about time we visited Australia Zoo again, so we headed there last weekend. There were lots of lovely soft kangaroos and koalas to stroke. The jury is still out on which is softest: kangaroos, koalas or Monty.

Evie and I had a sneaky trip to the park and the beach together while the others were busy. It was a beautiful morning.

We found a forest school playgroup to attend! Forest school is not as common here as in the UK. Having really loved Dyrham Park family nature sessions and outdoor playgroup in Bath, we found a playgroup that meets outside in the botanic gardens to discover things and do craft in the bush. Evie liked looking for yellow pom-pom flowers with the other little people, and finding leaf and grass treasures. We learnt how to make pom-poms using just our fingers and yarn. Our group got swooped by three cheeky kookaburras who stole some of our craft material! Perhaps they fancied making some pom poms too....! We saw lots of brush turkeys and met some new people.

We've been to see daddy at work a lot this week!

Our normal weekly playgroup was good fun this week, with a mini trampoline set up along with scooter boards and stomping boards.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend. I'll leave you with photo of a baby gecko in our garden:

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens

It was Mother's day on Sunday and I was very lucky to receive a lovely handprinted keyring from Isla and a salt dough thumb print from Evie.... oh and a delicious chocolate cake that they all 'secretly' baked. We went for a drive to the hinterland and visited Montville, a small town with quaint buildings and interesting shops such as the cuckoo clock shop. We found the Montville play park, and spent a very long time there.

A Hibiscus/Cotton Harlequin Bug/Stink Bug, a type of Jewel Bug:

There are lots of trees flowering at the moment.
Golden penda:


A walk along the beach was nice on a cloudy day!
Glory Lily:

On Tuesday we visited Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens, about 40 mins away from where we live. It was brilliant! It was a bit like an Aussie Stourhead/Westonbirt Arboretum/Marks Hall Gardens all rolled into one. But with the added danger of looking out for snakes and mozzies.

There was bushland for seeing some different native birds, and a children's area for balancing and climbing, as well as a sculpture garden where Evie could scoot.

Isla enjoyed a trip to the beach after school:

Bunnings is a big chain of hardware and garden stores that they have here. It is like B&Q. They have a soft play section and tiny trolleys for the kiddies:

When the Melaleuca (paperbark) trees were flowering behind our house, we had loads of lorikeets chirping and flying about. It was a bit like living in an aviary. The trees aren't flowering so much now but there are still lots of beautiful rainbow lorikeets about.

Evie had a brilliant swimming lesson this week! She was photographed along with her two little friends to be in the newspaper and website promoting the aquatic centre:

 A painting of Daddy, her favourite subject:

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

ANZAC day and Labour Day

The last couple of weeks have only been four-day weeks for us in Queensland. 

Tuesday 25th April was ANZAC day, which commemorates the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War. The day is about remembering those Australians and New Zealanders who have fought in the First World War and in wars since then. They are also known as diggers. At Isla's school they held a special assembly for ANZAC day. The children all took branches of leaves or flowers in to be made into wreaths for presenting at the assembly, and the Last Post was played. Some children sang 'In Flanders Fields', which Isla has been learning in choir. On actual ANZAC day, remembrance services are held including dawn services. Everyone can go and attend, and school children are invited to march together. We went down to the river, where lots of people had gathered. There was a flypast of a FA18 Super Hornet jet, which was amazing, and very loud. We stayed at the river for a while.

We also went to the beach that week and Evie had a morning at Noosa main beach. She showed Isla the crocodile and other animals exhibition at the art gallery and they followed a treasure hunt there, adding to some of the art work too!

Evie making shapes from salt dough as decorations:

Isla's first grown up tooth!

The first Monday in May is also a day off here. It is called Labour Day in Queensland, to commemorate an 8-hour working day being established in the 1800's. The weather was great so we went to Noosa main beach and doggy beach.

This looks a bit familiar:

Evie is really good at making pizza! Bored with making sandwiches that don't get eaten for lunch boxes, we've been making mini pizzas. I used a great recipe from a website called Picklebums. There are no free lunches or school dinners in Aussie schools, just packed lunches or the tuck shop where parents order food for the kids to have. We can order food from the tuck shop online this term, and the kids take it in turns to collect the tuck shop orders for their class at break time. Last term, we had to put money in a paper bag for ordering from the tuck shop. Isla likes having a cheese toastie from the tuck shop. They also sell sushi, wraps, pizza and pasta and ice blocks (ice lollies) and cool drinks.

This weekend we went camping! It was a campsite called Cobb and Co near to Gympie. After about 50 minutes in the car we arrived to set up our tent. Evie and Andrew had a tractor ride there. There was an amazing pirate ship play park and also a fort with a flying fox (zip wire).

The Mothar Rock Pools were nearby so we had a look at the pretty creek and mini waterfalls.

Pretty yellow Easter Cassia flowers at the campsite. These are dotted around the bush but are invasive from north Queensland:

At the campsite there were some friendly goats and a chicken for the children to pat:

There were carriage rides and horse rides at the campsite, as well as a guy randomly riding around every now and then waving Aussie and Queensland flags!

Wow this is going on a bit isn't it!

Back home, Isla and Evie made some potions. This reminded us of halloween parties at Daisy and Gus's house. Isla has been learning about mixtures in science at school so they made some crazy potions with oil, coffee, water, vinegar, bicarb, flour, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), rice, food colouring and whatever we could find.

Fruit bats have been visiting our garden! There are lots of melaleuca trees flowering behind our garden which have been attracting lots of flying foxes after dark. Isla and Evie (and me!) have loved watching them fly about and land in the trees to drink the nectar from the flowers. They are really difficult to photograph but were brilliant to watch. Monty was a bit unsure about them: they make chattering noises and look about the same size as him!