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Drone over Water .. or not?

After a lovely family lunch we headed south to catch up with our good mate and mad photographer Mel from Left of the Middle Photography. Mel has recently joined the drone craze and has been a lot more adventurous then i have been game to be, so we figured we’d laugh about it together and try a few more things!

After a few location changes due to wind and airspace usage we settled on Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie.

I haven’t really messed around with many of the settings so today, i decided to see how i would go using the manual settings on the camera

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First shot – not so good, the highlights on the waves are blown out badly.

The next batch are still a little blown out but not as much.

I’m flying with the DJI Spark, which is an awesome little piece of gear, and it was the size that drew me to this one, so i could pack with us when we hike and travel, however the downside is doesn’t RAW files for photos, which mean the photo files are less forgiving, so getting it right in camera is really important.

You can see with these two the sky is quite blown out which is a shame because the waves are awesome!

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Looking north back towards Newcastle

I haven’t been real keen on getting my little Sparkie out over water, so Mel’s challenge for me today was to get it over water. This was about as close as it got so if over the high tide line counts i passed.

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Nature’s own version of lace
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Even got a bit fancy with a 3 image panorama.
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The people help to give some perspective, and this was shot at probably the highest i’ve been about 75m.
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Someone was digging for a very long time!

I definitely feel a little more confident with the drone so here’s hoping for some good weather, spare time and legal airspace to get it up in the air again soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Dolphins off King Edward Park

With the truck still at the car dealership getting its gearbox fixed our weekend plans had taken an unexpected turn, so we headed into King Edward Park, which is known for one of the best views in the city and also for its whale and dolphin watching vantage point.

The whales seem to be a bit quieter this year, or maybe we just haven’t had the same amount of time to stare out into the blue abyss hoping to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures cruising their way north for warmer waters.

Almost as soon as we pulled up we spotted a pod of dolphins playing in the waves. I grabbed my camera and shot off a few frames, thinking they would disappear pretty quickly.

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Dolphin Wave
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Dolphin Surfing

Whilst we were fixed on the dolphins we heard a plane, which isn’t that unusual as the park is on the flight path for the airport but this wasn’t a commercial jet – it was Matt Hall – famous Red Bull Racer. The Care flight chopper also decided to join in the fun.

The dolphins were still frolicking up and down the beach so i managed to get a few more shots and some video footage.

They were having so much fin chasing the waves, jumping and diving out the back of them.

We were sorry to see them finally swim off about an hour later.

This little guy had been sitting on the telegraph pole keeping an eye on us for a while.

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It’s possible he was watching for food, not us LOL

As the wind started to pick up, and the end of sunlight for the day was approaching we headed for home only to be greeted by these two beauties outside the front door.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

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Long Weekend camping in the City!

Somehow, i still really don’t know how, we were conned/convinced into camping at Lane Cove on the outskirts of Sydney on a long weekend, during the Festival of Vivid. I know we are crazy idiots, but booked we were and so on Friday afternoon after a late finish at work we did the crazy pre-trip madhouse runaround getting the entire house it seems jammed into the camper, and hitched on up.

We hit the freeway not too long before dusk, and we weren’t too far down the M1 before it started to rain. Two of my least favourite things when towing – dark and raining.

We arrived at the park – Lane Cove River Tourist Park – having made our way without any issues (thanks Google) about 7.30pm. The rest of the crew were already set up and onto their first drinks. The sites (and park actually) were much larger than we expected with lovely concrete pads and well maintained sites, making for an easy drive onto and unhitch situation, which was very welcome.

The two tall lads helped us fiddle around with the awning and get it up nice and quickly in the rain, and we too were also standing around with a drink in our hand.

Saturday morning we woke to the sounds of planes taking off from Sydney Kingsford International Airport, and rain on the roof.

The weather was not playing kindly with us, and when you’re in the city and the weather is awful what does one do? Costco! Yep we headed off for our first visit to Costco.

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Rainy days at Costco

Having spent the good part of the morning wandering around, we grabbed some lunch goodies and headed back to camp. We spent the afternoon sky watching trying to determine if our plans to head into the city for Vivid were sound or not. In the end we decided to chance it and headed off for an adventure to the city.

North Ryde train station is only about 700m up the road from the park, so we headed off on foot to the station.

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Ready to rumble

Hopefully the sunset as we arrived at the station was a good sign.

With the zappy zaps (Opal Cards) sorted we didn’t have to wait long before the train arrived to take us to Circular Quay via Wynyard.

We headed to Fortune of War, where we had (thankfully) pre-booked a table for dinner.

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Dinner at the Fortune of War

We followed the Vivid Light walking trail which led us under the bridge and spectacular views of the Opera House and Luna Park.

We followed the path down to the water near the bridge.

We then followed the waterfront all the way back to the train station.

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Looking back towards Circular Quay

Some of the majestic designs on the Opera House for Vivid 2018.

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Opera House and Circular Quay laser lights.

Due to some construction on the waterfront the pathway leads back up into the beautiful Rocks.

Given it was a long weekend – albeit, wet and cold – we were really surprised at the lack of crowds around for the evening, which made for an easy and pleasant night especially for the kids.

The views back to the Bridge and up towards Circular Quay from the Passenger Terminal.

As the night was getting late, and the little feet a little tired we started to make our way towards the train station, so i was grabbing a few shots along the way.

With a few tired little (and big) people we made the trek back to the park on the trains.

North Ryde Station really is pretty cool!

I made a little video of our Vivid adventure …

Sunday morning the weather still wasn’t really playing nice with us but we did glimpse some blue sky.

With a hearty breakfast in our bellies, and what looked like a clearing sky we tempted fate by bundling all the kids up in their wet weather gear and heading off on a bush walk.

Check out those solar panels in the park – how awesome is that!

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Our Walk
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We kinda let the kids decide (but also pushed for the shorter Weir walk) 🙂

The walk was pretty easy, the first part was a small decline down some stairs and then mostly flatish walk along the river edge – it is a truly stunning part of the city. You have no idea how close to the city you really are when you walking through the park.

As we made our way back to camp i made a little video of the walk.

Whilst it didnt really rain – a few sprinkles here and there – the weather wasnt really pleasant enough to do too much, so by sunset we all had the cabin fevers setting in, so we decided to walk the park before settling in for the night.

We were so impressed with the facilities of the park, how clean and tidy everything was and really everything about the park. If you have too (or want too) camp in the city, this is most definitely the place to do it.

A few more pics of our sites.

As we usually do we ate like kings and even had beautiful Costco apple pie ( i even indulged a little on the Gluten feast).

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Costco Apple Pie

Monday morning saw dry skies after some late night downpours, which meant we were all able to pack up dry which is always a good end to a camping trip.

Thanks to all the crew for an awesome weekend despite the weather! Can’t wait for the next trip.

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‘bungles to Brissie – #9 – the last weekend

We woke up to cloudy skies and a little bit of rain. When the rain passed us by we cooked up some breakfast, packed up the camper and started to make our way towards the coast – Woody Point to be specific.

Bells Caravan Park

Having arrived on the coast and located a park we wandered over to the caravan park. We had been calling for most of the morning and hadn’t been able to get anyone on the phone. We had also forgotten it was QLD school holidays, as NSW isn’t on holidays for another couple of weeks so the parks were both looking very full. Thankfully there was someone at the office when we wandered over and there were still a few sites left. We collected the car and trailer and set up on our site at the Bells Caravan Park.

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Bells Caravan Park
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The park is well secured and in a great location
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Leeroy doesn’t like being behind bars – wide open spaces for us !

The park is along the main drag into Clontaff and Woody Point and across the road from Bells Beach. We grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and wandered along the waterfront in front of the park.

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QLD’s Bells Beach
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Looking towards the Jetty
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Looking back to the mainland

We spent the afternoon unpacking and packing the trailer, ready to hand our gear over to our mates, and try to pack the rest of it into the truck for the journey home, then it was time to head to the pub for a sunset drink and dinner.

Dinner at Belvedere

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Sunset along the coast
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Sunset from the boat ramp
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Our gorgeous amazing mates. So good to see them again!

Dinner was at the Belvedere and dinner was pretty delicious.

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Chicken Parmy
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Southern Fried Chicken burger
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Beef ribs

Sunday morning, we finalised the last of the unpacking and packing and rearranging before heading to our mates for the final exchange of gear, a bite to eat and a little bit of exploring of the northern side of the peninsula.

Lunch at Preece’s at the Jetty.

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Grilled Snapper
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Calamari
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Lemon Curd Cheesecake – Gluten Free
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New York baked Cheesecake with Meringue & fresh cream – Gluten Free
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Sticky Date Pudding

After such a scrumptious (and filling) lunch we opted for a bit a walk along the esplanade.

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The ANZAC memorial
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Defence Force Memorial

We then went for a little drive around the new canals and found a pretty darn impressive boat!

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hmm dont think we could even afford the fuel but damn it was nice!

Our last night

Unfortunately, it was time to say our goodbyes and hit the road for our final destination for this trip – Brisbane Gateway Resort, located only a few km’s from the factory for a quick (and early) departure in the morning. The park has all the bells and whistles but my gosh its expensive – $53 per night (powered). That has to be the most we’ve paid for a site and i think that includes Vegas !!

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Our Setup for the night
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Our Site
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Tables outside the camp kitchen
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Camp Kitchen
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Laundry
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Playground and one of the BBQ huts
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Pool
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Tennis Court
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Games/TV Room
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There are a lot of cabins in the park.

With an early start on Monday morning we dropped Leeroy off into the safe hands of the Lifestyle boys before heading home via some family at Tweed Heads and Lismore.

 

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‘Bungles to Brissie – #8 – Glasshouse Mountains

We left Allora and Dalrymple Creek Park behind after spending a bit of time trying to work out where we were going next. We were a little under-prepared for this part of the trip. We need to be in Brisbane on Monday (its Friday) for the trailer to go back to the factory for some repairs and work. We are heading to some mates north of Brisbane for Saturday/Sunday as they have kindly agreed to hold some of our stuff that we need to remove from the trailer whilst its at the factory, but hadn’t anticipated being this efficient in our travels LOL so we essentially now have a day spare and no idea where to go.

After a bit of map searching we opted to head towards the Glass House Mountains. We haven’t been there before and after looking at Wikicamps (if you like to camp and don’t have it seriously go to the App Store pay and download it, its so worth it) the options were somewhat limited and the available options didn’t have glowing recommendations, so we were taking a bit of a punt on a caravan park in the glass house mountains.

We stopped for a stretch break at Esk and headed into the Visitor Centre to grab some info on the mountains – there wasn’t any. This probably should have a been sign.

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Esk Visitor Centre

With the Caravan Park loaded into the GPS we headed towards the mountains and more dark clouds hanging around. We found the caravan park, drove in and essentially drove straight back out. The wikicamp comments were well lets say on point!

Landsborough Pines Caravan Park

So after some more searching, we found a park about 15km up the road at Landsborough, and as it turns out not too far from Australia Zoo. We headed to Landsborough Pines Caravan Park, set up the trailer and decided to try and beat the weather and go for a look see of the mountains.

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Landsborough Pines caravan park

Glasshouse Mountains

We headed down along the Old Gympie Road towards the main Glass House Mountains National Park lookout. These mountains and the surrounding plains are the ancestral home of the Jinibara people and Kabi Kabi people.

According to Jinibara peoples’ lore and custom, Beerwah is the ancestral pregnant mother and Tibrogargan is the father with his faithful dingo, Ngungun, lying at his feet. Around the parents are their children—Coonowrin the eldest, Beerburrum, Coochin, Elimbah, Tibberoowuccum, Miketeebumulgrai, Tunbubudla and the youngest known today as Wild Horse Mountain.

We pulled into a few lookouts along the way.

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Mt Coonowrin, 377m

There are many stories from the indigenous peoples of the land in relation to the mountains however the main story seems to go – Coonowrin is said to be the son of Tibrogargan and Beerwah. During a violent storm, Tibrogargan commanded his son Coonowrin to take his mother Beerwah and his siblings and help them move to safety. Being scared of the storm, Coonowrin instead ran off and when his father found him he hit him on the back of the head, resulting in Coonowrin’s crooked neck. Tibrogargan was so ashamed of his son’s cowardice that to this day he sits with his back to Coonowrin.

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Mt Ngungun, 253m
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Trail Head.

We stopped at the trail head to check out the walks, discovering most are 3km or over. So given the time of day and impending weather walking appeared to be off the list.

From here we headed to the main lookout. The lookout is about 10km from the Glass House Mountains township, in Beerburrum West State Forest and apparently offers panoramic views of the mountain peaks, Caloundra, Maroochydore, Brisbane and Moreton Island, just not today LOL.

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Mt Coonowrin and Mt Ngungun
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Mt Cogee and Mt Tibrogargan
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Mt Cogee, Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Beerburrum

Photo

10" x 20" Photo Print of Mt Cogee, Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Beerburrum

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The Twins – Mount Tunbubudla
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Storm incoming.

With storm on approach we left the lookout and started to make our way back to the park. We stopped at the Tibrogargan trail head carpark to check out the walks.

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Tibrogargan trail head
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Tibrogargan trail head – facilities
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Tibrogargan trail head

With the rain holding out, we opted to quickly head up the Mountain View Lookout trail.

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Junction on the Mountain View lookout trail
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The Twins
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Mt Beerwah and Mt Coonowrin
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Coming back down the trail
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Mt Beerwah
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The Twins – almost disappearing in the storm

With the rain now well and truly coming down we headed back to the camp to dry out the chairs and settle in for the evening.