Today is Christmas Day, but this post is not about Christmas Day – other than the fact that the day is actually Christmas Day. It is about the weather we are having on this particular day, that just happens to be Christmas Day.
In recent times the weather here has been very hot and we have been experiencing a drought. Yesterday the temperature was very hot, there was a dry, hot wind blowing and it was very draining. The watercourses around the area were drying up and had very little in the way of water left in them – apart from the main river of course.
Today the temperature is much cooler, with a wonderful cool breeze blowing and it is currently raining. In fact there is a thunderstorm, but not a violent one. It is the type of storm that just seems to slowly roll by with a small amount of lightning and thunder, yet has a lot of steady, soaking rain in it.
This rain is a major blessing and should be enough to allow some colour to return to our lawns (other than brown) and save the various plants under my care at work. Many of our plants have been greatly stressed because of a lack of water, so this truly is a great blessing. Very thankful for the rain.
ABOVE: The Southern Wetlands Boardwalk – Hunter Region Botanic Gardens
Late last week I decided I should do something with the final day of my annual leave that I had taken this time round, so I thought I’d pop into the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens near Raymond Terrace in New South Wales, Australia. I had been here before, but that was a long time ago. I wasn’t impressed on that first visit, so after more then a decade had it improved? Well that was the question I was keen to answer.
ABOVE: The Rotunda BELOW: Succulents Section
There was a $4.00 ‘escape’ fee, which would allow a token to be purchased and then the boom gate would rise once it was placed into the proper slot at the exit. So no entrance fee, just an exit fee. I was willing to pay this for a quick look and wander around the gardens.
So has it improved. Yes it has thankfully, but I still don’t rate it as brilliant or even what would come close to mildly impressing me for a botanic gardens. It is probably on the right track, but has a long way to go. And here’s the thing I think – a botanic gardens really needs time to develop, so those who will really benefit from the gardens are those who will visit it in about 25 years or so, when the plants have been allowed to mature somewhat across the gardens. It will also allow other pieces of infrastructure to be completed and for the gardens to achieve some ‘polish,’ so to speak. The central section of the gardens is very good and has been progressing well over the years (yes, it is a relatively young botanic gardens) – areas such as the bromeliad section, orchids, etc – even the succulent section a bit further away.
ABOVE: Orchid BELOW: Bromeliads
So should you go? Look, it’s only $4.00 to get out of the place once you are there and you can get to see some great plants and do some good, easy walks – especially into the natural bush and wetland areas. So I’d say yes, just don’t expect a fully developed botanic gardens.
For more on the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens visit:
ABOVE: Tree Ferns and Palms
It was my first official day of annual leave from work today and of course it had to start with a good sleep-in, which I might add I’m going to try and avoid doing for the entire period of my annual leave – just the first couple of days. I have been extremely tired, so a few sleep-ins will be helpful – for my health and well being you know. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about and agree with me entirely. I take your silence as tacit agreement. Thank you for that.
Once I was up I thought I should do something – so the day wouldn’t be viewed as an entire waste. So a drive to Bulahdelah was on the cards via the Myall Lakes National Park and the Bombah Point Ferry. So that’s what I decided to do, after I thought through a few more possible options for other things to do during my holidays. I have come up with a reasonable list I think – I just need to see them all through now. Hopefully that will happen – just need to keep myself from sleeping-in too often.
So I headed off for my drive through the park, which is only a very short drive from where I live, just on the other side of Hawks Nest.
One of the things you notice when driving through Myall Lakes National Park at the moment is all of the Wattle that is flowering. The Wattle (Acacia) is a native shrub – actually there are many species of Acacia, with the one pictured being Acacia longifolia. Everywhere you look in the national park along the road you see masses of Wattle in flower. With the growing conditions in recent times they all look magnificent.
Of course the Wattle isn’t the only wildflower currently flowering, but it is probably the most prolific of all of the wildflowers at the moment. The Banksia is another very noticeable wildflower that is flowering at the moment and there are several others also.
ABOVE: More Wattle
I spotted some more wildflowers when I stopped at the place known as the ‘Hole in the Wall.’ Hole in the Wall is a picnic area providing views of the coast and Pacific Ocean. It also provides access to the beach. I didn’t head down to the beach, but I did enjoy the view. It is a great spot on the coast here on the Myall Coast.
ABOVE: Banksia Flower BELOW: View from Hole in the Wall
So after Hole in the Wall it was pretty much straight to Bulahdelah, via the Bombah Point Ferry, but that can be tomorrow’s post as I won’t be doing a great deal tomorrow. So until then, enjoy looking at that panoramic shot above.
Kata Tjuta – Valley of the Winds
This photo was taken during my first major trip around Australia in 1998. This photo was taken near the Gunlom Falls Camping Area and shows the fruit of a Pandanus tree.
For more on Pandanus see also:
Today’s photo was taken on my recent trip to Warrumbungle National Park in New South Wales, Australia. This photo was taken at Whitegum Lookout and shows what is typical of our Scribbly Gums. The ‘scribble’ on the bark is inscet damge and not graffiti.
I am back from my little ‘holiday’ from blogging, which was due to injury and sickness. Hopefully I won’t take too many of these breaks, but sometimes it is good to have a break.
Today’s photo is of a Banksia. There are quite a number of Banksia species, which belong to the Protea family. Australia has quite a number of different Banksia species. I believe this one to be Banksia ericifolia.