Tunnel of Stars | Gardens of Stone National Park

Today we went on an adventure to a glow worm tunnel!

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The drive from Lithgow took us along 30km of fairly unpleasant rough and bumpy gravel and dirt road, for the most part through plantation, but led us to the very beautiful Gardens of Stone National Park and walking track to the glow worm tunnel.

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Our doggy, in a particularly sooking mood would not allow us to leave him alone. So Elki, upon his own insistence, stayed with him in his father’s place, not wanting his dog to be sad, or Scott to miss out.

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The walking track wound through invigorating forest,

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surrounded by ancient rocks and stone cliff sides,

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and arrived at the fern veiled tunnel entrance;

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the tunnel of an old rail.

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With head torches on, we ventured in, light quickly disappearing, leaving us in darkness and revealing the magical lights!

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The lights in the tunnel akin to stars in a night sky delighted us all. Anusha mystified by there beauty as she skipped and jumped from rock to rock along the wet tunnel floor.
On observing the worms under a red light we found they do indeed glow from their bums!

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As the light at the end of the tunnel emerged the tiny stars receded,

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And we were greeted by a grove of green.

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We weren’t sure which end of the tunnel was more beautiful.

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After a short exploration we headed back through the tunnel, marvelling again at the lovely glowing lights, finding one cluster of worms in the shape of a capital E (E for my dear boy Elki looking after his doggy ❤), and Anusha counting the doorways cut into the tunnel rock wall.

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Amongst the amazing cliff faces we spied secretive caves.

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One of which Anusha had found on the walk in when I had been carrying Zubin in the ergo. Now that Scott held him she was able to show me her ‘amazing!’ find at the bottom of a short but steep and slippery path.

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It was truly amazing and even more so after we saw a bat! It flew around us as we excitedly squealed, Anusha exclaiming, “it came this close to my face!”

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She couldn’t wait to tell her Dad (who had gone on ahead telling us to take our time) and Elki as we walked the last of the track, noticing the beautiful colours of rock along the way.

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We found happy boys back at the car; Zubin having loved the walk on his Dad’s shoulder, Elki not minding at all his quiet time of reading and playing games on his phone, and of course Laska having had company while he waited.
I had missed my boy on the walk and we all agreed we would return before leaving the area as Elki just has to see the awesome tunnel of stars.

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The Ocean Our Classroom at Pettmans Beach

Last week we spent our days on a stretch of 90 mile beach called Pettmans beach; nearby Lakes Entrance.
It was a sand filled, water immersed week of camping; the children’s afternoons occupied by swimming, playing, and exploring this truly beautiful area.

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Zubin loves the beach and was fascinated by the feel and taste of the shells and sand.

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There was a sand bank along the shore which changed slightly each day with the coming and going of the tide. I loved to watch Zubin as he deftly climbed down; turning around at the top to safely clamber down backwards, feet first. Climbing back up was a little harder but after several attempts he triumphantly succeeded.

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He spent hours of the afternoons and evenings in our arms and on his Dad’s shoulders as we strolled along the shore,

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curiously observing and taking in the beautiful surroundings,

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and sleeping in the Ergo with the sounds of waves to lull him,

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and my footsteps to rock him.

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And he played; his brother and sister his playmates, the ocean’s offerings his toys.

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Anusha immersed herself in beach life. The sand dunes her adventure playground.

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The sand and sun her sanctuary and warmth when the water became too cold,

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and providing her with hours of fun as she built fairy castles, tunnels, and trenches.

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At first Anusha was unable to swim as the waves were too rough and a trench on the shoreline too deep, but after discovering the low tide in the afternoons she excitedly took to the water.

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At times she needed the help of her big brother,

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But as the week passed by she grew more and more confident and swam more in the sea than she has ever before. Having an amazing time and never wanting to leave.

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Elki took to the ocean with his love of swimming and enthusiasm for adventure.

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He found the water irresistible,

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the waves providing hours of thrill and challenge,

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and the inspiration for imaginative play as he battled powerful enemies.

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Elki’s love of crystals and Earth treasures was ignited further by the plentiful and beautiful trove of rocks and shells along the beach. Most days a new find was added to his collection and he excitedly collected these special rocks with his sister to give to Zubin on his approaching birthday.

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The stunning sunsets most evenings were colourful and magical,

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and food for our eyes

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and spirits.

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I found the ocean a refreshing and inspiring delight for my whole being; my afternoons spent with my feet in the invigorating water, listening to the rhythm of the ocean and my children’s playful enjoyment.

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And an exciting surprise for all of us was catching glimpses on several days of two stunning Lace Monitors! A true highlight of the week.

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I was constantly amazed by the beauty of Pettmans beach, and surprised that we often had it all to ourselves! Thank you to this most special part of Australia for being our classroom for a week ❤

Stevenson’s Falls

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Last week we went for a wander to the falls where we are currently camped; Stevenson’s falls, about 30 km inland from Apollo bay.

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The trail led us alongside the creek, through wet native forest, distant plantation, wild blackberries, and the occasional fungi.

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Anusha finding it hard not to constantly stop to pick and munch blackberries, and the forest providing a veritable smorgasbord for Elki’s imagination; after not long we found ourselves at the day use area and crossed the creek.

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The cool water called but we continued on, the children venturing onto the rocky paths winding along the creek.

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Hopping from rock to rock Elki and Anusha made their way to the waterfall as Scott, a sleeping Zubin, and I strolled alongside on the path.

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Before long the easy peaceful trail led us to the beautiful falls.

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A welcoming, refreshing, and cooling sight.

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Elki immediately climbed down to the bottom of the falls,

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exploring the surrounding rocks, small caves, and pools.

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Anusha shortly ventured down too,

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And then Scott and Laska followed,

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Whilst a now awake Zubin, and I, observed and breathed in the beauty from the lookout.

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I love to watch my family delight in nature’s wonders,

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And capture our time together in these special places.

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On our return walk I rock hopped with the children along the creek whilst Scott strolled back with Zubin.

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We met at the day use area and the children and I cooled our feet in the water before walking the remaining stretch. Anusha, with a sore foot, was carried by Scott and they picked the highest berries, previously out of reach!

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Elki led the way, and I found him resting and reading under the shade of a pine in our camp upon my return.

The 12 Apostles and Gibson Steps

On our way from Dartmoor to our camp, Stevenson’s falls, we drove inland from Warrnambool to shorten the drive.

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So, on Tuesday we took a day trip to the 12 Apostles and Gibson steps.

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Even though I have been to the 12 Apostles before; when Elki was four and Anusha a baby, and when I was younger with my parents, I still found them awe inspiring.

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The majestic stone formations standing against the battering of the powerful sea, as it sends it’s rolling arcs in from (as Elki named it in his fantastical imaginative musings) the Everwater, is wild and beautiful.

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It was a cool and windy day, so we rugged up, feeling the fresh sea breeze blow on our faces and in our hair.

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We stopped at each of the lookouts to see the different perspectives.

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Scott and Anusha went on ahead,

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And Elki, Zubin and I followed.

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To the east we looked out on the beach at Gibson steps.

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After we returned from the apostles there was promised icy poles, and coffees for Scott and I, as we began the walk to Gibson steps.

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Zubin perched on Scott’s shoulders; his favourite walking position.

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We wound between the coastal vegetation,

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And down the cliff hugging steps.

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Initially Anusha was very fearful and intimidated by the rugged and rolling waves. We talked about the ocean being part of mother earth, in all her power and beauty. This did not completely reassure her but then Elki showed her the sandstone cliffs, which look soft as sand but are so very hard!

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We also talked about the birds that make the beach their home; nesting in the cliff faces and relying on the coastline. Anusha found bird tracks in the sand (she is very interested in animal tracks) and started to follow them.

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Zubin played on the sand and explored along the cliff face,

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And I went down to the shoreline, pulled by the wild energy of the sea.

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The children followed, Anusha now more confident,

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And they played chase with the waves.

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I felt so energised by the rugged wildness of the ocean,

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I could have stayed for hours!

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We played and walked, and got wet by surprise! So, Scott went and got the car for us ❤ and we went home. Stopping for snacks and filling our bellies with a warm BBQ.

A not so flowing day…..

I know I love and really appreciate when days flow smoothly; when everything seems to piece together in a way that fits perfectly (well mostly)…..
Today wasn’t one of those days, at least it certainly began with many pieces out of place!
A couple of things happened that really shouldn’t have been too big for us to handle, but there was overreactions, some anger, insensitivenes, and impatience…….
A planned morning of a picnic of Quinoa patties cooked on the BBQ with salad, at a playground next to Valley lake, started out very disjointed and rather disappointingly……
But in those times of heated words, misunderstandings, and rash communication we always come back to our centre; our core; our family; our love for each other, and appreciation as beings of Earth how very blessed we are!
Breaths are taken and we see each other for the imperfect people that we are. And love our imperfections and everything that makes us such wonderful, crazy, individual, sometimes infuriating, deeply caring, possibly very irrational (😜), loving people.
So, we attempted to look at the day anew and I think we did OK.
The children began to work and play together. Very important work; mining and building a sand pile,

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Zubin played; his version of work,

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And then we decided together to go to the Umpherston Sinkhole. A garden grown in an amazing sunken cave. I think just what we needed.

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A place of beauty and wonder, and restoration for the spirit. And an amazing geographical occurrence. Elki said it was probably the place he has loved the most; it was a seed for the children’s imaginations to flower.
Afterwards we made our way back to camp; for breathing out, dinner and dessert. Anusha made us a peach and plum pudding, and as we lay down in bed for stories she dreamily said, ‘I love how warm pudding feels in your belly at bedtime’.
I think the day ended OK. There were some frantic, not so calm moments in our afternoon and evening but we realised that we were all tired and in need of an early night to bed 😴 I look forward to tomorrow with loving, patient, whole body intention ❤

Horseshoe Bay | Our babe’s first day at the beach

We went for a drive to Goolwa today; we needed to refill our water containers and grab a few groceries, so we thought we’d drive on to Port Elliot to take the children to the beach.

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Scott and I came here; to Horseshoe bay, many years ago when we were still living in Adelaide and Elki was very small. Such a different time that was to now.
It was warmer than we expected when we arrived; Elki dove straight in and Anusha was not far behind.

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The ocean was rougher than what the children usually swim in but Elki threw himself into riding the waves and Anusha jumped in the shallows as they rolled into shore.

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I settled down on the sand with Zubin, realising this was his first time at the beach! He was a little unsettled by the wind, but after a feed and snuggle he started to explore his surroundings.

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Anusha joined us again to warm in the sun and played with her little brother in the sand……

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She built a mound for Zubin to tear down,

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It was so beautiful to see his wonder and sharing this experience with his sister,

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He explored the sand with such excitement, joy, and curiosity,

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And after being half buried by Anusha they dug a hole together.

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Sweet little toes emerging from the sand.

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Elki returned for a break and drink,

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Then ran back in with goggles to explore underwater.

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Anusha and Zubin ventured down to the shore.

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Then all three came together.

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Zubin had his first taste of sand.

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And felt the chill of seawater.

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Then they found an inviting warm pool.

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It’s hard to think of anything that I love more than observing my beautiful three explore and share the wonders of nature together.

A Walk in Scott Conservation Park

This afternoon we went for a walk through Scott Conservation Park, where we are camped in Currency Creek.
We arrived hear on Sunday after leaving Adelaide and are soaking in the freedom and peacefulness, realising the constraints and pressures our stay in suburbia for just 6 weeks had placed on us (of course we had beautiful happy times with our family and friends too!)

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We spent the whole day at camp today, and so wanted to explore a little more of the area.
The children have settled right back into the bush and immediately their imaginations ran free. Anusha brought the map for us to follow (from one of her Lego instructions ;)), and Elki informed us that ogres were nearby!

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A dry creek bed runs through the park. We crossed it and followed the track into the surrounding bush land.
It’s so different from the wet, super dense forest that we are now accustomed to in Tasmania, and what we experienced in the Blue Mountains. It is so dry here, and more open, and the Gums beautiful in a different way; not as tall but more sprawling.

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The first of several ogre footprints that were found, this one a baby’s!

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There is something very beautiful about the contrast and starkness of a dead tree amidst a forest of green and the blue sky.

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We came across a dried out billabong, or the sleeping place of a storm giant.

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My baby fell asleep as soon as we started to walk, rocked by my stepping rhythm.

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We discovered that the amazing grass tree spikes are perfect staffs, walking sticks, and according to Elki; Dai katana.

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We continued on, the heat of the day increasing.

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After stopping for a drink break the children ventured ahead whilst Scott and I strolled behind.

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Alongside the track we caught glimpses of the eroded creek bed.

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And after catching up with the children, crossed back over the creek and walked back to camp along the road; the children catching sight of an echidna waddling past.
We’ve started taking evening strolls along this road, spotting kangaroos in the adjacent fields, and last night we watched the moon rise from a beautiful glow to a shining orange globe.

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Zubin woke up just before we got back spending the rest of the walk happy in his Dadda’s arms.
And thankfully we made it to camp before the ogres were upon us! 😄