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.