Mount Gambier, Blue Mountain and Adelaide in March of 2015

  • March 22, 2015 7:51 PM | Anonymous member

    Getting from Adelaide to Mount Gambier took eight hours, but our energetic guide/driver, Flick, of Truely Tribal Tours made it an interesting day. Our first stop was for wine tasting at the Bremerton Winery. They offered a variety of wines, and the balmy weather added to our enjoyment. At Wellington we crossed the Murray River on a ferry, giving us a chance to walk onto the ferry and see the river up close. Along the way the landscape changed from rolling hills to flat rangeland peppered with sheep, goats, and cattle. We had our picnic lunch on the shore of Lake Albert. We even made a brief photo stop at The Big Lobster, a roadside oddity 17 meters high, weighing four tons. On our arrival at Mount Gambier the club members welcomed us and took us to the Masonic Hall for a potluck dinner an a really warm welcome. I was glad to once again see the two club members I had met on the Semester at Sea Baltic cruise last May.

  • March 22, 2015 3:32 PM | Anonymous member

    March 21 Blog Entry  - Ray Missman

    Today we were all released on good behavior upon the City of Adelaide.
    PJ and I took the electric train in to town with our host Sue RobillIard. We happened to get in the same train car as Bob and Pat Gigliari so we toured Adelaide together.
    We saw the Adelaide Oval (very modern but with the famous old Victorian era scoreboard), the casino, the Market, Rundle Mall (pedestrian street, lots of buskers - one being filmed for evening news).
    We then walked over to the 150-year-old Botanical Garden and ate lunch at the outdoor cafe. A Pacific Black Duck clearly could not read the sign "DO NOT FEED THE DUCKS" - because he stuck his head up between my legs to beg for food.
    We finished our walkabout with a guided tour of the South Australia Museum: fossils from 3.5 billion years ago, almost the very earliest life on earth. Then Aboriginal culture, canoes, boomerangs... Opalized dinosaur skeleton, and a cloud chamber making cosmic rays visible - the Universe talking to us.

    We all met in the evening with the Adelaide Club at the Royal Hotel - good food and good visiting.

  • March 20, 2015 11:55 PM | Anonymous member

    Today we left our new great friends, wonderful scenery, and continuous food in the Blue Mountains.  We returned to Sydney and caught a two hour plus flight to Adelaide.  The check in went smoothly as did transit through security except got those of us that have acquired some metal in their joints.  The Adelaide hosts were waiting with signs so the match ups were easy and we all took off in different directions to make new friends and and have new experiences.

  • March 20, 2015 6:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    today was a free day, so people did a variety of activities.  The schedule item was the Darwin walk at Wentworth Falls some people did that walk while others participated in other hikes or went shopping.  The following is my day:

    We started the day with a leasurely breakfast, the laundry was then done so it could dry on the line during the day.  Our goal for the day was to attend sites in the Lithgow area as a possible future a day trip for another exchange. First we visited at historic Presbyterian Church in Bowenfels. We then went into Lithgow to see the Hoskinn Memorial church and its beautiful grounds.  Our next stop was small homes used by the Welsh miners at the vale of Clwydd.  The site of the original steelworks in Australia was next.  Part of the old blast furnace building is there with several signs explaining its history.  We stopped at the pagoda sandstone outcroppings and took a short hike.  After a stop at the post office and the chemist in Lithgow, we returned home for lunch.  Following lunch it was back to nature and Hassan Walls Reserve at Bracey Lookout with expansive views and vistas of the area.  

    Packing for a Friday flight was the next tas.  Items were placed in suitcases and weighed on scales.  

    The day ended with the farewell dinner at the grand new hotel in Wentworth Falls.  Dinner was a choice of chicken or salmon with a desert of cheesecake or chocolate mousse.  Each ED gave a talk about our week together.  After dessert Richard Bird gave some comparisons of Australia and America.  We then had two teams play a game making five letter words with five cards each containing two letters.  The players had to arrange themselves in order as the Bigfoot story was read by Helen Flach.  We each received a card with a photo of ourselves with our hosts and another whole group photo.  The evening ended with a whole group holding hands in a circle of peace and singing.

    By Nancy Sillwell

  • March 19, 2015 5:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This morning we met at Geoff's house to begin our activities. I had a day host from Sydney named Elizabeth Murray. We drove to Evans Lookout to observe a panoramic view.  This was a new sight for me as it was a different valley.  Some of the Sacramento Group took a walking tour from Evans's Lookout to our next stop at Garret's Leap.  The entire group took a lot of photos of the mountains and Grose Valley.  We returned to Blackheath Village to enjoy a coffee with our hosts.  It was good to get to know these new friends.  The coffee shop was an old movie theatre renovated with the lobby decorated with old movie posters around the walls.  The auditorium was converted to an antique mall that we enjoyed browsing.  We arrived at Anvil Rock and enjoyed the spectacular view. Again some of our group walked to a wind eroded cave.  Our lunch at the Megalong tearooms was a nice respite. We ate in the shade with a cool breeze and within sight of grazing sheep.  

    Then we continued to a wine tasting. This was a disappointment to me.  It appeared to be very disorganised and I found out the wine was bottled elsewhere.  A delicious potluck dinner at our host's house with about 40 guests finished off the day with good food and conversation. Another outstanding day for the exchange.

    By Cathy Ignatin

  • March 18, 2015 3:57 AM | Anonymous member

    Not green beer, but stalactites, stalagmites, columns, shawls, corals, and helictites. These were the words of the day on March 17 when we visited the magnificent Jenolan caves, the oldest dated show caves in the world. Following morning tea after our arrival at the caves, we took a self-guided tour of the majestic open caverns and passed by a beautiful blue lake surrounded by lush foliage. After a hearty lunch provided by our hosts, they guided us on a tour of the Orient Cave, one of the ten or eleven caves open for tours. We were treated with another delight when we stopped at Jenolan Cottages on our way back home to be entertained by a mob of kangaroos feeding in a field near a playground. Once "home" I found that my gracious host had replenished my chocolates, Elsa is well, happy, and waiting for her next find while my chocolates are securely stashed away.

  • March 17, 2015 8:00 AM | Anonymous member

    Monday, March 16: We had wonderful fall weather for our visit to Scenic World. We rode on the Scenic Railway, "the steepest passenger train in the world" & the Scenic Skyway, "the highest cable car in AU." Riding a gondola across the valley gave us a great view of The Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls.

    Some of us enjoyed smoked salmon when we stopped for lunch in Katoomba. Then onto the Blue Mountain Culture Center where we were amazed at the outstanding interpretive exhibit of the Blue Mountains. From there we visited the art gallery adjoining their beautiful new library. A stop at Echo point for a group photo finished off our afternoon.

    Many of us opted to have dinner at The Alex Hotel in Leura..Audrey brought home a doggy bag of leftovers, but when we entered the house and found that Elsa (the dog) had eaten all of Audrey's chocolates (a special gift from our host), she decided not to share the doggy bag.

  • March 16, 2015 4:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Day 3
    The day was diverse with traveling along the ridge top of the Blue Mountains from the start at Hawkesbury Lookout to Tanglin Lodge Alpaca farm to the historic Ebenezer Church and ending, as a group, at the town of Windsor. We enjoyed a Devonshire tea with the alpaca hosts and a lunch of salads and BBQed (prize-winning) sausages provided by community members at Ebenezer. We were educated on the history of the man-made waterways far below the starting point Lookout, the detailed life of husbandry of the alpacas, and the amazing story of vision for a church and school in Australia by eight British families and their success in achieving it in 1809.
    A day of cool weather, partly sunny skies, wonderful vistas, and interesting history.

    Richard Bird

  • March 14, 2015 1:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our club members and home hosts were distributed amongst five (5) of the Blue Mountains Club members homes for a fabulous brunch.   While each home may have served slightly different foods, each of us raved about the wonderful spread provided by the brunch hosts.  Mimosa's seemed to be the common thread to start off what turned out to be about a 4 hour eating frenzy, wonderful conversation and getting to know other members of the Blue Mountain Club. Of course Friendship Force traditions were discussed and our club members were very impressed with this brunch activity; it will take the place of home hosted dinners this week and several of us think we would like to initiate a brunch activity in our upcoming exchanges. 

    We then each left the brunch homes and branched out on our own with our hosts.  Reports back from the Ambassadors found them in multiple locations during the day. 

    a.  A group visited the area of the intended picnic area of yesterday rainout

    b. Several made visits to areas where we could look out onto the magnificent valleys and see the truly Blue Mountains. 

    c. Bird Watching and picture taking of course is a must.

    d. Hiking was in order for one or two.

    e.  Stopping for tea of course!

    f.  Hydro Majestic, Medlow Bath upgrade and remodel, and were able to also observe a local wedding with a view of the Blue Mountains! 

    g.  Botanical garden visit

    h.  Shopping!  of course!

    I.  Church and then washing clothes

    J.  Wild Animal Park

    A wonderful day and more to come!


  • March 13, 2015 2:29 AM | Anonymous member

    This Friday the Thirteenth was a lucky day for us.

    Before ten o'clock, as rainfall peppered us in Sydney, we were on the bus to the Blue Mountains, accompanied by Colleen McCombie, president of the Blue Mountains Friendship Force club. 

    Plan A was to enjoy a welcome barbecue at the Wentworth Falls Lake.  However, Mother Nature had other plans for us, and the continued rainfall compelled a switch to Plan B:  a luncheon at the lovely home of ED Geoff Whitwell and Harry Baker.  The Blue Mountains FF members quickly shifted gears to set up a delighful lunch, followed by a fascinating presentation by David Newton, an Aboriginal speaker, who shared some of Aboriginal language, history, customs, and--best of all-- the dance of his people.  An introduction to the first peoples of Australia made this first day of our Australian visit one that will be hard to top.   

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