A Travellerspoint blog

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Australian Critters

overcast 14 °C

On a trip to the East, we called into Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and what a great few hours seeing, touching and learning about the native wild animals of Australia.
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Bonorong is not a zoo, it is a Wildlife Sanctuary that aims to rehabilitate and release sick or injured wild animals. It is funded entirely by entrance fess to the park.
We joined a very informal tour that talked about each of the animals in the park:

Wombat
Wombats are curious creatures. They seem like slow, dumpy animals, but they have a top speed of 40km/hr and a secret weapon in the bottom! Womabat’s product square poo! Nobody knows hows. But the real secret is the cartilage that covers most of their rear, and lower back. Womabt’s dig their burrows with the opening below a rock or tree trunk. When threatened, they retreat to their burrow, but leave their bottom sticking out! The attacker may try to bite and get hold of them, but will find this very difficult due to their robust bottoms! If the attacker continues, the wombat will lower themselves at the entrance. This will encourage the attacking animal to try and crawl over them. At this point the wombat will slam upwards, killing the attacker. They have been known the crush the scull of a dog in this manner!
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Tasmanian Devil
The Tasmanian Devil is also an ungainly looking creature. However, they live up to this expectations, with the top speed of that of a running chicken! Because of this, and their poor eyesight, Devils’ are not hunters, they are scavengers. In the days before the Tasmanian Tiger was extinct, they lived on the leftovers of the tigers’ kills. However, nowadays, they are drawn to the easy picking of road kill, and because they are black, this makes them quite vulnerable. They are the worlds largest carnivorous marsupial extinct on the main land and wholly protected in Tasmania. However, since 1996, with the appearance of the Devil Facial Tumour, 80% of the population has been lost.
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Koala
This is Burt. He, like most other Koalas has an incredible existing where 20 hours a day are spent sleeping, 3.5hrs are spent eating and only around 30mins a day are they active. This is largely due to their inability to digest and make the most of their diet. There are 600-700 types of eucalyptus trees in Australia, Koalas can only eat 11 of these. Once common in Eastern Australia, they are now severely reduced by hunting and loss of habitat and are a protected species.
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Echidna
Echidnas are one of only 5 species of monotremes (mammals that lay eggs) in the world, the platypus and 4 types of Echidna. Tasmanian Echidnas have denser fur and their spines are less obvious than that of the mainland Echidnas and hibernate from March to June. They can live up to 45 years.
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Tawny Frogmouth
Often mistaken for being an owl, the Tawny Frogmouth is actually more closely related to the nightjar. These birds are nocturnal and use their unusual appearance to camouflage in trees during the day. They can live up to 10 years.
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Musk Lorikeet
Common in areas of south east Australia and are the only native lorikket species in Tasmania. Names for their sweet ‘musky’ smell, they are intelligent and social birds. They can live up to 25 years in captivity.
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Rainbow Lorikeets
Native to some parts of Australia, the rainbow lorikeet was illegally released in Auckland in the 1990s. This dominant and prolific bird now poses a significant threat to the native wildlife. Evidence shows that rainbow lorikeets compete with native birds by dominating their food sources and nesting sites. They are capable of dislodging much larger birds than themselves. They may also carry avian diseases which can threaten the health of native bird species.
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Galah
One of the most widespread of Australia’s parrots, they are sociable and often form flocks of several hundred. Feeding is often done on the ground in smaller groups and they can cause major damage to cultivated grain crops, and so they are considered a pest an licensed culling is permitted. They can live between 40-80 years in captivity.
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Laughing Kookaburra
Named for it’s distinctive call, it is the largest member of the kingfisher family. They are territorial and mate for life, looking after their chicks for up to 4 years.
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Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo
The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is probably Australia's best known parrot. These birds are often kept as pets, as they are extremely intelligent and are very good at learning to talk. Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have a reputation for being loud and noisy birds, but they are also know to be very sweet and affectionate companions if hand fed as babies. In general, these birds love attention and being handled. They can live for more than 70 years.
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Forester Kangaroo
The Forester kangaroo is the largest marsupial in Tasmania and the second largest in the world -- males can reach over 60 kg and, when literally on tippy toes, stand 2 m tall! Colour varies from light brownish grey to grey. They have relatively large ears and differ from the other two species in having hair between the nostrils and upper lip. They often make clucking sounds between themselves and give a guttural cough when alarmed. The species is common on mainland Australia, where it is commonly known as the grey kangaroo. In many areas of the mainland, the clearing of bushland, creation of improved pasture and provision of farm dams has upset the natural balance in favour of increased macropod numbers. However, in Tasmania during the 1950s and 60s, the population of Forester kangaroos was reduced to 15% of its previous level. The Forester kangaroo is restricted to northeastern Tasmania and small areas in central Tasmania.
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Mob of kangaroos!
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Posted by charlystyles 03:22 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Mt Fields & New Norfolk

overcast 16 °C

Mount Field
Just down the road from Fentonbury is Mount Fields National Park. The landscape ranges from eucalyptus temperate rainforest to alpine moorland, rising to 1,434 metres (4,705 ft) at the summit of Mount Field West. Founded in 1916, it is Tasmania's oldest national park.
There are a range of walks, from the visitor centre: Russell Falls is an easy, 20-minute return walk on asphalt and boardwalks.
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Horseshoe Falls is a 30-minute walk.
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Tall Trees Walk is an easy thirty-minute walk through the tall swamp gums.
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Tasmania's swamp gum (Eucalyptus regnans) is the tallest hardwood - and the tallest flowering plant - in the world. The tallest recorded in Tasmania was 98 metres high.

and there's lots of wallabies
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When French explorer Bruni D'Entrescasteaux first saw this island in 1792 it was the forests which impressed him. He wrote... "trees of an immense height and proportionate diameter, their branchless trunks covered with evergreen foliage, some looking as old as the world"

New Norfolk
New Norfolk is the nearest town for groceries and any other amenities. It's about a 30minute drive from Fentonbury. There's not much to note, except a rather interesting Antique shop, held within the old Nurses Quarters.
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The beautiful and historic Willow Court & Barracks precinct is a not to be missed opportunity to explore and learn about Australia’s oldest continually run mental hospital and Military Barracks that pre-dates Port Arthur.
If the walls could talk. Spacious grounds and gracious buildings waiting for a benefactor to restore their grandeur. A nice café and a really interesting (and vast) antique business. The patients are long gone. What will be the next chapter?

Some idea of what's available inside
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Even the old toilets are used for displaying items...
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Bible anyone...?
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'Fur Thing' anyone...??
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And on the outside, even these poorly classics are for sale...
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Bus anyone...?
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Steam Engine perhaps...?
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How about a rustic cell door?
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Posted by charlystyles 01:47 Archived in Australia Tagged mount_fields new_norfolk nurses_quarters Comments (0)

Traveling out via Singapore

sunny 33 °C


So, after 42hours and three flights via Singapore, customs in Melbourne we finally arrived in Hobart.
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But as they say, the journey is always part of the adventure, and we certainly saw some sights.
After a 12hour flights from Heathrow to Singapore, we had about 12 hours to wait until our next flight. If ever your passing through Singapore airport and have time, be sure to find the free tour that leave from Terminal 3. It is a 1.5hr bus tour through the city and you book on to an allocated time slot, pass through customs and get to see the sights.
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Marina Bay Sands is the large hotel with the boat on top! Developed by Las Vegas Sands (LVS), it is the world's most expensive building, at US$ 4.7billion, including the cost of the prime land.
The iconic design has transformed Singapore's skyline and tourism landscape since it opened on 27 April 2010.
The Marina Bay Sands hotel has three 55-story towers with 2,561 luxury rooms and suites, and is capped by the Sands SkyPark, which offers 360-degree views of Singapore's skyline. The SkyPark is home to restaurants, gardens, a 150-metre vanishing edge pool, manufactured by Natare Corporation in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the world's largest public cantilever housing an observation deck.

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The Merlion is a traditional creature in western heraldry that depicts a monster with a lion head and a body of a fish. In Singapore, it has become a marketing icon used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore. The merlion occurs in a number of different artistic traditions. Lions with fishtails can be found on Indian murals at Ajanta and Mathura, and on Etruscan coins of the Hellenistic period. Merlions, or ‘heraldic sea-lions’, are an established element of Western heraldry, and have been used on the coat of arms of the cities of Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom; the City of Manila; and the East India Company.
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If you only have a small amount of time in Singapore airport, it is still worth a visit to Terminal 3 for the Koi pond, with fish over 50cm long:
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and the Butterfly Gardens:
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and of course, with any flight, there's always the chance to see a country from a different view point. This was our introduction to Australia....
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Posted by charlystyles 22:31 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Hashing!

overcast 10 °C

So, as I've probably got your attention with the title of this entry, let me explain what I mean...

The Hash House Harriers (abbreviated to HHH or H3, or referred to simply as hashing) is an international group of non-competitive running social clubs. An event organized by a club is known as a hash or hash run, with participants calling themselves hashers or hares and hounds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers

Great emphasis is placed on the social aspect, and in particular the après-hash refreshemtns after the run.
The Hash usually meet at a pub chosen by the Hare (the person setting the trail) and the Hounds set off using their clearly defined trail, set using either chalk, sawdust or flour.
The Trail has varies symbols showing options and alternative routes, which allows the slower runners to catch up whilst the faster runners figure out the correct route, shouting "On-On" when the correct route is identified.
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Hashing began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of British colonial officials and expatriates founded a running club called the Hash House Harriers. They named the group after their meeting place, the Selangor Club, nicknamed the "Hash House." Hash House Harrier runs were patterned after the traditional British paper chase. A "hare" was given a head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, all the while pursued by a shouting pack of "harriers." Only the hare knew where he was going . . . the harriers followed his clues to stay on trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and solving the clues, reaching the end was its own reward . . . for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of iced-down beer.

GOALS OF THE HASH
. . . from the 1938 charter of the Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers
• To promote physical fitness among our members
• To get rid of weekend hangovers
• To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
• To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
http://onin.com/hhh/hhhexpl.html

And so I joined the Sheffield Hash House Harriers for their annual 'Hash-Camp' - two days in the Peak District.
The First day covered around 10.2miles, and 3 pubs, though the weather made it more interesting:
Gorillas, no, cows, in the mist:
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What goes up, must come down... off the edge of the world it would seem...
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Follow a trail in this...
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And then, the site every hasher wants to see...Pub in the mist - 'On-In':
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Stopping at a local pub over night with good food and plenty of refreshment, we over-came hangovers, and more interesting weather to get out for another 6+mile run on the Sunday:
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All in all, a great first experience Hashing. 'On-On'

Posted by charlystyles 03:23 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged running hash peak_district Comments (0)

My Family

rain 6 °C

As you can imagine, we have a lot of friends and family to catch up with / say goodbye to before we leave.

One great, and rare, get-together was in Essex with most of the Styles' side of the family.

With thanks to my Aunty Sue for hosting 19 people!!
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Posted by charlystyles 02:24 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged family Comments (0)

Sunshine in Somerset

one of my favourite places...

sunny 22 °C

I thought I should test this concept, and have a practice run at writing a blog - something which I hope to get a lot more practice of over the coming few months!

The idea of moving abroad is slowly making me realise that everything I know will be left behind, for now anyway.
So it's been lovely to have time to spend with my mum and dad, to visit some old familiar places and to take Eric to visit one of my favourite places - Stourhead, National Trust.
However, not one to do things by half, I wanted to make up for not being around this year for the traditional Boxing Day Walk - a picturesque route along an old coach path from Redlynch to Stourhead.
The coach road is believed to be a driveway built from Redlynch Mansion to meet the London coach road near Stourhead. These days it is followed by the Macmillan Way (coast to coast from Lincolnshire to Dorset) and the Leland Trail (a county council route following the itinerary of John Leland who travelled this way in the 16th century).

Stourhead is a Palladian mansion with world-famous landscape gardens that often feature in the national newspapers when showing off their autumn colours.
When Stourhead first opened in the 1740s, a magazine described it as ‘a living work of art’. The world-famous landscape garden has at its centrepiece a magnificent lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees, and offers a day of fresh air and discovery.

Despite the drizzle on the way, we were rewarded by glorious sunshine at the optimum view point giving Eric the chance to take these amazing photos.
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Posted by charlystyles 13:27 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged stourhead redlynch Comments (0)

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