Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it. And in many ways it is my journal of everyday life. If you click on the Index you can see my posts under various topic headings.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-printing with Australian leaves onto cloth and paper.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".



Sunday, 13 October 2019

Hunting for wild orchids, Western Australia

It seems to be a shame to miss the wild orchid season while I keep you in the Northern Territory on my half lap of Australia so for this week I am going to drag you away from my travels and back to the south west of Western Australia where the wildflowers are blooming. If you missed it, I did share a few local wildflowers back in September.

In mid September a couple of weeks after we returned from our 7 week trip, we went down to Dunsborough for the day, about an hour south of where we live. I had been looking at the wild orchid walks in our area in my orchid book, Guide to Native Orchids of South Western Australia (Bob Liddelow), and this walk was one I wanted to do. It follows the coast from Dunsborough to Meelup - around 3.8km. It was a beautiful morning, so off we went. 

Bob warns on his Facebook page:  If you purchase this book you may become as addicted to finding, and photographing, native orchids as much as its author.
Too late!  

Before we set off on the walk we stopped at our favourite cafe in Dunsborough - Hot Chocolatte- fabulous coffee, friendly staff and delicious treats.  Seriously, is this really the only photo I took? I loved their decorations hanging over their counter. If you are down that way, you must check them out.

 The walk follows the coast starting at the far end of Forrest Street, south Dunsborough. The trail is easy to follow. We didn't go the whole way, but saw plenty of orchids to keep me happy as we wandered along. Not long after we started out we met a local who told us where to look for some of the orchids, which was very helpful.  The trail follows the coast and is a lovely part shaded walk - part sand, part gravel, part formed limestone track. The weather was perfect for walking. 

Make sure you stick to the track and be aware it is illegal in Australia to pick wildflowers.

 Here are some of the wild orchids we found: I am not a wildflower expert, so my identifications might not be accurate, but I was able to get some assistance from the very helpful members of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia on Facebook. Thank you!  

 I must tell you here that many of our native wild orchids are tiny, not like your fancy exotics in Asia. I wish I had a comparison photo for you. They blend in very well and you have to be lucky to see them. 

For those interested in technicalities - the wildflower images were all taken with a 100mm macro lens, hand held. 

So clockwise from top left - one of the white spider orchids Caladenia longicauda; possibly the Dunsborough spider orchid - Caladenia viridescens; Chapman's Spider orchid - Caladena chapmanii; Vanilla orchid, also known as the Lemon-scented sun orchid - Thelymitra antennifera;  Purple Enamel orchid - Elythanthera brunonis; Diamond Spider Orchid - Caladenia rhomboidiformis. 
The 4 spider orchids we had not seen before - so exciting for me.  Lucky for me also that my husband is a great orchid finder! 

Another look at the Chapman's Spider orchid - Caladena chapmanii

And a couple of donkey orchids: Possibly the Purple Pansy orchid - Diuris longifolia; and the Dunsborough Donkey orchid - Diuris amplissima - but then again it could be your common Donkey orchid. 

There were lots of other wildflowers too: in the top row some of the native pea varieties, then (I think) the red Mouse Ears - Calothamnus rupestris; pink Swan River Myrtle - Hypocalymma robustum; and one of the eucalypts

 In the top row below - Cowslip orchid - Caladena flava; one of my favourites Southern Rose - Diplolaena dampieri one of the acacia wattle varieties;
and below - one of the yellow Hibbertia buttercups;  white everlastings (which I was a bit surprised to see here) and I think Coastal Banjine - Pimelea ferruginea 

 We also saw some kangaroos and a New Holland honeyeater

We had a wonderful couple of hours wandering along the track. And I am already looking forward to going back another day. 

Unfortunately on the way back about 300 metres from the car, I had a slip on the limestone path. I broke the end of my fibula (in my ankle), and this is me for 8 weeks. Sadly my wildflower season came to an abrupt end. But it could have been worse, and I am so glad it didn't happen while we were away on our trip. It is 4 weeks on now and hopefully by the end of the 6 weeks it will be mended. As my radiologist reminded me - our bones take longer to mend as we get older and we have to be careful of falling. I know!
I was so glad my husband was there to help me back to the car. He has been my fetch, carry, shop, cook, clean, wash, iron, drive and everything man. Thank you! 

  More information about Western Australian orchids -
Orchids of south west Western Australia 
 Orchids of Western Australia
 Book - Guide to Native orchids of South Western Australia - by Bob Liddlelow (R&R Publications)

You might also like:
Down in the woods today - hunting for wild orchids 
Hunting for wild orchids in Western Australia's mid west 

Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you have a favourite wildflower hunting spot? Have you injured yourself when you've been bushwalking? I don't recommend it!
I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Katherine & Adelaide River, Northern Territory - Half Lap of Australia, Part 4

Hi everyone, and welcome to Part 4 of my Half Lap of Australia. 
This week we will travel from Western Australia into the Northern Territory, and visit Katherine and Adelaide River on our way to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. 

We had not visited this part of the Northern Territory before, so this is all new territory to us. You can see a rough map of our trip through the Northern Territory on the map below, the main locations showing with a red dot or red print. 

Leaving Lake Argyle and Kununurra (last week's blog post) we crossed the border into the Northern Territory 63 kilometres from Kununurra. From there our trip takes us to Katherine, Adelaide River, Litchfield National Park, Darwin, Kakadu National Park, Mataranka, Daly Waters, Karly Karlu (Devil's Marbles), down to Alice Springs in central Australia, before reaching the Northern Territory/South Australian border. 

We left Lake Argyle at around 6.00am which incidentally is 7.30am Northern Territory time. We had lost and hour and a half crossing the border. The time difference and that we had 510 kilometres to travel today to our next stopping place, Katherine, was the reason for the early start. Also we were travelling over new ground, so there were gong to be places we wanted to stop and look at. My diary records that the sun was already "a burning red ball above the horizon, lighting up the rocks red and shimmery across the long grass." 

Below you can see the Western Australian/Northern Territory border crossing. You might be able to see on the bottom of this sign a bit of "decoration" and stickers put here by travellers.
Can you see the "end 80" speed sign? In the Northern Territory maximum speed is 130 kilometres an hour, whereas in Western Australia it is 110km/hr. However, as we were towing we stuck to our 80-90 km/hr. Fast enough for us! 

Australia has very strict quarantine regulations to protect our agriculture crops and stock, particularly coming from other states into Western Australia. You need to be aware of these regulations and restrictions before crossing any state border. You can find information on the internet, or pick up one of their very handy quarantine guides at an information centre. Going from Northern Territory to Western Australia is a manned border check, however from WA to NT is purely self checking (though this might not always be the case), with bins provided to dispose of such things as fresh fruit and vegetables. Some people stock up in Kununurra only to find they can't take it into Northern Territory. We only take dried, frozen or canned foods over the border. 

89 kilometres from Kununurra you can visit Keep National Park. Only a relatively small park it has some amazing landforms. There are walk trails and camp sites, which are accessible via 2WD along gravel roads. Please make sure you only walk early morning or late afternoon, wear a hat, good boots and carry water, as temperatures rise rapidly here to very hot, as we discovered on a previous trip.

My previous diary recorded.....
... most insanely we walked for two hours in 38 plus degree heat in the Keep National Park in the Northern Territory – we wouldn’t normally hike in 38 degree heat but we were on holiday! Make sure you definitely carry water and wear a hat for that one! 

Because we had been to Keep before, and Katherine was our destination today, we continued on. 

area around Desmond Passage
Boabs are an icon of the north
We stopped for morning tea in a shady park in Timber Creek, lunched east of Victoria River road house, arriving in Kununurra at 3pm. 

We had booked a site at the Riverview Tourist Park before we left home, and were given a nice partly shady spot. After setting up, we had afternoon tea and then walked down to the hot springs only a short downhill walk from the back of the park. The water was lovely and warm in the leafy channels lined with pandanas palms. Lovely after our long drive.  Not a good pic below, but you get the idea.

 The next day we had booked a boat cruise at Nitmiluk (Katherine) River Gorge. Located on the lands of the Jawoyn people it is a 30km drive from Katherine to the entrance of the park.
There is a 3 gorge and 2 gorge cruise. We did the two gorge cruise, which included a rocky, though not difficult, walk from one gorge to another. 

Some things we learnt on the cruise included:

- Nitmiluk means cicada (nit) country (luk)
- Paperbark leaves were crushed by the indigenous people and made into paste for antiseptic  
 - Paperbark trees also used to make canoes.
- Pandanas trunk is hollow and use used to carry fire from one camp to another.
- Freshwater mangrove leaves and bark was crushed and put into waterholes to stun fish
Crocodiles - no swimming here!
After the cruise we visited the Visitor Centre where I was able to buy a very useful local wildflower identification book and also enjoyed lunch on the elevated outdoor eating area of their cafe. Back to camp, and another swim in the hot springs. And bed sheets and bath towells washing done - tick! 

These big trees shading our camp at the caravan park are South African Mahogany. 

Next day we headed out to Nitmiluk again, but this time we were headed to
Leliyn (Edith Falls) (40kms from Katherine and then another 20kms in) to do the 2.6km Leliyn Trail described in our guide as a moderate circuit walk. 

The first part of the walk is steeply uphill.  There are a couple of places you can swim , but access to the upper pool was tricky (and we didn't have our bathers on), so we decided to push on to the lower main pool. By then it was hot hot hot, and I must admit I was rather grumpy....I don't do heat well. I am glad we had started early. Thankfully the last part of the walk was under shade and going downhill.  I really recommend an early start, I wish we had started earlier considering the long drive out. Make sure you wear a hat, sunscreen, walking boots, and carry plenty of water. 

The swim in the lower main pool was cold and refreshing and very welcome after the heat of the walk. We enjoyed our picnic lunch under the shady trees and bought an icecream from the cafe.

This is the beautiful Fern leaf Grevillea - Grevillea pteridifolia - which was growing near the lower main pool.

And below are Batchelors Buttons - Gomphrena canescens; one of the yellow flowering Sennas, and Batwing Coral Tree - Erythrina vespertillo; which we saw on the way back to Katherine.

Next morning we were packed up and on the road north by 8.30am. Reaching the tiny township of Adelaide River at around 11am, we were astounded to find the place packed with people, cars, caravans. It was a public holiday in the Northern Territory and Adelaide River was having their Rosella Festival. I love Rosella jam, which we had tasted before in Broome, and which I had actually eaten the flowers straight off the bush along the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley. We managed to find a place to park and walked down to the Festival and bought Rosella jam, sauce, chutney - delicious! How lucky were we! 

Adjacent to the park and market was the Adelaide River pub where you can enjoy a cooling ale in the "303 bar", see "Charlie the Buffalo" from the movie Crocodile Dundee, and buy a Croc Dundee tshirt, which our son did. 

 Also a must visit in Adelaide River is the Adelaide River War Cemetery.   
112 kilometres south of Darwin, and established in 1942, there are 434 military burials here. The adjoining Civil Cemetery honours 63 civilians including the nine post office workers who were killed in the 19 February 1942 bombing of Darwin by the Japanese. The Memorial to the Missing, remembers 292 service personnel who lost their lives in Timor and other northern regions, whose bodies were not brought back to Australia. 230 people were killed on the first day of the bombing raids over Darwin, and many more people were displaced as Darwin was evacuated. The Adelaide River War Cemetery is a beautifully maintained and sombre place to remember those who lost their lives in the region during the Second World War. 

Whilst we were there, another visitor found her uncle's name on the list of those who were unable to be brought back to Australia.  Myself having relatives who are buried overseas in war cemeteries, what an emotional place for her this must have been.
More about Darwin and World War 2 in future posts.

Our next stop is Litchfield National Park - till next week, thank yo for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this trip to Katherine and Adelaide River in the Northern Territory.

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Kununurra and Lake Argyle, Western Australia - Half lap of Australia, Part 3

Hi everyone, welcome back to my half lap of Australia. 
Last week I brought you up the coast of Western Australia free camping 3,513 kilometres (2,183 miles) from Perth to Kununurra.and the Kimberley.

This week we are in Kununurra and Lake Argyle right up at the top of Western Australia near the Northern Territory border. You can see Kununurra on this map. 

 We had been to Kununurra twice before, in 2009 and 2016 and we chose to stay again at the Discovery Holiday Park Lake Kununurra which as the name implies, is on the shores of the Lake.  Very strangely, and I don't know why, I don't seem to have a photo of our caravan site in Kununurra, so here is a picture of the Lake. It is a shady caravan park with good amenities, close to town.

We only had one night in Kununurra this trip, a chance to stock up on supplies, and do our washing. But there is plenty to do here, so I suggest a stay of a week.  Below are a few ideas...

 Kununurra is a relatively new Kimberley town which was established in 1961 as a service centre for the Ord River Irrigation scheme. Kununurra is a local aboriginal word meaning ‘meeting of big waters’. Kununurra initially sustained a population of 400 people, today the town supports a population of 7500.

On both our previous trips we booked a boat cruise on the Ord River, 55 kilometres along the river from Kununurra to the Ord Dam at Lake Argyle. You can either bus out to the dam, and cruise back on the boat (as we did in 2009), or cruise both ways (as we did in 2016). The tour guides showcase the diverse nature that lives along the river. And with afternoon tea (delicious scones, jam and cream) on the banks of the river, it is a perfect way to spend the afternoon. I highly recommend it.

Just a couple of kilometres from town is Kelly’s Knob, the highest point in Kununurra from where you have excellent views of the town, Ord River, Lake Kununurra, Elephant Rock and the Ord River Irrigation area. The irrigation scheme provides water for approx 18000 hectares of farmland. The main crops are sandalwood, mangoes, chia, citrus and melons. 

You can learn more about the attractions of Kununurra on their visitor website.

Further afield, 106 kilometres away is the port-town of Wyndham on the edge of Cambridge Gulf, and an easy day trip from Kununurra.  The Five Rivers lookout from the Bastion – the hill overlooking Wyndham - provides amazing views of the surrounding landscape and where you can see the Forest, King, Pentecost, Durack and Ord rivers flowing into the gulf.

  On the way back to Kununurra, make sure you stop in at Marglu Billabong in the Parry Lagoon Nature Reserve. You might even see a salt water crocodile. 
The bird below left is the brolga, well known for its courtship dance.  There is a salt water crocodile in the background of the bottom right photo - can you see him? 

 There are fabulous views from the old Telegraph Station ruins on Wireless Hill.

Last trip we stayed at the Parry Creek Farm caravan park.  - perfectly located to stay till sunset for spectacular images of the iconic Boab. Now there is a Kimberley sunset for you!

 Another tree you will see around Kununurra are the gorgeous bright yellow flowers of the Kapok bush - Cochlospermum fraseri 

The indigenous people of northern Australia would eat the flowers, either raw or cooked, and the roots of young plants. The inner bark was used to make string. They also used to use the fluff from the seeds as body decoration. This plant is a "calendar" plant of the Jawoyn people: flowering indicates when freshwater crocodiles are laying eggs, fruiting the time for collecting them.
From: Atlas of Living Australia

 A great place to identify and find out more about Australian trees is at the Celebrity Tree Park in Kununurra.  The park was opened in 1984 and celebrities such as John Farnham, HRH Princess Anne and Harry Butler have all planted native Western Australian trees here.
The plaques give the common, botanic and indigenous names of the tree, description and their uses by the indigenous people. 

We were very pleased to find here identification of the Kimberley Bauhinia or Jigal tree - Bauhinia cunninghamii - indigenous Miriwoong name: wanyarring. We had seen this tree in abundance along the way - both in flower and pod. The indigenous people used to suck the sweet nectar for stamina, which we tried later on down the track - and yes it is sweet. This is a very attractive tree in pod.

 From Kununurra it was a relatively short distance (70 kilometres) to Lake Argyle - the Ord Dam - where we had booked into the caravan park for two nights. It was high season, so we were glad we had booked our site at the beginning of the year as we were given a shady spot compared to those who "arrive at 8am and wait and hope" people who were given an "overflow" spot in the blazing sun! By then it was starting to heat up in northern Australia's winter "dry" season. 

 A favourite spot at the lake is the infinity pool overlooking the lake. Day trippers can also use this pool for a fee.  The water was very cold but it was a relaxing spot to cool off. 

You do boat cruises on the lake or take a scenic flight (which we had done on a previous trip).   
Completed in 1972, at normal full supply level the area of the lake formed by the Ord Dam is 980 square kilometres and impounds 10.7 million mega litres (8.6 million acre feet) of water, over 18 times the volume of water contained in Sydney Harbour. At maximum capacity the volume would be more than triple – Sydney Harbour could be filled more than 70 times.  Amazing! 

Here is a pic from our flight over Lake Argyle in 2009.

 but we just chose this time the easy climbs to a couple of look outs.  The Ord River Gorge trail started near our camp (Suggest you do this early in the morning as it was hot by the time we got back), and the water-tank lookout (great late afternoon). Both of course are uphill!

Can you see the Kapok tree in this pic?

Below is the rock loving Kimberley rose - Brachychiton viscidulus - also known as the sticky Kurrajong. The tree is almost leafless when it flowers.

Not far from Lake Argyle is the Argyle (Durack) Homestead. The Durack family, Patrick (Patsy), Michael and John drove cattle 4828 kilometres overland from Queensland in the 1800s, the longest overland trek undertaken by Australian drovers at the time, taking two and half years to reach the Kimberley.  Establishing one of the first cattle stations in the Kimberley, living conditions were harsh for the colonial settlers.

Patrick and his family of six children established a family dynasty in the Ord Valley and launched enterprises that were instrumental in opening up the north of Western Australia. The story of these Kimberley pioneers is told in the book Kings in Grass Castles (and several subsequent books) written in 1959 by Mary Durack.  

The homestead was relocated from its original site in the 1970s due to the construction of the Ord Dam. It is now a museum only a few kilometres from Lake Argyle. 
The walls were built from local rock - very thick - and the house was surrounded by a wide verandah - both designed to keep the house cool in the high Kimberley temperatures. 

The Durack story reiterates the wildness, harshness, loneliness and isolation of the country for the early pioneers and the strength of those who settled here, many having trecked long distances overland from southern Australia. 

We enjoyed our two days at Lake Argyle. It was a chance for some rest and recuperation before the next part of our journey. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed the this chapter of our half lap of Australia. Next week we will cross the border from Western Australia into the Northern Territory.

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.  

You might also like:  
Intro - half lap of Australia
Free camp Perth to Kununurra
On the road through the Kimberley
Cathedral Gorge, Purnululu, Kimberley 
The wildflwoers are blooming in Western Australia 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.