Mountain Valley

Mountain Valley is a secluded retreat in the Loongana Valley, we first discovered while on holiday here.


50km inland from the coast of northwest Tasmania, this 61 hectare Private Nature Reserve nestles beneath the majestic Black Bluff.

2.Black Bluff

There are six eco-cabins to choose from, our favourite is Blue Wren.

The Leven River flows through the property


and many an hour has been spent idly waiting to spy the elusive platypus.


Across the bridge,


the path follows the river. Trout can be seen jumping in the shallows


and the native hens appear when you least expect them.


The path becomes narrow and we still search for that perplexing platypus.


Native creatures abound in this sanctuary – wallabies, possums, quolls, birds and of course, our gorgeous pademelons.

We watched Tasmanian Devils and quolls eating their evening meal on the verandah. Our host placed tasty morsels for them at dusk and they slowly came after dark as Michael sat motionless among them while I opted to watch through the window.


The guided walk to the glow worm grotto took us through serene grassland,

23.walk to cave

and we learned the beautiful foxglove is regarded as an environmental weed in Tasmania.


There are many walks to take through fern glades

25.walk to cave

and rainforest

to discover hidden caves.

31.walk to cave

There is much more to explore at Mountain Valley, it is a wonderful experience and for those who are feeling energetic, there is the walk to the top of Black Bluff.

32.Black Bluff

I am looking forward to our next visit.

auspicious autumn

Autumn is a busy time in the garden, with two truckloads of mulch to spread

1.mulch pile14.mulching 3.mulch pile3

and firewood to get in for the winter. We don’t cut down trees in our forest but sometimes nature helps out.


It’s hard work – he cuts,


I stack

then Betsy helps us take it up the hill.


I find some fascinating features in the forest


trees that appear to have died have not.

We split


and stack the wood ready for our winter warmth.


The garden still has some colour

and the bees love the callistemon.

36.callistemon bee

Five years ago I made a bench from the branches of our pruned fruit trees.


Sadly, it has succumbed to the elements.


Maybe another project…..

Territory Wildlife Park

On a perfect winters day in Darwin, we set off to discover Territory Wildlife Park, situated about 60km south on 400 hectares of natural bushland. We spent a few hours wandering through woodland, wetland and monsoon habitats.


Along the Monsoon Vine Forest Walk is one of the largest domed walk-through aviaries in the southern hemisphere.



Birds weren’t the only creatures in the aviary.



The surroundings were stunning


with the occasional surprise at ground level.


Some of the trees had created fascinating designs of their own.


The Park is well set out with a shuttle train continuously travelling the 4km loop, a welcome service as the temperature rises. Each exhibit entrance is adorned with cute critters and clever decorations.

The display of free-flying birds at the Flight Deck was amazing.

The eagle trying to break open an emu egg with a rock showed the innate behaviour is still strong in these birds in captivity.

36.flight deck1

Neil, the bush stone-curlew stole the show.

39.flight deck4

Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is something new to surprise.



broken bridge

Our latest project was a bit daunting, we’d put it off thinking it would be difficult and time consuming. There is a bridge over the stream at the bottom of the hill in the rainforest


and the timbers have been deteriorating since we moved in. No longer was it safe to traverse in a tractor…….


……the time had come. Michael had sourced hardwood from a local sawmill and it was already stacked and ready to go. After cutting them to length


we laid them out to make sure we had enough

4.laying out5.laid out

and drilled the nail holes in preparation.


The old boards were easily prised off


and the new ones were dragged down the hill a few at a time.


One by one, they were set in place ones

and nailed to the supporting beams (old telegraph poles).


We were pleasantly surprised at the progress we made


and the old ones were stacked for future use.

13.old ones

The last of the old ones came off

14.last one off15.all old ones off

and the new ones were all laid.

16.all laid

It was hot work but the surroundings made up for the discomfort.


Side rails finished off the edges and Poppy was on hand to give advice.


We thought it fitting that she should be first to test the strength of the new bridge.


After that hard work in the heat, there was only one way to get back up the hill.

23.up the hill124.up the hill2

contented Christmas

We decided to do something different for Christmas Day this year. Life is so busy, time spent relaxing together seems to get less and less, so that’s what we did. We packed up Betsy


and headed for our rainforest. There is a special spot we call The Glade and we made ourselves comfortable.


A nice bottle of wine

and main course of roast chicken and salad.

5.main course

The local residents didn’t intrude, they were silent and beautiful.

Not being a lover of fruit mince and having a tonne of rhubarb in the veggie patch, rhubarb muffins made the perfect dessert.


The after lunch entertainment was outstanding.

Sadly, it had to end but there will be more days in the forest to come.

19.tired Poppy

I hope you all had a special Christmas and wish you a safe & happy 2016.